The Basics: Creams, Lotions, and Salves

Dry, itchy skin? Cuts, scrapes, infected wounds, or rashes? They can all be soothed and renewed with the healing nourishment of herbs applied in a moisturizing base – the realm of creams, lotions, and salves. Of course, your skin is your largest eliminative organ. It’s often exposed to the elements, and it’s somewhat delicate {no fur or scales to protect it!}. This means that it can take a beating from the weather and can be prone to wrinkling and drying. Because your skin breathes and eliminates toxins and other substances from your body, you may experience conditions such as rashes, acne, or boils as your skin releases these substances.

Creams, lotions, and salves are all marvelous ways to apply healing herbs to the thirsty, damaged or troubled skin, but they’re each formulated slightly differently.

Cream. A cream is a mixture of oil and water, with a little wax added for body and texture. It’s a bit like mayonnaise because it’s an oil combined with a watery or non-oily substance whipped together so they don’t separate {a process called emulsification}. With mayonnaise, oil and eggs are mixed, while with cream, oil and tea concentrates are combined. Many commercial creams include an emulsifier such as borax, which prevents the oil and water from separating, or they include substances that add texture, such as lanolin, cocoa butter, or acetyl alcohol. My recipes also contain vitamin C powder, which acts as a mild preservative, but you can substitute an equal amount of ascorbic acid, which is available over the counter at pharmacies or in the canning area of the grocery store. Or you can add 2 or 3 drops of vitamin E or rosemary oil to the oil phase as a preservative. A cream moisturizes and soothes your skin.

Lotion. A lotion is similar to a cream, but it is lighter and contains more liquid. You can pour a lotion and spread it easily, which can really make a difference when you have inflamed, needy skin. By varying the ingredients, you can create lotions that are astringent, moisturizing, antifungal, antibacterial, or regenerative. My lotions also contain vitamin C powder, as a preservative, and you can substitute vitamin E or rosemary oil just as you might in a cream.

Salves. A salve is a wonderful way to use your infused oils. Salves are made of oils and wax and are typically somewhat solid, so they’re more convenient to use than oils. Although not as moisturizing as creams and lotions, salves last longer and provide a protective barrier that keeps bacteria out and moisture in. { Studies show that moist wounds heal faster than dry ones.} Salves keep the healing power of the herbs close to skin injuries, reducing inflammation and soreness and reducing cracked skin on feet and lips. Lip balms are a form of a salve. Salves can be made with a single infused oil or with a combination of several; customizing a salve for individual use is part of the challenge and fun of making it.

You’ll find a basic recipe for a cream, a lotion, and a salve, and then some sample recipes for you to try, using herbs from your garden. Be extra careful to wash all utensils, surfaces, containers, and your hands before beginning to make any of these recipes because this combination of ingredients is susceptible to spoilage. Keep everything as hygienic as possible will yield long-lasting remedies.

If you make creams, please be aware that they spoil easily, so store them in your refrigerator if you’re going to keep them for more than a few days. Don’t introduce bacteria by dipping your fingers into the cream; instead, use a little craft stick or a small spoon to scoop it out of the jar.

Basic Cream:

Creams are composed mainly of oil and water, and each oil and water mixture is referred to as a “phase.” The two phases are prepared and heated separately and then mixed together in a blender. You’ll heat the two phases so they are close as possible to the same temperature {160 degrees to 175 degrees F} before you combine them.

An emulsifier is required to hold the phases together in a creamy state. I use ordinary household borax as an emulsifier because it’s a natural, gentle substance that does the job.

Oil Phase;

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons infused herbal oil

10-20 drops essential oil or combination of essential oils of your choice {optional, for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea} or strong tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and infused herbal oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Skin Protection Cream:

This cream prevents drying and chapping. It’s formulated with glycerin, which is moisturizing and texturizing, making it lighter and extra creamy.

Oil Phase:

1 ounce {about 1 1/2 tablespoons} beeswax

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 ounces almond oil

10-20 drops essential oil of your choice {for fragrance}*

Water Phase:

2 ounces lemon balm, rosemary, or lavender strong tea infusion

2 ounces glycerin

1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and almond oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, glycerin, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • For a sweet-smelling cream, try adding equal amounts of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lavender essential oils to the basic cream. For an antiseptic cream to heal cuts and infections, stir in thyme, oregano, or tea tree essential oils. For a skin-protecting and age-defying cream, add rosemary essential oil and/or vitamin E oil {and use Gotu kola tea for the water phase}.

Anti-fungal Cream:

Use this handy cream for athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other common fungal infections. Prevention is the best medicine here. Don’t let an athlete’s foot fungus migrate into your nails, where it can be very difficult or impossible to treat.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {about 2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1/2 ounce {1 tablespoon} coconut oil

4 tablespoons calendula infused oil

10-20 drops oregano or thyme essential oil

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons strong thyme tea infusion*

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 – 1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and calendula infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C powder over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be heated to 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

  • To make a strong tea infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herb and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Ginger-Cayenne Heat-Treatment Cream:

Here’s help for muscle aches and pains. You can make the infused oil yourself, using the recipe below,* with 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried ginger and 1/2 cup ground or powdered dried cayenne.

Oil Phase:

1/2 ounce {2-3 teaspoons} beeswax

1 tablespoon coconut oil

4 tablespoons cayenne and ginger-infused oil

10-15 drops wintergreen essential oil {optional, for fragrance and pain-relieving compounds}

Water Phase:

4 tablespoons ginger tea concentrate {as you’d make for a dried tea}

2 tablespoons aloe gel

1/2 -1 teaspoon borax

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Heat the beeswax, coconut oil, and cayenne and ginger-infused oil in a saucepan over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. Add the optional wintergreen essential oil. In another pan, heat the tea concentrate, aloe gel, borax, and vitamin C over medium heat until warm to the touch, but not hot. {Both phases should be 160 to 175 degrees F.}

Place the water phase ingredients in a blender and set it on high. Through the opening in the blender jar cap, dribble in the oil phase ingredients. When the cream is thoroughly mixed, pour it into jars. Let it cool, cap the jars, label, and refrigerate.

* Basic Herbal Oil:

1 cup finely ground dried herbs {flowers, leaves, roots, barks, and/or seeds}

1 1/4 cups almond, jojoba, or olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the herbs and oil. Blend or process until pureed for greater extractability. Pour the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid, making sure the plant material is completely submerged in the oil. If it’s not, add more oil until the herbs are covered by about 1 inch of liquid. Cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it daily, for 2 to 3 weeks. Filter it carefully through cheesecloth, a muslin bag, or a square of linen, gathering up the edges and squeezing out the oil. Compost the herbs. Pour the oil into amber bottles, and label the bottles with the contents and date. Store it in a dark place.

Oils

Herbal oils are simply oils infused with herbs, much as you’d steep rosemary in olive oil for culinary purposes. Healing herbal oils can be taken internally for a variety of ailments, can be used externally for therapeutic or daily beauty routines, and can be incorporated into herbal salve recipes. Dried herbs are preferred since fresh herbs will sometimes ferment.

Basic Lotion:

Good choices for the strong tea infusions are calendula, chamomile, comfrey, ginger, lavender, Oregon grape, peppermint, plantain, and rosemary.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup strong tea infusion*

Cosmetic clay

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

25 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance}

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Bottle, label and refrigerate.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1 cup ground dried herbs and 1 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Poison Ivy or Poison Oak Lotion:

This lotion works quickly and thoroughly for anyone suffering the misery of poison ivy or oak, any rash or burn, and even for acne.

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup combination of plantain and/or calendula strong tea infusion* and/or aloe vera gel

Cosmetic clay

25 drops peppermint essential oil

1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder

In a small bowl, dissolve the salt in the tea or aloe gel. Stir in the cosmetic clay and vitamin C powder until the mixture is creamy. Add the essential oil and blend thoroughly. Pour into bottles and cap, label, and refrigerate. Apply as needed to the affected area, avoiding your eyes and mucous membranes.

  • To make the infusion, combine 1/2 cup dried herb and 1/2 cup freshly boiled water, and steep for 30 minutes, covered.

Basic Salve:

Good choices for the infused oil in this recipe include calendula, cayenne, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, St. John’s wort and turmeric {turmeric can stain}.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil

5-10 drops essential oil or combination of oils of your choice {for fragrance or additional healing properties}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

Tips for Salves.

If you prefer a salve that’s harder or softer than this recipe, just add more or less beeswax or oil. You can test the consistency of the salve before it hardens by scooping out a spoonful and dipping the back of the spoon into a little bowl of ice water to harden the salve. If it’s too soft for your taste, heat the ingredients again and add more beeswax. If it’s too hard, heat the ingredients again and add a bit more oil. Test after each addition to get the consistency you prefer. Sometimes, after the salve is poured into a jar and when it’s nearly set, a small crater will appear in the middle of the surface. You can add a small amount of hot salve to the crater to create an even surface.

Healing Salve:

Use to reduce inflammation and lessen the possibility of infection from a skin injury.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil, using equal parts calendula, yarrow, and St. John’s wort – infused oils

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice, such as lavender, orange, mint, or thyme {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir thoroughly to combine. Pour your salve into jars and let it cool. Cap and label the jars. Apply the salve as needed to the affected area. You can store a salve indefinitely.

One of my favorite recipes is Healing Lip Balm:

A lip balm is no different than a salve in its formulation, except that you may wish to make it a little firmer. This one works wonders for chapped, dry lips.

1-ounce beeswax

1 cup infused oil {calendula, ginger, peppermint or spearmint, rosemary, and St. John’s wort are good choices}

5-10 drops essential oils of your choice {for fragrance}

Grate the beeswax into a small bowl. In a saucepan or double boiler, heat the infused oil gently to about 100 degrees F. Add the grated beeswax slowly, stirring as it melts. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before you add the essential oils. Stir to thoroughly combine. Pour your mixture into lip balm tubes and let it cool. Cap and label the tubes.

The Basics: Skin Ailments

Skin ailments, such as rashes, acne, boils, styes, psoriasis, and eczema are difficult to diagnose and can occur on any part of your body. Keeping your body’s channels of elimination open allows your liver to excrete bile and your gut to dispose of urine and waste efficiently, which is essential to beautiful, clear skin.

Rashes and eczema can be a visible outer response to an allergic reaction. Allergies to foods such as soy, wheat, dairy, and eggs are common. We also react to chemicals in the environment, and many of the – pesticides, herbicides, and ingredients in body-care and cleaning products, for example – are invisible to the eye. Because they are completely foreign to your immune system, it tries to rid your body of them, which can create a strong inflammatory response that shows up on your skin.

Acne and boils, which are infections occurring inside your skin or gut imbalances and impaired elimination.

What Helps:

Buying and growing organic foods and using natural body-care products, laundry soap, and dish-washing detergents are extremely important for maintaining good skin health. And remember to use caution when choosing a body soap. Soap can wash away natural fatty acids that help keep your skin’s eco-system in balance. Believe it or not, many bacteria live inside your skin, not on the surface so the use of a probiotic supplement can help. An imbalance in your skin’s microflora is closely associated with a strong imbalance in your gut’s microflora. Following a healthy, simple diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a key step to good skin health. A daily intake of “prebiotics,” which are foods high in soluble fiber, such as beans or whole oats, can encourage good overall skin health. I recommend keeping a fiber “report card” for yourself. Your body’s short-term and long-term health depends on a high intake of fiber every day.

Herbs to Grow and Use:

Good digestion is essential for avoiding skin ailments and maintaining a high level of skin health. Many of the herbs mentioned are recommended by herbalists for relieving and avoiding rashes, acne, boils, and other inflammatory skin conditions. The following herbs can be taken as teas {infusions or decoctions}, tinctures, or in capsule form unless otherwise noted below.

Herbs to activate the bile and promote detoxification include aloe, artichoke, burdock, Oregon grape, red clover, and turmeric. Digestive stimulants help increase enzyme production, which brings vitality to the digestive processes and enhances assimilation. These include angelica, artichoke, cayenne {and other spicy peppers}, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and wormwood. Carminatives help relieve gas and regulate digestion to keep things moving smoothly. This includes anise hyssop, basil, catnip, fennel, love-in-a-mist, oregano, peppermint, sage, and thyme. They can be consumed as a warm tea right after a meal.

Rose Hips and Rose Hip Tea

The rose hips or fruits of different species of the rose plant have always had a significant place in natural medicine, as they are very rich in vitamin C content. The color of these rose hips varies from dark red to bright scarlet and their shapes differ too. While some of the rose hips may be ovoid in appearance, there are others that are pear-shaped. Basically, the rose hips are collected from the variety of the rose plant called the dog rose or Rosa canina. However, herbalists prefer the larger rose hips of the Japanese rose called R. rugosa. Even other varieties of the rose plant, including R. acicularis as well as R. cinnamon, are also valued greatly. Incidentally, all these different varieties of rose plants belong to the Rosaceae family.
As mentioned earlier, the rose hips or the fruits of the different varieties of the rose plants enclose the high quantity of vitamin C and hence are of great value to the practitioners of herbal medicine. In fact, the rose hips are used to prepare teas, purees, extracts, marmalades, and even soups and all these are consumed as nourishment’s as they contain lots of vitamin C. Extracts from the rose hips are generally included in several natural vitamin mixtures like tablets, capsules, syrups and many other similar things. Interestingly, manufacturers of most such vitamin amalgams are always careful about never mentioning the proportion of vitamin obtained from rose hips and from artificial ascorbic acid. The rose hips are known to possess properties that help in preventing as well as healing scurvy (a disease caused by vitamin deficiency). In addition, the rose hips also have gentle laxative and diuretic effects which help in the movement of bowels and increasing the urine outflow from the body respectively.
Chemical analysis of the rose hips has shown that they contain 0.5 to 1.7 percent vitamin C. However, the real content of vitamin C in the commercially available dried rose fruits varies depending on the accurate botanical source of the plant from which the rose hips have been acquired. For instance, the quantity of vitamin C present in these commercially available dried rose hips is influenced by factors like the place where the rose plant was grown, the time of harvesting the rose hips, the manner in which the fruits were dried, where and how the dehydrated rose hips were stored and other things like these. It has been often found that many commercial varieties of the rose plant material contain little or no traces of vitamin C at all. Even though we may take it for granted that the commercial varieties of the rose hips available in the market possess approximately one percent of vitamin C on an average and the entire vitamin is available in the end product, at least, one proposal does not seem to be convincing. As the present cost of vitamin C acquired from the rose hips is at least 25 times more than the artificial product, it is not feasible for the manufacturers to add enough of the natural substance in their products.
In addition to substantial proportions of vitamin C, the rose hips possess several other chemical amalgams which comprise 11 percent of pectin and three percent of a blend of malic and citric acids. Researchers are of the view that the presence of malic acid and citric acid contributes to the rose hips’ laxative and diuretic effects. As a consequence, physicians frequently recommend the use of rose hips or preparations with it to treat constipation and urinary problems.
Over the centuries, gardeners across the globe have admired and loved the rose flowers that are undoubtedly elegant as well as aromatic. At the same time, the gardeners have also held the hips or the fruits of the rose plant in high esteem for its numerous medicinal benefits. The rose hips vary from oval to round to pear-shaped in appearance and they appear either in the latter part of summer or during the fall. Interestingly, in reality, the rose hips are not fruits, but receptacles or containers that enclose the actual fruits of the rose plant. The actual rose fruit is known as ‘seeds’ or ‘achenes’.
Long ago, people thought the rose hips to be sacred. This is corroborated by the fact that during the Middle Ages, the rosary of the Catholics was made from rose hips and hence they were called rosary. These rosaries were used to count the prayers as they were also being said. Even today, the beads of the rosary used by the Catholics resemble the rose hips and as the fruits of different species of the rose plant, these modern-day beads are also smooth and elongated in appearance.
Here is an important point to note. Compared to the hybrids, it is generally easier to take care of the different original species of the rose plant. In addition, the original species of the rose also generate more tender and fleshy hips that are best for consumption. If you intend to use the rose for culinary as well as decorative purposes, you should go for the original species of the rose and cultivate them in your garden. On the other hand, if you fancy the climbing variety of the rose and also want them to fruit generously, never ever trim or prune the plants soon after their blossoming season in summer.
It may be mentioned here that if not harvested, the rose hips generally remain on the plant all through the early part of the winter or till the birds, rabbits, and field rodents have either eaten them up or stored them somewhere for future use. Owing to the high intensity of ascorbic acid present in them, the rose hips stimulating tart taste that is very much fruit-like. In fact, fresh rose hips enclose as much as 60 times the quantity of vitamin C contained in the oranges and the rugosa roses. The rugosa rose bears comparatively large round shaped fruits and are known to contain rich proportions of vitamin C.
In addition to being a beautiful and aromatic flower, the rose is also beneficial as remedies for several disorders. The leaves, as well as the petals of the rose plant, provide a comforting effect and if ingested as a tea, can diminish body temperature during high fevers. The tea prepared with rose petals and leaves is also effective in cleansing toxins and heat from the body, particularly when they give rise to rashes on the skin and inflammatory (swelling and irritation) problems. Several researched have shown that the rose also possesses properties that increase the body’s immunity and helps to restrict all kinds of infections from becoming larger problems. This is possible owing to the rose’s cleansing or purification properties.
An infusion prepared with rose petals may be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. At the same time, the infusion is effective in treating sore throats, runny nose as well as congested bronchial tracts. On the other hand, infusion or syrup prepared with rose hips is beneficial in reinforcing the lungs to combat all kinds of infections and is especially useful for those who suffer from chest problems. At the same time, roses are also effective in combating infections in the digestive system and restoring the normal and essential bacteria in the intestines. The petals and seeds of the rose have a diuretic effect and are beneficial in relieving excessive fluids from the urinary bladder. This way, they also help in getting rid of the waste and toxic substances in the body through the kidneys. Hence, the rose is also considered to be an effective cleanser and purifier.
Like the rose hips, the petals of the rose flowers also have numerous remedial uses. For instance, the rose petals are effective in relieving congestion in the female reproductive system. In addition, the rose petals may also be used to treat the excessive accumulation of fluid in the urinary tract and thereby alleviate pains and, in women, heavy periods. Physicians also recommend the use of rose petals to treat erratic menstrual periods, infertility as well as to perk up sexual desire in individuals.
An infusion prepared from the rose petals acts as a useful astringent and is effective for treating diarrhea, enteritis, and dysentery. It may be noted here that tea prepared from rose petals may be used as a laxative to clear bowel movement. At the same time, the rose petal tea is also an effective medication for the liver and enhances the flow of bile, invigorates as well as purifies the liver and the gallbladder. It also helps in alleviating problems related to lethargic liver like headaches and constipation.
Rose hips, as well as the petals of the rose flowers, possess inspiring as well as reconditioning effects on the nervous system. They are also capable of alleviating the problems of insomnia, do away with depression, drive out fatigue and also offer comfort in conditions such as tetchiness.
Rosehips-700x525

Applications

Different parts of the rose plant are useful for different purposes and hence they have different applications. The rose hips or fruits of the rose plant, flowers, and even the petals are beneficial in some way or the other and used by people as a tincture, syrup, essential oil, cream, lotion, rosewater, massage oil, gargle, and decoction.
Rose hips – R. canina:
 The rose hips (R.canina) or the fruits of the plant are used as tincture as well as syrup to treat different ailments.
TINCTURE: The tincture prepared from rose hips (R. canina) are ingested as an astringent (a medicine the draws affected tissues closer) to treat diarrhea, alleviate colic or stomach pains and is also blended with cough medicines.
SYRUP: The syrup prepared from the rose hips (R. canina) is used to provide flavor to other medicines, mostly the bitter and bland ones. The syrup is also blended in cough mixtures or may be ingested as a rich source of vitamin C.
Rose hips – R. laevigata:
 Medications prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) are normally ingested to treat stomach disorders. They may be applied as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) may be blended with other herbs like dang shen, bai zhu and shan Yao and ingested to treat insistent diarrhea that is accompanied with stomach flaw.
Essential oil – R. centifolia / R. Damascena:
 The essential oil (R. centifolia / R. damascene) extracted from the rose hips or the fruits of the rose plant are basically beneficial to treat skin and stomach conditions. This oil is normally used externally and applied as a cream, lotion, oil and massage oil.
CREAM: A few drops of the oil extracted from rose hips may be added to creams to heal parched or irritating skin.
LOTION: One ml of the tincture prepared with another herb lady’s mantle may be blended with 10 ml of rosewater to treat itching in the vagina. Use the same blend to prepare a cream by following a standard base. Blend the rosewater with the equivalent proportion of purified witch hazel and use it as a comforting and moisturizing lotion to treat skin that is inclined to be affected by pimples or acne.
OIL: Bathe with water containing two drops of the oil extracted from the rose hips to get relief from depression or melancholy, grief, and/ or insomnia.
MASSAGE OIL: To avail relief from anxiety and fatigue add approximately two ml of rose oil to 20 ml of almond or wheat germ oil and massage the same on the forehead and other parts of the body. The same blend may be used to alleviate lethargic digestion.
 Flowers – R. rugosa:
 The rose flowers (R. rugosa) is helpful for treating menstrual and liver disorders and may be ingested as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose flowers (R. rugosa) may be blended with another herb motherwort and ingested for treating heavy menstruation. On the other hand, when the decoction is blended with herbs like Bai Shao Yao and Xiang fu, it provides an effective medication for liver dysfunction.
 Petals – R. gallica:
 The petals of the rose flower (R. gallica) are beneficial in treating menstruation and stomach disorders. A tincture prepared with them may be used as a gargle for throat infections.
TINCTURE: Ingesting approximately three ml of a tincture prepared with rose petals thrice daily is helpful in treating diarrhea as well as sluggish absorption of food. When the same tincture is blended with other herbs like the lady’s mantle, white dead-nettle or shepherd’s purse, the medication is effectual for treating erratic or intense menstruation.
GARGLE: When the tincture prepared with rose petals is diluted with warm water, it may be used as a gargle to heal aching throats. The tincture may also be blended with another herb sage for a similar application.

Rose bowl

  • 4 cups bone-dry rose petals
  • 2 cups dried rose leaves
  • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups dried lavender buds
  • 1/3 cup orrisroot powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup ground cloves
  • 2 ground tonka beans
  • 6 drops oil of roses
  • 3 drops oil of lavender
Combine all the dry ingredients, mix well, and add the oils, a drop at a time, mixing as you work. Seal into a jar, and cure for 6 weeks in a dry, dark, warm place that is well ventilated. Shake the jar daily. When cured, turn the potpourri into a decorative container with a tightly stoppered lid. Open only when the potpourri is in use.
rose hip tea

Rose Hip Tea

It’s amazing what I find on my walks around my neighborhood. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where blackberry bushes are literally everywhere and fruit trees grow on almost every street. We’re talking figs, various varieties of plums, apples, and pears. Gorgeous curbside gardens overflowing with kale, chard, and tomatoes are the norm. Artichokes are growing on street corners. Seriously, people, I live in a city that’s full of incredible food! And the best part is that gardeners are willing to share it! It’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. Just the other day, I came home with at least eight pounds worth of fruit just picked from some neighbors’ trees. I’m a lucky girl.

On one of my walks yesterday, I came across a gorgeous wild rose bush that was bursting with these gorgeous ruby orbs. They’re called rose hips, and while they may not be the first to come to mind when you think of edible fruits, they certainly are a fruit that’s worth looking for. Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the rose blossoms after their petals have fallen off. Cool, right? Heck, I’d take a bouquet of rose hips over their flowered counterpart any day!

So why should we be eating rose hips? Well, upon doing a little research, I discovered that these little red fruits are incredibly nutritious. Apparently, just a single teaspoon of rose hip pulp provides more Vitamin C than an orange, making it an excellent immune system booster. Rose hips are also incredibly high in beta carotene (thanks to their incredible reddish-orange color). Beta carotene is essential for maintaining gorgeous skin and healthy cells. It’s astonishing how high the antioxidant content of rose hips is! I even read that rose hips are clinically proven to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Those are some powerful fruits, I tell ya.

Rose hips can be eaten fresh (after the seeds have been scooped out) or they can be dried and stored for later use. I’ve seen recipes for rose hip jams, syrups, and tinctures. In fact, there is even a traditional Swedish rose hip soup that is quite popular during the cold winter months to help fend off colds and flu. Here, I chose to make a simple rose hip tea to really enjoy their health benefits. Depending on the variety of rose, the hips will vary slightly in appearance and flavor. The rose hips I found were from a rugosa rose bush, which is known for having the biggest, most vibrantly colored rose hips. Overall, they have a mildly tart taste and remind me a bit of the flavor of cherry tomatoes.

There are a few ways to make rose hip tea. I chose to steep the rose hips in a teapot of boiling water for about 20-30 minutes, but you can also simmer them on the stove in water for the same amount of time until they break up and form a pulp. Either way works, just strain the pulp before drinking the tea. And of course, you can eat the pulp, as well!

Fresh Rose Hip Tea (makes 2 cups)

10-12 fresh rose hips, seeds removed
2 cups boiling water
1. Put the rose hips in a teapot or French press. Pour boiling water over them, cover, and let steep for your desired amount of time. (See note above).
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or push the plunger of the French press.  I pressed on the rose hips to release more of their goodness. Sweeten the tea with honey, if desired. And eat the rose hips, if you’d like an extra boost of Vitamin C!

Rosewood Oil: “Bois-de-Rose” Benefits

Prized as a decorative tree and used to make furniture, chopsticks, and show pieces, rosewood is a versatile and durable tree that grows abundantly in Brazil. But rosewood is more than just a raw material used in manufacturing. The popular fragrant oil of the same name is extracted from its wood. Keep on reading to learn more about rosewood oil.

What Is Rosewood Oil?

rosewood oilRosewood oil is extracted from Aniba rosaeodora, an evergreen tree that’s indigenous to Peru and Brazil. Rosewood, also called “bois-de-rose,” is a member of the Laurel (Lauraceae) plant family along with camphor, cinnamon, bay, and cassia. This aromatic tree can grow up to 40 meters high and is distinguishable by its reddish bark and yellow flowers. Many rosewood rain forests have been cut down to accommodate the high demand for this sturdy lumber, although legislation now requires planting a new rosewood in place of every tree that’s been cut down.

Rosewood oil has a characteristic aroma that’s warm, spicy, woody, fruity, floral, and enlivening. This characteristic aroma makes it an established ingredient in high-class perfumery and soap-making, especially during the early 1900’s, which caused deforestation of the tree.

Due to rosewood oil’s high price, however, manufacturers turned to cheaper alternatives, such as Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora, as well as synthetic linalool. This allowed rosewood forests to thrive once again.

Uses of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s alluring fragrance has been widely lauded in the perfume industry, but its therapeutic properties are less well known. Aromatherapists use it to help treat depression, as it is said to impart feelings of happiness and strength. Rosewood oil also calms the mind and prompts hormone secretion. It also works as an aphrodisiac as it stimulates your body and libido allowing you to relax and let go of stress and mental clutter.

Another popular use of rosewood oil is for skin care. It has tissue-regenerating properties that help prevent wrinkles and premature aging, and also works well for preventing a variety of skin conditions. You can use it to reduce the onset of pimples, acne, and blackheads while controlling the amount of sebum secreted by your oil glands. Rosewood oil also has wound-healing actions, making it an ideal first-aid remedy for cuts and insect bites.

To get rosewood oil’s therapeutic effects, you can:

  • Diffuse it using a vaporizer.
  • Dilute it in a carrier oil, and then place a drop or two on your skin or the affected areas that need healing. Note: DO NOT use it on facial skin without diluting it in a mild carrier oil first. You can also use it as a massage oil.
  • Add it to your bathwater. Use it while showering: after soaking for at least 3 minutes in steamy shower, turn the water off, put five to seven drops of the oil in the palm of your hand, and distribute it all over your wet body. The oil will penetrate very quickly and you can rinse it off if you prefer.
  • Mix it your favorite lotion or cream. Add a drop or two to your favorite moisturizer to reap its anti-aging benefits.

Rosewood oil also works as an effective insect repellent that repels mosquitoes, bugs, and ants. It can also work as a room freshener. Simply add 15 drops per 2 ounces of distilled water, and then spray as desired.

The Composition of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s high linalool content (86 percent) makes it highly useful for industrial applications. Linalool is modified into many derivatives that are essential to the food flavoring and fragrance industries.

Meanwhile, other components of rosewood oil like a-pinene, a-terpineol, camphene, neral, myrcene, geranial, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, and limonene  are responsible for its health-promoting effects. This oil works as a stimulant, antidepressant, analgesic, antibacterial, and antiseptic.

Benefits of Rosewood Oil

rosewood oil benefitsI believe that rosewood oil is a wonderful herbal oil to have at home, as its sweet and pleasant aroma can greatly delight your senses. However, there’s a lot more to this oil than its enticing aroma. Here are some of the benefits of rosewood oil:

  • Relieves pain. Rosewood oil is a mild analgesic (not as strong as other herbal oils) that can help alleviate headaches, toothaches, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Heals wounds. This oil’s antiseptic properties help prevent wounds and cuts from getting infected, as well as stimulate faster healing.
  • Helps treat colds, coughs, and sinusitis. It has the ability to regulate smooth muscle contractions, helping control bronchial disorders such as asthma.
  • Works as an aphrodisiac and stress reliever. It can help treat impotence or frigidity, arousing sexual desire and improving sexual performance. Rosewood oil’s fragrance also has a calming and relaxing effect on your mind and body.

How to Make Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil is extracted from the wood chippings or shavings of the rosewood trunk. This oil is produced via steam distillation, which works by vaporizing the oil and the active ingredients in it so they can be extracted and condensed. This extraction method helps assure that you are getting a pure and high-quality rosewood oil.

I advise you to be very stringent when buying rosewood oil, as some brands may be adulterated or have been infused with other carrier oils, which will lower the potency. Choosing a  rosewood oil that’s produced by a reputable manufacturer is crucial

How Does Rosewood Oil Work?

Rosewood oil’s high alpha-pinene content is responsible for its impressive antibacterial properties, while the chemical components geraniol, nerol, 8-cineole, linalool, and limonene are useful for tissue regeneration. Studies have also shown that the topical use of rosewood oil can help destroy pre-cancerous and cancerous cells without adversely affecting healthy skin cells.

To take full advantage of its therapeutic benefits, Rosewood oil can be applied topically, inhaled, or vaporized. It is rarely taken orally. As with other herbal oils, I do not recommend ingesting or applying this oil without the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

Is Rosewood Oil Safe?

side effects of rosewood oilRosewood Oil is may be highly beneficial, as long as it’s used in moderation and properly diluted. It blends well with citrus oils like orange, neroli, bergamot, lime, lemon, and grapefruit, as well as floral oils like lavender, jasmine, and rose.

Rosewood oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. However, I still advise doing a skin patch test before using this herbal oil.

Side Effects of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil has no known side effects. But despite its safe profile, children, pregnant women or nursing moms should not use this oil without the advice of their physician. Rosewood oil, especially at full strength, is not recommended for very young children as well.

People with sensitive skin should also be careful when using rosewood oil. If you see any signs of irritation after using this oil, stop using it immediately and contact your health care provider.

Rose Skin Care Recipes

Rose Water-Glycerin Lotion

It is possible that this herbal skin conditioner will be much loved by your grandmother. In effect, this traditionally prepared herbal mix is not only a very effectual essential moisturizer, but it is also a preferred hand lotion. Although one variety of this herbal skin care product is available with the drugstores, if you wish to prepare one personally, you are able to change the ratio of the ingredients with a view to going well with your skin as well as the changing condition of your skin depending on the seasonal changes.

The basic ingredients of this preparation are very common, such as:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of glycerin

To prepare this herbal skin care product, you are free to use ready rose water or make it personally be adding one teaspoon of rose oil to half a cup of distilled water. Mix the rose water and glycerin till it turns into a soft and cream-like blend. Finally, pour the creamy mixture into a spotless bottle and seal it tightly.

A thinner rose water-glycerin cream is recommended for people with oily skin. To prepare this thinner lotion, blend the two-third cup of rose water with two tablespoonfuls of glycerin. Conversely, a more dense lotion is apt for people having dry skin. To prepare this thick rose water-glycerin lotion to blend 1/3 cup of rose water with one-third or extra glycerin.

Rose water-glycerin gel: To prepare a gel using rose water and glycerin, you need to liquefy one teaspoon of ordinary gelatin in half a cup (125 ml) of hot water. Next, mix one teaspoon of rose oil and three tablespoons of glycerin thoroughly.

Glycerin and Rose Water Cleansing Cream

Glycerin and rosewater cleansing cream is effective for both dry and normal skin conditions. The ingredients needed to prepare this herbal product include:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of glycerin
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of lanolin
  • 6 drops of essential oil of rose
  • 2 oz (50 ml) of almond oil

First, liquefy the lanolin in an open saucepan and heat the almond oil and glycerin in another pan over the same heat. Blend the two and keep stirring them gently constantly. Next, gradually add rose water to the blend and allow it to cool. When the mixture has cooled down, stir the essential oil of rose into it.

Rose Water-Glycerin Lotion

It is possible that this herbal skin conditioner will be much loved by your grandmother. In effect, this traditionally prepared herbal mix is not only a very effectual essential moisturizer, but it is also a preferred hand lotion. Although one variety of this herbal skin care product is available with the drugstores, if you wish to prepare one personally, you are able to change the ratio of the ingredients with a view to going well with your skin as well as the changing condition of your skin depending on the seasonal changes.

The basic ingredients of this preparation are very common, such as:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of rose water
  • 1/4 cup of glycerin

To prepare this herbal skin care product, you are free to use ready rose water or make it personally be adding one teaspoon of rose oil to half a cup of distilled water. Mix the rose water and glycerin till it turns into a soft and cream-like blend. Finally, pour the creamy mixture into a spotless bottle and seal it tightly.

A thinner rose water-glycerin cream is recommended for people with oily skin. To prepare this thinner lotion, blend the two-third cup of rose water with two tablespoonfuls of glycerin. Conversely, a more dense lotion is apt for people having dry skin. To prepare this thick rose water-glycerin lotion to blend 1/3 cup of rose water with one-third or extra glycerin.

Rose water-glycerin gel: To prepare a gel using rose water and glycerin, you need to liquefy one teaspoon of ordinary gelatin in half a cup (125 ml) of hot water. Next, mix one teaspoon of rose oil and three tablespoons of glycerin thoroughly.

Rose Water and Witch Hazel Toning Lotion

To prepare a toning lotion with rose water and witch hazel, you require the following ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of rose water
  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of witch hazel infusion
  • 4 tablespoonfuls (60 ml) of lemon juice
  • 3 drops of the essential oil of lavender

Blend all the ingredients mentioned above together and bottle up the mixture. Prior to using this toner, shake the bottle well every time. This toner will facilitate in reinstating the acid skin layer, tauten as well as refresh the skin and also close the unnecessary pores.

Warm infusions of many herbs may be employed in the form of skin fresheners. Some of these herbs include chamomile, mint, fennel, yarrow, lady’s mantle, sage, and elderflower. You may include a couple of drops of the tincture of benzoin in every cup of the infusion with a view to preserving the liniment for a longer period.

Rose and Honey Lotion

Witch hazel and rose lotion is a moisturizer suitable for every skin type and can be prepared using the following ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls (7.5 ml) of witch hazel infusion
  • 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of honey
  • 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) of rose water

First, warm all the ingredients and blend them in a glass jar. Seal the lid of the jar tightly and shake the jar thoroughly prior to use.

About Essence by Ashley November

I believe there is only one way to beautiful, nature’s way. I have believed this for years and still do. Constantly seeking out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and bring you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality. And while I’m doing this, I always strive to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it. I don’t do it this way because it’s fashionable. I do it because, to me, it’s the only way.

Floral-Bath-Salts-Tutorial

Just like the skin cells on your face, the cells on your body regularly shed to reveal new, healthier skin underneath. That turnover process slows as we get older; to give it a nudge, reach for a body scrub.

A scrub works in a few ways: As you massage it over your body, the exfoliating granules help to slough off dead skin, and the rubbing action itself boosts circulation and helps drain your lymph nodes, by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface. Plus, after all, that deep cleansing work in the shower, your post-wash moisturizer will be better able to soothe and hydrate your skin.

But another important benefit of using a scrub is how good it can feel at the moment. Being mindful of the refreshing texture against your skin and captivating scent that fills the shower allows you to enjoy the treatment as it’s happening—an experience that can lift your mood and affect your outlook as you continue your day or evening.

Types of Body Scrubs

Typically, a body scrub has larger exfoliating particles than a facial scrub as the skin on your body isn’t as delicate. Common ingredients in store-bought scrubs are salt, sugar, and crushed nut shells, and some include chemically exfoliates, like alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, which can help smooth and firm skin, and salicylic acid, which can help improve the appearance of blemishes or redness. You can make your own buffing scrub with ingredients like olive oil, honey, raw sugar, ground cloves, oatmeal, and even ground coffee. Adding your favorite essential oils to the mixture transforms your shower into an aromatherapy session.

Try this homemade scrub:

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white or brown sugar
½ cup ground oatmeal (or coffee grounds for a more invigorating scrub)
1-3 drops essential oil (try lavender, almond, citrus or peppermint oils)

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a mason jar or other airtight container. Use just a quarter-sized amount at a time, storing the scrub in a dry place for up to three weeks.

If you’d rather stick with a smooth shower gel, using a loofah or exfoliating cloth can provide the cleansing scrub your skin needs. Experiment with various products and tools to find a scrub and technique that feels the best on your skin.

How to Use a Body Scrub

If your skin is healthy and firm, you can use a shower scrub up to three times a week. But if you have sensitive or thin skin, limit a good buffing to once a week.

Hold off on running the water in the shower and spend a few minutes using your hands or scrubbing tool to rub your scrub in circular motions onto dry skin for full and longer-lasting coverage. Turn on the water and rinse, using your hands to help remove any remaining granules. If you’re short on time, massage the scrub all over your body and rinse during your normal shower routine.

Be careful not to over scrub. Though your body skin is heartier than the skin on your face, it is susceptible to irritation. Always moisturize after you’ve dried off for smooth, nourished skin.

Do you use a self-tanner? Try a non-oily body scrub before applying any tanning lotion to guarantee an even application. By removing the dead skin cells, you’ll avoid splotches and dark spots, especially around your knees and elbows. Body scrubs are also great for removing self-tanner from your body.

When Not to Use a Body Scrub

If you have a sunburn or are experiencing a rash or other skin condition, give the body scrub a rest. Some of the ingredients—and the actual rubbing—could further irritate your skin. You’ll also want to skip it after shaving if your scrub contains salt or any chemical ingredients.

7 Must Have Herbs for Yogis

Being a Yogi is a commitment to the Self and to living a life that is lived with the essence of health and wellness. Food and lifestyle play a major role in reaching the complete effects of a regular yoga practice, wherein one ceases to be as effective with the absence of another. Experts proclaim that a healthy body and mind is 75% Diet and 25% Exercise. Even though the percentage varies according to the body type and its constitution, nonetheless, the involvement of a healthy Ayurvedic Diet in the span of a Yogi’s life should ideally not be neglected. Since time can recall, the healing system of Ayurveda Science has been employing the use of designated herbs in treating various disorders and for promoting an overall healthy body and soul. These Herbs are countless in number with their specific uses and benefits. While certain Vedic herbs are just so incredibly remedial that they reserve a permanent space in the kitchens of various yogis and even regular people.

As a Yogi, if you are looking for the essential herbs to include in your kitchen and your diet, here are 7 Must-have herbs to check on your list:

Ginger Root:

 

A powerful Ayurvedic herb with anti-inflammatory properties, ginger root is highly useful in treating symptoms of dyspepsia, bloating, flatulence, travel sickness, nausea, and arthritis. It is also effective in reducing LDL cholesterol (bad) and poor blood pressure. This herb is also used to treat menstrual cramps in women for ages. Consume it in a raw form or add it to a curry for gaining its benefits.

Chamomile:

 

Chamomile is a magical herb blessed with anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, analgesic properties and is beneficial for a variety of purposes for the skin, hair, age, and hormones. A cup of chamomile tea at night works like a charm to induce sleep and is a proven Vedic remedy for those suffering from insomnia. It also protects the skin from irritation, tan, pimples, and acne. Additional, Chamomile is also highly useful in treating digestive disorders, reversing the skin aging, inducing detoxification and relaxation.

Rosemary:

 

This green herb is a Mediterranean native and is an excellent source of iron, vitamins, and calcium. Used in multiple varieties of continental culinary preparations, this herb is not just used for its beauty, aroma, and fragrance, but also for improving digestion, enhancing focus, improving cerebral functions, providing anti-oxidants to the body, and more.

Coriander:

 

The aromatic leaves of cilantro and coriander are a regular garnish for a variety of Indian and various other culinary delights. Useful in lowering LDL cholesterol, promoting healthy bowel movements, lowering blood sugar levels, coriander also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties making it ideal for treating mouth boils and pimples. Other than the numerous properties of coriander, it also contains iron and is helpful in treating anemia. It is also used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

Holy Basil (Tulsi):

 

Holy Basil is a sacred herb in the Indian context. However, its presence is not limited to a prayer offering. The Holy Basil, a.k.a Tulsi is highly useful in treating symptoms of fever, asthma, respiratory issues, cardiac issues, and stress. Additionally, consume it orally in a chewable form to have fresh breath in the morning.

Thyme:

 

Thyme is another sacred herb that was used for protection against ‘Black Death’ in ancient times. In the Ayurvedic context, this herb is one of the most perfunctory herbs ever discovered with a range of antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, and insecticidal properties. Use the thyme leaves as a garnish in a raw state to find relief from a variety of skin problems, flu-like symptoms, digestive disorders, and respiratory disorders. It is also prescribed as a diuretic to those who have an issue with retaining water in their body.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla):

 

Of the countless benefits of this herb rich in Vitamin C, Amla contains anti-inflammatory properties as well. In addition to aiding in regulating digestion due to the presence of fiber in this herb, it is also helpful in treating mouth ulcers, whooping cough, and cold. When used on the scalp on a regular basis, the herb works as an ideal anti-dandruff medicine. It is also used as a powerful ingredient for weight loss.

Include these herbs in your yogic diet preparations regularly for extracting the most rewarding benefits for your body and mind.

herbs of jupitor

10 Healing Herbs for Anxiety, Inflammation, and More

Ancient cultures have relied on the healing power of herbs for the entire duration of their existence. Even though we live in the modern world and have access to a wide range of medication, herbs have maintained the same potent properties and they can help us deal with various health problems. In this article, we will present a number of popular herbs, which can be used to forget about anxiety and depression, to bring down inflammation and even to keep infections at a safe distance. Keep on reading and discover more interesting information on the subject.

#1 Ashwagandha

If you are suffering from chronic stress, you might want to consider taking this herb. Available in the form of supplements, it can help one cope with daily stress. You can use it to defeat the signs of depression and anxiety, to strengthen your immune system and even to stimulate your libido. This herb is more than recommended to those who suffer from diabetes, as it can keep the blood sugar levels in check.

#2 Neem

Neem is one of the most popular herbs in the world, especially when it comes to the healing of the hair. It is a well-known fact that neem oil can restore the hair’s natural luster, helping you forget all about dandruff and other similar scalp problems. Neem has great antibacterial properties, representing the perfect weapon against acne. You can also use neem to exfoliate the skin, eliminating the dead cells accumulated on the surface; topical applications are recommended for fungal infections as well.

#3 Amalaki

When it comes to herbs that can help with women’s health, this particular one is a top choice. Not only does it assist with flushing out harmful toxins but it is also rich in beneficial nutrients and vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B12). It can improve the overall blood circulation, balance hormone levels and reduce the intensity of PMS symptoms. It can protect against mood swings, stimulate the libido and work wonders against common complaints, such as stress and anxiety. Given its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it should come as no surprise that it can be used for various skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, etc.).

#4 Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the best-known herbs in the universe, being appreciated for its multitude of beneficial properties. You can use it to improve gastrointestinal health and escape from discomforting symptoms, such as bloating and flatulence. If you suffer from indigestion, peppermint remains one of the best natural remedies to get back you to normal. This amazing herb can take nausea away, alleviate headaches and improve the health of your hair. The application of peppermint oil on the hair restores its luster, thickening the strands and eliminating dandruff.

#5 Dong Quai

Also known as the female ginseng, this herb has a lot of benefits to offer whereas our health is concerned. It can balance hormones, stimulate the libido in both men and women, not to mention it can make one more fertile. The herb is an excellent choice for women dealing with menstrual cramps, symptoms of menopause, it improves cardiovascular health and it prevents blood clots from forming. It is one of the best choices for those who are looking to boost their energy levels, not to mention it protects against hypertension and stimulates mental health.

#6 Dandelion

The reason why dandelion is so popular has to do with its rich content in vitamins and minerals. The herb has detoxifying properties, stimulating the healthy functioning of the liver. At the same time, it contributes to the healthy release of bile, ensuring a proper digestive process. Dandelion represents a good option for those who are suffering from diabetes, as it can keep the blood sugar within normal levels. It is recommended for bone health, is rich in vitamin K, calcium and other beneficial minerals. Last, but not least, it supports kidney health, acting as a diuretic.

#7 Brahmi

Brahmi is considered to be one of the best herbs for the brain, is recommended to those who are looking to improve their memory and overall cognitive performance. It stimulates all of the brain functions, repairing the nervous system wherever it is possible. You can take it to support your mental health, as it relieves stress, anxiety and other depression. Brahmi is a great natural remedy against the manifestations of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

#8 Siberian ginseng

Natural remedies, and especially herbs, can help us escape the number one enemy in our lives: stress. The Siberian ginseng is not only an excellent remedy against chronic stress but it works to boost energy levels and give you more mental clarity. You can take it to improve the overall blood circulation and stimulate the healthy functioning of the immune system. It is well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, as well as for the ability to increase cardiovascular performance and fight chronic fatigue.

#9 Sage

The healing properties of sage have been appreciated for centuries, with this herb being used for a number of health problems. Today, it is known that sage can stimulate the healthy functioning of the brain, boosting cognitive functions and memory. It is especially useful in those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other forms of dementia.

#10 Holy basil

A different herb from the common basil, this particular herb is one of the best weapons against infections of different sorts. First and foremost, it works to boost the healthy functioning of the immune system, thus acting as a preventative measure against infections. Second, if an infection has occurred, this herb will work to inhibit the growth of infectious microorganisms, whether these are fungal or bacterial. Holy basil can also keep the blood sugar levels in check, to improve anxiety and its manifestations.

In conclusion, these are some of the best healing herbs you can consider for maintaining an excellent state of health. As you have seen, each of these herbs has different benefits to offer and it is great to give all of them a try. There are plenty of herbs for you to try out, including Boswellia, cat’s claw, thunder god vine, and willow bark – all of these are great for arthritis joint pain. Give them a try and see for yourself which one works the best.

pickled-garlic jpg

Rosemary Gladstar’s: Pickled Garlic Cloves

Add pickled garlic cloves to soups, sauces, and marinades to help keep winter illnesses at bay.

Ingredients:

• Peeled garlic cloves
• Apple cider vinegar, enough to cover
• Raw local honey, to taste

Instructions:

1. Fill Mason jar with cloves and cover with apple cider vinegar. Keep in a warm, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. (I like to put my jars in a paper bag and place in the sun.)

2. After a few weeks, strain liquid and set aside.

3. Pour half the liquid into a small saucepan over very low heat and stir in honey until fully incorporated.

4. Pour this back over the garlic and allow to sit for another 3 weeks in a cool dark place, such as your pantry.

5. Eat a clove of the pickled garlic whenever you wish, but for treating cold or flu, eat 3 to 5 cloves a day.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.

What The Heck Is Epsom Salt Used For?

Epsom salt, chemically known as heptahydrate epsomite, derives its name from the acidic salty spring at Epsom in Surrey, England. In effect, Epsom salt is not a salt, but a chaste mineral compound of sulfate and magnesium that occurs in nature. Since long, Epsom salt has been recognized as a natural medication of several maladies, as it possesses many health benefits in addition to several uses related to beauty, domestic and gardening.

Findings of many types of research have demonstrated that sulfate and magnesium are both easily soaked up through the skin, which makes Epsom salt baths a simple and perfect way to take pleasure in the incredible health benefits offered by this mineral compound. It may be noted that magnesium has many functions in the body, such as lessening inflammation, controlling the actions of more than 325 enzymes, assisting the muscles and nerves to function appropriately and also facilitating the prevention of the arteries from hardening. On the other hand, sulfates aid in enhancing the absorption of nutrients by the body, flushing out toxic substances from the body as well as alleviate migraine headaches.

You may purchase Epsom salts without any difficulty from any supermarket or drug store. These salts are cheap and resourceful and may be used for several dissimilar purposes at your home. Most of the uses of Epsom salts are related to speeding up healing, in addition to enhancing the skin quality and aiding in fundamental grooming.

Possibly, the most popular use of Epsom salts is their use in baths. Taking a bath in a tub of hot water containing two cups of Epsom salts is an idyllic way to ease tension at the end of a demanding day. In effect, taking such a bath will help to calm down the rattled nerves as well as bring back a feeling of happiness and health. This particular use of Epsom salts makes it an essential item in bathrooms across the world.

Epsom salts are also extensively used for the cleansing purpose. In effect, several people utilize compounds contained in Epsom salts to scrub their skin. For this, they apply a paste prepared with Epsom salts and water to the skin and subsequently wash it away with clean and warm water. Epsom salts may be used as the basic ingredient in homemade skin masks that facilitate in curing oily skin. If you wish to make such skin masks at home, use an egg, a little amount of lemon juice and some amount of non-fat dehydrated milk along with Epsom salt, which is the base ingredient.

The mineral compounds enclosed by Epsom salts are also known to be very helpful in healing minor bruises and sprains. A simple bath with Epsom salts of the area which has been sprained or bruised helps to provide relief from the symptoms of these conditions. Precisely speaking, the bath with Epsom salts facilitates in diminishing the tenderness as well as lessens the swelling of the bruised or sprained body part. In addition, soaking the affected area, particularly if the limbs have been bruised or sprained, in warm water mixed with Epsom salts for around 20 to 30 minutes helps to ease the physical problems caused by these conditions and, at the same time, may prove to be stimulating for the mind.

People have been familiar with the marvels of Epsom salts since several centuries ago and dissimilar to other salts, Epsom salt possesses several useful/ valuable attributes which have the aptitude to unwind the body, mind, and soul. The innumerable health benefits offered by Epsom salts include loosening up the nervous system, alleviates muscle tension, easing back pain and sore limbs, curing cuts, taking care of cold and congestion as well as flushing out toxic substances from the body. An easy method to alleviate stress and problems associated with stress is to absorb a tub full of hot water mixed with a number of cupfuls of Epsom salt.

Epsom salts comprise several miraculous health benefits. A number of these benefits are discussed below.

When one suffers from tension or stress, it drains the body of magnesium, while augmenting the adrenalin levels. Thus, when Epsom salt dissolved in warm water is soaked up through the skin, it helps to reload the body’s magnesium level. In addition, magnesium facilitates the production of serotonin, a chemical naturally occurring in the brain that elevates one’s mood creating a sense of tranquility as well as respite.

Findings of a number of researchers have demonstrated that magnesium also helps to augment vigor and endurance by means of stimulating ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production – the energy packages produced within the cells. Experts are of the view that taking a bath with warm water mixed with Epsom salts a minimum of thrice every week aids you to have an improved appearance, have a superior sensation as well as attain more vigor. It may be mentioned that magnesium ions also possess the aptitude to make you relax and diminish tetchiness by decreasing the consequences of adrenaline. Magnesium ions also help to reduce blood pressure, make you feel more comfortable or stress-free, enhance sleep and focus as well as facilitate the proper functioning of the muscles and the nerves.

It is known that taking a bath with warm water containing any Epsom salt eases the pain as well as provides relief from inflammation. These attributes of Epsom salts make them valuable in treating tender muscles, migraine headaches, and bronchial asthma. Moreover, it is also known that the Epsom salts help in curing cuts and decreasing the pain from childbirth. It is advisable that you blend a dense paste of Epsom salt with hot water and apply it topically to obtain calming placate. You ought to try drenching your sore, exhausted as well as stinking feet in a tub of water mixed with a cup of Epsom salt. It is important to bear in mind that Epsom salt actually makes the skin softer and even helps to combat the foul smell of the feet.

Findings of several types of research have shown that Epson salt has the aptitude to control electrolytes within the body, making sure that the muscles, enzymes, and nerves function properly. It is also known that magnesium is vital for the appropriate utilization of calcium by the body. It may be noted that calcium works as the principal conductor of the electric inclinations within one’s body.

In addition, Epsom salts are also considered to augment the health of the heart and facilitate in preventing heart ailments and strokes by means of enhancing the circulation of blood, bringing down the blood pressures, averting blood clots, safeguarding the suppleness of the arteries as well as diminishing the unexpected deaths owing to heart attacks.

Appropriate levels of sulfates and magnesium help to enhance the effectual of insulin within the body, assisting in reducing the risk or graveness of diabetes.

Findings of several types of research have exposed that it is also possible to use Epsom salt to treat constipation. When taken internally, Epson salt works as a detoxifying agent for cleansing the colon. In effect, Epsom salt works as purgatives by enhancing the content of water in the intestines and has the aptitude to result in momentary relief from constipation. Nevertheless, it is precisely cautioned that Epsom salts ought not to be used to ease constipation unless you take the advice of a physician.

As mentioned earlier, Epsom salts contain sulfates which facilitate in flushing toxic substances and heavy metals from the cells resulting in relief from muscle pain as well as aiding the body to get rid of damaging materials. Human skin is an extremely permeable membrane and, hence, putting in the appropriate substances in our bath water activates a process known as reverse osmosis, which helps to draw out salt as well as toxic substances from the body. If you wish to take a detoxifying bath, you ought to soak yourself for 10 minutes once a week in water with two cups of Epsom salt in your bathtub.

Alternately, you may also take a foot bath to treat your fatigued feet by including half a cup of Epsom salt to warm water in a basin and soak your feet in it for about 20 minutes. If you prefer, you may also scrub away the calluses (any thickened area of the skin), in case you have any, with a pumice stone. After you have relaxed in this way for 20 minutes, dry your feet and thoroughly rub a mixture of two drops of peppermint essential oil and your preferred moisturizer, for instance, coconut or shea butter, with a view to confining the moisture. However, pregnant women or people suffering from particular health problems ought to consult their physician prior to using Epsom salts.

Epsom salts are highly effective in providing relief from various health conditions, especially of the feet. Here are a few things that you may do to use Epsom salt effectively to ease your problems. To treat symptoms of athlete’s foot, immerse your feet in a bath comprising Epsom salt. You may also drag out splinters by soaking the affected skin parts in an Epsom salt bath. In case you are suffering from toe problems, add some Epsom salt to hot water and soak your toes in it at least three times every day.

Epsom salts are also effective in providing relief from the symptoms of gout, for instance lessening the swelling and tenderness. In order to alleviate the problems of gout, you should make a mixture of two to three teaspoons of Epsom salt and water in a basin and soak your affected joint/ foot in it for about 30 minutes. It is important that the water is hot enough so that you feel comfortable. Alternately, you may also add some Epsom salt in your shower or bath along with a tablespoon of olive oil or bath oil and scrub it all over your drenched skin to remove scales and keep the skin soft. Later, you need to rinse yourself meticulously.

If you desire to cleanse your face as well as exfoliate simultaneously, add a half teaspoon of Epsom salt to your usual cleansing cream and softly massage it into the skin. After the massage is over wash your face with cold water. Blackheads too may be eliminated effectively using Epsom salts. Make a mixture of Epsom salt, three drops of iodine and half cup of steaming water and apply it to the blackheads using a cotton ball.

Epsom salts are also effective for hair care. Prepare a blend of one cup of Epsom salt, one cup of lemon juice and one gallon of water and cover the container allowing the mixture to settle for 24 hours. On the following day, apply the mixture to your dry hair and keep it for about 20 minutes. Subsequently, shampoo your hair as usual.

Other uses of Epsom salt

In addition to the above-mentioned health benefits offered by Epsom salt, this mineral compound comprising sulfates and magnesium may also be used for several other purposes. Some of them are discussed in brief below.

    • Preventing slugs
    • In order to avoid slugs, you may intersperse Epsom salts on or close to the internal entry points.
    • Cleaning bathroom tiles
    • Scrub your bathroom tiles with a mixture of equal proportions of any liquid dish detergent and Epsom salt.
    • Epsom salt as a hand wash
    • Prepare a mixture of baby oil and Epsom salt and keep it close to your sink for use as an excellent hand wash.
    • Fertilizing Houseplants
    • We are all aware that almost all plants require nourishment’s, such as sulfur and magnesium, to remain healthy. In order to keep your houseplants, vegetables, and flowers healthy, add a handful of Epsom salt once every week.
    • Epsom salt as an insecticide
    • Epsom salts are also effective as natural insecticides and you may use them safely in your garden or on your lawn to eliminate plant pests.
    • Keeping the lawn green

When you add crystals of magnesium sulfate to the soil it helps to supply essential nutrients to it that facilitate in avoiding yellowing or decaying leaves as well as the loss of green hue in the plants. It may be noted that magnesium forms a vital element of the chlorophyll molecules which impart the green color to plants. In order to keep your garden/ lawn green, you need to mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt to one gallon of water and shower it on the lawn. This will help in maintaining the health as well as greenery of your lawn.

What Is Tara Gum?

A Natural Thickener and Texturizing Cosmetic Additive.

WHAT IS TARA GUM?

Tara Gum – sometimes referred to as Peruvian Carob and Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum – is a fiber obtained from the seeds of the Caesalpinia Spinosa botanical, a legume tree that is indigenous to Peru and that is better known as the Tara shrub.

Tara Gum is a galactomannan, that is a nonionic polysaccharide made up of galactose and mannose. It shares the same molecular configuration as Guar Gum, thus both of them belong to the same family and share similar solubility in cold water.

TARA GUM PROPERTIES & SOLUBILITY

Tara Gum combines readily with hot water and hydrates partially in cold water. It is an ideal ingredient for addition to cosmetics formulations intended to have a consistency ranging from medium to thick. Tara Gum helps to regulate the final product’s viscosity, stability, and softness, to enhance its texture, and to control its suspension as well as its spreadability and consistency on the skin.

TARA GUM APPLICATIONS

Tara Gum must first be combined with Glycerin/Vegetable Glycerin in order to achieve a paste-like consistency with a viscosity like that of molasses. Once the gum is no longer in its powder form and has attained this consistency, small amounts of cold or room temperature water can be stirred into it.

Before adding it to a cosmetic formula as a natural thickener, allow the blend to sit for up to 15 minutes to encourage the powder gum to further dissolve. Next, stir in warm water until the blend is a smooth gel. For better dissolution, allow the blend to sit for 30 minutes before using.

 

PRODUCT TYPE & FUNCTION
When added to these kinds of formulations…

Shampoos,

Lotions, Creams,

Cream-Gels,

Skin Gels, and Bath Gels

EFFECTS
Tara Gum functions as a:

  • Thickener
  • Stabilizer
  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Conditioner
  • Softener

 

It helps to:

  • Increase formula viscosity
  • Lift and remove dirt to gently cleanse
  • Hydrate the skin/scalp to protect against dryness, irritation, cracking and peeling
  • Soften and soothe the skin and hair
  • Prevent frizz
  • Reduce tangling
  • Enhance elasticity, water retention, and shelf life of gel products

The recommended maximum dosage is 0.5% to 2%

TARA GUM SIDE EFFECTS

Tara Gum Raw Material is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this gum for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as those with sensitive skin, are especially advised not to use Tara Gum Raw Material without the medical advice of a physician. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Tara Gum Raw Material, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by dissolving 1 tsp Tara Gum Raw Material in 1 ml of warm water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Tara Gum must never be used near the inner nose, ears, or any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Tara Gum include rashes, hives, flatulence, bloating, stomach aches, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, coughing, runny nose, and watery eyes. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

Welcoming Winter

Winter is a time of turning inward and reflection.  Sitting on the cusp of the New Year, it is a time to set your intentions, to plant seeds, to hibernate and sleep more, to dream.
Winter in the mountains is also play time.  I get to feel my inner otter and glide on snow, slide down hillsides, and frolic in the snow.  I love how bright and sparkling it can be.  I especially appreciate the quiet hush that a new blanket of snow brings to the landscape.
By the way, the little critter on the top of this post is an Ermine.  We had an awesome encounter with those black sparkling eyes and the black tip of a tail while hiking one day.  Such wild beauty.

In all honesty, winter for me is my crazy time.  Being both a manufacturer and a retailer, it gets wild.  I get moments of calmness, and I strive to create moments of deep nourishment.  Yoga, a cross-country ski, a walk in the woods, star gazing on a crystal clear night, cooking dinner with my girl, these are the things that sustain me. Tea also sustains me on those dark winter nights.  Tea is a great way to not only warm you, but it also offers deep nourishment for your organs and your skin.  It’s like brewing a cup of magic.

You are what you eat.  You may also know that the skin is the largest organ of the body, and what you put on your skin goes into your body. Drinking many of these ingredients that we use as herbal teas offer deep nourishment for your organs and your skin as well as basic hydration.  Here are a few of my skin care favorites that are also delicious as tea:

Green Tea

Now the “it” ingredient in the skincare world, green tea both externally and internally offers EGCG a powerful anti-inflammatory.  Also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, green tea help to protect the skin from sun exposure and clogged pores.  Try it ground topically as an infused oil, ground as a mild exfoliator, or as a tea in a toner.  Green tea has caffeine.  If you are sensitive, avoid this ingredient for your tea.

Ginger

One of my favorite plants, ginger root is excellent freshly grated and added to hot water with lemon for a grounding, spicy tea.  Ginger stimulates circulation and is warming.  This aids in detoxification of the skin and the elimination organs of the body.  As part of a tea blend, Ginger is not only delicious but acts as a spicy fixative for your tea blend.

Dandelion

High in minerals, dandelion is incredibly supportive to the liver and kidneys, so therefore supportive to clear skin.  Dandelion root in your tea is both delicious and nutritious.  Add it roasted for a darker, coffee flavored addition to your tea blend.  Or skip the coffee altogether and drink dandelion root tea.

Nettle

Specific to dark, boggy places, nettles thrive in places that other plants don’t.  High in trace minerals, this earthy, verdant herb adds a touch of greenness to your blend and so much nutrition.  This plant is a powerful blood purifier and will aid in detoxification of your organs and pores.  Nettles infused overnight and consumed the next day will yield the most potent plant medicine.

Oat Straw

“Feeling your oats” is an expression that comes from this plant’s ability to strengthen and nourish your being.  High in calcium and silica, oats are a great choice for your tea to help strengthen thinning skin and hair.

Rosehips

One of my favorite plants, the hip of the rose is the poster child of feminine beauty and curvaceousness.  Also high in vitamin C and flavonoids, this addition to your tea is not only delicious but strengthening.

Chamomile

I feel relaxed just writing about chamomile.  As a tea, chamomile can be incredibly calming.  For the skin, it can also calm inflammation and skin issues like rashes and eczema.  Use chamomile in a tea blend or make a compress out of a wet tea bag and apply to the skin topically.

Spearmint

This exuberant plant can be a powerful ally for acne and clogged pores.  Steep spearmint in a blend or use full strength.  I also like to brew a cup too and use it as facial steam, leaning over my cup and deep breathing and letting my pores open to its magical goodness.

Elderberry

One of the biggest anti-viral remedies available, I toss in dried elderberries to most teas that I make at this time of year.  Also high in vitamin C, elderberries impart a delicious fruitiness to your tea and add great color.  Elderberries are balancing to the skin and help to strengthen and even skin tone.

Orange Peel

I think of the energetics of orange as a great big hug.  If you think about the skin of an orange, the rough outer protects a voluptuous and juicy inner.  Choose orange peel not only for added flavor but the ability to protect over exposed skin and allowing the juicy you to unfold.