MARKET REPORT MARCH 2019

The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

Rose Geranium Organic Oil

In South Africa, Rose Geranium is generally available throughout the year. Although the current growing conditions are favorable, this year’s harvest yield is projected to be lower and limited. Given the high demand for Rose Geranium and the very limited amount of oil available, the pricing has doubled this year…

Geranium Oil

In China, Geranium is harvested between July and September every year. This year’s estimated output is approximately 40 tons. Warm and humid, the current growing conditions are unfavorable for the development of this botanical. The international market demand for Geranium is increasing every year.

In Egypt, Organic Geranium is harvested in the months of June and July. The current crop is normal and the growing conditions are favorable. Last year’s production yielded 180-200 tons of oil with a carryover of 30-40 tons of oil. This year, the plantations are slightly less; however, if the weather conditions are favorable and the cultivation is not affected by diseases, the season could produce a harvest with an estimated yield of 220 tons of oil. There is high demand and an active market for Organic Geranium.

Basil Oil

In India, Basil is harvested from August to September. At present, Basil is not being cultivated; however, last year’s climate was favorable and the crop was decent with a yield similar to that of 2017. The demand is as usual, without highs or lows, and the market is stable.

Organic Basil is sown in July and harvested from October to November. This year’s growing conditions are favorable. It is too soon to predict the harvest yield; however, the production is generally expected to be the same as last year, as the prices for this crop seemed to be stable all year long. The demand for Organic Basil is neutral. The market conditions for this crop seem to be favorable because of good demand for Natural Linalool, an isolate that is extracted from Basil.

Tamanu Oil – Virgin

In Madagascar, Tamanu is harvested from September to November; however, this may vary due to climate change. The current growing Conditions have been favorable until recently, except for the challenging cyclonic period. Compared to last year, when there was a lack of raw materials, this year’s harvest yield is better, making it possible to double the production. The demand is stable. Although the production of this oil is prevalent, the competition is not hard.

In Vietnam, Tamanu is harvested from February to May. The current growing conditions are favorable. Due to the stable weather, this year’s harvest yield is projected to be the same as that of last year. Compared to last year, there has not been much change in demand. This year’s lower supply capacity means that this year’s prices will be higher.

Orange Oil – Bitter

In Sicily, bitter oranges are harvested from December to April. This hardy tree is the most resistant, thus growing conditions are virtually always favorable for it. The harvest yield and the demand for this crop have been quite steady for many years now. The Essential oil is a minute factor in market demands, as the main market is for purees for marmalade as well as for the peel, which is used in candied fruit.

Litsea Cubeba & Litsea Cubeba Organic Oils

In China, Litsea Cubeba is harvested from the end of July to September. At present, it is too early to predict this year’s harvest yield. The demand is stable but the market conditions are unclear.

Eucalyptus Globulus 80/85% & Eucalyptus Globulus Organic Oils

In China, Eucalyptus is harvested from December to February of the following year. This year’s harvest yield is estimated to produce approximately 15,000 tons. The international market demand for this crop is increasing every year.

Coconut Virgin Organic & Coconut Refined Organic Oils

In the Philippines, coconuts are available all year and are harvested in 45-60-day intervals. Since September of 2018, several provinces in the Philippines have been experiencing the El Nino weather pattern, which is characterized by a decrease in the amount of rainfall, resulting in drought conditions. There is a possibility of the harvest yield being in short supply during the second half of 2019, and this is expected to cause an increase in prices.

Coconut RBD Oil

In Malaysia, Coconuts are grown in tropical areas and bear fruits throughout the year. While the production has been rather stable in the last few years, pest infestation as well as natural disasters, such as typhoons and tsunamis, could potentially destroy the crop. As there have not been any major disasters in the last two years or so far this year, the 2019 yield is expected to be similar to or slightly higher than the yield of 2018. The lack of a perfect substitute for Coconut Oil means that there is always a demand for Coconut Oil, from oleochemical, food, and non-food industries. The current prices are more attractive compared to previous years’ prices.

Vitamin C

In the northern hemisphere, Soy is harvested from September to October. In the southern hemisphere, Soy is harvested from March April. Since the previous year, there have not been any major differences in the growing conditions or the harvest yield. The demand has increased and the prices are rising.

Citronella Java Oil

In Indonesia, the initial harvest of Citronella typically occurs 6 months after it is planted. Once it matures, this continuously-planted grass can be harvested every 3 months. Most of Indonesia is suitable for cultivating Citronella, given the existing weather patterns of rain and semi-wetness, which is required for optimal growing conditions. Compared to previous years, the number of Citronella plantations has increased in Indonesia, and this is largely due to the increasing prices, which have encouraged more farmers to gravitate toward cultivating this crop and planting in scale. The yield per acreage is stable at 0.5-0.75% of dry herbage that results in Essential Oil. Indonesia has a large and constant local demand for Citronella Oil, plus it is a net exporter. Global demand for Citronella is also growing. At present, market prices are rising steadily; however, Indonesia is currently less expensive than China, and it is predicted to remain as such for the foreseeable future, due to the declining crop in China.

Sesame Organic RBDW & Sesame Extra Virgin Organic Oils

In Mexico, Sesame is generally harvested between November and December, although occasionally it is harvested in January; the harvest period depends on the timing of the rainy season, which impacts the planting time. The growing conditions in 2018 were better than the conditions of the previous two years. 2018 also saw a better harvest yield than the previous year.

In India, the sesame seed and Sesame Oil market conditions are expected to be relatively complicated during the first half of the year. The prices have remained the same since October and the harvest during June and July are expected to be better.

“Fair Trade” Certified Products

WHAT DOES “FAIR TRADE” MEAN?

The Fair Trade movement is a social response to the conventional trading system by which many farmers and workers have been deprived or disparaged. Compared to traditional charitable donations and aid, buying Fair Trade products is a more effective way of facilitating supportable development, as it allows better trading conditions and sustainable farming for workers and farmers in developing countries. By contrast, traditional trade practices are reputed to treat the most underprivileged producers unjustly and discriminately; hence, Fair Trade seeks to empower these producers to enhance and advance their stations by helping to bring them out of poverty through increased wages, as well as by further developing their skills, reforming their societies, and protecting local resources to save the environment for posterity.

A Fair Trade product, which includes agricultural products and crafts, is made in an environment wherein the producers are guaranteed better – fairer – prices, improved working conditions, and fair terms of trade so that the working and living environment of their communities will be supported in their development and protection. The standard for Fair Trade products is that they must not be produced through forced labor, child labor, or in conditions that are disadvantageous to workers, as they must feel empowered to develop businesses that are competitive and prosperous. A Fair Trade label signifies that consumers are purchasing goods that are socially and environmentally responsible.

The ISEAL Code of Good Practice on Standard Setting is the guide against which Fair Trade standards are established, and the Fairtrade International Standards Committee decides the decrees regarding the standards. Additionally, buyers and suppliers must both act in accordance with the basic values and ethics outlined by organizations, such as Fair Trade USA and the Fair Trade Federation, that are involved in Fair Trade.

By trading directly with producers, Fair Trade importers do not have to deal with middlemen, which allows farmers to receive a greater cut of the income earned from the amount that the products will ultimately make when they are being sold in stores. To further entrench fair practices among the collectives that the Fair Trade importers collaborate with, these small-scale farms that are known for not having any hired help at all or for having only minimal hired help, must be operated democratically; this means that each farmer is given the chance to vote – on the prospects of their crops or other decisions that must be made collectively – and that all proceeds are equally allotted to each member.

Regardless of market price fluctuations and decreases, no matter how steep the decline, Fair Trade ensures that farmers receive a sensible minimum amount for their harvests. This means that particular crops must not be sold below specified prices. Purchasers commit to paying producers punctually for their products and may even offer them advance payment before the time of harvest, in order to guarantee those producers will have all the resources required to deliver their goods at the appointed time. In turn, producers commit to compensating their workers with fair pay.

To supplement the regular prices that they receive for their products, farmers also earn a Fair Trade Premium that allows them to develop and thus ultimately invest in their communities. The way it works is that goods earn an additional several pence per pound (and more if the products are organically-grown). This extra income may then be put toward such things as the farming business itself with a focus on using it to obtain organic certification or to irrigate the fields, both of which lead to the potential to earn more for their upcoming goods. Alternatively, the money may be invested in school-building and well-digging projects or to contribute to scholarships, to advance healthcare, to develop plans for better nutrition, to replace traditional energy sources with energy-saving systems, or to replant trees in order to optimize soil health. Producers may opt to put the money toward ecological strategies that address the factors contributing to climate change, and this ultimately works to the global advantage. The Free Trade Premium also helps growers and producers when their crop yields are low and in situations where the climate becomes inconducive to their existing farming methods and thus necessitates the cultivation of different crops.

Fair Trade not only mandates that farmers implement and maintain safe and secure working conditions that will not jeopardize the workers’ health and well-being, but it also prohibits any forced labor or child labor, both of which are common practices in several regions around the world. Furthermore, the regulations of Fair Trade prohibit any kind of harassment, exploitation, and discrimination, such as intolerances to workers’ political views or their affiliation with a trade union.

Fair Trade helps develop and strengthen the long-term relationships between producers, purchasers, and patrons by encouraging them to engage in the transparent and respectful exchange of insightful information regarding farming practices, general technical assistance, and market trends. This allows traders and distributors to join forces with farmers to resolve any issues.

Despite Fair Trade products not always being organic, the farming practices that growers are obligated to employ are still sustainable and ensure the protection of the land, the water, and plant life. This means that there is a controlled and limited list of fertilizers and pesticides that are permitted to be used, genetically modified organisms are entirely prohibited, energy is used in the most economical and ecologically-friendly ways, and waste management applies the philosophy of reusing and recycling in order to reduce waste as often as possible.

In keeping with the principle of respect, Fair Trade suppliers avoid coercing growers to implement the newest, most modern technology and procedures in place of their traditional methods for growing and producing. Instead, they grant them the right to continue their time-honored systems, thus acknowledging the unique customs of their individual cultures. While the growers are still educated about more current and contemporary practices, maintaining the techniques and customs of their ancestral backgrounds allows them to boost their productivity, which helps keep pace with buyer demands.

THE HISTORY OF FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS

The late 1940s: The Fair Trade movement began; it is believed that, at this time, North American and European churches began the initiative of helping support disadvantaged communities and refugees by importing their artisanal creations, such as embroidery.

The 1950s: In Europe, Oxfam shops began selling the handcrafted artistry of refugees from China.

1958: America’s first Fair Trade shop was set up.

1964: Oxfam formed the first ever official Fair Trade Organization. In the Netherlands, a similar action was being taken.

1967: Fair Trade Original, another importing organization, was established in the Netherlands.

1969: Europe’s first Fair Trade shop was set up.

1960-70s: The founding principle of Fair Trade was formed; non-governmental organizations and people from places like Latin America, Africa, and Asia partnered up to address the necessity of having marketing associations that would do more than just promote and sell products – they sought to develop organizations that also informed, guided, advocated for, and generally supported underprivileged producers in impoverished communities – and they did. With their mission set to achieving fairness in global trade, they established several Southern Fair Trade organizations based on their unified vision of an alliance that implemented the values of equity, cooperation, open discussion, negotiation, honesty, respect, and transparent practices.

WHAT ARE FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS?

The following products can have Fair Trade standards applied to them and can be certified Fair Trade:

 

PRODUCT TYPE  
Non-Food
  • Cut Flowers
  • Ornamental Plants
  • Cotton
  • Sports Balls
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Silver
  • Beauty Products
  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
Food
  • Fresh Fruit (namely Bananas)
  • Fresh Vegetables
  • Dried Fruit
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Juices
  • Nuts/Oil Seeds
  • Oil
  • Honey
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa

 


 

MYTHS ABOUT FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS

 

MYTH: Fair Trade products are always organic.

REALITY: Although the standards for the Fair Trade movement do ordain that farming processes be sustainable, Fair Trade products are not automatically “organic;” however, the Fair Trade Premiums paid to farmers may support them in implementing organic methods through training processes that can help them change and potentially align their practices with techniques required for organic production.

 

MYTH: The goal of Fair Trade is to compensate developing countries with wages that are paid in developed countries.

REALITY: The wages that Fair Trade growers and producers earn are not founded on the pay standards set out by a developed country, rather they are paid on the basis of accurate production costs. Production factors that influence the amount of compensation received include the following: the time commitment, the competence and exertion required, the local costs of living, minimum wages in the area of production, as well as the value of money and the community’s spending ability in the area of production.

 

MYTH: Fair Trade is essentially charity.

REALITY: While the Fair Trade revolution does help support constructive and lasting change for underprivileged workers by empowering them to be self-sustaining, their success is achieved through their own independent efforts in running their farms, groups, and businesses, rather than on donations. The main objective of Fair Trade organizations is trade. This means that they earn their wages fairly for their accomplished work and do not depend on receiving aid. The Premium sum that they receive goes into a collective fund for the community to share for their environmental, social, and economic benefits; it is not used by individuals for personal gain.

 

MYTH: Fair Trade products are more expensive.

REALITY: Compared to the prices of regular products, most Fair Trade prices are not expensive for the same or similar products. Due to the elimination of middlemen, Fair Trade organizations are able to do business directly with producers, which allows them to offer customers the most affordable prices and which makes it easy for producers to receive larger portions of the prices.

 

MYTH: Fair Trade products are always completely free of GMOs.

REALITY: Fair Trade outlines specific farming guidelines must be followed, but environmental pollutants and banned substances like GM seeds might not be entirely possible to avoid at all times, as there is always the possibility of neighboring fields inadvertently causing the contamination of smaller farms. For this reason, Fair Trade products are not labeled with the claim of being 100% GMO-free.

FAIR TRADE CERTIFICATION PROCESS

A company that wants to become Fair Trade certified must begin by submitting an application to an agency that is authorized by Fairtrade International to enforce Fair Trade standards and to be a certifying body. Next, an on-site audit of the company is conducted based on a checklist that is specific to the business.

This inspection serves to confirm the company’s adherence to Fair Trade standards and involves reviewing documentation, such as financial documents, as well as consulting with employees, executives, committees, and union members. This process helps to ascertain that the logistics network – from the producer all the way to the packaging of the final product – is supervised and inspected.

For the next step in the evaluation process, the assessor sends a report of the audit to a certification analyst, who then evaluates the outcome. In this phase, if the company’s practices are not already aligned with Fair Trade standards, it will receive a chance to make the changes necessary for conforming to regulations. If all required changes have been made and if the company is qualified to become certified, a certificate is issued. Each year, organizations that are certified must pay the certifying body an annual fee to maintain the certified status.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ACCREDITATION AND CERTIFICATION FOR FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS

A Fair Trade label indicates that the labeled product has met international Fair Trade standards and that the farmers and workers associated with its production received fair treatment and wages. The label is not meant to ratify the professional practices of the company that is selling the product. NDA is new to Fair Trade products and is in the process of adding several more to its current range.

There is a misconception that it is easy for any company to apply a Fair Trade logo to its products and claim to be certified or even ethical. The reality is that, in order for goods to be labeled and marketed as Fair Trade, a company must first earn certification, which confirms that the products have been handled and produced according to the regulations and precise standards set out by Fair Trade International. Only after these requirements have been met can a company place a Fair Trade logo on its products. If a company claims that their products are certified but lacks the official certification to prove it, or if it infringes the Fair Trade regulations, the penalty would involve undergoing a thorough inspection and potential prosecution.

Market Report, September 2018

The following report contains updates on the current trends in the production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

almond tree

Almond Sweet Organic Oil

In Morocco, sweet almonds are harvested in September. The growing conditions have been normal and the harvest yield has been the same as in the previous year. The demand for the organic product is firm and prices remain stable; however, prices may increase due to an increase in conventional almonds from California.

anise-star

Anise Star Oil

In China, Anise Star is harvested between March and May and again between November and December. At present, the raw material stock is meager and oil is limited; new Anise Star Oil is not expected to be available until November. The market price for Anise Star Essential Oil has been rising since late June; however, there is still a chance for prices to stabilize. Now is the ideal time to place orders.

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Fir Balsam Oil

In Canada, Fir Balsam raw material is distilled between the months of May and October. The insufficient sunlight as well as this year’s summer drought has caused a reduction in the yield and ultimately the amount of raw material. This year’s harvest yield was 0.078% compared to the 2017 yield of 0.087%; there is less oil from the yield depending on batches, and the drop ranges from 8-12%. Christmas tree growers represent 25-35% of sourced Fir Needle raw material with the forest industry representing the rest. There is a high likelihood that less raw material will be obtainable as a result of the USA dropping out of the NAFTA trade.

The production has been able to keep up with this year’s higher demand; however, once the production culminates, there will not be any carryover. Compared to last year, there is a 30% difference in pricing at this moment. The main and perhaps only influences preventing the price of Canadian Fir Need Oil from rising are the prices for European and Chinese Fir oils; despite the differences in species, the Siberian Fir and Chinese Fir price points are holding the Canadian Fir back from burgeoning; hence, now is the ideal time to buy, as the pricing is expected to rise later.

lemongrass2

Lemongrass Oil

In India, Lemongrass is harvested between July and November. The market for Lemongrass Oil has not been reassuring, and currently, the only material available is that of inferior quality with low Citral content.

Market Report August 2018 {Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, Raw Materials}

The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils, Carrier Oils, and Raw Materials sourced from around the globe.

patchouli (1)

Patchouli Oil

In Indonesia, the Patchouli supply has decreased, and the next yield is expected to be lower. It is currently an ideal time to make an investment in Patchouli stocks. Big buyers have recently entered the market and a large number of processors are purchasing new plant material at the newer price points. Given the current prices in the Indonesian market, the production of Patchouli in India is not likely to be reestablished; despite some cultivation in limited areas, most Patchouli is being used for the propagation of plants rather than for the production of oil. Despite the availability of organic production, albeit a limited one, Indian Patchouli Oil differs from the Indonesian oil; hence, natural product formulators looking to replace the Indonesian oil with the Indian oil may find that the latter does not match their preference.

frankincense-oil-relieves-congestion-hs-fb

Frankincense Oil

In India, the Frankincense gum harvest season came to a close as the Monsoon season began at the end of June. Because gum collection takes place in several regions, the crop yield varies and is dependent on numerous growth conditions; however, the average yield for Frankincense Essential Oil ranges between 4 and 9%. The anti-inflammatory properties of Frankincense derivatives have increased the value and popularity of their use in medicinal applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Frankincense prices remain high with a nominal competition. With increasing demand for this oil, the prices are also expected to keep gradually increasing. Frankincense supply remains stable and some large quantities may still be obtainable.

lavandula-angustifolia-mill

Lavender Oil (Bulgaria)

In Bulgaria, Lavender is harvested in the month of July. This year’s exceptionally low yield caused by excessive rains has resulted in an acute shortage of material available for distillation. Given this shortage, it is predicted that the demand will not be met. Current market prices in Bulgaria are 50% higher than last year.

tea-tree-oil-1

Tea Tree Oil

In Australia, Tea Tree leaves are harvested between May and November. This year’s steady rainfall has placed constraints on and has affected production to the point where there is no carryover stock. This current state of affairs is not expected to improve any time soon, thus oil prices are predicted to increase. The production season recommenced in June and has been expected to continue to August 2018.

In China, Tea Tree leaves are harvested between May and August. In August, the crop season also commences and carries on until October. Last year’s production was negatively impacted by continuous rains in the main areas of production, namely the regions of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Fujian. There is a tight market and, in the near future, the prices are estimated to continue increasing.

basil plant3

Basil Oil (India)

In India, Basil is harvested between the months of November and February. At present, it is challenging to obtain the Basil plant material.

market-report-aug-2018

Rosemary Oil (Spain)

In Spain, Rosemary is harvested between February and June. Oil samples that are currently available in the market are derived from wild harvesting, and the distillation of the first batches of oil is set to proceed. Despite the low availability of Rosemary, the market is calm at present, but the updates from local farmers are optimistic.

cinnamon-tree-23

Cinnamon Leaf Oil

In Sri Lanka, Cinnamon is harvested between the months of May and November. Due to a major drought in the growing region, the collection has decreased and the oil supply is low. A new crop was expected to have become available in larger quantities between July and August, an ideal time to meet the year’s requirements. The prices for Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil are unstable; however, this is partly because of the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee.

‘Beauty and the Bees’

That syrupy stuff is not just for sweetening your favorite herbal tea. Find out how ingredients made by bees can help boost your beauty routine.

An Apiary is a place where beehives are kept and can be as simple as a small hive box in a garden to hundreds of boxes on a commercial orchard. Humans have kept bees since ancient times – as far back as 9,000 years, possibly, with early cave paintings depicting honeycombs, bee swarms, and honey collection. Today, beekeeping has become a hobby for a growing number of rural and suburban residents. Of course, bees play a crucial role in agriculture, too; it’s hard to find a flower, tree, or food source that doesn’t require the help of the hardworking honeybee to pollinate it. Many of the foods we eat would just not be possible without bees. And, when it comes to all-natural skin and hair care, bee-based ingredients also offer a wealth of benefits.

Unrivaled Ingredients

Honey and beeswax are extremely unique. We have yet to create a synthetic version of these two ingredients that can compare to what honeybees naturally produce. Nothing quite matches the rich sweetness that honey provides, and beeswax lends an incomparable texture to everything from furniture polish and candles to waterproofing in winter boots.

In the realm of beauty, honey and beeswax promote healthy skin and hair, helping to keep it clean and protected. Made through a mixture of nectars, pollens, resins, and the bee’s own enzymes, honey is a powerful antimicrobial, inhibiting the growth of bacteria on the skin. It’s also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help slow down the signs of aging. As a humectant, it moisturizes and soothes the complexion.

Honeybees produce beeswax through secretion of their abdomen. Bees hang in strings, and as they produce this wax, they pass it through their legs and mouths to fashion the honeycomb. As the substance sets, it turns into the hardened opaque wax we are familiar with. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it helps protect the hive from infection.

In cosmetics, it has a long shelf life because it doesn’t become rancid. These actions make it a great addition to beauty products, and its texture creates a physical barrier that protects skin from the elements while still allowing pores to breathe. The cosmetic industry values it as an ingredient because it doesn’t become rancid and it has germ-killing properties. Like honey, it’s also a humectant, and its mild, pleasant aroma blends well with other ingredients. And all skin types, including those with sensitive skin, can enjoy it.

You can find plenty of cosmetic products on store shelves featuring these bee ingredients – or try your hand at making your own. Here are some recipes to get you started.

 

Honey Cleanser

Honey is often used in place of soap as a mild and gentle cleanser for skin and hair. Using local raw honey is best, but in this recipe, any pure honey will work.

1 Tbls pure honey

2 Tbls oatmeal or oat flour, finely ground

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon into a clean container. To use: Massage into damp skin and then rinse well. Yields: 1 ounce.

Anti-Aging Facial Mask

Reduce the signs of aging with this antioxidant-rich mask. The darker the color of your honey, the more antioxidants it contains, which means more benefit for your complexion.

1 Tbls raw honey

To use: Smooth the raw honey over a clean face and neck and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat skin dry. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer or natural oil. Yields: .5 ounces.

Egyptian Honey Mask

This recipe takes its inspiration from ancient Egyptian practices of soothing and cleansing the skin using natural clay and honey.

1 Tbls white kaolin clay

1 Tbls raw honey

1 Tbls pure or distilled water

Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste. To use: Spread on your clean face and neck and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: .75 ounces.

Honeybee Bath

Honey’s especially soothing to dry skin when it’s used in the bath because it helps lock in all that moisture. If the idea of sitting in a tub full if honey sounds a bit sticky, don’t worry; this recipe will make your skin feel soft and silky without residue.

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup mild liquid soap such as castile

Mix together all the ingredients and pour into a clean container. To use: Gently shake to remix and pour 1/4 cup into the bath under running water. Bathe for 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a bit of aromatherapy. Yield: 16 ounces, enough for eight baths.

Beeswax Lip Balm

Most lip balms contain beeswax, and for good reason; it helps condition your lips and protects them from the elements. This recipe is for a basic lip balm; feel free to build on this recipe or experiment with different oils in place of the coconut.

1 tsp beeswax

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp cocoa butter

Place all of the ingredients in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Stir until well-mixed and pour into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Lavender Lip Balm

Lavender and bees make a perfect pair. Honeybees love to forage and feast on lavender’s pretty purple flowers, producing a delightfully fragrant lavender honey in turn. {It’s a real treat to taste if you can find it.} Lavender and honey are also well-suited for skin care, as they both soothe and provide natural antiseptic properties. This balm contains essential oil of lavender to help heal dry, chapped lips.

2 tsp almond oil

1 tsp beeswax

1/4 tsp raw honey

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender

Place the oil and beeswax in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until the wax begins to melt. Remove from heat and add the honey and essential oil of lavender; continue to stir until well-mixed. Pour the warm mixture into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Beeswax Hand Cream

Because of pure beeswax’s moisturizing effects and protective barrier, it serves as an ideal base in hand creams, especially for those hard-working hands that prefer to dig in the dirt.

1 cup light natural oil such as almond, olive, or light sesame

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

In a heat-resistant container, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the oils and wax begin to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are melted and well-mixed. Pour into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Massage a small amount into your skin. Yield: 8 ounces

Sunny Day Healing Salve

We do our best to apply sunscreen, but sunburns can still occur, and this healing salve can help soothe some of the discomforts. Natural beeswax, along with soothing aloe vera gel, helps calm and comfort your skin. This salve also works well for mitigating dry skin and treating insect bites.

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 cup cocoa butter or shea butter

1/2 cup light sesame oil

1/2 cup aloe vera gel

5-6 drops essential oil of lavender

5-6 drops essential oil of peppermint

In a heat-resistant container or pan, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the mixture begins to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are mixed. Spoon into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Gently spread over your skin and allow it to soak in to cool the burn. Yield: 8 ounces

Honey Conditioning Hair Pack

Honey can do great things for dry or damaged hair. It helps restore color, moisture, body, and shine. It may also lighten your hair slightly if used over time so dark-haired individuals may want to do a patch test first or skip this treatment.

1/2 cup raw honey

After shampooing, massage the honey into your hair and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. You may want to cover your hair with a plastic shower cap or cotton towel. Rinse well with warm water and condition your hair as normal. Yield: 4 ounces

Raw Honey

As opposed to the honey you find in the store, raw honey hasn’t been pasteurized, heated, or processed. If you get raw honey directly from the source – the beehive – you know exactly what combination of flowers has gone into it.

Raw honey provides many benefits, including antibacterial properties comparable to pharmaceutical antibiotics when applied topically to wounds and red or swollen areas. It’s also effective in treating conjunctivitis, and in some cases, using small amounts of raw honey helps relieve seasonal allergies by exposing the body to small amounts of pollen {processing honey removes pollen}. Of course, the dangers of consuming unpasteurized food products include food poisoning and botulism {especially in infants; never give children under the age of one honey, raw or processed}.

Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower

Saving The Bees

You don’t have to become a beekeeper to support or “save the bees.” You can enjoy bee-based products and support your local growers and bee enthusiasts by purchasing from local growers and keepers. You can also plant some bee-friendly herbs and flowers in your yard – honeybees can fly almost five miles from their hives, and will happily find your plants. In return, they will help pollinate your garden. Some easy, bee-friendly plants include lavender, sage, mint, oregano, calendula, rosemary, and blackberry. For more local favorites, check with your favorite nursery, as many growers now feature plants that promote pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies.

Apitherapy Ingredients

“Apitherapy” is the term used for treatments that involve honey and bee-based ingredients. Honeybees may be nature’s best cosmetologist. Here are some of their amazing products.

Beeswax: This is the wax secreted from the underside of bees, which they use to make the walls of the honeycomb. No synthetic product has been developed that has all of beeswax properties. In beauty products, it forms a protective barrier on the skin that helps protect against environmental irritants and locks in moisture. You can find beeswax where beekeeping equipment is sold and at many natural food stores and markets.

Propolis: This substance is considered the “bee-glue” with which bees use to seal up their hives. It’s a sticky dark-colored mixture of beeswax and bee saliva. You’ll find it in some cosmetic products as an antioxidant ingredient and also in cough medicine. It’s used in herbal salves and balms. Obtain it through your local beekeeper or find it on sale at some beekeeping supply stores.

Bee Pollen: This is pollen collected by worker bees and used in the hive to feed young bees. It contains a number of vitamins and minerals. Cosmetic companies are increasingly adding it to products, especially ones focused on anti-aging to help promote new cell growth. There are mixed opinions about using bee pollen, the main concern being potential allergic reactions. Please check with your physician if you have any concerns about using bee pollen on your skin, especially if you are allergic to bees.

 

 

 

Reading A Ingredient Label: Everything You Need To Know

When I first started researching cosmetic ingredients due to my chemical sensitivities, the information available was scarce. There were few books, websites, and apps to guide me through the swapping process. The lack of trustworthy, easy-to-consult resources forced me to learn more about cosmetic formulation and regulations than I originally intended to. However, it ultimately helped me to make more informed decisions. In this post, I am going to share the most important facts you need to know about cosmetic labeling and how to decode an ingredient list.

The rather large amount of information circulating on the web today can be quite confusing, mainly due to a lack of conclusive research on some controversial ingredients, and due to misinformation being spread—intentionally or unintentionally. My goal is to help you feel confident in choosing products that are free of any ingredients that you want to avoid, whether you’re doing it for your health, your ethical choices, or both.

Cosmetics Labeling

Please note that labeling regulations vary from country to country and that this post refers to the current regulations on cosmetic product labeling in the United States of America.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) define cosmetics as “articles intended to be applied to the human body for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance without affecting the body’s structure or functions“. Cosmetics that can affect the body’s structure or functions are considered drugs, and therefore must comply not only with cosmetic labeling laws but also with drug labeling laws. This is the case with sunscreens, whose active ingredients  (the ones that provide sun-protection) are listed above the inactive ingredients in the “drug facts” panel.

Cosmetic ingredient labeling came into effect in 1977 and was meant to protect consumers and ensure that all cosmetic products sold in the country complied with safety standards. In order to be sold in the United States, a cosmetic product label must comply with FD&C regulations, whether it is manufactured in the United States or abroad. A cosmetic label must also comply with the rules established in the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which provides guidelines on what can or cannot be stated on a label. This is very important because most consumers tend to purchase products based on what they read on the front label of a package. However, while the front label can provide general information about a product, the only way to know what it contains (and what the product is really worth) is to analyze the ingredients list.

What’s on the Ingredients List?

INGREDIENT NAMES

On a product label, cosmetic ingredients must be listed with their International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) names. The INCI names are coined by the International Nomenclature Committee with the goal of making cosmetic ingredients identifiable internationally (so that ingredients like oils, butters, waxes, etc. are called the same thing all over the world), allowing for a less confusing trading process. The names are based on scientific nomenclature, hence the many Latin INCI names.

LIST ORDER

All ingredients that are present at a concentration above 1% must be listed in descending order of predominance (highest to lowest concentration). This means that the first ingredient listed is always the one present in the highest concentration. For example, if the first ingredient listed is water, the product is likely to contain, mostly, water. Ingredients present at a concentration lower or equal to 1% can be listed in any order.

FRAGRANCE & FLAVOR

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require fragrance and flavor compounds to be fully disclosed, as they are considered a “trade secret”. This protects the companies’ signature fragrances from being copied. However, it can be very problematic for many consumers who have allergies, or who simply want to avoid certain ingredients. A fragrance (also listed as “perfume” or “parfum”) may contain up to thousands of undisclosed ingredients used to create a particular scent.

 

Decoding Symbols

USDA Organic. Although the FDA does not regulate the word “organic” on cosmetic labels, cosmetic products that contain 100% organic ingredients may display the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification symbol on the front label when they meet the USDA and National Organic Program standards for production, handling, processing, and labeling.

Non-GMO Verified. The Non-GMO verified program ensures that a product is made with ingredients that have not been genetically modified using genetic engineering or transgenic technology.

gluten free logo

 

(Certified) Gluten-Free. Issued by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), this certification means that the product is certified gluten-free, and therefore can be safely used by people with celiac disease.

Eco cert logo

 

ECO Cert. Eco Cert is a France-born, internationally recognized certification that verifies that a cosmetic product is:

  • Made with ingredients derived from renewable resources, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes
  • Free of GMOs, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicone, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced like milk, honey, etc.).
  • Uses biodegradable or recyclable packaging

 

Ethical Symbols

Leaping Bunny International. This symbol means that the product is 100% free of animal testing, according to the Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals.

bunny free logo

 

Beauty Without Bunnies. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has their own program called Beauty without Bunnies, which allows companies that go through their verification process in order to place the PETA logo on their product labels.

Fair Trade. The Fair Trade symbol is used for products sourced from producers in developing countries; ensuring better prices, decent working conditions, and a fair deal for farmers and workers in developing countries.

 

Environmental Responsibility Symbols

green dot logo

Green Dot. The Green Dot symbol means that the company participates in the recovery, sorting, and recycling of sales packaging.

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is a symbol that guarantees that the product comes from responsible sources and that the manufacturer supports forest conservation and other social benefits.

 

Other Important Symbols

pao 24 how to read ingredients list

PAO (Period After Opening). This symbol is especially important to those of us who use products made with plenty of natural, plant-based ingredients as it provides information about a product’s shelf -life. This symbol shows you how long you can use your product after opening it, provided that the product has been stored under normal conditions (away from heat and light). This typically ranges between 3 months (as is the case for most mascaras) to 24 months. The reason why you should not use a product past its PAO is that harmful microbial growth may have taken place, which could be harmful to your health, such as mold and other unfriendly microorganisms.

ingredients-list-4-1

Once you’ve taken a good look at all the symbols that matter to you, it’s time to move on to the ingredient list!

Easy Step-by-Step: How-To Read a Cosmetic Label

1) Identify symbols that are important to you on the front and back label. Symbols like a gluten-free certification may be extremely important if you have a gluten allergy. A cruelty-free symbol may be important to someone pursuing an animal-friendly lifestyle. If you want to use products that are 100% organic, look for the USDA certification.

2) Ignore/beware of claims, especially unreasonable ones. As mentioned above, cosmetic products cannot affect the body’s structure or function, so any label claiming that a product performs certain “miraculous” effects might be unlawful or unethical.

3) Beware of other marketing tricks, such as “free-of” and “contains organic…”. Just because a product is free of a known questionable preservative, or contains an organic, beneficial ingredient, does not mean that the entire formula is beneficial or completely safe. Same goes for “clinically-proven” and “dermatologist tested”, which are unregulated claims with no way of being verified.

4) Think of this label reading process the same as when you read a food product label: How many ingredients are in this product? (If you’re sensitive, the more ingredients the product contains, the greater chance you’ll experience a skin reaction).

5) Read the entire ingredient list, but pay special attention to the first few ingredients as they are present at higher concentrations, so they should be beneficial ingredients, not cheap fillers.

6) Remember that certain words are not regulated, and may be misleading, for example, “natural” and “organic”. A product whose name contains the word “organic” may not be made with an entirely organic formula or may only contain just a few organic ingredients. The ingredient list is where you can find out if the product is entirely organic or not.

7) Natural ingredients are not always the safest, and synthetic ingredients are not always harmful. When in doubt, look up the ingredient in a reputable database.

Essential Oils and Flower Essences

Essential oils and flower essences bestow a concentrated dose of plant energy.
In most cases, however, you may want to work with the whole plant. You may find that if you wish to work with a particular plant, you’re obligated to grow it yourself. This may be for a variety of reasons.
* Some plants are rare in an area. You may need to nurture some indoors or order from a specialist nursery.
* What you desire may not be marketable: the alchemists treasured fresh morning dew caught upon the leaves of lady’s mantle. They called it “water from heaven” and prized it as an ingredient in many enchanted potions. If you want some {and you very well might; it’s reputed to provide a beautiful complexion!}, you’ll have to grow it and gather it yourself.
* In some cases, it’s best to have your own fresh stock of plants, to save on expense and safety. Your own roses are not only more powerful than the florists, but you’ll save a small fortune and, as you place the petals in your bath, you also have the assurance of knowing no toxic pesticides and preservatives taint them and potentially you.
* In the case of root charms, often the only way to guarantee that you have the genuine article is to actually start with the whole plant. Too many commercial preparations purporting to include items like High John the Conqueror or Adam and Eve Root contain only petroleum products.
* Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases, the only way to access a power may be to grow your own, because there isn’t any other source.

The decimation of the animal kingdom is well-known and well-publicized, but humans have done no less damage to plants. A 1998 international study conducted by sixteen organizations, including the Smithsonian Institute, indicates that at least one out of every eight known plant species on Earth is now either threatened with extinction or nearly extinct. **

Solomon’s Seal was once a very prominent magical plant, a favorite of ancient spell books and grimoires. Beth Root derives from another very endangered plant. Native to North America, aboriginal Americans prized it as a love potion. The root was boiled and then dropped into the desired man’s food; upon consumption, he should have eyes only for his enchantress. Beth Root was heartily adopted into African-American occult traditions, where it went under the name Low John the Conqueror. Only a few decades ago, Low John was a common Hoodoo charm, used for preserving family peace and encouraging economic prosperity. You’ll rarely find it marketed because it can’t be found in the wild anymore. If you want it, you’ll have to grow it. The magic that you perform together can be especially potent because the very existence of your ally indicates to Earth your willingness to provide healing for her as well as to provide for your own desires.
The best way to gain an ally is to be an ally.
In the past, wild-crafting, the process of collecting wild plants, has been the preferred method. Common metaphysical wisdom held that wild plants were considered to be at the peak of their powers. With the wilderness under siege and quickly disappearing, this is no longer true. Wild-crafting, with few exceptions, has become the equivalent of poaching. It is unethical to remove wild plants; from a magical perspective, whatever power they possess may backfire on you. The best way to generate your personal power is to replenish Earth and nature, not continue to deplete it. The strongest, most powerful plant allies will be the ones you nourish and nurture. They will become familiar with you, your family, your needs, and desires at the same time that you are providing for theirs.
If you are unable to do so, try to find a nursery that will grow them for you.
Flower Essences.
All those steeped in Earth wisdom have always treasured dew, rain and moisture gathered from plants. Infused with the specific power belonging to the plant, the tiny particles of liquid were also perceived as containing the perfect balance of the four elements: not only the power of water but also that of Earth, as radiated through the plant, the surrounding air, and fire from the shining sun.
The ancients were limited to the plants growing on their doorstep. You are not. The modern science of flower essences brings the power of plants from all over Earth directly to you.
The direct descendant of these botanical potions, the flower essences were first prepared in their modern form in Great Britain in the 1930’s by Dr. Edward Bach, a prominent Harley Street physician, and homeopath. Dr. Bach came to the conclusion that true complete healing was not possible if approached solely from the physical plane. Emotional and spiritual imbalances were the root of illness and dysfunction, and therefore true healing must be accessed through soul and emotion. He devoted the rest of his life, at great personal sacrifice, to developing the original flower essence remedies. Dr. Bach reported that the plants communicated directly with him, sharing their secrets with him.
Dr. Bach’s original thirty-eight remedies were almost entirely derived from British flora. Emerging during the Great Depression, the bulk of the remedies served especially to relieve confusion, despair, depression and fear. Since that time, many other flower essence practitioners have followed in Dr. Bach’s pioneering footsteps so that there is now greater access to a wider variety of botanical powers than ever before. The availability of flower essences ranges as far afield as the Australian Bush, the Sonora Desert, the Alaskan wilderness, Hawaii, California and the rainforests of Peru.
As befitting true New Age substances, many were created specifically to facilitate metaphysical and spiritual goals. There are specific essences for strengthening and accessing your magical skills, also for healing divisions between genders and building bridges to other spiritual realms.
How To Use Flower Essences.
* The most common method of use is internal. Flower essences are usually sold as concentrated stock bottles and must be further diluted in pure spring-water. The general dosage is four drops four times a day, however, instructions are available on the bottles or from the manufacturers.
* Flower essences can also be applied topically, rubbed gently onto the body. A few drops on the soles of the feet or on the thin skin between thumb and forefinger before bedtime are especially beneficial. Flower essences can also be added to massage oil or bath.
* A room spray or atmospheric cleanser can be created by adding flower essences to a spray bottle of spring-water.
* Flower essences can be used to enhance and heal the power of crystals, plants, and amulets.
Apply a few drops as needed.
Although flower essences and essential oils have confusingly similar names and are sold in very similar packages {tiny glass vials}, they are by no means identical or interchangeable.
Essential oils are actually planted extracts, with extremely potent and scientifically documented physical effects. All essential oils, for instance, are antiseptic, to varying degrees. How flower essences work remains the subject of debate, the general consensus being that they are a form of vibrational healing. Flower essences are pure water infused and charged with the plant’s energy and vibration. There is no need to kill the plant to create the essence; typically only carefully selected leaves and blossoms are used. The essences are designed to provide a bridge between the plant’s healing aura and your own. There is no direct physical effect; instead, their profound effect is felt upon the emotional and spiritual plane. They are safe for everyone’s use, children and animals included. Flower essence remedies can also be used to benefit plants and crystals.
Flower essences are created for every situation and emotional state. Good source books will bestow a sense of their scope. The Following flower essences are especially beneficial for enhancing your magickal aptitude.
Flower essences are available directly from the manufacturer and also from many health food stores and alternatively oriented pharmacies.
* Angelica {Angelica arcangelica}: enhances the ability to perceive and recognize protection and guidance from spirit beings, especially angels. It is indicated for those who feel bereft of spiritual guidance and protection and can be especially beneficial during threshold experiences.
Angel’s Trumpet {Datura candida}: provides assistance for those who would like to do psychic work but can’t quite accept the reality of psychic forces and energies.
Green Bells of Ireland {Molucella laevis}: recommended for those who feel ungrounded, those who lack a conscious heart connection to the natural world and also for those who feel unaware of, or unable to access, the light and intelligence present in nature. This remedy is intended to strengthen the connection between Earth and one’s body.
Mugwort {Artemisia vulgaris}: the single most profound essence for evoking psychic skill and perceptions, it promotes alignment with the moon, corrects imbalances in the feminine cycle and promotes greater awareness of dreams and psychic ability.
Saguaro {Cereus giganteus}: Because balance is crucial, with all this talk of Earth Mother energy, this essence enhances appreciation of the male energy that serves as protector, provider and the true partner to Earth’s feminine energy. For men, saguaro can help forge a path; for women, it helps heal losses. For both, it provides inspiration and healing. Saguaro eases a sense of alienation from one’s own parentage and spiritual traditions. Saguaro reinforces an awareness of the ancient and sacred. It provides a sense of lineage, a linking of oneself to Earth’s holy traditions.
Saint John’s Wort {Hypericum perforatum}: increases spiritual awareness and consciousness. It also has a protective capacity. As your psychic work and ability increases, as you become increasingly aware of other powers, feelings of vulnerability may arise. Saint John’s Wort provides a psychic shield, soothes fears, provide courage and security and calms the effects of disturbing dreams.
* Star Tulip {Calochorus tolmiei}: creates an aura of receptivity and enables one to tune into other energies, particularly in dreams and meditation. Star-tulip is indicated for those who feel hard and brittle, cut off from Earth and other living beings, especially for those who are unable to meditate or pray but yet feel the need. Star-tulip stimulates psychic awakening and receptivity to one’s inner voices.

* Yarrow {Achillea millefolium}: strengthens and cleanses the personal aura and provides a profound psychic shield. It is indicated for those who feel drained by exposure to toxic forces, whether physical, spiritual or human.

Jasmine {Jasminum spp.}

ALSO, KNOWN AS:

  • Catalonian Jasmine
  • Common Jasmine
  • Common White Jasmine
  • Italian Jasmine
  • Jasmin
  • Jasmine Flos
  • Jessamine
  • Mo Li Hua
  • Pikake
  • Poet’s Jasmine
  • Royal Jasmine
  • Spanish Jasmine
  • Yasmin

Jasmine belongs to the olive family, also known as Oleaceae. This shrub and vine genus comprises about 200 species that are indigenous to the warm temperate and tropical regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Plants belonging to this genus are cultivated extensively for the typical aroma of their flowers.

Jasmines may be evergreen (having green leaves throughout the year) or deciduous (shedding their leaves in autumn). In addition, plants belonging to this genus may be of various types – erect, climbing shrubs, spreading or even vines. The leaves of these plants appear alternately or opposite to one another on the stem. In addition, the leaves of jasmine may be simple, pinnate or trifoliate. Usually, the flowers of jasmine measure about 2.5 cm (0.98 inches) across and their color may either be white or yellow. Although rare, in some cases jasmine flowers may even be somewhat reddish. The flowers appear in clusters and each cluster contains no less than three blooms. However, in many instances, solitary flowers can also appear at the terminal of the small branches.

Each jasmine flower comprises anything between four and nine petals, one to four ovules and generally two locules. Every flower contains two stamens having very small filaments. The bracts of the flowers are either ovate or linear while the shape of the calyx is akin to that of a bell. Generally, the calyx is extremely aromatic. Jasmine bears berry-like fruits whose color changes to black when they mature.

PLANT PARTS USED:

Oil, flowers.

AROMATHERAPY, AYURVEDA USE:

Jasmine AbsoluteJasmine flowers and the essential oil obtained from them have numerous uses. While they are frequently used in perfumes and to flavor foods, a tea prepared from the flowers is taken internally for therapeutic purposes.

Traditionally, people have used jasmine flowers in aromatherapy to treat various conditions, including, depression, tension, anxiety, and coughs as well as for relaxation. Initial findings of scientific studies have revealed that jasmine flowers may also be effective in enhancing alertness and improving memory.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian herbal medicine system, jasmine has been traditionally used to lessen breast milk secretion. Moreover, initial studies on humans have shown that applying the juice or oil of jasmine flowers to breasts helps to lessen breast engorgement as well as milk secretion. However, further and more in-depth studies are necessary to corroborate these early findings.

In aromatherapy, jasmine flowers are frequently and extensively used to induce relaxation. Nevertheless, the initial evidence related to jasmine’s effectiveness in enhancing attentiveness is assorted.

Findings of initial studies on humans have hinted that consuming a tea prepared from jasmine flowers may not have the desired effects in certain forms of cancer. However, findings of other studies have shown that people who consumed jasmine tea, oolong tea or green tea have found them to be beneficial, especially in diminishing the chances of developing cancer. Further studies are necessary in this regard too.

In addition, aromatherapy has also used jasmine for massage. Findings of studies have shown that it may also be used to alleviate the symptoms related to menopause and regulate blood pressure. However, further studies are necessary for this field too, before arriving at any conclusion.

Findings of initial studies have shown that consuming jasmine tea may help to diminish the chances of having a stroke. Nevertheless, it has been found that the effect of jasmine tea is less compared to green or black tea. This is an indication that the benefits related to diminished stroke risk may not be associated with jasmine.

The aroma of jasmine is also said to possess tranquilizing attributes.

CULINARY USES

jasmine-teaIn China, people often consume jasmine tea, known as the jasmine flower tea there. People also make use of the flowers of Jasminum sambac, usually prepared with a base of white tea or green tea. However, sometimes it also has an oolong tea base. The tea and jasmine flowers are mated in machines, which can regulate the temperature as well as humidity. On average, it takes about four hours for the tea to take up the flavor and fragrance of the jasmine flowers. In order to obtain the best quality teas, it may be necessary to repeat the process several times – maximum seven times. It is also necessary to ‘refire’ or process the tea in order to prevent it from decomposing. Once the process is complete, you may or may not get rid of the used up flowers from the end product, as they have become completely dehydrated and fragrance-less by then. The tea is denser compared to the flower petals and you require giant fans to blow away the petals if you wish to remove them from the final product.

HABITAT OF JASMINE:

Jasmines are indigenous to places having tropical as well as temperate climatic conditions and have their origin in Asia, Australasia, and Africa. As of now, 200 different species of this genus have been identified. Some jasmine species are also found in South and Southeast Asia.

Despite the fact that this genus is not indigenous to Europe, several species of jasmines have been naturalized in the continent, especially in the Mediterranean region. For instance, the species called Catalonian jasmine or Spanish jasmine (botanical name Jasminum grand forum) was originally brought from Iran and some regions in the west of South Asia. However, now this species has become naturalized in the Iberian Peninsula.

how-to-grow-jasmine-Jasminum-officinale-280939337-1280It is also possible to grow jasmines in containers. Jasmines grew in full sunlight bloom abundantly and produce the best flowers. However, plants belonging to this species also have the aptitude to endure partial shade for some hours every day. It is advisable that you should move the jasmine plants growing in pots when the temperature soars on hot summer days. Doing this will save the plants’ leaves as well as flower buds from the scorching heat. When you are growing jasmines indoors, you should ensure that the pots are positioned in a sun-lit place or in the south or west facing part of your room beside a window. They grow best when placed in such positions.

Jasmines have the ability to grow in all soils, provided they are well drained. These plants cannot endure soil that is constantly damp or soggy. When grown in such soils, the plants can develop fungal diseases resulting in root decay. However, jasmines have a preference for watering at regular intervals during the flowering season. When the flowering season is over, the plants can be rested.

THERAPEUTIC FORMULATIONS:

Therapeutic formulations prepared from jasmine flowers do not have any specific standard dosage. Hence, the dosage mentioned below will not be applicable to all jasmine products. Therefore, before commencing therapy with these products, it is essential that you go through the product labels thoroughly and also consult a qualified healthcare professional to ascertain the appropriate dosage.

Adults (18 years and above)

Jasmine is usually taken orally in the form of a tea along with the plant’s flowers. These are boiled or immersed in water or used to prepare a tincture. On the other hand, jasmine essential oils can be blended with shea butter for external application on the skin. In addition, the essential oils obtained from jasmine are also used in aromatherapy.

In order to enhance your alertness or attentiveness, mix one ml of 20% jasmine oil solution in sweet almond oil and apply the blend to the stomach for about five minutes. Subsequently, cover the area with a plastic film. For reducing breast milk secretion, apply 50 cm of stringed jasmine flowers to both the breasts every day for five consecutive days.

People have been wearing a surgical face mask preparation using jasmine to improve alertness. There are a number of such surgical masks. You may either use masks layered with jasmine absolute ether in measures of 100 microliters; wear surgical masks swathed with jasmine absolute ether in measures of anything between 20 microliters and 50 microliters for about 30 minutes, or surgical facial masks packed with the aroma of jasmine.

Similarly, you should use a jasmine-scented incense stick to fill your room with its aroma and inhale the scent to enhance memory.

Children (below 18 years old)

For treating children, there is no jasmine dosage that has been verified to be safe as well as effective.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AND PRECAUTIONS:

jasmine growingIn case you are suffering from any health problem or are using any drug, herbal product or supplement, it is necessary that you consult a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any new therapy. Moreover, you should also check with a healthcare professional right away if you experience any adverse effect after using jasmine products.

It is advisable that people who are sensitive to jasmine or have allergic reactions when they use this herb, experience side effects from using any plant belonging to the Oleaceae family; are allergic or sensitive to the fragrance of jasmine flowers or any other fragrance, for instance lemongrass, ylang-ylang, sandalwood and narcissus, should always keep away from using them. There have been instances of people exposed to jasmine flowers or the essential oils obtained from it suffering from side effects like itchy rashes and skin allergies on the scalp as well as the hands.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of jasmine for therapeutic purposes is safe, especially when it is used in amounts approved for foods. Even the use of jasmine essential oils is considered to be safe, provided it is diluted appropriately using any suitable carrier oil and applied directly to the skin.

However, it is important to exercise utmost caution while using jasmine products, especially when used by pregnant women. It should also be used in small quantities, as there is no data available regarding the safe use of this herb. Even nursing mothers should use this herb very cautiously because when jasmine flowers are applied to the breasts, they work to diminish breast milk production.

Use of jasmine flowers may also have an effect on the blood pressure. Therefore, it is advisable that people suffering from blood pressure related problems or those taking drugs, herbal preparations, and/ or supplements which have an effect on the blood pressure should use jasmine with extreme caution.

Moreover, people whose heartbeat is irregular or who are suffering from health conditions that bring down the heart rate should also exercise caution while using jasmine or products containing this herb. You should know that jasmine possesses the aptitude to bring about changes in the width of the blood vessels as well as the heart rate.

People taking diuretics (medicines that increase urine flow) should also be careful while using jasmine, as this herb may also have similar actions.

As Jasmine has a sedative action, its use may result in drowsiness or stupor, hence, it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving a vehicle or operating any machine. Also, do not use any other sedative or tranquilizer when you are using jasmine.

Never use any essential oils, including jasmine essential oil, orally. It has been found that they may be poisonous when taken internally.

Creative Organic Green ~ Detox For Your Home

Winter is the time of year that we start eating heavier and detoxing. It’s time for winter cleaning of body, mind, and home! While there is a lot of focus on what we eat, often not enough attention is paid to how we clean our homes… Making sure that all of your household cleaning products are naturally-derived is extremely important – especially if you have children. The products we use every day may give off toxins that we then breathe in or absorb through our skin. They may also pollute the air in our environment. Studies have shown that environmental toxicity is a contributor to many conditions such as autoimmune disease, heart disease and even cancer(1). The chemicals found in many common household cleaners are carcinogens which mean that they can cause cancer. Bleach and ammonia are highly toxic and, when mixed together, they are a lethal combination(2).  Other chemicals which are hormone and endocrine disruptors are glycol ethers and phthalates (3) so it’s important to be able to identify every ingredient on a label that you are using in your home. If you can’t identify it, don’t use it. With just a few simple ingredients, including some wonderfully fragrant essential oils, you can disinfect and clean, as well as rid your home of bacteria, mold, viruses, unpleasant odors, and dust mites.

As a caution, when you buy essential oils you should beware of anything that says “fragrance added.” If it does not say “100% (pure) essential oils” then the ingredient is synthetic. Most of the fragrance used in household cleaning products and deodorizers are synthetic. There is nothing natural about them and they are harmful to your health. Essential oils are great for the home since they are non-toxic and they possess many therapeutic properties that will benefit you for a clean healthy home. They are antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal – and of course, they smell great.

These are some recipes I created to get you through all your spring cleaning. I use sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) in all three recipes so you don’t have to go out and buy too many essential oils; however, I am also giving you a list of essential oils you can substitute.The citrus oils are all antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal so you can replace orange oil with lemon (Citrus limon), grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) or lime (Citrus aurantifolia) essential oil.

It’s also fun to experiment and mix scents that you like. It might even make you enjoy cleaning!

General All-purpose Cleaner

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world. It is extracted from the rind of the fruit. It is antiseptic, a disinfectant, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it a great all-purpose household cleaner. It was even used during World War I as a disinfectant in hospitals. Lemon essential oil is calming but it is also refreshing to the mind, as it helps lift negative emotions. It is believed that inhaling lemon essential oil helps to increase concentration and alertness; therefore, it can be a great room freshener in offices.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

Orange Sweet is a citrus essential oil that is extracted from the rind of the orange. It is antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. It is also very uplifting for your mood, making it a good scent to have in any home. Sweet orange essential oil is an excellent degreaser and cleaner due to an ingredient called, d-Limonene. A study conducted by The University of Arkansas and Colorado State University found that Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis var. valencia) essential oil inhibited E. Coli and Salmonella during the refrigeration process of beef(3). It also inhibited Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is a deadly staph infection(4).

 

Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the leaves of a herb. It is a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica). It is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic. Bugs tend not to like it, so it is a good choice to add to an all-purpose aromatherapy blend around the house.

 

White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar is one of the best cleaning ingredients for the home since it is a natural disinfectant. It can help to kill mold, bacteria, and viruses. In addition, it is very inexpensive.

 

Directions for Use:

You will need a sixteen-ounce size spray bottle.

 

Essential Oils:

20 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

30 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

15 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water.  I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent, from time to time you can substitute with lime, grapefruit, eucalyptus (Eucaplyptusspp.), clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).

You can use this blend as a general cleaner for your kitchen, especially for the countertops, refrigerator, cabinets and even wood surfaces.

Window Cleaner

I like using an eight-ounce size bottle since it’s smaller and easier to handle and it will fit in any cabinet. If you want to make a sixteen-ounce bottle, just double up the recipe.

 

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

3 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water. I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, you can use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent from time to time, you can substitute lemon with lime, grapefruit or orange.

Bath and Sink Scrub

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove essential oil is extracted from the buds of the clove plant. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic and antiviral, making it a great choice for cleaning tubs and sinks.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

 

Pure Liquid Castile Soap

Make sure that your soap is pure Castile. I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap because for over 150 years it has been a family-run business and the quality of the product is never comprised for profit. The soap is pure and organic, with no dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances. The bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic so you are doing something good for the environment. They are available in different scents such as orange, sweet almond (Prunis Dulcis), eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and lemon, and the soap blends perfectly with essential oils. You should have this product in your home as it has so many uses and can replace many products. I also use it as a hand and body wash, and shampoo – and you can even wash floors and clothes with it.

 

Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

Baking soda is right up there with vinegar as a cleaning superstar! It is non-toxic, absorbs odor, and it is great for sinks and tubs due to its abrasive texture. It has many uses in the home – from brushing your teeth to shining silver. I never use toxic oven cleaners. Instead, I mix baking soda and water to get rid of spills in my oven. You can rub it on with a soft cloth or leave some on the spills overnight and then wash it the next day.

Use a twelve-ounce glass jar with an airtight clamp lid or a screw top.

 

Essential Oils:

5 drops Clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum)

5 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ cup Pure Liquid Castile Soap*

½ cup Baking Soda*

*I mix equal parts of baking soda and castile soap to make a paste. If you want to make a bigger batch just double-up the recipe. Add the baking soda and castile soap to the jar, then add the essential oils. Once you have all of the ingredients in the jar, mix it together with a spoon or spatula. You can apply a small amount to a cloth or sponge to clean.

As the seasons change, or you just want to try a different aroma, you can use ten drops of any of the following essential oils, or just mix two essential oils together. They all have antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

 

• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

• Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus globulus)

• Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis)

• Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

• Lemon (Citrus limon)

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

 

Wood Cleaner

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)

Olive oil moisturizes dry wood and gives it a shine.

White Distilled Vinegar

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

You will need a two-ounce flip top bottle.

 

Essential Oil:

15 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ ounce of White Distilled Vinegar

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)*

*Fill the remaining bottle with olive oil. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use. Put about a tablespoon on a soft cloth and wipe down the wood. Apply more as needed.

Creative Organic Green Household Helpers

Ever wonder if those commercial cleaning products and indoor pesticides you use might do more harm than good? You’re not alone. Natural home-care products {many of which contain herbs} are growing in popularity as more homemakers become aware of indoor toxins. The use of certain cleaning products has been linked to higher rates of asthma, inducing the condition in some people, as well as aggravating the condition in those who already have this chronic inflammatory disease. And although you can buy many excellent nontoxic products for your home, it’s easy and fun to make your own. Just remember that even plant products can be toxic under some circumstances, and the same cautions given for other herbal uses also apply here.

SIMPLY CLEAN SOLUTIONS

With just a few basic ingredients, you can make safer “green” cleaning products for a fraction of the cost of the commercial products and without the scary ingredients. Distilled white vinegar {which contains acetic acid} has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties and can eliminate mineral deposits from the sink and bathroom fixtures, as well as cookware. Acidic lemon juice kills germs on countertops, cutting boards, and more. Baking soda deodorizes and dissolves grease and dirt. Mixed with other ingredients, it makes a gentle but effective scrub. All-natural castile soap made for centuries with olive oil, not only washes dirt and grease from your body, but also from household surfaces and laundry.

Many herbs have potent disinfectant properties, too. Basil, bay, cardamom, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, ginger, hyssop, lavender, lemongrass, oregano, peppermint, rose geranium, rosemary, sage, spearmint, and thyme are cleaning powerhouses. All contain a multitude of plant chemicals that possess antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antiviral actions. By adding a few drops of these essential oils to your homemade cleaning products, you can boost their cleaning power and impart a delightful fragrance that makes cleaning more pleasurable.

Because essential oils break down plastic over time, it’s best to store your homemade cleaning products in labeled, dark glass containers. Plastic spray bottles are fine for short-term storage of smaller quantities. Also, remember to store all cleaning products, even those made with natural ingredients, in a cool, dark location where children and pets cannot reach them.

KITCHEN COUNTER-TOP SPRAY

Use this fragrant solution to disinfect countertops, refrigerator shelves, and painted surfaces, including walls and wood trim. Feel free to experiment with other antibacterial essential oils, such as basil, thyme, or lemon.

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup water

10-12 drops rose geranium essential oil

In a small, dark glass jar, combine the vinegar, water, and oil. Stir. Pour small amounts into a spray bottle as necessary.

GENTLE SPEARMINT SCRUBBER

This non-scratching, a chlorine-free paste is perfect for cleaning cookware, countertops, and porcelain sinks and tubs. Lemon and lemon verbena essential oils also work well in place of the spearmint.

1 cup baking soda

1 tablespoon liquid castile soap

Warm water {90 to 110 degrees F}

In a small, dark glass jar, combine the baking soda, soap, and enough water to form a thick but pourable paste. Stir in the essential oil. Apply to surfaces, wait for 5 minutes or more, then scrub with a sponge. Rinse off the residue with water.