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Good Soap.

 

When I’m not in the garden, I’m in the studio crafting vegan bodycare with herbs and veggies. Here’s my latest: ‘Lettuce & Lavender’ cocoa butter soap with poppy seeds for a little scrub and lavender, fennel, and marjoram essential oils for an intriguingly herbal scent. One of seven new blends coming soon!

Gentle, creamy, softly aromatic, handmade with natural ingredients. And palm oil-free. My idea of a good soap.

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Soaping on Schedule

handmade herbal soap

Boy, for one crazy minute there while pondering how to get done everything that needs doing this year, I decided to give up on soap-making.

That was scary! I am so enamored with hand-milling olive oil soap, it made me kindof bummed that it was gone. Soap takes about a month to fully dry and cure though, so I have to plan out my soaping schedule in advance to make sure it gets fit in.

And I can only make so much, so I have to limit my choice of blends.

the definites for this year are:

Rose, with Rose petals, Marshmallow root, and Geranium essential oil

Lavender, with Lavender flowers, White (Kaolin) Clay, and Lavender essential oil

Lemongrass, with Lemongrass, Coconut Milk, and Lemongrass essential oil

Sage, with Garden Sage, White Sage, French Green Clay, and Sage and Lavender essential oils

Calendula, with Calendula petals, Oatmeal, and Tangerine essential oil

also pondering:

Elderflower, with Elderflower blossoms, Mango Butter, and Palmarosa essential oil

Linden, with Linden flowers and leaves, Green Tea, and Ylang Ylang essential oil

maybe Lettuce or Cucumber or Seaweed? Something green….

 

“Wild Carrot” is a notable omission as it’s one I’ve always made (fresh carrots with the scent of (Wild) Carrot Seed essential oil- love it!), but I thought I’d take a break to give me the chance to try something different.

Have I missed any of your favorites?

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August Special: Coconut Hair Conditioner 33% Off

coconut hair conditioner

Last post, I announced the exciting giveaway each week in August of my Coconut Hair Conditioner from Arjuni Hair.

In case you’re not one of the lucky four, you can get a jar of this deep conditioning, tangle reducing, split end repairing, shine enhancing conditioner for yourself at a deeply reduced price for the rest of the month.

Regular Price= $15.00 / 4 oz. jar

Special Price 33% off = $10.05 / 4 oz. jar

Handmade with lavender flower, holy basil leaf, and rosemary leaf-infused coconut oil with jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, and lavender, holy basil and rosemary essential oils.

Offer good through August 31, 2013

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Coconut Oil for Hair Repair

herb-infused coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil is one of my favorite oils. Besides the beautiful natural aroma, it’s an easy and effective hair conditioner adding shine as well as repairing dry and damaged hair.

This is coconut oil infused with lavender flower, holy basil leaf, and rosemary leaf; herbs that condition, reduce tangles, strengthen hair, and stimulate growth.

Don’t you just love that green?

With jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, and lavender, holy basil and rosemary essential oils added, this is what I’ve been using to deep condition the “supercrunch” I’ve got goin’ on (my hair is so dry right now it actually sounds crunchy!).

Split ends be gone!

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Herbal Lore: Basil

 

basil

When I say “basil”, do you think “pesto”? Pesto made with sweet basil just happens to be one of my most long-standing addictions, but with over 50 different varieties (possibly as many as 150!) distributed around the world, basil is about much, much more….

Since ancient times, basil has found its way into our food, medicine and cosmetics. It’s antibacterial and antiviral, and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.

Basil has been used medicinally to ease headaches, sore throats, coughs, nausea, and to ease nervous tension. It’s also reputed to strengthen dry or brittle hair, restoring hair’s natural luster and shine.

 

D.I.Y.

One of my favorite hair rinses is a strong tea made of Basil leaves and Lavender flowers. You can pour it over your head and catch the runoff in a bowl to keep repeating, or do it lazy-style like me and just dunk your head in a bowl.

A twist on my recipe: substitute Holy Basil (Tulsi) for the Sweet Basil. For Brunettes: try a Basil and Rosemary blend. For Blondes & Redheads: try a Basil and Chamomile blend.

To make this aromatic, strengthening hair rinse, use 2 Tbsp of herb per cup of water and steep for at least 15 minutes.

 

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Hurry Up and Wait!

cardinal in the snow

Gardening catalogs began arriving before the holidays this Winter, and I jumped right on them! Didn’t want any of my first choices to be sold out when I ordered!

(I’m swooning over the “Early Blood Turnip” beets, “Hakurei” turnips, “Listada de Gandia” eggplants, and “Jenny Lind” muskmelons that I’m trying for the first time, and hoping to grow more calendula, chamomile, lavender, and holy basil than ever before)

I’ve been rushing to devour all the organic gardening books I could get my hands on to prepare for our “farm expansion” in the Spring, taking notes and stockpiling supplies like mad.

Now it’s January 11. All my seeds have arrived. Planting plans have been sketched out on paper to make sure I’m keeping good crop rotation, and starts scheduled on the calendar.

Nothing left to do now but wait for gardening season to begin again!

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Herbal Shampoo- My weekend D.I.Y. project

natural hair care

At the D.I.Y. Herbal Spa meetup last Sunday, we briefly touched on hair care, and Brittany mentioned she makes her own shampoo with liquid castile soap, herbal infusion, apple cider vinegar, and I forget what else.

Because shampoo is packaged in plastic bottles and because I’m getting pretty hardcore about getting plastic completely out of my life, I’ve been relying on my homemade olive oil bar soap to wash my hair.

It’s workable, but does take more effort, like needing a vinegar rinse. So I was really intrigued by Brittany’s recipe!

A quick search on Youtube turned up this easy D.I.Y. herbal shampoo recipe. The ingredients are:

• 1 tbsp lavender
• 1 tbsp nettle
• 1 tbsp peppermint
• 1 tbsp rosemary
• 3/4 cup distilled water
• 1/4 cup castile soap
• 1 tbsp witch hazel
• 1 tbsp sweet almond oil
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 7 drops cinnamon essential oil
• 3 drops ylang ylang essential oil

 

Watch the short video to see how she puts everything together. I’m going to give it a go myself this weekend 🙂

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D.I.Y. Herbal Spa Meetup

bath salt

“The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” -Hippocrates

BIG THANKS to Jennifer Goodheart at Acadia Herbals, Brittany Wood Nickerson of Thyme Herbal, and everyone at the “D.I.Y. Herbal Spa Meetup” on Sunday! SO much fun to relax and swap tips and recipes with other bathtub goddesses while sipping Jennifer’s delightful Jasmine-Lemongrass tea 🙂

(Join our herbal group at Meetup.com if you’d like to catch the next meetup!)

Brittany advocates using salt scrubs to keep skin exfoliated and moisturized for its optimal health, and explained how this also supports our lymph and nerves.

She demonstrated an easy-to-make recipe that I know will leave you feeling just sparkling:

  • 1 cup finely ground sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel powder
  • add a few drops of lemon, sweet orange or grapefruit essential oil if you’d like to make it aromatic

I talked about my great love for tub teas (of course!) and all my favorite ingredients for a bathtub spa including salts, baking soda, oatmeal, and apple cider vinegar.

Vinegar restores skin and scalp’s natural pH and is said to draw pollutants out of the body. A soak in a bath with a little vinegar can help relieve sore muscles, itchy skin and sunburn (*but be aware that vinegar can irritate open sores and sensitive skin).

Herb-infused vinegars are really simple to make and make a fabulous addition to your herbal pantry. Some of my favorite blends are:

  • 3 parts rose petals, 1 part spearmint
  • 1 part rosemary, 1 part lavender
  • 2 parts lavender, 1 part lemon balm,  1 part lemon peel

All you need to do is add 1 oz. (weight) herbs to 2 cups apple cider vinegar. Let it steep for 1 – 2 weeks, then strain.

To use, add ½ to 1 cup of vinegar to the tub when it’s filled. Makes a great salad dressing too!

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Bathtub Therapy

bathtub therapy

Stressful day? Try some “Bathtub Therapy” (or, when the going gets tough, the tough get into the tub)!

Baths can be so soothing, both for body and mind. When I’m feeling fritzed, there’s nothing better than sinking into a big tub with a cup of tea and good book.

I like to soak in herbal teas as well as drink them! San Franciscan herbalist and aromatherapist Jeanne Rose calls herbal baths “the organic antidote to impure air and harsh water conditions”. She recommends taking a herbal bath 2-3 times a week to smooth and hydrate the skin, and keep it healthy and young looking.

I tend to have lots of different herbs on hand, so can make lots of different bathtub teas to suit my mood. Some of my favorite blends are:

  • 2 parts red roses, 1 part jasmine flowers, 1 part patchouli leaf
  • 2 parts lavender flowers, 1 part comfrey leaf, 1 part marjoram leaf
  • 2 parts calendula flowers, 1 part lemon balm leaf, 1 part lemongrass leaf
  • 2 parts chamomile flowers, 1 part catnip leaves, 1 part lavender flowers

But you don’t have to have a huge herbal apothecary- Common kitchen ingredients like apple cider vinegar, oatmeal, and sea salt are perfect for turning your bath into a therapeutic spa experience.

Vinegar and salt (½ cup-1 cup) can be added directly to the tub as it’s filling, but oatmeal and herbs I put in a muslin bag before tossing into the tub. An easy substitute if you don’t have a bath tea bag is to use a washcloth. Wrap a large handful of herbs up in the washcloth and tie it with a string.

(I let the bath tea keep steeping in the tub with me while I soak.)

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your soak. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your luffa!

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