Posted on

D.I.Y. Herbal Spa Meetup

bathtub spa
"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!

Share
Posted on

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!

SaveSave

Share
Posted on

Living Large at the Micro-Farm

new garden

One of the expansions I hinted at last week is ready for unveiling: Ta-da! Here’s my new garden-to-be!

I am thrilled about the space- 3/4 acre- though it takes a little over 20 minutes for me to get there. The saving grace is that I drive a greasecar which runs on waste vegetable oil from restaurants, so I don’t have to worry about the price of gas (and emissions-wise, greasecars are considered “carbon neutral” because the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants grown to generate the vegetable oil exceeds the carbon dioxide released when the oil is burned).

Though originally very hesitant to garden off-site, I have come to embrace the idea. I worked my butt off this year trying to grow as much herbs and veggies as I could, and was sorely disappointed to learn my limitations the hard way. Space being the biggest limit (my house sits on 1/5th acre), sunshine the next.

This new spot is wide open old farmland. It’s so exciting to imagine what it will look like next year! I’ll have lots more herbs for my bodycare, moving me closer to my goal of self-sustainability, plus tons and tons of veggies!

Well, I will if all goes well. Wish me luck and good weather!

Share
Posted on

Eco-Conscious? I’m Eco-Neurotic!

bunnyluv

Eco-Conscious? I’m Eco-Neurotic! I worry about each and every ingredient used in my skin and body care just like I worry about each and every ingredient that goes in my food.

(And to keep going with the food analogy…. ) I worry about these ingredients from soup to nuts: where they came from, how they were grown and harvested, how they were stored, etc.

So I spend alot of time researching. Unfortunately, it’s a moving target.

I stopped using rosewood essential oil and substituted ho wood essential oil when I learned of rosewood’s endangered status. But like so many trees and plants today, ho wood is suffering from over exploitation and habitat destruction, and is now also considered threatened.

Ditto for amyris essential oil, which I use to substitute for sandalwood.

(check out “Unethical Use of Rare and Threatened Plant and Animal Products in the Aroma Industry” by Tony Burfiel)

The plight of animals in the beauty industry is well known. Legislators consistently let us down when it comes to animal cruelty. The much-lauded “Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011” does little to live up to its name and will likely result in even more animal testing.

These things could, and do, drive me crazy. Sometimes I feel like I’ve hit the wall, but I can’t give up.

An overwhelming majority of people say they would choose natural, cruelty-free products if they were more available. I’m dedicated to helping create this reality 🙂

Share
Posted on

The Minimalist Garden Grows….

skin serum

My mother-in-law remarks, “So now that gardening season is winding down, you can get back to your crafts.” Uhhh…. Say what?

Actually, I’m herbal crafting all the time! It’s partly for my business– I want my skin and bodycare to always be as fresh as possible- and partly because, well, herbal crafting is what I’m into!

My focus this Summer was skin serums: deeply penetrating, deeply moisturizing, lightly textured facial oils that sink right in to leave skin soft and dewy, but never greasy.

A minimalist at heart, I’m content using straight hemp seed or rosehip seed oil. But my mom, who is a bit more refined, put in a special request for a special serum, and the experimenting began….

These balancing, nourishing serums will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks in three different blends, adding to the new varieties of cleansing grains and face masks now available in the online store.

I’ve got a few more surprises up my sleeve too, including news of a major expansion (garden and otherwise!) but those will have to keep for now 🙂

Share
Posted on

Love essential oils? Or Avoid them?

essential oils

Talking with a friend who’s just beginning to use essential oils has me reflecting on my own journey with these remarkable (and occasionally controversial) oils. It was an interest in aromatherapy that put me on the path to herbalism, so I’m curious about how others view and use these plant treasures.

Do you love essential oils? Do you use them individually, or make your own blends? How do you use them?

Or do you choose not to use them? Some people consider them “unnatural” because they are distilled. I remember being a bit surprised when my friend Melissa of Naturally Good Soaps posted in the Herbal Pantry that her herbal teacher called essential oils “drugs” and flatly stated they should never be used.

It was sage Becki of La Yerberia who reminded us that the origin of the word drug likely derives from the 14th century word “droge”, loosely meaning dry plant.

As I’ve worked with essential oils over the years, I’ve come to feel that less is more (my bodycare products are made with the lowest-possible concentrations). I don’t actually consider them “essential”, but would be so sad to have to live without them! They bring a depth of aroma that fragrance oils could never capture, not to mention psychological and physical therapeutic benefits.

What do you think? Please comment here, on my Facebook page, or Tweet me. Thanks!

Share