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It’s getting embarrassing…

fresh-cut Tulips from my garden
fresh-cut Tulips from my garden

Several people have asked me recently, “Are you still making your herbal products?”. It’s kindof getting embarrassing because I am making things all the time but no one seems to know…

My fault, of course! I’m not good with keeping up my newsletter and blog posts or consistently updating my Twitter and Instagram feeds.

It’s a busy time for us on the farm right now as well, getting all the seeds started and plants into the ground.

But I do have skin balms available here in the online shop. Made with Watermelon Seed oil, Mango Butter, and Virgin Coconut oil, they are a richly moisturizing, dry skin treat. Perfect for the rough skin of gardening hands 🙂

Salves and soaps will be coming back soon.

 

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Got Skin? Get Yarrow.

yarrow flowers close-up

Yarrow flowers close-up (image courtesy of trakaislapsis/123RF)

 

Yarrow is a plant many people recognize as it’s commonly seen in gardens and growing wild. It has a pretty flower and is a beneficial companion plant both for vegetables and herbs.

It’s the go-to herb to treat wounds and cuts as it disinfects, stops bleeding by speeding blood clotting, promotes tissue repair, and reduces inflammation.

(To get the medicine though, it has to be the Yarrow with white flowers. Modern, colorful cultivars don’t have it.)

In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, Yarrow is astringent so it’s used in skincare to reduce the size of pores and the appearance of fine lines.

Most often found in creams, balms, salves, and toners, Yarrow makes a wonderfully soothing bath herb for irritated, itchy skin.

(Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough take to the bath!)

* A small caution here: If you are allergic to Ragweed, you may be allergic to Yarrow. Do a patch test before using. Prolonged use of Yarrow may cause photo-sensitivity.

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How to use Sage Balm

fresh sage leaves

Herbal balms are a simple, natural way to care for your skin. Similar to herbal salves which are made with oil and wax, balms also contain vegetable butter, making them extra rich and moisturizing. Balms can be used for both healing and beauty. I use them all the time for everything from daily moisturizer to gardening nicks and scrapes to seriously dry hands and feet.

Garden Sage is a great herb to use topically, alone or in combination with other herbs. Because Sage has antiseptic properties, it can be used to treat cuts and wounds. Sage is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and has been shown to help with acne as well as easing the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

Of special interest to me as I’m hitting the big five-oh this year and spend so much time out in the sun digging in the dirt, Sage contains calcium, which aids cell renewal, and vitamin A, an antioxidant that provides protection against free radicals that damage skin cells and cause premature aging of the skin

<– This is Sage oil that’s just been strained, ready to be made into Sage Balm. It’s one of my new creations that will be available when our online store reopens in the Spring.

But you don’t have to wait ’til then to try some! If you’re into DIY, here’s a great article to help you get started making your own herbal bodycare:


How To Make Salves, Ointments and Balms

by Lucinda Warner, Herbalist and Naturopath at Whispering Earth


Hit me up with questions if you have them! I’m happy to talk balm anytime 🙂

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Calendula brings the Glow

calendula petals in oil

Cold, grey, and rainy today. I’m thinking about cozying up with one of my favorite plants, a golden beauty long associated with fire and the Sun, Calendula.

Calendula officinalis is her botanical name, but she has been known by many different names including Pot Marigold, Merrybud, Marygold, Summer’s Bride, and Ruddles.

Calendula’s petals, leaves, and stem contain carotenoids which are vitamin A precursors with antioxidant activity. Used topically, it’s excellent for all skin types, and especially good for sensitive, dehydrated / dry, chapped / inflamed skin, wounds and burns.

I use Calendula in one of my skin care blends for its ability to improve skin’s condition by refining pores and encouraging cell renewal.

Another effect more difficult to measure is how Calendula can cast a little warm sunshine onto cold, grey, rainy moods. Settling into a hot tub full of Calendula bath tea is one of my favorite ways to relax and soothe my skin and nerves.

‘Bathtub therapy’ seems not to be practiced by many people in the U.S. I saw a statistic go by recently saying 50% never take baths. Wow! No wonder everybody is so grumpy all the time. Don’t know how I’d manage without them.

If you’ve never made your own bath tea, I have directions and recipe ideas in this post. Give it a try. Take some time, slow down, have a nice long soak.

After the bath, massage a bit of Calendula oil into your damp skin. You’ll be refreshed, moisturized, glowing.

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Let’s Bee the Balm

herbal balm

Borrowing from Caroline Casey, host-creator and weaver of context for “The Visionary Activist Show” on Pacifica radio station KPFA, “The world is on fire, so let’s bee the balm!”.

The idea of bee-ing the balm is why I started gardening with medicinal herbs. Besides being medicine for me, they’re also medicine for bees and other insects, animals, other plant communities, and the earth itself. Gardening (like veganism) is direct action.

I take it literally too, as I make vegan skin balms. I’ve been in that place where you try to be blind to an ingredient you don’t want that’s in a product you need. Using that product leaves you feeling, you know, not great.

That’s why I became such a stickler. It’s why I had to give up making water-based creams. They really require synthetic preservatives and I couldn’t continue to compromise my values, which in turn compromises any value I might give to my community and the planet. It stressed me out.

The gift in that was I had to learn my craft in a whole new way, to get more creative. Which led me to where I am now, making *plantastic* salves and balms that soothe the mind as much as the skin. I never hide ingredients behind a “proprietary blend” label. I’m proud to share everything I use and it’s all listed on my website and on the label because I want you to feel good too.

 

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