Monday, January 28, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
For so many, sleep eludes us. We get through the day being groggy, grumpy and not up to our best selves. Looking for a safe, healthy remedy, I purchased a product from the co-op called Calms Forte'. I've used it before with some success and thought I'd give it another try. It does work pretty well, and as usual, my husband asked, "what's in it?" The main four botanicals in Calms Forte' are Passionflower, Oatstraw, Hops and Chamomile. So, my next mission was to learn about the ingredients which led me to Mountain Rose Herbs, and look what I found! A nighttime tea with passionflower and hops!
- Lemon Balm, a mint with a lemony scent
- Hibiscus Flowers, also known as red sorrel - has a high level of anti-oxidants
- Chamomile Flowers, used as a medicine by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans
- Passionflower, popular as a sedative (yay!) See my other posts for more on Passionflower
- Hops Flowers, first mentioned in European literature in 1079 and used as a sleep aid and to reduce libido. Monks used it to help young males remain chaste!
- Valerian Root, reduces anxiety. The root smells horrible! Suprisingly, the flowers don't.
- Lavender Flowers, can't say enough good things here! My favorite herb & essential oil.
Notes of caution: Chamomile is in the ragweed family and may cause a reaction if you're extremely sensitive to ragweed.
Did you know that avoiding excessive hops consumption (beer) can help men retain potency?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
- Protects us from damage (chemical, biological, thermal and electrical)
- Helps to maintain our body temperature
- Regulates moisture
- Prevents loss of minerals
- Converts ultraviolet rays into vitamin D3
- Responds to sensory stimulus - heat, cold, pain, pleasure & pressure
- Metabolizes and stores fat
- Secretes sebum, a lubricating substance
- Assists in excretion of waste & toxins via sweating
Monday, January 21, 2013
So every morning I take the smallest vessel I have - a shot glass, and add a pinch of almond meal and a dab of yogurt and voila! Exfoliating face scrub! It's free and I always have the ingredients on hand. I make the almond meal as part of my homemade granola process. I grind almonds in the food processor for the granola but leave a 1/4 cup or so in the processor to grind a little longer.
I have to say, it works quite well. Yogurt is a mild, bleaching exfoliant and the lactic acid dissolves dead skin cells. My face feels soft and not at all dried out. Almond meal is high in skin-pampering emollients and exfoliates dry skin too. Here's my morning routine, yogurt/almond meal on left and my version of Rich and Royal Regeneration Flower Cream (from Organic Body Care). It contains macadamia nut oil, rose hip seed oil, beeswax, rose hydrosol, vitamin E capsule, and I use frankincense, lavender, geranium and ylang ylang essential oils. An essential oil spreadsheet coming soon!
Rose hip seed oil is pale orange-red in color. It's high in essential fatty acids which makes it perfect for mature, environmentally damaged skin. It softens and heals skin damaged by scars and extreme weather exposure. Kind of like today - it's been zero here with wind gusting to 25 mph. The wind chill advisory is in effect for -25 through tomorrow night!
Here's a spreadsheet that lists the key properties of carrier oils and a few miscellaneous ingredients at the bottom. Let me know of others and I'll gladly add them to the list.
What's your favorite go to carrier oil or essential oil, and why?
It's a great feeling of satisfaction to know the ingredients of what you put on your face every day. In fact, choosing the carrier oils, butters and essential oils is as much fun as watching them emulsify into their creaminess. The recipes in Stephanie Tourles' book are flexible in their ingredients, for example, my favorite body lotion can be made with your choice of soybean, almond, apricot kernel or macadamia nut base oils. It's wise to learn about the properties of these oils before purchasing your choice, and thankfully, Organic Body Care Recipes has devoted 50 pages to an Ingredient Dictionary. I chose macadamia nut oil after reading about its properties that help mature and environmentally damaged skin. It's helpful for sunburned and windburned skin too!
The ingredient decisions you make are especially important if you make lotions as gifts. My best friend is allergic to tree nuts, so macadamia nut oil would reek havoc for her and probably cause a nasty reaction. When making lotions for her, I choose apricot kernel or soybean. So the same lotion can have very different effects depending on the carrier oil you use.
When one of the girls mentioned that she made her own skin care formulas, I was intrigued. She brought out a book of recipes and I spent the rest of the morning pouring over it with excitement! I've always liked home made soaps and choosing my own scents for lotions. My favorite shop, back in the day (1980), was the original Body Shop in Berkeley, CA. They opened a branch in San Anselmo, where I used to live, and my girlfriends and I used to spend hours in there choosing scents for our shampoos & lotions.
When my friend with the book brought out one of her hand made creams in a little cobalt blue jar, it was a defining moment for me. I wanted to go home and throw out my store bought stuff and start concocting right away!