Aromatherapy Ylang – Ylang.

Cananga odorata

Ylang ylang is basically a tropical tree indigenous to Asia, especially Indonesia. The blossoms of this tree are used to prepare an essential oil that is widely used in manufacturing perfumes as well as in aromatherapy. The ylang-ylang essential oil is extracted by steam distilling the highly fragrant flowers of the tree. Ylang-ylang flowers have a profound and sweet aroma something akin to that of jasmine and in many cultures, they are scattered on the beds of the newly married as a sign of good luck or wishing fertility. For a long time, the essential oil obtained from ylang-ylang flowers was regarded as an aphrodisiac, denoting that its aroma stimulates the desire for sexual activities.

Ylang ylang essential oil possesses other therapeutic properties as well. It is comforting and soothing oil that brings about a general feeling of wellness. In addition, this essential oil is also said to be effective in lowering blood pressure, especially when the condition is a result of tension or shock. Since this essential oil has a very potent aroma, it remains for a longer period and even has the aptitude to suppress other comparatively lighter fragrances. As the fragrance of ylang-ylang is enduring, it works fine as a fixative in several perfumes. In fact, when ylang-ylang essential oil is combined with other suitable aromatic oils, it becomes all the more potent. This oil is also used in the manufacture of skin care products, especially those meant for treating oily skin as well as stressed skin.

The ylang-ylang trees bear blooms that vary in color – pink, cream, mauve or yellow. These flowers have a potent, unusual and flowery scent. Owing to its potent aroma which is similar to that of jasmine (botanical name Jasminum officinale) – an expensive flower, ylang-ylang is often referred to as ‘the poor man’s jasmine’.

Generally, the ylang-ylang flowers are collected in the morning for flowers picked during this time of the day are best for preparing essential oil through steam distillation. In fact, the aroma of ylang-ylang flowers is most potent during the morning and afternoon. Normally, the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers collected in the morning are of superior quality in the first distillation, while the latter distillations are somewhat lesser in excellence. The lesser quality ylang-ylang essential oil is sold as Cananga instead of ylang-ylang.

As discussed earlier, the ylang-ylang trees produce flowers having extremely sweet and floral scent. In the Malayan language, the term ylang-ylang actually denotes ‘flower of flowers’ or a superior quality flower. The ylang-ylang essential oil was used as an active element in the well-known Macassar hair oil during the Victorian era. Both men and women widely used the Macassar hair oil with a view to encouraging glossy hair growth. Presently, ylang-ylang essential oil is extensively used to manufacture floral perfumes.

Generally, ylang-ylang oil is considered to be warming and stimulating oil which also possesses aphrodisiac properties. The use of this essential oil has the aptitude to cause relaxation as well as inspire and inculcate a feeling of wellness among people. Ylang ylang essential oil is excellent for comforting the nerves, especially during stress, and also alleviates restiveness and tetchiness. A few drops of this essential oil added to bathwater or watered down for use as massage oil helps in promoting sound sleep. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also said to be highly effective in treating rapid breathing and palpitations or tremors. This essential oil is also helpful in alleviating premenstrual tension and depression. The other therapeutic properties of ylang-ylang essential oil include its effectiveness to combat typhus, malaria and other types of fevers.

It may be noted here that ylang-ylang essential oil is frequently used in the form of candles, in baths or in oil burners to create a romantic setting or to work as an aphrodisiac prior to making love. In addition, this essential oil may also be diluted in suitable carrier oil and used for massage. The ylang-ylang blooms possess a potent flowery scent that invokes the feelings of the tropics. Using this essential oil as a dab in a cotton ball endures for several hours.

Like in the case of rose and jasmine, ylang-ylang flowers too must be picked early in the morning and prepared immediately for steam distillation. In fact, ylang-ylang flowers are processed by steam distillation infractions. In other words, this means that the steam distillation of the ylang-ylang flowers is stopped at various stages of the process and the oil is collected during the intervals. After the oil is collected, the distillation process is started once again.

As in the case of all other essential oils, even the quality of ylang-ylang essential oil also differs from one distillery to another. In addition, the quality of this essential oil also varies depending on the crop condition for a particular season and the time selected for harvesting the flowers and distilling them. In fact, very little proficiency is required on the part of the distiller as this wonderful oil can be obtained without much effort. The fact that ylang-ylang essential oil is quite inexpensive denotes that there is little or no room for the distillers’ art to produce this oil.

In fact, there are three fractions in the process involving preparing the ylang-ylang essential oil by vapor distillation. In other words, the distillation process is halted thrice. The first distillation of ylang-ylang flowers yields the highest quality of the essential oil and is believed to be possessing maximum insubstantial fragrance. This quality of ylang-ylang essential oil is highly prized by the perfume manufacturers. In fact, the different stages of steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers are determined according to the principle that cannot be easily described. Nevertheless, the distillation stage is split by the time taken to distil each fraction of the process.

While Ylang Extra is the most costly quality of essential oil obtained from the ylang-ylang flowers, Ylang I, II and III as well as Ylang Complete are also the complete distillation of this essential oil with no fractions or breaks during the process.

Ylang ylang is a superior variety of sesquiterpene (any specific terpene whose molecules contains 1.5 times as many atoms as a normal terpene). Ylang ylang III is the final fraction of the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of the plant and it is collected during the final hours of the distillation process. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is somewhat viscous, cruder and not as sweet oil as the other varieties of this essential oil. This variety of ylang-ylang essential oil is also more or less wholly made of sesquiterpenes. It may be mentioned here that sesquiterpenes are basically a category of chemical substances naturally present in higher plant and also found naturally in different alcohols. It may also be noted that sesquiterpenes are hardly present in volatile or unstable aromatic oils. When sesquiterpenes are extracted from the plants, these chemicals are known to invigorate the liver and endocrine glands. In fact, the potent antispasmodic and sedative properties of the ylang-ylang essential oil are attributed to the presence of sesquiterpenes.

Inhaling ylang-ylang essential oil is beneficial for overcoming fear as well as nervous tension. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil should be considered foremost among all essential oils when an individual requires help to regulate as well as balance his or her nervous system. This essential oil is effective in facilitating one’s respiration for slower and more rhythmic breathing and is useful for treating panic attacks. Findings of several types of research have demonstrated that ylang-ylang essential oil invigorates the central nervous system and facilitates alleviating depression.

The essential oil obtained by steam distilling the flowers of ylang-ylang plant is a wonderful natural treatment for comforting tachycardia (rapid heart rate) as well as high blood pressure or hypertension. Ylang ylang essential oil is frequently used in massage oil lubricants and is reputed to provide relief from throbbing muscles and pains. This essential oil is beneficial for treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as mood swings. In addition, it is also an effective remedy for lessening emotional blockage or congestion in the region of the heart.

Ylang ylang essential oil is specifically feminine or yin oil and is said to be obsessive and alive with sensations. You may try using this essential oil at times when you require integration as well as healing the shadow elements of the Divine Feminine. Ylang ylang essential oil helps to activate the Divine Feminine’s inexplicable magnetism as well as an aptitude for living life completely. The essential oil obtained by steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers invigorates sensations of delight and self-confidence. It can also be effective in prevailing over performance nervousness.

This oil is regularly used in fragrances meant for men and is said to be a therapeutic oil for men. Ylang ylang essential oil endorses a man’s relation and expression of the womanly and instinctive part of his nature. You may consider combining ylang-ylang essential oil with petitgrain, bergamot or any spice or wood oil to diminish the intoxicating flowery quintessence of ylang-ylang essential oil. At the same time, ylang-ylang essential oil has the aptitude to facilitate counterbalancing protective coping approaches that are able to result in aggressive types of the communique. In fact, ylang-ylang essential oil helps to coordinate the mind and emotions. At the same time, it mitigates present attitudes, mental approaches as well as opinions. It also encourages straightforward communication with other people. You may use ylang-ylang essential oil to comfort the nerves in stressful circumstances.

Ylang ylang is beneficial for the functioning of the kidneys as well as the adrenal gland. In addition, this essential oil is excellent for people with feeble knees and suffering from loss of bladder control.

Traditionally, ylang-ylang essential oil has been used for beauty and skin care since the hormones of this plant encourage the renewal of the cells. Using this essential oil bring in a balance in moisture retention by the skin, which is effective for maintaining the natural sebum production by the skin. This particular attribute of ylang-ylang essential oil makes it an appropriate remedy for different types of skin – sensitive, oily as well as dry mature. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil promotes the growth of healthy and lusty hair and may perhaps also be beneficial for people enduring split ends. To obtain the utmost benefit, add a few drops of this oil to your preferred hair conditioner or shampoo and use it on your scalp.

In aromatherapy, ylang-ylang oil is primarily used for its potent antiseptic properties that help to comfort, soothe, balance as well as work as a tranquilizer. In addition, ylang-ylang essential oil is also beneficial as a stimulant for the reproductive system and has the aptitude to heal sexual problems of an individual. The other therapeutic properties of this essential oil include treating problems, such as insomnia or sleeplessness, hyperactivity in children and tension. Moreover, this essential oil is effective in alleviating problems associated with oily and arid/ dry skin. It is effective for most types of skin care. Ylang ylang essential oil also supports hair growth.

Ylang ylang is an effective essential oil that soothes as well as provides comfort. This attribute of ylang-ylang helps to alleviate nervousness, depression, shock, insecurity, anger as well as obstinacy. When you use this oil it will facilitate in overcoming all such problems. In addition, similar to the essential oil obtained from rose (botanical name rosa Damascena) and sandalwood essential oil (botanical name santalum album), the oil extracted from steam distilling ylang-ylang flowers also acts as an aphrodisiac. Moreover, ylang-ylang essential oil often forms an active element of several perfumes and cosmetics. It is also used to flavor foods and beverages.

General Properties:

  • antiseptic
  • aphrodisiac
  • relaxing
  • stimulant

Blends Well With:

  • bergamot
  • jasmine
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • patchouli
  • rose
  • rosewood
  • sandalwood

General Use:

  • anemia
  • anorexia
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • boils and carbuncles
  • colds
  • coughs
  • dandruff
  • depression
  • flatulence
  • fluid retention
  • glandular fever
  • gout
  • immune system
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • low blood pressure
  • mouth infections
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • nervous exhaustion
  • poor circulation
  • poor memory
  • rheumatism
  • rhinitis
  • scabies
  • sinusitis
  • ulcers
  • urinary infections
  • whooping cough
  • wounds and sores

Precautions:

Be careful, high concentrations of ylang-ylang essential oil can cause nausea or a headache.

A Simple Recipe for Your Hands Using Lavender.

Manicurists charge a lot for hot oil hand treatments.
Here is a delightfully simple recipe you can create for less.
1 tablespoon olive or other cooking oil
1 teaspoon almond extract or 1 drop lavender essential oil {optional}
2 small plastic bags that will fit over your hands
1. Place the oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on medium-high for a few seconds until it is warm, not hot. Add almond extract or lavender, if desired. Stir.
2. Rub the oil on your hands, massaging your fingers and palms. Cover your hands with the plastic bags and wrap a clean hand towel over the bags. Sit comfortably for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the bags and rinse your hands with warm water, massaging away the oil. Gently pat dry with the towel and apply a light hand lotion.

Good Night Beauty Regime.

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle. To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed. To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well. To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.

How To Apply A Face Mask, Recipes to Get You Started & A Little Bit About Wrinkles!

Woman have used face masks for centuries to clean and tone the skin and give it a glowing vitality. Face masks give their best results if used regularly once a week is not often.
1. To make the process easier, sit or stand in front of a mirror. Cover your shoulders with a clean towel and have a damp washrag or hand towel ready for wiping up any drips.
2. Apply the mask with a clean cotton ball or with your fingers. The mask should cover your face from the hairline to the chin, missing only the area around the eyes.
3. Leave the mask on for 15 minutes the first few times you use it. Later, if your skin is not irritated and you like the mask’s effects, you can slowly increase the time to 30 minutes. To best enjoy the facial mask, lie down, shut your eyes, and relax while the mask is working.
4. When the time is up, remove the mask with your fingers over a basin. If the mask has dried, splash warm water on your face and try again to remove the mask with your fingers. Then use a wet washcloth to remove the last residue of the mask. Finally, splash your face with cool water, pat the skin dry, and apply a toner.
Facial Cleansing Mask.
This simple recipe is aimed at deep cleansing and is especially suited for young faces and the treatment of oily skin.
1 packet dry yeast
3 drops lemon juice
2 teaspoons water
1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast, lemon juice, and water vigorously until thick paste forms. If necessary, add more water to achieve the correct consistency for applying to the face.
2. Pat the mixture on the face, avoiding the eyes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Pat skin dry.
Honey Mask.
The ingredients in this mask would make up a solid breakfast, but they’re nourishing for your skin too!
1/2 cup hot water
10 tablespoons quick oats
1/2 apple, cored but with peel on
2 heaping tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg white
1. Clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser. In a small bowl, stir the oats into the hot water until you have a smooth mixture. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a paste.
2. Put the apple, yogurt, and egg white in a blender or food processor and pulse for 45 seconds just to mix. Now add oatmeal mixture and pulse for 20 seconds more.
3. Apply this mask evenly to the face, avoiding the eyes, and let sit for 15 minutes or until skin feels tight. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat skin dry.
Yogurt and Oatmeal Deep-Cleansing Mask.
Imagine!
You can mix up this deep-cleansing face mask for less than a spa-treatment.
Your face and pocketbook will thank you.
1 tablespoon finely ground oatmeal
1 tablespoon yogurt {any kind}
1/2 teaspoon honey
1. Before starting, clean your face thoroughly with any natural cleanser so that you can immediately apply the deep-cleansing facial mixture when it has been stirred together.
2. In a clean bowl, combine the yogurt and oatmeal and mix to a spreadable consistency. In a small glass bowl sitting in a larger bowl of hot water, warm the honey and pour it into the yogurt and oatmeal mixture. Using a spoon, blend the ingredients thoroughly.
3. Immediately apply the mask to your face, avoiding the eyes, and let it stay on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash  it off with warm water. Pat skin dry and apply a toner and moisturizer to your face.
Green Clay Purifying Face Mask.
Green clay also known as bentonite is the most commonly used clay in face masks. It can absorb large quantities of water. In this mask, it is used to draw out excess sebum and dirt from deep down, making the mask suited to oily complexions. Green clay powder can be purchased online or in health food stores.
Palmarosa is an essential oil available at health food or “new age” shops.
1 teaspoon apricot kernel oil
2 drops palmarosa
1 tablespoon green clay
Warm water
1. Clean your face thoroughly using any natural cleanser. In a small dish, mix the apricot oil and the palmarosa together. Put the green clay in a small bowl and stir in the apricot oil mixture. Add just enough warm water to make a spreadable paste. With your fingers, work the mixture thoroughly to incorporate all the ingredients.
2. Apply the mask immediately, avoiding the eyes. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. As the moisture evaporates, you will feel the mask tighten.
3. Rinse the mask off with warm water, pat skin dry, and follow with an application of toner and then of moisturizer.
One-Minute Substitute: Instant Grape Cleanser for Your Face.
Here’s a sweet way to clean and refresh your skin.
Split 3 or 4 large green or red grapes, remove any seeds and rub the fleshy interior on your face and neck. The grapes condition your skin and reduce dryness, restoring suppleness. Rinse with cool water and gently pat skin dry.

Wrinkles!

A woman has never heard anyone stating that men appear to be prudent as well as eminent when they have wrinkles while women having wrinkles seem to look old. While the baby boomers of the day draw close to middle age, sales of cosmetics are rocketing. The most widespread outlook toward aging in present times is, ‘age elegantly by combating it in each stage of the way’. In fact, you will find that most of the bathroom cabinets are packed with jars, chemical peels, elixirs, and potions that intend to hoodwink Mother Nature. However, it is fateful that wrinkles triumph every time when one tries to conceal them.

It is unfortunate that in spite of our passion and endeavors to wipe out wrinkles, they are a normal feature of the aging process. They occur owing to the slow but steady erosion of the most external skin layer known as epidermis that is made up of lifeless tissue. This part of our skin is replaced by new dead tissue that originates at the base of the lining. In fact, wrinkles form an everlasting aspect of aging skin, as they come from the dermis that lies deeper compared to the epidermis.

The cells in the dermis region of the skin start dying and also shrink in individuals who are over 25 years of age. As a result of this, the suppleness, as well as pliability of the skin, also begins to decline. Any kind of shriveling of the skin tissue in the dermis region results in wrinkles on the outer layer of the skin (epidermis). In addition, as people age, their dermis turns out to be more inflexible. The stretching of the dermis is directly related to developing wrinkles – any increase in the expansion of the dermis results in the development of more wrinkles on the epidermis. And, since our face and the facial muscles are very active, usually there is a significant development of wrinkles in these areas of the body.

In opposition to the well-accepted conviction, dry skin or dehydration is not responsible for developing wrinkles. However, pulling a face (frowning) and narrowing your eyes (squinting) too often do result in the development of wrinkles, as these acts stretch the dermis all the time. In addition, scrubbing your skin using any caustic or harsh substance, a deficient intake of vitamins as well as minerals, smoking, consuming alcoholic beverages, damage caused to the skin due to radiation from exposing oneself to too much sunlight, and even sleeping on your stomach or any side contributes to the development of wrinkles.

Using specific herbal products and dietary supplements may be helpful in preventing the development of new wrinkles. For instance, it has been found that taking a diet that is rich in saturated fat content may make your skin dry. Hence, you should ensure that you take a diet that has low-fat content, but includes lots of fiber. In addition, you should preferably use monounsaturated oils and polyunsaturated oils. Also, ensure that your diet includes essential fatty acids in the way of omega 3 oils. Some of the healthy oils that you may use to avoid wrinkles include corn, sunflower, safflower, olive, sesame, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, canola, hazelnut, and almond.

Moreover, you should also keep away from shortening animal fats, coconut oil and hydrogenated oil. On the contrary, you should take a diet that incorporates plenty of raw vegetable and fruits; whole grains; lean meats, dairy products having low fat; and also drink lots of clean water.

Some of the other essential nutrients that you need to prevent new wrinkles from developing are discussed in brief below.

Vitamin A plus beta-carotene: You should take antioxidants that have the aptitude to diminish the damage to cells. Having an extremely dry skin may possibly be a sign of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin A. Therefore, in a number of instances using cod liver oil that has extremely high vitamin A content on the dehydrated skin areas may provide additional relief compared to the lotions sold commercially. Also, consume lots of sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, as they provide vitamin A. You may also use dietary supplements in measures that will not cause any harm to your body. Most importantly, consuming lots of carrots, green leafy vegetable, and fresh fruits may help in encouraging as well as sustaining a hale and hearty skin.

B complex vitamins are vital for your skin’s health. It may be noted that formation of cracks as well as a line in the region of the lips may possibly be an indication of the fact that you are suffering from a deficiency of B vitamins. Food products like eggs, chicken as well as whole wheat contain B vitamins and may help in encouraging the health of your skin and make it appear more youthful.

Vitamin C is useful for repairing the connective tissues, which are made up of the skin’s dermis layer.

Vitamin E aids in lessening scratches and blemishes, while helping in repairing the skin. In addition, vitamin E is also effective in alleviating dehydrated as well as rough skin.

Unlike many other types of vitamins, you may directly apply vitamin E to your skin. Most of the vitamin E preparations available commercially do not contain this vitamin in adequate strength and, hence, they do not offer excellent results. Hence, it is advisable that you break open a vitamin E capsule or, alternately, directly apply wheat germ oil.

In addition to these vitamins, you may also apply honey facials as they aid in making the skin softer as well as more elastic. Apply soft, raw honey on your face and allow it to remain for about 15 minutes. Subsequently, wash your face with cold water using a washcloth.

Filter one pint of tea prepared from dehydrated peppermint leaf and add it to one pint of apple cider vinegar. This blend is an excellent facial rinse and is especially recommended for people having dehydrated skin. You may also use watered down myrrh extract, which is believed to be an excellent herbal skin conditioner.

Aloe vera facilitates the healing of damaged skin cells and may be used in the form of a lotion or gel.

Several generations of native Indian Americans have used jojoba oil as a skin conditioner as well as to enhance the quality of their skin. The structure of jojoba oil is akin to the natural sebum present in our skin.

Though the name suggests some kind of earth, Redmond clay is basically a conventional herbal therapy used to tone up the skin.

Comfrey, marshmallow, and Irish moss are herbs that possess the ability to make the skin relax or soothe it. These herbs are known to possess emollient properties and have the aptitude to help in lubricating the dehydrated skin. They may be used in various forms, including wet compresses, rinses after preparing a tea from them, or utilized in a gadget called facial mist machine.

Herbs like witch hazel, lady’s mantle, and marigold are regarded to be natural astringent agents that have the ability to tone as well as invigorate the skin. These herbs may be used to prepare a tea, which is used as a rinse, or also sprayed on the face using a good mist atomizer. In addition, herbs like yarrow, violet, elderflower and chamomile work as excellent cleansers. On the other hand, thyme and lavender possess antiseptic properties and possess the aptitude to refresh the skin.

It is advisable that you may also use herbal ointments and creams enclosing comfrey, marigold, olive oil, peppermint oil and marshmallow, as they are effective in repairing damaged skin.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is effective in diminishing the wrinkles from appearing and also put off development of new wrinkles. In order to achieve this, it is advisable that you use face oil that helps to nourish the skin. Prepare this face oil by adding one drop of rose essential oil plus two drops of helichrysum or immortelle essential oil (commonly called ever last) to approximately 30 grams of the essential oil of rose hip seed. Store this blend in an opaque glass bottle and spread on this mixture to your face each morning, soon after cleansing. This mixture of essential oils has a wonderful aroma and also helps to sustain the moistness of the skin.

In Addition

Besides using commercial cosmetic products, herbal remedies, supplements and aromatherapy, you may do a few more things to prevent the development of wrinkles. Be careful to keep away from exposing yourself to the sun for too long or during the mid-day. In fact, when the new or young skin cells are exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period, they have the same appearance as those of the old skin that has developed wrinkles naturally. You should know that exposing yourself to the sun in an unprotected manner can definitely result in premature aging. The sunlight during midday causes maximum damage to the skin. Therefore, it is advisable that you should take care not to expose yourself to the sun between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm.

Even if it is essential for you to go outdoors during the day, you should use potent sunscreens having an elevated SPF (sun protection factor). You need to apply these sunscreens no less than 30 minutes prior to going out in the sun and you should apply them once more after having a swim. In addition, surfaces that are extremely reflective, for instance, water, concrete, and sand, may result in significant damage by the sun as these surfaces exaggerate the effect of sunlight on the cells of the skin. In addition, tanning booths may also cause as much damage to the skin as sunlight during midday.

In addition, you will benefit by using a good quality moisturizer every day. Although using a moisturizer will not help to stop the formation of wrinkles, it can definitely enhance the skin texture considerably and make it look softer and gleaming. You may also whip the egg white as fine as that of meringue and apply it to your face. Allow it to stay for about 20 minutes and then wash your face. This technique will aid in tightening your skin for the short term – usually, the effect of this endures for just a couple of hours. It is advisable that you use soaps and cleansers that are mild and those that will not dehydrate or remove the oils that aid in maintaining the suppleness of the skin as well as nourishing it. You may use soaps like Neutrogena, which are sufficiently mild and never disturb the skin’s normal balance.

At the same time, you need to practice sleeping on your back, because when you sleep on your stomach or any side, it may result in the development of unusual wrinkles on your face. Similarly, if you squeeze up the pillow and cuddle up your face in it, it is likely that this will crumple the facial tissues and develop unwanted lines.

If you sincerely wish to avoid the formation of wrinkles it is essential that you quit a few bad habits – drinking and smoking tobacco.

It has been noted that people who smoke generally have noticeably more wrinkles compared to those who don’t. In addition, people smoking tobacco also age more prematurely and faster. In effect, smoking reduces the supply of oxygen to the body and this may result in poor blood circulation to the face causing further damage to the epidermis. Moreover, when one is actually smoking, his/ her face contracts in a number of ways and this may also add to the development of wrinkles and creases.

People who want to avoid wrinkles should know that consumption of alcoholic beverages may result in the swelling of the face that causes the skin to expand and, in this way, creates wrinkles. In addition, alcohol may also deprive one’s body of the essential nourishments that encourage the robust functioning of the skin’s cells.

You also need to wear sunglasses and hats in order to put off frowning, straining your eyes and also damage due to the sun’s rays.

In case you are living in a dry climate, you need to use a humidifier in your residence. Although the moisture from the humidifier will not help to stop or treat wrinkles, it may definitely diminish their appearance or other people noticing them.

Ensure that you use facial massages that augment blood circulation and also enhance stimulation. In addition, you should work to maintain the best possible weight. When you have excessive weight or become obese, you may have wrinkles and floppy skin after losing those extra pounds.

Regular exercise helps to improve blood circulation to the cells of the skin and also results in the general improvement of oxygenation. It has been found that the skin of people who undertake regular work-outs in general has an enhanced suppleness and density. In addition, regular exercise adds a healthy radiance to the skin.

In addition, it is recommended that you do mudra and shoulder stand practices in yoga to avoid as well as control the formation of wrinkles.

Practice various relaxation methods to deal with stress. When people are under pressure, they usually frown too much and this results in the development of ugly creases and lines on their face. There is no doubt that people would any day have a preference to laugh lines than unsightly furrows and ridges on their face.

Although the wrinkle creams are usually very expensive, often they do not prove to be worth the claims made by some. Therefore, prior to spending a fortune, it is advisable that you do some homework to evaluate the constituents as well as the proportions of chemical substances present in some wrinkle cream/ ointment brands. A lot of times, the price of a wrinkle cream is based on its brand name instead of its contents.

Other Beneficial Herbs to Consider

  • Amla
  • Acerola
  • Andiroba
  • Avocado
  • Chaga Mushroom
  • Cleavers
  • Evening Primrose
  • Frankincense
  • Maqui
  • Tamanu Nut Oil

A Few Soothing And Nurturing Skin Care Recipes To Tempt You!

Soothing Massage Oil.

1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil

Dried pot marigold petals

12 drops essential oil of rose geranium

12 drops essential oil of lavender

10 drops essential pine oil or oil of cypress

Place the safflower oil in a glass jar and add as many freshly dried pot marigold petals as possible.

Cap the bottle and place in the sun for 4-5 days. Filter off the petals and squeeze out any retained oil from them before discarding. The oil will now be deep orange and fully charged with the active healing principles of calendula. Mix the other essential oils into the infused oil of marigold, bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Soothing Foot Bath.

This relaxing foot soak will work wonders on your entire body.

Use a large dishpan or kiddie tub if you don’t have a special foot tub.

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 drops lavender essential oil

1 drop rosemary essential oil

1 drop bay essential oil

1 drop geranium essential oil

Rose petals {optional}

1. Fill the soaking pan or tub with enough warm water to cover the feet.

2. Stir in the sea salt until it dissolves. Use your toes to stir, if you wish. Add the essential oils, mixing them well. Float rose petals on the surface.

3. Soak your feet in the basin for 10 minutes, or until the water has cooled off. Pat your feet dry with a towel.

Eucalyptus Foot Lotion.

Use this rich and refreshing foot lotion to follow the *Soothing Foot Bath, or simply to salve sore feet.

1 tablespoon almond oil

1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon wheat germ oil

10 drops eucalyptus essential oil

1. Put all the ingredients in a small, sterilized glass bottle with a tight-fitting stopper. Shake the liquid vigorously until it is completely combined.

2. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place. Shake well before using.

Love Your Feet Cream.

Our feet take a lot of abuse.
Here’s a special treatment to apply to dry, cracked feet that will leave them soft and pretty and costs less than a visit to the salon for a pedicure.
1 ounce grated or shaved beeswax
3/4 cup almond oil
1. Place the beeswax and almond oil in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir together until they are blended and the wax has melted. Remove from heat and pour into two 4-ounce sterilized containers with tight tops.
2. Allow mixture to cool before applying to feet. Spread on feet at night before bedtime. Wear a pair of clean cotton socks over the cream. In the morning, your feet will be much softer.

Leg Massage Cream.

Treat yourself to a massage from your knees to your toes with this easy-to-make cream especially for the legs.
3 tablespoons anhydrous {water-free} lanolin
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apricot oil
1. Put all the ingredients together in the nonreactive top of a double boiler over simmering water. Heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the lanolin has liquefied.
2. Pour the mixture into a sterilized 4-ounce jar with a tight-fitting lid and allow to cool. Keep in a cool, dark place.

Strawberry Foot Scrub.

Can’t get to the spa for a luxury treatment for those tired feet?
Work this simple and sweetly scented natural scrub into your feet and feel like a queen.
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh strawberries
1. Pour salt into a mixing bowl. Add the oil and stir to combine. Remove caps from strawberries and slice or chop them. Add strawberries to the salt and oil mixture and mash with a potato masher or fork. The resulting mixture should be chunky but well blended.
2. Rub this mixture onto your feet, massaging the balls of the feet and the heels. If desired, use a body puff or foot brush. Rinse off and coat feet with a gentle lotion.
Makes enough for one treatment.

Inspiration for Winter Skin {Any Time of the Year}

When the weather is cold and dark, nature still provides us with seasonal herbs to help us look and feel our best. Warm, pungent cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace emit a comforting and delicious aroma while evergreens like juniper, fir, and cedar offer a crisp and invigorating breath of fresh air.
Here are a few recipes that incorporate these fragrant herbs.

Rosemary and Juniper Skin-Smoothing Scrub

Grapefruit, rosemary, and juniper essential oils are often used in cellulite-reducing formulas. While I certainly can’t promise that this blend of essential oils will eliminate cellulite, I will say that these herbs are reputed to improve skin tone, promote healthy circulation, and reduce water retention. Pure sea salt has a scrubbing texture that cleanses, purifies, and exfoliates dry winter skin while hazelnut oil moisturizes and tones. Hazelnut also has gentle astringent and skin-toning properties. {If you can’t find hazelnut, jojoba oil is a great substitute}.
1 cup fine sea salt
1/2 cup hazelnut oil
4 drops juniper essential oil
4 drops rosemary essential oil
6 drops grapefruit essential oil
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Place in a wide-mouth plastic jar with a tight lid. To use: Rub gently all over the body. Rinse. Yield: one application.

Deep Forest Detox Bath

Before you get rid of your holiday tree or wreath, consider saving some of the needles to use in this calming bath. This formula is particularly nice if you have needles from the fragrant balsam fir greens, but the scent of most evergreens, such as fir, pine and cedarwood, are calming and helpful for detoxifying. Most of us can use a little post-holiday detox session.
1 cup sea salt
1 handful pine or fir needles {fresh or dried}
5 drops fir essential oil
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight plastic or glass container. To use: Tie a generous handful of this mixture into a muslin bag, square of cheesecloth, or an old, thin, washcloth. Draw a warm bath and add the herbal mixture. Soak for at least 20 minutes.

Eastern Spice Body Powder

I discovered the sweet, spicy scent of mace on a trip to my favorite spice shop. Not to be confused with the self-defense spray {originally manufactured under the name “Chemical Mace”}, the herb mace refers to a lace-like outer covering found on nutmeg seeds. It has a softer and sweeter scent than nutmeg, with a delicious hint of spice. The exotic and heady scent is well-suited to massage oils, perfumes, and bath products. Use a small, handheld coffee grinder to powder the dried mace for this recipe. {Mace adds a delicious flavor to coffee, but if you don’t want the two to mix, use a separate grinder.}
2 teaspoons dried mace, ground
1/2 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Combine ingredients thoroughly. If you desire a little extra “spice,” add ground cinnamon powder as well. Store the powder in an airtight container. To use: I prefer using a wide-mouth tin or jar and applying the powder with a soft fabric “puff.” However, you can also use a shaker powder or even a salt or cheese shaker to store and apply the powder.

Sweet Spice Milk Bath

This was a recipe I came up with as I was cleaning out my spice cupboard to make room for a batch of fresh new baking spices. The combination of the old spices smelled so divine, I had to create this recipe, and I’ve made it many times since. You can use any combination of spices that you have, but I find this recipe works best when it relies heavily on cinnamon and cloves, with smaller amounts of the other herbs. Milk baths in the winter are soothing and moisturizing to dry, winter skin, and don’t have the mess or slipperiness of a bath oil. I use a non-fat dry milk powder in this recipe because it’s easy to find and fairly inexpensive. If you’d like to make this recipe a bit more luxurious, substitute a full-fat dried milk powder. You can usually find this in the refrigerated section of your health food store.
1/4 cup dried spices, such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove
2 cups dried milk powder
 Combine all ingredients; stir well. Store extra milk bath in an airtight container. To use: Add 1/2 cup to a tub full of warm water and soak.

Bath Cookies; Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath; A Scented Bath Powder..

Bath Cookies

If you like experimenting with recipes in the kitchen, you’ll get a real kick out of making these “cookies” for the tub. Bakers will recognize the steps in dough-making, rolling, and baking, but there’s a twist!
Make one batch for yourself and another for friends.
2 cups fine sea salt
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus more for rolling dough
1/2 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon dried, chopped lavender or sage {optional}
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil {if necessary, break open several capsules}
8 drops essential oil or perfume oil of your choosing
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine salt, cornstarch, and baking soda. Stir in chopped herbs, if using. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil, vitamin E oil, and essential oil and keep stirring until you form a dough.
2. Rub cornstarch on a rolling pin and spread some on a work surface. Roll the dough out to about 3/4 inch. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a biscuit cutter. Place your “cookies” on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and store in a tight-topped cookie tin in a cool, dry place.
3. When ready to use, place one to two of your bath cookies into the tub as the water runs.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath.

Mixing up this pleasantly scented bath will give you a double benefit. You’ll gain as much pleasure making the concoction as you will from soaking in it. The combination of powdered milk, oatmeal, and cornstarch will leave you feeling silky and soft. The cinnamon will gently warm you and offer up a soothing aroma.
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup finely ground oatmeal
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and whirl to combine. Transfer into a clean, tightly covered, moisture-proof container, where it will keep indefinitely.

2. Add about 1/2 cup of the Cinnamon Oatmeal Milk Bath to a full tub of warm water and enjoy the soak.

Delicately Scented Bath Powder.

This variation provides a lightly scented powder suitable for adults.
While alum is used as an antiperspirant and deodorant for adults, it is best to use a simple sprinkle of cornstarch on baby’s skin.
2 tablespoons crumbled dried chamomile flowers
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon orris root
1/2 teaspoon alum
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let stand a few days.

Recipes To Get You Started – Wax On!

We’ve measured the recipes below {also see “Save Your Skin Salve”} by volume, so they don’t necessarily conform to the same rules you would use if measuring by weight. They do, however, yield small batches, allowing you to see what works best for you. You have your choice of which plant wax to use as your base.

Basic Lip Balm

This balm does contain cocoa butter, which adds character, but you can make a bare-bones version without it by substituting some more olive or almond oil instead if you prefer to start simply.
2 tablespoons olive or almond oil
1 tablespoon cocoa butter {or 1 additional tablespoon oil}
1 tablespoon candelilla wax; or 1 tablespoon carnauba wax; or 1 teaspoon rice wax and 2 teaspoons sweet almond wax
Heat the ingredients in a slow cooker until the wax melts. Pour up at once into sterilized containers. Let cool, cap, and label.

Wanna Dance? Foot Balm

Taking time to pamper the feet – yours or someone else’s – can offer smooth rewards. This treatment also works well on rough elbows or dry, flaky skin on arms, hands, and knees. The balm keeps well. Use it along with the scrub {see below}.
1 tablespoon apricot kernel or sweet almond oil
1 tablespoon shea butter
1 tablespoon grated apricot kernel wax or sweet apricot wax
2 tablespoons rose water or distilled water
15 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
Melt oil, shea butter, and wax in a slow cooker. When the wax is melted, remove from heat and stir in the rose water or distilled water thoroughly. Add the essential oils and stir. Pour into sterilized container{s} and seal.

Raspberry Silk Toes Scrub

Use this balm after showers to keep skin smooth. It’s also great as a body scrub for hands, elbows, arms, knees, and legs. Once you’ve rinsed the scrub away and patted your feet dry, apply the Wanna Dance? Foot Balm above.
12 raspberries {fresh or frozen}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin {or mild liquid hand soap}
1/2 teaspoon jojoba wax pearls {medium}
Put the raspberries and oil in the blender and puree. Pour into a bowl, stir in glycerin or liquid soap and the jojoba wax pearls. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. To Use: Smooth the scrub onto feet and work in from toes to heels, massaging gently. Rinse completely.

Save Your Skin Salve.

This all-purpose recipe allows you to substitute your herbs of choice.
The combination here, which includes comfrey, calendula, and chamomile, soothes scratches and scrapes, stings and bites, bumps and bruises, or aches and pains.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried chopped comfrey root
2 tablespoons dried calendula flowers
2 tablespoons chamomile
1 tablespoon hemp oil {optional}
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
3 tablespoons grated sweet almond wax or apricot kernel wax {or 4 tablespoons for a stiffer salve}
Place olive oil and comfrey root in a slow cooker on high for an hour with the lid off. Make certain the oil completely covers the comfrey. Add calendula and chamomile. Cook for another hour uncovered on high heat. Check periodically to ensure that the oil covers all of the herbs and doesn’t boil at least no more than just around the edges. Turn off heat, let cool slightly, and strain the oil, discarding herbs.
Measure 1/3 cup of the infused oil. {If you don’t have enough, add a bit of olive oil} and place it in the slow cooker with the hemp oil, wax, and cocoa butter. Heat until the wax melts {about 20 minutes}, stirring thoroughly. Pour into jar{s}, seal, and date.
* One last note about this salve:
We cooked some up to check the recipe for this article and set it on the kitchen counter to cool. When I returned to see if it had set, I had to step over our dog. I can personally attest that this salve is remarkably soothing on knees that have been bruised and scraped on hardwood floors!

Wax On!

Want to make your own cosmetics and skin care products?

Look at the diverse range of plant waxes that Mother Nature has to offer.

People have been using wax for centuries. Ointments and inks contain wax, and without it, your favorite chewing gum wouldn’t have the right bounce. Its elastic character, along with its ability to disappear when heated and add body to other ingredients, offers a wide range of applications. Traditionally, beeswax has been the hands-down favorite in handcrafted products. But wax comes from other sources, too; animal, mineral, and vegetable. Early American colonists, for instance, looked to bayberries to produce wax. The fruit yielded a scented wax, and candles made from it offered a much better fragrance than the standard tallow dip most settlers could afford.

These days, waxes derived from plant sources such as candelilla, carnauba, rice bran, sweet almond, and apricot kernel are hitting the sales list of suppliers who offer the raw materials for making soaps and boutique cosmetics. Why use these rather than beeswax, the historical standard for salves, creams, ointments, and balms? One reason might be an anticipated shortage at your local apiary thanks to Colony Collapse Disorder {CCD}. This strange phenomenon has adult honeybees deserting the hive, leaving behind the queen, the larvae, and sometimes a full hive of honey. Because scientists haven’t isolated the cause, there’s no cure yet. {Of course, a shortage of beeswax is probably the least of our problems with CCD, considering that bees pollinate about 80 percent of our food crops.}

Yet another reason to opt for a vegetable-based wax: It’s vegan. Many people are moving toward vegan formulas. Our vegan substitute for beeswax comes from the flaky wax residue on the stems of candelilla plants, which grow in dry regions of the Southwest. Second in popularity is carnauba wax, which you might recognize as a key ingredient in the kind of polish that’s used by folks who refer to their cars as “Baby.” This wax is taken from the fronds of a wax-producing palm that grows in northeastern Brazil {Copernicia cenfera}. Like candelilla wax, it’s widely used in the cosmetic industry.

Of course, the final and perhaps most compelling reason to use plant wax: It allows you to incorporate yet another plant into your favorite herb-based beauty formulas.

The Word On Wax

Candelilla and carnauba waxes are both harder than beeswax and have a higher melting point. Beeswax melts at about 144 degrees, whereas candelilla requires about 165 degrees. Carnauba, often cited as the hardest of the natural waxes, doesn’t turn to liquid until it reaches over 172 degrees. For this reason, they’re not quite as easy to work with. Beeswax is forgiving when it comes to applying and reapplying heat. Candelilla and carnauba are more brittle and temperamental. You end up using five to 15 percent more wax.

This might be a good place to point out that formulations are done by weight as is common with recipes at many large-scale commercial ventures. Those of us who make smaller batches, however, frequently measure by volume because we’re more likely to grab a set of measuring spoons on a scale. Measuring by volume is less reliable because wax comes in various shapes and forms, from finely ground powder and chunky little flakes to blocks you might need to attack with a cheese grater. So keep in mind that your experience may vary if you’re measuring by volume.

Then there’s rice bran wax, derived from rice bran oil. It’s hard too in comparing it to candelilla and carnauba, but it definitely has a lower melting point. It differs in character from the other two plant waxes, a difference you can tell by examining the flake closely. If you pick up the others, they will just snap and break whereas the rice bran bends and breaks gently.

You’ll find all three of these waxes in lip balms. Candelilla and carnauba wax, like beeswax, have scents that are noticeable when pouring up a mixture, yet almost completely disappear when the mixture cools. At that point, candelilla and carnauba wax leave less of a signature than beeswax does. Rice bran wax seems to have no scent at all. These fairly stiff plant waxes work best in salves and balms. As a thickener or emulsifier for creams and lotions, though, their performance can disappoint. Instead of producing a smoothly blended product, they tend to crystallize. The result looks a bit like milk poured over sawdust.

If you want a plant-based alternative for creams, lotions, and salves, you’ll want softer waxes that do a better job of emulsifying. Look to sweet almond and apricot kernel wax. Both have a melting point similar to beeswax but feel softer to the touch. They also boast light, appealing fragrances.

You’ll also find a number of plant waxes used in cosmetics that enhance the product’s recipe, but don’t serve as a base. One of these is jojoba wax. Extracted from the jojoba nut that grows in Texas, Arizona, Mexico, and southern California, this viscous oil is chemically a wax, but manifests as a liquid at room temperature. As a result, it looks like oil, is used in recipes like oil, and is generally sold as “jojoba oil.” Formulators love it because it blends beautifully, closely resembles the natural sebum of human skin, and never goes rancid.

Don’t confuse it with jojoba wax beads, which come from the same plant, but are altogether different. These beads don’t work like other plant waxes. They’re perfectly round, and there used for exfoliating, making them better for scrubs. Also called jojoba pearls, these perfect spheres don’t break down, offering gentler exfoliation than ingredients like walnut shells and apricot kernel powder, which contain edges that can scratch the skin.

Working With Wax

If you’re just starting to use plant waxes, here are a few tips:

  • Start with small batches to minimize loss.

  • Have extra wax on hand. If substituting candelilla or carnauba wax in a recipe that calls for beeswax, add 5-10 percent more plant-based wax {by weight} in your first experiment.

  • Use gentle heat. Don’t try to use the microwave. A slow cooker used with caution works well, as does low to medium-low heat on the stove-top.

  • For the stiffer waxes, pour up the mixture into your containers {thick glass- or metal-based containers work best} immediately. Once it melts, there’s no reason to keep it sitting there. Pour it fast, and it will cool more quickly, which helps eliminate consistency issues.

  • When working with carnauba and candelilla, you may have difficulty with plant butter. Shea, cocoa, and kokum butter can all crystallize and spoil a recipe batch. {If this happens, it’s hard to tell whether the butter of the wax has crystallized.}

  • Check how well the final product holds up in your pocket. We call it the “pocket test” around here. When we formulate, we do all the real-life things that will happen to a product. While the car dashboard isn’t a practical test because temperatures are excessive, our starting formula for a lip balm is always hard enough to withstand being in someone’s pocket no matter what the temperature outside.

Gypsy Herbal Astringent Lotion.

This wonderful herbal astringent lotion has been hailed as the first herbal product ever produced and marketed. Legend has it that the early Gypsies formulated it and claimed it to be a cure-all. Whether or not it is I hardly know, but I do know that it is an excellent astringent for the face and a great rinse for dark hair.

This Gypsy herbal astringent lotion combines gentle common herbs in a masterful way, it’s easy to make, and it’s a versatile formula that serves many purposes. The Gypsies used it as a hair rinse, mouthwash, headache remedy, aftershave, footbath, and who knows what else! I have seen this formula sold in department stores in exotic little bottles for a fancy price. You can make it for the cost of a few herbs and a bottle of vinegar.

  • 6 parts lemon balm
  • 4 parts chamomile
  • 4 parts roses
  • 3 parts calendula
  • 3 parts comfrey leaf
  • 1 part lemon peel
  • 1 part rosemary
  • 1 part sage
  • Vinegar to cover (apple cider or wine vinegar)
  • Rose water or witch hazel extract
  • Essential oil of lavender or rose (optional)
  1. Place the herbs in a widemouthed jar. Fill the jar with enough vinegar that it rises an inch or two above the herb mixture. Cover tightly and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 to 3 weeks.
  2. Strain out the herbs. To each cup of herbal vinegar, add 2/3 to 1 cup of rose water or witch hazel. Add a drop or two of essential oil, if desired. Rebottle. This product does not need to be refrigerated and will keep indefinitely.
  3.  To use: Pour a small amount of the toner onto a clean cotton ball and rub over your scalp or massage lightly into your scalp after shampooing.

Marshmallow

Althaea Officinalis

Also, Known As:

  • Althaea
  • Marshmallow
  • Mortification Root
  • Sweetweed

Found growing in abundance in moist and wet places all over the world, marshmallow is a perennial aromatic herb that is sometimes found to grow up to four feet in height. While the herb can be found growing in plenty in the wild, it is also cultivated commercially for medicinal use. The root of the plant is white in color and tastes sweet similar to the parsnip (a long tapering cream-colored root cooked and consumed as a vegetable). However, unlike the parsnip, marshmallow roots contain plenty of mucilage (a gummy substance secreted by some plants containing protein and carbohydrates). The plant has numerous branchless stems that are wooly or covered with long, soft, white hairs. The marshmallow stems bear serrate (edged with indentations or with projections that resemble the teeth of a saw) and pubescent (covered with down or fine hair) leaves. The flowers of the herb are approximately two inches in width and they may be found in white, light red or royal purple colors.

Ointment or cream prepared with marshmallow leaves and elder flowers is an excellent remedy to cure facial aching, skin rashes or eruptions, leg ulcers and repulsive-looking wounds more rapidly. To prepare the useful ointment, first gently mash about one gallon of fresh marshmallow leaves and mature flowers each. Next, spread out the mashed leaves and flowers uniformly in a big roast pan and add approximately two-and-one-fourth cups of liquefied lard and one-and-a-half pounds of beeswax. Blend and beat the ingredients systematically with a wooden serving spoon, cover the pan and allow the ingredients to simmer or boil on an oven in 150° F. Continue simmering the ingredients until the herbs are reasonably crunchy and crush when touched. Then drain out the liquid mixture using a wire net strainer and keep on stirring the liquid with a wooden ladle till it is completely cold. Once the mixture has cooled, you may add half a cup of glycerin or 2/3 cup of pulverized slippery elm to preserve the ointment. Next, pour the ointment into clean jars or containers while it is still fairly warm and let it become firm to some extent. Seal the jars with air-tight lids and store the ointment in a cool and dry place till it is required for use.

Parts Used:

Root, leaves, flowers.

Uses:

Researchers over the years have shown that marshmallow has numerous medicinal benefits, particularly in safeguarding and soothing the mucous membranes. The roots of the herb are effective in counteracting additional stomach acid, peptic ulcers as well as gastritis. In addition, marshmallow has moderate laxative (a substance used to promote bowel movements) properties and hence is helpful in healing several problems of the intestines, including colitis, ileitis, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Ingesting warm infusion of marshmallow leaves is effectual in curing cystitis as well as frequent urination. The demulcent (soothing irritated or inflamed skin or mucous membranes) properties of marshmallow offer respite from dry coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion or jamming of the bronchioles and even pleurisy. One may apply crushed fresh marshmallow flowers or a warm infusion prepared from the herb’s flowers to comfort the inflammatory (irritating and swelled) skin. On the other hand, marshmallow roots form a crucial ingredient of an ointment or cream that effectually cures boils and abscesses. The roots are also used in mouthwash for treating inflammation. In addition, peeled fresh roots of marshmallow can be given as a chew stick to teething infants.

Other medical uses
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Wrinkles

Habitat of Marshmallow:

Although the marshmallow is indigenous to Europe, over the years, the herb has acclimatized itself in the Americas where it is now commercially cultivated for medical use. Usually, marshmallow grows best in marshy lands. The above-ground parts of the plants are collected in summer when they just begin to blossom. On the other hand, the marshmallow roots are dug out or harvested during the autumn.

Constituents:

Marshmallow root contains about 37% starch, 11% mucilage, 11% pectin, flavonoids,  phenol acids, sucrose, and asparagine.

Usual Dosage:

Marshmallow can be ingested in various ways. One may consume a tea prepared with marshmallow both hot or cold. In order to prepare tea with marshmallow, add the herb’s roots and/ or leaves to cold or hot water and allow it to steep for some time. You may drink the tea three to five times every day. Extracts of the herb are also available in capsule and tablet forms. One may use these tablets or capsules that provide five to six grams of marshmallow daily. As an alternative, it may also be ingested as a tincture. Taking five to fifteen ml of marshmallow tincture three times every day is effective to cure several disorders.

Possible Side Effects and Precautions:

Researchers over the years have not found any side-effects of marshmallow application. The herb has been reported safe for use.

How Marshmallow Works in the Body:

What the mucilage presents in the marshmallow is the primary component that not only safeguards the body tissues but also soothes them during inflammation. While it is an established fact that marshmallow is extremely useful in soothing inflammations in conditions such as bronchitis, pleurisy, even dry cough and other respiratory problems, since ages the herb has also been used to protect and heal the digestive system. It is particularly useful in curing digestive system disorders such as ulcers and gastric inflammation which often lead to tetchy bowel syndrome and other symptoms. Marshmallow and its extracts are used in the urinary system to comfort the aggravated tissues in urinary tract infections like cystitis. Poultice prepared with marshmallow leaves and roots may be applied externally to heal skin problems like ulcers and boils. In fact, the herb has a double action – it soothes the irritation as well as heals the disorder.

Applications:

Flowers:
SYRUP: Syrup prepared from the infusion of the marshmallow flower is beneficial in curing various types of coughs. It may be used as a cough expectorant.
Leaves:
INFUSION: An infusion prepared by boiling and then cooling the marshmallow leaves may be used to cure bronchial and urinary disorders.
Root:
DECOCTION: In order to cure inflammations like esophagitis and cystitis (an inflammation of the urinary bladder owing to infections). To prepare the decoction, add 25 g of marshmallow root to one liter of water and then boil it down to about 750 ml. In certain cases, the decoction may require some dilution by adding water.
TINCTURE: Tinctures prepared from the marshmallow roots may be used to cure swellings and irritations (inflammation) of the mucous membrane in the digestive and urinary systems.
POULTICE: To prepare a poultice of marshmallow, use the plant’s root or a paste prepared from the powdered root blended with water. This poultice is effectual in curing skin irritations and swellings (inflammation) as well as ulcers.
OINTMENT: Ointments or creams prepared from marshmallow or its extracts are highly effectual in healing injuries, skin ulcers and even to even pull out unwarranted particles from the skin. To prepare an ointment with marshmallow, liquefy 50 g of lanolin, 50 g beeswax and 300 g of soft paraffin (a white colored waxy solid combination of hydrocarbons acquired from petroleum) collectively. Next, heat 100 g of powdered marshmallow root in these liquid fats for an hour over a water bath and after it cools, blend 100 g of powdered slippery elm bark by stirring.

Marshmallow Face Mask –

The marshmallow face mask is also apt for sensitive skin and the ingredients required to prepare it to include:

  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of a potent decoction prepared with marshmallow root
  • Superior quality oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 grams) of natural yogurt

Blend the marshmallow infusion and the yogurt and add the oatmeal. Stir the mixture thoroughly to prepare a paste. Apply this mixture uniformly and gently to your face.

Herbal Marshmallow Root Detangler.

marshmallow detanglerRecipe:
3 cups distilled water (purified will work in a pinch)
2 tablespoons marshmallow root
1 tablespoon horsetail
1 tablespoon oat straw
1 cup aloe vera juice (or so, read directions)
10-30 drops essential oil *optional

  1. Make an herbal decoction with the marshmallow root and water – Boil water and add marshmallow root then turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Take off heat and remaining herbs. Let rest at least 15 more minutes.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve into the bottle when cool.
  4. Add aloe vera juice (if the infusion results in less than one cup, I just use equal parts aloe vera juice so its half infusion and half aloe).
  5. Spritz on comb or hair and get to work!