I am fascinated with the fact that many plants have healing capabilities, and I like to incorporate these plants into my products. Our skin absorbs products that we put on it, so I think it's really important to put good stuff in soap, salve, and lotions, and not harmful chemicals. Here are some of my favorites. (I still have a LOT of information to add, so be patient with me!)
Lavender: the all-star herb
Not only does lavender smell divine, it is also relaxing and healing, and it can even be used as a culinary herb. Lavender is the only essential oil that is safe to put directly on your skin (but I still recommend a carrier oil), and it is wonderful with babies, both in lotions and in a diffuser. Almost all of my products contain lavender.
Peppermint has a clean, refreshing scent, and it goes well with lavender.
A calendula flower is a special kind of marigold (Calendula officinalis). Its antifungal, anti-inflamatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties can be helpful in healing/soothing conditions such as wounds, eczema, and diaper rash. I infuse coconut oil with dried calendula petals to give my Bee Lotion Bars an extra touch of healing goodness. The petals also lend a beautiful golden color to oil in which it's infused. You can even grow your own calendula! I use it in flower arrangements and then later, snip off and dry the heads of the flowers so I can use the petals for infusion. What is infusion, by the way? Heat the oil very gently until it is barely warm, and then add calendula petals, cover and put it in a cool, dark place, and let it sit for about a month or more. Then, strain out the flower matter, and you have beautiful, golden oil with added healing benefits. Beautiful and good for you!
OK, technically it's not an herb, but it comes from nature, and those little bees work very hard to make it.
Essential oils are wonderful, but they need to be used with caution. If you think you may be allergic, test first on a small patch of skin (use with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba). If you are pregnant or have a medical condition such as diabetes or photo sensitivity, check with your doctor to make sure a particular oil is safe for you to use.
more on the waY
As you can see, this is far from complete. So check back later, as I plan to keep adding on whenever I take a break from making products.