Visiting Notre-Dame de Senanque Monastery & lavender fields in Luberon, Provence, (above) was a HUGE dream come true!
Plants that heal
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 use good, pure ingredients in soap, salve, and lotions, instead of 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.
More to come!
More to come!
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 Peppermint 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 in a stainless steel pot until it is barely warm, and then add calendula petals, transfer to a glass container, cover, put in a cool, dark place, and let it sit for about a month or more. Then, strain out the flower matter (you may need to reheat the oil if it has solidified), 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. If you are making products with beeswax, see if you can find a local beekeeper to supply you, and that way you know it's good. Farmer's markets are a good place to find local honey and beeswax. My beekeeper's number in my phone says "Honey Guy," and he lists me in his as "Lip Balm Lady."
a note about essential oils
Essential oils are wonderful, but they need to be used with caution. Most need to be diluted with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, or fractionated coconut oil. If you think you may be allergic, test first on a small patch of skin (use with a carrier oil). 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. Only a few oils, such as lavender, can be used full strength (neat) on your skin.
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 stuff!