Archive for the ‘all natural’ Category

Lavender Essential Oil

Monday, February 24th, 2014

lavender essential oil Lavender Essential Oils

When it comes to using essential oils in products, lavender is one of the most popular ones selected.  Used throughout history, lavender has made its mark in the cosmetics, medicinal, and perfumery industries.

This is true for two reasons; first lavender is one of the most recognized scents worldwide.  And second, with such an array of skin and health benefits from lavender, it is easily a front runner for induction in to products.  There is only one problem though.  As with any essential oil, it is very difficult to get an identical essential oil each time.

Any essential oil can fluctuate greatly in scent for many different reasons.  These differences can be due to lots, varying seasons of harvest, the environment in which the plant was grown, soil conditions of the area, cross pollination of the plant, and even the distillation process of the essential oil itself.  Any one of these factors can change the essential oil.

There are different lavender essential oils available in the market.  Natures Garden currently carries two various forms of lavender essential oil.  These essential oils are Lavender Essential Oil 40/42 and Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil.

What is Lavender Essential Oil 40/42
This Lavender Essential Oil carries the botanical name Lavendula angustifolia, which is also known as “true lavender”.  This name is also synonymous with English Lavender.   When it comes to scent, this type of essential oil is produced to have what is traditionally (and commercially) accepted as the lavender aroma.  More specifically, lavender 40/42 is the sweet flower smell of lavender.

The number 40/42 at the end of the essential oil name signifies the amount of linalool and linalyl acetate in the essential oil.  Linalool is a natural occurring organic compound (terpene alcohol) which is responsible for the floral scent of a plant.  Linalyl acetate is also a naturally occurring chemical compound found in many “flowering” plants.

When it comes to the creation of Lavender Essential Oil 40/42, it is commonly achieved by the combination of varying distilled lavender oils.  These lavender oils are not only selected by their species but also by their economical cost.  The natural lavender oils are then integrated together to yield an essential oil that contains 40% linalool and 42% linalyl acetate.  These percentages allow the two biggest components of the traditional lavender scent, and also make for an essential oil that is cost effective and can be replicated time and time again with very little scent difference.

Both Linalool and Linalyl acetate are important factors for this essential oil because it helps to ensure a dependable aroma.  Because essential oils can vary from batch to batch throughout the year, these amounts of linalool and linalyl acetate can help to produce a more consistent essential oil.  For this oil precisely, a lavender essential oil with its very distinctive and well known flowery aroma.

What is
Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil
This essential oil which carries the botanical name Lavendula hybrid is a cross breeding of two different lavender plants; the angustifolia (English) and latifolia (spike).  The resulting oil has comparable attributes to angustifolia, however, due to its distinctive and differing chemical content the essential oil has separate features.  This essential oil is a refreshing more camphor like scent that does not focus on the floral aspect of lavender like Lavender 40/42 essential oil.  As one of the 39 species of lavender, lavandin grosso has camphorous notes that are more evident in the essential oil as opposed to its counterpart 40/42.  This is because lavandin essential oils contain a higher percentage of terpenes (particularly camphor) in it.  This scent is long lasting and sharp, especially in soaps and lotions; unlike Lavender 40/42 which is considered a more sweet and subtle aroma.

The actual essential oil itself is produced by the distillation of the flowering tops of the plant lavender grosso.  These plants blossom later than the Lavender angustifolia.   Another advantage of these plants is that they yield a larger volume of essential oil; up to 3 times the amount of Lavender angustifolia; making it cost effective too.

Although there are some differences in these two lavender essential oils, they both maintain a plethora of wonderful skin and health benefits.  If you are interested in reading about all of the wonderful benefits that lavender (herb or essential oil) provides to your products, please click on this link.

Natures Garden sells our essential oils for external applications only.  In the above post, we discussed the differences between Lavender 40/42 Essential Oil and Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil.  Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your doctor before using any of this information for treatment purposes. We provide this data for educational purposes only.

Lavender

Friday, February 21st, 2014

lavender in bath productsLavender Flowers

This amazing herb does wonderful things when introduced as a skin care ingredient.  Whether it is used in flower form, powder form, or in the form of an essential oil, lavender can be a go to ingredient for aromatherapy needs, antiseptic benefits, or even relief from pain and discomfort due to skin irritations.  This beautiful herb is also cherished for its decorative nature in both the body care industry as well as food and beverage industries, especially when it comes to the realm of teas and desserts.

The name lavender comes from its scientific name lavandula which is actually derived from the Latin word lavare which means to wash.  In fact, lavender was often heavily used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for its antiseptic benefits for the skin, healing powers, and as an aromatic perfume.

There are several ways to use the wonderful benefits of lavender in your homemade skin care and body wellness products.  The very aromatic herb lavender is available for purchase in several different mediums at Natures Garden.

Lavender Flower Whole Select-  In this shape, it can be used directly in items like bath teas and soaps.  This form of herb can be steeped to make an oil infusion which then can be used in a plethora of bath and body products like: skin toners, lotions, body creams, perfumes, shampoos, etc.

Lavender Flower Powder-  In powder form, lavender can be used directly in your formulations and this even includes body powders.  The only precaution to remember when using this herb is that as with any powder, it is prone to clumping if not made into a paste first.

As an essential oil, lavender is available as Lavender Essential Oil 40/42 or Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil.  Either of these essential oils can be used to scent your products for aromatherapy needs or to take advantage of all of the skin care benefits lavender provides.

The scent of lavender is one of the most well known aromas worldwide.  No matter where you live, chances are you have smelled this distinctive scent.  Often used in aromatherapy and in body care products as a natural antidepressant; lavender will ease stress and tension by promoting relaxation.  Lavender works as a nervine; calming the nerves and reducing irritability of the mind and body.

As an analgesic, this herb can actually help to reduce pain from skin issues and aliments like acne, boils, eczema, and psoriasis.  This herb is even beneficial for treating burns, sunburns, insect bites and stings.

As a natural air freshener, lavender also works to fight against air borne viruses.  You can achieve this by simply steeping lavender buds in water and letting the aroma fill the air.

Lavender has an array of uses; to read the full class on all of the benefits of lavender, please click on this link.

To view some wonderful bath and body recipes that contain the amazing herb of lavender in flower form or in powder form, please check out the links below:

Lemon Lavender Bath Melts Recipe
Lavender Sage Bath Bomb Recipe
Fizzy Milk Bath Recipe
Sensual Massage Oil Recipe
Lavender Luxury Cold Process Soap Recipe
Relaxing Eye Pillow Recipe
Lavender Apple Sugar Scrub Recipe
Lavender Vanilla Body Powder Recipe

Natures Garden sells our lavender flowers herbs and essential oils for external applications only.  In the above written blog post, we briefly discussed the wonderful benefits of lavender and the some of its uses across various industries.  Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your doctor before using any of this information for treatment purposes.  We provide this data for educational purposes only.

Firming Facial Mask

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

make your own facial maskFirming Facial Mask

Whether you are looking to spend some quality time with the girls, or just wanting to treat yourself; using a homemade facial mask is the route to go.

Not only is making a facial mask super easy, it is also a great way to tone, firm, and even revitalize your face.  There are a variety of herbs and clays that you can use to make your very own facial masks.  Each herb or clay has its very own distinctive skin loving benefits that you can introduce into your facial masks.  The herb and clay that you select is dependent upon what you want the end results of your mask to have.

For this firming facial mask recipe, the herb that was focused on was Hibiscus.  This includes both hibiscus flowers and hibiscus flower powder.

Hibiscus is quite the amazing flower and has even been affectionately named “the botox plant”.  Used in skin and hair care for thousands of years, this amazing herb is a natural source of alpha hydroxy acids (Vitamin C).  These acids can gently exfoliate your skin while encouraging the replacement of dead and dull cells with new ones.  This herb also has anti aging properties with the capability of soothing, smoothing, and firming the skin.

As for the main ingredient for the firming facial mask, Red Moroccan clay was selected.  This clay is one of the purest forms of cosmetic clays available.  With the ability to draw out toxins and impurities, Red Moroccan clay also acts as a moisturizing agent for your skin.

To help to keep the skin moisturized vegetable glycerin is also used in this recipe.  Vegetable Glycerin  is a humectant.  What this means is that this ingredient will help to draw moisture to your skin and keep it there.

If you want to make this recipe, all ingredients can be found at Natures Garden.

Now, on to the firming facial mask recipe:
This easy homemade recipe will make 2 facial masks.  The total time the masks take to make is about 45 minutes.  Game on wrinkles!

Step 1:  In a pot, weigh out 120 grams of distilled water.  Then, place the water on the stove top and heat it until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once you hit this temperature, allow the water to hold for an additional 20 minutes.

Step 2:  Weigh out 2 grams of Hibiscus flowers.  Place the dried flowers into an empty tea bag and tie it shut.  Place the tea bag into a coffee cup.

Step 3:  When the 20 minutes have elapsed, remove the water from the heat source.  Now, carefully pour the hot water into the coffee over.  Using a spoon, hold the tea bag down into the water until it is completely saturated.  Then allow the tea bag to steep for about 10 minutes or so.  Occassionally while the tea bag is steeping, use a spoon to press the tea bag.  This will ensure you have a nice and strong Hibiscus Tea.

Step 4:  In a small bowl, weigh out 23 grams of Red Moroccan clay and 3 grams of Hibiscus flower powder.  Break up any clumps you may have.  Then, gently stir these two ingredients together.

Step 5:  When your hibiscus tea is finished steeping, in a separate bowl, weigh out 18 grams of the tea.  To this add 6 grams of vegetable glycerin.  Stir.

Step 6:  Now, carefully scoop the clay/flower mixture into the tea/glycerin bowl.  With each scoop that is added, stir well to fully incorporate.  Keep adding the clay/flower mixture until it is all in the tea/glycerin.    Keep stirring this until there is no visible powder left.

Note:  If you plan on selling this mixed facial mask, you will need to add 1% optiphen preservative to the mask at a temperature that is not higher than 140F.  This will help prevent bacterial growth.  If you are making this recipe for self use, but do not plan to use all of it at one time, place the remainder in the refrigerator up to 1 week.  Throw away after 1 week if the mixture is not properly preserved.

Now, to use your firming facial mask:

Once the mixture has cooled, start applying it generously to your face.  Once the mask is completely applied, allow it to fully dry.  This drying process will take about 20 minutes to complete.  As the mask dries, you will notice a color change in the mask itself.  Your face will also begin to feel tighter.

When the mask has dried, wash it off with warm water.  Then, pat your face dry with a towel.

Please Note:  Hibiscus WILL stain your clothes/towels.  It is advisable to wear clothes and use towels that can be stained.  Also, there will be a slight stain left on your face once the mask is removed.  This stain will disappear after an additional wash or two.

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.

Beeswax Candles

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

beeswax candles
Air Purifying Candles

Many people burn candles as a way of relaxing with a soft light, or too add subtle scenting to the air, or as a means of setting the mood.  But, burning a beeswax candle may actually do more than this.

Let’s get a little scientific
The air that surrounds us is positively charged.  In fact, many of the items in our own homes emit a plethora of additional positively charged ions; jam packing our already filled surroundings with more and more positively charged ions.  But, all of these positively charged ions are not good for us. Recalling any lightning storm you have experienced, you will better understand this explanation.  Generally, after one of these storms, people feel stimulated, rejuvenated, and replenished.  The reason for this is that electrical storms produce a superabundance of negative ions that actually balance out the positive ions that dominate our surroundings.  This is why some of the most relaxing and renewed places for our bodies are be by waterfalls, beaches, forests, and mountain scenes.  These types of landscapes provide extra negative ions in the air that restore a natural balance of the charged ions.  Not only can you smell the difference in the air, but you can also feel it in your body too.

Positive Ions in our Homes
Many of the pollutants floating in the air of our homes like pollen, dirt, and dust all have a positive charge.  They get this charge from the static electricity that occurs in our home from daily routines.  Introducing negative ions into the air; combats these allergens. It has actually been scientifically proven to reduce many allergic issues like hay fever and asthma.  Negative ions can even help you sleep better too. Harmonizing the ions in your surrounding can help make you feel healthier and actually distress you.  Releasing additional negative ions can help with depression (SAD), headaches, and can even help you stay focused. Negatively charged ions work to make you healthier too.  Negative ions can help to boost your body’s immunity as well as help to build a resistance to many illnesses. Your body’s metabolism also benefits from negative ions making it more efficient.

Introduction of Negative Ions to our Homes
Beeswax can be considered an air purifier.  Beeswax candles are the only candles that emit negative ions into the air when lit.  Since opposites attract; these negative ions attach themselves to the positive ones.  This therefore balances the charge. Once the ions are bound together, the charge is now neutralized, and the molecule is complete.  The heavier mass causes these ions to fall to the ground, and they are no longer suspended in the air as contaminants.  This process of stabilizing, removes the ions, and cleans the air we breathe. The negative ions emitted by beeswax candles can even clean the air to eliminate smells like second hand smoke and many common household odors. Beeswax candles can be scented and colored just like other candle waxes.  Beeswax candles produce very little soot and burn very slowly.  These candles will provide your home with hours of purer, crisper, and fresher quality air.

Attention:  Natures Garden provides this information for educational purposes only.  We do not intend for this information to be misconstrued as medical advice or for treatment of any ailments.  If selling beeswax candles, refrain from making medical claims on your labels and/or advertising.   Promoting this way could make your candles considered a “drug” by the FDA.

Beeswax Uses

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

beeswaxBeeswax Uses

Beeswax is a natural wax made from honeybees.  The honeybees use beeswax in their hives to house their young and store honey and pollen.  When the honeycombs are removed from the hive, the beeswax is placed in hot water and skimmed out.  Many times the beeswax must be rendered to remove impurities before use.

There are three different types of beeswax.  Yellow beeswax is raw beeswax.  White beeswax is yellow beeswax that has been bleached.  Beeswax absolute is yellow beeswax that has been treated with alcohol.

Beeswax is a fabulous wax to use for candle making.  Candles made from this wax work as air purifiers.  The long lasting and clean burn of a beeswax candle produces little to no smoke when lit.

Beeswax is also an excellent ingredient to add to any of your bath and body formulations.  Providing wonderful benefits like skin softening and moisturizing, this wax can seal the deal when it comes to ending cracked and dry skin.

Because beeswax contains Vitamin A, beeswax can work with your damaged skin to promote cell repair.  Its humectant like property provides a barrier for your skin; not only locking the moisture in but concurrently allowing your skin to breathe.  As an emollient, beeswax helps to soothe irritated skin and advocates a soft and supple feel.  Beeswax can also be used in formulations to help thicken consistencies for products like body creams and lotions.

For dry and cracked lips when the cold weather hits, beeswax it a go to ingredient for lip balms and other lip care products.  Not only will beeswax help to heal your lips, it also aids in the prevention of dry and cracked lips.  The natural thin layer that beeswax creates keeps your lip protected from the elements, and keeps them moisturized too.

Within the realm of hair care products, beeswax can be used to create wonderful pomades and waxes.  The end result of its use will leave hair shiny and sleek.

For soap making purposes, beeswax adds elements of anti irritant, anti bacterial, and anti viral benefits.  It is an incredible ingredient to add extra moisturizing elements to your bars, which will leave your skin with a silky soft feel.  Plus, the effects are long lasting.

To read the full class on beeswax including some interesting beeswax facts, how beeswax is made, and additional uses, please click on this link.

To try your hand at some wonderful beeswax recipes please check out these links:

beeswax in body productsBody Products:
Solid Lotion Bar Recipe
Girly Girl Salve Recipe
Soothing Baby Non Petroleum Recipe
Hydrating Hand Stick Recipe
Rejuvenating Foot Balm Recipe
Natural Deodorant Recipe

beeswax in soapsSoaps, Scrubs, and Melts:
Royal Honey Bee Cold Process Soap Recipe
Cold Fashioned Lemonade Soap Recipe
Gourmet Chocolate Bath Melts Recipe
Lemon Lavender Bath Melts Recipe
Cotton Candy Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Emulsified Beet Sugar Scrub Recipe

beeswax in lip productsLip Products:
Lip Stick from Scratch Recipe
Natural Beet Root Lip Gloss Recipe
Silky Lip Butter Recipe
Strawberry Cheesecake Lip Balm Recipe
White Chocolate Lavender Lip Balm Recipe
Crazy for Coconuts Lip Balm Recipe

Menthol Crystals

Monday, January 27th, 2014

menthol crystalsThe menthol crystals that Natures Garden carries are actually crystallized peppermint essential oil.  These crystals are 100% natural and have a variety of uses when introduced into your products.

Although menthol crystals can be made synthetically, when derived naturally they come from mint oils such as cornmint or peppermint.  Once the extraction occurs, the oil is immediately frozen (cold extraction) which forms the menthol crystals.  These crystals, which look similar to smaller oblong rock crystals, are solid at room temperature but have a melting point of around 107 degrees Fahrenheit.  These menthol crystals which are a white or clear crystalline substance are soluble in alcohol and propylene glycol and they are miscible in oils.

Menthol crystals have many uses.  They can be found in many industries such as oral hygiene, candies, pharmaceuticals, personal care, perfumery, and tobacco.  They naturally have a strong minty odor to them.  And, their usage percentage in a product can vary anywhere from .2% to 10% depending on the end product that is being formulated.

Menthol contains local anesthetic, antipruritic, analgesic, antispasmodic and anti irritant qualities.  The use of menthol in bath and body products can actually engage the cold sensitive receptors in our skin and provide a cooling sensation.  This same sensation can also occur from inhaling menthol as well as ingesting it.

menthol crystals in oral hygiene
Oral Hygiene:

In the realm of oral hygiene this ingredient is used not only for its refreshing flavor, but also to combat bad breath and can be used in mouthwash and toothpaste.

 

menthol crystals in gumFlavoring and Candies:
Menthol crystals are used to flavor many of our favorite go to minty pleasures.  It is used with the addition of anise to produce the tried and true flavor of licorice.  The crystals are used in peppermint and spearmint chewing gum for their refreshing and cooling feeling when chewed.  And, it is also even used in the production of many hard candies.

menthol crystal usesPharmaceuticals:
For slight throat irritations, menthol crystals can be used in items like cough medicines, cough drops, and throat lozenges.  The addition of this ingredient will cause a soothing and cooling sensation in the inflamed area.

Menthol crystals can be used to alleviate nausea, especially when the nausea is due to motion sickness.  This is because peppermint (which is used in making menthol crystals) is a natural carminative herb, meaning it can settle the digestive system.

Because menthol crystals have antipruritic and anti irritant qualities, they are great for anti itch creams and balms.

When it comes to chest congestion and upper respiratory issues; menthol can work as a decongestant.  The uses in this category for menthol crystals include: rubs, balms, or salves.  Inhaling the minty aroma of these crystals will also help to alleviate the blockages.

For an excellent fever reducer, menthol crystals can be made into wraps to be applied to the head or feet.  These wraps can also be made into balms or cooling gels.

menthol crystals in bath productsBath and Body: (Once made into a liquid form)

Menthol crystals are a great addition to lip balms.

Menthol crystals are a remarkable additive to lotions and creams for their analgesic property.  This provides temporary relief of minor aches and pains, as well as sprains in muscles.  Because menthol is antispasmodic, they can also help to reduce muscle cramping and muscle spasms.

Due of their amazing cooling, analgesic, and anesthetic properties, menthol crystals are extremely helpful in the treating of sunburns and razor burns.  The cooling sensation in gels and shaving balms simulates the feeling of ice providing some instant relief from the pain.  But, menthol can also penetrate deeply to numb the pain area temporarily.

Menthol crystals can even be used in deodorants, hair shampoos, and hair conditioners for their refreshing and cooling sensations.

Adding menthol crystals to soap recipes can enhance your soap for any of menthol’s benefits.  Just make sure the crystals are completely dissolved in the soaping oils and stirred well to reduce skin irritations. 

menthol crystals in perfumes

Perfumery:
Menthol is even used in the perfumery industry.  When dealing with notes of floral, especially that of rose, perfumists will use menthol to produce menthyl esters.  These esters actually accentuate these delicate notes.


Tobacco:

Menthol crystals are used to flavor various tobacco items such as cigarette tobacco, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco. 

The shelf life for these crystals is 2 years when stored accordingly.  However, areas with high humidity may experience the hardening and mass joining of these crystals into a solid lump.  This lump may be broken up by lightly hitting it with a mallet.  Also, areas with high levels of heat may melt the crystals.  Menthol crystals are best stored in a tight fitted glass, aluminum, or double lined container.  The crystals should be kept in a cool and dry area away from heat and direct sunlight.

Care should be taken when using menthol crystals in skincare products, as using too much may irritate the skin.

Natures Garden sells our menthol crystals for external applications only.  In the preceding post, we discussed how these wonderful crystals have many different uses in vast industries.  Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your doctor before using any of this information for treatment purposes. We provide this data for educational purposes only.

Herbs as Gifts

Friday, January 17th, 2014

herbsHerbs and their meanings

Herbs have many uses.  They can be used for cooking, medicinal purposes, or for aromatic serenity.

For this blog post, we will be focusing on the symbolic meaning of herbs when they are used in the gift giving manner.  Herbs have had symbolic meanings behind them for centuries.  These meanings have been assigned to them through various religious and cultural reasoning.

In order to package these herbs as gifts in a usable manner, Natures Garden suggests making a bath tea for your herbal gift giving.  A bath tea is a tea bag that is stuffed full with various herbs.  These tea bags are then used by placing them into a tub filled with hot water and allowed to steep.  The steeping of the herbs allows the passing of wonderful aromas as well as the medicinal capabilities of the herbs.

When selecting the herbs for gift giving, it is important to know the meaning behind each one.  The herbs listed below offer a generally accepted symbolic meaning.  However, please note: This post is just for fun, there may be varying differences in the meanings due to differences in religion and culture.

If considering making symbolic bath teas for loved ones, it is a good idea to also include small card explaining this symbolism.  This will add a delightful sentimental aspect to your well thought out gift.

Below is a list of some of the more commonly used herbs for bath teas and their symbolic meaning.  This list is by no means a complete herb list.

what can you use lemon peel c/s for Herbs for Cleansing:
Acacia, Lavender, Lemon, Lemon Verbana, Peppermint, Turmeric

Herbs for Courage:
Fennel, Mullein, St. John’s Wort, Thyme

what can you use passion flower for Herbs for Friendship:
Lemon, Passion flower

Herbs for Happiness:
Calendula, Catnip, Dandelion, Lavender, Parsley, St. John’s Wort

what can you use nettle for Herbs for Healing:
Aloe, Barley, Basil, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Mullein, Nettle, Olive, Peppermint, Spearmint

Herbs for Love:
Barley, Basil, Beet Powder, Catnip, Clove, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Juniper, Lemon, Mullein, Orange, Papaya, Peppermint, Red Clover, Rose, Rosemary, Spearmint, St. John’s Wort, Yarrow

what can you use lavender for Herbs for Peace:
Lavender, Olive, Passion Flower

Herbs for Safety:
Aloe, Barley, Basil, Blueberry, Clove, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Juniper, Mullein, Nettle, Olive, Papaya, Red Clover, St. John’s Wort

what can you use chamomile for Herbs for Sleep:
Chamomile, Passion flower, Peppermint

Herbs for Wealth:
Alfalfa, Chamomile, Clove, Comfrey, Jasmine, Orange, Patchouli, Pomegranate, Red Clover

what can you use sage for Herbs for Wisdom:
Chamomile, Mint, Sage

Now, when making tea bags for gift giving; you may add extra scent to your herbs.  This can be done with the addition of fragrance oils or essential oils.  Just keep in mind of the final blend of aromas (the herbs with the scent oil because many herbs are aromatic in nature).

Place the herbs that you would like to use in a mixing bowl.  Then, using a pipette, add a few drops of the scenting oil (whether it is essential oil or fragrance oil).  Please note:  For best absorption, you will need to have herbs that can soak up the oil.  Then, stir using a mixing spoon.  Finally, spoon the herbs into a tea bag, and tie shut.  Optional:  Then add your card explaining the symbolic meaning of the herbs and a cute ribbon.

Hippie Hair Conditioner

Friday, January 17th, 2014

happy hippie hair conditionerThe hippies may have stumbled upon something with their love of patchouli.  This natural herb does wonders for your body.  Not only is it amazing for your skin, promoting a lustrous glow, but it also has many antiseptic properties.  Besides the skin benefits, patchouli can also help in the hair department.  Patchouli can actually be used in the fighting of dandruff.

In order to best harness the anti-dandruff powers of patchouli, we decided that a patchouli oil infusion was in order.  This would then allow all of the medicinal anti fungal benefits of patchouli to be transferred through infusion into an oil.  Now, this oil, as opposed to the herb, was something that we could easily work with for a hair conditioner recipe.  Sometimes, as awesome as an herb is, the form that it is widely available in does not always suite it in the means of bath and body products.  For these types of situations; where an herb is needed, but not physcially desired in its form, the solution is an herbal oil infusion.

There are various ways to make an herbal infusion.  To see these different ways, please click here.

Please Note:  For this Hippie Hair Conditioner Recipe, you will need to make your patchouli oil infusion 4 weeks prior to making the hair conditioner.  Allowing the patchouli to steep for 4 weeks will permit the strongest oil infusion possible.  With oil infusions, the longer the herb is allowed to steep, the stronger the oil infusion will become.

To view all of the steps to make your very own homemade patchouli oil infusion, please click here.

Now, once you have your patchouli infused oil, you are now ready to make your very own Hippie Hair Conditioner.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
20 grams of your Patchouli Infused Oil
25 grams of  VEGETABLE GLYCERIN
25 grams of BTMS 25 Emulsifier
5 grams of OPTIPHEN – Preservative
5 grams of VITAMIN E OIL (Tocopherol T-50) Natural

For this recipe, temperature will be very important.  This is especially true for the step that includes adding the optiphen.  To best monitor this, we suggest using a THERMOMETER.

For an amazing natural scent, we will be using both Patchouli Essential Oil, and Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil.  You will need 5 grams of Patchouli Essential Oil and 10 grams of Lavandin Grosso Pure Essential Oil for this recipe.

For packaging once the hippie hair conditioner is made, we suggest:  8 oz. Clear Boston Round Bottles with Black Lotion Pumps 24/410 for easy use of your product.  This recipe will make a total of (2) 8oz. bottles of hippie hair conditioner.

Other equipment that you will need for this recipe:
425 grams of Distilled Water
Scale- to weigh out your ingredients
Stove- for heating purposes
(2) Small Pots
Large Pot- for double boiler method
Large Mixing Bowl
Stick Blender- highly recommended for best emulsion.
Spatula

And now, the steps:

As when making any formulation for bath and body products, it is very important to have a clean and sanitized work area.  You also want to have all of your equipment out and ready for when you need it.

The first step in making this recipe is the water phase.  Get your distilled water and weigh it out.  Once you have the correct amount, transfer the water into one of your small pots.  Place the pot onto one of your stove top burners and begin to heat.  You want your water to reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Use your thermometer to monitor this.  Once you reach this temperature, you will want to continue to heat your water for an additional 20 minutes.  This ensures that your distilled water is bacteria free.  When the 20 minutes has expired, turn off the burner, and carefully remove the pot from the heat source.  Set aside.

The next step is what is considered the oil phase.  For this phase, we will be using the double boiler method to heat our ingredients.  Now, get your large pot and place at least 3-4 inches of tap water into it.  Set this pot onto one of your stove top burners.  Turn the heat temperature on a lower setting.  While the tap water is heating up, it is time to weigh out your ingredients.  In the other small pot, weigh out the BTMS, vegetable glycerin, vitamin E oil, and finally the patchouli oil infusion.  Once all of these ingredients are in the small pot, carefully place the small pot into the larger one.  Once all of the ingredients are in a liquid state, once again get your thermometer.  You want the temperature of the ingredients to reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once you have reached this degree, check the distilled water temperature.  You want your distilled water temperature to be around 140 degrees as well.  The two temperatures must be close to one another for the next step to occur.

The next step in this recipe is the Mixing Phase.  Once the degrees of both the ingredients and the water are close to one another, it is safe to mix.  Please note:  You will want to move quickly for this phase.  In your large mixing bowl, place both the ingredients and the water together.  Get your stick blender and start to mix it.  You will want to periodically use your spatula to clean the sides of the bowl.  Continue to stick blend until you notice your mixture is starting to turn white.  This means that the conditioner is starting to emulsify.  It is now time to check the temperature again.

For the final step or cool down phase you are looking for the magical degree of 120F.  This is the safest temperature to add the optiphen.  Once you hit this degree, weigh out and add your optiphen preservative.  Next, add your essential oils.  Mix well with your stick blender, and do not forget to scrap the sides of your bowl with the spatula.  Once the conditioner has been thoroughly blended, allow it to cool at room temperature.

Once the hhippy hair conditionerair conditioner has cooled, it is safe to bottle and lid.

Your Hippie Hair Conditioner is now ready to use.  Enjoy!

Natures Garden is not responsible for the performance of any of the recipes provided on our website. Testing is your responsibility. If you plan to resell any recipes we provide, it is your responsibility to adhere to all FDA regulations. If there are ingredients listed in a recipe that Natures Garden does not sell, we cannot offer any advice on where to purchase those ingredients.

Herbal Infusion Recipe

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

herbal oilHerbal Infusion Recipe

This is the basic recipe for making patchouli infused oil to be used in the creation of various bath and body products.  For this recipe we are going to be using the double boiler method.  There are various methods to choose from when making an herbal oil infusion.  To view other processes of infusing herbs for bath and body products please click on this linkPlease note:  Depending on the herb/herbs that you are selecting to infuse, will determine whether you go with a hot method or a cold method route of infusion.  Some herbs are very heat sensitive.  Therefore, if heat is introduced for the infusion, some of the medicinal benefits may be lost.

With oil infusion, a key to remember is the longer that the herbs are allowed to set in the oil, the stronger the herbal infusion will be.  Our herbal infusion sat undisturbed for 4 weeks (after the double boiler method) before we strained the herbs out and introduced the infusion to a recipe.

We selected sweet almond oil because it readily absorbs into the skin and has a non-greasy feel to it.  There are however other oils you can choose from.  For the selection of your solvent (liquid you are infusing the herbs into), you will want to pick an oil that has a low rancidity rate.  Some other great solvents that can be used are: vegetable glycerin, apricot kernel oil, and olive oil.  Each oil has various skin loving attributes to them, so it is very easy to cater the oil infusion you want to make to the specific need you are looking for.

Although there are other herbs you can select for oil infusion; for this recipe, we wanted to make an oil infusion that was great for dry skin and promoted a healthy and radiant glow.  Besides being an astringent, patchouli is also known for its antimicrobial, anti inflammatory and antiseptic properties.  Plus, since Valentine’s Day is coming, and patchouli is known for its possible APHRODISIAC properties, we found patchouli to be a good herb of choice.

For this infusion, you will need:

patchouli oil infusionPatchouli c/s
Sweet Almond Oil
a pint sized canning jar with lid
2 pots (one smaller with lid, and one larger)
Water
Stove top
Scale

Here are the steps for making patchouli infused oil (double boiler method):

Using a scale, weigh out 45 grams of patchouli c/s.  Place the herb into the smaller pot.  Next, weigh out 392 grams of Sweet Almond Oil.  Pour this over the herbs in the smaller pot, set aside.  Next, place some water into the larger pot.  You want to have at least 3-4 inches of water.  Next, place the large pot onto the stove top on the lowest setting of heat possible.

making patchouli oil infusion

Then, place the lid on the smaller pot and then place the smaller pot into the larger one.  Although it is essential to keep the small pot lidded the entire time it is heated, you will want to monitor the oil infusion and stir it occasionally.  You will want to let the oil infusion simmer slowly for 30 minutes to an hour.  Do not allow water to get into your infusion.

double boiler herbal oil infusion

Once this time period has passed, remove the smaller pot from the larger one.  Allow the oil infusion to reach room temperature and then place the oil infusion into a pint sized canning jar and lid.

herb in oil

Although technically, once the herbs have simmered, you may strain them out and use the oil infusion once it reaches room temperature.  We however wanted a very strong patchouli oil infusion so we let the oil infusion set and steep for an additional 4 weeks after double boiling.  While the herbs were steeping, we took advantage of the sun and placed the jar in the window sill during the daytime.

Once four weeks had passed, the patchouli herb was strained out of the oil using cheesecloth.  Please note:  When you are ready to strain out the herbs, do not forget to apply pressure to the drenched herbs to get out as much oil as you can.  Finally, after tons of anticipation our oil infusion was ready to be put to use.

In the End
The patchouli oil infusion smelled amazing!  Not only was this recipe super easy to make, but it was fun too.  The addition of the oil infusion to our formulation allowed our end product that extra boost in the moisturizing category, and our skin was soft and supple after use too.

Happy Homemade!

Herbal Infusion

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Herbal InfusionHerbal Infusion

Many times the herbs that we seek out to use in a bath or body recipe may be a little too coarse for our skin.  This is the point where typically a conundrum lies.  The battle that is at hand is the great skin loving nutrients and benefits that herbs are able to provide versus the rigidity and awkwardness of the herbs physical form.  This is especially true for herbs that are cut and sifted.

There is however great news to share.  An herbal infusion is the problem solver in this situation.

What is an Herbal Infusion:  The true definition of the action of infusion is a procedure of withdrawing various nutritive compounds of an herb into a solvent, and allowing them to linger in the solvent for a period of time.  Basically, an herbal infusion is the method of extracting the medicinal benefits of herbs and steeping them to allow the transfer of herbal benefits into another medium.

There are different kinds of herbal infusions that can be made.  They all vary according to what medium is used.  The different solvents or mediums that can be used for an herbal infusion are water, oil (such as olive oil, apricot kernel oil, or sweet almond oil), vegetable glycerin, vinegar, propylene glycol, or alcohol.  Typically, herbal infusions made with alcohol or vegetable glycerin are referred to as tinctures or extracts.  The difference between extracts and tinctures is the amount of herb infused in the alcohol or glycerin.  An extract is considered 1 part herb to 1 part alcohol or glycerin.  A tincture is considered 1 part herbs to 3 parts alcohol or glycerin.

Infusions are necessary with some herbs due to their delicate nature.  Typically the fragile parts of the plant are used for infusions; this would be the parts that are above ground.  These parts would include:  leaves, flowers, stems, or aromatic pieces.   It is important to know your herbs and understand their nature before deciding the best infusion route to take.

Hot infusions:
Hot infusions will bring out vitamins, and enzymes.  This type of infusion will also allow the aromatic notes of the herbs out, which are also known as essential oils.  This method works best for the herbs that are a little more reluctant to forgo their medicinal characteristics.  This is generally the herbs in the form of barks and roots; although all portions of the plant can be used.  Herbal tea is the most popular example of a hot herbal infusion.

Cold infusions:
Cold infusions are best for herbs that have a heat sensitive nature.  Using the hot method with these types of herbs may eliminate some of the remedial properties.  This process is best for these types of herbs because through steeping (allowing a plant material to set in a medium undisturbed), they will release their medicinal attributes without being forced to do so with heat.

It is believed that the best types of herbs to use for an infusion are dried ones.  This is because nourishing minerals and phytochemicals that are naturally in herbs are best accessed by the drying out of the herb.  However, fresh herbs may also be used.

Depending on the method of your herbal infusion, it will vary the strength of the infusion itself.  Another deciding factor with infusion is the time that your herbal infusion will take as well as the deadline of your need for the infusion.  There are several different ways varying in strength and steep time that you can infuse herbs.

solar herbal infusionSolar Infusion:  This method involves the placement of your herbs and your solvent into a covered glass jar.  Make sure the cover is on tightly.  Then you allow your jar to set undisturbed in a warm/sunny area of your home-under a skylight or in a window sill. Allow this mixture to set for at least two weeks.  For more potent infusions, allow to set for 4-6 weeks.  After the time has passed, you may strain the herbs out with cheesecloth and use.  To make an even stronger infusion with this method, after straining, add another round of herbs to the same oil and allow it to set and steep again for two additional weeks.  Solar infusions typically use oils as the medium.  NOTE:  While sun tea can be made this way, it is important to understand that water can grow mold and bacteria within days.  Therefore, refrain from allowing sun tea to set in the sun more than a day before using or before refrigerating.

Oven Extraction:  The best method to use if you have selected a heat sensitive oil as your solvent and you are in a time crunch.  This method involves placing your herbs and solvent in a glass jar.  You will also want to make sure that you have it covered with a tight fitting lid.  Once sealed, select a deep cake pan and fill it with water.  The water level should rise to cover about half of your jar.  Then, simply place your deep cake pan into the oven and allow it to heat for several hours.  You want to make sure your oven temperature is on its lowest setting.  Once the time has passed, strain the herb out and allow the infusion to reach room temperature before using.

Hot water herbal infusionHot Water Steep:  This herbal infusion can be done if water is your selected solvent.  To do this method, place your herbs in a glass container.  Then, boil water.  Once your water is at a boil, turn off the stove top and carefully pour the boiling water over the herbs and into the jar.  Once the hot water has been added, quickly lid the jar tightly.  Allow the herbs to steep for 4-10 hours before opening the container to strain the herbs out.  Allow the infusion to reach room temperature before using.  A recipe for this hot water tea infusion:  Place 1 cup of dried herbs into a quart jar.  Pour hot water over the herbs.  Lid.  Set for 4-6 hours.  Strain.

Double Boiler:  This method is done by placing the herbs and oil in a lidded pot with the tightest lid possible.  Herbal Oil Infusion Recipe:  45 grams white sage leaves  + 392 grams of apricot kernel oil.  Next, take a second bigger pot and place water into it. Then, place the bigger pot on the stove top and set it on a lower temperature setting.  Next, place the smaller lidded pot containing your herbs and oil into the bigger one.   Allow this to simmer slowly for 30 minutes to an hour.  Throughout the time, continuously check your oil to make sure it is not overheating, and stir.  After the time has elapsed, strain the herbs out using a cheesecloth.   Allow the infusion to reach room temperature before using.

Tips for Infusions:
You can add extra scent to your infusion by adding fragrance oils or essential oils.

You can place the herbs that you will be infusing into a teabag or cheesecloth to help make the straining process easier.

No matter which method of infusion you are doing, a tight fitting lid is essential to the process.

You can combine herbs to make creative herbal infusions.

Uses for Infusions:
Water infusions can be used as a hair rinse.  This rinse can be left on the hair until the next time you shampoo.

Water infusions can be ingested as a tea (hot or cold) as long as the herb is safe for consumption.  Some herbs cannot be ingested at all, and can be deadly if consumed.   Check with your doctor before ingesting any herbs.  Honey can be added to make the taste of the tea more favorable.  If you have remaining infusion, refrigerate to slow spoilage rate.

Herbal infusions can be applied directly to the skin.  Oil infusions can be used for oil based bath and body products like massaging oils.

Herbal infusions can be inhaled for aromatherapy purposes.

Oil infusions can be bases for salves and balms.

You can use an oil infusion for emulsion products like sugar scrubs, lotions, and soaps.

For all natural herbs that you can use to make your own herbal infusions, shop Natures Garden’s Herbs.

Natures Garden sells our herbs for external applications only.  We are providing this information for herbal infusions for educational purposes only.  Nothing we mention should be construed as medical advice or for medical treatment purposes.   Please consult your doctor before using any herbs for treatment or other medicinal purposes.