Archive for the ‘all natural’ Category

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.

Shea Butter Recipes

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Shea butter cold process soap Great Shea Butter Recipes

Shea Butter has amazing benefits for your skin.  The addition of this ingredient in your products will give your merchandise often sought out advantages.  Rich in vitamins a and e, Shea butter is great for reviving and moisturizing skin, hair, and nails.  Plus, Shea butter is readily absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy feel behind.  Shea butter also does not clog pores, and is gentle enough to use for skin irritations on babies.

Key Points of Shea Butter

Shea butter can help in the removal of age spots, scars, and stretch marks.  It also helps to invigorate collagen production from our bodies, keeping our skin looking healthy, radiant, and supple; therefore reducing sagging skin.

Shea butter is anti inflammatory.  This makes it a perfect ingredient for body products that help to alleviate pain associated with arthritis, sore and achy muscles, and wind/sun/minor heat burns.

Shea butter is a natural moisturizing agent.  This is a great ingredient to use for people that suffer from skin irritations such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.  However, Shea butter is gentle enough to use on babies for diaper rashes.  Also, Shea butter is a superb additive to combat those rougher areas of your body; such as the heels, knees, and elbows.

For hair products, Shea butter is a winner.  Not only does Shea butter help thinning and damaged hair, but it will also promote growth of hair as well.  A perfect bonus to this butter is that it fights dandruff and can even be used as a natural hair conditioner.

Shea butter will also help cracked cuticles and promote healthy nail beds.

A great massage oil, Shea butter allows for penetrating, deep tissues massages and can be scented for aromatherapy reasons.

Here are some phenomenal Shea butter themed recipes for homemade bath and body products:

Rose Violet Bath MeltsBath Recipes
Berry Bewitching Bath Brew Recipe
Gourmet Chocolate Bath Melts Recipe
Lemon Lavender Bath Melts Recipe
Rose Petal Bath Melts Recipe
Rose Violet Bath Melts Recipe

black raspberry vanilla body butter recipeBody Balms/Butters
Black Raspberry Vanilla Body Butter Recipe
Hydrating Hand Sticks Recipe
Sugar Cookie Whipped Body Butter Recipe
Rejuvenating Foot Balm Recipe
Winter Body Butter Recipe

Massage
Massage Candle Recipe

shea lotion with herbal infusionLotions
Shea Lotion with Herbal Infusion Recipe
Solid Lotion Bar Recipe

Melt and Pour Soaps
7 Up Bundt Cake Soap Recipe
Zebra Print Soap Recipe

Blueberry Cheesecake Cold Process Soap Cold Process Soaps
Peppermint Cold Process Foot Soap Recipe
Apricotie Hottie Soap Recipe
Beer Cold Process Soap Recipe
Blueberry Cheesecake Cold Process Soap Recipe
Calendula Sunshine Cold Process Soap Recipe
Caramel Custard Cold Process Soap Recipe
Carrot Cold Process Soap Recipe
Cleopatra Heavy Cream Cold Process Soap Recipe
Cold Fashioned Lemonade Soap Recipe
Cold Process Shaving Soap Recipe
Gentle Avocado Cold Process Soap Recipe
Lavender Luxury Cold Process Soap Recipe
Mango Cold Process Soap Recipe
Pineapple Paprika Cold Process Soap Recipe
Royal Honey Bee Cold Process Soap Recipe
Shampoo Bar Cold Process Soap Recipe
Shea Butter Cold Process Soap Recipe
Hot Process Soap Recipe

Lip Balms/Glosses
Crazy for Coconuts Lip Balm Recipe
Natural Beet Root Lip Gloss Recipe
Strawberry Cheesecake Lip Balm Recipe

cotton candy emulsified sugar scrub Scrubs
Cotton Candy Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Fruity Rings Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Neapolitan Ice Cream Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Strawberry Milkshake Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe
Watermelon Emulsified Sugar Scrub Recipe

Shea Butter

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Shea ButterShea Butter

An essential element to Africans for thousands of years, the benefits of Shea Butter are quickly becoming center stage in many western parts of the world.  Shea butter is a substance that naturally contains vitamins a and e.  This butter is very beneficial to skin care and medicinal industries.  It can be added to various body products such as lotions or salves for anti-inflammatory (reduce inflammation), emollient (softening or soothing skin), and humectant (retaining or keeping moisture) properties.   But, more over, Shea butter also assists with the removal of scars and stretch marks.  Shea butter can even help with skin irritations such as diaper rashes.

Shea Butter comes from the wild growing Karite tree in Africa. The Karite tree can live up to 300 years of age.  The Karite tree starts to produce seeds at 10-15 years of age.  These seeds (or nuts) parallel that of a large plum. The fruit of the Karite tree has become a priceless item to the people of Africa.  Often considered “women’s gold”, these nuts not only provide food and medicine to the people of Africa, but they are also a main source of income for many of the women who are employed by the production of Shea butter.

Shea butter can be made in various different ways:

When a Karite tree produces nuts, they are collected.  Traditionally, the nuts are then opened and roasted.  This roasting is done to ensure a constant texture in the Shea butter.  When this consistency is achieved, the butter is then removed from the nuts, kneaded, and finally is analyzed for quality.  Once it is approved, the Shea butter, which has a ivory or cream like color, is then exported out of Africa.

Another way to get Shea butter is the crushing and boiling of the nuts.  Since the Shea butter is really a fatty substance, it will float to the top of the water.  The Shea butter is then skimmed out of the water and then it naturally solidifies.  Once it is in a solid form, it is checked for quality and exported.

Shea butter can also be extracted by the cold pressing method.   

Shea butter can also be filtered.  This form of Shea butter involves a process of clay filtering which allows for a smoother texture.  This clay filtering method allows for the removal of any shell particles that may still be in the Shea Butter.

Physically speaking Shea butter is a great substance to apply raw (right on the skin).  Its butter like consistency readily melts (from the heat of our bodies), and is absorbed into the skin.  Shea butter is invaluable to both the medicinal and cosmetic industries. 

Medical Uses:

Some of the key components as to why Shea butter is beneficial to the medical industry are that Shea butter is:  antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti inflammatory.

Shea Butter works as a natural sun block.  This is because it is able to absorb some ultraviolet rays, due to the fact that Shea butter contains the component cinnamic acid.  The addition of Shea butter to a lotion or cream will allow the product to provide some sun blocking properties against harmful UV rays.

Shea butter is also used as a base in many medicinal ointments because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

This amazing product can even help to alleviate discomfort from bruises and even burns (heat/wind/sun burns).  Medicinally speaking, using raw Shea butter on sore and achy muscles will actually drain the toxins from the area, helping to reduce the soreness.

This is a go to ingredient for massaging people who suffer from arthritis and pains in their joints.  This is because Shea butter contains stigmasterol, an agent for preventing stiffness.

And, within the realm of massaging, Shea butter is a perfect massaging agent.  Because this ingredient melts when it is in contact with the skin, it creates an ideal situation for deep tissue massages.

Cosmetic Uses:

Shea butter is one of the best all natural skin care products available hence it growing popularity in this booming market.

Due to its moisturizing benefits, Shea butter prevents chapping and extremely dry skin.  It is a great go to ingredient for dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.  As an exemplary moisturizer, Shea butter contains many fatty acids.  These fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin looking supple and youthful.  Shea butter also assists our skin in keeping its elasticity.  This is because Shea butter can actually encourage collagen production from our bodies.

Shea butter can be used as a natural hair conditioner.  But, the healthy hair benefits do not stop there.  Shea Butter can actually prevent hair from breaking and thinning and actually stimulates hair growth!  Shea butter can even be used as hair pomade.

For hand creams and body lotions, not only does the addition of Shea butter help to keep skin moisturized, but it also helps with cracked cuticles and even fortifies nail beds.  This ingredient is ideal for the super dry areas of your skin such as elbows, knees, and heels.

In shaving creams Shea butter can help to prevent irritations.  It even promotes the skin to have a radiant and healthy glow.

Shea Butter is ideal for soap making.  Because many of the components of Shea butter are non-saponifiable, therefore, many of the nutrients and skin loving elements are still existent in the finished bar of soap.  To view a great cold process soap making recipe that contains Shea butter and all its healthy benefits, please click here. 

To help firm and rejuvenate sagged, wrinkled, or aged skin, use Shea butter in the formulation of your bath and body products.  Promoting cell renewal and increasing circulation, this is an overall great ingredient for your whole body product line.

A great makeup remover that does not clog pores, Shea butter can be used to remove facial makeup in a cinch.

As you can see, Shea butter has many versatile uses.  A great addition to any bath and body recipe, Shea butter is easy to work with and will provide your products will numerous healthy benefits.  To purchase Shea butter from a trusted supplier in the soap and cosmetic industry, please click on this link.

Patchouli Uses

Friday, January 10th, 2014

patchouli herb cut and siftedPatchouli Uses

Traditionally, patchouli has always been a valuable element to the eastern Asia and India incense industry.  However, it was not until the 1960’s that both patchouli oil and patchouli incense rose in popularity in Europe and the United States.  This climb in demand was majorly contributed to the hippie movement of that time.

Because the hippie movement focused on a more natural and simpler way of living, many hippies wore the scent of patchouli because it signified nature.  Although it may be argued patchouli was worn to cover up the smell of weed.  This pungent yet unique aroma has a heavy musty and earthy odor that was easily distinguished.   Hippies wore this scent to stand up to the conservative environment of that time.  They saw this scent as a way of marking themselves as new age thinkers; a then outside of the box notion.  Not only did the aroma embrace the new age thinking, but also the sought after change for the world.  Patchouli however, is more than just the time capsule scent of the hippie era.

Patchouli has an array of versatile uses. It is used in the medical, skincare, perfume, home scenting, dietary, and even cleaning industries.  Depending on how you plan to use patchouli, the form differs in the type of patchouli you need.

Patchouli is available in many different forms.  You can use patchouli as an herb.  The herb is readily available in whole leaf form or in the c/s form which means cut and sifted.  Patchouli is also available as an absolute and an essential oil.  Synthetically, patchouli is accessible as fragrance oil as well, and you will be able to also find varieties of the fragrance too like Sweet Patchouli fragrance oil for example.

A vital component to the perfume industry, patchouli is considered a chypre.  A chypre is regarded as a group of related fragrances with specific top notes, middle notes, and bases notes denoting them.  This group is distinguished as a contradiction of a citrus accord (typical the top note- first one smelled) and the woody base (the anchor for the fragrance).  A very popular fragrance group for both feminine and masculine smells, patchouli is considered fundamental in various scents.

Perfumery/ Scent Industry:

This widely used scent is a foundation for many perfumes and fragrance oils.  It is considered a base note from which many different fragrances are layered and formulated.  Because of the fact that patchouli oil actually improves with aging, many perfumeries favor working with the eldest oils to ensure a full bodied, longer lasting scent in their end aromas.

One of the best attributes of the scent of patchouli is that it easily blends with a variety of other fragrance notes.  These other scents are basil, geranium, vetiver, cedarwood, clove, rose, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood, bergamot, juniper, and pine; just to name a few.

In India, authentic Indian shawls carried the prevalent scent as well as Indian ink.  Some examples of items in the United States that have been scented with patchouli are:  paper towels, laundry detergents, herbal sachets (in oil form and herb form), candles, incense, bath and body products, cosmetics, and even toys.  A little fun fact about patchouli: Mattel, a large toy company, once used patchouli oil in their product line to scent an action figure character named Stinkor.

Medicinal/Healing:

The amazing medical advantages of patchouli have been used by the people of the Orient for millennia.  Patchouli has long been used as an insect repellant (insecticide), aid in digestive conditions (digestive aid for nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhoids), combat infections (anti-infectious, natural anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic), and is even used for snake bites (antitoxic).  Patchouli can even help to speed up the time it takes to heal a wound, or insect bite.

Patchouli can be used as an excellent diuretic.  Not only does it help the body to release excess fluid and water retention, but it can also be used to assist in weight loss.  It is believed that the aroma of patchouli even helps to reduce appetite.

It is also believed that by simply inhaling the aroma of patchouli, it can help to reduce hypertension.  This method works by sending the brain messages through the limbic system which can directly control the nervous system.  Through means of aromatherapy, patchouli can help to control heart rate, blood pressure, and can moderate breathing.

Patchouli also works as a feel good tonic.  Affecting the overall health and well being of a person, patchouli assists in the feel good mood of a person.  But, patchouli powers don’t stop there, it also assimilates toxins as well and helps to remove them from the body with it diuretic ability.

The scent of patchouli is also documented and believed to help fight anxiety and depression.  This is because the aroma supposedly helps to relax the mind and keep it in the present.  Patchouli is considered to clarify thought and release mental anguish of the uncontrollable while balancing the emotions.

Skincare/ Body Care

Patchouli is quite popular in skincare products because of its versatility.  Patchouli helps to inhibit wrinkles and sagging in the skin.  This is because patchouli oil is actually a very effective tissue regenerator.  The use of the oil on your skin encourages the growth of new skin cells, which then replace the damaged ones; keeping your skin looking healthy and youthful.  It is due to these same benefits that patchouli oil can even assist in the fading of scars, and can even help with the reduction of cellulite.

A powerful astringent that even tones the skin, patchouli works to eliminate any surplus of fluids from the body’s tissues.  Plus, with patchouli’s antiseptic powers, it is able to find the source of inflammation, and cool it down.  This is why patchouli is a compelling substance in fighting and preventing mild acne occurrences, even lessening the changes for a return breakout.  The same can be said for other skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.

Becoming ever so popular in the 1960’s as a deodorant, patchouli works great at masking body odors.  Patchouli essential oil can even be to eliminate scalp disorders like dandruff.

Natures Garden provides this information about patchouli 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.

All Natural Cleaner

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

shutterstock_123478006 (2)Any habitual coffee drinker knows that your coffee maker shows signs of use after a little while, especially if you have hard water.  Anyone who has worked in the food industry as a server knows a little trick you can use to clean your coffee pot using, cold water, salt, and lemon slices.  However, having lemon slices (or lemon juice) at your disposal is not always the case.  But, when you are a homemade crafter, you will have citric acid on hand!

This recipe is a natural cleaner to remove those pesky hard water and coffee stains with two simple ingredients.  This method can be used once a month, on a regular basis.

Here are the items you will need:
Citric Acid
Water

How to clean you coffee pot:

1.  Rinse out your coffee pot, and place it back onto the machine.  Remove the filter and rinse out the funnel, replace the funnel when done (do not place a filter in the funnel).

2.  Weigh out 28 grams of citric acid.  Then in a separate container, weigh out 880 grams of hot tap water.

3.  Slowly pour the citric acid into the water.  Allow it to dissolve.

4.  Next, weigh out 880 grams of cold tap water.  Add this to the citric acid solution.  Stir gently.

5.  Now, pour all of the solution into the water tank portion of your coffee maker.  Allow the coffee maker to run until 4 cups of the solution has “brewed”.

6.  When this occurs stop the coffee maker and allow it to set undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.

7.  Next, start the coffee maker again, and allow it to fully finish “brewing”.

8.  Allow the mixture to set again for 20 minutes undisturbed.

9.  Before dumping out the cleaning solution from the coffee pot, pour a little bit into a bowl, and dump out the rest of the solution.

10.  Now, using a sponge, clean the outside and top of the coffee pot to remove any outside stains.  Then, rinse the coffee pot and place it back into the coffee machine.

11.  To rinse the machine, weigh out 1760 grams of cold tap water into the water tank and allow it to “brew”.

12.  Once “brewing” is complete, repeat step 11 at least 4-5 additional times before making coffee in the machine.

This recipe is an easy and quick way to clean your coffee pot and machine naturally without a ton of work on your behalf.  Citric acid is an amazing all natural ingredient that deodorizing and cleans.  You can purchase citric acid from a trusted supplier by clicking on this link.

You will love how great your coffee tastes after you clean your machine using this method.

If you are interested in viewing an all natural window cleaner that shines windows to perfection without streaks, please click on this link.

Citric Acid

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

citric acidCitric Acid

Naturally found in bitter/sour tasting fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, etc; citric acid is the naturally occurring organic acid that gives such fruits mentioned above their typical sour taste.  Although citric acid is found in various fruits and vegetables including raspberries, tomatoes, and some peppers, it is most potent in limes and lemons consisting of up to 8% of the dry fruit’s weight.  This amount varies based on factors like climate and soil conditions.

Besides fruits and vegetables, citric acid can also be produced from cane sugar, molasses, and dextrose as well.

For biochemistry means, citric acid occurs in the metabolism of nearly every living creature.  This is due to citric acids vital role in the Krebs cycle.  Outside the metabolic role of citric acid, it is also a common go to ingredient for cosmetics, pharmaceutical, food, beverage, and cleaning industries.  In fact, citric acid has been deemed safe by all major food regulatory agencies both on the national (FDA) and international end.

Sold most commonly in a powdered or crystalline form that is white, citric acid can be used as an antioxidant, preservative, pH adjuster, emulsifier, additive, cleanser, and stabilizer.

The industry yielding the most use out of citric acid is food and beverage.  This is because citric acid is an additive that can be found in everything from meat to ice cream to candy and especially soda pops.  Obviously, citric acid can be ingested and very few people are allergic to this ingredient.  Although a typically harmless additive; this natural substance is sour and when consumed in larger quantities, may cause an upset stomach.

On the cosmetic end of things, citric acid is starting to gain popularity.  More and more, people are starting to realize the benefits of using citric acid in their homemade bath and body products because of its pH adjusting abilities.  Items like bath tablets and bath bombs (or bath fizzes) require citric acid as a base ingredient for their formulation.  It is solely this ingredient’s interaction with baking soda that produces carbon dioxide the characteristically known and sought out fizzy action when introduced to water.  Citric acid is also used in masks, peels, creams and lotions because it is an alpha hydroxy acid, giving products great exfoliate and emollient properties.

To view some great bath bomb recipes, click here.

When it comes to antioxidants, citric acid is phenomenal.  Not only does this natural substance help to rejuvenate and refresh the skin, but it also helps to stall the aging process in your skin.  Citric acid also works as both a tonner and a cleanser.  For recipes outside of bath bombs, citric acid can be used up to .5% of the total recipes weight.  To add this ingredient to bath and body recipes, simply dissolve the citric acid in a liquid, and heat the mixture to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before blending it into your other ingredients.

The cleaning industry also has many uses for citric acid.  It is considered an environmentally friendly cleaning agent.

This natural substance makes a great water softener, breaking down the small amounts of metal that is commonly found in water.  When it comes to treating hard water, citric acid is an optimal choice for an all natural water softener.

As for a cleaning agent, citric acid is quickly gaining popularity in kitchen and bathroom cleansers.  Not only does citric acid remove hard water stains from glassware, but due to the nature of this natural ingredient, it works great as a deodorizer with its instinctive clean citrus scent.

To view a natural coffee maker cleaner recipe, please click here.

There are some cautions that should be noted with the hands on use of the concentrated (powdered form) citric acid.  Always use caution when dealing with citric acid.  Skin irritation may occur from interacting with large amounts of citric acid, especially if you have sensitive skin.  Always wash your hands after touching citric acid.  Never rub your eyes after touching citric acid.  Finally, when using products with citric acid for its alpha hydroxy acid benefits; prolonged and aggressive use is not advised.  Doing so will cause skin irritation.  Most skin treatments that involve alpha hydroxyl acid are followed by applying a facial toner that neutralizes the skin’s ph.

To store citric acid, it should be placed in an air tight container away from moisture.  The container should be kept at room temperature.  This will eliminate any chance of humidity from activating its fizzing ability.   If housed in this manner, citric acid can have a shelf life of up to multiple years.