Archive for the ‘herbal oil infusion’ Category

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

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.

White Sage Uses

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

white sageWhite Sage was considered a Holy herb by the American Indians who used it for smudging ceremonies, for bathing, for deodorant, and for medicinal purposes.  Natures Garden sells our white sage for external applications only, but in the following article, we will discuss how this wonderful herb has been used throughout history.  Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice; consult your doctor before using any herbs for treatment purposes. We provide this data for educational purposes only.    

White Sage (Salvia apiana) is an evergreen shrub that grows to 4-5 feet in height.  White sage grows well in climates that provide lots of sunlight, well-drained soil, mild winters, and little water.  Over-watering white sage can kill the plant. The leaves of white sage contain essential oils and resins that provide a wonderful aroma when rubbed together.  White sage’s scientific name is salvia apiana (apiana refers to the fact that bees are attracted to this plant); salvia means salvation.

The American Indians referred to white sage as the king of all sages, and frequently used this herb for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.  In fact, it is believed that the term “Holy Smoke” originated from the American Indians “smudging” white sage to rid people and places of unwanted evil spirits, and to protect themselves from those spirits.  In addition, they believe that the smoke of sage attaches itself to negative energy found within a person, and removes it from their body.   

White sage is still used today for smudging purposes.  The smudging process involves lighting the tips of dried sage leaves, blowing them out, and allowing the smoke to escape into the air.  Smudging is typically done using a sage wand (smudge stick), but loose white sage leaves can be used instead.  Sage wands are sage leaves wrapped tightly together.  To burn a smudge stick, light the tip of a few leaves and blow it out.  You can either wave the stick in air or place stick in a fire-safe container that contains salt or sand. The salt or sand will allow the smudge stick to stand erect while burning. To extinguish the smudge stick, place smoking end of the stick into the salt or sand and smolder. The smoke created from burning sage produces a calming effect on those who inhale it.  (Always use caution when burning sage, as anything that is on fire can potentially catch other things on fire.  Also, keep anything that is burning away from children and pets).

In addition to smudging, white sage may be used for topical applications by preparing teas, poultices, and/or oil infusions.  White sage is used in these applications because it has anti-fungal, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, calming, deodorizing, and healing properties.  White sage contains diterpenoids, which are compounds which have been shown to fight bacterial infections, and reduce allergy symptoms.  It also contains cineole, which acts as an anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial agent.  Tannic acid content provides anti-fungal properties.  Sage is also used as an antipyretic; used as a sweat bath to reduce fever. White sage has a calming effect on the body and soul.  This is likely due to its miltirone content (a compound which performs similar to valium to reduce anxiety).  Finally, white sage contains phytoestrogens, which are compounds very similar to the female hormone estrogen.  Herbalists have used white sage to help treat the hot flashes that accompany menopause.

 

White sage tea is prepared by steeping sage leaves in hot water.  Care is taken not to add white sage leaves to boiling water, as boiling water will destroy some of its medicinal value.  Once this tea is made, it can be used to make natural lotions and creams, soap, and hair care products.  The American Indians used white sage tea as a “soapless” shampoo.  Since white sage has deodorant qualities, sage tea can be used as a fabulous hair rinse that leaves your hair soft and manageable.  Sage tea can be used in place of plain water to make wonderful homemade soaps.  Natural lotions and creams can also be made using white sage tea in place of plain water.  This tea can also be added directly to your bathtub for a relaxing herbal bath.  Due to its tannic acid content (which has anti-fungal properties), white sage tea can be used as a foot bath to treat athlete’s foot.  White sage tea can also be used as a refreshing, natural vaginal deodorant.

White sage can be infused into oils to make fabulous massage oils, ointments, body butters, salves, lip balms, ect.  To prepare a white sage oil infusion, crush 1 cup dried white sage into 16 oz. olive oil (or another light oil such as sweet almond oil or sunflower oil), warm it gently in a double boiler for about 1 hour covered, pour the solution (including the herbs) into a jar and lid.  Allow this to set for 4-6 weeks; strain and use.  Your oil infusion will have a shelf life of about 1 year.  This white sage oil infusion can be used to make soaps, lotions, massage oils, ointments, salves, deodorants, creams, lip balms, scrubs, and other body products.

Finally, it is reported that white sage can be used internally (in small amounts) in the form of a tea for an array of medicinal treatments. Never should sage essential oil be ingested.  Before ingesting any type of herbs, you should consult with your doctor first. Herbalists use white sage as a tea, for soothing sore throats, for relaxation, for hormonal imbalances, for diarrhea, for indigestion, for ulcers, and for treating congestion in the respiratory tract.  Since white sage is a natural deodorant, it can be used to make natural douches.

White sage contains a compound known as thujone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this compound increases your heart rate and causes mental confusion. It can also lead to vomiting, restlessness and kidney complications when used in excess. Hence, you should exercise caution when using white sage.

A study performed at the University of Arizona in 1991 demonstrated that Salvia apiana has potential antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Candida brassicae.   It was also published in March 2005 in “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” that scientists at the University of Southern California found white sage to contain eucalyptol, or cineole.  This compound is known to kill bacteria and can help clear a sinus infection. 

Top 50 Soap Making Blogs

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

soap making blogs

Soap making has grown from a hobby, to a seriously competitive trade that attracts new talent all the time. The trick is finding the right soap making blogs to get the best recipes, ingredient list, tutorials, and expert advice to learn the pro’s tips on soap making. What I have created is the ultimate online resource that compiles the best of the best soap making blogs into one post.

I wanted to create a quality resource for people seeking information about soap making so I’ve collected what I believe to be some of the top soap making blogs out there. I endorse them so much that I’ve created a badge for them to display and be endorsed as one of the top soap making blogs on the Internet. The order below is not in any particular order. They are all #1 in my eyes.

Best Soap Making Blogs

1. Evik – The Curious Soapmaker – Evik has been making soap since she accidentally discovered a natural soap making book while browsing her favorite book store. Suddenly, she became more interested in a natural lifestyle and became a vegetarian and started learning more about the products and ingredients she was using in her every day life. Learn from her passion for soapmaking, the importance of selecting the proper ingredients, and basic recipes tutorials and principles.

2. Jennifer Young – Jennifer has a successful business of soaps, lip balms, salves and more. What makes her, and her blog, stand out are the four principles she runs her business by: she enjoys what she does, only uses natural ingredients in her products, supports the local community and economy, and treats the environment well. Kuddos to you Jennifer!

3. Amanda Griffin – Amanda shares her passion for soap making, and her gratitude for being a part of the “soaping” community. She loves all things soap, including talking, sharing, and teaching soap making. Follow her site for handmade soap, bath and body products, reviews, interviews, how-to’s and more.

4. Ruth Esteves – Ruth was trained as a laboratory assistant, and found herself craving more creativity in her life. She fused her passion for soapmaking with a career, and has successfully combined her talents for a business that “feeds her soul,” since 2006. Now she sells, teaches, and speaks about soapmaking and has even recently published her first eBook.

5. Rebecca Dillon – Soap Delicatessen is a one woman operation that has been running since 2001. She started out making soap as an alternative to commercial brands that often irritated her very sensitive skin. Over a decade later, now she creates her own unique recipes for various skin and bath products and sells them on her site.

6. Rene Whitlock – Rene started with aromatherapy and essential oils before she discovered her love for soap making. Now she passionately shares her discovery for better ingredients, natural products, and converting commercial product consumers to products more beneficial for their skin and the planet.

7. TheSoapBar.com – The Soap Bar is a fun spot for the soap makers out there. This site is loaded with contests, challenges, creative new tips and ideas, and wonderful tutorials to keep your soap making fresh and inspired. Follow along for wonderful recipes and a fun community of soap makers.

8. TheSoapMagician - Sharon has done her homework and has plenty of certificates to prove it. She has been making soap for well over a decade, and has no plans on stopping. Share her fountain of knowledge from aromatherapy to holistic uses of herbs, and how she incorporates all that into soap making.

9. TheSoapSister.com – This country gal loves her handmade soap and she can’t deny it! Her soap, Heirloom, is featured in local shops and on etsy. She shares the joys of soapmaking, making a messing, learning the tricks, and more on her oh-so-passionate blog.

10. TierraVerdeSoaps.com – A true self-proclaimed soap nerd, this mom has an entrepenurial spirit and a true talent at that. Follow her exploration of soap making where art meets science. Beautiful pictures are always the end result that you’ll find yourself wishing you could smell through your computer screen.

11. Stacie – Another successful business created as the result of a suffering tale of overly sensitive skin. Stacie’s first line of products resulted in her true love for sharing her results with others and the benefits she discovered in natural soaps. Share her recipes and learn about her new products, and cute crafts, on this charming site.

12. Angela – Angela, and her husband Brian, are the savvy creators of this blog that will educate and inspire you to spend more time together creating healthier, more natural products for you and your family. Browse their recipes and tutorials; it’s a great place to get started at making your own soaps.

13. SoaphisticatedLady.com – Beginner soap makers rejoice; here is the perfect spot for you to try your talent at soap making. Learn the basic process of melt-and-pour (MAP) soap making, and new tips and tricks “not available anywhere else.” A wonderful place to learn recipes, colors, and fragrance tips for your first, or twentieth batch of soaps.

14. Gavin Webber – Gavin’s site is delightfully personal, refreshingly real, and absolutely inspiring. He deems himself an ordinary man that had a sudden epiphony while watching a documentary and seriously overhauled his life. Follow his progressively shrinking carbon footprint, and marvel at his conversion to a green life.

15. TheNerdyFarmWife.com – A true self-proclaimed soap nerd, this mom has an entrepenurial spirit and a true talent at that. Follow her exploration of soap making where art meets science. Beautiful pictures are always the end result that you’ll find yourself wishing you could smell.

16. Tiggy – Future Primitive Soap Co.’ is Tiggy’s blog to share, and sell, her fine bath goods and aromatic oils. With names as catchy as the ingredients list, you will likely be as intrigued as you are curious. Inspire the soapmaker in you, or buy from the creator of soaps like, “Mama Didn’t Listen So I Told The Bees soap.”

17. Annie – Follow Annie’s adventures through soap making and “other things.” Shop her homemade lip balms, custom cupcake soaps, and body butters. She posts her creations on her blog, often swaying reading over to her “shop,” section linking to her good-enough-to-eat etsy store where she sells all of her fabulous creations.

18. Jenny – From melt-and-pour soap making to cold process soap, Jenny shares her hobbyist adventures in all things soapy. Follow her recipes through candle making, soaps of all colors and styles, and even men’s shaving cream.

19. BurntMill.com – This busy crafter may slack on the updates, but certainly not on the content. Follow some amazing recipes for colorful soaps. Learn how to make soap for a baby or bridal shower from start to finish, or give soap to friends and family and save some money this holiday.

20. SoapAndRestless.com – Did you know pictures of soap could literally make your mouth water? If you don’t believe me, check out ‘Soap and Restless,’ and just scroll through the photos. Those soaps are so beautifully made they honestly look good enough to eat. What’s not to love that the recipes, and plenty of tips and tricks, are shared for readers to delightfully attempt to recreate.

21. Erin Nute – Erin has learned the in’s and out’s of soap making and is happy to share her successes, and failures, so that you can create your own natural products. She’ll teach you layering techniques, color tips, and even how to make a long-lasting bar of soap. If you like what you read, you can pick up her new book, “Soap Making Made Easy.”

22. Patrice – Even those that don’t make soaps will fall in love with Patrice’s blog. She shares her passion for soap making, candle making, bath goods, and oil, but her personality is what keeps you coming back for more. Patrice has been at it for years, so share what she’s learned and have fun!

23. Bianca – This Brooklyn-based beauty is a full-time designer and hobbyist soap maker. Her blog is a meeting place for the best of both of her talents; where soap making meets design. Eye candy for the masses here, but definitely visual inspiration for the soap makers and designer readers.

24. Claudia Mold – Follow a busy mom of six through crafting projects, soap making, cooking, of raising her kids. Learn the recipe behind her “happy,” rainbow soap, or her mouth-watering handmade cheeseburger.

25. Erica Pence – Erica’s blog is more inspiration than the secrets of soap making, and if I were you, I’d listen. This business woman is savvy, successful, and passionate about what she does. She shares all of her interests from bath and body, to candles and business advice. Need more? Check out her tutorials and contests.

26. HorseOPeaceRanch.com – What a fun story behind this successful soap making business. After deciding to use some leftover goat’s milk to make some soap, an event 10 days later led to the first selling and teaching of soap making. Business officially began just months later, and has been a success ever since.

27. Magdoline – Addicted to Soap,’ started out of a mom’s need to help her eczema diagnosed children heal their sensitive skin. An encouraging husband pushed her to start selling her beautiful creations, and alas, a business was born. Browse the site, take a class, discover the joy of soap making.

28. LionAndRoseSoap.com – Handmade soap is an art, a hobby, but most importantly a passion. ‘Lion and Rose Handmade Soap,’ has them all. Share in the day-to-day family life behind this soap-making mom, and enjoy her honest opinion, recipes, and delightful creations on her site.

29. Aunt Nancy – Aunt Nancy’s blog is chock-full of homemade soap recipes. From pumpkin soap, to oatmeal & honey goat milk soap, you’ll have enough recipes here to keep you busy for an entire year (and more!)

30. Amy Warden – Amy’s soap is a work of art. If you have a few minutes and want some inspiration, I highly recommend going to her website and reviewing the amazing concoctions she has created. Absolutely stunning!

31. Tatania – Tatania’s soap is so beautiful it looks more like artisan fudge. I’d caution you against making her banofee pie soap as you really might confuse it for fudge!

32. Cee – Cee’s soap recipes are so unique! Pumpkin maple soap… Doesn’t get any better than that for fall, does it? How about a gift for mom of cocoa butter soap with lavender and lemon infused oil? My goodness! A must bookmark blog.

33. Jennifer – Add Jennifer to your list of soap blogs you must follow. From peppermint bark soap to polka dot themed apple, peach & cinammon, her soap recipes will inspire you for hours.

34. HomeMadeBathProducts.com – HomeMadeBathProducts is a site I know you will love! The writers feature great recipes and products from around the web.

35. Angela – Jamaican vanilla café, Hummingbird, Hula Hula… Angela’s soap names are as unique as the soap itself. Great photos and great blog… Just wish she provided more of her recipes.

36. Sabons Carmeta – This Spanish soap blog features beautiful soap recipes… From lavender and shea to Marigold… You won’t be disapointed by Sabons Carmeta.

37. Celine – Celine’s soap looks like it could be decoration in a pop movie. Full of sparkles, ridges & beauty, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more bubbilicious soap photos than hers.

38. Sue – Although the content has rarely been updated over the last few years, this blog features beautiful soap that you just must look into.

39. T.A. Helton – I Just love what T.A. Helton does with her blog. Occasionally you’ll see her featuring ‘soap porn’ so you can admire the greatest soaps she makes on her site, from apples & oak to bay rum spice… we love it all!

40. Elizabeth – Elizabeth shares her soap making adventures on this blog and we love it! She even shares how she uses her Vitamix for soap making (And for smoothies!).

41. Julia – Julia’s Spanish soap making blog is amazing. Beautiful designs, photos, packaging… You get the entire package here.

42. Milla – Milla not only shares photos of her end results, but even creates videos of how she prepares her soap. Definitely worth a read!

43. Super Soapers – Super Soapers is amazing: They feature soap artists every month to help inspire and educate you. This is one you must bookmark.

44. Ana Maria – Ana Maria shares her soap making adventures in this Spanish soap making blog. Just wish there were more recipes to accompany her beautiful photos

Our Favorite Soap Recipes

45. Nina Nelson – Nina shares her recipe for a homemade herbal bar soap here. She uses marshmallow root and calendula petals to make this bar soap very soothing and healing.

46. Allyson – Allyson shares 3 homemade dish soap recipes. They are all natural and quick and easy to make. She leaves out essential oils, but you can easily toss some lavender, cinnamon, peppermint or anything your heart desires in and it will work perfectly.

47. Stephanie – Pink grapefruit soap! Love it! Stephanie shares this unique soap recipe idea here. We definitely encourage you to try it.

48. Liz Marie – Liz has been using a DIY laundry soap recipe for over a year. After a year of refining her recipe, she finally has made it perfect and shares her secrets with you.

49. Clare – Another goat milk recipe! This time with orange and calendula. Thanks, Clare, for the great inspiration!

50. Brandy – Brandy shares her homemade poppy seed soap recipe here… I can’t wait to give this a go. Her photos are beautiful and the end result is even more gorgeous.

Coloring Cold Process Soaps with Herbs

Monday, September 30th, 2013
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Adding herbs to your soap not only provides great skin loving benefits, but also can naturally color your soaps as well.

If you are looking for a way to naturally color your cold process soaps, herbs may be your answer.  The addition of herbs to your soaping recipes not only can provide your skin with different skin loving benefits, but can also give your soaps beautiful color as well.

There are basically three ways to incorporate herbs into your soaping recipe they are:

1.  As is.  If the herb you are adding is in a powder or small leaf/seed form, they can be added when your soap batter has reached trace.
2. Herbs in tea form.  This is done by steeping the herbs in water to create a tea, and then this “tea” is used as the water portion of your soap recipe.
3.  Oil infusion.  If you are selecting to infuse your herbs this way, you must make your herb oil infusion several weeks before using it in a soaping recipe.  The selected herbs are placed into one of your oils (that will be used in your soap recipe) and allowed to set for 4-6 weeks.  Then, strain the herbs out and use the oil in your soap recipe.  Please Note:  This process can also be done by adding the herbs to the melting pot as you wait for your soaping oils to melt.

The choice of how you would like to infuse your herbs is up to you and testing.  It is important to keep in mind what the end goal of adding the herb is before choosing your herbal addition method.  The answers as to why some people prefer different methods over others various based on easiness, time frame, best color production, or even strongest herbal infusion.  However, if you are simply looking to add herbs to your soap recipe for natural color, the herbs are added to your soap batter at trace.

It is also important that you test for discoloration in a soap recipe before adding an herb for colorant.  Natures Garden has a list of every fragrance oil they carry and how it preformed in cold process soap.  It is on their website under each fragrance oil’s page in the Fragrance Tested area, or for a complete list click Fragrances Tested in CP Soap Results.  You want to be prepared when adding herbs to soaping recipes, so knowing a little about how the fragrance oil reacts will only prepare you more for what to expect, especially when it comes to colorants!