Category Archives: herbs

Feb
01

Shea Melt and Pour Soap

This entry was posted in bath and body, bath and body fragrances, bath products, cleansing, essential oil, fragrance and color, Fragrance Oils, herbs, homemade, humectant, melt and pour soap, Natures Garden, Soap making supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

shea butter melt and pour soap It is really easy to make Shea melt and pour soap!

Melt and Pour Soap is one of the easiest and most fun ways to make a homemade product.  This type of soap making is an ideal venture for many reasons.

Melt and Pour soap projects are a great family activity to do with children; creating an enjoyable family time crafting together.
These soaps are a remarkable and memorable treat to give out as party favors, or gifts for loved ones and friends.
And, the fact that melt and pour soap is so easy to work with; no matter what your skill level you can create extraordinary works of art that are fun to wash with too.

So, regardless of the reason for making Melt and Pour Soap, one thing is for sure; you will love how the finished product leaves your skin feeling clean, soft, and supple.

Shea melt and pour soap differs from store bought brands in that it is not drying or harsh on your skin.  This soap base is detergent free, SLS free, and gluten free.  The Shea Butter melt and pour soap base is filled with superb skin loving agents like:

  • Shea butter which is ultra conditioning and nourishing.
  • Coconut oil which provides a wonderful bubble filled lather.
  • Sunflower oil, which acts as an amazing moisturizing agent for your skin.  In fact, sunflower oil also adds an even bigger element of a rich, creamy, and bubbly lather.
  • Glycerin, which works as an astonishing cleansing emulsifier.  It helps to lift dirt, oil, and impurities up and away from your skin.  This allows the everyday dirt and grime to easily be whisked away.  Plus, glycerin is also a humectant.  This means that it can actually drawl moisture from the air and pull it to the skin.

Besides all of the healthy and nourishing aspects to Shea melt and pour soap; there is also a beautiful artistic side to it too.  The adventure as to where you take your soaps is defined only by you; the crafter.  Shea melt and pour soap is fool proof.  It can be heated time and time again, without losing its integrity.

You can cater your soap to your specific like through shape, color, and scent.  You can even take your soap making skill to the next level by the addition of other skin loving attributes or additives.  Natures Garden carries all of the ingredients you need to add luxurious elements like rich cocoa butter or antioxidant packed vitamin E.  Through the addition of herbs like oatmeal, calendula flowers, rose petals, lavender flowers, paprika powder, or poppy seed, you can provide natural exfoliation.  Not only will your soap bar benefits exceed expectations, but you will also be adding a unique look, feel, and dimension to your soaps.

If we have you super excited about the possibility of making Shea soap or possibly other body products; but you still have unanswered questions, Natures Garden is here to help.  You can visit our website for free creative recipes and tips that have been tried and tested.  We also have in depth classes with step by step instruction for beginner soap makers.  And, you can always contact us via email, or connect with us on Facebook.

Jan
17

Hippie Hair Conditioner

This entry was posted in all natural, bath and body, bath products, cosmetic recipe, creative, essential oil, fun projects, herbal oil infusion, herbs, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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.

Jan
16

Herbal Infusion Recipe

This entry was posted in all natural, aromatherapy, bath and body, bath products, cosmetic ingredients, cosmetic recipe, herb, herbal oil infusion, herbs, homemade, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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!

Jan
15

Herbal Infusion

This entry was posted in all natural, bath and body, bath products, essential oils, fragrance oil, herb, herbal oil infusion, herbal tea, herbs, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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.

Jan
10

Patchouli Uses

This entry was posted in all natural, bath products, essential oil, Fragrance Oils, herb, herbal oil infusion, herbs, natural skincare ingredients, Natures Garden, patchouli and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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.

Jan
10

Patchouli

This entry was posted in cosmetic ingredients, distillation, essential oil, herb, herbs, homemade, natural ingredients, Natures Garden, patchouli essential oil, soap ingredients, wholesale craft supplies, woody notes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

patchouli essential oil Facts about Patchouli

In America, when most people hear the word patchouli, they immediately think of hippies, universal love for one another, and tie dyed peace signs. But patchouli is so much more than that and has quite an interesting history.

Deriving its name from the Tamil language (the official dialect of Singapore and Sri Lanka), patchouli means “green leaf”.  A robust and extremely fragrant plant; especially when rubbed, patchouli’s scent has been used for centuries in perfumes.

Belonging to the genus Pogostemon, patchouli is a green, leafy herb that is in the mint family.  Growing best in hot, tropical climates; patchouli thrives when it is not in direct sunlight and has the potential of reaching a height of 2-3 ft.  Contrary to common belief, patchouli is more than just leaves; the plant also has flowers that bloom in late fall.  These flowers produce seeds that can be harvested to produce even more patchouli plants.

There are two ways to grow patchouli.  The first is to attain cuttings from the mother plant.  These cuttings are then rooted in water and will cultivate additional patchouli plants.  The second way to grow patchouli is to plant the seeds of the flowers.  The only hesitance with this way is that patchouli seeds are very small and have to be handled with great care.  These seeds are extremely fragile and can be easily crushed, deeming them useless.

When it comes to harvesting patchouli, the leaves of the plant can be collected several times in one year.  However, the strongest scent/oil comes from the top 3-4 pairs of leaves in the patchouli plant.  In order to attain the extraction of patchouli essential oil from these leaves, the leaves must go through a steam distillation process.  This is typically achieved with dried patchouli leaves.  However, there are some claims that to achieve the highest quality of patchouli essential oil, fresh leaves should be distilled.  Ideally, close to where the leaves are harvested, ensuring true freshness.

There are other ways to obtain patchouli essential oil.  One is through a fermentation process.  This process involves bundling the dry patchouli leaves and allowing them to ferment for a long period of time.

The essential oil of patchouli is a rich, earthy aroma with a woody yet minty undertone.  One of the most notable characteristics of this essential oil is that it actually improves over time.  The two most sought out components of patchouli essential oil are patchoulol and norpatchoulenol.

Although, it is true that patchouli essential oil is vital to the perfume industry, patchouli also had another massive worth in history.  Patchouli is believed to be an insect repellent.  It was common place for silk traders of the oriental to pack the valuable silk that they were trading with dried patchouli leaves.  Not only did the leaves prevent the mating of moths on the traders’ silk, but also hindered the moth from laying eggs on the precious silk as well.

This practice, which had started as a means of protection for the silk, ended with patchouli being considered an affluent scent.  Historians now hypothesize that due to the fragrant nature of patchouli; much of the traded silk acquired the aroma during the long travel.  Before long the distinguished scent of patchouli marked authenticity in traded fabric goods although the vast majority did not know what it was called.

One of the possible explanations as to why patchouli was considered an upscale scent to Europeans of that time is due to a notable historical conqueror.  The infamous Napoleon Bonaparte attained some of these patchouli scented cashmeres, through his vast travels to Egypt.  He then brought them back to France.  This mysterious scent of patchouli and its origin were kept secret, and it was not until the year 1837, that the smell and the source were identified to the remainder of the western world.

Jan
04

Bath Bombs

This entry was posted in bath and body, bath bombs, bath fizzies, bath products, essential oils, Fragrance Oils, herbs, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

bath bomb A bath bomb (also called a bath fizzie) is a skin softening bath product that produces “fizz” when it comes into contact with water.  Bath bombs contain citric acid and baking soda, although the more elaborate bath bomb recipes include luxurious butters, oils, colors, fragrance, and herbs.  In order to get bath bombs to form a shape, witch hazel is gently sprayed into the bath bomb mixture until it is crumbly.

Making your own homemade bath bombs is really easy to do.  With a few essential ingredients and fillable plastic ornaments, you are able to create any number of different bath bombs. In fact, even if you don’t have the fillable plastic ornaments, you can use other things like silicone molds or even leave the bath bomb in a loose form that you can scoop into your tub.

Bath bombs or bath fizzes can introduce many great elements to tub time. Some examples of this are the wonderful aromatic or healing capabilities of herbs and/or essential oils.  You can even make bath bombs bright, colorful, and fun by introducing fragrance oils and soap colorants to the mix.

Knowing how stressful the holiday season can be for many of us, we recently sought out to make some soothing and relaxing themed bath bombs.  Anyone with a chaotic and busy schedule can relate that sometimes, it is necessary to take a step back, breath, and focus on relaxing; even if it is just for a short period of time. The recipe that was created was inspired by the goal of relaxation; and are called Lavender Sage Bath Bombs.  These enjoyable fizzes are just what you need to take the edge off.

Some of the key ingredients used in these fabulous lavender bath bombs are:

Bentonite Clay Powder- used to help clean impurities on the skin
Lavender Flower Powder- a natural relaxant, is also used for the soothing of irritated skin as well as healing.
Castor Oil- a humectant that draws moisture to your skin.
Rose Petals- great for relaxation but also have antiseptic, antiparasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Citric Acid-  reacts with baking soda and water to create fizz.  Citric acid is a natural water softener.

To view the complete Lavender Sage Bath Bomb Recipe click here.  To view other free bath bomb recipes simply click on this link.

When you are ready, here are the steps to use a bath bomb:

1.   Tell your family you are out of commission for 30 minutes.
2.   Run your bath water.  Do not add any bubbles to the water.
3.   When you are ready to get in the tub, hold your bath bomb above water.  Do not let it get wet.
4.  Gently get in the tub and finally place your bath bomb in the water.
5.  Set back, relax, and enjoy your peace and quiet while also enjoying the delightful fizz, calming scent, and tranquility of the moment.

Hint:  If you make bath bombs that contain herbs, but you do not want those herbs floating around your tub, you can always place the bath bomb into a nylon, cheesecloth, or gauze prior to putting it into the water.

Dec
31

White Sage Uses

This entry was posted in herb, herbal oil infusion, herbal tea, herbs, Uncategorized, white sage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

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. 

Oct
11

Berry Bewitching Bath Brew Recipe

This entry was posted in bath and body, bath and body fragrances, bath fizzies, bath products, bath teas, creative, Fragrance Oils, herbs, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

Jenny1Here at Natures Garden, we are currently having an employee challenge.  For this spotlight challenge, we have asked each staff member to choose one of their favorite Natures Garden’s fragrance oils and create a project pertaining to that fragrance.  

Yet, another week has passed and we all know what that means!  It is time to get super excited to see this week’s Spotlight Creation.  Jenny, who has only worked for Natures Garden a few months, was the lucky Natures Garden employee selected for this week, and her spotlight creation is cleverly called “Berry Bewitching Bath Brew“.

Jenny is no newbie when it comes to crafting.  She enjoys spending her free time using jewelry crafting as her creative outlet.  Although, she enjoys beaded jewelry; her passion involves making jewelry with glamorous gemstones- adding a little bling to life.Bath-Brew1

When she is not designing beautiful jewelry, Jenny likes to spend time with her family.  Jenny is a newly married wife and also has a daughter.  She and her husband Scott will be celebrating their 1st year anniversary this Sunday.

Jenny, who has the sign Cancer, enjoys being outdoors.  She is a nature lover and animal lover too!

When it comes to leisure time, Jenny enjoys reading.  Her favorite author right now is Dan Brown.  Jenny thinks he is a great author because it’s a combo of “history, mystery, and a little bit of action.  It’s fun.”  Besides Dan Brown books, she has quite a collection of books in her personal library-sci fi, horror, and mystery.  But, she has a special liking for culture, history, and especially genealogy.

Jenny also enjoys listening to cultured music, and is patiently waiting for the new season of The Walking Dead to start.

Jenny loves the color purple and when it comes to Jenny’s life motto she reinvented an age ole adage:  “Knowledge is empowerment!”

For complete instructions for Jenny’s Spotlight Creation, click here or view it under Natures Garden’s free classes and recipes section of the website.

Sep
30

Coloring Cold Process Soaps with Herbs

This entry was posted in all natural, bath and body, cold process soap colorant, herbal oil infusion, herbal tea, herbs, natural colorants, Natures Garden and tagged , , , , , , , , , , on by .
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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!