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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. 

What is an Emulsifier?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

emulsifier natures gardenIf you have ever seen an unshaken bottle of Italian Salad Dressing, then you have witnessed a product that could definitely use the help of an emulsifier!

In Elementary School, we all learned that oil and water just simply will not combine on their own accord.  They are just not compatible.  It is all about polarity.  Let’s magnify down to the molecular level of things and really get down to the nitty gritty.

Simply put polarity is the nature of a molecule or a compound to either be attracted to or repelled from another molecule.  The attraction or opposition is based on the charge of the nucleus, and the formation of the atoms that have bonded.  Based on this makeup, compounds are either polar or non-polar.

Polar molecules are not balanced in their chemical makeup.  Usually it is because one of the elements is pulling all of the electrons to one side of the atom.  Therefore, polar elements are constantly looking to bond with other polar elements in order to be a balanced compound.  On the flip side, if an atom is completely balanced, and has an equal charge on both sides, then it is classified as non-polar.

Now, when polar and non-polar elements are present in the same mixture what you get is separation.  Whether the mixture is stirred, heated, or shaken; eventually the polar and non-polar elements will isolate themselves from one another.  This is a physical trait, which you can literally see.  What is missing from the equation is an emulsifier.

Emulsifiers are most commonly used in the food industry.  They have a great impact on the texture and composition of food.  Another benefit of using emulsifiers in food is the extension of freshness.  Some common foods that use emulsifiers are:  salad dressings, candy, frozen desserts like ice cream and yogurts, cake mixes, and icings.  There are even foods that are natural emulsifiers such as milk, mustard, and eggs.

In the department of bath and body, or any product that is made to be put on the skin, emulsifiers will become your new best friend.  Since, in our industry, most of our scenting is accomplished with oils, it poses a problem when the product that we are creating is water based.  The reasoning- just like the Italian dressing, water and oil will not mix.  The chemistry concept to remember is like dissolves like.  This means that polar will always bind and dissolve in polar, and vice versa with non-polar.

When a mixture is water based; it is termed Aqueous.  This means that in order to mix other elements to this recipe, the additional ingredients need to be hydrophilic, or water loving (polar).  Fragrance and Essential oils are not water loving, therefore they are termed lipophilic (non-polar).

No matter how much you shake, mix, blend, or beat a mixture, if it contains both water and oils, there will be separation that occurs.  The only way to solve this is by adding an emulsifier to your recipe.  An emulsifier is quite an amazing little thing.  Let’s look at the molecular level again.  An emulsifier consists of a hydrophilic (water-loving) head, and a lipophilic (oil-loving) tail.  This is the perfect peace maker between water and oil.  This is because the emulsion allows for the lesser mass element to be “insulated” by the emulsifier to prevent it from joining the other elements with the same polarity.  What this allows for a dispersion of water and oil together and this referred to as a stable emulsion.

When an emulsifier is added to a recipe, it is drawn to the layer where binding is needed.  It is then able to position itself, by lessening the surface tension, between the oil and water.  Emulsifiers, besides being wonderful binders between polar and non-polar elements, also act as aerating agents, starch complexing agents, and even crystallization inhibitors.

Emulsifiers create emulsions.  There are two types of emulsions.  The first is an oil in water emulsion.  This is where the greater mass is water, and there are oil droplets which are dispersed into the water.  This is created by the emulsifier covering the oil particles and allowing the hydrophilic end to bind with the hydrophilic water.  Now, since both are water-loving elements, they will bind together.  The second emulsion is a water in oil emulsion.  This is where the greater mass is oil, and there are water droplets which are dispersed into the oil by the emulsifier covering the water particles.  This then allows for the lipophoic end to bind with the lipophilic oil.  With the addition of an emulsifier, both emulsions are now stable and evenly dispersed without separation.

These two different emulsions are important to know if for example you are trying to make a specific kind of cream or lotion.

In the case of water dispersed in oil, oil will encase the water so therefore the oils in the recipe will touch the skin first.  There will of course be some greasiness in the feel of the lotion when it is applied to the skin.  This is because of the oils, and will be absorbed into the skin.  These recipes are great for adding beneficial aspects of the oils directly to the skin.

In the case of oil dispersed in water, water will encase the oil so therefore the water in this recipe will touch the skin first.  These recipes have a less greasy feel to them.  These are also great emulsion recipes in situations where you are looking for moisture to be one of the benefits of the lotion or cream.

For bath and body crafters, common emulsifiers that are used are:  Borax with Beeswax, Beeswax, BTMS 25%, Carbomer, Cetaryl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax-NF, Lecithin, PEG-20 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Silky Emulsifying Wax, Stearyl Alcohol NF, and Polysorbate 80.

Natures Garden Fragrance Oils

RECIPE MONDAY!

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

It’s Monday! Let’s get the week started with two awesome NEW recipes

Pumpkin Delight Clamshell Tarts

 

 

PUMPKIN DELIGHT CLAMSHELL TARTS

A triple layer of fragrance fun that is super easy to make!

[Download Recipe]

 

 

Monkey Farts Lip Balm

 

 

MONKEY FARTS LIP BALM

With a name like this, who could HELP but try it!!

[Download Recipe]

 

 

Every Monday we’ll post two new recipes in the Recipe Box on our Facebook Fan Page (where over 20,000 friends have joined us!). Check out our pages for tips, testimonials, helpful questions answered and lots more. For more recipe ideas, including candles, soaps, air fresheners, bath & body, and visit our website.

HAPPY MONDAY! Smiles!!

- Deborah

NATURES GARDEN CLOSED ON FEB 2 DUE TO BAD WEATHER

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Due to inclimate weather, Natures Garden is closed on Wednesday, Feb 2.  The roadways are very hazardous,  and we did not want to put our employees’ safety at risk.  No orders will be shipped out on Feb.2.  We will do our very best to see that all orders go out on Feb.3 without delay.  Thank you for understanding!

Deborah Ward
CEO Natures Garden Candle Supplies
www.naturesgardencandles.com