Basic Body Wash

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. Imagine that everything rubbed on our skin is actually being ingested by our body. Would you change some of your beauty products if you had to eat them? Obviously, we don’t need to eat soap (unless we had old-fashioned parents who would wash our mouths out if we said a swear), but it would behoove us to take as much care with what goes on our body as with what goes in.

I’ve already shared that I’ve changed my facial care regime and now use oils to wash my face. I’ve written as well about the skin creams that I use and also about makeup remover.

In this vein, I’d like to share with you the natural body wash that we have been using. This recipe has gone through several iterations and here is the current, most improved one:

Basic Body Wash

  • 2/3 cup organic 99% pure castile soap
  • 2 T + 2 t hemp seed oil (or any other oil you prefer, almond, olive, poppy seed)
  • 2 T + 2 t rose, orange blossom or lavender hydrosol
  • 2 t vitamin E oil
  • 1 T aloe vera gel
  • a few drops of essential oil of your choice

Mix well.

Store in a plastic pump bottle.

Shake well before each use.

This can be used as a face wash. I would recommend hemp seed oil (it is non-comodegenic) and lavender, geranium or chamomile essential oils for damaged or dry, mature skin and tea tree, thyme oils for acne-prone skin.

Please don’t get this in your eyes…it stings! Trust me….

 

Some ideas for essential oil body wash blends: (thanks Loving Essential Oils)

Relax & Unwind

  • 3 drops Lavender
  • 3 drops Bergamot

Energizer Bunny

  • 3 drops Peppermint
  • 3 drops Lemon
  • 2 drops  Orange

Anxiety Free

  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Lemon
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang

Calming The Storm

  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 3 drops Chamomile

Just Be Happy

  • 2 drops Frankincense
  • 2 drops Bergamot
  • 2 drops Orange

Uplift The Mood

  • 3 drops Bergamot
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Clary Sage
  • 1 drop Ylang Ylang

Peaceful Air

  • 4 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops Vetiver

Blissful Mood

  • 4 drops Orange
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 1 drop Ylang Ylang

 

Hippocrates and the Oxymel

Oxymel:  A Medicinal Drink

2500 years ago, Hippocrates  prescribed oxymels, a mixture of honey and vinegar, to relieve acute symptoms of disease, tonify and support the body during stress or times of illness, to clear the respiratory tract and put the Humours in balance.

Hippocrates text,  On Regimen In Acute Diseases (400 BCE), gives wisdom and practical help for those battling disease or trying to maintain health.

“[Oxymel] promotes expectoration and freedom of breathing … It also promotes flatulent discharges from the bowels, and is diuretic, but it occasions watery discharges and those resembling scrapings, from the lower part of the intestine, which is sometimes a bad thing in acute diseases, more especially when the flatulence cannot be passed, but rolls backwards; and otherwise it diminishes the strength and makes the extremities cold.”

I keep a variety of oxymels in my refrigerator at all times. They are exceedingly easy to make, and delicious. I infuse them with different herbs for different purposes. When I am sluggish, with a general feeling of malaise, I will take a spoonful of an oxymel as an uplifting tonic. When I am suffering from a cold or flu, especially one that is taking up residence in my respiratory tract, I take an oxymel several times a day in this acute situation.

According to greekmedicine.com

“A common medicinal preparation that dates back to antiquity is Oxymel, which is basically a mixture of honey and vinegar.  It has many uses, and is a part of many traditional medicines.
     Although Oxymel is basically just honey and vinegar, there are several different methods, or recipes, for preparing it.  The simplest method is just to mix together 4 parts honey with 1 part vinegar.  Apple cider vinegar is the kind most commonly used.  
     A more elaborate recipe is to thoroughly mix together one part of vinegar, one part of water and two parts of honey.  Then, simmer this mixture down slowly until only about a third of its original volume remains.  While you’re boiling the oxymel down, skim off any scum or froth that rises to the surface.  
     After it’s prepared, a supply of Oxymel is always kept handy for various uses.  Mix a spoonful of it into a glass of water for a refreshing medicinal drink that’s both restorative and energizing and a cooling febrifuge, particularly for agues, or intermittent fevers.  Gargle with this drink to soothe and heal a sore throat.  
     Used full strength or in a less diluted form, Oxymel greatly aids in the expectoration of excess phlegm from the lungs and respiratory tract, opens the airways, and makes breathing easier.  Oxymel is also used as a base for medicated expectorant syrups, like Vinegar of Squills.  Or, it can be mixed into hot expectorant herb teas to enhance their effects.
     Dr. D. C. Jarvis authored a bestselling book in 1958 called Folk Medicine in which he touted honey and apple cider vinegar as a panacea or cure-all.  He used this ancient Oxymel preparation to treat arthritis, gout, high cholesterol, as a metabolic stimulant to promote weight loss, and for longevity and life extension. “

Oxymel Recipe

  • 2/3 part organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 part organic local honey (for a sweeter oxymel use 1:1 ratio)
  • fresh herbs of your choice

Chop the fresh herbs as finely as possible.

Fill a jar half way with the herbs.

Cover the herbs with honey.

Add the vinegar and cover with a lid.

Shake the jar daily for two weeks minimum.

Strain out the herbs and store in the refrigerator.

Oxymels will keep for a year, refrigerated.

A few herbs to consider when creating oxymels: (thank you The Nerdy Farm Wife)

  • Rosemary: Useful for low energy and poor circulation, good for digestion and nerves. Avoid daily use or medicinal levels if pregnant.
  • Sage: antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral. Contraindications: dries up milk flow, not for medicinal use by pregnant or nursing women, do not take for an extended amount of time.
  • Thyme: for upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, antiviral and antibacterial
  • Oregano: antibacterial, antiviral, useful for upper respiratory infections
  • Bee Balm (Monarda): sore throat, antibacterial, helpful for thick congested coughs, fever
  • Mint: stomach soothing, digestive aid
  • Rose Petals: astringent, anti-inflammatory
  • Elder Flowers: specific for sore throats, immune stimulating
  • Raspberry Leaves: general tonic for women
  • Lemon Peel: can be added for flavor

 

Enhance Your Calm Tea

This is my go to tea to remedy a stressful day, help me sleep or improve my mood. It is flavourful and relaxing.

My clients enjoy this one a lot.

Enhance Your Calm Tea

  • 2 parts chamomile Matricaria chamomila
  • 1 part lavender Lavandule angustifolia
  • 1 part linden flower and leaf Tilia cordata
  • 1 part skullcap Scutellaria laterifolia
  • 1 part rose petals Rosa spp.

Grind the herbs in a mortar and pestle or with a juicer or herb grinder.

Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

1 tablespoon of tea per cup of boiling water, let steep for 5-10 minutes covered.

Dose:  1 cup of tea as needed, up to 3 cups per day

Medicinal Actions:

Chamomile: sedative effect, antispasmodic, muscle relaxant, studies have shown that chamomile works on the same part of your brain and nervous system as anti-stress medication

Lavender: carminative, sedative, bitter, antidepressant, hypnotic

Linden: nervine, anxiolytic (eases anxiety), antispasmodic, hypotensive

Skullcap: nervine, antispasmodic, relaxant, mood stabilser

Rose: nervine with affinity for uplifting mood and relieving depression, antispasmodic, sedative

Chamomile Face Cream

This is an excellent face or body cream adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s classic cream recipe.

I personally find this face cream to be gentle, hydrating, and soothing. It isn’t greasy or heavy, yet it feels like it is deeply soothing and calming to my skin.

Chamomile Face Cream

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) Chamomile-infused sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 cup(60ml) Balm of Gilead -infused almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) Shea butter
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) Coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup (30 g) beeswax
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) commercially prepared organic aloe vera gel
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) rose, lavender or orange blossom hydrosol
  • 10 drops of Vitamin E oil
  • A few drops of lavender essential oil

Combine the oils, butter and beeswax in a saucepan over very low heat until everything is melted together

Pour into a measuring cup or container and let cool until the mixture is somewhat firm, thick and creamy

Scrape the oil mixture into a blender.

In a separate bowl. Combine the hydrosol, gel and essential oil

Turn the blender in full speed and slowly drizzle the the water mixture into the vortex created by the blender

Continue blending until all the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil.

The blender should “choke” as the mixture thickens and becomes creamy

After turning off the blender, scoop the cream into small jars.

Store the cream in a cool dark place.

Medicinal Actions:
Chamomile: soothing, vulnerary, affinity for skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, anti-inflammatory

Shea butter: moisturising, anti-inflammatory, aids in skin’s natural collagen production

Balm of Gilead: antioxidant, heals scars, clears up eczema and psoriasis, anti-inflammatory

Lavender: antibacterial, soothing, anti-inflammatory

Calendula Face Cream

This is an excellent face or body cream adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s classic cream recipe.

I personally find this face cream to be hydrating, healing and soothing. It isn’t greasy or heavy, yet it feels like it is deeply healing and that it is somehow working, it’s not a lazy bum, this cream.

Calendula Face Cream

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) Calendula-infused sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Balm of Gilead -infused almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) Shea butter
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) Coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup (30 g) beeswax
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) commercially prepared organic aloe vera gel 
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) rose, lavender or orange blossom hydrosol
  • 10 drops of Vitamin E oil 
  • a few drops of lavender essential oil

Combine the oils, butter and beeswax in a saucepan over very low heat until everything is melted together

Pour into a measuring cup or container and let cool until the mixture is somewhat firm, thick and creamy

Scrape the oil mixture into a blender.

In a separate bowl. Combine the hydrosol, gel and essential oil

Turn the blender on full speed and slowly drizzle the the water mixture into the vortex created by the blender

Continue blending until all the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil.

The blender should “choke” as the mixture thickens and becomes creamy

After turning off the blender, scoop the cream into small jars.

Store the cream in a cool dark place.

Medicinal Actions:
Calendula: vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, skin regenerative, affinity for scar-healing

Shea butter: moisturising, anti-inflammatory, aids in skin’s natural collagen production

Balm of Gilead: antioxidant, heals scars, clears up eczema and psoriasis, anti-inflammatory

Lavender: antibacterial, soothing, anti-inflammatory

Scutellaria baicalensis: help for problem skin

My daughter came home the other day with a new, expensive face cream to help with skin outbreaks. It costs about 20 USD for a 50 ml tub. The active ingredient is Chinese Skullcap Scutellaria baicalensis root powder.

I make my own face washes and face creams that I really like and we all use at my house. I had never thought to put Chinese Skullcap in the creams to treat problem skin.

IMG_6736

Chinese Skullcap: Internal/Topical
“Scutellaria baicalensis, or “scute,” is considered specific in TCM for clearing “damp heat,” a category of diagnosis in which acne may commonly fall. It is clinically remarkable for reducing inflammation in dermatologic conditions and should be considered an important herb in formulations for treating acne and other skin conditions. It has also shown antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. It can be used orally for its systemic anti-inflammatory effects and/or topically in cream or wash form as a local anti-inflammatory.”

David Winston and Angela J. Hywood, in Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, 2010

Chinese Skullcap (TCM- Huang qin) clears heat and damp, reduces inflammation and is antimicrobial.  It is often used to reduce arthritis, dysentery, colds, diarrhea and infections that include fever. It is antioxidant, anti-arthritis and research is being done to determine its anticancer benefits.

I’m intrigued. I will be working on a face cream recipe using this Scutellaria root powder.

Detox Tea: a powerful remedy for the overburdened body

I am telling you this story with my daughter Rebekah’s permission.

Rebekah has suffered from bi-polar disorder and borderline personality disorder for almost eight years. During this time, she has made a few suicide attempts. These have varied in their degree and method, but all have been equally scary for her and for us.

No parent should have to come home from work to their daughter about to drink all of her meds crushed up in a glass of water with the goal to end it all.

Rebekah has overdosed a couple of times.

One of those times she lied about how much she had taken. We stupidly, stupidly, did not take her to the hospital. Thinking the dose she took was not too bad, I gave her my detox tea to clean out her system. It was a miracle that she didn’t die. She took a fatal dose. Though the tea helped her, we should have taken her to the hospital. We should not have trusted her word about how much she had taken.

Herbs are powerful, but there are situations where a hospital or a doctor is the only right decision.

This past October, Rebekah had to go into the psychiatric hospital. This was a desperate attempt to get her the help she needs. It ended up being the right decision and she was able to get on new, more effective meds. During the time she was adjusting to her new meds, she took too many too close together. It was an accident, but that familiar fear reared up. It was not necessary this time to take her into hospital, her psychologist said the dose was not worrisome, but we administered many doses of the detox tea and it supported her liver to clear out the toxins.

Please, please remember to seek medical attention if you are ever unsure.

The Detox Tea is an amazing support for the body’s natural toxin-clearing systems. Supporting over ten systems within the body, it is powerful and should be titrated up according to your body’s reaction. It is drying, so be mindful of your own energetic constitution. Many of my clients use it to boost liver function, clear acne, improve the immune system’s functionality and relieve sluggishness.

Detox Tea: Cold and Dry

ingredients as well as the systems supported are listed

4 T dandelion leaf (kidneys)

3 T dandelion root (liver, gallbladder)

2 T burdock root (blood, liver, gallbladder)

3 T milk thistle seed (liver, gallbladder)

3 T cleavers (lymph, kidneys)

4 T lemon balm (digestive tonic, nervine)

4 T pau d’arco (blood, parasites)

4 T horsetail (kidneys, skin)

5 T red clover (blood)

2 T chickweed (lymph, colon)

2 T angelica root (liver, digestive tonic)

3 T yarrow (liver, gallbladder, blood, general tonic)

5 T nettle leaf (kidneys, blood, general tonic, nutritive)

4 T plaintain (skin, lungs, gastric system, internal healer, antiseptic)

Dose:

1 T of the herbal mix Detox Tea per 1 cup of boiling water

Let steep for 10-15 minutes

Enjoy one cup a day or up to three cups for acute cases