Saturday, April 30, 2011

Orange Face and Body Cream

This is a light, refreshing, non-oily versatile cream to be used for your face or body.

  • Emulsifying wax. 1/2 teaspoon. An emulsifier is used as a medium to bind water and oil substances. I buy vegetable emulsifying wax at Mountain Rose Herbs. Some health stores may carry it as well. Palm oil works too (the ingredient in a lot of baking shortening). My mom uses organic baking shortener for this and it works just as well!
  • Mango Butter. 2 teaspoons.
  • Shea Butter. 1 teaspoon. 
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil. 1 teaspoon. I ordered mine from Russia (sea buckthorn is a plant that is native there, so it is cheaper). However, it can be ordered online from various sources. It is very rich in vitamins and is traditionally used to treat many skin conditions, including radiation burns, eczema, acne, and stretch marks. It has a nice orange color and a fruity smell.
  • Jojoba oil. 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Almond Oil. 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Vitamin E oil. 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Aloe. 3 teaspoons. 
  • Vegetable Glycerin. 1/4 teaspoon
  • Sweet Orange Essential oil. 4 drops.
  • Optional: Rosemary Antioxidant. 4 drops. This is a preservative to extend shelf life. I add it to my creams because I make so many and it takes me a long time to get through them all. There are other alternatives for preservatives out there, this is just the one that I happen to use.
These amounts are approximate, and you can experiment with the quantities to get the texture and consistency you like.

In a double boiler, melt all of the ingredients together, starting with the emulsifying wax: 

(as you can see, my double boiler is simply a small pyrex bowl inside a pot filled with water.)

Next, add the mango butter and shea butter. Once they melt, add all of the liquid oils. Then, add the aloe, glycerin, essential oil, and rosemary antioxidant:

Stir well, until mixture is thoroughly blended:

Pour into a jar (I used a 2 ounce glass jar for this recipe).
Stir or shake the mixture very well a few times as it is cooling, so that it does not separate. Voila!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants

Hello readers!

I wanted to write a post about one of my favorite references for herbal medicine: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, by Andrew Chevallier. (Note: here are some other editions of this book, The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine being one of them, but their content is almost the same. If you have a choice, I would recommend purchasing the most recent edition for the most updated information).

This book has beautiful photographs and illustrations, as well as comprehensive instructions on the uses of most common herbs. It is a great basic guide on how to grow and harvest plants and how to use them to make herbal remedies. You will learn how to make simple infusions, decoctions, tinctures, syrups, ointments and more. There is a fantastic little section about putting together an herbal first-aid kit. The content is organized by herb, and also by ailment, so that you can find the proper remedies for a specific problem.

I would like to share my favorite little recipe from this book. This is a quick and effective remedy for colds.

  • 20 ml lemon juice
  • 50 ml hot water
  • a crushed clove of garlic
  • pinch of cinnamon

Mix these ingredients together and drink immediately, up to three times a day.

I make this remedy every time I feel a cold coming on. It is an amazing, bacteria killing, powerful mixture. It makes your throat feel like it is on fire, but in a good way! It may be difficult to stomach the first time, but it is easy to get used to. I actually enjoy it now!

Be sure to check out Andrew Chevallier's book next time you are at a bookstore: