Calendula flower and Lavender {perfume balm and salve}

imageWhat is Calendula flower? It’s a neighbor of your common garden marigold but you want to use Calendula flower for these recipes. I use it for it’s healing and soothing properties and light honey-fresh scent.

‘This lovely marigold like flower (although called pot marigold, it is not a true marigold) is considered a vulnerary agent, a substance that promotes healing. Calendula also has anti-inflammatory and weak antimicrobial activity.’ [1]

You can purchase Calendula flower online from bulk herb stores (use organic herbs) or local specialty shops.

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To make a Calendula flower infusion oil:

Soak 1 cup dried calendula flower in 2 cups olive oil or coconut oil to infuse calendula properties into the oil for at least 48 hours or up to 5 days. I prefer coconut oil. Strain well so only oil remains. You can use the remaining flowers for a second, lighter batch of infusion oil.

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Calendula flower in mason jar {infused- oil}

Calendula has a flowery honey-like smell. It inspired me to add some honey directly  into the salve. The honey’s antibacterial properties will add some preservative and healing power. The Vitamin E oil also serves as natural preservative.


Calendula, Honey, and Lavender Salve

  • 4 oz strained calendula-infused coconut oil
  • 1 oz organic beeswax
  •  2 TBSP raw Shea butter
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1-2 TBSPs organic honey
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil

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Repurposed blush container

Calendula and Lavender Scented Perfume-Balm

This is a thicker perfume-balm. Perfect for on the go (won’t melt) in your purse. I would not leave it in your car on a summer day and expect it not to soften, but for the most part this is a harder balm.

  • 2 oz strained calendula-infused oil
  • 2 oz organic beeswax
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil

Directions for making Salve or Balm:

In a double burner on medium (to medium-high) heat all ingredients slowly (except lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil), stirring often. Melt until all beeswax pellets are dissolved and it’s a complete liquid.  Allow to cool for 2-3 few minutes, then add 10 drops lavender essential oil and vitamin E oil and stir.

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You can make a double boiler from a 2-3 inch deep pan, a washcloth, plenty of water and a small glass dish.  Just make sure you use  PLENTY of water since the towel is in the pan! Do NOT leave this unattended.

Pour into glass baby food jars, reuse an old tin or blush container or purchase lip balm pots from an online bulk store. I have always had good experiences ordering form Bulk Apothecary.

Store in fridge for up to 3 months or fresh for up to 2 months.  Apply with clean hands to avoid contaminating.

The salve is great for healing minor cuts and burns, as a lip balm, hand and cuticle cream, foot cream, baby diaper rash cream, or light hair pomade. Tie with burlap or twine string, label and give as gifts.

The perfume balm contains more lavender for a stronger lavender scent. You can add more or less lavender as desired.

Hint to remove labels from baby food jars: Peel off label, spray with a water, vinegar and castile soap mixture. Let soak for 5 minutes, then rinse. Apply a few drops lemon essential oil and rub to remove any sticky residue.

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Salve in reused baby food jar.

I am currently obsessed with the salve! I love it as a cuticle cream and lip balm. The fresh honey scent is perfect for Fall. I have also used it as a diaper cream on my daughter and to soften up dry skin on my son’s back.


Note: Do not use on broken or blistered skin.

As always, check with your doctor before use or if you are on any medications. Calendula flower has moderate interactions with sedative or CNS depression medications according to WebMD. If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid Calendula flower.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, nor are they intended to cure, prevent, or treat any disease.


Sources:

  1. Brett, Jennifer N.D., ‘Calendula Herbal Remedies.’  Accessed September 28, 2015. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/calendula-herbal-remedies.htm

Beard conditioning spray {the winter beard is upon us…}

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The winter beard is upon us; it’s mid-September and we have experienced our first cool down of the late summer season. With this temperature plummet cravings begin for Pumpkin and Chai tea latte’s, seasonal craft beers, bonfires in sweatshirts, and of course, our men start dabbling with the idea of developing a luscious winter beard.

Yes, it’s winter beard pre-season.

Men do care about their beard health; regardless of what they may admit. They do not want it scraggly or to have dry skin underneath. The essential oils used in this spray will assist with hair stimulation, blemishes, and moisturizing. It’s dual function is you can spray up near his hairline also.

If your man is not the type to get into ‘beauty rituals’ tell him these few simple words: oil and massage. You have just convinced him. This works. Every. Single. Time.

Ingredients for Beard Conditioning spray:

  • 1 oz. distilled water
  • 1/2 oz. hemp seed oil
  • 5 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil

Shake well before use. Apply about 4-5 spritzes and comb through with a quality beard comb to loosen up any dry skin underneath. Massage the oil into his skin underneath his beard.  Massage near his jawline, then up to his temples to soothe any tension areas.

This must be refrigerated because of the hemp seed oil.  It has a nice cooling effect according to my husband. Of course, always store in a dark colored glass bottle. I tend to be conservative when using essential oils, if you want a stronger spray, consult your dilution charts.

This can be used every day or a few times a week.  It will help his beard remain soft, full, and problem free during the colder seasons.


Why use these particular essential oils?

Cedarwood adds a woodsy aroma. It also promotes clear skin. [1]

Lavender is our super oil. Men love the scent, it’s relaxing and reduces stress and what prevents breakouts more than eliminating stress? It also soothes itchy and dry skin.

Frankincense promotes cellular health and ‘applying this oil topically may help smooth the appearance of healthy-looking skin.’ [2] [3]

Tea tree is good for fighting blemishes. It can be drying, but the hemp seed oil provides plenty of moisture to counteract any drying effects. Recall, hemp seed oil has a 0 non-comedogenic factor (it will not clog pores). Tea tree oil cleanses and wards off infection from any nicks or cuts if he shaves his neck area.

imageimageOf course, always spot test a small area before application.

To learn more about essential oils click here: www.youngliving.com/genbumom


Sources:

[1] www.YoungLiving.com Cedarwood EssentialOil

[2] https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oils/singles/frankincense-essential-oil

[3] http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/frankincense-essential-oil.html

These comments have not been evaluated by the FDA. I am not a licensed physician. Always seek out high quality therapeutic grade oils and check for allergic reactions before full application.

Calming lemon balm and sweet mint {green tea}

 

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I love green tea it’s my go to when I need a few days of detox, to boost my metabolism, or to fight belly bloat. I originally container gardened a Lemon Balm plant for a natural back patio mosquito repellent. I found myself often plucking the leaves and smelling them, or rubbing on my arms to deter pests.  One day I decided to throw it in the pot with my mint that I was simmering for some green tea.

‘Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion…’ [1] University of MD Medical Center.

‘If you suffer from indigestion, peppermint green tea may help. Peppermint calms the stomach muscles and improves bile flow, helping your body break down fats from food and speeding digestion.’ [2] Livestrong.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. Fresh Lemon balm leaves
  • 1 tsp. Sweet Mint or Peppermint leaves
  • 1-2 Organic Green tea bags
  • Honey or Agave Nectar to taste

Gently press or ‘crush’ the lemon balm and sweet mint leaves to release their natural oils. Use a mortar and pestle if you own one. Simmer gently in 1 cup water on the stovetop. Strain leaves out. Pour water in mug. Add 1 or 2 organic green tea bags and steep 3 minutes.

Add 1 drop of lemon essential oil.  Or add 1 drop of peppermint essential oil if you prefer a stronger taste or a ‘kick.’  Add honey or agave to taste.

You could also use Chamomile tea if you prefer.  Lemon balm combined with Chamomile is the perfect nighttime tea.  Lemon essential oil and honey would compliment the flavor of Chamomile well.

When I first starting doing this earlier in the summer I did not know about the relaxing affects of lemon balm. I simply enjoyed the fresh taste. I noticed I was very relaxed after drinking it and typically slept better. Upon researching Lemon Balm more I know why.

Enjoy!

Garden fairy. Photo Practice.

Sources:

[1] University of Maryland Medical Center:  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide:  Herb: Lemon balm  https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

[2] Livestrong.com:  Peppermint Tea for Digestion:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/339203-the-benefits-of-peppermint-green-tea/

Hemp seed oil clarifying face serum

Years ago if anyone would have asked me to put oil on my face, I would have declined the offer politely.  Why would someone with combination skin put oil on their face?

I started out trying coconut oil and experienced a few minor breakouts. I dabbed some Frankincense essential oil on one area and the throbbing feeling ceased. The next day I was relieved to see it reduced in size.  Frankincense is soothing to the skin and has wonderful skin healing and balancing properties.  Lavender helps to even out skin tone and can reduce blemishes (and smells wonderful).

I recommend reviewing this article from Body Unburdened.com – it is informative without being overwhelming about appropriate carrier oils for facial use. It helped me make the decision to use Hemp Seed Oil as my base (It has a non-comedogenic 0 factor).

Some basic information about carrier oils:  They all have a comedogenic factor or  ‘number.’ Non-comedogenic 0 means it will not clog pores. For some skin types a 1 or 2 rating won’t affect your skin negatively and it may actually help dry skin; for others it will  clog pores and you need to seek out an oil with a rating of 0. Which is another reason why I chose Hemp Seed Oil. Coconut oil and Jojoba oil did not work for me personally as a facial oil. I tried both but it resulted in breakouts. I still recommend Jojoba (a 2) for hair and coconut (4) for a body moisturizer.

What else rates a 0? Safflower Oil (Carthamus Tinctorius),Sunflower oil, and Argan oil.

Why Hemp Seed Oil though?

  • It has a greenish tint, which can reduce ruddiness.
  • It is high in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
  • ”Hemp seed oil is also rich in gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA. This is another type of omega-6 fatty acid and, according to Ratical.com, it has a number of skin health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties.”Source: Livestrong.com 
  • It may help reduce scarring.

So, below is my current serum. I use this morning and night after cleansing my skin. I adore the way it minimizes my pores, gives my skin a healthy glow, and my makeup disperses very well with this as a base.

Skin Clarifying Hemp Oil Serum:

  • 2 oz. cold pressed Organic Hemp Seed Oil
  • 5 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops Tea Tree essential oil (acne prone skin)

Note: Hemp oil does need to be refrigerated. I enjoy the cooling effect when I put this on my face straight from the fridge.  It’s also a good excuse to scope out a snack.  A little goes a long way (for the serum and for a snack).

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Oily or acne prone skin responds best when not overwhelmed or over stripped. Don’t fear moisture. If you can mimic natural sebum production you can override its overproduction.

You can add  Tea Tree oil to this serum to further combat oil over-production and it would aid in healing blemishes. Tea Tree oil can be just as effective as the chemical salicylic acid.  I had a little dryness and peeling by my chin for just a few days when I first started adding Tea Tree oil but no further peeling since.

When using 3 essential oils in a 2 oz. solution, I would drop your ratios to 3:3:3 per 2 oz of Hemp seed oil.  10 drops essential oil total per 2 oz of carrier oil works best for me but that is slightly conservative.

I made this serum with 5 drops Frankincense, 5 drops Lavender and 5 drops Carrot seed oil for my mother and she said it has helped with her rosacea and some bumps on her facial skin.  I think my mother’s skin is amazingly soft and beautiful anyway (she eats clean and exercises daily) but to hear her amazed at the results is just another reason why I love mixing up oils for people!

Always check dilution charts prior to mixing your own products.  You can always increase ratios later.

As always, spot test your essential oils first. If irritation develops, discontinue use.


What I discuss on this site has not been evaluated by the FDA, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any particular disease. I am not a registered physician and I encourage you to discuss your health concerns with your own doctor.