Herb profile: Rosemary

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Rosemary was a pretty, popular girl in my secondary/high school but it wasn’t long after that i heard of the pretty popular herb. According to WebMd, Rosemary is used topically (applied to the skin) for preventing and treating baldness; and treating circulation problems, toothache, a skin condition called eczema, and joint or muscle pain such as myalgia, sciatica, and intercostal neuralgia. It is also used for wound healing, in bath therapy (balneotherapy), and as an insect repellent.

My ‘Shea Force’ hair creme {formulated to help with dandruff, stimulate hair growth and keep hair under control and happy} is made with powdered rosemary, rosemary infused oil and rosemary essential oil!!! Dried rosemary contains about 20% camphor so I also use it in my homemade vapor rub.

It’s often used in manufacturing cosmetics for its fragrance, which is quite pleasant. I’ve used it for this purpose several times.

However, for Pregnant and breast-feeding women, Rosemary is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Rosemary might stimulate menstruation or affect the uterus, causing a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of applying rosemary to the skin during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it’s best to avoid rosemary in amounts larger than food amounts.

If you are breast-feeding, also steer clear of rosemary in medicinal amounts. Not enough is known about what effects it might have on the nursing infant.

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Rebatch Soap

About a year or so ago I made blocks of naturally fragranced 100% olive oil {Castile} soaps in orange, mint and rosemary. At that time I was surprised the fragrance made it through the soap making process.

Last month, I gathered what was remaining from the three blocks of soap and decided to rebatch them with 30% coconut oil soap base.

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Rebatching or remilling is basically shredding and melting down premade soap and remolding it after adding your desired additives {colour, fragrance or botanicals}. The texture can be as chunky or as smooth as you like but it’s never as smooth as a cold process soap. I made mine with the chunks for interest.

It’s brilliant for people who want to make natural soap but are afraid to work with lye solution, or for people who want their soap ready to use yesterday ;).

I scented this new batch of soap with a fragrance called white tea and ginger from Brambleberry {fantastic if you don’t like florals and a good unisex scent} and dusted the top with 24k gold mica just to fancy it up a bit.

Botanical infusions

I’m slowly running out of shelf space because of all these jars!

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I’m infusing olive and coconut oils with all manner of botanicals including calendula, neem, lemon leaf, rosemary, clove, myrrh, bay leaf, etc. I’ve even got a small batch of benzoin resin going!

Some infusions are primarily for fragrance while some are for extracting the benefits of the botanicals. No matter what I intend them for, I use the cold infusion method where the dried botanicals slowly infuse for a couple of months.

I’ve learned an interesting lesson with infusing for scent and the type of oil used: if you want fragrance, do not use pungent oils!!!! I speak from experience.

I tend to use my oil infusions for leave on products because I believe that’s how we benefit most from it. In a few weeks, I will be preparing custom orders of body butters, polishes and balms, and these will be ready by then.

Baking Soda vs Dandruff

I like multi-purpose products and baking soda is in the top 5. I’ve read repeatedly that its beneficial for removing buildup on the scalp especially amongst people who have shunned shampoo.

I have dry scalp and I’ve long stopped harsh stripping products on my head because although they provided temporary relief, they didn’t help to improve the condition.

I’m now trying a concoction of baking soda and honey to scrub my scalp for gentler exfoliation and to reap all the benefits of honey for my scalp. I follow this scalp massage with a gentle shampoo then must my hair with ACV and water in place of a leave in conditioner.

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Here’s my recipe:
2 tbs honey
1 heaped tbs baking soda {more for thicker paste}
1 tsp coconut oil
5 drops of rosemary extract

I mix everything in a little container, leave to rest for about 30 mins {no scientific reason for this…it just seems like the right thing to do ;)} before section ing my hair and massaging my scalp.

Results? A clean scalp that smells faintly holeylicious. Hmmm

Food for Skin: Honey

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Honey is a one-ingredient wonder!!! In addition to eating it, it has amazing skin benefits.

Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. This makes honey a natural fit in a variety of moisturizing products including cleansers, creams, shampoos and conditioners.

Honey also contains antibacterial and skin healing properties and has been reported to be useful for acne treatment. It can be used on its own as a face mask, mixed with some baking soda for gentle face and body exfoliation, or with banana for an indulgent face mask for dry thirsty skin.

According to Kim Wallace here are four of the main skin-saving properties of honey.
•Acne: Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great for acne treatment and prevention.
•Aging: Full of antioxidants, it is great for slowing down aging.
•Complexion boost: It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow.
•Pores: Honey is clarifying because it opens up pores making them easy to unclog.

A cousin just bought be a huge bottle of raw mountain honey that is going to feature in some of my soaps, face masks and lip balm soon.

Herb profile: Calendula

Anecdotal evidence dating back many years claim Calendula flower is used to prevent muscle spasms, start menstrual periods, and reduce fever. It is also used for treating sore throat and mouth, menstrual cramps, cancer, and stomach and duodenal ulcers.

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Preparations {tinctures, infusions, hydrosols, succus, extractions, etc} of Calendula is applied to the skin to reduce pain and swelling (inflammation) and to treat poorly healing wounds and leg ulcers. It is also applied to the skin (used topically) for nosebleeds, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the rectum (proctitis), and inflammation of the lining of the eyelid (conjunctivitis). Source

I use calendula in my ‘baby’s bottom’ salve, hand/lip balms and body butters for its skin healing properties and currently have two batches infusing in olive oil and coconut oil.

Here’s another good article about calendula and its uses.