Archive for the ‘Natural Beauty’ Category

For a long time I was confused about the difference between salves, ointments and balms. Some writers use all three terms interchangeably whilst others have separate definitions, many of which contradict those from other sources. In this post I wanted to tell you a little about how I make salves, ointments and balms with the intention of sharing some hopefully useful tips and practical information.

Salves, ointments, unguents, balms, call them what you will, what all these preparations have in common is they are primarily a semi-solid mix of fatty ingredients such as oils and waxes, usually with no water part at all, though they may contain a small amount of herbal tincture or similar. This differentiates them from creams and lotions which contain both fats and waters.

Generally, ointments and salves are considered much the same thing; a healing external preparation made with medicinal substances in a base of oils and waxes. According to the Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health an ointment is “a semisolid preparation for external application to the skin or mucous membranes. Official ointments consist of medicinal substances incorporated in suitable vehicles (bases). Called also salve and unguent.”  All in all the definitions are pretty vague which is probably why we find discrepancies.

Suitable ingredients for a salve include many vegetable oils (such as olive, sunflower, sweet almond, apricot) and beeswax or vegetable wax such as candelilla or carnuba. In older herbals lard or animal fats were often used and these are enjoying something of a comeback amongst some traditional herbalists but, as a vegetarian, they don’t feature on my radar so I won’t be talking about them here. Many herbal books include recipes made with mineral oil byproducts such as petroleum jelly or vaseline but again, as I don’t work with them, I will not be including any information here.

As making salves involves some degree of heat it’s best to use oils that are fairly heat stable, the main ones to avoid are oils like flax seed, evening primrose and borage. If you want to include these then stir them in after the other ingredients have been melted and are beginning to cool.  Coconut oil is the most heat stable vegetable oil but as you will not be heating it very high, oils like olive, sunflower and apricot kernal can be happily used.

Beeswax comes in two varieties, white and yellow but the white is bleached and processed so I never use it, it’s always better to stay as close to nature as possible. Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of a shrub native to Mexico and is slightly harder than beeswax so you generally want to use a fraction less in a recipe. Carnuba is a similar product derived from a Brazilian Palm. The advantages of these two is that they are vegan so products can be made that are suitable for everyone. The disadvantage is that they come from a very long way away (at least if you live here in Europe!). It’s a tricky choice as some producers of bee products are far from ethical or kind to their bees. I do use beeswax but always try to get it from a local supplier that I know I can trust.

Basic Salve Recipe:

90ml herbal infused oil
10g beeswax

Basic Vegan Salve Recipe:

92 ml infused oil
8g candelilla wax

Medicinal Salve Recipe:

75 – 80ml infused oil
10g beeswax
10ml tincture
2 – 5 ml essential oil


Weigh or measure out the wax (preferably grated or cut into small pieces) and the herbal infused oil and place in a double boiler or bain marie. Heat over a low heat until the wax is fully melted and then stir well. If adding tincture drizzle it in slowly now whilst whisking lightly with a fork. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly but not set. You can test the consistency of the salve by dipping the tip of a teaspoon into it. Such a  small amount will set quickly and will show you how the finished product will be. If you are not happy you can return it to the heat and add a fraction more oil/wax until you get it just right. Whilst the salve is still liquid, stir in the essential oils, pour into glass jars and cap immediately to stop the volatile oils from evaporating. Allow to cool and set completely before using.

You can make salves for use as chest rubs, for treating aches and pains, for protecting and healing dry and sore skin and many other uses. The recipe can be easily adapted according to your preferences or required ingredients. A very simple skin healing salve can be made with calendula infused oil and beeswax or a chest salve with olive oil, wax and 5% suitable essential oils. The possibilities are limitless!

Balms are similar to salves, some people class them as the same thing entirely whilst others make a slight differentiation.  According to James Green who wrote The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, “a balm is simply a salve that contains a relatively high amount of volatile oils. Upon application is delivers a notably intense cloud of aromatic vapours.”  My understanding of a balm is that it is a salve that also contains butters such as cacao or shea butter making for a creamier end product. These are just individual definitions though so you can use whichever you prefer.

Cacao is fairly hard at room temperature so makes for a slightly firmer end product where as shea is very creamy and therefore a lovely addition to lip balms or body butters. Mango butter is also delicious and has a lower melt point and a more slippery consistency.

Basic Balm Recipe:

67 ml infused oil
25 g cacao butter
5 g beeswax
2 ml vitamin E
1 ml essential oils of choice

Basic Body Butter Recipe:

57 ml infused oil
20 g shea butter
20 g cacao butter
2 ml vitamin E
1 ml essential oils

These balms can be made as above by melting the oils, butters and wax in a bain marie then adding the essential oils and vitamin E at the last moment so they will not be affected by the heat.

I hope that was helpful rather than just confusing the issue further! Happy making.

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner I thought it was about time I posted a suitably romantic recipe for these quick and easy, yet delightfully decadent massage bars. Whatever your feelings about this particular festival, a massage bar makes a lovely gift for anyone and can be used to pamper yourself too as it makes a delicious body moisturiser after the shower or bath

50g Cocoa Butter
15g Shea Butter
15g Coconut Oil
10g Mango butter (or just use 25g Coconut and omit the mango)
10 ml Base oil
2ml Vitamin E Oil
20 drops essential oils of choice

Add the solid oils to the base oil of your choice (any relatively thin oil like apricot, hazelnut, jojoba or sunflower would do nicely) and melt over a low heat in a bain marie. Remove from the heat and stir in the vitamin E and essential oils of choice. Pour into massage bar moulds (I actually just used large chocolate moulds) and set in the fridge or freezer. That’s it.

If you live in a warm climate you’ll want to increase the amount of solid oil you use or possibly add a little beeswax or candelilla wax to make it more heat stable as these are designed to melt easily on contact with the skin. Alternatively you can keep them in the fridge. Also beware of using nut oils like almond for people with allergies.

Some ideas for essential oils you could use include the following:
Romantic and floral blend – Rose 5 drops, Ylang Ylang 8 drops, Sweet Orange 7 drops.
Relaxing and uplifting blend – Lavender 7 drops, Neroli 8 drops and Green Mandarin 5 drops.
Earthy and sexy blend- Sandalwood 10 drops, Jasmine 5 drops, Black Pepper 5 drops.
Beautifully balancing blend – Geranium 10 drops, Bergamot 5 drops, Lavender 5 drops.

I used the earthy and sexy blend and it turned out deliciously though you have to take into account your personal taste in oils and the effect you wish to achieve. I recommend consulting a good aromatherapy text to get a clearer idea of which oils will suit your purpose.

And incase you’re still not in the mood for love, here is a selection of my favourite love poems to win your heart.

The Innocence of any Flesh Sleeping – Brian Patten

Sleeping beside you I dreamt
I woke beside you;
Waking beside you
I thought I was dreaming.

Have you ever slept beside an ocean?
Well yes,
It is like this.

The whole motion of landscapes, of oceans
Is within her.
She is
The innocence of any flesh sleeping,
So vulnerable
No protection is needed.

In such times
The heart opens,
Contains all there is,
There being no more than her.

In what country she is
I cannot tell.
But knowing – because there is love
And it blots out all demons –
She is safe,
I can turn,
Sleep well beside her.

Waking beside her I am dreaming.
Dreaming of such wakings
I am to all love’s senses woken.

Untitled – Rumi

Love swells and surges the ocean
and on your robe of storm cloud
sews rain designs.

Love is lightning,
and also the ahhh
we respond with.

Untitled – Simon Armitage

Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay

your sleeping head
against my arm or sleeve,

and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave

at midnight, I should rather
cleave it from the joint or seam

than make a scene
or bring you round.

how does that sound?

Love – Pablo Neruda

So many days, oh so many days
seeing you so tangible and so close
how do I pay, with what do I pay?

The bloodthirsty spring
has awakened in the woods.
The foxes start from their earths,
the serpents drink the dew,
and I go with you in the leaves
between the pines and the silence,
asking myself how and when
I will have to pay for my luck.

Of everything I have seen,
it’s you I want to go on seeing:
of everything I’ve touched,
it’s your flesh I want to go on touching.
I love your orange laughter.
I am moved by the sight of you sleeping.

What am I to do, love, loved one?
I don’t know how others love
or how people loved in the past.
I live, watching you, loving you.
Being in love is my nature.

You please me more each afternoon.

Where is she? I keep on asking
if your eyes disappear.
How long she’s taking! I think, and I’m hurt.
I feel poor, foolish and sad,
and you arrive and you are lightning
glancing off the peach trees.

That’s why I love you and yet not why.
There are so many reasons, and yet so few,
for love has to be so,
involving and general,
particular and terrifying,
joyful and grieving,
flowering like the stars,
and measureless as a kiss.

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SPOILER ALERT!!! This post contains information which may jeopardise some people’s surprise on Christmas Day. If you happen to be a close friend or family member I suggest you do the right thing and turn back now.

This months’ blog party is kindly hosted by Brigitte over at the lovely and informative My Herb Corner and is on the topic of Herbal Christmas Gifts.

Whilst I’m still struggling to believe that we are approaching the end of November, it certainly is time I started getting organised on the present front. I’m well known for pressing remedies on to my loved ones for their varying ailments, so at Christmas, I like to move away from the medicinal and create some herbal treats that are luxuriant and pampering as well as promoting good health in the winter months.

This year’s line up include some lovely bath and body oils, a deeply moisturising hand and foot cream, some soothing lip balms, a rejuvenating eye gel and some nourishing face cream.

Christmas Bath and Body Oils:

I always like to have some lovely oil blends on hand to add to the bath, use in massage or simply to moisturise my skin. Here are this year’s Christmas themed oil blends which consist of 2% essential oil in 100ml base oil. 2% usually works out as 40-50 drops of essential oil, depending on the size of the dropper. It’s important to blend essential oils in a base oil rather than just dropping them into the bath so as to avoid the possibility of irritating the skin as the essential oils do not always disperse well and can remain in concentrated blobs on top of the water. These oils do not use any emulsifiers therefore they will create an oily film on the water, though as you only need to use a tablespoon per bath, I have never found this a problem. Emulsifiers can be added which will make a more milky bath oil which disperses well in the water but the ones used for this purpose are usually synthetic so I like to avoid them where possible.

Winter Warmer- I created this blend with a couple of family members in mind who suffer from chilblains in the winter months and could use this in a bath or footbath to ease their discomfort. To 100ml of Apricot base oil I added 20 drops Rosemary essential oil, 20 drops Grapefruit and 10 drops Black Pepper. This not only stimulates the circulation and the lymphatic system but also makes a lovely revitalising morning bath for relaxing winter weekends. In fact I’ve just enjoyed one this morning.

Christmas Gifts-  To 50ml of Gold of Pleasure Oil (Camelina sativa) and 50 ml Sweet Almond I added 25 drops Frankincense, 15 drops Sweet Orange Oil, 5 drops Myrrh and 5 drops Clary Sage. This blend feels wonderfully Christmassy and promotes visual dreaming. I like to give it with a bar of Rococo’s Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Chocolate. Enjoy the chocolate in the bath for ultimate indulgence.

Oh Christmas Tree- This blend was created for my husband who loves the smell of pine and also loves luxuritaing in the bath. To 100ml hazelnut oil I added 15 drops pine essential oil, 15 drops silver fir and 15 drops juniper berry. Earthy, fresh and cleansing this is great for washing away the pollution after a long day Christmas shopping in town or to bring the smell of the forest home with you after a brisk winter walk.

Luxury Hand and Foot Cream:

This was made with my mum and sister in mind, both of whom like to look after their hands and nails. The Comfrey is healing and mineral rich, the Avocado and Shea are deeply moisturising, the beeswax is protective and helps to emulsify the cream and the Horsetail is famous for its silica content which helps to strengthen the nails. The Jasmine makes it sexy and luxurious and the spearmint is reviving and refreshing for tired hands and feet.

40ml Comfrey root infused oil
40ml Avocado oil
40g Shea Butter
80ml Horsetail decoction (simmered 15 mins)
1 tbsp Vegetable Glycerin
15g Beeswax
2ml Vitamin E
10 drops Vitamin A
20 drops Jasmine essential oil
5 drops Spearmint essential oil

Melt the beeswax in a bain marie and add the shea butter and oil when it’s already soft.

In a separate container, mix the horsetail infusion and vegetable glycerine.

Take the oils off the heat and allow to cool until looking opaque. It’s important to get the oils and waters to the same temperature to enable them to mix properly, otherwise your cream will separate, I find I have better results when both parts are about room temperature or a little warmer. I use a small hand blender to mix them as I’m not making a large enough quantity to use my big blender. Begin to blend the oil mixture and slowly add in the waters, a drizzle at a time. Continue to blend until you have a nice smooth, even, creamy consistency.

Stir in the essential oils and vitamins E and A once it is cool and has thickened. Mix well and spoon into jars. This cream will last about a month out of the fridge (less if you life in a warm climate). It has a lovely thick, green appearance and is incredibly nourishing to dry and hard working hands.

I have a much more detailed description of cream making here which will be useful if you are new to the process.

Also a description of ingredients including preservatives here.

It’s really a myth that you have to use emulsifiers to get a properly mixed cream, it just takes dedication and a bit of practice, I had several disasters before I got the knack and even now I sometimes get it wrong. I do occasionally use emulsifiers to make a face cream as it’s hard to make a very light consistency without them, but I like to use all natural products where possible and the emulsifiers used in cream making, even when derived from natural products, are always highly processed in some way. Ultimately oil and water don’t want to mix but they can and do, only your will must be greater than theirs!

Soothing Lip Balm:

This is a simple and delicious lip balm recipe.

40ml Calendula infused oil
30ml Macadamia nut oil
15g Cocoa Butter
15g Beeswax
1ml Vitamin E
10 drops Vanilla Essential Oil

Melt the cocoa butter and beeswax in a bain marie, adding in the macadamia and calendula and stirring well until everything is dissolved. remove from the heat, add the Vitamin E and Vanilla, stir again and pot in 6 15ml jars. Leave on the side to cool. A good trick it to almost fill the pots, wait a few minutes, then top them up. This ensures an even surface on top of the balm, otherwise you can get a dent in the middle as it settles.

Rejuvenating Rose Hip Eye Gel:

This eye gel is also simple to make and is based on antioxidant rich rose hip.

80ml Rose hip infusion (1 tsp rose hips simmered in 100ml spring water)
5ml Witch Hazel distillate
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Vegetable Glycerine
1/2 tsp Eyebright tincture
I tsp Aloe Vera gel
2ml Rosehip seed oil
10 drops each Vitamins E and A

Whisk all ingredients lightly together except the xanthan gum – I actually use a stick blender in the little measuring jug that came with it to make this recipe which works well but there isn’t enough volume to use a large blender. Sprinkle  the gum slowly and finely into the mixture whisking all the time until a gel begins to form, whisk until there are no lumps in it. There is no preservative in this formula except the vitamins and tincture so I suggest it is kept in the fridge where it should last about three months. You need such a tiny amount of this gel that I recommend only using small jars so it does not get wasted.

Unfortunately I ran out of time this week to make the face cream but i will be sure to post the recipe when I get round to it.

Good luck with your Christmas shopping and making!

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Calendula and Chamomile were born to be friends. As cheerful and vibrant as each other, they are two of the kindest herbs I know, always on hand to heal, soothe and balance myriad ailments.


Alongside their individual personalities they have much in common, as good friends often do. They both have a deservedly high reputation as skin herbs and are particularly beneficial for soothing sore, dry and irritated skins due to their calming, anti-inflammatory properties. They have both also been used for soothing the nervous system and relaxing spasms in the digestive system. Despite being powerful healers they are gentle enough for young children. They are both anti-septic and can be helpful for a range of external and internal infections.

One of my favourite ways to combine them is in this deliciously rich and soothing cream that I use on areas of dry or irritated skin, sunburn, insect bites, allergies, scars or just as a lovely moisturiser that is great for sensitive skins. It also makes a perfect cream for mother and baby and can be used to help a range of problems such as nappy rash, cradle cap and sore nipples to name but a few. I call it my ‘little pot of kindness’ as that just what these herbs are.

Little Pots of Kindness

Chamomile and Calendula Calming Cream- A Little Pot of Kindness:

These quantities make enough cream for two 60ml and one 30ml pot. It’s good to make it in small batches unless you plan to add a synthetic preservative as it only has a shelf life of about a month out of the fridge (it will be less in a hot climate) or 2 months in. Essential oils can also act as preservatives but are not present in high enough quantities in this recipe.

50ml calendula and chamomile infusion (steep a tablespoon of each herb in a cup of freshly boiled water, strain and measure out required amount).
25ml aloe vera gel (also calming and healing)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerine
10g beeswax
20g coconut oil (considered cooling and calming in ayurvedic medicine)
25ml calendula infused oil (see here for how to infuse your own oils).
25ml chamomile infused oil
2ml Vitamin E
5 drops Vitamin A
10 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

Melt the wax and coconut oil in a bain marie or double boiler on a low heat, adding the calendula and chamomile infused oils when liquid and stirring a little if the waxes start to solidify. In a separate container mix the herbal infusion with the aloe vera and glycerine. Take the oils off the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the vitamins A and E. For more detailed instructions on cream making along with photos of when the oils are ready to blend, see this post here. I use a small hand blender to mix them as I’m not making a large enough quantity to use my big blender. You could also use an electric or hand whisk. Begin to blend/ whisk the water mixture and slowly add in the oils, a drizzle at a time. Continue to blend until you have a nice smooth, even, creamy consistency. Spoon into a jar or jars and stir in the essential oils. Pop in the fridge for a short while to cool.

This is the same method I used to make my infused elderflower moisturiser. I find it works well for me but creams are notoriously difficult when you make them without using an emulsifier. If your cream seems to be separating don’t despair, just keep scraping the mixture down the sides, mixing it up with a spoon and blending or whisking again. It’s fine to use an emulsifier if you prefer, I just like to make things as simply and naturally as possible when I can.

Oh and don’t forget to thank the chamomile and calendula for all their goodness and care. 🙂

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The Elder tree has been held as sacred in various folkloric traditions, as has the Elder Mother who presides over it. Any lady whose age numbers in the thousands has learnt a thing or two about natural beauty and, luckily for us, the Elder Mother shares some of her secrets in the creamy white elderflowers that adorn her trees in May and June. Elderflowers have long been used in skincare recipes for their softening, anti-inflammatory and beautifying properties and infusions have been used to even the skin tone, ease sunburn and prevent wrinkles.

I love elderflower infused oils for use in face and body care recipes so this year I decided to experiment with a few different base oils to see how they captured the fragrance and nourishing properties of the elderflowers. With the resulting products I made a face oil, a day cream and a body butter, the recipes for which are included here.

Along with my usual sweet almond oil infusion, I chose to try safflower oil and macadamia oil as well as a couple of solid oils- coconut and mango butter. Safflower oil is popular in cosmetics because it is high in essential fatty acids. Like sweet almond, it is a light oil with little odour so I thought it would work well for capturing the scent of the elderflowers. Macadamia is a rich, fatty oil that it particularly beneficial for dry or mature skins and has a deep nutty aroma. Coconut oil has a lovely light consistency which is perfect for cream making though its strong smell can detract from the elderflowers, so I also tried the mango butter which has a similar, though slightly creamier consistency, with hardly any smell. Coconut oil is considered cooling and elderflowers have been recommended for sunburn so I thought this would make a nice aftersun if blended with some aloe vera and lavender water.

It’s important to use only organic, cold pressed oils to retain all the therapeutic benefits and ensure there are no traces of harmful chemicals in your products and, of course, make sure you only harvest elderflowers from areas you’re sure haven’t been sprayed.

Fresh Elderflowers give up their scent and beautifying properties quite quickly and will go off if left to infuse too long. I chose to sun infuse my oils for about 10 hours on a bright windowsill which was plenty of time for them to absorb all the goodness without getting that ‘cat’s pee’ smell that can accompany over done elderflowers! With the coconut and mango butters I melted them in a bain marie before pouring them over the elderflowers and allowing to infuse for a day before re-warming and straining. You can use the heat method but the oils can quickly degrade at high temperatures so I prefer to sun infuse where appropriate. For a detailed explanation of how to infuse an oil see my previous post here.

Elderflower Oils

As elderflowers have very fine pollen I chose to strain the liquid oils through a coffee filter to ensure as much of the plant material as possible was removed and prolong the life of the finished oil. The melted butters went quite happily through a muslin cloth however. I was really happy with all the different infusions, especially the mango butter and safflower which, I thought, retained the best smell. The macadamia oil has a really decadent feel but would be too heavy to use alone so I decided to mix equal parts of the three liquid infused oils to make a delicious face oil. By mixing all three you get the benefits of them all with a really nice consistency. Don’t feel you have to use the same oils as me, feel free to use any that you fancy and you can also just use one rather than a combination for ease and practicality.

Elderflower Face Oil:
This recipe makes three 30ml bottles
30ml elderflower infused in safflower
30ml elderflower infused in sweet almond
30ml elderflower infused in macadamia
3ml vitamin E Oil

I use just 3 or 4 drops of this oil massaged into damp skin at night and it feels so soft in the morning.

I also made a face cream for use in the day.

Elderflower and Rose Moisturiser:
50 ml rosewater
25ml aloe vera gel
1/2 tbsp vegetable glycerine
10g beeswax
50ml elderflower infused oil (I did 20 safflower, 20 almond and 10 macadamia)
20ml elderflower infused mango butter (or coconut butter. Use plain if you have none infused)
5ml Vitamin E
5 drops Vitamin A
10 drops Rose Otto essential oil

This makes a really lovely, rich cream so a little goes a long way. Melt the beeswax in a bain marie and add the mango butter and oil when it’s already soft.

In a separate container, mix the aloe vera, rosewater and vegetable glycerine.

Take the oils off the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the vitamins A and E.

I use a small hand blender to mix them as I’m not making a large enough quantity to use my big blender. You could also use an electric or hand whisk. Begin to blend/ whisk the oil mixture and slowly add in the waters, a drizzle at a time. Continue to blend until you have a nice smooth, even, creamy consistency. Spoon into a jar or jars and stir in the essential oils. Allow to cool completely before putting in the fridge as this will help prevent it separating.

This recipe doesn’t contain a preservative but it you want it to last longer than a month or so you will need to add one.

I have a much more detailed description of cream making here.

Also a description of ingredients including preservatives here.

Elderflower Softening Cream

I’m currently making a toner to go with this by infusing elderflowers in witch hazel distillate. For normal or combination skin mix 25ml of the resulting liquid with 75ml of rosewater and place in a spray bottle to spritz on after cleansing or to refresh the skin throughout the day. For dry skin, drop the witch hazel to 10ml and up the rosewater to 90ml and for oily skin you can increase the witch hazel to 40ml and use 60ml of lavender water instead of rose.

Finally I made a really simple body butter with the following ingredients;
60 ml elderflower infused in sweet almond
30ml elderflower infused mango butter
30ml shea butter
Melt all the ingredients together in a bain marie/ double boiler, mix well and pour into a 120ml jar. Allow to set in the fridge before using liberally.

Do patch tests first to ensure you aren’t sensitive to any of the ingredients in these recipes.

And last but not least, don’t forget to thank the Elder Mother! 😉

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Almonds are one of my favourite nuts (along with walnuts), not only because they’re so delicious but because there are so many things you can do with them. I have been making almond milk to drink every day for a couple of years but only recently have I been even more decadent and enjoyed almond milk baths. As I hate to waste, I try to use up the pulp left over from the almond milk in a variety of ways, including making face and body scrubs like the one below.

Almonds are the most nutritious of all nuts containing calcium, magnesium, iron, Vitamin E, trace minerals and fatty acids. Using the milk in the bath helps soothe tired, dry, rough or dehydrated skin.

Almond Milk Bath:

1/2 cup almonds soaked for a few hours
1 litre of water or herbal infusion of your choice, lavender or rose are beautiful for bath milk
4 drops essential oils if desired, again you can’t go wrong with lavender, chamomile or sandalwood for soothing skin and helping you unwind

Blend the almonds and water/infusion in a fairly powerful blender and strain through a jelly sieve or muslin cloth. Save the almond pulp that’s left over for making the scrub below. Stir in the essential oils and pour into a hot bath just before getting in. Let the day’s troubles float away.

Almond Pulp Body Scrub:

1 cup almond pulp
1 tablespoon finely ground sea or crystal salt
A teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons sweet almond oil or other base oil
1 tablespoon ground lavender flowers
4-5 drops essential oils of your choice

Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge before taking into the shower with you and scrubbing your cares away.

Ground almonds have been used in natural cosmetics for centuries for their beautifying and nutritious properties and the pulp from almond milk has many similar benefits though some of the fats and nutrients have already been extracted into the milk. It is also softer than normal ground almond after being blended with the water. The salt is cleansing, both physically and energetically as salt can help absorb any negative energies we have picked up throughout the day. The pepper will boost the circulation, the lavender and honey are soothing, healing and antiseptic and the oil helps trap moisture in, leaving you silky and smooth.

You can always save a cup of the milk to sip whilst you recline in the tub, it’s nice warmed with some cinnamon and a touch of honey.

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After a long day in London studying, there’s nothing like coming home to a hot, steamy bath full of herbal wonders.

Avena, or as we commonly call her Oats, is a lovely choice for such times, when you are both exhausted from the early morning, travel and long hours in a classroom, as well as over stimulated from the bright lights, loud noises and hectic pace of the big city. A classic tonic to the nervous system, Avena can help us deal effectively with periods of stress, anxiety and nervous tension. She can help soothe and protect us when we are suffering from the sensory overload usually induced by spending time in a busy city and enable a deep and restorative nights sleep. Oats are also rich in silicon which helps build the skin, nails and hair.

The classic way to have an oat bath is to tie a handful of rolled oats in a square of muslin cloth and hang it under the taps as you run the bath to release a creamy oat milk which is soothing for sensitive, dry skin.

I like to pack my baths with as much medicinal value as possible as we have the ability to absorb many substances into our bodies through the skin. This oat and chamomile bath takes a bit of pre-planning but is quick to do and captures many of the beautiful healing properties of these two wonderful green allies.

If you know you’ll have time for a bath that evening, make a strong infusion of oatstraw herb and chamomile in the morning and leave on the side for the rest of the day to extract all the goodness from the herbs.
I usually use a large handful of oatstraw, with a large pinch of chamomile, in a jar or cafetiere with pint or so of freshly boiled water.

When your ready for your bath strain the herbal infusion into a blender and add a couple of handfuls of porridge oats.
Blend up into a cream.
Stir in 4 drops Roman Chamomile, 2 drops Lavender and 2 drops Sandalwood, or any of your favourite relaxing essential oils.
Pour into a freshly run, hot bath, get in and feel the days stresses melt away.


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