Heliotrope San Francisco

Citrus Medica Limon - The mighty lemon

It is thought that lemon trees first grew in India, the Assam region to be precise and in northern Burma. There is some debate about exactly where they originated but there is evidence that Lemon trees have been cultivated in Assam for 2,500 years. The story of people using lemons is missing many details and yet lemons moved from region to region and were grown extensively throughout history.

Lemons, as we know them, developed from a cross between two different fruits - the bitter orange and the citron. The citron is like a lemon, but it is larger, has less juice, and it’s rind is thicker. Regardless of how how this hybridization occurred, the world is better off for having the lemon.

Lemon tree in Hulikatti India

Lemons have been used in Ayurveda for centuries. On the Indian subcontinent lemons are referred to as ‘Golden Apples’ and are used for prevention, for cleansing the system and as remedies for many complaints. Traders spread the fruit from Asia to Persia to the coast of the Mediterranean and into Africa. Trees were cultivated in Egypt and in Sumer and arrived in Europe after 100ce. At this time in Europe and for quite a long span of time after, it was grown as an ornamental tree. In Medieval Egypt, in the 1100s, there is record of a drink, much like lemonade, called Qatarzimat being popular in Cairo markets. The drink most likely developed further east, but it’s origins are unknown. The first mention of Europeans using lemons in cooking was in the 1400s. The first major cultivation of the tree was in Genoa around this time.

The fruit was important enough that Christopher Columbus brought Lemon seeds with him on his journey to Haiti. The tree was grown throughout the Spanish colonies. A Spanish explorer in the late 1490s made the connection between lemons and a reduction of scurvy. This connection was lost and regained repeatedly. It wasn’t until much later, 1747, that lemons and vitamin C were studied in the first controlled medical experiments and written about as a cure for scurvy.

Lemons on tree

Western science and medicine is beginning to catch up with the knowledge of Ayurveda. There have been well over 500 scientific studies into the benefits of lemons and lemon essential oil, and they confirm much if not all of what Ayurveda teaches about lemons.

Lemons must be hand picked, there are no machines used in harvesting and they must be dry at the time of harvest. They are sorted by color and size and then washed. Conventional fruit is coated with a fungicide, they are then cured - which means that they stored - this curing period can correspond with them being shipped . It is during this period that they become yellow. Conventional lemons are coated with wax before being shipped to market. Organic fruit aren’t coated with fungicide or with wax. Lemon peel is densely nutritious and the essential oil is cold pressed from the peel. The peel is the thin yellow outer layer of the fruit.

 Lemon Peel

Lemons contain antioxidants in several forms - vitamin C, small amounts of vitamin A, and a compound called d-limonene which is being studied for its cancer fighting abilities.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are mutant atoms that cause a chain reaction in the cells. Free radicals steal electrons from cells in a process called oxidation. Cell development is stifled without oxygen and the presence of free radicals wreaks havoc on cell growth and health. Antioxidants effectively stop free radicals because they give the free radical one of their own electrons. This ends the chain reaction and the free radical’s hunt for an electron. Lemon reduces oxidative stress in the cells.

On the surface of the skin, Lemon acts as an astringent to tighten and tone the skin. The essential oil is an antibacterial and a purifying disinfectant. Lemon acts to heal blemishes and remove extra oil and impurities from the skin. It is thought to shrink pores.

Lemon lightens and brightens skin and can help reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Pure lemon juice or essential oil can bleach the skin and hair and should be used with caution especially when going into the sun.

Our Citrus & Fruit Acid Cleanser utilizes the astringent and pore tightening qualities of Lemon to gently cleanse the skin of impurities.

The astringent and toning qualities of Lemon combine with skin soothing Shea butter in our Shea, Vitamin E & Menthol Aftershave.

The Essential Oil - Lemon brings a clean scent to a room and for this reason, can be a key ingredient to homemade natural cleaners. The scent of Lemon has been found to improve concentration and enhance mood. The scent is thought to also improve digestion.

Written by Jen Bator — February 27, 2017

Avocado Oil - Superfood for your skin

Over the past few years, Avocados have become known as a ‘superfood’ for good reason. They are a nutrient dense, and it’s no wonder that they have been prized for thousands of years. 


The avocado is fruit, a member of the berry family. Archaeologists found evidence in a cave in Central Mexico that avocados were eaten 10,000 years ago. There is even fossil evidence that millions of years ago a similar species grew as far north as what is now California. Cultivation began about 5,000 years ago and many cultures - the Inca, Olmec, and the Maya - grew trees. The fruit was eaten throughout Mexico and Central America and trees were grown as far south as Peru and Venezuela. Avocado seeds have been found buried with Peruvian mummies signifying the importance of the fruit.

 

The Nahuatl people were native to southern Mexico and Central America and include many cultures such the Aztecs. Perhaps because of their shape or their appearance hanging on the tree, the word avocado comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means testicle. Avocados were thought to be an aphrodisiac and throughout Central and South America were eaten as a sex stimulant.

In the 16th century, the Conquistadors were the first Europeans to taste avocados. The fruit was described in the written account of the Spanish exploration of the Americas near Santa Marta, Colombia. The Spanish changed the name to aguacate, and brought the fruit to Europe and sold them to other countries.

The tree was first planted in the United States in the mid-1800s. In 1871, a botanist successfully planted trees from Mexico in Santa Barbara. Starting in the early 1900s, the fruit was recognized as valuable and the tree was cultivated in large quantities. California is now one of the leading domestic growers of avocado, primarily the Hass variety. It is also grown in Florida and Hawaii. It is a subtropical plant and is now grown on every continent, where conditions are warm enough. Each region grows a different type of tree suited to the growing conditions of the area.

Avocados nourish the body inside and out with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and internally, with fiber.

Avocados are high in a compound called Cartenoids, including beta carotene and lutein. These compounds are important anti-oxidants and fight damage to the cells. They improve skin density, tone, and thickness. This improves the skin's general appearance.

Vitamin C helps the body produce elastin and collagen both of which bind skin cells together and maintain the proper architecture of the cells. If the structure is maintained, the skin is more likely to appear tight and this reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant, it prevents and repairs free radical damage from oxidizing fat cells in the skin. It also encourages the growth of new cells. This regeneration of cells diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. In combination with Vitamin C, it can protect the skin from sun damage.

The fatty acids in avocado oil, specifically the oleic acid, infuse moisture into the epidermal layer of the skin and help this layer maintain the moisture. The fatty acid - omega 9 regenerates damaged skin cells and reduces irritation and the appearance of redness. Fatty acids are a crucial building block of a healthy complexion.

Our Sunflower & Avocado Pre-Shave Oil preps the beard and the surface of the skin for shaving. The oils hydrate the skin and soften the beard leaving skin supple and making shaving easier.

The rich Organic Aloe, Olive & Avocado Lotion combines the hydrating and anti-inflammatory benefits of aloe with the anti-oxidant strengths of avocado.  The lotion penetrates deeply and nourishes dry, or chapped skin anywhere on your body.

Five-Oil Eye Makeup Remover is gentle and hydrating as it lifts eye makeup away.

Written by Jen Bator — February 19, 2017

Shea Butter

Vitellaria paradoxa, the shea tree, grows across the African continent in the dry savanna belt from Ghana and the Ivory Coast in the west to Sudan and the highlands of Ethiopia in the east.

Map of Africa showing area where shea trees grow

 

The tree bears fruit when it is 10 to 15 years old  and develops into full production mode after turning 20. The nuts are produced for up to 200 years and the tree can live to be 400 years old.

In the west, the butter is primarily used in cosmetics and as an emollient. Emollients naturally soothe and soften the skin. Throughout the tree's growing range most parts of the tree are used. The fruit has a tart pulp surrounding the large oil rich seed. Through a labor intensive process, Shea Butter is extracted from the seed. The butter is used for cooking much like lard or butter is used in Europe and the United States and provides a valuable source of necessary fat in the diet. Healers also use the butter as medicine, and the flowers are edible.

Evidence has been found in the medieval village of Saouga in what is now the west African country Burkina Faso that Shea Butter was produced in the 14th century ce. It was certainly used before that, but as of now, we don’t have archeological evidence about production locations for the butter. There is record of caravans carrying clay jars of Shea Butter to the kingdom of Egypt during the time of Cleopatra's rule. The Egyptians used the butter in cosmetics and it is still used to protect the skin and hair from the piercing, hot sun and dry winds of the savanna and desert.

In many places, women collect the nuts, extract their butter and sell the butter in the market. The nuts are one of the principle salable resources in a climate where few plants that are usable can be found or grown. Shea is over half of women’s income in many rural areas. The best Shea Butter is a pale or golden yellow.

Shea butter has essential fatty acids, which cannot be produced by the body so must come from external sources along with several vitamins.

The fatty acids make up the membrane of each cell and help to regulate what is allowed into the cell.  The fatty acids cinnamic acid, especially in the form of lupeol cinnamate reduce inflammation and help the skin cells avoid mutation. Cinnamic Acid provides UV protection in a SPF ranging from 6-15. These components also protect and nourish the skin to prevent it from drying.

Shea Butter is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F.

Vitamin A, also popularly known as retinol, is crucial to healthy skin cell development and growth. Retinol also reduces the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Vitamin A stimulates the production of fibroblasts cell structures in the deeper layers of the skin that develop tissue that maintain the firmness and health of the skin.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxident that protects and repairs the skin. Antioxidants neutralize free-radicals and prevent them from damaging the cells.

Vitamin F is an essential fatty acid also called linoleic acid that promotes the growth and function of healthy cells.  Linoleic acid promotes the retention of moisture and is anti-inflammatory which helps the skin to heal and for new healthy cells to develop. Essential fatty acids are able to permeate the skin barrier and can help to carry the other active ingredients deeper into the skin structure.

Shea fruit. Photo by Marco Schmidt

Shea Butter encourages collagen production. Collagen is a structural protein that develops in the skin's dermal layer. I imagine it like a structural scaffolding that binds cells together and creates an environment for the cells to develop and function. About one third of the protein in the body is collagen and 75% of total collagen is in the skin.

As we age, collagen tends to break down. It is also destroyed by free-radicals,  another reason why anti-oxidants are essential to protect skin health. As the collagen breaks down the skin loses its elasticity and firmness. The loss of collagen makes the skin thinner and wrinkles can develop and take hold. The skin can start to sag due to this structural weakness. The vitamins compliment the Shea Butter's ability to encourage the skin to produce collagen.

When applied, Shea Butter has the immediate affect of softening and smoothing the skin. Shea is good for all skin but it can be particularly soothing in shaving products. Our Shea, Vitamin E & Menthol Aftershave uses the Vitamin E and naturally moisturizing qualities of Shea in a creamy lotion that soothes skin.

The Aspen & Shea Butter Moisturizer deeply penetrates the layers of the skin and brings nutrients and antioxidants to the deeper areas. The combination of botanicals with the Shea work together to protect the collagen structure in the dermis and improve the health of that layer so more collagen cells can be produced.

Your whole body can benefit from the anti-aging protection of antioxidants. Our Aloe, Shea Butter & Jojoba Body Cream brings the healing benefits of Shea Butter and other botanicals to your whole body. This rich cream is infused with extracts from herbs, flowers, oils, and vitamins and combines multiple powerful antioxidants with soothing emollients to heal and nourish your skin.

 

Written by Jen Bator — February 12, 2017

Aloe Barbadensis, Aloe Vera, the Plant of Immortality

Aloe Vera has exceptional healing properties. It has been used for thousands of years. Egyptian hieroglyphics from 6,000 years ago, mention the plant as a healer of many ailments. They called it the Plant of Immortality and it is believed that it was part of Cleopatra’s beauty routine. Today, the gel or cream is in most first aid kits. As a gel, it is used to treat burns, wounds, rashes and sunburns. Because it’s healing properties work internally as well as externally, many people drink the gel as a juice or add it to smoothies. It has been found to have incredible positive effects on the digestive system. Aloe Vera in gel form should be in everyone's bag of tricks!

Botanical image of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a succulent that is one of 420 plants in the genus Aloe. In the plant world, this means that there are many types of Aloes, but only one true Aloe Barbadensis, or Aloe Vera. It is believed that the plant originated in the Sudan. It was soon introduced to most warm regions across Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Now, most languages have a word for Aloe Vera and the plant is grown on every continent. It is farmed and found in kitchens and in warmer climates in gardens. Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used plants.

Aloe Vera growing on a plantation in the Canary Islands

Right below the green outer surface of the leaf is a yellow/orange layer, which is a form of latex that is also used for its nutritional and healing properties but is usually separated from the gel. The gel, which is the part of the plant that is most valued, is the soft clear jelly-like substance in the center of each mature leaf.

Sliced Aloe Vera leaves

There are more than 75 identified active components in the form of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, fatty acids and hormones. Aloe Vera contains all 8 Essential Amino Acids - the chemical that form the building blocks of proteins - and 20 of the total 22 amino acids that are required by the human body to function.

I think you’re getting a sense of why the Egyptians considered it a key to Immortality! When used in skin products, Aloe Vera acts on multiple levels to moisturize, heal and condition the cells of the skin. 

All skin types - from oily and prone to breakouts to normal or dry skin - will benefit from the astringent and antioxidant qualities, and it's ability to promote new cell growth.

Aloe Vera contains the vitamins A, C and E which are antioxidants and help to clean the skin of free radicals before they cause damage. Vitamins C and E also improve the skin’s natural firmness.

Aloe Vera contains a component called Proteolytic Enzymes which remove dead skin cells and thus clear the way for cell growth and regeneration. As the dead cells are removed, the high water content of Aloe Vera itself hydrates the skin.The high water content combines with auxin and gibberellins - naturally occurring plant hormones - to soothe and heal skin with their anti-inflammatory properties. Gibberellins directly stimulate new cell growth.

For acne prone skin, Aloe Vera can help to heal the inflammation and prevent breakouts. As you might know, acne is the buildup of dirt from pollution, dead cells and oil in the pores of the skin. This buildup often causes localized bacterial infections that the skin responds to by forming a pimple around the irritation. The mineral component Magnesium Lactate helps to reduce itching, as the antiseptic properties simultaneously removes the gunk and tightens pores while the high water content leaves the skin feeling hydrated and moisturized. The hormone gibberellins stimulates new cell growth, which reduces the appearance of scarring and helps the surface of the skin to smooth out.

Aloe Vera is excellent in helping the skin move towards and maintain the proper pH balance.

Our Olive Leaf & Neroli Moisturizer is delicate enough for sensitive skin and contains ingredients that help to soothe inflammation, regenerate and hydrate cells. The antioxidant properties of Aloe Vera help protect your skin throughout the day or night.

The Clay & Herbal Extract Detox Mask utilizes the astringent and antioxidant properties of Aloe Vera to help clarify and tone the skin while leaving the cells hydrated. It is excellent to use when the skin is inflamed or at risk of a breakout or twice weekly as a rejuvenating treatment to keep your skin looking its best.

Two of our serums Cucumber & Botanical Healing Serum and Rose & Nettle Daytime Face Serum utilize all of the healing the rejuvenating properties of Aloe Vera in combination with other nourishing ingredients. The Cucumber & Botanical Healing Serum provides a rich dose of soothing and cooling moisture. Rose & Nettle Daytime Face Serum combines powerful antioxidants in a light formula that protects and hydrates the skin throughout the day.

Get an Aloe Vera plant to brighten up a well-light window and cut a portion from a mature leaf to use for those accidents that always seem to happen. The leaves self heal, so the plant won't be harmed as it helps you to heal. There are so many benefits to this amazing plant! Aloe Vera might not improve your chances at immortality, but it will bring you a healthy glow!

Aloe Vera in small pot

Written by Jen Bator — February 06, 2017

A Myth: The Cedar Forests of the Gods

The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered the oldest surviving piece of literature and is an epic poem that was carved onto tablets around 2100 BCE in ancient Sumeria. The tales in the epic, as you might imagine, are complex stories of gods and kings wrangling for power. The hero, Gilgamesh, is King of Uruk, an ancient kingdom on the banks of the Euphrates in what is now Iraq. Gilgamesh is two-thirds god and one third man and was extremely powerful. He was terrorizing his people, taking ‘king’s rights’ with all of the brides on their wedding day, and requiring taxes and tributes from all of the young men. The people cried out to the gods for assistance. So in response, the gods created an equal to Gilgamesh, Enkidu, who was born into the wilderness and communed with the animals. Once civilized, he herded sheep


One day, a passerby told Enkidu tales of Gilgamesh and the tribute he required from all brides. Enkidu became incensed by this imposition and traveled to a wedding in the valley to intervene. Enkidu blocks Gilgamesh from entering the wedding and a fight between them ensues. Enkidu fought, wrestled with Gilgamesh until Enkidu realized that he could not defeat the king. Enkidu and Gilgamesh ended their battle in a truce and recognized each other’s great strength and prowess. The two become companions and travel the land going on adventures.

Gilgamesh always seeking more renown and power, suggested that the two travel to the cedar forest. Because it is the realm of the gods, the forest is protected by a fierce and vicious monster Humbaba. Their fame would grow when the monster was defeated. Gilgamesh also wanted to cut down the trees and bring this bounty back to his kingdom.


Walking into the untouched forest, the two warriors travel deeper and deeper through the trees. They walk higher and higher up the mountain, exploring where no human had been before. At the center of the forest, they find an ancient and enormous tree. Enkidu decides he wants to use this tree to build the gate to the temple of his god. They begin to work together to fell these giant trees.


The demon, Humbaba, emerges with a roar as soon as he hears the two warriors attacking the trees he protects. A battle ensues, the earth quakes and the sky turns black from the intensity of their struggle. The heroes can barely muster their courage to fight the demon but they are given strength from the gods and Humbaba is bound by the winds and is finally captured. Humbaba pleads with Gilgamesh. He promises to serve Gilgamesh as King of the forest and says that he will chop down all the trees by himself if they will spare his life. Gilgamesh hesitates. Enkidu will hear nothing of mercy for he believes that Humbaba is lying. Enkidu urges Gilgamesh to kill the monster.


Before he is killed, Humbaba curses both Gilgamesh and Enkidu. This curse will come to haunt the two warriors. Gilgamesh slays the monster Humbaba with a blow to the neck. The warriors make haste to chop down many cedar trees from the forest, including the enormous tree Enkidu has marked for the temple gate. They use the trees to build a raft to transport the trees, Humbaba’s head and themselves down river to the city of Uruk.


Although, we’ll end our story of Gilgamesh here with his return to his kingdom, the poem continues with more adventures, more battles and triumph. 

It's hard to say how extensive the cedar forest originally was, but ancient texts state that the mountains in the picture above were once shaded by the forest. All Empires in the region - from Rome to the Israelites to Egypt to Persia - harvested the trees to use in building temples, palaces, ships, and houses until the forest shrank to it's current size. The Cedar forest is now under the protection, is a Unesco World Heritage Site and saplings are planted each year.

Written by Jen Bator — January 29, 2017

Ancient wisdom of Cedrus Atlantica

Cedar is widely available and can be found in many forms from sachets to building materials. The word cedar conjures up cabins in the woods. Most of us who wear wool sweaters use cedar as a moth repellent. Drawers and closets are lined with cedar blocks or sachets to help keep the insects away and to also impart the woodsy fragrance to all of the clothes it touches.

Cedar has a very long history of being used by humans medicinally, as a material for building ships, temples, and houses and as incense in religious ceremony. The wood is fragrant and sturdy; the wood of fallen trees can be used for siding 100 years after the tree fell.

 

Cedrus Atlantica

Cedar has long been highly valued for its use as building material as it grows straight and tall. 8,000 years ago, in a part of the world known as Mesopotamia, which is in the Middle East it was used to build temples and palaces. Can you imagine the sweet woodsy aroma filling each room of the building? Many believe that entire cities in ancient Mesopotamia were built using the wood. The wood is waterproof and resists decay and was used by many empires - The Egyptians, the Romans - to build boats and ships. Some postulate, that the Sumerians, a kingdom in Mesopotamia during the 8th century BCE, discovered how to extract the oil from the leaves and wood of this tree.

True Cedar grows in three places on earth - the western Himalayan mountains- Cedrus Doedara, the Atlas Mountain range in Northern Africa - Cedrus Atlantica, and in Lebanon - Cedrus Libani. The trees grow at higher altitudes. It is probable that the Atlas Cedar is closely related to the Cedars in Lebanon. The Cedars in Lebanon  and the Atlas Cedars are heavily protected as throughout the centuries they were over harvested.

The essential oil made from Cedar leaf has many beneficial properties for the skin. The oil acts as an astringent which can tighten and tone the skin. Cedar oil also may improve the growth of hair. Cedar oil has been shown to stimulate hair follicles and improve the circulation of blood to the scalp. This attribute can also help provide relief if your skin is dry or itching.

Cedar Tangerine is one of our signature scents and can be added to any of our unscented products. 

Our Organic Olive Oil Nourishing Soap in Cedar Tangerine joins all of the benefits of Cedar essential oil with the detoxifying properties of pink clay.

Add Cedar Tangerine to the Organic Five-Oil Moisurizing Blend and give yourself a delicious scalp massage that will bring benefits on multiple levels. The aroma of Cedar has been shown to relax and calm stressed nerves while the Essential Oil itself will stimulate the hair follicles and draw blood to the scalp.

Combat dry skin while fighting any signs of eczema by adding Cedrus Atlantica to Jojoba & Shea Butter Hydrating Lotion. Cedar is known to reduce peeling skin and will help to fight the infection that causes eczema. 

 

Written by Jen Bator — January 29, 2017

A Rose by any other name, Part Two

One day while walking in the forest, the Greek goddess Chloris came upon the body of a wood nymph. She felt saddened that such a beautiful creature had died. She transformed her body into a flower and breathed life into her new form. She called out to her husband, Zephyrus the west wind, to blow the clouds away and allow the Sun of Apollo to shine on the flower. Aphrodite then bestowed her gift, Beauty. Dionysus, the god of wine and intoxication gave the new flower a nectar which imparts an intoxicating aroma. The three Graces gave the bloom the gifts of joy, charm and splendor. They all agreed that it was a spectacular flower and called it the blossom “The Queen of Flowers.“ Aphrodite named the bloom Rose and dedicated it to her son Eros, the god of love.

rosa damascena single bloom

 

People have been making Rosewater for centuries. The process has remained much the same over time, and was first developed in Persia around 1200 BCE. Several thousand years later, in about 1582, Rose essential oil was discovered at the wedding feast of the Emperor Djihanguyr to princess Nour-Djihan. Canals were dug and filled with rosewater. As the day grew warmer, an oily film appeared on the top of the water. The oil contained the strong scent of roses, and it was immediately recognized as desirable. Soon the essential oil, Attar, was produced during the same process as the Rosewater.


The Damask Rose is one of the types of Roses used to produce both Rosewater and Rose Essential oil. The flowers must be picked before sunrise, as the sun causes the release of fragrance. The petals are crushed slightly and they are steamed in copper stills to release their essence - volatile therapeutic properties - into the water. It takes many pounds of petals to produce an ounce of the essential oil, which is drawn off. The Rosewater is captured drop by drop. Rosewater and the essential oil both contain the healing properties of the flower.


We’ve talked about all of the healing benefits found in Rosehips. As you might imagine, Rose Petals also have many of the same healing properties. Science has found that the very scent of roses soothes the nerves and relieves tension. Roses have over 400 chemical constituents and science is still doing research into the benefits of the Rose.  

rosa damascena double bloom

 

An especially powerful aspect of Rose oil is that it increases skin permeability. When used in skin care products Rose Oil opens the skin and causes it to absorb more nutrients and healing chemicals.

 

Rose has anti-microbial properties which helps the skin heal from issues like acne and blemishes. The antimicrobial component - Citral - is also essential for vitamin A synthesis.  Rose oil is an astringent which tones and lifts the skin and decreases the appearance of wrinkles. The component Cicatrisant helps to fade scars and blemishes. Eugenol acts as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells, and promote the growth of new cells. On top of all of this, Rose contains an aromatic compound that is also in chocolate. The compound may act as an aphrodisiac by activating the pleasure centers in the brain, and it also relieves tension.

 

Two of our favorite eye treatments harness the power of Rose. Rosewater & Vitamins Eye Lift Cream has both Rosewater and Rose essential oil, along with other nutrient-rich ingredients to rejuvenate the sensitive skin near the eyes. Our Chamomile & Lupine Reparative Eye Gel is a lighter formula that soothes and reduces puffiness as its healing properties get to work.

 

Bring the power of antioxidants to your cleansing routine with our Rose & Ginseng Cream Cleanser. Rosewater decreases the appearance of wrinkles and tackles blemishes and reduces discoloration. Your skin will look brighter and more clear!

 

Our Aromatherapy Spray Mist for Body & Home can be customized with two of our popular essential oil blends. Seductive Blend combines the scent of Rose with Clove and Vanilla for a bewitching fragrance. Rejuvenating Blend combines Damask Rose and Ylang Ylang in an energizing fragrance.

 

These are but a few of our many products that bring the ancient beauty and benefits of Rose in your daily routine.

 

Written by Jen Bator — January 16, 2017

A rose by any other name, would still smell as sweet. Part One

Wars, romance, currency, symbols of love and beauty - roses have been lauded by poets and given as tokens of affection for centuries.

Rosa canina

There is fossil evidence that roses existed 35 million years ago. I can guarantee that these fossils do not smell as sweet as the rose we know and love today! Roses, in all varieties, have been used by almost every culture as a remedy for thousands of years. Roses grow in the wild throughout the northern hemisphere, including in North Africa.

As with many plants, our ancestors found uses for every part of the plant - leaves, buds, petals, hips - each with it’s own unique benefits. The rose was first cultivated most likely in China, 5,000 years ago. At the height of their empire, the Romans imported Roses from Persia. It is believed that in the late 1700s cultivated roses were first brought from China into European gardens.

In this post, we’ll start our Rosey conversation with Rose Hips.

Rosehips are the small fruit that develops behind the blossom. When the petals fall, the Rose Hip matures, becomes larger and changes from green to a deep orange or red. Most people don’t think of this bulb as a fruit, but it can be eaten (avoid the seeds!) or used in recipes for syrups and jellies.
Rosehips on rose bush

Rosehips were eaten as a sour fruit for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It wasn’t until the Second World War that they were recognized as rich source of Vitamin C. Citrus was in short supply during the war, and the British made a Vitamin C rich syrup and used as a nutritional supplement from 500 tons of Rosehips. 

Rosehip seed extract is a powerful concentration of vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, and hydrating essential fatty acids. As noted above, Rosehips are especially rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells and promote the growth of new cells.

You may be familiar with Retinol, another name for vitamin A1. Retinol reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Rosehips are the only vegetable that contain Retinol! All other vegetable forms contain beta-carotene, which is an important precursor to Retinol. In addition, the small size of the vitamin A molecule allows it to penetrate deep into your skin bringing with it hydration and healing.

Enjoy the smoothing power of Retinol in your nightly routine with Enzyme & Rosehip Nighttime Face Serum. Our special formula combines the powerful hydrating and antioxident properties of Rosehips with other healing botanicals to combat free radicals and encourage new healthy cells to form.

In combination with oils, in our Frankincense & Rose Geranium Oil Serum, the antioxidents in Rosehip seed extract bring soothing relief to irritated skin. The oils nourish and moisturize inflamed skin while the antioxidants work to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate the skin at a cellular level.

Just like our face, our scalp and hair are exposed to toxins from pollution and stress. Inflammation and dryness can appear in the form of dandruff and itchiness. Soothe the scalp with our Lemon & Olive Scalp Treatment. Your hair will benefit as the skin cells are nourished and strengthened.

 

Written by Jen Bator — January 09, 2017

Often overlooked, Grape Seeds deserve the spotlight

For thousands of years, people in European countries have used different parts of the grape plant for a long list of skin and health ailments such as eye disorders, inflammation, and digestive issues. Throughout time, people have crushed Grape Seeds to extract the oil and used this oil on their skin and as an internal tonic.

In the 20th century, science confirmed that the ancients were right to extol the benefits of wine and Vitis Vinifera. Components of the plant - fruit, leaves, sap, stems, seeds - each contain a broad range of benefits when used internally and externally. Lucky for us, about 40 years ago we found a way to utilize the richest part of the plant - the seeds.

Grape Seed Extract is a by-product of the wine industry. As grapes are mashed, the skin and seeds are removed and are processed separately. The seeds are crushed to extract the oil. The extracted oil is used in skin care and health products. A great example of making use of all portions of the plant rather than letting something go to waste!

Grape Seeds have been studied extensively, and biochemists have confirmed the assertions that Grape Seed is beneficial on many fronts. As a matter of fact, with each new study they discover more benefits!

Grape Seeds are high in antioxidants - vitamins C and E among others. Antioxidants help reduce the development of free-radicals, protect cells and promote the growth of new cells. Vitamins C and E bind with the free-radicals and help expel them from the body.  When applied to the skin before sun exposure, the antioxidants in Grape Seed Extract improve the protection of sunscreen. The vitamin E in Grape Seed Extract reduces the appearance of wrinkles because it helps skin cells retain moisture. A component of Grape Seed Extract - resveratrol - is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. I could go on and on about the benefits of this small seed!

It may be too late for some of us, but Grape Seed Extract has been found to promote the growth of new hair. We can't promise that our Lemon & Olive Oil Scalp Treatment will cure baldness, but we can say that it will nourish and strengthen the skin cells of the scalp which will lead to healthier hair.

Our Clay & Herbal Extract Detox Mask utilizes the antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of Grape Seed extract.

Our Shea Butter & Pomegranate Face Cream combines Grape Seed extract's antioxidant and nourishing properties to protect delicate skin of the face and reduce the signs of aging.

Go ahead and enjoy that glass of wine, or skip the wine and try one of our many products rich in Grape Seed Oil!

Written by Jen Bator — January 02, 2017

Peppermint: not just for tea and candy

The word mint comes from Minthé, originally the name a river nymph from Greek mythology. Minthé caught the eye of Hades, the powerful god of the underworld. As often happened in mythology, Hades' jealous wife, Persephone, transformed the nymph into the water loving plant we know and love today. 

Peppermint, mentha piperita, is most commonly known as a culinary ingredient. The oil is used to flavor toothpaste, candy and gum. It makes a delicious soothing tea and is always popular in cocktails.

In skin care, mentha  piperita soothes dry, itchy, or irritated skin. It also has skin conditioning properties, and is a popular ingredient in body moisturizers. In our rich and healing Sunflower and Shea Butter Foot Treatment, Mentha Piperita, the menthol contained in the oil, provides a cooling and tingling kick. Menthol also has antibacterial properties.

Most people enjoy the pleasant fragrance of peppermint; when used as a fragrance ingredient, Mentha Piperita may give you more energy and make you feel more alert, while it simultaneously works to ease your tension. You can harness the aromatherapy power of Peppermint to reinvigorate and calm by adding the single oil or one of our blends - Grounding, Energizing, or Relieving - to any of our unscented products. Many people feel that the scent of peppermint helps them to concentrate! Take the power of Peppermint with you in the Grounding and Relieving Aromatherapy Roll-On Oil.

Written by Jen Bator — December 21, 2016

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