Summer Skincare in the Urban Apothecary

Couldn’t make it to our Outdoor Skin: Build a Natural First Aid Kit workshop last week? No worries! Here are a few of the recipes we created together. All supplies are available in our apothecary.

 

Figure 14 from Deutschlands Flora in Abbildungen, 1796

All-natural Sunscreen Oil

  • 1 oz Shea Butter
    (SPF 6)

  • 1 oz Fractionated Coconut Oil  
    (SPF 4-6)

  • 1 tsp Red Raspberry Seed Oil
    (SPF 30-45)

  • 1 or 2 drops Vitamin E

  • 2 oz Squeeze Bottle

 Put butter and oils in a heat proof glass container. Warm just until the Shea Butter is melted. Add the Vitamin E oil and blend. Pour into a 2 oz squeeze bottle and let cool. This will set up to a semi-opaque oil.

 

 

 

 

from Volume 3 of Franz Eugen Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen or Medicinal Plants, 1887

Anti-Bacterial Sanitizer

  • Witch Hazel

  • 6 drops Tea Tree Oil
    (antibacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic)

  • 15ml bottle with reducer top

Fill the bottle with Witch Hazel, then add Tea Tree Essential Oil. So simple!

We do not recommend adding the essential oil first as most essential oils are extremely potent and will begin to break down whatever plastic container they are added to. Not a problem if you’re using glass, but it’s always good to establish best practices.

(other essential oils that could be used include Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Rosemary)

 

 

 

Thymus vulgaris - Köhler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Natural Insect Repellent  

  • 7.5 ml Distilled Water

  • 7.5 ml Witch Hazel

  • 15ml Spray bottle

  • 20  Drops of the following essential oils (5 drops each):

○ Citronella (insect repellent, antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal)
○ Thyme thymol (insect repellent, antibacterial, antiseptic; a study by the American Mosquito Control Association discovered thyme essential oil had a 91% protection rate against female mosquitoes)
 ○ Cedarwood (insect repellent, antiseptic, antifungal)
 ○ Lemongrass (insect repellent, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic) 

 (If you do not have all of these essential oils, use a combination of the ones that you do have)

Pour the water and Witch Hazel into the bottle. Add the essential oils. Place lid on bottle. Shake well before each use.

 

 

What else do you put in your all-natural First Aid Kit? Comment below!

Get Grounded: Earthing for Allergy Relief

Ah, Springtime in the Willamette Valley. Flowers and trees are budding, the sun is shining, the skies are blue, beauty abounds in ample measure. So, why do we still feel kinda crappy? Stuffy head, runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, achy joints, the whole gamut of inflammatory symptoms. This is one of the perks of living a place that the indigenous peoples allegedly referred to as the “Valley of Death”, the geology and ecosystem here lends to some of the worst allergies on the planet. 

Herbs and supplements can be helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system, which this time of year can be a bit overactive in the case of allergies. Locally-sourced bee pollen taken regularly will introduce your body to the irritants it might otherwise overreact to causing the aforementioned symptoms. We sell some in the apothecary here at the shop, and therapy professionals get a discount for shopping with us! Try adding it to smoothies or salads.

Mentha piperita - peppermint

Mentha piperita - peppermint

Urtica dioica - stinging nettle

Urtica dioica - stinging nettle

As the temperatures rise, cooling anti-inflammatory herbs are also potent allies to help tonify. Fresh, in-season herbs are all around us. Nettles, mints (peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm), violets and more have awoken from their winter slumber and are ready to help ease us into the new season as teas, infused into vinegars, and as tasty additions to salads or pesto. (Be sure to blanch your nettles first to remove those stingers!)

This allergy season, I’m trying something new to help lessen my inflammatory responses. I must admit, I'm pretty biased toward plant medicine and bodywork when it comes toward fixing my ails.

However, after watching the documentary “The Grounded” by National Geographic wildlife photographer Steve Kroschel, I decided to try Earthing. Below is a short video explaining how Earthing works and its benefits.

Curious about the patent Dr. Christie Weston mentions in the video, I did some research and this is what I found:

“A personal grounding device is used to ground a human being and provides a human being a device to directly and naturally equalize one's body to the same energy level, or potential, as the Earth. This equalization results in synchronizing the person's internal biological clocks, hormonal cycles, and physiological rhythms and in supplying the body with healing and free, positively charged electrons (called free radicals). These are abundantly present on the surface of the Earth. Electrically speaking free radicals have a positive charge. The grounding directly equalizes the body of the person to the same energy level, or potential (zero), as the Earth.”

(source: https://www.google.com/patents/US2013003312)

Hmm, pretty intriguing stuff.

Wanting to incorporate Earthing into my daily routine, I did some more research and found a plethora of products designed to keep one in contact with the earth’s energy as much as possible. Of course, walking around barefoot is free, however that is just not something I can easily incorporate into my lifestyle. Wearing leather soled shoes (like moccasins) is reasonable in dryer weather, but in the rainy pacific northwest springtime that practice is not sustainable for me.  After searching around a bit, I found this solution: www.earthrunners.com

“The Earthing Shoes DIY (Do It Yourself) Kit comes with everything you need to turn your existing minimalist shoes into grounded footwear. With this easy to install kit and a hammer, anyone can transform their existing thin soled shoes (½” thick or less) into conductive footwear--to utilize the health promoting benefits of connecting with the Earth!”

Wearing conductive shoes is a good first step, but I realize that unfortunately in my urban lifestyle most of the time my feet are not in contact with bare earth and instead come in contact with concrete and asphalt, which are insulators. My acupuncturist recommended that I purchase some sort of grounding mechanism to use during sleep. After discovering that the electrical system in my house is not grounded, I decided to invest in a ground rod to stick in the earth outside my bedroom window, and a body band kit from www.earthing.com to place on my ankle at bedtime. That way, I’ll be connecting to earth’s energy as I sleep. We'll see how it goes!

Have any of our readers tried Earthing before? Did you find it had noticeable effects? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading,

~Violet

Spring Cleaning - For Your Liver!

Spring Cleaning - For Your Liver!

It’s been a long, cold winter here in our little pocket of the pacific northwest. As we transition into longer and warmer days it’s important to maintain our self care rituals so that we can keep that upward trajectory and stay in sync with the natural rhythms of the earth.

DIY Lavender Bath Bombs

Our favorite recipe from our DIY Natural Holiday Gifts Workshop last night was by far the Bath Bombs! Here is the recipe & instructions we followed to make the Lavender Bath Bomb

{Ingredient List} 

  • 1/2 cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Citric Acid
  • 1 TBLSP Almond Oil
  • 10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 2 TBLSP Lavender Bath Salts
  • Add a pinch of dried lavender flowers in the mold before adding the bath bomb mixture along with a sprinkle of the bath salts.
  • Witch Hazel for spritzing
  • Clear Dome Shaped Mold

* Yields: 1 full bath bomb & 1 half bomb

DIY Lavender Bath Bomb

DIY Lavender Bath Bomb

{Instructions} 

  1. BLEND the citric acid and baking soda – this step is super important – if you don’t blend well, you end up with a grainy bomb.
  2. Add any additional non-liquid ingredient (clay, salts, etc.)
  3. Add any oils (almond, jojoba, olive, melted coconut, etc.), butters (melted shea, avocado, etc.).
  4. Add your essential oils to your personal scent preference.
  5. Now, this is the difficult part. Spritz (with a squirt bottle) the witch hazel onto your batch while stirring with the other hand. When your batch sticks together when squished, you need to start putting it in molds – time is of the essence. If you wait too long, the mixture will get hard. If you spritz too much, the mixture will be too wet and “grow” (start the fizzing reaction) on you.
  6. Put the bombs in molds. The harder you pack the bath bombs, the more dense, heavy, and durable bomb you will get. Wait a few minutes and tap them out. Let them air dry for 3 or 4 hours.

Naturally, Happy Feet

Inspired blog post from our recent Naturally, Happy Feet workshop that we hosted, here are our Top 5 Tips to happier feet! 

Just remember to take a S.T.E.P.P. in the right direction!  

Stretch 

  1. Create a 5 min morning and evening stretching routine
  2. Find the right tool for you - using home exercise tools/equipment can be very helpful in stretching correctly, and having fun while doing it - Choosing the right tool for your body and condition is another story!  Here are a few suggestions: Tiger Tail Muscle Roller, Stretch out Straps, Textured Therapy Balls)
  3. Self massage can relieve pain and pressure while increasing circulation and blow flow. Great topicals to consider: Tropiceel Foot Repair, Sacred Earth Foot Cream

Treat 

  1. Consider the use of foot pads, cushions, or lifts 
  2. Eat healthy for your feet! Consider adding anti inflammatory foods to your diet, such as Salmon, Ginger, Bone Broth, and Turmeric

Eliminate

  1. Look at your shoes - Many foot problems such as blisters, bunions, calluses, ingrown toenails and fungus can develop due to ill fitting shoes 
  2. Use natural methods such as sea salt foot soaks and foot powders, and essential oil blends to eliminate food infection and irritation

Protect & Prevent

  1. Hydrate. Keep inflammation at bay by drinking plenty of water
  2. Footwear. Be mindful of where you are walking. Choose the appropriate shoes for your activity and location to protect against injury, burns and infection. APMA is a great resource foot care and footwear decisions
  3. Circulation - keep the blood flowing throughout the day If you sit for long periods of time, cross your legs, or stand on a hard surface flooring all day make sue to give your feet some wiggle time. Take a few minutes each day to wiggle your toes, rotate your ankle, massage your calves
  4. Gradually increase your activity level. Allow your feet to gain strength as you increase your activity to prevent strains, sprains, and inflammation

Hopefully these quick tips have inspired you to love your feet, take care of your feet, naturally. Making for two healthy & happy feet