Holiday Crafting ~ Herbal Honey

October 30, 2008

Herbal Honey…yum! This is by no means just a holiday treat, but for any time of year, and it’s especially nice to use some of that herbal harvest towards the end of the growing season before everything gets too cold. Herbal honey can be therapeutic, imparting the power of the herb into a honey to produce a useful and flavorful syrup to use for cooking, with tea, with plain yoghurt, and in myriad other ways. My daughter Maeve loves “honey yoghurt” and mom likes to control the sugar and provide some extra benefit as well!

Many aromatic herbs, or herbs that have a high concentration of essential oils, are carminative, which means that they aid digestion by helping to expell or reduce gas and reduce stomach spasms. These herbs are ideal for helping with indigestion and are great to utilize before or after a meal. A lot of these herbs are also mildy anti-viral and are therefore great for regular use during the cold/flu season and  a great addition to lemon & ginger tea when you do have a cold.

Some herbs you can use:
Cinnamon (carminative, spicy, flavorful)
Lemon Balm (emotionally calming, antiviral, carminative)
Spearmint or Peppermint (carminative, stimulating)
Orange Peel (carminative, flavorful)
Ginger root (carminative, anti-nausea, antiviral)
Lavender (calming, antiseptic, analgesic -pain-relieving, relieves headaches)
Rosemary (antiseptic, stimulating, carminative)
Thyme (antiseptic, anti-viral, carminative)

Take between a half cup and a cup of fresh herb and 2 cups of honey. Red clover is an especially therapeutic honey. It’s also a good idea to try to buy raw, natural honey from a local source, as bees are under a lot of distress right now and I personally feel as though sick honey comes from sick bees. Not only that, but commercial honey comes from bees who are often fed sugar water ~ not healthy for little bees.

Bring the honey and herbs to a slow boil over low heat. And watch that pot! It won’t take much for it to suddenly boil over and make a BIG mess (believe me). As soon as it starts to bubble around the edges and you believe it’s coming to a boil, remove the honey from heat. Let it cool down and then repeat this process again, bringing it to a boil or near boil. Heating it gently in this way will not alter the benefical enzymic content of the honey, so don’t worry.

Repeat again if you want (for a stronger honey) or feel free to strain the honey at this point and pour into clean, sterilized (boiled for 10 min) glass jars. I find it is easiest to pour the honey while it’s still hot. I also like to stick a spring of the herb in the jar before pouring it when appropriate. This is easiest to do with cinnamon or rosemary but not so much with the more fragile herbs of lemon balm or mint.

Stick on a pretty label, tie a ribbon around the jar, and there you have it! A wonderful home-made gift that is also something with herbal benefit and flavorful taste.


Holiday Crafting ~ Cranberry & Sage Vinegar

October 29, 2008

It’s kind of exciting this time of year when you begin to really feel that the holidays are just around the corner. I hate the spending of money, but I love the gift giving — and I especially love giving hand made ‘delights’ that are tailored to someone’s specific tastes!

One of the first herbal concoctions I ever made was an herbal vinegar, and I thought this one would be especially nice to share for the holiday season.  The use of cranberries in this vinegar turn the color a wonderful crimson red and sage adds a “seasonal taste”. Great for use with fruit salad, chicken salad, greens (cooked or raw), etc.

As shared by Rita Richardson in The Herb Quarterly (www.herbquarterly.com):

Cranberry & Sage Vinegar
1 cup fresh cranberries
7-8 fresh sage leaves (or dried whole leaves)
1-2 bottles rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

In a clear glass bottle place 1 cup fresh cranberries, and a few fresh sage leaves. Cover wtih warm rice wine vinegar. Tie a thin ribbon around the bottle for flair.


Welcome friends and family!

October 28, 2008
Maeve & Mom at the 2008 Renaissance Faire

Maeve & Mom at the 2008 Renaissance Faire

Well, if you clicked on my wee blogspot link, thank you! I am so glad you have visited Lilith here at Lilith Headquarters (lol)!

I am struggling to start a legitimate bath & body business on my own while working a 40 hour week, parenting a two year old, and just handling all that regular stuff that life throws at you. My real challenge is finding time for further education, though I feel as though I am learning with every day. I am participating in an herbal course through Michael Tierra, one of the founders of the American Herbalists Guild and one of the most respected herbalists in the country. I am also thinking about trying to get a degree in Nursing at some point (something I should have done ages ago but didn’t realize at the time!) in order to lend further legitimacy to the work I do. Everyone wants credentials they recognize!

I love the practice of herbal medicine and herbal-inspired home & body care ~ there are many avenues to follow this dream and Lilith affords me daily participation and the honor of working with many wonderful customers who more often than not end up quite happy and well taken care of!

As my most prized audience, my own friends and family should not hesitate to let me know of products they are looking for and custom gift baskets and the like, should you all need them. Tell me! I’ll always try to accomodate. Thanks for visiting me and don’t forget … You are my inspiration!


My website

October 28, 2008

Oh I am dying to get my website up but it’s still not ready yet. It’s kind of my fault for delaying some deliverables over the summer, but now i’m chompin’ at the bit to get the thing together by november! It will be a nice site, though, with shopping cart options and newsletters and so on.

Long live the realization of one’s dreams! (that sounds like something out of wizard of oz)

Check out the new Regenerative Skin Serum on my etsy site! Stage Two in the Serum line. Yeah!


What is Sea Buckthorn Berry?

October 21, 2008

A popular new ingredient in many quality facial care products, sea buckthorn berry is all the rage but what does it actually do? Seabuckthorn Berry  (Hippophae rhamnoides) has been a highly prized natural resource in both China and Russia and is was even considered a “holy fruit” by Chinese emperors for its restorative benefits. We even hear stories of Ghengis Khan feeding the berries to his soldiers and horses before battle for additional strength and resiliency in healing afterward.  It is nutritionally packed with over 190 bioactive substances, including Vit C, which appears at dozens the levels found in other fruits & berries, and Vit E which tops that of all fruit. Used for centuries as a medicinal food in Asia and Europe, Sea Buckthorn Berry is considered an immune tonic, restorative, regenerative, and growth promoter.

Sea Buckthorn Berry

Sea Buckthorn Berry

In topical applications, Sea Buckthorn Berry Seed is often extracted using CO2 and this extract is commonly called (not surprisingly a CO2 extract!). A CO2 extract is different from the steam distillation of the pure essential oil, in that more of the ‘nutritional’ components of the plant are also extracted. In that sense, for example, Calendula CO2 is closer to the actual plant than its essential oil would be.  It is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acids, tocopherols and carotinoids.

As an oil or CO2 extract, Sea Buckthorn Berry has been found to have vulnerary action (help heal wounds), regenerative properties for the skin , the ability to help protect the skin from UV damage, to reduce premature aging of the skin through radiation, sun damage, etc.

In this sense, sea buckthorn is mostly used topically to treat damaged skin, scar tissue, wrinkles, skin conditions such as eczema, and burns. The oil, as opposed to the CO2 extract, is cold extracted from whole berries and can be applied directly to the skin or included in various topical applications. The oil itself is a very concentrated oil and should be used sparingly, and even small percentages of the oil or CO2 extract in lotions and creams can have a very beneficial effect.

I use Sea Buckthorn Berry in my facial serum line for all of these reasons, regardless of skin type, not only because it’s a nutritional powerhouse, but because we could all use a little help counteracting sun damage, aging, and wrinkle formation! I’ll probably start introducing it into other products such as my Green Tea Eye Potion and other applications where such assistance is most needed.  

The Herbal Gram, America’s most respected scientific herbal journal recently published an issue with Sea Buckthorn Berry’s therapeutic uses highlighted. The Herbal Gram is published by the Americal Botanical Council, and more information can be found at their website: www.herbalgram.org. There you can access their Herbal Library which provides you with many monographs and published clinical studies about various herbs and nutritional supplements.

 


Check out my new Clarifying Skin Serum

October 20, 2008

Facial oils have been in use for centuries, and present the most pure moisturization available. Oil has gotten a bad rap and I’m not sure why, except that most commercial products are created with petroleum-based products that are more like saran wrap on the skin than a nourishing body oil. (Yes – in fact, you should go look at the Real Ingredients listed on most commercial products…petroleum/”mineral” oils all over the place!!)  In fact, natural vegetable, nut, seed, other plant oils can help heal blemishes and acne, and many pure botanical essential oils are also used for just this purpose.

Precious ingredients are included to promote healing and provide extra nourishment and each essential oil was carefully chosen for its specific properties for this skin type. These are those same precious ingredients we’re going to look into more and find out exactly what they are and what they do! This is going to be fun.

My new line of facial serums are packaged in 85ml cobalt blue glass bottle with dispenser pump. Use one or two drops on the face at bed time and/or in the morning as needed. I especially love to follow application with a clean spray of my white peach & rose facial mist for extra hydration. Any hydrosol will do, and it seems to just revive and refresh in all the best ways. This bottle of skin serum will last you a very long time when you’re only using 2-4 drops a day!

INGREDIENTS:
Jojoba oil infused with organic calendula blossoms (much like the skin’s own natural sebum; healing),Hazelnut oil, Meadowfoam seed oil (rejuvinating), Rosehip seed oil (anti-wrinkle), Vit E (antioxident), Rosemary oil extract (antioxident), seabuckthorn berry oil (prized for damaged skin; anti-aging, anti-wrinkle), evening primrose CO2 extract (nourishing), helio carrot (root) CO2 extract, calendula CO2 extract (healing); essential oils of patchouli (anti-acne, regulates oil production), vir. cedarwood (toning), palmarosa, tea tree (healing, anti-acne), lime (toning), ylang ylang, lemongrass (balancing oil production)

My next post will start looking more closely at some of the CO2 extracts (and what that means)…

Clarifying Skin Serum

Clarifying Skin Serum


Hello everyone!

October 20, 2008

Well, I finally have my own blog, devoted to all the fun aspects of herbal-inspired (or should I say ‘infused’?) self care, including mind, body, and spirit… I am going to post recipes for home use, information to help sort out current debates about preservatives, chemical ingredients, and what constitutes a ‘natural’ product, as well as what some of our very mysterious precious ingredients, such as buckthorn berry and carrot root extract. I welcome questions and queries that will lead me down the research highway.

I currently have an ever-expanding line of bath, body & beverage tea products::: LILITH’S APOTHECARY ::: on my Etsy site: www.lilithsapothecary.etsy.com and I have a www.lilithsapothecary.com site in progress.

Also check out the Etsy Philly Street Team for some great, local Philadelphia artisans! http://phillyetsy.blogspot.com/

I also have a shop devoted to jewelry creation on Etsy: www.lilithsjewels1.etsy.com ~ as a friendly FYI !!!


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