Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not herbal, but miraculous!

Am am the oldest of 4 children. I am the only one that has been married(twice)
The second oldest, who is 40, decided that while family was in town for the holiday, he and Jenn would marry.
So this was a huge and unexpected event for our family which really made Christmas even more special.
Being together is always difficult anyway, and some of my children were not there, but all my brothers were and we all witnessed this together.

Family.....with the current economy scares and people feeling so insecure in life right now, it is FAMILY that will keep up strong. Without money to do things independantly, the core of what makes our lives important might be more focused upon and cherished.
What family means to each of us might be different. It could mean us and our partner, or children, or our parents and siblings too. I know not everyone has good relationship with family, but if there is someone with whom you bond with, nurture those relationships.

I have been thinking of the economy woes, and I have spoken out several times about not falling prey to the scares announced all over, but to TRUST. Embracing those headlines and fearing what is to come is really not anything to embrace.
On the other hand, some people are falling prey by losing jobs, houses and such.
It is a real issue.

So I spent time pondering the economy, which is part has effected me, and came to a conclusion that I see many positive things coming out of it.

People aren't spend crazy like normal. People are thinking more of what they truly need instead of being wasteful. That is HUGE in our country to begin to repair a countrywide lifestyle of waste. How can we be grateful when we are wasteful? I dont see those 2 being very compatible.
The green trends, despite the popularity, is a good thing. People are becoming more aware of what is best for the planet(which includes ourselves and those we love)

We must take care of our home-she nurtures us and brings us our most needed provisions. Without a healthy earth, we receive second best from her. Or worse, polluted, and unhealthy CRAP!

With 2008 closing in, a new year with new opportunities await each of us.
I love having that new chance to begin again and refocus in the winter months when thought can go into this more.

If I could say one word of encouragement today, it would be to look into 2009 with hope. Embrace those you love and spend time with them. Be aware of shifts in life, and that new opportunities might come along that never were thought of before.

I am hoping to arrive back to my humble apartment in Jackson in time to bring in the new year, but currently in Vegas with my people (family).
On another persons timetable to leave which has changed several times already.

But the positive in this is that we have been binding as a family, from my parents and my children to my oldest daughter and her child and all the others in between.
This is what matters is people and I am grateful to spend the last of a difficult year with them.

And with all the feasting and partying, I am now looking into Zumba for some excercise. I am feeling a little thicker this week...lol

Abundance and love to you in 2009

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shout Out! Some of us made the top 100 herb blogs

Top 100 Herb Blogs

I see some familiar blogger friends on the list too. YAY.

I was so happy to see this because to me, it shows the need to work together in our skills to help our communities.

My daughter is preparing for nursing school and it was also very reassuring to send her this link and say, "See, the medical community as we know it needs the unity and care that we can give".

Thank you nursingdegree.net for choosing my blog and for even looking into the musings and research of many herbalist devoted to our path. I trust this is a good step forward in the change so many of us desire in our medical system.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catching a cold? Your kitchen holds the help you need.

In my experience, these 2 kitchen spices are miracle foods in the truest sense of the word miracle.

I want to share a couple stories with you and some simple recipes to help you with this winter ail.

Prior to Thanksgiving, I had company for 2 weeks straight practically. It was wonderful and fun and I have no regrets, but also my visitors were here during one of the busiest times of the year for me with Christmas orders and a bazaar to prepare for.
Along with this busy time, came colder weather and festive eating and drinking which as we know can really wear down the immune system.
The Friday evening after Thanksgiving, it came. A dreaded cold. The first night I did nothing and retired early.
Waking up Saturday morning, I was worse than the night before.
At that point I felt miserable and could hardly get anything done.

So I made haste to my kitchen. I pulled a chunk of ginger and 2 cloves of garlic.
I drew some fresh water and began to bring that to a boil. Maybe 2 cups worth of water.
I then grated ginger. Once the water came to a boil I took my water off the heat and added my grated ginger to the pot and allowed to steep for awhile.
As that was steeping, I crushed the garlic and allowed it to sit out for at least 15 minutes to release the powerful component,allicin.

Once the tea was ready I strained a cup and drank that slowly. I was in no hurry for heavens sake I was sick.:)
Once I got through my first cup I grabbed a pinch of the crushed garlic and put it into my mouth and washed it down with some water. Much like taking a vitamin or pill.

About an hour later, I felt like a brand new person! It was so amazing.
I also did this the next day along with echinacea and elderberry and osha for several days afterward to ensure I remained well.

So Sunday night my 11 year old comes home from a weekend with his dad. He looked sick and said he felt awful. So to bed he went the first night. The next day he too was miserable and so of course, I insisted he let me do the ginger and garlic with him to help him at least feel better.
After I administered all the herbs, I had to leave to take Olivia to her class. Jonathan had been laying around under a blanket when I left.
After dropping off Olivia and running by the grocery to pick up an organic chicken breast for some homeade soup, I arrived home to find my son up and happy. He asked me if he could go outside...lol
Your medicine worked mom, he said.
Well, of course he still needed to rest and keep up the immune building so I have him on echinacea several times a day now, and have him doing ginger again today.

Ginger is a warming herb and pushes through cold. It increases circulation and causes sweating.
Ginger taken before the garlic helps digestion prepare for this potent remedy and since the circulation is moving, gets the medicinal components through the body much quicker.
Garlic is a detoxifier and aids in respiratory disorders so well. If you are coughing due to bacteria type infection, garlic might clear that up quickly for you.
Both ginger and garlic are expectorant to help move out that stuck mucus from your lungs.
When I was sick, I did have lung issues. Jonathan did not have any lung issues with his cold, yet this remedy turned us around quickly in both our situations.

Dreamseeds and Dragon Lady stocking at Fresh

Please come by and see our affordable Christmas sets stocked tonight at Fresh

Friday, December 5, 2008

A casual interview about Wild Mane

Karen Fegelman is the creator of Hyena Cart. When Hyena Cart started, there was listings of high demand items such as cloth diapers and natural family needs. The shoppers would in turn wait around like a pack of hyena's waiting for a special something to be listed so that they could purchase that item.
So Hyena Cart was then named after these 'hyena packs'. And she created a fabulous interface for those work at home entrepreuners so that stocking is easy and affordable.
I have been using Hyena Cart for several years now and am so grateful for the opportunity to be there.
If you would like to find a place to put your wares, this is a good option for you!

So last night Karen had some questions for me on the shampoo bar Wild Mane, that I have created this winter.

Here is the questions and responses to that.

Would I be making any shampoo bars in the future with fruity scents, or fragrance oils?

First of all, as far as fragrances go I am not using them in my products at all and the main reason why is because they make me feel sick when using them. I decided my health and happiness was far greater than money and I had to learn that the hard way.

However, I will consider working with some other essential oil fragrances for shampoo bars. It takes alot of work to do what I do with extracting the oils so this is definately a work in progress as far as scents go.

What I do is target hair health and nourishment of the hair and scalp so I use herbs I gather and make oils specifically for that.
Then the essential oils I use will support the end result I am seeking.
For example Wild Mane shampoo bar is specifically for dryer, color treated, or normal hair mostly.
The essential oils I used are to support the scalp in the winter dryness. Most people are using wood stoves or heaters on top of the dry air normally in winter, this was what I created for this season.

I personally battle my scalp and hair in winter so this is definitely something close to my heart that I wanted to tackle.
So far it has proven successful for me-better than any product I have ever used including shampoos designed for flakiness.

What is the difference between hot and cold process soap -- not the difference in making it, but the difference in the resulting soap?

I made hot process a couple times and did not like it all so went back to cold process. So I feel I disserve the fine hot process soaper that really does a good job by sharing my experience...lol

The important thing for cold process is that you have to let the soap cure at least 3 weeks or longer for the bar to harden and become mild.
Also, with cold process, you have to use a heck of alot of essential oil to make it through the process if you are striving for an aromatherapy soap.
I want people to be uplifted all the way through the use of their bar, so I dont skimp on essential oils.
Hot process, might take less essential oils and would be ready much sooner than cold process soap. Usually after you make a hot process soap, it is ready.

What do you see as the main difference between regular soap and shampoo bars?

Shampoo bars are created with a different balance of oils. Castor bean oil is often used in shampoo bars. Castor is an excellent moisturizer, but not so much a good cleanser. That is why most body or everyday use soaps will not have castor, or just a small amount of castor.

Both olive oil and castor bean oil actually grab moisture out of the air and keeping it near your skin or hair and scalp.
So handmade soap with either of these ingredients will help keep the skin in good condition.
A regular bar of soap can actually be used on the hair, in fact some of my customers order regular soap for their entire body needs including shampooing.
My hair needs a shampoo bar. My children do well with regular soap for their hair. So it just depends on each person and their type of need.

What do you think are the best ingredients in a shampoo bar for those with dry or oily hair?

Well for dry hair, I like the castor and olive oil combinations mostly for that reason. Then of course essential oils.
In Wild Mane shampoo bar I use rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, sage, lemon, ylang ylang and Italian lavender for scalp and hair care. These essential oils are good for normal to dry scalp and hair.

For oily hair, lemon and rosemary can be used for that as well, interestingly enough. I would also probably include geranium as well because that is known to help the hair and scalp not be so oily.

I think good circulation is also important to scalp health which is why I like the peppermint and rosemary in Wild Mane.

The nettles and horsetail I gathered from the wild and these ingredients work well for all hair types,strengthening the hair. Horsetail is an amazing herb for nails too.

Do you think a conditioner or acid rinse are necessary when using a shampoo bar?

Well, that is a good recommendation actually. All shampoo will build up on the hair eventually, so using 1 tsp of vinegar per pint of water on occasion will cleanse the hair naturally.

Using an herbal rinse is also alot of fun and healthy for your scalp.
Take a handful of your chosen herb and pour a pint of boiling water over the herb and allow to cool. Strain and add a small dash of vinegar.
When using this rinse, pour it over your head and try to let it sit on your hair and scalp a couple minutes. Hanging out in the tub makes it easier to enjoy an herbal rinse.

Rosemary -sage rinses have been used for dark hair.
Chamomile has been traditionally used for blonde hair.
You could use mint, nettles, or anything you'd like to really.

This makes the hair soft also.

One person used the Wild Mane shampoo bar and wrote me and said her hair was all over the place. Some people may feel they need a conditioner after using a shampoo bar.

What I recommend is Flax Seed Gel for a natural way to calm the fluff.

Take 1 Tbsp of Flax seed and simmer in 1 cup of water until it is reduced by half or about 10 minutes or so until a gel type consitancy begins to form.
Strain the seeds, and add your own essential oils if you'd like scent to your gel.
It will be different than store bought hair gel, but actually dual purpose to help hair not be so fluffy and also condition at the same time. It is very inexpensive to make as well. Refrigerate what you dont use and toss out after a few days.

Aloe vera gel I hear will also work if your hair gets too fluffy with a shampoo bar.

What do you find are the pros and cons of different oils when making a shampoo bar? What about olive vs. coconut oil? Also, do you think it likely that castor oil would cause build-up?

Well Olive and Castor are wonderful for attracting that moisture so many of us need.
Olive oil also does not inhibit any of the normal skin processes we need to accomplish , such as shedding dead skin cells or even sweating, so this is why it is the largest percent of my soap blends.
However by itself, the lather is pretty low and also the soap is pretty soft.

Coconut oil can be pretty drying if too much is used, but it sure helps with lather and hardness so I love using it.
Sweet Almond oil is mild and is emollient and a little goes a long way in soap.
Avocado contains vitamins A, D, E, protein, and so much more nutritionally, and it remains pretty intact throughout the soapmaking process. A little goes a long way with this oil as well.
Shea Butter is the same. It makes it through the rugged change of cold process soapmaking, and come through taking good care of our skin and hair. It is such a wonderful moisturizer for all skin types and also mild.
I use an organic fair trade butter that is not refined, so it can smell a bit strong, but worth it. All the nutrients are still there using this shea.
Palm oil is often used to help a bar harden. Since using too much coconut oil in a formula will by too drying for the skin, palm oil compliments by supplying the hardness and cleaning ability to keep the soap mild.
There are many other oils that are wonderful to work with for conditioning, cleaning, or nutrition, however most do not have a long shelf life, such as hemp or flax.

Some oils have an extremely strong smell, such as that fair trade shea I was discussing earlier. Castor can be strong as well.

So, I think each soapmaker finds what they love and works with it.
For me, I love the oils I use for my work because they all have positive benefits for the skin or hair and scalp. I buy 35 pounds of organic extra virgin olive oil every month or so because it is so worth it to have that in my formulas.
It is harder to work with in soapmaking, but I want the first and finest pressing in my soap, instead of the chemically extracted third pressing.

Following your heart and finding what you love to work with I think is what each of us goes through as soapmakers, and choosing the oils is part of that for us all.
A local soapmaker in my region uses Neem oil in her soap. I thought 'Neem Oil, how cool'. She is the first one I know that uses that.

So many oils are beneficial, and each of us are unique in our product and choose what we are drawn to.
I dont think there is so much a right or wrong oil, but just like art, what we create with what we love.

And here is Karen's review of Wild Mane on her blog Straight Talk on Natural Living