Sunday, November 29, 2009

Digging Echinacea

I dug up some echinacea roots a couple weeks ago. This is not only an important immune stimulating herb but also has antiviral activity making it an important herb for cold season. Although the active principles may be more concentrated in the roots, you can certainly find them in the leaves and flowers too. In the summer if I have flowers that break off I will just dry them and mix them with roots that I dig in the fall. I usually wait until the plant is 3 years old before using to be sure it has a good root system. Echinacea will reseed rather freely so I typically have several clumps growing in various places, so digging up one clump still leaves me with other clumps.
To do this, I use a shovel to dig up the roots, shake and break off the excess dirt and cut off the dead stems. I then bring the roots into the house and use a vegetable brush to clean the dirt from the roots; cutting some apart as necessary. I then let the root clump dry and will store it in a glass jar until needed. A coffee grinder can then be used to grind the roots into smaller pieces that can then be used to make tinctures or teas. Echinacea is an important part of my Thyma-Flu product.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Parabens and this and that

A quick blog today with some news and links.

A new report just came out on parabens that I found interesting. Having read previous papers about parabens I have been skeptical of the bad press they have received supposedly because of them affecting the hormonal systems of the body which lead to cancer. This new study indicates that although parabens are well absorbed orally they are poorly absorbed through the skin and are well metabolized before they reach the blood stream. And the metabolite found in the blood, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, had no hormone (estrogen) action in the body.

This study was presented by Florian Schellauf at the Scandinavian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCANCOS) in Sweden and has not yet been published in a peer reviewed journal, so I will wait before making any definite conclusions.

In fact, parabens themselves are natural substances found in food and so we are exposed to them through food. Parabens is the name given to a group of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA) esters. Parabens are biodegradable and natural. A growing number of manufacturers are now using Japanese honeysuckle extract in their products. This is a source of parabens and by using it the manufacturers are getting around the negative public perception of using parabens. We may have done parabens a big disservice and could find that they are actually the best and most natural preservative we can use. Lets keep an open mind on this. Here is more reading on the subject.

Here is another interesting article on parabens, a copy of a Paper on Natural Parabens by Anthony C. Dweck

Colorado Aromatics will be at the Cornucopia of Local Saturday November 21 and at the Winter Farmers Market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds Saturday, December 5.

Check out Pamper yourself Denver's article about our natural spa gift sets:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holiday Gift Sets

For holiday shopping we are putting to together several body spa gift sets that would make perfect Holiday presents for family or friends. These sets are packed in “Inspired by Nature” gift boxes made from 100% recycled material. No need for extra wrapping paper so we encourage you to decrease the waste. Add a bow if you like.

Facial Spa Kit – With herbs for a steam facial, one ounce botanical toner (lavender/rose, lavender/lemon balm or cucumber/mint all distilled on our farm), parsley eye serum for those fine lines and dark circles under the eyes and a small guest size bar of face quality, handcrafted soap. $19.20

This would also pair nicely with our Springtide Antiaging face cream.

Hand Spa kit – With herbal soak for softening and cleansing hands, one ounce tin of knuckle balm for cuticle massage and other areas needing special attention, and a 4 oz jar of hand lotion (citrus or lavender), Also comes with a cuticle stick, emery board, and a small guest size bar of soap. $16.95

Pedi Paradise Foot Spa Kit – With herbal foot soak (relaxing and antifungal herbs), sugar scrub to soften rough spots and calluses and to finish off, Sole Pleasure Foot Butter in a 2 ounce push up container to moisturize and protect the feet, especially the heels. Also comes with a small, guest size bar of soap. $18.15

Any of these spa kits would pair well with a 40 gram bag of our loose leaf tea. All teas are organic teas from flavorful leaves, not the stale ground stuff found in teabags. We make the tea blends from herbs grown on our farm. Choose from Black Assam (orange pekoe), Rose Black (black with rose geranium and rose petals), Chunmee green tea, Lemon Green (green with lemon verbena and lemon balm). $4.00 each.

Lavender Lovers Gift Set – For lavender lovers only, includes a 4 oz bottle of Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion with Bulgarian Lavender essential oil, an 8 ml purse size mister of lavender hydrosol distilled on our farm, a bar of lavender soap with lavender buds from our farm and 2 dream pillow tea bags with lavender and other herbs to help you sleep; just slip it in your pillow case. $19.95.

You are also free to choose your own combination of products for your gift box as well. With every $30 or more order I will put it in an “Inspired by Nature” gift box made from 100% recycled material, along with tissue paper. Just put ‘gift’ in the box when checking out. Remember Colorado Aromatics products are all natural, botanical skin care products scientifically formulated and containing the best and most functional ingredients for your skin. You can buy any of these gift sets at Colorado Aromatics website: Happy Shopping.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Aromatic Toners

We are busy here getting some special products ready for the Holiday gift giving season. During the summer we distilled some wonderful herbs making aromatic waters. These distillates or hydrosols as they are sometimes called are great skin care products. They are rich in organic acids that help moisturize and keep the skin pH slightly acidic as it should be. This acid mantle is what helps protect the skin. They also contain microdroplets of essential oils making them wonderfully aromatic.

My favorite distillate of course is lavender or is it lemon balm, it’s hard to decide. I made three blends; lavender lemon balm, lavender rose, and cucumber mint all from herbs we grew on our farm this summer. These distillates alone are great to spray on the skin and face for hydration or to use as a body mist or spray in the hair before combing. I wanted to make them a little more special as a toner though so I added a small amount of glycerin as a humectant as well as extracts from raspberry leaf and plantago to soothe and tone the skin. I am selling these in both 1 ounce ($5.10) and 2 ounce ($7.70) spray bottles. You can also spray these on your neck and chest for toning, a place often overlooked when it comes to skin care. Products used in this area are sometimes refered to as décolleté products. The term also refers to a low neckline on a woman’s shirt and is certainly an area you want to look its best.

I love the feel of these toners on my skin and like the scents as a reminder of summer. All the ingredients were grown here on our farm. Distillates alone or with added ingredients are the best of natural skin care. These products can be purchased alone or as part of the gift bags I am putting together as well. These you will hear about soon.


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