Frankly Speaking Friday- Exotic Oils cont.- Wheat Germ Oil

We are finally at the end of the Exotic Oils series! The last one being Wheat Germ Oil. Now you may think that it is not all that exotic, but I hope to change your mind about it! So off we go....

Wheat Germ Oil, botanically known as Triticum vulgare, is an amber, brownish, to amber, pale yellow, depending upon whether or not it is refined. If it is unrefined it will posses a heavily nutty scent and taste, but that is not as pronounced if it is a refined oil.  This oil is cold pressed, and extracted from the germ of the wheat kernel, which, incidentally, only makes up 2 1/2% (by weight) of the kernel. The germ of a any cereal is the reproductive part, the one that germinates and grows into a plant, so it is the embryo of the seed. The oil in the wheat germ is what nourishes the plant embryo as it develops into a full grown plant. 

This oil is suitable for food or cosmetic use, but only for those without wheat or gluten allergies. It is an unrefined oil, and naturally contains high amounts of vitamins A, D, and E. It also contains vitamins B1, 2, 3, 6 and even vitamin F. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, (over 96%) proteins and minerals. Because of its richness, and because of the resulting regenerative and anti-oxidant properties, wheat germ oil is another wonderful addition to your cooking and your skin-care products.

On the skin, wheat germ oil serves as an emollient and natural moisturizing factor. Natural moisturizing factors mimic the function of healthy skin. They provide lubrication to the skin's surface, while they prevent the evaporation of moisture from the skin. Wheat germ oil also helps to stabilize the skin's inter-cellular structure, which prevents any surface irritation from going deeper into the skin. It also helps to keep bacteria out of the skin and bolsters the skin's immune and healing systems. In fact, a product called the Invisible Glove only lists three active ingredients, and one of those is wheat germ oil (benzoin extract and vegetable oil are the other two ingredients). The Invisible Glove is used to protect skin against chafing, irritation and dryness, and to protect hands from solvents and detergents. Nurses, outdoor workers, military personnel and bartenders, according to the product information sheet, use it as a barrier cream, applying it like a lotion before work.

As previously discussed, essential fatty acids are needed for our overall heath, and the health of our organs (skin is the largest organ we have). They are not produced by our body, so we must get them from dietary sources. Wheat germ oil is a simple, great dietary source. It can be taken alone, drizzled on top of salads, vegetables, pasta, pesto, or many other meals, just don't heat it or you will destroy all the great properties you are trying to get!

The essential fatty acids in the wheat germ oil will provide for health of the cardiovascular, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems, as well as the general health and maintenance of cells and bodily functions. It is, though, the vitamin E present in the Wheat Germ Oil that promotes skin cell formation, and is wonderful for nourishing and rejuvenating dry, mature, dehydrated, sunburned,  and damaged skin, as well as, reducing scars and stretch marks. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects, which may be beneficial medicinally as well as in your cosmetics. In addition to those already mentioned, wheat germ oil has been shown to be effective for the treatment of; cracked skin, eczema, psoriasis, tired and overexerted muscles, poor blood circulation, high cholesterol levels, and poor lymphatic function.

Generally speaking, wheat germ oil has a shelf life of anywhere from 6 months to 18 months, depending upon how its stored, and whether or not it is refined.
Because of its high vitamin E content, which is a natural antioxidant that  helps to prevent rancidity, this oil is often added to other carriers to help extend their shelf life, but on its own, wheat germ oil, especially the unrefined  oil, is very sensitive and will degrade quickly when it is exposed to extremes. This means that any fluctuation in temperature, light, or oxidization (which means exposure to oxygen/air) will adversely affect this oil, therefore it is better to keep it refrigerated. Many manufacturers prevent rancidity by storing the wheat germ oil in vacuum sealed glass containers because the glass prevents oxygen from passing through it like plastic containers. So storing your oil in a dark, glass bottle, with as little air space as possible, may be the best storage technique. However, some of the refined wheat germ oil I have come across now appears to have stabilizing additives, so you will need to double-check the recommendations of your oil's manufacturer. 

Remember, a good quality wheat germ oil will be viscous (thick) and fairly deep in color. The unrefined oil will also have a very noticeable taste and odor. For these reasons you will need to consider its usage amounts in your formulas. While it has great skin benefits, it is not really practicable to have a 100% wheat germ oil massage oil. But, I think that you will find that an  incorporation rate of 10-15% will provide all the awesome benefits of this oil in a manageable consistency. It is recommended that you use it between 5-15% in lotions and creams, 5-10% in balms, 5-8% in hair conditioners, and 5-10%   or one ounce ppo in bar soap recipes. While some of the good stuff won't survive the heat of saponification, many believe that some of it will. Given the cost of this oil though, you may wish to save it for your other cosmetic formulations. :) 

One more thing about wheat germ oil, it is also a great dietary supplement for your pets! It promotes a lustrous coat, as well as healthy skin. You can simply mix a few drops of it in with the pet food. Studies have shown that dry skin and dandruff are greatly reduced in pets, and this includes livestock. Some even claim that it has helped with their animal's dry, cracked skin, eczema, and psoriasis.     



Tripod Thursdays- Yard Flowers and a few new soaps

Here are some yard flowers and plants, a bird that was carrying a large stick and a couple of new soaps. I had some more to get off my camera, but the charger has been misplaced and the battery is dead. So hopefully the fairies will bring it to me soon!

Tomorrow we will be finishing the exotic oils postings when we discuss Wheat Germ Oil. Now I know that this oil is not nearly as expensive as most we have talked about, but none the less, it is one that will make a great addition to your cosmetics and soaps!

Teaching Tuesdays - Exotic Oils Cont.- Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil, botanically known as Calophyllum inophyllum and/or Calophyllum tacamahaca, is a light green oil with a rich, deep odor. The oil is made from the odorless, pale kernel, called punnai, that comes from the fruit of the Tamanu tree. The Tamanu tree gets beautiful, fragrant, white flowers twice a year. Later these flowers yield clusters of yellow-skinned, spherical fruit, its pulp tasting similar to an apple. Inside that fruit is where the nut is found, and inside the nut is where the kernel is found. Once harvested, the kernel is dried out in the sun for two months, where it becomes quite sticky with the dark, thick, rich oil that eventually becomes Tamanu oil. While the kernels are drying they must be protected from the rain and from humidity, so this can be a labor intensive few months. Once they reach the proper stage, the sticky oil is then cold-pressed to make the greenish yellow oil, similar in appearance to olive oil, that we know as Tamanu oil. It will take 220 pounds of the Tamanu fruit, which is about what one tree will produce annually, to yield just 10.4 pounds of cold pressed oil. This yield disparity is an important factor in the cost of this exotic oil. Currently that price is running at $130.00 per liter, and a liter is about 33.8 ounces, so that is roughly $3.85 an ounce. Not as high as some essential oils, but a lot when you figure how much oil goes into some products! 

The Tamanu tree is indigenous to tropical Southeast Asia, and is found in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian islands. Historically, natives believed that the Tamanu tree was a sacred gift of nature, with gods hiding in its branches. This tree was their answer to skin protection from the ocean winds, high humidity and hot sun. As far back as the 18th century it has been documented that native Jamaicans used Tamanu oil to treat sores and wounds.  

Today, Indonesians soak the leaves in water, creating a blue solution that they give internally in cases of heat stroke. They also use this solution to (topically) treat inflamed eyes.    
In New Guinea the leaves are softened by heating over a fire, then they are applied to skin sores, ulcerations, boils, cuts and pimples. 
On Dobu Island the leaves are boiled and the solution is used to wash skin rashes.
In the Phillipines they soak the leaves in water and use the solution to treat hemorrhoids. They mix the sap with sulfur and make an ointment that they use on open sores, wounds, and boils.  

Fiji natives use Tamanu oil to treat  joint pains, arthritis, bruises, oozing wounds, chapped lips and even to preventing diaper rash. In the 1920s, Sister Marie-Suzanne, a nun stationed in Fiji, topically applied Tamanu oil to leprosy victims with positive results.
In fact, in most south sea islands it is utilized as an analgesic for sciatica, rheumatism and ulcers.
Pacific islanders apply Tamanu oil to scrapes, cuts, burns, insect bites and stings, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, diaper rash and herpes sores--and even to reduce foot and body odor!

 Tamanu oil has anti-inflammatory properties, accelerates healing, promotes new tissue formation and healthy skin growth, reduce rashes, treats sores and abrasions. It’s pain-relieving properties have also been used to treat and relieve the pain of neuralgia and shingles. 

In fact, in Europe, sometimes called Domba oil, tamanu oil has a proven 70 to 75 percent success rate in alleviating rheumatism and scabies.  It’s also proven  effective as a gout and ringworm treatment, and can be applied to lesions of the mucous membranes.  It is known to heal chapped skin, post-surgical wounds, skin allergies, bed sores, wounds, rashes, abrasions, athlete’s foot, boils, cracked skin, and infected nails. It has even healed severe burns caused by boiling water, chemicals and X-rays.  

Tamanu oil possesses powerful bactericide and fungicide agents, and has proven antimicrobial qualities as well. This oil tests well against antibiotics in the treatment and relief of; bladder infections, wound infections, pneumonias, septicemia, conjunctivitis, infected burns, athletes foot, ring worm, jock itch, Madura Foot, urinary tract infections, and the cause of diphtheria. Additionally, Tamanu oil has been used to affectively reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. In one study test subjects with scars a year old applied this oil twice daily (and only this oil) for nine weeks. After six weeks there was significant improvement in the appearance of the scars, and after the full nine weeks,  the scar length was reduced by an average 0.28 centimeters, and width was reduced by an average 0.12 centimeters.    

This oil will store well under any conditions, but extreme heat will tend to lessen its shelf life. With proper storage it should last from 10-14 months. Given its high cost, this is probably not an oil that you would want to add into your soaps, but it does make a fine addition to your medicine cabinet and skin care formulary. It does have a pretty strong aroma though, so you will need to take this in consideration when developing your products. Also, the coloring may alter your cosmetics as well, so some experimentation is probably in line. The good news is that this oil is suitable to used directly on the skin, or mixed with other carrier oils, so your imagination is the only limit! 

Make It Yourself Monday- Aches and Pains Remedies

After weeks of daily rain, we here in the Buckeye state finally had a nice, sunny, 80 degree day. Yea! The problem? Many of the neighbors took the opportunity to work in their yards. While that is a good and necessary thing, the resulting muscular aches and pains is not. So today we will be making some massage oils for those stiff, achy muscles!

Please remember that before using ANY product that contains Essential Oil you should do a patch test. Take a small amount of the product and rub it into the inside of elbow. If it doesnt immediately irritate your skin, cover it with a band-aide and leave it for 24 hours. If after that time it still hasnt caused an irritation, then use the product with caution. If it does begin to bother you, wash the area with soap and water and do NOT use that product. If you are testing a single Essential oil, remember that you need to put one drop of the EO into a small amount of carrier oil before you test it. NEVER test an EO neat on the skin. There are [only] a couple of EO's that can be used neat, but you must have the proper education to do so, and even then, sensitivities can happen. When they do, they are life-long, so the safest thing to do is to simply not try it!

This first muscle rub is especially nice the day after a strenuous workout, when the muscles may be tight and sore. All you need to do is to mix all the ingredients together, then massage into the affected area(s).

1 drop Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1 drop of Peppermint Essential Oil  
2 drops Rosemary Essential Oil  
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil (I use Bulgarian lavender)  
2 oz of your choice of Carrier Oil   (Many people like sweet almond oil, apricot seed oil, soybean or jojoba)

This mixture is also good for aches and pains;

 1 drop Lavender EO
 1 drop Cypress EO 
 2 drops Black Pepper EO
 1/2 oz your choice of carrier oil

This one is great for backaches and other muscular stiffness;
 4 drops Marjoram (Organic is best) EO
 2 drops Ginger EO  
 4 drops Rosemary EO
 4 drops Lavender  EO  
 5 oz your choice of carrier oil
This one can be made with less carrier oil for a stronger ointment, but you will need to check for skin sensitivity with each adjustment. This should only be used twice a day, whatever strength you use.


Frankly Speaking Friday-Truth on a label?

As I previously discussed, I am in the process of writing a book on Essential Oils. Right now I have only written the first few pages, and am, in fact, still organizing notes and outlining.  Actually, I am still trying to decide just what all should be included in the book, and you can help me with this. If there is particular information that you would like to know, or things that you don't really care to see in another book, please let me know. I really would like this book to be user friendly, so it would be helpful to know what you would like included! 

Okay, enough about the book.  Along with my organizing notes, I have also looked over a few web sites this week and, once again, I have gotten my ire up when I found lies in advertising, and ignorance in the supposed experts. 

There is a National company, one that has a bee logo, that has been selling their "natural" products for years, and in the last few years, they have added some "natural" specialty soaps. These soaps carry a percentage of "naturalness" right on their packaging. So let's look at this, shall we?

Let us begin by stating that this bee company is actually owned by the chemical company, Clorox. Yes, the famous bleach company is now the same company that makes the "natural" bee soaps, lip balms, and body care items (they bought it in 2007). Does this make a difference? Well I think that you will find that it certainly can. And one of the first ways that it does make a difference, is in that percentage of naturalness labeling. Let me explain. As we have previously discussed, the phrase " all natural" is not legally regulated, only the word "organic" is. But, the company website really tries to sell us on this "new" labeling. Here is how, copied directly from their site.

"In order to help you identify truly natural products and maximize your well-being, Burt's Bees, along with the Natural Products Association and other leading Natural personal Care companies, developed The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products"

 Note that the bee company and the other "leading" companies developed the standards that have been set forth. The companies decided what they could and could not say in advertising and what would be defined as natural.

"The standard is a set of guidelines that dictates which ingredients can and cannot be considered natural and ultimately, whether a product can be deemed truly “natural.” Under the standard, any product labeled “natural” must meet the following four criteria:..."  

I challenge you to visit the site and look over the ingredient list that they consider natural. And while you are there, read the directions for getting a product approved as "natural" by this group. It is amazing......

"Natural: A product labeled “natural” should be made up of natural ingredients and be manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity."

Again, visit their site and see the ingredient list of what they consider natural ingredients to use. They are listed by manufacturer, and I will explain why in just a bit.

"Safety: A product labeled “natural” should avoid any ingredient that research shows may have a suspected human health risk." 

This is odd, since the bee company uses comfrey in several of their products.  Comfrey contains toxic substances that can be absorbed by the skin. It is  recommended that, even topical preparations should be used only for only a
 short time, and under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
 Additionally, comfrey should never be applied to open wounds or broken skin. 
You are not to use  comfrey at all if you have liver disease, alcoholism, or 
cancer. And children, the elderly, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are not
to  use any comfrey products,  under any circumstances. But on their website
they state that comfrey is known for its skin healing benefits, and is perfectly safe. I suppose that all of the countries which banned its internal use and warned of its toxicity when absorbed by the skin, must be wrong.

A product labeled “natural” should use no animal testing in its development

A product labeled “natural” should use (bio)degradable ingredients and the
most environmentally sensitive packaging. Ultimately, The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products aims to clearly define what a “natural” personal care product is and what it is not. The standard encompasses all cosmetic personal care products as defined and regulated by the FDA."   

*This is their "standard", not the FDA's. They are just saying that they are using the word "cosmetics" to include all the items that the FDA calls cosmetics.

 "Simply put, as of May 1, 2008, The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products states that all personal care products labeled or branded “natural” must be made with at least 95% all-natural ingredients and contain only those synthetic ingredients that are specifically allowed under this standard and do not have any suspected human health risks." 

These are their guidelines, not the FDA's. This is important, and you will soon see why.

The standard also requires that companies be transparent, fully disclosing their ingredients accurately and truthfully. They should strive to maximize their use of recyclable and post-consumer recycled content in packaging. And finally, they should avoid animal testing of ingredients or products." 

This is rather funny, because when you look at their own label you will see that they do NOT fully disclose their ingredients.

"How can you spot truly natural products? Helping you to clearly understand and identify truly natural products is a key element of The Natural Standard for Personal Care Products. To easily identify those products that meet the standard, the Natural Seal has been developed. You can rest assured that products carrying the Natural Seal truly are natural. Be sure to look for the Natural Seal on Burt’s Bees products starting later this year!"  

Read on to see why this is a giant joke. Now, let's look at this a bit closer, shall we? What do you suppose it takes to belong to the "Natural Products Association"? I will tell you, it only takes one thing....MONEY!  If you do not belong to their association, the fee for submitting one product, one upc code, is $1500.00 Each upc code requires its own form and fee. But wait, if you use only the "approved" ingredients, you can get a nice discount. So, take a look at the approved ingredients. They are listed by manufacturer to make it easier on you. Of course, I had not even heard of most of the ingredients, which made me wonder. But I finally figured it out. These are the products that have paid their fee to become approved. They are not your general "vegetable glycerin" or "chamomile powder", they are specific products, by the large companies that are members of this group. So you can get a discount on your submission fee if you patronize the other members. One hand washes the other. Who is left out? We, the consumer, that's who! Think about this. Who can afford $1500.00 per upc to submit a  product line in the first place? Large companies of course. Clorox type companies Oh, but what about the membership discount? Well it is still a good chunk of change, half price if I remember correctly, but the annual membership fee is not disclosed on the site either, least wise that I could find. So I have to wonder about how much that could be too. And, again, I didnt even recognize most of the ingredients on the approved ingredient list.

Now let's look at a few more things. This is part of their actual add. 

"How it Works
Specially formulated with Buttermilk, this French-milled soap is gentle enough for everyday use. Leaves baby's skin clean, soft, and smooth. Pediatrician-tested. Hypo-allergenic. " 

This statement is also rather odd, considering that in the question/answer section of their web site, when asked if they had hypoallergenic products, they say, 
"There is no defined methodology to test for allergic reactions in beauty or personal care products, nor does the FDA regulate use of the term "hypoallergenic." Consequently, we do not position our products as hypoallergenic. A list of ingredients for each product is available on individual product information pages on this site."

Hmm, I guess they forgot to read their own questions and answers.

  Now, let's take a quick look at the ingredient list.

"Ingredients: vegetable soap base, parfum (fragrance), butyris lac (buttermilk powder, babeurre en poudre), avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), limonene."
First off, I  wonder why they list their ingredients in French and English, especially since their plant is located in North Carolina, USA. But why digress?
Listed first, meaning that it is the ingredient with the largest quantity percentage, is "Vegetable Soap Base". This does NOT tell you what oils were used to make the soap. While many business owners dont want to share their formulas for fear of theft, the majority of people balk at this practice. So why would you accept if from a large company? Then there is the fact that they do list some of the ingredients, so why not all of them? You cannot pick and choose which ingredients you list, it should be all or none. So we are left wondering if this company knows what they are using, and if they do, then why arent they sharing that information? Why do they make a point in one section of their web site, to say that all of their ingredients are clearly listed, when in fact they are not?  And what happened to the mandates of their Natural Association? I guess since they are the ones that made the rules, they can bend or break them as they see fit.  
The second ingredient is parfum, which they then clarify as fragrance.  Parfum is the French word for perfume. According to Wikapedia, Perfume is  ".....a mixture of fragrant essential oils and aroma compounds, fixatives, and solvents used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces a pleasant scent...." 
Why is this the second largest ingredient in this soap? In my experience, and in my soaps, fragrance is never the second largest ingredient. In fact, it is almost always the next to last ingredient, the last usually being the colorant or viatmin E. How can this soap be 99.9% natural when perfume is the second largest ingredient?
While I see nothing of concern with the buttermilk powder, indeed I use it in some of my products, I wonder why they chose to use the flour over larger oats. But, since oats are frequently used to soften water and the skin, I don't see an issue with this either. I do, however, wonder about the last ingredient, Limonene. According to the Wikipedia, Limonene is increasingly being used as a solvent for cleaning purposes, such as the removal of oil from machine parts, as it is produced from a renewable source (citrus oil, as a byproduct of orange juice manufacture). It also serves as a paint stripper when applied to painted wood, and is also useful as a fragrant alternative to turpentine. Limonene is also used as a solvent in some model airplane glues. As it is combustible, limonene has also been considered as a biofuel. It is used as a botanical insecticide, and is added to cleaning products, such as hand cleansers, to give fragrance.  Even with these indications, limonene is a common ingredient in cosmetic products, is a main odor constitutant of citrus, is used in food manufacturing, and even in some medicines, as it masks the bitter tastes of alkaloids. So, while it may be used in other cosmetics, I don't think it is the best choice for a Baby soap that is being marketed as 99.9% natural.

I am not asserting that this is a bad product, nor am I asserting it is a good one for that matter. I just don't care for deceptive advertising. I like when you say something and then follow through and do that same something. I dont like it when the left hand fails to know what the right is doing. I don't like talking out of both sides of your mouth. And I especially don't like it when big companies get together and create their own club, write their own rules, hype their club, and then dont even bother to follow the rules that they just wrote. I want the same answer to be given to the same question, more than once. I want the honest, plain, unadulterated truth, not an ad agency's idea of what I should want.

Tripod Thursdays- Showcase of Products

It's Tripod Thursday! Today I am showcasing various Unique Garden Essences products. I had hoped to get out and take more pictures of Spring in Ohio, you can't believe how fast the grass has grown and the trees have filled out with their leaves in all this rain! But, because of all the rain, I have been unable to take th e camera outside! Hopefully next week.

What's Happening Wednesday-Exotic Oils Cont.- Shea Oil

What's Happening this Wednesday is that we are in the home stretch of the exotic oils series. So today we will be looking at Shea Oil.

Shea butter and shea oil both come from the seed of the African karite tree, better known as the shea tree. The shea oil is actually a byproduct of the butter production, where the fractionated oil is expressed as the seeds are pressed. The liquid oleins are separated from the thicker stearines, leaving a pretty thick oil. 

While many are familiar with the butter, the oil seems to be less known, but it  possesses all of the same beneficial properties of the butter, while having a lower melting point, which makes it easier to utilize in some formulations. In fact, shea oil is actually higher in fatty acids than the butter, which means that it is more moisturizing for our skin. And thanks to the higher oleic acid that it posesses, it also has more ant-inflammatory properties. It also has a higher level of linoleic acid, which allows it to repair the skin's barrier properties faster. It is high in vitamins A, E and F and presents with a deep golden color. Shea Oil provides skin with all the essential elements it needs for good balance, elasticity and tone. It penetrates the skin easily, and forms an environmental barrier, protecting the skin from harsh elements. Of course it also leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth. This oil is a proven skin  re-generator. It improves the elasticity of the skin, and provides relief from dermatitis, eczema, burns, rashes, wrinkles, scars, psoriasis, and other skin irritations. It is also said to promote hair growth. 

Shea oil stores well, lasting about one year, but extreme heat will lesson that time. Just as with the butter, this oil is great for superfatting your soaps, or you can use it as part of your base oils, up to 20%.  


Teaching Tuesdays - Exotic Oils Cont.- Sesame Oil

We are now in the home stretch of the Exotic Oils postings. Today we will be exploring Sesame Oil, and, while great for cooking, there is so much more to this oil! In fact, it has been dubbed as the "Queen of Oils", thanks to all of its healthful benefits. 

Sesame seed oil has been used in western cultures for over 3000 years, and is perhaps best known as a common ingredient in Asian and East Indian cooking. But it's health benefits have begun to come to light in the recent decades, even though it has [also] been used for thousands of years as a popular alternative medical treatment in Ayurvedic and Oriental medicine. Today's research is proving what these peoples seem to have known all along, that, in addition to fatty acids and antioxidants, sesame oil contains vitamins and minerals which are a valuable addition to any health care routine.

Sesame oil is obtained from both raw sesame seeds and toasted sesame seeds, which is the stronger tasting, Asian style oil. There are also variations in the color of the oil. Cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden, and East Asian sesame oils are commonly a dark brown color. This dark color and flavor are derived from the roasted/toasted seeds, and the cold pressed sesame oil also has a different flavor than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw seeds, rather than toasted ones.
Sesame oil is traded in any of the forms described above, usually the cold-pressed sesame oil is available in Western health shops. Un-roasted (but not necessarily cold pressed) sesame oil is commonly used for cooking in the Middle East, and can often be found in their markets. In East Asian countries, different kinds of hot-pressed sesame oil are the preferred Sesame products, and they are quite flavorful, coming in seeds, oil and paste, which is also known as sesame butter. The Light sesame oil has a high smoke point, and is suitable for deep-frying, while the oil from the roasted seeds has a slightly lower smoke point, and is unsuitable for deep-frying. Instead it can be used for stir frying. East Asian cuisines often use the roasted sesame oil for seasoning. This oil is valued for its long shelf life, and in addition to its medicinal and food uses, sesame oil is also used in the manufacture of soap, paint and perfume. Botanically named Sesame indicum, the oil has a pleasant, nutty fragrance, and an enjoyable, distinctive, taste. With the un-roasted types having a more mild flavor..

Historically speaking, sesame oil has been used as an anti-inflammatory, an antiseptic, a pain reliever in various skin conditions, gum disease, and as a treatment for a variety of other illnesses. It has even been said to help restless sleepers from repeated waking up during the night, when massaged into the feet before bedtime. 

Modern science now proves that sesame oil is a powerful antioxidant and that it is high in polyunsaturated fats, as well as being an excellent source of vitamin E and various minerals. In fact, sesame oil has the fourth-highest concentration of polyunsaturated fats of any oil. 

Polyunsaturated fats are important for cell growth and development, and are especially beneficial to the heart. They are also thought to play an important role in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and many other ailments. 

Sesame oil contains 75% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin E, in just one ounce of its oil. It also contains sesaminol and sesamin, which help to increase the vitamin E activity within the body. Vitamin E is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and may even protect the body from cancer.

This oil also contains a high amount of [multiple forms of] B-complex vitamins. These vitamins promote the healthy development of several different systems in the human body. The particluar B vitamins in seasame oil affect our overall energy levels, skin, nerve and digestive health, overall growth and development, blood and immune system health, and even DNA and red blood cell health.

Additionally, many Proteins and Fats are also found in Sesame oil, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fats are high in omega-6, which can help prevent and treat multiple diseases. You will also find a high amount of amino acids, which build up proteins, and a large amount of minerals. Sesame oil contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, all of which help to strengthen muscular and skeletal development.

Although the medicinal use of sesame oil is not currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, studies have demonstrated the clinical usefulness of this oil. In fact, in 2006,  the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine published a study where the Researchers concluded that consumption of sesame oil (45 days in a row, without other oil use) significantly lowered the blood pressure and body weight in the test subjects. However, there is no suggested dose of sesame oil, so it is suggested that consumption of the oil be done through food sources. This may pose an issue, as the American Heart Association advises that our polyunsaturated fat intake should not be more than 10% of our total caloric intake. And, since sesame oil is pretty high in overall calories, consuming large quantities of the oil is not advised either. Sesame oil, after several studies, has now been recognized for its benefits to lung and respiratory health, along with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, aiding with the swelling and pain that accompanies arthritis, and even protection from skin and colon cancer. In overseas experiments, sesame oil is currently being used to treat some chronic disease processes, including hepatitis, diabetes and migraines. 

Sesame seed oil has natural antibacterial properties against common skin pathogens, such as staphylococcus and streptococcus, as well as common skin fungi, such as athlete's foot fungus. It is also naturally antiviral, and possesses an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, it has many first-aid type applications. When Used after sun or wind exposure, it calm the burns. It nourishes and feeds the scalp, controlling dry scalp dandruff,  and killing dandruff causing bacteria. It protects the skin from the effects of chlorine in swimming pool water. When used before and after radiation treatments, sesame seed oil helps to neutralize the flood of oxygen radicals, which such treatments cause. Sesame seed oil helps joints keep their flexibility, and is frequently used to soothe sore gums, treat athletes foot, nail fungus, and painful joints. As nose drops, sniffed back into the sinuses, sesame seed oil has reportedly cured chronic sinusitis. As a throat gargle, it kills strep and other common cold bacteria. Sesame oil penetrates into the skin quickly, and enters the blood stream through the capillaries and circulates. It penetrates through the tissues to the very marrow of the bone. The liver does not sweep sesame seed oil molecules from the blood, accepting those molecules as friendly. Thus it delivers all of this oils benefits throughout the entire body systems. 

Beauty wise, sesame seed oil is loved by masseurs and beauticians worldwide, due to its anti-wrinkle, antioxidant, softening, hydrating, nourishing and penetrating properties. It helps to tighten facial skin, particularly around the nose, controlling the usual enlargement of pores as the skin ages.  It also has the benefit of neutralizing oxygen radicals, one of the major causes of ageing, and it tightens the facial skin. Sesame is excellent for both oily and dry skin. It helps sufferers of psoriasis and other dry skin ailments.  It is quite handy for protecting baby bums against urine caused rashes when applied to the diaper area skin between changes, and it can also be used to gently remove cradle cap on a baby's head. It has been used to treat dandruff and successfully used to kill lice infestations in the hair of children. Sesame oil absorbs toxins from the skin, leaving it healthy, clean and soft. On top of everything else, it is also has natural ultraviolet ray blocking properties, so apply some before you venture outside. 

In soaps, because of its moisturizing abilities, this is a great addition. If you don't want to use it for superfatting, sesame oil will make a kind of soft bar, so don't use it over 10% in your other base oils.  

Despite sesame oil's high proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (41%), it is the least prone of the cooking oils with high smoke points, to turn rancid when kept out in the open. This is due to the natural antioxidants, the high level of vitamin E, that is present in the oil.  As long as it is not exposed to extreme heat, it should last about one year without any specific storage precautions. 

You should be aware though, there does appear to be cross-reactivity between sesame allergens and peanut, rye, kiwi, poppy seed, and various tree nuts, such as hazelnut, black walnut, cashew, macadamia and pistachio nuts. Although the prevalence of sesame allergies in the USA is low, especially relative to peanut allergies, the severity of a sesame allergy should not be underestimated.
While pure oil is not usually allergenic because it does not typically contain the proteinaceous part of the offending plant, avoiding it is always safest, as oil purity cannot be guaranteed. Anyone allergic to sesame seeds should be cautious about using the oil.

*Remember that all references/bibliographies are listed by post date and title, just click on the Reference tab at the top of this page. 

Make It Yourself Monday- Soap Free Baby Cleansing

Here we are, it's Monday again and time for a recipe for you to make at home. Today we will be making a Soap Free Baby Cleansing Bag. Washbags are pretty cool bags, not just for babies, but for anyone who wishes a gentle cleanser. The neat thing is that by using a washbag, you can include the ingredients that you choose, and ingredients that will result in soap-free cleansing. I will provide you with some basics, but you can study and change ingredients as you wish and so that you can include your favorites! 

You will need;

-Muslin bags (If you dont care to make your own, you can easily find these on line, as they are carried by many suppliers). 
-Lavender bud powder
-Chamomile powder 
-Colloidal oatmeal, fine  
-A few drops of jojoba or an oil of your choice 

You can make your own lavender bud, chamomile, and colloidal oatmeal. All you need is the flower and a mill, a blender, or a food processor to grind with. Make sure that you begin with a pesticide free flower bud and use only the flower bud for the lavender, and the flower head and petals for the chamomile. To make colloidal oatmeal, finely grind oatmeal. You can check to see if it is "colloidal" by putting some into water. If it floats, it is colloidal and you have saved yourself a ton of money! Just make sure that it is finely ground for your washbag.

Once you have all of the ingredients together, and made into the right consistency, combine them all together, and toss into a blender. Pulse it until it is well, and thoroughly mix. Then pour a small amount of it into the muslin bag. When using on a baby, you will want to soften the bag in the bath water first, then gently squeeze it over the baby. Then use the bag to lightly rub the baby. In fact, that is probably the best way to use it, even when it is on you and not on a baby.

When making one for yourself, you can add your favorite herbs. Just make sure that you study the indications and contraindications for those herbs. You can also add soap shavings if you wish to boost the cleansing and bubble power. Of course, soap doesn't have to bubble to clean, but if you want it too, then have at it!   

So What Saturday- the Bramble Berry SOAP Panel

I know that I don'd usually post on the weekends, but this special post deserves special attention. Something you all probably don't know, some of my soap, lotion and potion ingredients come all the way from the west coast. To be more precise, they come from my favorite supplier, Bramble Berry. Bramble Berry has a great reputation, not only for its quality supplies, but for excellent customer service, community and charity involvement, and product accountability.

One of the ways that they test their potential new scents is by the SOAP,  Soap Opinion (Awesome) Panel,  method. They send out eight unlabeled fragrance oils to a group of chosen panelists, and then base their decision to carry the product or not, based upon what the panalists report. For their part, the panalists agree to test the "secret" scents and report on how they react in various product formulations. As you may know, especially when making soap, fragrances can act differently in different products, and this is important information for the maker of those products. 

The big thing about this? Well, many, in fact I'd say MOST, supply companies do not know this information. Yes, That is what I said! Most companies do NOT know how their ingredient will act in different types of soaps, let alone other products. Most simply do not care enough to find out for themselves, let alone share that information with their customer base. But Bramble Berry does, and this SOAP panel thing that they frequently do, is one way that they find out this information. It allows them to know what their clients may like, and also allows them to confirm how the fragrance reacts in different product formulations, and all from unbiased testers. Of course this is not the only way that they decide what they will carry, but it is the most enjoyable way for us, the people who hope to be a part of that panel! 

To become a member of the SOAP panel, one must simply be chosen. And I would LOVE to be chosen! Before I found Bramble Berry I would never even have considered using anything but an essential oil to scent my products. But Bramble Berry knows there are people like me, and they send out samples with every order. So I kept smelling this wonderful fragrance that I received as a free sample. It is called Arabian Spice, and since Bramble Berry sends enough of a sample to actually use in something, I finally gave in and made a batch of soap with it. OM is all I can say. This is hands down, the best smelling stuff that has ever crossed your nose!

Well, maybe not the best, because I also received a sample of Berrywine  
fragrance, and I also made a batch of soap with it, and I LOVED it too! 
In fact, I loved it almost as much as I loved the Champagne,  Pink Grapefruit (EO), and orange (x10 esential oil) blend that I made! 

As I see it now, my largest problem is that I have looked through all the fragrance oils that Bramble Berry offers, and it seems that I want most of them! Yes, it seems that I am becoming a fragrance convert! 

Since I cant afford all of my "wants" right now, I am praying to be chosen for the newest SOAP panel, the Summer SOAP panel, so that I can satisfy this fragrance jonesing that I am going through! So PLEASE, please, please, help a person out, PICK ME! 

Frankly Speaking Friday- Exotic Oils cont.- Sea Buckthorn Oil

I apologize for the late posting, Blogger was on "Read Only" status for several hours last night and this AM. But here we are! Today we are continuing with the Exotic Oils Series, reviewing the super fruit, super oil, Sea Buckthorn.

Sea Buckthorn, botanically known as Hippophae Rhamnoides, is a small, scrubby shrub, native to Russia,
and the northern parts of China and Mongolia. It produces a fruit berry, which is then used to make the
oil. The oil is made by cold pressing the berry and the berry seeds (although some just use the berries and some just use the seeds) produced by the shrub.A small layer of oil is isolated within a vat of pressed material, which is then vacuumed off and separated as "pure oil". It takes upwards to 10 pounds of berries to produce 1 pound of this oil.

The color of the  Sea Buckthorn oil will depend upon what it was made from. Yellow oil represents a combination of fatty acids that is obtained from the seeds and the fruit. Red to brown oil is obtained from the whole fruit, and contains a wide variety of ingredients. Seed oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, similar to Olive, Almond, Borage and other seed oils, and may be used as a dietary supplement. Fruit oil is similar to traditional herbal medicine used to treat various skin conditions, wounds, ulcers and as cosmetic ingredients, it also may be used as a dietary aid. Either way, it has the consistency and the viscosity of syrup. It possesses  large amounts of Phytosterol, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Anti-Oxidants, and Carotenoid, which are responsible for its success as a skin repairing and conditioning oil. Traditionally, sea buckthorn has been used to treat a wide range of skin ailments. It is known for its nourishing, regenerative, and restorative properties. Superficially, this oil is used to assist in the healing of skin injuries, burns, wounds, eczema, lesions, sun damaged skin, and abrasions. This oil is known for softening skin, regenerating skin cells, moisturizing, and also for its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, this oil is great for helping to restore the skin's barrier function, and reducing the transepidermal water loss. Studies are currently being performed to determine Sea Buckthorn oil's ability to combat wrinkles, acute dryness and other symptoms of premature skin ageing.

Aside from being very popular as a skin tretament, sea buckthorn oil has also been studied and tested for internal use, as a dietary supplement. The sea buckthorn berry is the least publicized of all the super fruits, but this tiny orange jewel delivers more than 190 bioactive nutrients, is packed with antioxidants, and offers twelve times the vitamin C of one orange. Studies have shown that its internal consumption helps in promoting blood circulation, in the treatment of colitis, stomach ulcers, and is even a soothing agent for the intestinal tract.

This oil generally has a shelf life of about 6 months, and will solidify when it is exposed to low temperatures, so it should be stored at room temp. In its undiluted, concentrated form, this oil will stain the skin, surfaces and even your clothing, so exercise  caution when using, make sure to spread evenly and to dilute it appropriately. While its use in soap as a base oil would be quite  costly, adding a small amount as a superfatting agent, is both beneficial and  cost efficient.  

Tripod Thursdays-More Spring and Some Flooding

This past weekend was Mother's day and God blessed us with a sunny, warm, clear day for a change! Ohio has been inundated with flooding for weeks now, as the rain has not seemed to stop. So, as we traveled to see my Son's (one just had surgery and could not make the trip to my home, and they live by each other, so Mom and I went there), we stopped to view the creeks that look like lakes, and the yards that the Ducks seem to feel are also lakes! Lol. I hope you enjoy!

What's Happening Wednesday-Book Plans

What's Happening this Wednesday , well I want to share an interesting new project with you. As you probably know, I have a great interest in, and have studied extensively, Essential oils. As an herbalist and a RN, I have always been fascinated with, and believed in the holistic approach to medicines. I firmly believe in the mind/body connection, and have dedicated the vast majority of my studying to the use of  EO's in skin care and  aromatherapy. Of course I also make a good many other products, including cp soap.

CP soap is such a hot craft at this moment, with many new Artisans becoming addicted to the craft daily. As such, there are more and more people on the soap forums asking questions and seeking information about how to do such and so, especially the scenting of their soaps. Always one to encourage education, I am quick to point out that EO's are more than scent, and in fact, can be dangerous when misunderstood and/or misused. In fact, people using EO's without being educated about their indications and potential hazards has always been my greatest pet peeve.

Which leads me to my "What's Happening". After a suggestion from a friend of mine I began considering writing a book about EO's, then I received an email from someone else who had read this blog, and they also suggested that I write a book. So, guess what.......I am writing a book! I recently began a book on Essential oils and their properties, indications for use, and even some soaping notes. Right now I am also considering a section on blending and creating perfumes, but I will see where I am at after I have the basics that I want to cover down. After all, that may just be a second book!

Now, as for what else is going on this Wednesday, I have recently added a few new products to the Unique Garden Essences line. I just finished formulating a "Baby Body and Bum Cream" and a "Super Cream", which I started selling at the Chatfield college show April 30.  And, not too much before that, I created a new  Fragrance blend, called "Embrace".  Currently I have this fragrance in a batch of cp Soap, Spritzer, Roll-on Fragrance Oil and Hand and Body Lotion.

Embrace  is a pretty sexy, slightly sultry scent. It is difficult to describe, but has a tantalizing fragrance, one that  makes you long to Embrace the wearer! And, as a side note, the label is a picture from my Son's wedding on the beach!

The Super Cream  has lanolin in it, so, while it is not Vegan (sorry),  it is a very thick, very deeply moisturizing, extremely awesome cream! It is great for a night-time moisturizer, extra dry patches of skin, after sun care, or just any time you want to treat your tired, worn skin to a nice, cool  pick-me-up!

The Baby Body and Bum Cream  is perfect for any dry areas of skin and for the bum, in between diaper changes. Infused with chamomile and calendula, and with a tad of lavender added in there as well, this ointment is healing, but mild at the same time.  

Additionally, I now have 30 different scents of  Soap cured and ready for sale. The issue is that I have not had time to list them in my store front. Many were sold at the Chatfield show, but I still have plenty to list, and at least 10 more batches that will be fully cured  in the next two weeks!

So, as you can see, I have been staying pretty busy, and still have a lot more to do! Of course I am also still working on getting my website back up and running,  but I tend to put that at the bottom of my list since I have my domain pointed to the Etsy shop. Eventually I will get there I am sure, but for now, I am one busy bee!

Well, there you have it. Now that you know What is Up with me this Wednesday, tell me, what's up with you?  Let me know in comments, and if there is anything in specific that you would like to see included in my book, let me know that too. I am open to suggestions.

Of course tomorrow is Tripod Thursday, and I am leaning toward sharing some more Ohio scenery with you.
Then Friday we will continue on with our Exotic Oils series. Next up is Seabuckthorn Oil, so make sure you come back to find out all about this exciting oil! .

Teaching Tuesdays - Exotic Oils Continued- Rosehip Seed Oil

We are quickly coming to the end of our Exotic Oils series, so any requests for another series, or any single post projects will be considered, just leave me a message! Today we will be discussing Rosehip seed oil. 

Rose Hip Oil is extracted from the seeds that are contained in the deep red, berry-like fruits, or hips, of a wild rose-bush. Rosehip seed oil, produced mainly in Chili and Argentina, is botanically known as Rosa rubiginosa (another variety used is Rosa moschata), and is amber in color, with an orangish hue. While it has a pretty heavy characteristic odor to it, if found unpleasant, it can be easily masked with fragrance. Rosehip seed oil is easily, and immediately absorbed by the skin, and it does not leave a greasy residue. The biggest issue with this oil is that, due to its delicate nature, it needs to be protected from fluctuations in oxygen, light and temperature, so it must be stored in the refrigerator. However, when it is cared for properly, it can last for a year to eighteen months. 

Rosehip seed oil contains high amounts of linoleic and linolenic acids, essential fatty acids that are important skin nutrients. It also contains Vitamins C and E, which promote healthy skin, and vitamin A, bio-available trans-retinoic acid, which helps to delay the effects of [skin] aging, assists with cell regeneration, and promotes an increase in collagen and elastin levels, which results in firmer, smoother, more elasticity and more youthful looking skin. Rosehip seed oil has been used successfully to treat; Stretch marks, UV damage from overexposure to the sun, Scars from surgery, burns, and acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Wrinkles and premature skin aging, Hyper-pigmentation, Dermatitis, Burns (including those from radiation and sunburns), Age spots, Brittle nails, and Dry and damaged hair.

Rosehip seed oil has only become recognized by the general public as the  amazing oil that it is, in the recent past. But this oil is now believed to be  one of the best, if not the best, oil available for skin rejuvenation and for its anti-aging properties. In fact, there have now been numerous scientific studies completed, and those have produced astounding evidence which support the use of rosehip seed oil in cosmetic applications. This oil is truly a wonderful hydrator, as it penetrates dry and damaged skin immediately.  It is very mild and can be used undiluted on the most sensitive of skin. It can be used straight from the bottle as a moisturizer, or it can be incorporated into creams, lotions, facial or massage oils.  Rosehip seed oil is a pretty inexpensive, and yet, effective, non-invasive product that will prevent and heal damaged skin. It is a must for your formulary! 

Rosehip seed oil is only recommended for external use. It is not, however,  recommended for use on extremely oily, or acne prone skinIf you are at risk of developing acne breakouts because of high sebum (skin oil) production, and/or hormonal imbalances, then rose hip oil may further clog your skin pores
If you do not have these issues, but have large pores, rosehip seed oil will solve that issue for you. It will shrink the pores just as effectively as retinol or microdermabrasion! 

ROSEHIP OIL contains trans-retinoic acid, vitamin A, in a natural form. Considering that direct applications of retinoic acid can be very irritating, rosehip seed oil is a far more skin-friendly, and absorbable alternative to the  pharmaceutical form. It is more compatible with our skin cell structures, and safer since the rosehip seed oil does not actually turn into retinoic acid until after it is absorbed, and your skin decides it needs some, so then it converts it.  But, it is this vitamin A content which increases sensitivity to the sun of the newly formed skin cells, which arise due to its action. For this reason, a sun-blocker is a must! Still, rosehip seed oil makes a great treatment oil and a less expensive alternative to regular retinoic acid treatments.

To use Rosehip Seed Oil, simply massage the oil into the affected area, with your fingertips, until it is completely absorbed. Remember, if you are using it during the daytime,  you must place a sun blocker on top of the oil treatment. To reduce scar tissue, prevent and/or reduce stretch marks, attenuate wrinkles and/or age spots, you will need to apply the Rose Hip Oil twice a day, every day, for about three months. This oil will also help to improve burned skin, swollen skin, and dermatitis that results from radiotherapy. It will immediately relieve dry skin and eczema.