Friday, August 1, 2014

Recipes and Uses for Geranium Essential Oil

In my previous blog post about Geranium, I shared information with you about the whole plant Pelargonium graveolens, and also about what you can do with different scented cultivars of Pelargonium. In this blog post I will continue with the essential oil of Geranium, a highly versatile oil used in many of Aquarian Bath body products.

The whole Pelargonium graveolens plant, with leaves, tender stems and pink flowers are steam distilled to produce Geranium essential oil, also known as Rose Geranium essential oil. Rosy and sweet with a touch of mint, the scent is uplifting and refreshing. This oil blends well with Lavender, Rose and Citrus. At Aquarian Bath I use it most often together with Lavender essential oil. Geranium essential oil has a middle range evaporation rate compared other essential oils. So what that means is if you have a blend of essential oils like peppermint, rose geranium, and cedarwood, then you will smell the top note, peppermint, first. As the peppermint smell fades, you will then smell the geranium. As the geranium evaporates, last you will smell cedarwood, the base note.

Some of the main constituents of Geranium essential oil include: geraniol, borneol, citronellol, linalol, terpineol, limonene, and pinine. These constituents help contribute to its beneficial use in skin and scalp care, as an insect repellent, and for emotional balancing.  As with all essential oils, it should never be used undiluted on the skin.

Skin Care

Geranium essential oil is used in skin care blends for treating burns, healing wounds, for cellulite, and dry eczema. Even sluggish oily skin can benefit from Geranium, and this oil would work well in a bentonite clay mask. Since Geranium also has astringent properties it can be used in formulations for hemorrhoids.  Overall Geranium is considered a balancing essential oil, which means it can work for moderately dry or oily skin types. For all these reasons we include Geranium essential oil in our Skin Regeneration Balm.
Aquarian Bath's Skin Regeneration Balm is made with garden fresh scented Geranium leaves, Geranium essential oil as well as other 
herbs and essential oil beneficial for the skin.

Since Geranium essential oil is so safe and versatile is actually a perfect essential oil to use together with the Aromatherapy Lotion Bar recipe that comes with our Lotion Bar Kit

Aromatherapy Lotion Bar
1 oz by weight Raw Unrefined Shea Butter (2 Tablespoons packed)
1 oz by weight Raw Organic Cocoa Butter (3 Tablespoons of chocolate chip sized bits)
1 oz Candelilla Wax (5 Tablespoons)
2 oz by weight of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (¼ cup)
½ teaspoon Geranium essential oil

In a clean dry ceramic, enamel, or heat safe glass pot melt Shea Butter on low heat. Continue heating on low for an additional 10 minutes. The additional heating time is an important step when working with raw unrefined shea butter.  It prevents bars from becoming grainy at cooler temperatures. Add Cocoa Butter & Candelilla. Stir until ingredients are completely melted. Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add add ½ teaspoon of Geranium essential oil just before pouring into the molds.

Tick Repellent
My late friend, Barbara Hall (Lady B), an herbalist and professional gardener from New York discovered an amazing use for Rose Geranium essential oil. It was absolutely imperative that she find an essential oil to repel ticks, having suffered multiple bouts of Lyme disease. After testing many different essential oils, she found that Geranium was a potent tick repellent. Barbara developed the following recipe specific for repelling ticks. She used this spray in her professional gardening work. Reapplication is required when the scent fades:  
Rose Geranium Tick Spray Recipe by Barbara Hall
1 tsp Rose Geranium essential oil
1 tsp vodka
8 oz water
Pour into a spray bottle

Geranium calms the emotions
Geranium essential oil  is sensational when used in Aromatherapy for calming the emotions. This may be due to its ability to stimulate the Adrenal cortex, which helps to mediate response to stress via hormone production. Geranium essential oil helps bring improvement to emotional balance by relieving nervous tension, anxiety, and stress. It is also thought to have a mild antidepressant effect. 

3 Simple Tips for using Geranium essential oil:
1. Add a few drops of the essential oil to your central air filter to calm down an irritable   household
2. Add a drop to a tissue for inhalation
3. Add 15 drops to 1 ounce of Jojoba or Grapeseed oil for massage
Even without the distilled essential oil, you can still get a mood boost by crushing the scented geranium leaves from your garden between your fingers and inhaling the aroma.


Many Aquarian Bath Products include Geranium


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 Rose Geranium is paired with French fine high altitude Lavender essential oil, 
another uplifting essential oil, in our Lavender Rose Roll On Perfume.
We use Geranium essential oil in three other products which are shown below. These include our Lavender Rose Lip Balm, Lavender Rose Geranium body Soap. We also bundle our Lavender- Rose Geranium products into a nice gift set. 

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Sources:
Hall, Barbara. Lady Barbara’s Garden 
Price, L. and Price, S., (2000). Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Second Edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston.  
Tisserand, Robert B. (1997). The Art of Aromatherapy.  Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. 
Wildwood Chrissie. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plastic Free July Business & Family Dilemma Box Videos

We are nearing the end of Plastic Free July for Aquarian Bath and our family. It has been quite an eye opening experience.  Even though we tried our best as a business and family to avoid single use plastic, there were most times not a lot of good options available for people looking for alternatives. Even though we have a flexible schedule, it was hard to try to keep up with the extra effort required to keep plastic use minimal in our family, like bread making, cracker making. A significant percentage of our plastic consumption came during a short time period when I had an injury that kept me of my feet. Another big issue was packaging from Organic produce. The more plastic that I tried to avoid, the more I noticed people carelessly discarding plastic at the beach. This was hugely frustrating. From Wikipedia, here are some facts on the effect of plastic pollution on marine animals:


Plastic pollution has the potential to poison animals, which can then adversely affect human food supplies. Plastic pollution has been described as being highly detrimental to large marine mammals, described in the book Introduction to Marine Biology as posing the "single greatest threat" to them. Some marine species, such as sea turtles, have been found to contain large proportions of plastics in their stomach. When this occurs, the animal typically starves, because the plastic blocks the animal's digestive tract. Marine mammals sometimes become entangled in plastic products such as nets, which can harm or kill them

As someone who runs a business with plastic free products like deodorant and shampoo bars, I can fairly say that there are a lot of people who are looking for plastic free packaging for their online purchases. So if you have an online business, don't be afraid to advertise that you offer plastic free options. Also sometimes less is more, so don't be afraid to try minimal or different packaging options. When I started shipping our flaxseed pillows in paper flat rate mailers a year or two ago, we had a fun time playing 'football' with test packages to see how well they held up, with surprisingly good results. 

Here is a rather novice video that we made of Aquarian Bath's Plastic Free July dilemma basket. These are plastic items that we ended up with despite trying to eliminate plastic. 



My daughter Moira of Organic Kitty Land, gives a run down of the plastics from her and her sister Tessa's plastic dilemma box. Moira shared at the end of the video that they ended up with plastic packaging from gummy bears that came with their restaurant meal. I was very proud of her for rejecting the plastic wrapped fortune cookies the next time we went out for a dinner. Tessa who said she didn't like Plastic Free July also surprised me by asking the waitress at the same dinner to not give us straws. Great results! I'm glad we signed up for the whole month instead of 1 or 2 weeks.



I do have another box of plastic that was individual/family/car/house and not so much related to kids, but I will just post of picture of that on twitter at the end of July.

Thanks for following our Plastic Free July posts.

Cory Trusty, President
Aquarian Bath

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scented Geraniums in the Garden and Kitchen

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A Rose-scented Geranium cultivar in our Garden

Geranium
Pelargonium graveolens of the plant family Geraniaceae is a spreading aromatic shrub which grows 2-3 feet, and is used frequently in Aromatherapy, skin care, and perfumery. This plant originated in South Africa, and now grows worldwide. One of the main areas of cultivation is Egypt. We use this herb or its essential oil in many of our Aquarian Bath products, and now you can discover more about this remarkable herb.
 

From Garden to Kitchen
There are many cultivars of Pelargonium with different scents. In our garden we have Rose Scented Geraniums and Lemon Scented Geraniums. I have found these geraniums are exceptionally easy to cultivate from cuttings, with nearly a 100% success rate. All that is required is a little pot of garden soil. Put the fresh cut stem into the soil and add water every 2-3 days. Mountain Valley Growers boasts 24 varieties of scented Pelargonium. A few of those include Apricot, Cinnamon, Lime, and Ginger.  
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Lemon scented Geranium has a Citronella type scent.
What can you do with fresh Geranium leaves? Fresh geranium leaves can be included when making fruit jams or jellies. Linda Reed has a dedicated pinterest board for geraniums and geranium recipes. The list goes on and on, starting with lemonade, mojito, cakes, and cookies. 

 
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Our lemon scented Geranium cultivar at high magnification.

Geranium Lemonade or Limeade Concentrate Recipe adapted from cook.com 
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar* (not GMO beet sugar)
10 rose-scented geranium leaves
1 cup fresh Organic lemon or lime juice
ice water, to serve

Directions:
In a small pot boil water with sugar. Remove from heat, add leaves and let infuse 4-10 hours. Squeeze out the leaves well. Add lemon or lime juice. Pour the solution into a bottle and refrigerate. To serve, add 1 T of this concentrate to 1 cup of chilled water and mix well. Serve over ice in a glass garnished with a small scented geranium leaf of rose petals. The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks. 
*You can use honey instead of sugar if you add the honey to the cooled boiled herbal infusion. Boiling honey is not required or recommended.
Another fun thing to do with geranium leaves is to make an herbal vinegar. You can use the vinegar in salad dressings, or for making a diluted vinegar hair rinse, which can be helpful for people make the transition to shampoo bars. With a little creativity, there is basically no limit to what you can create in your kitchen with this remarkable herb.
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Geranium essential oil, together with Bulgarian Rose wax, Lavender and Cedarwood scent Aquarian Bath’s popular Rose oil shampoo bar for normal to dry hair types.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Organic Kitty Land Catnip Pillow Set Giveaway at the Aquariann Art Blog


Have your visited the great new shop, Organic Kitty Land? Our very own Moira Johnson has started a catnip pillow business with Organic cotton and hemp fabrics. Many of these fabrics were small scrap fabrics from Aquarian Bath's Organic Cotton and hemp flaxseed pillows Your cats will love this little Organic catnip filled pillows.  Our Etsy friend Aquariann is giving away this set of pillows at her Fantasy Art Blog. You can follow this link to enter, or click below on Organic Kitty Land's mascott, Pumpkin Pie.

Worldwide Giveaway

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How do Aquarian Bath Shampoo Bars Stack up to the Competition at Price per oz?


When shopping for products online, it can be hard to get a feel for the size of the item your are buying.  If you haven't tried Aquarian Bath soaps or shampoo bars yet, let me give you a feel for that. I did some comparison shopping with two popular Shampoo bar brands, Lush and J.R. Liggett. When comparing price + shipping of shampoo bars on our website versus these websites we found Aquarian Bath shampoo bars were significantly less expensive per ounce than both Lush and J.R. Liggett on single bar purchases for US addresses.

Lush Shampoo Bar 
1.9 oz bar
$11.95 per bar
$6 shipping
Total $17.95
Total price per oz $9.45

J.R. Liggett Shampoo Bar
3.5 oz bar
$6.99 per bar
$7.45 shipping
Total $14.44
Total price per oz $4.23

Aquarian Bath Shampoo Bar
4 - 4.5 oz bar (some variation d/t handmade)
$7.50 per bar suggested retail price
$6.50 special price (usually available unless inventory is low)
$3.11 shipping
Total at suggested retail price $10.61 
Total at special price $9.61
Total price per oz at suggested retail price $2.36 - $2.65
Total price per oz at special price $2.14- $2.40

To summarize, we found that Aquarian Bath bars are $6.80- $7.31/oz less expensive than Lush bars and  $1.58- $2.09/oz less expensive than L.R. Liggett bars. You can trust you will be saving money when you shop at Aquarian Bath.

Cory Trusty, president
Aquarian Bath