Friday, October 30, 2009

New Product: Rose Geranium Natural Perfume

Rose Geranium Perfume
Originally uploaded by AquarianBath

The alkanet root infused jojoba oil makes up the base of this perfume giving it a lovely red color. The perfume is naturally scented with the Rose like essential oil of Perlargonium gravolens, also known as Rose Geranium. A small amount of Australian sandalwood helps anchor and complement the Rose Geranium.

Rose Geranium on Foodista

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Delicate Little Beauties: My First Moringa Flowers

This is my second year growing Moringa oleifera trees, but the first year they have bloomed. If you are not familiar with Moringa, it is a highly nutritive tree, which has the highest protein concentration of any known plant. It is also very easy to digest. Since they did not bloom last year and I was harvesting a good amount of leaves I decided to just let them go over the summer and see if we got any flowers. So here are the first blooms from one of the trees at the Fair Share Garden. I am hoping that we will end up with many seeds to share. All parts of the plant have a variety of culinary and medicinal uses. The most interesting use I have found though is water purification using the seeds. In Natural Medicine in the Tropics Treatments Dr. Hans Martin Hirt gives a complete method for river water purification. About 10 crushed seeds (2 grams of seed) is needed to purify 20 litres of water. The Moringa seed binds the fine particles and bacteria and removes 90- 99.9% of bacteria. The purification can actually be done also with seed that has already been pressed for its oil. Moringa oil has a long shelf life and can be used in cooking, soap making, and as a base for cosmetics.

Moringa Oleifera on Foodista

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Abundant Neem Harvest at the Herb Farm and What I'm Doing With All of It

I spent another Saturday at Maggie's Herb Farm in St. Augustine teaching an advanced soapmaking class for Creating Shampoo Bars and Spa/Salt Soaps. The class itself when very well. I had some mild anxiety on the way up that I had maybe not packed all the ingredients that we needed, but everything was packed and it was a very smooth class.

The last time I was at the farm I finally noticed that there was a huge neem tree in one of the large green houses. When I talked to the owner on Thursday before the class, I asked her if I could harvest some for myself. She sounded very excited about the prospect and told me have her employee help me harvest it so that the branches would no longer be threatening to poke a hole through the top of the green house. So during our lunch break Julie climbed right up the tree and took down about 15 large branches that really needed to be pruned while I assisted. After our lunch break I brought some of the branches into class and we filled up jars with neem leaves and other herbs to make an apple cider vinegar based deodorant spray. Later, my husband helped me carry the cumbersome bundle into the house, I asked him how much he thought it was. He estimated 35 pounds. The weight of it had thrown him off balance, and I actually think maybe it was even more than that.

I'm in day three of processing all the neem. Saturday night I laid out two trays of leaves to dry, put up a quart of leaf in tincture, a quart of leaf in oil to cold infuse, a basket full of bark to dry, and a basket full of twigs to dry. Today I need to strip the rest of the bark from the large branches.

This is my first neem leaf harvest, though I have been growing baby neem trees in Central Florida for the last two years and using neem oil in my products and garden. I have read that dried neem leaves are helpful for repelling insects and can be added to dried rice, beans, and other dried herbs. The neem leaf is highly medicinal and is used for a various skin conditions such as foot fungus, psoriasis, scabies, acne, allergic reactions, small pox, chicken pox, and eczema. I'm preparing the leaf tincture to use as described in Natural Medicine in the Tropics by Hans Martin Hirt, which is to mix the leaf tincture together with vegetable oil for application as an ointment. I will likely use the infused leaf oil together with the tincture. I generally prefer to infuse herbs in oil on the stove top, but from what I understand the medicinal properties of the neem leaves are best extracted cold, so I simply will let them sit in my Extra Virgin Olive oil/ Coconut oil solution for a few weeks and then strain and decant. The jar of leaves and oil was very bubbly and oozing yesterday morning. Neem bark and twigs are particularly useful in dental care for keeping gums healthy. The dried bark I plan to grind in herbal friend's hammermill for use in tooth powder, and I may even put up some bark in alcohol to make an extract for application to gums today as well. I will be cutting up the little twigs into tooth-pick sized pieced for dental care as well.

I have more classes coming up at Maggies Herb farm in November and December. You can call the farm to preregister 904-829-0722:

Herbal Aromatics! Natural Incense & Perfumery Class.
Saturday November 14th 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
Join us for an introduction to incense and natural perfumery. We will be making all natural cone incense with dried herbs and resins, as well as a room spray, cologne, and solid perfumes with pure essential oils. Learn the properties of various essential oils and how to combine them to repel pests, freshen a room, and more. We will be working with a variety of dried herbs including those available at the farm including Lemon Verbena, Lemon grass, and Patchouli. Bring a sack lunch $45

Herbal Bath & Body Holiday Stocking Stuffers Class!
Saturday December 12th 10:30– 2:30
Join us for a fun-filled day of sipping herb-mulled cider and creating herbal holiday gifts for friends and family. We will be making 4 sets of stocking stuffers with each gift bag including: 2 Peppermint and 2 Cinnamon stick lip balms in old fashioned metal slide tins, 4 Herb-infused Winter Dry Skin Shea butter balms infused with fresh picked herbs, and 4 sets of herbal bath teas. We will also make herbal decorations with fresh Rosemary to take home for ourselves! Bring a sack lunch. $40.00

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Pumpkin Poppy Seed Soap Made the Etsy Front Page

Etsy Front Page 10/4/09 Admin
Originally uploaded by Etsy Front Pagers

Wow my pumpkin poppy seed soap made it to the front page of Etsy a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't even notice. This soap made the front page last year too, although in a different picture.

There is a flickr group that archives all the etsy front pages, so every once in a while I check in there. Here is a link to it if you want to search for your favorite etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cotton Reuseable Face Scrubbies from Brie Durkin of BDK Signature

I recently received a great batch of cotton face scrubbies from another Unique Women in Business Member, Brie Durkin of BDK Signature. I'm very happy with them and love to use them once or twice a day with my black charcoal clarifying soap. In addition to hand made face scrubbies, Brie also makes wash cloths and glass pendants. Brie is currently attending college in McMinnville, Oregon where she is studying Psychology and Studio Art. "I am in a sorority and absolutely love it. My favorite color is blue and I am addicted to Etsy! I am motivated by my love of creating and my passion for handmade. I love learning how to make everything, so I am constantly expanding my skill set. When I see a medium that I like, I strive to learn how to use it. I want to be the person that knows how to do everything. What also motivates me is the fact that I can earn money to pay for college."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Cinnamon Soap with Pure Essential oil!

Cinnamon Soap with Pure Essential oils
Originally uploaded by AquarianBath

This is a richly scented natural soap made with pure Cassia essential oil and colored naturally with cocoa powder and Annato seed. These bars are hard and long lasting and mild to those who are not sensitive to scented soaps. This 4 oz bar ships naked.

Available at

Cinnamon on Foodista

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Herbal Spa Day for Hair and Body Oct. 24th St. Augustine

Sea Salt Soap
Originally uploaded by AquarianBath

Herbal Spa Day for Hair and Body: Shampoo Bars, Spa Soaps, Hair Rinses & Deodorants! October 24th 10:00 AM-2:00 PM Saturday
Herbalist and Soap Maker Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath will lead a workshop on making Aloe Shampoo bars, Spa Salt Soaps, Conditioning Hair Rinses and Deodorants. She will discuss safety basics of Soap making and various ingredients. Learn the difference between Shampoo bars and Spa Salt bars versus regular body soaps. Join in harvesting and processing fresh Aloe vera and preparing oils for soap making. Each participant will go home with recipes, a full sized Aloe Shampoo bar and Spa Salt soap made during the workshop. Students will harvest fresh herbs from the farm to make their own conditioning hair rinses and deodorants. Bring a sack lunch. $40.00 Instructor Cory Trusty Herbalist and Owner of Aquarian Bath products

Call to Preregister 904-829-0722

Friday, October 16, 2009

Goldenrod Harvest

Goldenrod Harvest
Originally uploaded by AquarianBath

I am currently making up a fresh batch of Yarrow/Comfrey/Calendula infused oil and just harvested Goldenrod (this photo) infused oil. These will be my base oils for restocking my Skin Soothing Balm and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Balm respectively. I'm using Extra Virgin Olive Oil in these batches together with Candelilla Wax (vegan) for the first time. I like the fact that only half as much Candelilla wax is needed compared to beeswax for balm making. This will allow for a higher concentration of healing herbal infused oil in the balms.

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A Selection of Cough Herbs from Maggie's Herb Farm

A Selection of Cough Herbs from Maggie's Herb Farm
Originally uploaded by AquarianBath

I took this picture at my Cold and Flu Class at Maggie's Herb Farm in St. Augustine this weekend.

This is a small selection of the herbs available at the farm which are useful for colds and cough.


Garden Thyme: for cough, bronchitis, whooping cough, inflamed sinuses, bloating


Tilo: for cough and sore throat

Vick's Salve plant: a succulent herb that can be used fresh to make a steam treatment for chest and sinus congestion.

Horehound: A very bitter herb used for making horehound candy cough drops.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Comparing Essential Oils with Chemical Fragrance Oils in Consumer Products: How and Why to Spot the Differences

Aromatherapy effects of dynamic natural plant essential oils cannot be duplicated by man-made chemical fragrance oils. Aromatherapy is a branch of plant medicine that has nothing to do with synthetic fragrances. However, because the health-promoting properties of true Aromatherapy are desirable, many companies use cheaper chemical fragrance oils that do NOT carry these benefits, but will mislead customers (knowingly or unknowingly) by using the terms aromatherapy or aroma to make it seem like they are the same thing. The most offensive promotion I have seen was an "herbal soap" made with chemical fragrance oils rather than herbal essential oils. In order for a product to have genuine aromatherapeutic properties is must be made with unadulterated plant essences, plant infused oils, or other plant based ingredients. Products labeled for example as "Lavender Fragrance Oil" you may assume are synthetic. A product made with Lavender essential oil will be labeled as such.

How can you tell if you are smelling a pure essential oil product or natural perfume? There are various ways to test an undiluted oil or essential oil for purity, but when it comes to diluted oils in body or or home fragrance products your nose is also a fine judge. When you smell a product made with pure essential oils you should feel drawn to inhale deeply. In contrast when smelling a chemical substitute you may feel like you want to immediately cease inhalation or even hold your breath. Just think of a trip down laundry or home fragrance aisle at the supermarket, which is often overwhelming for people even without chemical sensitivities. Using personal body products with chemical fragrances such as these may contribute to stress on the liver and development of chemical sensitivities over time.

In addition it is noteworthy that certain plant scents cannot be stabilized. Natural perfumery expert Mandy Aftel notes in her book Essence and Alchemy that following florals cannot be produced naturally: Freesia, Honeysuckle, Violet, Tulip, Lily, Gardenia, Heliotrope, Orchid, Lilac, and Lily of the Valley. Also you may find the following fruity 'flavor oils' in various lip balms, but I can assure you they are not essential oils. These are Cherry, Watermelon, Apple, Raspberry, etc. Citrus fruits flavors however can be condensed from collection of the essential oils from outer peel.

Lavender photo by Photo by Heron 15:46, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC). This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Etsy Twitter Spotlight MindyG's Jewelry Boutique

MindiG's Jewelry Boutique is the featured shop from the Etsy Twitter Street Team this week. Check out the Etsy Twitter blog to find out more about her and her beautiful jewelry creations. Mindi works with a variety of lovely natural gemstones as you can see. I am particularly fond of the Kyanite earrings.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thyme Cough Syrup Recipe

Thyme can be used as a primary ingredient in cough syrup. Thyme likes well drained soil and can be killed easily from being inundated by daily rain storms that here occur here in Central Florida July through September. Thyme is an expectorant herb which relieves bronchial spasms to stop coughs. You can use Thyme to calm the cough and throat in cases of Bronchitis, sore throat, inflamed mucus membranes, whooping cough (Purtussis), and gas and bloating.

Mint is another helpful ingredient for cough. It can calm inflammation in the head, throat and eyes. It needs to be added towards the end of the recipe and brewed only for a short time to prevent the fragile aromatic essential oils from dissipating.

Thyme Cough Syrup Recipe:
1 oz dried thyme
1 oz dried mint
4 cups water
sugar or honey

Boil dried Thyme down to about 2.5 cups of water, then strain. Add Mint and let boil for 5-10 minutes. Strain the decoction and add it back to the pot noting the final volume. Add 2 times the volume of the strained decoction in sugar or honey. If using sugar, dissolve it into the decoction.

The suggested amount of syrup to take is 1 tablespoon up to 5 times a day for adults. For children 4-10 years the dosage is 1.5 - 2 tsp up to 5 times day depending on weight.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Local Plein Air Artist Ruth Vines

I am very pleased to introduce you to plein air artist Ruth Vines. Ruth and I have been showing together during the last few First Friday Art Walk events in downtown Daytona Beach with the Volusia County Art Consortium. The Volusia County Art Consortium is a group of artists and fine crafters who work together to promote and support each other in our creative endeavors. It is a real pleasure to watch Ruth paint. "In my paintings I try to capture the light and its effects on the subject. I love painting local scenes in the plein air tradition. I used to work from photos, but discovered that there are so many more colors and details to be seen when on location.
I don’t have to travel very far, there is beauty around us, every step we take. The local marinas, old houses and the tropical scenery provide possible paintings every minute of the day, and I feel lucky to live here.­"

For those who are not familiar with plein air painting, Ruth has a wonderful explanation:
Plein air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means ‘in the open air’. It’s a familiar concept today, but in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary. Plein air painting used to be just a means to an end, with the artist painting small studies on location, to use the information gathered about color, shadow effects, etc. for a larger, elaborate painting that was going to be executed in the studio. Nowadays, however, it is a stand-alone art form and is used to produce finished paintings. It is quite an experience to be outside in nature, feeling the heat, the wind, hearing the birds and encountering wildlife, while trying to capture a scene on canvas. With the sun shifting - and thus changing the shadows and light effects - you only have a window of about 2-3 hours at most before the scene changes completely due to the natural course of the sun. So in addition to enduring heat or cold, wind, bugs, curious wildlife and/or tourists, you have a limited time frame to put down your artistic statement.

Ruth has painted at one my favorite places to visit in Volusia County, the Sugar Mill Gardens. Here is one of her beautiful paintings from the site.

Ruth is now accepting commissions. Imagine your neighborhood or local scenery, your home, your boat, or a favorite vacation spot as an original oil painting. Ruth prefers to paint on site, but can also work from photos and sketches. Ruth Vines 386-451-6857 krautgraphics @

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Daytona! Plan Ahead for Hallowgreen on Oct. 31st at City Island Farmer's Market

Green Halloween and the Fair Share Garden are Hosting a Hallowgreen party Saturday October 31st from 8 am -2 pm at the City Island farmers market. We will have green prizes and activities for kids, free workshops and an Eco friendly costume contest. There will be arts and crafts vendors and raffle prizes including baskets of farmer's market goodies. Be sure to be there at 10 a.m. when I will be giving a free herbal workshop. I will also have my soaps and body products for sale. This is a fundraising even to benefit the Fair Share Garden. If you would like to be a sponsor for the event, purchase raffle tickets or if you would like an application to participate as a vendor, then please contact me for more details at aquarianbath @

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Use of Florida Elderberry in the Treatment of a Confirmed Case of H1N1

Many thanks to Paul Bergner for his promotion of Elderberry as well as other herbs in this video as a suggested treatment for Swine Flu/ H1N1 Virus. As mentioned by Paul, Elder Flower and Elderberry have been in use in Europe and North America traditionally for use with colds and flu. An Isreali scientific study also found that influenza patients taking Elderberry syrup fared better than those in the control group. There are various types of Elder. The more well known is Sambucus nigra. Another commonly used Elder is Sambucus canadensis. In Florida we have Florida Elder or Sambucus simpsonii, which is what I gather and use in my medicinal preparations. Florida elder blooms most heavily during May, followed by berry production at the end of June. You can find most often near damp wooded areas. On occasion you will find Florida elder blooming or fruiting outside of this time period. For example I found a small flowering patch near the Halifax river two weeks ago. I have also found the odd shrub flowering mid-winter in sunny residential areas. Since the primary harvest time for the berry is during the most humid part of the year and I do not yet have a solar herb dryer nor humidity control, I generally tincture the fresh berry in high proof alcohol. This extract has given me good results especially with babies and children who have fever or fever with rashes.

Last week I was approached by a friend whose teen aged child received an official diagnosis of H1N1/Swine Flu infection. I was happy to be able to send her home with some Florida elderberry extract made with a 1:1 glycerin: Everclear (151) solution. Most recipes for Elderberry extract or syrup call for dried berries, which allow for a more concentrated solution. Typical dosage for such a tincture (made with dried berries) for an adult is 2 droppers full 3-5 times a day. We started with this dosage on day one with not much change in the high fever. In then doubling
this dosage we saw good results in reduction of the fever, (which made a lot of sense considering fresh berries were used). Also note worthy, the two other teens from this household who also became sick recovered well using this herb. It was rather encouraging to me also that my friend who is quite healthy and strong did not get sick. Despite the impression from the popular media regarding the epidemic nature of the illness, it seems that proper self care is a strong defense against infection.

Elderberry is a very popular herb. Consider having some on hand in case you need it during this
cold and flu season. Check with your local herbalist or health food shop for preparations.

This blog post is a part of the October Herbal Blog party celebrating Bioregional Herbs for Cold and Flu Season and hosted by Rosalee de la Foret.

Elderberry on Foodista

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