Sunday, November 30, 2014

Aquarian Bath: Online Security Update

To ensure your online safety and ours, only uses the latest methods to secure your online transactions with us. If you are having trouble with our website, it may be because your browser does not support TLS1.2 encryption standards for HTTPS traffic. To ensure a smooth and satisfying shopping experience with us, we recommend that you use only the latest available version of Firefox or Chrome, to ensure support for this critical security feature. Yes, other websites may fall back on less secure standards sometimes. This opens them up to all manner of problems. Vendors not supporting these newer security measures leave their customers open to the possibility of having their traffic intercepted by malicious parties. The intercepted data could then be used to access online financial data, or in identity theft. 

The following browsers are not up to date with TLS security 
Android 2.3.7
BingBot Dec 2013
IE6 / XP
IE7/ Vista
Java 6u45
Yahoo Slurp Jun 2014
BingBot Dec 2013

The following browsers do not support TLS-1.2, however I have made modification to our server to overcome that handicap:
IE 8-10 / Win 7
IE 11 / Win 7
IE 11 / Win 8.1
IE Mobile 10 / Win Phone 8.0
IE Mobile 11 / Win Phone 8.1

If you have been trying to shop with these browsers, you should be able to do so successfully now, however we recommend that you use a more modern secure browser to ensure your overall safety online.  You can download Firefox here and Chrome here.

Scott Johnson, VP

Friday, November 28, 2014

Eucalyptus Spotlight

Did you know there are 300 species of Eucalyptus trees? These trees are indigenous to Australia where the fresh leaves have been used traditionally in wound treatments, and the wood is used for making didgeridoo wind instruments. Trees are also used for making pulp and charcoal.  Eucalyptus essential oil, which is powerfully cleansing, antiseptic, and deodorizing, is steam distilled from the leaves.
Eucalyptus tree in bloom, photo by Starr. Trees can grow as high as 90 meters

Australian Eucalyptus globulus essential oil is the best quality. Due to its camphoraceous, sweet and woody scent, 75% of "Eucalyptus Oil" on the market actually comes from China where the faux oil is made from Camphor Trees. True Eucalyptus oil is refreshing and stimulating; a favorite to use in steams or bath formulas for people with congested sinuses. A 2% Eucalyptus oil room spray emulsion is extremely antiseptic, with the ability to kill 70% of airborne Staph bacteria. The oil provides a cooling and stimulating sensation useful in a congested chest rubs or lip balms for blistered lips. Below is a demonstration from Aromatherapy Oasis on how to use essential oils safely in a steam inhalation. 

There are environmental and safety concerns regarding cultivation of Eucalyptus outside of Australia. Eucalyptus has become invasive in many areas including California, where it is also a fire hazard due to the volatility of the essential oil. The Seminole Indian tribe has taken a stand against the planting of genetically engineered (GE) Eucalyptus trees in Florida. Native pine forests are being cut down to plant GE Eucalyptus, which worsens climate change and is a threat to biodiversity. People living near the GE Eucalyptus plantations are concerned with health risks from altered tree pollen and toxic chemicals used on the plantations. Eucalyptus trees are also require a lot of water. We are against the destruction of native South Eastern forests for Eucalyptus production
Eucalyptus globulus trees in Hawaii, photo by Starr

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This Neck Exercise Works Wonders for Upper Back Pain and Stiffness

I found this helpful exercise video by chiropractor Dr. Paula Moore of at Erin Elizabeth's Health Nut News blog. I have been doing the exercise demonstrated here daily for the past week, and have noticed major improvement with some upper back tightness around the first through third thoracic vertebrae. Maybe the fact that I had only been having that pain for a few months, contributed to this exercise clearing up the tension so quickly, which was after only three days. The exercise itself takes less than 5 minutes a day. After the first day of trying it, I did a few neck rotations and experiences around 10 neck or back pops through out the day. The second day, I felt stiffness like my spine had been replaced with a rod. It felt strange but not painful. The third day, my neck and upper back just felt loose, more relaxed, and more mobile.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Product: Lemon Laundry Soap Powder

We just added a new product to our website.  Aquarian Bath's new laundry soap is made with Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda), Aquarian Bath vegan soap scraps that have been finely powdered in our Vitamix, Sodium Tetraborate (borax), and Lemon essential oil. Lemon essential oil doesn't mask odors like chemical fragrance oils, it deodorizes and removes them.
I hope my grandmother would approve this recipe.  She took in laundry to support my mother and uncle when they were young children. 
Dorathy Trusty, Grandma Marjorie Ekstedt, and future Aquarian Bath president Cory Trusty

This laundry soap is low/no lather and can be used with top loading or side loading high efficiency machines. We currently have this laundry soap available in 1 pound biodegradable & compostable cellophane bags with a wooden scoop. One pound is enough for 42 side loading high efficiency machines or 21 top loading machines. No fabric softener is needed.

Does not contain the following:
Sodium Laurel Sulfate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Nonylphenol Ethoxylate
GMO ingredients
Chemical Fragrance oils
Palm oil
Washing soda

Would you like to see this laundry soap in different sizes? Sample/travel, larger size, in jars? Please let us know by leaving a comment. 

If you are more of a do it yourself type person, then please check out this Liquid Laundry Soap recipe on our blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Flax Pillow Fabrics for Winter

Organic Cotton - Hemp Canvas with Organic Cotton Cover. This is a print I had been looking at for a long time.  I like the soft autumn tones combined with the pink and grey. 

Organic Cotton - Hemp Canvas with Organic Cotton Cover.  This print is the popular so far since the cold weather has arrived. You can also pick up a matching catnip pillow for your kitty with this print from Organic Kitty Land.  Thanks to Moira at Organic Kitty Land for picking out this fabric.  

This is a Tan Hemp Linen, natural color, pesticide-free.  I love the fabric, and may use it to make myself a pair of pants or skirt. 

Purple Organic Cotton Canvas, the dark plum color is a bit difficult to photograph. The hue in this photo is slightly on the brown side, but the color is a true dark purple. It is a bet if you are shopping for someone who likes purple.

Pink, Gray, and White Damask Print Cotton Scott and I fell in love with this print and picked up a couple of yards for the customers who consistently want fanciful or feminine pink prints when shopping for Moms, Great Aunties and Grandmas. Unfortunately this print is a conventional cotton. I've been disappointed with the selection of Organic pink fabrics in canvas and twill. It is hard to believe considering how much emphasis was placed on pink for October's Breast Cancer awareness. There is strong demand for pink! Our one pink Organic canvas is this hot pink geometric design, which is more fitting for a younger crowd. We also have a Hemp-Organic cotton canvas with a light pink Organic cotton cover, but again it is a geometric design which hasn't gone over well with the great Auntie demographic. We would love to offer more variety in Organic pink cotton canvas pillows.

This Blue Toile cotton I found in a remnants section at the fabric store. It is also a conventional cotton and we just have a very limited quantity (4-5). 

There is no shortage of fresh modern and geometric Organic cottons, but I have yet to find any traditional looking Toile or attractive Damask prints in Organic cotton. We are hoping to see more traditional designs from the Organic Cotton companies, like Cloud 9 Fabrics in 2015, and will be ready to purchase these types of fabrics if they become available.  If you would like to see more traditional designs in Organic Cotton Fabric too, please sent a tweet or an email to @cloud9fabrics to let them know.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Photos from the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

 We spent yesterday at the Ponce Inlet lighthouse for the annual homeschool day. This 175 feet hand-built lighthouse is the tallest in Florida. It was first lit in 1887 after many difficulties with the construction, including the death of its engineer Orville E. Babcock who drown in the first attempt to transport bricks into the inlet by boat. Two other boats hauling bricks subsequently sunk as well. This historical site is open to the public.  It is both a museum and an active lighthouse. Here are some photos we took.
My littlest is not afraid of heights or climbing towers.
A spectacular view of the ocean and Ponce inlet. 
The preserved buildings contain artifacts that were used in early life at the lighthouse.

This little soap cage was used for sudsing up water for washing laundry and dishes.

The glass bottles and metal tools and containers really give a good idea about kitchens before the invention of plastics.

Here is a collection of old time medicines, one of which was Choroform liniment!  Eek!  

This was the medicine chest provided to the Light House keepers by the Coast Guard which contained the medicines listed above.

There were also herbal medicines on site.
Popular herbal medicines from the 1800's.  Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound and Atwoods Jaundice Bitters.

One building contains a stunning collection of Fresnel lenses from other lighthouses.  

Below is my favorite lens from an Australian lighthouse. It reminds me of a big insect.

Hope you liked the photos. What fun lighthouses have you visited?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Containers for our Tooth Powder, Massage oil, and Mosquito Repellent

We have a new tooth powder container option for customers who have a preference for glass rather than metal containers.  Currently we just have the Cinnamon flavor available, but we will add more over time if there is demand for other flavors.

Our Lavender Massage oil is now available at our main Aquarian Bath website in glass bottles, with either spray pump tops (above), or twist on metal foil-lined lids (below).

These glass massage oil bottles are also available as options in our popular "I Heart Mom" gift sets.  

And last, but not least, our Mosquito repellent is now available in these brushed Aluminum bottles with a plastic spray pump top. I accidentally ordered 8 oz instead of 4 oz bottles, so they are double the size of the mosquito repellents that we had in PET.

Hope you like the new containers. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Health and Longevity Tips

11 Basic Guidelines for General Health and Longevity Infographic Thanks Dr. Mercola for another great infographic to share. Number 4, making and eating fermented vegetables is so easy. Checkout this sauerkraut recipe from the Kitchn. I use this recipe minus the caraway. I make my sauerkraut in a crock pot.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

DIY: Can you can you "refresh" the scent of a flaxseed pillow with essential oils?

We received a good question about out scented flax pillows the other day.  I'm posting it here so others can benefit from the answer.

How long does the scent last and can you "refresh" the flax with oils? I am an essential oil rep. and have a ton of oils and would like to be able to use different oils at different times. Is this possible?

The length of time that the scented herbs lasts really depends on how often you microwave it. I have pillows from over a year ago that still smell good when I heat them.

If you want you use essential oils, it is better to put just a drop or two on the pillow in a spot where you will be careful that it will not directly contact the skin after heating the pillow. You don't want to get undiluted essential oil on your skin, because it can make an allergic reaction and sensitize you to the essential oil. For that reason it would be the safest using one of our flax pillows that have washable covers, so that you could add a drop or two (no more than 2 drops) of oil to the inner pillow, and then insert the pillow into the protective cover. If the essential oil is pure, then it will not leave a residue on the pillow. You should test the purity of your essential oil first by putting a drop on plain paper. When a pure essential oil oil evaporates there will be no residue. This takes 24 hours or less depending on the oil. Fragrance oils are not beneficial for aromatherapy, and would also stain the fabric. 

Organic Cotton and Hemp Flax Pillow with washable cover.
A better way to refresh the pillow is to cut open the end seam, pour the contents into a bowl, and add a cup and a half of good quality dried Organic herbs. Mix them up and then set them aside until you have washed and dried your pillow sleeve. Then refill the sleeve using a funnel and then stitch down the end seam. You can use a mending kit if you don't have a sewing machine.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Best Photos from Leu Gardens in Orlando

I have been meaning to go to Leu Gardens in Orlando for a long time. Monday we finally had a good opportunity, since we also had to make a trip to Sky Craft for hardware parts for a SolarNetone project, and the first Monday of the month is also free at Leu Gardens. We took pictures until the battery died on the phone, but here are some of my favorites.  The pohots are either of my favorite garden displays or just the best photos from the batch that I took. I hope you enjoy them, and find they inspire you to go visit. The photos that I saw online previously didn't really give me a good idea of what I would find there, for example a small but unique Bonsai Garden, a Butterfly garden, a Citrus grove, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, and flower clock. I posted other photos of roses and bamboo at my Aquarian Bath twitter and personal google+ accounts.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Scientists 'Discover' Honeysuckle's Anti-viral properties (kind of like how Columbus 'discovered' America)

Sci-News is reporting the discovery of Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) as a the first virological penicillin. Scientists have narrowed in on a microRNA from the herb, MIR2911, which directly targets Influenza virus to inhibit its replication. The full article has been published in NatureMice in this study who received honeysuckle had reduced mortality due from infection with some viral strains. Unlike other microRNAs which are deactivated by boiling, this particular microRNA remains active after boiling, which is the traditional preparation method for this herb. The researchers stated that Traditional Chinese Herbal preparations are generally boiled for several hours, however thirty minutes is a more accurate average. The specific length of time required to boil a Chinese herbal preparation depends on whether the herb is classified as a tonic, whether it is strongly aromatic, a mineral 'herb', etc. Thirty minutes is in fact the amount of time that the researchers boiled the honeysuckle to make a decoction for this study. 

The reason I say that the scientists 'discovered' honeysuckle the way that Columbus discovered America, is for two reasons. First, in the America that Columbus 'found', there were already people. In this case people called "herbalists" were already using Honeysuckle for its anti-viral properties. Second, it is unclear that the researchers have correctly identified what they have found; is it India, or is it North America? In the materials and methods section of the paper the researchers stated simply that the the "Honeysuckle" was purchased from a Chinese Herbal Medicine shop. They did not elaborate as to which of the two Pharmaceutically distinct Honeysuckle herbal medicines sold by Traditional Chinese Herbal shops they used; those are either the stem with the leaves or the flower buds. The pharmaceutical name of the dried stem and leaf is "Caulis Lonicerae" or commonly "Ren Dong Teng." The pharmaceutical name for the dried flower buds is "Flos Lonicerae japonicae" or commonly "Jin Yin Hua." Most often the species used is Lonicera japonica, but in some parts of China other Lonicera species are used. The plant name was stated as Lonicera japonica in the introduction, though only the common English name of "Honeysuckle" was confirmed in the materials and methods. I found it strange that these details were left out, especially considering that it was published in Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal. There are multiple Chinese Pharmaceutical herbs with not just different species that are used interchangeably, but also different genera (for example Pogostemon and Agastache). I think the research performed in this study is good.  My critique is really against the misleading Sci News headline and the editorial laxity at Nature in allowing obvious details to be left out. I would be happy to see more scientific articles in big journals, but I would hope they pay more attention to these kind of details in the future. 

Even though the Honeysuckle flowers are harder to collect, they are used more often than the stems and leaves in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Interestingly, Jin Yin Hua is not any old flower from the Honeysuckle plant. The honeysuckle flowers start out white as they bud and when they first open. In a day or two they turn yellow, which is why the flowers are call Jin Yin Hua, translated "gold silver flower." The medicinal flowers are the unopened dried flower buds, which are considered to be the strongest. When the buds are picked they are white, and as they dry they turn yellow. Good quality Jin Yin Hua is a golden yellow and whole, unopened bud. It should not be brown, which would indicate that it is old or was not dried properly. This herb currently sells for around $29 per pound or more. It is used Traditionally for all types of infections where these is fever or influenza, and it is safe for children. The herb is also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for bacterial dysentery, boils, and mastitis.  I have used it most often with other herbs in formulas for respiratory tract infections and pneumonia. This vine grows wild in some parts of the United States, and is also considered invasive here in Florida.  I continue to grow and harvest it, because of its medicinal value. When preparing it for an adult, I boil 9-15 grams of dried flower buds (dose range for adult) in a pot of water for around 30 minutes. The water is strained and drunk over 1-2 days, a cup 2-3 times per day.  A child's dose is 1/2 the adult dose. A baby's dose is 1/3 the adult dose.

Honey Honeysuckle Tea Recipe for Reducing Acne 
Jin Yin Hua 30 grams
Gan Cao (licorice root, Glycrrhiz glabra) 5 grams
Boil with 8.5 cups of water, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Drink daily

Lonicera japonica vine is propagated easily from cuttings. You can grow it in a large container on your porch to prevent it from taking over a natural habitat.