3 benefits of drinking mint tea; Make your own from fresh mint
I first met Mint tea in Morocco and I was smitten. I loved the sweet, hot, pungent flavours of the tea and could completely understand why it could be drunk all day long. Mint not only tastes good, it's good for you. And it's an easy perennial to grow in small gardens, outdoor or indoor, giving you your own organically grown supply. Making your own mint tea leaves from scratch? Easy, you've got this.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DRINKING MINT TEA
1. AIDS DIGESTION. Mint tea can help settle an upset stomach, calm nausea. reduce bloating and gas. It's a wonderful drink to have after a meal to help your stomach calmly digest.
2. ANTIOXIDANTS. Mint tea contains a large amount of antioxidant compounds that help your body protect against and repair damage caused by harmful molecules that can lead to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In the skin department, these antioxidants can help in the anti-aging process, as oxidative stress breaks down skin collagen, without which wrinkles happen. Antioxidants also help the skin repair itself by reducing inflammation.
3. REDUCES STRESS AND HELPS SLEEP. Mint tea can help decrease anxiety and improve sleep. The menthol in the plant has a relaxing, sedating effect on the body.
MOROCCAN MINT TEA RECIPE
If you have fresh mint growing, you can make Moroccan Mint Tea, . Cooking with Alia has a recipe to make it, authentic style, using Gunpowder Green Tea and fresh mint. She offers the recipe from her home country in text as well as a video. You get the foam on top by raising the tea pot spout 2 feet above the glass and pouring in a steady stream. This way of pouring also helps cool the boiling tea to a temperature comfortable for your mouth. By the way, this is also how chai is served, old school, foaming in a glass.
DIY YOUR OWN DRIED MINT TEA
While we love the convenience of buying a box of mint tea, the potency of the leaves fades the longer that box sits on the shelf. If the mint tea leaves are looking brown, they're old and stale. But no worry, it's easy to make your own from fresh mint that you grow or buy. And tea leaves made from fresh mint is hands-down tastier than store bought.
Mint is such a hardy perennial that loves to propagate itself. Our mint growth has doubled over since last year. By the way, I don't consider myself a gardening genius. This is just Nature doing her best work, for which I'm grateful because I really like drinking mint tea right through the year. Especially on those nights I'm having trouble sleeping. So I'm taking this time, while it's freshly growing in the ground, to make the most of our mint harvest, which will likely continue through the growing season.
We're growing both Spearmint and Chocolate Mint. We harvested about a 1/3 of our small bed. But you don't have to be growing the mint to make the tea leaves. You can buy fresh mint. You'll need 4 -5 bunches to get a decent amount of dried leaves out of it.
Here's what we did to dry the mint leaves for tea:
1. Separate the leaves from the stems
2. Lay wax or kraft paper on a flat surface, like a cookie sheet or cutting board or even a piece of cardboard.
3. Spread a single layer of mint leaves on your wax paper. Make sure the are not over lapping.
4. Leave them to air dry completely. This should take a few days.
5. Once the leaves are dry, run them through a food processor or chopper.
6. Put your dried mint tea leaves into a clean, dry bottle.
Now it's tea time! I put a tablespoon of the dried mint leaves into a drawstring paper tea bag. My son uses a tea ball. Or you can put it into your tea mug and strain out the leaves after the tea has steeped. I came across Bonesa Honey from Bulgaria who make a simply delicious rose flavoured honey. I add a teaspoon to my mug and then pour boiling water over my leaves and honey, letting it steep. If you want a stronger tea, boil the leaves (with or without teabag) in a pot of water on the stove on a roaring boil for 3-5 minutes. ENOY!
What are your favourite plant leaves to make tea? Do you grow your own? Please share any tips or experiences you have in the comments.
CHIA SEED OIL: A SUPER MOISTURIZING ROCK STAR
Sometimes you meet a oil that you just love, and loves you back, inside and out. Chia Seed Oil is one of those ingredient rock stars for which I just can't sing enough praises. On the inside, Chia Seeds are a super food that bring so many health benefits. On the skin, it's pure magic. It's moisturizing, soothing, softening, protective and anti-aging.
A BIT OF CHIA SEED HISTORY
They ascribed their military prowess to the power of Chia in their diets. It was also used in their sacred and worldly ritual. Chia was given as sacrificial offering to the gods; extracted as tribute payments from conquered nations; and often used it as currency. Now, that's one valuable plant!
WHAT MAKES CHIA SEED SUCH A NUTRITIONAL SUPERSTAR?
Chia is rich in essential fatty acids, specifically omega-3 and omega-6. They are 5 x richer in calcium than cow’s milk; extremely high in vitamin C, 7 x more than oranges; high in iron, 3 x higher than spinach. Last but not least, chia seeds are also high in potassium, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, E and B6. Not to mention fibre and protein. Added bonus: they are gluten-free.
So with all that nutritional power, chia seeds promote the correct functioning of the heart, brain and immune system while helping blood circulation by exerting an anti-oxidant function. They benefit teeth and bones, help improve your mental acuity, keep blood sugar and pressure in check, and are quite filling, should you be on a diet. All that in a tiny little seed.
WHAT MAKES CHIA SEED OIL FOR FABULOUS FOR SKIN?
Once again, it's that Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid content that skin just soaks up. These fatty acids help maintain moisture levels in the skin which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as relieving dryness and flaking. Chia seed oil can also help with issues like rosacea or eczema on the face. It leaves your skin feeling soothed, smooth, soft and replenished. This is wonderful for dry and sensitive skin.
Chia seed oil is also a great source of vitamin B3 and zinc, which helps with oily skin and clogged pores. It also can help take down the inflammation and irritation that comes with break-outs.
It's also full of amazing antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, as well as myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol flavonoids, all of which protect your skin from environmental stressors. In fact, the antioxidants in chia seed oil have shown to be even stronger than vitamin C and vitamin E, two common and powerful antioxidants. This is exactly the kind of care normal skin needs to fight off signs of aging.
Put all of chia seed oils properties together—moisturizing, protection, and calming you have the perfect natural ingredient for maintaining your skin through all its changes. And that is why I chose to include it in all our Facial Oil blends.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
DIY DISWASHER TABS
The other day, I masked and gloved up, then hit the socially distanced grocery line up. The shopping list was long but wouldn't you know, I forgot to buy dishwasher tabs, a fact discovered after arriving home and unpacking our haul. The frustration didn't last long. I did a little research and hit the kitchen to whip some up. I'm so amazed at how well these dishwasher tabs work, I wanted to share the recipe.
You may have the ingredients lying about the house. Each has its own benefits. Baking soda (or washing soda, you pick) helps cut through the grease and is a great all-purpose cleaner. Borax is also another great cleaner that (bonus) helps disinfect. Salt helps mitigate the effects of hard water. Vinegar adds more cleaning power and helps to bind the ingredients together. Finally a bit of essential oil, for its anti-bacterial properties and lovely scent.
You will need:
1 cup of baking soda or washing soda. Both work equally well.
1 cup of Borax
1/2 cup of coarse salt
3/4 cup vinegar
15-20 drops of essential oil. I used Sweet Orange. You could also use Lemon, Tea Tree, Lavender, Rosemary, or Eucalyptus, as all these oils have antibacterial properties.
In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Measure out the of vinegar. Add it slowly to the dry ingredients, mixing as you go. There might be a little fizz from the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda. Mix until the vinegar is evenly distributed through the powders. Now add your essential oil and mix it through again until evenly distributed.
Spoon the powder into a silicone ice cube tray mold. Then pack it down with your fingers. Gloves are optional. Let the tabs set overnight.
Next day, turn the mold over and pop out the tabs. They should hold their shape. If they don't, save the powder. You can still use it, just spoon it into the soap dispenser in your dishwasher.
Come dishwashing time, put a tab in the soap dispenser and set your dish robot to its usual settings. If you have a super crusty set of dishes, you can add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Ya, I know they don't advise it, but found that a little, tiny bit boosts the cleaning power of these tabs.
Et Voila! Clean dishes! Everything came out shiny and clean, even the glasses; no spots. I hope this recipe is of use to your family.
What are your favourite DIY house cleaning recipes?
Stay well, stay kind.
HELLO FREE LION BODY LOTION
You've been asking me to come up with a body lotion for some time now, a lighter option to our Body Butters. After much deliberation in the kitchen lab and much testing, I'm proud to announce the birth of 8 bouncing bundles of skin hydrating and moisturizing joy!
ABOUT HYDRATION AND MOISTURIZING
First up, a little about skin and why it needs both hydration and moisturizing. Your skin is your largest organ. And its made up mostly of water, like most of our body cells. Water is constantly evaporating from those cells--especially the ones on the surface of your skin as well as the ones deeper down in the epidermis. In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in your surface skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. That's what the water-based ingredients in our body lotion are busy doing. Moisturizing means putting a layer of emollient (meaning soothing and softening) ingredients on the skin to prevent water loss from the deeper layers of the epidermis. That's what the oil-base ingredients in our body lotion are busy doing.
WHAT'S IN OUR BODY LOTION?
97% of the ingredients we've used in our body lotion are natural and plant based. So what are the rock-star natural and non-toxic ingredients doing your skin such a solid?
1. Calendula Tea
Most Body Lotions are made with water. We've infused our distilled water with the soothing, skin-calming treat of Calendula petals. Calendula is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely. That's why we also use it in our Paw Wax.
Calendula Tea is just that little extra oomph we put into our lotions to give your skin some soothing calm while bringing out your inner glow. Yes, this is a thing. Read our previous post on The Magic Of Calendula Tea for more information.
2. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera is full of nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties that soothe, nourish and repair skin. Its leaves contain a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep skin hydrated. Not only that, it feels cool on the skin--a definite benefit during hot months or hot flashes!
Aloe Vera is brilliant for all skin types, delivering amazing benefits to skin. Read more about the wonders of Aloe Vera in a previous blog post. If you're up for making your own Aloe Vera Formulas at home, here are some suggestions from me.
3. Rice Bran Oil
Rice Bran Oil is one of my favourite moisturizing ingredients. Oh, for so many reasons. Let me recount the ways!
The oil, extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice, has been a staple in Old School Asian beauty regimens for centuries. For good reason, too! Rice bran absorbs quickly into the skin. It is flush with skin-loving omega-6 fatty acids, wrinkle-busting Squalane and Vitamin E, and skin firming Vitamin B. Antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene protect your skin from environmental stressors; enzymes like CoQ10 provide active components that help skin maintain its youthful glow. Rice bran oil also has a slight ability to brighten the look of your skin, helping to fade out the appearance of dark spots and to even out skin tone. And what's not to like about that?
4. Macadamia Nut Oil
Macadamia oil has become one of my new favourite ingredients. Not just because its so easy and forgiving to work with; but because it's so wonderful on the skin. Like Rice Bran oil, it absorbs quickly into the skin without feeling greasy. Nutritionally Macadamia oil is a moisturizing all-star. It is high in both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are moisturizing, softening, anti-inflammatory and regenerating for skin. Omega 6's help restore skin's barrier function and reduce water loss. It also contains Omega 7's, an active anti-microbial that is found naturally in youthful skin, helps slow down signs of aging. Added bonus: Macadamia oil can improve the appearance of scars, sunburn and other minor skin irritation.
5. Non-Toxic Synthetics
So, I do add some non-toxic synthetic ingredients to our Body Lotion. They make up 5% of the overall formula. Now why would I do that in a natural product? True confession: I have struggled over this question. I really wanted to be "all natural all the time". But the fact is that science does some things really quite well and can really give Nature a helping boost without compromising the effectiveness of natural ingredients.
So, for these reasons I add lab-made ingredients to my lotions: to improve the glide, absorbability and texture of the lotion; to give your skin an added protective barrier; to extend the shelf life of our lotions; and to ensure your lotion doesn't go moldy on you. I add two silicones--cyclomethicone and dimethicone for a smooth texture and to help your skin absorb the oh-so-good natural ingredients. I also add Germall Plus, a broad-spectrum preservative, necessary in any formula containing from both water and oils. Water is a hotbed for mold. Germall Plus provides for complete, broad spectrum preservation against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, yeast, and mold. It is composed of Diazolidinyl Urea, 3-Iodo-2-propylbutylcarbamate, and less than 1% Propylene Glycol.
Bear in mind again, these ingredients make up only 5% of the overall formula. The rest is all natural ingredient goodness for your skin. It's the calculation I've made to meet the desire for a primarily natural product that goes on smoothly, absorbs quickly and doesn' t go bad or moldy.
So what do you get when you put all these wonderful ingredients together? Free Lion Body Lotion in our eight fragrance blends! And hydrated, moisturized skin.
8 FABULOUS USES FOR ALOE VERA GEL
Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family. Known as the "Lily of the Desert", it is thought to have originated in the deserts of Sudan and then transported to the hot desert climates of the ancient world--Africa, India and China.
In ancient Egypt, Aloe Vera was known as the “plant of immortality.” Cleopatra used it in her daily skin treatments. Otherwise, it was used to treat burns, wounds, infections, parasites and fever in both China and Egypt. Legend has it that Alexander the Great, advised by Aristotle, conquered the island of Socotra, off the coast of Africa, for its supplies of Aloe Vera in order to treat wounded soldiers. Why he couldn’t have just traded for it, I don’t know. But it gives you an idea of just how valuable a plant Aloe Vera was to the ancients. More recently 1n 1944, the Japanese who were exposed to nuclear bombs applied aloe gel to their wounds and reported faster healing and less scarring. Wowza! That’s one powerful plant.
THE BENEFITS OF ALOE VERA IN HEALTH, WELLNESS AND SKIN CARE
Aloe Vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally-occurring constituents including polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that promote nutrient absorption, digestive health, a healthy immune system, and a reduction of nitrates
Here’s a video from the Raw Chef showing how to remove Aloe Gel from the leaf.
SO NOW YOU'VE EXTRACTED THE GEL. HERE ARE 8 WAYS TO USE IT
1. Treat sunburn.
Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, the skin heals quicker. You can put pure gel onto your skin. You can also lay the aloe vera leaf rind that you took the gel from, gel side down on your skin.
2. Moisturize Skin.
Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel. It`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion because it will moisturize while healing breakouts and their aftermath scars. Aloe vera gel can be used as an aftershave treatment as its healing properties can treat small cuts caused by shaving.
3. Treat Acne and Eczema
Aloe vera gel contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that gently and effectively reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin in aloe vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.
Aloe is soothing and can reduce skin inflammations, blistering and itchiness, while helping the skin to heal more rapidly. In Ayurvedic medicine Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
4. Fight aging.
Need a little extra help on the fine line front? Aloe Vera gel to the rescue. As we age, we lose elasticity in the skin. Aloe gel contains a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated. It can work beautifully as a soothing eye gel.
5. Lessen Stretch Marks
Think of your skin as one big piece of elastic that’ll expand and contract as needed to accommodate growth. But if the skin stretches too far, too fast (due to pregnancy, say, or rapid weight gain or loss) the skin’s spring-back factor can be damaged, due to minor tears in the layers of the skin caused by sudden and excessive stretching And so…hello stretch marks. Aloe vera gel can help by healing these wounds and when they do, they fade. Goodbye stretch marks.
6. Nutritious Superfood
This solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid. Whew! That’s a mouthful but what does Aloe Vera ingested do for your body?
It can help boost your immune system. A major part of the immune system are the white blood cells that form the first line of defense by creating a barrier that hunts down and kills foreign particles, helping the body fight off infection and disease. A compromised immune system drops in white blood cell count; ingesting aloe Vera gel can help increase the body’s white blood cell count.
Aloe vera can also help the body clear out environmental toxins by boosting metabolism. It has a significant amount of antioxidant properties and it also helps the body absorb antioxidants from our foods and supplements.
Aloe Vera gel has also been shown to support healthy muscle and joint function, when ingested.
7. Soothes in Periodontal Disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Aloe Vera is extremely helpful in the treatment of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums. It is a powerful antiseptic in pockets where normal cleaning is difficult, and its antifungal properties help greatly in the problem of denture stomatitis, apthous ulcers, cracked and split corners of the mouth.
8. Digestive Aid.
Aloe Vera helps maintain a healthy intestinal pH while promoting a friendly environment for probiotics in the digestive tract. It also can assist in controlling bad bacteria growth that can inhibit nutrient absorption. Aloe Vera has been known to improve digestion and to relieve ulcers. Some people consider it a laxative, while others attribute that effect to its digestive qualities (which normalize the system and induce regularity).
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
Do you have any favourite uses for Aloe Vera Gel? Please share in the Comments Section.
THE MAGIC OF CALENDULA TEA
A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF CALENDULA USE
Calendula has been revered as a magical medicinal plant for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used it to rejuvenate their skin. Bathing in water infused with calendula petals was thought to give give you a healthy, sunny glow, just like the flower itself. The Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary garnish. In India it was strung into garlands for weddings and religious rituals to call in powers of protection and good luck. Europeans and early American colonists used Calendula in soups and stews, relying on its gentle immune boosting properties to protect against the damp cold of winter.
What's not to love about this bright, yellow and orange, cheery member of the daisy family?
Calendula flowers are one of nature's most precious and useful gifts. The flower is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely. Calendula can help get circulation moving and stimulate the immune system. My gardener friends tell me the flower is really easy to grow and requires low maintenance. Flowers and leaves of the calendula may be dried and stored for later use in making Calendula Tea. I'm not there yet in being able to grow my own for the amount I need to make Free Lion products. So here is where I get my Calendula Petals
And now here's the "how to" on Calendula Tea.
HOW TO MAKE CALENDULA TEA
One way of making a tea is basically pouring boiling water over plant materials and allowing it to steep. This is primarily the East Asian and European way. Then there's the way India does it--which is boil the water; add the plant materials and let it boil some more before you turn the heat off. That is how I do it. But I'll give you options. See which works for you.
1. The Steeping method
Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula flowers in a canning jar and pour around 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) boiled distilled water over them. Cover and let steep for around 15 to 20 minutes. Strain petals out of tea before using.
2. The Sun tea method
Fill a canning jar 1/4 full with dried flowers and cover with cold distilled water. Cap and place in a bright sunny spot (like a windowsill or outside porch rail) for at least 5 or 6 hours. Strain out petals before use.
3. The Boiling Method
Bring 10oz/375ml of distilled water to a boil Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula petals into the water and let boil 3-5 minutes before you turn the heat off. Let the tea cool. Strain out petals before use.
HOW TO USE CALENDULA TEA
Now that you've made your Calendula Tea, here are some things you can use it for:
1. Use as a gargle for sore throat. Or use as a mouth rinse to help relieve canker sores, inflamed gums or thrush. Calendula's soothing properties will calm that gravely throat while its anti-microbial properties will go after infection-causing bacteria.
2. Pour some into a small, clean spray bottle to make a disinfecting wound spray. Spray clean strips of cloth or gauze with the tea and apply to wounds or scraped, itchy, scratched or otherwise inflamed skin conditions.
3. Take heavy duty paper towels and fold them into a container, one on top of the next. Pour Calendula tea over paper towels and let them soak up the tea. Voila! Now you have natural baby wipes to help ease diaper rash.
4. Strain through a coffee filter to remove all fine calendula flower particles. You can use this as an eye rinse to ease itchy eyes due to allergy, dryness and pink eye.
5. Wash your face with Calendula tea in the morning and at night if you're prone to acne and breakouts or have dry sensitive skin. If you don't want to make the tea, you can get our Face Chai Foaming Wash for Oily and Break-out Prone Skin or Face Chai Foaming wash for Dry and Sensitive Skin.
6. Pour some Calendula Tea into a foot bath for fungal conditions like athletes foot. Add some to your regular bath to help soothe and heal inflamed skin or rashes.
7. Use as a hair rinse, after shampooing to help ease an itchy scalp situation.
8. Calendula tea can be safely used on most non-pregnant animals as a soothing rinse for flea bites, scratches, scrapes, itchy coats or to help cleanse and heal minor wounds. You can also spritz it onto hot spots or chapped sun burnt noses, too.
So there you go, 8 ways you can use Calendula Tea. It's an amazing flower and it is no wonder that its popularity has not waned over centuries all over the world.
Before I go, let me leave you with this lovely flower bath surrounded by flower garlands. Treat yourself tonight!
Free Lion Team
There are so many current conditions that can benefit from a little lavender oil. Here’s a couple of situations where Lavender Oil can be the champ you need. Word. Most essential oils have to be diluted before use. Not Lavender oil. You can use it topically, straight up, no carrier oil. Some Aromatherpists advise not to ingest Lavender Oil. If that's really the case, someone should tell those peeps who make lavender shortbread and infuse tea leaves with it to cut it out!! Seriously, though, historical anecdotal evidence and Wise Woman Wisdom tells us that it has been safe to ingest, a drop or two when needed, for centuries. And Personally, I've benefitted from ingesting Lavender.
That being said, here's the fine print: I’m not a doctor. But I have tried various home remedies over the years on my family and myself. I’m sharing some instances when Lavender Oil came to the rescue. Use your own discretion and experience to figure out what will work for you. It's best that you test for your self. See how you react to Lavender by spot testing a drop on your skin or ingesting a drop and seeing if you have any reactions.
Relieve Tooth Pain
A few years ago, I developed a bad toothache that felt like it was on the road to a root canal. Not fun. Dentists. Even less fun, except at parties! I had been using Lavender oil on wounds for many years so I thought, “What the heck! It can’t hurt.” Within a day or two, no more toothache.
Lavender’s antibacterial properties got to work under my gums and essentially neutralized the infection that was causing the pain. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t see a dentist when one has to. But I am saying, to morph a quote from Shakespeare, that, “There are more things in heaven and earth, dental profession, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I have passed that piece of anecdotal evidence on to friends and family since then. We’ve saved a ton on dental bills.
Heal Burns and Wounds
At our house, we use Lavender oil for burns and on cuts (2 drops applied to the gauzy part of a plaster bandage). It did a bang up healing job that time I accidentally poured boiling water on my hand. I have even used it on gauze to heal a major surgery wound. The nurse who visited the house daily to change my bandage used only Saline water to disinfect. She was impressed at how efficacious Lavender Oil was in my speeding up my healing process.
The A to Z of Essential Oils also calls lavender a “first-aid kit in a bottle,” suggesting that it should be kept in the kitchen to treat First and Second degree burns. A first-degree burn, like typical sunburn, is red and hurts mildly, with usually only the first layer of skin affected. A Second-degree burn is worse and may have blistering with more pain, with the first and underlying layers of skin affected. You can use Lavender Oil straight up or blend it with Aloe Gel (10 drops of Lavender Oil to ½ cup of Aloe Gel). This makes a fabulous healing combo. While Lavender is busy desensitizing your nerves, relieving pain, healing and preventing scarring, the aloe is cooling and protecting the skin.
In case of first or second degree burn:
In case of a cut or scrape:
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Have trouble sleeping? Can’t relax? Those thoughts keep romping round your head? Lavender Oil can help. It’s calming components basically chill you out so that you can more easily fall asleep. It works well for adults and wonderously for children who can’t seem to settle down. I have used a Lavender Spritz on my pillow when I'm super stressed out. Before I know it, I'm off to lala land!
There are a few options on how to use lavender to help you fall into the Big ZZZ:
These are some ways our family uses Lavender Oil. Hope you find them helpful, from our pride to yours. .
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
What are your favourite ways to use Lavender Oil?
Leave us a comment.
Lavender flowers have been keeping humans fresh in potpourris and baths for centuries. And its essential oil has been used in perfume and medicinally for just as long. The word Lavender could have come from the Latin lavare, meaning ‘to wash’. Or it could have come from livere, meaning ‘bluish’.
Lavender is a member of the mint family, indigenous to the mountain regions of the Mediterranean and Middle East and valued back in the day for its therapeutic, culinary and beauty benefits. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used it to scent baths, skin, beds, clothes and hair; to help them sleep; to dress battle wounds, in food preparation and for air purification. Bundles of dried lavender were given to women in labour to squeeze during contractions, as the fragrance released was known to relax the pain. It was used extensively for body, mind and spirit health.
Lavender proved indispensible in combatting The Plague in the 17th Century. It protected against infection. Bundles of lavender, or ‘posies’, were carried or tied at the wrist to help ward off infection. Gloves were infused with Lavender Oil to do the same. The story goes that the entire town of Bucklersbury completely escaped the plague, due to it being the center of the European Lavender Industry, where everyone had access to the healing powers of Lavender Oil.
In the Victorian Era, English royalty were particularly fond of Lavender. It was used throughout the castles for everything. Floors and furniture were washed with lavender; linens were perfumed with it. wanted a supply of fresh flower bundles brought to her daily. Lavender flowers, strewn over stone castle floor, released its scent under foot. Queen Vic started a trend and soon all fine English ladies followed suit and scented themselves and everything else with Lavender, which was grown in just about every home herb garden. During the First World War, Lavender oil gained widespread use for its antiseptic properties. Lavender washes were used to bathe wounds and it was an essential in every soldier’s burn kit.
What say you, Science?
Fast forward to now. Recent scientific and medical research (Biological activities of Lavender essential oil. 1. H.M.A. Cavanagh and 2. J.M. Wilkinson / Article first published JUN 2002) has proven that the essential oil of lavender has properties that rival—and even surpass—many modern antiseptic chemicals and antibiotic drugs. Lavender oil’s powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, sedative, calming and anti-depressive properties make it a ‘must have’ in any contemporary medicine cabinet.
The Infographic below from www.ayurvedicoils.com breaks down Lavender's chemical properties in a simple way.
In short, Lavender oil has what it takes to calm us down, alleviate pain, kill bacteria and fungus, take down inflammation, help us breathe better, suppress coughing, repell some insects and fight free radicals on the skin. That’s one powerhouse plant! Thank you, Mother Nature. Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
What are your favourite ways to use Lavender Oil?
Please share in a comment below.
Neem Oil would have been a staple in my Nanima’s ayurvedic medicine cupboard. The neem tree grows predominantly in the Indian subcontinent and is prized for its non-toxic antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic (as in ‘can reduce fever’) and antihistamine properties. Neem Oil is extracted from the seed kernel of Neem fruit.
Its use goes back centuries to ancient times. The Sanskrit word for Neem is ‘nimba’, meaning ‘good health’. Every part of the neem tree was used, back in the day--bark, seeds, fruits, flowers, leaves and roots. It was planted in gardens and it was said that benefit also came from simply interacting with the tree. A case for talking to plants if I ever heard one!
So, neem oil. What is it good for?
Neem and Skin
It rocks skin care! Neem's regenerative and immune boosting compounds help skin fight pathogens that are present below skin’s surface, keeping skin smooth, soothed and blemish-free. It is really beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin. The high amount of fatty acid in neem oil helps prevent and treat scars left by acne. And it likes to dissolve blackheads, too. Neem leaves have been effective for people suffering with itchy skin, rashes allergy and inflammation. Regular use of neem in oil form or powder in, say, a face mask, helps smooth, soothe and keep skin blemish free.
Neem and Hair
Neem oil is an ancient wise woman solution for healthy hair. It strengthens roots, and helps accelerate growth. It’ll tame the frizzies with deep conditioning and brings shine and vibrancy back to dull hair. Use Neem oil regularly as a hair mask for a healthy scalp and stronger, thicker, untangled hair. Yeah, it takes some time--it's not a quick fix. But it's the kind of fix that buildings on itself slowly for more long-term benefit. That’s just Nature’s way.
Got Dandruff? Neem to the rescue. Its medicinal properties will help moisturize and heal your scalp while maintaining PH levels. Mix up some All Purpose Neem Oil (see recipe below). Apply to hair and comb it through. This helps spread the oil evenly. Leave the oil in for an hour or two. Wash with a gentle shampoo.
Lice? No problem! Neem oil interferes with the feeding and reproduction of many insects, including lice. But you’ll need to up the amount of Neem in your All Purpose Neem Oil. Apply to hair. Leave in for an hour or two. Comb out with a lice comb. Wash with a gentle shampoo.
Neem and Feet
Got Cracked feet? Neem oil is rich in essential fatty acids, triglycerides, vitamin E and calcium. So its pretty effective at nourishing and repairing skin. This is really good news for people with dry, cracked heels. Neem oil will seep deep into the skin and help repair those cracks. Neem deals with common fungal skin infections--athletes foot and nail fungus--like a boss. And its antibacterial properties will help combat infections, while its soothing properties help calm itching and irritation. It's one of the reasons we include it in our Foot Salve.
Neem oil contains a compound called azadirachtin which repels insects like mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and ants. So it can be an natural alternative to commercially produced bug spray. Again, it does need to be diluted in a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Try All Purpose Neem Oil at regular strength; go stronger if needed. Or if that seems like too much work, check out our natural bug repelling Shoo Fly! Neem is one of the key, active ingredients in it.
So are you ready to try a few recipes at home?
All Purpose Neem Oil
Neem is pretty concentrated stuff that needs diluting in a carrier oil, like Jojoba, before use on the skin or hair. You can use this blend to help with:
• Moisturizing your face
• Conditioning Hair and scalp
• Repelling Bugs
• Getting rid of Dandruff and Lice
You will need:
100 ml Carrier Oil. This could be Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Almond OIl. Pick your favourite. Get some here
1-2ml Neem Oil (increase to 5ml for lice removal). This is the one we like.
Put carrier oil of your choice in a bottle, preferably one with a treatment pump or a nozzle for easier use. Add neem oil. Cap the bottle tightly. Mix by agitating -- that means hold the bottle on its side and tilt it back and forth until the neem oil is blended into the carrier oil. Apply as required.
Neem exfoliating Face Mask
This gentle, ayurveda-inspired blend is easy to whip up at home for some skin soothing and brightening while clearing breakouts. It brings together the healing properties of Neem powder, the moisturizing and antibacterial properties of honey and the cooling, astringent properties of rose petals.
You will need:
¼ cup dried rose petals. Here's one of the places I get mine.
2 tablespoons neem powder. Here's the one we like.
3 tablespoons raw or manuka honey. Go for one that is more liquid than thick. Here's one from Canada.
A coffee or spice grinder. Make sure its coffee or spice-free and cleaned before you use it.
1. Finely grind rose petals in the coffee grinder. It should be powder-like.
2. Combine neem powder, rose petal powder and honey in a bowl.
3. Test first. Put a small amount on part of your face to see if your skin likes it. If yes, proceed to 4.
4. Apply a small amount all over your face, avoiding the eyes. Let it sit on your skin for 15 or 20 minutes. If you’re tackling a breakout, leave it on for 45 minutes to an hour so that the ingredients have more time to work their magic. Put your feet up. Relax.
5. Gently rinse off with a warm washcloth.
So that's the skinny on Neem Oil. Give it a go if you have oily skin or dry, cracked feet.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
When I say “Avocado”, do you say “Guacamole”? Well hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be saying, “Beautiful Skin and Hair”.
Avocado Oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E, which provide skin with deep moisturizing. The oil of an avocado easily penetrates and is quickly absorbed by the skin. And it’s also thick enough to serve as a protective barrier.
Avocado can also help repair damaged hair. Its rich fatty acids coat your hair shaft and help it retain moisture while providing your hair with long lasting and deep hydration. Its rich cache of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals help condition hair, promoting damage repair, healthy hair growth and nurture frizzy hair. And it just may soothe that itchy scalp issue, too!
Where Does Avocado Oil Come From?
The fruits of the Persea gratissima – better known as the Avocado tree – are native to Mexico, Central, and South America. For its countless benefits, the Avocado was considered a precious fruit. It was believed to bestow immense vigour, maintain good health, relieve intestinal issues, and promote healthy hair growth. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans also spread the fruit pulp on their skin for cosmetic purposes. Yep, these wise people knew a thing or two about how to stay healthy and beautiful.
And then along came the Europeans. Due to the value placed on the Avocado, European conquerors loaded up their ships with it and other fruits and vegetables they then introduced to other parts of the world. And this, folks is how avocados, potatoes and tomatoes (among many other plants) circumambulated the world.
Avocados Are Nature's Gift to Good Health
Avocado fruits have greenish or yellowish flesh with a buttery consistency and a very rich, nutty taste. Avocado oil is pressed from this yummy fleshy pulp, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seed. Most fruits are high in carbohydrates, but not avocados--they are uniquely high in healthy fats. including oleic acid and essential fatty acids. They are also rich in Vitamins A, B, C and E. Studies have found avocado oil helpful in preventing the onset of diabetes, high cholesterol, triglyceride levels and obesity. In France, it even has prescription drug status because of its proven ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis
Avocados are a wonderful fruit or oil to eat, for health and beauty from the inside out. And a beautiful oil to use on the skin due to hits very high skin penetration and rapid absorption properties. Yay Avocado! Oh but wait. There’s MORE!
Aids in Treating Wounds
Avocado oil can help heal wounds, according to a 2013 study. Researchers found that avocado oil can promote increased collagen synthesis while decreasing numbers of inflammatory cells during the wound-healing process. How cool is that?
Soothes Sunburned Skin
In addition to providing the skin with moisture, the antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolic acids found in avocado oil can help soothe sunburned skin. Ok, this is even “cooler”. :)
If you’ve been in the sun and feel your skin is a little dry from the heat, or sunburned, try this hydrating and cooling body mask. Combine mashed avocado, 1/2 teaspoon of honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of lime juice in a bowl. Apply liberally over the skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes to enjoy the healing and hydrating effects.
Boosts Collagen Production, Reduces Itching and Inflammation
Avocado oil also contains sterolins, natural steroids that may be effective in boosting collagen production and in treating age spots. Sterolin is known to soften the skin and reduce the appearance of age spots. Its also high in lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly into the bloodstream and deeper layers of skin.
With its high level of vitamin E, avocado oil may reduce itching and skin inflammation and is also beneficial in softening rough and cracked patches. Dry skin needs soothing foods like avocados to stay moisturized and hydrated. Ok, Menopause, bring it on. I’ve got Avocados!
Can help repair damaged hair
Avocado’s rich fatty acids coat your hair shaft and help it retain moisture while providing your hair with long lasting and deep hydration. Its antioxidants, vitamins and minerals condition hair, promoting damage repair and healthy hair growth. It’ll also help nurture frizzy hair and repair split ends. And it just may soothe that itchy scalp issue.
We use Avocado Oil in some of our products, too!
We use Avocado Oil in some of our formulas, like our Body Butters. I’ve designed these butters to keep your skin moisturized, smooth and supple. Avocado oil plays a big role in making that magic happen.
It’s also a big part of our Face Chai face care system for Mature/Dry skin, soon to be explored in further detail in forthcoming newsletters. Stay tuned. In the mean time, here are some DIY recipes you can try at home. See if Avocado is YOUR magic fruit.
Coco-Creamy Green Moisturizing Mask--
An anti-wrinkle, healing option for dry skin
1/2 teaspoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Oat flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Scoop out avocado and mash it in a bowl until its smooth, no lumps. Add yogurt, lemon juice, oat flour and oil. Mix well. Spread a small amount over the face. Pick a good book to read for about 20 minutes. Wash from face followed by gentle massaging motions. That’ll help stimulate your circulation so you don’t have to go get one of those crazy face vibrators that are out there right now. Seriously. Not making that up.
Simple Hydrating Avocado Hair Mask
This one is very old school.
1 avocado, mashed smooth, no lumps
After shampooing your hair, apply mashed avocado directly onto your hair, massaging it into the scalp and the hair, from root to tip. Work some extra into those split ends. Clip up your hair and wrap in a towel or put on a shower cap.Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes before rinsing clean.
Avocado And Banana Hair Mask
Deep Conditioning Treatment For Dry Hair: This recipe can even maintain your naturally curly hair gloss.
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-3 drops of your favourite essential oil, such as lavender, rose, sweet orange or jasmine.
Mash banana and avocado together in a bowl, until they form a smooth paste without any lumps. Add olive oil and essential oil drops. Stir all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture of uniform consistency.
After shampooing your hair, apply mashed avocado directly onto your hair, massaging it into the scalp and the hair, from root to tip. Work some extra into those split ends. Clip up your hair and wrap in a towel or put on a shower cap. Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes or longer before rinsing clean. Rinse as many times as needed to remove the mask entirely.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
What's your favourite Avocado health or beauty recipe?