Sunday, February 22, 2009

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

In aromatherapy, rose oil inspires emotional calm and stability without sedative effects. The aroma is powerful and comforting. Its physical actions are mildly astringent and balancing. Rose and lavender facial cream is excellent for sensitive combination skin. Dabbed onto a freshly washed face this cream is a fragrant, toning emollient.

Gather the following:

* 4 ounces jojoba oil
* 3 ounces distilled water
* 1/2 ounce beeswax
* 20 drops rose absolute or otto
* 15 drops lavender

Melt the wax in the jojoba oil using a double boiler. Add the distilled water in a thin stream while vigorously beating the mixture with a wire whisk. Remove from heat and continue whisking the oil while adding the essential oils drop by drop.

Suggested variation: Make a tea of fresh rose petals and lavender flowers and use this in place of the distilled water.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from plants for both physiological and psychological treatment. Aromatherapy is an ancient practice that began when people of early civilizations began discovering the healing properties of plants.

The term "aromatherapy" was first used by René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist in 1928. Gattefossé was working in his family's Operfumier business when he accidentally discovered that lavender caused a severe burn on his hand to heal more rapidly and without scarring. Another of his observations was that essential oils in their whole state were more effective than synthetics or any of the isolated active ingredients of the oils. Another French scientist, Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils to successfully treat both medical and psychiatric disorders. The first actual aromatherapy clinics were established in Paris, Britain, and Switzerland by Madame Marguerite Maury.

Essential oils are not oils as we generally think of oils. Most of them have a very light texture and evaporate quickly. Essential oils are found in all the various parts of plants including the bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seed, wood, resin, and balsam. Some plants produce rather large quantities of oil, some have very low content. Take for example one of the most popular oils, rose. There is so little aromatic content in rose flowers that it a ton of petals produces only 10.5 ounces (300g) of rose oil. It's important to note that essential oils should virtually never be applied directly to the skin until mixed in a carrier oil. Carrier oils are pure gentle oils, such as sweet almond oil and apricot kernel oil that "carry" the essence to the skin.

Today, essential oils are extracted from the plants used for aromatherapy, making them very concentrated. The two basic ways aromatherapy is accomplished is by applying the oils to the skin and by inhalation. The term "aromatherapy" can be a bit misleading because it's not only the aroma that is therapeutic. The oils also interact with body chemistry directly, thus affecting certain systems and organs.


To treat irregular periods - mix the rose oil in a carrier oil and massage the abdomen and lower back daily.
To treat depression - inhale, or use a rose oil in a carrier oil to massage the chest, neck and face.

Rose Oil Warnings

Rose oils are for external use only. Keep rose oils away from children. Avoid eye contact. Do not use rose oils during pregnancy. Rose oils are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Familiarize with pure essential oils before use.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Magic of Humus

If your soil is out of the correct pH range, you can change it. This is where the magic of soil biology creates miracles. Humus is the magic formula for most soil problems. Humus, which you can create by composting with compost bins, will help improve your soil pH. It will also improve soil that is too sandy, has too much clay, or has other problems.
If your soil is extremely acid, which can happen in an area with heavy rainfall, or soil that has had overdoses of chemical N-P-K fertilizer, you may need to add limestone to “sweeten” the soil.
For most other soil problems, humus is the answer. You may not have humus available. If that is the case, don’t worry. We will discuss how mulching can help your roses. For more information on composting, see the Composting Guide.
You can create compost with plant clippings and other yard debris, rather than throwing them away. They will provide you with a continuous supply of humus in the future.
You should be careful if you decide to purchase compost. Many compost products are not fully composted and are still too ‘hot’ for your garden.
Organic fertilizers should be added during the growing cycle. You can even find special organic rose fertilizer that is designed specifically with rose gardening in mind.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Herbal Teas-2

There is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than the fresh taste of a hand crafted, loose-leaf herbal tea. These delicious and nourishing beverages make a lovely compliment to your morning, a revered companion in the afternoon and they faithfully represent the required relaxation we all deserve in the evenings. Unlike finely cut conventional tea found in mass manufactured tea bags, our loose-leaf herbal tea is fresh, fragrant, tasty, longer lasting and far more economical. Our passion for freshness provides us with the groundwork that all of the herbal teas we blend are made fresh prior to your order and exclusively with aromatic organic materials. It is this simple recipe that enables us to provide a tea which is unrivaled in taste, color, depth and aroma, and in fact we firmly believe nobody can deliver a better cup! The loose-leaf herbal teas offered by
Mountain Rose Herbs are made with certified organic ingredients, and when organic materials are not available, we will opt for carefully wildharvested herbs. We never have, nor will we ever use conventionally grown materials in our teas which may contain pesticide residues and other harmful chemicals. Each loose tea is packaged in a re-sealable kraft bag with a paper glassine liner and comes with complete brewing instructions. Our 3 oz size brews 8-12 cups of tea, and our 1 lb size brews 40-60 cups of tea. All herbal teas are caffeine free.All of our herbal supplement teas are Certified Kosher through Oregon Quality Kosher and those marked certified organic are 100% organic blends certified by OTCO.

Infusion = Tea made from leaves, flowers and light material. Put 1-2 teaspoons of herbal tea material into a brewing utensil of your choice and place in a 6-8 oz size cup. Add lightly boiled water and allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes. For a more "medicinal" effect steep 15-30 minutes. Will keep refrigerated for 24 hours.Decoction = Tea made from bark, roots, seeds, twigs and berries. Put 1-3 tablespoons of cut herb, seed, root, bark, etc into a pot of 16-32 oz of water and allow to sit in non-boiled water for at least 5-10 minutes. Set on stove and bring to a slow boil then turn down to a simmer for 10-30 minutes. Strain and drink. Will keep about 72 hours if kept refrigerated. Most decoctions can also be brewed via single cup through a regular infusion process as noted above but without the strength.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Much To Water Roses

Roses like a lot of water during the growing and blooming season. But this doesn't mean give them a small amount every day. Like with watering other plants, it is better to water deeply rather than just a little bit at a time, so that the water can fully penetrate the roots. Just sprinkling them with the hose is not enough.
Let the hose give your roses a full, thorough soaking. A good four or five gallons worth of water per rose bush is a basic rule of thumb. Depending on how much rain your garden gets, a deep watering once a week is usually enough even in drier parts of the country. If it is extremely hot and dry, perhaps every four days or so.
Avoid watering during the heat of the day in direct sunlight. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to water.

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