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Monday, April 26, 2010

Favorite Herbs

*Please note: Soap and Garden is closed for business from April 27 - May 1. Questions will be answered and orders filled in the order they were received beginning on May 2. Thanks for your understanding.*

It's no secret that I love herbs. I love to grow them, I love to cook with them, I love to make home herbal remedies for my family, and I love to make soap and cosmetics with them. One of my passions is gardening, and I love herbs because most of them grow well for me, they're beautiful, and they smell/taste great. I love to use them in soap and cosmetics because they either contribute to better looking skin or they provide color. I'm going to spend some time introducing some of the ones I like using the most and why, but it's important to say upfront that my usage in my product line is limited to color and cosmetic value, not medicinal value.

It's interesting to note also, that herbs contain vitamins and minerals that make them a nutritious part of any diet, as well as delicious! Using them on the skin may impart qualities that make you look and thus feel, more beautiful--or handsome, as the case may be.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) - I grow this outside in the summer, and inside in the winter. Because of our northern clime, I can't grow enough to supply all my needs, but I do use it in soapmaking and a few other things. Aloe is native to East Africa, Spain, Indonesia, and the Caribbean, and has been used for thousands of years, and is still used as a laxative and for burns. In soap and cosmetics, Aloe is emollient.

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) - This is an herb I can grow, but again, I supplement with purchased product as the root is a little difficult to harvest and deal with. Marshmallow is native to cool, wet regions, and of course, grows best in those areas, still. It was mentioned back in the 4th century for coughs, and yes, it was used to make the original marshmallow confection, as well as eaten as a vegetable (roots). Soaked in cool water, the mucilage is extracted, and that's what I use in soap and lotions to make them even more smooth feeling.

Pot Marigold (Calendula) - Not to be confused with the common garden marigold, Tagetes, Calendula is a wonderful herb. It's a beautiful annual to grow, the flowers are edible, and it has numerous cosmetic uses. I love how soft the petals are. Historically, Calendula was used for general health; in fact, the English and Germans ate it all winter long to boost their health, and to heal ulcers and liver ailments. I have grown Calendula in the past, and appreciate how easy it is to grow, harvest, and dry, as well as its uses in my products. The leaves can be ground and added to soap or left whole and will keep their color where most other herbs will turn black. It will add some yellow-orange coloring, also. Calendula contains mucilages, and will make soaps and other products feel better on the skin.

May special - Gardener's Soap - It's time to get out in the garden! If you're like me, you're just beginning to get out and survey what needs to be done and getting started at digging out weeds and dividing perennials. Our Gardener's Soap will help you wash off that dirt and grime.

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Not on my site: Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea. Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00 Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7 Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.
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