ON OUR SOAPBOX
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
|Posted by Tye Shirley on May 31, 2013 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
Neem oil, one of the primary ingredients in our 'SAVE YOUR SOLE' foot and heel balm, is relatively unheard by most, but this fantastic oil has so many wonderful skin benefits, so here's a brief overview of Neem and it's healing properties.
Grown throughout India, the neem tree is well known not only for its medicinal properties but also for taking care of environmental issues. Neem trees are native to India and other parts of Asia and are known as Margosa Tree in English and their botanical term is Azadirachta Indica. Neem is a multipurpose herb and because of its exceptional medicinal properties of curing illness, it is often referred to as “plant with a promise”.
In ancient Vedas, neem tree is referred to “Sarva Roga Nirvarini” – one capable of curing every illness and ailments. Neem has been used in India for thousands of years and is used extensively in many Ayurveda medicines for its disease fighting properties. Every part of the tree, branch, leaves, barks, fruits, flowers and root are extremely beneficial as they contain azadirachtin compound which gives neem its anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties. Neem is extremely beneficial in treating various infections and strengthening the immune system. Besides its several health benefits it is also used in a variety of household products. Neem is a safe product to use and does not lead to any side effects.
Neem oil is loaded with nutrients and is used in a variety of lotions, creams soaps and of course cosmetics. It is extremely beneficial for eczema prone skin and will benefit people who suffer from psoriasis and acne. Its astringent properties help to cure minor cuts and wounds. Neem oil helps to relieve dry and itchy skin.
Neem contains high level of antioxidants which protect the skin from environmental damage. It also contains carotenoids which provide high antioxidants that defend the skin against age promoting free radicals. Neem oil is high in essential fatty acids and Vitamins. It gets easily absorbed by the skin and rejuvenates it and improves its elasticity. With regular usage, neem also smoothens wrinkles and fine lines, thus fights the signs of ageing.
Neem oil is ideal for acne prone skin because it clears up pimples and removes bacteria that cause break outs. Neem oil contains aspirin like compounds which removes the acne causing bacteria from the skin. It also helps to reduce redness and inflammation. The high fatty acid content in neem oil prevents and treats scar that occurs because of acne and is non comedogenic. It can also be used as a face mask to remove the entire impurities ad tightens the pores.
The root of eczema mainly lies in the genes and runs in the family. Neem oil helps to relieve eczema symptoms but cannot cure the root cause of eczema. Since neem is particularly high in Vitamin E and fatty acids, it quickly penetrates the outer layer of the skin restoring the protective barrier and prevents moisture loss. Its ability to reduce inflammation and heal abrasion soothes eczema irritation. The nimbidin and nimbin compounds help to relieve redness and swelling. It also helps to heal dry and damaged skin. Its antiseptic properties keep infections at bay.
Fungal infections of the skin like ring worms, nail fungus and atheletes foot are quite common. Neem being one of the most powerful anti-fungal agents available in nature makes for a good replacement for the over the counter creams that are available at the pharmacists. The two compounds from the leaves of the neem responsible for this are the gedunin and nimbidol. These compounds destroy the fungi that causes this infection. Tests have proven that neem oil is effective on 14 different cultures of fungi.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on April 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
It's Easy Being Green
Our aim is to utilize only sustainable resources in production, recycle, reduce or eliminate the emissions and waste that we generate, and conserve energy and water wherever possible.
How do we do this:
We are virtually paper-free. In an effort to reduce the consumption of paper and paper products we always offer our customers a 'digital receipt-alternative.'
We utilize sustainable resources. When sourcing raw materials, we spend a great deal of time researching our suppliers, their sources, and ensure that the materials we receive are not only superior quality items, but also from sustainable, eco-friendly resources.
We source locally: We also try to source materials from local sources as much as possible when applicable to reduce carbon emmissions related to shipping and transport of those items.
We refrain from using deodorized/bleached materials such as: beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter. Often times companies will bleach, and deodorize these items before use, to give them a whiter, fragrance-free look and feel. However, this process uses harsh chemicals that are not only contrary to our standards for use for products for the body, it is also bad for the environment.
We don't clean up our bars. When you purchase a bar of soap from a commercial source, and most times other handmade soapers, your bar will have a clean, beveled appearance with each side smooth, and blemish free. The process of doing this usually takes off about 1/5th of the bar, only to be discarded. We like to give our customers the ENTIRE bar, and feel that they understand that this is a less wasteful practice, ultimately giving them more product for their money.
We recycle: Not only do we recycle our boxes, bags, and packing peanuts that we receive from our suppliers, we even recycle rain water (when available), paper, aluminum, plastic tubs, and most of our packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials.
We utilize the power of the sun: Rather than using electricity to melt our oils and butters for our soaps, during the summer months, we use the radiant heat from the Sun to do just that. We also use sunlight as our lighting source inside our production facility. We only have two lamps in our facility (which are low-energy L.E.D. lights) and these are only used at night-time.
We avoid wasting Phantom Power: All items that remain plugged in continue to trickle energy from the lines, and waste valuable energy, resources, and ultimately result in extra CO2 emissions, which is why, when we are not in our production facility, we have a main 'kill' switch that shuts off power to all items.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on March 3, 2013 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Tye Shirley on March 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM|
The calendula is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. Its name refers to its tendency to bloom with the calendar, usually once a month or with every new moon. The term “marigold” refers to the Virgin Mary, and the flowers are used to honor her during Catholic events. The Egyptians considered them to have rejuvenating properties. In the Hindu world, the flowers were used to adorn statues of gods in their temples, as well as a colorant in food, fabrics, and cosmetics, and of particular interest, in the 18th and 19th century calendula was used to color cheese. Calendula has historically been used as a food, adding flavor to cereals, rice, and soups. The petals can be added to salads for their brilliant color. As recently as 70 years ago, American physicians used calendula to treat amenorrhea, conjunctivitis, fevers, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns, as well as minor infections of the skin.”
However, Calendula is not just known for its beauty:
Calendula creams and washes are still used to disinfect minor wounds and to treat infections of the skin. The antibacterial and immunostimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and cuts in people who have compromised immune systems. The herb stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites and minimizes scarring. Gargling calendula water may ease sore throat. Because of the vivid and brilliant color of calendula, it was thought to possess powers for the protection and benefit of humans… An often overlooked application of this herb is the treatment of post-mastectomy lymphedema. The herb will not reduce swelling, but it will reduce pain.”
Calendula is also known for its ability to brighten skin and protect from blemishes.
You can purchase Calendula Petals here.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on March 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM||comments (1)|
This is just for fun, but see if you can find the anomaly in this picture? It took me a little while.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on March 1, 2013 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
Lavender has a huge array of health benefits. It helps to get rid of migraines, dizziness and digestive disorders. It promotes natural sleep and eases insomnia, and it can be used as an antiseptic and disinfectant to heal wounds.
One of the other major ingredients is lemon. I’m sure you are very aware of the power of lemons for boosting health – but this fruit is more than just a rich source of Vitamin C.
Lemons contain compounds called limonoids that have been identified to assist in fighting cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Lemon is a powerful little fruit and you can get a great does from this lavender lemonade drink.
For this recipe you will need dried lavender buds which you can get here.
1 Cup Lavender Syrup (see recipe below)
1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Chilled Water for each glass
Lavender Flower for Garnish
Add equal parts sugar and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water). Add fresh French lavender to taste or 1/2 cup dried food grade lavender for every 4 cups water/4 cups sugar. Boil for one minute over medium/high heat. Remove from heat and let steep for an hour.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on February 28, 2013 at 2:50 PM||comments (0)|
One of the main ingredients in our BEAUNITA CLAY FACIAL MASK, Bentonite Clay is an exceptional detoxifying ingredient, and heres why:
Though they have been largely forgotten in recent times, healing clays have been used by cultures throughout history for their nutrients and to help rid the body of toxins. Many animals will also turn to eating dirt and clay to help remove poisons from their systems or during times of illness or distress.
In recent times, healing clays like Bentonite Clay have once again been gaining popularity for internal and external detoxification, and with good reason.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays. Bentonite can be used externally as a clay poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color and anything bordering “pure white” is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining. Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash. The name comes from the largest known deposit of Bentonite Clay located in Fort Benton, Wyoming.
What Does it do?
Bentonite Clay is a unique clay due to its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. Bentonite is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities and chemicals.
Bentonite is a swelling clay. When it is mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge. From here the toxins are drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound.”
Bentonite clay carries a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. When it comes in contact with a toxin, chemical or heavy metal, the clay will absorb the toxin and release it’s minerals for the body to use. Bentonite also helps get oxygen to cells as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on February 28, 2013 at 2:35 PM||comments (0)|
Nothing tastes as sweet as a freshly-picked tomato, straight off the vine from your own garden. However, pesky critters: aphids, mites, caterpillars, can quickly destroy all of your hard labor in a matter of a few hours. But, who wants to slather some toxic chemicals all over their own organic produce to keep out a few bugs? Here's some wonderful natural alternatives to helping your own urban-garden flourish, and keeping the bugs at bay.
Some plants have natural properties that help others grow and deter pests when planted close by. Making use of these natural properties is a way to increase production in the garden and fit more plants into a smaller space. The following are a few popular companion plants:
- Basil planted alongside tomato improves production and flavor. Basil is also good for peppers and has been said to repel mosquitoes. I plant basil throughout the garden for its aroma and beneficial properties.
- Borage is a great companion for tomatoes and cabbage as it repels both tomato horn worm and cabbage moths. It also helps strawberries and is beneficial to practically everything in the garden. I plant throughout.
- Chamomile is a great companion for cabbage, cucumbers, onions and all the brassicas. It improves flavor and is a great herb to have on hand. It attracts beneficial insects and has delicate and beautiful flowers.
- Dill is also great planted with cabbages, cucumbers lettuce and more. It improves flavor, helps repel pests, and is useful in making homemade pickles! It can get pretty big so I plant in the middle of cucumber beds. Don’t plant with tomatoes!
- Catnip is another great herb to grow and have on hand. Planted near squash and cucumbers it will repel squash bugs and aphids. The dried leaves can be steeped into a tea to help sooth the stomach, and can double as a pest control spray for many plants.
- Radishes can be planted throughout the garden and under plants like cucumbers to deter cucumber beetles.
- Marigolds planted throughout the garden help prevent nematodes and repel pests. They will flower all summer as long as you keep pulling the dead flowers off.
- Nasturtiums are also great companion flowers to tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and more. The flowers are edible and can be added to salads. They benefit melons and squashes as well.
- Onions can be planted freely throughout the garden but help keep pests away from cabbages, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, cucumbers and more. Intercropping a few with all of these plants can greatly reduce garden pests.
- Sunflowers are great companions and beautiful throughout the garden. Plant with Cucumbers, beans, and vining plants to provide a trellis. They are hardy and a great trap crop for aphids and other pests. They typically produce plenty of their own seeds to use next year.
Natural Pest Control Options
Companion planting is helpful, but if you’ve already planted and are having trouble with pests, some other natural solutions can be helpful:
A tea or solution made from powdered Kelp will help deter Japanese Beetles and Aphids and is also nourishing to plants. Spray on once a week or so before and during infestation times.
A garlic and hot pepper spray (see recipe below) repels many garden insects and wildlife pests. It is probably the most inexpensive option to make at home and isn’t harmful to you while applying. Use once a week or more for several weeks before and during infestation times.
A tea made with lemon Balm repels squash bugs and aphids. Apply 2 or more times a week as needed.
A solution of several teaspoons of Baking Soda dissolved in water can help prevent and treat fungus and powdery mildew on plants. Use as a preventative and acute treatment as needed.
Powdered Diatomaceous Earth is a good all purpose insect prevention and treatment for any insect pest, though it kills indiscriminately, so use carefully. I use mainly if I see larvae of any insect on plants, as it is especially effective on these. Has to be re applied after watering or rain. Just sprinkle on plants as needed. [note: if you buy food grade DE it can also be used for indoor pests like ants and even as an internal cleanse for parasites in humans and animals]
Neem sprays are an increasingly popular pest control option and are available in many stores now.
Natural Hot Pepper Garden Spray Recipe
What You Need:
- 2-4 Cloves of Garlic
- At least 4 hot cayenne (or hotter) peppers
- 2 Tablespoons of vegetable or other oil
- 1 Tablespoon Liquid Castille Soap like Dr. Bronners
- 2-3 cups hot water
- towel, strainer or cheesecloth
What to do:
Put garlic, peppers, oil, soap and water in a blender and blend on high for several minutes.
Leave in a bowl or pitcher overnight or for at least 12 hours to intensify the effects of the garlic and peppers.
Strain through towel, cheesecloth or strainer and store in a glass jar
To use, pour about 2 TBSP in a 16 ounce spray bottle (or 3 TBSP in a 24 ounce) and shake well.
Spray directly on plants as needed… I recommend wearing gloves!
Can be used as often as needed for preventative and pest controlling effects.
|Posted by Tye Shirley on February 28, 2013 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
It's that time of year again, when we pull out all the stops and dive into a 'Deep Clean.' Using household cleaners, and solvents loaded with parabens, formaldehyde, bleach, and other respiratory and skin irritants, can be hazardouse to both you, your family, and your furry friends' health, not to mention expensive. So here's some tips and tricks on how to clean your home and avoid those toxic chemicals.
Pour a half-cup of baking soda down the sink (recycle a piece of paper to use as a funnel) and then add at least a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain and wait a few minutes, then rinse with a mixture of boiling water and salt.
Mix two ounces of vinegar with a quart of water in a spray bottle.
Put a sheet of aluminum foil into a plastic or glass bowl. Sprinkle the foil with salt and baking soda and fill the bowl with warm water. Soak your silver in the bowl and tarnish migrates to the foil. Dry and buff.
Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with salt and rub the lemon on the metal. Buff with a cloth.
Use vinegar to remove rust on nuts and bolts and other mineral deposits such as calcium deposits.
JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING CLEANER:
2 teaspoons borax (this is usually found near the laundry detergent)
1 teaspoon washing soda (not baking soda)
4 tablespoons vinegar
½ teaspoon natural liquid soap
¼ teaspoon tea tree oil
8 drops rosemary oil
8 drops tangerine oil
8 drops lavender oil
Dissolve the borax and washing soda into 2 cups of very hot water, strain the mixture through a very fine sieve, and funnel into a 1-quart spray bottle (or pour in slowly, leaving behind any undissolved powder). Add the rest of the ingredients and shake to blend. Top off with more hot water and shake again.
This spray cuts through even the greasiest grime, and the essential oils help chase away germs and odors while leaving behind a delightful (and healthy) fragrance. The ingredients will cost you a bit more up front than buying a bottle of ready-made cleaner would, but in the long run they will make dozens of bottles of cleaner, costing far less per bottle.
To use, spray onto any hard surface, scrub as needed with the rough side of a kitchen sponge (give really yucky areas an extra squirt and a few extra minutes to soften before sponging), and wipe off dirt and cleaner with a dry cotton cleaning cloth. Toss the cleaning cloth (I use cloths cut from old terrycloth towels) in the wash basket when you’re done.