Best Tips and Recipes for Going Green Series

jBr1tv1355309168¬† It’s simple! Just follow this blog! ūüôā From now until the end of December, daily tips for going green in our life! Going green is cost effective, easy and fun! Why should you be Going Green in your Home? Do you enjoy the smell of Bleach or Synthetic Air Fresheners? Are you cleaning your body on one end (detoxing) by eating right and then bombarding it with toxins on another end by using toxic products in our home? About 98% of store bought products are made with synthetically made chemicals. And we wonder why we are tired of being tired and sick of being sick! Commercial products you are using in your home are not good for our planet and the environment The home products you are using are toxic to your our dogs, cats and…children! Who is Really Winning? The companies who manufacture drugs, cleaning products, paints, insecticides are slowing killing us with toxicity. They care about their bottom line; not our health. I hope you become committed to going green in your home. Do it as a gift to yourself, your children, your animals and your planet! I wish you the best in your life and your home!

I am now on Pinterest!
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All About Carrier Oils!

 

Essential oils are distilled from the leaves, bark, roots and other aromatic portions of a botanical whereas Carrier oils are pressed from the fatty portions (seeds, nuts, kernels).

Carrier oils dilute Essential Oils
kind of like carrying the essential oils onto your skin!

Less is more!¬†¬†Drop by drop of your essential oil(s) onto a tablespoon of carrier oil is all you’ll need.

Carrier oils are mostly odorless, but some have a faintly sweet, nutty smell. 
They should not have a strong smell.

Some things to keep in mind when using Carrier Oils:
Color!  This may be important to you if you are creating a certain color blend or product.  
Also, their unique smells may conflict with the smell you are trying to achieve.  Their texture Рtoo oily?, etc.

Storing carrier oils in your refrigerator can help they last longer, however, certain carrier oils should not be stored in the fridge(it will indicate that in the descriptions below).  
If you do choose to store them in your fridge, return them to room temp first before you use them and 
don’t worry if they solidify or look cloudy at first!

All of these oils are available in my store!  Come check it out!  www.mindbodysoulessentials.com


Aloe Vera Gel
Add your favorite Essential Oils to this cool, smooth gel for a great skin gel. It is derived from the leaves of the aloe vera plant and has great healing properties. Could be used as a sunburn cream with the addition of essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile. So many possibilities!

Aloe Vera Liquid (Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe Vera Liquid is a 100% natural product expressed from the leaf of the aloe plant Aloe barbadensis miller. It contains 22 amino acids, enzymes, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Aloe Vera Liquid stimulates the skin, is anti-inflammatory and is very beneficial for burns and sunburns. It is moisturizing and has humectant properties.

This liquid helps to improve hydration and is soothing and healing to all skin types. It is well renowned for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties and can help to heal cuts, grazes, burns and insect bites.

Note: This is a natural product and therefore should be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life if you are purchasing in large quantities. Regular, everyday use Рstore in a cool, dark spot.


Avocado (Persea americana)
This oil is refined, and is an amber shade.

Origin: USA

Avocado oil (Persea americana) is a thick, penetrating oil that is rich in vitamins A, C, D and E, proteins, beta-carotene, potassium, lecithin and fatty acids. It softens and nourishes dry, dehydrated skin and is easily absorbed. It is said to reduce age spots and heal scars.

Avocado Oil is great for all skin types. This oil has a high “slip” factor. Contains Palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acids. This oil is wonderful for dehydrated skins as it has the ability to penetrate the upper layers of the skin. Avocado oil is very moisturizing and therefore also very helpful for rashes, eczema and aging skin types.

Note: This is a natural product and therefore should be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life if you are purchasing in large quantities. Regular, everyday use Рstore in a cool, dark spot.


Castille Soap, Liquid
A pure and gentle organic soap containing water, saponified organic coconut oil and saponified organic sunflower oil with kosher vegetable glycerine. Excellent for children and those with sensitive skin. Has a natural clear pale amber colour. No fragrances or chemicals. Contains no surfactants.

Castor Oil (Ricinus communis)
Origin: India

Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor seed, Ricinus communis. Traditionally castor oil is used for skin problems, burns, sunburns, skin disorders, cuts and abrasions. It is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odour or taste.

Castor oil is a humectant: it creates a protective barrier on the skin, and attracts and retains moisture. It is good for dry, chapped skin and is readily absorbed. It is said to dissolve cysts, growths and warts, and soften corns and prevent scars. Never use raw castor oil. Avoid during pregnancy.


Coconut Oil Fractionated, Liquid (cocos nucifera)
The scientific name for coconut is cocos nucifera. According to the Coconut Research Center, early Spanish explorers called it “coco” which means “monkey face”. The indentations on the hairy nut looked like a monkey to them. The word nucifera means “nut bearing”.

There are several terms that are used to describe the process of making coconut oil – refined, virgin, fractionated… but what’s the difference? The term “refined” refers to oils that are made from “copra”. Copra is the meat of the coconut that has been sun dried, smoke dried, or kiln dried and has picked up impurities. To remove these impurities the oil is refined, filtered through bleaching clays, and heated to deodorize it. This is also known as fractionated coconut oil.


Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera)
This cold pressed Grapeseed oil (Vitis vinifera) has a green tint and very fine texture. It is almost odorless and makes a good choice for aromatherapists wanting a bland base oil with excellent slip.

Grapeseed oil contains vitamins (including vitamin E), minerals, polyunsaturates, protein and linoleic acid (68-76%), which is very important for the skin and cellular membranes. It is a penetrating, odourless, mildly astringent oil that is great for all skin types.

Note: This is a natural product and therefore should be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life if you are purchasing in large quantities. Regular, everyday use Рstore in a cool, dark spot. Shelf life: 12 months


Hemp Seed Oil has been dubbed “nature’s most perfectly balanced oil” as it contains all the necessary essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals our bodies require for optimum health and restoration. It is an excellent choice for skin and hair care as it protects against free radicals, sun damage and skin conditions. Perfect for all skin types.

Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is not really an oil, it’s a liquid wax! ¬†Known as the “skin’s twin” in skin-care circles (it is very similar in structure to our skin’s natural sebum), Jojoba is excellent for all skin types, but most especially for eczema and psoriasis.

Jojoba oil is easily absorbed by the skin and has a non-oily, softening effect. Jojoba oil can help to soften and unclog pores when used as a facial massage medium. It contains protein, minerals, plant wax and myristic acid (which also has anti-inflammatory actions) so this oil is helpful as a rub for arthritis and rheumatism. Great for scars, stretch marks, psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, flaky skin. Reduces wrinkles and promotes natural elasticity.

Jojoba is not a nut-based oil. May be used as a base or a 10% dilution.


Rosehip oil (Rosa Mosqueta) 
Rosehip seed oil moisturizes dry, mature, sensitive, allergic, aging and problem skin. It is said to reduce inflammation, regenerate scar tissue, help with wrinkles and age spots, and may help to prevent and fade stretch marks. It contains vitamins C, E and a derivative of vitamin A ‚Äď trans-retinoic acid (a potent anti-inflammatory) that helps in treating dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. Because of its high fatty acid content, rosehip oil is wonderful applied topically to the skin, to help reverse severely dry skin. ¬†Note:¬†This is a natural product and therefore should be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life if you are purchasing in large quantities. Regular, everyday use – store in a cool, dark spot.

Shea Butter 100% unrefined
This Shea butter¬†is harvested from the trees growing naturally (no pesticide or chemicals). ¬†This¬†Shea¬†butter originates from Tapko, a small village located near Wa in Ghana’s Upper West Region.
Unlike many other products on the market, it is not extracted using hexane or other chemicals, nor is it bleached, or deodorized. There are no preservatives, yellow coloring agents (natural or artificial), or other additives in this unrefined shea butter. It is a creamy shade with a nutty, slightly smoky scent that dissipates on the skin quickly. Every ounce is natural, unrefined and of the highest quality.

  • Shea butter is created from the nut of the Karite or Shea (Mangifolia) Trees which grow throughout¬†Ghana’s¬†¬†region. These trees produce fruit once each year. Each batch of Shea butter is handmade with all natural methods.
  • Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamin A and E, both fabulous antioxidants which may help to counteract free-radical damage from the effects of the sun.
  • Raw, unrefined¬†Shea¬†butter has an average shelf life of 12 to 24 months without the addition of preservatives. To maximize the shelf life, it is important to store it under the proper conditions as outlined below.
  • ~Keep the unrefined¬†Shea¬†butter in a cool area, below 50 degrees F
    1. ~Store unrefined Shea butter in a dark area, away from direct sunlight
    2. ~Do not mix old Shea butter with fresh Shea butter
    3. ~Do not over heat the Shea butter when melting and avoid repeat meltings

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcus)
Sweet Almond oil (Prunus dulcus) contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E, and is rich in protein. It is great for general massage on all skin types. Sweet Almond oil is wonderful for helping to relieve itching, dryness, inflammation and burns. This oil is an all-purpose carrier oil and is also used for infusing (macerating).

Origin: Italy

Not safe for people with nut allergies. 

Note: This is a natural product and therefore should be refrigerated to prolong its shelf life if you are purchasing in large quantities. Regular, everyday use Рstore in a cool, dark spot.

All of these oils are offered in my store.  Come check us out! www.mindbodysoulessentials.com 

Learn how to make your own Echinacea Tincture

http://www.mindbodysoulessentials.com

ECHINACEA TINCTURE

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Echinacea is also referred to as “purple coneflower”.
ECHINACEA TINCTURE
It takes very little time and money to make your own Echinacea tincture. ¬†It rewarding to to do things for yourself and know exactly what is in the ‚Äúmedicine‚ÄĚ you are taking. Making herbal remedies is as grounding and fulfilling as growing our own food.

Echinacea stimulates the immune system and its antiviral activities help fight colds and flu, as well as promote the healing of infections.

This is an oral application.  You will need:
1 one pint glass jar (make sure it is clean) Do not use anything but glass to make your tinctures.
¬ľ cup dried or 1/2 cup fresh finely chopped or crushed Echinacea flowers and leaves
1 cup vodka (60% alcohol with dried and 80-100% alcohol with fresh)  You can use another alcohol such as rum or gin, if that is your preference.

One part plant to two parts alcohol.  EXAMPLE: Three ounces (dry measure) of fresh Echinacea flower heads would be placed in a jar with six ounces (liquid measure) of alcohol.

Place dried Echinacea in the jar.

NOTE: If you have fresh Echinacea available there is no need to dry it. Fresh is better than dried. If you  use fresh Echinacea, gently wash off the petals and measure about 1 cup of flowers and leaves. You can use the whole plant, flowers, leaves, and root. Many people use the flowers and leaves only since they don’t want to dig up the roots.

Pour vodka over the top. Fill as completely as possible to eliminate air, and seal tightly with lid. Label the bottles with the herb name, date made, and the expected date your tincture will be ready. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.

You have now created a menstruum. A menstruum is the liquid used to extract the soluble principles from the herbs or roots.  Leave menstruum at room temperature for four to six weeks. Place the jar in a cabinet that you go into daily, so you can shake it every day for thirty days.  The tincture will get stronger the longer it sits.  The dark brown color indicates that the essential oils from the root have been absorbed by the alcohol.

After the four to six weeks has passed, you will need to strain the herbs out of the vodka. To do this, place a layer of cheesecloth over a large glass measuring cup or small glass mixing bowl and secure with a rubber band. Pour menstruum slowly onto the cheesecloth and allow to drain for a few minutes. Then use your hands to wrap the cheesecloth around the herbs and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Strain herbs as described above.  Then discard the herbs.
You now have your very own Echinacea tincture!
Pour tincture into dark, glass bottles for storage. And don’t forget to label them.

To use:
At the first sign of a cold or throughout a cold take take ¬Ĺ to ¬ĺ of a teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day, per day. ¬†Echinacea has shown to be most beneficial at the beginning and for the duration of a cold. It is not intended as a long term preventative.

Tinctures from different herbs can be combined for dispensing as a blend!

For topical applications, use olive oil; it’s much easier on the skin than alcohol, and has it’s own nutritive properties. And you can easily use your tincture made with oil into a salve by melting in some beeswax and adding drops of Essential Oils, if you want.

The key advantages to tinctures are that they are convenient to use, easy to mix into combinations, dosages are easier to control and they have excellent shelf lives.

USING THE ROOTS: You can also use the roots in lieu of flowers and leaves.  Fresh roots should be ground with the alcohol in a blender into a pulpy mush.

The ratio of echinacea root to menstruum is 1 to 2. If there is 1 cup of root, add 2 cups of menstruum.

Harvest Echinacea roots by sinking a garden spading fork (a shovel works, too) deeply into the soil, and lean back on the tool handle to GENTLY lift the root ball. The roots grow deep and wide. The idea is to harvest as much root as possible.  Keep the tops of the plants intact with the roots so that the echinacea will be easy to identify from the roots of neighboring plants

Shake and massage the soil and unwanted plant roots from the clump. This is a good time to kill a few weeds! Leave as much soil as possible in the garden.  Scrub roots with a brush and rinse while rubbing the roots to remove any grit. Place all of the washed roots in a colander to drain.  Slice big roots crosswise into rounds (as if cutting carrots) and then chop them into smaller pieces.

As Echinacea ages, clumps are formed with new plants sprouting around the original plant. The oldest plants in the clump may decline as the younger vigorous plants compete for nutritional resources. Dividing the clumps regenerates the plants and gives a perfect opportunity to harvest the roots for tincture. For tincturing, choose Echinacea plants that are at least three years old.

Echinacea works to prevent. ¬†Once you get a cold, try Thyme. Thyme acts as an expectorant and boosts your immune system ūüôā
Hope you try this out!  Thank you reading!
Vanessa
Mind Body Soul Essentials
PS – here are some pictures of my Echi from my gardens!

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

This is a picture of what my Basil and Rosemary looked like after cutting and placing into small plastic bottles and glass jars to begin growing their roots.

Growing, Harvesting & Propogating Basil

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Basil, Week 2

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Ocimum basilicum, is a popular sweet herb of the Mint FamilyBasil grown indoors requires at least six hours of sunlight

Grows easily from seed ~ Basil loves well drained soil

I use organic soil & peat pots to grow the babies.  In the fall, I cover the way back of my yard with the leaves and every two years, I use that beautiful soil in my gardening.


Basil, Week 3

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Starting Basil indoors: 
Place peat pots in a flat; cover with a plastic dome.  Rotate flat each morning to provide equal sun on both sides.Lift dome & gently spray the pots with water every other day or as needed; replace dome top.  You are checking to see if the soil is moist.

Seed Germination Period is 5 to 10 days.  See pics on this page showing the progress.


Basil, Week 5

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Once the seedlings have developed two (2) pairs of true leaves, then you can thin out the weakest seedlings in each peat pot.  This is when you can begin to use organic fertilizer.
Think of a newborn baby.  The baby needs food and to be kept directly out of the sun or the baby will get sunburned, right?  As you grow your basil, think of your seedlings as babies.  Treat them as such.

Allow adequate drainage ~ after transplanting to a pot, line the base of the pot with dime sized rocks

Hang bunches of stems up to air dry.  We also keep basil cuttings in water in a little gatorade bottle on our dinner table for easy access Рwhatever works

Basil is easily propagated through herbaceous stem cuttings.¬†Place cuttings in water to root.¬† You’ll see roots¬†shortly.¬† It’s amazing to see – get your kids involved


Basil outdoors in the garden

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Mother nature provides most of what Basil needs naturally! Basil is an annual plant, and loves the sun!  

Plant basil outdoors after the last spring frost.  

Plant in well drained soil; basil will grow in soils ranging in acidity.  


Companion gardening with Basil

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Plant Basil near tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. 

Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. 

Basil is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. 

Do not plant Basil near Sage. 


Basil in my garden!   

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Leaf production slows or stops on any stem which flowers, so you should pinch off any flower stems to keep the plant in production ~ SAVE THOSE SEEDS FOR FUTURE PLANTING    Or if you know that you want your Basil to return, pick the flowers and let them drop to the ground!

After your Basil is done for the season, the leaves are beginning to yellow or wilt, it is time to cut. 


Propagating Basil

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Basil propagation from cuttings is easy! ¬†Share your basil! ¬†Take new plantings and give them as gifts! ¬†Swap herbs with others! ¬†It’s free!Take a four to five (4-5) inch basil cutting right below a leaf node. Remove the leaves off the bottom; approx. two inches from the end making sure that this cutting hasn’t flowered yet.

Place the cutting in a glass of water and put it where it can get good sunlight. Use a clear container so you can watch your basil propagation grow root! ¬†I use little gatorade bottles or cleaned out jelly and sauce jars ūüôā

Change the water every few days until you see root growth. Once the roots on your basil cutting are two inches or longer, you can plant the cutting in a pot indoors. Make sure you put the planter in a place where the plant will get sunlight.

Keep the basil on hand for cooking and for adding to your food after it’s prepared!

All of the pictures here are of my basil, from different years. ¬†I have grown to love this herb; in cooking, while growing, the smell of it on my fingertips…
Give it a try! ¬†You’ve got nothing to lose ūüôā
Thank you!

How To Grow, Use & Harvest Lemon Balm

How To Grow, Use & Harvest Lemon Balm

One of the easiest (in my experience) to grow from seed, rooted cuttings, or by root division

Adds a lemon aroma wherever it is planted

Lemon Balm is relaxing and soothing for the nerves

It calms anxiety & also acts to restore depleted energy and revitalize us

Said to act as a decongestant and antihistamine,  helping with chronic problems like asthma or allergies

Balm prefers loose, somewhat fertile soil

Thrives in full sun but likes some shade  during the hot part of the day or it will wilt slightly

Lemon balm that is¬†shaded during the hottest part of the day will have deep green leaves and a¬† stronger aroma. In full sun, or poor soil, lemon balm leaves become yellow and¬† loses it’s strong scent

Balm does not send runners (like mint) ~ it’s self seeding

Plant next to other vigorous growers (perennials) because  balm competes for space

Sweet yet invasive herb

Grows from 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall, bushes out laterally, so give them some side space

Trim plants to maintain bushy appearance

Clip back when it flowers

Mulch so it’s root system will survive the coldest winters

Drought tolerant ~ I rarely water (doesn’t like wet feet)

Harvest and it comes back with vigor everytime. Leave several leaves on the plant to prevent it from dying

If you keep it harvested and¬† don’t allow it to go to seed it stays under control

To harvest ~ cut the whole stems 3-4″ from the base of the plant, gather into groups of 5-6 stems,¬† tie and hang in a warm, airy location.

When dry, strip off the leaves,  store in a covered container and use as needed

Or wash some after harvesting to use fresh

Divide in the spring or fall

Take cuttings in midsummer to bring in for the winter

Grow from seed ~ start indoors in late winter & transplant

Lemon Balm Uses

Lemon Balm, week 2

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Lemon Balm Astringent 

1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Balm
1 cup witch hazel
Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Allow to steep for 1 week. Strain. Use 1 teaspoon per application with a cotton ball. Refrigerate if you wish.


Lemon Balm, week 3

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Lemon Balm Herbal Oil Infusion

Chop the Lemon Balm and place it in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
Cover the Lemon Balm completely with olive oil or other oil.

Allow the Lemon Balm to infuse into the oil for at least 2 weeks ~ shaking it daily.

At the end of two weeks strain the Lemon Balm from the oil infusion to prevent mold.

Label the Lemon Balm infusion and store it in a cool, dark area.


Lemon Balm, week 4

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Add a handful of Lemon Balm to a hot bath to help skin ailmentsLemon balm aids in cleansing by opening the pores

Use Lemon Balm with seafood or vegetables.

Combine Lemon Balm with mint in cooking to enhance the flavors of both herbs

Lemon Balm makes a good substitute for the flavor of lemon in recipes when there is no lemon on hand

Add Lemon Balm to foods and beverages that use mint to give them a mild lemon flavor

Add Lemon Balm to hot black tea with mint

Lemon Balm is used as a conditioner for oily hair



Lemon Balm, week 5

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Lemon Herb Butter
2 tablespoons
lemon balm, chopped fine
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped fine
1 cup butter, softened
Cream butter and stir in herbs.
Chill for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend.Lemon Balm facial
Boil 1/4 cup of lemon balm in a quart of boiling water and then hold your face close to the bowl, using a towel to form a tent around the bowl and trap in steam.

After 10 minutes, rinse your face with warm and then cool water

Hope you enjoyed and learned something new!!  
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