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Posts tagged: herbalism

How to do an Herbal Face Steam

 

This winter, my body has been calling for extra restoration. Herbal steams are one of my favorite remedies for congested skin, sinuses, or just a stagnant winter feeling. By infusing herbs in boiling water, a steam releases  the herbs’ nutrient-rich volatile oils. Herbal steams have two primary benefits:


BENEFITS / HERBS

Skincare

The heat of the steam opens up pores, melts sebum and blackheads, and releases volatile oils. For skincare-focused steams, I recommend herbs with circulatory, antimicrobial, and brightening properties:

  • Green tea - tone and tighten
  • Calendula - gentle, all skin types, soothe and nourish
  • Lavender - calm and relax, treat acne
  • Rose - calm and relax, treat acne
  • Licorice - brighten
  • Rosemary - boost circulation
  • Yarrow - heal, stop bleeding, heal infection, treat acne
  • Chamomile - calm, relax, gentle, all skin types
  • Marshmallow - soothing demulcent, calming

Immune, lymph, and respiratory systems

Breathing in the herbs’ volatile oils opens your respiratory system, clears mucus, and brings the benefits of these potent oils into your bloodstream. It’s an especially good remedy during cold and allergy seasons. For these steams, I recommend herbs that calm, soothe, and promote immunity:

  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus
  • Yarrow
  • Elderflower

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start with a clean face, cleansing & wiping off any makeup or products.
  2. Fill 11”x7” pot (you want a large pot for this!) with 6.5 cups water or a one inch layer of water in pot. Put on high heat, bring to just under a boil, turn heat off.
  3. Add your herbal mixture and let steep for 10 minutes covered. For proportions use one tablespoon of herbs to every cup of water (so for my recipe, I use 6-7 tablespoons of herbs per pot). Use the benefits guide above to choose herb(s) that fit your needs.
  4. Bring covered pot to an area where you can comfortably sit or stand, and place the hot pot on a heat-proof surface (such as a towel or cutting board). Drape a large towel over your entire head, torso, and pot--tenting yourself. Uncover pot and steam for 2-5 min, breathing deeply and staying tented so no steam escapes. After the steam, your skin will be flushed, pores and sinuses will be wide open.

 

Pro tips:

Right after a steam is a great time to follow with your favorite face mask–open pores will allow your mask to work deeper. You can also use the leftover herbal steam water from the pot to make an herbal bath. For the bath, just pour the pot through a strainer, cheesecloth, or muslin sack or pour the mixture right in and strain after. Your skin will absorb the benefits of the herbal infusion. 

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Night Cloud Elixir / A Delicious Detox

Night Cloud Elixir / A Cozy Detox for Cooler Days

Did you know the name for our newest Eau de Parfum Night Cloud began with an herbal elixir? Our launch last week has me thinking about my journey to Night Cloud, and I want to share with you the drink that started it all. With warm sesame milk, charcoal, lavender, and honey, Night Cloud Elixir is a detox that feels like a treat.

I first created the elixir last summer, when I was scheming up all sorts of herbal concoctions, from matcha to golden milk. I named it Night Cloud, and I told myself it would be the name of my next perfume. In many ways, the ingredients laid the foundation for the fragrance – dark, rich, and lavender based.

Lavender and reishi calm. Activated charcoal draws out toxins and can settle an upset stomach. Mineral-rich sesame milk contains healthy fats that feel fortifying on winter days.

I hope you love it. 

 

Night Cloud Elixir Recipe
Ingredients for 2 servings

16 oz. homemade black sesame milk*
1 heaping tablespoon lavender buds
1 half tablespoon activated charcoal powder
2 teaspoons reishi powder
1 tablespoon of honey, or to taste

Instructions

1. Heat sesame milk on medium-low or until nut milk is warm to touch.
2. Pour into blender. Add lavender, charcoal, and reishi.
3. Blend on high until smooth.
4. In blender, add honey to taste and blend. Pour, garnish with lavender buds and charcoal if desired, and enjoy!

*Homemade Sesame Milk

Black sesame milk is key to the making this drink rich and creamy. I also like sesame milk because it is so nutrient dense and has a very high mineral content. Homemade sesame milk is easy – I promise! All it requires is a blender, cheesecloth, sesame seeds, and water. In a pinch, you can also sub your favorite nut milk.

Ingredients

1 cup black sesame seeds
4 cups water
 
Instructions

  1. Mix sesame seeds and water.
  2. Soak overnight
  3. Optional: sweet with 2 dates. Because I add honey to the Night Cloud Elixir, I recommend skipping this step for this recipe.
  4. Pour mixture into blender and blend on high.
  5. Strain ingredients carefully into a bowl. For straining, I use a nut milk bag, but you can also use a cheesecloth or dish cloth.  

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Herbal Kitchen / Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries are ripe right now, and when they come in I absolutely love making a big batch of syrup to keep on hand. It is an easy and fun plant both to harvest and to make medicine with. Elderberries have been an important herb in folk medicine and were one of the sacred trees revered by the druids. They are most renowned for their immune boosting and flu/fever/cold fighting abilities. Other benefits include its high antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, heart health, respiratory health, tonsillitis, and bacterial and viral infections. Talk about a superfood!

What I most appreciate about elderberry medicine is that it works on the immune system to prevent illness, and also has the ability to shorten an illness once it's set in (I find most immune herbs work really well for preventing, but kinda leave you hanging if you don't start on them in time and get sick). As we approach Fall, I always get nervous about cold/flu season, and prefer to prevent & treat it naturally. Fortunately, nature is perfect and gives us ripe elderberries now to prepare us for the cold/immune-challenging months to come!  

Recipe

This syrup will keep for months in the fridge. I made a gallon so I'd have plenty for my friends and family and my own household. If you're using fresh berries, you use a ratio of 1:1 water to berries, and 2:1 water to dried berries (dried elderberries are available here). As always, only forage fresh berries if you are 100% sure you've correctly identified the plant--safety first! Also, my friend Bear gave me the best tip ever for separating the ripe berries from the stem: Simply freeze the berries when you get them home, and the frozen berries will fall right off the stem with zero effort! SO GENIUS! Thanks, Bear! 

8 cups water

8 cups fresh elderberries 

1 cup elderflowers (I like to harvest some flowering tops when I harvest my berries, or you could also order these online dried)

4 lemons, sliced

1 ounce reishi*

1 ounce schizandra*

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Raw honey**

Add all ingredients except the honey in a large pot, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer the mixture for 45 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool to warm, strain, and stir in the raw honey to taste (expect to use anywhere from 1-3 cups honey). Bottle it in a sterile jar with a tight fitting lid, and store in the fridge. I like to take a shot in water everyday as an immune supporting elixir, but it is also delicious in mocktails, iced tea, smoothies, cocktails, and topping a glass of cava/champagne with. 

*I only added these 2 herbs as extra immune boosting support. They are totally optional, and sometimes less is more, ya know what I mean? Keep it simple, especially if it's your first time making it.

**It is important to use raw honey to preserve the shelf life of the syrup, and you do get added benefits form the raw honey. If you are vegan, substitute with your fave sweetener, and maybe start with a smaller batch recipe to experiment with the shelf life. 

Let me know how yours turns out!

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