Calendula macerated oil

Calendula known as well as marigold is a popular ingredient in many cosmetic and medicinal products. Its healing and anti-inflammatory properties help sooth and soften the skin. Calendula is great to treat wounds, ulcers, scars, eczema and any skin rashes. It is also good for bruises and varicose veins.

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Its bright orange or yellow flowers could be single or double layered. The double ones with bright orange petals have the highest concentration of active ingredients like essential oils, carotenoids, saponins, flavonoids.

Today we are making macerated oil which is very simple. You will need calendula flowers, fresh or dried, a basic oil like olive or sunflower oil and a glass jar.

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Put about 50-100 g of calendula flowers into a clean, sterilised jar then pour the oil to cover the petals. Mix it gently with a wooden stick and make sure all the flowers are covered with the oil and put the lid on. Let the time do the magic! Leave it in some warm sunny spot, beware that windowsill can be cold and draughty at nights. For the first 2 weeks shake the jar daily, then leave it to infuse for about another 2-3 weeks. Then strain the oil and keep it in a dark glass container. You could also make a double infusion, which means strain the oil, then put fresh batch of flowers and cover with the already infused oil and leave for another 2-3 weeks. Double macerated oil will be most potent and beautifully coloured.

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Perfect to be used in face or body massage, oil cleansing method, treating bruises and any DIY beauty treatments.

Aloe vera face mask

It is Sunday and if I’m at home I usually dedicate some time to my home spa and some beauty treatments ahead of the busy week. Today is a super plant day!

Aloe vera is a succulent plant with large fleshy leaves with spikes around them. I have never seen aloe vera flowers but they come in different colours from red, orange, yellow to pink. The clear gel stored in those plump leaves is used medicinally and in the beauty treatments. It soothes the skin, heals the wounds and treat sunburns. Helpful in treating allergy rashes, insect bites, fungal infections, ulcers. It works as a great skin moisturiser and thanks to the antioxidants fights ageing. Rich in vitamins and minerals aloe vera juice treats indigestion and soothes any stomach complaints.  Aloe vera is a very popular ingredient in many beauty products so why not to incorporate it in your own DIY beauty projects.

Wikipedia
Wikipedia

To make aloe vera face mask you will need

2 tbs of aloe vera gel

1 tbs of green clay

1 ts of vitamin E oil

2 tbs rose petals infusion

5 drops of rose essential oil

It is actually my first time using fresh aloe which I got from a little shop selling mangoes, coriander and the whole aloe vera plants. Plant has to mature though to be ready to use so I just bought one massive leaf called Aloe King. On the supplier’s website www.aloeking.com it says that aloe vera is “considered one of the most versatile and effective natural healers”. I have also read an interesting and controversial book “Cancer can be cured” featuring the aloe vera as the main ingredient of a recipe to treat cancer.

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Start by making rose petals infusion by covering 1 tbs of petals with hot water and leaving it to steep under the cover for about 10 minutes. Scrape aloe vera gel out of the leaf and blend it for the smooth gel, add green clay and rose infusion to make a paste. Add vitamin E oil and the essential oil. Mix everything up and apply to your clean face with a brush. Leave it on for about 10 minutes then rinse with tepid water. Enjoy the benefits of nourished smooth skin!

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I also loved the stripy pattern inside the aloe leaf. Nature never stop to amaze and inspire me!

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Aromatherapy with clove essential oil

I have been using a lot of clove essential oil recently, especially for my teeth as a natural pain relief. It is excellent! I have undergone two courses of the root canal treatment and clove essential oil helped me enormously with any pain and discomfort during the treatment. It is all down to a substance called eugenol and clove oil has it about 80-90%. Eugenol is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, hence clove essential oil is a popular ingredient in some dentist products. Also nutmeg, basil and cinnamon essential oils contain eugenol, as well as marjoram and oregano, but in smaller proportion. Cloves have the highest amount of eugenol and the oil can be highly irritant so always dilute it before applying. I usually make a small cotton pad, moist it with water, add a drop of clove essential oil mixed with an almond oil and the wrap it around my sore tooth. It works like a local anaesthetic. It is a pain relief wonder.

Clove trees originated in Asia, today are grown in India, Indonesia, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka. Cloves  are aromatic flower buds and ave been used as spice for at least 2000 years. They are popular not only in cooking but also used medicinally to treat skin infections, digestive problems, toothaches and also as an excellent insect repellent.

Syzygium_aromatcum from Wikipedia
Beautiful botanical illustration from Wikipedia

Clove essential oil is water distilled from the clove buds. It is warming and stimulating oil. The smell is spicy and woody.  I always liked them as spice but it took me a while to like clove essential oil because it is so strong. Its warming properties are useful when treating cold and chill. Well diluted can be massaged over your stomach to relief digestive problems from a cold. Also great to use in a room spray, especially when combined with other antiseptic oils like eucalyptus, thyme or lemon.  Clove pain-relieving properties are also beneficial in treating rheumatism, arthritis and muscle sprains, just use it in a rubbing oil.

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Finally, few words about psychological profile of the clove oil. As Susan Curtis writes in her book “Essential oils” clove is good for a generally optimistic and happy person who has been feeling down because of an illness, trauma or pain. Someone who has been suffering for quite a while and felt discouraged and fed up. I just felt I was reading about myself! Using clove essential oil is helping to restore cheerfulness and enjoyment of life. Now, I always make sure I never run out of clove essential oil.