I love reading about natural therapies, herbs, DIY beauty so I am always looking for some good inspirational books. I regularly read Natural Health magazine, here in UK, which is full of interesting articles about natural therapies and organic beauty. I am also slowly building up my own personal library at home as well as on my Kindle app. My make-up bag and bathroom cupboard have had their makeover as well and I ma trying to stick to the rule that less is more.
Today I want to share with you one of my favourite books titled “Grow your own drugs” by James Wong. He is an ethnobotanist, journalist and TV presenter in UK, a great advocate for gardening and nature.
He grew up in Malaysia, then came over to study Ethnobotany in UK. In the book he recalls a picture of his grandma grounding some herbs in a pestle and mortar. And me too, I remember my grandma collecting and drying herbs, like St. John’s wort. Those small bunches were hanging up in our kitchen. Ah, happy days! And also, I remember myself collecting wild flowers like poppies, cornflowers and daisies for some special ceremonies in a church.
Back to the book, “Grow your own drugs” had its own documentary series on BBC and I enjoyed watching it. What I love about those books are beautiful illustrations and photos, real pleasure to look at them. There is lots of practical info about foraging, growing, harvesting, and then storing the plants. Then we off to making remedies to help with digestion, different kinds of aches, skincare and haircare. You will find recipes for glycerin soaps, bath bombs, deodorants, lip balms and many more. He also shares the knowledge about the 100 top plants and most of their useful and beneficial properties.
For fans of social media, James Wong is on Twitter @Botanygeek.
Few months ago, I picked some nettles and horsetail in the woods. Since then I kept them in a cupboard, so while cooking tonight I made this very simple herbal hair rinse. I used nettle and horsetail mix as they are famous for strengthening hair, giving it shine and making it looking healthy. This herb mixture is actually good for dark shades of hair, for blondes you can use chamomile, calendula, sunflower petals. As my hair is dark blonde and I am keen on making it a bit highlighted so next time will be chamomile mix!
Simply pour boiling water over the herbs and cover it. Leave if for about 20 minutes so mixture will cool down. Strain the herbs and enjoy the look and smell of that infusion! Wash your hair as usual, then rinse it with your herbal essence. I also added a splash of apple cider vinegar for that extra gloss!
As my hair is sort of curly-wavy and I keep it that way, I was struggling to find a good and natural product to keep the frizz at bay. Nowadays, I just use a bit of shea butter to smooth the locks and keep them under control. Just a bit, otherwise they will go greasy and heavy. Shea also works wonder for that dry and split ends. So keep your hair pretty and healthy with a help of nature.
I used to do a lot of steam baths for my face in my teens when I suffered from acne and my skin was uber oily. Now, I have combination skin and still quite oily in a T-zone. I know, no need to worry about early wrinkles and dryness but believe me, combination skin with large pores is a bit of maintenance. So here the steam baths come in handy. They are great for purifying and cleaning your skin.
To prepare the steam bath you need a heatproof bowl, a towel, hot water, some herbs and essential oils. Fill the bowl with hot water and add the herbs. If you have dry skin, use rose petals and a bit of almond oil. It will moisturize your skin once evaporating. If you have oily/combination skin, use chamomile flowers, lavender or rosemary. You can even use fresh chopped parsley or mint and a slice of lemon. Actually, you can create a steam bath individually tailored to your skin needs, but generally keep it simple. If you don’t have any herbs at the moment, use some essential oil.
Once the bath is ready, cover your head and a bowl with a towel and let the steam to open your pores. Stay for about 5-10 minutes above the bowl, relax and breathe. It is not only good for your skin but also for nasal passages and sinuses. Follow with some chilled floral water to close the pores.
I have been waiting to write about this beautiful yet humble herb. I love chamomile! The smell so herbal yet a bit flowery. It helps me when my stomach is upset or when I just want to ease my mind. I remember myself as a little girl going to the fields and trying to find these sort of daisy looking flowers. I wasn’t always successful and often mixed them with other similar looking plants.
Chamomile is famous for its soothing and calming properties so works well for all irritations, acne, it is popular in treating eczema. Chamomile is an excellent not only to skin but the whole body and mind too! It works as a mild sedative, relaxes muscles and will bring a good sleep. I love this a bit bitter taste of chamomile tea. I just know it’s pure power of nature. Why don’t we restore all that powerful knowledge about herbs and plants and use it for our good? It has been used by people since the beginning of our civilization and it is still here. Unfortunately, modern life puts us away from the nature and all natural remedies.
I felt like my skin needs a bit of nourishment so decided to use an egg and and chamomile as I have been out in the sun and wind for the past few days. So to start, I use pestle and mortar to crush chamomile flowers. You can even use chamomile tea bags instead. Just open them and pop the content out. Add chamomile flowers to an egg yolk, add squeeze of lemon, a bit of honey and mix it all. As it gets a bit runny, I add some clay to thicken the mask, the best would be yellow one to keep the colour synchronization! When ready, apply to your face, neck and decollete. Once removing it, the chamomile particles will act as a gentle scrub and will leave your face smooth and bright.
As Full Moon is approaching ( 3rd of July in UK ), it is a good time to moisturize, nourish, make masks, do massages. Start today and you will see the results!