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Lavender—Did You Know?Lavender (Scientific Name: Lavandula) is one of the most fragrant and highly versatile herbs that you can grow. As you may already know, lavender is used in essential oils, perfumes, in aromatherapy, in traditional herbal medicine and in the kitchen as a culinary herb. Here are some other interesting facts about lavender that you may not know: The name Lavender comes from the Latin verb, "lavare," which means to wash Lavender comes from the same family as mint Over 2500 years ago, lavender was used in ancient Egypt during the mummification process Back in the Elizabethan times, when baths weren't common practice, lavender was used to perfume clothes and bed linen The scent of lavender deters mice, flies, mosquitoes and other pests from the area Lavender oil can be used to soothe aching muscles and joints, reduce anxiety and stress, and to induce sleep It is a commonly used ingredient in potpourri Nectar from lavender plants are used to make high quality honey In the language of flowers, lavender can mean devotion, luck, success, happiness or distrust Lavender plants don't produce seeds; propagation is done by cutting or root divisions Most lavender plants are blue or purple, but there are some varieties that come in pink and yellow
What Are Essential Oils?When essential oils are applied to the skin, they are absorbed easily and carried by the bloodstream to every cell in the body within minutes. A single drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea. Each essential oil contains several to several hundred different kinds of molecules, each of which offers benefits in promoting good health, healing and regeneration. The doctors in the European medical community prescribe oils to be taken internally, in addition to or in place of pharmaceuticals. There are different strains of plants, as well as different ways of extraction, which can result in a different level of purity, color and the way the oil will work best. When diffused, some oils have the ability to remove any toxins or metallic particles from the air. Sesquiterpenes are found in oils and have the ability to go through the blood-brain barrier which helps treat brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s, and even multiple sclerosis. Testing the purity of your oil is best done by placing a drop on construction paper. If there is nothing left behind after 15 minutes, it is pure. If there is an oil ring, it is not pure. Essential oils are not necessarily oils. They are actually concentrated nutrients from plants. The sense of smell is the first of all our senses to develop. Less than 1 percent of the entire plant species population produces essential oil. Diffusing essential oils can actually help increase the atmospheric oxygen in a room. There are five drops of lemon essential oil in one lemon. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the term “aromatherapy” was used. Early kings and queens hired royal herb strewers to scatter herbs in their path—sweetening the air and warding off bad vibes. Neroli oil, or "orange blossom," is one of the most expensive essential oils on the market. It takes 1,000 lbs. of orange blossoms to make one pound of Neroli oil. Captain James Cook first mentioned tea tree oil in 1772 during his voyage to Botany Bay, Australia. He and his crew made a tea from the leaves to prevent scurvy. Our sense of smell is the only sense directly tied to the limbic area of the brain, which is considered the emotional control center. During the 17th century, if you were caught using herbs for medicinal reasons, you were hanged as a witch. (Does this one count as a 'Fun Fact?") Essential oils cannot be patented.
Handmade Soap vs. Store Bought—Is There a Difference?Handmade Soap is Simply Amazing for your Skin! Handmade soap preserves the integrity of the oils/fats/butters. Coconut oil goes in, saponified (made into soap) coconut oil comes out. Shea butter goes in, shea butter comes out. Because of this, the oils/fats/butters maintain their vitamins, minerals and skin-loving qualities in the final soap product. Palm, Olive, Shea and Coconut oils make for incredibly wonderful soaps.
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