Pumpkin Seed Oil

pumpkin seed oil
pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin History

Before we talk about pumpkin seed oil, let’s talk about the fruit. Yes, the countless varieties of pumpkins are in the same family as squash, cucumbers and melons. Its origin dates back to about 5000 B.C. in North America. Pumpkins are among the most versatile fruits that exist.

The shells were used to make bowls and mats by Native Americans. Medicinally, they have been used to treat acne, fever, parasites, and kidney problems etc. etc. Long a staple in diets, the flowers seeds and meat are considered delicacies in certain cultures. Pumpkin seeds have even been recommended by the World Health Organization for its abundance in zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

We all know about the virtues of pumpkin pies and roasted seeds, but the pumpkin seed oil is the prize for me. Pumpkin seed oil is packed with everything you need for glowing skin. The seeds are cold pressed to obtain the oil that makes a dark green light oil with a slight nutty aroma. It is not a heavy oil like coconut oil and will therefore not clog your pores.

Benefits for the skin and hair

This powerhouse of an oil is packed with fatty acids, alpha hydroxyl acid, Vitamins A, C, E and zinc. These ingredients are all needed to boost collagen production, increase cell renewal that brighten and smooth the skin.

Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center has indicated that the oil is beneficial to hair and skin. Why? The omega 6 fatty acids are vital to help stimulate hair and skin growth. The vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are essential for hair growth. The oil can decrease the production the enzyme (5 alpha reductase) that is responsible for slowing hair growth.

Vitamin K in pumpkin seed oil is known to reduce swelling, healing and bruising after surgery. It is also applied to the skin to help with rosacea, acne and spider veins according to WebMD.  We love pumpkin seed oil so much that you can find it our nourishing body oil and body oil.

So the next time you carve that pumpkin or make pumpkin pie, keeps the seeds.

Grapeseed oil benefits

grapeseed oil benefitsWhat are the benefits of grape seed oil? Grape seed oil surfaced in the 20th Century. Grapes have been touted for over 6000 years for their medicinal properties.

Grapeseed oil benefits

Grapseed oil is light and non-greasy. It is non-comedogenic, it will not clog your pores; it is quickly absorbed by the skin. It will leave skin hydrated and smooth.

Grapeseed oil is full of flavonoids, anti-oxidants, linoleic acid and Vitamin C and E that remove debris and free radicals. These components promote the rejuvenation of collagen increasing the skin’s elasticity. An Ohio State University conducted a study on the benefits of grape seed oil. The result of the test indicated that grapeseed oil may speed up the healing process of wounds on the skin.

Scientists have found that the linoleic acid naturally present in the oil is beneficial for the treatment of , dermatitis, allergic reactions, eczema, and dry and itchy skin. Grapeseed oil benefits also include healing of acne, the inflammation that is caused due to blemishing.

Seeds of grapes are cold pressed to produce the light oil. The same grapes that are used for wine are used for their seeds.  This makes the grape business double duty in some ways. The finished product has a 2 year shelf life but should be kept refrigerated to prevent rancidity. The color is light green with a slightly nutty aroma.

Our certified organic marigold bergamot dry oil is made with organic grapeseed oil and jojoba oil infused with calendula and bergamot. Our customers prone to break outs swear by it. They first cleanse with our marigold foaming cleanser, then apply the dry oil. Some follow up with a spritz of marigold toner.

Grape seed oil is wonderful alternative to the harsh peels and/or chemicals for blemish prone skin.

Bergamot

bergamot
bergamot

Bergamot Origin

Bergamot has been used for hundreds of years by perfumers in Western Europe for its ability to mingle with other fragrances. Its medicinal history dates back to the 16th century when the Italians used the oil for fevers, as an antiseptic, for respiratory problems and skin ailments.

The tree has a curious history. Some say that the evergreen tree is a cross between an orange and lemon and others say it is a cross with a grapefruit. There are those who argue that it is native to Asia and others to Greece. Another legend is that Christopher Columbus took the tree to the Caribbean and elsewhere where it was used in voodoo to protect oneself against harm.

Whatever the history, it appears that the name came from Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy where it was first sold.  It is the Italians who have the largest production of bergamots. The Greeks attest that the name came from Turkish word meaning “the lord’s pear”.

Bergamot Essential Oil

The tree is relatively small, growing only to 13 feet. The small fruit itself is yellow when ripe and is sour and basically non-edible. It is the peel that is cold pressed to make the fruit. It takes approximately 100 bergamots to make 3 ounces of oil.

The components make it useful as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant  essential oil. It is known to be a rival of lavender essential when relaxing the mind.

The aroma is crisp, tart with a peppery spicy undertone. You can find it in our bergamot essential oil in HollyBeth’s flourish roll on perfume, marigold bergamot dry oil, citrus cream and citrus spray.

fragrance vs perfume

frangrance vs perfume
fragrance vs perfume

Fragrance vs perfumes can they actually be dangerous for our health?

When I lived in Paris I loved going to Galeries Lafayette and smelling all the glorious new scents. Later I realized that the majority of the so called “perfumes” were actually made in a lab and not from a flower.

Perfume

First, what is a perfume and who created the first? The Egyptians created the first perfumes for use in religious ceremonies and on the body.

A perfume, according to the Oxford dictionary “A frgrant  liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one’s body or clothes“. This to me, is the the perfect definition. The words chemical, synthetics or man made do not exist. A perfume is intimate and personal; an aroma that conjures pleasant memories. A perfume is a image and creation that lingers once you leave the room.

A perfume like flourish is essential oils infused in this case, organic sunflower seed oil, and not in an alcohol or chemical.

Fragrance dangers

Most conventional fragrances contain chemicals derived from petroleum that is linked to environmental health effects. Over eight hundred million pounds of chemicals are used each year to make fragrances. Now these so-called ingredients are considered to be the most prominent toxins to the environment.

The chemicals are why a human made fragrance will stay on your skin and in your body longer.

“Fragrances, because they evaporate and we inhale them, need more rigorous evaluation,” says President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and pollution policy advisor for Environmental Defence. “We don’t know what the effects might be because cosmetic ingredients don’t need to be tested for safety before marketing.”

Indeed as long as a decade ago, several ingredients used in fragrances were the subject of an investigation by the US National Academy of Sciences which labelled them as being on a par with insecticides and solvents in terms of the damage they could do to us.

Up to 100 chemicals may be used in an average fragrance, most of which are petro-chemicals i.e. derivatives of the petroleum industry with many suspected to be harmful. In 2004, Pat Thomas from the ‘Ecologist’ magazine analysed a typical and well selling fragrance product, listing the ingredients and possible effects of the chemicals used. Yet there is wide cause for concern as to the health of those who use them. Studies have shown that the synthetic fragrance chemicals are being found in breast milk, with one comparison study measuring levels as having increased five fold in the last ten years alone. This is from a great website I found on a site in the UK.

So the next time you traipse through a boutique or your favorite department store, think twice before spraying.

Prickly Pear Seed Oil

prickly pear
prickly pear

Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Barbary Fig Seed Oil

Origin

Prickly pear seed oil is a fairly newcomer to the beauty industry but one that is quite in vogue, no matter if you call it barbary fig oil, cactus fruit seed oil or opuntia ficus-inidica seed oil. However, in Mexico, I always knew  that a prickly pear is a  “tuna”, the fruit of a cactus called Nopal. Nopal is a cactus that is native to the Americas. Mexico, with over 80 different varieties of tuna, is the top producer and exporter.

Prickly Pear

Peeling a prickly pear or tuna is a delicate endeavor as it is full of small “espinas” thorns that can get under the skin. But once peeled it is a delicious treat. The fruit is used to make “agua frescas” or lemonade, marmalades, gorditas, gelatin, alcohol and in salsas. Prickly pears are quite versatile; however, my favorite way to eat them is just peel and eaten raw.

Prickly pear seed oil

Prickly pear seed oil is pressed from the seeds and depending on who you ask, it takes approximately 8 tons of cactus fruit to make one liter of  oil. The  seeds are hard and must be pressed to make the precious oil. You can see how it is our costliest ingredient and we buy only organic certified.

Here is a great article on the properties of the oil. The oil contains linoleic acid, phytosterols, polyphenols and Vitamin E. Therefore, it contains all your your skin needs to retain moisture, protect and nourish your skin.

Our skin therapy has prickly pear seed oil, camellia seed oil, beeswax, infused with lavender and lime. It is a customer favorite as it only take a small amount to hydrate the skin. Some of our fans also use it as a make-up remover. However you use it, you will love the delicate calming aroma that lingers on your skin.

 

 

 

Tupelo Honey

grits honey

Tupelo honey

Tupelo honey is often referred to as Southern gold or the Queen of honey and rightly so. This velvety honey is the only honey diabetics can eat. Its high fructose content means that it is quickly absorbed by the body. Compared to other honeys it is has a longer release of energy making it also perfect for athletes. This also makes it the only honey that doesn’t crystallize, it remains liquid for years.

The Tree

The Ogeechee Tupelo tree was named for the river in Georgia where it was discovered by William Bartram, the Ogeechee River. It is also called sour tupelo gum, white tupelo, and bee tupelo. The trees grow in swamps. Therefore, the beehives are on stilts for them to gather the nectar from the female trees that have the blossoms. As the flower is like a magnolia, quite delicate, the hives have to be close to the trees. The red fruit of the tree ripens in autumn and can be made into jams and as a substitute for limes.

The Bees

Timing is everything with tupelo honey harvesting. And of course, the bees. Honey bees can produce about ½ tsp of honey in its lifetime and it take about two million flowers to produce one pound of honey. This is probably why they are called worker bees. Tupelo honey has always been my favorite especially in my grits honey scrub.