Lavender

Lavender love

My love of lavender began while living in France. The decadent rows of it in the south of France and all the creams and potions were just divine. However, it wasn’t until I moved back home and visited Sequim (pronounced Squeem not seqeem), Washington that I seriously thought about having a lavender farm, a dream that might still come to fruition but very hard to do in Georgia. The Pacific Northwest although rainy, has some of the best in the country and the entire town of Sequim thrives and is dedicated to this dynamic herb. After losing industry in the community they decided to plant fields of the plants  and voila a thriving festival and businesses bloomed.

Lavender History

The history of aromatherapy is thanks to this aromatic herb. Rene Gattefosse burned his hand and used the oil to stop the pain. It healed the hand without scarring or infection. However, the French have the Romans to thank for Provence’s abundance of  farms. The Romans introduced the herb to France. It is thought that the name comes from Latin “lavare” to wash of ‘livendulo” livid or bluish. Before World War 1 the French government cleared the almond orchards. They replaced them with lavender in the hopes of keeping the population there instead of fleeing.

Lavender Uses

In ancient Egypt the flowers were used for embalming, cosmetics, massage oils and as perfume. Egyptians would put it on their heads. The Greeks would anoint their feet. According to the Greek Philosopher Diogenes “When you anoint your head with perfume, it flies away in the air and only the birds get the benefit of it, whilst if I rub it on my lower limbs it envelopes my whole body and gratefully ascends to my nose”. During Nero’s time it was used for indigestion, headaches and to clean wounds. It is said that the plant was first domesticated in the Arab world. They dominated the Mediterranean culture, specifically Spain and from there lavender spread. Fast forward to the Middle Ages and it was used to raise money for King Edward 1. King Charles V1 of France stuffed his pillows with the flower buds. It was also used to treat lice and other pests.

Lavender has been a cure all for centuries, from linen, to inciting passion, repelling insects etc. etc.It takes approximately 175 lbs of the flower buds to make one ounce of essential oil. Lavender hand cream is the second product I made and the first featured in a national magazine. You will find it in skin therapy blended with lime essential oil. Our cleansing oil and lavender mist also contain the essential oil. This essential oil is the most widely used oil probably due to its medicinal properties. I love it because it is relaxing and makes me dream ;).

 

 

Helichrysum

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Helichrysum the Plant

Helichrysum, a member of the asteracea family, is a medicinal plant that is native to the Mediterranean. It is grown in dry climates throughout the globe. There are over 600 species of these perennial flowering shrubs. The name comes from Greek, “helios referring to sun and “chrysos” gold. It is also known as the curry plant because of the aroma it produces. It is also referred to as immortelle or everlasting because once the flowers are dried, they maintain their yellow color and aroma. 

Essential Oil

Helichrysum italicum, grown in the Mediterranean, is the most common plant to extract the essential oil. It was first distilled in 1908 in Dalmatia. It is a relatively late newcomer to aromatherapy. The oil is extracted by steam from fresh flower heads. The distillation must be done within 24 hours of picking the flowers. Its aroma is slightly herbaceous and tart. In perfumes, it is a middle note.

European studies indicate that helichrysum essential oil is effective in minimizing scarring and healing wounds. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties as well as being cell-regenerative. It can also soothe anger and stress. It has long been used in Europe for migrain headache pain.

Find it

Restorative and effective, you can enjoy helichrysum essential oil  in HollyBeth Organics rose geranium toner combined with rose geranium and rose distillates. We have also blended it in  HollyBeth Organics face and neck elixir with rose geranium essential oil in a base of: camellia, sunflower, rosehip, and carrot oils. A nutrient rich dry oil for your skin. 

fragrance vs perfume

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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.

Anti-Aging Essential Oils: Spotlight on Carrot Seed

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Anti-Aging Essential Oils

Anti-aging essential oils are key ingredients in HollyBeth Organics’ skin care products. Naturally loaded with powerful antioxidants and vitamins, essential oils have the amazing ability to deliver precious nutrients to the skin without clogging pores, bringing dull skin back to life and reversing the signs of aging.

Carrot Seed Essential Oil

Carrot seed provides one of the most powerful essential oils used to fight the signs of aging. Found in HollyBeth Organics most popular anti-aging skin solutions, this natural youth restorative hydrates, revives, protects, and tightens. Carrot seed essential oil contains carotenoids that protect from sun damage and free radicals that damage skin cells. High levels of vitamin A and vitamin C rejuvenate the skin, engendering cell regeneration and improving skin tone. Ultra-hydrating, this anti-aging essential oil pumps the skin with moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Youth Tonics

Carrot seed essential oil is utilized in two of HollyBeth Organics’ most popular anti-aging solutions: Face & Neck Elixir and Eye Serum. Both products improve texture and tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagginess, and hydrate thirsty skin while protecting against damaging environmental elements. These powerful youth tonics harness the power of anti-aging essential oils to deliver remarkable age-reversing results.

Are Organic Skin Care Products Effective?

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Are Organic Skin Care Products Effective?

Are organic skin care products effective? A legit question to ask for those of us who have been raised on products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Though these chemical-based skin solutions can produce results, they can also irritate delicate facial skin, engender skin allergies, and disrupt the natural balance of your skin. Not to mention whatever you put on your skin is also going into your body. Kind of a scary thought when you take a look at the unfamiliar ingredients listed on the back of many drug store products.

The Power of Antioxidants

So what is the alternative? Can organic skin care products deliver real results? The answer is YES! HollyBeth’s organic skin care products are made with pure, natural oils. Natural oils derived from plants, flowers, and fruits are packed full of powerful antioxidants that nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Antioxidants counteract destructive free radicals that age the skin by repairing and preventing cell damage. Mother Nature’s anti-aging serum!

Organic Skin Care Solutions

HollyBeth Organics utilizes various natural oils known for their skin-healing abilities, such as camellia, calendula, and jojoba combined with essential oils like rose geranium, clary sage, lavender, and grapefruit to create luxuriously effective skin care solutions that counteract the signs of aging and promote youthful, healthy skin.  Skin is nourished, balanced, and protected without the damaging effects of chemicals and artificial ingredients.

The Benefits of Geranium Oil

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The Benefits of Geranium Oil

There are about 250 naturally growing species of scented geraniums (Pelargonium), most of which are native to South Africa. Geraniums come in many different colors and scents; however, only a few types of geraniums are capable of producing copious, quality essential oil, which is extracted through steam distillation of the stems and leaves of the plant.

History of Geraniums

The use of geranium oil dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was used to treat cancer. Ancient Greeks utilized geranium oil to treat wounds and speed up the healing process. In the late 17th century, geraniums became a part of Victorian parlor etiquette, adorning tables as a revitalizing potpourri and a garnish for finger bowls. Geraniums are now a popular staple in gardens worldwide.

Benefits of Geranium Oil for Skin

The many benefits of geranium oil make it a popular ingredient in HollyBeth’s products. Its astringent properties tighten the skin to reduce wrinkles while increasing blood flow below the surface of the face to promote the healing of acne, age spots, and scars and encourage new cell growth. It is Mother Nature’s anti-aging serum!

Benefits of Geranium Oil for Body & Mind

Geranium oil is also a great medicinal tool. It helps balance hormones, ease nerve pain, fight infection, heal wounds, and improve mental function as a natural anti-depressant and anxiety reliever. Geranium oil can even be used as a deodorant and bug repellent. And of course, it smells great, too!

The beauty of geraniums is much more than skin deep! These lovely flowers are true gift of nature for the mind, body, and spirit.

Click here to discover which HollyBeth Organics products utilize geranium oil.

History of Cardamom

 

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Cardamom is a spice that comes from the seed pods of various ginger plants. Native to India and popular throughout Asia, Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice, famous for its aromatic and healing properties. It commonly used in food, medicine, and skincare.

Cooking with Cardamom

There are two main types of cardamom: green and black. Green, also called true cardamom, comes from an aromatic perennial herb plant. It is widely used in Indian cuisine, and is a popular spice used in baking sweets as well as flavoring coffee and tea. Black Cardamom has more of a smoky flavor, commonly used in meat dishes and soups. Both are found in popular sweet and savory dishes such as curry pastes and masalas.

Healing Powers

Cardamom also boasts natural healing abilities, prominently utilized in Indian and Chinese medicine. Its natural oil is packed with antioxidants and can be used as an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, and a digestion aid. Cardamom seeds are often chewed on for oral health, providing relief from mouth ulcers and combating bad breath.

Skin Solutions

Cardamom essential oil comes from steam distillation of the spice. It creates a rich, yellow oil with an invigorating, bittersweet smell. The sweet, spicy aroma invigorates the senses and calms anxiety. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used this fragrant oil in perfumes, incense, and mouth washes. It is also used as a massage oil due to its warming sensation and skin-soothing properties.

This luxurious essential oil can be found in HollyBeth Organics’ Body Polish, adding that hint of spice while promoting circulation and calming the muscles. It is the ultimate body scrub for relaxation and rejuvenation. The Ancient Egyptians would be jealous.

No wonder cardamom is so highly valued – this sumptuous spice can do it all!

 

Sources: Wikipedia, ABOUT.COM

The Quest for Clear Skin

Skincare products for treating Acne

 

The Path to Clear Skin

I figured at my age acne was a thing of the past, and that one of the perks of getting older would be saying goodbye to breakouts forever. Wrong! At age thirty-something, I still have to deal with random pimples popping up; however, with age comes wisdom, and in all my years of battling blemishes, I’ve come to discover less is more and natural is better.

In My Teenage Years

Chemical-based products promising fast results dominated my bathroom shelves. I wanted that zit gone as fast as possible, so I piled on the benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, horribly drying out my skin, even badly burning it at times. My skin never reached a healthy balance, for it was in a damaging cycle of oily, broken out, then severely dry, due to my over-use of harsh drug store products.

As I Approached My Twenties

I decided to let the professionals give it try. Upon the orders of my Dermatologist, a strict regimen of prescription-strength topicals and anti-biotics would be the best course of action to conquer my acne. Though both solutions provided semi-successful results, my doctor required routine blood tests and visits to make sure there were no damaging side effects from the treatment. Kind of a scary give and take, right? I knew this would only be a short-term solution.

Now In My Thirties

I’m focusing on long-term, healthy solutions to skincare. Heavy chemicals and medications were only suppressing my skin’s needs, not nourishing them! I discovered all-natural, organic products brought my skin back to life, clearing away my blemishes and giving me radiant skin. Finally, I don’t have to dry out my skin to have a clear, glowing complexion, thanks to HollyBeth Organics’ blemish-fighting Marigold Face Kit.

Each Marigold Face Kit comes with HollyBeth Organics’ Marigold Foaming Cleanser, Marigold Toner, and Marigold Bergamot Dry Oil. Marigold /Calendula oil’s antibacterial, healing properties calm acne and skin irritations with Vitamin A compounds. These Calendula oil-based skin solutions cleanse and balance the skin with powerful anti-oxidants and detoxifying essential oils such as sandalwood, grapefruit, and lavender. Your skin will find perfect balance, feeling soothed and refreshed while staying moisturized, clean, and protected.

Trust me, I’ve been on the clear skin quest for decades. Let go of chemicals and embrace organic. Your skin will thank you!

Peppermint

handsPEPPERMINT… Not just for the Holidays!

Recently, I have been bombarded with “Christmas in July” adverts and coupons and therefore my thoughts have been laced with sugar plum fairies and peppermint candy.  Historically (and well before the pineapple) peppermint has been a symbol of hospitality. Of all the essential oils, peppermint is one,that even the most neophyte of consumers, have a distinct memory or experience.  From the smell of indulgent, candy cane laden hot chocolate during winter vacations to an invigorating peppermint tea prepared with healing love to combat a stomach ache peppermint can be found peppered in our lives.  Growing up, the smell of peppermint always is interconnected to home remedies for chest congestion, skin irritations and the rare joy of being allowed to chew gum!

As a new mother many years ago, I distinctly remember relying on the soothing, menthol encumbered ambient air as we struggled with the first upper respiratory congestion that our daughter experienced.  The peaceful properties of peppermint were calming and restorative for my shot nerves.  As a preemie born at 25 ½ weeks, her delicate point were her lungs.  My husband’s face when I suggested that we have faith in the “old school” therapy of lathering her feet with peppermint cream to combat her cough was priceless – only to be outdone when her coughing subsided!

From a scientific standpoint, peppermint is a cross between spearmint and water mint. The plant can be found in Europe, Asia and North America.  While there are close to 30 species of peppermint, the majority of peppermint is harvested in North America.  The Egyptians, who were medicinally advanced, used peppermint leaves for gastritis and indigestion.  In the late 17th century and the early 18th century the Europeans used peppermint not only for stomach ailments but also menstrual infirmities.

The aroma of peppermint has been shown to raise readiness and improve memory.  Who could not benefit from this??  In addition to containing vitamin A and vitamin C, findings indicate that peppermint oil exhibits antifungal, analgesic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Upon being introduced to the HollyBeth Organics line, I was delighted to find the Orange Peppermint Shea Butter.  The glimmering shea butter consistency and the unpolluted peppermint has a multiplicity of uses.  “Nono” uses it on his face and hair, while my daughter uses it on her feet after a long ballet class and I recently massaged my temples during a debilitating migraine.  As if this was not sufficient, I recently gifted a friend that is fighting breast cancer and she has shared with me that it has helped subside the hot flashes and nausea post treatment.

An ancient medicinal tool and a modern medicine cabinet must have… Peppermint!

Gabriela Gonzalez-Lamberson

photo: HollyBeth’s Mother’s hands

The Royal Attraction of Neroli

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​The Royal Attraction of Neroli

The twisted, thorny branches of the Bitter Orange, Citrus aurantium, produce leaves, fruit and blossoms used for centuries — native to regions from Asia to Africa to the Amazon, the tree enchanted European explorers and traders who delighted to see it root beautifully in the Mediterranean climate. Their cultivations rewarded them with the fruit that became the basis for liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Cointreau, and flowers steam-distilled into neroli oil.

Of course, it took a princess to make that oil legendary…

Princess Anne Marie Orsini of Nerola, Italy, the duchess of Bracciano (1642-1722), adored the orange blossom flowers, using the essence in her bath and on her gloves. Her prolific demand led to the naming of the oil for her lands. A shrewd lady, Anne Marie ultimately acquired quite a bit of power throughout the courts of Italy, France and Spain … probably trailing the scent of orange blossoms along her way. Born into French aristocracy, she was married off at a young age, widowed twice and left in financial ruin at one point. Anne Marie learned how to manipulate the social system through savvy alliances and political diplomacy. She fashioned herself into one of the “It” girls of the day, one of THE women to have at court, and her circle became a noted salon as she entertained the leaders of the time. By successfully arranging the marriage of Spain’s Philip V to Maria Luisa of Savoy, she endeared herself to the young couple, entering their household and attaining a position of great influence during the War of Spanish Succession. Though that didn’t last — Princess Maria died of TB, the despondent king remarried and the new queen exiled Anne Marie back to Italy — she landed on her feet, and delighted the courts of monarchs until her death.

Did Princess Orsini cast a sweet-smelling spell on her audiences rendering them powerless to her charms? Perhaps Anne Marie had already figured out how to harness the energy of neroli and use it to her advantage — high concentrations reportedly cause euphoria or even mild hypnosis and then there’s that whole aphrodisiac aspect. Contemporary blends of the oil calm anxiety, balance mood, decrease tension, enhance emotional health, and stimulate cell production.

Our Body Mist combines neroli oil, cucumber and grapefruit for a royally refreshing spritz anytime of day. An ageless touch in a modern world.