Frankincense

Origin

Frankincense is derived from the sap from the Boswell tree. When dried, frankincense is used as incense. When steam distilled it is an essential oil. The country of Oman is thought to be the oldest producer of frankincense. However it is produced in the Middle East, Africa and India.
Frankincense has a long history in the Middle East, mostly in religious ceremonies such as funerals. In Egypt it was ground to make kohl and used as an eyeliner and was thought to improve vision. Apparently Emperor Nero used a balm made with frankincense to decrease the effects around his eyes from a night of debauchery. When distilled as oil it was used as a perfume. And of course the most popular story is that it was given to Jesus as a gift by the three wise men to ward off evil spirits.

Properties

According to numerous studies, frankincense has been shown to inhibit inflammation. Thus helping a variety of ailments from arthritis to acne. One study mentioned its assistance in digestion, those with inflammatory bowel diseases. Others suggest that frankincense can help with respiratory disorders to dental care.
As an essential oil it has a calming affect due to its sweet woodsy yet subtly citrus perfume. A few drops added to your bath water are a luxurious way to relax and relief muscle pain. And you can find it in our  coupled with cardamom for a lovely body polish. Frankincense for the season.

History of Cardamom

 

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!

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is finishing blooiming here in the mountains of North Georgia. A native plant it is a naturally powerful ingredient in HollyBeth Organics’ Marigold Toner   and Pore Clarifying Mask.

Origins

Witch hazel is native to the US and used by Native Americans to treat colds, eye infections, kidney problems, skin conditions, stings and wounds. Today it is widely known as an astringent and effective acne treatment.

In the Wild

The plant is interesting for numerous reasons. As one of the few plants to go to full bloom in fall and winter, it is one of the only food sources for insect life (flies, midges, beetles) that tolerates the cold, thereby holding a monopoly over wintertime pollination—an interesting ecological niche! Witch hazel’s seeding mechanism is very unique. The previous year’s seed capsules mature at the same time as its current year’s flowers, and quite often one can hear an audible popping sound as the seeds are forcefully ejected up to 25 out from the tree like bullets.

Animal Favorite

Witch hazel is also a major part of animal life. It often grows in dense thickets, providing cover for birds and small mammals. The seeds provide food for insects, wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, as well as gray squirrels. Furthermore, ruffed grouse and white tailed deer feed upon the buds and flowers.

Skin Care Benefits

Witch hazel is amazingly beneficial to the skin. Its natural astringent properties make it a great tool against acne, regulating oil production and reducing inflammation. It also helps reduce puffiness and tighten skin, making it a great defense against under eye bags. Feeling oily or grimy? Witch hazel is a great skin refresher. It cleanses and purifies, calming the pores and soothing the skin while gently hydrating and restoring natural balance. Suffering from razor burns or sun burns? Try a little witch hazel to calm the area and soothe irritation. Want a product that conquers all of these concerns? Click here to discover HollyBeth Organics’ witch hazel based Marigold Toner.

Pomegranate Seed Oil

 

History

Pomegranate seed oil began it’s journey literally eons ago. Native to Persia the pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits on the planet. It was known as the nectar of the Gods. Its first journey was to China in 100 B.C. For Christians the pomegranate represents hope of life eternal. Some scholars believe it was the pomegranate and not the apple that was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

For the Jewish religion, it represents righteousness. In China it represents wealth and is a common wedding present. In Buddhism, it is one of the three blessed fruits along with peaches and citrus.

The varied uses of the tree and fruit include tanning leather, treating leprosy and dyspepsia.

The Fruit

Pomegranates grow on a shrub that can be pruned to look like a tree. They can grow to 20 feet in height. There are some shrubs in Europe that have lived for 200 years. Although there are hundreds of cultivars, only 14 grow in the U.S

Pomegranate Seed Oil

200 pounds of pomegranate seeds are need to make 16 ounces of pomegranate seed oil. There are approximately 800 seeds per fruit. This luxurious oil is made by cold pressing the organic seeds.

The luscious oil produced by the pomegranate seeds contains flavonoids, antioxidants and punicic acid, a fatty acid. This reduces inflammation and hydrates as well as protecting the skin and repairing from sun damage. These components aid in protecting and firming the skin. Research has proven the efficacy of the oil on the skin in its ability to stimulate cell growth of the epidermis. Coupled with its bounty of antioxidants this is a must for glowing and healthy skin.

It easily penetrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue making it perfect for oily and dry skin. The oil is viscous and only a small amount is needed for the skin. This prized oil is found in our eye serum, nourishing body oil and body balm.

Peppermint

orange peppermint shea butter

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!

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.

Our glimmering orange peppermint shea butter consistency and the unpolluted peppermint and orange has a multiplicity of uses. A friend uses it on his face and hair, a friend’s 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!

 

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 of 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. 

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 bergamot essential oil in HollyBeth’s flourish roll on perfume, marigold bergamot dry oil, citrus cream and citrus spray.

Can Bergamot Oil Help Acne?

Can bergamot oil help acne? For those of us with blemish-prone skin, facial products containing oil tend to send us running in the opposite direction. My skin is already oily, and I don’t want to clog my pores with a greasy product.

Bergamot Dry Oil Combats Oily Skin

HollyBeth Organics’ Marigold Bergamot Dry Oil is different. It is not heavy oil that sits on top of your skin. It is actually a dry oil, meaning it sinks directly into the skin to heal and balance from below the surface. This lightweight moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores (and we all know clogged pores can lead to more pimples!).  A powerful combination of grape seed, jojoba, calendula, and bergamot oil help acne, heal scars, and cure minor skin irritations while gently moisturizing and balancing the skin.

Lightweight Moisturizer

Not only is Marigold Bergamot Dry Oil a great anti-acne defense, it is also a lightweight moisturizer. On clean, dry skin, gently massage a small amount on your face and neck (a little goes a long way). Your skin will be soothed and hydrated – it is the perfect daily moisturizer for normal to oily skin.

I have to admit, I was a skeptic myself when I first looked into using bergamot oil, but I gave it a try and found it to be one of the best solutions for my blemish-prone skin. I even use it at night to help prevent future breakouts! This stuff is liquid anti-acne gold.

Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower Seed Oil for the skin

Sunflower seed oil is so beneficial to the skin. A study on infants compared sunflower seed oil with olive oil and found that olive oil “significantly damages the skin barrier” and should be discouraged for dry skin treatment and infant massage. They also determined it reduces infection. It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, carotenoids and  high in Vitamins A, D, and E. It is non comedogenic: it doesn’t clog the pores. Safe for infants, sunflower seed oil is a better skin barrier than the petroleum based products as it protects the skin and locks in moisture. The oil also contains folic acid that helps the body manufacture new cells.

According to Dermatology Times, several studies indicate that the oil has anti-inflammatory properties.Thus making it perfect for acne prone skin by fighting the bacteria yet moisturizing at the same time. The National Eczema Association also encourages the use of sunflower seed oil for those suffering with outbreaks.

What does this mean? That this oil penetrates the skins, absorbs quickly and reduces the fine lines. It is a powerful moisturizer and deeply nourishing for the skin. We have sunflower seed oil in our face and neck elixir, body polish, body oil and flourish calming perfume. See for your yourself the results of sunflower seed oil.

Sunflower Fun Facts

Sunflowers, native to the Americas, have been growing since 1000 B.C. The largest producer in the the U.S. is South Dakota. With over 70 species to choose their benefits are eclectic. In Japan, millions were planted to absorb toxins after the tsunami destroyed the nuclear power plant. In French the word for sunflower is tournesol: follow the sun. Birds love the seeds that make some of the best oil for cooking and for the skin.

 

HollyBeth’s Summer Hair Care Tips

HAIRCARE

Summer Frizzies

Summertime is in full swing. School is out, the pool is open, and a week at the beach may be in your near future. Life has officially moved outdoors into the sun and by the water. While the season of fun in the sun does wonders for the mind and spirit, it can also do one heck of a number on your hair. Humidity, chlorine, and sun exposure can wreak havoc on your locks, stripping away moisture and leaving behind a major case of the frizzies. In preparation for the hot months ahead, I asked organic skin care guru HollyBeth Anderson for some tips on how to ensure good hair days all summer long.

HollyBeth’s Tips for Great Summer Hair:

1 – Just as you protect your skin from UV damage, do so for your hair!

My favorite summer accessory is a lightweight scarf that I can use as a head wrap when I’m out in the sun. A scarf or a hat not only protects your hair from sun damage, but also the drying, tangling effects of the wind. Not a hat person? Get a spray bottle and mix a few teaspoons of sunscreen with a cup of water to create a light SPF hair mist.

2 – Be prepared for your activity.

Going to the pool to take a swim? Remember to rinse your hair before going in the water. This will help reduce the effects of chlorine on your strands. And as soon as you get out of the pool, wash and condition your hair. The quicker you get the chlorine out, the better. Going to the pool to soak up the sun rather than swim? Bring HollyBeth Organics’ Body Mist with you. A few spritzes of this cucumber and citrus body spray will cool you down and refresh your hair and skin.

3 – Consider a more laid back approach to styling your hair in the summer months.

Less is definitely more! Cut down the number of times you wash your hair and go for gentle shampoos that don’t leave behind buildup. Less time in a hot shower with heavy shampoo will give your hair time to regulate its natural oil production, which actually leads to less grease and more time between washes. Are you a heat styling addict? Give you hair a chance to air dry and cut back on the blow dryer and flat iron. I know that is way easier said than done, so I recommend protecting your mane with HollyBeth Organics’ Hair & Body Silk. This nourishing blend of camellia and argan oil locks in moisture and fortifies the hair, prepping the hair for heat styling and protecting it from the drying effects of the sun. When the frizz starts and your hair is in desperate need of hydration, a few drops of Hair & Body Silk tames fly aways and quenches thirsty, brittle hair. You can also use it as a deep conditioning treatment!

4 – Take care of yourself, on the inside and out.

Make sure you are getting the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Your mom was right – eat your veggies! What you put in your body affects your skin and your hair. The same applies to what you put on your skin and hair. Go organic! Keep it simple, keep it clean, and keep it natural. I guarantee you will feel (and see) a difference.