Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Creme De Herbe

Crème De Herbe

Meaning Herbal Cream in French, I might have used the words wrongly… my apology to spoil such beautiful and romantic language if I really did…

Herbal creams, to many, is to improve the lustre of the skin, eliminate wrinkles, moisturises, curing skin ailments, and so on. However, how many of us know that day-to-day skin care is just as important as well…

Many of us (especially Asians) do not realise that we are being exposed to our no.1 skin duller in the whole universe! Ironically, the star that nurtures life, in the same time, delivers destructive UV rays to our skin. Prolong exposure to the radiations will caused wrinkles and worst, skin cancer as UV rays will cause genetic mutation to the skin cells.

To prevent this, the no.1 skin-saver is a sun-block. As I do not know how to make one, it is better for you to consult a dermatologist, or use the wonder of the internet to find a websites that have such recipes. Or if you’re too lazy, just settle with some over-the-counter sun block. However, do make sure it has SPF-15 and above or it won’t be useful at all. Au contraire, sun blocks has to be applied regularly, and if possible, hourly, so as to maximise it effect.

Another steps in ensuring a healthy skin, do make sure you wash it with warm water and proper cleansing agent. Do not settle with some cheap soap that will spoil your skin, and if possible, obtain certified organic options of soaps and shampoos. Note, warm water should be use as hot water will dehydrate skin…

Then came the fun part, moisturise… moisturiser is an important element in your facial improvement regime. Surely, anyone should know that skin lacking lustre is a dull, dry skin and apart from that, anyone knows that the cure will be using moisturisers…

The fun part of using herbal moisturisers is that you got to do it yourself, and you can modify the recipe in accordance to your needs. If you disagree with some of the ingredients I am using, feel free to modify. Feel free to experiment and remember, test it on a small patch of skin first, and if you find it causes allergic reaction, stop using the said concoctions…

Without further ado, here is the recipe you’ve been looking for:

Rose Moisturizer

2 heatproof mixing bowls
One small saucepan
5 teaspoon beeswax granules
1 oz cocoa butter
5 tablespoon almond oil
One wooden spoon
2 teaspoon borax
180 ml Orange Blossom Water
10 drops Rose Oil

  1. Put the beeswax, cocoa butter, and almond oil in a glass bowl and put it over a pan of boiling water. Stir gently until the ingredients dissolve completely.

  2. Mix, in another bowl, Orange Blossom Water and borax.  Place them over the saucepan of boiling water and stir gently to dissolve the ingredients.

  3. Sit the bowl of beeswax mixture into the saucepan again and this time, stir in the Orange Blossom Water mixture. Put in slowly, and keep stirring.

  4. Then add the Rose Essential Oil. Pour into small darken jar. Screw tight and keep refrigerated.

*The shelf-life for this cream is usually a month, but experience teaches me that two weeks can do a lot of harm to the emulsions…
Besides Rose Oil, you can use the following too:

  1. Marigold Oil - For healing cuts and grazes. Useful for preventing formation of obvious scars

  2. Jasmine Oil – For problematic skin

  3. Lime Oil* – Moisturises skin, with astringent properties.

  4. Lemongrass Oil – Antiseptic. Rid skins of certain parasites.

*When using lime oil or any other citrus oil, do make sure you do not have sensitive reaction to citrus products, and stay out from the sun as citrus oil might have photo-toxic reaction.

^Pregnant women should not use this preparation in any way. In fact, usage of any herbs should be referred to a qualified herbalist if it is to be used by a pregnant woman.

Now, let us see some properties of our beloved rose plant.

Pale Rose (Rosa centifolia)

Also known as Cabbage Rose or Hundred Leave rose. It is cultivated in southern Europe and spread throughout the continents. It is an esteemed garden plant in many countries.

Rose is well-known for its medicinal values, besides being a sweet flower for romantic occasions.

Medicinal action and uses

Aperient, astringent, and laxative in effect. Taken internally, it acts as an aperient but nowadays, their petals are rarely consumed. The flowers are used to prepare rose-water, which the best is saturated with rose volatile oil (which is a by-product left after distillation of Rose Oil). It can be used as a vehicle for other medicine namely eye-lotion and the like. Rose-water can be made into an ointment which is known commonly as cold-cream. To prepare cold-cream, used the recipe above and add in 7 oz of rose water instead of 180ml of Orange Blossom Water. The original recipe of cold-cream (from the British Pharmacopoeia) demands the use of spermaceti, which is a kind of waxy-substance obtained from sperm whales. While you can use it and the quantity recommended is 1½ oz. However, I do not recommend it usage as it is unsightly to the idea of applying animal fats to my skin. However, the choice is yours entirely and do remember to exclude the beeswax granules from the recipe above.

Cold creams can be used to sooth abrasions and lesions. Rose leaves provide some medicinal values as well. It can be used as laxative and as an astringent. Also, it can be use to heal wounds caused by cuts and grazes (for insect bites, use Marigold ointment).

Roses can be made into jams and electuary i.e. medicinal powder mixed with honey or other sweet substances.

The electuary is purgative in action, and is good for hot fever, jaundice, and joint aches. While the dry conserve (sugar of rose) is good against fainting, swoonings, weakness and palpitations (caused by emotions), stomachic, promotes digestion, and a good tonic against infections.

Medicinal Usage of Oil

Before reading on, please make sure that the application of the rose oil is external rather than internal. Do not ingest any amount of essential oil yourself and only do so if prescribed by a qualified herbalist or aroma therapist

Rose Oil is used to relax and induce calmness. It is beneficial to be use to treat stress and helps in elevating stress-related conditions and its scents appeals to many as it is uplifting to the spirit.

Rose oil has been used by women to treat their ailments for centuries. It is useful in treating premenstrual tension and in menopausal difficulties such as heavy menstrual bleeding. It can also be used to treat scanty or irregular menstruation. It is also an aphrodisiac.

Rose oil can also be used to treat coughs and allergy-related respiratory complaints. Also, its effect on the digestive system is detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and strengthening. It also can be used to treat constipation and nausea and is also tonic to the liver and gall-bladder. Famous for its healing qualities on skin, it is anti-inflammatory, and soothing, which beneficiary in treating dry and itchy skin.

We have talk about the qualities of roses so far and you might be wondering how we might harness the special properties of the roses… its simple actually; I will be introducing a joyful way of incorporating roses into your very indulgence. It’s an old recipe and I have taken it from the book ‘The Magic of Herbs’ by David Conway.

Rose-Petal Delight

6 pints rose petals (well scented pale rose petals)
3 lb. sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
1 oz. yeast
1 gallon water

  1. Use four pints of water; infuse the petals for three days in a covered container.

  2. Boil half of the sugar in two pints of water, cool, and add to the previous mixture.

  3. Add in the lemon juice and yeast and allow fermenting for ten days.

  4. On the sixth day, strain the liquid and strain again on the ninth day.

  5. Add the remainder of the sugar solution (1½ lb. of sugar and a quart of water) and leave until fermentation ceased.

  6. After which, strain into sterilised bottles and store in a cool dry place.

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