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All about smudging

With so much doom and gloom around, the idea of cleansing our spaces, objects, and ourselves of negative energy sounds quite enticing. Hence the rise in popularity of  smudging.

Smudging is an ancient tradition common across the world to Indigenous people. Today, typically, people use an abalone shell to hold something like sage which is set alight with a flame and then use a feather to fan and spread the smoke around the space once the sage is burning.

Sage belongs to the Salvia plant family and its name is derived from the Latin word salvere, which means “be well/in good health. In traditional Native American culture, burning sage is also believed to cleanse people of negativity and promote healing, wisdom, and longevity. Alternatives to sage are other dried plants such as juniper, rosemary, and cedar.

A number of medical studies have shown that medicinal smokes such as sage have powerful antimicrobial, antibacterial qualities that can improve mood and cognition. It can serve as an insect repellent and can even help with sleep quality by easing insomnia.

Smudging has helped cleanse people of negativity and promote healing, wisdom, and longevity. It has also been shown to benefit a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

How to smudge your house to clear negative energy

Gather all the items you need. Ensure that you have opened a door or window before lighting up to allow all that negativity (and smoke) to have a way out.

Set your intention and say a mantra. Intentions are central to the practice of smudging, so decide on a mantra or prayer to repeat while saging.

Once you are ready, hold the sage at a 45-degree angle. light it with a match, candle, lighter etc. Now let it burn for about 20 seconds before gently blowing out the flames. You should see orange embers on one end and the smoke start to rise.

Slowly walk around your spaces and allow the smoke to waft around. Guide the smoke with the feather and hence the negative energy, towards open windows or doors, so it can escape.

To ensure cleansing is as effective as possible, concentrate on areas near mirrors, in corners hallways, and doorways.

You are playing with fire, so be very careful. Never leave any smudge stick unattended. If embers fall on the ground, make sure they are extinguished. Do not breathe in too much smoke!

Once you have finished your cleansing and ready to extinguish a sage smudge stick, press the burning tip firmly into your fireproof vessel until the smoke stops. Never place in water as may be more difficult to use the next time. Which would be when you next you feel down or lack energy.

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Lemons, why such a bad reputation?

Lemons and lemon oil

One of the strangest things is why Lemons are associated with bad things e.g. “I bought a lemon” for something useless that does not work. Which when you actually buy a lemon, it cannot be further from the truth.

The origin of the lemon is unknown, though lemons are thought to have first grown in Assam in northeast India northern Burma or China. Lemon trees have dark green leaves and grow to 6 meters (20 feet). They have highly scented pink or white flowers. The Lemons are green whilst they grow and only turn yellow when ripe. However, they are usually picked while still green as they ripen and turn yellow while they are being transported.

Lemons came to Europe via southern Italy around 200 CE during via the Roman Empire then via  Persia and Egypt around 700 BE. The origin of the word lemon may be Middle Eastern from the Arabic laymūn or līmūn, and from the Persian līmūn, a generic term for citrus fruit. The first substantial cultivation of lemons in Europe began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century.

In 1747, James Lind’s experiments on seamen suffering from scurvy involved adding lemon juice to their diets, though vitamin C was not yet known as an important dietary ingredient.

When compressed into an oil, it has been called “Liquid Sunshine” because its yellow colour, refreshing scent, ability to purify, and has the most powerful anti-microbial activity of all the essential oils.

The main constituents of Lemon Essential Oil are: Limonene, α-Pinene, Camphene, β-Pinene, Sabinene, Myrcene, α-Terpinene, Linalool, β -bisabolene, trans-α-Bergamotene, Nerol, and Neral.  You will see a lot of these listed as ingredients on our products

α-Pinene: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-septic, Expectorant, Bronchodilator
Camphene: Anti-oxidant, Soothing, Anti-inflammatory
Sabinene: Anti-oxidant, Anti-microbial, Anti-fungal, Anti-inflammatory
Myrcene: Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic, Anti-biotic, Sedative, Anti-mutagenic
Linalool: Anti-anxiety, Anti-epileptic, Analgesic, Sedative
Limonene: Anti-oxidant, Stimulant, Digestive, Detoxicant, Appetite suppressant
Nerol: Anti-oxidant, Sedative, Anti-inflammatory, Balancing, Analgesic
Neral: Apoptotic, Anti-nociceptive, Anti-inflammatory

Nearly 1000 lemons are needed to produce 1 lb. of Lemon Oil. After extraction, Lemon Oil has a thin, watery viscosity, a pale, greenish-yellow colour, and gives off a sharp yet fresh fragrance, which can largely be attributed to the chemical constituent Limonene.

The extracts derived from lemons are incredibly useful and incorporated in many products, some of which seem complete opposites cosmetics and cleaning products

Taken internally, Lemon Oil’s high vitamin content boosts immunity by stimulating the body’s ability to combat harmful bacteria, circulation, metabolism, and digestive function. And of course a high vitamin C. It relieves constipation and reduces blood pressure.It can reduce fever and flu and relieve throat infections and cough. By clearing the nasal passages Lemons are a natural stimulant to the liver and adding lemon juice to a large glass of water in the morning is a great liver detoxifier. Not only will this help detoxify your liver, it will help replenish your body’s mineral supply and quench your thirst. Provide a dose of the free radical fighting antioxidant vitamin C, which helps keep skin even-toned and helps boost the body’s immune system.

Its astringent properties reduces the amount of oil production and helps your pores to close and your face to tighten which rejuvenates dull complexions. In creams or lotions, Lemon Oil can reduce the appearance of cellulite,

Lemon Oil is used in workplaces to improve cognitive function, relieve mental exhaustion increase employee focus and efficiency reducing the number of errors.

Lemon has strong anti-bacterial properties that can sanitise not only wounds but also surfaces.. making Lemon Oil effective for restoring the lustre to tired or sagging skin.

promotes easier breathing for those with respiratory issues or infections. This rejuvenating, clean-smelling essential oil is commonly used to enhance concentration and energy. When diffused indoors, Lemon Essential Oil eliminates toxins in both the air and on surfaces. for a mood-elevating, cooling, and revitalizing effect. It has a calming effect that can subdue negative moods such as anxiety. 

Used in hair products, Lemon Essential Oil works as a tonic that helps achieve hair that is strong and healthy-looking. Lemon Oil removes dandruff and leaves hair shiny without looking or feeling greasy. To balance oil production on the scalp, Lemon Oil can be diluted with Apple Cider Vinegar and water to create a hair rinse.

In aromatherapy, Lemon Essential Oil can be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms, depression, and stress, among other ailments. Diffusing Lemon Oil can clear nasal passages and lungs and boost energy levels. In a similar vein, it can release feelings of irritation by uplifting moods and it can improve concentration by clearing the mind, which can facilitate easier decision making.

It can be used as a non-toxic cleaner and air freshener throughout the home as a natural disinfectant. Dilute Lemon Essential Oil in a spray bottle filled with water and spray it onto shower walls, windows, wooden furniture, metal surfaces, and countertops to eliminate mould and achieve a streak-free shine.

Lemon Oil can also be blended with Tea Tree Oil and vinegar, diluted in water to create a cleaning spray. For its antiseptic quality, Lemon Essential Oil can be added to homemade soaps.

Lemons have antiseptic qualities which help exfoliate dead cells and aid in fighting dandruff and flakes. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities can also help soothe the itchy skin irritations affiliated with dandruff.

And apparently you can cook with them and put them alcoholic drinks

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She butter – Woman’s Gold

Shea butter nuts and leaves

Whilst there is a lot of modern marketing spiel attributed to Shea butter and its use in soaps and shampoo. It is genuinely called “women’s gold” not just for the benefits to the skin but for the independence and status it gives to many native processors. This empowerment process has imparted “a certain sense of self-respect among the workers. It has also helped the women producers earn the respect of their family and the right to speak out in the community.”

The tiny, almond-like fruit with a nut inside of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) are collected a women separate the nut from the fallen fruit, then boil and let the butter float to the surface. The butter is then milled and filtered for impurities, packaged in blocks

Shea butter is edible and may be used in food preparation and is included in the manufacture of chocolate.

Whilst Shea butter may sound a modern ingredient, it has been used for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptian of King Merenre, traded Shea butter 4300 years ago,

Cleopatra apparently loved shea butter. There is a mention of caravans of clay jars filled with shea butter for her use. It’s also said that this luxurious ingredient was beloved by the Queen of Sheba and Nefertiti

The shea tree was considered sacred and used to make the coffins for the early African kings.

Medicinal uses

The bark of the tree is used as an ingredient in traditional medicines to cure ailments in skin treatment in children and treat minor scratches and cuts

Reduces skin inflammation.                                                        

Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties which help the skin feel relieved from irritation it maintains the elasticity of the skin and reduces aging process.            

Shea butter improves the production of collagen found in the skin hence maintain the skin’s elasticity. This will reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles hence lowering the skin’s aging process.

Treats dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema conditions which tend to make the skin very dry, patchy, flaky and sometimes itchy. The inflammatory and moisturising properties will soothe the itchiness of the skin, lessen swelling and act as a humectant (barrier to retain moisture) hence prevent dryness.

Soothes babies’ skin and nappy rash. Shea butter with its amazing properties is great for baby skin and sensitive skin in general

For ladies and men who find their skin gets sore after shaving, applying Shea butter beforehand can eliminate razor burns.

It can treat acne and skin blemishes as the butter is absorbed deep into the skin providing the skin with cell repairing qualities to moisturise, heal wounds, cuts and abrasions.

Reduces stretch marks.                                              

Shea butter is used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks by restoring the elasticity of the skin and enhancing the production of collagen. More natural than a leading “Biological oil”. Frequent application of the butter to the affected areas will show great results. 

Provides UV protection.

Shea butter is a natural sunscreen because it contains cinnamic acid. Depending on the quality of the butter it will have a sun protecting factor (SPF) of 6 to 10. Since the SPF is low, it is recommended to use another sunscreen on top of shea butter for more protection against the sun rays.

Moisturises dry skin and lips.

Especially for Vegans/Vegetarians Shea butter makes a great natural moisturiser. Its natural fat content makes its easily absorbed making it great for general lip care as well for cracked or chapped lips

The nutshell can repel mosquitoes.

A patented product “nutraceutical” is a shea product that has been developed for lowering people’s cholesterol levels.

Shea Oil vs Shea Butter

The most obvious difference is Shea Nut Oil is a liquid oil and Shea Butter is a thick butter. However, the main difference is in their chemical composition, most notably their Stearic Acid content, which is the main fatty acids responsible for Shea butter’s thick texture. A process called fractionation separates the oil (oleic) and butter (stearic).

Shea oil is fractionated (separated) from Shea butter. The Oleic oil melts at a lower temperature and it is removed from the more solid shea butter. Hence it contains less Stearic fatty acid that gives shea butter its waxy consistency.  Shea Oil also loses some of the potency of the specific Vitamins, Amino Acids and essential Fatty Acids during processing reducing its potency.

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Tea tree oil

tea tree oil flower

Tea tree oil has been growing in popularity over the last 20 years and can be seen in more and more products. Many of us are familiar with it being included in shampoo and soaps.  However, native to Australia it has been used in traditional Aboriginal medicine for centuries. They crushed the leaves of the Tea Tree and inhaled the essence as a cure to coughs, fevers, congestion and injuries.

The modern name, Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) derives its name from when in 1770, Lieutenant James Cook, first recorded tea tree being used for medicinal purposes. He used the leaves to treat scurvy among his crew. Although Cook’s crew first used the leaves for tea, they later mixed them with spruce leaves as a beer.

** Tea Tree Essential Oil should never be consumed. It contains terpenes, active compounds which are extremely difficult for the body to process and can be toxic.

Tea tree oil was largely ignored until and the plant’s medicinal properties remained a secret with the Australian aboriginal people until the early 1920s. An Australian chemist, Dr Arthur Penfold, researched its antiseptic properties. In 1929, along with F.R. Morrison, Penfold published “Australian Tea Trees of Economic Value.” This study started a flurry of research into tea tree oil.

Between 1930s and 1940s, with the development of Penicillin still in its infancy, tea tree oil was widely celebrated as an antiseptic treatment. During the Second World War, Australian soldiers were issued with tea tree oil in their first aid kits. Producers of Tea Tree Oil became a “reserved occupation” and excluded from enlisting in the armed forces until there was sufficient stockpile to supply all soldier’s first aid kits and hospitals.

After the war, increased use of pharmaceutical antibiotics decreased tea tree oil’s appeal everywhere except in Australia.

Tea tree oil started to regain its popularity in 1960 and its use has been growing steadily as more people opt for natural remedies and solutions.

Extracted through a process of steam distillation, Tea Tree Oil is obtained from the leaves and twigs of the tea tree.

Skin care

Tea Tree Essential Oil is well renowned as a natural remedy for acne and breakouts due its powerful antibacterial compounds which work to deeply cleanse the skin and purify pores. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties, Tea Tree Essential Oil can calm skin and soothe irritations and wounds. Which will reduce the redness with acne, pigmentation or even rosacea,

The Tea Tree Oil helps to reignite your skin’s radiance and even out skin tone.

With its antibacterial properties, Tea Tree Oil works very well as a natural laundry freshener, especially when laundry is musty or even mouldy. It can even be applied to shoes or feet to eliminate any unpleasant smells and bacteria.

If you are interested in other Oils.  Lavender, Clary Sage, Chamomile Oil, Geranium Oil, Lemon Tea Tree, Manuka, Niaouli and Cajeput.

**With all things, if you have a serious condition or in any doubt, consult a qualified medical professional.