Vicky Prettejohn

A Healthier Take on an Anzac Day Tradition

 General Health, Gleanings  Comments Off on A Healthier Take on an Anzac Day Tradition
Apr 252015
 

With Anzac Day tomorrow commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, I thought I would bake some Anzac Buiscuits.

 

 

This may seem a trivial sort of tribute to pay to those who fought in that terrible battle. But I feel the every day celebration of cooking for our loved ones, safe in our homes, is very fitting.

 

Without the bravery and sacrifice shown by the Australian & New Zealand Army Corp’s and all of those who fought for our freedom in the world wars, we may not be able to enjoy these simple pleasures of freedom and peace.

 

I don’t ever make these biscuits throughout the rest of the year. I feel they are special and should be kept for the day of their naming.

It is these small special event traditions which add structure and import to our daily lives.

 

Being into natural health these days, I thought that this year I would make up a slight variation on the traditional style Anzac Biscuit. Something perhaps a little healthier and less sugary.

If you’d like to try them out for yourself, the recipie is below!

Hope you enjoy them!

 

Anzac,Biscuit,Ingredients,rolled oats,shredded coconut,raw honey,walnuts,vanilla essence.

Traditional Anzac biscuits make good use of rolled oats which are not only tasty but very good for you!

 

A biscuit couldn’t possibly be an Anzac biscuit with out rolled oats. I used South Australian grown and processed oats.

For sweetness I used local raw honey and added organic shredded coconut to the recipe which adds its own subtle sweetness as well as flavour and many health promoting properties.

Chopped wallnuts add texture, flavour and more health benefits, and olive oil, vanilla essence and a little water bind the mix together.

Anzac Biscuits,batter.

 

 

I am lucky enough to own a kitchen whizz which made light work of chopping the wallnuts and mixing the biscuit batter.  Anzac Biscuits,kitchen whizz, mixing batter.

During the colder months  we utilise the little bakers oven in the kitchen to warm the old cottage area of the house.Anzac Biscuits,baking in bakers oven.

It adds a wonderful coziness to the entire area and there is always nice hot water on hand for a cuppa!

With all this free heat available, I like to make use of the cook top and oven where ever possible.

So of course it’s no surprise that I baked my Anzac biscuits in the wood fired bakers oven.

 

 

The bakers oven is quite small compared to the oven of the electric stove and it has only two shelves. This means my oven trays are relatively small and as I had made up a double recipe, it took two “bakes” to use up all of the mix. Of course, as the wood fire was burning for heating anyway, no extra “power” was required!

Anzac Biscuits, on tray.

The use of baking paper to line trays makes life a lot easier! No greasing required; no stuck biscuits and no difficult clean up of greasy baking trays! If using wood burning fires/stoves for heating as we do, it is possible to make use of the pre-loved baking paper, by using it to help light the fires tomorrow.

The biscuits don’t spread during baking as the traditional type of Anzac Biscuits do, meaning I could have placed them much closer together on the trays.

I formed golf ball sized pieces of batter and then flattened them with a fork ready for baking. The fork actually added a nice lined texture to the finished biscuits.

 

 

Allow the trays of freshly baked biscuits to cool fairly well before eating or they may crumble and fall apart when picke up.image

I had just finished warning my husband “They’re still hot, so they’ll crumble!”

“They’re not.” he said as he left the kitchen. I turned around and found that several biscuits were already missing.

So they must have tasted OK.

image

 

 

From my double batch, I ended up with 48 small biscuits, each about 4.5cm diameter.

There will be enough to take to Mum’s when I visit her on Sunday and some to have with a cuppa when my friend visits Monday afternoon.

I just sampled a couple with my cup of tea and they are lovely. Crisp and a little crumbly with good nutty flavour and sweetness. When the batter was raw, it did taste very honeyed and sweet. (Of course we sampled the raw batter!)    The sweetness has toned down once baked and is now nicely balanced. Very moreish!

Another bonus is that the cottage smells wonderful!

Anzac Biscuit Variation

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups  (175 g) rolled oats
1/2  cup (40 g ) shredded coconut
1/2 cup (60 g ) chopped wallnuts
2  1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water

Method:

Chop walnuts to a chunky/fine texture.
Add remaining dry ingredients to the food processor (or bowl).
Add honey, oil, vanilla essence and water.
Mix thoroughly until combined.
Form into small balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Flatten down with a fork, leaving a small gap between each biscuit.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at aproximately 150-200 degrees Celsius, or until golden brown.
Cool completely before eating.
Makes aproximately 24 small biscuits.
Store in an airtight container.

(Adapted from a recipie by Teresa Cutter The Healthy Chef).

Enjoy!

Vickie.

Feb 072015
 


Orangutang babies- cute
(Having their habitat destroyed for our food and beauty products).

 

English: Ongoing deforestation and palm oil pl...

English: Ongoing deforestation and palm oil plantations leave no room for the orang-utan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If like me you have become aware of the damage being done to Orangutan habitat, you will want to avoid using products which contain palm oil and palm oil derived ingredients.

 

(There are sustainable sources of palm oil available, but even then, the Orangutan seems to loose out. Every product needs to be assessed individually).

Orangutang babies- group

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to learn more, these two links should be of help.

1) Palm Oil and Orangutans – orangutans.com.au‎

www.orangutans.com.au/about‎  Sustainable palm oil products can help save the Orangutan habitat

Orangutan Facts: Borneo Orangutan Survival

Orangutang babies

 

2) The Orangutan Project – Orangutan.org.au‎

www.orangutan.org.au/‎  Meet the orphans who urgently need your help today.Orangutang-hands

 

 

From my perspective as a producer of organic and natural skin and body care products and a person who loves and respects all animals and wildlife, I am totally against the use of palm oil and also animal testing.

I pride myself and my products on being both cruelty free and palm oil free, made of the best possible quality, eco friendly, organic and natural ingredients I am able to source.

Orangutang adult-pointingDue to my decision to review each ingredient that I use, giving its origin and properties, I have come across a stumbling block in the palm oil issue!

I have found that it is extremely difficult to find out if a product or ingredient is actually free from palm oil or palm oil derivatives.

palm-oil-fruit-kernel

 

 

So far I have been assured the ingredients I use are OK. However, due to the difficulties involved in gaining certainty, I am following up these assurances with more questions to suppliers and more research of my own.

 

Why is palm oil used in skin care products?

palm oil products-productionCleansing & Moisturising.  

Palm oil is found in shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, creams, foundations etc.

It has the ability to remove oil and dirt from hair and skin and also contains a refatting agent that helps restore natural oils to the hair and skin which many soaps and shampoos strip away thereby allowing moisture to escape.

In soap making, palm oil and palm kernel oil produce a nice hard, long lasting bar of soap.

Palm oil provides a conditioning agent useful in shampoo and conditioners.

In skin care products it is added because of its anti-aging and moisturising properties.

Anti Ageing Properties.  

Palm oil contains antioxidant toctrienols, which are related to vitamin E, but are much stronger in action. As with regular Vitamin E (tocopherol) when used topically, the toctrienols penetrate deep into the skin’s layers enabling healing and protection from the base upwards.

Natio-does-use-palm-oil-in-some-products

palm oil products

 How do you know if there is palm oil in a product?

Questions

 

 

 

 

 

This is not a straight forward question!

 

The problem I have found is the huge range of individually named palm oil derivatives which are being used. (See list below).

The ingredients on this listing are used in food and beauty/health products throughout Australia and worldwide.

The confusion arises by the fact that almost all of these ingredients are also available derived from sources other than palm oil. Often coconut or other vegetable oils are the base ingredient, sometimes even animal fats.

Orangutang adult-deforestation-milky-way

 

 So how do you tell if the product you are using or the ingredient listed, is palm oil based or palm oil free?

Questions-difficult-man

Unfortunately there seems to be no easy answer

From a consumer point of reference, purchasing only products labelled as being palm oil free should be sufficient. Our labelling laws are quite strict and a direct statement such as “Palm Oil Free” needs to be correct or the company issuing the statement could be in severe trouble.

From a small batch, hands on manufacturing reference point, I have to gain assurances from my suppliers that the ingredients I am purchasing from them are indeed palm oil free. These companies in turn must gain assurance from their own suppliers and the chain continues.

Orangutang adult-injured

It all seems very messy and uncertain to me!

palm-oil-cost-in -orangutang-lives

 I want to know definitely that I am using and supplying ethical products.

 

At least 50% of my reason for making these products is that I believe they are filling a vital role as products that actually do work, are clean, organic or natural, green and healthy, and totally eco friendly. I.E. “No rainforest was denuded or animal was harmed in the making of this product”!

(The other 50% of my reasoning is that I love to make “stuff” and use my wonderful herbs within the products).

For now I am placing my trust in my suppliers’ integrity and following up on the information I am being supplied. I hope you will bear with me in this quest for truth and confidence in ingredient provenence!Orangutang-donation

 

Below you will find an enormous list of ingredients which could potentially be derived from Palm Oil!

The origin of this listing is the following web site link –

http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/names-for-palm-oil

I have also re-provided some of the valuable information supplied on the palm-oil-investigations site which may help you sort through the plethora of products on the supermarket shelves, so you can understand from their labelling which is or is not likely to contain palm oil.

Possible-palm-oil-dirivatives

You will also find below, details of a free download on the palm-oil-investigations site, which gives you a fold up wallet sized list of the alternative names given to palm oil derivatives.

 

Using this and the information about product saturated fat content (explained below), you will hopefully be able to sort the “Palm Oil Free” products from among the nasties!

 

Alternative Names for Palm Oil in Products:

The above FREE copy of a fold up wallet sized list of alternative names for palm oil, supplied by graphic designer Jenny Allen at Mojito Creative, can be downloaded via the following site –

http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/names-for-palm-oil

 

oilOils Ain’t Oils!

In Australia and New Zealand a percentage of the population suffers from allergies to certain nuts and oils. There for, three vegetable oils are required to be labelled in food products. These oils are peanut oil, sesame oil and soy bean oil.

All other vegetable oils are able to be labelled simply as “vegetable oil”.Molecular structure fatty acid

However, due to the fact that labels must state the amount of saturated fat contained in each product, it is possible to determine if an oil with a high saturated fat content has been used.

Most vegetable oils are un-saturated.

So if the label does not have animal fat listed, but lists vegetable oil, and then goes on to state a certain amount of saturated fat, you can be certain the vegetable oil used, is either – palm kernel oil, palm oil, or coconut oil.

This is potentially a method of identifying wether a product could have palm oil in it. (Though it is not definitive and also causes us to eliminate coconut oil from our purchases and using coconut oil is a good thing, both for our health and our skin!)

cocoa-nut-oil Another hint to the high saturated fat vegetable oil being palm oil is that palm oil is a bland flavoured oil which does not add flavour to food products.

Foods containing coconut oil however, are likely to be identified by the distinctive flavour of their coconut oil content.

If a vegetable oil product’s saturated fat content is above 40% of its total fat content, it will almost always have palm oil in it.

 

Here is a comprehensive list of alternative names for Palm Oil.Questions-difficultIt is in alphabetical order for easier reference.

Please Note: This is a guide only, for 100% confirmation that a product has Palm Oil or Palm Oil derivatives in it, it is necessary to email the company who makes the product and find this out.

Note:  PALM SUGAR is NOT Palm Oil.  Palm Sugar is manufactured and harvested in a completely different way, so palm Sugar is safe. Vegetable Gum is also NOT Palm Oil so it is also safe.

A – Z of Alternate names for Palm Oil

Acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472a/E472a)orangutangs-endangered-orangutans_517eb7b05b1e9_w1500

Alkyl Poly Glucoside

Aluminium stearate

Aluminium, calcium, sodium, magnesium salts of fatty acids (470/E470a; E470b)

Ammonium laureth sulphate

Ammonium lauryl sulphate

Arachamide mea

Ascorbyl palmitate

Ascorbyl palmitate (304)

Azelaic acid

Butyl stearate

Calcium lactylate

Calcium oleyl lactylate

Calcium stearate

Calcium stearoyl lactylate (482/E482)

Capric triglyceride

Caprylic acid

Caprylic / Capric Glycerides

Caprylic triglyceride

Caprylic/capric triglyceride

Caprylic/capric/stearic triglyceride

Capryloyl glycine

Caprylyl glycol

Carotene (Sometimes made from palm)

Castile soap (often from palm)

Ceteareth (2-100)

Cetearyl alcohol

Cetearyl ethylhexanote

Cetearyl glucoside

Cetearyl isononanoate

Ceteth-20

Ceteth-24

Cetyl acetate

Cetyl alcohol

Cetyl ethylhexanoate

Cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose

Cetyl lactate

Cetyl octanoate

Cetyl palmitate

Cetyl ricinoleate

Citric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472c/E472c)

Cocoa butter equivalent (CBE)

Cocoa butter substitute (CBS)

Decyl Glucoside

Decyl oleate

Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472e/E472e)

Dilinoleic acid

Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate

Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate

Distilled Monoglyceride Palm

Elaeis guineensis oil

Emulsifier 422, 430-36, 470-8, 481-483, 493-5

Epoxidized palm oil (uv cured coatings)

Ethyl lauroyl arginate (243)

Ethylene glycol monostearate

Ethylhexyl hydroxystearate

Ethylhexyl Palminate

Ethylhexyl palmitate

Ethylhexyl stearate

Ethylhexylglycerin

Fatty alcohol sulphates

Glycerin

Glycerin or glycerol (442)

Glyceryl distearate

Glyceryl laurate

Glyceryl monostearate

Glyceryl myristate

Glyceryl oleate

Glyceryl polymethacrylate

Glyceryl Rosinate

Glyceryl stearate

Glyceryl stearate SE

Glycol distearate

Glycol stearate

Guineesis (palm)

Hexadecylic

Hexyl laurate

Hexyldecanol

Humectant glycerol

Hydrogenated palm glycerides

Isopropyl isostearate

Isopropyl palmitate

Isopropyl titanium triisostearate

Isostearamide DEA

Isostearate DEA

Isostearic acid

Isostearyl alcohol

Lactic and fatty acid easters of glycerol (472b/E472b)

Lauramide DEA

Lauramide MEA

Lauramine oxide

Laureth

Lauric acid

Lauroyl sarcosine

Lauryl betaine

Lauryl lactate

Lauryl glucoside (from palm)

Lauryl pyrrolidone

Linoleic acid

Magnesium myristate

Magnesium stearate

Mixed tartaric, acetic and fatty acid esters of glycerol (472f/E472f)

Mono-and- di-glycerides of fatty acids (471/E471)

Mono-glycerides of fatty acids

Myristate

Myristic acid

Myristic Cetrimonium Chloride Acid

Myristoyl

Myristyl alcohol

Myristyl myristate

Octyl palmitate

Octyl stearate

Octyldodecyl myristate

Octyldodecyl stearoyl stearate

Oleamide MIPA

Oleic acid

Oleyl betaine

Palm fruit oil

Palm kernel oil

Palm oil

Palm olein

Palm stearine

Palmate

Palmitate

Palmitic acid

Palmitamidopropyltrimonium chloride

Palmitoyl myristyl serinate

Palmitoyl oxostearamide

Palmitoyl oligopeptide

Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3

PEG-100 stearate

PEG-15 stearyl ether

PEG-150 distearate

PEG-2 oleamine

PEG-20 stearate

PEG-4 laurate

PEG-40 stearate

PEG-8 distearate

PEG-8 stearate

PEG-80 sorbitan laurate

Pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate

Peptide complex

Polyethylene (40) stearate (431)

Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids (475/E475)

Polyglycerol esters of interesterified ricinoleic acid (476/E476)

Polyglycerol-2 oleyl ether

Polyglyceryl-3 dilisostearate

Polyglyceryl-4 isostearate

Polyglyceryl-4 oleyl ether

Polysorbate 60 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate (435/E435)

Polysorbate 65 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan tristearate (436/E436)

Polysorbate 80 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monoolate (433/E433)

Polysorbate-20

Polysorbate-40

Polysorbate-80

Polysorbate-85

Potassium stearate

PPG-15 stearate ether

Propylene glycol esters of fatty acids (477/E477)

Propylene glycol laurate

Propylene glycol stearate

Retinyl palmitate

Saponified elaeis guineensis

Sleareth

SLES

SLS

Sodium cetearyl sulphate

Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)

Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye

Sodium lactylate; sodium oleyl lactylate; sodium stearoyl lactylate (481/E481)

Sodium laurate

Sodium laurel

Sodium laureth sulfate

Sodium laureth sulphate

Sodium laureth-13 carboxylate

Sodium lauroyl lactylate

Sodium lauryl

Sodium lauryl ether sulphate

Sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate

Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate

Sodium lauryl sulphate

Sodium palm kernelate

Sodium palmate

Sodium palmitate

Sodium stearate

Sodium stearoyl lactylate

Sorbitan isotearate

Sorbitan laurate

Sorbitan monostearate (491)

Sorbitan oleate

Sorbitan palmitate

Sorbitan sesquioleate

Sorbitan trioleate

Sorbitan tristearate

Sorbitan tristearate (492)

Stearalkonium chloride

Stearalkonium hectorite

Stearamide MEA

Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine

Steareth-10

Steareth-2

Steareth-20

Steareth-21

Stearic acid (vegetable oil)

Stearic acid or fatty acid (570)

Stearoyl sarcosine

Stearyl alcohol

Stearyl dimethicone

Stearyl heptanoate

Sucrose stearate

Sucroseesters of fatty acids (473/E473)

Taxanomic

TEA-lauryl sulphate

TEA-stearate

Tocopheryl linoleate

Triacetin

Triacetin (1518)

Tribehenin

Tricaprylin

Tristearin

Vegetable glycerin

Vegetable Oil

Zinc stearate

 

Jan 292015
 

The Many Benefits of Cocoa Butter in Your Skin Care  Products.

Cocoa butter has a long history of use as a moisturising agent for dry and damaged skin. Being an emollient that melts at body temperature and is quickly and easily absorbed by the skin, cocoa butters ability to penetrate through the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and deep into the dermis means it distributes its valuable nucream-applied-to-face-womantrients and fatty acids further into the skin where moisture is more easily retained.skin-anatomy-dermis-epidermis

The nutrients within cocoa butter include a large proportion of highly bioavailable minerals (meaning they are more easily used by the body than say commercial vitamin supplements), including calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper and iron.

Cocoa butter also contains quantities of tryptophan, which is the precursor to the feel good neurotransmitter, serotonin. (This is why there are studies done on whether women like chocolate better than sex!) There are also quantities of dopamine and phenylethylamine, needed by your skin and your brain.

Where does Cocoa Butter Come From?cacaopod

The cacao tree (pronounced “ka-cow”) produces large gourd-shaped pods, each containing up to around 40 cocoa seeds. These seeds are the cocoa beans from which cocoa butter is extracted, along with the cacao or cocoa used to make chocolate.

Coccocoa-butter-chocolateoa butter can be either cold pressed; a process which retains a higher percentage of its valuable antioxidants, or fermented (in banana leaves), dried and then roasted before being separated from the cocoa pod hull and pressed; this second method is the traditional way of processing cocoa and is the one most widely used.

The cocoa butter is usually then deodorised to remove strong bitter flavours, leaving it with the lovely soft chocolaty aroma and taste that many people find so attractive.

 

The best growing region for Cacao trees is a small geographic band about 15-20 degrees north or south of the Equator.

Cacow prod pie chart

Antioxidant Action.

The process of oxidation caused by free radicals formed in our bodies during metabolic processes and by things such as sun and chemical exposure, certain foods and smoking, can be circumvented by adequate ingestion and absorption (via the skin) of a variety of antioxidants.

Cocoa Butter contains a variety of antioxidants that can neutralise free radicals, and there by save your skin cells from damage that can lead to premature aging.

antioxidants-protect-your-skin-from-premature-ageing

I’m sure we have all heard the buzz about the wonderful benefits of foods such berries and how they are being noted as super-foods. Foods such as blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants as well as other goodies that help us fight off the ravages of ageing and environmental hazards and are a wonderful addition to a healthy diet.

However, did you know that cocoa butter contains even higher levels of antioxidants than the super foods?

Cocoa Butter contains Vitamin E and a variety of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as flavanoids and polyphenols, which all work towards saving our bodies and there for our skin, from the ravages of free radical scavengers.

(For more information about antioxidants and free radicals and how it all fits together, see my upcoming post on antioxidant action.)

 

 Stretch mark reduction.

stretch-marks-pregnant-belly

When cocoa butter is mixed with other oils such as in creams or body butters, it becomes easier to apply to the skin and also gives the additional benefits of the other components combined in the product.

Stretch marks are a common result during pregnancy when skin is stretched to a point where it can no longer hold itscream-on-pregnant-belly-prevent-stretch-marks structure and the skin layers pull apart.

By using a cocoa butter based cream daily to massage into your growing pregnant belly, the skin will stay soft and supple and be much more easily able to adapt to the expansion and stretching required of it, so that stretch marks should not occur or at the very least will be greatly lessened.

 

Scars.

Although scarring is unfortunately here to stay, the appearance of scars can be lessened and improved by moisturising and softening the skin.scar-reductionApplication of cocoa butter products has shown to smooth the texture and help to even out skin tone so that scars don’t appear as noticeable.

The ability of cocoa butter to penetrate deep into the skin and keep the tissue well hydrated, assists the growth of new skin tissue and facilitates repair of damaged skin.

 

Rashes, Irritations and Allergies.

Cocoa Butter is often recommended as component of natural treatments for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Topical application not only penetrates deeply, but leaves a moisture retaining barrier on the surface of the skin, protecting it for harsh environmental elements and retaining moisture. A component of cocoa butter, cocoa mass polyphenol (CMP), is known to inhibit production of the immuno globulin IgE which aggravates and amplifies symptoms of dermatitis.

eczema-rash-itchy-skin

 

 

 

 

References.

The Chocolate Review Online Resource for Chocolate Lovers

Source: UNCTAD based on the data from International Cocoa Organization, quarterly bulletin of cocoa statistics

Freyaluna – Love Yourself Naturally, What Cocoa Butter Can Do For Your Skin, Posted on November 7, 2013

Benefits of Cocoa Butter on Scarring, Live Strong.com

Natural Healing Tips: Cocoa Butter 101, Mon, Sep 29th 2014, Z Living Staff

 

Photo Credits.

The Chocolate Review Online Resource for Chocolate Lovers

Source: UNCTAD based on the data from International Cocoa Organization, quarterly bulletin of cocoa statistics

 

Jan 272015
 

Grapeseed oil has excellent moisturising properties and works well in face creams, lip balms, hand creams, body butters and massage oils.

grape-seed-oil-grapes-skin-care

(Please note, we are looking at grapeseed oil as opposed to grapefruit seed extract – easy to confuse the two as they are both used in skin care products. Grapeseed is a wonderful ingredient to include in any skin care item due to its many wonderful properties, however grapefruit seed extract is another matter – which I will follow up on later in another post. There is a lot of research proving it should NOT be used in skincare.)

 

Moisturising.

Grapeseed oil performs well as a night time moisturiser that can be used on the face as well as the body. For a full body moisturising treatment it is recommended that you apply grapeseed oil in the form of body butter after a bath or shower, allowing the oils to fully absorb in to your moist skin just after towelling off. Grapeseed oil also makes a great under makeup moisturiser.

Body-butter-apply-after-bath-once-towelled-dry

Healing Anti-inflammatory.

Grapeseed oil promotes collagen renewal in the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties that assist healing of skin lesions and softens and generally improves skin condition.

 

Composition.grape-seed-oil-grapes-skin-care-tweezers

Grapeseed oil is comprised of linoleic, olecic, palmatic, stearic and palmitoleic acids. It contains the vitamins E, C and D as well as Beta Carotene. (Vitamin D has been found very important to assist healing in skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and neurodermatitis.) Noted for its anti-aging properties it tightens as well as tones the skin. It can be used to improve stretch marks, varicose veins, lines and wrinkles and severely dry skin.

 

grape-seed-oil-history-vines-wine-makingHistory and Origin.

Grapeseed oil has been pressed and used as a food source and in skin care preparations throughout history.

Grapes and there for grape seed (Vitis Vinifera) made their appearance around 130 to 200 million years ago. Originating in Asia grapes and grape vines were introduced to Europe and North America in about the1600’s.

The grapes were used to make wine and the seeds, which are a by-product of the winemaking process, were found to contain a pleasant, nutty flavoured oil, suitable for use in dressings or for cooking. The grapeseed oil was also found to have many sought after skin moisturising and softening properties.

Italy is historically one of the largest producers of grapeseed oil.grape-seed-oil-grapes-skin-care-jug-seeds

Today, grape seed is also used for its antioxidant components. As could be expected, small amounts of these components and their properties are also found in grapeseed oil.

 

ChemicaGrape-seed-oil-chemical-analysisl Analysis.

Grape seeds (and skins) are excellent sources of phytochemicals such as catechin, gallic acid, and epicatechin which are used in the production of antioxidative dietary supplements.

The superior antioxidant capacity of grape seeds is due to the Peroxyl radical scavenging activities of the phenolics (aromatic compounds) present in the grape seeds or skins.grape-seed-oil-grapes-skin-care-seeds

Listed in decreasing order, these are resveratrol, catechin  and epicatechin , which combine to make gallocatechin.

Then gallocatechin and gallic acid which combine to form ellagic acid.

 

Food.

Adding grapeseed oil to your food in the form of salad oils and dressings can enhance the skin softening effects of your daily moisturisers which also contain grapeseed oil.grape-seed-oil-salad-dressing

References:

Major Flavonoids in Grape Seeds and Skins:  Antioxidant Capacity of Catechin, Epicatechin, and Gallic Acid; Yusuf Yilmaz and Romeo T. Toledo *; Department of Food Science and Technology, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

30602-7610; J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (2), pp 255–260; DOI: 10.1021/jf030117h

Publication Date (Web): December 31, 2003

Copyright © 2004 American Chemical Society

Examiner.com Entertainment | AXS Network | © 2006-2015 AXS Digital Group LLC d/b/a Examiner.com |Michelle Jones, SF Makeup and Hair Examiner

 

 

Jan 262015
 

Purified Aqua:

This is the recommended label statement which shows that water is used in skin care products.

The water used for Eco Apothecary skin and body care products is either rain water collected from the roof of the miner’s cottage which has been boiled and cooled, or if due to drought, there is limited fresh rain water available, I purchase natural spring water.Temperature-of-boiling-water

 

 

 

Our rain water is collected via colour-bonded metal gutters and delivered to food grade poly and cement water-storage tanks attached to the cottage and sheds.

Rain-water-harvesting-tanksRain-water-harvesting-tanks-under-gound-cement

As South Australia is noted as being the driest state in the driest continent, the tanks are emptied yearly through ongoing usage, topped up regularly by the latest rainfall and cleaned out each time they become extremely low on water, ready for a fresh new harvest from the heavens.

Rain-water-falling-from-sky-into-hand

 

 

 

 

 

This ensures our water supply to the cottage and to my Eco Apothecary products, is always fresh and sweet; chemical free and gratefully received straight from the “Rain Gods” in the sky to our storage tanks!

Rain-water-harvesting-tanks-quantity-calculating-formula

 

For information about the importance of drinking fresh clean water every day, go to –

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/search/google-cse#gsc.q=water

Jan 262015
 

Calendula: (Calendula officinalis) Marigold/Pot Marigold. 

In my Eco Apothecary products I use Calendula as a tisane, de-alcoholised tincture, infused oil or essential oil.

Due to Calendula’s wonderful skin healing and softening  properties, I often use it in more than one form within the same product.

 

Use of Calendula in Skin CareCalendula-flowers-skin-care-healing-herbs-soothing-safe-oil

  • Calendula, as a plant extract, has been used throughout history in skin preparations to promote soft supple skin. Calendula is beneficial for dry or damaged skin and also promotes the fast healing and regeneration of the skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Calendula oil is often used for skin that is exposed to the elements and has become dry or damaged. It helps protect the skin against harsh climatic conditions, both summer and winter, including the drying effects of air-conditioning. The natural restorative properties in Calendula, rejuvenates the dermis and imbues the skin with a youthful clarity and glow. Calendula oil is also used to prevent premature aging and thinning of the skin.
  • Calendula is extremely soothing and gentle and is safe enough to be used on the delicate skin under the eyes assisting in the prevention of crow’s feet. It is known to be suitable for even the most sensitive skin types, including the skin of newborn babies.
  • Calendula has been proven to stimulate the metabolism of glycoproteins, nucleoproteins and collagen during the skin’s healing process and is there for considered as a powerful skin regeneration and anti-aging ingredient.

Calendula-flowers-skin-care-healing-herbs-soothing-safe-dried-petals-flower-essential-oilConstituents 

  • Triterpenoid saponins (oleanolic acid and flavonols), carotenoids, bitter principles including calendin, essential oil, sterols, flavonoids, mucilage, resin. Carotenoid content determines flower colour: carotene in orange flowers, xanthophyll in yellow.

 

Plant information.Calendula-flowers-skin-care-healing-herbs-soothing

  • Different colours and types of daisy-like flower.
  • A common cottage garden flower which self sows easily and has been popular since the time of the Romans.
  • The whole plant has medicinal properties, but mainly the flower head.
  • The English name marigold refers to its old use in church festivals in the Middle Ages, being one of the flowers dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
  • Calendula was strewn in front of cottage doors and made into garlands on May Day festivals.
  • The name Calendula comes from the Latin calends, meaning the first day of every month because in its native climate of Egypt and the Mediterranean, Calendula is in bloom on the first day of the month year round.
  • In some traditions Calendula is the symbol of endurance.
  • The orange flowered variety has stronger medicinal properties than the yellow and is there for more widely grown and used in Herbalism.
  • Although the entire Calendula plant has medicinal properties, the flower heads have the highest amount of active constituents and are the part most commonly used for medicinal and skin care purposes.

Action TextCalendula-flowers-skin-care-healing-herbs-soothing-safe-dried-petals-flower-heads-oil

Calendula is known to be antiseptic, anti-fungal,

anti-inflammatory, astringent, wound-healing,

a valuable topical antiseptic and antiviral.

 

Externally  –

Extremely useful for nearly all skin problems (Calendula is also used as an effective internal remedy in Herbal medicine.)

  • Topical (external) medicinal use of Calendula is recommended for all wounds and superficial cuts, including acute and chronic inflammatory lesions, wounds, varicose veins, broken capillaries and leg ulcers, haemorrhoids, skin Infection, pruritus (severe itching), Pruritus ani and proctitis and fungal infections like athletes foot.
  • It is specifically indicated for acute and chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, for poorly healing wounds, sunburn, side-effects of radiation (skin burns), acne, sebaceous cysts, bruises, boils and rashes including nappy (diaper) rash.

herbal-magicInteresting bits and Pieces! 

History of use

  • The Romans used the flowers as teas to relieve fevers and the juice of the crushed flowers to remove warts.
  • The flowers were used as a cosmetic, as a dye and to colour a variety of foods including soups and conserves.
  • Culpeper (c. 1826) and Gerard (born 1545) refer to marigold (calendula) as “comforter of the heart and spirits”.
  • In the Middle Ages, St. Hildegard and Albert the Great used it for intestinal troubles, liver obstructions, insect and snake bites.
  • In the 16th and 17th centuries marigold (calendula) tea was used for eye complaints, headaches, jaundice and toothache.

full-moon-cat-in-tree

Superstition and magic

  • Culpeper called them the herb of the sun and under the influence of the star sign Leo.
  • They have been long associated with the sun as they open when the sun rises to follow it across the sky and close when it sets.
    •                   (To me these are such a bright happy flower that brightens up the cloudiest day – however…)
  • There is an historical connection with sorrow and mourning in several cultures, South American and Mexican, from the times of the conquistadores who murdered many Aztecs in their search for gold – the red flecks in some petals symbolise the shed blood, Greek Mythology tells of Caltha who falls in love with Apollo the sun god, but was melted by the power of his rays.
  • Mixed with roses they symbolise the sweet sorrows of love.
  • Wearing calendula is supposed to allow you to see who has robbed you!
  • It was also worn to protect against evil influences and disease.

Calendula is a wonderful versatile easy care plant that deserves a spot in everyone’s garden!

References

Materia Medica of Western Herbs for the Southern Hemisphere – Carole Fisher & Gilian Painter, revised edition 1996.

Prescribe Guide – Developed by practitioners and researchers especially for use in the clinic or pharmacy – https://www.herbdrugnutrient.com/calendula-officinalis

Truth In Aging The honest truth about beauty & personal care products – https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/calendula-officinalisTruth in Aging –

Live Strong Health http://www.livestrong.com/article/120336-calendula-skin-benefits/

Honestly! Does This Look Like a Getaway Car to You?!

 Gleanings  Comments Off on Honestly! Does This Look Like a Getaway Car to You?!
Jan 152015
 

To See Ourselves As Others See Us……23 Sept 2012-lecture-herbal-talk

 

Is not always very flattering!

 


Being an Herbalist may not always be a hugely lucrative vocation, and I do supplement my income with a variety of fill in positions, but really, things are not that bad! They’re actually pretty good! Very positive, and life is good!

However, this morning, after a night shift fill in at a local winery, while I was minding my own business, making use of the fact that I was already in town to do some shopping, I was almost ……….almost, taken for the perpetrator of a break in!Sad-uncertain-face

Well actually, my poor little car was investigated as a suspected getaway vehicle!

But I guess as I am the owner and driver…..

 

How this turn of events came about was all quite innocent on my (or our, – my and the Echo’s) part.

I wanted to get some hooks for a project I am working on at home and also a couple of large bags of potting mix to fill a half wine barrel I am replanting.

So after work I nipped down to the shopping centre to save a trip back in later on. It is a 15-20 minute drive from home, so I always get as many jobs out of the way as possible in the one trip.

As I knew I wanted potting soil I parked my car near the rear entrance of the high wall surrounding the garden center. Leaving it as far out of the way of any through traffic as possible, but close enough to carry out the heavy bags of potting mix.IMGP4166

Doing this also meant I was inadvertently near the rear of the adjoining row of shops.

 

I finalised my purchases at the hardware store and garden-center and went back through the garden center with my receipt to collect the potting soil.

The garden centre lady checked my receipt and the young man assisting her said he would get the potting mix for me. I went with him to check we had the correct ones, and then he opened the back gate for me and kindly went to get the bags.Rpm60Lpottmixlg1

As I came out the gate I saw two police officers, a man and a lady with all their guns and torches and whatever else they have hanging off of their belts and pockets (all that stuff must weigh a ton!) checking out my car and peering in through the windows.

My first thought was – Oh I wish I’d got to cleaning it on the weekend! It’s very dusty and messy inside! – And then, as probably should be a first reaction, “What’s happening, what’s going on?”

Seeing me, they came over and the lady said jokingly, and laughing, “Ahhh! Here’s the dodgy lady owner!… The dodgy lady from Keyneton!”

(Which of course let me know they had already checked out the registration. So they knew who I was though they probably couldn’t pronounce the surname! But dodgy!? Really!? Was this because they knew I was an herbalist? Did they know I was an herbalist? Does everyone think herbalists are dodgy?! What did she mean?)

The male officer then laughed and said, “It’s just parked in an unusual spot.”Police-officers-male-and-female

(Which immediately made me feel guilty and think perhaps it was actually illegal to park there and I was going to get a fine. Authority figures always make me feel as though I’ve been caught doing something wrong!)

“We’ve had a break in and we thought it might be a getaway vehicle.” he added.

“Oh, goodness!” I said, relieved I wasn’t in trouble, “I’m just getting some potting soil.” I indicated behind me to the open gate, and right on cue the garden center man appeared out of the gate way carrying the two heavy bags.

I unlocked the car and opened the hatch for him and as the police officers were walking away I joked to them, “Being almost mistaken for a criminal is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me for months!”

They laughed and the garden center man smiled “Almost!” he said.

“Yes” I agreed “almost!”

 

I guess I don’t look very much like a criminal type. Everyone seems to think it’s so funny!

I’m not quite sure if that’s not a little bit disparaging. Well not really, I would hate to be constantly suspect or wrongly accused of anything.

The way some people are sent to jail for years and then found innocent! – It would kill me through frustration!

Keaton_behind_bars_variety

I hate not being able to explain myself so that I am believed.

I don’t know how they stand it! Poor things!

 

But somehow, being considered laughable as a break and enter type also makes me feel rather dull and middle-aged and “tame”. Which of course I am I guess, sad but true!

Herbalist-mortar-pestle-grinding-macerating-preparation-herbal-apothecaryHowever, I can comfort myself, only partly true!

My life and what I do is definitely not dull and boring compared to most people’s days! Fairly tame perhaps, but very useful, interesting, practical, almost magical actually and satisfyingly “out there”!

 

 

So… that was it. My recent brush with the law.

And none the worse for it thankfully! Though I might have to wash and vacuum my car later.

Rose Coloured Glasses?

 Gleanings  Comments Off on Rose Coloured Glasses?
Jan 072015
 

How Does Our View of the World Affect Our Daily Life?

Herbs-sunflowers-Provence-France-health-aromatherapy

We are all so very different in our outlooks. Even siblings can have totally opposite views and thoughts about life.

This was highlighted to me when I applied to study externally as a mature age student at a university where my sister had also studied.

As an entry requirement each student had to write an essay about themselves and their family life while growing up. When I had sent mine off, I gave a copy to my sister to read.

Her comment was “It doesn’t seem like we grew up in the same family!”

On reading the submission my sister had written for entry a few years beforehand, I could see what she meant. A stranger reading both “family life biographies” would never guess we were related, let alone sisters.

Both of our experiences were real. Both of us attempted to portray them accurately. So how could they be so very different?

 

I believe it is the old adage “the eye of the beholder”.Kelsey-Cronkhite-Beauty-is-in-the-Eye-of-the-Beholder-via-all-Sorts-of-Pretty

beauty-in-the-eye1

 

New age beliefs are always telling us that we can “choose” to be happy. We can “decide” to see our life and what happens to us with a different perspective. We can develop an outlook that will be a healthier choice, one that will make us more content and experience life in a “better” way, ultimately leading to better health and more happiness.

It is very easy to dismiss this as so much wishful thinking and if you have ever tried to see each day with a more positive frame of mind, as I have numerous times (I keep falling off the wagon!), you too may have found that being continually positive is not as easy as it sounds!

Everything is fine while things run relatively smoothly, but then there is that frustrating issue at work or your partner is just in a bad mood, or you get caught for speeding while you were blissfully singing along to the radio in your cloud of “happiness” and didn’t notice the change to the speed sign.

There go the good intentions! Perhaps if we could get straight back on track it would eventually become easier and develop into habit.

get-a-good-habit-going

At the moment I am (once again) trying the “attitude of gratitude”, a concept which makes sense to me and makes me feel good. It also helps with the “negative self talk” issue I seem to struggle with. Not all the time, just when I’m not feeling great anyway.

(Have you seen the video below by Christie Marie Sheldon? It’s part of her “Love or Above” higher vibration energy teachings I really liked it!)

Now, speaking of negative…did you notice my wording in the above paragraph?

The word “try” is a no-no, as it gives us an out clause, a way to say “Oh well, I tried, but it wasn’t for me”, so there for I won’t bother to continue! Also, I stated that “I seem to struggle with….” the negative self talk issue. I should say “It also helps with the “negative self talk” issue I have struggled with in the past”! Thereby placing the problem behind me, not keeping it as a current problem.

It really is…..I mean for me it has in the past been quite difficult to be consistent and keep track of my thoughts and wording. Practice I guess will “make perfect”. Well here’s hoping!

 

Anyway, with all of that I have lost track of the point of this blog!

The point I want to make is, the fact that my sister and myself, who grew up as part of the same family, in the same house, on Vickie and Bowen, siblingsthe same property, in the same community of the same country; can view things – life, other family members, how they treated us, their outlook and influences on us – so completely differently, and not only view, but “experience” them so completely differently, makes me believe that the way we perceive things really does change our experience of life!

Therefore, it makes sense that by perceiving things in a more positive way, it really should be possible to live an effectively better, healthier and happier life!

So through this recollection, I have come to the conclusion that the “think positive” formulation is actually possible and do-able. Having reached this logical conclusion, rather than just believing in it without evidence (being a basically evidence based type of gal), I feel that I will now be much more successful at continuing with my “attitude of gratitude” long term.

Long enough to have it become habit!

 

How about making a pact with me?

NMake-a -pact-with-meo matter what life throws at us, or if we forget our good intentions, or “fall off the wagon” – we will get straight back on and think positively! –  Practice the attitude of gratitude and keep watch on our self talk!

Sounds like a plan! It is always easier to do something together than all on your own.

What do you think?

 

(Oh! By the way, I am soooo grateful and thankful to have your support with this! Or even if you don’t feel the need to work together, I am so grateful and thankful for any ideas or comments you want to make!)

Bye for now,

Vickie.

Eco Apothecary Night Cream

 Eco Apothecary Skin & Body Care Products  Comments Off on Eco Apothecary Night Cream
Jan 042015
 

Eco-Apothecary-label-logo-Ginkgo-leaf-herbal-creams-natural-hand-madeEco Apothecary

Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream  

 


Eco-Apothecary-Day cream-night cream-herbal-infusion-natural-skin care-cruelty free-environmentally-aware-safe

Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream is exactly as the label describes it!

Thick, rich and nourishing, this night cream is formulated to moisturise, soften, hydrate and heal the skin as the body rests overnight.

By the next morning Eco Apothecary Night Cream’s wonderful natural healing ingredients will have thoroughly absorbed into your skin, leaving it feeling silky soft and hydrated, and when used consistently clients report a noticable softening of fine lines and wrinkles.

The herbs and oils from which Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream is made, are known traditionally for their nourishing, moisturising and healing effects on the skin. Today’s scientific research is continually validating this traditional knowledge through current clinical trials. (For further information on ingredients and links to research articles, please see my post “Eco Apothecary Ingredient Profiles”)

Directions.

Shortly before bed time, apply a small amount of Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream to your face, neck & décolletage, allowing 5-10 minutes for diffusion into your skin. Due to the richness of this formulation and the high content of nourishing oils, Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream can feel oily if applied too generously. Remember a little goes a long way to softening, hydrating and healing your skin!

For a less rich feel, the Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Moisturising Day Cream can be used as a suitable alternative for overnight softening, healing and hydration. The natural goodness of the ingredients in all Eco Apothecary creams makes them wonderful and healing for your skin anytime you might wish to apply them. So although each has been made with a particular time or use in mind, you can be confident that they are a great addition to your skin care regime in whatever manner best suits your needs.

Store Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Rich Nourishing Night Cream in cool dry place, out of direct sunlight.

Ingredients:

Calendula Tisane, Purified aqua, Calendula infused Grape seed oil, Emulsifying wax NF, Cocoa butter, Olive oil,

De-alcoholised – Chickweed, Burdock root, Cleavers & Red Clover dry plant tinctures, Aloe Vera gel, Bees Wax,

Colloidal Oatmeal, Geogard Ultra, Vitamin E ,

Essential oils of  Lime, Sweet Orange, True Lavender, Geranium, Frankincense & Sweet Fennel.

 

Eco Apothecary Philosophy and Facts.

Utilising herbs and oils known for their nourishing, hydrating and protective properties, Eco Apothecary natural skin care is hand made with love and care in small batches, from the finest natural and organic ingredients.

As an Herbalist, I make each cream utilising my knowledge of plants, health and nature to formulate combinations which will not only enhance the appearance of your skin, but will promote health and healing. Eco Apothecary products absorb well into your skin and have subtle, natural aromas which are utterly delightful!

All Eco Apothecary products are cruelty free products. None of the base ingredients or the finished products is ever tested on animals.

Miners Cottage Garden;Keyneton Holistic Health Care;natural health;herbal remedys;consultations;workshops;talks;naturaly healed

All products are made at our Miners Cottage in the beautiful Barossa Valley Ranges in South Australia. The 100+ year old Miners Cottage  is also our family home and houses my natural health clinic, Keyneton Holistic Health Care.

Herbs grown in the Miners Cottage garden are processed by hand into tinctures, infusions and tisanes to become ingredients of the Eco Apothecary range of products.

From planting, right through harvesting and manufacture of combined ingredients and finished products, I use my Reiki skills to infuse all of the substances with positive healing energy. I believe this gives the completed creations an additional loveliness, to look at, to use and to enhance their healing, renewing effects when they are on your skin.

The word “Eco” in the name Eco Apothecary, was decided upon to convey the fact that all Eco Apothecary products are made in an environmentally friendly manner and use the least amounts of consumables possible.

During colder months we use solid fuel slow combustion stoves for heating. Both the kitchen and lounge stoves have spacious cook tops which allow water to be purified and waxes, butters and oils to be melted and combined without using additional heat sources. So no matter which stove is in use that day, I am able to make additional use of their lovely wholesome heat for a batch of creams.

As South Australia has an abundance of sunshine even through the winter months (we are known as being the driest state in the driest continent!), all of the herbal oil maceration’s and infusions are able to be completed outside, utilising the natural heat of the sun.

Eco Apothecary Day Cream

 Eco Apothecary Skin & Body Care Products  Comments Off on Eco Apothecary Day Cream
Jan 042015
 

Eco-Apothecary-label-logo-Ginkgo-leaf-herbal-creams-natural-hand-made Eco Apothecary

 Herbal Infusions Moisturising Day Cream  

Eco-Apothecary-Day cream-night cream-herbal-infusion-natural-skin care-cruelty free-environmentally-aware (2)


Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Moisturising Day Cream is a rich moisturiser intended to nourish & protect facial skin from everyday harsh elements.

Testimonials from current clients report softer, more hydrated skin and a softening effect on fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area, mouth, forehead and neck when Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Day Cream is used consistently.

Directions:

Apply a small amount of Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Day Cream to your face, neck and decolletage for protection from the harsh elements of every day life.

(Remember to use sparingly as a too generous an application can leave skin feeling oily.)

If your preference is for a light style daily moisturiser, the Eco Apothecary Deep Moisture Facial Lotion could suit your needs well.

For enhanced results, use a good moisturising,  hydrating and healing night cream such as Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Night Cream, as well as your daily moisturising routine to allow your skin to soften, heal and regenerate while your body is at rest.

Store Eco Apothecary Herbal Infusions Day Cream in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight.

 

Ingredients:

Calendula Tisane, Purified aqua, Calendula infused Grape seed oil, Emulsifying wax NF, Cocoa butter, Shea Butter, Coconut oil, Almond Oil, Olive oil,

De-alcoholised Dry Plant Tinctures of Burdock root, Chickweed, Cleavers & Red Clover,

Bees wax, Aloe Vera gel, Colloidal Oatmeal, Geogard Ultra, Vitamin E,

Essential oils of true Lavender, Lemon & Frankincense, Rose Maroc absolute.

Eco Apothecary Philosophy and Facts.

Utilising herbs and oils known for their nourishing, hydrating and protective properties, Eco Apothecary natural skin care is hand made with love and care in small batches, from the finest natural and organic ingredients.

As an Herbalist, I make each cream utilising my knowledge of plants, health and nature to formulate combinations which will not only enhance the appearance of your skin, but will promote health and healing. Eco Apothecary products absorb well into your skin and have subtle, natural aromas which are utterly delightful!

All Eco Apothecary products are cruelty free products. None of the base ingredients or the finished products is ever tested on animals.

Miners Cottage Garden;Keyneton Holistic Health Care;natural health;herbal remedys;consultations;workshops;talks;naturaly healed

All products are made at our Miners Cottage in the beautiful Barossa Valley Ranges in South Australia. The 100+ year old Miners Cottage  is also our family home and houses my natural health clinic, Keyneton Holistic Health Care.

Herbs grown in the Miners Cottage garden are processed by hand into tinctures, infusions and tisanes to become ingredients of the Eco Apothecary range of products.

From planting, right through harvesting and manufacture of combined ingredients and finished products, I use my Reiki skills to infuse all of the substances with positive healing energy. I believe this gives the completed creations an additional loveliness, to look at, to use and to enhance their healing, renewing effects when they are on your skin.

The word “Eco” in the name Eco Apothecary, was decided upon to convey the fact that all Eco Apothecary products are made in an environmentally friendly manner and use the least amounts of consumables possible.

During colder months we use solid fuel slow combustion stoves for heating. Both the kitchen and lounge stoves have spacious cook tops which allow water to be purified and waxes, butters and oils to be melted and combined without using additional heat sources. So no matter which stove is in use that day, I am able to make additional use of their lovely wholesome heat for a batch of creams.

As South Australia has an abundance of sunshine even through the winter months (we are known as being the driest state in the driest continent!), all of the herbal oil maceration’s and infusions are able to be completed outside, utilising the natural heat of the sun.

The Healing Cup

 General Health, Medicinal Herbal Teas  Comments Off on The Healing Cup
Dec 262014
 

woman-drinking-teaTea Tips:

What better way to start – or to end – the day,

than with a refreshing or relaxing cup of

Herbal Tea!

 

tea-cup-steaming-herbalWhen you pour yourself your favourite cup of Herbal Tea, to gain the benefit of all those wonderful active constituents, it’s important to capture the steam component as well!

Otherwise many of the health giving volatile elements will evaporate off in the steam, literally going up in smoke! (Well….water vapour.)

 

Directions:

Add the herbs to your cup or pot, (there are lots of strainer cups, strainer balls, tea pots etc available today, but a saucer -right side up – over your cup, so the steam condenses and drips back into the cup, is quite effective).

tea-infuser-herbal-health-steaming-drinkTop up with freshly boiling water, cover immediately and allow to steep for at least 5 to 10 minutes. (You need this amount of time for all of the healthy goodies in the Herbs to infuse into your tea and if you use freshly boiling water, the tea will still be hot when you come to drink it, but not scalding.)

tea-infuser-herbal-health-steaming-drink-types

tea-infuser-herbal-health-steaming-drink-cup-with-lid

 

 

Add honey, Stevia or sugar and enjoy!

Stevia-honey-natural-sweeteners-health

 

 

 

If you’d like to save some time and effort and be ready for another cup or two of Herbal Tea throughout the day, you can make up a larger pot or plunger, then strain off the herbs once they have fully infused.

tea-infuser-herbal-health-steaming-drink-teapot

The infusion should be used within 12 hours of being made or if refrigerated, it can be kept to enjoy for up to 48 hours.

Reheat if you wish or enjoy cold as a refreshing iced tea. 

iced-tea-herbal-healing-spring-tonic-eco-apothecary-refreshing

 

 

 

 

 

Especially lovely on a hot afternoon!

 

Related articles

Add Calm and Emotional Balance to Your Day with Serenity Tea

 General Health, Medicinal Herbal Teas  Comments Off on Add Calm and Emotional Balance to Your Day with Serenity Tea
Dec 272014
 

Serenity Tea:

Relaxing and Calming,

Serenity Tea will help you chill out at any time.

It is especially useful for winding down after a hard day –

thereby ensuring you get a good nights sleep.

relax-cup-tea-chill

Chamomile/Peppermint/Passionflower/Lemonbalm

This relaxing, calming night time tea can actually be used at any time!It is a nervous system and smooth muscle relaxant which aids digestion, relieves nervous tension, insomnia, restlessness and the effects of stress, anxiety and depression. It is calming and balancing for moods and emotions and helps to imbue a sense of peace and wellbeing.

What more could you ask from a cup of tea?!   Oh! And it tastes great too!

To use fresh herbs, double the quantity compared to dry.

This allows for the water component of the fresh herb.

To make a single cup infusion:

Ingredients

· Chamomile 1 teaspoon dry herb

· Peppermint 1 level teaspoon dry herb

· Passionflower Just under ¼ teaspoon dry herb

· Lemonbalm 1 level teaspoon dry herb

Directions

· Add all ingredients to a single serve plunger, teapot or infuser tea cup

· Pour over 1 cup of boiling water

· Cover and allow to steep for at least 5-10 minutes

· Add honey, stevia or sugar to taste

· Relax and enjoy!

You can replace another type of mint for the peppermint; just add a little more to account for the extra strength of flavour and medicinal value of the peppermint.

 

 

I hope you love this tea as much as I do and that its combination of calming herbs brings you a relaxed contentment with the world and a good nights sleep!

Boost Your Vitality with Herbal Spring Tonic Tea

 General Health, Medicinal Herbal Teas  Comments Off on Boost Your Vitality with Herbal Spring Tonic Tea
Dec 272014
 

Spring Tonic Tea:

This Spring Tonic tea is a nutritious antiseptic and antibacterial tea which enhances digestion and absorption of nutrients and stimulates excretion of wastes.

It is a mucous membrane tonic for the respiratory tract, enhances circulation and immune function, and is a stimulating restorative for the nervous system.

 

Spring Tonic Tea: NettleLeaf/Yarrow /Calendula/Rosemary/Fennel Seed

To use fresh herbs, double the quantity compared to dry. This allows for the water component of the fresh herb.

To make a single cup infusion:

Ingredients:

· Nettleleaf 1 teaspoon dry herb

· Yarrow 1 level teaspoon dry herb

· Calendula 1 level teaspoon dry herb

· Rosemary ½ a teaspoon dry herb

· FennelSeed ½ a teaspoon bruised dry seed

Directions:

· Add all ingredients to a single serve plunger, teapot or infuser tea cup

· Pour over 1 cup of boiling water

· Cover and allow to steep for at least 5-10 minutes

· Add honey, Stevia or sugar to taste

· Relax and enjoy!

 

Spring is such a busy time of year! I love to get out in the garden and plant out my seedlings, put in vegetable seeds and plan the coming harvest.

If you love this tea and use it often, you should find there is an added “spring” in your step as well as in the air!

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Shaping Your World

 Gleanings  Comments Off on Shaping Your World
Dec 062014
 

Have the Courage to Follow Your Dreams:

W8556394-hands-make-heart-shapee are very fortunate to live in a state of relative freedom.

Although the easy boom times may be past for the moment, we still inhabit a country and time where the possibilities are only limited to our own imagination, abilities, energy and commitment.

We are ultimately able to shape our lives in the manner we desire.

With thought and effort our dreams are able to become reality.

 Shaping-out-world-web-site

As Adele Basheer wrote,

“Follow your heart. It is the inspiration for your life.”

I am an Herbalist, among many other things.
I have been an herbalist for most of my life really, but only relatively recently one that is qualified and accredited to practice medicinal herbalism and run a clinic.NHAA logo-National-Herebalists-Association-Australia

For many many years, my favourite reading material and the books I’d take to bed with me, have all been herbal and health related. My formal study materials were just an extension of this.

herbal-books-reading-herbalist-medicinal-study-old-bedtime
There is always something to learn. I can’t imagine ever even beginning to know all that I need and want to know.
Luckily, for me the subject of health and herbs holds endless fascination. From ancient lore and traditional usage, to current day knowledge and scientifically validated research, I find it all worth knowing, all of interest, all inspiring and adding dimension and texture to my chosen field.

herbal-books-reading-study-medicinal-

I have been growing herbs and vegetables in my Miner’s Cottage garden, making and using herbal products and enjoying the wonderful fresh grown produce since I first moved here over 30 years ago when I had to water everything with a watering can filled from one of the corrugated iron rainwater tanks. How time flies! And what relative luxury these days by comparison.

Garden 2

 

 

Herbalist-qualification,Health-Schools-Australia-medicinal-herbs-practice-study.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

I was told once that “the whole world will open up for you”, once I gain my formal qualifications and also that “once you get that bit of paper, you really start to learn!”.
Well……things are happening! I’m learning lots these days!

moving-forward-to-success

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although being extremely busy, things always seem to happen slowly for me. But I believe there is plenty of time.

Time to dive deeply into each aspect and time to enjoy the journey.

 

Vickie Placzek Prettejohn;Herbalist;Herbs;lavender;France;Provence;Natural health

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you health and happiness,

Bye for now, Vickie.