We worry about the food we eat and the air we breathe but seldom consider the makeup or lotions we slather on our skin or the bath products we steep ourselves in like a big bag of tea. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. For the sake of vanity the average woman absorbs almost five pounds of chemicals from cosmetics alone every year. If the thought of giving up your favourite beauty products leaves you hyperventilating, fear not! The garden that nourishes our insides can do wonders for our outsides as well. Here are a few great recipes you might want to try.
Take Thyme ? for a soothing bath that is guaranteed to relax those aching muscles try putting a few teaspoons of dried thyme in the centre of an 8-inch square of cheesecloth. Kick it up a notch by adding some raw oats to soften the water; oatmeal works too. Tie the cloth with a string and hang from the tap as the bath runs or just let it bob about in the water like a tea bag.
Burn ?n Bites
For itchy dry skin caused by too many mosquito bites, sunburn or perhaps tumbling into the nettle patch simply add a cup of vinegar to your bath water. (I realize vinegar isn?t a garden product but this really works and since you pickle garden produce in vinegar I say it counts.)
Bring on the Basil ? Not just for tomatoes anymore! Wrap up some fresh or dried basil in cheesecloth for a stimulating and invigorating bath.
Mint Cleanser ? Add four tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint to 10 ounces of organic milk. Leave in fridge overnight then strain, bottle and store in fridge. Apply to skin with a cotton ball then rinse. Your skin will be in mint condition!
Cucumber Skin Tonic
Cut a small cucumber into pieces and put in blender until liquidized. Add two tablespoons of organic yogurt. Use as soon as possible as this doesn?t store very well. Placing cucumber slices or thin slices of potato over your eyes will reduce puffiness and gets rid of the red.
Greasy Skin ? Mash and sieve a ripe pear, massage gently onto skin and rinse.
Mash and sieve an avocado. A few drops of lemon juice will keep the avocado from turning brown and making you look like a swamp monster should someone drop by unannounced. Add a teaspoon of liquid honey, mix well, apply to face and leave on for as long as you can stand it. This mixture combats sun damage and leaves your face feeling soft and nourished.
Bad enough to look like a swamp monster, you don?t need to smell like one too! Toss together ½ teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of myrrh, 1 tablespoon coriander seed, 2 tablespoons of lavender petals, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon of thyme and pound with a pestle and mortar. Rub a couple pinches under each arm and you?re ready to roll.
½ teaspoon dried peppermint leaves ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves ½ tsp crushed cloves ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg ½ pint sherry 10 drops of peppermint oil
Steep all the herbs in the sherry for one to two weeks. Strain, add peppermint oil and gargle away.
In the old days baking soda and salt kept the homesteader?s snappers white and clean. This still works great today. For a fancier alternative you might want to try mixing a couple handfuls of sage leaves with one handful of sea salt and grinding thoroughly with a pestle and mortar. Put grindings in the oven and bake until hard. Remove and grind again into a fine powder. Store in a sealed jar and use as toothpaste. If that sounds like too much work, simply rubbing sage leaves on your teeth works too.
If you try some of these recipes not only will you save money, you could save your health too. Now that?s something to smile about!
Shannon McKinnon writes and gardens from her home northwest of Dawson Creek, BC you can reach her at email@example.com