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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Making Elegant Lotions with Nutritive Rich Plants From the Garden

Herbdad gave us a cabernet grape vine several years ago. We planted it off the back patio and each year it offers shade and year-round beauty. It's wonderful to see the vine take hold and grow stronger each year while producing clusters of small red grapes. The grapes have rich peppery flavor and are smaller than regular table grapes. This time of year, the grapes are still green and hang in small clusters from the vine.
When growing plants in the herb garden, I'm always curious how I can take my appreciation one step further by learning how to make them into skin care products. In this case, the grape leaf is very high in vitamins and antioxidants, perfect for our skin!

Each year, I harvest the most vibrant and unblemished grape leaves. I carefully dehydrate them and store them until I'm ready to grind them and infuse them in oil. Today, I made a wonderful lotion featuring a combination of my grape leaves and raspberry leaves (harvested earlier this year).

This lotion is rich and luxurious. Raspberry leaves, grape leaves, calendula blossoms, mango butter and other butters simply make skin smile the moment you glide on this lotion. Oh, and the smell is wonderful - light and sweet! I used hints of mint and chamomile in this recipe. I am looking forward to sharing this with my friends - it's delightful!
I'm also growing two other varieties of grapes in the garden. Here you can see how different the leaves are from one another. Other herbs I recommend to grow during the summer for food, nutrition, wellness and skin care are Echinacea (great for skin toners for very oily and blemished skin),rosemary, and mint family herbs like bee balm, lemon balm, self heal, and basil. You can infuse these giving plants into vinegars, glycerin or oils - depending on the type of product you need. Infused oils are key for lotions and salves. Vinegars are great for hair rinses and facial toners. Glycerin infusions are great for ingestion as well as application on the skin.

In this case, the raspberry and grape leaves are my secret heroes in anti-aging crèmes. The skin drinks up these pants and becomes smooth and radiant with each use. I've noted when real plants are used in our products, they last longer, they are more effective and the visual effects linger well after the product has been applied. Experiencing the vibrancy of plants in skin care products makes it hard to go back to stale, artificial, lifeless lotions at the stores. There simply is no comparison.

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