The healing effects of Mustard have been appreciated by many cultures for centuries. The ancient Greeks and Romans, Europeans, and Native Americans have all used mustard for medicinal purposes. It is known for it's detoxification and purification abilities, increasing circulation, oxygenation and the elimination of toxins. Mustard baths are recommended for treating headaches, colds and cough. The effects of rheumatic pains and neuralgias are also decreased through regular use.
Lately the aches and pains of life (traveling, gardening and working out) are taking their toll and I've started to search for a remedy. I came across some literature about the healing benefits of mustard baths and decided to try it out.
I combined mustard with sodium bicarbonate to neutralize acid and restore pH balance. The essential oils of wintergreen, thyme, eucalyptus and rosemary are added to reduce muscle soreness. The effect of my first bath amazed me. First I got my house in order so that I could go straight to bed as was suggested. I prepared my bath and sunk into the yellow fragrant water and let go of the details of the day. As I soaked I felt my body let go of the tension and I finally relaxed. I always do a little ritual meditation when I pull the plug on the spent bathwater, imagining my tension and woes being drawn off of me and circling the drain. Afterward I showered off the residual mustard and made my way to bed.
I am now a true believer in the power of this ancient herb. I slept soundly straight through the night and woke up refreshed and definitely less tense. I was inspired to share my conversion with my clients so formulated and packaged my own Mustard Bath for Herbal Alchemy Apothecary, in a packet good for one bath or a jar with two or three.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
|Mandy's scent organ|
I came away with a better understanding of the shape and texture of a perfume and with a nose tuned in to the subtle differences in aromas, better able to distinguish between a good quality oil from it's lesser counterpart. Indeed, my sense of smell is heightened overall. As I walk down the streets of my Brooklyn neighborhood in Spring I can pick up subtle scents wafting in the breeze. I came across a vase of fresh peonies the other day and could distinctly pick up the variance in the scent of each blossom.
I also had the opportunity to smell things I had only read about and things I have searched for to no avail. One such oil is Flouve, a sweet, herbaceous tobacco-like oil that is so rich and complex that one keeps finding notes in it. Another is Oud, a rare and precious oil from the Agarwood tree, one of the most expensive perfume ingredients around at about $1000 to $1400 an ounce. Mandy collects antique oils as well which she hunts the globe for. Antique patchouli oil is rich and complex and bears little resemblance to the ubiquitous hippie aroma.
The workshop was a wonderful, creative and expansive experience which I'll be drawing from to create new fragrances for Herbal Alchemy. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to study with Mandy and to get to know a little better this warm, generous and dedicated teacher and perfumer.
|A selection of top notes from the perfume organ.|
Friday, May 20, 2011
I'm just back in town from a wonderful weekend in Berkeley, CA where I attended a natural perfume workshop with the extremely talented Mandy Aftel. The whole fragrance experience began for me on the first day of my trip spent wandering the streets of North Berkeley. Everywhere I turned I was astonished by fragrant blooms. Thick brackets of jasmine hung thickly all over the neighborhood, and roses the size of cabbages wafted their aromas on the breeze.
Berkeley Rose Garden
I discovered the Berkeley Rose Garden, perched high on a hill with an incredible view of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. It was a literal amphitheater of roses. I was very fortunate to visit the area during peak rose season. Every rose smell differently and it was a wonderful way to prepare my nose for my upcoming workshop in perfumery.