Proud Tips | Before use beauty products or homemade remedies, important to Know for you, famous natural ingredients definition for beauty. And also important to know your skin types, hair types, and health, then you will get perfect results. Hopefully, this definition of famous natural ingredients will help in care health and beauty.

Individual preparations

natures-way-healthWhether or not you believe that commercial cosmetics are harmful, it is certain that natural ingredients can do nothing but good. Preparing your own natural cosmetics has the added advantage of catering for entirely personal tastes and requirements. You can make as much or as little as you wish of any preparation, choose the ingredients which are readily available and attractive to you and enjoy the creative satisfaction of producing an individual range of beauty products. Another great advantage of preparing your own cosmetics and learning about the curative potential of natural ingred­ients is that you can plan for the varying needs of your skin. Essential day-to-day creams and lotions are the basis of your beauty routine, but once you know your skin’s peculiarities, you can supplement them with the appropriate remedies.

A tired face, an attack of itching, an outbreak of pimples, sunburn or an incipient cold sore, can all be relieved quickly with a little expertise. Producing your own beauty aids also means that you can be sure that there are no harmful chemicals or potentially allergenic natural ingredients in your preparations. By making a thorough skin reaction, you can learn which ingredients to avoid and will suffer no unexpected or unpleasant side-effects from the recipes you choose. Worrying minor skin infections, blackheads, and a sunburnt nose can all be healed with the use of specific and carefully selected herbs. It must be stressed, however, that for any prolonged or serious skin infection you should seek professional advice.

Some Golden Rules

When you start to prepare your own cosmetics, it is vital that everything you use – ingredients, utensils, and containers – is scrupulously clean. Ideally, storage jars should be dark or opaque to prevent direct light reaching the contents and causing deterioration or discoloration. To ensure that they are sterile, wash the jars in warm soapy water. Rinse them well and place them upside down in a warm oven to dry.

Be careful not to leave them in too long in case they crack. Once you are sure that everything you are using is clean and fresh, you can feel confident that your cosmetics will be absolutely pure and of the highest quality. Having made cleanliness your first priority, your next concern must be to ensure that the products you make are stored sensibly. Where necessary, the recipes in this article specify how each preparation should be stored, and for how long, but as a general rule when working with perishable ingredients remember the maxim ‘If you can eat it does not keep it’. On the other hand, commercially produced ingredients, such as oils, resins, creams, and powders, have a relatively long shelf life if stored correctly in dark, dry, well-sealed containers.

Obviously, homemade cosmetics, like their commercial counterparts, will not keep indefinitely, so be wary of preparations if you know they have been around for some time. A little care and thought will suffice to ensure that your own cosmetics are pure and safe to use. Self-indulgence does pay It does not matter how naturally excellent your cosmetics are if you neglect your general health. The condition of your skin, hair, teeth, and nails is dictated by the condition of your body, so take care of your inner as well as your outer self.

health-and-beautyPlenty of fresh air, exercise – swimming and walking are the best – enough sleep, a healthy diet, less alcohol, fewer cigarettes and the consumption of unlimited amounts of fresh, sparkling water to eliminate toxins are the secrets of enduring beauty. Once you get into the rhythm of a healthy lifestyle you will find that the way you feel and look as a result encourages you to sustain it. Incorporate the exercises and diet which afford you maximum exhilaration, enjoyment, and energy into your daily routine to guarantee a glowing beauty from within. There is nothing decadent about spending time on the care of your face and body.

It is an absolute necessity and you owe it to yourself to feel good from top to toe.  Bath or shower every day, making sure that you have a relaxing massage afterward with one of your special body lotions, paying particular attention to your legs, upper shoulders, and back. Enjoy massaging your face watching the positive results of a thoughtful beauty routine. Look after your hands and feet. Keep your hair in good condition by using naturally mild shampoos, conditioners, and rinses and having it trimmed regularly.

You have only one body. If you take good care of it from within by eating the proper food, taking regular exercise and paying attention to its appearance, it will do you credit. Above all, remember that your face reflects your personality. Good nature, good humor and a zest for life make some of the greatest contributions to natural beauty.

  • Healthy eating encourages beautiful skin, hair, eyes, teeth and nails, so it is vitally important to establish a well-balanced nutritious diet if you want to pave the way for long-lasting natural beauty.

Natural ingredients

Apart from fruit and vegetables, the following ingredients are either readily available or can be ordered from most chemists, health and wholefood shops.

Alcohol
Many cleansers and toners contain alcohol; this has astringent qualities and removes grease and excess oil. It also acts as a preservative and is necessary to lift and diffuse essential oils in colognes and perfumes. Vodka is the best alternative to pure ethyl alcohol.

Almond
The oil obtained from almonds is rich and pure. It is used extensively in beauty preparations. White milk used in cleansers and astringents is obtained by soaking ground almonds in milk or water. Gently abrasive facial and body scrubs sometimes contain ground almonds and oatmeal.

Alum
A fine, white mineral powder. Soluble and astringent, it is used in skin lotions. Apricot Apricots contain a fine and highly nourishing oil, rich in Vitamin A, which improves the condition and elasticity of the skin, guarding against the appearance of severe stretch marks and smoothing wrinkles. The pulp of both fresh and dried fruit is used in face masks. The finely ground shell and kernel of the stone are used in facial and body scrubs.

Arrowroot
A thickening agent, like cornflour and laundry starch, used in face packs and bath preparations.

Avocado
The oil of avocado is rich in Vitamins A and B, minerals and lecithin and is of value as a moisturizer, particularly in hot climates.

Beeswax
The yellow wax found in natural honeycombs. It is a nourishing emollient with a high melting point. When mixed with borax (see below) it becomes an emulsifier (ie. prevents the separation of water and oils combined in a recipe).

Benzoin (or Gum Benjamin, or Friars Balsam)
An aromatic resin which is valuable for its antiseptic and preservative properties. Tincture of benzoin is frequently added to tonics, toners and moisturizers.

Borax
A slightly antiseptic, acid powder used primarily as an emulsifier. It has detergent properties and is therefore useful in making soap and shampoo. Bran A frequently used a substitute for soap. It is also used in facial and body scrubs and instant cleansers.

Brewer’s yeast
A fine powder rich in Vitamin B, minerals and proteins which is used in cleansing masks for oily skins.

Buttermilk
A Sweetish whey produced in butter-making that contains calcium, proteins and some vitamins. Cleansing and bleaching effectively, it also tightens enlarged pores, soothes, cools and is an excellent sunburn lotion.

Camphor
This can be obtained as oil, spirits or crystals. It has a healing and tightening effect and is valuable in masks and toners for its astringent and stimulant qualities.

Carrots
The raw grated vegetable and extracted juices make excellent quick cleansers, masks, tonics and nourishing skin foods for problem skins, particularly those which are dry, irritated or sunburnt. Carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A which promotes healing and counteracts infection. Carrot oil is frequently used in anti-wrinkle creams.

Castor oil
This is obtained from the seeds of the castor oil plant. It is smooth, rich and mainly used in hair conditioners, massage oils, lip salves and soap. Turkey Red is a variety of castor oil used in bath oils. Cocoa butter A rich, expensive wax obtained from the cocoa bean which makes good quality nourishing creams for aging skins, or those suffering from the effects of sun, wind or excessive dryness.   It is also used extensively in hair conditioners, moisturizers, cleansers and hand creams.

Coconut oil
The oil obtained from the flesh of the coconut is fine and rich. It sets solid but melts as soon as it is warmed, which makes it perfect as instant suntan lotion. Used in conditioners, moisturizing creams, lip salves and bath oils.

Cream
The cream can be used as a nourishing base for face masks and makes an excellent massage lotion with or without the addition of other ingredients.

Cucumber
The cool green juice and flesh of the cucumber are used extensively in cosmetics. Soothing, healing, and slightly astringent; it is used in masks, cleansers and toners for sallow and oily skins with enlarged pores. It can also be used to soothe sunburn and tired eyes.

Eggs
Eggs are packed full of protein, iron, lecithin and vitamins. They are cheap, nourishing and versatile. Egg whites are astringent and can be used as face masks for oily or blemished skins. Yolks are used for enriching face masks. The whole egg is used in hair conditioners and bath oils.

Emulsifying  wax
A commercial product, necessary to bind oil and water together into a cream.

Fuller’s earth
A fine grey powder rich in minerals which are mixed with other ingredients to make highly absorbent and cleansing face masks. Occasionally used in “dry” shampoo.

Gelatine
A natural animal glue that is soluble and used in setting lotions and nail creams.

Glycerine
A thick colorless liquid that can be dissolved in water. Because it is oily, it is often added to cleansers and toners for dry skins. It is also used in bath oils and hand lotions.

Gum  arabic  and  Gum  Tragacanth
These are natural soluble resins used to thicken and stabilize creams and lotions.

Honey
Honey is a natural healer, extensively used in skin preparations. Rich in minerals and vitamins, it is a unique skin food with soothing therapeutic properties. It is also used as a binding agent.

Kaolin
Fine white powder with unique “drawing” qualities. It is used as a binding agent in face masks and in of preparations for hands and hair.

Lanolin
A rich sticky fat extracted from sheep’s wool. There are two types of purified lanolin – anhydrous and hydrous. Lanolin is easily absorbed by the skin and is both nourishing and moisturizing. It is commonly used in the preparation of cosmetic creams.

Lecithin
A nutritious emulsifying substance found for instance in soya beans and egg yolk, which is commercially available in the form of a soft beige powder. It contains phosphorus and protein and is used mainly in enriching creams and face masks. As a food supplement, it is very effective in the treatment of acne.

Lemon
Lemons contain citric acid and Vitamin C.Lemon juice restores the natural acid balance of the skin, counteracts infection and acts as a bleach. Together with the finely ground rind and lemon oil, it is used in an astringent range of preparations, from face toners for problem skins to hair rinses.

Milk
Milk, both fresh and soured, acts as an effective cleanser to nourish and soften the skin. Dried milk is used to thicken face masks.

Myrrh
An antiseptic and preservative resin sold as a tincture and added to cosmetics to prolong their life. It is also used as a remedy for mild mouth infections and in some perfumes.

Oats
Oats are rich in protein and minerals. Finely ground into oatmeal, they are frequently used as as alternative to soap. Oatmeal is an excellent base for face masks, scrubs, and soaps.

Olive oil
A rich, but rather pungent oil. Its heavy smell limits its uses in cosmetics, but it makes an excellent hair conditioner and tanning oil.

Oranges
Oranges contain large amounts of Vitamins A and C, which makes the juice a zesty addition to skin tonics and masks. Orange oil and orange flower water are used in colognes and add fragrance to all beauty preparations. The finely ground peel is a useful abrasive ingredient for masks, scrubs and tooth powders. Bergamot oil and oil of neroli are commercially obtained from the Bergamot orange.

Peach
The pulp of the fresh peach is used in face masks, cleansers and moisturizers for dry skins. Peach nut oil is fragrant, enriching and is used in nourishing face creams and hair conditioners.

Pumpkin
The oil extracted from pumpkin seeds is very healing, especially for sunburnt or wind-dried skin.

Safflower and sunflower oils
These are both obtained from plants and are rich in polyunsaturates. They are pure and fine, and cheap enough to use freely in beauty preparations.

Sea salt
This is used as a slightly antiseptic and abrasive body scrub for rough and hard skin. It is a natural tooth powder.

Soap
Castile and olive oil soap are absolutely pure. Grated, it is used in shampoos, bubble baths and soap making.

Sulphur
A yellow mineral powder used to heal acne. It can cause an allergic reaction.

Tea
Tea contains tannin which absorbs ultraviolet rays Tea has soothing and healing properties and will alleviate the sting of sunburn. Use tea bag compresses to soothe tired eyes.

Vinegar
Herbal and cider vinegar have remedial properties and are used in hair rinses and conditioners. Added to washing and bathwater, vinegar cleanses, softens, restores lost acidity to the skin and reduces itchiness caused by minor allergies. The correct proportions to use in the bath are 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar.

Water
Since there is a high percentage of water in creams and lotions, it is absolutely essential that only bottled, purified or boiled water is used to avoid contamination.

Wheatgerm
Rich in vitamins and minerals, wheatgerm is exceptionally beneficial in face masks and body scrubs. It also improves the condition of the skin generally. Wheatgerm oil is rich in Vitamin E and has extraordinary healing properties.

White wax
Paraffin wax is a plain odorless wax used as an economical alternative to beeswax.

Witch hazel
An astringent, antiseptic distillation of the bark of hamamelis Virginiana used widely in pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetics.

Yogurt
Milk turns to yogurt when curdled by specific bacteria. Yogurt contains bacteria-destroying enzymes and has a beneficial effect when used in the treatment of problem skins. It is a highly effective beauty aid and is used in face washes, body and facial scrubs and hair conditioners.

Zinc oxide
A white powder with antiseptic, astringent properties. It is used as a dusting powder and in soothing lotions.

Herbal

natural-ingredients

At one time, herbs were the only form of medicinal therapy available to mankind; they were used in every aspect of physical treatment from midwifery to beautification. In general terms, they deserve their magic reputation, for by some strange symbiotic evolution they seem to grow just where a man needs them the most. By incorporating them in your beauty preparations, you will see for yourself that healing herbs really do work as treatments for all manner of cosmetic problems, from blemished skin to falling hair.

How to use herbs

Fresh and dried herbs can be used in many ways. A selection of suitable herbs can be simmered, mashed and applied as a simple face pack, or used in a basic facial “steamer”. They can be finely chopped and added to face masks and nourishing creams, but the most popular method of mixing these valuable ingredients into beauty preparations is by incorporating an infusion or decoction of the chosen herbs into the recipe.

The essential oils of herbs and some plants are added to cosmetics chiefly for their fragrance, but some, such as rose, geranium and lavender, have strong therapeutic qualities, particularly when used to treat aging skin. They are the result of a complex, concentrated distillation process. They are expensive but well worth buying. Herbal oils, which are very economical to make and therefore can be used more lavishly, are the result of softening herbs and flowers by soaking them in oil and 4^aving them in full sunlight. This is a process easily achieved nome.

Although these oils do not have the lasting fragrance of essential oils, they are excellent for massaging the skin of the face and body, particularly in the cases of sunburn or windburn and dehydration. This maceration technique is also used to make herbal vinegar and tinctures using wine, vinegar, alcohol and surgical spirits. Essential oils and tinctures have a relatively long shelf life. Herbal oils and vinegar will keep for at least six months in the first-class condition, but infusions and decoctions must be stored in a refrigerator and kept for no longer than three days.

If you have neither the time nor the space to cultivate a herb garden in your garden, then I advocate growing a few herbs on the windowsill in your kitchen or bathroom. Easily-cultivated herbs like mint, parsley, thyme, sage, chervil, fennel, rosemary and the brightly colored pot marigold and geranium (pelargonium) will thrive in these conditions, thus benefiting your health, beauty and cooking.

Where to buy and how to store your herbal compounds

Essential oils, unusual herbs, and tinctures can be bought at specialist herbalists. Loose dried herbs can be bought at health and wholefood shops. Store just enough dried herbs to suit your needs, but keep them, like oils and tinctures, in opaque jars or boxes, tightly sealed and away from direct light. Keep all such containers labeled with contents and the date of purchase.

GROWING INDOOR HERBS

herbs

You can stand small flowerpots of individual herbs on a tray just inside your window. Water them from the bottom and give them a quarter turn each day to ensure that the light reaches every side.

The herbs which grow best indoors are chervil, marjoram, golden sage,camomile, hyssop, lady’s mantle, lavender and dill. Grow mint and lemon balm separately, because their roots will spread and choke other plants. Parsley, “prostrate” rosemary, thyme and basil can be grown in hanging baskets in the window. Terracotta crocus pots, each hole filled with a different herb are an elegant and efficient way to grow herbs on your windowsill.

  • Camomile: Use the flowers to make gently astringent infusions for cleansers, conditioners and hair rinses, and herbal oils. Has soothing, cooling properties.
  • Chervil: Use the leaves to make astringent infusions, or extract their juice. Added to cleansers and conditioners to treat aging skin.
  • Cleavers or Goosegrass: Use the whole dried herb to make sweet, mildly astringent infusions. Added to cleansers and tonics for climatically damaged skin. Has deodorizing properties.
  • Comfrey: Use the root to make decoctions, the leaves to make infusions. Has antiseptic healing properties when added to creams, lotions and steamers.
  • Cornflower: Use the blue flowers to make infusions for tonic fresheners and cleansers. Also used in soothing eyewashes.
  • Dandelion: Use the flowers to make healing infusions or decoctions for cleansers, face packs and steamers. Use the sap from the stem in bleaching, healing creams for freckles, warts and blemishes.
  • Elderflower: Use the flowers to make mildly bleaching infusions for softening cleansers, toners and conditioners. Use the leaves to make healing decoctions for blemished, sunburnt or windburnt skin.
  • Eucalyptus: Use the leaves to make antiseptic, invigorating decoctions for skincare products and baths. Heal’s skin eruptions and sunburn. Destroys mouth odor.
  • Fennel: Use the chopped leaves to make soothing, stimulating infusions for masks, cleansers, toners and steamers for aging skin. Destroys mouth odor.
  • Garlic and onion: Use the juice in antiseptic and smoothing creams and cleansers for aging skin.
  • Geranium: Use the flowers and leaves softened in water, or the essential oil to add to the healing and rejuvenating cleansers and creams for oily and aging skin.
  • Houseleek: Crush the leaves and use them to make healing creams and ointments.
  • Hyssop: Use the leaves and flowering tips to make healing infusions to treat acne. The oil is used in creams and body rubs to relieve aches and pains.
  • Lady’s mantle: Use the juice from the leaves as a tonic for oily skin or added to creams for dry skin. Has healing and bleaching properties and soothes inflamed skin.
  • Lavender: Use the leaves and flowers to make antiseptic, perfumed infusions, tinctures and herbal oils for toners and creams. The essential oil also comes from both leaves and flowers and is used for sunburn antidotes and in relaxing baths.
  • Lemon balm: Use the leaves to make soothing, astringent infusions for cleansers.
  • Lime: Use the flowers and young leaves to make infusions for healing, moisturizing creams and lotions, and for hair-lightening rinses.
  • Marigold: Use the leaves and flowers to make healing infusions and decoctions for creams and lotions to treat oily skin, eczema and ageing skin. Also used for hair-lightening rinses.
  • Marshmallow: Use the leaves and flowers to make softening, antiseptic infusions for creams and cleansers. Use the roots to make healing decoctions to treat problem skin.
  • Orange blossom: Use the essential oil in creams to soothe dry skin and skin with broken veins.
  • Parsley: Use crushed leaves or their extracted juice for healing poultices or lotions, or to make infusions for cleansers and creams to treat oily skins or skin with thread veins. Has anti-dandruff and deodorizing properties.
  • Rose: Use the petals to make infusions, tinctures and oils for conditioning cleansers, toners, moisturizers and colognes. The essential oil also derives from the petals.
  • Rosemary: Use the leaves and flowers to make therapeutic infusions for all cosmetic preparations. Use the leaves to make herbal oils to massage into the hair and body. Has antiseptic, anti-dandruff properties.
  • Sage: Use the leaves and flowers to make healing, astringent infusions for cleansers and tonics to treat oily skin, and hair conditioners.
  • Thyme: Use the leaves to make astringent infusions and strongly perfumed herbal oils for soothing body rubs. Has deodorizing and anti-dandruff properties.
  • Yarrow: Use the leaves or pounded flowers to make healing, astringent infusions for cleansers, face packs, steamers and creams to treat oily skin.

DRYING HERBS

When you are gathering herbs from your garden, try to avoid picking them when they are damp to minimize the risk of mold growth while they are tied together to dry. Hang separate bunches of the different herbs together upside down in a warm, dry place – away from direct sunlight and steam. They are ready for use when the leaves are easily crumbled.

A smaller quantity of herbs can be dried by placing the leaves in a round glass container and leaving it in a sunny spot. This method also works well with flower petals. Strip the leaves from the stem of dried herbs and either store in closed jars or powder them by rubbing through your fingers. In the case of coarse herbs like rosemary, run them briefly through an electric blender.

The basic essentials

Most of the flower waters, infusions and oils mentioned in this article can be obtained from good herbalists. You will derive great satisfaction, however, from creating your own preparations, but it is essential that you are completely at home with the basic methods of preparation before you launch into production. Ideally, you should aim to create a mini-workshop for the exclusive purpose of cosmetic manufacture, keeping your utensils and ingredients apart from your everyday kitchen equipment and supplies. If this is not possible, then ensure that all the utensils you need are scrupulously cleaned before use. Never use aluminum equipment because it will taint the preparations.

The essential herbal recipes

Herbal infusions, decoctions, vinegar, extracts, oils and essences and flower waters are used in cosmetic preparations to add fragrance or for their therapeutic properties. Whenever they are used, a preservative such as tincture of benzoin must be added to the recipe, because these natural compounds are perishable.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  1. Several heat-resistant glass or china bowls
  2. A bain-marie large saucepan or roasting pan containing water, in which the bowls can be placed to be heated to a regulated temperature.
  3. Scales
  4. A measuring jug
  5. A range of measuring spoons
  6. A wooden spoon and plastic spatula for mixing
  7. A pestle and mortar or stout china bowl and wooden “masher
  8. A grater
  9. A fine nylon sieve
  10. A small electric whisk and liquidizer
  11. A small funnel
  12. An eyedropper or pipette
  13. Filter paper
  14. Kitchen paper
  15. Several suitable sterile dark glass jars and bottles with plastic-lined screw-top lids for storage – available from hardware stores.
  16. The ml and g conversions are given to the nearest 25. The tablespoon and teaspoon measurements are 15ml and 5ml respectively.

INFUSIONS

Basically, infusions are strong teas, using either herbs or flowers as a base. They are best made in china teapots – never use an aluminum pot as it will taint the infusion. Keep for no longer than three days in the refrigerator.

  • 100g (4oz) of fresh or 50g (2oz) of dried herbs or flowers 575ml (1 pt) purified water

Place the herbs in the teapot and pour in the freshly boiled water. Cover and leave to stand for three hours. Strain through filter paper before using it. Milk infusions can be added to basic milk cleansers or face masks to give them mild curative properties.

  • 50g (2oz) fresh or 25g (1 oz) of dried herbs or flowers 275ml (½ pt) milk

Place the herbs in a large cup and cover with the cold milk. Place the sauce over the top and leave for 4 hours. Strain and use immediately.

FLOWER WATERS

You make flower waters using exactly the same method as that used for making infusions, though in this case the liquid should be left to stand overnight. Elderflower and rose make particularly good scented waters.

DECOCTIONS

The method used for extracting the maximum amount of goodness from the roots, bark and seeds of many herbs. Keep for no longer than three days in a refrigerator.

  • 100g (4oz) fresh herbs 575ml (1 pt) purified water

Gently boil the herbs and water together in a covered stainless steel or enamel pan. Simmer on a very gentle heat for at least one hour, but preferably for three, by which time the liquid should have reduced by one quarter. Strain through filter paper.

HERB EXTRACTS AND TINCTURES

These are invaluable in the making of concentrated herbal lotions and creams which last well. They are expensive to make but well worth your initial outlay for the benefits they bring.

  • 100g (4oz) of fresh herbs or flowers
  • 575ml (1pt) pure alcohol
  • tincture of benzoin

Crush the herbs or flowers and place them in a jar. Cover with the alcohol, seal and leave in full sunlight, shaking daily for a week. Strain the mixture, pressing firmly, through filter paper and retain the liquid. Repeat the process with some fresh herbs or flowers, until the mixture has a good strong fragrance. Add a few drops of tincture of benzoin to ensure that it will last. Bottle and seal tightly. Store in a dark place.

HERB AND FLOWER ESSENCE

These essences are used to make herb and floral waters.

  • Add15ml (1 tablespoon) of the essence to 575ml (1 pint) of purified water.
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) essential herb or flower oil
  •  575ml (1 pt) pure alcohol, wine or cider vinegar, or surgical spirit.

Shake the ingredients together in a bottle and leave for several days before using it.

HERB OR FLOWER OIL

The oils given here do not have the strength of essential oils, but they are both fragrant and therapeutic. They are cheap to make and can be used lavishly in massage and tanning oils and as a substitute for plain oils. A fine oil such as wheat germ or almond may be substituted for the alcohol when making small quantities of herbal oil for specific purposes.

  • 50g (2oz) fresh or25g (1oz) dried herbs or flower petals
  • 575ml (1 pt) sunflower or olive oil
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) pure alcohol or cider vinegar

Crush the herbs or petals with a little of the oil in a mortar with a pestle. Transfer to a large glass jar and add the remainder of the oil and the alcohol or vinegar. Seal tightly and shake well. Leave on a sunny windowsill and shake daily.

If it is winter or there is no sunshine then stand the jar on an inverted saucer in a deep saucepan and submerge it to the level of the oil in warm water. Heat gently on a very low, regulated heat for an hour. Repeat daily.

After two weeks, strain the mixture, mashing it well through a nylon sieve. Repeat the process using the same quantity of fresh herbs or petals. Repeat the process until the oil has a good warm fragrance. You should not need to repeat it more than twice. Strain, bottle and seal.

HERB AND FLOWER VINEGARS

Herb and flower vinegar are very therapeutic – both rose and elderflower, for instance, relieve the tension of headaches. They are also used in astringents and hair rinses. The best vinegar to add to the bath is one made from a wide selection of herbs and flowers.

  • 50g (2oz) of fresh or 25g (1oz) of dried herbs or flower petals
  • 575ml (1 pt) cider or wine vinegar – never use malt vinegar

If you are using dried herbs or petals, moisten them by pounding them in a little vinegar with a pestle and mortar. Warm a large plastic-lidded glass jar, then spoon in the herbs or petals. Heat the vinegar until just hot and pour it gradually into the jar. Seal tightly and shake well. Leave in a warm or sunny spot and shake daily for one month. Strain, re-bottle and seal.

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