Author Archives: Laurel
If you would like to become comfortable using common herbs at home for food, medicine, and body care, here’s your chance to get started! I will be offering a 3-day home herbalist workshop at my home near Barkerville, BC this summer. The series will be 3 full Sundays, each spaced 2 weeks apart, to give you time to do some practical “homework” and get the most out of every session. Lunch, textbook, field guide, and materials are included. I can accommodate 6 people. Please contact me if you’re interested.
I sold out of this new tea blend last weekend and hopefully have enough to keep me going for the next few markets. It looks and smells beautiful, and tastes even better – a very calming, tasty blend of chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and spearmint.
My herbal shampoo bars have been so well received, it was time to introduce something new and slightly different – a moisturizing shampoo bar that makes use of the nourishing properties of goat milk and lanolin.
Here is my new shaving soap, scented lightly with Frankincense and citrus essential oils. The Australian black clay and BC Glacial Marine clay add the necessary slip required for shaving and ample castor oil, lanolin, and vegetable shortening lend a very traditional, creamy, stable lather. Goat milk is used instead of water for extra skin conditioning and moisturizing.
I’ve been busy trying new things! If I had to make the same soap all the time I would get bored. I keep the most popular ones, drop ones that were slow sellers and replace them with something new. Goat milk soap connoisseurs will be happy. I now have three varieties of goat milk soap (so creamy and moisturizing), all of them still containing generous amounts of shea and cocoa butter. I have fallen in love with Australian Black Clay, which I’ve combined with BC Glacial Marine clay in a bath and body soap and a new shaving soap. With the black clay, the shaving soap looks something like a hockey puck and is made with the traditional shaving soap ingredients of lanolin and castor oil, and it is yet another of my goat milk soaps.
I’ll be at the Quesnel Seniors’ Centre tomorrow and Saturday (November 16th and 17th) and at the Christmas Farmers’ Markets at the Rec Centre for the three following Saturdays. That willl be your chance to pick up your Christmas gift sets. I have four collections available:
Collection No. 1 Six Bar Sampler is a mix of some of my bestselling soaps. A great choice for a family gift as there is something to please everyone here.
Collection No. 2 Lavender Lover’s has all five of my lavender bars – Lavender Coconut Milk, Lavender Goat’s Milk, Lavender and Rose, Lavender and Rosemary, and Lavender and Eucalyptus. I have yet to meet a scent that doesn’t blend well with lavender.
Collection No. 3 is Man Soap. Many of them are clay soaps which double up nicely as shaving soaps. The black clay soap has a lovely, earthy blend of Pettigrain, Frankincense and Juniper essential oils and the Rhassoul Clay is scented with Lemongrass, Clary Sage, and Frankincense. Add to that a citrusy hand scrub and an invigorating peppermint pumice soap coloured with green clay, both excellent soaps for hardworking hands.
Collection No. 4, Fresh Scents, is a set of four soaps with light, bright, citrus based fragrances.
I am a huge fan of tea. HUGE. Stopping to brew a cup of tea is, I believe, one of the hallmarks of civilized life. I love the tea plant itself, Camelia sinensis, and find green tea a perfect, subtle pick me up when needed and what a bonus that it is such a healthy, nutrient and antioxidant rich choice.
But herbal teas are my mainstay and I really don’t find commercially available herbal teas measure up. They are usually stale tasting and lifeless, so I’ve always blended my own with the whole herb, either growing the herbs myself or sourcing the best organically grown herbs available . I also don’t like the run of the mill blends you see over and over again and find herbs like hibiscus overused because of the colour it imparts, despite the fact it tastes and smells like soap.
I blend my teas for freshness, quality, flavour and an overall warming, satisfying, peace-inducing, health supporting tea drinking experience.
. . . . and I am now offering these teas for sale at the Quesnel Farmers’ Market!
A light, thirst-quenching blend to brighten your day and awaken your senses. Excellent iced.
Ingredients*: Basil, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Ginger. *all ingredients certified organic
Aglow with the buds and blossoms of calendula, lavender and roses, this is a very pretty nutrient rich blend featuring the traditional tonic herbs of raspberry leaf, nettle, and oats.
Ingredients: Raspberry leaf*, nettle leaf*, oat straw*, oat tops*, spearmint leaf*, Calendula blossoms**, lavender buds*, pink and red rose petals*.
*Certified organic, **Grown without chemicals
A flavourful and gently warming caffeine-free blend. Mellow chamomile is counterbalanced by piquant ginger. Cinnamon and Cardamom add richness and depth.
Ingredients: Chamomile Flower*, Ginger Root*, Cardamom Seed*, True Cinnamon (Cinnamon zylenicum) Bark*. *all ingredients certified organic
Double Mint Delight Blend
A lively, palate-pleasing, tummy-taming blend, perfect any time, especially after a meal, with dessert, or for a fresh start to the day.
Ingredients*: Spearmint leaf, Peppermint leaf, Anise Seed, Fennel Seed, Licorice Root, Orange Peel *all ingredients certified organic
Restore your inner peace with this relaxing blend. Perfect in the midst of a hectic day or upon retiring for the evening.
Ingredients*: Lemongrass, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Catnip, Oat Straw,
Passionflower, Orange Peel, True Cinnamon (Cinnamon zylenicum), red and pink roses *all ingredients certified organic
And though I’ve shared these thoughts on tea before at my Forest Garden blog, I will leave you with these fine words from Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog:
As we breathe in the fragrance of the tea, savor it, lower our cups, serve more, and sip again: every gesture has the bright aura of rebirth . . . Moments like this act as magical interludes, placing our hearts at the edge of our souls: fleetingly, yet intensely, a fragment of eternity has come to enrich time. Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn – and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb.
So, let us drink a cup of tea.
. . . tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes a ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?
Tea . . . accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of taste, because tea is the beverage of the of the wealthy and of the poor . . . the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony. Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.
– from Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Introducing my new nourishing, balancing, skin replenishing herbal facial oil:
This protective and moisturizing facial serum is a blend of jojoba and camellia seed oils that quickly absorb into the skin, leaving no oily residue, locking in moisture and providing a preservative free alternative to creams and lotions. Both of these oils are absolutely incredible, leaving the skin silky and protected but not the least bit greasy.
This facial elixir is packed with skin loving herbs that nourish the skin – Calendula, Comfrey, Lemon Balm, Lavender and Roses, a balancing blend suitable for dry, normal and mature skin.
Lavender and Rose Geranium essential oils are added to soothe the spirit with their blissful fragrance and to nourish, protect, calm, and normalize the skin.
Only a drop or two is required after cleansing the face. Can be applied before facing the day, as well as before retiring at night.
The same oils that perform so well on your face, are just as wonderful for the rest of the body, whether as an overall body oil, added to a bath, or used for massage. Sweet almond oil is added to the jojoba and camellia seed oil, allowing this blend to glide over the skin without absorbing too quickly.
The oil blend is infused with organic calendula, comfrey and oats to balance, soothe, and repair the skin. Pure lavender and Patchouli essential oils are added for a heavenly, relaxing fragrance and for their superb skin care qualities.
I’ve been going out every afternoon for the past few days to collect roses from my beloved gnarly, tangled patch of rose infested woods at the edge of our property, next to our cat-tail filled small pond. Each time I head out there my mind is filled to bursting with lists of things to do, worries, fears that I’ll run into the bear that rambled across our lawn a few days ago while I’m out there, and generally tense after sitting at the computer working all morning. Once I get out there though, surrounded by the gentle pink, the perfect, uplifting scent, I find myself in a more peaceful place. Really, it has to be the roses; it feels like heaven out there. My time among them is worth every scratch from the thorns and bite from the mosquitoes. Pure wild bliss.
It seems to me wild roses are the most overlooked and ignored flower in the northern woods. This is not Hawaii. There are very few strongly scented flowers that are kind enough to grow here for us. There is nothing like the heady, floral scent of wild roses hanging in the air in the early evening after the hot summer sunshine has extracted the scent from their petals and left it drifting in the air.
I can’t get enough of these peaceful flowers that to me symbolize pure, perfect love . . . and that’s what I feel surrounds me when I’m out there with them . . . and that is what I’ve tried to capture in my new Wild Rose body butter I’ve made by infusing these glorious, glowing, vibrant rose petals in the coconut oil I add to my luxurious, intensively moisturizing, whipped shea body butters.
Great for cracked, chapped hands and feet but can be applied anywhere on the body where needed. A little goes a long way – use sparingly. For best results massage into skin immediately after bathing, showering, or hand washing.
Rose is tonic and astringent perfect for dry, sensitive, or aging skin. Rose geranium essential oil is astringent, toning, detoxifying, and revitalizing to skin and spirit.
The beauty of my body butter is its elegant simplicity – shea butter, rose petal infused coconut oil, rose geranium essential oil, and vitamin E are all it contains. I’ve made more complicated recipes in the past but this is a classic case of less is more.
Made with wild rose petals collected by hand from the forest surrounding my home in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.