Plant a beauty garden

Read the labels on your favourite beauty products, and you will notice the active components come from herbs, plants and flowers. Many of these plants can easily be grown in your garden and made up into effective beauty products.
Making your own beauty aids is filled with benefits. Besides being cost effective you can have great fun harvesting and experimenting with recipes. You also know for sure no harmful additives are used - there is no need to use preservatives as you can make a fresh batch on a weekly or even daily basis. What's more, there is also something very special about knowing and tending to the plant that's going to heal, nourish and beautify you. You might even want to decant your formulas into attractive bottles, make your own label and give them away as gifts. There isn't anyone who wouldn't love a bottle of skin toning rose water. On this note, we enlisted Richard Morris from Starke Ayres for the best advice on how to make up a garden with flowers, plants and herbs for your very own DIY beauty products. We chose ten wonderful varieties with qualities to make cleansing, toning and healing balms suited for your beauty routine. These varieties all need similar soil and growing conditions so you can put them together. Find a space in your garden and start growing. Use pots or plant them directly into the garden. You can also use aromatherapy oils in the recipes instead of the plants but make sure to dilute the oils accordingly. It was hard for an Apache-raised girl to understand how some could see the planet as but a lifeless rock, upon whose surface a bounty was distributed for the good of man. Who saw animals not as spirits but as steaks, fur and wool, pet or threat. Who saw trees only as lumber to be turned into buildings or offer shade from the sun, who judged plants as being decorative or itchy, weeds or crops. To us, they were not just wondrous sunshine-eating entities, without whom humans and most of the life on Earth would die. They were proof of miracles, and reason for hope, the inspiration for a good and balanced life, and examples of how to live it. They were her ever growing, ever reaching truth. They were the medicine she would need. From The Medicine Bear by Jesse Wolf Hardin Aloe vera is known as a highly effective anti-ageing component. It soothes irritated skin, treats burns and is deeply moisturising. Use it on your body, face and hair. It has vitamins A, B, C and E and an abundance of minerals. Aloe Vera helps remove toxins that contribute to premature aging. When used as an astringent, it tightens the skin and prevents the development of wrinkles. RECIPE FOR ALOE VERA GEL: With clean hands, cut off an outer aloe leaf, peel the outer layer of skin and scoop out the gel with a spoon. For every quarter cup of gel, add 500 mg of powdered vitamin C (you can crush tablets into powder) and 400 IU of vitamin E. Store this in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge. It will keep for several months. Apply daily to hair or skin. RECIPE FOR MASCARA: Empty an activated charcoal capsule* into a clean glass bowl. Add a quarter teaspoon of aloe Vera gel and mix together well. Use a mascara wand to apply. Make small quantities at a time as it only lasts a month. *Available from www.healthcart.co.za or www.shopmania.co.za 'I'm a third generation Hispanic folk healer, a curandero is the proper term'and we believe if you listen very carefully to the plants they will tell you many different things'when to harvest, if you should harvest, and how to use them. They also tell us how to heal an abused heart. In 20 years, I've never known a plant to be wrong. I've been wrong before, but not the plants.' Chuck Garcia, California Curandero GROWING TIP ALOES NEED TO BE WATERED THOROUGHLY, AFTER WHICH THE SOIL MUST BE LEFT TO DRY BEFORE WATERING AGAIN. THIS DISCOURAGES ROT. ALOE PLANTS PRODUCE PLANTLETS OR BABIES THAT CAN BE USED TO PROPAGATE NEW PLANTS. Rosemary adds lustre and shine to hair and strengthens damaged hair shafts. It is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants, is effective for many skin types and found in skin care cleansers, soaps, face masks, toners and creams. It has stimulant properties that refresh, rejuvenate and energise. Since it contains naturally powerful antioxidants, rosemary oil strengthens capillaries and helps to slow the effects of ageing. It also tightens sagging and loose skin stimulating cell growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Rosemary can be inhaled to enhance memory. RECIPE FOR ACNE: Use a few drops of rosemary oil mixed into your moisturiser to treat acne and skin conditions. It is anti inflammatory, reducing swelling and puffiness. It also helps to lighten dark spots and blemishes on the skin. Rosemary has been used for chronic skin conditions including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. RECIPE TO EASE JOINTS: Add freshly cut sprigs of rosemary to bath water to soothe aching muscles and joints and ease arthritis pain. To make rosemary tea, steep two teaspoons of dried flowers in a cup of boiling water for twenty minutes. RECIPE FOR HAIR RINSE: Boil a cup of rosemary into a concentrated solution and use as an after shampoo rinse. GROWING TIP ROSEMARY IS EASY TO GROW, ONCE IT HAS TAKEN ROOT, IT WILL THRIVE FOR YEARS. IT ADAPTS TO MOST GROWING CONDITIONS AND IS QUITE HARDY. IT GROWS IN MANY DIFFERENT SOILS AND DOES BEST IN A WARM TO HOT, FAIRLY DRY CLIMATE. CHOOSE FULL SUN AND SOIL THAT DRAINS WELL. Chamomile tea has amazing healing, anti-oxidant, cleansing and moisturizing properties and is considered an all round skincare treatment. It disinfects and accelerates the healing process of minor wounds. It is a natural skin-lightening agent and soothes irritation and sunburn. Chamomile helps fight acne and breakouts, and reduces scarring. Placing cool chamomile tea bags under the eyes can help reduce under-eye dark circles and eye puffiness. It also soothes tired eyes. Clear up blemishes by pouring a litre of chamomile tea in your bath, it will also help you relax. RECIPE FOR FACE SCRUB: Make a strong chamomile tea by boiling and reducing the water. Add 2 tablespoons to rice milk powder and mix into a paste. Use it on both your face and body. RECIPE FOR HAIR BRIGHTENING: Use a strong tea solution as a final rinse after conditioning hair. This will brighten blonde hair and add a golden shine to brown hair. Chamomile also prevents dandruff and soothes an irritated scalp. GROWING TIP SUNNY LOCATIONS ARE BEST FOR CHAMOMILE BUT THEY WILL MANAGE WITH A LITTLE BIT OF SHADE AS WELL. ALTHOUGH IT IS AN ANNUAL PLANT THAT ONLY LASTS A YEAR, IT READILY RESEEDS ITSELF IF YOU LEAVE A FEW OF THE BLOSSOMS ON THE PLANT. Thyme has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK found that topical applications of thyme are more effective in treating acne than standard creams with benzoyl peroxide and they don't have harmful side effects. RECIPE FOR ANTI-AGEING MASK: Add 3 tablespoons of chopped thyme leaves to a quarter cup of yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of honey. Spread evenly over a clean washed face, leave for 15 minutes and rinse off gently. GROWING TIP THYME IS A PERENNIAL HERB THAT NEEDS FULL SUN AND A DRY, GRITTY SOIL. Lavender is soothing and antiseptic, excellent for burns, psoriasis infections and sensitive skin. Lavender oil can be rubbed into the temples to relieve a headache or can be diluted in a carrier oil and used to help with acne or skin irritations. RECIPE FOR FACE MIST: Decant cooled lavender tea into a spritzer bottle and use as a calming face mist. Alternatively use distilled water and few drops of lavender oil. RECIPE FOR TONER: Dilute a strong solution of lavender tea in a ratio of 3:1 with apple cider vinegar and use as a toner. GROWING TIP LAVENDER NEEDS SUN AND CAN THRIVE IN DRY, POOR SOIL. WATER SPARINGLY AND AVOID FEEDING WITH RICH FERTILIZER. Rosewater is anti-inflammatory and a gentle astringent, helping to stimulate circulation and reducing thread veins and broken capillaries. It purifies the skin and protects it from bacterial infections. A recent Japanese study found that inhaling rose essential oil decreased the effects stress had on the skin, like inflammation and redness. Use it to remove make-up, dirt and oil from skin, heal sunburn and wounds and maintain the pH balance of the skin. It has a calming effect on acne and skin discomfort. RECIPE FOR ROSE WATER: Pick your rose petals in the early morning, wash them with cool water and put them in a pot. Add enough distilled water to cover the petals. Cover with a lid and boil on low for about an hour. The water should change colour. Strain the petals and leave the resulting water to cool. Store in a glass container. Use with cotton swab as toner or spritz onto skin. GROWING TIP TEA ROSES LIKE TO BE IN SUNNY POSITIONS SHELTERED FROM STRONG WINDS. THEY DON'T THRIVE IN THE SHADE OR IF CROWDED BY OTHER PLANTS. A WELL-DRAINED SOIL IS IMPORTANT - ROSES WILL SUFFER IN WET SOILS Comfrey is a great healing herb and moisturiser. It contains minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals that help reduce inflammation. It also has allantoin and tannins that help new skin cells form. RECIPE FOR HEALING BALM: Stuff as many comfrey leaves as you can into a glass jar. Fill the jar with cold pressed olive oil. Leave it to stand for 6 weeks. Use the oil on dry hands, chapped lips, scrapes, burns or even eczema. For a thicker consistency, melt beeswax or cocoa butter and add it to the comfrey oil mixture. GROWING TIP COMFREY CAN BE PLANTED ANYTIME DURING THE YEAR AND GROWS BEST IN RICH MOIST SOIL IN FULL SUN. IT IS VERY HARDY AND WILL SURVIVE MOST WEATHER. LEAVES CAN BE HARVESTED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. Sage is rich in calcium and vitamin A. It is an astringent and tones oily skin treating enlarged pores and restoring elasticity. It stimulates cell renewal and increases blood circulation improving varicose veins by reducing redness and shrinking capillaries. By increasing blood circulation it also helps eliminate toxins in the body, which helps prevent the appearance of cellulite. Massage cellulite affected areas daily to help move toxins and fat cells. Sage oil is also an effective ingredient in deodorants inhibiting the action of sweat and saliva glands. A strong tea infusion can be used as an antiseptic mouth wash and gargle for inflammations in the mouth. RECIPE FOR CELLULITE BALM: Add 5 drops of sage oil to a small amount of massage butter and rub well into areas with cellulite. RECIPE FOR TONER: Make a concentrated tea with sage leaves by boiling and reducing in water. Add 3 parts of your tea to 1 part of apple cider vinegar. Use it as a toner or as a daily facial rinse. GROWING TIP SAGE NEEDS PLENTY OF SUNSHINE, GOOD DRAINAGE AND GOOD AIR CIRCULATION. WATER SPARINGLY. WHEN PLANTS ARE SMALL MIST THEM WITH WATER TO KEEP THE SOIL MOIST. Basil is detoxifying and promotes circulation. It helps combat the effects of external pollution and has antioxidant properties that can protect the body from premature ageing. Basil has the flavonoids orientin and vicenin, which are plant pigments that shield cell structures from oxygen and radiation damage. It is a source of magnesium, an essential mineral active in ensuring good blood flow. Basil is widely used for its anti-inflammatory properties and has components that prevent swelling in the body. RECIPE FOR DETOX TONER: Crush a handful of basil leaves. Soak them in hot water. Allow the water to cool and splash onto your face as a detoxifying, circulation promoting toner. RECIPE FOR TINCTURE: Chop enough basil to fill a cup, add 2 cups of alcohol. Shake the mixture everyday for 4 weeks, strain the leaves and store in a dark jar. Dosage for Adults: 1 - 2 ml, two times daily. GROWING TIP BASIL NEEDS WARM AIR, SUN AND WELL-DRAINED SOIL. KEEP THE SOIL DAMP, BUT NOT SOAKED. WATER BASIL PLANTS ONCE A DAY, IN THE MORNING, SO WATER CAN SOAK IN OR EVAPORATE RATHER THAN REMAINING ON THE PLANT OVERNIGHT. Evening primrose promotes healthy, rejuvenated skin. It contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid not produced by body. Use on skin to firm hydrate, help heal blemishes and reduce signs of lines and wrinkles. RECIPE FOR REJUVENATION: Make a tea by boiling the leaves on the stove. Decant into a bottle and use as a toner in the morning and evening. GROWING TIP SOW THE SEED IN LATE SPRING. CHOOSE SOIL THAT IS WELL-DRAINED AND IN A SUNNY POSITION. THE TYPE OF SOIL ISN'T REALLY AN ISSUE PROVIDED IT DRAINS WELL. EVENING PRIMROSE WILL GROW IN COOL, WARM, HOT, ARID, PLACES; IT'S NOT TOO FUSSY. WATER UNTIL ESTABLISHED. DO NOT OVER-WATER.

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