Category Archives: Ancient Spa Rituals

Jasmine Almond Beeswax Perfume Recipe

Jasmine Almond Beeswax Perfume Recipe

As we approach the summer, it’s a perfect time to incorporate a Beeswax perfume to your fragrance collection as the body temperatures increase with warmer weather.  Beeswax are solid perfumes that are great to have in smaller pocket sized containers for on the go and traveling.

Beeswax absolute has a stronger scent as it has an unusually large amount of naturally occuring phenylacetic acid which is green, floral, sweet honey-like odor when diluted.  A small amount will go a long way and is generally used to offset strong floral notes.  It also has an added benefit of antiseptic properties.

The ancient Greeks and Egyptians used Jasmine as as an essential oil in aromatherapy, as it was thought to offer various healing effects.  Breathing in the scent of jasmine has the power to release feel-good brain chemicals that boost energy as well as reduce anxiety.  Recent research has indicated that inhaling jasmine oil is said to transmit messages to a brain region involved in controlling emotions.  This is also commonly known as the limbic system,  which influences the nervous system.  Inhaling Jasmine oil can affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.
Jasmine oil is often used as a natural remedy for stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms and even as an aphrodisiac.

The name Jasmine is derived from the Persian yasmin which means “a gift from God” so named because of the intense fragrance of the blooms.
The scent rising off the petals is sweet and intoxicating.
Jasmine is found in more than 83% of all women’s scents and 33% of men’s. Jasmine oils can also help bolster skin’s immunity and protect skin from invading offenders especially as the seasons change.

Our other ingredient is Rosehip Oil which is expected to smell of roses, when in fact this wonderful hedgerow shrub is much more herbacious and earthy.  The ancient Egyptians and Mayans used it to hydrate their skin.  Rosehip is extracted from the seeds of a wild rose bush in the Southern Andes and is filled with provitamin A, omega-3 and essential fatty acids that help with wrinkles, dark-spots and even acne.

Combining these ingredients with almond oil can take a twist with floral and musky elements perfect for Spring and Summer months.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp beeswax
2 Tbsp sweet almond oil
40 drops essential oil (jasmine, vanilla and rose hip)
Container for perfume (mint tins, empty eye cream jars or lip balm containers)

Recipe:

In your glass container, blend together your essential oils. You can use whatever ratio you like, or you can try this blend:

  • 10 drops jasmine
  • 10 drops vanilla
  • 10 drop rose hips

Directions:

Heat the beeswax on low heat in a metal pot and stir as it melts down.  Be sure to melt together slowly, increasing heat to medium once you notice the beeswax thinning.  Stir for a few minutes and then turn the heat down to low again.  Add your fragrance oil into the melted mixture once the beeswax is completely melted.  Be sure to melt together slowly.  And lastly, pour the mixture into your container(s).  Make sure your container is place on a heat tolerate countertop and allow the mixture to harden in the container for a few hours.  You can apply the mixture as soon as it’s cool to touch.  Store your perfume in a cool dark location.

Application:

Using your fingertips, gently rub a small portion on the pulse points: neck (carotid artery), on the inside of the elbow, at the inner wrist, behind the knee, and near the ankle joint.  Reapply ever 4 hours as necessary.

 

 

Rosehip Almond Beeswax Perfume Recipe

 

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging

The Egyptians used both Frankincense and Myrrh as common beauty aids in the ancient world.  Both have amazing benefits to mature skin, those who are more sensitive due to over exfoliation or extreme environmental conditions.

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging Ingredients

Frankincense essential oil is well known to promote cell turnover, assist with the formation of scar tissue and heal wounds.  It helps reduce acne blemishes, the appearance of large pores and prevents wrinkles.  Most importably it assists with healthy cell regeneration while keeping existing cells and tissues healthy.

Myrrh essential oil also helps with healing the skin as it acts as a skin protecting along with amazing astringent and anti-inflammatory properties.  In fact, the Egyptians used Myrrh as apart of the complex mummification process.  Myrrh has an important property called terpenionds.  Terpenoids are known as potent healers mainly because of their role in protecting cells from oxidative stress.

Utilizing both Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils can make a world of difference to your beauty regime. Use this toner after freshly cleansing the skin and then move on to your oils, lotions and creams.  Toners are sensitive to the application process as other oils and creams can interfere with the absorption. Just allow the toner to sit on the face for a few minutes before applying additional oils, lotions and creams.

 

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging Directions

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging Ingredients:

  • 3 fl ounces of mineral water
  • 2 tsp glycerin
  • 4 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 2 drops myrrh essential oil

Makes just about 4 fl ounces total for the Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging.

 

 

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging: Directions:

In a clean glass bowl, mix together the mineral water and glycerin.  Then gently add in the Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils with a dropper.  Stir gently together and store in a sealed glass jar or container in a cool dark place within your refrigerator.   It will keep for about 6 weeks, just make sure not to contaminate the toner when applying to the skin.  Make sure you pour it out to the skin rather then dipping into the toner.

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging Application:

Apply in the evening with a few drops onto a cotton ball if wanting to clear the skin of any debris, swipe the skin in an upward motion on the forehead, nose, cheek and chin areas.  If the skin is sufficiently clean after with no make up or other debris, apply directly using clean fingertips.

Make sure to use this toner after freshly cleansing the skin and then move on to your oils, lotions and creams. Toners are sensitive to the application process as other oils and creams can interfere with the absorption. Just allow the toner to sit on the face for a few minutes before applying additional oils, lotions and creams.

Frankincense & Myrrh Toner for Anti-Aging

Exfoliating Rose Scrub

Exfoliating Rose Scrub

 

Need a gentle facial scrub to help slough off dead skin and reveal a brighter completion?  Try this Exfoliating Rose Scrub to clean the skin with a gentle abrasive action suitable for all skin types.

Rose water has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness of irritated skin.  It also clears the skin of acne, dermatitis and eczema. For these reasons is a great gentle cleanser.  Adding into the mixture  ground rice and oats creates a gentle exfoliate property.

Exfoliating Rose Scrub

Exfoliating Rose Scrub Rice

Ground Rice grounded into powder has been used for centuries in Ancient Asia as it’s anti-aging and oil-absorbing properties, along with anti-inflammatory and skin whitening agent to sooth sensitive skin

Ground Oatmeal has great anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties along with a cleansing agent called saponins. Ground Oatmeal can help treat acne, eczema, rosacea and rashes and is perfect for most skin types, even the most sensitive skin.

Glycerin is a humectant that works to moisturize the skin by drawing water from the air into the skin’s outer layer. As an added benefit it also forms a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss.

By mixing the Rose Water, Ground Rice, Ground Oatmeal and Glycerin you have an amazing scrub that gentle exfoliates dead skin cells awhile it moisturizers and soothes the skin.  This scrub will leave your skin feeling soft supple and glowing!

 

Exfoliating Rose Scrub Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Glycerin
  • 2 tsp Rose Water
  • 1 tsp Ground Oats
  • 1 tsp Ground Rice
Exfoliating Rose Scrub

Exfoliating Rose Scrub

 

Exfoliating Rose Scrub Directions:

Using a pestle and mortar or in a blender under the puree speed, grind until the oats and rice into a thin powder.  Took a look at the picture to see the powder, it looks grainy.  Place the oats and rice powder into a bowl and then add the Rose Water and Glycerin.  Using a non metal agent, gently stir together the ingredients to form a thin paste.

 

 

Exfoliating Rose Scrub Instructions:

  1. Make sure your hair is pulled back so that it does not mix with the product.
  2. Ensure your face and hands are cleansed properly and gently toweled so that the face still has a slight damp feel.
  3. Take 1/4 of the paste and distribute it equally in both hands.
  4. Starting from the chin, gently massage the paste into the skin in small circles.
  5. Go slow and be sure to the skin gently, feel free to go over areas more than once. The right hand should circle clockwise, while the left hand circles counter clockwise.  Work in an upward motion and completely avoid the eye area, as the eye area is very sensitive and should not be rubbed. (Use specialty eye masks for the eye area).  Continue massaging into the temple areas and then end when the hair line of the forehead has been covered.
  6. Allow the mask to sit on the skin for at least 10 minutes.
  7. For an added benefit, apply a slice of cool cumber over closed eyes and rest lying down.
  8. After at least 15 minutes, gently wash the skin with warm water. Let the skin breath for 30 seconds and then splash the face with cool water to close the pores.
  9. Afterwards, gently dry the face by patting with a clean towel.
  10. Properly moisturizer the skin to complete the process.

If you want more recipes click here!

Tell us what you think, we’ll post only the best ones based on your comments!

Exfoliating Rose Scrub

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe

<strong>Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe</strong>

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume RecipeThe Egyptians were well known to have used perfumes to mask the body odor that would accompany the hot humid climate. The Egyptians use the hot enfleurage technique. This age old technique involves heating solid fats and stirring in botanicals like rosemary, lavender, myrrh, frankincense, juniper, aloe and rose. The botanicals are repeatedly strained from the fat and replaced with fresh material until the fat is saturated with fragrance. The hot enfleurage technique is considered the oldest known practice for preserving a fragrance scent. The end result is the enfleurage pomade. The pomade would be rubbed onto the hair, behind the ears, wrists, front inner hip area and the posterior knee area. The essences of our pomades were always meant to co-mingle with the body chemistry and because of that may be unique to each individual.

According to the Egyptian Hieroglyphs the coveted fragrance of Cleopatra was the sweet intoxicating floral scent of the blue lotus. It is often referred to as “cannabis of Ancient Egypt.” The lotus symbolizes the purity of the spiritual life of man. If you vision the flower in it’s natural environment, the flowers with their roots in the water while the flower floats above soaking in the sunlight. The Egyptians believed it could transform the soul to rise above it’s earthly space to the presence of Ra, the sun god as known as the bringer of light. In fact the blue lotus was found scattered over burial tomb of Ramesses II and also over Tutankhamen’s body when the Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in 1922.

The blue lotus was primarily sacred to the Pharaohs because it gave hallucinogenic or entheogenic properties. The ancient Egyptians also consumed the blue lotus by including the lotus flowers in their wine. This was considered a shamanic ecstasy or positive mood enhancing practice as the blue lotus has unique alkaloids, which are alcohol soluble (and not water soluble).

However the ancient Egyptians included mercury and arsenic in the ox or ass fat to preserve the perfume. In today’s modern times these toxic ingredients have been eliminated. Today you can preserve the perfume by simply using alcohol.

Lotus absolutes are my favorite floral by far. It is also complements well with ginger, white pepper or lemon blossoms. Unfortunately lotus absolutes are extremely expensive, but well worth it. Once you smell the blue lotus you’ll understand why it’s so amazing.  And just to be up front, the process takes four weeks to get the lasting scent.

Just to give you a little background on perfume making, each of the notes used to make the perfume work together and are called a “chord.”

A chord is composed of a base note, a heart note, and a head note.

  • The base note is the one that lasts the longest and is usually something like vanilla, Cedarwood, amber, oak moss, frankincense, patchouli, musk and sandalwood. Start your recipe with this note first. The base notes are the final fragrance notes that appear once the top notes are completely evaporated.
  • The heart note is the middle note, which is generally floral like blue lotus, jasmine, rose, geranium, lemongrass, lavender, nutmeg and ylang ylang. Add this note to the base note.
  • The head note is the strong smell that hits you right out of the bottle. It’s often referred to as the opening or top note however they do evaporate quickly. Examples of dead notes include orange, lemon, bergamot, peppermint, verbena, niaouli, cinnamon, ravensara, grapefruit, sage and basil, Over time, you will notice the scent changes, melts even, into the heart and base notes. For your recipe this note will be added last.

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe 2Formula for a 5ml bottle of perfume:

2 parts base: 1 part heart: 1 part head: 1-2 parts carrier oil

40 drops base + 20 drops heart + 20 drops head + 20 drops carrier oil = 100 drops total

(Every milliliter of liquid is around 20 drops with a pipette or glass dropper).

Allow a week for the oils to mix properly and store in a cook, dark place. After a week, add in the alcohol and allow this mixture to meld together for a month in a cool dark place.

 

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 milliliters of frankincense (base note)
  • 1 milliliter of blue lotus absolute (heart note)
  • 1 milliliters of cinnamon (head note)
  • 2 milliliters of sweet almond oil (carrier oil)
  • 4 ounces of non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) spiced rum

 

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe Tools you’ll need:

Make sure you obtain a 7-ounce opaque glass bottle, 4 pipettes or glass droppers for each of the oils as well as a way to label your bottle like a sticker or tag.

 

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe Process:

  • Mix all oils together into the opaque glass bottle start with the frankincense, then the blue lotus absolute, then cinnamon and finish with sweet almond oil. Let this mixture stay in the bottle alone for a week to let scents meld. Shake the bottle gently to every day.
  • Add a sticker to label the perfume and date created.
  • Add the non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) spiced rum and ensure the cap is on tight.
  • Shake gently place in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks. This is optional but helps the alcohol scent fade and the scents of the oils intensify.

Lotus absolutes are my favorite floral by far. Use can also try it with some ginger, white pepper or lemon blossoms.  I think you might find this scent just as amazing as the Ancient Egyptians!

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe

 

Blue Lotus Ancient Egyptian Perfume Recipe

Organic Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner


Silky HairOrganic Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner

If you have ventured into treating yourself with the luxury of oils and creams for your face, you should also try it on your hair.  You will find an amazing transformation for days when you need more moisturizing than you get with commercial products. Just remember that your hair has no natural lubrication relies on oils made in the hair root to keep your hair moisturized. Start with a little to test out what amount works best for your hair.

 

When creating anIMG_8297 organic shampoo a great base to start with is pure castile soap. You can even find this at most grocery stores.  The European ancients used vegetable based soaps made within the Castile region of Spain from local olive oil. Add in coconut milk and your favorite oil for added benefit to get your new favorite shower companion. Coconut Oil makes hair luxuriously silky and shiny.  Making Organic Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner is a great way to get your hair back to it’s best.

 

 

Organic Coconut Milk Shampoo 

  • 2/3 Castile Soap
  • ½ Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Alm
    ond Oil
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil (needs to be gently warmed prior to mixing)

Mix together each ingredient one at a time into a mixing bowl. Warm the Coconut Oil in a microwave for 15 seconds, then mix and microwave again for another 15 seconds. Once the mixture cools to room temp you can pour into a sealable container for usage in your shower. You’ll find that you only need a little to suds your entire hair.   This mixture will be good for around 30 days.

Organic Coconut Milk Conditioner

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E
  • 1 tsp Jojoba Oil
  • 5 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil (or your another favorite essential oil)

Just as with the shampoo, mix together each ingredient one at a time into a mixing bowl. Warm the Coconut Oil in a microwave for 15 seconds, then mix and microwave again for another 15 seconds. Once the mixture cools to room temp you can pour into a sealable container for usage in your shower. You’ll find that you only need a little to suds your entire hair.   This mixture will be good for around 30 days. To change up the conditioner, you can swap out the Lavender Essential Oil for another Essential Oil like Vanilla, Rose, Chamomile, Jasmine, Grapefruit, and Mandarin.

Next time you shower think about using the Organic Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner to make your hair it’s shiny and silky best.

If you want more Beauty Spa Rituals recipes click here!

Tell us what you think of the recipes and we’ll post only the best recipes based on your feedback.

Organic Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner

Ancient Spa Rituals from Greece

IMG_8165Take a look at any of the amazing ancient Greek statues and you can bet you’ll see a gorgeous muscle sculpted chiseled man or well endowed woman draped in classical flowing robes. The ancient Greeks had a firm belief that there was a direct connection with ones appearance to ones mind and persona. Although many of the famous statues are based upon the Greek Gods, they were sculpted off actual people with what was considered the ‘ideal face and figure.’ In fact, the art world boasts that the ancient Greek statues have delicately balanced the bodily proportions symmetrically, as symmetric features were considered perfect. The Greeks took their appearance so seriously many of the ancient gravesites contained mirrors. Considering the ancient Greek culture looked so favorable upon ones appearance, there is lots of evidence they took superb care of their skin and efforts to enhance their looks.

The ancient Greeks had a word for the beautiful people, they called those people ‘kaloskagathos’ or gorgeous to look at. Even in the early Olympics games, there was an actual game or contest where women were judged for their appearance similar to today’s beauty contests. The Greeks called this event a ‘kallisteia’ or ‘pageant of beauty.’ In fact today’s word of cosmetics comes from the Greek word, kosmetikos. Kosmetikos means a sense of harmony, order and tranquility.

One of Greece’s most famous beautiful idols was Helen of Troy. The English playwright Christopher Marlowe wrote that she had ‘the face which launched a thousand ships.’ She was definitely extraordinary as her legend claims she is the daughter of Zeus in Greek Mythology. Her legendary story unfolds at the young age of 12 years old where she was kidnapped by the Greek hero Theseus and then taken to Attica. Theseus’ mother locked her away, until Helen’s brothers recued her where she was taken back to Sparta. Once some time passed, the Spartan King, King Tyndareus, allowed suitors from all over Greece to win the hand of the famous beauty. However, he was afraid the suitors would become enraged over competition of her hand. Thus, the King was advised to have all the suitors agree to take an oath to accept her choice of husband and promise to support her chosen husband should the need ever arise.

Helen chose a Prince from Mycenae named Menelaus. They lived happily together for several years where she and Menelaus had children together and he eventually became the King Of Sparta. One day a prince of Troy had traveled to Sparta on the advice of goddess Aphrodite in order to find the most beautiful women in the world. Once he saw Helen, he took her back with him to Troy. While she was taken, King Menelaus was away in Crete. Once Menelaus returned and found she was taken, he reclaimed the oath given by the other suitors to support her chosen husband in a time of need. Thus began the Trojan War, where stories vary in saying she sometimes had sympathy towards the Trojans and sometimes to the Greeks. Ultimately the Greeks won the war and she was reunited once again with King Menelaus.

This story is important because of how much one’s appearance was valued within the ancient Greek culture. One’s appearance could elevate your position within society, have wars started over it and even create legends around it. Stories like this lead both men and women in ancient Greece to take very good care of their appearance. Of course the ancient Grecians had the luxury of a perfect climate to cultivate fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts. They also had a direct connection to trade routes from other developed countries for items not naturally grown within their lands.

During the Archaic period (750 BC to 500 BC), commonly known as the developmental period, the ancient Greeks established the art form of skin care. The ancient Greeks used plants, herbs, waters, milk and other natural compounds to achieve their best skin results.

During the Classical period (500BC to 323BC), commonly known as the _ period, the concept of skin care evolved to include physical physic and also more advanced medical assistance. Physical exercise was believed to be a major component of beauty. As we are aware today, exercise can result in greater strength, weight loss, and toned muscles but it also helps the skin. In fact the Ancient Greeks knew the importance of a nutritious diet in order to contribute to their healthy bodies. They knew what foods worked well to provide healthy glowing skin. Even today, there are several published articles claiming that the Mediterranean diet can help one live a longer healthier life. The Ancient Greek Mediterranean diet focused on primarily on omega rich fish and plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. They used herbs and spices rather than salt to flavor foods. Limiting red meat to once a week, usually for celebration. Their diets had ample amount of Omega-3 fatty acids to help the skin glow and keep the body slim.

Greeks also use yogurt as a natural skin care product. Lactose, proteins, vitamins and minerals help treat sunburn and slough off dead skin cells.

Ancient Scandinavian Spa Beauty Rituals

When the season changes to colder harsher weather, you can look to the Scandinavian beauty rituals to keep your skin looking absolutely amazing. Scandinavia is composed of the region of northern Europe. This includes Sweden, Denmark, Norway and other occupied territories. The Scandinavians are well known for their bright glowing clear skin.

Scandinavians find balance on what to eat, how to exercise and what to apply to their moisture-starved complexions. With a healthy always on the go lifestyle, weekly exercise routines, balanced with a diet high in fish, artic berries, algae and fresh cold spring water helps boost their complexion glowing results. In fact, Scandinavians look at all aspects of health, like what to eat, exercise and what they apply on their skin.  In other words, they think about beauty as what goes in and on is what comes out.  The ancient Scandinavian spa beauty rituals are essential to all of us during the winter season.

Scandinavian Lifestyle

  • Getting out in winter can still help boost levels of vitamin D and improve mood and general wellbeing.
  • Wind and rain can strip your skin of essential oils and leave it looking dull and grey, so a rich hydrating serum is also going to help.
  • Scandinavians are masters of work / life balance.

Scandinavian Diet

  • Fresh Spring Water and lots of it. Plenty of water throughout the day allows your body to flush out toxins and rehydrate the body
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 7.22.30 PMSuper Antioxidant Nordic Arctic Berries (Cloudberry, Lingonberry, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries) – These berries are superbly unique because they grow in freezing Nordic temperatures where the sun doesn’t set in summer. Since the berries soak up the sun’s light for a full 24 hours their vitamin and antioxidants are 81% richer than regular cultivated berries. These berries are plumper than any berry anywhere else in the world. They help provide vitamins and antioxidants that combat against free radicals that may cause premature aging in the skin cells. These berries protect against diseases such as heart disease, strokes and cancer. And they also have an anti-inflammatory effect. As an added benefit, the berries have omega-3s to help increase collagen. Not to mention a boost of Vitamin C. The Cloudberry has a special phenolic compound that contains a detoxing benefit to help brighten the skin. Even though we all cannot travel regularly to the Nordic region, these berries can be just as healthy frozen, dried and canned berries.
  • Grilled Fresh Fish (Herring, Salmon, Mackerel, bilberries, redcurrants Gravad lax) – With high amounts of Omerga-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids help fortify the membranes of the skin cells, anti-inflammatory to combat against acne and helps increase collagen. Fish is also eaten raw or cured (pickling and smoking) which retains all the natural vitamins and antioxidants. The Scandinavian’s utilize the medieval practice of “grave fish” which cures raw fish by burying it within the sand above the high tide level. It’s often served cold with a little sugar, salt and fresh dill.
  • Fresh Dill often called the ‘King of Herbs’ is a commonly used herb in Nordic cooking. Dill helps bone health, aids digestion and is a natural anti-bacterial.
  • Whole Grains (Rye and Spelt) – Scandinavians have diets rich in fiber. Whole grains contain all three parts of the grain, including the fiber-rich outer layer and the nutrient-laden germ.
  • Leafy Roots Veggies (Carrots, Beets, Cabbage, Rutabagas, Turnips, Kale and Artichokes) –Bold colored veggies are host to high vitamins like A and C as well as folic acid and minerals to boost radiance and health of the skin. Vitamin A in carrots helps skin cells renew themselves. Turnips, especially the Swedish Turnips (otherwise known as Rutabagas), have an extraordinary amount of vitamin C to support skin health.
  • Rapeseed (also known as canola oil) – Rapeseed flourishes in frosty climates and is the main cooking oil in the Nordic regions. It has higher levels of important healthy fatty acids than any other vegetable oil. Omega-3 aids blood circulation and brain development, Omega-6 promotes healthy skin, hair and nails and Omega-9 boosts heart health and blood sugar control. Rapeseed oil is also a good source of vitamin E.
  • Coffee – And lots of it, as Scandinavians consume more coffee than any other country from around the world. Coffee not only boosts your energy and focus levels, it also helps to eliminate the damaging free radicals to improve health and skin.
  • Rose Hip – Rose Hip oils and hers are commonly used within teas and soups (also known as Nyponsoppa). Rose Hip has high levels of Vitamin C levels.
  • Imedeen (a natural marine complex supplement made of fish) for skin that originated in Denmark decades ago can make the skin clearer, slightly firmer, hydrated skin with use over time. It may take at least a month before you see results, but you will see them eventually.

Scandinavian Spa Techniques

  • Steam Rooms and Saunas are a perfect fit for the colder temperatures and a common staple within the Scandinavian culture. Dry heat rids the body of toxins as it opens up the pores and the sweat pushes it out all those toxins. It helps the body with its circulation, which in turn helps the body with its overall functions. Saunas, on the other hand, add moisture with high heat and other herbs and/or oils can be added to enhance the experience. Scandinavians use rock salt, olive oil and/or at least 4 drops of Eucalyptus oil. However other oils can also be used such as Pine, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemon, Lavender, Niaouli, Clary Sage, Cypress, Birch, Rosemary, Lime, Grapefruit and Bergamot are also great options. The Scandinavians also used the Banya, which was originally from Russia, as it blends the sauna and steam room into a “resting room” and a freezing cold-water shower. This combination of extreme temperatures has a positive effect on the treatment of a variety of skin and health conditions such as muscle strains, varicose veins, immune system and even the respiratory system. The Banya helps stimulates the body’s circulation and highly hydrates the skin. Create a similar process at home by showering with hot water for 4 minutes and then switch to cold for 1 to 2 minutes, then back again for at least 3 times ending with cold water.
  • Icy Cold Fresh Spring Water for their faces, repeat splashes 26-20 times. By using Fresh Spring Water they bypass any chemicals they may be found in regular tap water.

Scandinavian Beauty Regime

  • Proper Protection from the Environment is very important to Scandinavians – Maximum protection from the sun needs the utilization of both UVA and UVB sunscreens. For more information on proper Sun protection, click here.  And although Scandinavians typically do not have sun most of the year, they are exposed to the harshness of winter and require a thicker moisturizers to any exposed skin. This helps assist with an additive layer of protection.
  • Use a drop of Vinegar to lighten blonde hair, put a drop of vinegar in your hair conditioner and rinse it out thoroughly. Some Scandinavians do not even utilize hair color treatments because it works so well.

Scandinavian Green Tea Toner to help with Skin adapt to Cooler Temperatures

Warm one cup of mineral water on high in the microwave for one minute and fifteen seconds. Place two green tea bags into the warm mineral water for 4 minutes. Remove the bags and let the tea cool to room temperature. Pour the tea into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight. Once frozen, place the cubs into a freezable secure bag or plastic container. In the mornings, after a thoroughly cleansing of the skin, in a circular motion rub the ice cube onto the face slowly.

As seasons change from warm weather to cooler weather, change up your beauty routine with some great tips from the Nordic experts to maintain your best beauty.  Incorporate the ancient Scandinavian spa beauty rituals into your beauty spa routine once the winter season approaches to maintain your best skin.

Want more information on other Ancient Spa Rituals, click here!

Let us know what you think and if any of the Scandinavians tips have helped you!

Massages for Overall Wellness and Health

IMG_7421Massages are a rhythmic soothing pressure that kneads the body’s muscles, tendons and ligaments. The process of rubbing the body actually assists with improving circulation to the areas being massaged. Circulation is very important as it improves the blood flow to the massage areas, allowing for the red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s organs. This helps provide the body with the oxygen rich blood they need to heal and ultimately improves the body’s overall energy as the circulation becomes more efficient and effective. The blood not only carries nutrients to the skin cells, but also carries away wastes like damaging free radicals away from the skin cells. It also encourages lymphatic drainage to flush out toxins to allow nutrients to travel through. It also helps reduce inflammation, which can cause cellular damage particularly as we age.

Massages can also release pressure in the tissues to allow lactic acid to be cleared from the muscles. Lactic acid can build up in the muscles when muscles are overused in strenuous exercises. The lactic acid increases the acidity in the muscle. This helps with muscle pain and tight overused muscles. Another benefit of massages is that it naturally lowers blood pressure and the overall body functions.

Massages are perfect for anyone attempting to reduce muscle tension, stress and pain. Massages can help with relieving anxiety, digestive disorders, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, headaches, arthritis, nausea, fatigue, depression, insomnia, stressed muscles and sports injuries. Massages are also very important since circulation deteriorates as we age. Poor circulation can lead to cold hands and feet, muscle cramps, aching legs, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Just recently studies have linked stress and the skin’s sebaceous glands which can overact in stressful occasions and produce too oil in the skin.

Facial massages are essential in providing all of the above benefits to just the face. Even make up artist apply a light facial massage before they apply their art. Even lightly stroking the face in an upward motion (gravity does enough damage already), the circulation is increased to stimulate a wound healing response along with a healthy glow to any complexion. The skin will be noticeably plump with nourished vitality. It also helps soften expression lines around the eyes, forehead and lips. However it’s important to massage once a generous amount of a moisturizing product has been applied like an oil, serum, gel or cream. This allows the upper layer of skin to not be affected by the strokes or pressure.

Massage Oils:

Natural oils contain different benefits and help with specific conditions. Many have several vitamins, minerals and moisture beneficial ingredients. Massage oils are usually a mixture of part base or carrier oils made normally made from vegetables yet derived from the fatty plant portions (like nuts or seeds) while essential oils are from the non-fatty portions of the plant (like stems, leaves or flowers). Carrier oils are used for volume while essential oils are more concentrated and tend to be more unique potent and much more sensitive specific. Carrier oils also have little aroma while essential oils have intense aromas. Be sure to test oils on your skin prior to usage as some people develop allergies. Place a small amount on the inner arm area and leave on to see if allergies develop, some can take minutes but usually overnight can provide a better understanding of the skin’s reaction. When you are ready to make your own massage oil with both carrier and essential oils, you’ll need 4 teaspoons of carrier oil with 4 to 5 drops of essential oils.

CARRIER OILS for massage

  • Olive Oil – Olive Oil is rich bold oil that contains vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It helps to alleviate the body of stiffness and is said to be suitable for all skin types. However it is a very thick oil that even once massaged into the skin still has a significant outer layer that is great for sealing in moisture but can also be found to get on anything the body may touch like clothing. This is also high in Oleic Acid that is known to help alleviate dry skin as it’s a monosaturated fatty acid but also helps to reduce inflammation.
  • Jojoba Oil – On the molecular level, this oil is most similar to the skin’s natural sebum. It absorbs well and conditions the skin thoroughly.
  • Sweet Almond Oil – This is oil is high in fatty acids to soften, soothe and recondition skin.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.32.08 PMAvocado Oil– This oil contains high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, D and E along with amino acids, sterols (soften skin, reduces age spots), pantothenic acid, lecithin (an emollient and deeply absorbed) and other fatty acids. This oil deeply absorbed and works well sensitive skins, especially those with eczema and psoriasis skin. It is also known to increase collagen production and healing of the skin. This oil contains high amounts of Oleic acid for alleviating dry skin.
  • Grapeseed Oil – This is another great oil for sensitive skin and tends to not leave a greasy feeling afterwards. It contains a high amount of linoleic acid that helps with oily skin conditions.
  • Sunflower Oil – This oil contains Vitamins A, D and E as well as both Oleic acids (high emollient for dry skin) and Lecithin (an emollient for oily skin). It deeply moisturizes the skin for very dry, weathered or damaged skin.
  • Coconut Oil – This oil helps with inflamed or irritated sensitive skin. It is great for providing a protective layer for retaining moisture within the skin.
  • Soybean 0il – This oil is light and great for sensitive skin as it’s helpful in healing. It contains Vitamin E, lecithin (an emollient and deeply absorbed) and sterolins (soften skin, reduces age spots).
  • Peanut Oil – Although this oil can be highly allergic to those with nut allergies, it’s super beneficial to those with arthritis or weakening conditions as it provides proteins to the muscle and joints to help with healing. It’s helps sooth the nerves and muscular structures.
  • Wheat Germ Oil – This oil is for skin that needs to be deeply conditioned for very dry, weathered, damaged and advanced aging skins. It contains a high amount of linoleic acid that helps with oily skin conditions.

ESSENTIAL OILS for massage and aromatherapy

  • Lavender, Jasmine Oils – For relaxation
  • Roman Chamomile Oil– For relaxation
  • Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lime, Bergamot & Neroli Oils – For lifting the mood
  • Peppermint, Tea Tree, Frankincense, Sandalwood & Eucalyptus Oils – For Sinus Congestions
  • Rosemary, Margoram, Ginger Oils– For circulation and healing
  • Tea Tree Oil – For detoxifying or for inflamed or skin itching conditions, like scalp and foot treatments.
  • Arnica Oil – For bruised skins, arthritis conditions
  • Clary Sage & Geranium Oils – For PMS
  • Fennel Oil – Ancient Egyptians used this oil to help with circulatory, digestive, respiratory and glandular conditions

Massage Techniques:

  • Effleurage – Effleurage comes from the French word ‘effleurer’, which means to ‘to stroke or skim over.’ This technique is a slow and smooth linking movement using the flat part of the hands while the masseuse maintains contact with the skin through out the massage. A small and even amount of pressure is applied within the palm of the hand with more pressure applied with movements toward the heart (for the purpose of assisting with proper circulation) and less pressure when returning back to repeat the sequence. Effleurage is the most basic massage technique and can stimulate the nerves, stimulate blood flow within the skin tissues and relaxes the muscle fibers.
  • Tapotement or Percussion – These techniques are utilized within cupping, hacking, tapping type massages. The application is applied to the fleshy parts of the body with rapid short movements for a short period of time. It helps to stimulate the muscle and skin.
  • Friction – There are two types of friction massages, one is to utilize circular movement while the other is a transverse movement. They are traditionally used for precise movements to focus on a particular area.   The circular movement is applied using the tips of the fingers using average pressure in a circular stationary manner. Sequencing the circles in small areas for at least three times before moving to another adjacent area. The transverse movement is also used by the tips of the fingers but with a more precisely with two fingers together to move back and forth only the muscles. Neither of these movements should be used when the muscles are recently strained or if there is any scar tissue on the muscles. They should be utilized only for short periods of time.
  • Pressure Point or Acupressure -This is used technique has be used for centuries in ancient China and utilizes the same principle points as acupuncture to promote proper circulation, relaxation and overall health and wellness. These points flow along the body’s meridians or channels and are targeted to heal or alleviate strains in a particular area of the body. There is thought to be 12 major meridians to connect with organs to restore balance or maintain the body’s ‘Chi.’ It is traditionally thought by Chinese Medicine that the body maintains a balance of yang (positive) and yin (negative) energies. The benefits of the massage can help alleviate pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, fatigue, mood, arthritis and even improve metabolism.

Types of Self-Massages:

  • Facial Massage – This massage may be performed on oneself by turning the hands with palms facing the face. Start with utilizing an oil, serum, cream or gel over the entire face. A massage where quick lightly upward strokes along the neck and cheeks. For the neck, gently tilt the head back and stroke upwards on the neck. Hold briefly at the top of the neck and then return to another area of the lower neck. Repeat until the neck has been fully massaged. For the checks, return the face forward with no tilt, begin at the base of the face and apply pressure upwards and stopping briefly at the top of the check bone (never in the eye area). Apply pressure with the middle figure at the inner corners of the eyes. Circle the finger around the eyes towards the inner brow and follow through more gently under the eye.   Do this at least three times. With the fingers, lift and hold both brows upward as if you are opening the eye area. For the forehead, start in the center between the eyes with both middle fingers and press upward in elongated circles, with much less pressure as the fingers more downward. Move the circles in motion towards the temples. Then move in the opposite direction back towards the starting position between the browse. Always apply more pressure upward and much less downward. The massage should be maintained in the upward movement while light if any pressure on the downward movement. For the lips, gently pinch the lip area with the thumb and index finger. Never pull the skin as the massage should be working the under layers of the skin while not affecting the condition of the top layers. Finish by applying light pressure to the temples with the middle and pointing fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and then rub the hands together briskly and hold on the face steady with light pressure for 5 seconds.
  • Facial Pressure Point or Acupressure – Hold each pressure point with an index finger or even two fingers that include the index finger along the following points for 2 to 3 minutes per day:
  1. To relieve stress affecting the skin: at the base of the hairline, center both the index fingers one inch apart.
  2. Reduce overall stress and stimulates the pituitary gland (which helps regulate hormones), place an index finger between the eyebrows at the third eye point.
  3. To reduce blemishes, place both index fingers just below the eye area near the cheekbone on both sides of the face.
  • Head and Scalp Massage – Start with at least 2 ounces of oil and gently warm it so that it’s not hot but luke warm. Pour a small amount into the palm and rub gently between your hands. Begin the massage on the scalp and use all fingers while cupping the hand so that the fingertips are pressing along the hairline between the temples and the upper forehead. Move the hand in sync with the fingers in a circulation motion. Start at the front of the head and then each side and lower back portion of the head. Then move up to the crown and work around the crown area. Finish with applying pressure to left and right of the crown with each hand lightly for 5 seconds. Massage the oil into the scalp will prevent headaches and induce hair follicle growth.
  • Body & Stretch Massage – It’s best to do this massage while sitting in a chair, with proper posture. Try to keep the hands always connected to the body. If you need additional oil, add more and continue the massage. If performed before bedtime, the massage will allow for a more restful sleep.
  1. Take 5 ounces of oil and warm it, make sure it’s not hot but just warm enough to feel luke warm. Gently rub the oil between both hands and begin at the neck, utilize one hand to hold the head (and hair) at the base, while the other hand uses it’s four fingers to press small circles along the spiral cord area. Be very gentle on the neck area.
  2. Cross the hand to rub the shoulders, in medium circular motions.
  3. After the shoulders, cross the arms again and rub upwards towards the sides of the neck and reaching to the back towards the shoulder blades. This is an area where stress is stored, so be gently and become firmer only if it feels appropriate. Move the massage back and forth across the shoulder blades.
  4. Then cross the arms again the massage down the arms in a circular grabbing motion. Move the massage down to the hands and handshake the hands in a rubbing motion, never letting the hands separate. Even link the fingers together and then move the hands together in opposite directions. Then proceed back up through the arms in the grabbing circular motion.
  5. Take the hands and gently press down the sides of the body, with thumbs toward the front and the four fingers towards the back of the body. With slightly more pressure, push downward in medium circles along the slides of the back towards the tailbone. Once the hands are both behind the back, press down with the palms on either side of the tailbone. Then slightly arch the back to a comfortable point while lifting the chest outwards with the elbows pointing directly behind.
  6. Move onwards to the buttocks to perform small circles at the base of the buttocks and lift with slight pressure upwards. Move the massage along to make the entire area is massaged.
  7. Then take both hands to the right thigh area and massage both sides of the thigh and the back in circular grabbing motions. Without bending down, continue down to the calf area and foot by lifting the leg bent in front of the body. The foot can be crossed so that the ankle is resting on the left leg’s knee for better positioning. Massage from the ankle in small circular motions and move with the thumbs on the bottom of the foot and fingers on top of the foot. Be sure to massage small circles with each of the toes.
  8. Once finished with the right leg, begin the same massages on the left leg but start with the toes and move upwards towards the thigh.
  9. Afterwards bow the head and hug the body. End in pray pose for reflection.
  • Garshan Massage – This massage can be performed on yourself in the morning using pure linen or silk mittens. It’s a traditional Ayurveda dry massage utilizing no oils or moisturizers. It stimulates the skin and they lymphatic system as well as the circulator system. It helps the skin to release toxins, so it’s best to bathe afterwards to remove any release toxins. Use the gloves to in long strokes on the limbs with strokes towards the heart and round strokes on the joints. On the torso, you can use round strokes but it’s best to avoid the heart area. This is very helpful to exfoliate and prepare the skin for an oil massage but should be finished with a moisturizer.

Types of Massages from Professional Massage Therapists:

  • Swedish Massage – This is the gentlest type of massage that incorporates long strokes in circle movements to relax the muscles. It includes light to medium pressure to relieve stress, reduce pain and boost mood and energy afterwards.
  • Deep Tissue Massage – This massage is focused on the muscles using slower and deeper strokes to get into the muscle’s connective tissue. It can assist with knots, muscle damage and repair. It can be painful and can result in soreness for one to two days afterwards.
  • Sports Massage – This is helpful for athletics to help loosen tight muscles and prevent/treat injuries. This massage may focus on particular areas utilized in the sport. It usually is a Swedish massage with faster strokes and stretching to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
  • Trigger Point Massage – This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form after injuries or overuse. It helps to alleviate pain in the muscle through a sequence of isolate pressures and release cycles. This massage can be helpful with those with a chronic pain. The recipient also participates through proper breathing to coordinate with the pressure point cycles.
  • Hot Stone Massage – This massage includes specific placements of hot stones on the pressure points of the body to promote deeper muscle relaxation. It is helpful to increase circulation, metabolism as well as stress. The massage therapist may also hold the hot stones to apply pressure and guide them along the muscles for greater muscle relaxation.
  • Shiatsu Massage – This is a Japanese massage that utilizes finger pressure for a few seconds in a rhythmic sequence along the energy meridians (similar to acupressure and acupuncture). This massage is helpful for normalized body vitality and relaxation.
  • Lymphatic Massage – This massage was developed in Germany to treat accumulations of fluid to helps drain the lymph nodes. The massage focuses on the lymphatic system channels. It’s a very gentle stimulating massage that assists with encouraging natural drainage of the lymph nodes. The purpose is to assist with carrying away waste products away from the tissues and back towards the heart for proper dissimulation. This is also a helpful massage to help heal and repair of body various conditions.
  • Pregnancy or Prenatal Massage – This is specific to those expecting mothers who want a massage and to know that the therapist utilizes the proper way to position and support the body during this special time. It is used to reduce stress, anxiety and depression while helping to decrease aches and swells.
  • Cupping Massage – This method was used by Ancient Chinese to create a vacuum suction with negative pressure to the body. The treatment area is lightly oiled to help facilitate the pressure to the skin. The vacuum suction process includes lighting cotton ball soaked in alcohol and placing a glass cup under the cotton ball, then moving it to the treatment area of the body, inverting the cup and place it on the treatment area just before the cotton ball is removed. It is used to drain excess fluids and toxins, bring circulation and blood flow to the area, rebalance the nervous system and relieve muscle tension. The cup can also be moved along the energy levels which is sometimes referred to as ‘flashing.’ This treatment is effective for treating cellulite and stubborn muscle cramps.
  • Reflexology Massage – This massage applies pressure to specific point on the hands and feet to relieve stress and specific body conditions. Each pressure point aligns with a body organ and system.
  • Aromatherapy Massage – This massage incorporate the use of essential oils (see above area for list of essential oil benefits) to assist with specific body and skin conditions.
  • Thai Massage – Similar to Shiatsu, the massage focuses on the energy points but not through traditional massage techniques. Thai massage incorporate body movements similar to yoga however without doing any of the work. It improves flexibility and reduces stress.
  • Indian Head Massage – This is a traditional massage in Indian and given at barbers and hair salon before the hair is serviced. It’s given while fully clothes and focuses on massaging the upper back along the shoulder blades, arms, neck and more intensive in the head and scalp. It’s finished with a very gently massage of the face utilizing the pressure point techniques.

Massages are an essential beauty ritual as it not only calms the mind, body and spirit but it also improves circulation, heals and creates renewed vitality. They can be performed professionally or individually but both should be performed with honoring the body.

For more topics on Health & Wellness click here!

For more topics on Beauty & Spa click here!

American Indian Shampoo and Conditioner Recipe

08American Indians are well known for their beautiful long shiny hair.  They took great care of their hair with these amazing recipes for shampoo and conditioner.

These are wonderful organic recipes, but you can also utilize the cold press oils for Yucca root and Prickly Pear to obtain similar results.

Yucca Root Shampoo:

  • Choose a small yucca root and clean of all debris.
  • Peel the top layer of the root covering and break into pieces.
  • Blend or smash the broken pieces into a pulp with juices.
  • Once the pulp turns into alight amber, it’s ready to be mixed with other oils for fragrance and conditioning.
  • Suds the pulp into hair for several minutes, make sure you massage the scalp.
  • Rinse with warm water

Prickly Pear Hair Conditioner:

  • Peel away the outer skin of the Prickly Pear (should be very easy)
  • The texture of the pink pulp is crumbly with dark seeds like watermelon.
  • Cut the pulp into small chunks for one cup worth of pulp
  • Add a cup of water
  • Shake or blend the water and pulp
  • Strain and pour the liquid onto the hair
  • Massage into the scalp and hair for at least 5 minutes.
  • Let it set for another 5 to 10 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water

American Indian Ancient Spa Rituals

In many American Indian tribes, there are amazing health and wellness treatments used to enhance, supplement and heal a variety of aliments. Many of these treatments are considered rituals through ceremonial performances with explicit steps.  Most importantly the American Indian culture prevails at the connection between nature and self.  Most tribes believe an illness is connected to one self’s imbalance of nature.   Although traditional American Indians are not well known for their beauty regimes, they indeed have elaborate beauty, health and spa rituals that we can definitely learn from and apply in our own spa rituals.

IMG_7041

Before we describe these rituals, let me first correct the idea that American Indian were not necessarily known for their beauty.  There is one passage I read that pretty much summed it up.  Mr. Beresford, a chronicled Captain George Dixon’s exploration of Yakutat Bay in 1787, made a starling comment about the Yakutat Tlingit Indians.  These Indians were noted as women who were ‘fond of painting their faces with a variety of colors, so that it is no easy matter to discover their real complexion; however, we prevailed on one woman, by persuasion, and a trifling present, to wash her face and hands, and the alteration it made in her appearance absolutely surprised us; her countenance had all the cheerful glow of an English milkmaid; and the healthy red which flushed her cheek, was even beautifully contrasted with the whiteness of her neck; her eyes were black and sparkling; her eye-brows the same color, and most beautifully arched; her forehead so remarkably clear, that the translucent veins were seen meandering even in their minutest branches – in short, she was what would be reckoned handsome even in England.’

One of the most famous American Indians was of course Sacagawea where at the young age of 12 years old, she was kidnapped by a war party of Hidatsa Indians in 1800. The Hidatsa Indians were enemies of her tribe, the Shoshones. Sacagawea was later traded as a slave and became wife of a Toussaint Charbonneau, member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. While on the expedition she gave birth to her first child. Sacagawea, with the infant Jean Baptiste, was the only woman to accompany the 33 members of the permanent party to the Pacific Ocean and back. Her activities as a member of the Corps included digging for roots, collecting edible plants and picking berries; all of these were used as food and sometimes, as medicine. On May 14, 1805, the boat Sacagawea was riding in was hit by a high wind and nearly capsized. She recovered many important papers and supplies that would otherwise have been lost, and her calmness under duress earned several compliments of the captains. During the expedition’s return journey, as they passed through her homeland of the Shoshone Indians, Sacajawea remembered the trails and proved to be a valuable guide. After the expedition, it was thought be many that she died at 25 of a tepid fever relating to an illness she had struggled with her entire life.

Sacajawea is just one of many amazing American Indian women who utilized a variety of herbs for medicine and beauty routines. Most of the herbs were utilized for healing, as it was a dangerous way of living on the land. To maintain beauty, one had to be able to heal ones self off the land regardless of season. To do so, there were several methods for obtaining help. Firstly, an herbiest would provide a concoction of ingredients found from the local environment especially those herbs considered sacred to the tribe. There were also rituals to appease the spirits, including the spirits of animals, lightening, the Supreme Being and mother earth.  There were sacred herbs as well as traditional herbs for daily usage.

There are Four Sacred Medicines to the North American Indians were often used in ‘smudging’ where they were smoked and used as an incense to awaken the soul and carry their prayers to the Creator. Interestingly, before these plants were harvested, they were blessed. It was believed that the picker needed to communicate their intention and gather the plants permission before they could harvest.  And they harvested only what they needed and never more as ever part of the ceremony process had to be balanced with nature and the spirit world. These herbs are sacred in both ceremonies and daily routines and commonly used in today’s modern society.

  • Sweetgrass (Weengush) – Sweetgrass is sacred to the American Indians as it was often used in many of their ceremonial rituals including prayers and ceremonies. It was smoked as tobacco in ceremonies, burned as incense at burials. Smudging with Sweetgrass was meant to purify the spirit representing love, kindness and honesty. The sweet smell was thought to bring positive energy and positive spirits to the ritual. Sweetgrass was also braided, dried and burned producing a sweet fragrance also often used as braiding of the hair to produce a natural perfume. Today’s Sweetgrass is a common element of potpourris.
  • Cedar (Keezhik or most commonly referred to as Cedarwood essence oil) – The Ancient American Indians utilized cedar in teas to cleanse the body of infections, especially when mixed with sage. In smudging ceremonies, cedar was used for protection and more specifically to protect the home and chase away negative spirits.
  • Sage (Sukodawabuk) – Sage is most often used in the American Indian Ceremonies because it has physical healing properties, calming effects and releases negative energy.
  • Tobacco (Semah)– The most commonly know sacred medicines is the tobacco as it is the main activator and used to make smoke. Tobacco is unique in that is was also used to communicate to the spirit world. It was given as part of a gift to the elders before a ceremony in order to produce your honorable intentions as an offering. Although today’s modern world has connected health risks with smoking tobacco, Ancient American Indians also used it as a pain reliever to relieve toothaches, mouth sores, skin worms, skin rashes, and heal deep wounds commonly used it.

Other frequently used herbs from traditional American Indians include:

  • Aloe Vera, a common cactus plant, is one of the most amazing natural remedies discovered by the Native Americans as a source of long lasting hydration to sooth dry skin, bug bites, heal wounds, heal sun burns, moisturizer hair and treat dry scalp. It was also used in making soaps to cleanse the skin without striping it of its natural oils. Even in modern times, makeup products continue to utilize Aloe Vera as wonderful makeup removers. In Ayurveda medicine it is used to heal chronic skin issues like eczema, acne and psoriasis.There are two substances the Aloe Vera plant can product, a gel from the inner part of the leaf and a latex form that comes from under the plant’s skin that is usually yellowish in color.The benefit of Aloe Vera is that is acts like a protective layer to the skin to allow moisture to be locked in and heal quicker should there be a wound. There are some studies that indicate Aloe Vera increases circulation in the tiny blood vessels and kills bacteria and fungi. There are two hormones found in Aloe Vera that assists with reducing inflammation and helping act as a anti-inflammatory: Auxin and Gibberellins. Additional Aloe Vera contains the following antioxidants: beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E which not only helps the skin stay hydrated but also improves the skin’s elasticity. It also contains other beneficial elements such as minerals, enzymes, anthraquinones (phenolic compounds), lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid.Look for 100% aloe juice products and gels if you can’t use it directly from the aloe leaf.   Avoid any products that are extracts, as they do not contain all the benefits listed above.
  • Prickly Pear (Nopales, Barbary Figs) – The Prickly Pear is the second most amazing herb utilized by the American Indians. It has antiviral, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a host of great elements such as magnesium, essential fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants (including vitamins E, C, B & K), beta-carotene, potassium, iron and calcium.   In fact, Prickly Pear has 150% of vitamin E that is contained in argon oil. It was used by American Indians as a healing food in soups, teas with its flowers, stems, leaves and fruit. The flavonoid compounds prevent inflammation of the joints also enabled healing to skin wounds, rashes and blemishes. Today, you can find the same benefits in the cold pressed seeds of the Prickly Pear. The antioxidants in Prickly Pear are perfect to rejuvenate protect against premature aging. With Vitamin K it fights against dark circles and of course the antioxidants soften the skin almost immediately once applied. Not only was Prickly Pear used to moisturizer the skin; it was also used as a conditioner the hair. It seems to be the go to beauty essential.
  • Juniper Essential Oil, in a steamed-distilled oil from the needles and berries of the juniper plant. It can treat skin conditions that can lead to toxins accumulation in the body. It is currently used as an antiseptic for wounds and an anitheumatic to improve blood circulation. Another benefit of Juniper oil is that it is effective at stimulating and relaxing the muscles, especially cramps and spasms. Juniper oil can also act as an astringent by assisting blood vessels to contract to reduce the chances of hemorrhaging.
  • Bearberry Leaf (three species: Common, Alpine & Red) – Each of the three Bearberry bushes have the elements for the following listed benefits. The Bearberry leaf was commonly used by the Ancient American Indians to relieve itchy scalps usually caused by a fungus as well as skin sores and abrasions. Bearberry leaves have a high polyphenolic compound relating to it’s high in antioxidants elements to renew, repair and regenerate skin cells. Bearberry leaves are one the highest free radical reducer to reduce premature wrinkles and skin elasticity. It also contains arbutin, which inactivates tyrosinase (an enzyme that causes skin pigmentation). The Bearberry leaf extract hit the beauty market on high at the beginning of 2014 as a skin brightener. Ancient American Indians boiled the leaves and then allowed the water to cool just before rinsing their hair with the solution. They also mixed it with a grease-like salve to condition their hair and for healing skin abrasions.
  • Fireweed (a willow herb sometimes called ‘Asperg’) – Native Americans utilized the many benefits of fireweed, as it was able to grow in the harsh winter of North America. It was used to treat skin burns and moisturizer the skin. It is still used today in teas and soups for digestive, diarrhea, asthma, and bronchial issues for it’s astringent and demulcent (soothes irritated mucous membranes) properties. Fireweed has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial elements making it perfect for healing skin injuries, ulcers and rashes. The Black foot Indians utilized fireweed as a powder to rub on their faces to shield them from the bitter cold winter conditions. Fireweed is rich in tannins and flavonoids
  • Saw Palmetto (low growing palm tree) – Saw Palmetto was used as a hormone regulator for women, it assisted with decreasing the amount of testosterone levels in the woman that lead to unwanted hair growth or hirsutism. Saw Palmetto contains an anti-inflammatory through its high amount of polysaccharides that helps boost the immune system. Today it’s thought to help control hormonal related acne in both men and women.
  • Corn (blue corn and not yellow or white corn) – Corn was not only a large part of the American Indian diet, but it was also used ground up to exfoliate the skin. Especially for brides to make their skin glow before a marriage ceremony. On the skin it helps circulate the blood and providing a flushed appearance through its phenolic phytochemical component and ferulic acid known to fight free radicals, which causes premature aging of the skin. Ferulic acid is also well known today to inhibit melanin production.
  • Jojoba Oil – The most popular of the American Indian beauty rituals is this wonderful naturally emollient. Jojoba oil is extracted from the jojoba seed and used through out the cosmetic industry as a conditioner for hair and moisturizer for the skin. Since it is not made with traditional animal based oils that ways down skin, it’s absorbed easily and tends not to clog pores causing acne. Additionally it very similar to the molecular structure of the sebum and can even break down sebum that traditionally causes pores to become clogged. It’s thought to be helpful to acne skin as it allows the skin to still be moisturized and to help with acne without the harness of over drying the skin.
  • Wild Mint (juice or oil) – Oils were often used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, fragrance, skin soother especially if itchy and even as a bug repellant product. American Indians often used it as hair oil for both fragrance and beauty. As a juice wild mint was used as a skin cleanser, which assisted with acne and soothing insect bites and rashes. It was commonly used in baths for itchy skin.
  • Yarrow Root (Achillea Millefolium) – Yarrow was used in soups and teas to induce sweating to break a fever, soar throats, cold and flu viruses. It also helps with stimulating blood circulation within the uterus and assists with internal hemorrhaging issues. Topically it was used to treat bacterial skin issues, skin rashes, heal wounds and sooth skin itching. Yarrow oils are anti-microbial and can bring circulation to the skin for optimum cellular turn over.
  • Yucca – Contains a high amount of saponins or soapy foaming properties that were used to cleanse the hair. It was commonly used to treat hair loss, dandruff and dry scalps. It was also used to wash out wounds and skin sores.

A common American Indian recipe for making Yucca Root Shampoo:

  • Choose a small yucca root and clean of all debris.
  • Peel the top layer of the root covering and break into pieces.
  • Blend or smash the broken pieces into a pulp with juices.
  • Once the pulp turns into alight amber, it’s ready to be mixed with other oils for fragrance and conditioning.

A common American Indian recipe for making Prickly Pear Hair Conditioner:

  • Peel away the outer skin of the Prickly Pear (should be very easy)
  • The texture of the pink pulp is crumbly with dark seeds like watermelon.
  • Cut the pulp into small chunks for one cup worth of pulp
  • Add a cup of water
  • Shake or blend the water and pulp
  • Strain and pour the liquid onto the hair
  • Massage into the scalp and hair for at least 5 minutes.
  • Let it set for another 10 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water

Americans Indians used these herbs in their daily routines but medicine men, medicine women and shamans provided the essential guide to which herbs were needed for specific conditions. They used the four sacred medicines and a few of the other herbs listed above apart of their traditional ceremonies and rituals.

Medicine men and women provided additional support to their tribal members through healing techniques obtained through visions. Each medicine man or woman obtained the visions differently, but sometimes they were acquired by seeking out the visions. Others were chosen by spirits to become the medicine man or woman. The stories are fascinating on how they obtained these visions but regardless it was essential for each of the tribes to have this person within their tribe. Once the person obtained the connection with a spirit, the spirit would guide them on how to heal or manage the specific request presented. For each spiritual access, the medicine man or woman had a special ritual to entice the spirit to present itself. Additionally, the medicine man or woman could heal in different ways or obtain information for different needs by accessing a connection to multiple spirits. This was necessary because each spirit could assist with different healing techniques in which the medicine man needed to obtain for the specific need. Sometimes modern interpreters connect their processes to ghost channelers or mystics, however the process is very different and can be very dangerous without proper guidance. The American Indians also had a very highly decorated individual to access to the spirits world for special needs; the very highly decorated Shaman was able to solicit visions from spirit world but also retained unique knowledge of recipes and methods for healing.  These recipes and rituals were usually passed down through trade teachings.

Given the American Indians are always shown with longer hair, it was actually strictly for bitten for the Medicine and Shamans to cut their hair.  Similar to the story of Samson in the Bible and some modern day Jews, American Indians were taught to never cut their hair.  The hair was seen as a antenna or connection to the spiritual world. By keeping the hair uncut, it enabled an enhanced sixth sense and intuition to guide them throughout their day.  And by keeping the hair uncut meant it needed to be well taken care of with special cleansing and oils to maintain its strength.  Interestingly, this perspective is also shared with the Eastern Indian Jhuttadarees, Eastern Europe’s Merovingian Kings from the middle ages and even the early 1900’s mysterious Vril Society.  Each of these cultures attributed their long hair to the mystical connection.  Hair was therefore, sacred to the individual and well maintained.

The American Indians had a tough life, living off the land in incredibly ever changing temperatures. Some tribes even moved frequently to be near food sources.  Regardless, they had these staples within their culture to count on for their beauty, health and wellness.  Incorporate any of these herbal elements into your beauty routines to achieve your personal best.

Tell us what you think!

For more topics on Health & Wellness click here!

For more topics on Beauty & Spa click here!