Monday, March 14, 2011

How to make all natural body powders

Fragrant herbs like lavender make a wonderful body powder.

Herbal powders deodorize and heal

Herbal powders are easy to make, effective and have a relatively long shelf life. The base is simply pure arrowroot powder, kaolin or pascalite clay, rice powder, or a combination of the three. You will need ground or powdered herbs, which you can buy from any of the excellent online herb companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs, or powder them yourself with an herb/spice grinder. Ideally, you would use a mortar and pestle but for larger quantities such as my formulas, it would take a long time and a lot of effort. Also, sift the crushed herbs several times to make it as fine as possible.

You will also need containers. Any jar with a tight lid will work, although you can buy inexpensive, little powder dispensers from an herb shop. I used to sell my powders in the cardboard tube type because they more natural and bio-degradable than the all plastic ones.

Deodorizing Herbal Powder not only smells wonderful but works fine as a mild body deodorant. This formula fills four large (3-oz) containers. Combine one cup of powdered lavender and patchouli. Mix with four ounces kaolin clay and four ounces arrowroot powder. Add the following essential oils (be sure to use pure essential oils and not synthetic fragrance oils, which have no medicinal value): 12 drops cedarwood, 6 drops lavender and 6 drops patchouli. Blend well and fill your jars.

Herbal Healing Powder has the gentle, soothing aroma and healing power of slippery elm bark. I was fortunate that a storm brought down a huge limb from a friend’s giant slippery elm tree. I harvested the cambium, or inner bark, and to this day I am still using my own supply. An organic herb company like Mountain Rose offers it as well. To four ounces of powdered slippery elm and calendula blossoms (which is an easy-to-grow annual flower), add four ounces kaolin clay and four ounces arrowroot powder. Blend well and fill three large (3-oz) shakers.

Please note that these powders may feel somewhat coarse compared to plain talc (even with repeated sifting). Although arrowroot, kaolin clay and rice powder are silky smooth, the powdered herbs, no matter how finely minced, will always add a slight rough feeling to the powder. The scent and effectiveness of the herbs, however, are well worth the minor difference.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Simple Herbal Charms

Magic is in the believing. Just as thoughts contain the power to reshape our world, magical spells—in this case, herbal charms—take that one step further to harness our thoughtful energies into action. As always, I strongly recommend keeping it positive, meaning your thoughts as well as your desires. Negative magic sets loose havoc and sorrow upon the world. But positive magic on the other hand can bring about beautiful change.

Herbs have always played a crucial part in magic spells. You can make simple every-day charms from common botanicals found in your yard and garden. Harvest only healthy plants, preferably organically grown or sustainably wildcrafted (meaning never take more than 10 percent of an existing cluster). Some practitioners ask the plant for permission to pluck its leaves, flowers, stem or roots. By holding your hands out to the plant and waiting patiently, you can feel the plant’s energy and you will know which plant is willing to give itself up to your work. After harvesting, leave an offering. Water is always appropriate. Some people leave a coin. I like to leave a strand of hair from my head.

Besides herbs, you will need small squares (up to nine inches) of natural fabric or felt, plus natural string of cotton, hemp, wool or silk. Synthetics have no place in nature magic. First, you need to “charge” the herbs, which infuses your intent and energizes the magical energy of the plant. You can do this by holding the herb and visualizing your need or desire for the spell. My background includes Native American rituals, so I have learned to appreciate the power of smudging. Before assembling the charm, I light a sprig of sage, cedar, sweetgrass or other cleansing herb and wave the smoke over and around the herbs, cloth and string.

Now you are ready to put it all together. Mix the herbs you have chosen and crush them gently (a mortar and pestle is handy for this), then make a small mound of herbal blend in the center of the cloth. Gather the ends together and tie with string. The herbs listed here work well and are relatively easy to find.

1.      Healing charm
Use three or more of the following herbs: Rose petals, lavender, rosemary, pine, self heal, cypress, juniper, eucalyptus, lemon zest and spearmint. To use, squeeze the charm and inhale the fragrance. Place the charm in a sick room or wear it as a talisman.

2.      Protection charm
Use any combination of the following: Parsley, geranium, nasturtium, pennyroyal, pine and spearmint. Hang this charm in doorways or carry on your person as a talisman. For another protection charm, which I learned from my Native friends, hang a sprig of cedar over your entryway.

3.      Psychic awareness charm
These herbs can be used in a charm that you tuck under your pillow: Honeysuckle, iris, lemongrass, mugwort and yarrow.