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Osmia Organics Blog by Sarah Villafranco, Md - 1M ago

In the spring of 2017, just shy of my 44th birthday, I looked in the mirror and saw the familiar shimmer of silver roots starting to emerge at my temples. I sighed heavily as I thought back to my last time getting painted with chemicals in the swiveling chair, realizing it was only three short weeks ago. An image of my mother, a week before she died, flashed into my memory: at age 64, with short, post-chemo, salt-and-pepper hair on display for the first time, she softly joked, “you’ve waited an awfully long time to see me with gray hair.” As that heartbreaking image faded, I had this very clear thought: I don’t want to do this anymore.

What followed, though, was a quick dissolution of clarity, replaced by a rambling series of anxious questions firing in my brain: How do I start to stop coloring my hair? How long will it take to grow out? Will I look older? Will I be less attractive? Will I feel frumpy? What will people think when they see my gray hair? Will I seem diminished in some way? ... Why do I color my hair? Finally, the sensible part of my brain shook the panicking part by the shoulders. I took a deep breath, and started to think.

The most important question - one I hadn’t ever asked myself - was why I had started coloring my hair in the first place. What was I trying to achieve with this commitment of my time and money, and was I accomplishing it? Cue the crickets. I couldn’t answer the question! I was spending thousands of dollars and almost thirty hours of my precious time every year doing something I couldn’t explain. That felt absurd to me.

I started coloring my hair around age 38, when a stylist caught my eye in the mirror from behind the chair and said, in a hushed, conspiratorial tone: “Did you want me to cover up these grays?” Instantly, I felt ashamed, as if she had noticed a gaping hole in my pants, and I quickly agreed to her plan. What I wish I had done was ask this question instead: “Why would I?”

No doubt, the stylist was well-intentioned and wanted me to leave the salon feeling beautiful. But that’s the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Her desire to cover my gray hair was the result of two sneaky, pervasive, malignant assumptions in the world of beauty: gray hair makes you look older (does it?) and if you look older, you look less beautiful (do you?). Once these assumptions have crept into your thinking, they spread their slimy tentacles, creating further negative messaging in your brain. Before long, you’re looking in the mirror, criticizing and lamenting every way in which your face is not the same as a 20-year-old with flawless skin. How impossibly boring would life be if we all looked that way?

After answering a few of my own questions, I picked up the phone and cancelled my next appointment. I needed time to think, and the pressure of a looming salon session would muddle my thoughts. I didn’t want to feel ashamed about my gray hair anymore, but I also had to process the shift, and figure out how to recalibrate my own expectations in a realistic way. Just because I didn’t want to cover my gray didn’t mean that I wanted to take the next steps alone. As my husband wisely noted, “Diane Keaton looks gorgeous with gray hair, but you know she’s got people on the payroll.”

I did some research, and found a  stylist skilled in the art of helping women transition to gray. She put in some highlights and a silver toner, leaving me with a faux salt-and-pepper situation. As my hair continued to grow, I saw her once or twice more, and she’d do more of the same, though less each time. The result was a gradual, intentional transition to real salt-and-pepper hair, which gave me time to adjust.

Over the last two years, as I’ve let the colored ends grow out (rather than chopping them, which might have been an easier course), I’ve definitely had moments of doubt. Some days I think the gray makes me look a smidge older or a bit faded. Some days I miss the raven look of my youth. And when I’m tired, it occasionally feels a little harder to hide my fatigue.

Working through those moments of doubt hasn’t been so hard, though. When my confidence wavers, I have a quiver of tricks to boost it. Some days I wear a little blush, or change my clothes to colors that work better with silver (less brown, more blue). I frequently put my hair up in a way that accents the gray, which strangely gives me more courage. Often, I think of my daughters, and how they will remember me when I’m no longer here; do I want them to remember a mom who was battling the years or savoring them with gratitude and grace?

As my silver strands approach my shoulders, I can truly say I’ve undergone a transformation that has both everything and nothing to do with my hair color. Some of what I feel is challenging. I’m mad that my beautiful mom felt insecure about her gray hair on her actual death bed. I’m frustrated at how many women wear fear like a straight jacket, practically paralyzed by their terror of looking older when they could be laughing and dancing and drinking rosé. I’m irritated when powerful people in the beauty and wellness industries perpetuate the fear of aging, willingly or not.

But most of what I feel is empowering. I feel like I’ve taken off handcuffs. I feel free from the captive hours in that chair, the smell of chemicals wafting around my head, and the $300 dollar bill for something that didn’t relax or nourish me in any sustaining way. I feel comfortable, vibrant, and beautiful, perhaps more than I ever have. I think I look forty-five, and that’s just perfect because I am forty-five. I take great care of my body, my skin, and my mind because I understand that every day spent living this life is a delicious gift, and I want to be here as long as I can. I think less about my wrinkles than about the life-long laughter that created them.

Most importantly, without the distraction of worrying whether my roots are showing, I feel more deeply rooted in purpose. My work in the beauty industry is not about helping people look younger; it’s about helping people feel healthier and more alive. If coloring your hair makes you feel healthier and more alive, I’m all for it, especially as lower-toxicity options emerge. But if you’re not sure why you’re doing something, from hair color to botox to your makeup routine, I think it’s worth examining to make sure you’re not stuck in a habit that originated from an idea you don’t actually support. By wearing this sparkling silver crown, I hope to lead by example in celebrating the years we are lucky enough to live, rather than fearing the changes that accompany the unstoppable passage of time.

With love and shiny, silver strands from us to you, 

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There is a danger in feeling like nothing you do matters. Why recycle? It’s barely a drop in the bucket. Why vote? The other guy will win anyway. Why be kind? No one is being kind to me.

And there is a danger in feeling like EVERYTHING you do matters— obsessively going over the things you said to someone hours later in your head, stressing over what you ate or didn’t eat, feeling like any decision you made is probably wrong. Neither of these options is healthy, nor are they fun.

In our current world, where facts aren’t facts and politics are divisive, where twitter trolls abound, where wellness is revered but achieving it can lead to more stress, where science is ignored, and where human rights are unjustly questioned and often trampled, it can be hard to find the blessed middle ground between “nothing matters” and “everything matters.” It can feel exhausting to find meaningful ways to contribute without succumbing to the negative.

But I offer hope— what you do does matter. Kindness can change someone’s day, which can then change someone’s life. There are more and more ways out there for your voice to be heard. And, most importantly, you have power.

As a Green Beauty advocate, I often feel like I’m either preaching to the choir or screaming into the void, as if people who get it get it, and those who don’t never will. So what’s a science-loving, truth-speaking, kind-hearted person to do? Resist.

Acts of resistance - to the noise, to the lies, to the anger - are easier than you think. Resisting is voting with your wallet. Resisting is acting with your conscience. Resisting is being you, even when it’s not easy or popular. Resisting is doing what you know is right. Resisting is continuing to hold your vision for the future, even when you can’t see the path clearly. And when you buy Green Beauty, you are participating in one of the most beautiful acts of resistance.

I know, you’re wondering what buying non-toxic products or clean makeup has to do with resisting. Well, when you buy a product that was made by someone who cares about the earth, it matters. When you buy something made in small batches, by people paid fairly for their labor, it makes a difference. When you buy a product that says, “Hey big cosmetics, keep carcinogens off my skin!” the message is sent. When you support a company that is run by women, people of color, or other minorities in the world of business, you’re helping them flourish. You’re making it possible for more and more healthy, safe products to be made sustainably by people who care about the earth and your health. You’re voting every time you buy something.

This is why I love Green Beauty. I love knowing that my products were made by hand, with love, by people who are trying to make the world a better place. So I interviewed some of those very people, the ones making your beloved products with their hands and hearts, to ask how buying their products is an act of resistance. And the answers were almost as beautiful as the products they create.

“Green beauty is about making good decisions,” says Naa-Sakle Akuete, CEO & Founder of Eu'Genia Shea. “Buying green means resisting calls for ethereal and amorphous positivity and focusing your dollars on change you can see (both in the mirror and in the world around you).” I first discovered Eu’Genia Shea at Anthropologie, where the little tins of ethically sourced shea butter tempted me by the cash wrap. The more I researched the brand, the more I fell in love with their top-to-bottom sustainable business model, plus the lovely shea butter balms they produce. “Eu’Genia Shea provides organic and quality training to our 5000 pickers in northern Ghana, purchases nuts from them at fair prices, manufactures shea butter in-house according to the methods my mother developed as President of the Global Shea Alliance, and then fills each of our tins by hand,” says Akuete. “In this way, we can guarantee the quality every step of the way and make sure that each of our highly concentrated balms soothes everything it touches. Plus, we donate 15% of our profits back to our processors -- real women from northern Ghana who tackle the patriarchy daily.”

Kahina Giving Beauty has a similar approach to making sure the ingredients they use are sourced fairly and that they leave the world better than they found it. Founder Katharine L’Heureux has created an independent, woman-owned company sourcing the highest quality natural and organic ingredients from small family farms and cooperatives around the world, paying a fair wage to the people who grow and extract them. She says, “our core ingredients, Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil, are sourced directly from impoverished Berber women in a remote Moroccan village. We empower these women by providing a market and fair wage for their labor, running water and electricity for the village, and donate additional funds to support educational programs for the girls in the community.  At the same time we provide healthy alternatives to traditional skincare for women around the world, packaged in environmentally friendly recyclable bottles and boxes made from recycled paper.”  Every detail is thought through with Kahina Giving Beauty, no stone left unturned. I love knowing that I’m using a product that’s gone through so many loving hands, that every aspect of it was constructed so thoughtfully. 

Other brands choose to make change closer to home, with farms they can almost see from their studio windows. “We are committed to finding, creating and nurturing organic artisan sources as local to our production facility as possible,” Laurel Shaffer, owner/formulator of Laurel Whole Plant Organics, tells me. “For us, this isn’t only to ensure the purity and efficacy of our ingredients, it also enables us to truly know the ethics and sustainability of each and every ingredient we use in our products. In addition, choosing to source locally supports the local community, small family-owned businesses, and people we know and love.” Shaffer’s company echos the idea that every purchase you make sends a message. “By choosing our products, you are helping to change the way the beauty industry does ingredient sourcing, encouraging more local and ethically responsible botanical sourcing with the smallest carbon footprint possible,” she says. Based in California, Laurel Whole Plant Organics harnesses the beauty of the west coast and shares it all over the world. 

Suzanne LeRoux, President of One Love Organics, Inc., expresses her idea of Green Beauty as an act of resistance in a simple, uplifting phrase: Say Yes. “The idea of ‘resistance’ is all about saying NO. But at One Love Organics, we say an emphatic YES every single day. Morning and night, we indulge in an irresistibly beautiful act of resistance when we say YES to natural, organic skincare that makes not just our complexions, but our whole selves more radiant with love. Through impeccably-sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices, we say YES to an ethical, cruelty-free world. Most of all, we say YES to the women who want to feel happy knowing they’re shopping for beauty products that are not only clean but wildly, gloriously effective. We say YES to joy, to positivity, to happiness, to choices, to glowing from the inside and from the outside, to LOVE! Say it with us: YES.” That positive energy is infused into all the products made in LeRoux’s Georgia facility. From every ingredient used to every person hired, Suzanne oversees a mission full of integrity and joy, with products that are as effective as they are fun.

And I couldn’t possibly write about the beautiful, brave women leading these acts of resistance without sharing wise words from our most wonderful Osmia Organics founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco. “Choosing Osmia is an act of delicious resistance. By prioritizing quality over false promises and gimmicks, you’re refusing to accept the old story that beauty is about looking young and perfect. Instead, you’re returning to your senses: you’re asking yourself what will make you FEEL beautiful in your daily routines, and inspire you to ACT beautiful in your own life. You know what’s behind our brand: honesty, integrity, and meticulously ethical sourcing of the highest quality ingredients available from nature. You are becoming exactly the kind of consumer the world needs - a truly educated one. By choosing Osmia, you're supporting a conscious company that promotes other conscious companies, you’re promoting organic farming and sustainable harvesting, AND you’re planting a tree every time you place an order with us. Even if you’ve only purchased a single bar of our soap, you’ve taken the first step on a path that leads to extraordinary change.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So, dear reader, do not despair. Recycle with reckless abandon. Vote, and your voice will be heard. Organize, protest, and shout when necessary. Meditate, soothe, and relax when you can. But during all of that, know that when you buy a product made with conscious choices and beautiful intent, you’re spreading love and goodness into the world. That is beauty. It’s not the makeup we wear or the wrinkles we smooth with serums. It’s our energy, our life force, the choices we make. Keep making the best choices you can. And when you find yourself obsessing over them in the middle of the night, wondering if you made the right choice, rest assured. If you bought something made with love, it was a good choice.

With love and hope from us to you, 

 

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As a physician, wellness expert, and general healthy living enthusiast, I believe that periodic cleanses are necessary to reset our systems and reduce the load of dietary and environmental toxins our bodies have to process. I’ve tried a bunch of options, from a brown rice cleanse to the master cleanse to a strict juice fast, but I had never explored an Ayurvedic approach, and from what I’d heard, I was intrigued.

A friend recommended John Douillard’s Colorado Cleanse. His approach appealed to me—strongly rooted in Ayurveda, but with a healthy dose of no-nonsense science to support all phases of the cleanse. His idea is that we are all exposed to toxins every day as humans on planet Earth. While our filtering organs do a very good job of eliminating water-soluble toxins, the fat-soluble toxins can sometimes get stuck in our adipose tissue, where they take up residence like unwanted guests. His 14-day cleanse is designed to excavate those fat-soluble toxins through a three-stage program using diet, proper hydration, and herbal supplements. The cleanse comes with a book (note - not a booklet), and optional herbs by his company LifeSpa, though he does give recipes for DIY herbal support if you don’t want to purchase them.

(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post - this is simply my experience with a specific program that I selected based on a recommendation from a friend.)

The first few days of the cleanse were surprisingly challenging to me. I am a 20-year vegetarian who eats minimal dairy and very little processed sugar, but we did the cleanse after the holiday season, when I’d let some discipline slip - especially in the margarita and dark chocolate caramel departments. So, the transition to zero alcohol, caffeine, dairy, or sugar (not even honey or maple syrup) and minimal fat was an abrupt one. There was a sense of deprivation, to be expected with any cleanse, but the physical effects caught me off guard. I think because I’m an MD, I want things to make complete medical sense to me. I want to understand the physiological mechanisms of my symptoms, rather than throwing around vague phrases like “detox headache” to explain things. At the end of day two, though, the most scientific explanation I could offer for my blazing migraine (despite research) was that my body, accustomed to mild caffeine, moderate natural sugars, and some alcohol, was reacting to the absence of those substances with a detox headache and a pretty irritable state of mind.

Phase two of the cleanse gets even more restrictive, so I was worried that my symptoms would worsen, but they subsided. This stage, like the first and the third, consists of three meals a day, no snacking between meals, and no liquids except water (hot or room temperature) and herbal tea with meals. The entire cleanse is very low in fat, but this middle week requires that your only fat comes in the form of your morning dose of ghee, a clarified form of butter, which increases daily. At first, it’s like licking a piece of buttered popcorn, and it’s actually pretty tasty. By the seventh day, it’s more like drinking from a butter firehose, and you’re more than ready for the transition to the final stage. I experienced mild nausea only one day after the ghee, and it subsided when I had a bit of oatmeal for breakfast.

Phase two also emphasizes a dish called kitchari, a mixture of mung beans, white rice, and spices. You can eat it three meals a day, or substitute oatmeal for breakfast and have kitchari for the other two meals - the plan I selected. The rules in this phase are designed to send fat (in the form of ghee) into your body to retrieve the fat-soluble toxins and pull them into your digestive tract for elimination. In the process, kitchari is supporting your body with a complete protein (beans + rice) that is easy to digest.

Hydration is a critical element of this ayurvedic approach. Douillard believes, and I concur, that most of us are deeply dehydrated, and probably not very effective in correcting dehydration on a meaningful level. He has you sip hot water throughout the day, as well as 120 ounces of room temperature water. His analogy is that if you pour water on a cold piece of leather (your digestive system), it will bead up and roll off without wetting the leather. If you soak the leather in hot water, it becomes more absorbent and can maintain a state of deeper hydration. My plant analogy is similar: if you water a bone-dry plant, the water runs right through, but if you soak the plant first, it can finally hold water. I definitely felt more hydrated than I have in years, and, while I had to pee often, it wasn’t as often as I would have thought, because my body was actually holding on to water in a functional way.

Other recommended elements of the cleanse included journaling, self-massage, yoga, and short workouts. Because I was getting a decent number of calories each day, I didn’t feel like I had to change my workouts too much - I still did yoga, strength training, and cross-country skiing, with only a few moments of lightheadedness. I didn’t journal as much as I should have - the cleanse was very time-consuming - but maybe I’ll pick that up the next time I try it.


The final phase is similar to the first, adding back green apples, more vegetables and grains, and beets, which I managed to eat for the first time in my life with some mild degree of pleasure. It was in this final phase that I had to wrestle with a few unexpected emotions. Essentially, my body felt great, but my mind was done with the cleansing protocol (and so was my husband, who did the cleanse with me). As the mother of two girls and a CEO, the obsessive planning and preparation for each meal plus all the herbal supplements before and after meals was starting to wear on me - I was craving a normal flow to my days. I wasn’t missing caffeine or alcohol or sugar, but I wanted ease, and it was making me crabby. The friend who recommended the cleanse wisely pointed out that maybe the cleanse had done what it needed to do in 12 days instead of 14. As a certified control freak, I resisted that idea, labeling it as a failure. But, the more I considered it, the more it resonated: my body started this protocol in a pretty healthy place, and had gotten what it needed from the experience. So, I let myself ease out of the strict regimen and back into my healthy, vegetarian diet.

Now, almost two weeks after finishing the cleanse, here’s what I think I’ve gained:

  • Not weight! I lost about five pounds from my 5’7” frame, and it felt like a healthy resurfacing of the real me, even if it wasn’t a goal of the cleanse.

  • A deeper understanding of how to hydrate effectively, and a renewed commitment to that worthy cause.

  • A profound appreciation for a drizzle of honey or a splash of maple syrup, rather than my previously careless amounts of those sweeteners.

  • A substantially slowed pace at the dinner table, involving the acts of chewing and savoring my food instead of Hoovering it.

  • An appreciation for a crisp, tart apple after a meal, which has largely replaced my craving for other sweets.

  • A reminder that moderation is possible, and may be the healthiest habit we can work to cultivate in our daily lives, whether it’s regarding coffee, wine, exercise, or stress: a little is fine, too much simply isn’t.

With love and kitchari from us to you,

 

 

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Osmia Organics Blog by Sarah Villafranco, Md - 1M ago

Since I was a wee baby, artichokes have been my very favorite food. My smart mama figured out that once I knew how to eat one, it occupied at least 90 minutes of my toddler time and resulted in utter (and blissful) silence for her. My delight in eating artichokes has only grown with me, and after you all sent loads of questions when I posted an IG story about them, I realized I needed to write this post, because - like artichokes - joy is meant to be shared! Here’s a step by step plan for my favorite way to make these prickly plants.

STEP ONE: PREPPING
  • Start by cutting a lemon in half and keeping it close. Then, trim the stems so that only about an inch of stem remains, rubbing the cut surface with the lemon. 
  • With a very sharp knife, cut the top inch off the artichoke, holding it very firmly with the other hand, so you can see the soft purple center of the choke once the top is gone.
  • Then, place it stem-up on the cutting board, and carefully cut it in half and then quarters, starting at the stem and holding it steady and firm with your non-cutting hand. (They’re really tough, so use your best blade!)
  • Once you have four quarters, use a smaller blade and/or a spoon to cut out the fuzzy/hairy part (I call it the “choke”), and rub all cut surfaces with lemon. Be sure not to cut out the center itself - it’s called the heart, and it’s the most delicious part!
  • Repeat for all artichokes
STEP TWO: COOKING
  • Set up a double boiler and place the quartered artichokes in stem-up, arranging them so they are standing on their heads. You can make multiple layers if needed, and I usually throw in the leftover lemon.
  • Steam them for about 15-20 minutes until the heart can be pierced with a fork but still retains some firmness.
  • While they steam, make this simple dressing and preheat the oven to 375.

  • Transfer the steamed artichoke quarters to a baking tray, and brush them all over with the dressing.
  • Place the tray on the top shelf of the oven, and bake for another 10-20 minutes, until they are slightly crispy and browned on the edges and inner leaves, but not burnt!
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly or even to room temperature.

STEP THREE: EATING!

Arrange the cooked artichokes on a pretty platter, and select a large bowl for the discarded leaves you’re about to have! Starting at the part closest to the stem on the outside, pull off a leave and scrape the leaf with your front teeth. The soft part that comes off as you scrape is the edible part of the leaf. Well, the other part of the leaf is edible, but it’s so fibrous that you’ll still be chewing when everyone else is having dessert. Repeat until all the leaves are gone and you have only the heart and stem remaining, at which point you need only close your eyes and enjoy every last sumptuous bite.

Of course, you can make an artichoke almost as many ways as Bubba could make shrimp! You can steam them whole and pluck the petals from the outside in, dipping them in melted butter with lemon. You can grill them or boil them and dip them in your favorite salad dressing. You can slice the hearts raw and put them in a salad - they’re just edible flowers, after all. And if you have a favorite way to make these bulbous buds, please share it below!!

With love and plenty of dipping sauce from us to you,

 

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Osmia Organics Blog by Sarah Villafranco, Md - 2M ago

My brain has a LOT in common with my Vitamix. It’s powerful, it can do lots of things, it can handle speed and pressure, but at some point, it all just turns into a pile of mush. Multitasking is a skill I’m grateful to have, but there are times when I really need to turn my attention to something, and have to focus hard to get my head where it needs to be. Whether it’s a to-do list so long that I can’t see the end of it, distraction from all the tabs open on my browser, or just a wicked crabby mood, sometimes I need to shake myself out of one state of mind and into another. I’ll share my techniques at the end, but I reached out to some of the people who inspire me on a daily basis to ask them the following question:

What practices, rituals, materials, or tricks do you use to clear your head of negativity or distracted thoughts? How - be specific - do you clear your mind?

I intentionally asked people who are often in situations where they have to perform, from beauty experts to yogis to musicians to bloggers. Whether you’re getting on stage to speak or sing, or going into a meeting, or meeting face-to-face with someone who needs your full attention, you’re never guaranteed that you’ll be in the right mood. Sometimes, you have to figure out how to get in the mood, and quickly. Below you’ll find some nuggets of wisdom and some practical actions for shifting your mindset. I LOVE the variety of answers they gave - I hope you do, too!

Elena is an endless fountain of gentle wisdom, from her yoga to her beautiful way of appreciating and savoring all the details around her. She radiates peaceful, true beauty from a place so deep inside that I’m not sure it would matter what she used on her skin - nothing could stop Elena from glowing. Step into her light whenever you get the chance - you’ll start glowing, too. 

"Breathing is the one and only way I use to clear my mind. A practice known in the tradition I study, known as sama vritti, helps me feel energized, yet calm and centered. It's a practice with which I begin almost every day, which I use while I’m emailing, listening, even interviewing and teaching. Sama vritti is a simple, potent practice that balances and revitalizes, creates harmony in my body, nervous system, and mind. To practice it, patiently establish a rhythm where your inhale and your exhale become even in duration. Inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts. Slowly and steadily, build to five counts. Then perhaps six. Then, to refine it even further, insert a little empty pause just after the inhale, and when that's easy, after the exhale as well. Take one, two or even five minutes there.

Notice how much the pace of your entire body has slowed down. Then notice how quiet and spacious your mind feels."

Rose-Marie has paved the way in the green beauty industry, leading by example with her uncompromising standards for ingredient quality and exceptional product performance. If you’re lucky enough to have a few minutes with her, you’ll come away feeling more powerful for it. 

“Thanks so much. I have learned to let negativity go by literally not indulging it. I let go by breathing it out of my system - meaning, going for a jog or running up stairs or simply doing a meditation. I am learning to let things go but I am also learning to not be a wallflower and not speak up. We all have a point of view and mine is just as important as anyone’s else’s.  

Xoxox”

Lisa is a Boston girl living in Atlanta, and has been by my side telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth as we both allow our natural gray hairs to come marching in strong! She’s smart, candid, and she does great makeup and skin tutorials on her IG feed. Oh, and she’s incredibly funny.

"This is so hard for me because I am an over-thinker by nature. The one thing that helps me is distraction - it sounds cliche but I love yoga for that. And I just started listening to audiobooks which is a great way to close my eyes and unwind at night. There is something about being told a story that is innately nurturing." 

Kathryn is my favorite food blogger of all time. I started out as a fangirl, but after doing an event together and a few partnerships, I consider her a friend. Her blog is the source of countless meals in my house - healthy vegetarian meals that are totally achievable and get two thumbs up from my kids every time. Cookie is her dog, and possibly my spirit animal.

"So, distracted is kind of my way of life but I’ll try to come up with a good answer.

When my mind is churning with negative thoughts or general overwhelm, nothing helps more than taking my dog, Cookie, out for a long, brisk walk. I always seem to come back with more clarity and energy than before.

If I’m being hard on myself, I try to treat myself with the compassion that I would offer a friend. This is somehow easier, once again, after a change of scenery and/or some physical exertion. Simply going outside often reminds me that there’s a lot more to life than the problems I’ve been dwelling on.

Lastly, if I have too many to-do items in my head, I write them all down in Evernote (my note-taking app of choice). Then I determine the top priorities for the day, based on the long list, and focus on those. That way, my mind is at ease because I no longer have a million things running through my head, and I know I’ll get to them later if they are truly important. Staring down a long list all day, every day, only leads to more overwhelm. I physically write down the short list because it makes me feel like I’m already taking a step in the right direction!"

Kathryn is a beloved yoga teacher whose truth-telling, unapologetic style of communication has helped her students tap into their most authentic selves. She and her wife, Kate, host a podcast together, and often share their busy, hilarious lives on Kathryn’s Insta stories.

"The tried and true works best for me: a yoga (or workout session) followed by a 10-minute meditation. The activity distracts me from what bothers me, and then I’m in a better headspace to slip into meditation which allows me to declutter my head of negative talk."


Liz was the food editor at Mind Body Green for years, and is now moving down a different path with a brand new cookbook coming out on April 9! Her book will focus on cooking for your body and your soul, and doing it with people you love - a simple practice that will enrich your life beyond words.

"Meditation is the number one way that I clear my mind. I do a Vedic practice for 20 minutes every morning and I swear I can feel the gunk in my brain breaking off and falling away. Other than that: I love turning on great music and dancing and singing around my apartment. You can’t do that for more than a minute and maintain a bad mood."

May is a pillar in the green beauty community, creating products that top the charts in luxury, efficacy, and sheer beauty. She’s a gentle-but-driven fellow entrepreneur, and another silver sister in letting her gray strands shine naturally. Her kind nature and sweet spirit infuse everything she does, including her gorgeous products. Also, she owns a very large pig.

"There is a practice called "shaking" that I use to interrupt negative thought patterns, break through stuck-ness, or simply release pain or tired energy from my body, mind, or emotions. The idea is simple, plant your feet solidly to the ground, and shake the rest uninhibitedly. It feels a little silly, and that is part of the point - freeing up expectation and letting go, starting with our physical body. Try even for thirty seconds and you'll feel a shift. Go all out for twenty minutes and you'll step out in a new kind of light.

You can find video demonstrations online and more information by searching "tantra shaking practice". Here's a great blog post that offers both."

Rod is an internationally renowned yoga teacher, and a treasured friend. I attended a workshop of his and he asked the following question of us: “What lessons are you tired of learning?” That question alone was worth the price of admission. Rod is married to my dear friend Gina, whose soup company, Gina Cucina, is taking the world of soup and social justice by storm.

"I am not sure that I have any “tricks” as such. My capacity to clear my mind of negativity, doubt and distraction is really a three-parter: preparation, intention and action. In brief, if I do not prepare for these moments before they happen, I won't be able to pull myself out of them, when they do. Preparation for me means consistently (daily) taking some time to focus my mind, i.e. meditation, relaxation or the like. This way I teach myself to be able to choose what I pay attention to and to be less at the mercy of mind’s capacity to wander, often non-constructively.

Second is intention. In short, what helps me prevail over spinning mentally in the wrong direction is knowing what I can control––so much of fear is about experiencing the dread of the uncontrollable. So, if I understand what makes me truly happy, that is as free as possible from attachment to outcome, I can get away from being fearful and vulnerable to stress.I realized a long time ago that the key to this for me was authentically dedicating myself to uplifting and empowering others (more on this in a minute).

The last thread is action. This means that if and when I notice stress or or non-constructive feelings arise, I focus. It almost doesn’t matter what it is, any object, for instance, just go to it and lock down for a moment. Once there, I access or recall the work I did to “prepare” (step one) and choose to embody it. Finally, with my mind more in the present., I take my focus off of myself and put it on my intention––“authentically uplifting and empowering others." That’s it. When I stop thinking about me and step into my intention, I am home free."

April is one of our favorite editors in the wellness game, and just wrote a great piece in the April issue of Good Housekeeping about clean beauty and maybe a few of its dirty secrets. Pick up an issue to check it out!

"To clear my head before a big day or in any high-pressure situation, I close my eyes and say a quick prayer. Not only for the desired outcome, but also to express gratitude for my life and the privilege of being in the position I’m in. It helps me feel instantly grounded and calm. I also like to dab an essential oil like lavender on my pulse points, which has an instant relaxing effect."

Favorite. Blog. Ever. I’ve been reading A Cup of Jo forever, and I never tire of it. It covers everything from parenting to books to culture to food to wellness to careers, and the writing is sharp and clever. If you ever need a rabbit hole to distract you from the outside world, dive into A Cup of Jo. And Joanna, I’m still waiting for a date with you in NYC. 

"In my twenties, I went to a wonderful therapist. I kept getting stuck on certain moments — worrying obsessively about something I did at work or something I said at a party. She told me about the "Grand Canyon trick," where you picture the enormous space and imagine that it holds your life. Over there is your fourth birthday party, over there is your college roommate, over there is the bike ride you went on last week, and over there are your future children and grandchildren. Keep picturing all of your life, the big and small things. And then drop in the thing you're worrying about — oh, well, I was awkward at a random work dinner. WHO CARES?! It suddenly feels so small and inconsequential and fleeting. What a brilliant want to put things in perspective, right? Fifteen years later, I still use the Grand Canyon trick whenever necessary, and it works like magic."

Gordy is a longtime friend in the music industry, whose career we have been lucky enough to follow. The Band of Heathens’ sound is roughly in the Americana category, and is the perfect companion for a long drive or a Sunday gathering with friends.

"So I’ve been thinking about how I escape the pull of negativity and distraction in my work and I realized I have two main areas of work, and I treat those things differently for each area. If I simplify what we do, it mostly boils down to 1) live performance and 2) the creative work of writing and recording music.

For the live performance part of my life, it mostly comes down to focusing during the time leading up to show time. The day to day of tour life can ensnare you in lots of negativity and distraction, but as showtime approaches I try to set aside some time to focus on the evening’s show.  I’ll review the songs we’re gonna play that night; I may review lyrics for any tunes we haven’t played in a while; I’ll envision the flow of the show and what special moments can be incorporated into that particular night; and finally, and probably most importantly, I like to take a few minutes to focus on why I’m there. I choose to go on the road with my band because I believe music is important in our lives and experiencing live music can heal and bring people together. Right now I think that’s more important than ever.

If there is anything particularly negative going on in my life I try to think about the one person in the audience that night that is having a much worse time than I am. I believe they’re there at the show to escape whatever is going on in their life, maybe to be healed a little bit to be able to move forward, and I think about how it’s my purpose right then and there to go out and tap into something musically that can seriously heal people. Music might be the only real magic we have and I try to not take that for granted when it’s time to go on stage.

As far as the creative side of my work writing and recording music, distraction is way more of a danger than negativity. In some ways I don’t mind some negativity because songs sometimes come from negative experiences. Distraction is the real danger. My friend Owen Temple and I like to joke that writing songs is 50 percent doing the work and 90 percent avoiding the internet. There are more distractions than ever that keep us from diving deep enough to get to the place where real breakthroughs can happen.

On that note, I’m gonna put this down and get back to writing a song!"

Jessamyn is an absolute powerhouse in the yoga world, and an advocate for not only body positivity, but for authentic self-love and acceptance. She’s got a sharp wit and she tells it like it is, and her teaching style is clear, no-nonsense, and incredibly kind. Take a class from her if you ever get the chance.

"My most effective practice for clearing my mind is to stop whatever I’m doing, close my eyes and take ten deep breaths. If I have more time, ten deep breaths can easily turn into 5 minutes of verbal silence, and more time is available I can easily spend upwards of an entire afternoon in silence. This doesn’t really make the thoughts go away- it’s more like reminding myself that it’s ok for all of my thoughts to be present and it’s ok for my expectations and reality to vary wildly from one another. It’s basically like taking as much time as is needed to tell myself: “It’s Ok. You’re Ok. I love you.” Something that can be very hard to remember when I’m concentrated on experiencing negativity."

Hi. That’s me. This is going to sound like a commercial for Osmia, but when I need to clear my mind, I return to my senses. Because I'm a border collie stuck in a human body, I can get a little crazy if I stay in my head too long. When I need to get out of my head and push the reset button, I do so by getting back into my body through one or more of my senses. When possible, I use exercise to reconnect me with my senses - going for a run outdoors taps into sight, smell, hearing, and touch instantly. If I need a faster fix than that, I'll make a cup of herbal tea with a little honey, listen to an album that grounds me, or get out one of my favorite essential oils and inhale deeply for about a minute. For concentration, I love rosemary or basil. If I'm feeling sad, I'll use pink grapefruit. If I'm moody, I'll reach for clary sage. And if I'm scattered, vetiver helps me collect myself. 

 

With love and a clear head from us to you, 

 

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The beauty industry is full of buzzwords that are hard to define or verify. On social media, I see a lot of “natural” and “naturally-derived,” for starters. What exactly does that mean? There is no official definition. These buzzwords can range from vague - wildcrafted, clean, anti-aging - to trend-driven, like “glass hair” or “cloudless skin,” to broad categories of ingredients, like adaptogens and CBD. 

While a lot of these terms are confusing and not clearly defined, one that is very easy to describe is vegan. It simply means “not containing or utilizing animal products.” So that should be the end of that, right? Well, sort of. This definition hasn’t stopped people from using the vegan label in potentially misleading ways all over the beauty world.

Lately I’ve noticed a trend on Instagram: people are equating the word “vegan” with “nontoxic” or “green” when it comes to beauty products and cosmetics. This is, of course, not the case. Stating that a skincare product is vegan is great information, but it does not inherently mean that that product is safer, cleaner, or greener than any other out there. After all, petroleum and cigarettes are vegan, and neither of those is something we want on or in our bodies. Vegan doesn’t equal safe, non-toxic, natural, organic, or green - you have to do a little more homework to know what’s going on your skin. 

So how do we unravel this misconception that labeling a product “vegan” somehow identifies it as healthier? First, we will say that we completely respect and admire those who decide to stick to a vegan diet or a vegan skincare routine. But, for those of you who choose to use select, consciously-sourced animal products, there are some incredible, non-vegan products that are also wholesome and healthy.

Here are some of the most common ingredients green beauty companies and brands like ours will use that make some of their products not vegan:

  • Honey
  • Milk or condensed/powdered milk
  • Beeswax
  • Buttermilk powder
  • Lanolin

For example, we at Osmia see the value of certain animal-derived ingredients in a few of our products. While all of our products are always cruelty-free, we’ve found that honey, beeswax, certain milks, and lanolin can be incredibly beneficial for certain skin-types and conditions. We source these ingredients very carefully: we only use suppliers who treat the animals with kindness and respect, understand that without healthy bee communities the planet will suffer, and are transparent about their practices. We use a bunny logo on each product page of our website to show which items are ‘cruelty-free and vegan’ and which are just ‘cruelty-free’. It’s also indicated on every product’s packaging, and full ingredients lists are on the website and packaging as well. Whether your main concern is finding vegan products or making sure your products are non-toxic, learning to read labels should be your top priority— knowledge is power, right?

While we’re debunking terms used in the beauty industry, what is the preferred term for safe, healthy, conscious beauty brands like Osmia? How do we describe this beauty movement? I went straight to my favorite expert, Osmia founder, Dr. Sarah Villafranco, to get her take!

“I like green beauty. It’s positive, and there are not that many brands that are truly green. Clean beauty is often misused. And non-toxic isn’t quite accurate because even lavender is a toxin if taken in the wrong dose.”

The widely-accepted thinking in the industry is that “green” beauty identifies a brand’s consciousness in decision-making, around every aspect of the product, from packaging to sourcing to producing to marketing. Since there is no set governing body that labels products as being green or not green, and, of course, there are also shades of green, it’s ultimately up to the consumer to get educated and decide what is important to her/him when purchasing a product. In fact, finding brands you trust may be the most important step in your green beauty journey.

Now that we’ve got our terminology settled, here are some examples of products we love from a few fellow green beauty brands. We’ve picked one vegan and one non-vegan product from each line.

W3LL PEOPLE

We LOVE this brand, and we’re not alone. Their vegan Nudist Multi-Use Color Duo gives you two great colors for brightening up your face and doing a little subtle contouring. They come in one cute package at a very affordable price. Their award-winning mascara is still green, but not vegan as it contains beeswax.

 

JOSH ROSEBROOK

The Balance Shampoo and Conditioner are vegan hair care at its best. They smell amazing, leave your hair soft and shiny, and work effectively to treat most scalp conditions. And, while we adore Josh’s Vital Balm Cream, it’s not for vegans, because it contains nourishing honey!

 

 

HAN SKINCARE

HAN stands for Healthy And Natural, and the brand is both in spades. Their concealer is free of silicone and dimethicone and comes in five shades. It can be used to brighten the skin under your eyes or to cover spots and blemishes, all while soothing the skin with argan oil, shea butter, and Vitamin E. We also love HAN’s lip gloss, but it’s only vegetarian, not vegan, since it contains beeswax.

Last but not least, here is a list of Osmia’s cruelty-free, non-vegan products, and the purpose of the non-vegan ingredient in each product:

  • Detox Exfoliating Mask contains honey, which serves to nourish the skin and counteract the potentially drying effect of charcoal powder in the mask.
  • Serenity Milk Bath contains skim and buttermilk powders, which soften the skin with lactic acid and butter fat.
  • Lip Doctor contains beeswax, which helps the product stay on your lips and provides a mild barrier function for moisture retention.
  • Lip Repair contains lanolin, honey, and beeswax. The lanolin and beeswax serve as a powerful barrier to water loss, and manuka honey is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and hygroscopic, meaning that it draws moisture to the skin.
  • Pumpkin Facial Soap has honey to moisturize the skin alongside the gentle brightening effects of organic pumpkin puree and tomato paste.
  • Lavender Pine Soap uses buttermilk powder to increase the exfoliating power of the bar with lactic acid, in addition to the red sandalwood powder that provides the delicious scrubby texture.
  • Milky Rose Soap has buttermilk powder for the creamiest lather of all time.
  • Oh So Soap also has buttermilk powder, which can be soothing to eczema and other dry, flaky skin conditions.

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever have industry-wide rules for what can be considered “green” or “natural” anytime soon, but determining if something is vegan or not is already perfectly clear. You might just have to know how to look for it yourself, and, while you’re at it, it never hurts to know what else is in your favorite products and why. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I always find if alarming if I can’t find the ingredient list on a product’s packaging or on a brand’s website - never a great sign. And, if the brand won’t answer questions on social media or online, that’s also not ideal.

Transparency is what empowers consumers, and if a brand doesn’t want you to feel empowered, well, as they say, there are other fish in the sea, er, other brands on the internet, rather! Look for the ones who readily tell you what’s in the product, why they like that particular ingredient for its purpose, and bonus points if they can tell you exactly where an ingredient comes from! If you care enough about your health and the planet to want vegan products, you might also want to know what else is in there!

Here at Osmia, we promise we’ll always be open about what we use and why. Plus, since our team is in charge of every ingredient and formula, you can be sure we actually know! And by holding brands accountable for this kind of information, together we will ensure safer products, a cleaner earth, and healthier skin!

With love and transparency from us to you, 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT OUR WRITER, EMILY BARTH ISLER 

She's a writer, Young Adult Fiction author, and natural beauty editor. A former child actress, she performed all over the world in theatre, film, and TV. She spent several years in New York writing episodic television for the web with Emmy-award winning PhoebeTV, and a lifetime writing YA short stories and plays. 

She holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Wesleyan University, where she took all the creative writing classes she could find, including one which was taught by none other than Lemony Snicket himself! Her work as a Beauty Editor/Writer can be seen online in many publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

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Osmia Organics Blog by Sarah Villafranco, Md - 2M ago

You know I love my Vitamix.  Like, it's a member of my family.  So, if you don't have one, and you like to blend things, you should consider the investment.  Mine is going on ten years old and still strong as a team of oxen.  (Really, it is -  although, also, it was also fun to use the word oxen in a blog post.)  But enough about the blender.  Here is the easiest green smoothie ever - enjoy!!

Ginger Zinger Green Smoothie

Combine in a (hopefully) Vitamix:

1 peeled cucumber
1 peeled frozen banana
1 peeled knob of ginger (big one for a ginger kick!)
5 pieces of kale (stems removed, especially if you don't have a Vitamix)
1/4 pineapple, peel removed
Splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Blend and enjoy!  Makes 2 servings.  

With love and green goodness from us to you, 

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I’m an okay baker. By that, I mean that I must follow a recipe, and I feel extremely sweaty and nervous if I have to make even the slightest substitution. That aside, my baked goods usually turn out to be pretty tasty! Since going gluten-free about five years ago, though, I’ve had to work up the courage to start baking again. Early on, I had a few lumpy, dry, tongue-desiccating disasters that made me regard my oven mitts with serious trepidation. But, being GF has come a long way since then. Thanks to all you people who don’t respond well to gluten but still want to eat like kings, baking without gluten has become much easier and way more delicious!

One Saturday morning, after a particularly invigorating shower with our Coffee Mint Soap and a steaming cup of coffee in hand, I decided I needed a scone to go with my coffee. I did a lot of searching before I landed on this recipe by GF Jules - it looked simple and quick, which aligned with my urge for instant gratification that day. I made it, and the scones were really good, especially for a first time scone-maker! Since then, I’ve fiddled with the recipe a little bit, and made a few modifications, so I’ll share my version here. If you want a vegan recipe, work from the recipe on her website, which gives vegan options.

I didn’t have the GF Jules flour blend, and still haven’t remembered to order it, so I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF Baking Flour blend - the blend I usually have on hand in the pantry. The GF Jules blend is a tapioca/corn/potato blend, and is a bit more expensive than the Bob’s, which is more of a rice-based blend. I also subbed in some almond flour for a bit more moisture, and greek yogurt for a richer, decadent flavor.

Base Ingredients

1 ¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill GF 1:1 baking flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼  cup organic, unbleached granulated cane sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons (½ stick) very cold butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup plain, organic greek yogurt

Additions (shoot for a heaping ½ cup of total additives)

These I’ve tried:

  • Fresh, sliced strawberries and ginger chips (my team loved these)
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries and lemon zest
  • Fresh raspberries and lime zest

These are on my list to try:

  • Cocoa powder and cacao nibs
  • Coconut flakes and chocolate chips
  • Pumpkin and dried cranberries

Directions (I followed the directions from the GF Jules recipe pretty closely here, because they are easy and work well!)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives. (Note - this is the upper body workout nobody knows about - I’m going to make a fitness video about pastry cutting. If you’re flushed and tired after this step, you’re completely normal. Not sure what cutting pastry looks like? Watch this.)

Stir the eggs and yogurt together, and add to the flour mixture. Gently fold in your additions, being careful to stir them in only as much as you need to, and trying not to squash too many berries! If the mixture feels too crumbly, wet your hands and sprinkle a bit of water on it until it holds together. (Second note - do this very slowly, as a few droplets of water may be all you need.)

Turn dough out onto a clean counter dusted with GF flour. Pat it into a circle, flipping occasionally to prevent sticking. I use a pastry scraper in this step to help flip the dough. The final circle of dough should be about ¾ – 1 inch thick and roughly 7-8 inches across.

Using the pastry scraper lightly dusted with flour, cut the circle in half, then quarters, then eighths. Using a dinner knife, gently lift each triangle onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the tops with butter or coconut oil, and a sprinkle of sugar if you like.


Bake for about 10 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and the scones resist a gentle finger pressing down on top of a scone. There shouldn’t be any uncooked parts of the dough peeking through, but be careful not to overcook!

Makes approximately 8 scones, and the recipe can be doubled easily - you’ll just have to eyeball the part where you split the dough into two halves.

Even if you’re not gluten-free, these are super easy and totally delicious. Have one with a cup of coffee, a mug of tea, or a serving of my new favorite drink. Better yet, make a batch of these British beauties and share them with family and friends. And, don’t forget to wash the dough off your fingers with a fresh bar of our beloved Coffee Mint Soap!

With love and a perfectly crumbly mouthful of scone from us to you,

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Osmia Organics Blog by Sarah Villafranco, Md - 2M ago
INGREDIENT:
Rosemary

FANCY LATIN NAME:
Rosmarinus officinalis

WHERE IT COMES FROM:
It grows everywhere now, but it originated on the cliffs of the Mediterranean – the namerosmarinus means “dew of the sea”.  Most rosemary essential oil is steam-distilled in Corsica, Tunisia, and Spain. (Ours is from Corsica.)

AROMATHERAPY USES:
Rosemary is used to clear the mind and promote concentration - it would be an excellent oil to use in a diffuser in your kid’s room during homework hours! Combined with peppermint and lavender, rosemary can be used to help alleviate headaches. Rosemary is also an excellent oil to use first thing in the morning, to brighten up your sleepy brain, and fortify your energy for the coming day. It is associated with the 3rd eye chakra in yoga, where clarity resides.  
 

SKINCARE USES:
Rosemary is antimicrobial, and can help alleviate aches and pains or sore muscles when used topically in a balm or an oil. It is used widely in hair preparations, as it has been shown to help with dandruff and stimulate healthy hair growth. Massaged into nail beds, rosemary can help strengthen and support nail growth.

THINGS TO KNOW:
Not all rosemary is the same. It comes in different “chemotypes” – camphor-borneol, cineole, and verbenone, which has the gentlestscent, and is the best for skincare. Rosemary is not recommended for people with high blood pressure, seizure disorders, or during pregnancy.

RANDOM SNIPPETS:
Rosemary symbolized love and death in ancient Greece and Rome, and was used at funerals to promote loving remembrance. It was also used in one of the earliest known perfumes – Hungary Water – created for the Queen of Hungary in the late 14th century.

OSMIA PRODUCTS WITH ROSEMARY:  
We use rosemary extract as an antioxidant in loads of product to keep them fresh and protect our oils.  We also use rosemary in Bria, our natural perfume oil, formulated to combat deep physical and mental fatigue, because of its aromatherapeutic potency. Our Rosemary Body Mousse, which people are starting to crave more than their morning coffee, is incredible for your hands, elbows, knees, feet, fingernails, and even your husband's shiny bald head!  and, of course, our Spring Cleanse Soap combines rosemary with eucalyptus, geranium, and bergamot to give your spring a healthy boost!

With love and a refreshing, renewing rosemary from us to you, 

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Ingredient:
Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Fancy Latin Name:
Eucalyptus globulus

Where It Comes From:
Eucalyptus trees and shrubs come from Australia and Tasmania but have been naturalized in many other countries. The essential oil is steam-distilled from its leaves and has a thin and clear appearance with a medicinal, woody scent. The beautiful Eucalyptus globulus grows rapidly and ranges from a shrub to a hundred-foot-tall evergreen tree with a large open crown. Eucalypt forests comprised of three genera - eucalyptus, corymbia, and angophora - dominate Australia’s landscape with an estimated sprawl of 227 million acres. (Is it just me or does anyone else want to plan a spring break trip to Australia?) The particular essential oil we use at Osmia hails from Portugal and transports you straight to the humid heart of a towering eucalyptus forest.

Aromatherapy Uses:
Diffusing eucalyptus helps to purify the air, provide grounding mental clarity, and inspire deep breathing. Having trouble with breathing period due to respiratory gunk? Eucalyptus helps to clear out the sinuses and respiratory system. Colds, infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, and bacterial inflammation may meet their match in this antibacterial essential oil, thanks to the cineole and pinene content of the oil, especially the E. globulus species. Inhaling deeply, you can almost feel it reaching down into your lungs and chasing away trouble. So sprinkle a few drops on the floor of your shower and mentally prepare yourself: spring is coming.

Skincare/Cosmetic Uses:
Eucalyptus is an antimicrobial and contains a compound called eucalyptol. These elements make it a go-to essential oil for many athletes in relieving aching muscles and helping to stimulate healthy circulation. Even if you aren’t an athlete, eucalyptus can help ease arthritis symptoms and everyday achy muscles. The specific species we use is also great for soap making. Like a good baseline in your favorite song, the eucalyptus lifts up the other aromas present while also adding its own delicious note.

Things to Know:
There are 569 species of eucalyptus native to Australia alone with more than 700 known species worldwide. Add in the fact that there are different chemotypes within the various species and the possibilities for eucalyptus’ different aromas and uses become a little overwhelming. I’m feeling dizzy right now just thinking about them all! E. globulus is one of the most commonly distilled species for aromatherapy and cosmetics, alongside E. radiata whose gentler aroma is preferred for children and people with sensitivities. Still, those are only two of the many, many different species and chemotypes of eucalyptus!

While its proper external use and inhalation is generally considered safe, eucalyptus is a great example of how even pretty plants can be dangerous: as little as a teaspoon of the essential oil taken orally is enough to cause central nervous system depression, dizziness, vomiting, and respiratory dysfunction in children, and one ounce orally can kill an adult. Eucalyptus oil should be used with caution in children, and avoided entirely in infants.

Random Snippets: 

  • Eucalyptus means “well covered”, which is referring to the protective layer around the plant’s flower buds. Due to the high concentration of cineole in eucalyptus, it doesn’t have many natural pollinators and relies on self-pollination.
  • Remember when I mentioned just how many acres of eucalypt forests there are in Australia alone? Well, one acre of eucalyptus can produce up to 35,000 pounds of leaves for essential oil production. The leaves then yield an average of 3% oil, which leaves us with 1,050 pounds of essential oil. Let me distill that math for you: it takes about 33 pounds of eucalyptus leaves to make a pound of the essential oil.

  • Eucalyptus trees make the best didgeridoos! (Get ready to bounce. Just sayin’.) Traditionally, craftsmen find trunks or thick branches hollowed out by termites to make these instruments and no live trees are harmed in their creation.
Osmia Products with Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Recovery Salt Bath 

Let the healing vapors of lavender, eucalyptus, marjoram, and juniper ease muscle and mental tension while you read a book or listen to something beautiful.

Spring Cleanse Special Release Soap 

Eucalyptus mingles with rosemary and grapefruit in this divine spring soap, designed to lift your spirit out of the short, dark days of winter and into the budding brightness of spring.


With love and springtime forests of eucalyptus from us to you,


 

 

The information contained in this post is for educational interest only and is not intended to represent claims for actions of eucalyptus. This information is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any physical or mental illness or disease

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