Friday, 4 February 2011

Rosemary - a natural skin and hair tonic

Here in Southern Andalucia the recent sunny weather has brought out the first flowers of the herb Rosemary or Rosmarinus Officionalis which in Latin means"dew of the sea". Wild rosemary on the hillsides flowers alongside the first flush of almond blossom, and makes a welcome flash of colour in the herb garden. This versatile herb is also a useful natural ingredient for both the hair and scalp and also in several skin care preparations. Its ability to stimulate the circulation helps the skin to eliminate toxins and to regain a healthy sebum production therefore making it ideal for both overly greasy skin problems and extra dry skin irritations, however it is perhaps best known for its wonderful effects on the scalp and hair. For centuries people have been steeping handfuls of this aromatic herb in boiling spring water as a general hair rinse and tonic. Its toning effect on the scalp stimulates the circulation which inturn stimulates hair growth and general hair strength. Macerating the gently crushed herb in an oil of choice such as Olive or Jojoba and then using this oil to massage into the scalp can help to reduce more severe scalp problems such as seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff.

I have recently combined pure locally distilled rosemary essential oil and the algae spirulina in one of my soap bars to aid the treatment of overly greasy skin. The concentrated spirulina powder helps to detoxify and also feeds the skin with nutrients, and gives this soap a lovely soft green colour combined with the rosemary oil that stimulates the circulation and is an effective natural anti inflammatory, anti fungal and antiseptic. For an extra skin care tonic after washing with the rosemary and spirulina soap you can tone the skin with an easy to prepare tonic - by just steeping lightly crushed rosemary leaves in witchazel and then gently dabbing this onto the face, before moisturizing if necessary.

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