Bulk herbs and Essential oils in the Apothecary
We’ve been busy in the Apothecary making medicine, cremes, Aromatherapy body oils and more. The holidays are here so we want to welcome you to shop locally and support local artists and businesses this season. We have gift sets and custom blends available, just stop by or shop online at soothingherbals.com
Soothing Herbals Apothecary
205 S. Main St, Lexington, VA 24450 ~ 540.460.2722
Wednesdays & Thursdays 9am-3pm
All other days by appointment only.
Come by and see me!
Earlier this year, a dear friend sent me a video about making your own essential oils with a homemade still. Currently, I buy therapeutic grade essential oils from quality suppliers, and am grateful that there are reliable sources out there. But to think that I could actually make my own is totally exciting. Of course it would take tons and tons of plant material to yield the amount of EOs I currently buy, so my intentions in this adventurous project were purely to experiment and have fun.
My wonderful apprentice, Lee, and her husband Ian, watched the video too. Ian, being a teacher with a scientist/engineer’s mind, carefully pieced together the elements we would need to build our own homemade still, and before I knew it, Lee had come over one day telling me all the pieces of the still had arrived and we were ready to try our first test run.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we harvested our Lemongrass stalks, chopped them up into tiny little pieces, placed them in the homemade still with some water to boil, and waited. Here’s what happened:
slicing the fresh, juicy lemongrass stalk
approx 65 grams of fresh lemongrass
Ian and I watching and waiting
several hours later, approx 2ml Lemongrass EO is produced. (The EO is on the top, and the hydrosol is below)
our DIY, Homemade EO still, to be used again soon!
It took a few hours to yield the tiny amount (2ml) of EO from our big harvest of fresh Lemongrass. The entire house smelled like Lemongrass and the Aromatherapy from this was delightful in the kitchen. A HUGE Thank you To Lee and Ian Felty for the brains, execution and photos of this project. I am stoked!
This is just the beginning of the possibilities that await at Soothing Herbals. Please stay tuned for more info soon.
my home: Little California, aka Goshen, VA in November
Wow. It’s the end of November already… which means Thanksgiving time and the beginning of the holiday season. How did that come so fast? Wasn’t it just summer? Does anyone else feel like time is moving at lightning speed? In honor of the month of Gratitude, I’d like to give thanks to all my customers, clients and friends of Soothing Herbals for your support.
With that, I want to share with you some of Soothing Herbals Holiday special offers along with our monthly Featured Products…
Black Friday is less than a week away! Are you ready for the celebrating the season of giving? To help you prepare, check out our BLACK FRIDAY thru CYBER MONDAY SPECIALS:
FREE SHIPPING on orders of $75 or more, now through December 31, 2013
FREE Lip Balm or sample size creme with every purchase while supplies last.
Gift wrapping and note cards (sent with gift orders) available upon request
November Featured Products:
Got tired eyes and dry, wrinkly skin? The skin around the under eye area is thinner, softer and more vulnerable to dryness and inflammation during winter months. Taking care of your eyes and skin with Eye Renewal Serum will really make a difference. This intensive and nourishing eye moisture treatment contains highly nutritive and anti-inflammatory oils to help prevent premature aging and improve the appearance of the under-eye area. It provides an increase of renewed cells in the epidermis, allowing cells to produce more collagen & elastin, which make the skin look smoother, firmer and more supple.
INGREDIENTS: Jojoba oil, Calendula oil, Rosehip Seed oil, Evening Primrose oil, vitamin e oil, essential oils of Lavender, Carrot Seed, Chamomile, Rose Geranium and Neroli.
click here to Buy Now
Mango+Coconut+Jasmine+Sandalwood=EXOTIC. Hence the name. This luscious herbal lotion is infused with organic lavender & calendula flowers and an exotic blend of wax, butters and essential oils. Perfect for use on face, hands & body. You will love the aroma of this creme!
INGREDIENTS: Sweet almond oil infusion of organic lavender & calendula flowers, distilled water, jasmine flower wax, mango butter, coconut oil, vitamin e, grapefruit seed extract, essential oils of lavender, sandalwood, rose geranium & sweet orange.
Great color for the ladies! This new lip balm is made with Calendula flowers infused in Sweet almond oil with cocoa butter and essential oil. Its ruby red color comes from Alkanet root, a biennial European herb. It has a gorgeous red tint that highlights your lips natural color.
INGREDIENTS: Sweet Almond oil, calendula oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, vitamin e, essential oils.
These are some great products you will find online at soothingherbals.com as well as in our downtown Apothecary in Lexington. I welcome your orders and also provide custom blends to suit your needs. Feel free to send an email or call if you have questions or comments.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading about the latest happenings at Soothing Herbals. Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!
Nasturtiums still blooming in October
Have you ever been out in Nature and had an amazing encounter? Something tells me that the answer is yes. Most people I know (or even don’t know) have had some kind of religious experience, or shall I say, spiritual experience with something in Nature. Be it with a wild animal, a wild plant, a cultivated plant, a body of water, a breath of fresh air, an Aurora borealis (or australis), a lightning storm, a snowstorm, you get what I mean, yes? Well, I for one have been blessed with all of the above. Words can’t really describe what I felt in those moments, which are now distant memories, but I hold them so close to my heart because they were so incredible. These are experiences that changed me, sort of transformed my mind, opened my heart and helped me grow.
A couple of weeks ago, I was gifted with the opportunity to catch up with a friend whom I haven’t seen in a few years. I met this woman, Ann, at an herb conference in Vermont many years ago, in 2006, I think. It was a lovely conference at Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center, and the theme of the weekend was connecting to plant spirits. It’s funny how we met, because the first two days of the weekend I walked around and camped by myself, went to my classes and kept to myself mostly. Each class I went to, I would see Ann sitting nearby, draped in a beautiful red scarf and sitting quietly and attentively in her own world amongst the class. We’d look at each other and smile, then go to the next class, which we’d find each other in again. Well, this went on for 48 hours before one of us ( I can’t remember who) approached the other to have lunch together. We sat down to eat, and BAM! Instant connection. The last day, we again chose the same classes to attend, this time enjoying each other’s company. We don’t see each other often, but stay connected via Facebook and email, and I feel so blessed and grateful to say she is my friend.
Ann Armbrecht is an herbalist, wife, mother, anthropologist with a PhD and a writer. In the mid 90′s, Ann traveled to Nepal to research it’s culture and the land, and the relationship between the two. She wrote a beautiful memoir about her time there. The book is called Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home. When I met her in 2006, she and her husband, Terrence Youk, were in the midst of finishing production on (the subject of this blog post) a film called Numen: The Nature of Plants. When the first version of this film came out in 2007, I was astounded. It’s so compelling, captivating and it hands down, blew me away. It was also fun to see many of my herbal teachers in it. The title of the film, Numen (defined by Merriam Webster dictionary : a spiritual force or influence often identified with a natural object, phenomenon, or place) describes the feeling it left me with. It was kind of like having another encounter with Nature through watching it. It touched on so many subjects that are important to me: Nature, plants, healing, health care, the state of the world, responsibility and the interconnectedness of all Life.
That was 2007. Now there’s a new, improved and updated version of the film which is even more incredible. I was blessed again when Ann contacted me to let me know she was coming to my neck of the woods to give a talk and a free screening of the new film. Of course I planned to meet her. 2 weeks ago, I drove 35 minutes over the mountain from Goshen to Warm Springs, VA. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was gifted with a few hours of re-connecting with Ann and watching Numen. I am so grateful.
The best part of this blog post: There will be a FREE online screening of Numen from October 20-30. !!! I’m not going to ramble on about how awesome the film is. You’ll have to see it for yourself. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to connect with Nature through this film. It is my honor to share it with you and I hope you will share it with others too. Please click the above links (in blue text) for more info. Thank you for watching and sharing!
freshly harvested Tulsi (Holy Basil) from my garden
A few days ago, my kids came home from school with sore throats, runny noses and sinus congestion. It was their first cold of the season, so I immediately started brewing some Tulsi tea and making Elderberry Syrup. I also got out some Echinacea tincture and started to dispense a dropperful of it in their tablespoon of Elderberry syrup. I did this every hour for 24-36 hours, and it really helped. By the time the kids were better, I started feeling myself coming down with a sore throat, runny nose and headache. This was 2 days ago. Now I am better and back to normal, feeling fine. Here’s my formula for getting over a cold in 2 days:
1) Echinacea tincture: 30 drops (1 dropperful) in tea, water or Elderberry syrup every hour, for 24-36 hours. This is the important part to remember. Getting the Echinacea in your body consistently and frequently as soon as you feel a scratchy throat is key. Echinacea boosts your immune system to start fighting off the virus and bacteria that’s invading, immediately.
2) Elderberry syrup: 1 tablespoon every hour, for 24-36 hours, then taper off to 2-3 times a day after that. You can also add Ginger root, Elder flower, Licorice root to this blend to make it stronger and more effective. The Elderberries also act as an immune booster as well as an antiviral. Plus it tastes great.
3) Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea: Steep 2-3 tablespoons of the dried leaves/flowers in 1 quart hot water for 20-30 min. Strain, drink the whole quart throughout the day. Tulsi is an adaptogen, an herb that helps your body adapt to stress, anxiety and fatigue. It helps with digestion (90% of your immune system is in your gut) and is also an immune booster. And this tea tastes great, even without honey.
4) This one’s optional, but it really helped me and my kids– Reiki. I am a Reiki II practitioner and gave myself and my son Reiki on our throat chakras to help reduce inflammation and boost immunity.
5) Eucalyptus essential oil in the shower. Just adding a few drops to the shower floor, along with the steam from the hot water, helps relieve sinus congestion.
6) Sleep. Going to bed early and getting 8-9 hours of good sleep was also key in nipping this cold in the bud.
Like anyone, I strongly dislike getting sick, but I am grateful to have an abundance of healing plants and herbs that I can always rely on when the time comes. I hope you will give this formula a try.
custom made Bath Salts
This month our featured product is Soothing Herbals Bath Salts. Made by blending Himalayan Pink Salt and Epsom Salts with essential oils, either our special blends or EOs of your choosing. Every jar is made to order so it’s as fresh as possible and sure to relax and cleanse you during your soak.
These Bath Salts have recently earned a rave review by a musician from one of my favorite bands: Thievery Corporation, drummer Jeff Franca. He says: “Relaxing with Soothing Herbals’ Bath Salts is how I choose to wind down after a big show or time on the road…the healing aroma and natural meditation are just what I need to get back to equilibrium !!” Nice. Thanks Jeff!
Himalayan Pink salt is believed to be the purest form of salt available, and is known for its healing properties. For centuries, salts have been used as remedies for a variety of health issues. Stimulating circulation, soothing sore muscles, relaxing the body, lowering blood pressure and removing toxins, such as heavy metals, from the body are just a few of the many benefits. So check them out and treat yourself to a bathing experience you truly deserve.
Freshly harvested Jewelweed
August has been a busy month in the Apothecary. We’ve made a lot of different products, from Divine Face Creme to Poison Ivy Relief, and we are pretty well stocked on Soothing Herbals. Every week my apprentices Lee and Kay help me harvest and create. Last week we harvested Jewelweed (above) for an liniment infusion to be turned into Poison Ivy Relief. This week I made some Bug Off Spray to use when I’m in the garden. Next week, I’ll be in Washington so please note the Apothecary will be CLOSED all week. I will be back to re-open on Wednesday, September 4.
Please feel free to shop online until then. Any orders placed from now until Sept 4 will not be shipped out til Sept 4. My apologies for any inconvenience by the delay, and my gratitude for all the orders!
Please stay tuned for September news. There is a lot more to come…
Colorado rainbow at Ruby Mountain campground
It’s been a beautiful summer. I’m trying to savor every minute, as we move closer to fall each day. I love summer. I was born in summer. Summer is the reason I forget to post on this blog, because I’m out in it, soaking it up. I hope you have been too!
I closed the Apothecary for the entire month of July so I could take a road trip out west with my family. We packed up our little Honda CRV with the four of us and our beloved dog Kenai, some camping gear, a cooler, two longboards and a few changes of clothes, and drove to Colorado. The boys have never seen the Rocky Mountains, and I have not been back since a short visit in 2000. It was a long drive with a loaded down car, two kids and a dog, but we made it, and it was awesome.
Colorado is land of my alma mater, University of Colorado at Boulder. I lived there for several years during and after college and even became an Herbalist there (Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies). I feel connected to Colorado because it’s where I truly became an adult, fell in love, and found my passion. So you can imagine how much fun I had bringing my kids to my old stomping grounds. I took them to 918 Pleasant St, on the hill in Boulder, where I lived during my last 2 years at University, told them stories about how the Hare Krishnas lived across the street, and would serve delicious, free, vegan dinners every Wednesday. We went up to Nederland where my husband lived in a tipi during his years at University. I’d hike up a steep hill covered in sage brush and wildflowers to bring him dinner. 20 years later, there we were, the four of us and our dog, hiking up that same steep hill, picking flowers and collecting sage to bundle, as a family.
the bouquet of wildflowers we picked in Nederland
We drove around the state and took the kids hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, paddle boarding in Grand Lake, over Ute Pass to camp in Summit county , over Hoosier Pass to the Collegiate Peaks to soak at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, over Cottonwood Pass to go fishing around Crested Butte, down to Gunnison to shop for more fishing gear, over Monarch Pass and back to the Collegiates to camp at Ruby Mountain (where the rainbow in photo above appeared) for a private raft trip down the Arkansas River. We stayed, camped and visited with so many old and dear friends all along the way, who are now also raising families, and we watched our kids play and frolic and laugh together. It was pure joy.
It was refreshing to be back in that beautiful state visiting good friends and soaking it up. I am feeling grateful, blessed and nostalgic already. Thank you to all my people out there! I love you all.
Just had to share a little bit about Colorado. Now I’m back home and getting ready to leave again. This time it’s Washington state. I will be gone until Labor Day weekend, which marks the end of Summer, and back to school time for the kids. So I’m trying to savor the last bit of Summer. It’s not over yet.
Calendula officinalis. Who knew they could bloom half yellow, half orange…
It’s July! Summer is in full swing and I wanted to let you all know that…
Soothing Herbals Apothecary will be CLOSED this entire month, due to summer adventures on the road. Online orders will still be received, but can’t be shipped out til August. Sorry for the inconvenience. Please call or email if you need anything.
Thank you for your support. Hope everyone has a safe and Happy Independence Day!!