‘Your garden is the pharmacy and the kitchen is your lab’
My skin has been going crazy here, sweat rashes, blocked pores, a pimple that got an infection and has left a big red scar on my nose. I’m looking pretty sun damaged. So I’ve gone back to my ayurvedic beauty notes and have been making a few simple home treatments with local ingredients to nurse the biggest organ (my skin) back to prettiful.
Yesterday I made a simple toner out of lemon grass green tea, I’m keeping it in the fridge to use after my home made lemon grass cleanse and body scrub. I thought it was a bit ridiculous carting my 7kg slow juicer over from Australia but I’m using that beast a lot, lemon grass juice is the next best thing after the essential oil, you can also use the pulp that’s been left over. – wow!
I know lots of locals are using lemon grass already, after thousands of years of therapeutic use, pretty much everyone should have cottoned on to the wonderful healing benefits of this magical plant.
Don’t let this humble grass deceive you. It’s packed with so much goodness that it can help improve many chronic conditions. Nutrition-wise, it’s a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese; with minute traces of B vitamins
Boil your lemon grass, I knot it and chuck it into my kettle and let it bubble away for a few minutes, all the good oils release into the water and the phytonutrients aren’t damaged by the heat. – You can drink it as tea, you can fridge it and use it as a toner or fresh skin spritzer (add witch hazel or ginger for an extra cleansing toner) – and you can ice cube it for a real cool down toner – ice cubes serve well in your gin and tonic too!
If you have a juicer you can make body and facial scrubs, this is easy with an appliance, otherwise you can mortal and pessel oldskool for pulp and juice.
I mix my lemon grass pulp with coffee grinds and coconut oil, this is a shower only body scrub, you’ll be left with a bit of a mess to clean up after the shower but your skin will be glowing and tingling with health (I learned this scrub at a beauty spa course I did in Thailand).
For the more gentle facial scrub, I use the lemon grass juice with brown sugar and coconut oil, only use a small amount of the juice and keep the concoction in the fridge.
With your excess lemon grass juice you can make an immune boosting elixir which will have your skin radiating from the inside! add garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar and honey to your blender and whizz away, bottle up and fridge – take a tablespoon of this in a class of water when you feel run-down. Teaming the elixir with olive oil serves as one of the best salad dressings you’ll ever taste (Think Asian meets Mediterranean, zing).
But we’re talking skin here, and I’m food tangerting (again) – remember Let Food be Thy Medicine! - I pretty much think if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin.
Turmeric! This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about how good this stuff is for you in the context of health, but last time I never went into how you can include it into your beauty regime. One thing is though, is it stains... so tread with caution and don’t use this in your favourite white ball gown.
Turmeric contains a photochemical called curcumin, which benefits the body, both inside and out. A turmeric mask works for acne and eczema. It reduces inflammation and redness, and promotes skin healing. Due to turmeric’s antioxidant properties, it’s great as a skin rejuvenator.
It helps softening lines and wrinkles, giving the face a more youthful appearance. It’s also effective with rosacea – a chronic skin condition that is characterised by redness and pimples. It eases the redness and treats this disease.
The turmeric basic face mask is easy to make and acts as a moisturiser, exfoliator and reduces redness. It brightens the skin and makes it look fresh and clean. There are many variations for the recipe, but below you’ll find the basic, you can add in lemon grass juice to this beast too...
You want to make a paste out of this, it’s bright orange, so do it with a friend and play the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack while it sets, you can oopma loompa dance while waiting! Your paste is equal parts, turmeric powder, honey and milk – smear it on and let it sit for half an hour – do this once a week after your lemongrass scrub.
Turmeric is a good antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. Honey is also an anti-bacterial and it moisturises the skin well. Milk contains lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid and it exfoliates the skin. Together, these three ingredients do wonders for your skin.
Lastly I want to introduce you to my home made deodorant, it’s soooo good... baking soda and coconut oil.... believe it or not this is also a toothpaste... if you’re happy to just use it as a deo, you can add in an essential oil, lemon grass perhaps? - - - - I’ve used clove oil before and this works well as both deodorant and toothpaste, but I was told by a Canadian friend that I smelled like Christmas.
So there you have it, a bunch of recipes with no actual amounts, play around – Your garden is the pharmacy and the kitchen is your lab …if you’ve read this far and you can’t be bothered making home beauty treatments,
Go to Mailelani, their stuff is amazing and super cheap!
See you next week.
Rachel Laulu from Yoga Juice Samoa, offers private yoga, meditation and fermented food classes to corporate groups, schools, retreats and individuals. You can join Rachel’s open level yoga class on Tuesday’s at 6pm. If you have any inquiries, or would like to book a session please feel free to contact Rachel via email at [email protected] or add her on facebook through her Yoga Juice Samoa group page.