The Herbarie

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Some Thoughts About Hot Summertime!

Dear Friends,
The temperature is soaring with high humidity here in South Carolina, yet the soil is dry as a bone at Stoney Hill Farm. We are carefully watering our gardens from our two very deep wells. But we cannot give water to the fields and woodlands. It's sad for me to know they are thirsty and there is nothing I can do. I see clouds and hear thunder, but there is no rain.

In the early morning I'm out in the garden and think about the grand white oak at the edge of our woods. I think about how this spectacular, strong oak tree has been here for 100+ years and has weathered storms and drought by sending its roots deep into the soil. I notice how the willow trees grow in colonies beside the creek and pond and survive by bending with the breeze. I consider our trees and plants to be my good friends and teachers so always try to learn from them.

It looks like rain is on the way for next week - we are hopeful!


I've been spending part of each morning tending to my water gardens. One of the gardens has a waterfall with plants and some small fish and frogs. I enjoy feeding the fish each morning.

See one of the frogs on the lily pad?

The water lily flower is absolute perfection!

I've named my new secret garden Hummer Haven because the hummingbirds love the Rose of Sharon, Bougainvillea, Mandevilla and other bloomers.

In this area we created another small pond with a few plants and some mosquito fish and frogs. A small solar fountain helps to keep oxygen in the water.

During this drought, I am refreshed by my ponds, water plants and water creatures. I also find our heat loving plants to be refreshing as well. This year I'm growing Holy Tulsi Basil as well as the usual varieties of sweet basil. Basil loves hot weather!

I've distilled a lovely Hydrosol from our Holy Tulsi Basil! I enjoy using our Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol as a cooling spritzer.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol (Ocimum sanctum) is distilled from several varieties of Ocimum sanctum - Rama, Vana, Kapoor and Krishna. These plants are grown from Organic Certified seed.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol is recommended for use in skin care and hair care.

Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol can be used for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and soothing characteristics.

All varieties of Basil are native to India where it is used in Ayurveda medicine. Holy Tulsi Basil(Ocimum sanctum) is considered to be a sacred plant and is used to open the heart and bring harmony to the mind. Our Holy Tulsi Basil plants grow in a special place in our garden and are honored for their many gifts to us.

Basil smells like summertime and thrives in hot weather, but the fresh scent of Holy Tulsi Basil Hydrosol can be enjoyed all year!


More soon..........stay cool!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Dear Blog Friends,
I am finally finding some time to write again! As usual, this has been a very busy spring and summer.

Right now we are in the middle of "dog days" - hot and humid! Each morning in the summer, I wake up very early and go into the garden. Daybreak is my favorite time - every day new and fresh with possibilities. I enjoy spending an hour or so going through my yoga routine, meditating, watering plants, pulling weeds. I listen to the birds' wake up calls, breakfast on grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and blackberries.

The hummers are wide awake at 6:30am - chirping and zooming around from flower to flower and the many sugar water feeders in the gardens.

If the sugar water feeders are low, they will get my attention by zooming by me until I notice and refill the feeders. I love my hummers!

As the world wakes up, I can catch the earthy, carrot scent of the Queen Anne's Lace while I appreciate her delicate, lacy beauty. I am so thankful to be able to enjoy nature's symphony and aromatherapy every morning in my garden!

Many of the roses are resting now. I've given most of them a summer shearing which will rejuvenate them for their glorious Fall Bloom. Dorsey still blooms and the pretty little Cecile Brunner, Marie Pavie, Borderer and Roxy are still lush and blooming and seem very happy - even in our extreme summer heat.

The sunflowers and zinnias have sown themselves in the gardens and are now everywhere. Zinnias and Sunflowers love hot summertime and seem to exude joyfulness!

Our vivacious Zinnias seem proud to be Stoney Hill Farm Cheerleaders in the gardens with their hot pink, neon orange, sunny yellow and every shade in between petals.

Each year the butterflies, bees and I enjoy them immensely.

My pretty lavender plants are flowering profusely right now and the scent is wonderfully clean and fresh. I always enjoy distilling Lavender Hydrosol because it's so aromatic.

I treated myself to a new version of my Luscious Lavender Natramulsion which is very, very conditioning and smells wonderful! This all natural formula is based on Natramulse which is one of our several plant-based emulsifiers. This formula is full of skin softening and conditioning ingredients! Natramulse, Shea butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Botanical Complex LSCD form the richly conditioning oil phase. I also loaded this formula with skin nourishing oats - Avena Oat Extract WS, VenaSilk and Symglucan - and all work in synergy to moisturize and nourish dry skin. I used our Lavender Hydrosol as the entire water phase. Our new, multifunctional Antioxidant Synergy Blend will protect the formula from oxidation as well as serve as a powerful antioxidant for skin. Lavender Essential Oil gives the formula a nice clean, fresh scent while lending some antimicrobial/preservative activity. Leucidal Liquid, manufactured by Active Micro Technologies, is my favorite natural preservative and serves as the primary preservative in the formula.

I've packaged this cream in our new Magic Airless Dispensers. This formula is very substantial so during our hot southern summer I only use it at nighttime after showering and as a hand cream during the day. I keep one dispenser in my office to condition my dry hands after coming inside from the garden and also keep one at home to use at nighttime. Here's the formula:

Ultra Moisturizing Oats and Lavender Natramulsion

Oil Phase
8% Natramulse
12% Organic Shea Butter
5% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
3% Botanical Complex LSCD
2% VenaSilk

Water Phase
56.75% Lavender Hydrosol
5% Symglucan
5% Avena Oat Extract WS

Cool Down Phase
0.25% Antioxidant Synergy Blend
2% Leucidal Liquid
1% Lavender Essential Oil

-Oil Phase: Weigh and combine first 4 ingredients (weigh VenaSilk and set aside) in a stainless steel or heat safe pot/vessel. Heat to approximately 175F or until solids have melted and the oil phase is clear, not cloudy. Once the solids in the oil phase have melted, remove from heat and disperse VenaSilk to the hot/melted oils.
-Water Phase: weigh, combine and heat ingredients to approximately 175F
-Add heated Water Phase to heated Oil Phase and mix continuously until cooldown (approximately 100F).
-Cool Down Phase: When temperature of emulsion has cooled to about 100F, add Cool Down ingredients. Mix until homogeneous.
-The finished emulsion is thick and creamy. I used our new airless dispensers which work beautifully. - Pearl Airless and Magic Airless.

Tip 1: Using an electric stovetop is preferable - just be sure to monitor carefully.
Tip 2: Even though VenaSilk is mostly water soluble, we disperse it into the oil phase so the particles will more easily separate.
Tip 3: Adding the water phase to the oil phase is easier and creates a very stable emulsion.
Tip 4: When the emulsion has cooled, scoop into a gallon size freezer bag, remove air and seal. then cut a tiny tip off the corner and "squirt" into containers - no mess and easy peasy :-)


Since my last blog, we've brought in a number of new products including Avena Oat Extract WS, Antioxidant Synergy Blend, Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol, and SCI Pearl.

We are offering a Special Introductory Sale on these new products so now is the best time to try them! We are also very pleased to offer airless dispensers - Magic Airless (50ml) and Pearl Airless (30ml). I just love these new dispensers! I'm so excited about all these new products and have been talking with many of you about them already. But here are the details that you can also view on our website:

Our Avena Oat Extract WS is derived from the entire oatstraw herb which includes the green stalks, the leaves and the milky grain. Constituents include polysaccharides such as beta glucan, flavonoids, silica, triterpenoid saponins (including avenacosides), and phenolic compounds (avenanthramides).

Avena sativa is a member of the Poaceae, or “grasses” family. Wild oats (Avena) likely originated in Eurasia and were first cultivated (sativa) in Greece and Rome around 400BC to 1st century AD. This nutrient-rich, ancient grass is now cultivated throughout the world and valued for its many uses. While the traditional use of oats in folklore is well-established and has stood the test of time, modern science has documented excellent efficacy as well. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of oats and oat derivatives in skin care products.

These constituents are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and moisturizing characteristics. When used topically, Avena sativa can soothe, smooth, and nourish skin and hair.

Avena Oat Extract WS is recommended for all skin types, but especially for sensitive skin and dry and flaky skin. Avena Oat Extract WS is recommended for all hair types, but particularly for dry or damaged hair or flaky scalp. Avena Oat Extract WS is useful in moisturizers, anti-aging products, smoothing and soothing products. Avena Oat Extract WS, can be used in hair care products to improve conditioning and manageability.

Avena Oat Extract WS is a water soluble extract and can be used in toners, facial cleansers, shower gels, creams and lotions, shampoo, and conditioners.


Antioxidant Synergy Blend (ASB) is a multifunctional, proprietary blend of ascorbic acid, rosemary extract, and tocopherols. This powerful antioxidant blend has the potential to function as a topical free radical scavenger for skin care products as well as inhibit oxidation and delay rancidity in natural oils and products that contain oil.

Human skin is our natural barrier that serves as a protective shield. Our skin is constantly bombarded by physical and chemical stressors. These environmental stressors can directly or indirectly produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS molecules upset the natural balance of human skin which can lead to skin damage and premature aging. Topical antioxidants have the capacity to neutralize ROS and help restore skin’s natural balance.

Antioxidant Synergy Blend (ASB) contains Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Rosemary Extract, and Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E) in a vegetable oil base.

Ascorbic Acid functions as the initial free radical scavenger and can help to regenerate natural antioxidants in lipid systems and is good for skin.

Rosemary Extract functions as the long-term, broad spectrum antioxidant by offering carnosic acid/carnosol components to the blend.

Natural mixed tocopherols isolated from vegetable oils and concentrated to contain naturally occurring d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta tocopherols Mixed tocopherol compounds enhance and compliment one another to increase their overall antioxidant activity.

This powerful, all natural, synergistic blend offers unique antioxidant functionality for cosmetic formulators.


Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol (Daucus carota) is excellent for all skin types, but is especially recommended for sensitive skin or mature skin. Suzanne Catty says Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol soothes eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, and promotes the growth of healthy new skin cells. Some sources report reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.

Daucus carota is commonly called Queen Anne’s Lace. Daucus carota is a biennial plant – growing from seed the first year and blooming the second year. Queen Anne’s Lace reseeds every year and grows beautifully and happily in our gardens. The delicate, umbrella shaped blooms are actually comprised of hundreds of tiny, white flowers with one dark red flower in the center. Legend suggests Daucus carota is called Queen Anne’s Lace because the delicate flower cluster resembles lace and the red flower in the center represents a blood droplet where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace. We harvest Daucus carota when the flower cluster matures and “turns to seed”. The Herbarie’s Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol is distilled from the seed heads and flowers of this beautiful plant.

Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol has a mild, earthy, carrot scent and is recommended for use in body spray/splash, the water portion in lotions and creams, antiaging products, anti-inflammatory products, and facial toners.

I made a super cool facial toner with our Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol, Cucumber Extract WS, Aloe Vera 100% Liquid, and Avena Oat Extract WS that I'd like to share with you. The formula is very simple, but quite nice. I've weighed and measured a 200 gram batch for those who do not yet have a scale:

Cucumber Aloe Facial Toner with Avena Oat & Wild Carrot

Cucumber Extract WS 25% = 50 grams = 1/4 cup
Aloe Vera 100% Liquid 25% = 50 grams = 1/4
Wild Carrot Seed Hydrosol 10% = 20 grams = 2 tablespoons
Avena Oat Extract WS 5% = 10 grams = 2 teaspoons
Distilled Water 33% = 66 grams = 1/3 cup
Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid 2% = 4 grams = 1 teaspoon

This formula can be used as a facial toner after cleansing your face or it can be used as a cool, spritzer any time of day. Just combine all ingredients in a bottle with a dispensing cap or spray mister. For a more concentrated toner, do not add the distilled water or the Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid. This is the way I made mine - I just combined all the ingredients without Distilled Water or Aloe Advanced Leucidal Liquid - very nice!


SCI Pearl offers dense, luxurious lather and leaves skin feeling soft and conditioned after rinse off. SCI Pearl is an easy to use, buttery form of the mild, anionic primary surfactant sodium cocoyl isethionate.

With a low melting point (50-60C), SCI Pearl is much easier to disperse into water than SCI 85% Flake or Noodle.

Formulating Guidelines:
-Can be combined with one or more of our other surfactants (SMC Taurate, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine, DLS Mild, Plantapon, Coco Silky Cleanse, etc.). When used at 20% or greater will yield

creamy/pearly/opaque product. Lower percentages will yield clear product. Heat together with water to melt point (about 120F), stirring to incorporate. See Formulary for more information.

This coconut derived, biodegradable surfactant can be used to create elegant and mild shampoo, body wash, facial cleansers and other personal care products.

-Mild to skin and eyes
-Excellent foamer in hard or soft water
-Imparts a soft afterfeel to skin or hair
-Based on fatty acids from natural, renewable coconut oil
-Easy to use paste form
-50% Activity
-Contains 5.0-8.5% free fatty acid
-pH 10% solution @ 35C: 6.2-7.2
-Yields opaque, creamy, and pearly products at higher percentages
-Yields clear products when used at lower percentages
-Can be used for solid cleansing bars

I've enjoyed making creamy shampoo and body wash for friends, family and myself with our new SCI Pearl!
SCI Pearlicious Body Wash (Recipe)

Naturally derived SCI Pearl and Cocoamidopropyl Betaine provide luscious foam and gentle cleansing in this pearly, cream formula. Raspberry Dimethicone WS is an excellent water soluble emollient that will soften skin and also help to solubilize Lavender Essential Oil. Glucamate LT is used to thicken this formula. Aloe Advanced Leucidal is the natural preservative for this formula. Lavender Essential Oil provides a fresh, clean scent.

SCI Pearlicious Body Wash is an easy to make formula. This elegant formula will leave skin feeling silky soft after rinse off. It’s perfect for first-time or experienced formulators. In addition, we have provided approximate fluid/volume measurements for those who do not yet have a scale.

Please note that our formulas are created using percentages and calculated by weight which is always best and most accurate. We have calculated a 500 gram batch for this formula. In addition, we have provided approximate fluid/volume measurements for those who do not yet have a scale.


Part A
SCI Pearl
Cocoamidopropyl Betaine
Distilled Water

Part B
Raspberry Dimethicone WS
Lavender Essential Oil
Aloe Advanced Leucidal

Part C
Glucamate LT



25.0% = 125 grams = 1 cup
10.0% = 50 grams = 3 tblsp.
58% = 290 grams = 1 + 1/2 cups
3.0% = 15 grams = 1 tblsp.
1.0% = 5 grams = 2 tsp.
2.0% = 10 grams = 2 tsp.
1% = 5 grams = 1 tsp.

100.0% = 500 grams = approx. 16 oz.

-In Part A, combine SCI Pearl and Cocoamidopropyl Betaine with one half distilled water portion. Heat slowly on a hotplate or stovetop while stirring constantly. Once the SCI Pearl has melted, remove from the heat source and add the remainder of the water portion. Continue to stir gently until temperature is 100F or less.
In Part B, combine Raspberry Dimethicone WS (solubilizer and refatting agent) with Lavender Essential Oil, add to the surfactant mixture (in Part A) with gentle stirring. Add Aloe Advanced Leucidal (preservative) to the mixture with gentle stirring.
-In Part C, add Glucamate LT (thickener) to combined Parts A and B with gentle stirring (whisk and nylon spatula are useful). Pour into bottles with dispensing closures. The formula will thicken and become more opaque/pearly within 24 hours. The finished pH of this formula is 6.0.


Here is a picture of the dried botanical wreath on the front door of our house. If you look closely, you can see the nest with three eggs. A house finch decided this would be the perfect spot to raise her babies! How cute is that?

Today is July 11, my own baby girl Amy is 25 today! Happy Birthday Amy :-)

Best Wishes for a Great Summer!