Thursday, June 26, 2008

FDA Globalization Act of 2008

Many of us are reeling when we envision the negative impact the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 could have on small beauty businesses, and the resultant curtailing of consumer choices when it comes to handmade natural products.   The restrictive annual and product registration fees that could be charged under this act could become so burdensome that many of these small businesses would have to close their doors.  Some of our small business customers could be facing a $12,000 product registration fee for each formula for a bar of  soap.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson, CEO of the Indie Business Network has worked diligently to support and provide a wide umbrella of education and services to support independent beauty products manufacturers, most of whom began in their own kitchens.  Many of these companies, after years of diligence and hard work have now emerged as successful, thriving alternatives to mass produced big box cosmetic products. Donna Maria is a big reason for this success.  She now has rallied her legal skills and the energies of the IBN membership to stop this potentially stifling legislation.

Watch the video, then go to her blog  and sign on as a signatory to the petition.  


Then, contact your own representatives in Congress to voice your objection to this pending legislation.  Your choices will be dependent upon the ultimate status of this bill.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Grow Your Own Mosquito Repellent

Yes, it is getting to be that time of year again.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we've had an extremely rainy Spring season - so much so, we are calling this month, "Juneuary"!  This unusual dampness will produce optimum conditions for mosquitoes to breed and multiply as the temperatures warm.  Here is additional mosquito information on the website to learn more.

As you can see, we offer a fabulous ready-to-use mosquito repellent in a variety of product applications.  However,  many of you readers grow your own gardens and can easily make your own effective natural spray or oil to take care of those pesky mosquitoes or no-see-ums. 

As you probably already know, DEET is currently the most common active ingredient in commercial bug repellents.  DEET is a dangerous chemical, as discovered by Duke University researchers and can cause brain-cell destruction and has caused neurological damage in studies using rats.  Additionally, the Iowa State University Research Foundation has proven Catnip, Nepeta Cataria, known as a cat-pleasing herb or medicinal tea, to be safe and effective to keep bugs at bay.

Catnip is a perennial herb, preferring well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.  It is easy to grow but can become invasive.  Best planted in the fall, it will get a boost for summer by forming a strong root system, increasing its natural drought resistance.  If you choose to plant now, purchase a hardy plant from a nursery, making sure of the correct Latin binomial.  Catnip doesn't need much help once it is established and only needs compost, not fertilizer.

Here are the recipes for making your own bug repellents:

Catnip Mosquito Mist (makes approximately 3 cups)

  • 2 cups catnip, stemmed
  • 3-4 cups mild rice or white vinegar

Rise and pat dry herb, roll lightly with a rolling pin to bruise and open plant cells, place in a clean quart jar and cover with vinegar.  Seal jar and store in a dark cupboard for two weeks, shaking lightly every day.  Strain into clean jar, seal and refrigerate for up to 6 months unused.  To use, spritz on exposed skin and around outdoor recreation or dining areas.

Catnip and Rosemary Mosquito Oil

  • 2 cups catnip, stemmed
  • 1 cup fresh rosemary, stemmed
  • 2 cups light vegetable oil (such as fractionated coconut)

Bruise catnip leaves; finely chop rosemary.  Pack in a clean jar, cover with oil and place in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks, shaking lightly every day. Strain into clean jar, seal and refrigerate unused for up to 8 months.  To use, decant into smaller bottle for carrying and rub on exposed skin when outside.

Let us know if you try these ideas; we love to get feedback.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Eating Causes Global Warming?

I've recently read that our food system is responsible for one-third of global greenhouse emissions.  When you think about bananas being shipped to a U.S. port, then transported by container truck to a distribution point, then trucked across your state to your local grocer, this begins to make sense. 

Here's a great little calculator to help you compare the relative carbon impacts of your food choices.  The nifty thing is - if you reduce emissions by your eating habits, you will also be eating healthier and maybe learning to grow your own garden and shop at your local farmer's market (supporting your regional food supply).

You handmade products manufacturers might want to look into being a vendor at your local farmer's market.  You'll make good contacts for fresh herbs and flowers to use in your products.  It's a great way to expand your networking . . . all the time helping the environment.  Excellllent!  (Stroking imaginary beard.)  

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fabulous Bargain = Essential Oil Starter Kit

We've developed an Essential Oil Starter Kit, especially for beginners, or those more experienced who are looking for quality essential oils at a hefty discount to add to their stock.  We thought it would be a good idea to offer convenient and affordable collections.  image   This starter kit includes:    

CEDARWOOD (Cedrus atlantica), CYPRESS (Supressus sempervirens), EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus radiata), LAVENDER (Lavendula angustifolia var. vera), MANDARIN TANGELO (Citrus reticulata blanco), PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martinii), PEPPERMINT MITCHAM (Mentha piperita), PINE (Pinus sylvestris), ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. camphor), TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Also includes valuable information like "50 Ways to Use Essential Oils", "Be Safe & Smart, "Care of Essential Oils", and a dilution chart for accurate usage.  Only $40 for the entire set and information packet.  The total retail value would be $72.00-- that's over 45% savings, can't beat that!  Item number 17401001

We've included some upgrades.  Purchase the Essential Oil Starter Kit with our best selling book for beginners, "AROMATHERAPY: imageSoothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate, and Heal" by Valerie Gennari Cooksley for an additional $15 (regularly $16.95).  This  would make a lovely gift for the graduate, giving them a road to self-care as they choose their future path.  Complete Essential Oil Starter Kit plus Aromatherapy Book,  Item number 17403001 only $55.00.

And, we've paired the Essential Oil Starter Kit with our Sturdy Navy Blue professional essential oil carrying case. This case is 11.5x13 and 2.375 inches in height. It holds twenty-eight 5 ml. image bottles and seventeen 15 ml. bottles. There are spaces for a 2 oz. bottle of carrier oil or lotion and a 25 ml. jar for cream or gel. In addition to over 45% off the essential oils, receive an extra $5.00 off the case.   Essential Oil Starter Kit plus Therapist Kit, Item 17402001 $63.50 

Finally, you can have it all!  Everything you need to embark on your aromatic adventure. Ten 5 ml size Essential Oils, what we image think is the best beginners book on how to use them , and a professional carrying case to keep them safe and protected.  In addition to over 45% off the Essential oils, get the book for $15.00 (less than the $16.95 retail price), and $5.00 off the case.  Complete Essential Oil Starter Kit: OILS, BOOK, and CASE  Item number 17404001 $78.50

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Failing Medical System

Most of my friends are pretty savvy when it comes to knowing about and using natural therapies.  Believe it or not, there used to be a time when medical doctors had more to offer their patients than a prescription for pharmaceuticals.  Now, after a quick 5-9 minute consultation, this seems to be their ONLY remedy.  Unfortunately, many people are hastily and needlessly drugged because they think doctors are trusted experts.  When this "expert" slips them this small slip of paper, people think, "This MUST be the best answer." 

I was shocked when the pharmaceutical companies were allowed to advertise prescription drugs as if they were just like the other consumables that slick advertising seduces us to buy.  Turning patients into consumers was a bold move that cleverly switched medical necessities into consumer choices and ultimately has undermined the authority of the FDA to enact more tempered regulation.  The Center for Media and Democracy's Mary Ebeling has written Beyond Advertising: The pharmaceutical Industry's Hidden Marketing Tactics, a thoughtful look at this disturbing trend.  "What is surprising is that public health advocates haven't made pharmaceutical rebranding and off-label promotions of drugs and medical major issues", she writes.  It is puzzling to me that the increasing consumer desire  for all things natural hasn't become a rallying call for a direct challenge to this practice by the pharmaceutical industry.

Even the British Medical Journal  has admitted that there is evidence that pharmaceutical advertising in medical journals is influencing doctors' behavior more than they might admit to.  A follow-on debate is also published by the BMJ.  A study by two York University researchers estimates that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on advertising and promotion than on research and development, contrary to the industry's claim.  These statistics are a no brainer and one can easily connect the dots.

Most of you who read this blog are already making healthy choices to use natural therapies and embrace food and exercise choices to maintain health without a lot of prescription drugs.  The BMJ has also covered the rise of consumer groups in Europe who are rallying to prevent the EU from lifting a ban on DTP (Direct to Patient) advertising.

Privatization of hospitals, the percentage of costs that go to insurance companies and malpractice insurance costs are part of the problem for soaring health care costs.  Surely the increased expenses for pharmaceutical companies to advertise as heavily as they do is directly correlated with burgeoning health care costs to consumers.

Most bankruptcies in this country are because of catastrophic health care costs.  Four million Americans have no healthcare and just as many or more are underinsured.  It is time to demand a complete overhaul and implement a plan that promotes preventative therapies (including natural) and guarantees full health care for all Americans.   When Taiwan became a rich country, its citizens had been languishing in poor health for decades.  They moved quickly to universal health care and now its citizens are fully covered . . . and costs are far less than health care in the U.S.  The U. S. continues to put corporate profit above the health of its citizens, causing undo suffering.  We can do better. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

Amaranth Seed CO2

We have sourced an exciting new cosmetic ingredient with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects.  This innovation is showing promise for topical dermatitis and psoriasis, and is useful in a range of aromatherapy applications.

Amaranth (Amaranthus caudatus) is one of the world's oldest useful plants and eaten as a grain or cereal since biblical times.  Revered as a holy plant by the Aztecs,  it has long been a staple food crop in South America.  The name originates from the Greek, meaning "immortal" or "unfading".

Its newly discovered use for skin care comes from unsaturated fatty acids and a unique high content of squalene, tocopherols and tocotrienols.   Perhaps the single plant showing a high concentration of squalene, a triterpene, up to 6-12%, as compared to olive oil with perhaps under 1% and similar to the SSL (skin surface lipids) of human skin.  This is what supports the skin and its varied functions, as well as keeping it elastic and healthy.  Antioxidative properties create a network of effective scavengers to protect against damaging environmental influences.   The addition of linoleic acid as well as high amounts of  tocopherols and tocotrienols give the Amaranth Seed CO2 an outstanding place in the natural cosmetic tool box.   The lipid fraction of amaranth seeds consists primarily of triglycerides, and linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid represent the main components in the fatty acid spectrum.

This cosmetic additive is excellent for the treatment of chronic skin dryness, damaged or unhealthy skin.  In a randomized double-blind study of 30 people between the ages of 23 and 73, including 19 psoriasis dermatitis patients and 11 atopica dermatitis patients resulted in positive results for those with psoriasis and dramatic results for the patients with atopica dermatitis.

We should have our first shipment by May 20.  Contact me at or by phone at 800.782.4532 to receive details about the introductory pricing along with formulation ideas for aromatherapy products.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Welcome Again

I originally established this blog last November, but other priorities prevailed and . . . well, you know - time flies.  Now, I'm ready to begin anew.  I hope to cover a wide range of ideas that might compel you to seek natural solutions for better health and wellness, and address specific formulas that your family may find useful.  I am passionate about connecting to  Nature for optimum health, so anything I can do to to encourage your personal relationship with Nature - hiking in the wilderness, digging in your garden,  choosing regional fresh foods and making your own personal care products from raw ingredients - is mostly what you'll find here.   Eventually, I'll develop a body of reference that could become quite valuable if you are seeking to get out of the processed mainstream and find ideas and resources to support your effort.  I'll reference articles from others who inspire me, and I'll occasionally wander outside my professional expertise, seeking to provide a broad holistic framework of intrinsic avenues to explore.  As the information grows, it will be organized in the appropriate categories, hopefully making it easy to find when you are looking for something specific and want to gather more expansive information on any one subject.

Please comment and let me know areas you are interested in.  Your feedback and additions can add valuable resources to the discussion, as well.  I'll be as responsive as I can, given the time I have to devote.