Oct 13

Essential Oils: Powerful Patchouli

Essential oilsAh, essential oils and powerful patchouli! Patchouli is sometimes described as woodsy, sweet or musky, but to me patchouli smells like dirt! It is one of those things that people say you either love it or hate it. I have read that the fragrance of Patchouli is an acquired taste, and I have to say it is starting to grow on me.

Our Patchouli Essential Oils soap has always been one of our best sellers.

I think my constant exposure to it has helped me appreciate it more. But it has such wonderful benefits that I wanted to like it. Unlike other essential oils that loose their aroma over time, the odor of patchouli improves with age. Patchouli oil is made from the dried leaves of a small busy plant in the mint family. It grows in the warmer climates of Asia. It is a natural insecticide and in the 19th century the leaves were placed between shawls exported from India to England to protect them from moths. If the weavings did not have the signature Patchouli fragrance no one would buy them, as they did not believe they were truly made in India. Patchouli has been used for centuries in Asia for skin conditions and for dressings for wounds. It gained increased popularity in the 60’s as incense, that some used to cover the scent of smoking marijuana. The perfume industry is a heavy user of patchouli oil as a base note that helps anchor the other fragrances. In skin care it is prized for treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff. It is reputed to help regenerate mature skin.  It is known as an antiseptic, fungicide and is said to be an uplifting fragrance that helps with depression and anxiety. Today it is even listed on WebMD. It says that it is used for colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Maybe you should give our Alabu Patchouli Essential Oils soap a try, we think it will grow on you.

Oct 13

Seasons of Your Skin- 6 Tips for Autumn Skin Care

imagesThe variation in the seasons changes your skin care needs. As we fall into autumn, (I know – bad pun) the air outside is getting unkinder and drier.  As we start turning the heat inside, that dries out the inside air. You can see and feel your skin is becoming drier. The dry air inside and outside is a double whammy for your skin. But what can you do? Here are some skin care tips to help keep you comfortable in your skin.


  1. Keep hydrated. One of the most important things you can do for you skin is to drink water. People think they only need to drink a lot in the summer, but the truth is you need to stay hydrated all year long.
  2. If you like hot showers; Stop it! Hot water takes all the naturally occurring protective oils off your skin and dries it our even more. Take shorter warm showers instead.
  3. When it is cold outside, bundle up to protect your skin. Cotton is best next to your skin to avoid unnecessary irritation.
  4. Switch to a moisturizing soap. Most soap you buy in the store is very drying. I never realized this until I started making my own goat milk soap. I grew up with Ivory and Dial and didn’t know my skin wasn’t supposed to feel like it shrank after a shower. Hand made soaps are better than commercial soaps, but I think it is hard to beat Alabu goat milk soap. Our Baby Me soap is especially moisturizing. I actually formulated it for babies but it is our most popular soap now.
  5. Moisturize morning and night. In the morning it will provide a protective barrier to reduce evaporation. Moisturizing at night is most effective when done right after your shower or bath when your skin is clean and still moist.
  6. Switch to a heavier moisturizer in the fall or if your skin tends to be very dry. A nutrient oil based moisturizer with beeswax, like Alabu’s Shea Body Butter is especially helpful to protect against moisture loss through your skin.



Oct 13

Essential Oils: Lavenders many uses

Essential Oils: Lavenders many usesThe first soap I ever made was lavender essential oil.   It was readily available at the health food store and I thought it would make a fresh clean smelling soap.  It turns out that the name lavender is derived from the Latin “to wash”.  People have known the value of lavender for over two thousand years, but not for just washing themselves.  It has been used for a wide range of practices ranging from anxiety to pain reliever.  It had been thought to have protective properties that would ward off the plague.

Today, studies have confirmed that lavender can induce a calming sedating effect when inhaled. It has also shown to improve circulation problems, mental balance, insomnia and depression.  It is also used as a pain reliever for certain conditions like sprains, bee stings and sunburn. Lavender can also be used as a mosquito repellent when applied to the skin.  Scientists are also studying the effects of its elements to calm the pain from cancer.

For centuries lavender has been used in pillows to help with a peaceful sleep and also mixed with chamomile as a sleep aid.  Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with lavender, may improve sleep quality, mood, concentration, and reduce anxiety.

Aroma therapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Lavender can be used to treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections, wounds, eczema, and acne. It is also used in a bath for joint and muscle pain. One study has shown that found that oxygen supplemented with lavender oil improves pain control after surgery.

Whether you love it or If you are not yet familiar with lavender, give our Lavender Delight soap a try, it is a soothing and relaxing blend of lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of sweet orange essential oils. Lavender essential oil aids sleep and relaxation. Try it out in a bath or shower before taking a nap or going to bed!

Jun 13

The Garden and Good intentions

With what had been going on I am way behind on our garden. “Our” means that I plant it, weed it, harvest it, cook it and “we” eat it (giggles). But anyway, I’m way behind, Baby Robin (2)I hadn’t planted anything except a few onions my daughter gave me left over from her garden. She has 6 week old twins; four kids under 4 and she is done with her garden weeks before me! But her husband also has an interest in the garden other than eating (hint,hint).  Ok, so I’m really way behind and yesterday I committed to put everything else aside and get my garden planted. I had all my plants, I just needed to get them in the ground. I was hopeful I could finish it all in one afternoon. Well that was before I heard a commotion and saw baby robins flying- hopping everywhere!  We knew there was a nest under the deck, but apparently our dog Chia spooked them and they all jumped out of their nest. Not the smartest move on their part. Fortunately Chia didn’t chase them but they were scattered all over the yard.

So instead of planting I was sneaking up behind little fluffy baby birds and scooping them up and putting them back in their nest. The first was easy, but the others hopped around a bit before I was able to get them and the parents we not at all happy with me. At first it was just the Robins that we swooping over my head. But by the third baby rescue I had cow birds and sparrows all gunning after me! I am happy to report that I managed to catch them all and put them all back in their nest. As for my garden there is always tomorrow!

Jun 13

Killdeer on my mind

Every Spring the Killdeer return to our farm. Nervous little birds on long skinny legs; the kind of bird you would expect to see at the seashore, but we’re not. We usually don’t pay a lot of attention to them; except for the annoying loud noises they can make at all hours of the night!

Killdeer are famous for making their nest on the ground in a very un bird -like manner. Maybe they are where the phrase bird brain came from, I’m not sure.  But their eggs are amazingly camouflaged to look like pebbles.

killdeer nest of sorts

This year they made their nest in the stones next to my garden. Although nest is a bit of an overstatement, four eggs in a slight depression in the stones. So this will provide 3 to 4 weeks of avian entertainment. The way they protect their eggs and young is the entertaining part. They will try to lure you away from their nest by faking an injured wing and leading you away from their nest making all kinds of racket.

Killdeer faking it

Unless of course you are a goat or a horse, then they puff themselves up as big as they can, wings spread and charging you and screaming all the way. Interesting as it is to observe their antics; we try not to disturb them too much. They take turns sitting on their nest and spend the rest of their day eating lots of harmful bugs; including beetles, mosquitos and ticks so they are good for the garden and the animals. But every time Dean or I go to the garden, it creates quite a raucous display.

We get lots of Killdeer here. I think because we have so much open space and beyond that there is lots of wetlands. But it wasn’t always that way. In the 1800’s they were hunted almost to the point of extinction. I have heard they aren’t much to eat so maybe it was their loud calls that got them into trouble. Finally a law was passed in 1917 to protect Killdeer and their eggs, because they are so valuable to farmers eating pests that eat crops.

I am honored that the Killdeer feel happy here to make their homes here in our garden. I think is says so much about how we feel about a happy, natural way of life!