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Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvesting Herbal Flowers and My Salt Scrub Recipe

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It's flowering herb harvest time! My lavender and chamomile are strung  up to dry. Of course, I'll continue to use fresh culinary herbs for cooking and some flowers for arrangements through late summer. Don't panic, it's not autumn yet!  I grow some flowers and herbs for making things like soap, tea, scrubs, and lotions. I also use them for aromatherapy in my home. As a result, I grow so much lavender and chamomile that I can't possibly use all of it before it spoils, so I dry it. Flowers are best harvested before they are in full bloom. Before the heat saps them of their oils. In my garden this year, that time was about two weeks ago.

 Lavender and Chamomile, hung in my mudroom to dry. It's the first thing that I smell when I walk through the door.  I love the combination of the two fragrances. Chamomile smells so sweet and clean when it's cut and lavender, well, you know how I feel about that!

I harvest flower essence herbs after several dry days. I cut them in the morning, after the dew has gone, but before the heat of the sun takes their energy (and mine). I tie them in small bunches, (15 or so stems per bunch) being careful not to crush the flowers, and hang them in a cool, dark place with low humidity and good air circulation. In my house, this means that they are dried in the mudroom. Hence, the dark photos.

Herbal flower harvesting also provides me with a wonderful opportunity to make making fresh batches of scrub, scented water, lotion, soap, and a whole host of other things. Today, I'm sharing my basic salt scrub recipe. You can fragrance it as you like. The one that I'm making today is Chamomile and lavender.


I keep my scrub in cute little french canisters with plastic scoops. I keep one near the kitchen sink,  one near the mudroom sink, and one in the shower. The fragrances change with the seasons.

 Basic Scrub Recipe

  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 1 cup Sea Salt (I use 1/2 cup coarse and 1/2 cup fine)
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups carrier oil (I use almond or grape seed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 30 drops essential oil (for this recipe, I used 20 drops lavender and 10 drops chamomile)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup flower petals
In a large glass or stainless bowl, combine the first six ingredients until moist. Gently stir in the flower petals. Adjust the moisture by adding more carrier oil or more glycerin, as desired. the mix should stick together but not be soupy.  Spoon it into air tight glass containers. To use, moisten skin, rub with scrub and rinse. If you have particularly sensitive skin, use sugar instead of sea salt and use more glycerin.  This mixture will make 2 jars full and will keep for six months in a sealed glass container.

Other combinations:

  • Orange/Lemon: 10 Lemon and 20 drops Orange Oil (or vice versa). Add lemon and orange zest.
  • Grapefruit/Mint: 20 drops grapefruit and 10 drops spearmint or peppermint
  • Lemon/Eucalyptus: 20 drops Lemon and 5 to 10 drops Eucalyptus (this one is strong)
My other favorite combos:
  •  Lavender Rose sugar scrub. INSTEAD OF THE ABOVE USE: 1 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, 1/4 cup almond oil, 2 Tablespoons dried rose petals, 1 teaspoon dried lavender Petals, Rose essential oil (10-20 drops), Lavender essential oil (10 drops)
  • Eucalyptus/Mint: use about 1/2 of the amount of oils. Peppermint or Spearmint. SO refreshing!
  • Lemongrass and Verbena: 20 drops Lemongrass and 10 drops verbena 
  • I'm currently experimenting with  verbena and juniper with lily and rose and just a little warm cedar and sandalwood. It smells summery and fresh. I'm not there yet, but if you're interested, let me know and I'll share the recipe when I perfect it.
Best for the winter: 

  •  Spiced Mocha: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1 to 1 1/2 cups carrier (I use almond for the winter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup glycerin,1 tblsp. ground coffee, 1 tblsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, generous pinch ginger, generous pinch nutmeg
  • Spiced Sugar: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1 to 1 1/2 cups carrier (I use almond for the winter), 1/4 to 1/2 cup glycerin, 1 cup light or dark Brown Sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp. - ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. - ground ginger, 2 tsp. - ground nutmeg. Cinnamon sticks, optional.
  • Best Brown Sugar Body Scrub: INSTEAD OF THE RECIPE ABOVE, USE: 1/2 cup ground almonds 1/2 cup ground oatmeal
    1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup almond oil
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
Let me know if you've come up with something different. I'm always looking for new combinations to try!


Essential Oils: Whole Foods
All other ingredients such as carrier oils and sea salt: Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or any good grocer.

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