an open letter to “green beauty”

whew. okay, i’ve had this written since july 2020 and never pressed “published” out of fear. here it goes.

disclaimer: this is my opinion, not fact. i am not perfect – i am or have been guilty of everything i discuss. this is vulnerability, and i am open to hearing different sides and learning.

dear green beauty –

i’m writing because i love you and care about you… and because i’m disappointed. disappointed not just in you, but in myself. the green beauty community of 10 years ago is nothing like it is now, and i see the good and the bad in that. change and flexibility are important, but i’m disappointed that we’re falling short of what i think we could be.

the good? the sense of community, the push to be educated consumers, the creativity explored, the knowledge shared, the acceptance and vulnerability.

the bad? the fear-mongering, the inaccessibility, the gate-keeping, the misleading and over-the-top marketing tactics.

how did we get here?

from many converging paths, surely. everything from fear-mongering bloggers, like me, to money-grubbing businesses who saw fear-based vulnerability as opportunity.

so let’s lay it out.

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  1. fear-mongering

    let me first say – i did this and i’m not proud. i started this very blog because i bought into the fear-mongering so hard that i actively pushed it out to literally thousands of others. it’s toxic and problematic. once upon a time, i really thought using dove was definitely going to increase my risk for cancer and i needed to stop shampooing my hair. before anyone gets upset or confused – please stop for a second and hear me out. i am not saying no-‘poo is wrong or less-than – i personally don’t use conventional shampoo and don’t see myself ever doing so, but let me be clear that it’s because my scalp does so much better now and i really enjoy herbal-infused products. it doesn’t mean that someone that doesn’t like herbal-infused products is the enemy or is wrong.

    plenty of people see true beneficial results from switching to “green” products, including myself. i personally don’t see myself returning to “conventional” products. but you? keep doing what is working for you and your family! know that “going green” doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s okay. that being said, if anyone ever wants to try out a “crunchy” formula with me, i’ll be here.

    the other side of this is fear-mongering to the point you’re telling consumers untrue things that is putting their health at risk. my biggest complaint with the green beauty industry here is preservatives. preservatives are outright demonized to the point we have businesses formulating without them, resulting in consumers receiving nasty petri dish products. personally, i’ve seen two companies insist that they’ve “preserved” products containing water with *honey*. that’s not only false, it’s dangerous. i get on a soapbox about this topic HERE, if you’re interested.

  2. inaccessibility

    there are so many ways this impacts green beauty. for one, so much emphasis is put on “sexy” and trendy ingredient lists, which ultimately can drive prices sky-high. why has everything become a “luxury” item and experience? sure, luxury has always had a place and always will; that’s fine. but since when is that the standard? second, we have all seen the exorbitant price tags that don’t match sourcing, fair wages, or formulations. yes, there is a really nice-looking shea butter blue balm that’s been claimed as basically an entire life-changing experience, but i promise you it’s not worth $180 for 50 mL. again, luxury has a place, but why are we ignoring everyone we’ve excluded in doing this? this isn’t to shame those that have the privilege of enjoying luxury items – enjoy your products.

    my point here is green beauty has swung so far sideways from its original humble inception that it’s no longer widely accessible to the masses. is that fair? is this acceptable? i personally don’t think so. where are the accessible options? why is this now so exclusionary? speaking of being exclusionary, this tangentially leads me into my next point.

  3. inclusion (lack thereof)

    we can’t ignore the lack of BIPOC presence in the green beauty space. we can’t ignore the deep-rooted colonialism wearing a “unique ingredient” mask (at best). sure, many companies are finally taking action and many people are finally making space for those important voices to be heard, but we have a lot of work to do. green beauty has somehow become white women marketing to white women and we can absolutely do better. we need to do better. if you have no idea where to start, i’ve posted a non-exhaustive list of companies to support here. please add more in the comments and i’ll update as needed.

    another aspect of a lack of inclusion is gate-keeping of knowledge. this is more prolific in the herbalist community, but with so many overlaps between herbalism and green beauty, i thought it important to acknowledge. learning how to formulate and create safely isn’t some top classified secret to be kept. learning which herbs can help for certain things and which to avoid shouldn’t be an opportunity to money gouge and withhold valuable and helpful information. and this doesn’t even touch how this is yet another form of colonization, by the way. while i’ve tried to help by posting all my formulas and reference articles for free with 0 affiliates or sponsors, there’s more work to be done.

  4. problematic marketing

    let’s keep this two-fold for now: one, misleading marketing; two, over-the-top marketing. let me explain.

    misleading marketing has many faces. it can be business owners parading as almighty sources of infinite knowledge and experience, of which in many cases they are not. it can also be businesses telling you that “clean” is better and then shaming you into redirecting your funds to them.

    secondly, the over-the-top marketing that has become the standard needs to go. the product descriptions dripping with superlatives that really mean nothing is, at best, smoke and mirrors. using a face mist can be lovely, sure; but it most certainly will not magically transport you to hawaii and cause you to hear the wind in the palm trees as the ocean laps in the distance. soap is freaking soap; it’s not a divine connection to the spiritual realm worth the price of weekly groceries.

  5. false sense of sustainability

    ok – this one is tricky since it’s intrinsically linked with current technologies, sourcing, climate conditions, etc., but my main issue is that green beauty is not inherently sustainable but it’s marketed as such. take for example that there are herbs that are not sustainable to harvest at the mass-production demand levels we have, like echinacea, chaga, or dragon’s blood resin. but it’s not just herbs – it’s product packaging and shipping, too. what, in my opinion, sucks the most is there are no real “sustainable” alternatives to cosmetic packaging that are widely available or accessible. with technological advances we can hold out confident hope there will be. so what can we and/or businesses do? reduce the impact. choose materials that are recycled and recyclable, for example. it’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than inaction.

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so, my dear green beauty. i’ll leave this here. i’m keeping my butter balms and tinctures, but i’m walking away from the smoke and mirrors.

XO, ALEXRAYE

free educational resources on herbalism

hi loves. here are some links to free resources to learn more about the world of herbalism. they are categorized by how you would want to learn – watch, read, or listen. please leave more in the comments to be added!

XO, ALEXRAYE

read first: Herbal Medicine Fundamentals from the American Herbalists Guild

WATCH

READ

articles

  • Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa – blog
  • Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism – site
  • Herbal Actions – pdf

courses

books

LISTEN

4 things on my blog i no longer agree with

… and no, non-vegan items are not included 😉

i’ve decided to publish this because, hey, no one is perfect. if we’re not learning from our mistakes, we’re doing something wrong. we should always strive for improvement.

let’s get straight into it.

  • baking soda hair wash
    • the pH of baking soda is much too harsh (too alkaline) and can cause damage to both hair and scalp over a sustained time period. i no longer advise this version of the no-poo method, but am still a fan of water-only washing and low-poos. calia is a nice shampoo & conditioner brand that’s affordable and has great ingredients.
  • diy sunscreen
    • please do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin. to have that tested and confirmed requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. if you need suggestions – i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face. please leave others below in the comments!
    • i’m a supporter of responsible sun exposure. i think it’s crucial to health. that doesn’t mean i’m a supporter of reckless sun exposure. for example, i know i will be outside an average of 30 minutes total every day, and not midday. knowing that, i do not apply sunscreen to my body. however, if i know i will be on a midday hike, i will slather it on.
  • diy lotion w/ no preservatives
    • say it with me – anything containing aqueous ingredients, or anhydrous coming into contact with water, NEEDS a preservative. i get on my soapbox about it here.
    • two things to know: 1. preservatives are not evil. 2. antioxidants are not preservatives. rosemary eo and/or extract and vitamin e are antioxidants and can be used in anhydrous formulations, but they are not preservatives.
  • mixing EOs and herbs haphazardously 
    • as wonderful and easy as it sounds, you can’t just blend random essential oils and/or herbs together. everything has different constituents with varied herbal and drug interactions, in addition to varied contraindications. yes, plant extracts can and will absolutely interfere with prescribed medications. please always talk with both your doctor and your local certified herbalist.
    • other than endangering yourself, loved ones, and even pets (no EOs with pets!), at the very least, you could be – 1. wasting plant material from not understanding constituent solubility properly (ex: trying to drink nettle tea for silica… won’t happen, babycakes. check out my post on this here); 2. wasting plant material from using herbs and essential oils with opposing ‘actions’ in the body (blending chamomile and green tea).

 

is there anything you no longer practice or agree with in the ‘crunchy’ or ‘green’ world? let’s hear it!

XO, ALEXRAYE

introduction to herbalism: oil infusions

whew, it’s been a couple weeks! hello, crunchies!

welcome back to our little “introduction to herbalism” series! today we’re going to go over OIL INFUSIONS.

and here’s your friendly reminder to ALWAYS check contraindications and drug interactions when using herbs…. always. yes, they’re plants… but no, they’re not all safe all the time. 🙂

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what is an oil infusion? 

an oil infusion is an infusion of herbs where the carrier oil(s) are the menstrum.

why use oil as the menstrum?

if we want to extract essential oil components, fat-soluble vitamins, carotenoids, fatty acids, tocopherols, and/or lipids, a carrier oil is our best option. knowing constituent solubility is crucial. see here if you missed our overview on that.

for example, the wound healing and skin moisturizing properties of comfrey leaf is found in allantoin, and the anti-inflammatory properties of black cumin seed oil comes from thymoquinone. both are oil-soluble only. pretty neat!

TYPES OF OIL INFUSIONS 

folk method / simpler’s method / solar infusion

solar infusions are just what they sound like – an oil infusion left to sit in the sun. some herbalists will say solar infusions need to only sit for 2 weeks, and some say up to 6. i personally think it depends on your carrier oil and the herbs used.

while this is the more widely-used method, i personally think it’s a tiny bit less ideal because many carrier oils go rancid in sunlight. it’s just science. the rate of how quickly they go rancid varies tremendously, but can easily be researched. try starting with looking up studies on their OSI, or oxidative stress index.

for example, argan oil should probably never be used because it’s not very shelf-stable. when kept in ideal, dark, dry conditions, argan oil rapidly loses quality after 6 months, whereas marula oil is incredibly resistant to oxidative stress and will be fine for a solar infusion.

warm bath / crockpot (not ideal but possible)

if you’re short on time and don’t need a potent infused oil, the warm bath or crockpot method is suitable.

it’s not ideal because you’re heating up the oil and herbs to a level that can potentially destroy the beneficial constituents. you’ll want to make sure you’re not using a heat sensitive oil. for example, i wouldn’t suggest you use olive oil for the crockpot method, which can begin to show markers of thermal oxidation past 22C/71F, and 33C/98F can ruin the oil completely (depending on the region the olive oil is from… so interesting!).

cold infusion

i’ve found this to be the best infusion method for me, because you don’t have to worry about oxidative stability and rancidity.

with this method you follow a solar infusion, but rather than leaving it in the sun, you leave it in a cool, dry, dark area for 6 weeks. voila.

HOW TO

the ratios you’ll learn will vary. some herbalists advise 1 part DRIED herb to 10 parts carrier oil. some herbalists say to fill your container up halfway with herbs and the rest with oil, leaving 1 to 2 inches of oil on top so the herbs have room to swell. no matter which you opt for (depending on what herbs you’re using), you want to make sure the herb is completely dried out so you don’t grow mold in the oil.

once your oil is infused using the method of your choice, strain, bottle in dark glass, and label your infused oil (date and contents).

how long it keeps will be up to how well you store it and what types of carrier oils you used. always store infusions away from direct sunlight, out of heat, and in a dry area.

if anything smells off or becomes murky, toss it.

APPLICATIONS

you can use herbal infused oils as they are, or incorporate them into body butters, salves, hair treatments, face serums… let your creativity run wild! they’re a great way to really amp up the benefits of what you’re already DIYing.

herbal infused oils are some of my favorite things to make! what about you? have you made any, or will you now try? can’t wait to hear!

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

disclaimer – these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. anything presented here or on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. i am not a medical doctor. i will not advise on herbal remedies for ailments nor will i advise on herbal safety. your choices are your own. 

introduction to herbalism: teas & decoctions

welcome back to our little “introduction to herbalism” series! today we’re going to go over TEAS & DECOCTIONS.

i tried using instagram stories for the first time ever to take a poll, and 98% of you said you liked this series, so here we are again! 🙂 find me @alexraye_ae if you want to hang out online from time to time.

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what are teas and decoctions?

teas and decoctions are forms of extracting the beneficial, water-soluble components of plant material. knowing your herbs are important, but equally as important is knowing how to extract certain constituents.

when using water, we should only expect to extract the following constituents: tannins, saponins, lectins, terpenoids, mucilages, polypeptides, and polyphenols. we would not expect to extract minerals or fat-soluble vitamins.

how do i know which plant material constituents are water-soluble and which aren’t?

oops – you missed our last post in this herbalism series! here’s a summary:

  • oil
    • essential oil components, fat-soluble vitamins, carotenoids, fatty acids, tocopherols, lipids
    • ex: wound healing and skin moisturizing properties of comfrey leaf (allantoin); anti-inflammatory properties in black cumin seed oil (thymoquinone)
  • water
    • tannins, saponins, lectins, terpenoids, mucilages, polypeptides, polyphenols 
    • ex: astringent property of witch hazel (tannins); antioxidant properties of butterfly pea flowers (anthocyanins – flavonoid)
  • vinegar
    • minerals and trace elements
    • not as potent as using an alcohol solvent, but suitable and extracts different constituents
    • ex: silica from horsetail; minerals in nettle
  • alcohol
    • carotenoids, tannins, terpenoids, sterols, alkaloids, polyphenols (like flavonoids)
    • ex: antioxidant properties of clove (eugenol)
  • glycerin
    • alcohol alternative, but unlike alcohol, it also extracts saponins
    • ex: oxidative stress scavenging properties of astragalus (saponins)

 

TEA:

a tea is a type of infusion. it uses water as the menstrum to extract constituents from softer plant parts, like petals and leaves, where the plant material is strained before use or ingestion. the exception to this rule is aromatic roots, which are better prepared as a tea. an example of an aromatic root is ginger root.

they are considered to be of less medicinal value compared to decoctions.

how do i make a tea?

it depends on the plant material. the temperature of the water is also crucial. this will require some research on your end, depending on what you’re using. overall, though, you would heat up the water first, remove it from the heat, steep the plant material in it, and then strain before use/ingestion.

teas should be refrigerated and used within 48 hours.

here are a couple examples:

  • peppermint tea
    • water temperature: ~170 degrees F
    • steep time: 1 to 3 minutes
  • chamomile tea
    • water temperature: ~200 degrees F
    • steep time: 3 to 5 minutes

DECOCTION:

a decoction is technically another aqueous infusion, but the key here is the concentration. it’s a concentrated preparation of plant material made by simmering and then steeping the more tenuous plant parts, like roots, stems, seed, and barks.

they are considered the more therapeutic of the two.

how do i make a decoction?

unlike teas, decoctions start with the plant material already in the cold water. it’s simmered until the water has been reduced by half, removed from the heat and left to steep until it’s room temperature, and then strained before use and/or ingestion.

decoctions should be refrigerated and used within 48 hours.

some examples of a decoction are:

  • valerian root – promotes sound sleep
  • dandelion root – aids digestion

can i combine teas and decoctions?

yes, absolutely! once the decoction is made and removed from the heat, you can add the other plant materials better used in a tea, letting everything steep together as it cools.

what do you think of this series so far? was this post helpful?

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

disclaimer – these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. anything presented here or on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. i am not a medical doctor. i will not advise on herbal remedies for ailments nor will i advise on herbal safety. your choices are your own. 

introduction to herbalism: extracts

let’s learn all about EXTRACTS.

what is an extract? what are the types of extracts? why use certain menstrums and not others?

wait, what’s a menstrum?

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what is a plant/herbal extract?

an extract is a substance that contains the beneficial constituents of the original plant material. what constituents are extracted entirely depends on the menstrum used.

>> everything discussed in this post will not technically be a true-to-definition ‘extract,’ but they are all in the same realm and will come up when you’re having to choose for DIYs.

what is a menstrum? 

simply put, a menstrum is a solvent. working with herbs, you will typically choose from water, alcohol, vinegar, glycerin, and/or a carrier oil.

you want your end ‘product’ to contain the constituents you intended. for that, you need to understand plant constituent solubility. not everything can be infused in oil!

constituent solubility

this is the underpinning to creating an effective extract!

knowing which constituents are what is absolutely necessary to avoid wasting precious plant material and/or creating misleading marketing hype.

this knowledge will keep you from fruitlessly trying to extract the tannins from white peony root in oil and drinking horsetail tea for the silica content (neither of which will ever work).

learning different constituents takes time and lots of research. i for one definitely do not know them all by heart. does anyone, though? maybe David Hoffman 😉

here’s a rough guide on how to choose which menstrum would be best for your intended end result:

  • oil
    • essential oil components, fat-soluble vitamins, carotenoids, fatty acids, tocopherols, lipids
    • ex: wound healing and skin moisturizing properties of comfrey leaf (allantoin); anti-inflammatory properties in black cumin seed oil (thymoquinone)
  • water
    • tannins, saponins, lectins, terpenoids, mucilages, polypeptides, polyphenols 
    • ex: astringent property of witch hazel (tannins); antioxidant properties of butterfly pea flowers (anthocyanins – flavonoid)
  • vinegar
    • minerals and trace elements
    • not as potent as using an alcohol solvent, but suitable and extracts different constituents
    • ex: silica from horsetail; minerals in nettle
  • alcohol
    • carotenoids, tannins, terpenoids, sterols, alkaloids, polyphenols (like flavonoids)
    • ex: antioxidant properties of clove (eugenol)
  • glycerin
    • alcohol alternative, but unlike alcohol, it also extracts saponins
    • ex: oxidative stress scavenging properties of astragalus (saponins)

don’t know which to use and can’t find any published research? reach out to a local certified herbalist. can’t reach one? find research and/or reading material from a trusted source, like David Hoffman or Rosemary Gladstar. this book has been my favorite so far for initial reading and learning (i have both the ebook and hardcover copies, if that says anything).

types of plant material extracts and methods
  • essential oil
    • (please see my EO safety statements at the end of the blog post. to pique your interest in scrolling down – amongst other things, i included published Injury Reports and average documented injuries #s)
    • highly concentrated distilled plant material containing volatile chemical compounds (not actually an ‘oil’)
    • often used as aromatherapy
    • used in extremely small concentrations (ie – 1%)
    • ex: lavender, oregano, blue tansy, geranium
  • hydrosol, hydrolat, distillate
    • aqueous by-product of distilling essential oils that was once thrown away by manufacturers as waste
    • ‘low risk’ plant water (suitable for sensitive skin)
    • ex: rose hydrosol, cucumber hydrosol
  • infusion
    • can be oil- or water-based
    • extracts from softer plant parts, like petals and leaves
    • water-based infusions usually involve letting plant materials sit in hot water for a certain amount of time before straining (aka, tea)
    • oil-based infusions require 4 to 6 weeks to be properly made but utilize the same softer plant parts (we’ll have a post on this)
    • ex: water-based – peppermint tea, chamomile tea
    • ex: oil-based – comfrey leaf oil (skin), rosemary oil (scalp)
  •  decoction
    • concentrated aqueous preparation of plant material made by boiling and then steeping (we’ll have a post on this, too)
    • typically used with tenuous plant materials like roots, stems, seeds, and barks, where a normal tea preparation will not suffice
    • not suitable for delicate petals and leaves
    • ex: witch hazel; valerian ‘tea’ (because it’s made with the root and rhizome)
  • maceration
    • used for soaking very delicate plant materials where the menstrum (oil/fat) is used cold
    • also includes herb-infused honey
    • ex: monoi de tahiti oil is a polynesian-decreed maceration of tahitian gardenias in unrefined coconut oil; it’s not a unique cold-pressed oil like hemp seed oil or olive oil
    • ex: garlic honey
  • CO2
    • supercritical oil extraction using carbon dioxide
    • allows for higher terpene content
    • contains both the carrier and essential oil constituents of the original plant material
    • currently considered the cleanest extraction method for plant oils
    • effective in smaller concentrations as compared to a cold-pressed carrier oil
    • ex: chia seed CO2, black cumin seed CO2
  • CO2 total
    • supercritical oil extraction using carbon dioxide
    • creates an original “herb-like” extract that contains the oil, volatile essential oil constituents, waxes, and resins, all in one
    • more paste-like than a CO2 extract
    • effective in smaller concentrations as compared to a cold-pressed carrier oil
    • ex: calendula CO2 total, raspberry seed CO2 total
  • absolute
    • alcohol-extracted
    • only used for perfumery
    • ex: violet leaf absolute, rose absolute
  • tincture
    • herbal medicine extract using alcohol as the menstrum
    • ex: anxiety blends, digestive blends (here is a good source; not an affiliate)
  • glycerite
    • herbal tincture using glycerin as the solvent/menstrum instead of alcohol
    • can be taken internally as herbal medicine
      • better for kids and those avoiding alcohol
    • ‘enhanced’ option for topical use formulations instead of plain glycerin
    • ex: astragalus, echinacea (here is a good source; not an affiliate)
  • liniment
    • rubbing alcohol extracted tincture
    • for topical use only
    • ex: arnica for bruising

 

whew – hopefully that wasn’t too much.

NEXT STEPS: not only should you be familiar with your constituent solubility, but you also have to know the best extraction method, based on what part of the plant you’re using, what constituents you want to utilize, and what menstrum you’re using. think: cold or hot; fast or slow. that will be our next post!

XO, ALEXRAYE

 


ESSENTIAL OIL SAFETY:

i could make a whole post about this… should i?

  • *always, always check contraindications and usage guidelines before use with a registered aromatherapist!*
  • not all are safe for use
  • none are water-soluble
    • oil and water don’t mix. this applies to dropping EOs in your bathtub.
  • never apply to skin undiluted
    • causes skin irritation and sensitivity, up to and including hives, swelling, inflammation, and burns
    • caveat: the soles of the feet can be okay because the skin is so thick, but it’s still not advised unless under the supervision of a registered aromatherapist
  • can be dangerous when diffused
    • 1. for extended periods of time, 2. around children, the elderly, and those who are sick, and 3. around pets (their livers cannot metabolize the constituents, cats especially)
    • for example – wintergreen, peppermint, and eucalyptus are toxic to children and should not be diffused around them
    • there are also some EOs that should never be diffused for any reason
  • never ingest  
    • “essential oils” are naturally found in raw plant materials, so when, for example, you put oregano on your pasta, you consume the oregano EO. but distilled essential oils are so highly concentrated and completely different from what you would ever encounter in nature.
    • to be very clear – there is no such thing as a “food grade” EO. EOs do not belong under your tongue nor in your water bottles. this is often dangerously marketed by MLMs and bloggers. this can, and HAS, lead to mucous membrane irritation, migraines, ulcers, hives, seizures, organ failure, and hospitalization. let’s not forget that EOs also interact with pharmaceuticals!
    • the only exception to this “never ingest” rule is if you are under the direct care and supervision of a REGISTERED aromatherapist, who has been through countless hours of formal study, clinicals, and passed a rigorous exam.
      • from Tisserand’s website (aka the most renowned and educated EO human we have today) – “Do not ingest essential oils unless advised to do so by a practitioner who is qualified/licensed to prescribe essential oils in this way. Taking essential oils orally engages many areas of risk that other modes do not. […] mucous membrane tissue is more sensitive than skin, yet our gut only sends out pain signals when erosion has progressed quite far. Essential oils are widely used in food flavorings, and GRAS status for many essential oils applies to food flavoring use, but it specifically excludes medicinal use.”
      • here is the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) statement, taken from their website – “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).”
  • please be cautious of MLMs
    • they advise EO use in an unsafe and misleading manner, and employ untrained/unregistered distributors advising harmful methods of use (like undiluted application and ingestion). i don’t think the individual distributors do this out of malice by any means, they just haven’t been properly educated.
    • they advertise their EOs are “therapeutic grade,” which doesn’t actually exist! it was completely made up and trademarked by the MLMs themselves. genius marketing, though.
  • please take the time to look at Injury Reports!
    • here’s 2014, 2015a, 2015b, 2016, 2017, and 2018. they will show documented cases of EO injuries from being applied undiluted and from being ingested.
    • look at the below chart to how much doterra deviates from average injury rates. WOW!Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 1.19.03 PM.png

 

disclaimer – these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. anything presented here or on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. i am not a medical doctor. i will not advise on herbal remedies for ailments nor will i advise on herbal safety. your choices are your own. 

 

 

introduction to herbalism: pt 1

hello crunchies!

you gave some nice feedback that having some blog posts on an introduction to herbalism would be neat, so here i am! i don’t intend for this to be a form of training by any means, but rather a nice little “dip” into the herbalism pool to see if it piques your interest.

where you go from there will be up to you.

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what is herbalism?

put plainly, it is the study of the therapeutic and medicinal application of plants. the field of herbalism as a whole contains a multitude of published research, so never mistake it for a non-scientific field of study. big pharma offerings often start from herbalism findings.

i personally believe there is a time and place for herbalism and a time and place for conventional western medicine. i will never delude myself into believing that plants solve everything all the time. you’d be hard-pressed to find a serious practicing herbalist that does.

where is herbalism practiced?

clinics, kitchens, backyards… sometimes you may not even realizing you’re dabbling in it. ever make yourself a cup of peppermint tea for an upset stomach or gas? herbalism. it’s an enthralling, accessible field.

why learn herbalism?

maybe you want to try an alternative approach to ailments you experience. maybe you just want to learn more about your local flora and how it can be utilized. maybe you want to really “up” your DIY game. OR – maybe you want to eventually open a business or practice.

whether you do it for your own knowledge or to help others, learning herbalism is never a terrible idea.

where is herbalism learned?

there’s always the option of entering into a formal education program, like i have, or you can do an apprenticeship, be mentored by other practicing herbalists, and/or self-teach. if you opt to self-teach to only create things for yourself and your family (no practice, no money coming in, etc), please consider finding a network of practicing herbalists to guide you and help you along the way. their wisdom can go a long way in your learnings. i have learned just as much from my small network on an ad-hoc basis as i have from my formal classes.

if you’re looking to open a practice, please learn formally and get certifications (see next paragraph), in addition to finding a network of herbalists to mentor you. the American Herbalists Guild does recommend at least 1600 hours of formal herbal medicine study, which includes a 400 hour clinical requirement.

it’s important to note that in the U.S. there are no accredited herbalism certifications available, as herbalism is not regulated. you can enroll into a program that provides a certificate (“certified herbalist”), but the certificate will not be a higher education ‘degree’ of any sort. that being said, being formally educated, in my opinion, is a much better option for you and your loved ones. there are recognized and respected schools listed by the American Herbalists Guild, so i would suggest starting there if you’re interested. i say this because there is so much misinformation out there (like “ingesting EOs is safe”- it’s not) and you want to be sure you’re properly trained to help others, if you wish to do so.

no matter what you do, always read and research. David Hoffman is probably the most revered and learned herbalist we have today, and any of his books would be a great place to start. i think this one is really great, and three others i have by him are this, this, and this. two other books recommended by my teacher were this one and this one (NOT affiliates, just trying to help you, if you’re interested).

what will this herbalism introduction series cover? 

right now, i’m planning to share things like this with you:

  • how to make a proper herbal infusion
  • how to make proper decoctions
  • a few herbal applications in DIY beauty formulas

what i am NOT planning on posting is:

  • materia medicas
  • advice on specific herbal applications for ailments
  • advice on herbal contraindications for safety
  • herbal “medical” advice of any kind for any reason

for the topics i will not be posting about, please leverage your own local certified herbalist. need help finding one? check HERE

the last thing i will leave you with today – never assume that because you’re “just using plants” that it’s safe for everyone all the time. it’s not. that’s very important to understand.

all this being said, studying herbalism has been quite a fulfilling journey for me so far and i’m looking forward to sharing a tiny piece of it with you.

what do you think? are you excited for this? i am!  if you have anything you want to specifically cover, LET ME KNOW!

maybe i can get annie back on the blog 😉 let’s talk her into it!

keep learning and BE SAFE.

XO, ALEXRAYE

 

disclaimer – these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. anything presented here or on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. i am not a medical doctor. i will not advise on herbal remedies for ailments nor will i advise on herbal safety. your choices are your own.