Common Scents: All About Lavender

Welcome to our new series, Common Scents! Common Scents is a series of articles exploring the history of commonly used essential oils and how they became so popular in modern day soap and cosmetic crafting.

In this edition of Common Scents, we will explore the rich and royalty filled history of (almost) everyone’s favorite essential oil: lavender! Lavender first entered documentation around 77 AD, when it was thought to be a sort of cure-all. Today, lavender has many applications in aromatherapy, soap and cosmetics. It has proven to be one of the most versatile essential oils, and was coveted by royalty and commoners alike.

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            What’s in a name?

  As with most words, the word “lavender” is rooted in Latin. Lavender is derived from lavare, the Latin verb meaning “to wash”. Historically, lavender has been mistaken for a similar, related plant named spikenard, or spike lavender. The Greeks called it naardus or naarda, after the city of Naardus in Syria. No matter what name lavender has gone by throughout history, one thing stayed consistent; everyone loved it!

  History Smells Like Lavender.

 Egyptian royalty and high priests valued lavender for a myriad of reasons. One reason was embalming; if you wanted your vital organs to be well preserved and fragrant, the Egyptians had you covered! When the tomb of King Tut was opened and explored in 1923 by Howard Carter, he could still make out the faint smell of what was believed to be lavender after 3,000 years.

Greek physicians valued lavender for its healing properties. A Greek botanist named Dioscorides wrote about the soothing benefits of ingesting lavender in De Materia Medica, a comprehensive historical text used by many historical civilizations to treat illnesses and injuries. He claimed that ingesting lavender helped to relieve indigestion, headaches, and sore throats.

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Around the 12th century, Hildegard of Bingen wrote about a practical use for lavender oil; she discovered that the oil was an effective treatment of both head lice and fleas, common issues in that time period. She also claimed that using lavender gave one knowledge and a “pure spirit”. She would recommend that her readers mix lavender with wine at a lukewarm temperature; she claimed that this concoction would help to alleviate liver and lung pain. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth used lavender to soothe her migraines and also favored the purple plant as a perfume. Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I, adored lavender also and used it to scent her soaps, potpourris, and bath water. King Charles VI (France) sat on seat cushions stuffed with lavender.

The mid-16th century saw a rise in communicable diseases, such as cholera and the plague. The price of lavender was much higher during this time period as people believed that it could protect them against the Great Plague of 1665. Lavender could be found in most medicines and was touted as a “cure-all”; a promised remedy those suffering from the nightmarish plague desperately needed.

The Victorian era marked a return to lavender’s luxury roots. Women loved lavender and bought it in substantial amounts for varying uses from street vendors. These vendors bought their lavender supply almost exclusively from a town called Mitcham-the soothing lavender fields of which became popular with those affected by the plague, and had become the center of lavender oil production previously in the Elizabethan era. Victorian ladies and gentlemen used lavender to wash walls, clean their furniture and freshen their clothes. Lavender was also commonly used to repel insects, treat head lice (still very common in the Victorian era), and remained a staple in many medicine cabinets. Unfortunately, due to its gratuitous overuse as a perfume by specific female age groups, lavender lost most of its appeal and was widely considered an “old woman’s smell”.

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Fast forward to modern times. Lavender was used as an antiseptic during World War I, when traditional antiseptics were in short supply. Many people still use lavender today for its proclaimed natural anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Mixing a few drops of lavender essential oil with water is said to help repel fleas and other unwanted insects when sprayed on carpets and furniture, and lavender is used frequently alongside oatmeal in soaps to help soothe irritation on the skin. Many people claim that lavender can be used to either soothe or cure the following ailments:

  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Dementia symptoms
  • General pain
  • Immune Deficiency
  • MRSA
  • Infection of wounds
  • Venomous bites

 

It is important to note that these are observations and claims made by those who have used lavender; the FDA has not approved lavender in a medical capacity.            

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Lavender, Soap and Cosmetics

 The lavender we use for soap and cosmetics can come in a few shapes and sizes. Lavender oil is usually used to scent soaps, while the dried buds can be used as a gentle exfoliant in the bar itself, or on top of the bar as a decoration. Today’s lavender oil comes in different variations, from blends of different types of lavender to pure French lavender oil. Lavender remains one of the most popular essential oils, and with the many types available, is easily accessible for most budgets.

Lavender has a rich and storied history that dates back to some of the earliest records known to mankind. Many historical physicians and botanists believed that lavender was the cure to everything, and could even provide spiritual benefits. Although some of these claims may or may not be true, it is imperative that you follow the FDA’s guidelines for labeling; this includes making claims that are not approved by the FDA. Our How-To Library contains a great podcast about labeling by expert Marie Gale; check it out by visiting http://www.soapguild.org/how-to/legal-compliance/hscg-radio-labeling-guidelines.php.

   Thank you for joining us for Common Scents! Be on the lookout for our next installment; Common Scents: Chamomile.

 

 

 

Creating a Facebook Page for Your Business

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So you have decided to start your own business, you’ve spent long hours choosing the perfect name, you’ve decided on the coolest logo and your business cards just arrived in the mail yesterday. You’re ready to hit the local craft shows, peddle your products to all the trendiest local boutiques and have told everyone you know (even the last person who commented to you in line at the grocery store) about your products. All done right? Not so fast, your largest and cheapest marketing tool has yet to be established. That’s right, Facebook! You need to start your own business page to begin telling your followers why your product should be their next purchase. Now, we’ve all had that friend who is all to eager to fill up your feed with their latest foray into yet another pyramid scheme and we’ve all been torn on whether or not we can afford to subsequently block said friend. Here’s how to not become the next friend to get the ‘Block All Post from This User’ treatment.

Creating your own business page separate from your personal Facebook page is what you are going to do and here’s how.

You already have a Facebook account and if you don’t, you will need to change that first (everyone from high school won’t speculate on your whereabouts and possible death anymore, yay!) It’s easy:

  • Head on over to Facebook.com and fill out the form fields on the right of the page to create your account.
  • Now that you have your personal account set-up, login and click the deltoid at the top right of the page. (see photo)

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Select “Create Page” and follow the next steps choose “Local Business or Place” and enter as much information about your business as you can. The more you let Facebook and subsequently your pages followers know the better off you are.

Once you’ve completed these few simple steps your work really begins.

  • Write a great description for your business, fill in all the fields you can.
  • Add a great cover photo and make your profile photo your shiny new logo and start filling up your wall.
  • Connect your web store, link your businesses Facebook page with all your businesses other forms of social media(sorry but it’s all free and it’s basically a must have these days).

Your products and business are important to you so really spend some time getting your page really well set and it will pay off big time when you formally petition all your friends to like your new page! There are some things to really pay attention to when filling in your businesses information on Facebook, because nothing is more frustrating than incorrect information on a business page, so ensure that it’s there and it’s correct:

  • Phone # & Email Address
  • Store link (your website)
  • Business hours (when you want calls)
  • Company Bio (make it unique and interesting)
  • Link All Personal Social Media Outlets (Seriously!! People like me check)

Now that you have this amazing new Facebook page for your business, send us a message and let us know we should now be following you!! Do the same thing when you join Instagram(@thesoapguild) and Twitter(@TheSoapGuild) too!!

Happy Facebooking handcrafters and if you haven’t done it yet, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and our blog cuttothetrace.com.

Be on the look out for the follow up posts on “Optimizing your Facebook Page” and subsequent social media themed tutorials.

Greener Life Diamond

HSCG Vendor Spotlight Essential Depot

GreenerLifeDIamondGreener Life Diamond

In anticipation of their exciting new announcement regarding The Greener Life Diamond™, we recently caught up with Derek Hodges President and CEO of Essential Depot, Inc. to ask a few questions about the conceptualization and need for The Greener Life Diamond.

Q. How did you come up with the Greener Life Diamond concept?

A. It was a long process of looking at many options and certification programs, towards the end of this process we were fitting HAZMAT diamonds on our trucks and the idea hit me!

Q. What kind of positive impact do you see coming from the Greener Life Diamond implementation?

A. Consumers are more ready than ever to buy products from companies that value kindness and social responsibility. The Greener Life Diamond™ allows them to assess, compare, and make informed choices in the marketplace. Consumers will reward companies that make the ethical decision to lower their impact in the four quadrants of the diamond, with the ultimate result of improvement in the four areas of environmental concern.

If we get the press we are hoping for both here and in Europe, we expect it to advance consumer awareness and the Greener Life cause and help differentiate ours and our customers products in all sales channels. Find more here: white paper.

 

carbon footprint, animal friendly, eco-friendly, fair trade

“Deforestation, much of it to clear land for palm oil plantations, has destroyed more than 80 percent of the orangutan’s habitat over the last 20 years. The past decade has seen the wild population cut in half and these animals may very well go extinct in the next decade. (Source: GreenerLifeDiamond.pdf)

 

Q. How does an individual or business learn more about Greener Life Diamond™ and become qualified to utilize it within their own product labeling?

A. We will be releasing an extensive “greener life diamond labeling tools and resources” for this at the HSCG Conference in Tampa, FL – May 18-21.

Q. We understand that Essential Depot is holding a workshop May 16-17 in Sebring, FL for customers and suppliers to learn more about Greener Life Diamond™, can you tell us more about that event.

A. At the Greener Life Diamond Workshop we will present the final White Paper, for customers, suppliers and other key industry professionals, the workshop will fully brief them on all aspects of the Greener Life Diamond™ RED initiative. Videos of this event will subsequently be available to all at Fyi101.com. If you feel you would like to attend the Greener Life Diamond™ Workshop email susan@essentialdepot.com and we will do our best to accommodate you.

 

Be on the lookout for more releases from the Essential Depot Inc. regarding this new concept. For more information on the Green Life Diamond find the first white paper on the Essential Depots site here http://www.essentialdepot.com/GreenerLifeDiamond.pdf