I thought it would be fun to share the botanicals that I’ve been especially interested in lately, when it comes to making DIY skincare.
I’d love to know, what’s been on your radar at the moment?
I moved to North Carolina at the start of goldenrod season. It grows like a weed here, and it blew my mind to see the outdoors lit up with the brightest color yellow.
Back in herbal school, I was taught about goldenrod, mostly as an anti-allergen remedy. Especially when you have a runny nose. You can infuse the flowers and petals into brandy or vinegar, and take it throughout allergy season.
But, for me, my special interest is in how herbs are used topically. I had never seen goldenrod in a skincare recipe – or heard it talked about as a skincare plant.
And so I spent that first summer and fall immersed in researching all about goldenrod, wanting to know if we can use it topically? Are there any benefits?
I’m always amazed to learn all the ways that herbs are used topically!
From my research notes:
- “Goldenrod’s Latin name, Solidago, means “to make whole”
- It has a tonic action on the protective membrane linings, the skin and mucosa— strengthening the physical barriers that keep irritants/pathogens/allergens out.
- It’s a slow healer because it builds health. So, unlike for example plantain which is used for acute conditions (cuts and grazes)— Goldenrod is most often used for chronic conditions (eczema, psoriasis, acne…)
- Goldenrod used regularly can have a drying effect on the skin, especially if you have a dry constitution. Use moistening herbs to create balance.
- As a treatment for skin: Skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, hives, candida, allergic rash) where allergens or pathogens are at the root cause.
- Goldenrod contains an antioxidant that act as an antihistamine (Quercetin)
- Historically, goldenrod was used topically to treat wounds and to prevent infection.
- Native Americans chewed on goldenrod to ease toothaches.
If I had to choose – the one herb/plant that I have the strongest affinity for – it’s pine. The resin for healing, but the whole tree gives me a feeling of wellbeing.
I remember watching a documentary about a family that experienced homelessness. They shared how they would tent specifically under a big pine tree because they felt safe. Generally there were less bugs, it provided good shade and protection. And its interesting because in the herbal world, pine trees are known for protective qualities.
The whole category of renisous tress, have this same protective quality – juniper, cypress, spruce, balsam, frankincense… I love them all!
With pine, the needles are rich in vitamin c, you can make a tea to drink through the winter season. The tree produces an aromatic resin, which is protective for the skin. It’s actually as a “bandaid” to treat cuts and scrapes.
Moving to North Carolina, I love being surrounded by pine trees. I love walking along trails and I will stop at almost every pine tree and circle around it, with my hand on the tree, looking for pieces of resin.
Resin oil is shockingly easy to make, once you learn the methods. And it’s an amazing oil to have on hand, for aches, inflammation (arthritis),
It’s no secret that oats are my #1 favorite DIY skincare ingredient. I teach a whole class just on oats for skin! But it’s the whole category of grains that I’m excited about.
Grains are used in skincare as a physical exfoliant and skin cleanser. They’re more gentle on the skin (than say, salt or sugar) which is why grains are often used specifically for the face.
I learned a lot of my skincare making skills (and philosophy) while living in Bali, and we used grains not only for the face, but for the whole body.
When you buff your skin with grains, you come out of the shower feeling soft and plump and so incredibly good. My favorite way to wash off any build-up that I’m carrying (physical, emotional) is to make a grain cleanser, get in the shower and scrub from head to toe!
This is a great recipe, made with grains: https://littlegreendot.com/regenerative-cleansing-oat-goat/
Floral water is a hydrosol, which is made from distilling plant materials. It’s aromatic, and amazing for the skin, for the nervous system – it’s aromatherapy and therapeutic because it contains the aromatic compounds, and water-soluble nutrients of the plant.
You can make hydrosols in your kitchen. Its a whole process – like making sour-dough bread or something. But it’s so great to make when you can!
Here in Chapel Hill, there’s a Mediterranean Deli that sells bottles of rose and orange bitters floral water. It’s for cooking with, but it’s also makes the best DIY skincare ingredient. It’s aromatic and it smells like a bouquet of fresh roses.
And it’s only $3.
You can pour it into a bath. Use it as a hair mist. Or when your skin feels hot and red, a spritz of rose water can help to cool and calm it down.
This is the brand that I found (Cortas)
- It’s more expensive on Amazon, then at the store. Look to see if you have a Middle Eastern, Mediterranean market around you.