Takes you away to a forest near a lake. I can feel the willow trees swaying behind me, the flowers dancing in the wind, and the little critters running all over the land. This steam is spa quality relaxation.
A soothing, aromatic herbal-steam time once a week or so is a must, not a luxury. For optimal skin vibrancy and beauty, but also for many other reasons: this type of close-up interaction with the flowers, leaves, and roots of medicinal plants facilitates reconnecting with oneself, with one's spirit, and with nature's spirits residing in the plants.
It is such a beautiful ritual, placing a handful of herbs in a bowl, brewing them into a tea, and watching them rehydrate and recover their bolder colors, float to the surface, and exude their a-moment-ago-dormant aromas.
For this blend Ava chose herbs that moisturize, soothe, nurture, and repair the skin tissue:
Comfrey: This plant is a champion of repair; it repairs skin tissue, nerve tissue, muscle tissue, and bone tissue, and is a high source of skin-softening allantoin. While supplies last, our comfrey leaves do not come from an herbs supplier, but from a lovingly tended, local organic fruit and vegetable garden in Spokane, WA, where the comfrey planted themselves next to hazelnut trees and grew into happy waist-tall plants (summer 2016 harvest). We pick our herbs consciously, allowing the plant to go through its reproductive cycle, flower, and be pollinated, and then we only pick some leaves (not all of them) when the flowering season is over.
Marshmallow root: Ava's number one herb for moisturizing, soothing, and softening the skin, beneficial for everyone but particularly for eczema-, dryness-, and allergy-prone skin.
Water horsetail: This simple yet extremely resilient plant contains several minerals and is particularly high in silica. Our horsetail grows beside our pond, away from a road. Just like with our comfrey leaves, Ava waited to pick horsetail until the summer, after the plants had a chance to flower and reproduce. This harvesting time is considered the most nature-conscious and respectful. The horsetail stalks were dried in the sun and then cut manually, with clean scissors. You will be amazed by the difference between our fresh, richly green horsetail pieces (summer 2016 harvest) and the dried horsetail sold in stores.
Calendula: A beloved plant for all skin care product lovers, from its sunny appearance and honey-pollen fragrance to its incredible skin beautifying effects, from reparative and anti-aging to soothing, smoothing, and softening. We use whole, mature organic flowers grown in Oregon but are also now arranging to have beautiful calendula flowers grown organically by an amazing local gardener here in Spokane, WA, especially for us and per our specifications.
Gutu kola: This is an herb studied much of late that has been proven in research studies to improve many serious inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema.
Chamomile: Another ancient classic for skin beauty, chamomile flowers are soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory, while the fragrance reduces stress and anxiety.
Linden: Few can resist the sweet, lightly floral scent of linden flowers. We were not too happy with the samples of linden flowers we received from a few suppliers in terms of their shape or aroma, but Ava discovered two rows of linden trees planted away from roads. We spent several evenings collecting the flowers toward the end of their blooming season (summer 2016 harvest) and dried them in the sun, then carefully stored them away from light, heat, and dust, packed loosely to preserve their voluminous, curvy shapes. Linden flowers relax the nervous system without being sedating, and are also lightly emollient and conditioning for the skin.
Helichrysum: Italian everlasting is one of the top anti-inflammatory herbs that is also extremely mild, tolerated by practically everyone. Our current supply is from a mountainous area in Russia.
Puerh tea: This is premium quality puerh tea, specially selected by Ava's Chinese parents-in-law from the best tea houses in Hangzhou, China, and delivered in person (they are in their seventies and eighties; you have to appreciate their willingness to carry the many heavy cakes in their luggage). Puerh tea offers a myriad of health benefits when taken internally. When used externally, it offers nurturing and anti-inflammatory benefits and it is lightly astringent.
Cornflowers: These are wound-healing and healing to other skin tissue abnormalities or fractures, and they reduce inflammation and are lightly astringent. Our cornflowers were laboriously gathered in the local meadows by Ava's whole family—three generations—in multiple excursions throughout late spring and summer, as it takes a long time to gather a single bag of them (spring and summer 2016 harvest). The flowers were then dried in the sun, and the soft, vibrantly colored petals separated from the shafts, which is a meditative, time-consuming process. Ava included cornflowers in this blend foremost for their spiritual benefits. For her, these flowers, similarly to other blue-purple flowers, enhance creativity and acceptance of one's more off-beat, more eccentric personality sides, and help unify the forces within that are on one hand strong, valiant, and self-assured and on the other hand soft and delicate, like the silky petals of these flowers. One can benefit by experiencing cornflowers in this steam, and adding a cornflower flower essence for internal use for a month or longer would greatly amplify these benefits (flower essences made by Ava will be available in our store in the near future, including cornflower).
We will be selling Aphrodite while we have enough herbs and flowers from our own harvest of this year's linden flowers, horsetail, comfrey, and cornflowers.
Cruelty free, vegan, cold process, handcrafted, fair trade.
For all skin types, especially normal to dry, allergy-prone, sensitive, and mature.
Calendula officinalis (marigold) flowers (* or organic from our gardens), Helichrysum arenarium (everlasting) flowers (* or ^), Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root*, Matricaria chamomilla (German chamomile) flowers*, Tilia europaea (linden tree) flowers and leaves (* or ^), Centella asiatica (gutu kola)*, Equisetum laevigatum (water horsetail)^, Centaurea cyanus (cornflowers) (* or ^), Symphytum uplandicum (comfrey) leaves (* or organic from our gardens), Camellia sinensis (puerh tea) leaves.
*Certified organic. ^Responsibly wildcrafted.
Place a generous handful of the herbal blend (4 to 5 tablespoons) in a heat-proof bowl (a dedicated stainless steel pot will allow the tea to remain hot longer than a ceramic bowl). Prepare a towel to cover your head during the steam session and wash your face, removing all makeup. Boil fresh, filtered water and pour 1 to 2 cups over the herbs to make a strong, fragrant infusion.
Lean over the bowl to caress your face with the pleasantly hot (not scorching) steam. Cover your head with a towel to allow as little of the heat to escape as possible. The hot steam will help open the skin's pores and the herbs will penetrate deeper to aid purifying, healing, and moisturizing. Steam your face for 15 minutes to half an hour (a longer session is much more beneficial; reheat the tea if needed halfway through the session).
Follow with a face mask of your choice or a deep-acting serum, such as Ferns and Moss Face Serum. Strain the herbs and reserve the infusion in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Warm it and and use as a final hair rinse for all hair types or add it to a bath.
Store away from direct light exposure to protect the fragile botanicals within.
Filled to the brim and the herbs are packed in quite tight. Freshness guaranteed for 6 months. Full size 2 oz (57 g) glass jar or sturdy reclosable Kraft paper bag. Assuming you will use a generous handful of the blend at a time, about 4–5 tablespoons/5 grams, the glass jar or Kraft bag will be enough for 11 to 12 steam sessions.
The high-quality glass jar can be reused once you run out of the product to store a wide range of things, from teas and other dry items, to fruits and other foods, to liquids. (This is the jar Ava uses to make flower essences and many herbal tinctures.)
Due to the very high cost of our ingredients and the labor-intensive (highly time consuming) small-batch production process, we are unable to accept returns of opened or unopened products at this time.