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Friday, June 30, 2017

Passion for Patchouli


A first introduction to Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin or Pogostemon Patchouli) is often met with a description of it having a definite earthy scent to it. So just what does that mean, that it smells like dirt? No, it smells like nature and that is a wonderful thing. Some describe it as musty and too strong and others think of it as exotic and perfect in that it's lingering scent reaches deep into the emotions.

Patchouli has been used in incense and fragrance oils for centuries. It brings a sense of the sacredness of life and the need to care for our earth and everything in it. It helps us realize that to just "be" and do nothing at times is a good thing, that contemplating has a purpose and helps one get focused for action.

It is simply not true that the main reason the "hippies" of the 1960's and 1970's loved patchouli was that it covered up the scent of marijuana. Patchouli symbolized the love of nature and the escape from what was called the "establishment". The younger generation developed different ideas and ideals which were often met with labeling and indifference from the older age groups.

The essential oil of Patchouli is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves. All the benefits and uses for this plant are amazing. It is an antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, fungicide, insecticide, sedative, antidepressant, diuretic and boosts healing and the metabolism by stimulating the generation of new cells.

Patchouli has long been used to protect clothes and fabrics from insect damage.

The essential oil protects wounds from developing infection.

By inhibiting fungal growth, patchouli can help with problems such as Athlete's Foot.

Containing patchoulene, patchouli soothes inflammation, therefore can help externally with skin conditions as well as internally with the pain from arthritis.

By stimulating the release of pleasure hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, patchouli helps with feelings of sadness, anxiety and simply feeling better.

By stimulating hormones, estrogen and testosterone, patchouli can boost indifference and lack of interest in the sex drive.

By contracting blood vessels, patchouli stimulates contractions in muscles, nerves and skin. This helps with the symptoms of aging we see in the skin. Wonderful for use in face and body creams and lotions.

The strong, musky aroma of patchouli helps eliminate or mask body odor and it's lingering scent helps the protection last.

By soothing inflammation and calming to the nerves, patchouli helps relax the body in order to get a good night's sleep.

For more information on any of the below items, just click on the listing underneath the picture.

Body Spray

Body Butter

Body Lotion

Solid Perfume

Bath Oil
Bath Salts

Body Powder

Gift Basket

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Nights and No Fireflies...What's Happening to Them?

Summer is a time for picnics and outdoor parties that often extend into the evening hours. Watching the children running around having a ball with glow sticks got me sadly contemplating on what was missing in this picture. Years ago there were no glow sticks to entertain children after dark. Kids were enchanted with the stars and the magical mystery of fireflies. Some people call them june bugs, others simply call them lightning bugs. What is happening to them?

Just as with the bees, the answer lies with habitat loss, and pesticide use, but there is another factor and it is called light pollution.

These insects aren't flies, they are actually beetles, and that glow comes from a chemical reaction. 
Both male and female fireflies use their flashing lights to communicate. Their language of light is used to attract mates, ward off predators and defend their territory. Too much light caused by streetlights, car lights and suburbia in general, interrupts the sync of firefly flash patterns. Difficulty for fireflies to signal each other results in fewer larvae being born with every passing season.

Open fields and forests, waterways and bogs, are all disappearing as development makes its slow crawl across what was once uninterrupted habitats. Most species of fireflies thrive as larvae in rotting wood and forest litter at the margins of ponds and streams. As they go through their life cycle, most stay around where they were born. The environment of choice is warm with areas of wet spots.

The female lays about 500 eggs in sheltered areas that contain damp soil. After about a month the tiny larva hatch and begin feeding as they get ready for the next stage when they become pupae. The larval period can last from one to three years. During this stage the fireflies look like small worms and crawl along the ground. They are carnivorous and eat worms, snails and slugs by injecting a digestive enzyme and then sucking out the liquid. When big enough, the larvae digs into the ground and goes through the pupae stage. It forms a hard exterior shell that is what we are familiar with when we see them. This stage of metamorphosis takes them to the adult firefly which emerges in early summer. Once adults, the fireflies only live another few weeks. They may or not even eat during this short span. The purpose is to find mates and reproduce. So if light pollution creates enough of a problem to interfere with this process, these adults won't have the time to mate and lay their eggs before their life span ends.

This little video shows the life cycle of the firefly:

There are ways we can make a difference for these little guys. Make your own difference where you live. Avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides. Don't feel every part of your landscape has to be under control. Let spots naturalize to provide the habitats needed for all the stages of life. Learn what invasive species are a problem in your area and remove them to encourage the natives to thrive. Unless you have good reason for outdoor lighting to shine throughout the night, turn it off.

Children don't miss what they've never seen. Fireflies bring a sense of magic to our world and it would be a real loss to lose them.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Man's World of Body Care

Men and women often feel they need their own personal, body care products and the paths of those products shall not cross. Actually that is a marketing ploy and clutters up your cabinets. Many personal and hygiene items can easily be shared by both men and women and you don't need a separate type item for every little purpose.

The attempts to get away from the hype of slick advertisements trying to have you believe you need this and this and this can be a challenge. In today's day and age men are taking better care of themselves and more conscious of what they put onto and into their bodies. Awareness is the first step to educating ourselves on just what is in our hygiene and body care products. Read labels, do your research on just what are those ingredients you cannot pronounce,  be aware of potential harm from synthetics and chemical ingredients, be aware of the use of animal testing, and finally, understand just what that term "natural" is saying or isn't saying.

It may be very surprising to learn just how vague the labeling laws are in the perfume and cosmetics industry. Unlike the food industry, there are no legal standards for organic or natural personal care products sold in the United States.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to you and your family's health. The skin is our body's largest organ, and anything we apply to ourselves enters through the layers of skin into the bloodstream. Yes, the old saying about "anything in moderation" is true with most things, but...The cosmetic industry claims the amount of these ingredients are not high enough to pose a threat, but the problem lies in the fact that we use these products day in and day out.  Our kidneys and liver do their best to eliminate toxins but what about those that over time have been stored within the fatty tissues of the skin. The long term effects are a concern. The body reacts by way of allergic and inflammatory reactions, the havoc played on the the endocrine system is not always fully understood and the source of the problems are often hard to pinpoint.

There are several items within the Meadow Muffin Gardens shop that are geared for men, but there are also many items such as these below that can easily be swapped for more than one method of use and by both men, women and even the kids.

A body wash certainly isn't limited to the shower. Containing Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, Aloe Vera Gel, Jojoba oil and various essential oils, this blend can easily be used as a face wash, a shampoo and even a shaving gel. Put into a foaming pump bottle, application is less wasteful without losing some between your fingers and down the drain.
Body Wash, Shaving Cream

A conditioning hair oil isn't just for women! Men can have dry, brittle hair as well, whether they wear their hair long or short. This Jojoba oil blend does make an excellent dry hair treatment, but it's use certainly doesn't have to stop there. Hair isn't limited to our heads alone!
Bearded men need to take care of their facial hair and the delicate skin beneath. Jojoba oil is unique in that it is very similar to the sebum of our own skin, therefore it makes a great hair and skin conditioner.
Hair Oil, Beard Oil
Men may or may not use an after shave balm to moisturize the skin and help with razor irritation. This Shea butter and Coconut oil blend is listed as a body butter, but it can be used for so much more. Whipped to a fluff consistency, this moisturizer can be used anywhere you need it, be on the face, hair or even on that balding head. Some use such a blend as a shaving cream, but if you do so, realize that you are washing fats down the drain. I don't know how good doing that on a regular basis is for the drain pipes.

Face, Body Moisturizer, After Shave Balm

Concerns over the safety of sun screens has people looking into alternatives. The choice we have is between "chemical" sunscreens which contain questionable, potentially hormone disrupting ingredients, and "mineral" sunscreens which contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. This lotion is listed as a sun block, not a sun screen. It hasn't been evaluated by the FDA, therefore there hasn't been testing done to establish an actual SPF factor. However, the ingredients used all contain their own natural properties to help block the harmful rays of the sun.

Balding men or those who choose to shave their heads need to protect their scalps from sun damage. The purpose of our hair is to protect the scalp and without hair, the skin can easily burn. This sunblock is good for anywhere on the body but using a bit on the scalp before heading out without a baseball cap is a wise idea.

Sunblock Lotion, Bald Head Care

Personal care items make great gift ideas for Father's Day, Holidays and Birthdays. You can easily custom create your own gift basket or make substitutions for one or more items already part of a listing such as those shown below.

Basket idea for those who love the outdoors, gardening, sports, hunting, fishing

Basket idea for the needs of men

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