Friday, January 08, 2010

Aromatherapy Steam

People have been utilizing the benefits of Aromatherapy for centuries. One of the methods of nourishing the face is the inhalation of steam that is infused with the essences of herbs. People receive inhalation treatments at spas but you can give yourself a good Aromatherapy steam inexpensively right in your own home. All you will need is a pot, a bowl, and an ordinary bath or kitchen towel along with your herbs of choice.

The inhalation of steam in and of itself is very beneficial to the sinuses because it hydrates the cilia in the nasal passages which keeps mucous moving along. If the cilia become dried out they do not work properly and the mucous stops moving properly and painful congestion can occur. Also, many people find that the heat of the steam relaxes the muscles and improves sinus headaches.

Herbs such as chammomile and lavender have astringent and anti-inflammatory properties and can be beneficial when used in a steam inhalation. Lavender is also believed to relieve headaches. Herbs such as rosemary and mint have stimulating properties and can leave people feeling refreshed after an inhalation.

For an Aromatherapy steam inhalation boil water in a pot on the stovetop and add your herbs of choice to the boiling water. Remove the pot from the heat, pour the water in a bowl and place it on a table. Sit by the bowl and lean your head over it with the towel draping over you and the bowl so that the steam does not escape. Make sure to hold your head 6 to 8 inches above the bowl. Inhale the herb infused steam for about 10 minutes. Be sure to remove the towel and breathe fresh air if you need to. The steam will open your pores, hydrate your skin as well as give you the benefits of the herbs that you have infused it with. You may also use essential oils to dilute in the water instead of the actual herbs. Herbal and floral essential oils can be found in health food stores and bath/body supply stores. The only drawback is that they can be quite expensive.

* The information here is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or malady nor is it meant to replace the advice of your doctor. Take extra precautions with herbal steam inhalations if you suffer from allergies, asthma, have sensitive skin, are pregnant or nursing. Always seek the advice of your doctor if you are unsure about anything.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Floral Waters

Floral water contains the essence of flowers and herbs. This aromatic water can be used for cooking, as an astringent, as an after-bath-splash, or for decorative purposes. When placed in attractive glass jars or bottles, floral water makes a wonderful bathroom or kitchen accessory.

This lovely fragrant water is relatively simple and inexpensive to make. The most popular kinds of floral waters are rose and lavender but you can use flowers and herbs of your choice. The simplest method to make floral water consists of 3 basic elements: water, alcohol, and flower petals (or herbs). It is best to use distilled water which can be found at your local drug store or supermarket. Make sure that your flower petals or herbs are fresh, they are best when picked before the heat of the afternoon sun. Rubbing alcohol can be used but it has a powerful scent that can interfere with your floral fragrance. It is best to use vodka for the alcohol part.

- 3 cups distilled water
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1 ounce flower petals

Combine the water and vodka in a bowl or jar. In a separate jar, place the flower petals. Pour the water/vodka mixture into the flower jar making sure that the petals are completely covered and immersed. Cover the jar tightly and place it in shaded area for about 2 to 3 weeks. Shake the jar occasionally while the mixture is curing. When the mixture is ready and the water has taken the scent and essence of your flowers, strain it to remove the petals and place the fragrant water in a decorative bottle or jar. You may add some flower petals to float in the water for a beautiful decorative effect.