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April 24, 2014

What the Heck is Neem Oil?

image courtesy of shuttershock


From the MNN article:


Pressed from the fruits, twigs and seeds of the neem tree, neem (also known as Indian lilac) is a widespread evergreen in the Indian subcontinent that has been used for thousands of years as a part of ayurvedic medicine. 
“Most commonly used in skin and hair care products in both India and Bangladesh, neem oil is touted for its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties,” says Alexis Wolfer, beauty expert, nutritionist and creator of The Beauty Bean, an online beauty magazine. “Neem oil can soothe irritated skin, fade scars, lighten hyper-pigmentation, moisturize dry and cracked skin, restore damaged hair, control oil production, eliminate acne and heal eczema and psoriasis as well,” Wolfer says. That’s quite a lot of power for a slick oil.
You may have seen neem oil as an ingredient in body soaps, cleansers, hair care and anti-aging products. It’s mostly present in natural products that focus on healing dry skin, psoriasis, scalp problems and eczema.
Salah Boukadoum, co-founder of Soap Hope, a for-profit natural body product company with a nonprofit mission of lifting women out of poverty, says medical science is just now catching up to centuries of traditional wisdom on this powerful oil.
“This tree can live for over 100 years, and the oil is harvested sustainably from the seeds of its fruit,” says Boukadoum.
Raw neem oil has a medicinal aroma and the key to its potent healing benefits may lay in the vitamin E found in the oil.
“I recommend neem oil topically for eczema, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, bug bites, fungal rashes, ringworm and dermatitis. Internally, I recommend it for intestinal parasites and candida overgrowth,” says Nancy Guberti, MS, CN, biomedical nutritionist and functional medicine specialist in private practices in Connecticut and New York.

April 16, 2014

How to use lavender for cooking, potpourri & first aid



From the article:


Simple Lavender POTPOURRI

2 cups dried LAVENDER Buds (organic preferred)
1 cup dried ROSE Buds (organic preferred)
1.5 cup dried CALENDULA flowers (organic preferred)
10 drops LAVENDER Essential Oil (may be refreshed, as needed)
Mixing bowl Glass Jar with lid

Mix all ingredients well. Pour into sterile jar. Cap. Label. Decorate with ribbon if desired. It will keep well for up to 6 months. To use: Take lid off to sweetly scent the room. Cap when not in use (to preserve smell)
Note: Any mixture of dried herbs & flowers will work. Try deleting the rose buds, adding dried lemon balm, adding ¼ cup dried Orange Peel, 1 cinnamon stick broken into small pieces, & ½ tsp cinnamon powder. Use 5 drops cinnamon EO (if you have it) great in the kitchen!


Try 1 drop of LAVENDER Essential Oil in a room for its calming properties or add 1 drop to a cotton ball & put under pillow as a sleep aid at night.

LAVENDER for Cooking:

Lavender Tea
¼ tsp lavender buds
1 tsp favorite Black Tea
Slice lemon

Put herbs in mug. Drop in lemon slice. Pour 1 cup boiling water over. Steep 10 minutes. Strain & enjoy the unique flavor that lavender imparts to beverages. Nice iced, too!

Herbes de Provence
3 Tablespoons each: dried Savory, Thyme, Rosemary,
2 Tablespoons each: dried Basil, Tarragon,
1 Tablespoons dried LAVENDER flower buds

Optional: add 1 tablespoon Sage, 1 Tablespoon Parsley, or 1 Tablespoon Fennel

Mix well. Pour into sterile jar. Keep in a cool, dark space. It will keep well for up to 6 months.
Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of mixture into Hot Green Beans, for a new taste twist.
Terrific on Lamb, Chicken, & Tofu.
Try some sprinkled on a fish fillet & then layered with veggies & potatoes in a foil packet. Cook on grill or in oven

Lamb chops: Sprinkle 1-2 T all over chops. Place on hot oiled plank & close grill cover. Cook on low heat for 25 minutes (check every 15 min for doneness). Chops are done when barely pink. Delightful

LAVENDER for Herbal First Aid:

Keep Lavender essential oil (EO) on hand for help with:

BUG BITES: Dab 1 drop on bug bites to stop the itch
STINGS: Dab 1 drop on stings to dull the pain
Burns: after icing, put 1 drop EO on burn. Add 3-4 drops to cup of ice water & soak burned fingers periodically. Helps with the pain, lessens the burn, & usually stops any scarring. Dab on a cut for antiseptic action if you are far away from treatment.
ITCHY or SUNBURNED SKIN: mix 10 drops EO in 1 oz distilled water. Use to spray skin for sunburn & to relieve itchiness.
Lavender is specific to birthing. In the olden days, women about to give birth were given bunches of fresh picked lavender to hold in each hand as they experienced contractions. The scent helped to soothe the new Mother (& those around her)
AROMATHERAPY: Use lavender EO to calm & soothe. (1 drop on metal or cotton ball in a room or add to a spray bottle (as above) to directly mist skin when you need to relax.

LAVENDER Growing Tips:

Lavender is a perennial originating from the Mediterranean, that grows well in Massachusetts if you choose a sunny spot, preferably near a wall with loose, sandy soil. Add compost when planting & be sure to mulch it just before winter to help it stay alive til Spring. It flowers twice a season IF you remember to cut the dried flower stems off. They can be used for recipes above, for smudging, or near thresholds to keep mice away.


Purchase our Certified Organic Lavender Essential Oil here.


Read the original article.

April 15, 2014

The Health Benefits of Incense


From the article:

Smell has a powerful effect on the body!

Powerful smells from our past may bring up good memories, thus our immune system is given a boost. And smells that remind us of something terrible have the opposite effect.

Studies at the University of Florida show that smells inhibit and excite cells in the olfactory area of the brain creating changes in the brain.

A study with 3,000 people at the Research Center of Chicago found that if people had the ability to smell sweet fruit many times a day… they ate less and lost weight.

Another study at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center showed that smelling lavender or vanilla reduced anxiety.

And incense goes back thousands of years to the early cultures of India and Northern Africa. Incense has been used in many spiritual and religious ceremonies with profound physical effect on the mind/body.


Try our Luxury Charcoal Incense, you won't be disappointed:




read more at:


May 21, 2013

Bees Know The World is Round - 10 Amazing Bee Facts


Now that we have officially introduced our beeswax candle line, we thought it time to get to know the newest member of our production team: the mighty honeybee!


1. Bees collect 66 pounds of pollen a year per hive.

2. Honeybees in Croatia have been trained to find unexploded land mines.

3. The honeybee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, making their

distinctive buzz. A honeybee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.

4. A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.

5. It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a honeybee's flight around the world.

6. While honeybees almost always die after stinging humans, they can sting insects and other animals multiple times without harm to themselves.

7. Honeybees know the world is round; they take into account the curvature of the earth when communicating food locations.

8. Honey doesn't spoil. 2000 year old honey from an Egyptian tomb was described by an explorer as "delicious".

9. Speaking of Egypt, Cleopatra used honey as part of her daily beauty routine.

10. The good life: male honeybees (also called drones) have no stinger and do no work. All they do is mate.


May 02, 2013

We Love Octopi - 10 Amazing Facts About the Octopus

Lately, our best-selling art candle has been the Vintage Octopus candle. This proves two things:

1) You people have good taste.


2) Everyone loves octopi!

So, in honor of the mighty octopus, here are ten awesome facts about this most awesome creature.

  • Octopus blood is blue.
  • Octopi have three hearts.
  • All octopi can change color.
  • The octopus has keen eyesight and well-developed senses of taste and touch but is completely deaf.
  • The largest octopus ever found weighed 300 lbs and had an arm span of 33 feet!
  • All octopi are venomous.
  • A female octopus is known as a "hen".
  • A female octopus may lay 100,000 eggs.
  • Female big blue octopuses are known to eat males after copulation.
  • An octopus species known as the mimic octopus can actually impersonate other creatures.



February 08, 2012

Candlemakers Petition

A PETITION From the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting.

To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Open letter to the French Parliament, originally published in 1845 (Note of the Web Publisher)


You are on the right track. You reject abstract theories and have little regard for abundance and low prices. You concern yourselves mainly with the fate of the producer. You wish to free him from foreign competition, that is, to reserve the domestic market for domestic industry.

We come to offer you a wonderful opportunity for your — what shall we call it? Your theory? No, nothing is more deceptive than theory. Your doctrine? Your system? Your principle? But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice — your practice without theory and without principle.

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation. This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion (excellent diplomacy nowadays!), particularly because he has for that haughty island a respect that he does not show for us [1].

We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

Be good enough, honourable deputies, to take our request seriously, and do not reject it without at least hearing the reasons that we have to advance in its support.

First, if you shut off as much as possible all access to natural light, and thereby create a need for artificial light, what industry in France will not ultimately be encouraged?

If France consumes more tallow, there will have to be more cattle and sheep, and, consequently, we shall see an increase in cleared fields, meat, wool, leather, and especially manure, the basis of all agricultural wealth.

If France consumes more oil, we shall see an expansion in the cultivation of the poppy, the olive, and rapeseed. These rich yet soil-exhausting plants will come at just the right time to enable us to put to profitable use the increased fertility that the breeding of cattle will impart to the land.

Our moors will be covered with resinous trees. Numerous swarms of bees will gather from our mountains the perfumed treasures that today waste their fragrance, like the flowers from which they emanate. Thus, there is not one branch of agriculture that would not undergo a great expansion.

The same holds true of shipping. Thousands of vessels will engage in whaling, and in a short time we shall have a fleet capable of upholding the honour of France and of gratifying the patriotic aspirations of the undersigned petitioners, chandlers, etc.

But what shall we say of the specialities of Parisian manufacture? Henceforth you will behold gilding, bronze, and crystal in candlesticks, in lamps, in chandeliers, in candelabra sparkling in spacious emporia compared with which those of today are but stalls.

There is no needy resin-collector on the heights of his sand dunes, no poor miner in the depths of his black pit, who will not receive higher wages and enjoy increased prosperity.

It needs but a little reflection, gentlemen, to be convinced that there is perhaps not one Frenchman, from the wealthy stockholder of the Anzin Company to the humblest vendor of matches, whose condition would not be improved by the success of our petition.

We anticipate your objections, gentlemen; but there is not a single one of them that you have not picked up from the musty old books of the advocates of free trade. We defy you to utter a word against us that will not instantly rebound against yourselves and the principle behind all your policy.

Will you tell us that, though we may gain by this protection, France will not gain at all, because the consumer will bear the expense?

We have our answer ready:

You no longer have the right to invoke the interests of the consumer. You have sacrificed him whenever you have found his interests opposed to those of the producer. You have done so in order to encourage industry and to increase employment. For the same reason you ought to do so this time too.

Indeed, you yourselves have anticipated this objection. When told that the consumer has a stake in the free entry of iron, coal, sesame, wheat, and textiles, ``Yes,'' you reply, ``but the producer has a stake in their exclusion.'' Very well, surely if consumers have a stake in the admission of natural light, producers have a stake in its interdiction.

``But,'' you may still say, ``the producer and the consumer are one and the same person. If the manufacturer profits by protection, he will make the farmer prosperous. Contrariwise, if agriculture is prosperous, it will open markets for manufactured goods.'' Very well, If you grant us a monopoly over the production of lighting during the day, first of all we shall buy large amounts of tallow, charcoal, oil, resin, wax, alcohol, silver, iron, bronze, and crystal, to supply our industry; and, moreover, we and our numerous suppliers, having become rich, will consume a great deal and spread prosperity into all areas of domestic industry.

Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift of Nature, and that to reject such gifts would be to reject wealth itself under the pretext of encouraging the means of acquiring it?

But if you take this position, you strike a mortal blow at your own policy; remember that up to now you have always excluded foreign goods because and in proportion as they approximate gratuitous gifts. You have only half as good a reason for complying with the demands of other monopolists as you have for granting our petition, which is in complete accord with your established policy; and to reject our demands precisely because they are better founded than anyone else's would be tantamount to accepting the equation: + x + = -; in other words, it would be to heap absurdity upon absurdity.

Labour and Nature collaborate in varying proportions, depending upon the country and the climate, in the production of a commodity. The part that Nature contributes is always free of charge; it is the part contributed by human labour that constitutes value and is paid for.

If an orange from Lisbon sells for half the price of an orange from Paris, it is because the natural heat of the sun, which is, of course, free of charge, does for the former what the latter owes to artificial heating, which necessarily has to be paid for in the market.

Thus, when an orange reaches us from Portugal, one can say that it is given to us half free of charge, or, in other words, at half price as compared with those from Paris.

Now, it is precisely on the basis of its being semigratuitous (pardon the word) that you maintain it should be barred. You ask: ``How can French labour withstand the competition of foreign labour when the former has to do all the work, whereas the latter has to do only half, the sun taking care of the rest?'' But if the fact that a product is half free of charge leads you to exclude it from competition, how can its being totally free of charge induce you to admit it into competition? Either you are not consistent, or you should, after excluding what is half free of charge as harmful to our domestic industry, exclude what is totally gratuitous with all the more reason and with twice the zeal.

To take another example: When a product — coal, iron, wheat, or textiles — comes to us from abroad, and when we can acquire it for less labour than if we produced it ourselves, the difference is a gratuitous gift that is conferred up on us. The size of this gift is proportionate to the extent of this difference. It is a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value of the product if the foreigner asks of us only three-quarters, one-half, or one-quarter as high a price. It is as complete as it can be when the donor, like the sun in providing us with light, asks nothing from us. The question, and we pose it formally, is whether what you desire for France is the benefit of consumption free of charge or the alleged advantages of onerous production. Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you ban, as you do, foreign coal, iron, wheat, and textiles, in proportion as their price approaches zero, how inconsistent it would be to admit the light of the sun, whose price is zero all day long!

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), Sophismes économiques, 1845