Botanicals Homemade

A1anet (A1anna tinctoria) is used in the food and cosmetics industry as a nontoxic coloring agent. The roots of the plant are used to impart a red color. This is a good herb for coloring lip balms and rouges, or for giving oil a red hue. Although not commonly used therapeutically, a1anet root is astringent and contains antimicrobial and wound-healing properties.

Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis) is an extremely soothing, cooling and healing substance that comes from the swordlike leaf of this succulent tropical plant, which is often kept as a houseplant. It is useful in regenerative creams, soothing and softening astringents, sun products and other reparative skin preparations. The fresh gel scooped from the inside of the aloe leaf and applied directly to a burn will help cool down the skin and prevent it from blistering, as well as aiding in the skin-regeneration process. In the tropics it is applied to freshly washed hair, allowed to dry in the sun, then rinsed out to add softness and luster. Be sure to use pure aloe vera gel from your own houseplants, or packaged aloe vera gel that is pure and minimally processed. Avoid commercially prepared aloe vera gel that has artificial additives. Unfortunately, fresh aloe vera gel from houseplants doesn’t blend well with other ingredients when making products such as creams and astringents; I find it necessary to use bottled aloe gel for these purposes.

Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) is a common culinary spice. It is sweet and smells like fennel. It can be added to face scrubs and steams for both its pleasing aroma and the cleansing qualities of its volatile oils. Aniseed added to tea blends adds sweetness, and is helpful in clearing oily skin as well as for alleviating indigestion and other complaints.

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