Wildcrafting Antioxidants for the Skin

Wildcrafting Antioxidants for the Skin

elderberryEven after years of making herbal products, one of my favorite things to do is get together with a couple of friends and make herbal potions in the kitchen.  Some dear friends came for a visit last weekend and we experimented with two things I have been wanting to do for awhile: make skin care with antioxidant-rich wild berries,  and make a facial scrub without clay.

If you take a look at the latest organic skin care potions, many of them feature pomegranate, green tea, or other antioxidant-rich ingredients.  These antioxidants help repair and prevent skin damage, so its a nice thing to blend in.  Thanks to the work of Alica Funk, we know that manzanita and elder berries are superior sources of antioxidants, and they are growing right here in my local ecosystem.  So I’ve been wondering how do I get them on my skin?

I was inspired to try them in a facial scrub.  I’ve been wanting to make a clay-free scrub (because clay can be too trying, and I have dry and – ahem! –  mature skin), and I thought a scrub would be an easy way to experiment with the manzanita and the elder berry.

facial scrubSo, I took my standard facial scrub recipe (which some of you know from my classes) and my friends and I tweaked it around a bit.  We kept oats for the base, eliminated the clay, and added a good portion of dried manzanita “sugar”.  The “sugar” is the bulk of the dried berries, minus the seed.  You can blend the dried berries lightly in a blender, enough the take the skins off, and then sift the seeds out through a strainer.  This leaves you with the antioxidant-rich  “sugar” that is deliciously edible (see photo).   Next, we  blended dry elderberries into a powder and added those to the mix.  In place of almonds, we added finely ground blue oak acorn, and also added a couple handfuls of fragrant dried rose buds (because who doesn’t want roses on their face?!).

The blend of ingredients was beautiful sight! We tried it on our faces with some water, and it felt slightly astringent (probably from the acorn, which was not leached of tannins).  So, we added a bit of bladderwrack seaweed we gathered from the coast many years ago, and voila! The blend became softer when mixed with water – the mucelagenous quality of the seaweed really soothed the mix and felt really emulsifying on the skin.   Then,  we mixed a teaspoon of the blend with a touch of honey and gave each other facials.  So delightful!

herbal facial My partner Matt came in the kitchen to see what all the hoopla was about and we quickly gave him a facial, too.  Our daughter Amara then took the opportunity to take a lick of the yummy mixture!

Wildcrafting facial care! I love it to no end.  This blend is 100% edible and rich in local antioxidants.  Here are the proportions if you’d like to try it at home – be creative!

8 oz   ground oats
4 oz  ground acorn (or other nut like almond)
2 oz  manzanita berries (lightly blended and sifted)
2 oz  ground rose
2 oz  ground elderberry
1 oz  ground bladderwrack (or other seaweed)

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