#15. Sustainability Day

Original article: What is Sustainability Day?

Did you know we celebrate Sustainability day every year in October? Never heard of it? No worries, in fact sustainability day means: a day dedicated to being sustainable and rethinking our rituals and habits. The term sustainable contradicts the word waste, the throw-away society. Reuse, recycling, reduce are characteristics of sustainability.

Sustainability Day on 27th October 2021

This year this day would fall on 27th October 2021, although it might be different depending on the country. The Netherlands celebrated it on October 8th, 2021. The main goal should be to celebrate it every single day! On this day, the organizers raise awareness towards the importance of Sustainability, and also share insights with one another with the common goal of building a well-educated, responsible community.


Why is there a sustainability day?

In the current day and age, sustainability is not something we hear once in a blue moon anymore. Even though it started out as somewhat of a trend, it has proved to everyone that it is here to stay. Still, having a sustainability day – like we have Earth Day and other celebrations – is a moment to remind us of this.

Thankfully, designers and brands are not only adopting the principles of sustainability, but they have started to incorporate sustainability in every phase of creating clothing, from eco-materials to eco-packaging, as well as how they treat their workers.

Sustainability is still a subject that many have yet to digest and completely understand, which is why (among many other reasons), we celebrate Sustainability Day every year on the 4th Wednesday of October.

Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

“Sustainable” translates to “to be maintained for a very long time”, which is exactly the goal, to be able to take care of the planet forever. In order to reach this goal, some spend time during their day teaching colleagues about what is recyclable in their office and what is not. Some dedicate the day to build sustainable strategies, others pledge to double-sided print on paper or buying only recycled paper and stationery. Using natural sunlight and ventilation for the day and so on

The Netherlands is no stranger to this day. ”Dag van de Duurzaamheid” they call it. The day is intended as a showcase for sustainability initiatives. Thousands of schools participate in sustainable campaigns, starting from lessons about waste separation to conferences at universities. And that’s not all, the Dutch Sustainable Fashion Week, was to part sustainability campaigns.


What are the 10 rules of sustainability?

There are many ways you can get involved, and you can do this alone or collectively, you don’t have to necessarily do something extraordinary or start a riot. To celebrate this day you could simply re-think some of your habits and rituals. As easy as that!

Photo by Lara Jameson from Pexels

Here are some ideas:

  1. Donate your clothes instead of throwing them in the bin.
  2. Today, why not ride the bike instead of the car (why not every day!).
  3. Be mindful of your water consumption
  4. Recycle, reuse, repurpose clothes (eh, not just clothes).
  5. Use a reusable water bottle, or reusable straws anybody?
  6. Support and look into brands that are sustainable
  7. If you are shopping online today, order locally.
  8. Why not try to buy second-hand clothes?
  9. Give it a go to vegan boots and bags 
  10. And finally, buy less and buy better!

Cretan Garden soaps are sustainable

Cretan Garden soaps are sustainable. The idea of the Cretan Garden webshop is born out of the wish to recycle the olive oil and herbs in the basement before they would have become expired, and therefore lost. Cretan Garden soaps do not have an expiring date because they are absolutely vegan, and the herbs were fully dried before using. All raw materials are perfectly recycled, saved from waste, and because the end-product, the soap, does not have an expiring date the soap is guaranteed sustainable. The wrapper has been environmentally-safe printed. The paper can be recycled again.

Cretan Garden soap is sustainable, biodegradable, vegan, made out of -almost expired- recycled organic olive oil and organic herbs.

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#14. The colour of lavender soap

The first time I saw and smelled a real lavender[1] plant, was in the year1986. The plant stood against the outside wall of the gîte rural[2], where I stayed for some weeks together with my family. It was the only plant there. The gîte was located in the surroundings of the (then) small village with the name La Roche-de-Glun[3] in the department Drôme[4] in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes[5] region of southeastern France.

The small shrub, where I found the name of later, was bathing the entire day in the heat of the sun, and despite that it never looked as if it was in a need for water. Used to the wealthy-leaved shrubs in Dutch gardens I was touched by the heat-resistant leaves of this one, and their colour: greyish green. The unique, fresh, strong, uplifting, relaxing, wonderful, charming smell has since then become my most favourite one. The colour of the lavender flowers is light purple, violet[6].

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

Since I am working with herbs from Crete, I searched for Cretan lavender, and found on the website “Wild Herbs of Crete”[7], a blogpost about it[8]. According to this blogpost there are two different kinds of lavender: the Lavandula Stoechas, which seems to smell more sweet, and the Lavandula Vera. I assume that Lavandula Vera [“vera”, which is Italian for “true”] is the same as Lavandula Angustifolia[9], also known as Lavandula Officinalis. For my Cretan-Garden.shop I use Greek lavender, the Greek Lavandula Angustifolia.


The colour of natural lavender soap

When one googles on images with “lavender soap”, one is overwhelmed with the colour violet, or purple, not only because of the purple wrappers or boxes, but also because the soaps are purple, violet. When I started to make lavender soap, with infusing 12 litres organic olive oil with 720 gram dried lavender flowers, I was curious how the colour of the olive oil would become after three months infusing, pulverizing the filtered infused lavender and adding the result back into the infused oil. The colour is black. Not purple. The liquid soap is as all herbal soaps this colour, and dried it has a beige / khaki colour. Not purple.


When the infused oil becomes soap during the saponification process the almost black colour turns into orange/brown, sometimes, that depends on the herb, it is red/brown. The colour of the lavender soap becomes even lighter than the colour of the other herbal soaps. The smell however is not lesser strong. On the contrary. Important to know is that the skin-nourishing ingredients of extra virgin olive oil, organic herbs, and essential oils are not affected in the saponification process.

Whenever you would like to have a violet coloured bar of lavender soap, and you find one, be aware that the colour is not natural, but synthetic. Often even perfumes, which contain synthetic fragrances, or pure synthetic fragrances have been added to mislead you even more.

Handcrafted lavender soap smells the same as the lavender plant. How does lavender smell? The scent of the lavender plant is strong, charismatic, and intensely botanical. Underlying its floral sweetness are green and spicy notes, and a woody accent[10]. When a herbal soap comes in a contact with water the smells of the ingredients become more active. After washing, showering or bathing the smell slowly disappears: natural smells evaporate quickly when they are exposed to the air. Only when you would use your own body-oil, in this case your own lavender body-oil see Cretan Garden info, §7[11] the smell of the lavender essential oil will accompany you for a longer time, in a modest way, and will not -like perfumes and fragrances- take over the personal airspace of others. Be aware of what kind of smell you “wear” when you are going to spend time in nature. Perfumes and fragrances do not fit there.


The toxic truth about perfumes and fragrances

“The toxic truth about perfumes and fragrances” is the title of a blog post, written by Karen Kingston. Since I agree with every word and sentence, I would like to recommend this blog post. You can click here to read the post.


References

  1. Lavender – Britannica dictionary
  2. Gîte rural – Wikipedia
  3. La Roche-de-Glun – Wikipedia
  4. Drôme – Wikipedia
  5. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes – Wikipedia
  6. Violet (colour) – Wikipedia
  7. Wild Herbs of Crete – Website
  8. Greek Lavender – Website Wild Herbs of Crete
  9. Lavandula Angustifolia – Wikipedia
  10. Lavender – Cretan Garden, Page Lavender
  11. Body oil – Page Cretan Garden, §7

#13. Wood ash

The most discussed and criticized part of the soap making process is the so-called lye. Lye is the chemical substance that transforms vegetable oil into soap. There are two kinds of lye: the lye from wood ash[1] —potassium hydroxide— and store-bought lye —sodium hydroxide—. The lye from wood ash is lesser caustic and should therefore be preferable. But it is not. I explain this in the following paragraphs.

The goods of trees

The wood ashes that are suitable for soap making are from trees like the oak, walnut, beech, elm, holly, and fifteen more[2]. The olive tree[3] is also on the list, but named ash tree, the English name for the Fraxinus family[4], whereto also the olive tree belongs. These twenty trees produce hardwood.

Trees are multitaskers: their wood is for instance used for furniture, houses, fences, doors, plates, boats, masts, boxes, and sculptures. Their leaves are creating wonderful colours in the surrounding landscapes[5]. The blossoms of several of these trees are used in the Bach flowers remedies[6], like oak, walnut, holly, beech, willow, cherry, elm, and olive.

In the Fall
Photo: Mike
Alpherveld 1
Photo: Anna Poelstra

Last but not least: trees extract CO2 from the air and convert it into oxygen and biomass (such as wood, leaves, and roots). They release the oxygen into the air. Trees mainly store extra CO2 when they grow. Trees play therefore an essential role in the climate change, and there even exist so-called compensation-forests, created to compensate the CO2 emissions from the industry[7].

Trees, wildfires, deforestation, economic fascism, eco-terrorism and the climate change

Worldwide, during almost three centuries, a by economic fascism[8] created violence against nature took place. It has increased extremely fast after WWII. Humans plundered nature, exploited nature. This has resulted in the man-made climate change. The 2021 report about the climate change makes clear that the natural balance of nature is irreversible destroyed. We experience an increase in extreme weather: droughts and floods. Extreme droughts create wildfires. The devastating effects of the wildfires of 2021 have created a catastrophic loss of CO2 converters. There is another worrying factor: tropical forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon[9]. Wildfires create carbon. Recent evidence indicates that as much as ten per cent of wildfire produced carbon remains in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming[10].

Not only wildfires create deforestation: because of the mining of coltan, enormous areas of the rainforests in Congo have been deforested. Coltan is used by the telecom industry, to create batteries for cellphones, but coltan is also used to create batteries for electric cars[11].

There can also be other reasons that trees are hacked down: criminality and ecoterrorism[12].

Olive grove in Crete. Thirty-five years old olive trees were cut, but not by the owner[13]. Also in Israel, West Bank, this happens. “Jewish settlers have gone on a rampage in occupied West Bank towns and villages, hacking down hundreds of olive orchards just as they were about to be harvested.”[14, story of 2003, but also in 2021 this happens[15].] This is named ecoterrorism.

A form of economic fascism[8] is the extreme violence against nature for economic profit: the hacking down of trees for the rollout of 5G. Where 5G is going up, all around the world where 5G is going up, trees are coming down. The reason is: trees inhibit the progress of 5G.[16, lecture Barrie Trower, part 2, at 06:03]. Trees suffer anyhow from the radiation of cell towers. Every time you use a wireless device, you attack the trees between your device and the cell tower[17][18]. Finally, parts of the tree die, or the tree dies completely[19].

Because this kind of economic fascism takes place on behalf of democratic governments and even unions like the EU, and USA, it is not recognized as economic fascism, but essentially it is economic fascism. It is blind naïveness that makes one believe that WWII brought fascism to an end. Is the urge for 5G making the cutting down of trees a responsible choice? No. We absolutely do not need 5G. Industrialists are masters in brainwashing minds in order to sell their unnecessary products. This has to stop. We cannot endlessly continue exploiting nature for the economic growth of the rich countries. On the long term—but not that long—there is nothing left. We stare into the abyss[20, PDF, page 36, conclusion].

Conclusion

When we add all these facts up, we can only conclude that making natural soap with wood ashes is not environmental friendly, not sustainable. Trees become endangered, worldwide. Soaps, made with wood ash, are therefore not environmentally friendly soaps. When the soap manufacturer uses the wood of a tree that died naturally, the use of wood ash is ethically correct. The price of each bar of soup should be adapted accordingly. The profit of each single bar of soap made with wood ash should be donated to rainforest protection groups, or scientists who research the dramatic effects of wireless radiation on trees[18].


References and additional information
  1. Ash – Wikipedia
  2. 20 Different Types of Hardwood Trees – Pro Garden Tips
  3. Is olive tree a hardwood? – Askingglot
  4. Fraxinus – Wikipedia
  5. Trees – Gallery on Flickr
  6. Dr Edward Bach flower remedies – Multerland
  7. Bossen voor niets geplant: CO2 compensatie in rook op – RTL nieuws
  8. Economic fascism – Foundation for Economic Education
  9. Tropical forests losing their ability to absorb carbon, study finds – The Guardian
  10. Wildfires, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change – Future Directions International
  11. Deforestation in Congo – Multerland YouTube
  12. Ecoterrorism – Merriam-Webster
  13. He went to his olive grove and found the olive trees cut – Creta Live News
  14. Jewish settlers destroy olive groves – Al Jazeera
  15. Israeli settlers destroy 100 olive trees in West Bank – Anadolu Agency, Turkey
  16. Trees hacked down because of 5G — Lecture Barrie Trower, part 2, at 06:03 – Multerland
  17. Andrew Goldsworthy ~ Tree damage: Effects of Electromagnetic Stress in Trees ~ 2011 – Multerland YouTube
  18. Collection of articles and scientific research about the impact of EMF on trees – Multerland
  19. Tree Damage – Observation Guide, by Helmut Breunig, March 2017 – Multerland
  20. Report UNESCO – PDF
  21. Protecting Crete’s ancient olive trees from being fed to the fire – Ekathimerini
  22. Wildfire ash damaging to vehicles – Sonoma News
  23. Effect of Wood Ash Waste from Black Soap- making on Heavy Metals in Leaf Amaranth, Cowpea and Maize – ResearchGate

#12. Sappho, and the origin of soap

The following article is a machine-translation of “Η οικογενειακή επιχείρηση του Οδυσσέα Ελύτη που έφτιαχνε σαπούνια”, “The family business of Odysseas Elytis who made soaps”, published in News on July 21, 2017. Odysseas Elytis (1911-1996), was a Greek poet, essayist and translator.[1]. His real name is Odysseas Alepoudelis. The name Alepoudelis[Αλεπουδέλης] is also the name of the soap factory in Heraklion, Crete.

Odysseas Alepoudelis was born on November 2, 1911 in Heraklion, Crete and was the son of Panagiotis Alepoudelis, a businessman from Lesbos[2], who had one of the largest and most famous soap factories in Greece.

The Alepoudelis soap factory was founded in Heraklion, Crete, in 1895. In the time of World War I, Elytis’s father, Panagiotis, moved his soap factory to Athens, to the area of ​​Piraeus. The Alepoudelis family, and of course Benjamin Odysseas, also moves to Athens. However, the origin of Elytis’ father, Lesvos, was determining the choice for a soap factory.

What we all know today is that a traditional soap, made from olive oil (a product that – remarkably – abroad is considered particularly valuable and a kind of luxury), comes, according to Greek mythology, from Lesbos. A legend tells that the women of ancient Lesbos washed their clothes in the river (as all women did at that time). So they noticed that the animal remains, along with the fats from the animals that were burned as sacrifices in the ancient sanctuaries near the river, swept away the ashes and formed a pale yellow stream that ended up in the river. On the days when the yellow stream flowed into the river, the clothes were washed better. And the soap was made! According to the ancient Greek legend, the soap got its name from the famous poet of Lesbos, Sappho[3][4].

[The word soap is related with the Latin word “sapo”, the French “savon”, the Italian sapone, and the Spanish “jabon”[5]. Those who have studied medicinal herbs and their active ingredients know about the so-called saponins[6], which have indeed characteristics of what we name soap. The word soap, and the term saponification[7] are therefore without any doubt only related with the term saponin. Admin]

Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BCE)

Until the time of the industrial revolution, all over the (known) world, soaps were produced in exactly the same way as the women of ancient Lesbos invented it. There have been soap factories on the island all these centuries. After the revolution of 1821, until the destruction of Izmir[8] (1922), soap making was a very lucrative Greek productive activity, with Lesvos soaps being exported from Constantinople[9] to Alexandria[10] and New York.

It should be noted that shortly before the Asia Minor[11] catastrophe, over 50% of Greek soap exports were from Lesbos. It was also the sttlement of 1 or 2 soap factories in the country.

One of the most famous soap factories (originating from Lesbos, based in Crete and then Piraeus, as mentioned above) was the company “Alepoudelis”, owned by the family of the poet Odysseas Elytis. “Alepoudelis” soaps were known all over the world, thanks to the pure olive oil they contained and the softness they offered. The “Alepoudeli” factory was one of the most modern at that time (of the first decades of 1900), and at the same time it was a huge export company since most of the production was exported to Egypt, Turkey, England and the USA. When Elytis’ father died in 1925, the business passed into the hands of Pangiotis’s younger brother and co-founder of the soap factory, Thrasyvoulos Alepoudelis, Elytis’s uncle, had the business idea to establish a separate department in the company, for the production of soaps that used only excellent olive oil and coconut oil, something that then put them at the top of European quality standards.

The company “Alepoudelis and Co.” also had branches in Crete, Corfu, Thessaloniki and – of course – Mytilene (Lesbos). The production of the soap factory continued unabated, surviving the enormous obstacle of World War II. Despite the huge business and commercial success of the company that bore his ancestral name, however, Odysseas did not want to deal with it. In fact, according to the information regarding his biography, the main reason that he changed his name to “Elytis” was precisely to separate his position and his … fate from the family business. The rest is history of course for the Greek poet … As for the family business: Alepoudelis soaps are produced until today. If you take a closer look at the well-known green soaps that are sold in many tourist shops throughout Greece, you will see the brand “Alepoudelis” in them.

The family soap-business lost Odysseas, but Art welcomed him.


References and additional information:
  1. Odysseas Elytis – Wikipedia
  2. Lesbos – Wikiwand
  3. Sappho – Wikiwand
  4. Guide to the classics: Sappho, a poet in fragments – The Conversation
  5. Soap – Online Etymology Dictionary
  6. Saponification – Merriam Webster dictionary
  7. Saponin – Wikipedia
  8. Izmir – Wikiwand
  9. Constantinople – Wikiwand
  10. Alexandria – Wikiwand
  11. Asia Minor – Wikiwand
  12. Alepoudelis Soap Factory – Blog In Silencio
  13. Documentary: Αθηνά & Σαπουνοποιίες στο Ηράκλειο / Athena & Soap Factories in Heraklion – YouTube
  14. All bar none: How ancient soap making methods are reinvigorating Crete – Geographical

#11. Shampoo

Shampoos are just another kind of soap, a liquid soap, and with as many chemicals as the most of the industrial soaps and detergents. Even the neutral shampoos can contain chemicals. Read therefore the information on the box or container before buying a soap or shampoo. Soap is per definition alkaline. Shampoos therefore as well. To make a shampoo more neutral, by lowering the alkalinity, the industry uses mostly chemicals, acidic chemicals. To make a shampoo lather the industry adds special chemicals, named sulfates. An informational article about it: The facts about shampoo lather. Lather is not a guarantee that your hair and scalp become clean though.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Shampoos, all sorts of shampoos, the many brands, all are claiming to be the best for your hair, offering for every hair type another shampoo, another conditioner, another hair mask. I have used for as long as they exist pH nautral shampoos, hair conditioners, masks, but my hair was, despite the neutral pH of the shampoos, and the beautiful natural conditoners, and masks, never really okay. My hair is thick, curly, dry, fluffy, and now I am becoming grey it is even dryer. I have tried everything. Because of the mentioned characteristics of my hair it is impossible to have it long. Not even half long.

Herbal olive oil soap as a shampoo bar

I have started lately to use my own herbal olive soap for hair washing, to see what happens. It looks better and better. . The most significant difference is that I do not need to wash my hair more than once per week. My hair looks and feels normal, is so much easier to be dressed. I was wondering why.

Though pH neutral shampoos can be used every day, the question is if washing your hair every day is really okay for hair and scalp. My thoughts go far back in time when hair was washed just once per week. That had a reason: the skin of the scalp is not the same skin as on the rest of your body. Every single hair is growing out of the scalp-skin and it is the skin that keeps the hair in a good condition. We need indeed hair conditioners and hair masks when we wash the hair daily. But if we offer the skin of the scalp the time to do their work in their own natural way, and if we do not immediately destroy their work, by daily taking away what the skin itself produces, namely sebum, we do not need hair conditioners as we do now. Daily washing the hair is maybe okay according to shampoo manufacturers, but it is a matter of logic thinking that the natural resistance of the skin and the hair will decrease because of exhaustion, or will become overactive at the very beginning, when the daily shampoo attacks start, even when the shampoo is pH neutral. Using a neutral shampoo once per week was for me not the solution. Reason to use it more. And that did not work either.

A natural conditioner: argan oil

My own experiences with my oily cold process herbal olive soaps are that washing my hair with it once per week is really enough. After making my hair towell dry I use a teaspoon pure argan oil and spread it over and through the towel-dry hair and massage it into the scalp and hair. I let the hair dry naturally. My fluffy, dry hair is gone, but I expect that hte condition of my hair will improve more. In a few weeks I will add an update here.

To make it more personal I have added about 20 drops of rosemary essential oil to the 50 ml bottle, and stirred it very good. Argan oil and essential oils can be bought at House of Deli, Crete:

Additional information
  1. What ages hair? – PubMed
  2. Hairloss due to electromagnetic radiation from overuse of cellphone – ResearchGate

My personal experiences with EMF and hair loss: during the time that I was not aware of the impact of EMF on my health, not informed about symptoms of overradiation, I was indeed losing so much hair that I was wondering what was going on. I have written about this in my blog Multerland, in several posts[Archives 2017-2018]. It was the start of a private study about EMF. The consultation of an osteopath was helpful to stop my bad physical condition: she worked on my scalp, neck, and it felt as if a layer of glass broke and my scalp was back to normal again. After several treatments my hair was growing again. The new hair looked like baby hair, but after some months it was back to normal. The only way to get rid of the effects if wireless radiation is to live in an EMF free environment. I bought the Acousticom2. This calibrated device is able to measure EMF. In this way I could find the rooms where the radiation is almost zero, or at least the less, where to put the bed, where the desk with computer. Of course all wireless is turned off, the smart meter is turned off, the Wi-Fi is turned off, also in the computer and printer. All is cabled, I do not have internet on my cellphone and mostly the cellphone is on flymodus.

#10. Rosemary-infused body oil

The benefits of the herb rosemary, or rosmarinus officinalis[1][2][3], were already hailed in the Minoan Civilization[4]. Rosemary is a kitchen herb, but a medicinal herb as well. Medicinal herbs[5][6][7][8] are available as tinctures, tablets, pills, teas and essential oils. These are for internal use, oral use. Essential oils however are also used externally. The term medicinal is an indication that nobody should use these without consulting a well-trained professional therapist, or a medical doctor who also studied these herbs and/or its oils, how to use these, when, for which health problems, and what the dosage should be.

Rosemary is known for its benefits for the skin. It is present in almost all skin products like shampoos, creams, massage oils, and body oils. Four out of seven Cretan Garden soaps are made out of rosemary-infused olive oil[9][10][11][12]. The other three soaps are made out of lavender-infused oil[13], oregano-infused oil[14] and sage-infused oil[15].


Your home-made body oil and body scrub

Body oils are expensive. You can make your own body oil. Your skin will love it, and your wallet as well. Follow the next steps and enjoy the result.

  1. 500 ml organic extra virgin olive oil
  2. 30 gram dried organic rosemary leaves
  3. Put the dried rosemary in a casserole that is big enough for the half liter olive oil plus the 30 gram rosemary leaves. Warm the oil up to 38 – 60 degrees Celsius and keep the casserole in this temperature for about 48 -72 hours. During this time all the goods are extracted from the leaves into the oil. This process is named infusing. Another method: add the olive oil and herbs in a bowl, or casserole and keep it for some weeks on a warm sunlit spot in the house. Stir the oil-rosemary mix during the infusing time every day. I infuse olive oil as well, for making soap, but I offer the oil more time to infuse. At least three months.
  4. When the oil is infused you can filter the herbs out, by using a sieve. If you want to make rosemary pulp you can add the oily herbs in the kitchen machine and pulverize these.
  5. Take an empty bowl or casserole, and put a cheesecloth in the sieve.
  6. Put the rosemary-olive-oil pulp from the kitchen machine cup into the cheesecloth, and let it leak out for a while, till all oil has disappeared.
  7. Make this process more efficient by pouring the filtered oil for the second time over the pulp. At the end you can take the rest of the oil from the pulp when you take the four points of the cheescloth together and press the oil out. Your hands will become very oily but you can remove this with kitchenpaper.
  8. Fill an empty, well cleaned and dried fluid soap dispenser and add about 20 drops rosemary essential oil, or an essential oil of your own choice.
  9. The rest of the infused oil can be stored on a cold place, for instance in the refrigerator. Put a lid on it.
  10. The left-overs of the rosemary pulp in the sieve can be used as a body scrub. You can store it for instance in an empty, clean, glass glass jar in the refrigerator. Before using a body scrub to exfoliate your skin, read my blog post: Exfoliating the skin[16].

How to use the body oil

The best moment to use a body oil is after a shower or bath, before drying your body with a towel. Pump some body oil from the dispenser into the palm of one of your hands and devide the oil over both hands. Apply the oil on the entire body. Massage the oil into the warm and wet skin. In this way you do not need so much oil, the oil is easier to spread, and because the skin is warm the oil is easy to be absorbed. Then pat the skin dry. You will discover that the skin is not oily, and after drying the skin shines and looks younger, healthier. In case your skin is really dry it will take some weeks before your skin is back to normal again. You can use the body-oil every day.

Instead you could massage the entire body from head and hair, to toes according to the Indian abhyanga massage before taking a shower. Read more about this massage in my blog post “The skin”[17]. The used oil is also a with herbs infused body oil.

Other uses: after a day at the beach, in the sunlight, in the hot dry wind, the salty seawater, or in winter when being outside in the cold, or 24/7 in a warm dry room. You can use the rosemary body oil also as a hair mask.

Attention: the rosemary aroma is uplifting, stimulating, energizing, and therefore best not to be used before sleeping. In case you would like to create a body oil for a good night rest, use lavender instead of rosemary.


Benefits of rosemary-infused body oil

  1. Anti-aging
  2. Improves elasticity
  3. Moisturizes
  4. Protects the skin
  5. Can be used in cases of eczema and acne
  6. The aroma of rosemary uplifts the psyche
  7. The aroma creates beneficial effect on the central nervous system
  8. The aroma stimulates the 3rd chakra, balances the 5th chakra[18]
  9. Photo: Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Sources and additional information

  1. Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) as therapeutic and prophylactic agent – Journal of Biomedical Science
  2. Gallery Rosmarinus officinalis – Flickr
  3. Rosemary essential oil – New directions Aromatics
  4. Herbs for Health and Beauty in Minoan Crete of 2000 BC – Explore Crete
  5. Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage – PubMed
  6. Herbs – Multerland
  7. Herbal medicine – Multerland
  8. Chinese Traditional Medicine – Multerland
  9. Rosemary soap – Cretan Garden
  10. Lavender-Rosemary soap – Cretan Garden
  11. Patchouli-Rosemary soap – Cretan Garden
  12. YlangYlang-Rosemary soap – Cretan Garden
  13. Lavender soap – Cretan Garden
  14. Oregano soap – Cretan Garden
  15. Sage soap – Cretan Garden
  16. Exfoliating the skin – Cretan Garden
  17. The skin / Abhyanga massage – Cretan Garden
  18. A Beginner’s Guide to the 7 Chakras and Their Meanings – Healthline
  19. Rosemary harvest in Morocco – Medicine Hunter
  20. How to Make Herb-Infused Oils for Culinary & Body Care Use – Mountain Rose Herbs
  21. Effect of Olive Oil on the Skin – ResearchGate
  22. Virgin olive oil as a fundamental nutritional component and skin protector – ReasearchGate
  23. Olive Oil in Botanical Cosmeceuticals – ResearchGate
  24. Enhancement of antioxidant and skin moisturizing effects of olive oil by incorporation into microemulsions – ResearchGate
  25. The foundation for the use of olive oil in skin care and botanical cosmeceuticals – ResearchGate

#09. The Minoan Lady

In September 2015 I was for a week on Crete and visited Knossos, and the Minoan Palace, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site[11]. I had already seen many pictures of the palace on the web, but when there I was touched by the atmosphere in a surprising way. Because thousands of tourists visit this site day after day, and so many tourist buses and cars fill the parking places, I expected that it would become a noisy, stressy experience, but the visitors were silent, calm, and did not even talk with each other. The atmosphere was so intense peaceful that it is justified to comparethe site with a holy place. I remember what I once read about powerful energy spots on earth, in the magnetic field of the earth, in the soils, and all the layers beneath the surface.

Monasteries were also built on these special spots. Stonehenge[12] is another example. The Minoans who lived in the palace of Knossos were highly civilized, not only rationally, but also spiritually. Priestesses were also living in the palace of Knossos, an enormous complexity of buildings with even four storeys. The Minoan Lady, also named La Parisienne, was a priestess[1]. Continue reading below the picture.


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Cretan Garden

When I decided to start a web shop to sell the seven soaps, made out of Cretan olive oil, herbs and essential oils, and searching for the picture that could be used for the logo, the icon in the media and blog, my thoughts went almost immediately to that one picture[17] that I made in the Archaeological Museum in Heraklion, in 2015. It was an intuitive choice. For me the Minoan Lady was and is what I would like to represent in my products: ethics, values, respect, dignity, esthetics, beauty.

It is a pity that I lost the article that I once read about Minoan priestesses in Knossos and their role in the herb garden: only priestesses were allowed to pick the herb salvia fruticosa, or Greek sage. For that sage ritual they had to wear a white dress, because that herb was holy. When I smelled dried Greek sage some years ago -for the first time in my life- I understood. Because of that intense smell I also understand why it is used in rituals to clean the atmosphere in rooms, in buildings with negative energies, graveyards, in a diversity of cultures, world wide[16].


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The use of soap in the Minoan Civilization

It is not certain if the Minoan Lady has used soap herself. There is nothing written about the use of soap in the palace of Knossos, though the first soaps seem to have been made in Greece, during the Minoan time. Here are some articles with information that explain for instance the use of salt in bathing rituals:

“Before modern medicine, salt water treated patients as a healing remedy. Before modern spa day, firm believers of its healing created a concept of therapeutic bathing. In order to cleanse the body, they infused salt with herbal blends, lavender and bay laurel leaves that extracted daily toxins. Another contribution salt progressed into was basic soap making. Dated around 2800 BC, the Greeks were one of the first soap makers who created mixtures of alkaline salts with local vegetable oils, animal fats and wood ashes to form soaps and detergents. By contrast, today an individual uses soap for bathing or personal hygiene, in ancient times, it was produced for cleaning cooking utensils, goods and medicinal purposes.”[18]

“The oldest archaeological findings in Europe related to bathing habits date from the Bronze Age (2,400–800 BC). In the palaces of Knossos and Phaistos in Crete, the population of the Aegean Minoan civilization has left traces of special chambers devoted to bathing. Alabaster bathtubs excavated in Akrotiri (in Santorini Island), as well as wash basins and feet baths, showed how people from the Minoan civilization maintained their personal hygiene.”[19]

“Lustral Basins were first identified by Arthur Evans[15] at Knossos and consist of a sunken rectangular room reached by an L-shaped or dog-legged stairway. There is often a balustrade running alongside the stairway, normally ending with a pilaster supporting a column. All of the examples at Knossos, like the one at Mallia (above) were lined with gypsum and so Evans thought they were used for bathing—a clay tub was even found in one of them. However, a few of them were found in areas of the palace, the Throne Room for example, where relaxing in the tub seems unlikely. In those cases Evans believed they were used for ritual purification through lustration—hence the name”[20]


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Sources and additional information

  1. Minoan woman or goddess from the palace of Knossos (“La Parisienne”) – Khan Academy
  2. Appendix Two, La Parisienne – Erenow, Biographies and Memoires
  3. Knossos and the Minoan Civilization – World History
  4. Journal article – Water, Fertility and Purification in Minoan Religion – Oxford University Press
  5. How ‘ritual’ were the Palaces? – The Secret of Civilization
  6. Minoan Religion, Ritual, Image and Symbol – Nanno Marinatos, Academia
  7. Hydro-technologies in the Minoan Era – IWA
  8. Minoan civilization – YouTube playlist
  9. Archaeological Museum Heraklion – Photo album Flickr
  10. Minoan Art, Archaeological Museum Heraklion – Photo album Flickr
  11. The archaeological site of Knossos, Crete – Photo album Flickr
  12. Stonehenge – Wikipedia
  13. Herbs for health and beauty in Minoan Crete – Explore Crete
  14. The Minoan Harem : the Role of Eminent Women and the Knossos Frescoes [article] – Nanno Marinatos
  15. Sir Arthur Evans and Minoan Crete – Nanno Marinatos
  16. Salvia fruticosa and rituals – Scholarly articles
  17. Picture Minoan Lady – Flickr
  18. Importance of salt in Ancient Greece – Greek Boston
  19. Ancient Greek and Roman bathing – Blog Stella
  20. Lustral Basins in Knossos – Odyssey

#08. Exfoliating the skin

What is exfoliating?

Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells to make room for new cells. Exfoliating is removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin by using for instance:

Exfoliating can improve the appearance of the skin, but if not done properly, it could do more harm than good. Best is to chose the safe materials.

  • washcloth
  • loofah
  • dry brush

I experience the dry brush -a bath brush which has the right strength for skin- as a very excellent daily help to really improve the condition of my own older skin. In this figure below you can see the difference between younger and older skin. One of the differences is the blood vessel: in the older skin it is darker red, which means that there is lesser oxygen. When brushing the skin the blood circulation in the skin improves. Photo 2: Click to enlarge.

Read more about skin types, details of the different types of exfoliation, aging of the skin in:

Additional information:

  1. What Does It Mean to Exfoliate? Why You Should and How to Start – Healthline
  2. Dr. Berkowsky’s Vital Chi Skin Brushing System™ – Natural Health Science
  3. Skin care in the aging female: myths and truths – PubMed
  4. The truth about dry brushing and what it does for you – Cleveland Clinic

#07. Skin and pH

When writing this post it is July 2021. We, humans all over the world, have an experience with skin and pH(power of Hydrogen) values, while knowing maybe not anything about pH and if not being aware of the fact, why the skin of the dorsal of their hands looks so incredible bad since the last year. Most probably this is caused by the antiseptic sprays (high percentage alcohol) at the entrance of all shops. Not one doctor, dermatologist, talks about it. However, when one uses a soap to wash hands it has to be skin neutral. They say.

Skin neutral?

The pH value of the skin is on all places of the body different. Therefore one uses an average pH value, which is about 5 or lesser. What exactly is causing the pH value of the skin? First one needs to know what exactly is “skin”. Skin is an organ which covers and protects all what is beneath the skin, and outside the skin. The skin is nourished by the food we eat. If we never eat a balanced food, concerning pH levels, acidic and alkaline, the skin will not be able to have a healthy pH level. The influence of too much acidic food, which is the most popular among humans in the “civilized” countries, influences of course the constitution of the skin, and its pH values.

Also influences from outside the skin, like air pollution, artificial electromagnetic radiation, burning sun rays, extreme temperature, contribute to the condition of the skin, and its pH. On health websites one claims that only soaps with a pH value that is similar with the skin pH are healthy for keeping a healthy skin. This would mean that swimming in the salty sea pH 8,2), or ocean (pH 8,2), even bathing in tap-water (pH value between 6,5 and 8,5) or taking a shower should be avoided.

The neutral pH level soaps are a mix of the normal alkalinity of soaps, and mostly several chemicals to achieve a lower pH level. These chemicals are more skin damaging than a normal soap ever can. With other words: a lot of industrial propaganda for their so-called neutral pH products should be suspected.

The term alkaline is a sort of curse in the ears of many, because of the industrial propaganda for their self created myths that a soap must have a neutral pH value. How can they explain the alkalinity of for instance breast milk(pH of 6,35-7,35)[1], the alkalinity of the skin of new-borns(pH value 7)[2], the alkalinity of the amniotic fluid(pH value 7,1-7,3)[3] in which the foetus swims before it is born? The foetus is extremely sensitive: imagine the damage that could be created in its development of organs, brains, eyes, blood vessels, nervous system, bones, skin…. Nature however found it better to let it swim in alkaline fluid, not in neutral fluid, neither in acidic fluid. The pH value of blood ranges between 7,35 and 7,45. It is the blood that nourishes the skin from inside, and the lymphatic fluid in the skin pours out the acidic waste to the surface of the skin. If the food habits of the human being are not healthy, unbalanced, too acidic, of course the blood will be more acidic and the skin as well. How high was the pH level of the skin of our ancestors? They washed with alkaline soap, without any problem. Skin problems occur because of an unhealthy life style, bad hygiene, the poisonous environment we live in, and the poisonous food people eat.

Healthy lymph have a pH that ranges between 7 and 10. The lymphatic system, part of the immune system, is a network of ducts that carry the lymphatic fluid (LF). LF also contains white blood cells called lymphocytes, fats, and proteins.[4]. The lymphatic system, made up of lymphatic fluid, tiny vessels, nodes and organs, is responsible for removing excess fluid, infections and acidic waste[5].

Viruses, Corona and pH

Viruses thrive, like bacteria, in an acidic environment. Viruses infect body cells by binding to the proteins in the cells and then multiplying. Scientific research shows that this process mainly takes place at a low pH value or in an acidic environment. An acidic environment has a pH of 0 to 7. As the pH becomes more basic, the activity of viruses decreases sharply. Scientists have established this in various studies in numerous viruses in both humans and animals. The relationship between pH value and infection-increasing activities has been demonstrated in, among others, influenza1, corona2, hepatitis C3, foot-and-mouth disease4 and other viruses in animals. By increasing the alkaline buffer in your body, which improves the pH value of your body cells, the sensitivity to viruses in the body can decrease[6][7]

Sources

  1. pH value of breastmilk – ScienceDirect
  2. Skin pH of a new born baby – PubMed
  3. Amniotic fluid has a pH of 7.1 to 7.3. – Healthline
  4. pH value of healthy lymphatic fluids – Portland Press
  5. About lymphatic fluid – PrairieNaturals
  6. Viruses are pH sensitive – Reelyse
  7. The influence of pH on SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity – ResearchGate
  8. Additional information about pH values – Scientific Research, §6
  9. The Skin – Cretan Garden Blog

#06. Essential oils and their aroma

A short history

The use of aromatic plants and trees, goes far back in history, to the time of the Egyptians and Babylonians, 3000 – 4000 before Christ. It is told however that the oldest knowledge of essential oils.is to be found in China.

The Egyptians used the essential oils from plants and resins to mummify the dead, because of the cleansing and anti-sceptic properties. Cleopatra used essential oils to enhance her attraction. Also in the bible essential oils are mentioned, like myrrh, incense, cloves, sandalwood, rose, and cedar.

Those who worked as perfumers during the Black Death plague epidemic were not contaminated by the plague: they inhaled the aerosols which were mixed with the anti-sceptic aerosols from the plants while working with it, and also the anti-sceptic properties of the plants entered the body via the skin.[Additional: The Forgotten Pollution: Dr. Schnabel’s Hepa Filter]

Essential oils

Essential Oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. Essential oils are derived from the leaves, flowers, wood, seeds, roots, bark and resins of trees and plants.. Essential oils are composed out of diverse aromatic volatile liquids, which are distracted from the plant parts via steam distillation. To create one litre essential oil one needs many kilos aromatic plants. To create one litre of for instance rosemary oil one needs 50 kilos rosemary leaves, and about 5000 kilos for a rose and jasmine oil.

Essential oils and the chakras

There is hardly any information about essential oils in the combination with the term “chakras“. There seem to be essential oils however that could be helpful in the healing of blocked or disbalanced chakras. I have just one but excellent advice: the smell you are searching for on that moment, and absolutely your favourite, fits for all chakras. If you want to read more about it then this article could be helpful.

Hydrosols

Hydrosols, also known as “flower waters,” or “herbal waters”, are the water condensates from the steam distilling process of essential oils. Hydrosols have similar properties and scents to essential oils, but these aromatic waters are much less concentrated. Hydrosols are especially suited for children, because they can hardly create irritations. One or two soup spoons in a baby bath are helpful in cases of inflammations, or eczema. Consult a certified aroma therapist for the right information before experimenting with it. The pH values of hydrosol varies from 4,4 to 7. This means that it could neutralize a too alkaline skin or a too acidic skin, into a natural skin condition. Read more about the pH value in Scientific Research, scroll down to pH values.

Aroma therapy

The use of essential oils is rather safe when using these in an aroma lamp diffuser, or in massage oils and body-oils, if one is following up the advice about the total of drops on a certain total of water for a bath, footbath, or aroma lamp. Also when using essential oils in a carrier oil, like olive oil, to create a body-oil or a massage-oil, or to dilute it for just a small spot on the skin, one must be well informed about the total of drops essential oil on how much carrier oil. Internal use of essential oils is dangerous, unless one follows up the advice of a well-trained and certified aroma therapist.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

Quality criteria

There are many different brands on the market with all several different essential oils, and all smelling different from another brand with the same oil-name, and not smelling so nice at all. It can be related with the own nose, of course, and preferences, but it can happen that not only you dislike a certain smell: it can also depend on the brand, and the country, the climate, the height of the area, the hours of sunshine, the soil, the pH of the soil, even the entire community of plants and trees, animals, the so-called biotope where the plants grow where the essential oil is extracted from, are creating the chemotype, the ct, and the scent. It is impossible to smell an essential oil when one orders it from the web. It is therefore wise, if possible, to buy an essential oil in a good health shop.

Steam distillation is a delicate process. It needs professional experience and a constant control. The essential oil must be for hundred percent natural and may not be denaturised by half-synthetic molecules and not be mixed with essential oils with the same scent, but less expensive and of a lesser or even inferior quality..

Books

Article

  • What Are Essential Oils, and Do They Work? – Healthline

Scientific Research

  • An Overview of the Biological Effects of Some Mediterranean Essential Oils on Human Health – PubMed
  • Essential oils and Health – PubMed
  • Essential Oils, Part I: Introduction – PubMed
  • Oregano essential oil as an antimicrobial additive to detergent for hand washing and food contact surface cleaning – ResearchGate
  • Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus – PubMed
  • Antibacterial activity of oregano (Origanum vulgare Linn.) against gram positive bacteria – PubMed
  • Essential Oils of Oregano: Biological Activity beyond Their Antimicrobial Properties – PubMed
  • Carvacrol, a Plant Metabolite Targeting Viral Protease (Mpro) and ACE2 in Host Cells Can Be a Possible Candidate for COVID-19 – Frontiers in Plant Science [[oregano’s principle component is carvacrol, admin]]
  • Oregano Oil and Its Principal Component, Carvacrol, Inhibit HIV-1 Fusion into Target Cells – PubMed
  • Why aromatherapy is showing up in hospital surgical units – Mayo Clinic


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