#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

#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

#03. The skin

The skin is an utterly sensitive organ that is kept healthy because of a constantly regenerating, ingenious circulation system of water, lymph, blood, and fats. Because of the complexity of the skin, to understand how the skin is built, how this organ functions, it is helpful to watch one or more educational videos about it. I collected these in a playlist.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

How to maintain a healthy skin?

Since the nourishment of the skin takes place in the skin itself via the body systems and not on the surface, it is essential to eat healthy food and drink enough water (1-2 litres per day) next to other liquids like coffee, tea, soup, juiceses, etc.. Coffee and black teas de-hydrate the body. Breathing fresh air, being also physical active, contribute to an optimal digestion and therefore for a healthy skin as well. Daylight is also part of the natural skin care. Daylight creates a natural vitamin D that is adopted and transported by the skin into the body. The maintenance of the skin from the outside is part of the daily hygiene to keep bad smells, bacteria, viruses and fungi away, to avoid illnesses. Skin-friendly body oils moisturize the skin, and together with exfoliating the skin and massages a way to keep it vital, elastic, and shining.

1. Soap

It is astonishing that soap manufacturers of for instance the so popular Aleppo soap, Savon de Marseille, and Castile soap do not offer information about the pH value. The pH value of all natural soaps is 9. The Cretan Garden soaps are natural soaps, comparable with the Aleppo soaps, and have a pH value of 9 as well. This pH level is related with the formula for handcrafted natural soaps according to old traditions. There are manufacturers of the so-called neutral soaps, or so-called ecological degradable soaps who do not offer any information about that either. There are natural soap manufacturers who add natural acidic substances of for instance aloe vera to lower the pH level. For me its has been a conscious choice to follow up the old traditional methods and formulas. Though the Cretan Garden olive soap is alkalic, the skin needs just 15 minutes to come back to its own pH. The benefits of the olive oil, herbs and essential oils in the soap are all still present in the thin film that remains on the skin, nourish, protect and keep the skin elastic.

*Advice. In case the soap is used for scalp and hair washing: use argan oil after washing, on the towel-dry hair if you have dry and/or curly hair. Grey hair can be very dry as well. Argan oil is also used in the so-called Moroccan oil, but argan oil is pure oil, does not contain perfumes, or any other kind of chemicals. To make the argan oil more yours you can mix one drop essential oil with the argan oil in the palm of your hand before spreading it over the hair, and rub it in the hair and the scalp for about a minute.

*Advice for the use of soap on the skin of the face: Do not use soap too often. Use luke warm water and pat the skin of the face dry.

2. A skin-friendly body-oil

Make your own skin conditioner: Buy organic olive oil, and the essential oil used in the soap. Add 200 ml olive oil / 20 drops essential oil [for external use only!] in an empty and well cleaned fluid soap bottle with pump. Add just a little hand full of the homemade body oil immediately after washing to the wet and warm body from face to toes, spread it all over the skin. Then dry yourself with a towel. A very thin film is left. It offers a matt effect to skin, without weighing it, without leaving oily traces. It improves skin elasticity while preventing moisture loss that can contribute to the aging process. It keeps the skin smooth and soft, while leaving a natural healthy glow, younger looking result, and the wonderful scent of the essential oil. You can buy essential oils at House of Deli, Crete.

Attention: the advised total of drops essential oil on 200 ml olive oil, for a body oil is a safe total. On the website of the Aroma Therapy Foundation is written that the total depends on the power of each single essential oil: they are all different in weight, which means that one drop of lavender is lighter than one drop of oregano, for instance. They recommend for a body oil 20 – 40 drops on 100 ml olive oil. I recommend the maximum of 20 drops on 200 ml olive oil, to be used on body and face. Your skin could react on it anyway. Advice: try your home made body oil on a small spot on your arm, and wait to see how the skin reacts, before using it on the entire body. Do not use the body oil as a sun-oil. You can use it as an after-sun treatment. Protect your skin against the sun with a high protection factor cream. The best protection however is to avoid direct sunlight, by wearing a sun-hat, or to sit in the shadow.

3. Exfoliating the skin

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. If you do this well, in the way that fits with your skin type, this creates a bright, healthy looking skin because the circulation in the skin has improved. The right way of exfoliating allows a better absorption of body oils and creams. See also the Cretan Garden blog post: Exfoliating the skin.

*Advice: the skin of your face may not be exfoliated in the same way as the skin of the body. Because the skin of the face is constantly uncovered, dealing with variations in temperatures, air pollution, overdose of aggressive sunlight, dry air inside the house in winter, airco in summer and winter, the skin of the face needs a mild maintenance Not any kind of exfoliating is mild, unless one uses a wash cloth carefully.

4. Massages

Because Wikipedia offers a very excellent article about massage, types of massages, massages in history, and therapies with massages, I only would like to add some notes.

Massages stimulate the muscles, blood circulation, organs, metabolism in the cells, are balancing the body systems, unblock chakras, create a bridge between your mind and your body, and activate the skin as well, because the skin is the medium between the hands of the therapist and the body beneath the skin. To get used to a therapeutical massage one could start with foot massages. Videos: playlist 1, playlist 2 The Thai yoga massage is a possible next step: you wear comfortable clothes. Videos: playlist.

Abhyanga (“oil massage”) is a form of Ayurvedic therapy that involves massage of the entire body from the head to the toe with Dosha-specific warm herb-infused oil. Self-massage is also possible. Abhyanga massage improves skin health. Healthline published an article about it. Video: Abhyanga self-massage. Video: Abhyanga massage India


5. Fresh air

The skin is our natural border between our inner physical body, our inner world, our self, and the outside world, The human eveolution, related with the so-called civilization, brought changes in habits, also in clothing. Our ancestors did not wear clothes, they used the skin and fur of the animals they killed for food, to protect against cold. They did not live in closed houses but in caves, huts or tents. Fresh air was a constant factor. The air was not polluted in that time. The skin could bath day and night in clean air. Fresh air, oxygen, is necessary to keep the skin in a good condition. Opening windows, at least for an hour or two per day, is a must to keep the air-hygiene optimal. In summer I do this every morning, after waking up at about six o’clock, and close the windows after an hour or two. During winter I do this twice per day, for just five minutes: it is extreme cold in the Norwegian mountains.

Taking a daily walk, also in winter, in an environmentally healthy area, creates a healthy blood circulation. The blood is enriched by breathing in pure oxygen. The blood system transports the oxigen to also the skin.


6. Daylight

We are the offspring of the humans who were living in the open air, with abundancies of daylight. We must realize that our skin did not change so much during evolution as our habits in clothing and living. We live almost constantly in a closed house, office, working place, car or any kind of public transport, with artificial light. Natural light, daylight, is essential for our well-being, and to keep a healthy skin. Note: daylight is created by the sun, but being in the full heat of a burning sun is not healthy. Also the shadow offers natural daylight


7. Water and healthy food

What you eat and drink can significantly affect your skin health. Drink at least a liter water per day, next to all other liquids like coffee, tea, juices or soup. Healthline offers excellent information about good food for a healthy skin.

Photo by Arnie Watkins from Pexels

Related blog posts:


Additional information

  • Cretan Garden: Scientific research about olive oil, the use of olive oil on the skin, essential oils, cold processed olive soap, and herbs.
  • Medical News Today: Benefits of olive oil for the skin and face.
  • Mayo Clinic – a non-profit American academic medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research – Does drinking water cause hydrated skin?
  • Healthfully: The Effects of Sunlight[daylight, Admin] & Fresh Air on the Body
  • Healthfully: Vitamin D & Excessive Sweating

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