WTF is… Green Tea?!

Unlike it’s good buddy Sugar, Green Tea is pretty much universally loved and hailed as the best thing since sliced bread. It’s even older than the concept of sliced bread, making it a serious contender in the global commodities market. Considering that entire countries have waged wars all over the world to get this simple herb, we thought we’d take a second to steep in what makes Green Tea such a hot topic.

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Who knew that so much green could come from so much green? Image via wikimedia.org

So green tea, and in fact every type of tea outside of herbal tea, comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis or “tea plant”. That’s right, matcha tea, oolong tea, lapsong tea, suchong tea, white tea, green tea, black tea, all come from this plant! In fact, the main difference between all the varieties of tea are based on how mature the leaves are before they are picked and what methods are used to ferment or oxidize them.

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The Camellia sinensis is a beauty in it’s own right, even if we usually only see it in a tea cup! image via wikipedia.com

Now there are plenty of studies to show how and why green tea is good for you inside, but we’re going to go over it’s benefits to your outside! The main constituents of green tea that are of particular note include:

  • A type of polyphenol called Catechins. Catechins are astringent, which help to tone the skin and also gently balance the oil your skin produces.
  • Caffeine, as we all know, invigorates and stimulates the skin to keep it healthy and lend it a rosy glow.
  • Theanine is an amino acid that has anti-aging properties and helps skin to stay hydrated and happy.
  • Vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize the skin so it feels smoother and softer.
  • Vitamin B helps to support healthy collagen production in the skin, and also supports the skin benefits of vitamin C.
  • Folate is another potent anti-oxidant that helps to rejuvenate and revitalize stressed skin, so it glows with happiness.
  • It’s antioxidants in general help to revitalize and rejuvenate the skin and to protect it from environmental damage like sun exposure, wind burn and toxins in the air, like car exhaust.
  • Of course we can’t forget Chlorophyll, a phytochemical that is loaded with antioxidants and not only revitalizes, but also deeply nourishes the skin to keep it extra healthy.

Pretty good stuff right? Well when it comes to green tea, we here at the Raw Spa pair it with nourishing rice bran oil, sumptuous mango butter, and an exotic blend of jasmine and vetiver for all of our Selene products. Much like the queen that is it’s namesake, Selene is specially formulated for skin that has seen it’s share of trials, but can still glow like the moon.

Selene Clay Bar

The Selene Clay Bar combines Matcha with moringa and French Green Clay for a nourishing face mask that smells like bubble tea!

We also make use of Matcha Green Tea (a special powdered tea from Japan used in the eponymous Japanese Tea Ceremon) for it’s verdant color in the Selene Bath Truffles, Bath Cupcakes, Bath Salts, Clay Bars and Exfoliant Bars.

We use extracts and infusions of Sencha green tea and moringa in our special Selene infused Rice bran oil, which can be found in all of our Selene shower treats including the Selene Salt Bars and Selene Gelly Baby, as well as the Selene Skin Tonics and Selene Skin Parfaits!

Be sure to check back later this week for a criminally simple green tea face mask, that will leaving your skin feeling fan-f***ing-tastic!!

How do you take your tea?

 

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WTF is… Turmeric?!

Turmeric is what the layman would describe as an ‘exotic spice’. It doesn’t help that it’s a widely used ingredient in several Indian dishes, and a well known component in Ayurvedic medicine that , in some regards, is comparable to ibuprofen. No seriously.  Turmeric is what the layman would describe as an ‘exotic spice’. But before you go raiding your spice cabinet, let’s get some facts for your cerebral curry!

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If you mistake it for ginseng you are in for a slightly-less-bitter-than-you-expected surprise. Image via wikimedia.org.

First things first, DO NOT use turmeric as a substitute for ibuprofen or other over the counter painkillers. While some studies have shown that it can be used as a painkiller, it they are by no means conclusive. So if you have a pounding headache or joint pain don’t reach for your spice rack.

That being said, there are a lot of things that turmeric is definitely good for!  Aside from being an integral ingredient in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian dishes turmeric contains folates (to help support healthy skin behavior), niacin (helps skin stay glowing and youthful), pyridoxine (helps skin retain moisture), is rich in vitamins C (helps to rejuvenate damaged skin) and E (blocks free radicals that wrinkles the skin), in addition to it’s heavy hitter, curcumin, which helps to reduce inflammation.

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Ain’t no party like a turmeric party! Image via wikimedia.org.

At the Raw Spa, we use turmeric exclusively in our all of our Hatshepsut products. Aside from being an actual ingredient the ancient Egyptian queen would have used for her beauty practices, we utilize it today to help calm oily or generally aggravated skin. The turmeric also synergizes well with the frankincense and spices to reduce the appearance and aggravations from acne break outs.

 

You can find some of our Hatshepsut bars, skin potions, and even bath cupcakes on our website! You can also find other excellent products in the Jewel of the Nile line HERE.

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The crazy color of these Hatshepsut Bath Truffles is all thanks to the healthy pinch of turmeric that we use!

What are your favorite ways to use turmeric?

 

 

 

 

 

WTF is… Rhubarb?!

As a staple in any self-respecting witch doctors garden, rhubarb is a pretty useful plant. And much like old timey shamans, Rhubarb can be both incredibly healing and exceptionally toxic if used in certain ways. Bet you won’t look at a rhubarb pie the same way now! But don’t worry, I’ll tell you how you can safely get your fingers in this pie.

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Delicious? Deadly? Both?!  Picture via Wikipedia.org

Before we get to the pie eating, did you know that back in the day rhubarb was valued on the same scale as rubies, silk, and diamonds? In fact, at one point it was more valuable than opium.  That’s right, the humble rhubarb was more expensive than the great grand daddy of narcotics. So obviously it must have been like super crack or an aphrodisiac or both, right? Like a Supercrackadesiac? Actually, the cost of transportation across Asia made rhubarb expensive in medieval Europe. Don’t get me wrong though, rhubarb is still pretty awesome. It has been and is still used in traditional Chinese medicine, primarily as a laxative.

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This much rhubarb in medieval times could probably buy you a whole castle. Image via Wikipedia.org

But is it poisonous? Absolutely. Well actually, just one part of the rhubarb plant contains any toxins: the leaf. While eating rhubarb leaves at first will make you very sick, repeated ingestion can be lethal. So if someone offers you some rhubarb leaf tea, you should politely decline. Again, this is a PSA from The Raw Spa: DO NOT INGEST RHUBARB LEAVES!

Now we here at the Raw Spa recommend that you never eat any of our products (no matter how delicious they smell) but if you absolutely have to eat our soaps and things, you can do it without the worry of dying afterward. We use the root and stalk of the rhubarb plant to get all the good effects. Like the fact that rhubarb is astringent which means it can help to balance the oiliness of skin.

At the Raw Spa we use Rhubarb as part of our seasonal Farm Stand line, in particular our Rhubarb Crumble products! It marks the beginning of our Farm Stand line and can be found in our shop May of every year!

 

 

 

 

WTF is…Sugar?!

Oh man, here it is. The big one. The greatest thing or the greatest evil depending on who you ask. Love it or hate it, the fact is we can’t live without sugar in some way, shape or form. There’s a lot of ground to cover here but don’t worry. For you we’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Every modern child’s dream. Every modern adult’s nightmare. Image via en.wikipedia.org.

So let us start with origins. Sugar has been produced in India since ancient times, and we’re talking REALLY ancient. Like 8th century Chinese manuscripts BC ancient. For a while sugar wasn’t really a big deal. People chewed raw sugarcane to get their sweet fix. It wasn’t until the Indian people discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that it really took off. Fun fact: in the local Indian language the crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

Now when it comes to sugar in terms of health things get a bit…complicated. To summarize just about everything from both sides of the fence: sugar is kind of good for you and kind of bad for you. Unfortunately modern science is unable to determine sugars effect on the human body since they don’t have a large enough population to run the appropriate tests. Essentially since EVERYONE eats sugar in some way, shape or form we can’t get a definite measure of how it effects the human body when ingested.

Fortunately for us, and you, we DO know it’s effects when applied topically! Sugar is primarily used on our skin as an exfoliant. The nature of the sugar granules make it ideal for scrubbing off layers of dead skin. It is also a humectant and draws moisture into the skin from the air.

We here at The Raw Spa  offer a unique alternative to conventional sugar scrubs that come in jars. For our sugar scrubs come in bars! Namely our Spice Merchant exfoliating sugar bars not only smell great but can be applied with a little water to provide a gentle but deeply exfoliating experience.

Speaking of merchants, if you’d like to try some of our products, come visit us on our store page here!

We’ve also got a patreon! If you become a patron not only will you get monthly product, but you’ll also sleep easy knowing that you’re helping two young adults maintain their coffee induced insomnia. Check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 

WTF is… Apricot Oil?!

If you’ve never spent an afternoon off with a bag of dried apricots we here at the raw spa definitely recommend it. The delicious fruit snack is all natural (which is good), very nutritious (which is great), and super tasty (which we absolutely love). Also a bag of dried apricots lack the stone, or kernel, in the center. And while sometimes we may wish to burn the pits of fruit in…well a pit, thankfully we have a much better use for them. Introducing Apricot Kernel Oil, a healthy part of any balanced massage.

Sooo delicious! Image via lifehealthandbeauty,com

Don’t go rubbing yourself with these just yet! Image via lifehealthandbeauty,com

But lets learn up before we get to the rub downs. Although apricots are grown wherever the climate can support them, nobody really knows what country the apricot came from. The leading theory of it’s origin is Armenia, since it was cultivated there for so long nobody thought to question it. However other sources suggest China or India were the first to domesticate the apricot. Regardless of where it started from Turkey is currently the worlds leading producer of the tasty fruit.

The pits actually ARE good for something! Image via naturallysheabutter.com

The pits actually ARE good for something! Image via naturallysheabutter.com

Now apricot oil, or apricot kernel oil as it is sometimes called, is absolutely fantastic at helping to maintain skin. Our good friends linoleic and oleic acid make a comeback, as well as serving as a fabulous smooth lubricating agent. And since it is absorbed into the skin quickly, it makes for a soothing and gentle massage oil.

If you’re looking for a smooth spread, our Green Nile body balm from the Jewel of the Nile line has one of the gentlest textures available in our store. With the apricot oil we mixed into it a just a dab or two should cover wherever you want healthy, happy and hydrated skin.

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