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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