Natural Herbal Sunscreen

Natural Herbal Sunscreen

Folks are learning more and more that the dangers of commercial sunscreen may outweigh the benefits.  Many sunscreens have toxic ingredients, that can cause skin problems.  In fact, skin cancer rates have risen and many reports indicate that sunscreens may actually raise the risk of skin cancer.   In addition, it’s recommended that children are not exposed to the chemical found in many sunscreens, oxybenzone, which is known  to disrupt hormones.
Research is also showing that the use of sunscreen is causing damage to ocean life, especially coral. It’s estimated that over 5000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers in the ocean each year.

Additionally, some exposure to the sun is imperative to health.  Moderate exposure to the sun can increase your levels of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be a factor in many types of breast cancer as well as problems during pregnancy.

So what to do?
Moderate time in the sun – a little sun won’t hurt, but you should never allow your skin to burn.
Keep your face shaded by wearing a wide brim hat.
If you are very fair, do wear lightweight fabric to sheild the strongest rays.
Plan outdoor activities in the morning or afternoon and avoid the heat of the midday.
Use a natural sunscreen

Natural Sunscreen
There are some articles that are circulating on the internet now that warn of the dangers of homemade sunscreen, primarily because it’s impossible to tell how strong the sunscreen is and what the SPF of your final product will be.  Use common sense in the sun: limit exposure, stay in the shade, wear a hat, etc.  This natural sunscreen is an extra layer of protection but is not 100% effective in eliminating the suns rays.

Some ingredients that we commonly use in our herbal preparations contain small amounts of SPF.
Coconut Oil – although coconut oil alone will not protect against sun, it does offer support and protects the skin from sun damage.
Sweet Almond Oil – nourishes the skin by providing Vitamin E, and contains a small amount of SPF, about 5.
Carrot Seed Oil – has been shown to have SPF qualities from 35 – 40.
Shea Butter – has a natural SPF of 4-6 and is deeply emollient and nourishing to the skin
Zinc Oxide (non-nano) – has an SPF of 2 – 20 depending how much is used.  Use non-nano type, as it is

Here’s an easy recipe for some homemade sunscreen.

1/2  cup sweet almond oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup beeswax
2 Tbsp zinc powder (non-nano)
1 tsp carrot seed oil
2 Tbsp Shea Butter
10 drops lavender essential oil
1 Tbsp Vitamin E

* Combine all the ingredients except the zinc and essential oils in a glass Pyrex measuring pitcher
* Place the glass pitcher in a saucepan with a couple inches of water
* Heat the water over medium heat until the ingredients in the pitcher start to melt.  Stir occasionally.
* When all the ingredients are melted, remove from the water bath.
* Stir in the zinc oxide, vitamin E, and essential oils.
* Pour into small jars.  Label and date.

The sunscreen is not waterproof.  Reapply often and definately after swimming.
Do not inhale the zinc – wear a mask!
Store in a cool dark place, or in the fridge.  It’s good for about one year.

Fall 2016

Our Medicine Trail showed vast improvement and recovery this summer from the damage of the floods in 2013.  Three years have passed, and we are just now being able to see this kind of recovery, but it has been fascinating to see the way Mother Nature heals.

Many of the seeds we planted with the help of our generous grant from The United Plant Savers grew into healthy, viable specimens.  The yarrow seems to have repopulated the area, and we were able to harvest a good amount of St. John’s Wort and Valerian.   Our Echinacea and calendula finally took hold, and we got good size areas of healthy growth. Our comfrey is now established, as are our reseeding areas of California poppy and

But even more interesting than the areas that we consciously reseeded are the plants that mother nature gifted to us.  New stands of goldenrod finally rebounded after being so damaged by the flood.  Pockets of Vervain can be found all along the medicine trail, as well as burdock, Wild licorice, Soapwort and Catnip.  A newly discovered wild Hops vine grows abundantly, and we have found as well three healthy Hawthorn trees/shrubs.

We welcome visitors to the Medicine Trail!  Just give us a shout if you’d like to schedule a private Medicine Herb Walk.

Blue’s Breeding Blog #3

Blue’s Breeding Blog #3

Well, its a done deal!  Blue and her chosen stallion, Bit, have successfully completed the act (with a little help) and now we are in the waiting stage to see if it all worked as planned. The entire experience was not nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be, and the part that made it easier is that it was obvious that Blue was receptive.

Bit, of course, performed his duties with equine grace and virility, and the whole process seemed pretty natural.

The general plan is to take the mare to the stallion every other day while she is in heat.  This gives more opportunity for the mare to have viable sperm in her reproductive tract at the time that she ovulates.  As soon as she ovulates, she will go out of heat.

Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately), we were only able to get one successful breeding in this cycle.  Due to a long horse show, and the week-long rains, we might have missed the beginning of Blue’s heat cycle since we were unable to see her behavior in the normal herd (she was kept in her stall). The second time we brought Blue to visit Bit, she wanted nothing to do with him.  She had clearly completed her heat cycle, meaning that she had ovulated.  Timing wise, we can be almost certain that she did, then, have viable sperm in her when she ovulated. Now we wait to see if she goes into heat again.  If she does, then that means that she is not pregnant.  If we don’t see any signs of another heat cycle within 21 – 28 days, we’ll get an ultrasound for her and then we will know!

We’ve decided that Blue’s experience was kind of personal, and in order to show her respect, we aren’t going to post any pics of it.  But here’s a great photo of Blue learning to play polo with Finn!

Blue Polo

Welcome to the world, baby turtles!

The turtles hatched this week, working their way out of the a small hole through the dirt from their egg nest to the surface.  Farmer Chase had to help a few of them turn the right way toward the river, but they all seemed to make it just fine!  We don’t know how many were actually born, but we’re so glad we got to see this magic happen.  Hopefully they’ll come back next year when it’s time for the mama’s among them to lay their own eggs!