DoItYourself Cosmetics

Here's another whole category of environmental poisons that we could do away with. In Japanese the words for "pretty" and "healthy" are the same. Once when I was bemoaning my adolescent imperfections, my mother said, "To be young is to be beautiful." At the time I thought she was talking nonsense. Now I'm the age she was then and I understand the truth of it. The lily doesn't need to be gilded. My father taught that beauty was on the inside, that it consisted of glowing good health and a fine character. On the other hand, maybe I lean too far toward being unconscious of appearances. I could have won the worst-dressed prize every year of my life. And somebody else had to tell me to put natural cosmetics in this book.

I'm glad she did, for once I got started looking for these formulas, they turned out to be great fun to try! Experiment and see which ingredients suit you best. But don't forget that your skin's condition is influenced most of all by your diet, age, amount of exercise, and amount of sleep. Too much stress in your life, too little humidity in your air, too much exposure to sun, and too much fatty, sweety, junky, chemicalized food can be doing your appearance far more harm than these treatments by themselves can relieve. NOTE: To prevent allergic reactions, test a small quantity of any unaccustomed substance by rubbing it on the underside of your arm. Then wait 24-48 hours to see if a rash develops.

For Your Face

Analyze Your Skin Type. What you put on your skin should be appropriate for its type. Only very oily skin should be dosed with highly acid treatments like citrus fruits (lemon, lime, grapefruit), Concord grapes, strawberries, or apples. If you don't have very oily skin but want an acid skin treatment, use fruits that are a little less acid than the previous list—peaches, apricots, grapes other than Concord, and tomatoes. If you want a beneficial fruit treatment whose acidity is about the same as that of normal

Here are some poisonous plants to look out for. This list was sent to me by my dear friend Violet Stewart. She wrote me, "I hope you can find a space for this in your book. I'll feel I may have had a part in saving one life." I did find space—and since then I've learned and added more. Aconite: All parts. American False Hellebore Anemone (wind flower): Nemerosa is poisonous. Angel's Trumpet (Datura): All parts poisonous. Arrowgrass

Azalea: All parts very dangerous— nausea and vomiting, depression, hard to breathe, prostration, fatal coma. Baneberry: Berries, red or white, are poisonous. Black Locust: Flower is edible; rest is poisonous. Bleeding Heart: Leaves and roots may be poisonous in large amounts. Bloodroot Bouncing Bet Butterflyweed

Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis): One or two castor bean seeds are a near fatal dose to an adult, let alone a child. Celadine Poppy

Chokecherry: Leaves and seeds are poisonous. Christmas Rose (Helleborus): Seeds and all plant parts are poisonous.

Cockle, Corn or Purple: All parts are poisonous. Columbine (Aquilegia): Seed/all plant parts poisonous. Crocus: Autumn crocus bulbs can be dangerous. Daffodil: Bulb causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and may be fatal. Sap makes your hand swell up if it gets into a cut. Daphne: A few of the berries can kill a child. Datura: See "Angel's Trumpet." Daylily: Roots are poisonous. Deadly Nightshade Death Camas

Poisonous Plants

Desert Rose (Adenium): The milky juice may be a heart poison.

Dieffenbachia: All plant parts cause intense burning and irritation of mouth and tongue. If the tongue swells and closes the throat, no air can get through.

Digitalis: See "Foxglove."

Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia): All plant parts are poisonous.

English Ivy

European Bittersweet

Foxglove (Digitalis): All plant parts poisonous. Leaves contain digitalis, a heart stimulant. In large amounts it can be fatal.

Frangipani (Plumaria): Poisonous sap.

Garland Flower: Poisonous berries.

Hemlock: Read the story at the end of this chapter.

Horse Chestnut, Horse Nettle, and Horsetail

Hyacinth: Eating the bulb will cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and may be fatal.

Iris: Entire plant is poisonous.

Jack in the Pulpit

Jessamine: Berries are fatal.

Jimson Weed

Larkspur (annual delphinium):

Poisonous seeds and leaves.

Larsonia: The seeds can be fatal.

Laurel: All plant parts can be fatal, producing nausea and vomiting, difficulty in breathing, prostration, and coma.

Leafy Spurge

Lily, Flame: All plant parts are poisonous.

Lily, Glory: The tubers are highly poisonous.

Lily of the Valley: The leaves and flowers disrupt heartbeat, stomach, and mind.

Lobelia: Poisonous.

Lupine: All plant parts, including seeds, poisonous.

Marsh Marigold

Marvel of Peru (Mirabilis): All plant parts poisonous.

Matrimony Vine

Mayapple: Poisonous; fruit is also poisonous if too much is eaten and must be yellow, totally ripe, and smell sweet.

Meadow Saffron

Mistletoe: Berries can be fatal to children or adults.

Monkshood (Aconitum): All parts, including roots, are poisonous.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea): All plant parts poisonous.

Mountain Laurel

Narcissus: Bulbs are poisonous— cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and may be fatal.

Oleander: Leaves and branches are poisonous—affect heart, cause severe digestive upset, have killed.

Pennyroyal: Poisonous.

Poinsettia: Even one leaf can kill a child.

Poison Ivy

Poison Oak

Pokeweed: Young shoots up to 6 in., if free of purple coloring, are edible if boiled in a sequence of two discarded waters. Rest is poisonous.

Poppy, Horned (Glaucium): Roots are poisonous.

Poppy, Iceland: All plant parts are poisonous.

Poppy, Somniferum: Fruits and sap are poisonous.


Rhododendron: All parts can be fatal—nausea and vomiting, difficulty in breathing, prostration, coma.

Rhubarb: The leaves, even cooked, can cause convulsions and coma, soon followed by death.

Rosary Pea: A single seed has caused death.

St. Johnswort

Skunk Cabbage


Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum): The seeds and all plant parts are poisonous.

Star of Bethlehem

Tobacco (Nicotiana): All species/plant parts poison.

Wisteria: Poisonous.

Yew: Berries and leaves (more so) are fatal. Death is sudden—no warning symptoms.

skin, use bananas, green peppers, cucumber, watermelon, or persimmon. If you want a treatment that will moisturize dry skin using substances very low in acid, go with carrots, iceberg lettuce, cantaloupe, avocado, or honeydew melon. Steaming. This is a good treatment for skin problems and a general pick-me-up. I've enjoyed it many times. It deep-cleans your facial pores. To experts, steaming means putting your face in a hot towel tent. To me, it means spending 5-10 minutes with a few hot washrags on my face. When you're done, wash out any dirt that's left; then close those pores with cold washrags or an astringent. NOTE: Don't use this or any other heat treatment on a face that already has broken veins, because it can make them worse. Face Masks. A mask consists of a "binder" (which makes it adhere) and other ingredients mixed in with the binder. Choose your binder according to whether your skin tends to be oily or dry. For oily skin, use yogurt or egg white as a binder. For dry skin, choose lanolin, honey, sour cream, or egg yolk. Experiment with the other ingredients. You can blend vegetables and fruits and combine them with your binder, or use any of the recipes below. Wash your face clean before applying the mask. Don't ever put a mask onto the area around your eyes. Rinse off after a half hour or as soon as the mask dries. (While you're waiting, it's a good time to take a nap.) To remove the mask, use a washrag and warm water. Then use cold water to close your pores. NOTE: If you feel any irritation, rinse off immediately!

W> EGG WHITE MASK This helps drag blackheads and whiteheads out of your pores. Slightly beat an egg white and spread it fairly thickly over your face. Let it dry. Do the same thing with another egg white right on top of the first

OATMEAL MASK Mix together 2A c. oatmeal and enough honey to make a pasty consistency. Optionally, add 2 t rose water.

W> HONEY/LEMON MASK Mix 2 T. slightly warmed honey with I t. lemon juice. Put the mixture on your face and leave for about a half hour.

W> BREWER'S YEAST MASK Mix yeast with enough water to create a paste. Smooth it over your face (not into eyes!). Let dry. Then remove with warm water. Do this 1-2 times a week. For dry skin, add I T. wheat germ oil or I egg yolk to mask. You can also add 3 t brewer's yeast to milk or fruit juice and drink it daily.

Skin Cleansers

INSTANT SKIN CLEANSER Get a lather up with mild soap. Sprinkle some kitchen cornmeal into the lather and rub and scrub your face with the mixture. See "Elderberry" in Chapter 6 for more recipes.

W> YOGURT CLEANSER Mix yogurt with a tiny dash of salt Not for dry skin.

CLEANSING CREAM In a double boiler, melt and mix together 'A c. safflower (or sweet almond) oil, I T. cocoa butter, and I T. anhydrous lanolin. Take off the heat beat until partly cooled, and store in a jar. Shake before using.

<i> FRUIT CLEANSER Sliced tomato or cucumber.

HERBAL STEAMING FACIAL Moisten your hot washrags with an herb tea—chamomile, nettle, rosemary, or peppermint

Other Treatments

& ASTRINGENTS Use peeled cucumbers, lemon juice and water, or rose water.

W> SKIN FRESHENER Try a strong mint-tea facial.

PEACHES AND CREAM MOISTURIZER Blend together I ripe peach and heavy cream. Refrigerate. Massage onto your skin wherever needed once per day.

& TREATMENT FOR LARGE PORES Put 4 T. bran mixed with the chopped skins of 2 lemons into a jelly bag. Dip it into boiling water. Apply to face with enough pressure on bag contents to squeeze out a little of the lemon quality. Repeat for a while.

<§> FOR OILY SKIN Try cold parsley tea dabbed on several times a day.

HOMEMADE LIP GLOSS OR ROUGE Mix a drop of food coloring with a fingerful of petroleum jelly. Kids have fun with this, and it won't hurt their skin. For Your Body

For a recipe for herbal hand lotion, see "Products and Processes."

Herbal Bath. Make a strong tea by pouring boiling water over your chosen herbs. Let steep while you draw your bathwater. Then strain into the water. Or just put herbs right in your bath water—either loose or in a little cheesecloth bag. Let them steep 10 minutes; then join them in there. Good herbs for bathing are chamomile, lemon verbena, mint, peppermint, and rosemary.

<i> HERBAL BATH SALTS With Epsom salts, mix sage, thyme, and pennyroyal; lemon balm and peppermint lavender, rosemary, and pennyroyal; or another herb or herbal combination that pleases you. Or use Epsom salts with a few drops of your favorite fragrance or herbal oil mixed in. When bottled attractively, this makes a nice gift

For Your Hair

<§> HEALTHIER HAIR Take vitamin A and D supplements daily, plus I t brewer's yeast

W> VINEGAR HAIR RINSE Mix 3 T. vinegar per A gal. water.

W> HERBAL HAIR RINSE Rinse your hair in herb tea. Chamomile is best for blondes, rosemary for brunettes.

<i> BALSAM HAIR RINSE Pound I qt balsam firneedles with a hammer to release the oils. Then soak them in cold water overnight Rub in 2 T. of your balsam rinse after shampooing and rinsing Rinse well again.

W> CHAMOMILE SHAMPOO Barb Ingram, Santa, ID, says she uses this formula: Put I T. soap flakes, I t borax, and I oz. powdered chamomile Powers into a basin. Add Ai pint hot water. Heat until thick lather is formed. Wet hair with warm water, massage, rinse, and wash again. (For a general herbal shampoo recipe, see "Products and Processes.")

For Your Teeth

W> HOMEMADE TOOTHPASTE You can use common table salt for a toothpaste. It's rougher on your teeth and mouth and doesn't taste as good, but it's cheap and available. Takes care of bad breath too! Or use plain baking soda; baking soda with a drop of oil of spearmint peppermint cinnamon, or cloves in it a mixture of 3 parts baking soda and I part salt or, best of all, a mixture of 4 t baking soda, I t salt I t mint flavoring, and just enough water to get a toothpasty texture (about Ai-i t.). Keep any moist

homemade toothpaste in a covered container so it won't dry out

(i> BREATH FRESHENER Chew up some mint leaves!

Continue reading here: Wild Food Foraging

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