Saturday, April 4, 2020

Gardenia Pomade 2019

As I begin writing this post its Venus Day,  attributed to the Goddess of Love which feels quite fitting to the work I was happily doing at the perfumery today.

The violet glass jars that I had ordered for the pomade arrived, thus I began scooping the 2019 Gardenia pomade from the very laborious enfleurage process, into the jars, causing a lovely white floral cloud to hang in the air.

This particular pomade is special because it was first originally the bed for my lilac enfleurage, see photo above. Since the scent of that process came out so subtle I decided to use it for the gardenias. Although the lilac scent is noticeably present to the nose, there is an imprint of all those flowers, love and the process that has carried over. For those of you who feel energy, let me know if you sense it.

The process of infusing plants, mostly flowers, into a cold fat is called “enfleurage”, its a technique made popular in the Southern region of France in the late 1800’s. As I share in the Art of Botanical Perfume course, the origin of this very laborious ritual resides in Egypt, along with alchemy. I learned about this cold fat extraction technique in the 90’s within a yahoo group of botanical perfumers. We were all experimenting and sharing our results with each other.

The gentle coaxing, liberating and harnessing the exquisite exhalation of plants takes patience and a heck of a lotta love. In Los Angeles I worked with potted jasmine sambacs, gardenias and plumerias as well as wild violets and jasmine grandi from my moms garden. Until we get more settled here in Santa Fe, my mom has been lovingly tending to my potted babies, as well as infusing & tincturing. She also sends me plants by mail to work with. Enfleurage is definitely a labor of love & devotion, perfect for an obsessive personality and lover of nature.

The gardenia pomade, is a heavenly as a solid perfume or decadent face oil on its own or you can mix it into jojoba oil to extend it. Keep in mind that the fragrance is subtle, and there are some that may not be able to perceive much.

If gardenia isn’t your thing, consider picking one up as a gift for upcoming mothers day, etc. Since the heavenly pomade is protected from light and oxidation in the special violet glass it, the scent will be preserved for when you need it most. The high quality violet glass jars offer optimal protection against the harmful effects of light and increases the shelf life to prolong potency.

I only have a limited supply of this edition, which will be offered to newsletter subscribers first.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Covid-19 Survival Story

Amid all the mis-information, fear-mongering, scare-mongering fake news from both the sides of the media, I thought I'd share a story that we are not hearing.

Remember the biggest killer in the US is heart disease  and diabetes, due to poor diets and government funding of campaigns that cause more harm than good.

"Only about 12% of Americans are considered “metabolically healthy.” That means the other 88% of us aren’t meeting basic medical guidelines for things like blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and other markers of metabolic health."

Listen to a pod cast hosted by Dr. Mark Hyman where Dr. Kessler shares his inside experience working for the FDA, revealing the impact of Big Food on food labeling and public health.

Here is David's story told in his words:

"I had just come off a 14 day cleanse, and felt in GREAT health......but this thing is tough. Initially, I just felt like I had a sore throat, and treated that with salt water gargling, etc. Then it seemed like it was a sinus infection for a day, but I was running a slight fever of 99.7. As I started coughing (almost always "productive" - trying to clear my chest), in the next days, the temperature varied between 99.4-100.6 - for about a week. Indigestion, headache, diarrhea and swollen lymph nodes were some of my symptoms that were NOT initially connected with the C virus, so I was confused, and only after I and others did some research did I start to assume that this WAS in fact Covid. I was EXHAUSTED and it just continued to get daily, slightly worse. (My wonderful girlfriend, Laura Hamilton, who lives in Spain, was EXTREMELY helpful, and did research and gave support that belied the 6000 miles distance).

Day 9

I felt some tightness in my chest, and breathing was a bit more work than it had been, so I went to the ER in Northridge, to see if I could get tested for Covid-19. I'd been around a fair number of people in the previous weeks - but with appropriate hand-washing, and TRYING not to touch my face (unsucessfully:(.

The ER doctor told me there is NO way to know where I "caught the virus," as it's been in our society for weeks-it could've been anywhere. She ordered blood tests, checked my breathing, did oxygen tests (oximeter), and a chest x-ray. She said, "You have the Covid-19, from everything I can tell. I'm sorry, but we are reserving the actual test for people who answer one of the several crucial questions in the positive" (Questions: "Do you work in a nursing care facility? Have you travelled outside of the US in the past 2 weeks? Have you definitely had contact with someone who's tested positive for Covid-19?"). She told me the virus had moved into my left lung, with signs in my upper and lower lobes - but that she felt I was rational, and had a good "healing protocol" at home, so she released me to return home, with the caveat: "you MUST come back if your breathing becomes difficult".

I spent the next several days at home, treating my temperature with acetominophen, checking my oxygen levels on the "Oximeter" I'd ordered online; 2-3x/day I also lightly jumped on a little indoor trampoline and did some deep breathing - all to keep the left lung healthy, and hopefully activate the lymphatic system. However, on day 14, I couldn't seem to get my temperature down very much, from 102.4. I was feeling pretty bad, and had a pain in my right ribs. After talking to several RN/friends, and a doctor back east who works with the CDC.....Out of concern that the breathing would get WORSE, and the possibility that the pneumonia had moved to the right lung (thankfully, it had NOT - more on that, later) - I went back to the ER in Northridge about 9pm in the evening.

Since I had found out that a friend I'd interacted with had since been diagnosed positive for Covid-19, I told the ER people that, and in combination with my obvious shortness of breath - I was given several tests, including the test for Covid-19 and was admitted to the hospital. Care at Northridge Dignity Health was excellent, and although I'd been told by friends and the nurses themselves that I'd be isolated "most of the time" - they checked on my every few hours, and I did not feel truly "alone" very much. I was surprised that eating more "solid food" seemed helpful to my intestinal troubles, as I'd been mostly drinking chicken soup and health shakes for a week. I had developed a "viral rash" on my stomach and back, and the nurses applied creme to soothe that. (Another "a-typical" symptom). Thankfully, the pneumonia had not changed in the five days – another good sign that my body was fighting the virus.

I am deeply grateful, for the many friends who were reaching out, and encouraging me/loving me through the whole process - and continue to!

Day 16

The doctor in charge of my floor asked me some questions about care at home, how I was feeling, etc - and concluded that if I wanted to return home and continue care for myself, while awaiting results of the Covid-19 tests, I could do that. I jumped at the chance - in particular because I was told it could be 3-5 days before results would come back, and "one person had been waiting for 8 days". Apparently, the body had started winning the fight against this "unrecognized" and unwelcome guest, as I see it, and so my temperature normalized. It's been slightly "subnormal" since Saturday (96.8-97.4), and each day, most of the symptoms have reduced in intensity. Sunday, the doctor called me to confirm that I did in fact have the virus

I’m told that after 72 hours without an elevated temperature, the virus is no longer contagious, but since I still have an occasional cough, and some other symptoms remain - I remain in physical isolation. Healing a bit more, each day. It's the general consensus that one cannot catch THIS particular virus again....when it mutates that's another matter - most likely in a year. Till then, I kinda like the name "Antibody Man".

So, for those who asked, that is MY experience; I would not make ANY suggestions or assess anyone else's experience of this virus.

Some of the things I've been doing: breathing the steam of clove, oregano & eucalyptus; lots of vitamin C, D, zinc, magnesium, as well as a multi-vitamin. I also took apple cider vinegar, CBD oil, colloidal minerals, Echinacea/Goldenseal. After the hospital, I added Activated charcoal (to help with gas), a Healthy Lung formula, as well as the "Levofloxacin" (antibiotic), "Acyclovir" (anti-viral for rash, etc), as well as an Expectorant, to thin the mucus - (helps to make coughs more productive).

I continued taking my antiviral, antibiotic medications, as well as various herbs, vitamins, etc, and do some light exercise and deep breathing. My oxygen levels remain good: 93-97%. The healing is not linear, in my experience, but is in an Upward Trend, certainly. I wish it were faster, but this is likely to take awhile, and I'm grateful to be through the worst of it. MANY people obviously have had it much worse than I....

For ME, it's made a difference to try to keep a sense of humor; and also, to receive and to try to "take in" the outpouring of caring, concern and love: I will continue to learn from that aspect of this illness.
This world crisis will affect each of us differently, and while these are tremendously challenging times....I believe that we have the opportunity to slow down, to reassess what's most important to us, and to take actions to protect ourselves and our loved ones....while looking at our OWN lessons, and growing - physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually."

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How to Make a Plant Infusion

A plant infused oil, called an infusion, is a process used to extract properties from a plant matter which is sometimes referred to as our Prima materia. In plant fragrance making and aromatherapy we use infusions for salves, solid perfume and oil bases.

First thing to consider is your end purpose, what is the intention of your herbal oil? Is it scent, therapeutics, flavor, magic, color? If you are not quite sure of an intention and just want to experiment, than let yourself be guided by the plant that presents itself to you, it may be in a dream, from your morning pages or perhaps witnessing a plant waving to you.

For making infusions you can use either fresh or dried material. If fresh make sure your material is completely free of moisture by placing the plant matter on or between paper towels, tying up bundles and hanging them upside down from a rafter or by laying them out on a screen. Depending on the climate where you live, allow the plant matter to wilt for approximately 5-8 hours or more,

If using plant matter that is already dried double your quantity.


There are just two basic ingredients to creating an infusion: plants + carrier oil. It is important to consider your end result when selecting the carrier oil. For example if its for flavor than an organic extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil well be perfect. For a perfume, that option may not be the best because of the scent, thus I would suggest jojoba oil, which is actually a wax and does not go rancid.

Other options:
A 'preservative' for your infusion such as benzoin or Vitamin E Oil

Glass jar with airtight lid or canning jar
Muslim clothe
White wine or a high proof alcohol


Step 1: If using leaves make sure to remove wood and hard stems, unless you want those as part of the infusion. With flowers use the 'petals', not the inner regions such as calyx. In the photo below, after drying my sage I removed the leaves from the stems.

I don't worry too much about follow a specific formula, I am more concerned with documenting what I am doing so that when I go to make it again I can either follow exactly what I did or make adjustments depending on past results.

Here is a basic formula if you want guidelines:
15 gm dried herbs or 30 gm fresh herb
1 cup oil

Step 2: Place your plant matter in a glass jar, then pour oil over them, taking care that all of your plant material is covered. Cap with a tightly fitting lid. To help breakdown your plant material add 1 tablespoon of white wine or a high proof alcohol.

Step 3: Leave the jar in the sun, some individuals move the jar in the evening to warm spot. I like to leave mine in the window to observe the night energies which include stars and moon. The length of the process varies with each material, check in on it after for 2 weeks to see if it is to your liking.

Step 4: Remove the top and strain the oil. If you feel you would like it stronger then repeat the process using your infusion as the oil.

If you used a canning jar, remove the top, pop out the inner metal circle, layer the top of the jar with muslin, attach the outer screw rim of your the lid and strain your oil.

There are many other tricks of the trade and ways of working, for example you could plan your infusions according to astrology, if using flowers replacing them every few days is the best way to get a strong scent. The main thing is to do it and learn each time.