Monday, February 22, 2010
coconut rose love oil
i suddenly have way too many ideas about what to write about... man, this shit's addicting. i've officially become one of those people, who has to carry a notebook in their pocket everywhere they go- so i can write down all my dreams, visions and insights. for those of you who know me, this is somewhat difficult as i am on strict skirt and dress only wardrobe kick (until farm season hits again). Damn.
so now i am one of those people who has to wear a belt everywhere i go, with my hipster fanny pack attached-- so i can keep my little book of inspirations and my camera ready, to give visual to my journey.
I'll try and keep it to one topic though-- of the many things i feel excited about lately-- okay, really just from the last few hours. umm, have become narcissistic so quickly?
no, but really, it's like i am permanently caffeinated (but without the caffeine)-- but, truthfully I am more likely high on life. my near constant excitement has gone so far as to allow only the lightest state of sleep vivid with dreams, if any sleep at all, and I am up early in the morning ready to GO! i am not used to having this much life pumping through my veins.
damn, is this what it really feels like to love life? i am praying if i ever come down off this high, it hits me gently. well, here in the northeast, its warming enough for the sap to start running--- and i am running with it!
so today, i settled into my new home (if you call running around from project to project in a constant state of dance, "settling in")-- and did one of the most enjoyable activities i can think of- I made things, all day long and used my hands to create! I tended to my sourdough starter. I made a new batch of kombucha. I stood still hovering over the stovetop for twenty whole minutes, straight! (which is hard to do with my new found enthusiasm) making a dank batch of ghee (dank-- like the good kind, not like the moldy basement kind). and finally, I made one of my favorite creations ever- coconut rose love oil!
okay, so i totally love all things fat and oily-in so many ways. in my vegan years, i became addicted to coconut oil and shamelessly indulged in it daily and now as an ecstatic ex-vegan, I have discovered how amazing ghee is. between the two of them-- i use them in all my cooking and also all over my body. I plan to share several stories about fats in the future- and hope to correct all the misinformation around them-how terrible of a rap they have gotten. partly i think this is due to the profit driven product makers and partly due to our own cultural fat phobia. both of those negative forces-- which really feed each other- are strictly based on ignorance and inaccurate information. but more of that another day.
coconut oil (semi-solid or liquid fruit fat) is my favorite massage oil. i can't even begin to explain how luxurious it is. plus it smells so ridiculously sexy.
So, a few months ago i decided to combine my love of all things coconut & all things rose-- and made a batch of this decadent rose infused coconut oil. insert millions of exclamations here- this shit's the shit! there was like a magical love party in my kitchen. making it is almost as sexy as using it!
so, beyond what i have already shared with you about my love of roses, rose petals and flowers-- as we all know, and have had shoved down our throats by those trying to comodify our feelings-- are associated with love and romance. They are also wonderfully medicinal on both an energetic and physiological level. Roses are cooling, anti-inflammatory, astringent (toning to the skin and mucus membranes)and help cool all sorts of hot-irritated skin ailments. On an energetic level, the same applies. Roses cool heated and inflamed emotions like irritation and anger, while toning or giving gathered strength to our feelings. A massage with rose oil, is one of the greatest remedies to calm an agitated body and mind. To add to yesterday's post, rose oil would be an amazing way to love your premenstrual bod.
Coconut oil is also considered cooling (in the same ways) and may even be anti-viral (on an energetic note, viruses are generally considered to be "hot" conditions in the body). It also is soothing, softening and moistening-- and just fucking delicious. In Ayurveda, both roses and coconut are considered toning and pacifying to "pitta" types as well as "pitta" symptoms (more on Ayurveda later- and how uncomfortable it can make me as a privileged "westerner" to think I might be contributing to a mass cultural appropriation. For now, I share those last thoughts from personal experience-- and for that reason, feel good passing them on).
I add a tiny bit of jojoba oil to this blend-- to keep the final product a little softer than plain coconut oil- which will harden at low temperatures. in most of the poorly heated households i have lived in this oil ends up pretty semi-solid- but melts at body temperature-- go ahead read into this, it's hot! Jojoba oil is not a true oil, but actually a liquid ester wax (lets call it fat!) that almost mirrors the human sebum-our skins natural coating. Jojoba oil softens the skin, while still allowing it to breath and is incredibly healing for stubborn skin ailments.
Now...here's how it's done. Sorry for the lack of measurements. I like to make this oil in a double boiler, bringing the water in the bottom part to a boil, then turning it down to a low simmer. In the upper pot, i add several scoops of coconut oil and a splash of jojoba oil (about 1/3 the amount of the coconut oil) and let them melt before adding a handful of rose tops or petals. I have only used dried petals, as it's what I have had on hand- but in the summer I'd love to use the fresh petals from the rosa rugosa (as a hint when fresh plant material in oils, as a general rule, I would let the fresh petals dry wilt overnight- so they end up somewhere between fresh and dry- and less likely to contain excess moisture). The most important things to note about making an infused oil this way, is to make sure the herbs are fully covered with oil-- as any plant part sticking out could introduce moisture and bacteria from the air (same goes for keeping the lid off, as the condensation would collect and drip into the oil), and not to heat the oil TOO much. You don't want it to be boiling, but gently heated, because you'd end up losing the volatile oils in the roses- that which makes them both smell amazing and gives them their magical medicine. The scent is the essence of the rose!
Today, I let my oil infuse for about an hour and a half-- but feel free let it go longer- up to four hours. i usually take it off the heat, when i visually notice that the plants in the oil just look "spent"-- like they've lost their essence. Pour the liquid oil immediately into a jar, filtering it through a cheese cloth or strainer. I like to add a few drops of rose essential oil directly to the jar at this time-- don't add it any earlier or the scent will evaporate with the heat; but this is optional as the oil smells pretty rose-y on its own. Cap the jar, and let cool (up to24 hours) to solidify.
A hint about cleaning up: Cleaning up oil can be hard-- but as a lover of oil and an ex-grease (for fuel) collector, (read: several hours of collecting, filtering and making a mess with this shit from the local restaurants, every week. I was like living in a permanent state of grease!) I have learned a trick or two about getting that heavy stuff out and away (fryer oil is not an oil that makes my heart sing, I'll just say here). The first thing I like to do, is give everything a good wipe-down with paper towels, newspaper (both which you can compost) or a cloth (i keep packing tissue and napkins just for this reason and they go in my herbal product making kit-i am such an herb geek). Then without adding any water, I add dishsoap to all the oily items and give them a "dry wash" with only the soap and slightly damp sponge-- oil will bind with oil (which soap is made of), but separate from water. Then I go ahead and wash them with really HOT water.
Okay, so really my first cleaning method is to take off all my clothes, and wipe off all the excess oil from the double boiler, and soak it up in my skin. Getting warmed up yet? :)
One day I had a friend stop in, to find me completely naked making cream in my kitchen. Um, excuse me, could you put some of that on my back?
Final step, if you haven't already... is to slather yourself with that goodness and love it up- feel it! With yourself and with those lucky enough to share your body! and let it all go! I find one of the sexiest things about this oil, is its ability to help me feel calm, cooled and centered-- and free to express my feelings!
mmm, and i imagine it would go quite well with coconut bliss-- (for those of you who havent been introduced to this truly BLISSfull coconut-milk ice cream-- you don't know what you're missing. it might change your life. this is not an understatement. oh, and i am totally their unofficial spokesperson-- just passing on the coco b love here)! when are they coming out with their rose flavor anyway?
disclaimer: it is called love oil, but please note if you are thinking of using it as lube, that any oil-based products are not meant to be used with latex barrier methods, as oil will break down and decrease the life and safety of the latex- which, frankly, is not sexy. If you are using polyurethane barrier methods, this oil would be fine to use (which oil does NOT break down). I can post recipes and info in the future about herbal water based lubes-- as well as other fabulous sex positive info, links and musings. Edible body butter anyone?