Natural Beauty with Rubus
It is blackberry season here in Oregon. I love to go berry picking in the morning and luckily I have a patch of wild berries right in front of my house as here people really do not like to share where they find these sweet treasures. They appear in the summer and before the summer heat and birds find them they are yours for the picking. (If you do go wild berry picking make sure you have permission and you also know that the berries you are picking have not been sprayed and are safe to eat.)
Rubus is a large and diverse group of plants and part of the rose family. (Another one of my favorites.) The plants are easily identified with their brambles, woody stems, and berries. Fresh berries are some of nature’s best sources of healthy vitamins such as E and C and rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for healthy skin and hair because they fight free radicals that age our skin and also have skin calming anti-inflammatory properties.
Fresh or frozen berries can be used to cleanse and soften your skin in facial masks and cleansers. The fresh or dried leaves of the plant can be brewed up into a cleansing and refreshing tonic that will keep you healthy head to toe from a dandruff fighting hair treatment to a mouth friendly rinse. Rubus and the berries these plants produce are powerful natural beauty ingredients. I was a contributor to the 2020 book and here are a few recipes I shared:
Blackberry Antioxidant Facial Mask
Blackberries are known for their great health benefits. They are a source of natural fiber and contain vitamins E, A, and C. Like other berries they are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Used as a facial mask, fresh or frozen berries will deep cleanse and soothe your complexion giving it a radiant glow. Use a fresh berry mask every two weeks for clean and healthy skin.
2 Tablespoons fresh or frozen blackberries
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Mash or blend the blackberries together with the yogurt and lemon juice. To use: After cleansing, spread the entire mixture over your face and neck, avoiding the delicate areas around your eyes and mouth. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry.
Yield: 2 ounces
Raspberry Leaf Astringent
Raspberry leaves are rich in vitamins B, C and a number of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They also have high antioxidant properties. Raspberry leaf tea is a popular health tonic for this reason. You can find dried leaves sold in bulk at many natural food stores or dry your own by simply putting the fresh leaves in the sun to dry for a few days. This astringent is especially good for oily skin because it is a bit more acidic and drying and will also help restore your skin’s natural pH level.
2 Tablespoons dried raspberry leaves or 1 /3 cup fresh leaves
1 /4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 /4 cup rose water or distilled water
Place the raspberry leaves and vinegar in a glass or ceramic bowl and let sit overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture and discard the leaves. Add the rose water to the vinegar solution and stir. Pour into a clean bottle with a tight fitting lid. To use: Apply to your skin using a clean cotton ball after cleansing splash with cool water and pat your skin dry.
Yield: 4 ounces
Fresh Berry Cleanser
Fresh berries contain anthocyanins, a natural chemical in plants that helps reduce inflammation. Blackberries, Raspberries, and dewberries also contain alpha hydroxyl acids that are the same key ingredient in many over the counter acne skin care products. This recipe is for a gentle cleanser that will help exfoliate dead skin cells and surface debris, leaving you with a clearer, smoother complexion.
2 Tablespoons fresh or frozen berries of your choice
1 Tablespoon light oil such as almond, jojoba or sesame
3 Tablespoons witch hazel
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a clean jar and cover you will want to store this cleanser in the refrigerator because it contains real berries. To use: Use in place of soap to clean your skin.
Yield: 3 ounces
For more recipes and ideas check out the Herb of the Year books and also my own "Natural Beauty from the Garden" has more herb, flower and berry recipes -- Happy Summer!