Stocking delights with ingredients almost as mystical as old St. Nick himself. Ancient remedies and scents of the old south, natural soaps and salves. Unexpected gifts to heal, patch you up and put you back together after a long and jolly season.
Prickly pear was originally brought to America in the 16th century by Spaniards coming from Mexico. Native Americans began to incorporate the powerful fruit into their medicinal remedies and used not only the fruit but the pads of the cactus for various purposes such as male urinary discomfort, skin ointments, a digestive aid, and to make a soothing poultice for painful, swollen tarantula bites. The Hangover Terminator makes use of the prickly pear’s strong anti-inflammatory effects to ease the symptoms associated with holiday over-indulgence.
Now a symbol of the American south, Kudzu was called the “Asian wonder vine" when it was introduced in the 1930's and was planted by farmers to ease soil erosion. Not realizing the environmental damage this would eventually cause, the kudzu vines grew virtually unchecked in the perfectly suited climate of the southeastern US, earning it the nickname "the vine that ate the south". The vines grew as much as a foot per day during the summer months, climbing and swallowing anything in their path. By 1997 Kudzu had been placed on the "federal noxious weed list" and today covers over seven million acres of land in the southeastern United States. Lightly scented with this ravaging delight, Alabama Kudzu Goat’s Milk Soap is gentle and nourishing for your dry winter skin.
Thought to have originated in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean, peppermint shows up throughout history with a variety of medicinal, practical, and even somewhat scandalous uses. Ancient Egyptians used peppermint to calm stomach pains and freshen breath. In ancient Greece the philosopher Aristotle thought mint a potent aphrodisiac and warned Alexander the Great not to let his soldiers partake of any mint while on crusade. Monks in the middle ages used mint as a tooth polisher and by the 1700s mint was being used in Europe for everything from sores and venereal disease to colds and headaches. Still as thoroughly multi-purpose and useful (though not recommended for quite the same pool of ailments) peppermint oil is a fantastic tool to battle the holiday binge.
Creosote is an evergreen shrub, with small waxy leaves, that thrives in desert climates. Known as "la hediondilla" or stinky one, because of its distinctive smell that most Southwesterners say reminds them of the desert in the rain. Early Native Americans held beliefs that it treated many maladies, including sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, chicken pox, dysmenorrhea, and snakebite. Today, herbalists still use creosote to aid the healing of skin abrasions and maladies. A little TLC for your ELV’s.