Unexpected Encounters by Maxine Rogers
I was sitting next to a very attractive Sikh lady when I attended my niece’s recent graduation at SFU. Bali, the lady I was sitting next to was there for the graduation of her eldest daughter. We got to talking when she saw I was reading a book of herbal recipes my niece had just give me to entertain me during the long wait for the ceremony to begin.
“Are you a herbalist?” she said. “Yes,” I replied, “I work with herbs a lot.” Well then, do you have something to heal my cheek? I burned it while I was in California and there is still a discoloured patch there,” she said, touching her cheek. “Comfrey,” I replied. “It is a wonderful herb for healing any wound.”
She dug out her phone and I spelled comfrey for her and recommended Rosemary Gladstar’s book, “Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide.” I explained about infusing herbs in oil in a sunny garden or window and how simple it is to make an ointment or a face cream.
We got to talking about endocrine-disrupting chemicals and how they are in all commercially-made scented products. Bali had just listened to a CBC radio program on the subject and she was horrified by the prevalence of harmful chemicals concealed in products that the Canadian Government allows to be sold to unsuspecting citizens.
The ceremony was just about to start and I thought our chat was over when Bali said to me, “Now, what do you do with your hair?” I told her I wash my hair with Ivory Soap, Dr. Bronner’s hippy soap or my favourite soap from The Ugly Carrot Food Company which is obtainable from the shop at Two Roads Farm here on Denman.
I explained that most soaps are really synthetic detergent bars, filled with nasty endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The same ugly, harmful and unnecessary chemicals are found in commercially-produced shampoos and conditioners. I told Bali that human hair is made up of scales and washing with real soap opens the scales up. Once you rinse the soap out it is necessary to rinse the hair with a pint of water containing about a quarter of a cup of vinegar.
I told her she could make scented vinegar by soaking herbs or citrus peels, from organically produced fruit, in the vinegar. You pour the vinegar and water mixture through your hair and it closes all the scales like a zipper. The last stage is to rinse the vinegar solution out with clean water. To make herbal vinegar for hair rinses, rosemary is an excellent herb for dark hair while chamomile and calendula bring out the highlights in fair hair. Now is a good time to be out harvesting both herbs.
A person’s hair really does look better after this treatment. I was saunaing with some friends from Vancouver and I washed my hair as described. One of my friends asked if I had enough vinegar for her to try it. I did, and the next morning, her hair looked spectacular, very shiny and volumized. All that and she was being less hard on the Living Earth than if she had washed her hair with polluting, synthetic-chemical shampoo.
We left town the next day by city bus and I ended up sitting next to a sculptor lady and her daughter who were off for a camping weekend. We got to talking and one of the young ladies on the bus had a terrible case of acne. I really felt for her in my heart. I was telling my companion that I make herbal products out of my garden for my family. I told her of my plan to pot up some Complexion-Clearing Cream and give it to people who needed it with a little card with the recipe.
My companion gestured wildly at her daughter and said, “She has acne. Do you have something that could help her?” She got out her phone and I recommended an ointment made from comfrey which can heal anything and yarrow which is a great astringent and has antiseptic properties. She wrote that down and the title of Rosemary Gladstar’s book.
We were just coming in to Horseshoe Bay by this time. She turned to me and said, “Now, what do you do with your hair?”