Katie's Letter -

YY So Sensitive Skincare Range

Yin Yang So Sensitive and Allergens in Essential Oils

The past few months have kept me very busy not only working on the Acne products which I mentioned in my April Newsletter but also on the Yin Yang So Sensitive range to be introduced later in the year. It has always been my view, due to their concentrations, that essential oils should be used as a very low percentage of the product- often well below the 2% upper dilution limit recommended by most aromatherapists.  The great thing about the Yin Yang Scientific Advisory Panel, is that we can access useful information. This includes the European Fragrance and Flavour Associations’ analysis of known allergens in essential oils. As 2% of the population are prone to allergies and there are at least some of the 16 known allergens in most of our well known e.o., we decided to create Yin Yang So Sensitive choosing from among the few oils which contain 0% allergens. These include Cedarwood, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Spikenard. Please do not think that you should not use your favourite essential oils, if they are not included in the list because they all have many useful and appropriate properties and if you have enjoyed using them in the past, please do continue to do so without concern. However, there is a need for the So Sensitive products, particularly in the present environment, where the use of chemicals is increasing and sensitivities are rising.

The Origins of Beechgrove Herb Garden

When I started my herb garden at Beechgrove Farmyard in 1998, I was inspired by  Pattie Barron’s book “Create a Mediterranean Garden”. She recommended adding gravel to the soil but as I had a typical Cotswold space, full of  rocks and free draining soil which needed a pickaxe to dig it in many places, I realised that I had An excellent place to start. She recommended buying the smallest plants possible and treating them meanly – as they would double in size in a month and go from there. She was absolutely right. It was September of 2000 when I started the serious planting into tons of gravel on top of a membrane, through which we planted many species of tiny Mediterranean herbs. The membrane, gravel and rock-like soil all keep the roots of the plants dry, which they appreciate due to their origins.  We concentrated on Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Curry, Fennel, Angelica and of course various types of Lavender. Many of these are as tall as me and this summer I find myself  pruning, transplanting, taking cuttings and giving away fledgling ash trees to my neighbour to create shade in her fields across the road.  

Plant of the Month - Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)

Tidying up has made me realise just how much everything has matured during the decade and I have particularly enjoyed the 4 lavender bushes which now completely surround my outdoor square glass pool. It has far exceeded my imaginings when I planted the four little plants 6 years ago. Today it is attended by a host of busy bees and various varieties of colourful butterflies. The antiseptic and disinfectant properties of the lavender were recognised by the early Romans and used in their bath water, strewn amongst linen, hung in rooms to deter flies and also used to treat snake bites. Modern research has shown that these attributes are well founded scientifically. The essential oil is recognised as a powerful antiseptic, which will kill many common bacteria. Externally it is recommended for burns, infected wounds, eczema and acne. We use just a little of the essential oil of Lavender in our pH-amino Gold Defence Lotion not only for its therapeutic properties but because it smells so good and fresh.