Bliss out at home with our easy spa treatment recipes. Make your own massage oil, try our body treatments (Balinese Boreh, Javanese Lulur and Ginger Mint Body Glow) and pamper yourself with homemade jasmine water.
Exotic herbs, such as cinnamon basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’), ginger mint (Mentha ×gracilis) or Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac), are now easier to find thanks to online seed catalogs and specialty garden centers. These new imported plants have unusual scents such as ginger, chocolate and pineapple and also have colorful leaves and flowers. For cosmetic use, they are enjoyable to use and create popular tropical body treatments, such as Balinese Boreh or Javanese Lulur that cleanse not only your skin but also your spirit. By adding these plants to your recipes and treatments, you will feel like you have been on a mini-vacation without having to board a plane or get out your passport.
Avocado: This leathery green fruit is extremely moisturizing and rich. Use as a skin and hair conditioner. It is perfect as a facial mask for dry skin.
Banana: Rich in potassium and vitamin C, this fruit is a natural moisturizer. The mashed flesh makes a conditioning mask for dry, damaged hair.
Cherimoya: This creamy fruit is used in body scrubs and masks. Mix with ground nuts or cornmeal and massage all over your body for an exfoliating treatment.
Coffee: This popular drink soothes your skin. It can be mixed into lotions to help boost circulation and reduce cellulite because of its high caffeine content. It also works as a darkening hair rinse.
Papaya: This enzyme-rich tropical fruit has skin-softening properties. Massage fresh papaya into rough spots (such as heels, knees and elbows) to cleanse and condition them. Note: Fresh papaya is too strong for your face or sensitive areas and may redden your skin.
Sweet potato: This root vegetable, native to Central America, is moisturizing. Use in body scrubs with raw sugar and as a facial mask for all skin types.
To grow exotic herbs, try these sources for seeds and starts. Turn to Page 16 for more information on seed starting.
• Cinnamon basil seed packet by Park Seed Co., $1.75,
• Blue borage seed packet by The Thyme Garden Herb Company, $1.95, www.thymegarden.com
• Ginger mint starter by Sandy Mush Herb Nursery, $4.25, w ww.sandymushherbs.com
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