I spent today skipping like Little Red Ridinghood through my favorite office: the great outdoors! Yes, I brought a basket. I am so grateful to live in an old ranching area of Las Vegas. We are surrounded by some seriously WILD undeveloped land and the flowers are a'bloomin'.
The desert can often seem barren from the window of a zooming car. But once we step out and into awareness the desert blooms to life! Shrubs, roots, cactus, flowers, clay. Native Americans were especially in tune with the knowledge desert creation has to offer.
Here I share 5 plants I found within 1 mile of my house and their skin benefits:
I was extremely respectful and harvested a very small amount from abundant happy plant friends!
1. Orange Globe Mallow
Globe Mallow splashes the desert in vibrant color: orange, pink, purple, white, red and shades in between. Globe mallow has been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years! The dried plant can be steeped into a tea to treat a sore throat, stomach ache and diarrhea.
Topically, globe mallow is a cooling anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat swollen joints, snakebites, wounds, rashes, sunburns and dry itchy skin.
2. Desert Marigold
There are many varieties of marigold. The most common variety used in skincare is known as calendula. The desert marigold we have here is lighter in hue but shares many of the same properties.
Marigold was one of the earliest cultivated flowers and is believed to have originated in Egypt. During the Civil War and WWI it was used to treat wounds because it is astringent (stops bleeding) and antiseptic. Infuse the flowers in your favorite oil to reduce inflammation and tone the skin. Plus, the color will make your skin glow like sunshine!
Rosemary grows like CRAZY in Las Vegas. It is one of my favorite plants to harvest because it leaves my fingers smelling oh so delicious! Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all considered rosemary sacred. And admittedly so do we because it is packed with nutrients that benefit our skin, hair and nails.
It protects against free radicals and sun damage to keep your skin glowing and youthful! It can be massaged into sore muscles and joints to promote blood circulation and reduce inflammation. It also reduces acne. The pungent fragrance has shown to alleviate headaches, depression and stress. Rosemary can also stimulate hair growth and thicken your hair! About now is when we all bow down to rosemary.
4. Beavertail Cactus
BAM. My phone camera couldn't handle the color! I didn't harvest these beauties but rather left them to their business (which involves distracting drivers as I've seen multiple cars pulled over to inspect the pink situation).
We plan to use prickly pear seed oil a LOT. It is extremely high in omega 6 and 9, antioxidants as well as vitamins A, B, E and K. It is also high in minerals such as magnesium, iron, copper, potassium and phosphorous. It has shown to increase skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of dark spots, stimulate cell renewal, reduce signs of aging and more.
5. Creosote Bush
You'll smell it before you see it. The Creosote Bush has a very strong odor. Native Americans most commonly drank a tea from the plant, but they also used it topically. The bush is highly antimicrobial and was often used to treat cuts and infections.
Check out a wonderful in-depth article about the bush HERE.
In order to respect our WILD surroundings, we only harvested enough to dry and infuse the plants into a small batch of restoring hand salve for ourselves. We will test it and decide whether it's worthy of your gorgeous, hardworking hands!
What kind of plants grow in your area? Have you ever used them to infuse your favorite oil? Share your awesome blossoms!