Beauty secrets right outside your door.
By Mary Berkery
When you look at present approaches to health, personal care and beauty rituals, you can see that we have moved far from what was practised in ancient times. The industrial revolution replaced healing herbs, balms and rituals with synthetically made equivalents, many of which may not do what they claim or even have side affects.
In Celtic Ireland, the Celts lived close to nature and realised the importance of staying connected to the daily and seasonal rhythms for physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. The Druids were the spiritual guardians of the Celts and made sure that each citizen was healthy. Exercise, the use of herbs and proper diet were all reflected in the many seasonal festivals of the Celts.
In late Spring and early Summer, the dandelion can be seen growing here in abundance. It is one of our most common wild plants and was used for medicine in early times. February 1st was celebrated as a festival to the White Goddess, and one of her symbols was the dandelion. It was used to treat fever and jaundice, as the root stimulates the liver. It can also improve our skin. When the liver is functioning properly, the skin is bright, vitality is high and creative actions come easily.
Burdock also was held in high esteem by the Celts. The Druid shaman may have used Burdock root to treat various skin conditions. It also helps to regulate the hormonal system due to its containing plant sterols. It also has powerful cholesterol-lowering properties.
Sweathouses are a well-known feature here too. They were in use among the Celtic tribes, and in general use here up to the 18th century. They were used as an ancient physical cleansing ritual, as a rite of passage and for purification and often herbs such as sage were placed on the hot stones as ritual aids.
Seaweed baths have also been practiced in Ireland for hundreds of years, long before the dawn of the weekend Spa retreat! A seaweed bath relaxes the muscles, detoxifies and increases circulation. The natural anti-ageing and anti-cellulite properties improve the suppleness and the elasticity of the skin. It can stimulate the renewal of damaged skin cells, cleanse, tone, smooth and deeply moisturise the skin. Pick some up the next time you’re at the beach for a swim or a stroll.
A less well known beauty treat from our island is Irish peat! It has amazing healing abilities. Peat contains up to 200 organic ingredients that help our skin’s natural beauty. Zinc, copper, iron and selenium are all found in the substance, but most remarkable of all is the medicinal plants it contains such as sundew, heath, crowberry, bog whortleberry and bog Roseberry.
Ógra’s skincare range uses 9000-year-old peat from the bogs of Ireland. Bill Kenny, founder of Ógra skincare, had his interest sparked by it when he burnt his arm as a child. “My mother actually put peat on my burn, she put a cloth over my hand and left it there. There were large blisters on my arms. After four days, she took it off and it was pink, the skin was perfect. I knew from then onwards that there was something special in the bog.”
So with better weather coming along and plenty of long evenings, why not pop outside to your garden to find, dig up or discover your next amazing beauty treatment.
Mary Berkery lives in the west of Ireland and works as a Life and Wellness Coach and an equine assisted Personal Development CoachH her background is in beauty and wellness education. firstname.lastname@example.org