Wellness Tips & Tricks

Granulated Honey: What Causes Honey To Crystallize?

by Celeste Apiaries, (hives located behind Simpson Spring, Easton, MA)

The honey bee collects pollen and nectar from many different plant sources. Nectar contains a high percentage of water which the bees evaporate in the process of making honey. Honey is composed of dextrose, levulose, water 92%, the other 8% , various sugars.... When honey contains high levels of dextrose, it will granulate more quickly.

The temperature of the honey will also effect crystallization. That can cause problems for winter storage if you are a beekeeper and plan to sell honey throughout the winter. If you have ever tried to bottle crystallized honey, you'd know, it's difficult.

After harvesting our honey it is put into our bottling tank which keeps the honey just warm enough to prevent crystallization. We never filter our honey, and the temperature is never any higher than it would be if it were in a bee hive on a summer day. This makes our job a little easier and keeps our customers happy and sweet throughout the winter months.

Celeste Apiaries Honey is available for purchase 6 days a week

at the Simpson Spring Marketplace.


Why should I use essential oils in a diffuser instead of room deodorizing sprays?

Those popular room deodorizing sprays work well at masking unwanted household odors. However, did you ever look at the ingredient list on the back of those cans? Why not try a simpler, more natural approach by using a diffuser and some essential oils?  Diffusing essential oils make your house smell great, and give you the added health benefits that come with using essential oils. All you have to do is add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to the water in your diffuser, and turn it on.  Here is a list of some popular essential oils along with their benefits:

  • Peppermint - helps increase energy and mental alertness.
  • Eucalyptus - helps combat respiratory diseases, and enhances concentration.
  • Lavender - helps relieve stress, and combat colds, flu, and migraines.
  • Tea Tree Oil - boosts immune system to help fight infection.
  • Rosemary - has antidepressant properties, also a mental stimulant ideal for enhanced memory, focus and overall brain performance.
  • Patchouli - helps to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, and curb addiction.

(If you are pregnant, take caution using essential oils, and always check to make sure it is safe to use while pregnant.)

What is the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils?

Many people confuse the terms "essential oil" and "fragrance oil" because of the frequent incorrect practice of using these terms interchangeably. However, essential oils and fragrance oils are different in a number of ways, mainly due to the way they are created.

Most pure essential oils are extracted from plants through steam distillation. Freshly picked plants are suspended over boiling water, and the steam pulls the oils out of the plant. Many essential oils, such as lavender and eucalyptus, are used for their therapeutic benefits as well as their pleasant aroma.

  • Fragrance oils are synthetic products and therefore do not possess the natural healing properties of essential oils.
  • Fragrance oils are essentially just a "pleasant aroma" created in a lab using various chemical combinations.
  • Fragrance oils may contain a certain percentage of essential oils, but they are not completely natural, like essential oils.

When making my Piper Dee Naturals products, I only use therapeutic-grade essential oils and never fragrance oils. You can find my products at the Simpson Spring Marketplace six days a week, or online at www.PiperDeeNaturals.com. 
Got a question? Email me at PiperDeeNaturals@gmail.com.

What is deal with Tea Tree Oil?

Tea Tree Oil is one of my favorite essential oils, but care must be taken when using it because of its potency and toxicity if ingested.  It has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that when diluted in a carrier oil make it great for treating various minor skin issues, as well as having some household uses.  Here are just a few things you do with Tea Tree Oil:

What are some uses for Tea Tree Oil?

  • Add a few drops to your laundry detergent when washing cloth diapers or especially stinky athletic clothes. It will kill the bacteria and make everything smell clean again!
  • Add a few drops to your child's shampoo.  Tea Tree Oil naturally repels lice!

  • Add a few drops to 1/4 cup olive oil and use it as a spot treatment for acne. It will kill bacteria trapped in the pores and help clear up those blemishes. 

  • Make a deodorizing spray with witch hazel, water, and Tea Tree Oil for use on hockey and football equipment. Any hockey/football parent knows how gross all of that gear can get. Keep it from smelling like a locker room with Tea Tree Oil!  You can add Eucalyptus and Peppermint as well for added benefits and a better scent.

The Magic of Hempseed Oil

Why does hempseed oil work so well at healing dry skin, especially eczema and psoriasis?

Hempseed oil has many amazing, and unique properties that make it the absolute best oil for healing even the worst dry skin. The fats, or lipids, found in hempseed oil are similar to those found in the skin.  It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It hydrates the skin and brings more oxygen to it, which makes it a good treatment for eczema and dry, itchy skin.

Also, because psoriasis is caused by a deficiency of omega-6 fatty acid, products made with hempseed oil are perfect moisturizers!  It can also bring down the redness and irritation of acne outbreaks, which is why I use it in my Facial Balm.

Over time, it can help eliminate acne by keeping the skin healthy and hydrated. It absorbs quickly and doesn't block the pores but will actually help the skin balance oil production.  Because hempseed oil is a natural product with no known side effects, it is ideal for treating skin irritations.  

I hope this gives you a little insight into why I use hempseed oil as a main ingredient in many of my products. You can find my "Piper Dee Naturals" line of all-natural body products at the Simpson Spring Market, or on Etsy at www.PiperDeeNaturals.com.


Banana Peels As Medicine

Bananas are a healthy snack. Firstly their convenience makes them very appealing as a snack-on-the-go. In addition they are nutrient-rich, containing Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, manganese and potassium as well as being high in fiber. They can help protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, blindness and diabetes, they combat depression, help digestion, they can reduce PMS, build your immune system.

Have you ever considered the many uses of the banana peel? The peel and pulp of ripe bananas have antifungal and antibiotic properties, which protect the plant against fungal and bacterial infections. Banana peels can also protect us through its medicinal properties. Some home remedies include the following:

Psoriasis - The inside of the peel should be rubbed on the affected area for a natural treatment. Initially the area will become red, however with persistent use, the difference caused to the skin will be noticeable.

Acne treatment - Rub the inside of the peel on the affected area. After regular use of the peel, the acne will no more be visible. It is best to rub the peel at night, before going to bed for better effect.

Poison Ivy - Rub the inside of the peel on the affected area. After some time you will see that the itching, redness and inflammation will disappear. In some cases, you will have to apply the peel again or tape the peel to the affected area(s).

Warts - Rub the inside of the peel on the wart every night for 7 to 10 days. Alternately you can try to tape the peel on the warts overnight. This plantar wart treatment may take about 15 days.

Beautiful supple skin - Rub the inside of the peel on your face before going to bed. Leave it on overnight and wash it the next morning with warm water. Allergies, skin irritation and skin bruises can also be treated with its use.

Mosquito bites - Tape the peel on the affected area and leave it overnight. The chemicals in the skin will help in getting rid of the itching sensation.

Wounds - Heal wounds faster with banana peel, especially knee injuries. Rub directly on affected area or tape the peel to the wound overnight, washing with warm water in the morning. Repeat daily.

Splinter removal - Tape on the affected area. The peel will help in dissolving the splinter or it will work the splinter out.

Silverware and leather polish - Avoid harsh chemicals and use banana peels instead. It is best to perform a patch test before you use it. Apply in a circular fashion then buff off with a soft cloth.

Whiten your teeth by polishing them with a banana peel...?

There are dangers associated with Cosmetic Teeth Whitening procedures so this seems like a perfect alternative. Some people claim that regularly rubbing the inside of the banana peel on their teeth helps in whitening the teeth. The peel should be rubbed on the teeth in a circular motion. Using a peel everyday, the effects of teeth whitening should be seen in about two weeks. Here are better instructions in how to do it. Give it a try.