Materia Aromatica September 2010 Newsletter and Special Offers


Hello !


September already and time has come again for our next Newsletter.

This month features two products which, although completely different in nature, share similar properties.  Both are astringent and efficient at soothing cuts, bruises, insect bites, small abrasions. 

One is a natural crystal deodorant and the other a certified organic wich hazel floral water. 

Dont forget to browse our Special Offers (see bottom of this newsletter) and check the schedule of Aromatherapy courses currently available at ITHMA.



Crystal Alum or Potassium Alum

 We have been stocking these crystal deodorants for many years now and in many forms and shapes.  We have recently sourced a stone presented as a stick.  It is beautifully designed, elegant and as always efficient and easy to use.



Natural crystal deodorants are made of potassium alum which is a naturally occuring salt that has solidified to form solid rocks.  It appears as a white translucent crystaline stone with small veins.  It is extracted from the earth in large blocks and shaped into smaller manageable stones to be used on the body.



Potassium alum is soluble in water.  When the stone is wet or applied to wet skin, it leaves a thin layer of crystal deposits on the skin.  The molecular structure of potassium alum is such that it cannot be absorbed through the skin. The water evaporates but the mineral stays on the skin until it is next washed off with water.  The crystal does not prevent the body to sweat and does not impair or constrict the sweat glands. 

The body releases sweat in the form of water and salt.  The smell associated with this function does not come from the sweat itself but from the bacteria that live on the skin and eat the sweat.  The activity of the bacteria that rapidly grow when sweat is present, is the cause of the unpleasant odour that one normally attributes to sweat.

Potassium alum is an anti-mocrobial and anti-septic that will inhibits the growth of the bacteria and therefore the unpleasant odour that comes with it.  The body will carry on with its natural functions of eliminating toxins through sweat and regulating its own temperature without the disadvantage of a bad smell.  The crystal effectively prevents odour to develop and does not just mask it.

The crystal is odourless, non-sticky, non-staining and hypoallergenic. 

It also has vaso-constritive / astringent properties and can be used after shaving. It will effectiviely reduce bleeding in minor cuts and abrasions and soothe irritated skin after the removal of body hair.

A crystal stick lasts for over 1 year.



Simply put the stone under the cold tap (hot water will dissolve the stone more quickly) and rubb on the skin.  Aternatively, the stone can also by applied directly on wet skin.



There are two types of deodorant crystals that are currently found on the market:

A natural potassium alum crystal which is a naturally occuring crystal and a syntetic form which is entirely manufactured.  They can be easily distinguised by their appearance.

The natural crystal is translucent with veins and contains no alimimium hydroxide, aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate that are commonly used to made deodorants and anti-perspirants.

The synthetic crystal is made by mixing aluminium hydroxide with potassium and ammonium sulfate in acid.  The resulting powder is then pressed to make stones that are white and opaque and do not contain the veins that occur in a natural rock formation. 


Witch Hazel Floral Water

Hamamelis Virginiana


Witch Hazel is a deciduous shurb or small tree that grows to a height of about 5 m. The leaves are alternate with small teeth and a long pointed tip.  They are 10-15 cm long of a deep dark green with a shiny upperside. The flowers, the fruits and the buds all appear simultaneously in the autumn which is a rarity among trees.  The flowers are bright yellow and are formed of four thin elongated petals.

The plant originates from eastern North America. It is cultivated in Europe as an ornamental tree and for its medicinal properties.


'Witch' comes from an old English word 'wice' or 'wych' which means 'bendable' and applies to the flexibility of the branches.  These were commonly used by the Indians of North America to make bows and by the English to make divining rods.  Water finding was also called 'water witching'.  It is thought that the use of the term, may have influenced and altered the interpretation of the word 'witch' in the name given to this specific hazel tree.


It is not a floral water as such since the therapeutic compounds are extracted from the leaves and branches.

Witch hazel has been known and widely used to soothe inflamed skin and joints: sunburns, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, nappy rashes, after-shave, bed sores, sore and sprained muscles. There are various extracts produced through distillation, decoction or tincture. 

Decoctions and tinctures produce an extract rich in tannin, the distillation process releases no tannin but volatile compounds.  Both are recognised to have anti-inflammatory properties which are valuable to soothe injured skin and sprained muscles. 

Which hazel water is also astringent due to its natural alcohol content.  It has a numbing and soothing effect on inflammations and small unjuries whilst reducing and stoping bleeding.  It has an anti-microbial property and will contributes to reduce infection.

WICH HAZEL as a facial toner and in facial preparations

Wich hazel is more suited to oily skin, and can be used as a make-up remover and toner.  It is better avoided by thoses with red and inflammed skin due to dryness of the tissues. Avoid in case of eczema, rosaceae. 

Which hazel water mixed with biocarbonate of soda will make fizzy bath bombs !



Special Offers

ends on 31st October 2010

 20% off retail & trade prices on a selection of items

All products are certified organic by the Soil Association unless otherwise specified


Follow the links to access the Special Offers Section of the website

Essential oils



Clary Sage


Eucalyptus Smithii




Myrtle (Wild)


Rosemary cineole 1.8

Phytols or plant macerations

Carrot                 Calendula

Vegetable / Carrier oils

Avocado            Macadamia            Walnut

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter

and will enjoy your next visit to our website

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