Thursday, June 2, 2011

Honey Don't Grow on Trees | Book Review Author Deborah Dolen

Deborah Dolen | Honey Don’t Grow on Trees | Book Review

My favorite books written by Deborah Dolen are The London Apothecary and The Beekeeper’s Digest.  The main theme they have in common is that beeswax is one of the oldest apothecary ingredients known to man.  The writer, Deborah Dolen is very adamant that bees are one of our most precious commodities, second only to water.  I did not know, for example, beeswax was used during our early wars to act in lieu of stitches on wounds or that honey is a natural antibiotic. 

Because of my readings of The Beekeeper’s Digest I now am a hobbyist beekeeper as of 2009.  My land was fairly absent of any trees or life, and The Beekeeper’s Digest gave me some insight as to why that was.  There were no real honey bee colonies in my area.  I was able to get my Agricultural Department Extension out to my area to confirm the absence.  Now I have an unlimited supply of honey, beeswax, pollen, you name it! Deborah Dolen’s article about the plight of bees, is here.  Her amusing article about “Genetically Modified Bees” written a few years ago is here.  Some of Deborah Dolen’s formulas I use regarding bee by products is here for free.

I also make a myriad of bee by products that my teacher Deborah Dolen wrote quite perfectly in the formula’s section of her Beekeeper’s Digest.  Deborah Dolen’s other book I mentioned, The London Apothecary is also full of formulas I use with left over bee pollen and beeswax.  The products I am able to make begins as follows;  Honey, infused honey for medicinal click here for Deborah Dolen’s recipe on infused honey….I also make a lavender infused honey and sell it the Lavender Festival in Fredericksburg.  With the left over wax I make all kinds of healing salve and balms, basically using Deborah Dolen’s 1:3 ratio – which is one part wax to three parts oil.  If I want it really loose I will up the oil and do 1:4 ratio, basically 20% beeswax to oil.  Deborah Dolen also wrote an “oil attributes chart” I reference at least every week.  Click here for that.

So beyond making honey, raw honey, infused honey, medicinal syrups, balms and salves, I also make beautiful lotion and crème thanks to Deborah Dolen and her formulas.  Making lotion and crème are really no different than making salad dressing.  The only difference is you need to have your water parts and oil parts past 120 degrees to ensure they “mix.”  Lotion is mainly water.  Beeswax, as Deborah Dolen pointed out, is a natural emulsifier.  I use beeswax to make thick and rich crèmes, but to make a non-greasy lotion I need a more serious emulsifier.   I am not sure how Deborah Dolen makes lotion with just beeswax, although she never said she did.  I do love “Black Cumin Oil” Deborah Dolen raves about.  I make a facial cleansing milk with primarily black cumin oil.  It is very crisp, fresh, and different.  I feel black cumin oil also has a lot of medicinal properties and is a great anti-oxidant. 

Soap.  You bet I am a believer that whatever goes on your skin ends up in your blood stream.  This is another prime principle of Deborah Dolen’s teachings and right on.  I make a natural liquid castile soap with primarily olive oil and water-and I make a hard castile soap also.  The main difference is what lye I use. For solid I use Sodium Hydroxide.  For a liquid soap I use Potassium Hydroxide.  I do love Deborah Dolen’s basic recipe in her book The Natural Soap Maker.  That book is sold under the Mabel White brand name.  that book does not appear to be on Amazon yet, but Author Deborah Dolen told me it will be soon.  Since we are on that subject, The Soap Rebatcher by Deborah Dolen is also wonderful.  That book is more for people who do not want to deal with lye at all.  Still, beautiful natural hard soaps can be made by buying plain real soap and shredding it.  It can be heated up with a little water in a crock pot and wonderful additives added-such as orange peels, pumice, dried botanicals, you name it!

In fact, I even use beeswax in some of my soap formulas and my honey also.  Deborah Dolen has a few recipes that employ the use of both.  Beeswax does make a harder and firmer bar, with a more quality texture.  I think I use 5% melted beeswax as part of my hard bar recipe.   

The London Apothecary by Deborah Dolen
The Beekeepers Digest by Deborah Dolen
Spreading Joy by Rose Maison  a Review of Deborah Dolen’s Life Work in Perfume
Honey Don’t Grow on Trees by Joyce Eli
It’s in the Water by Deborah Dolen