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Spirit of Anzac Soothing Gel

2015 is the year of the ANZAC as two nations remember and commemorate the landings at Gallipoli in April 2015. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp. ANZAC day is commemorated on the 24 April each year with a national holiday and a day of reflection and remembrance. For both our nations it has embodied our sense of nationhood as this time in history was when NZ especially was beginning to develop its own identify as a nation and not just as a British colony. Most kiwis and Aussies try and make a journey to ANZAC cove in the hauntingly beautiful Gallipoli peninsular in Turkey.
I had a very special opportunity this year to travel as part of a small contingent of 88 people to commemorate the work of the ANZAC nurses from August 2015, in harsh and trying conditions caring for the thousands of wounded ANZACS. We got to dress up in authentic recreated costumes as we learnt about how the nurses lived, worked, and in some cases died (10 NZ nurses perished when the Marquette Troop ship was torpedoed). These photos were taken on the island of Lemnos, a Greek island, just 4 hours sailing from Gallipoli where the wounded were initially treated before shipping back to Alexandria.

Enjoying a dip in the 38 degree heat after a morning of walking and filming.
Kiwi nurses and a young solider reflect on Lemnos at the entry to the Commonwealth cemetery at Portianos

Separately I recently travelled to Australia and presented at the Aromatica2015 conference about NZ produced essential oils and hydrosols. Compared to Australia our use of native plants in Aromatherapy is limited to two essential oils and Australia has over 15. While our species share some similarities we do not have the abundance of native flowering aromatics that Australia has. In addition we no longer harvest our hardwood native trees commercially as we are trying to regenerate our precious native forests which were decimated when there was colonial settlement. Even though NZ won the Rugby cup by beating Australia whilst I was at the conference, the spirit of ANZACS was still palpable in an aromatic sense.
In honour of this genuine affection our nations have for each other I have developed these two aromatic formulae to share with people. Both products are hydrosol bases gels and can be used as first aid products for itching, soothing the skin, for irritated or inflamed skin. You could also add some fixed carrier oils to increase the properties such as using as a muscle gel (e.g. arnica, tamanu, infused calendula). Please ensure you meet any legal requirements with regards making claims about the products.
I would love some feed back! 

Anzac Spirit Soothing Gel Blend #1 

(click on links to see the supplier) This blend is for people who can access the hydrosol easily (e.g NZ based customers)
kanuka hydrosol +/- to make total 100%
Fragonia (agonis fragrans) essential oil 1.5% 
Sandalwood oil (Santalum album) 0.5 %
rose myrtle oil (leptospermum petersonii chemotype) 1% (if you cannot source this then Rosalina oil is fine and can be obtained as above)
Manuka essential oil 0.5%

Anzac Spirit Soothing Gel Blend #2 (suits Aussie based people)
Fragonia harvest Image supplied by Paperbark Oils Ltd
Sandalwood hydrosol 20%
Fragonia hydrosol 10%
Rosalina Hydrosol 10%
Teatree hydrosol +/- to make 100%
Kanuka essential oil 1.5%
Manuka essential oil 1.5% 
Rose myrtle oil 1%

1. Check your hydrosols for any signs of contamination. you can also boil and filter them to ensure no contamination
2. Place hydrosols in a measuring jug and add your chosen preservative (I use geogard ultra at 1%)
3. Add xanthum gum at 1-1.5% as a gelling agent  by sprinkling on top of the hydrosols. Mix using a stick mixer or similar until it has thickened up. Pour through a strainer to ensure powder or clumps left. If you are using aloe vera powder add at this stage as well.
4. Finally add your essential oils and give one final light mix- don't over mix your gel as it can separate.
5. Package and label and ENJOY!
Aromatically, Wendy


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