Sunday, May 1, 2016

Elemi Essential Oil: The Things to Know

nwitimes report
The Philippines is the world's major producer of Elemi. From the resin of the Canarium luzonicum, Elemi essential oil is extracted, and this tree is abundant in the Philippines, particularly in the island of Luzon. For many years, it has been a popular ingredient in a lot of mainstream perfumes and has been regarded highly for its exotic scent and rarity.

Called as the "poor man's frankincense," the elemi shares characteristics similar to frankincense and myrrh. The scent of elemi essential oil is fresh, spicy and lemony, perfect as a middle note for perfumes. It is a natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Used by countless people to help soothe muscles, calm nerves and aid minor respiratory problems but perhaps the biggest claim to fame of elemi essential oil is its contribution to reduction of wrinkles and rejuvenation of skin.

From Sylvia T. Ramos blog
In a book published by the International Genetic Resources Institute written by Dr. Roberto Coronel, the Canarium luzonicum and its relatives are indigenous to the Philippines. Locally called "malapili" because of its Pili-like qualities, the Canarium luzonicum are of low value to farmers before the resin has been discovered to contain desirable properties for extraction of essential oils. This tree bears fruit like Pili, although inferior. Historically, the resin from C. luzonicum is being used as an ingredient in making plasters, oinments, paints, lacquers, varnishes and inks. Forest dwellers use the elemi resin as torches, rolling it in leaves and lighting it up to serve as their fragrant light for the night.

From PNA Legazpi Bureau
As disclosed by the local farmers of Sorsogon (a province in the Bicol region where a lot of Canarium grows), they only tap the "malapili" trees in the past because they're quite expendable and the extraction of resin eventually kills the tree. In a study published in a Philippine Journal of Science in 1945, among the reasons why the C. luzonicum became the source of elemi is because it gives out sufficient quantities for profitable collection. After collection of the resin from the trees, these are shipped out to Europe for the extraction of Elemi essential oil.

Fast-forward to present times, several innovative individuals began to maximize the commercial potentials of the Pili tree (Canarium ovatum). From just producing pili nuts, other products like pulp oil and essential oil has been extracted. Due to good attention of some agriculturists and plant scientists, farmers were able to devise a way to properly "tap" a Canarium tree for resin without killing it. With this advancement in farming technology, the more common pili tree (C. ovatum) became a good source of elemi and with further processing, become elemi essential oil.

This new development, the production of elemi essential oil may prospectively look good since the sources have more than doubled. The world market may soon be enjoying a bigger supply of the essential oil.

Below is the analysis of the chemical composition of Elemi essential oil. It was done using GC and GC MS analysis.

Components of Elemi Essential Oil
Gloria Manalo, Agustus West, Analysis and Composition of Manila Elemi, The Philippine Journal of Science, 1943
Author Unknown, Promising Fruits of the Philippines
Roberto E. Coronel, Pili Nut Canarium ovatum engl., International Plant Genetic Resources Institute

Friday, April 22, 2016

Think Before Ingesting Essential Oils

From EssentialOilUS site
A big part of Casa de Lorenzo Organic Products is essential oils. We see it as a great way to make our soaps alive, in fact, it gives amazing definition and distinction to our castile soaps. Another reason is the long list of benefits it gives to people, among of which are relaxation, lowering stress levels, antibacterial action, and bad odor removal. Essential oils also allows us to help local farming communities and patronize their produce. Maybe not just big...its huge for us.

So why are we writing this? We just want people to be aware. Ingesting essential oils is simply dangerous and we're gonna tell you why.

Image from Suzanner Banks site
High chance of using too much. Because of the highly concentrated nature of essential oils, its always easy to go overboard when ingesting. Keep in mind, to be able to extract essential oils, one would need a lot of plant material. About one to two kilos of plant material can produce only 1mL of EO more or less. Higher concentration of substances means difficulty in administrating small doses. Half drop of EO vs 1 drop is a huge difference.

Essential oil tolerance of the body. Drinking citrus fruits, especially the ones prepared at home contains some essential oils in minute amounts. Way less than 1 drop per serving, and its all the body is used to. Imagine ingesting 3 or 5 drops of any citrus essential oil. That is the same as eating the rind of around 1 kilo of citrus fruits. And you know that adverse effects happen when the body takes in anything excessive.

Some essential oils can cause irritation. If essential oils can cause irritation on the skin at pure strength, getting a drop or two in your throat or digestive system will ultimately lead to some sort of discomfort.

Action of essential oils is different when ingested vs used in aromatherapy. Our digestive system is a wonderful set of organs designed to break down organic components for the body to use. It utilizes self-produced chemicals and mechanical action to do so, and this changes the actual property of any substance drank or eaten. This means the essential oil components are either changed or broken down, and when this happens, the results aren't exactly predictable. Essential oils have a better chance of reaching the bloodstream via inhalation or absorption on the skin and getting its full benefits. Whereas when taken in, we're not sure anymore what gets absorbed in the digestive system.

Children and pets are put at risk. It happens all the time. Whatever parents use or consume, some give to their children and pets as well. Small amounts to adults may be tolerable, but for young people and animals, the tolerance may not be the same. It can lead to a long list of serious reactions.

Not all essential oils are made using food grade equipment. Because essential oils are mostly used on cosmetic and aesthetic purposes, the processing quality and the equipment used in extracting are not exactly food grade. Although bacterial and viral risks are eliminated because generally, all essential oils have a certain degree of antiseptic qualities, ingesting them may expose people to heavy metals and the likes.

Not all "essential oils" are pure. Sometimes, that bottle of essential oil you get may have been adulterated and mixed with cheaper aromatic chemicals resembling essential oil components. There's no fool-proof way for a consumer to know if what the labels say are true. Even if one has access to expensive analytical instruments like gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, the results can be so diverse, even the experts can have a hard time proving the purity of an essential oil.

If you are still persistent about wanting to ingest essential oils, why not try extracting it yourself. Its easy to do for citrus fruits, just press the rind and you can get essential oils there. But for other plant materials, its never easy. Even if you trust the essential oil brand you're buying, we still suggest using the nose or your skin to play on the safe side. Perhaps when there's more study or credible resources that can be used as basis for ingesting essential oils, that's probably the time eating or drinking EO can be seriously considered. Its your choice still, although know that being adventurous has its drawbacks and risks.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Loving Skin Naturally with Castile Soaps

Every bath using Casa de Lorenzo Castile Soaps brings you closer to nature, literally.

We take pride in using ingredients from nature to make the best possible natural clean for your skin. Our goal is to keep it simple and natural. Fundamentally, Casa de Lorenzo Castile Soaps contain only water, oils and essential oils. The oils undergo saponification, where they turn into soaps through the aid of alkali, water and heat. This is the traditional way of making soaps, as has been done centuries ago.

The natural ingredients of our soaps and our blending expertise ensures the perfect natural clean for your skin type without drying your skin. Our Moisturizing Castile Soap is very gentle and absolutely moisturizing, its perfect for babies and those with sensitive skin. The Cleansing Castile Soap strikes an amazing balance between cleaning and moisturizing your skin, perfect for everyday use. Our Dark Castile Soap is like the Cleansing variant, only this one has coffee scrubs and real coffee that cleans, energizes and tightens skin. The Manila Castile Soap is made to match the demands of Filipino skin experiencing the tropical heat, Philippine traffic and the effects of daily commute.

Our essential oils mixed with the soaps provide a pleasant experience to the senses as well as its added benefits to your skin and well-being. These are concentrated plant extracts that give distinct benefits other than just smell.

By using our soaps, not only will you be using a biodegradable and earth-friendly product. You are also letting nature care and pamper for your skin.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Season End Sale

We're welcoming 2016 and ending the holiday season with a huge sale! Its a chance for everyone to enjoy huge savings and while going natural at the same time. For those who haven't used Casa de Lorenzo products yet, now is the best time to try especially our soaps.

All purchases amounting or exceeding 2,016.00 pesos from January 4 to 8, 2016 automatically qualify, and the following discounts will be applied:

Castile Soaps : 50% OFF
Essential Oils: 30% OFF
Carrier Oils: 30% OFF

 For example, the order is 1 gallon unscented Moisturizing Castile Soap, 10mL Tea Tree Oil and 10mL Ginger Essential Oil, the original prices are as follows:

1 Gallon Unscented Moisturizing Castile Soap - 1,900.00 Php
10mL Tea Tree Oil - 365.00 Php
10mL Ginger Essential Oil - 455.00 Php
Total: 2,720.00 Php + Shipping

But since the total is above 2,016.00 Php, see again the price when the discount is applied:

1 Gallon Unscented Moisturizing Castile Soap - (50% Discount) 950.00 Php
10mL Tea Tree Oil - (30% Discount) 255.50 Php
10mL Ginger Essential Oil - (30% Discount) 318.00 Php
Total: 1,523.00 Php + Shipping

Just a few things to note, the DIY Castile Soap bundle is not  part of the promo. Shipping costs are not covered by the promo. For any additional questions, just contact us at  0939-919-2916 (Smart) / 0917-608-1219 (Globe) or email at

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Using the DiY Castile Soap Bundle

Customize and make your own natural soap with Casa de Lorenzo DiY Castile Soap bundle. Mix in anything you’d like to add and have it your way. You can add fruit extracts, green tea, beer, honey or even melted chocolate. Your imagination is the only limit to making your very own soap.

  1. Pour Casa de Lorenzo Liquid Castile Soap in a clean bowl (stainless, ceramic, or glass will do).
  2. Put your chosen additives and mix well. Limit your additives from 5-15% of total volume. Example: 90% Liquid Castile Soap and 10% brewed green tea.
  3. If you’re adding fruit juices or extracts you squeezed out yourself, make sure you strain it before mixing. If you’re adding tea, you may brew it first in reduced water before adding (ex: 4 tea bags in 1 cup of water). If you’re adding honey or beer, just mix it in. You may even choose to put tea leaves or herbs directly on to the soap and let it stay for 24-48 hours before straining out the leaves (but a week is better).
  4. Put a few drops of essential oils to scent your soap and mix really well. A mixer or wire whisk can help things go faster. Sometimes essential oils can thicken the soap when added, all you need to do is just add a little water and mix well until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Once done, put it in a dispenser and start enjoying your soap!
  6. Since what you’d be using are all organic ingredients (they can spoil over time) and we’re not recommending putting preservatives on soaps, make sure you make small batches at a time and use it up for one or two so your soap won’t go bad.
  7. Any questions? Email us at or give us a call: 0939-919-2916 (Smart) or 0917-608-1219 (Globe).

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pili and Passionfruit Seed Oil Soaps

Every year, we try to come up with something different. Something we haven't really done before and something really distinct. Its a tradition we've been doing for the past few years, even before we've started selling soaps. This year, we made bar soaps made of Pili Oil and Passionfruit Seed Oil, along with Coconut and Palm Oils.

We wanted something very local, but at the same time having an exotic appeal. So we decided its time to use the Passionfruit seed oil we've extracted some time ago and we got ourselves some Pili pulp oil. The result is a very expensive and very exotic bar soap that is cleansing and at the same time very moisturizing.

Since the price prohibits us from making a lot, and there's not much source of passionfruit seed oil locally, we've decided its going to our private holiday giveaway. Hopefully, in the near future we can start making soaps with rare oils like the one on the bars we've just made.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

We're so excited its the season for giving again! And as our way of giving back to everyone, we've prepared exciting perks and freebies all throughout the 12 days of Christmas. We're changing the giveaways daily from December 1-12 so keep checking our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our promo page to find out.

We like to keep it plain and simple. All you have to do finalize your order with us from 9am to 5pm and the bonus of the day will be yours! If orders are received after 4:30 pm, there's a chance it will be processed the next day, and the bonus of the day of processing will be applied.

Give us a call at 0917-6081219 (Globe) or 0939-9192916 (Smart) for any clarifications and for faster reply.

Happy holidays!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Growing Lavender in the Philippines Update 1

As promised here's our update regarding our Lavender Officinalis plant. 2 months after we've posted that we're trying to grow lavender, a lot of its leaves started to dry out. Here's a look of how she's doing:

A month ago, we noticed an increase of leaves turning brown, and this was around the time that Metro Manila was getting more rainfall so we carefully re-potted the plant to a clay pot. It helped a bit, but typhoon Lando came and the noticeable impact of too much water showed. More than 50% of the leaves suddenly began to grow limp and a few days later, they just went brown. We've also tried spraying the plant with foliar, in case the roots are not functioning anymore and it seemed to have helped. A major concern right now is that there has been sporadic rains which may aggravate the case further inspite of a potting medium with very good drainage.

To sum up, here's a few things we've surmised while we're taking care of the plant:
  1. Lavender is such a sensitive plant. Slight changes affect it a lot.
  2. Protect the roots from too much water. Rain doesn't seem to do the plant much good, especially if it soaks up the area where its roots are. Controlling the water is essential to the plant's survival. Watering every 2 days may work, and using less water is best practice in this case.
  3. Avoid moving the plant constantly. It seemed to hate being moved from one place to another because we're hiding it from the rain. Perhaps a cover during rains may work instead.
  4. Lavender likes the sun. It can survive with partial sun, but if there's a place where it can get full sun, the better. If the plant is just getting partial sun, take it easy on watering a bit further.
  5. Foliar spray may have help the plant if you want to give it a boost of nutrients.
Hopefully, our plant survives this bout and no one accidentally waters it out of schedule. Nevertheless, whatever the outcome of our plant will be, we're already working on preparing for our next batch of lavender plants. We've recently bought lavender seeds and made plans for a mini greenhouse so we can apply what we've learned better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

DIY Castile Soap Bundle

We're excited to share to everyone our DIY bundle! It comes with 1 Liter Liquid Castile Soap and (2) 10mL bottles of essential oils. Now you can create your own soaps with any ingredients you can possibly imagine and make something you can call your own.

The possibilities are quite endless. With 8 essential oils to choose from, you can make different mixes and enjoy a variety of scents for your soap. Add ingredients like fruit extracts, additional oils and scrubs to spice up the benefits of your own natural soap, just don't overdo it. Here's the list of soaps and essential oils you can choose from:

So start making your very own natural soap today, get in touch to get your DIY Castile Soap Bundle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Growing Lavender in the Philippines

We've heard from a lot of people about growing Lavender in the Philippines. They tell us a lot of stories about how they themselves or their friends tried making the plant survive here in the country, and ultimately giving up on it. Why try? Because Lavender is such an amazing plant. Aside from the fact that it is one of the most well-known and widely used flower in the world (it surpassed roses a long time ago because of price and availability), real Lavender is but a delight to the senses. And because we dream of being able to grow our own Lavender, we are also trying.

Any species of Lavender doesn't thrive naturally in the tropics, but they can, as proven by a handful few. Cultivating them here in the country, will definitely be an uphill climb because the odds are bigger than the chances. The plant doesn't like being soaked frequently, loves a cool climate, thrives well under a good amount of sun and a dozen other factors that nags everyone to drop the idea and find other things to grow. But we'd like to try swimming against the current.

To build our confidence, we bought ourselves a 4 or 6 month old seedling of English Lavender (Lavandula Officinalis) to check our green thumbs. That was 2 months ago. Here she is now:

People seem to have understood the needs of Lavender because where we bought the seedling, they potted the plant on a high drainage potting medium which the plant seemed to be enjoying. Seeing it grow and mature in the past 60 days has been kind of a roller coaster ride. There are times when the leaves would be uptight and proud, such a happy sight. There are times when its leaves will droop low, and we'd get concerned. But now, she's going good. Her major stem is turning woody, the leaves are proliferating and the shoots are continually appearing. Whenever we pluck the damaged or drying out leaves, crushing it on our fingers releases a delightful fragrance, assuring us its going to be alright.

So we decided to take it to the next level: growing Lavender from seeds. We tried the English Lavender Munstead variant, and out of the about 200 seeds we planted, about 15 sprouted. However, because of the unpredictable weather in the past weeks and a lot of other factors, it went down to 3 yesterday and as of checking a while ago, one more wilted out. So here's one of the survivors:

All of these are just very small trials, as we are dreaming of growing a lot of Lavender locally and getting extracts or essential oils. By the looks of it, seems like we have a long, long way to go in improving the survival success of the plant. If it won't thrive well in a more or less controlled environment, how will it fare on a more hostile environment out in a field? Indeed, it takes a lot of patience, but once flowers will bloom, it will definitely be a statement it was worth all the effort.