I had high hopes for the beautiful avocado green colour that moringa-infused oil lends to soaps, but alas, it lasts for about 7-8 weeks only before it starts to fade. Nonetheless, I am still excited about moringa especially for my healing balm. I have given it to many people and they all find it effective in alleviating itch from insect bites and various allergies and skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. One even did a side by side test on her infant’s skin irritation. She claims that the healing balm worked faster and better than the cream prescribed by her paediatrician.
I bought a bag of powdered moringa from a fair last January. I couldn’t find the contact details of the supplier so I decided to make my own. The first time I tried to dry moringa leaves, I placed it in a net and hung it to dry. I forgot about it and the next time I looked at it, weeks later, all the leaves had turned yellow and brown, leaving me no choice but to throw them away. I did some research and learned that it should be air dried for 3 days only and toasted very briefly on a hot pan.
I had a lot of moringa last week and determined to get it right this time. I was not able to take photos of the leaves being hung to dry because less than 24 hours later, the small leaves started coming off. I finished drying the leaves – removed from the stems – on a tray. After 3 days, the leaves felt dry but it was only after toasting them briefly that they became “crunchy” and crumbled easily. I ground up the leaves using my small Krups coffee/spice grinder and sifted the powder twice. It’s still not as soft and fine as the one I bought from the fair. There is a also a marked difference in the colour. The photo above was taken one week after I made the moringa powder. It was a deep green then, but now it has darkened to a fatigue green.
In this post in which I had an avocado moringa soap scented with eucalyptus, Monica asked me if I was planning to use the actual leaves in some of my future soaps. That got me curious. All I had to do was grab some leaves from the trees across my house. I don’t know what type of eucalyptus trees they are, but for sure they are not eucalyptus deglupta, also known as rainbow eucalyptus for their attractive multi-coloured trunk and believed to be native to the Philippines. The ones across my house have a white trunk.
I air-dried the eucalyptus leaves for 5 days before cutting them up into small pieces and briefly toasting them in a wok like I did the moringa leaves. I love the way the house smelled of eucalyptus when I was grinding up the leaves, and I also love the vibrant green colour that reminds me of green apple.
I thought I had a lot, but all those leaves in the above photo yielded only 17 grams after sifting 3 times. Unlike moringa leaves that are soft, eucalyptus leaves are hard and fibrous. Most of it were too coarse and had to be discarded. I still have to plan how I’m going to use it in soap. I am sure the colour will fade away, like most plant-based colorants, so I will be using it as an exfoliant. For simple pleasure’s sake, I hope the colour will stay even just for a few short months.