North woods soap was inspired by the ancient Japanese idea of the forest bath. Much like one would take a bath in water to cleanse their body, we can also go to the forest to cleanse our mind and spirit. Having just recently returned from the forest, I can say that while we were in its embrace, everything was just a little more calm.
North Woods, Indigo + Patchouli Moisturizing Body Soap
One of my favorite things about Madison is that a walk in the woods is never far. Whether it's a biking in Quarry Park behind Whole Foods, walking the trails of the arboretum, snowshoeing in Garner Park, or a nice jaunt in Glenwood children's park on the capitol city trail just off Odana Rd, there are so many places in Madison where you can feel like you are truly engulfed in forest.
North Woods soap is made with the same great base recipe using Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Palm Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Shea Butter and Avocado Oil. What's special about this soap is that it contains indigo, a natural colorant and herb from the leaf and stems of the Japanese indigo plant and other plants containing indigo.
Photo from Susan Dye
If you'd like to learn about how indigo is grown and processed in the United States, check out this video made by a farmer in Tennessee!
Traditionally, indigo was used by Japanese warriors for its antibacterial properties for protecting wounds. Listen to the full story here from "Great Big Story," my very favorite email subscription.
This is not the chemical indigo dye that is used in jeans. It takes almost a year to process indigo, and an incredible amount of time and skill. This video really highlights the historical significance of indigo and the indigo artisan's craft.
The scent of North Woods soap is a blend of patchouli and cedarwood essential oils. Patchouli is known for its deep, earthy, woodsy, mossy scent that was a favorite of the 70's hippies yesterday and today. It is steam distilled from dried leaves in Indonesia. Patchouli soothes and is widely used by those with acne and also to repel insects.
Patchouli essential oil is steam distilled from dried leaves
Cedarwood essential oil is steam distilled from the bark of the Himalayan Cedar Tree. It pairs well with the patchouli as it also has antiseptic qualities. It is known to balance and town the complexion as well as heal infections or skin eruptions. Both cedarwood and patchouli are uplifting scents with grounding and calming qualities. And hey, cedarwood is also considered an aphrodisiac!
Cedarwood Essential Oil is steam distilled from the bark of the Himalayan Cedar
Even with this incredible indigo color, North Woods will not stain your washcloth. See video below.
If you're intrigued and you'd like to try to dye something with indigo yourself, check out this oxo made kit to dye a turkish towel, by one x one thousand, a community for makers and creatives in Madison, WI.
The statements made in this post have not been evaluated by the FDA. This soap is not intended to heal any disease.