Bushman’s Aftershave! A wild Aftershave for the bush people among us!
Hand harvested wild herbs, berries, lichen, fungi and organic spices infused in witch hazel and rum. Your sweetheart will definitely approve! After shaving simply spray a small amount into your hand and rub over face and neck. Can also be used as a cologne or deodorant. The wild ingredients in Bushman’s Aftershave are said to aid in healing nicks, prevent razor burn and contain natural astringent, anti-bacterial, healing properties. The wild Chaga fungi extract in this product is said to be rich in melanin and anti-oxidants. Scroll down for an adventure in making bushman’s Aftershave…..
Ingredients: Witch hazel, rum, wild sweetgale leaf and catkin (Myrica gale), wild chaga fungi (Inonotus obliquus), wild Labrador tea leaf (Ledum groenlandicum), wild juniper berry needle, berry and essential oil (Juniperus communis), wild tree lichen (usnea sp.), wild yellow cedar essential oil (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), wild yarrow flower, leaf and essential oil (Achillia millefolium), organic essential oil of clove, organic cinnamon bark, organic patchouli essential oil, and fairtrade organic vanilla beans.
What is Bushman’s Aftershave all about?
Lets walk you through the “manufacturing process”.
Strap on your boots and head out into the northern wilderness. Bring along your essential harvesting tools such as a small hatchet, a knife, small pruning shears as well as several containers for your collections. Don’t forget a water bottle, bear spray and a snack!
Starting your afternoons trek you enter a forest canopy comprised of pine, and white spruce, and green alder. As you walk along under the canopy you pluck small pieces of tree lichens hanging from over head branches and pop them in your container. This family of lichens “Usnea” were used to develop the first penicillin’s, and have documented medicinal use as far back as 1700 BC.
Heading down a hill you find wild juniper bushes growing under the pine trees. You stop, pull out your pruning shears and snip a handful of branches loaded with ripe blue berries. Popping them in your basket you continue down the hill to a black spruce bog about 200 meters away. At the center of the bog is a small pond bustling with an active beaver community.
After about ten minutes of walking you reach the bog/muskeg habitat surrounding the pond. Leaving the pine and white spruce habitat it switches to a dominant black spruce and willow canopy. At the edge of the pond in the spongy muskeg you spot wild sweet gale (Myrica gale) growing. Its late summer so the branches are fully leafed out and have developed catkins. Both of the leaves and the catkins of this plant are highly aromatic. You begin plucking the leaves and buds as you walk along the ponds shore, filling your harvesting container. The bog is hot and the mosquito’s are hungry. To keep them at bay you crush a handful of sweet gale leaves and rub them on your neck and wrists. Natural insect repellent!
Hopping a few meters back from the shoreline you find a healthy stand of wild Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum). You continue walking, plucking and tossing fresh leaves into your container, all the while enjoying the invigorating aroma of the wild goodies wafting up from your harvesting container.
SLAP! Suddenly you hear a loud noise as the resident beaver smacks the water with his flat tail. The beaver has spotted a human (you) foraging along his ponds edge and he wants to warn you that he is aware of your presence. No wonder hes upset! You are slowly working your way towards his beaver dam which is a giant mound of earth and sticks along the shoreline. Inside the dam if you are close enough you might hear the muffled chirping of his little ones snuggled in their safe home under the mud.
Looking past the swimming beaver to the other side of the pond you spot a stand of old growth birch trees. Beaver food/potential Chaga! As you still need Chaga fungi for your Busman’s Aftershave recipe you pick up the pace and keep trekking along. Finally reaching the edge of the birch stand you stop and admire the beavers handiwork. Large wood chips, and stumps are scattered along the forest floor surrounded by natural clearings and paths created by the industrious selective logger, Mr. Beaver.
In the clearings, large patches of fireweed, yarrow, wild raspberry, wild currants, and prickly rose are thriving in full bloom. Happy bumble bees buzzing around enjoying natures nectar. You make note of this for future harvesting excursions….But wait! You require yarrow for your Bushman’s Aftershave recipe. You gently slice a handful of yarrow plants near the base of the stem and plop them in your container. Yarrow act as a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and it stops bleeding. It also repels insects when rubbed on the skin and takes away the itch from their bites. (At Laughing Lichen we always carry a handful of dried Yarrow in our first aid kits.)
Scanning the birch colony you spot an elusive chaga about shoulder height on a healthy birch tree. Using the butt of your hatchet you gently knock the chaga conk. It pops easily off the tree. You are very careful not to damage the host tree and only take what you need. You check to make sure that you have left enough of the corky mycelium layer on the truck of the tree truck so the chaga will continue to grow. Taking a mental note of the trees location you stick it in your memory bank so that you might return and re-harvest more chaga 4-5 five years from the same tree. (Note: If Wild Chaga is harvested ethically from a living tree both the tree and the chaga will continue to grow naturally)
Now checking the contents of your harvesting container you confirm that you have all the required wild goodies for your recipe. Lichen, Labrador Tea, Sweet Gale leaf and catkin, Juniper berry & needle, yarrow, and wild chaga fungi. Not bad for an afternoon’s harvest! Swinging your backpack over your shoulder you head home looking forward to making a fresh batch of Bushman’s Aftershave. Happy Harvesting!
Based on a true story…..