Of SallyeAnder's five shampoo bar options, Pine Tar & Nettle is undoubtedly our most therapeutic bar. If you have a sensitive scalp that tends towards itchiness, irritation, and/or flakiness, or psoriasis or eczema patches on your scalp, this is the shampoo for you.
What is Pine Tar & Nettle, anyway?
Both are botanicals that herbalists have traditionally used for skin health. Each one has unique properties that, when combined, provide more full-spectrum scalp relief and health. Pine tar helps to relieve irritation, itchiness, and flakiness, and nettle is a highly nutritious plant that helps to nourish the scalp. Here's a breakdown of each.
Pine tar is the byproduct of pine wood distillation using extremely high temperatures. This process generates resins, acids, phenols, and essential oils. Modern distillation methods are much better than in the past and eliminate phenols and other toxic compounds to ensure purity.
Pine tar has a long history of use, especially as a preservative for wood and rigging. It was commonly produced and used in Scandinavian countries. In fact, Sweden, at some point, held the monopoly of pine tar production and export!
We don't know precisely how its medicinal use as a topical treatment for chronic skin conditions was initiated, but we have records of its use in ancient Greece for over 2000 years. Worldwide, the production and use of pine tar to treat eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, and other dry, itchy, flaky, or inflamed skin conditions has existed for over 100 years.
Pine tar's traditional use for relief of these skin conditions is elucidated by more recent studies demonstrating its main properties, which include:
- Antipruritic (anti-itch)
Pine tar in soap bar form is one of the most common ways it was applied. Today, people can find pine tar in lotion, gel, shampoo, oil, and liquid solution form. It is also commonly used for veterinary care.
SallyeAnder customers of Pine Tar and Nettle shampoo bar have shared with us that it works on eczema/psoriasis patches on other parts of their body as well, so feel free to experiment using it beyond your scalp. The cherry on top is that pine tar imparts a lovely unique, earthy/woodsy scent!
Nettles are one of the most revered plants by herbalists. They are multi-purpose, used both as nutritious food and in formulations for various types of health conditions. This is because all the plant's parts can be used–leaves, roots, and seeds–each with distinct properties.
Nettle leaves fall into the "nutritive herbs" category because of their high content of minerals and vitamins, including Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, boron, manganese, and silica. They are a rich calcium source, making them a perfect food and topical botanical to nourish skin, hair, and nails.
They are also known as "Stinging Nettles" because the leaves can sting to the touch when fresh. This stinging quality dissipates when the leaves are dried, which is how we use them in our Pine Tar & Nettle shampoo bar.
Dried leaves are also often used alone or in combination to make infusions. These can be drunk daily for an added boost of nutrients and for enhancing your hair's health and appearance (just like a multivitamin/multi-mineral daily supplement). They have a faint scent and an herbaceous, slightly bitter, but pleasant taste.
Here's a recipe for a nettle infusion that you could try in combination with regular use of Pine Tar and Nettle Shampoo bar to give your scalp some extra love. Let us know if you try it!
Yield: About 1 lb of dried tea blend
Dried nettles (Urtica dioica), 6 ounces
red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus), 5 ounces
Rose hips (Rosa canina), 3 ounces
Spearmint (Mentha spicata), 2 ounces
In a large container, mix all herbs well and store them in a cool, dry place.
To prepare: Use a 1 quart size glass mason jar:
- Add four tablespoons of Nourishment Blend.
- Pour boiling water up to about 1-2 inches below the top rim of the jar.
- Cover tightly to prevent the volatile compounds from escaping.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
You could also let it sit overnight, but the flavor will be much more concentrated. Strain and drink throughout the day. For best results, drink daily.
*Note: All of these herbs can be easily found online. We recommend using organic herbs when possible.