Friday, June 10, 2011

On Chinese Wash

I've talked a bit before on Chinese Wash, but figured I'd do a little feature, having lately collected a few recipes.

Chinese Wash is an old washing product that's also believed to remove bad luck and restore good; part of the movement of spiritual merchants to promote the idea that physical cleanliness equates to spiritual cleanliness. Its scent is similar to that of Van Van and Hindu Grass formulas. Originally the product was sold in a bottle and a practitioner was told to add broomcorn straws to increase its powers, but nowadays many versions are made wit the broomcorn already mixed in.

The book Sticks Stones Roots and Bones, gives the following combination for a Chinese Wash recipe:

6 oz unscented liquid castile soap
3 oz Murphy's oil soap
6 oz distilled water
1/2 tsp citronella oil
1/2 tsp lemongrass oil
7 pieces broom corn straw
pinch of dried lemongrass
a 16 oz bottle in which to store the mix

Lucky Mojo gives this recipe on their site:

Start with whatever combination of essential oils of
Oriental Grasses you normally use for compounding Van Van
oil concentrate
(e.g. citronella grass, lemongrass, gingergrass, palmarosa
grass, khus khus grass, and vetivert grass, singly or
together). Cut a bunch of broomcorn straws (from a natural
broom, or from broomcorn plants, if you happen to grow them)
and place the straws in a bottle. Add a goodly squirt of Van
Van oil concentrate and a small lump of frankincense gum,
then top with your own (or any commercial) preparation of
liquid oil soap (e.g. Murphy's Oil Soap). Dilute Chinese
Wash in water before use, of course.

Additionally, Carolyn Morrow Long reports in her book Spiritual Merchants that the Lucky Mojo Chinese Wash uses a mixture of vetiver, palmarosa, citronella and lemongrass for its mixture of 'oriental grasses.'

My own proposed recipe, given in Conjure Cookbook based on my research, was:

Lemongrass oil
Citronella oil
Gingergrass oil
Frankincense oil
Broom straws
... in a base of liquid castile soap.

Additionally, there are some quick and easy Chinese Wash recipes out there. These include dumping a whole bottle of Van Van oil into any other soap base, or using Octagon soap dissolved in water -- of course, don't forget your broomstraws! (By the bye, one person has told me that you should use 13 broom straws in the bottle.)

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