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  • Crystal Mendoza

The Sonoran Experience: Healing From The Desert

Updated: 2 days ago

The desert might seem like a dry, dead place, but don’t let the scorching summer temps fool you. The Sonoran Desert is thriving with plants that have been used in holistic medicine for centuries.



The Sonoran Desert is home to plethora of plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world due to its mild winters and monsoon summers.


With more than 3,500 native plant species, the Sonoran Desert has the most abundant plant life north of the tropics. Some common types of plants in the Sonoran Desert include cholla, prickly pear cactus, mesquite, ironwood, and palo verde. In such desolate conditions, cacti fruits provide a reliable food source for local wildlife. In contrast, mesquite and palo verde trees provide essential shade for our feathered, furry, and scaly friends.


At Gaia Provides, we combined the healing benefits of cannabis and the beauty of the Sonoran Desert with the release of our CBD Bombs of The Desert collection. Each bath bomb captures a different essence of the Sonoran experience: Arizona Sunset, Monsoon, Desert Sage, Prickly Pear, and Honey Mesquite. This new collection features locally sourced ingredients and extracts like agave, creosote, sage, desert wildflowers, prickly pear fruit, desert honey, and mesquite.


In this article, we highlight the iconic features of the Sonoran Desert and explore the holistic benefits of the ingredients that inspired our new CBD Bombs of The Desert collection.



The Sonoran Desert's Unique Features


Diverse Animals


The Sonoran Desert is home to a variety of creatures. Some of the larger mammals found here include the javelina, coyote, Mexican wolf, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, and bobcat. The largest population of hummingbirds is found in the Sonoran Desert, along with 35% of all North American butterflies. More than 450 species of birds nest or migrate along the Sonoran rivers, and there are 96 reptiles not found anywhere else in the world. Many bird species are native to the area, including the greater roadrunner, Gila woodpecker, and the burrowing owl.



The Majestic Saguaro. Photo by: Gaia Provides

Saguaro Cactus


If you type the Sonoran Desert into Google, there is one commonality in all the photos: the iconic Saguaro Cactus. This cactus is emblematic of the Sonoran Desert and stands out amongst the desert landscape. This species of cactus is native to the Sonoran region — not found anywhere else in the world. Two essential elements of the local climate directly contribute to the Saguaro’s ability to survive and thrive in the region: climate and rainfall.




Mild Winters


Unsurprisingly, subtropical deserts get quite hot during summer days. Due to low humidity, the temperatures drop at night by more than 25 degrees. Summer nights are cool and winter months can be frigid, sometimes even icy. The Sonoran Desert is the only desert in North America that experiences mild winters. Frost rarely lasts longer than a day in this region. This is crucial for the Saguaro cactus because because it cannot survive in prolonged freezing temperatures.


Winter in the Desert! Photo by: Ed Enhelder

Monsoons


Due to a unique set of weather pattern formations, the Sonoran Desert experiences a Monsoon season every summer. The North American Monsoon typically affects Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Utah, and Colorado. This weather cycle provides a respite from the sweltering sun and quenches the thirst of plants and animals alike.


Start of Az. Monsoon Season. Photo by: Gaia Provides

And while most deserts receive sporadic rainfall during winter, the rain from the monsoons is the reason the Saguaro cactus flourishes. The Monsoon season is essential to the Saguaro’s survival.


The Saguaro flowers bloom just before the monsoon season arrives. If you sit patiently outside during sunset, you may catch a glimpse of the nocturnal pollinators who visit the flowers — the lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat. Once pollinated, the saguaro produces a bright red fruit with small black seeds.


Our Treasured Sonoran Ingredients


The richness and variety of life in the Sonoran Desert are awe-inspiring, but their unique characteristics also put them at risk. Species limited to small specific areas are prone to extinction because they can’t migrate elsewhere.


The CBD Bombs of the Desert collection is our way to educate and spread awareness about the unique biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert. Understanding the delicacy of our ecology will help us protect our local habitat for many years to come.


Prickly Pear Cactus


The Saguaro cactus usually gets all the glory, but there’s another famous cactus of the Sonoran region: the Prickly Pear. Unlike its statuesque cousin, the prickly pear is more resilient than the Saguaro cactus. It has been used for centuries by American Indians as a dye, food, cosmetics ingredient, mortar, and for alternative wellness.

Despite its spiky appearance, the prickly pear fruit contains lots of health benefits. Studies show that eating this fruit reduces blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes, helps control cholesterol, reduces obesity, and fights viral infections.


There are well-known skin application benefits as well. Prickly pear has potent anti-aging and moisturizing properties and can reduce dark spots that occur with aging or sun damage (all without clogging pores).


Pretty impressive for a cactus, right?


Our CBD Prickly Pear bomb combines the benefits of cannabinoids with the healing powers of the prickly pear fruit. Enjoy the scent of Agave Musk and Prickly Pear in this must-have addition.


Creosote bush, flower & bloom. Photo by: Gaia Provides

Creosote


Plants convert sunlight into energy by converting carbon dioxide and water into oxygen. But in arid conditions, the creosote bush is highly susceptible to losing water. The creosote bush has come up with a creative solution: its carbon dioxide intake is limited to the morning hours when temperatures are low and humidity is at its peak. During this time, the creosote bush takes advantage of the small window of opportunity by facing east and absorbing as much sunlight as possible.


But that’s not the only interesting fact about creosote!


The leaves of the plant secrete oils that release a combination of calming and pleasant scents like pine, citrus, and rosemary. After a monsoon storm occurs, there is a distinctive desert rain scent any desert dweller, summer vacationer, or monsoon observer will never forget. This distinct aroma comes from the creosote oils that diffuse into the air from the wind and heavy rain.


In addition to the uplifting smells, these oils are nourishing for your skin. Creosote oil is anti-inflammatory, astringent, heals wounds, and relaxes sore muscles. This is why we created our CBD Monsoon Bomb — bringing you relief and relaxation with the combined power of cannabis and creosote.


Sonoran Honey & The Mesquite Tree


The Tucson area alone has between 1,000-1,200 native bee species. The honey bees in particular help create some of the most exquisite mesquite honey!


Velvet Mesquite Tree, bloom and pods.

Mesquite trees have a variety of uses and benefits. The beans and pods can be consumed whole or ground into flour. The wood has a variety of applications and can be used to construct ships, craft bows, or smoke meats. The sap that oozes from the tree has medicinal properties, such as soothing sore throats or skin burns.


And of course, the concentrated pollination of these trees creates the distinct mesquite honey Gaia Provides utilizes in the Mesquite Honey bath bomb. Honey is a natural antimicrobial and moisturizer rich in nutrients and vitamins that keep your skin and hair silky smooth and offers acne-fighting and hydrating properties.


A Little Desert Love


There’s no place like the Sonoran Desert — the spiky plants and hummingbirds, the distinct smell of creosote after a monsoon storm, and endless good hair days from low humidity (those are a few of our favorite things).


We hope you have a newfound appreciation of the Sonoran Desert and all its wonders after reading this article.


Stay tuned for the launch of our new CBD Bombs of The Desert collection coming this summer!

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