Dry Skin Brushing

What is Dry Skin Brushing?

Dry skin brushing is an age-old method of cleansing the lymph system through the skin. It is an easy, effective way of cleansing the body both internally and externally. Not only does it create better health, but it also leaves you feeling relaxed, invigorated and looking great!

Effects of Dry Skin Brushing

Lymph relies on movement such as exercise to circulate through the body. Dry skin brushing creates a way for the lymph to flow freely through the body benefiting the immune, nervous, circulatory, digestive system and overall health and appearance of the skin. By stimulating the lymph system, which consists of a clear fluid called lymph, lymph vessels,skin brushing lymph nodes, tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus gland, toxins and wastes are more readily moved out of the body. Lymph nodes create cells that fight infection and aid in the filtration of the lymph fluid by moving bacteria out of the body. Incidentally, most of the body’s lymph system is close to the surface of the skin, which may be part of the reason dry skin brushing is so effective at stimulating this crucial body system.

Proper Method

Dry skin brushing is done on dry skin only. Use a natural, firm bristled, dry brush and always move toward the heart. Unlike blood, lymph does not circulate throughout the body in a continuous loop but rather only upward toward the neck. Brush toward the heart, working in sections with long, firm strokes. Avoid open sores, varskin brushing 2icose veins and the face. Be sure to cover both the back and front of the body, including the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. A long handled brush is convenient for hard to reach places. Skin brushing can take anywhere from five minutes to twenty minutes, depending on how slowly or quickly you brush. Many people find skin brushing to be an invigorating, yet relaxing technique that’s easy to incorporate into their daily routine.

Added Benefits

Skin brushing does wonders for your body internally, but also benefits the skin itself. It opens the pores, exfoliates, and improves the circulation of the skin, creating a healthy, firmer, glowing appearance. Skin brushing also helps distribute fat deposits under the skin’s surface, which can lead to an improved appearance of cellulite. Skin brushing is an excellent way to cleanse and support the body inside and out.


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Dandelion

Health Benefits of Dandelion

Many people think of the dandelion as an annoying weed they’d like to eradicate from their lawns. However, this hardy plant has some surprising health benefits that may have you rethinking your landscape.

Dandelion has diuretic, astringent, bitter and antispasmodic properties. It is high in minerals, electrolytes and Vitamin A and C. The root, stem, flower and leaves all contain various healing benefits.

The root of the plant primarily benefits the liver and gallbladder and has a diuretic effect on the body. It also promotes healthy circulation, cleanses and supports the blood, and acts as a general tonic and stimulant. Ground dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute.

The milky substance from the stem of the plant can be applied externally to warts and corns to aid quick removal. Some people add the stems to their salads as well.

The bright yellow flower is rich in antioxidants and can be used as an herbal tea, made into wine or eaten with a salad. The heads of the flower are beneficial for stomach cramps, menstrual cramps and headaches.

The leaves can be boiled or eaten raw. The younger leaves are not as bitter and are typically used in salads. They stimulate digestion, improve appetite and are beneficial for inflammation.


 Historical Uses of Dandeliondandelion

  • Diuretic
  • Menopausal relief
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Liver support
  • Kidney supportdandelion leaves
  • Stomach support
  • Boils
  • Blood cleanser
  • Supports skin health
  • Joint pain
  • Promotes bile production

The best time to harvest dandelions is in the spring while they are still small. Wild dandelions tend to have a sweeter flavor than ones that have been mowed or cut several times. Additionally, be aware of any potential chemicals they may have encountered while taking up residence in your yard.


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Chamomile

 

Healing Benefits of Chamomile

Chamomile is very similar in appearance to the daisy. Its white petals and yellow center grow on thin green stems that can reach heights of three feet tall. This popular herb is available in two varieties; Roman chamomile, also known as wild chamomile, and German chamomile. Both varieties have the same healing properties with German chamomile being the most widely used due its availability.

Well known for its ability to calm and sooth the nerves, chamomile also calms smooth muscle tissue, alleviates pain, benefits the digestive and circulatory systems and reduces stress and anxiety. Its high niacin content nourishes the nervous system, while the herb’s volatile oils, coumarins and flavonoids contribute to its other healing attributes. The volatile oils stimulate the liver and kidneys, enabling them to purge toxins. Additionally, the oils are also responsible for the antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile. When used as a cream or ointment chamomile soothes skin irritations and relieves sunburn.


Historical Uses of Chamomile

  • Insomniachamomile tea
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Nauseachamomile
  • Nerves
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pain
  • Calming effect
  • Skin irritations
  • Digestive aid
  • Inflammation

Chamomile is available in liquid, capsule, cream and tea. The petals and yellow center of the flower head are the medicinal parts of the plant. People with allergies to pollen or ragweed should avoid chamomile.


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Aloe

 

Healing Benefits of Aloe

Aloe is an easy to grow plant that is high in vitamin C, fiber and selenium. Its rich nutritional content has many healing properties both internally and externally.

aloe planeAloe’s anti fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties enhance the immune system creating both a balancing effect and a cleansing effect. Its mucilaginous properties coat and soothe both internally and externally, while its bitter properties stimulate the digestive system.

Aloe’s healing elements come from the pulp inside the leaves. Many people grow aloe at home and have it readily available for burns and topical use. Aloe is also available in liquid and capsule forms. Freeze dried capsules are convenient for travel and can be used topically as well. Simply re hydrate the capsule in water to return it to its gelatinous form.


 

Historical Topical Uses of Aloealoe

  • Soothes burns
  • Promotes healing of wounds
  • Promotes cell regeneration

 

 


 Historical Internal Uses of Aloe

  • Soothes stomach irritation
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Promotes healing
  • Enhances the immune system
  • Acts as a laxative

 

**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

Health Benefits of Bee Pollen, Propolis and Honey

What’s All The Buzz About?

pollen

Bees work diligently to provide pollen, propolis and honey. All three elements are rich in nutrients with their own healing properties that have been used since 350 BC.

Bee Pollen is touted as a super-food and it’s no wonder. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids and other beneficial elements the body needs to properly function. It contains a high amount of protein, has antimicrobial properties and antibacterial elements. Bees collect pollen from flowers and mix it with nectar and enzymes. This near perfect food has a wide array of health benefits.

Historical Uses of Bee Pollen

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Regulates intestinal health
  • Fights fatigue
  • Beneficial for allergies
  • Increases red blood cell and white blood cell count
  • Useful for weight loss
  • Beneficial for acne prone skin
  • Improves appearance of wrinkled skin
  • Rehydrates skin cells, creating a youthful appearance
  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that benefit lung tissue

Bee Propolis

Propolis is a natural resin bees make by combining beeswax and resin from poplar and conifer trees. It is a sticky material that is used by the bees to build and repair the hive. It is interesting to note that propolis can be found at the hive entrance. Its purpose? To remove any microorganisms on the bees that could infect or harm the hive population. Propolis also has antibacterial properties.

Historical Uses of Propolis

  • External wound healing
  • Burns
  • Mouth irritations
  • Mouth sores
  • Bacterial infections

Honey

Nectar is collected by bees and then broken down into simple
sugars. Enzymes are honeyadded and the watery substance is stored in the honeycombs. To help eliminate the
excess water, the bees continuously fan it with their wings until most of the water evaporates leaving behind a thick, sweet, nutrient rich substance we call honey. Not only is honey sweeter than sugar but it also contains vitamins B, C and minerals. Honey should never be given to children under two years of age due to the risk of botulism.

Historical Uses of Honey

  • Reduces throat irritation and cough
  • Soothes burns
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Beneficial for allergies

If you are using bee products for allergies, start taking them six weeks before allergy season begins and continue through the allergy season. When pollen or honey is introduced to the body, it slowly begins to build antibodies, similar to the way the body builds antibodies after being exposed to illness. The end result is more resilience, relief and even elimination of allergy conditions. It is important to note that a very small percentage of the population has allergies to bee products, so start with small doses to be certain you don’t have a reaction.


 

**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Alfalfa

Health Benefits of Alfalfa

Alfalfa has a long history with the earliest record dating back to 1300 BC in Turkey. It was brought to the United States by Spanish explorers, and the countries of Europe and South America, but didn’t gain popularity in the US until around 1849 during the California gold rush. It was and still is used primarily as a food source for livestock and horses, but is also popular for its health benefits amongst the human population. Alfalfa is grown coast to coast in the US and is the third largest crop.

alfalfaAlfalfa belongs to the legume family. This small perennial reaches heights anywhere from 1 to 2 ½ inches and produces purple flowers for a few months of the year, which are then replaced with tiny seeds that spread and propagate. It can survive in partial sun, but does best in full sun and tolerates a variety of soils. Its roots add nitrogen to the soil and help prevent erosion.

Perhaps best known for its deep root system, alfalfa has an overall high nutrient and mineral content. It is particularly high in vitamins A, C and riboflavin, and is an excellent source of fiber. It has bitter, diuretic, alterative, antifungal, antipyretic and stomachic properties and is also classified as a general tonic. It benefits the digestive, circulatory
and structural systems as well.


Historical Uses of Alfalfa 

  • Alkalizing effect on the body
  • Helps detoxify the blood
  • Beneficial for the bones, joints and skin
  • Promotes pituitary gland function
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Eases joint pain
  • Lowers high body temperatures
  • Helpful for anemia
  • Promotes digestion
  • High in the digestive enzyme betaine

alfalfa sprout

Alfalfa Sprouts are high in vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium. They are harvested before the plant reaches maturity and are frequently used in salads, pastas and even sandwiches for flavor enhancement and nutritional content. Be sure to wash the sprouts thoroughly under water for at least two minutes before using.

Alfalfa is available in capsules, tablets, liquid and plant forms.


 

**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

All About Gluten

 

Gluten: What Do You Know About It?
Information on gluten and gluten-free products have been circulating in the headlines for some time now. With labels, diets and recipes that tout gluten-free, some of us are questioning if gluten should be avoided. But what is gluten? Is it a necessary nutrient or is it actually harmful? Are some of us reaching for gluten-free products because we think they’re healthier or are we really just misinformed? With over four billion dollars in annual gluten-free sales, what is all the hype about?

So What is Gluten?
Gluten is the name given to the protein found in wheat. It causes bread to rise, adds firmness to pasta, gives food shape and acts as a binding agent in food. It is found in all forms of wheat, including bulgur, durum, spelt and semolina. It is also found in rye, barley glutenand triticale and used as a preservative and flavor enhancer in sauces, soups, salad dressings and even chocolate. White flour, oats, beer, cereal, fried foods, imitation fish, lunch meat and hot dogs can also contain gluten. The best way to know whether or not your consuming gluten is to read the ingredients and watch the labels.

Is A Gluten-Free Diet Right For You?
Avoiding gluten is a must for people with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it is estimated that 1 in 100 people are affected. The immune system attacks the villi that line the small intestine, eventually destroying them. Once the villi become damaged, nutrients cannot be properly absorbed which results in nutrient deficiencies.

Celiac disease is difficult to detect. Up to 83% of people go undiagnosed for years; some experiencing multiple symptoms while others experience no symptoms at all. In addition, symptoms vary greatly from person to person making it even more difficult to detect without testing. Some of the more common symptoms experienced by those with celiac disease include delayed growth, itchy skin, gas, bloating, diarrhea, discolored teeth, joint pain and fatigue. Celiac disease not only attacks and destroys the small intestine, but it can also lead to autoimmune disorders, bone density loss, infertility, cancer and neurological disorders.

How Do You Know if You Have Celiac Disease?
gluten free
The only way to know for sure if you have celiac disease is to be tested. Celiac testing involves blood work, followed up with an endoscopy and tissue samples. An endoscopy is a procedure that allows a small camera to see if the villi in the small intestine have been damaged. Tissue samples are analyzed by a lab and will further confirm the diagnosis. In order for the tests to be conclusive, gluten would need to be present in the diet. Avoiding gluten before a test can lead to inconclusive results.

Genetics plays a role in celiac disease as well. If someone in your family has celiac disease, you are more likely to be diagnosed and should be tested even if symptoms don’t exist. Celiac disease with no symptoms is referred to as asymptomatic celiac disease. This form of celiac disease allows the undamaged intestine to absorb enough nutrients to avoid symptoms. However, symptoms could develop as more of the intestine is destroyed. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, gluten should be avoided entirely.

What’s the Difference Between Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity?
Gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy and gluten intolerance are all terms used to describe adversity to gluten. It is estimated that more people experience gluten sensitivity than people who have celiac disease. Symptoms are similar to celiac disease symptoms, but can also include foggy thinking, headache, joint pain and numbness of the arms, fingers or legs. Symptoms typically show up after eating foods that contain gluten. Unlike celiac disease, the intestines are not damaged and symptoms are eliminated when a gluten-free diet is followed. How do you know if you have gluten sensitivity? Currently there is no medical test for gluten sensitivity. However, if testing rules out celiac disease and wheat allergies, and you’re still experiencing symptoms, the best way to know is with an elimination diet. An elimination diet involves eliminating all sources of gluten from your diet and analyzing your symptoms. If your symptoms go away and you feel better when gluten is avoided, chances are you have a gluten sensitivity.

The Healthy Side of Gluten
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, then yes, by all means avoid gluten. However, it’s really not necessary for the rest of us to ban gluten from our diets. An unnecessary gluten-free diet means added label watching and ingredient reading, additional research on gluten-free recipes and meal prep, and possible nutritional deficiencies that could be avoided.

Gluten contains protein, fiber, selenium, B vitamins and iron, plus it’s low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol. Because of its high protein content (wheat gluten flour contains 23 grams of protein per ¼ cup) many people use it as a protein substitute. Vegetarians use gluten as a meat substitute known as seitan. It can also be used as a protein source for people who avoid dairy. Fiber is necessary for healthy bowel movements, lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining a balance of healthy bacteria. Selenium regulates thyroid hormones, reduces the risk of blood clots, boosts the immune system, acts as an anti-inflammatory, improves the health of the scalp, skin and nails and creates antioxidants that fight aging. B vitamins nourish the nerves and nervous system, support the immune system, regulate digestion, metabolism and energy levels and support healthy functioning of the heart and muscles. Iron transports blood through the body, supports healthy cells, skin and nails and can reduce premature birth rates and low birth weight in babies. Additionally, a lack of iron can result in a reduced red blood cell count which can cause anemia and fatigue.

Gluten-Free Lifestyle
If gluten-free is your health avenue, there are a growing number of websites and resources that provide education, recipes and meal planning tips. Gluten-free products, nutritional support and health resources are a must for those with celiac disease or anyone going gluten-free.


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

How To Use Vinegar For Cleaning

Commercial household cleaning agents may get your house clean, but at what cost? Commercial cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful if inhaled, ingested (think of small children and pets) and even touched. Plus, they pollute indoor air quality and can even contribute to long-term health conditions when repeatedly exposed to over time. So, how do you clean your home safely and effectively? Vinegar!

 

vinegarVinegar contains acids that break down grime, bacteria, mold and fungus. Couple that with its ability to absorb and eliminate odors and you have a toxic-free, household cleaner! Many people shy away from vinegar due to its strong smell; however, once it’s dry the smell is gone. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and white distilled vinegar (WDV) have a multitude of surprising cleaning solutions. The primary difference between the vinegars is the color – ACV is made from apples and DWV is made from diluted, distilled alcohol. Many recipes are fine to swap ACV with DWV or vice-versa; but remember, ACV is made from the juice of apples so it may stain clothing or light colored woods.

Wall Washing
Hand prints, dirt, spills and smells have a way of leaving their mark and scents on your walls. To clean and deodorize, make a mixture of 50% ACV or WDV and 50% water and wipe your way to a fresh-smelling, clean wall!

Window Washing
Want a streak-free shine every time without the blue bottle? Add ACV or WDV and water to a spray bottle in a 50-50 solution and spray away!

Dusting
To clean the dust off your furniture mix ¼ cup of ACV or WDV and ¼ cup of olive oil into a spray bottle. For a lemony scent add ¼ cup of lemon juice. Shake well, apply to a clean cloth and wipe the dust away!

Floor Cleaner
1 cup ACV to 15 cups of warm water will clean laminate, linoleum and wood floors. If you have light colored floors, use WDV. Use ACV for darker woods. Avoid grout lines; it may erode them away.

Bathroom
Vinegar is a great all purpose cleaner for the bathroom. Use it in the toilet, on the mirrors, sink, counters, floors, tub, shower and the faucets. It eliminates rust, lime, soap scum, water spots and mildew.

Toilet: Flush first so the water level is low, then pour ½ cup into the bowl and allow it to sit while you clean the rest of the bathroom. Scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

For the rest of the bathroom use a spray bottle mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water. Spray surfaces and wipe down with a wet sponge or a cleaning cloth.

 Laundry Room
laundry Just like the rest of your appliances, the washing machine needs to be cleaned from time to time. Washing machines tend to harbor bacteria, mold and mildew in places that aren’t readily visible. The newer front loading machines, while more energy efficient, are known to become smelly if not properly cleaned.

To clean a front loader: Put the temperature setting on the hottest available, or use the cleaning setting if your machine has one, use the extra rinse cycle, fill the bleach dispenser with WDV and select the longest clean time available. Once it’s finished, open the door and wipe down the inside of the door and the rubber seal with a 50-50 vinegar water solution. Be sure to clean behind the rubber seal as well. Gently pull it back and wipe the space in between, then dry it with a dry cloth. Don’t forget to remove the fabric softener container and clean it too. When you’re finished leave the door open and let it dry completely.

To clean a top loader: Select the longest, largest, hottest setting available. Use 4 cups of WDV and allow the machine to fill and agitate for awhile. Then, open the lid and let it soak for an hour. While it’s soaking, wipe down the lid, bleach dispenser and the inside and outside of the softener dispenser from the agitator. Close the lid and let the cycle finish.

Now that your washing machine is clean, did you know you can also use WDV as a fabric softener replacement? WDV brightens and softens clothes while breaking down detergent residue. Plus it is great for families with skin sensitivities. Just add ½ cup to the softener dispenser and wash as you normally would.

Kitchen
kitTo clean your kitchen, mix a 50-50 ratio of vinegar and water into a spray bottle and let the cleaning begin! Spray the counters, sinks, appliances, trash receptacle and faucet, then wipe down with a clean cloth.

To clean, remove stains, deodorize and unclog the dishwasher, add ½ cup of vinegar to the empty dishwasher and run the cleaning cycle as you normally would. WDV can also be used as a substitute for rinse aid. Fill the rinse aid container with vinegar for spot-free dishes.

To clean and deodorize the microwave, mix ½ cup of WDV and ½ cup of water into a microwave proof bowl and heat until boiling. Carefully remove the bowl (it will be hot!), use your 50-50 vinegar and water spray solution and wipe down the inside of the microwave. The bowl of water deodorizes and the steam loosens any stuck-on food, making cleanup a breeze.

To clean and deodorize the garbage disposal, pour ½ cup of WDV and ½ cup of baking soda down the drain, wait 5-10 minutes, then flush with hot water while running the disposal.

Stainless steel can be polished, buffed and cleaned with either ACV or WDV. Wet a clean cloth with undiluted vinegar and wipe with the grain of the steel.

To degrease the hood of the stove, wet a clean sponge with undiluted vinegar and wipe clean. You can also clean the vent filters by removing and soaking them in a solution of 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water for 15 minutes. Wipe down with undiluted vinegar after the soak and put the vents back in place.

To get the best coffee flavor out of your coffee pot it needs to be cleaned to remove buildup. Add ¼ cup of WDV to the brew cycle and then follow up with a clean water brew to rinse.

Deodorizer
stinkyTo freshen the air in the kitchen, boil 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp ACV.

To eliminate strong odors like onion, garlic and fish from your hands, rinse with undiluted ACV.

Room deodorizer: place a bowl of ACV on the floor and let it sit overnight. This method also works well in vehicles, garages and teenage boys’ bedrooms. Don’t let your pets have access to the bowl.

Clothing: If you find odors still lurking after the wash cycle, try 1 Tbsp DWV in the rinse cycle to eliminate tough odors in clothes, towels and bedding.

To make a general purpose air freshener, mix 1 Tbsp WDV with 1 tsp baking soda and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, shake well and spray! Note: this mixture will foam – shake until the foaming stops, then spray away!

Next time you’re at the store and find yourself wandering down the cleaning isle – stop! Save your health and your dollars and grab a gallon of vinegar instead.


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Feed Your Hair!

Tips and Tricks for Naturally, Healthy Hair

hairYour hair takes a lot of abuse. Between the chemical treatments, heated styling tools, the countless sprays, gels and shampoos it’s a wonder that some of us have any hair at all! While your hair is somewhat resilient to the stress of your beauty routine, thinning, frizzy and lack luster hair are tell-tale signs that your hair could use a bit of pampering!

Believe it or not what we consume, and don’t consume, is reflected in the appearance of the hair. Just like the body, the hair also needs nutrients to thrive. Internally there are a few things you can do to bring out your hair’s natural beauty.

Omega 3
omegaOmega 3 combats dry, brittle hair and improves the health of the scalp. Its hydrating effect creates silky, shiny, smooth hair and a flake-free scalp. It improves circulation to the scalp, which is great for hair growth, strong roots and overall strengthening of the hair. Omega 3 is comprised of three main fatty acids: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Omega 3’s are not produced by the body, so we must either get them from food or from supplements. Flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon and shrimp are all rich sources of Omega 3. The diet of farmed fish will be different from wild fish, so be mindful of where your fish is coming from if you are relying on it as a source of Omega 3.

B Vitamins
b vitaminsB Vitamins are essential for healthy, shiny hair. They are dependent on each other for absorption and should be taken together to get optimal results. The B Vitamins that are beneficial for hair include: B2, B6, Biotin, Folate, Inositol and Paba. Each one benefits the hair in its own way, and deficiencies can result in hair loss, dandruff, premature graying of the hair, slow to grow hair, dull hair and overall unhealthy looking hair. Food sources of B Vitamins include egg yolks, beans, chicken, nuts, mushrooms, brewers yeast, avocado, strawberries, brown rice and raisins. If you choose to take a supplement, be sure it includes all eleven of the B Vitamins. Because they work as a team, it is not uncommon to be deficient in more than one B Vitamin.

Hair Masks
hair1There are a number of things you can do to improve the health of the hair externally too! If you’re in need of a quick fix or a little pampering with your gal pals, hair masks can be a quick, fun solution.

Here are some tips to remember before getting started:

  • To get the most out of a hair mask, apply once a week.

  • Use a food processor or a blender to avoid chunky ingredients that can be difficult to wash out.

  • Comb through your hair with a wide-tooth comb before wrapping it up in the shower cap.

  • Masks can be applied to wet or dry hair.

  • Dry hair masks need more time to absorb into the hair – 15 to 30 minutes is ideal

  • If you’re doing a dry mask, cover your hair with a hot towel then put on a shower cap for maximum absorption.

  • Wet hair masks can be left in for as little as three minutes. When the hair is wet the nutrients from the mask absorb quicker.

  • Extra attention should always be given to the tips of the hair, since they tend to be the driest.

  • Always shampoo and condition after a treatment to avoid build-up.

Banana Mask
bananaBananas contain many vitamins and minerals but are particularly high in potassium, Vitamins A and C. The high quantity of potassium adds thickness to thin hair without weighing it down, while Vitamin A promotes hair growth and Vitamin C prevents hair loss.

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
Optional – 1 TBSP olive oil (for light hair) or 1 TBSP almond oil (for chemically treated hair)

Directions:

  • Blend the banana until smooth, add in the optional olive or almond oil
  • Work into hair
  • Wrap into a shower cap
  • Allow it to sit for 15 to 30 minutes
  • Shampoo and condition

Avocado Mask
avocadoAvocados are high in fatty acids and Vitamins A, B and E. The oils from the avocado readily penetrate the hair shaft, making it an excellent moisturizer for dry, damaged or frizzy hair. Its ability to add and lock in moisture creates softness and shine.

Ingredients:
1 avocado

Directions:

  • Blend the avocado until smooth
  • Start at the tips of the hair and work up to the scalp
  • Wrap into a shower cap
  • Allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes
  • Shampoo and condition

Egg Mask
eggsEggs are high in protein and are great for an overall hair health upgrade. The nutrients in eggs brighten, strengthen and promote hair growth. They moisturize the scalp, preventing dandruff and dryness while glossing the hair and adding elasticity. If you want to get the most out of an egg mask, use the yolk and the whites.

Ingredients:
1 egg

Directions:

  • Mix the egg thoroughly and apply to hair
  • Wrap into a shower cap
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes
  • Rinse with cool water
  • Shampoo and condition

Dry Hair Coconut Mask
coconutCoconut oil actually protects your hair from the damaging effects of the sun. Its ability to penetrate the hair locks moisture and nutrients in and prevents breakage. Coconut oil is great for those wanting to accelerate the growth of their hair as well. The high lauric acid content of coconut oil is beneficial for those with dandruff or dry scalp. Coconut oil is not only a great hair mask, but can also be a substitute or
an add-in to your conditioning routine.

Ingredients:
½ TBSP coconut oil

Directions:

  • Rub the oil into your hands (it melts to the touch)
  • Start at the tip of your hair and work up to the scalp until the hair is saturated
  • Comb
  • Wrap hair into a hot towel
  • Cover with a shower cap to hold the heat in
  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes
  • Shampoo and condition

Read the Ingredients
If you read the ingredient list on a shampoo bottle you’ll find that most of them contain sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS. SLS is a foaming agent used in hygiene products, but many claim that it has a drying and damaging effect on hair. Look for SLS Free on the label.

Hot water has nearly the same effect on your hair as hot styling tools do. It actually dries and damages your hair. It’s best to avoid hot water when rinsing and if you can handle it, a final cold water rinse is one of the best things for your hair. Cold water closes the hair cuticle, locking in nutrients and giving it a smoother appearance.

DIY Shampoo and Conditioner
vinIf you’re looking to skip the labels and questionable ingredients, you can always make your own shampoo and conditioners. Don’t worry, you won’t need a science lab! In fact, you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen. All you need is baking soda and apple cider vinegar!

Shampoo: Measure 1 TBSP baking soda into a 1 pint container, add water and stir, massage into hair and rinse. If your hair is long, you may need to use 2 TBSP of baking soda for more coverage.

Conditioner: Measure 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar into the same container, add water and rinse. No need to let it sit like commercial conditioning products. Again, if you have longer hair use 2 TBSP instead of 1.

Baking soda gently cleans your hair and apple cider vinegar works similar to a cold water rinse by closing the cuticle. Apple cider vinegar also removes build-up, detangles and leaves hair soft and shiny.

So there you have it! Lots of healthy, chemical-free options for fantastic hair!


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 DIY Natural Insect Repellents

Take Back Your Outdoor Space!

patioAh, warm weather! I absolutely love spending time outside when it’s nice out. Whether it’s gardening, biking, grilling food or just soaking up the warm rays of the sun. There are so many wonderful things to do when the weather is warm. One of the not so nice things about warmer weather is the insects. We wouldn’t want to eliminate them entirely, but there are definitely measures we can take to keep them out of our space.

Even if you don’t have a backyard to call your own, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have an outdoor space. Maybe you have a balcony or a patio– or perhaps your outdoor space consists simply of your favorite nomadic lawn chair, always in tow and ready for the next adventure. Whatever your scenario, this tip is perfect for anyone who has limited outdoor space.

What you’ll need:

oils

sprayvinegarEssential oils – any of the following will work: Citronella, clove, cedar, catnip, cajeput,
lavender, mint, tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary or lemon grass. If you only have one or two oils that will work, but your spray will pack more of a punch if you can combine a variety of oils.

fabricStrips of fabric (thicker fabric will hold the oils longer and release the scent more evenly – whereas a thinner fabric will release the oils quickly). If you’re selecting the fabric method this is a great way to express your creativity! Some ideas for selection include a favorite sports team, beach theme, patriotic or anything that is a reflection of your interests.

  • Fill the spray bottle half-way with water
  • Add 10 to 30 drops of any of the listed essential oils
  • Fill the remainder of the bottle with any of the following: white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. They all work great but vinegar mixtures will have a stronger odor.
  • Shake well
  • Spray the fabric strips with the mixture
  • Tie the strips onto your chair or balcony, or hang above from an outdoor light, eaves or gutter

To keep the insects out of your home the recipe is the same. The only difference is the application. Instead of spraying strips of fabric, spray the outside foundation of your home liberally. It would also be helpful to spray doorways, window frames and any other area of the home they might be sneaking in. Since it is not a chemical spray, you may find that you have to spray more frequently.

Herbs
herbsIf essential oils aren’t in your home arsenal you can also use herbs. Mint, catnip, sage, thyme or lavender are all effective. Fill your spray bottle half-full of vinegar, add the herbs and fill the remainder with water. Shake well and let it sit overnight. Spray, spray, spray!

Spices spices
Mix cayenne pepper, garlic and cinnamon powder in equal amounts and apply liberally all around the foundation to keep insects out.

Plants
There are several live herbs and plants that can be planted in window boxes, planters, along foundations or in frequented outdoor spaces that will keep the bugs away. Of the large variety available, the ones listed here are more common and don’t require as much care.
catnipCatnip, a member of the mint family, is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than deet! Of course if you have cats or your neighbors do, you may want to do a hanging plant for this one. However, if there is a large area you don’t mind filling, catnip would work well there too. Many people suggest keeping it potted because of its spreading nature.


Basil
is an excellent herb to have on hand for cooking, but it basil
has an added bonus of repelling bugs. Apparently it has a pungent smell insects don’t like. Incidentally if you’re a gardener, this would be a great herb to plant next to your prized edibles.

lavenderLavender repels fleas and mosquitoes. Like catnip it propagates quickly so be mindful of where you plant it. Plus you can use the cut plant in the herbal spray you’ll be liberally dousing around your foundation! Many people bring cut lavender indoors as well for its fresh scent and decorative appeal. If there are any insects in your home they’ll steer clear during the drying process.

Thyme is a low-lying ground cover
thymethat repels all kinds of insects. It’s a fun plant to walk barefoot on! It’s tender on the tootsies, is very aromatic and the mosquitoes will steer clear
of your feet afterward. Plus, thyme is super resilient; step all over it and it bounces right back! Of course if you plan to do any cooking with thyme you may want to do a separate potted plant that is feet-free.

sageSage deters mosquitoes, beetles and bees. Grow it anywhere, use it in your foundation spray or bundle it and throw it on the lit grill or in the fire-pit to keep pests away.

Sprays and Lotions
If you’re looking for a spray or lotion that can be used topically, there are several great recipes available. When using essential oils for yourself or your family, select the higher grade oils. When using essential oils for outdoor and perimeter sprays the lower grade oils are acceptable. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

First, select a carrier oil. Anytime essential oils come into contact with the skin it’s best to use a carrier oil to dilute them. Options include: olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or jojoba oil. These are all great oils and have their own unique properties, but almond and jojoba oil are nice because they absorb quickly and don’t leave a greasy residue. Place 2 TBSP of the oil into a bottle or jar.

Next, select up to three of the following essential oils and add 20 to 25 drops total to the carrier oil. All of the oils are effective at repelling so use what you have on hand or adjust accordingly to get a scent that suits you. Oils to try: citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, cedarwood, cinnamon, rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender. Shake well and apply!

familySo get out there, do what comes naturally and leave the bugs and the chemical sprays out of the mix. Enjoy a happy, healthy, bug-free summer!

 

 

 


**The information on this website in not intended to prescribe products for specific health problems, but rather, to educate the general public concerning the historical uses of herbs as well as provide a reference tool for those who wish to use herbs to feed specific body systems.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.