Jojoba Oil for Acne; Does it Work?

Jojoba oil, extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub, is a common ingredient in acne treatments. But is it effective, and are there any risks?

Many people who struggle with acne vulgaris are interested in trying natural, over-the-counter products to reduce the severity of acne or to remove acne scars. Research is still ongoing into the effects of jojoba oil for this condition.

This article takes a deep look at the uses, risks, and benefits of using jojoba oil on the acne-prone skin, and whether jojoba oil can reduce acne scars.

What is jojoba oil and how does it work?

Jojoba oil acne treatment

Jojoba oil is derived from the jojoba shrub and can be used to treat acne, eczema, and dermatitis.

Jojoba oil is extracted from the seed of the Simmondsia chinenis shrub or jojoba shrub. Despite its name, jojoba oil is a waxy substance. It may appear clear or yellow and can have a slightly nutty smell.

The consistency of jojoba oil is thought to mimic the natural oils in human skin, called sebum. Sebum plays a key role in supporting overall skin health by maintaining moisture and protecting the skin from infection.

According to a 2018 review, jojoba oil may help the skin to absorb other substances better when used alongside them, including medications. This may make jojoba oil a useful addition to many cosmetics and moisturizers.

This research also suggests that jojoba is an anti-inflammatory and that the waxy texture of jojoba oil may improve the symptoms of a range of disorders, including:

  • dermatitis
  • eczema
  • acne

Jojoba oil may also have anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2013 review.

Is jojoba oil effective for acne?

Jojoba oil has been proven effective in treating acne and skin lesions, and may also play a role in wound healing.

study from 2012 tested the effects of clay face masks containing jojoba oil in 133 people with mild acne. After 6 weeks of treatment, they reported a 54 percent decrease in acne lesions, including papules, cysts, and comedones.

Another lab-based study on cells found that jojoba oil wax may be effective in treating wounds. As such, it may also help with the symptoms of open wounds left by acne.

How to use jojoba oil

A person can gently apply jojoba oil to the face with their fingers or a soft cotton pad.

Jojoba oil is suggested to benefit the skin without clogging the pores. It is used in a range of commercial products that have the following uses:

  • skin moisturizer
  • makeup remover
  • lip balm
  • hair conditioner
  • massage oil

A person can try using jojoba oil as a skin cleanser by placing a small amount onto the fingertips or a soft cotton pad and rubbing gently on their face.

Otherwise, it can be mixed with another oil, gel, cream, or a clay face mask before being applied to the skin.

A person can purchase jojoba oil from health shops or online stores.

Will jojoba oil cause breakouts?

While acne can be caused by a variety of factors, jojoba oil itself is non-comedogenic, which means that it should not clog the pores.

The effects of any oil may vary, however, depending on an individual’s skin type. A person should do a patch test on a small section of skin to test its effects before using it on acne lesions. If the skin reacts to the oil, the person should not use it.

Risks of using jojoba oil for acne

More research is required into the benefits and possible risks of jojoba oil.

As with other oils and products used for medication, jojoba oil may be toxic if swallowed. Always keep oils and other medications out of the reach of children.

If a person is pregnant or nursing, they should consult their doctor before using any new oils.

People should be aware that oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

 Aloe-Vera-Gel-for-Hair1

Other oils for improving acne

Aloe vera may also help to treat acne, as it has natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

While there are many oils on the market that can be used on acne-prone skin, their effects may vary. It is important to speak with a skin specialist to determine the best and most appropriate choice.

tea tree oil

Other oils that may help to fight acne include:

It is important to speak with a qualified skin specialist to determine how and when to use any oils on the skin as some may require dilution and other preparation before use.

 

Also,

Finding an oil to treat acne-prone skin and skin lesions can be challenging. It may require experimentation until the right topical oil is found. Jojoba oil has been proven to have positive effects on acne and acne-prone skin.

Results may vary from person to person. Other natural products such as tea tree oil and aloe vera gel are also available if jojoba oil is not effective.

A person may benefit from consulting a skin care professional with experience in natural oil use.

In Essence; Spring Aromas

There’s something special about spring. Spring makes things new, it revitalizes your surroundings. The sun warms the earth, seeds begin to sprout and flowers bloom. It awakens the senses from a dormant state that winter engulfs. It is like a new beginning. It’s like the definition of hope: the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best. It is as if starting anew.

Aromatherapy can help us harmonize ourselves with the movement of the incoming season. Let’s take a look at some regenerating essential oils that you can incorporate this Spring…

  1. Lavender Its name in Latin “lavare” means to wash or to clean. Lavender is harmonizing to the spirit and when inhaled, it can calm an agitated mind and lift the mood almost instantly. Reduces stress and overall tension while bringing luster and balance to the skin.
  2. Palmarosa also known as “Indian geranium oil” is such a delight! Its light, citrusy-grassy-rose aroma is warming to the body, relaxes tight muscles, lessens pain and reduces inflammation*. Its sweet perfume is healing, regenerating and uplifting to the mood.
  3. Bergamot “Sunshine in a bottle.” It allows us to “relax and let go” and gives a feeling of freshness, joy, and energy in cases of sadness and depression caused by fatigue and unreleased tensions and frustration.
  4. Geranium The oil of balance. Geranium balances overall and is a beautifying oil that can help us be more productive, reconnect with ourselves and “feel life” again. 
  5. Coriander It refreshing and spicy aroma is grounding and soothing. Diffuse in the air to give the room a little spruce.
  6. Lime Detoxifying and purifying, lime enhances circulation and is revitalizing. Its sharp aroma enhances energy and mental clarity.
  7. Scotch Pine The fresh aroma often reminds us of the hiking through the forest. It is purifying, warm and cleansing while helping keep us alert and mentally clear. Dilute with a carrier oil and massage to soothe sore muscles and joints after gardening or strenuous workouts.
  8. Roman Chamomile transition into spring with ease with this precious oil. It can help bring emotional stability in times of nervousness, restlessness, exhaustion, stress, tension, grief, and depression.
  9. Lemongrass Strengthening of the nervous system, anti-infectious, and eases muscular aches and pains, among many other things. It helps us concentrate when we need to think clearly and is uplifting and energizing.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Bergamot Oil

Bergamot “Sunshine in a Bottle” (Citrus bergamia)

Sunshine in a bottle”, as many Aromatherapists can relate when we refer to Bergamot. Just a drop or two can elevate the mood and bring smiles almost instantly. The oil of Bergamot we carry is extracted through cold pressing the peel of the Bergamot fruit and is grown in the Ivory Coast. It is named after the Italian city of Bergamo in Lombardy, where the oil was originally sold.

Bergamot Essential Oil is a balancing oil that can be used to lift the spirit in times of depression, melancholy, stress or tension; while also calming anxiety, nervousness, stress, and fear. It is considered in Aromatherapy as a relaxant and sedative.* As a matter of fact, it is one of the most studied essential oils for helping with anxiety and its effects can be enhanced with other essential oils.

It gives a feeling of freshness, joy, and energy in cases of sadness and depression caused by fatigue and unreleased tensions and frustrations.  Bergamot helps us to “relax and let go” especially when we have pent-up feelings. It reminds us that life is good for promoting optimism and lifting off our shoulders physical and emotional tension.
It also stimulates hormone secretion and thus helps maintain proper rates of metabolism.

Interesting facts: Bergamot is a hybrid of the bitter orange and lemon.  It was and still is a primary ingredient in one of the first ‘eau de cologne’ formulas, and continues to this day to be found in a number of ‘high end’ perfumes and colognes. Earl Grey Tea is lightly flavored with a hint of Bergamot.

Feeling stressed? Take the time to inhale the sweet, exotic citrus aroma of Bergamot. Here are more ways you can use it…

Bergamot Blends well with:
Lavender, Basil, Clary Sage, Cedarwood,  Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Peppermint, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Ho Wood and all citrus oils such as orange and tangerine.

Bergamot is found in the following Eternity Blends: HappinessAnxietyClear MindConfidence, and Stress Relief.

“Rays of Sunshine”- Make this synergy by adding the following in a 5ml Amber bottle:
2 tsp Bergamot
1 tsp  Sweet OrangeTangerineClementine or Blood Orange (your choice)
½ tsp Geranium

How to use this Synergy:

  • Add a few drops to your diffuser to brighten up the room.
  • Make a room spray: Add up to 80 drops of the synergy first to a 4oz aluminum bottle with atomizer. Add witch hazel. Mix. Then add purified water.
  • Make a massage oil to lift away stress and tension. Mix 10-12 drops + 1oz carrier oil in an amber glass bottle.
  • Add a drop or 2 to a tissue and inhale when in need of a quick “pick me up”.

 

** Caution: Citrus essential oils and the sun do not get along. Do not use photosensitizing essential oils prior to going into a sun tanning booth or the sun.

Earth Day; Non-Toxic Cleaners for Your Home

1. All-Purpose Disinfecting
Wild Oregano Oil can be added to water in a mister and sprayed around the house to remove bacteria, mold, and viruses in the air. Use a drop or two on a sponge or wet cloth for cleaning kitchen counters, sinks, stoves; and refrigerators in order to remove microbes. You may also use Oil of Oregano with soap to wash hands or skin after exposure to public bathrooms, classrooms, work environments, or airplanes.


2. Household Air Freshener
Orange gives the room a sweet and sunny scent. Peppermint makes the room smell fresh and crisp. Mix Spruce Essential Oil with Orange for a very effective bathroom deodorizer. You can use a ceramic aroma diffuser or nebulizer to diffuse the oils.

 

3. Natural Furniture Polish
Add 20 drops of lavender, pine needle, or Siberian fir to 3 parts of oil (walnut or olive oil works well) and 1 part vinegar (or lemon juice).

 

4. Furniture Cleaner 
In a spray bottle, place 10 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil, 15 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil, 1/2 Cup of Liquid Castile Soap and 3/4 Cups of water.

 

5. Floor Cleaner
Add 10 drops of Lemon Essential Oil, 4 drops of Oregano Essential Oil and 1/4 cup white vinegar to a bucket of water. Oregano oil has powerful antiseptic properties!

 

6. Window Cleaner
In a spray bottle mix 1 cup white vinegar, 10-15 drops of Lemon Essential Oil, and water.

 

7. Fly Repellent Window Cleaner
In the summertime, wipe down with a damp cloth impregnated with fly-repelling essential oils such as lavender or lemongrass. 2 fl .oz. (50 ml) water with 10 drops of lavender or lemongrass.


8. Insecticide and Repellent
Essential oils and oil blends such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, lemongrass, cypress, eucalyptus globulus, cinnamon, thyme, and basil effectively repel many types of insects, including mites, lice, and fleas. Peppermint placed on entryways prevents ants from entering. Bug Me Not Repellant Spray contains citronella, mint, rosemary, and thyme essential oils.


9. Moth Repellents
If you need moth repellents for your linens and woolens, avoid toxic commercial mothballs made of naphthalene. You can effectively repel moths and other insects by placing several drops of lavender, lemongrass, cedarwood, or rosemary on a cotton ball. Tie a piece of cloth around the cotton and hang it in your closets or place in your chest of drawers.

 

10. Laundry Freshener
Essential oils may be used to enhance the cleanliness and fragrance of your laundry. As unpleasant as it seems, dust mites live in your bedding, feeding on the dead skin cells you constantly shed. Recent research has shown that eucalyptus oil kills dust mites. To achieve effective dust mite control, add 25 drops of eucalyptus to each washing machine load or approximately 1/2 oz of eucalyptus to a bottle of liquid detergent. Instead of using toxic and irritating softening sheets in your dryer, place a washcloth dampened with 10 drops of lavender, lemon, bergamot, or another essential oil. While the oils will not reduce static cling, they will impart a distinctive fragrance to your clothes.

 

11. Saunas
For saunas, add several drops of Sauna Roma Pure Essential Oil Blend {blend of peppermint, eucalyptus and sage is a delight in the sauna or steam room}, in a spray bottle with water and then spray down the surfaces. Scented water can also be used to splash on hot sauna stones.


12. Peppermint Spray for Mice
Mice hate peppermint. Add 2 teaspoons of Peppermint Essential Oil to 1 cup of water and spray in areas where you think that mice might frequent.

Can Essential Oils Reduce Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins or spider veins can arise from aging, pregnancy, or sitting down for too long. They also tend to run in families. Along with medical treatments, a person may want to try home remedies for varicose veins, including essential oils.

Varicose veins are larger-than-normal veins that commonly appear in the legs. They are raised and often twisted veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored. Sometimes, these veins can ache, swell, or itch.

There are several studies to suggest that essential oils, such as grapevine, lavender, or yarrow, may be able to reduce or shrink the appearance of varicose or spider veins. However, more research is needed in this area.

In this article, we look at the best oils to use and the evidence behind them. We also look at the causes and prevention of varicose veins, and other methods for reducing varicose veins.

Causes of varicose veins

Varicose veins on the leg.Varicose veins are common in the legs because veins in the legs are under the greatest pressure when returning blood to the heart.

Veins are responsible for returning blood that does not have oxygen back toward the heart. There are tiny valves periodically throughout the veins to stop the blood from flowing backward.

However, if these valves weaken or are damaged, blood can flow backward and pool. The result can be varicose veins.

Varicose veins most commonly appear in the legs because the leg veins are under the greatest pressure to return blood to the heart.

Several risk factors increase the likelihood a person will have varicose veins. These include:

  • getting older, as the valves in veins start to weaken over time
  • genetic history of family members with varicose veins
  • pregnancy, as the growing uterus places extra pressure on a person’s veins
  • being overweight
  • sitting down for long time periods
  • sun exposure, which mainly causes varicose veins on the face

Although varicose veins are not usually a major cause for concern, they can be irritating and sometimes painful. Sometimes, a person may experience sores or skin ulcers related to poor blood flow in the legs.

Five best essential oils for varicose veins

Essential oils are derived from plants, including flowers, herbs, or trees. These oils are often used for alternative therapies. The dosages and instructions that come with them are not regulated, so a person should talk to a doctor before they use essential oils.

Some of the essential oils that have been studied in relation to varicose veins and their symptoms, such as leg swelling, include:

1. Lavender essential oil

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL IN BOTTLE WITH FLOWER TO TREAT varicose veins.Lavender is a popular essential oil that may help to manage the symptoms of varicose veins.

Smelling lavender has been shown to help reduce pain, according to the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Lavender is thought to affect brain chemicals, such as serotonin and GABA, which are associated with pain relief.

Applying lavender to the skin may reduce pain and the size of skin ulcers when massaged on the feet or other affected areas.

2. Horse chestnut essential oil

Horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) can be prepared as a topical gel, oral tincture, or tablet. It may be useful in reducing swelling, pain, and itchiness.

According to an article published in the journal Advances in Therapy, topical applications of HCSE helped to reduce varicose vein symptoms, including leg swelling, leg pain, itching, and heaviness.

While the method of action is not known exactly, HCSE is thought to keep the small sections of veins known as capillaries from breaking down.

3. Sea pine essential oil

Research has suggested that sea pine essential oil could reduce swelling, or edema, in a person’s legs.

Research from 2018 shows that sea pine bark essential oil, also known as maritime pine oil has anti-inflammatory action.

This study also found that sea pine bark oil was superior to horse chestnut extract for reducing edema related to chronic venous insufficiency that can cause varicose veins. However, this study only tested 40 people, so more research is needed.

4. Grapevine essential oil

Grapevine essential oil may reduce swelling in a person’s legs, including swelling related to varicose veins.

According to a study published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, taking red grapevine extract at dosages of 360 to 720 milligrams a day helped to reduce lower leg swelling related to weak blood flow through the veins, also called venous insufficiency, which is a common cause of varicose veins.

5. Yarrow essential oil

Essential oils extracted from the yarrow plant have been used traditionally for treating varicose veins. When a person applies yarrow to the skin above varicose veins, it may help to reduce their symptoms.

Other treatments

There are other treatments for varicose veins besides essential oils that people may wish to try.

Other treatments for varicose veins include:

  • Compression stockings. These are a common treatment for varicose veins as they improve blood circulation in the affected areas. People can buy them over the counter or online, and a doctor can prescribe stronger compression stockings when necessary.
  • Sclerotherapy. This treatment involves injecting chemicals into varicose veins that cause the veins to swell and seal shut. The veins may require several treatments to make sure they go away permanently.
  • Laser treatments. Laser treatments can help to treat varicose veins that are smaller than 3 millimeters in size.
  • Endovenous treatments. These methods are usually performed at a doctor’s office and involve inserting a small catheter into a vein and using heat to close off the affected vein. Because the varicose vein does not work well, to begin with, sealing it off does not usually cause significant side effects.
  • Surgical treatments. If varicose veins are very large and bothersome, a person may require surgery. This involves removing the veins in a procedure known as ligation and stripping.

Doctors are frequently inventing new treatments to treat varicose veins. However, varicose veins are normal, and if they are not causing a person significant symptoms and have no side effects, they usually do not require medical or invasive treatment.

Preventing varicose veins

Man walking dog outside on street.Exercising regularly and stretching the legs may help to prevent varicose veins.

Because genetics and hormones play a role in the development of varicose veins, it is not always possible to prevent them from forming. However, there are some steps a person can take to reduce their risk for varicose veins.

Possible steps for preventing varicose veins include:

  • Exercising regularly to improve circulation and promote the return of blood to the heart.
  • Dieting and exercising to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoiding crossing the legs if sitting for long periods, as this can reduce blood flow to the legs.
  • Taking frequent “walk breaks” to stimulate blood flow in the legs and throughout the body.
  • Wearing support stockings, which provide mild pressure to compress the legs and encourage blood flow to return.
  • Avoiding excessively tight clothing around the waist, groin, and upper legs, as this can restrict blood flowing back toward the heart.
  • Cutting back on salt, as excessive sodium can lead to swelling.

Risks of essential oils

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. However, these oils do fall under the “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS classification.

To be safe, essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil before use. Put 3 to 5 drops of the essential oil in 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil, coconut oil that has been warmed up, or olive oil and apply gently to the skin.

Essential oils do not often cause significant side effects, though they can be toxic when swallowed, leading to nausea and vomiting.

Applying essential oils to the skin may also cause allergic reactions or skin irritation in some people. A person should always do a patch test before they use the oil. This involves applying a small amount of essential oil to a small patch of skin and waiting overnight to test for swelling or allergic reactions.

Lastly, a person applying citrus oils may find that their skin becomes more sensitive to the sun.

Unless varicose veins cause medical problems for a person, they do not usually require invasive treatments.

If adding essential oils and leg massages do help a person experience reduced symptoms, then this can be of benefit.

A person should always talk to their doctor about using essential oils to treat varicose veins, and about other treatments if essential oils are not effective.

Water: The Foundation of a Healthy Body

The human body is a machine designed to run on water and minerals. The body is about 72% water and water is vitally important for every important bodily function. The bottom line is that without water, your body doesn’t work, and the quality of the water you consume can have a dramatic impact on your health.

A Crucial Element to Good Health

The human body has tremendous healing abilities and water is a major component. With proper nourishment and hydration, the body instinctively strives to be young and healthy, working to repair and rebuild bone, regenerate and replace tissue, and attack hostile organisms. In each of these miraculous processes, there is one common factor — water.

How Hydration Affects Your Brain and Mental Health

The brain consists of over 75% water and controls nearly every one of the body’s processes by sending and receiving electrical signals through the nervous system. Tiny messengers called “transporter proteins” travel at the speed of light to carry life-giving messages to every cell and organ. Like any communication network, the purity of the carrier affects the speed and clarity of the signal. If the fluid, mostly water, inside of nerves is laced with traces of chemicals or toxic metals, the result is a delayed and distorted signal. Many experts believe signal distortion is linked to nervous system disorders like ADD, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and mood imbalance. [2]

How Hydration Affects Energy Levels

Water consumption directly affects energy levels. Just a 5% drop in body fluids can cause a 30% reduction in energy; the problem is not uncommon. By some estimates, two-thirds of the population suffers from some degree of chronic hydration. Rather than drink more water, many people turn to stimulants like caffeine and sugar to artificially boost their energy, quickly leading to a downward spiral. Caffeine and sugar are diuretics and cause your body to lose water, resulting in a further loss of energy and a dependency on artificial energy.

Water for Detoxing

The body’s detoxification system is a major component of good health and relies heavily on adequate hydration. Filtering and flushing out toxins is very water intensive. It’s just another one of the reasons that staying hydrated has a tremendous impact on health.

How Much Water Do We Need?

We’ve all heard that eight glasses of water each day is an absolute minimum for the body to maintain basic functions. Every time you exhale, blink an eye or make a movement, water is used. Even the beating of your heart requires water. Keep in mind that eight glasses is the minimum and one half your body weight in ounces is a better measuring stick (for example, if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces of water per day).

How to Toxin-Free “Super Water”

A lot of public drinking water systems have contaminants you’re better off avoiding; drinking purified or distilled water is key. To add a boost to your water, or if you’re drinking distilled water and want to add back some of the minerals lost during the distillation process, try the following recipe.

  1. One gallon distilled or purified water, preferably stored or purchased in a glass container.
  2. Add two to three tablespoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar. If the taste is too strong, reduce to one tablespoon.
  3. Optional: Add the juice of one half organic lemon and 1-2 ounces organic aloe vera per gallon of water.

Mixing Your Own Herbal Blends

Use these herbal and essential oil blends for relief, from stress relief to physical headache relief. You can personalize any of these blends to your own preferences.

You can make your very own blends of essential oils for topical use or for roll-on bottles. This is one of the most efficient ways to take advantage of multiple oils that have similar uses. Simply add drops of the oils to a roll-on bottle or new essential oil bottle, then fill the remaining portion of the bottle with a carrier oil. I typically only use 1-ounce bottles to make blends, as they begin to lose their potency once blended with a carrier oil. Use up these blends within six months.

Headache Blend: Use this blend to help reduce stress and tension headaches.

• Peppermint
• Frankincense
• Lavender

Respiratory Blend: The perfect blend for allergy season, respiratory infections, and colds, or when you need open airways.

• Peppermint
• Eucalyptus (E. radiata)
• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
• Clove

Women’s Blend: This blend saves me every month. It’s perfect for hormonal balance, thyroid function, and overall monthly “time of the month” comfort.

• Clary Sage
• Bergamot
• Ylang Ylang
• Geranium
• Tangerine
• Cinnamon Bark

Digestive Blend: When you’ve eaten too much at Thanksgiving, or when your body needs extra digestive aid, this is the blend to rub on your tummy or ingest by capsule.

*Ginger
• Peppermint
• Fennel, Lavender

“I’ve Got Joy” Blend: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? I remember singing that joyful song when I was a kid, and now it gets to spill over into this joyful blend! Use this blend when you need emotional support or you’re just feeling down and tired.

• Lavender
• Tangerine
• Lemongrass
• Lemon Balm (Melissa)
• Ylang Ylang
• Hawaiian Sandalwood

Immune-Boosting Blend: This blend is best put on the bottoms of the feet in the evenings before going to bed. Use this blend to boost immunity and help your body fight colds and general sickness.

• Clove
• Cinnamon Bark
• Eucalyptus (E. radiata)
• Rosemary
• Oregano
• Tea Tree

Wound Healing Blend: This blend has taken the place of peroxide or rubbing alcohol in our house when it comes to cleaning out wounds. Use this blend to clean and heal wounds more quickly—for humans and animals!

• Tea Tree
• Oregano
• Lavender
• Helichrysum

Sleepytime Blend: When the little ones need some extra comfort and encouragement to fall asleep or when you just need to promote a sense of rest—use this. Just do it. Use topically or aromatically.

• Lavender
• Roman Chamomile
• Vetiver
• Cedarwood
• Ylang Ylang
• Marjoram

Purifying Blend: Toss this blend into soiled clothing in the wash. Diffuse it in the air during times of sickness. Whatever you do, this blend helps cleanse and purify.

• Lemon
• Lime
• Tea Tree
• Cilantro
• White Fir

Bug-Repelling Blend: I’m not sure where we would be without this blend. It saves our legs from mass attacks by mosquitoes in the summer months—the perfect bug-repelling blend! Put into a spray bottle with witch hazel or simply make a blend to use directly on the skin with a carrier oil.

• Ylang Ylang
• Cedarwood
• Citronella
• Lemongrass
• Eucalyptus
• Arborvitae
• Catnip

 

 

‘Beauty and the Bees’

That syrupy stuff is not just for sweetening your favorite herbal tea. Find out how ingredients made by bees can help boost your beauty routine.

An Apiary is a place where beehives are kept and can be as simple as a small hive box in a garden to hundreds of boxes on a commercial orchard. Humans have kept bees since ancient times – as far back as 9,000 years, possibly, with early cave paintings depicting honeycombs, bee swarms, and honey collection. Today, beekeeping has become a hobby for a growing number of rural and suburban residents. Of course, bees play a crucial role in agriculture, too; it’s hard to find a flower, tree, or food source that doesn’t require the help of the hardworking honeybee to pollinate it. Many of the foods we eat would just not be possible without bees. And, when it comes to all-natural skin and hair care, bee-based ingredients also offer a wealth of benefits.

Unrivaled Ingredients

Honey and beeswax are extremely unique. We have yet to create a synthetic version of these two ingredients that can compare to what honeybees naturally produce. Nothing quite matches the rich sweetness that honey provides, and beeswax lends an incomparable texture to everything from furniture polish and candles to waterproofing in winter boots.

In the realm of beauty, honey and beeswax promote healthy skin and hair, helping to keep it clean and protected. Made through a mixture of nectars, pollens, resins, and the bee’s own enzymes, honey is a powerful antimicrobial, inhibiting the growth of bacteria on the skin. It’s also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help slow down the signs of aging. As a humectant, it moisturizes and soothes the complexion.

Honeybees produce beeswax through secretion of their abdomen. Bees hang in strings, and as they produce this wax, they pass it through their legs and mouths to fashion the honeycomb. As the substance sets, it turns into the hardened opaque wax we are familiar with. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it helps protect the hive from infection.

In cosmetics, it has a long shelf life because it doesn’t become rancid. These actions make it a great addition to beauty products, and its texture creates a physical barrier that protects skin from the elements while still allowing pores to breathe. The cosmetic industry values it as an ingredient because it doesn’t become rancid and it has germ-killing properties. Like honey, it’s also a humectant, and its mild, pleasant aroma blends well with other ingredients. And all skin types, including those with sensitive skin, can enjoy it.

You can find plenty of cosmetic products on store shelves featuring these bee ingredients – or try your hand at making your own. Here are some recipes to get you started.

 

Honey Cleanser

Honey is often used in place of soap as a mild and gentle cleanser for skin and hair. Using local raw honey is best, but in this recipe, any pure honey will work.

1 Tbls pure honey

2 Tbls oatmeal or oat flour, finely ground

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl and spoon into a clean container. To use: Massage into damp skin and then rinse well. Yields: 1 ounce.

Anti-Aging Facial Mask

Reduce the signs of aging with this antioxidant-rich mask. The darker the color of your honey, the more antioxidants it contains, which means more benefit for your complexion.

1 Tbls raw honey

To use: Smooth the raw honey over a clean face and neck and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat skin dry. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer or natural oil. Yields: .5 ounces.

Egyptian Honey Mask

This recipe takes its inspiration from ancient Egyptian practices of soothing and cleansing the skin using natural clay and honey.

1 Tbls white kaolin clay

1 Tbls raw honey

1 Tbls pure or distilled water

Mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth paste. To use: Spread on your clean face and neck and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: .75 ounces.

Honeybee Bath

Honey’s especially soothing to dry skin when it’s used in the bath because it helps lock in all that moisture. If the idea of sitting in a tub full if honey sounds a bit sticky, don’t worry; this recipe will make your skin feel soft and silky without residue.

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup mild liquid soap such as castile

Mix together all the ingredients and pour into a clean container. To use: Gently shake to remix and pour 1/4 cup into the bath under running water. Bathe for 15 to 20 minutes. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a bit of aromatherapy. Yield: 16 ounces, enough for eight baths.

Beeswax Lip Balm

Most lip balms contain beeswax, and for good reason; it helps condition your lips and protects them from the elements. This recipe is for a basic lip balm; feel free to build on this recipe or experiment with different oils in place of the coconut.

1 tsp beeswax

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp cocoa butter

Place all of the ingredients in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Stir until well-mixed and pour into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Lavender Lip Balm

Lavender and bees make a perfect pair. Honeybees love to forage and feast on lavender’s pretty purple flowers, producing a delightfully fragrant lavender honey in turn. {It’s a real treat to taste if you can find it.} Lavender and honey are also well-suited for skin care, as they both soothe and provide natural antiseptic properties. This balm contains essential oil of lavender to help heal dry, chapped lips.

2 tsp almond oil

1 tsp beeswax

1/4 tsp raw honey

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender

Place the oil and beeswax in a heat-resistant container and gently heat on the stovetop or in the microwave until the wax begins to melt. Remove from heat and add the honey and essential oil of lavender; continue to stir until well-mixed. Pour the warm mixture into a small container or empty lip balm tube. Let cool completely until it becomes solid. To use: Spread on your lips. Yield: .5 ounce

Beeswax Hand Cream

Because of pure beeswax’s moisturizing effects and protective barrier, it serves as an ideal base in hand creams, especially for those hard-working hands that prefer to dig in the dirt.

1 cup light natural oil such as almond, olive, or light sesame

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

In a heat-resistant container, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the oils and wax begin to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are melted and well-mixed. Pour into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Massage a small amount into your skin. Yield: 8 ounces

Sunny Day Healing Salve

We do our best to apply sunscreen, but sunburns can still occur, and this healing salve can help soothe some of the discomforts. Natural beeswax, along with soothing aloe vera gel, helps calm and comfort your skin. This salve also works well for mitigating dry skin and treating insect bites.

1/4 cup grated beeswax

1/2 cup cocoa butter or shea butter

1/2 cup light sesame oil

1/2 cup aloe vera gel

5-6 drops essential oil of lavender

5-6 drops essential oil of peppermint

In a heat-resistant container or pan, combine all of the ingredients and heat gently until the mixture begins to melt. Remove from heat source and stir well until all ingredients are mixed. Spoon into a clean container and let cool completely. To use: Gently spread over your skin and allow it to soak in to cool the burn. Yield: 8 ounces

Honey Conditioning Hair Pack

Honey can do great things for dry or damaged hair. It helps restore color, moisture, body, and shine. It may also lighten your hair slightly if used over time so dark-haired individuals may want to do a patch test first or skip this treatment.

1/2 cup raw honey

After shampooing, massage the honey into your hair and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. You may want to cover your hair with a plastic shower cap or cotton towel. Rinse well with warm water and condition your hair as normal. Yield: 4 ounces

Raw Honey

As opposed to the honey you find in the store, raw honey hasn’t been pasteurized, heated, or processed. If you get raw honey directly from the source – the beehive – you know exactly what combination of flowers has gone into it.

Raw honey provides many benefits, including antibacterial properties comparable to pharmaceutical antibiotics when applied topically to wounds and red or swollen areas. It’s also effective in treating conjunctivitis, and in some cases, using small amounts of raw honey helps relieve seasonal allergies by exposing the body to small amounts of pollen {processing honey removes pollen}. Of course, the dangers of consuming unpasteurized food products include food poisoning and botulism {especially in infants; never give children under the age of one honey, raw or processed}.

Honey bee hovering near blue-eyed grass flower

Saving The Bees

You don’t have to become a beekeeper to support or “save the bees.” You can enjoy bee-based products and support your local growers and bee enthusiasts by purchasing from local growers and keepers. You can also plant some bee-friendly herbs and flowers in your yard – honeybees can fly almost five miles from their hives, and will happily find your plants. In return, they will help pollinate your garden. Some easy, bee-friendly plants include lavender, sage, mint, oregano, calendula, rosemary, and blackberry. For more local favorites, check with your favorite nursery, as many growers now feature plants that promote pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies.

Apitherapy Ingredients

“Apitherapy” is the term used for treatments that involve honey and bee-based ingredients. Honeybees may be nature’s best cosmetologist. Here are some of their amazing products.

Beeswax: This is the wax secreted from the underside of bees, which they use to make the walls of the honeycomb. No synthetic product has been developed that has all of beeswax properties. In beauty products, it forms a protective barrier on the skin that helps protect against environmental irritants and locks in moisture. You can find beeswax where beekeeping equipment is sold and at many natural food stores and markets.

Propolis: This substance is considered the “bee-glue” with which bees use to seal up their hives. It’s a sticky dark-colored mixture of beeswax and bee saliva. You’ll find it in some cosmetic products as an antioxidant ingredient and also in cough medicine. It’s used in herbal salves and balms. Obtain it through your local beekeeper or find it on sale at some beekeeping supply stores.

Bee Pollen: This is pollen collected by worker bees and used in the hive to feed young bees. It contains a number of vitamins and minerals. Cosmetic companies are increasingly adding it to products, especially ones focused on anti-aging to help promote new cell growth. There are mixed opinions about using bee pollen, the main concern being potential allergic reactions. Please check with your physician if you have any concerns about using bee pollen on your skin, especially if you are allergic to bees.

 

 

 

Benefits of Carrot Seed Oil

IN ESSENCE…

    • Carrot Seed Essential Oil is steam distilled from the dried seeds of the Daucus carota botanical.
    • This oil should not be confused with Carrot Carrier Oil or Carrot Seed Carrier Oil.
    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Carrot Seed Oil stimulates circulation as well as brain and nerve functions. Its warm, earthy, woody and herbaceous scent have a soothing, refreshing, and grounding effect that is known to diminish feelings of fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and stress.
    • Used cosmetically, Carrot Seed Oil repairs skin damage, tones muscles, and tissue, and tightens skin to prevent it from sagging. By removing bodily toxins, it boosts immunity, reduces muscle and joint inflammation, and addresses fluid retention.
  • Used medicinally, Carrot Seed Essential Oil lowers blood pressure, facilitates the healing of infected skin and wounds, soothes sore throats and hiccups, and alleviates ailments caused by viruses.

HISTORY OF CARROT SEED OIL

Carrot Seed Essential Oil is derived from the dried seeds of the Daucus carota botanical, more commonly known as the Wild Carrot or “Queen Anne’s Lace,” as it is referred to in Europe. Carrot Seed Essential Oil is commonly mistaken for both Carrot Seed Carrier Oil and Carrot Carrier Oil. The former carrier oil is obtained by infusing a vegetable oil with cold-pressed Wild Carrot seeds, while the latter is the result of infusing a vegetable oil with macerated Wild Carrot or Carrot root then straining it. Thus, both are infused oils, though one is infused with the seeds and the other with the root. The essential oil, however, is commonly steam distilled from the seeds.

The use of Carrot Seed Oil originated in the time of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, French, and Indians, who used it to soothe inflammation and ease indigestion. In some of these geographic regions, it was combined with the essential oils of Bergamot and Lemon to address the same ailments.

Carrot Seed Oil has found uses in traditional Chinese medicine, which applies it as a bath or massage oil to address muscle pain or as an effective treatment for intestinal ailments such as dysentery and worms. It is also traditionally used in the manufacturing of perfumes to contribute its woody nuance to scents that are “Oriental” and “aldehydic.” When used in other cosmetics, it is a traditional and popular moisturizing agent for all-purpose body lotions.

CARROT SEED OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Carrot Seed Essential Oil are Carotol, Daucene, beta-Bisabolene, and Daucol.

Used in aromatherapy applications, Carrot Seed Oil is known to have stimulant properties that enhance circulation as well as brain and nerve functions. It boosts energy levels and promotes alertness. By stimulating the release of digestive fluids and enzymes, hormones, and the muscular contractions of the intestines, it maintains the efficient movement of the digestive system and the metabolism.

When diffused, the warm, earthy, woody, and herbaceous yet mildly-sweet scent of Carrot Seed Oil has a soothing, refreshing, and grounding effect that is known to diminish feelings of fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and stress. It is known to boost the operation and efficacy of the digestive system as well as the respiratory system by strengthening mucous membranes to protect the body against parasites and viruses. When Carrot Seed Essential Oil is combined with any of the following oils, it is known to contribute to a blend that is aromatically appealing: Avocado Carrier Oil, and Bergamot, Cardamom, Cedarwood, Geranium, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Sandalwood essential oils.

As a tonic, Carrot Seed Oil is known to tone muscles, tissue, the stomach, and the skin to enhance their strength and function, maintain the movement of digestive fluids, and prevent skin from sagging, respectively. By removing bodily toxins such as urea and uric acid as well as environmental toxins like pesticides and other chemical residues that enter the body through the diet, Carrot Seed Essential Oil helps boost immunity, reduces muscle and joint inflammation, addresses fluid retention, and soothes the discomforts of arthritis, edema, gout, and rheumatism.

CarrotSeed_EO_CaptionImage

Carrot Seed Oil works as a supporting and protective agent that not only enhances skin health but that also repairs damage on skin that has been exposed to pollution and environmental stress, which leads to symptoms of aging. Furthermore, it stimulates the growth of new tissue and new skin, thus promoting a clearer, brighter, evenly toned complexion. By contributing moisture, it relieves skin from irritation associated with ailments such as acne, boils, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and sores, leaving skin looking and feeling smooth, firm, nurtured, revitalized, and generally healthy. Regular use of Carrot Seed Essential Oil on the dry and cracked skin can result in the softening of calluses, the faster healing of scars, the calming of irritation, and the fading of redness and unwanted marks such as age spots.

When used in hair, Carrot Seed Oil is known to deeply condition the scalp and hair to repair split ends and contribute soothing relief from dehydration and irritation, such as itchiness caused by harmful bacteria, fungus, and dandruff. In the same way that it tones the skin it also works as a tonic for the strands. Applied to hair that appears or feels dull or damaged, it restores hair health and luster.

Used medicinally, Carrot Seed Essential Oil works to lower blood pressure as well as to facilitate the healing of infected skin and wounds. When inhaled, it is reputed to soothe sore throats and hiccups while boosting the health and activities of the body systems at large, especially the respiratory system. Due to its ability to address viral infections, Carrot Seed Oil is beneficial for helping alleviate ailments caused by viruses, such as colds, coughs, the flu, mumps, and measles. As a digestive tonic, Carrot Seed Oil is known to stimulate the appetite and promote the expulsion of gas, which eases bloating, colic, and flatulence.

Its diuretic properties make Carrot Seed Oil beneficial for increasing the frequency with which the body expels waste and toxins through urination. This, in turn, helps prevent the causes and symptoms of several ailments that are associated with a buildup of toxins, which include fat, bile, uric acid, and harmful bacteria that are known to contaminate the excretory system. Similarly, it cleanses the kidneys, soothes the discomfort of kidney stones, and eases menstruation to promote regularity and to make it less painful.  After childbirth, the use of Carrot Seed Essential Oil is known to help women produce breast milk. When it is applied to scrapes, cuts, and minor injuries, Carrot Seed Oil’s antiseptic quality is known to prevent bacteria from infecting the site of the wound, thereby preventing further negative responses in the body.

Carrot Seed Essential Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

    • COSMETIC: Anti-Oxidant, Tonic, Cytophylactic, Depurative, Anti-Inflammatory,
    • ODOROUS: Detoxifier, Stimulant, Soothing, Calming
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Septic, Disinfectant, Detoxifier, Anti-Carcinogenic, Tonic, Stimulant, Emmenagogue, Diuretic, Vermifuge, Cytophylactic, Depurative, Carminative, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-viral

CARROT SEED OIL USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, Carrot Seed Oil can be used to make a stress-relieving blend. To ease feelings of anxiety, enhance attention and concentration, and boost metabolism, add 3-6 drops to an electric diffuser. Alternatively, 3 to 6 drops can be diluted in a ½ cup of distilled water in either a reed or electric diffuser. For a homemade diffuser, boil 2-3 cups of water and to this add 5-10 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil.

Diffusing Carrot Seed Oil is also beneficial for promoting sleep naturally, thus helping those suffering from insomnia. For a more intense scent, just before bedtime dab 1 drop of Carrot Seed Essential Oil and 1 drop of Lavender Essential Oil onto the corner of a pillow.

To boost the therapeutic quality of a bath with its sweetly rich and grounding scent, mix 5-10 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil with 1 cup of Dead Sea Salt, then pour it under warm running water inside a bathtub. Before entering the tub, ensure that the salts have completely dissolved. For a more intricate scent that has the added benefits of other calming essential oils, blend 5 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil with 2 drops of Rose Absolute and 2 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil.

Used in cosmetic applications, Carrot Seed Oil can be applied directly to the skin after dilution in order to repair and prevent further skin damage. Simply mix 3-5 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil with 1 tsp. of a carrier oil of personal preference. Suggested carrier oils include Safflower and Coconut. In a circular motion, massage this natural moisturizing blend into the skin 1-2 times daily. To increase the effectiveness of a preferred moisturizer without having to manufacture one from scratch, add 1-2 drops of Carrot Seed Oil to a face cream or facial serum. Skin will benefit from its gentle regenerative and invigorating properties.

For a more complex facial oil blend that is known to be revitalizing, first, pour 15 ml (0.50 oz.) of Jojoba Carrier Oil into a 17 ml (0.60 oz.) dropper bottle. To this, add 8 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 4 drops Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil, 2 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, and 5 drops Vitamin E-Liquid. Shake the bottle well to thoroughly blend together all the ingredients. To use this blend, cleanse the face and massage 4 drops into the forehead, chin, and cheeks.

For a facial serum that promotes and maintains skin health, pour 15 ml (0.50 oz.) of Olive Carrier Oil into a 17 ml (0.60 oz.) dropper bottle, then add 8 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 4 drops Chamomile Essential Oil, 2 drops Geranium Essential Oil, and 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Shake the bottle well to thoroughly blend together all the ingredients. To use this blend, cleanse the face and massage 4 drops into the forehead, chin, and cheeks.

For a conditioning anti-aging moisturizer that can be used immediately before makeup application, first combine 1 Tbsp. Prickly Pear Carrier Oil and 2 tsp. Argan Carrier Oil in a 60 ml (2 oz.) dropper bottle that is darkly colored. Next, add 5 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 3 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil. Cap the bottle and gently shake it or roll it between the palms to ensure that all the oils are thoroughly mixed together. Before applying makeup, cleanse the face and massage 2-3 drops of this blend into the forehead, chin, and cheeks.

Carrot Seed Essential Oil makes an ideal ingredient for use in a natural face exfoliant that will not only remove dead skin cells and cleanse pores but that will also repair dryness and damage to leave the complexion looking and feeling smoother, clearer, and more radiant. First, pour 2 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil and 2 tsp. Organic Raw Honey into a 3.5 oz. jar. To this, add 4 Tbsp. Organic Coffee Grounds, then blend all the ingredients together. To this mixture, add 8 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil and 6 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil. Once more, blend all the ingredients together. To use this exfoliant, first, splash the face with water and pat the skin dry. Using the fingers, scoop a small amount of the scrub into the palms and massage it over the face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Leave the scrub on like a mask for a few minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat the skin dry. Follow this application with a dab of Coconut Carrier Oil to rehydrate the skin naturally. This scrub can also be used in the shower. For optimal results, repeat this exfoliating routine once or twice weekly. When this scrub is not in use, store it in the refrigerator, ensuring that the jar’s lid is tightly screwed on.

To restore the health and suppleness of dry or maturing skin overnight, create a night serum consisting of 4 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 4 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, 2 drops Rose Absolute, and 1 Tbsp. of Skin Mousse, which is composed of 3 ½ tsp. Pure Aloe Vera Gel and 1 tsp. Jojoba Carrier Oil. Stir the oil and mousse mixture together until it reaches a smooth consistency, appears opaque, and is cream in color. Apply a dime-sized amount of this serum to the face before bedtime.

For a clay face mask that is known to refresh, rejuvenate, and protect the skin against damage, first combine 1 tsp. Multani Mitti (Fullers Earth) Clay, 1 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel and 2 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil in a small bowl using a spoon. Using a face mask brush, apply the mask to the face, avoiding the eye area. Keep the mask on for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Skin will be left feeling and looking hydrated and evenly toned.

To soothe skin that has been damaged by overexposure to the sun, combine 5 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil with ¼ cup of Aloe Vera Gel inside a 120 ml (4 oz.) amber glass jar. This soothing salve can be smoothed over the area of skin that has been affected by a sunburn.

For a hair mask that is known to soothe itchiness caused by dryness and dandruff, combine 6 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 2 Tbsp. Organic Raw Honey, 2 tsp. Almond Carrier Oil, and 3 Tbsp. Oatmeal in a bowl. After mixing all the oils together thoroughly, massage the blend into scalp and smooth it down over the strands. Allow it to soak into the hair and scalp for 5 minutes before washing it out with a regular shampoo. For a hair oil treatment that hydrates and fortifies dry hair and has the added benefit of other valuable essential oils, thoroughly combine 6 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 4 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, 2 drops of any light, fast-absorbing Carrier Oil, 2 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil and 1 Tbsp. of Jojoba Carrier Oil. Massage the blend into the scalp and smooth it down over the strands. Allow it to soak into the hair and scalp for 1-2 hours before washing it out with a regular shampoo.

Used in medicinal applications, Carrot Seed Oil is reputed to provide relief from abdominal discomfort such as bloating, menstrual cramps, indigestion, and water retention. To make a massage blend that addresses these complaints, dilute 4 drops Carrot Seed Essential Oil, 4 drops Tangerine Essential Oil, and 2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil. This blend can be gently rubbed into the abdomen in a clockwise motion twice daily for 1 week. Alternatively, Tangerine Oil can substitute for Lemon Oil, and Peppermint Oil can be replaced with Geranium Oil. These blends have the added benefits of preventing constipation and hormonal imbalances while addressing mood swings.

A GUIDE TO CARROT SEED OIL & ITS BENEFITS

CARROT SEED ESSENTIAL OIL (STEAM DISTILLED)

Botanical Name: Daucus carota

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from seeds

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

    • Be ideal for nourishing skin and hair and for promoting an evenly-toned complexion
    • Be a rejuvenating cleanser and a strengthening tonic
    • Support emotional balance
    • Balance lethargic energy
    • Be beneficial for use in skin health products due to its anti-aging property that smooths the appearance of wrinkles and balances skin’s oil production
    • Be an effective oil-regulating ingredient in hair products
    • Facilitate skin’s reparation of minor injuries, soothe sunburns, and fade stretch marks and scars
    • Have a warming and stimulating effect when used in massage and in aromatherapy
    • Be soothing for skin that is inflamed or irritated
    • Exude a sweet, soft, dry, and earthy aroma that releases stress and fatigue
    • Tone the skin by enhancing its elasticity while softening and smoothing the complexion
    • Have a detoxifying effect on the liver
    • Cleanse the body systems, especially the digestive tract
    • Reduce or relieve the symptoms of skin ailments such as eczema, psoriasis, weeping sores, ulcers, boils, and carbuncles when used in a massage or bath blend
    • Reduce or relieve the symptoms of arthritis, edema, gout, and muscle or joint pain caused by a buildup of bodily toxins
    • Fortify the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and lungs, thereby improving conditions such as bronchitis and the flu by boosting the function of the respiratory system
    • Lessen fluid retention
  • Improve conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and rashes

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR CARROT SEED OIL

As per NAHA guidelines, we do not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Carrot Seed Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are especially advised not to use this product without the medical advice of a physician. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Carrot Seed Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Carrot Seed Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.

Potential side effects of Carrot Seed Essential Oil include vomiting and convulsions. It is recommended that the user remain indoors for at least 48 hours after the oil is applied topically, as it may potentially cause skin sensitivity upon sun exposure, a condition that is also known as photosensitivity.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this essential oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action.

Super Saccharides & Aloe Vera For The Immune System

In order to understand the role that super saccharides (complex sugars) play in our body and how they benefit the immune system, it is necessary to touch on a little biochemistry. Don’t worry; I’ll stick to the basics.

Carbohydrates

All biological processes in the human body are effected through four main groups of biologically active molecules. These four groups are fats, proteins, nucleic acids (RNA & DNA), and carbohydrates. In this report, our focus is on the carbohydrates.

Essentially, carbohydrates are compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the proportions 6:12:6. They are burned during metabolism to produce energy, liberating carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). The carbohydrates in the human diet can be divided into three groups:

  1. Monosaccharides, e.g. glucose, fructose, galactose;
  2. Disaccharides, e.g. sucrose (table sugar), lactose, maltose;
  3. Polysaccharides, which are linear or branched polymers of monosaccharide units linked by glycosidic bonds and include starch, glycogen (animal starch), and fiber/cellulose.

At one time, carbohydrates were thought to serve mainly as an energy source for the body, but it is now recognized that many carbohydrates play key roles in enhancing immune function and in facilitating cellular communication.

Carbohydrates and the Immune System

Most cells in the body have carbohydrate molecules on their surface. These carbohydrates are often attached to proteins or to fats and act as receptors for bacteria, viruses, or antibodies. The invaders actually use these sugars as fuel to grow, multiply, and attack the cell itself.

carbohydrates called mucopolysaccharides

A small group of very special carbohydrates called mucopolysaccharides, however, actually work to prevent bacteria and viruses from finding binding sites. In fact, they literally trap and destroy them. In addition, they also work to trap and destroy antibodies; thus halting infection caused disease and autoimmune diseases in their tracks.

autoimmune disease

Mucopolysaccharides to Enhance the Immune System

Mucopolysaccharides, now more commonly called glycosaminoglycans, are a special form of polysaccharide. They are made in the human body and perform many key functions in our health, including promoting growth and enhancing the immune system. Unfortunately, after puberty, we cease manufacturing these polysaccharides and must obtain them from outside sources.

Mucopolysaccharides are found in many of the foods that we call “miracle foods” including aloe vera, medicinal mushrooms, and nutritional yeast. Since we have already discussed the benefits of the mucopolysaccharides found in the medicinal mushrooms (reishi, maitake, and cordyceps).

The Power of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an amazing mixture of more than 200 constituents, including polysaccharides, enzymes, glycoproteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Although aloe is almost legendary for its healing and regenerative powers, it’s true potential was merely waiting to be tapped. The problem has always been that aloe’s key active ingredients were so diluted in liquids and gels and so destroyed in processing (especially in dried aloe concentrates) that only tiny amounts were ever available for use by the human body. It is almost miraculous that even with these limitations, aloe was as effective as it was. It is only within the last decade, however, that scientists have learned how to concentrate the active ingredients in aloe to levels far, far, far beyond what was possible before – while at the same time preserving the integrity of the key ingredients. And then, within just the last year, that process has been significantly enhanced to almost unimaginable levels; and that’s why we’re talking about aloe today.

The active polysaccharide fractions in aloe are called galactomannans or beta-glucomannans. These polysaccharides have been shown in laboratory studies to act as a bridge between foreign proteins (such as virus particles) and macrophage cells in the human body, facilitating the destruction of the invading the protein by the macrophage. Activating the receptor sites of the macrophages is also a key to the overall boosting of cell-mediated immunity, which, significantly, is deficient in HIV infection and other immune disorders. In addition, aloe polysaccharides also protect the bone marrow from damage by toxic chemicals and drugs.

These various effects, while seemingly widespread and unrelated, are in fact due to one simple process that occurs at the cell membrane. Acemannan (the name often used for aloe beta-glucomannans, acetylated polymannans and mucopolysaccharides) is a long chain sugar that interjects itself into all cell membranes. This results in an increase in the fluidity and permeability of the membranes allowing toxins to flow out of the cell more easily and nutrients to enter the cell more easily. This results in improved cellular metabolism throughout the body and an overall boost in energy production.

Following are a few of the vital functions Acemannan and the other constituents of aloe have been found to perform. They…

  • Make cells more resistant to viruses and pathogenic bacteria, by incorporating themselves into cell walls
  • Improve overall cellular metabolism and functioning
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Provide critical lubrication of joints; helping to prevent arthritis and to heal it once it has developed
  • Aid in the absorption of water, minerals, and nutrients in the GI tract
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve vascular flow
  • Reduce scarring
  • Improve macrophage activity as much as tenfold
  • Enhance macrophage effectiveness in modulating the entire immune system
  • Enhance macrophage effectiveness in stimulating, producing, and releasing antibodies
  • Increase the body’s own production of interferon, interleukins
  • Increase the number of antibody forming T-cells in the spleen
  • Increase the number and activity of killer T-cell and increase monocyte activity
  • Fight fungal infections, such as: Athlete’s foot, Ringworm, Pruritus anivalvae, Balnea, Essential Pruritus, and Vaginal yeast infections
  • Help heal athletic injuries such as: Muscle cramps, Sprains, Strains, Bruises, Swelling, Soreness, Tendonitis, and Bursitis.
  • Soothe and promote the healing of intestinal disorders such as: Indigestion, Heartburn, Hyper-acidity, Peptic and Duodenal Ulcers, Colitis, and Hemorrhoids
  • Promote the healing of kidney disorders
  • Help with diabetes
  • Kill parasites such as: Pinworms and Threadworms
  • Speed wound healing by as much as 35%
  • Reduce allergic reactions
  • Stimulate bone marrow activity
  • Stimulate fibroblasts to release collagen and elastin to make new tissue

The bottom line is that concentrated aloe fractions enhance the functioning of the entire immune system, detoxify the body, promote the repair of a wide range of tissues and organs, improve digestive functions, and help with the destruction and elimination of invading bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Concentrated Acemannan in Aloe Vera

Traditionally, the problem with aloe vera products is that the key active ingredients, the mannan sugars, are not particularly concentrated in the aloe plant, and are not particularly stable. In addition, they are easily destroyed both in the harvesting process and in the concentration process. It is only in the last few years that these limitations have been overcome and supplements with meaningful amounts of mannan sugars have been produced. And now, a brand new proprietary process has been discovered that allows for the dehydration and concentration of aloe at low temperatures (never exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit). This is significant since it preserves the integrity of the mannan sugars – not to mention the enzyme activity of the aloe constituents. This process produces a product that contains all of the complex carbohydrates contained in whole aloe leaf at powerfully high levels of concentration – as high as 200:1.

Beta Glucans

Aloe vera is not the only source of beneficial mucopolysaccharides, and Acemannan is not the only super immune enhancer. Certain Beta- glucans also qualify as “super saccharides.”

Oriental healers have known for hundreds of years that something inside yeast and mushrooms has the ability to dramatically enhance your immune system. Scientists have now identified that something as a long chain of polysaccharides called Beta glucans. In fact, the real discovery came when scientists discovered which particular kinds of glucans (Beta 1,3 and 1,6) provide most of the benefits.

Since the 1940’s, researchers have investigated the nutritional benefits of Beta glucans. Derived from the broken cell walls of yeast and from mushrooms, barley, and oats. Beta glucans are capable of reducing unhealthy amounts of serum cholesterol and boosting the immune system. (Note: Beta-glucan is the only glucan found effective in preventing coronary heart disease by significantly lowering LDL blood cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. In fact, the FDA has approved Beta glucan supplementation for preventing coronary heart disease.)

As just mentioned, Beta-glucans are a powerful immune stimulator, activating the macrophages in the immune system. Keep in mind that your macrophages are your immune system’s first line of defense against viral, fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections. In addition, macrophages play a major role in recognizing and eliminating aberrant (cancerous) cells from the body.

There have been over 1,000 research papers on Beta glucans since the 1960’s. Research backed by prestigious institutions such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Harvard, Tulane, Baylor, McGill, University of California, Duke, Washington, the Armed Forces Radiology Research Institute, and other institutions all demonstrate the high immune activating properties and cholesterol lowering properties of Beta glucans.

Beta-glucans have been clinically proven to enhance macrophage production dramatically and to increase nonspecific host resistance to a variety of bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, including:

  • Sinus Infections
  • Allergies
  • The common cold
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Candida
  • Diabetes
  • Herpes
  • Mononucleosis
  • Osteoarthritis

In addition, “The broad spectrum of immunopharmacological activities of glucan includes not only the modification of certain bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections but also inhibition of tumor growth.” Nicholas DiLuzio, Ph.D., Department of Physiology Tulane University School of Medicine. Which leads us to…

Cancer and AIDS

It is important to understand that although there are a number of animal studies and cell studies (and a great deal of anecdotal evidence) available that indicate that “super saccharides” may play a significant role in protecting against cancer and AIDS; there are NO significant, valid human studies that prove this to be so at this time.

For example, if you search on the Internet, you will find references to remarkable studies by Drs. McDaniel and McAnalley concerning the effect of aloe fractions on the status of patients with ARC (AIDS Related Complex). They gave the polysaccharide fraction of aloe orally (250 milligrams four times a day) to 8 patients with ARC, with Walter Reed staging from 3 to 6. Eight of eight patients showed improvement within 90 days of therapy with an average reduction of 2 Walter Reed stages.

The problem is that as exciting as these studies are (and as frequently cited as they are), they were conducted on too small a group of patients and without proper controls, which makes their results merely interesting, not proven.

The bottom line is that you certainly have nothing to lose by supplementing with “super saccharides” if you are concerned about cancer or AIDS, but again, understand, nothing is proven – yet.

Usage

The normal recommended dosage for concentrated aloe fractions ranges between 450-1,000 mg a day. The recommended dosage for Beta glucans runs the gamut from 20 to 500 mg a day. However, when you combine the two, they work together and reinforce each other.

My recommended dosage is 500 mg of concentrated aloe fractions a day, along with 20 mg of Beta-glucans for maintenance purposes. Double it if you wish to use the combination more aggressively.

Warning

There is really only one minor warning. Concentrated aloe fractions can stimulate increased bowel function (a good thing), but it’s recommended that you start slowly and increase your intake of these fractions gradually to avoid intestinal cramping.

Resources:

There are mountains of research on the immune-related benefits of aloe’s key bio-chemicals and beta-glucans, but this should get you started.

Natural Fuel for Sustained Energy: A Different Kind of Shake

We’re going to talk about a shake whose primary virtue is sustained energy, making it perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or to sustain an athlete on a long-distance run or when climbing a mountain. But by very virtue of its ability to sustain you for hours, it will help you lose weight by killing the need for between-meal snacks to keep you going throughout the day.

For years, the standard diet shake was the low-fat, high-sugar, shake-powder, “boosted” with a complement of synthetic vitamins and indigestible fiber. The idea was that you’d mix the powder with a glass of milk and replace one or two meals a day and eat sensibly for your other meal(s). And it worked, in that it could significantly decrease your calorie intake.

Some time ago, though, the ideal shake shifted from low-fat, high-sugar mix to a low-sugar, high-protein formula. Dieting on high protein shakes makes use of a quirk in the body’s metabolism to force it to live off its own fat. The primary source of energy for the human body is glucose, and most of our glucose intake is from carbohydrates. With high protein diets, though, you abnormally restrict your intake of carbohydrates (carbs that would normally fuel your blood sugar metabolism cycle) in order to force your metabolism to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning stored fat (or ketones) for energy. The result is a state of ketosis: high energy, coupled with a rapid metabolism of stored fat. And it works. It also helps lower blood-sugar levels and lower blood-pressure and cholesterol levels. However…

There are problems with the program. As the old saying goes: “In for a penny, in for a pound.” That means you must be rigorous. Any intake of high-glycemic carbs turns off the metabolism switch. Now you get none of the benefits and all of the problems, which include among other things:

  • protein powderToo much protein puts stress on the liver and kidneys, lowers body pH which contributes to osteoporosis and cancer, creates a state of dysbiosis in the intestinal tract which leads to, among other things, a compromised immune system and an increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Heavy doses of antibiotics and growth hormones in the high levels of non-organic protein consumed (assuming you’re not buying in a health food store).
  • Increased allergies and autoimmune diseases resulting from the high consumption of dairy and/or soy. And keep in mind that milk allergy is not just based on an intolerance of lactose sugars. It is actually caused by the immune system’s response to one or more of the proteins found in cow’s milk. There are many protein allergens in cow’s milk that cause allergic reactions, which is why cow’s milk is one of the most frequent causes of food allergens in our diets. Casein and whey are the two main protein components of dairy and, coincidentally, the two main sources of protein in diet shakes (outside of soy).
    • Casein (sodium caseinate) accounts for 80 percent of the protein in milk and is the most important allergen found in milk and cheese. It is worth noting that casein was at one time a key component in many glues and is not tolerated well at all by the human body. Too much casein over too long a time is a health problem for everyone. (And surprise, they add casein to tofu cheese and other “non-dairy” products.)
    • Whey accounts for the other 20 percent of milk proteins. It is much better tolerated than casein, but again, if used in excess and for too long, still produces excessive Circulating Immune Complexes in the bloodstream. Whey consists of two primary allergenic proteins:
      • alpha-lactalbumin
      • beta-lactoglobulin
    • And soy, of course, has even more protein allergens than dairy. At least 16 IgE-binding soy proteins with molecular masses from 7.5 to 97 kD may be involved in clinical allergy.1

An Alternative

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in exercise and balanced meals combined with nutrient-dense food for managing weight. But that said, I also understand that people often need a helping hand. In any case, several years ago, I turned my attention to rethinking shakes and weight-loss to see if there was a different way to approach it.

Instead of trying to create a substitute meal with lots of added protein and a bunch of synthetic vitamins, I thought it might be possible to instead create an energy shake that literally fueled the body for hours with ultra-long-chain carbohydrates–making it feel energized and satiated for 3-4 hours at a time–but without the jittery stimulant effect you get from coffee and energy drinks. This would kill two birds with one stone.

  • It would work as a healthy, sustaining energizing boost that would be perfect for both athletes and anyone looking to remain vibrant throughout the day.
  • And since it would keep you feeling energized and satisfied for hours at a time, it would help you lose weight since you wouldn’t feel the need for “extra” snacks to keep going.

Good Carbohydrates for Energy

carbohydrates for energyUnderstand that your body can only use glycogen as energy. Everything must get broken down to this first. Glycogen is the simplest form of sugar in your blood. If there is too much (hyperglycemia), your pancreas produces insulin to shuttle the sugar out of your blood and into your cells, if there is too little (hypoglycemic), your body produces glucose, which gets rid of the insulin so you can build up more sugar in your blood. Hyper- and hypoglycemia are the extreme conditions of high or low blood sugar, respectively.

The bottom line is that you need carbohydrates for energy. They power every part of your body and energize it to work, run, jump, think, breathe, and more. As long as you’re using your body, you need glucose. When you are hungry, you find it hard to think and work. That’s because you’re running out of glucose, and your brain needs more fuel.

The key to how carbohydrates are used in the body is how quickly they break down in the digestive tract. This is largely determined by their fundamental structure.

  • Simple, or short-chain, carbohydrates don’t need to be broken down at all. They are instantly available to the body. These are the sugars. To say that all sugars are bad, as is often now stated, is an oversimplification of the problem. There are many times that your body truly needs an instant influx of energy foods. There are many sugars such as mannose that play a key role in our immune systems. However, there is no question that, in general, a sustained high-level intake of sugars spikes insulin levels and eventually contributes significantly to major health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and diabetes.
  • Complex, or long-chain, carbohydrates cannot be utilized by the body until they are broken down. Complex carbohydrates consist of hundreds or thousands of sugar units linked together in single molecules. Theoretically, since they are not instantly available to the body, they should raise glucose levels more slowly and be healthier than simple sugars. But that is not always the case. Some long-chain carbs, such as, potatoes, bananas, all refined grains (in point of fact, many whole grains too), and maltodextrin (which is frequently added to processed foods) break down very quickly and are virtually indistinguishable from straight sugar in their effect on the body. There are two qualifiers for this.
    1. Fiber. Fiber cannot be digested by human beings. It has no calories because the body cannot absorb it. The more fiber present in the food, the more slowly the carbohydrates bound to that fiber break down. That’s why high fiber fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and prunes and berries tend to be very low on the glycemic index. In general, these foods, although they are pure carbohydrates, can be eaten abundantly on any low-carb program.
    2. Branching. If the simple sugars in a complex carbohydrate are not assembled in a straight line but include many branches, it slows the breakdown of the carbohydrate dramatically because the enzyme amylase does not work on branches. Examples of branched carbohydrates include the gums such as guar and xanthan.

Whichever form of carb you take, after digestion, it appears in the circulatory system as glucose, on its way to the cells where it is used for energy. The key is how long that process takes. If spread out over several hours:

  • There is no spike in blood sugar and insulin levels
  • The body does not store fat
  • You get sustained energy over a prolonged period of time

In the end, it became obvious to me that the ultimate diet/energy shake should not be built out of protein and fat, but out of long-chain, slow-energy-releasing superfood carbohydrates. However, before I could finalize the shake, there were a couple of other issues that had to be dealt with.

Superfood Shake for The Real World

smoothiesFirst, I had to acknowledge how the shake would truly be used in the “real world.”

Ideally, this superfood powder would be mixed with freshly squeezed vegetable juice, thereby providing sustenance and energy for several hours with no chance of an insulin spike. But I also realized that we live in the real world. Very few people who need to lose weight are likely to be disciplined enough to drink large amounts of freshly squeezed vegetable juice every day. They would much rather mix their superfood with high glycemic sweet juices and fresh fruit. This, of course, would defeat the purpose.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the glycemic index (GI) measures how foods containing carbohydrates raise blood glucose. It is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Also known as “blood sugar,” blood glucose levels above normal are problematic and can cause blindness, kidney failure, or increase cardiovascular risk. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. Low GI foods tend to foster weight loss, while foods high on the GI scale help with energy recovery after exercise, or help offset hypo- (or insufficient) glycemia–but again are problematic under normal circumstances.

What this means is that long-distance runners would tend to favor foods high on the glycemic index while racing, while people with pre- or full-blown diabetes would need to concentrate on low GI foods. Why? People with diabetes can’t produce sufficient quantities of insulin–which helps process blood sugar–which means they are likely to have an excess of blood glucose. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods is helpful in keeping blood glucose under control. In general, carbohydrates tend to rank higher in the glycemic index than fats or proteins. In fact, foods are ranked on the GI according to how they compare to a carbohydrate reference food which is either glucose or white bread. Glucose and white bread are both given a GI rating of 100.  Carbohydrate-containing foods are typically ranked:

  • High GI (70 or more)
  • Medium GI (56-69)
  • Low GI (55 or less).

Most carbohydrates fall in the high or medium range. Barley is a notable exception with a very low glycemic index of around 25.

“One of the oldest cultivated cereals, barley is nutritious and high in soluble fibre [sic], which helps to reduce the post-meal rise in blood glucose–it lowers the overall GI of a meal. In fact, pearl barley has one of the lowest GI values of any food that we have tested.”

The Ingredients

I singled out barley’s exceptional glycemic index value because a special form of barley is actually the key ingredient that drives this formula, and we’ll talk more about it in a moment. But the formula also contains certain herbs that help to reduce the glycemic response when people blend it with fresh fruits and juices. Again, the purpose of the formula is to use slow release carbohydrates that allow the body to be smoothly energized with no jitters and feel satiated for several hours so as to eliminate the need for unhealthy snacking. Along the way, you’ll notice that each of the ingredients used in the formula also has other profound health benefits that range from inhibiting cancer to ameliorating HIV infections.

Pre-Sprouted Barley

sprouted barleyAs I mentioned, a special form of barley is the key ingredient that drives this formula, and that is pre-sprouted barley (AKA Activated Barley). But before we get into the details of pre-sprouted barley, we need to look briefly at barley in general. As was hinted at by its remarkable GI number of 25, it’s an exceptional grain. Incidentally, that GI number is 22 percent less than skim milk!

Historically, barley has been used for thousands of years. The Roman army marched on it. It was the primary staple of their diet. They picked up that trick from the Greek gladiators who trained on it and were known as “barley eaters.” (So much for meat being the food of choice for macho men.)

In ancient Rome, a food made from sprouted barley, honey, and colostrum was used to sustain infants whose mothers had died in childbirth. In more recent years, that same formula has been used by the UN to prevent starvation in Third World countries.

Nutritionally, barley has high concentrations of tocotrienols and antioxidant compounds that work to suppress the activity of the rate-limiting activity of the HMG-CoA Reductase enzyme in the liver, thus reducing cholesterol synthesis. And barley is one of the highest known sources of beta-glucans, which are carbohydrates (there’s that word again) that have remarkable immune boosting properties and have been shown to improve blood glucose and lipid levels among diabetics in clinical trials. In fact, research conducted in Canada, the United States, and Australia has shown that barley can play a significant role in lowering blood cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Other studies have shown that non-insulin dependent diabetics (Type II) had improved blood glucose levels as a result of including barley in their diet.

And sprouting barley renders all of barley’s nutrients and health benefits more bio-available. Sprouting also reduces both the amount of starch and gluten in the barley, while at the same time increasing the amount of amylase, which helps break down the remaining carbohydrates.

The problem with using sprouted barley in a formula is that it’s extremely gelatinous. All attempts to dry it and package it for commercial distribution failed until a company in Sweden figured out a way to use low-temperature steam (produced in a partial vacuum) to take the barley just up to the point of sprouting — before it turns gelatinous, but after the point where all the proteins and carbohydrates have been converted, and at a temperature low enough so that no enzymes are damaged.

This turns out to be a remarkably interesting point. It’s like the food is placed in a state of suspended animation at the point where all of the energy of the grain has been marshaled to sprout — but has not yet expended that energy in the act of sprouting. The result is a brand-new superfood with unbelievable properties. It has been called Activated Barley. Think of it like a bullet in a gun.

  • The bullet in the chamber is like the dry barley pearl. All the energy is dormant–unavailable.
  • The bullet, after it has fired and left the gun, is like the barley sprout. All of the energy has been expended in the act of making the bullet shoot out of the gun–or in this case, making the barley sprout. The energy has been used up. Once again, it is no longer available.
  • But pre-sprouted barley is different. It’s like being able to freeze time at the moment the gunpowder has fired and before the bullet has left the gun. A huge amount of energy is now locked in the chamber, available in an easily used form, just waiting to be directed in any way you want. What if you could take that energy and use it for things other than making the bullet fly? What if you could use the energy locked in the pre-sprout phase to nourish the body rather than make the barley sprout? That would be a true superfood.

The Properties of Pre-Sprouted Barley

  • Like regular barley, it ranks incredibly low on the glycemic index.
  • It has all of the nutritional value of barley — high levels of tocotrienols and beta glucans. In fact, pre-sprouting increases beta glucan levels by some 77% according to tests performed by AnalyCen in Sweden.
  • It contains 1,000s of active enzymes.
  • It is an ultra-long-chain carbohydrate that takes up to 4 hours to break down in the digestive tract — thus providing a slow, sustained release of energy and insulin.
  • Because the release is so slow, it actually lowers the body’s insulin response.
  • It provides over 400% more energy per calorie than any other food calorie known. (Despite what the FDA may tell you, not all calories are created equal.) As it turns out, there are two different ways to test for caloric value. The traditional way is by burning the product to determine the energy released. This is the FDA approved standard. However, a more meaningful test is to measure the metabolic calorie value–that is: how much energy the BODY can actually use or produce the food in question. For activated barley, the metabolic calorie value is 400% higher than a standard calorie such as fat. Or to look at it another way, with pre-sprouted barley you get the same energy on 1/4 the calories VS standard calories.

The Studies

Barley contains high levels of beta-glucan which have been studied for its cholesterol-lowering potential on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) and apolipoprotein B (apoB) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction. The conclusion of a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition was that pooled analyses show that barley β-glucan has a lowering effect on LDL-C and non-HDL-C. The inclusion of barley-containing foods, then, maybe a strategy for achieving targets in CVD risk reduction.

So, what exactly is ß-glucan? It is the predominant soluble fiber found in oats and barley and has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol and improve post-prandial insulin and glucose responses in healthy and diabetic adults. In fact, it is likely that these health benefits are the result of a synergistic effect of the fiber and the constituent phytochemicals found in barley and oats. The major bioactives in barley include phenolics, tocols (the fundamental unit of vitamin E tocopherols), and folate, while those in oats include actual tocopherols and tocotrienols, phenolic acids, sterols, selenium, and avenanthramides.

In addition, barley contains several plant-based protease inhibitors (PIs). In the past, PIs have primarily been considered as protein-degrading enzymes. However, this view has significantly changed, and PIs are now considered to be very important signaling molecules in many biological activities such as inflammation, apoptosis, blood clotting, and hormone processing. In recent years, PIs have been examined extensively as therapeutic agents, primarily to deal with various human cancers. Interestingly, many plant-based PIs are also found to be effective against cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, inflammatory diseases, and neurological disorders. The PI content of such foods, then, likely has a significant influence on human health disorders. Barley contains several PIs of the chymotrypsin family that interact with a range of proteases from human plasma, leukocytes, the pancreas, a fungal trypsin, and three subtilisins (bacterial proteases)–in addition to inhibiting several coagulation factors such as thrombin, plasma kallikrein, Factor VIIa and Factor Xa.

Stabilized Rice Bran

Stabilized rice bran is one of the world’s great superfoods and is the other main ingredient in this formula. It’s high in fiber, obviously, but also high in protein and is one of the premier sources of antioxidants — containing over 100 of them. Major health components of stabilized rice bran include:

  • Hypoallergenic protein with all essential amino acids
  • Rich in E complex vitamins (contains the highest natural source of tocopherols and tocotrienols in nature)
  • Rich in B complex vitamins
  • IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate)
  • The only source of Gamma-Oryzanol in nature
  • Minerals (including high amounts of potassium, magnesium and manganese) and trace minerals
  • Polyphenols, phytosterols, and sterolins (high quantities of Beta-sitosterol and Beta-sitosterolin)
  • Mixed carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin
  • Dimethylglycine (DMG)
  • Trimethylglycine (TMG)
  • Lecithin (phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl serine)
  • Ferulic Acid
  • CoQ10
  • Squalene
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
Rice bran, a byproduct of the rice milling industry, is a rich source of nutraceuticals and nutrients. However, its usefulness was traditionally limited due to the presence of lipase and lipoxygenase which quickly initiates rancidity. Several years ago, it was learned that you could stabilize the rice bran and prevent rancidity by treating the milling with either infrared heat or enzymes that completely inactivate lipase along with significantly reducing lipoxygenase activity. After stabilization, the nutraceutical molecules like γ-oryzanol, α-tocopherol, and polyphenols are retained in the range of 68 to 110%, and the total antioxidant activity is actually improved. In addition, other enzymes used in the treatment improve the soluble fiber content. Nutrition is further enhanced by the conversion of complex carbohydrates into bioavailable, energy-producing sugars: glucose (approximately 70%), cellobiose (approximately 20%) and cellotriose (approximately 10%). Stabilized rice bran also has an enhanced prebiotic effect, which means it promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon. And finally, beneficial nutrients such as acetic acid and propionic acid as well as the full range of B vitamins are either enhanced or demonstrate maximum retention.

The Studies

Mitochondrial dysfunction plays an important role in brain aging and has emerged as an early event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), contributing to neurodegeneration and the loss of physical abilities seen in patients suffering from this disease. As a result, the mitochondria in these cells display impaired energy metabolism, low ATP levels, and decreased mitochondrial respiration inside your body’s cells.

But studies have shown that stabilized rice bran extract (RBE) protects from mitochondrial dysfunction. A 2013 study published in Pharmacological Research, for example, found that overall respiration and mitochondrial coupling were significantly enhanced in isolated mitochondria in RBE fed animals. This suggests an improved mitochondrial function in the brains of RBE fed animals. Cells isolated from the brains of RBE fed animals show significantly higher mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP levels after being “challenged” by the introduction of sodium nitroprusside, indicating resistance against mitochondrial dysfunction. Astonishingly, experimental evidence even indicates an increased mitochondrial mass in guinea pig brains after RBE ingestion. Thus, RBE represents a potential nutraceutical for the prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in brain aging and the resulting neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

And then, of course, rice bran has been shown to be cancer protective–so much so that researchers have worked to isolate its cancer-inhibiting components. Specifically, researchers have known that food-derived bioactive peptides from RBE promote functional activity against diseases and present as nutraceutical agents. A 2010 study published in Peptides, was designed to isolate and fully characterize the peptide(s) derived from rice bran that has anti-cancer properties. Ultimately, they isolated a novel pentapeptide from rice bran that possesses cancer growth inhibitory properties on colon, breast, lung, and liver cancer cells. They concluded that this peptide could serve as a nutraceutical agent against cancer.

Wheatgrass, Alfalfa Leaf, and Oat Grass

First, let me address why I did not include spirulina or chlorella. I love spirulina and chlorella. I use them both in my superfood formula.  But they have a pronounced smell and taste. And when designing a mainstream shake for energy and/or weight-loss, taste and smell are crucial. If the people who need it won’t use it, it is a failed formula no matter how effective it might be.

So instead, I turned to the grasses. They too have a distinctive taste, but nowhere near as pronounced. And when used in support of the rice bran and pre-sprouted barley, you can hardly taste them at all. The three I decided to use were wheatgrass, alfalfa, and oat.

Wheatgrass

wheatgrassWheatgrass, the young grass of the common wheat plant Triticum aestivum, has been called one of nature’s finest medicines. It contains chlorophyll, flavonoids, enzymes, vitamins such as C and E, and nutrients that are essential for a healthy body. The benefits of wheatgrass are enormous. These include correcting blood sugar imbalances, purifying the blood, enhancing hemoglobin production, neutralizing toxins, purifying the liver, and removing heavy metals from the body.

Forms of wheatgrass include fresh juice, frozen juice, tablets, and powders, with compositions varying according to their production processes, as well as to the growing conditions of the wheatgrass. Laboratory in vitro studies, mostly using the fermented wheat germ extract, have demonstrated anti-cancer potential and have identified apoptosis as a possible mechanism. In animal experiments, wheatgrass demonstrated benefits in cancer prevention and as an adjunct to cancer treatment, as well as benefits to immunological activity and oxidative stress. Clinical trials show that wheatgrass may induce synergistic benefits to chemotherapy and may attenuate chemotherapy-related side effects, as well as benefit rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hematological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and oxidative stress.

The Studies

A 2006 study gave wheatgrass juice to 400 terminally ill cancer patients for 6 months. Hemoglobin, total protein, and albumin levels improved significantly. Perhaps even more notable was the fact that the patients’ performance status was improved from 50% to 70% after wheatgrass treatment. As the study concluded, “Wheatgrass juice is an effective alternative to blood transfusion. Its use in terminally ill cancer patients should be encouraged.” And that study does not stand alone. Other studies also indicate that wheatgrass juice plays a large role in creating healthier blood. A 2004 study of patients with thalassemia (a hereditary blood disorder caused by faulty hemoglobin synthesis) reduced their requirements for blood transfusion while on wheatgrass. In nearly all patients, the mean interval between visits increased, and the blood transfused decreased during the wheatgrass period. Additionally, a 2009 study with intermediate thalassemia patients was even more striking. It found that 80% of the 200 patients given wheatgrass juice becoming transfusion independent.

Meanwhile, a 2007 study published in Nutrition and Oncology found that wheatgrass juice taken during chemotherapy may reduce myelotoxicity, dose reductions, and the need for immune system support, without diminishing the efficacy of chemotherapy.

And finally, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research suggests that fermented wheatgrass extract “exerts significant antitumor activity.” The study concludes that the extract requires further evaluation as a candidate for clinical combination drug regimens.

Alfalfa Leaf

alfalfa leafRevered as the “father of all foods,” alfalfa (Medicago sativa) has been eaten for centuries by people seeking a rich source of essential minerals and vitamins. Alfalfa Leaf helps the body assimilate protein, calcium, and other nutrients. It is a rich source of chlorophyll and is the richest land source of trace minerals. And it is high in fructooligosaccharides which promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and neutralize bad bacteria overgrowth such as Candida.

Alfalfa has been used to cure a wide variety of ailments. Pharmacological reports revealed that it is used as a neuroprotective, a hypocholesterolemic, an antioxidant, an antiulcer, an antimicrobial, a hypolipidemic, an estrogenic, and in the treatment of atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and menopausal symptoms in women.  Additionally, studies have shown that consumption of alfalfa extract significantly reduces glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels while at the same time enhancing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. In addition, the same study found that alfalfa supplementation reduces ALT and AST liver enzyme levels in the blood as well as promoting the reconstruction of damaged liver tissue and enhanced Langerhans islets’ diameter in pancreatic tissue as well as a concomitant multifold increase in insulin secretion.

The bottom line is that high consumption of flavonoids such as are found in alfalfa has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Alfalfa leaves have been widely used in traditional medicine and are currently used as a dietary supplement because of their high nutrient content. But alfalfa leaf extracts have also demonstrated cytotoxic activity against several sensitive and multidrug resistant tumor cell lines. And now, studies have shown that medicarpin and millepurpan, two flavonoids isolated from alfalfa leaves, induce apoptosis and overcome multidrug resistance in leukemia P388 cells.

Oat Grass

oat grassOat grass has a relaxing and stimulating action that nourishes and strengthens the nervous system and has been reported to be helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, stress, depression, exhaustion, tremors, epilepsy, palpitations, nervous headache, nervous stomach, nervous breakdown, cholesterol levels, herpes, and menopause symptoms. Oat grass is also used for thyroid and estrogen deficiency, for degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and for colds–especially if recurrent or persistent. Oat grass is extremely rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols and one powerful antioxidant called tricin, a flavone compound that exerts smooth muscle relaxing properties, making it beneficial in gastrointestinal cramping. Green oats are also high in beta-glucan, which helps stimulate immune functions.

As previously stated, ß-glucan is the predominant soluble fiber found in oats and barley and has been shown to reduce serum cholesterol and improve postprandial insulin and glucose responses in healthy and diabetic adults. In addition, the major bioactive in oats include tocopherols and tocotrienols, phenolic acids, sterols, selenium, and avenanthramides.

Banaba Leaf

banaba leafThe blood sugar regulating properties of Banaba leaf (Lagerstroemia speciosa L.) have been demonstrated in cell culture, animal, and human studies. In isolated cells, the active ingredient in Banaba leaf, corosolic acid, is known to stimulate glucose uptake. In diabetic mice, rats, and rabbits, Banaba feeding reduces elevated blood sugar and insulin levels to normal. In humans with type II diabetes, Banaba extract, at a dose of 16-48mg per day for 4-8 weeks, has been shown to be effective in reducing blood sugar levels 5%-30% and in maintaining tight control of blood sugar fluctuations. An interesting “side-effect” of tighter control of blood sugar and insulin levels is a significant tendency of Banaba to promote weight loss (an average of 2-4 lbs. per month) — without significant dietary alterations.

Banaba leaf has been used in traditional Oriental medicine to treat diabetes in the Philippines. The active ingredient, corosolic acid (CA), is a triterpenoid compound which has a hypoglycemic effect. Studies have shown that CA improves hyperglycemia after an oral administration of sucrose and significantly reduces the digestion of sucrose in the small intestine. These results suggest that the hypoglycemic activity of CA is derived, at least in part, due to the inhibition of the chemical breakdown of sucrose.

And then there’s diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) –one of the major complications of diabetes mellitus. Studies have shown that corosolic acid helps ameliorate the renal damage associated with diabetes (including glomerular hypertrophy, mesangial expansion, and fibrosis), as well as the mechanisms behind these effects.

Studies have also shown that corosolic acid works as an anti-inflammatory by regulating the phosphorylation (a process used by the body to regulate enzymes) of interleukin receptor-associated kinase (IRAK)-2 via the NF-κB cascade.

And finally, as an interesting side note, Banaba leaf also contains both ellagic acid and gallic acid. We talked a number of years ago about the anticancer benefits associated with ellagic acid, but it turns out, it also is effective as an HIV inhibitor, along with gallic acid. Specifically, a 2013 study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research demonstrated that Banaba leaf has a novel anti-HIV activity. Its gallic acid content shows an inhibition in reverse transcriptase, whereas its ellagic acid content inhibits the HIV-1 protease activity. The bottom line is that Banaba leaf extracts show a dose-dependent inhibition of HIV-1-infection.

European Blueberry Leaf

european blueberry leaf bilberry leafEuropean blueberry leaf, also known as bilberry leaf (Vaccinium myrtillus), contains significant pharmaceutical amounts of both chlorogenic and caffeic acids (20%). New studies have shown that taken together, the unique compounds in bilberry leaf help to simultaneously reduce glucose absorption in the intestines, decrease glucose synthesis in the liver, and speed up the rate of glucose metabolism. Residents of the Caucasia region of the former Soviet Union have traditionally taken medicinal teas infused with leaves of the European blueberry plant as a self-treatment for blood sugar imbalances, diabetes, and hypoglycemia. Bilberry leaf extract is also proven to reduce total cholesterol and LDL levels and is beneficial as a food for the pancreas while helping relieve the problems associated with the kidneys and gallbladder.

Historically the leaves and fruits the European blueberry have been used to treat diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and cancer. The antidiabetic properties of the plant are attributed mostly to the content of anthocyanins and polyphenols. These compounds have proven their antidiabetic potential in various studies. Their mechanism of action is to:

  • Increase insulin secretion (anthocyanin pelargonidin)
  • Reduce insulin resistance (anthocyanin cyanidin-3-glucoside)
  • Promote glucose absorption out of the bloodstream and liver and into muscle tissue
  • Protect pancreatic beta cells from glucose-induced oxidative stress.

Besides these effects, the anthocyanins in bilberry leaf contribute to the improvement of the lipid spectrum and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective activities.

Guarana

guarana seedsWhen you see guarana in the formula, you might think that’s where the energy comes from. As it turns out, you would be mistaken. At best, it provides a slight edge to the energy you get from the long chain carbs.

It is true that the active ingredient in guarana (guaranine) is chemically identical to caffeine — but with one huge difference. In its natural form, it is bound to the fiber of the guarana seeds. That means its stimulating component is released gently, slowly, giving you up to 5 hours of refreshing vitality.

And yes, as a dietary supplement, guarana can be an effective stimulant. Its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee seeds). However, the amount of guarana per serving in this formula (200 mg) means that the caffeine hit, which would only be 5-10 mg at 2-4%, is far, far less than is found in a typical cup of coffee (100 mg). You’d need to have 10-20 shakes to get the same caffeine you get from one cup of coffee–and remember, its release is spread out over 3-4 hours. The bottom line is that the vast majority of the “energy lift” from this formula, comes from the ultra-long-chain carbohydrates, not from the caffeine in the guarana. Again, for lack of a better way of explaining it, the 5-10 mg of caffeine found in a serving of this formula merely give an edge to the energy produced by the long chain carbs. And because of the slow release of both the carbs and the guarana, that energy is accessible for a number of hours without excessive stimulation.

So, unlike coffee which is harsh, quick acting, short lasting, and can increase headaches, exhaustion, and dehydration, the energy boost from guarana is:

  • Gentle
  • Slow acting
  • Long lasting
  • No headaches
  • Provides stamina
  • And endurance

Stevia

steviaStevia is used in this formula both to sweeten it and for its nutraceutical value.

That said, two problems prevented stevia from becoming the primary alternative to sugar years ago:

  1. First, for years, the FDA only authorized its use as a supplement, not as a sweetener.
  2. And second, although very sweet and far safer than the standard commercial alternatives most commonly used (aspartame and sucralose), it had an aftertaste that many people didn’t like.

Problem 1 went away when the FDA approved stevia’s use as a sweetener in 2008 to accommodate Coke and Pepsi. And problem 2 went away when food technologists finally learned how to isolate Reb-A from stevia. As it turns out, most of the aftertaste is in the stevioside part of stevia’s sweet taste, not the rebaudioside part.

Rebaudioside A, or Reb A as it is commonly known, is the sweetest of all the natural compounds in the stevia leaf. Also, as just mentioned, it has very little of the problematic aftertaste and is 200 times sweeter than sugar–so very little goes a long way. Recent versions of Reb A available for use as a sweetener actually achieve 98% purity.

In addition to its use as a sweetener, stevia has the wonderful ability to help the body regulate blood sugar. Several researchers have reported that stevia seems to correct both high and low blood sugar–primarily as a result of its ability to re-vitalize beta cells in the pancreas. Other scientists have stated that stevia appears to lower blood pressure, but does not seem to affect normal blood pressure.

Final Energizing Shake Formula

The end result of this formulation is a shake powder that:

  • Tastes great
  • Mixes beautifully
  • Nutritionally supports your body’s ability to control the glycemic response even when mixed with blended fruit or fruit juices
  • Creates a sense of fullness and satiety that lasts for 3-4 hours
  • Loaded with hundreds of antioxidants and phytochemicals that support and nourish the body, as noted above
  • Helps you lose weight quickly, easily, and sustainably
  • And most importantly, provides a sustained energy release that lasts for 3-4 hours

This truly is a different kind of shake.

Resources:

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Note:

As you probably figured out, I do not sell products so you won’t see product names such as “Accelerator” here because we are just discussing what formulas, in general, improve health. You just need to look at the ingredients of any manufacturer you buy from.