About Essence by Ashley November

I believe there is only one way to beautiful, nature’s way. I have believed this for years and still do. Constantly seeking out wonderful natural ingredients from all four corners of the globe, and bring you products bursting with effectiveness to enhance your natural beauty and express your unique personality. And while I’m doing this, I always strive to protect this beautiful planet and the people who depend on it. I don’t do it this way because it’s fashionable. I do it because, to me, it’s the only way.

Floral-Bath-Salts-Tutorial

Just like the skin cells on your face, the cells on your body regularly shed to reveal new, healthier skin underneath. That turnover process slows as we get older; to give it a nudge, reach for a body scrub.

A scrub works in a few ways: As you massage it over your body, the exfoliating granules help to slough off dead skin, and the rubbing action itself boosts circulation and helps drain your lymph nodes, by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface. Plus, after all, that deep cleansing work in the shower, your post-wash moisturizer will be better able to soothe and hydrate your skin.

But another important benefit of using a scrub is how good it can feel at the moment. Being mindful of the refreshing texture against your skin and captivating scent that fills the shower allows you to enjoy the treatment as it’s happening—an experience that can lift your mood and affect your outlook as you continue your day or evening.

Types of Body Scrubs

Typically, a body scrub has larger exfoliating particles than a facial scrub as the skin on your body isn’t as delicate. Common ingredients in store-bought scrubs are salt, sugar, and crushed nut shells, and some include chemically exfoliates, like alpha hydroxy and glycolic acids, which can help smooth and firm skin, and salicylic acid, which can help improve the appearance of blemishes or redness. You can make your own buffing scrub with ingredients like olive oil, honey, raw sugar, ground cloves, oatmeal, and even ground coffee. Adding your favorite essential oils to the mixture transforms your shower into an aromatherapy session.

Try this homemade scrub:

¼ cup olive oil
½ cup white or brown sugar
½ cup ground oatmeal (or coffee grounds for a more invigorating scrub)
1-3 drops essential oil (try lavender, almond, citrus or peppermint oils)

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a mason jar or other airtight container. Use just a quarter-sized amount at a time, storing the scrub in a dry place for up to three weeks.

If you’d rather stick with a smooth shower gel, using a loofah or exfoliating cloth can provide the cleansing scrub your skin needs. Experiment with various products and tools to find a scrub and technique that feels the best on your skin.

How to Use a Body Scrub

If your skin is healthy and firm, you can use a shower scrub up to three times a week. But if you have sensitive or thin skin, limit a good buffing to once a week.

Hold off on running the water in the shower and spend a few minutes using your hands or scrubbing tool to rub your scrub in circular motions onto dry skin for full and longer-lasting coverage. Turn on the water and rinse, using your hands to help remove any remaining granules. If you’re short on time, massage the scrub all over your body and rinse during your normal shower routine.

Be careful not to over scrub. Though your body skin is heartier than the skin on your face, it is susceptible to irritation. Always moisturize after you’ve dried off for smooth, nourished skin.

Do you use a self-tanner? Try a non-oily body scrub before applying any tanning lotion to guarantee an even application. By removing the dead skin cells, you’ll avoid splotches and dark spots, especially around your knees and elbows. Body scrubs are also great for removing self-tanner from your body.

When Not to Use a Body Scrub

If you have a sunburn or are experiencing a rash or other skin condition, give the body scrub a rest. Some of the ingredients—and the actual rubbing—could further irritate your skin. You’ll also want to skip it after shaving if your scrub contains salt or any chemical ingredients.

Wintergreen, A Sweet and Warming Oil

Wintergreen Essential Oil, sometimes called Gaultheria Oil, is derived from the leaves of the Wintergreen herb, also known as Teaberry, Partridge Berry, and Checkerberry. The plant receives it name from its natural predisposition to continue to photosynthesize even during the winter months, thus keeping the plant’s green color year-round. Plants in this category of vegetation are now referred to as “evergreen” plants. Despite its minty fragrance, Wintergreen is not a member of the Mint family; however, it does belong to a family of other aromatic botanicals. The main component of Wintergreen Oil is Methyl Salicylate and the main reason for using the oil is to experience the benefits of this constituent, thus “Methyl Salicylate” is often used interchangeably with “Wintergreen Oil.”

According to historical records, some aboriginal tribes of North America, such as the Mohawk and Ojibwe people, discovered that use of the herb was beneficial for easing respiratory ailments, breathing difficulties, exhaustion, and weakness and for calming inflammation and pain. They chewed the leaves to help reduce fevers and to prevent against infections, and they used the leaves to make poultices in order to decrease pain, soreness, and irritation. For hundreds of years, Wintergreen has continued to be used for its energizing effect and for its immune-boosting quality. Just as in history, it is often present in balms that are meant to improve circulation; soothe muscular aches, bruises, and sores; and to reduce joint pain, swelling, fluid retention, and cramping.

Today, Wintergreen is commonly used in hair care as well as in topical products that help diminish cellulite, as well as symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. It is also often used in aromatherapy to help address headaches, hypertension, and even obesity, as its appetite-suppressing property is reputed to help manage cravings. Its invigorating quality creates a sense of enhanced cleanliness, making it a popular ingredient in oral hygiene products.

With a refreshingly cool, crisp, sweet aroma and flavor similar to that of Peppermint Oil, Wintergreen Oil has traditionally been used in culinary applications to flavor foods, beverages, confectionaries, medications, and household cleaning products. Its antioxidant properties have also made it a popular ingredient in cosmetics.

WINTERGREEN OIL BENEFITS

Used in aromatherapy applications, Wintergreen Essential Oil is known to emit a sweet, minty, and somewhat warming woody aroma that is reputed to have an uplifting, invigorating effect on the mood, making it ideal for boosting energy during times when the body feels lethargic. When diluted and diffused in a vaporizer, the clean, revitalizing, and deodorizing quality of Wintergreen Essential Oil eliminates stale or foul odors in indoor environments, while its mood-elevating property helps improve negative outlooks, feelings of stress and mental pressure, as well as concentration for a greater sense of emotional balance. Its strong aroma is also reputed to heighten sensory perception.

Used cosmetically on the skin, Wintergreen Essential Oil is often added to formulations for moisturizers and hair care products, as it is reputed to promote the complexion’s clarity and to help diminish the appearance of skin conditions characterized by irritation, including acne and dandruff. By causing the skin to contract with its astringent properties, Wintergreen Oil helps to tighten and lift the skin for a firmer, more youthful appearance. On the hair, its astringent effect strengthens the strands to prevent hair loss. When used in natural skin care products, Wintergreen Oil has a circulation-stimulating effect but should be used irregularly, as it may have a rubefacient effect if used too frequently or in high concentrations. For its deodorizing quality, Wintergreen Oil is sometimes added to natural deodorant recipes, as it conceals body odor while eliminating odor-causing bacteria.

Used medicinally, Wintergreen Essential Oil is reputed to increase circulation, enhance metabolic function and enhance digestion, promote the body’s detoxification, calm inflammation, ease pain, and soothe symptoms of psoriasis, colds, infections, as well as the flu. Those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, gout, joint pain, and muscular aches often seek out ointments with Wintergreen in their formulations, as its stimulating quality has an anesthetic effect that helps temporarily numb painful areas while simultaneously contributing the sensation of warmth. The stimulating activity of Wintergreen Oil helps prevent toxins from gathering in any one spot inside the body and helps to facilitate their elimination, which in turn helps naturally and safely shed weight as excess bodily pollutants are expelled. Its warming quality is also valuable for helping to resist or reverse obstructed blood flow, which makes it popular in remedies for frostbite, injuries, and stings or bites caused by poisonous or rabid animals and insects. When applied to infections and wounds, Wintergreen Oil is said to effectively speed up healing; however, it should never be applied directly to open wounds or come in contact with blood.

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Used in massages, Wintergreen Essential Oil contributes a comforting sense of revitalization to exhausted and tender muscles. Its antispasmodic and carminative properties help to decrease spasms, whether they occur in the respiratory tract, the digestive or nervous systems, or in the muscles. This makes its application beneficial for addressing coughing fits, cramps, indigestion, flatulence, nervous convulsions, amenorrhea, and breathing difficulties caused by congestion or ailments such as asthma. Its pain-relieving properties help to soothe headaches as well as discomfort experienced in the lower back, nerves, joints, and ovaries.

Wintergreen 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: Astringent, Stimulating, Refreshing, Soothing, Concentration-Enhancing, Deodorizing
    • ODOROUS: Clarifying, Deodorizing, Stimulating, Soothing
  • MEDICINAL: Analgesic, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, Astringent, Carminative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Muscle Relaxant

WINTERGREEN OIL USES

When using Wintergreen Essential Oil in aromatherapy applications, it is advised that it be used infrequently and well-diluted. Due to its potency, it should be diffused for a maximum of 10 minutes per each use and the uses should be spread several hours apart. It is safest in sparse amounts, 2-4 drops being the recommended number of drops to add to a diffuser and this simple method is reputed to be enough to help ease mental strain and nervousness; address fatigue with a burst of energy; increase endurance during exercise; enhance attentiveness, motivation, and focus; relieve nausea; suppress cravings and convince the body that the stomach has been satisfied; and to promote easier breathing by relieving sinus congestion.

For an air freshener enriched with the fresh scent of Wintergreen Oil, add 2-4 drops in a spray bottle filled with water, then cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly dilute the oil. This can be spritzed around the house, such as in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else that might have trapped odors. This simple spray is reputed to eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. When sprayed in the bedroom before sleeping, it is reputed to promote relaxation, reduce feelings of discontent, and encourage the onset of sleep.

When applying Wintergreen topically, it is strongly recommended that one drop of the essential oil be diluted in four parts of a carrier oil. For a Wintergreen-enriched face wash that is reputed to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation as well as the appearance of blemishes or other skin complaints, add 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Essential Oil to a regular face wash and apply it to the face, as usual, avoiding contact with the eyes. This helps tone the skin and reduce the chances of future acne breakouts. Similarly, 1-2 drops may be added to a regular shampoo and applied to the hair to prevent hair loss, to remove dirt, microbes, dandruff, and excess oil, and to leave the strands scented with a sweet-smelling fragrance.

To make an all-natural moisturizer, 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Oil can be diluted in a preferred body lotion or foot cream for application to stiff, aching muscles. Alternatively, it may be diluted in a carrier oil of personal choice and applied to the skin or to a scalp afflicted with dryness, itchiness, tenderness, and swelling. In the same way, Wintergreen Oil may be diluted in a carrier oil to make a massage blend that can be massaged into any preferred areas of skin that are not sensitive, such as the lower back or the stomach. This is known to help improve digestion and reduce bloating. When massaged into the pelvic regions, it is reputed to help stimulate menstruation in women who may be suffering from an obstructed or irregular flow. Furthermore, this helps reduce menstrual pain and cramping. When applied to areas of skin afflicted with pain, this dilution is known to reduce or relieve discomfort, swelling, and irritation. For safety reasons, massage oils should only ever contain a maximum of 1% Wintergreen Essential Oil.

For a natural salve that is reputed to support the health and function of the respiratory system, 1-2 drops of Wintergreen Oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the chest to relieve symptoms of colds and the flu, such as coughing and congestion. This is also reputed to allow for quality sleep as it encourages easier breathing and the body’s relaxation. This blend can be further diluted with Epsom Salts then added to a bath to facilitate recovery from colds, to release pain, to encourage a positive mood, and to diminish the appearance of blemishes. For enhanced effectiveness, Wintergreen may be blended with the essential oils of Bergamot, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint. A Wintergreen bath is safe to soak in for up to 15 minutes.

A GUIDE TO WINTERGREEN OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

WINTERGREEN ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Gaultheria procumbens

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Range in color from pink (when distilled during the rainy season) to a reddish shade (when distilled in the early winter)
  • Have a strong, sweet, minty scent that blends well with the essential oils of Basil, Bergamot, Birch Sweet, Cypress, Geranium, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, Vanilla, and Ylang-Ylang
  • Be easily substituted with other essential oils that share a similar scent, such as Cypress, White Fir, Spearmint, and Peppermint
  • Be mainly composed of the constituent Menthyl salicylate

 

WINTERGREEN ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Gaultheria fragrantissima Wall

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves

Country of Origin: Nepal

Believed to:

  • Range in color from pink (when distilled during the rainy season) to a reddish shade (when distilled in the early winter)
  • Have a strong, sweet, minty scent that blends well with the essential oils of Basil, Bergamot, Birch Sweet, Cypress, Geranium, Lavender, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, Vanilla, and Ylang-Ylang
  • Be easily substituted with other essential oils that share a similar scent, such as Cypress, White Fir, Spearmint, and Peppermint
  • Be mainly composed of the constituent Menthyl salicylate
  • Be ideal for use in natural formulations that require organic ingredients

WINTERGREEN OIL SIDE EFFECTS

Wintergreen Essential Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Wintergreen Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, epilepsy, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, hormone-related ailments, allergies to salicylates aspirin, asthma or nasal polyps, blood clotting disorders, sensitive skin, and connective tissue disorders.

Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, or seizures are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use. Wintergreen Oil should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin, as this may facilitate the oil’s penetration into the body in concentrations that may be toxic.

Prior to using Wintergreen Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Wintergreen 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 Wintergreen Oil include confusion, headaches, flushing, redness, burning, blistering, swelling, pain, stings, rashes, hives, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, acid reflux, heartburn, organ damage, mouth sores, and difficulty breathing.

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. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Wintergreen Essential Oil is derived from the leaves of the Wintergreen herb.
    • “Methyl Salicylate” is often used interchangeably with “Wintergreen Oil,” as this is the main constituent and the main benefit of the oil.
    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Wintergreen Essential Oil is known to emit a sweet, minty, and somewhat warming woody aroma. It deodorizes indoor environments and helps improve negative moods, feelings of stress, mental pressure, and concentration for a greater sense of emotional balance.
    • Used on the skin and hair, Wintergreen Essential Oil is reputed to improve the complexion’s clarity, soothe dryness and irritation, rejuvenate the skin, eliminate odor-causing bacteria, and prevent hair loss.
    • Used medicinally, Wintergreen Essential Oil is reputed to increase circulation, enhance metabolic function and digestion, promote the body’s detoxification, calm inflammation, ease pain, and soothe symptoms of psoriasis, colds, infections, as well as the flu.
  • Used in massages, Wintergreen Essential Oil revitalizes exhausted and tender muscles help decrease spasms, promotes easier breathing and soothes headaches as well as pain and discomfort experienced in the lower back, nerves, joints, and ovaries.

Nutrition Recommendations for Babies and Children…

For Birth through the First Year

Definitions

  • DRIs = Dietary Reference Intakes. Different nutrients include RDAs, AIs, and ULs.
    • RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance. The average daily level that most healthy people need to prevent a deficiency. RDAs vary by age and gender.
    • AIs = Adequate Intakes. Used when there is not enough information to develop an RDA. A “best guess” amount based on the available evidence.
    • UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Level. The maximum daily intake that is unlikely to cause harm with long-term use.

Recommendations

Calcium: Calcium needs increase steadily throughout childhood and remain high throughout the teen years when the bulk of the bone development takes place.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 200 mg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 260 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 06 months: 1,000 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 712 months: 1,500 mg

Choline: Choline is needed for optimal brain and nervous system development. Many children might not get enough of this important nutrient.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intakes (AI) 06 months: 125 mg
    • Adequate Intakes (AI) 712 months: 150 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Folate: Adequate folate is important to maintain normal growth rates in children.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 65 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 80 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Iodine: Babies need enough iodine for normal thyroid function and for proper brain and bone development.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 110 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 130 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Iron: Breastfed babies get about 0.27 mg of iron per day from breast milk.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months old: 0.27 mg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 712 months: 11 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 712 months: 40 mg

Vitamin A: Food and supplement labels list vitamin A in International Units (IUs), but as the availability of vitamin A to the body varies depending on the source. Nutritionists use “Retinol Activity Equivalents” (1 IU of vitamin A (retinol) = 0.3 mcg RAE).

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 400 mcg RAE
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 500 mcg RAE
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) Birth3 years: 600 mcg RAE (2,000 IU)

Vitamin B12: Breastfed babies of vegetarian or vegan moms may not get enough vitamin B12.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 0.4 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 0.5 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Vitamin B12 appears safe at all intake levels from food and supplements.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a key player in immune system and collagen health, and helps improve iron absorption.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 06 months: 40 mg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 712 months: 50 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Vitamin D: Breastfed babies should receive supplemental vitamin D, as breast milk contains very little of this nutrient.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 012 months: 400 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 06 months: 1,000 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 712 months: 1,500 IU

How much is too much?

  • Most children won’t get too much calcium from diet alone, but when combined with supplements, it’s possible to overdose.
  • You can’t overdose on naturally occurring folate, but fortified foods and folic acid-containing supplements should be consumed in moderation.
  • Iodine excess can cause symptoms similar to iodine deficiency.
  • Excess iron can cause serious organ toxicity.
  • Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so it can build up in the body and cause toxicity. Only pre-formed vitamin A from animal sources and supplements containing vitamin A as retinol or retinyl palmitate can cause toxicity; pro-vitamin A from plant sources doesn’t have this effect.
  • Excess vitamin C can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.
  • Most children are more likely to have a deficiency of vitamin D than to be getting too much. However, vitamin D can be toxic in large amounts.

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Nutrition Recommendations for Children

For Ages 1 through 8

Definitions

  • DRIs = Dietary Reference Intakes. Different nutrients include RDAs, AIs, and ULs.
    • RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance. The average daily level that most healthy people need to prevent a deficiency. RDAs vary by age and gender.
    • AIs = Adequate Intakes. Used when there is not enough information to develop an RDA. A “best guess” amount based on the available evidence.
    • UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Level. The maximum daily intake that is unlikely to cause harm with long-term use.

Recommendations

Calcium: Calcium needs increase steadily throughout childhood and remain high throughout the teen years when the bulk of the bone development takes place.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance 13 years old: 700 mg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance 48 years old: 1,000 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 18 years: 2,500 mg

Choline: Choline is needed for optimal brain and nervous system development. Many children might not get enough of this important nutrient.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 13 years: 200 mg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 48 years: 250 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 18 years: 1 gram

Folate: Adequate folate is important to maintain normal growth rates in children.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 13 years: 150 mcg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 48 years: 200 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 13 years: 300 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 48 years: 400 mcg

Iodine: Even mild iodine deficiency could cause subtle changes in brain function in children.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 18 years: 90 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 13 years: 200 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 48 years: 300 mcg

Iron: Young children are at high risk for iron deficiency because of rapid growth and increased needs.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 13 years: 7 mg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 48 years old: 10 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) Up to 13 years: 40 mg
    • Iron poisoning is a leading cause of accidental death among children under five years old. Keep all iron-containing supplements out of the reach of children and never allow children to have more than the recommended amount of iron-containing supplements.

VitaminA: Food and supplement labels list vitamin A in International Units (IUs), but as the availability of vitamin A to the body varies depending on the source. Nutritionists use “Retinol Activity Equivalents” (1 IU vitamin A [retinol] = 0.3 mcg RAE).

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 13 years: 300 mcg RAE
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 48 years: 400 mcg RAE
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) Up to 3 years: 600 mcg RAE (2,000 IU)
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 48 years: 900 mcg RAE (3,000 IU)

Vitamin B12: Vegetarian or vegan children may not get enough vitamin B12.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 13 years: 0.9 mcg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 48 years: 1.2 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Vitamin B12 appears safe at all intake levels from food and supplements.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a key player in immune system and collagen health, and helps improve iron absorption.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 13 years old: 15 mg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 48 years old: 25 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 13 years: 400 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 48 years: 650 mg

Vitamin D

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 18 years old: 600 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 13 years: 2,500 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 48 years: 3,000 IU

Don’t forget the omega-3s

  • Essential fatty acids are especially important for children, where they support healthy brain and nervous system development and may be helpful for behavioral problems, depression, asthma, and for diabetes and tooth decay prevention.
  • No formal recommendations have been made regarding omega-3 intake, but keep these points in mind when thinking about omega-3s for children.
    • Children should eat no more than 12 ounces per week of “safer” fish, such as rainbow trout, clams, catfish, and wild salmon. Avoid feeding children shark, albacore tuna, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish due to high levels of contaminants in these fish.
    • Some plants foods—like soybeans, flaxseeds, and walnuts—contain omega-3 fatty acids, but the conversion of the omega-3s in these foods to the form that is most beneficial for health may not be adequate to fulfill children’s nutritional needs.
    • If you’re giving an omega-3 supplement to a child, look for one with a purity guarantee.

How much is too much?

  • Most children won’t get too much calcium from diet alone, but when combined with supplements, it’s possible to overdose.
  • You can’t overdose on naturally occurring folate, but fortified foods and folic acid-containing supplements should be consumed in moderation.
  • Iodine excess can cause symptoms similar to iodine deficiency.
  • Excess iron can cause serious organ toxicity.
  • Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so it can build up in the body and cause toxicity. Only pre-formed vitamin A from animal sources and supplements containing vitamin A as retinol or retinyl palmitate can cause toxicity; pro-vitamin A from plant sources doesn’t have this effect.
  • Excess vitamin C can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.
  • Most children are more likely to have a deficiency of vitamin D than to be getting too much. However, vitamin D can be toxic in large amounts.

Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil

HISTORY OF CASTOR OIL

Although many people initially considered the Castor plant to be an overrun and unwanted weed, the fine oil produced from its seeds contained benefits that would soon become known all around the world. The advantages of Castor Oil were made popular by Edgar Casey, a man who was considered to be “the Father of Holistic Medicine.” He taught the public about its healing properties for a vast range of health issues and the potent Castor Oil remedy became known as “Palma Christi,” or “Hand of Christ.”

Ricinus communis, better known as the Castor plant, is native to the Mediterranean region as well as the tropical regions of Africa and India, but it also grows in other tropical regions. Oil-rich Castor seeds, or the “beans,” were traditionally used without their hulls as a method of controlling not only pregnancy but also leprosy and syphilis. In medicinal applications, Castor beans were made into a paste and applied as a poultice to treat skin inflammation and to ease headaches.

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These versatile beans were used to produce paints, industrial lubricating oils, varnishes, as well as the popular cosmetic oil. Historically, Castor Oil was reputed to be a laxative for those suffering from constipation, and it was used by pregnant women to induce labor as well as to prompt the flow of breast milk. Some used it to dissolve cysts, warts, and other growths. Some used Castor Oil in the eyes to soothe irritation caused by dust or other particles; however, it is not advisable to use Castor Carrier Oil for any of these purposes. In Ancient Egypt, Castor Oil was used in wicks to light lamps, and the beans were discovered in tombs that date back to 4000 B.C.

Around the world, Castor Oil continues to be used both cosmetically and medicinally to repair and darken hair while promoting its growth. It is used to soften and soothe irritated or infected skin and to ease muscle aches and joint pains. Castor Carrier Oil and its derivatives are also used in the production of soaps, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumes. It is ideal for use in or as a massage oil for its moisturizing properties.

BENEFITS OF USING CASTOR OIL

The main chemical constituents of Castor Carrier Oil are Ricinoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Fatty Acid), α-Linolenic Acid (Alpha-Linolenic Acid – Omega-3 Fatty Acid), Stearic Acid, and Palmitic Acid.

RICINOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Relieve pain caused by muscle aches and joint pain
  • Soothe itching, swelling, inflammation, cuts, and fungal infections
  • Fight acne-causing bacteria and relieve acne-prone skin
  • Exhibit antimicrobial activity
  • Clear congestion
  • Boost circulation
  • Boost hair growth
  • Soften and hydrate both hair and skin with deep moisture while repairing breakage
  • Balance hormones
  • Eliminate bodily toxins by supporting the lymphatic system
  • Makes up almost 90% of Castor Oil

OLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be effective emulsifiers in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

α-LINOLENIC ACID is believed to:

  • Lessen inflammation
  • Control blood clotting
  • Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility
  • Be an essential Omega-3 Fatty Acid

STEARIC ACID is believed to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

PALMITIC ACID is known for:

  • Having emollient properties
  • Softening hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Being the most common saturated fatty acid

Castor Oil can positively impact hair by stimulating circulation to boost its growth and by locking in moisture with its humectant properties. With its anti-fungal properties, Castor Oil can treat scalp infections by eliminating the bacteria and microorganisms that can cause hair loss, dandruff, and infection. To slow the appearance of graying hairs, Castor Oil can be applied to the scalp to prevent hair from the further loss of pigment. With humectant properties that lock in moisture, Castor Oil can treat dry and damaged hair, making it thicker, shinier, softer, and smoother.

When applied topically, the high fatty acid content in Castor Oil delays signs of aging by deeply moisturizing, softening and soothing the skin, boosting elasticity, and stimulating collagen production. By exhibiting these activities and slowing the look of wrinkles, it promotes the appearance of skin that is more supple and youthful. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make Castor Oil beneficial for reducing acne, as it penetrates the skin easily without clogging pores or aggravating the skin condition. As Castor Oil’s fatty acids restore skin’s hydration and eliminate the effects of dryness, they also help reduce the appearance of unwanted blemishes and scars when applied regularly. They achieve this by deeply penetrating scar tissue to fill it out and make it plump while stimulating the growth of healthier surrounding tissue. This facilitates the fading of blemishes such as stretch marks, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and marks. Its emulsifying properties allow it to be a protective agent that remains as a barrier on the skin and protects it against harsh environmental conditions.

Used medicinally, Castor Carrier Oil soothes skin inflammation caused by dry skin, acne, sunburns. It relieves the discomfort of sore muscles and joint pain, especially for those who suffer from arthritis and those who experience aches caused by forceful exercise. Its antimicrobial properties make it work effectively as a disinfectant for wounds, minor cuts, and scrapes. Due to its warming abilities, Castor Oil boosts circulation, making it an ideal choice for use in massages. Castor Oil strengthens immunity by relieving congestion that leads to the accumulation of bodily toxins and that can cause arthritis. Its excretory properties make Castor Oil effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite by boosting circulation, increasing the production of collagen to firm skin, and by balancing hormones, the imbalance of which is known to lead to the development of dimpled skin. It has also been used to treat warts, skin tags, moles, ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, and Athlete’s Foot.

Castor Carrier 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: Antioxidant, Moisturizing, Softening, Soothing, Strengthening, Stimulating, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial
  • MEDICINAL: Soothing, Strengthening, Stimulating, Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Carminative, Decongestant, Detoxicant, Laxative, Regulating, Sedative, Tonic

castorcarrieroil1

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY CASTOR OIL

The Castor plant can grow on a vast range of soil types, as long as they are deep and have adequate water drainage. The ideal soil is a well-drained, deep, loamy sand with a pH of approximately 6 that is moderately fertile, free of weeds and has somewhat acidic conditions.

In India, the beans are sown either at the beginning of the rainy season between late May and early June or they are planted at the end of the rainy season between late September and early October. Planting the beans at one of these two times helps ensure that the second half of the crop’s life can avoid wet weather. In tropical regions, the harvest begins before the rainy season (November in India), while in dry regions, the beans are harvested when they have all reached maturity. Harvesting is done largely by hand in tropical areas.

During the harvesting process, the spikes of the pods are first broken off, then the capsules are stripped off into a wagon, sled, or into containers worn by the harvesters. If the capsules are not already dry when they are picked, they must be spread out and dried. In India, they are spread out to dry under the sun until they become black. The beans are removed from the capsules – usually being beaten out with sticks in India – then they are winnowed and screened to remove the beans’ outer coverings or “hulls” along with any unwanted particles. A regular thresher, which is a machine that separates the outer coating of the bean from the plants by beating, is not usually a suitable tool for de-hulling the seed, as the soft seeds would be broken by the thresher’s beater bar or peg drums. Instead, the seeds may be decorticated by being rubbed against a rubbing board.

HOW IS CASTOR OIL EXTRACTED?

Castor Oil is derived from the ripe beans of the Castor plant by either the cold or expeller pressing method or through solvent extraction; neither grinding nor tempering can be applied to Castor seeds the way it is applied to Flax Seeds or Soy Beans.

In the industrial process of extraction, the cleaned beans are first passed through machines that remove their outer coats. The more thorough this part of the process, the lighter the resulting oil. The Castor beans are then placed in a cage press through which the crude oil is obtained. This oil is refined and bleached. The final Castor Oil is colorless or pale-yellow in color. The final oil can be stored for up to 4 years.

A press-cake develops throughout the pressing process, and any remaining oil in the cake is extracted through the use of solvent extraction. This oil is called “Number III Oil.” It is not pure, and it cannot be successfully refined.

USES OF CASTOR OIL

The uses of Castor Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and candle making.

Used cosmetically, Castor Oil can make an excellent ingredient in a moisturizer, as it reduces the appearance of the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. It can be simply applied directly to the skin to relieve dryness, to stimulate the production of collagen, and to boost elasticity. For an economical bedtime serum, Castor Oil can be massaged into the face and left on overnight, then washed off in the morning. The appearance of blemishes will gradually diminish over time, as Castor Oil will promote the growth of more radiant skin over time. This simple, direct application to the skin works effectively for reducing the appearance of stretch marks as well.

Used in hair, Castor Oil acts as a conditioning agent that leaves hair hydrated, shiny, and free from the itchiness and bald patches associated with scalp infections and dryness. It can be applied either before or after shampooing to moisturize the hair and scalp or it can be used as an overnight hair treatment mask that can be washed off in the morning. Castor Oil strengthens hair to reduce the amount of breakage that occurs and repairs split ends while promoting and maintaining the growth of hair that appears to be healthier and smoother. It leaves hair looking thicker and richer in color by locking moisture in the hair strands.

Used medicinally, Castor Oil promotes faster healing by penetrating deeply into skin tissue to boost circulation and eliminate bodily toxins. It can function as a first aid for the treatment of sunburns, minor cuts, and scratches by simply dipping a cotton ball into the oil and applying it directly to the affected area. For smaller affected areas, a bandage can also be soaked in Castor Oil and applied to the affected spot for treatment.

A GUIDE TO CASTOR OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

CASTOR VARIETY / DERIVATIVE & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Castor Organic Carrier Oil

Ricinus communis

Found in:

  • India
Known for:

  • being slightly viscous
  • being clear and colorless
  • being odorless/having a light oily scent
  • smoothing calluses
  • adding volume to hair while treating breakage
  • increasing lather in cold-processed soap
Castor USP Carrier Oil

Ricinus communis

Found in:

  • India
Known for:

  • being an ideal emulsifying agent
  • remaining on the skin’s surface as a protective barrier on the skin and guarding against harsh environmental conditions
  • being pale yellow to golden yellow in color
  • being almost odorless
  • conditioning hair and skin
PEG 40 (Hydrogenated Castor Oil) Raw Material

PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Known for:

  • being either a semi-solid or a liquid raw material
  • being a surfactant and cleanser in natural cosmetics
  • being an excellent emulsifier in formulations with large water phases
  • being yellow in color
  • having a mild odor
  • having strong solubilizing qualities
  • being recommended for use as the main, if not the only, emulsifier in cosmetics such as lotions, serums, sprays, and oil-free creams
Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Castor Wax Flakes

Known for:

  • being solid white flakes with little to no odor
  • being heavily used in the cosmetic industry when a waxy component is needed in a formulation
  • acting as a thickening and moisturizing agent (eyeliner pencils, anti-antiperspirant sticks, body washes, creams, lotions, and lipsticks)
  • being used to make liquid soaps

The beans/seeds of the Castor plant contain a toxic byproduct called Ricin. Although the heat of the oil extraction process deactivates it and deprives it of its natural properties, this inactive ingredient can still cause an allergic reaction. Attempts are being made to discover alternative hydroxy fatty acid sources and to modify the Castor plant in order to prevent Ricin from synthesizing with the oil.

Potential allergic reactions that could be caused by the topical application of Castor Oil include itching, rashes, redness, and a stinging sensation. More severe side effects can include difficulty breathing, dizziness, and swelling of the face and throat. It is highly advised that a small skin patch test is conducted 24 hours before Castor Oil is applied topically in larger amounts. Slight itching or redness on any user will indicate that Castor Oil is not suitable for use on that individual, as there is a risk of experiencing an allergic reaction.

Carrier oils are for external use only. 

IN ESSENCE…

    • The potency of Castor Oil as a remedy earned it the moniker “Palma Christi” or “Hand of Christ.”
    • Historically, the oil-rich Castor seeds, or the “beans,” were traditionally used without their hulls as a method of birth control as well as a treatment for leprosy and syphilis.
    • Around the world, Castor Oil continues to be used both cosmetically and medicinally to repair hair, to soften and soothe skin, and to ease aches and pains.
  • Castor Carrier Oil and its derivatives are used not only in pharmaceuticals and perfumes but also in the production of soaps, cosmetics, and massage oils due to its moisturizing properties.

Neem Oil: All About Neem Carrier Oil

HISTORY OF NEEM OIL

The name “Neem” has its roots in the Sanskrit word “Nimba,” meaning “bestower of good health.” It has also been called “Ravisambha,” meaning “sunray-like effects in providing health.” In Hindu texts, namely the Vedas, Neem is referred to as “Sarva Roga Nivarini,” meaning “one that cures all ailments and ills.”

Nicknamed the “Indian Lilac” and the “Margosa Tree,” and believed to have divine origins, the Neem tree is said to have been a safe haven for the Sun when, according to Indian mythology, it had to escape from the malicious powers of demons. Another Indian legend tells the tale of how a few drops of Amrita, meaning “ambrosia” or “the elixir of immortality,” fell onto the Neem tree while it was being carried to Heaven, thus further establishing its encounter with divinity. It was believed that a person who planted at least three Neem trees in his or her life would be guaranteed a place in Heaven.

Considered by the people of India to be sacred, the legendary Neem tree has come to symbolize good health and protection. As such, it was used to protect food and grains and acted as a natural pesticide and fertilizer. The venerated Neem tree has provided physical comfort in the form of shade against the harsh sun and it has naturally repelled bugs and insects for those sitting under its canopy. Used in medicine, its remedial properties have strengthened health and boosted immunity. Its vast range of benefits, which far outweighs the usefulness of other trees, has made the Neem tree an integral aspect of Indian life and has come to be closely associated with the history of the Indian civilization.

The Azadirachta indica botanical, better known as the Neem Tree, is believed to have originated in either India or Burma. When it was discovered that the tree can thrive in any warm, dry regions, migrating Indians introduced it to other lands including Africa, Fiji, Mauritius, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Its resistance to droughts and its tolerance to heat are factors that contribute to its long lifespan of up to 200 years.

Throughout history, several elements of the diverse Neem tree were used to make herbal beauty treatments, insecticides, and first aid treatments for numerous skin ailments. Unless exposed to severe droughts or frost, this evergreen tree’s leaves are available throughout the year. Although its seeds, or “nuts,” are largely known for yielding the beneficial carrier oil, the tree’s bark, leaves, roots, flowers, and fruits are also used to make medicine that was applied topically. Sometimes these parts were ingested in the form of tea infusions, as suggested in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition, which is said to be comprised largely of formulations that involve the use of Neem in one form or another. The tree’s twigs were used to maintain oral hygiene and the leaves were used in salads or were cooked along with vegetables. Neem gum was produced for dry throat lozenges, and Neem fruits were eaten for their sweet pulp.

When the wind blew through the Neem trees and into the surrounding homes, it was believed that the winds carried with them the anti-bacterial properties of the tree, keeping the homes free of bacteria while providing residents with a cool breeze in the summer months. Livestock and cattle were fed Neem leaves for medical relief from ailments and soil were fertilized with seeds, leaves, and bark which all doubled as pesticides. Traditionally, the Neem tree’s derivatives were used topically to address such ailments as fevers, respiratory issues, tetanus infections, rheumatism, arthritis, jaundice, malaria, ringworm, lice, fungal and bacterial infections of the skin, scabies, hives, eczema, psoriasis, and gastrointestinal diseases. Historically, Neem Oil was even used as a topical contraceptive.

Of all the commercially available Neem products, Neem Carrier Oil is said to be the most important for organic farming and medicines. The countless uses of Neem Carrier Oil led to the Neem tree receiving the nickname of “village pharmacy” from the Indians, who traditionally used the oil and the tree’s other parts for its natural insect repellant properties as well as to eliminate head lice and dandruff. It could also prevent baldness, slow the graying of hair, soothe skin, remove bacteria, and create skincare products. Many of these uses remain relevant today, making Neem Carrier Oil one of the most popular choices for use in the manufacturing of soaps, cosmetics, and massage oils.

NEEM OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Neem Carrier Oil are Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Vitamin C, and Carotenoids.

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3) is known to:

  • Lessen inflammation
  • Control blood clotting on the skin
  • Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility

VITAMIN E is known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant activity
  • Delay the appearance of aging
  • Repair and improve the appearance of damaged tissue such as scars, acne, and wrinkles
  • Protect skin and hair against environmental toxins such as those found in air pollution

CAROTENOIDS are known to:

  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent cellular damage
  • Protect skin and hair against environmental toxins
  • Repair skin damage and signs of aging caused by UV radiation, hormones, or acne
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation caused by UV radiation, hormones, or acne
  • Make skin appear exceptionally younger
  • Stimulate the regeneration of skin
  • Boost skin’s collagen and elastin production to increase thickness, elasticity, firmness, softness, and smoothness
  • Hydrate skin by reducing water loss

NIMBIN is known to:

  • Have antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic and antihistamine properties
  • Relieve redness and swelling

AZADIRACHTIN is known to:

  • Be one of the two main active constituents derived from Neem seed kernels
  • Protect the Neem tree with its insecticidal and fungicidal compounds
  • Determine the quality of the Neem Carrier Oil, depending on its percentage

Used topically, Neem Carrier Oil can soothe red, itchy, inflamed skin associated with ailments like acne, burns, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes among others. Neem Oil works as a natural substitute for anti-aging products and as a protective agent against skin damage caused by UV rays. It deeply penetrates the skin to restore moisture, enhance elasticity, smooth wrinkles, stimulate collagen production, and heal cracks caused by dryness. It reduces skin redness and brings out a healthy glow. Its ability to unclog pores and follicles while soothing irritated skin without leaving a greasy residue makes Neem Carrier Oil an effective agent for acne-prone skin; it prevents future breakouts by eliminating acne-causing bacteria, purging impurities, tightening the pores, and evening out skin tone. By softening the skin to make it supple, it facilitates the healing of scars and reduces their look and feel.

neem_oil_caption_image

Used in hair, Neem Oil naturally removes dandruff and balances hair’s natural pH level, preventing future dandruff. It not only detangles hair, but it prevents hair thinning caused by pollution, stress or medication by promoting the growth of stronger, tamer hair. Regular application of Neem Oil to the scalp moisturizes hair from root to tip, maintains the health of the scalp, and repairs split ends, which can arrest the development of hair growth and create frizz. Neem Carrier Oil can rejuvenate and fortify dull, frizzy hair by conditioning it to restore its luster and strength.

Used medicinally, Neem Carrier Oil contains components that prevent and eliminate fungal infections. By soothing the irritation and eradicating the bacteria that causes them, Neem Carrier Oil can calm skin ailments such as ringworm, Athlete’s Foot, nail fungus, and cold sores. By suffocating parasites that live on the skin, it effectively eradicates ailments such as scabies and head lice. When applied to minor wounds, Neem Oil reduces inflammation and facilitates faster healing by increasing blood flow to the area and helping to create collagen fibers, which strengthen firm and shape skin.

Neem Carrier 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-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant, Astringent, Regulating, Pediculicidal, Moisturizing
  • MEDICINAL: Antibacterial, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-fungal, Antiseptic, Antipyretic Antihistamine, Analgesic, Astringent, Anthelmintic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Febrifuge, Parasiticidal, Pediculicidal

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY NEEM OIL

The hardy, evergreen Neem tree is botanically related to the Mahogany tree and is found in the sunlit, dry regions of Southeast Asia as well as other tropical and sub-tropical regions. It does not survive in extended periods of cold weather, in freezing temperatures, or in soils with inadequate water drainage. The tree can grow in any type of soil, including types that are rocky, acidic, saline, alkaline, shallow, or hardpan near the soil’s surface, as well as on soils with pH levels up to 8.5. The Neem tree is known to benefit the environment by increasing soil fertility, emanating a higher amount of oxygen than other trees, and by neutralizing soil acidity. The Neem tree is known to sometimes live longer than two centuries.

The Neem tree has a deep taproot system that can sometimes grow to be twice the height of the tree, especially in young Neem trees, and it can thrive on meager amounts of water, making it drought-resistant. Its branches are widespread and bear white flowers from which smooth green fruits, or “drupes,” grow and ripen to a golden yellow color. The trees begin to bloom after reaching an age of 2-3 years and the drupes begin to develop after 3-5 years. After 10 years, trees can produce up to 50 kg of fruits per year. The fruits are oval, or “ellipsoidal,” in shape and enclose a sweet pulp that further encloses a white seed/nut, which has an outer shell and holds up to three brown kernels. Neem tree fruits are usually produced once a year, but some regions with more moisture can see growth twice a year.

The ripened Neem fruits either fall from the trees on their own, or they are shaken, picked, or stripped off the trees. The pulp must be removed as soon as possible within 45 hours after the fruits are harvested, and this can be done by rubbing pulp against an abrasive surface while they are still wet. After the pulp is removed and the fruit stones have been washed with water to remove any remaining fruit flesh, the cleaned white seeds/nuts are obtained. In some regions, producers leave the cleaning of the seeds to fruit bats and birds, as they feed on the fruit pulp and spit out the cleaned seeds afterward. Because the seeds are distributed far and wide by these and other creatures such as baboons, Neem trees become “weed-like” in their far-reaching dissemination and are rarely affected by the growth of real weeds.

HOW IS NEEM OIL EXTRACTED?

Neem Carrier Oil is obtained from the fruits, seeds, seed kernels, or seed cake by cold-pressing, steam, and high-pressure extraction, or solvent extraction.

The first step of any method is to remove the pulp from the seeds and then to air dry the seeds in a cool room with low humidity. Next, the seeds have their husks removed before proceeding to the method of extraction.

In the cold-pressing method, which is the oldest method, fresh, light green kernels are crushed and pressed to release their oils, which are then collected. Seeds that are fresh will produce oils that are light in color and that emit light, more tolerable scents. Kernels that are old or rancid will yield an oil that is dark and that emits a strong, unpleasant odor similar to that of sulfur. Of all the Neem Carrier Oil extraction methods, cold-pressing yields the highest quality virgin oil consisting of all the active constituents. A second pressing yields an oil quality that is best suited for manufacturing soaps and insect repellents.

In the steam and high-pressure extraction method, the kernels are steamed to boost the flow of oils for the next step, which is subjecting them to high pressure to squeeze out their oils. In this method, the resultant oil is dark and emits an unpleasant odor and the oil’s valuable properties can potentially be destroyed by the application of heat.

In the solvent extraction method, the kernels are finely crushed and placed in a container in which they are soaked with an organic solvent, usually Hexane, which draws out the Neem Oil. Once the solvent has been recovered, the remaining oil is comparatively clear. In this method, many of the oil’s pungent constituents, which are not soluble in Hexane, will remain behind, thus making the finished product suitable for use in the health products and cosmetic applications. Alternatively, the kernels can be pressed first, which would result in a seed cake, which could then have any remaining oil extracted with the use of Hexane.

There are various colors of Neem Carrier Oil ranging between golden yellow, yellowish brown, reddish brown, dark brown, greenish brown, and bright red. It is known to have a strong odor that can be likened to a mixture of peanut and garlic aromas. The highest quality of Neem Oil is derived from Neem fruits that are picked from the tree rather than those that are collected after falling to the ground.

USES OF NEEM OIL

The uses of Neem Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, creams, soaps, and shampoos.

Used topically, Neem Oil can soothe skin ailments such as inflammation, and it can reduce feverish body temperatures while eliminating joint and muscle pain caused by rheumatic disorders. Neem Oil can be applied to the skin as a toner that restores moisture to the face while eliminating pathogens beneath the skin’s surface to leave skin looking and feeling healthier and younger. To condition dry skin, Neem Carrier Oil can be blended with Coconut Oil before being applied. Additionally, a few drops of Lemon or Lavender Essential Oil can be added to this blend for a more pleasant scent. To control acne, Neem Carrier Oil can be mixed with Olive Oil before it is applied to the face and left on for one hour. It can either be washed off after this time, or it can be left on the face overnight, depending on personal preference. To lighten areas of skin that are affected by hyperpigmentation and to regulate melanin production, a few drops of Neem Oil can be applied to these areas with a cotton bud.

To eliminate head lice, 2 tablespoons of Neem Carrier Oil can be heated and applied to the hair, which can then be wrapped with a scarf or a towel to allow the oil to soak into the scalp overnight. The following morning, dead lice may appear on the scarf or towel. The oil can be washed out of the hair with an herbal shampoo. This process may be repeated if itching persists. To soothe a dry scalp and get rid of dandruff, a teaspoon of Neem Oil can be heated, massaged into the scalp, and left on for half an hour before being washed out. Alternatively, for a combination of benefits from other oils, it can be mixed with Coconut Oil for deeper conditioning. Regularly applying Neem Carrier Oil to the scalp will strengthen hair’s defenses against infections and other skin conditions while promoting the growth of healthy, moisturized hair that is shiny, smooth, and free of frizz. An alternative to massaging the oil into the scalp is to add a few drops of Neem Oil to a shampoo of personal preference before each wash.

Soaking nails in 1-2 drops of Neem Carrier Oil can naturally treat any infections, especially when this method of application is repeated 2-3 times daily until the infection is completely eliminated. Similarly, soaking in bath water that is mixed with Neem Oil will remove skin parasites such as scabies. If a bath is not the preferred method of eradication, Neem Oil can also be dabbed directly onto areas of skin affected by scabies infestations and can be left on the skin for 15 minutes. This method of application will reduce itching and inflammation. For an antibacterial hand wash, a few drops of Neem Oil can be added to liquid hand soap before lathering.

Used medicinally, Neem Oil can soothe areas of skin affected by cuts, wounds, and mosquito bites by mixing it with Vaseline or with another carrier oil before applying it. This method makes an effective insect repellant as well.  To eliminate the Athlete’s Foot fungus, Neem Oil can be added to a tub of warm water for a foot soak. To remove warts, Neem Oil can be applied directly to the affected areas once daily until warts have disappeared. This application method is effective for soothing other skin conditions such as cold sores, eczema, psoriasis, and other fungal skin conditions.

A GUIDE TO NEEM OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

NEEM VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Neem Carrier Oil

Azadirachta indica

Found in:

  • India
Known for:

  • having cleansing properties
  • being rich in fatty acids and glycerides
  • providing an excellent natural moisturizing base for skin care formulation
  • improving topical skin conditions

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR NEEM OIL

Neem Carrier Oil should not be ingested, and it should not be used on or near children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all other oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm using a dime size amount of Neem Oil to check for sensitivities.

Due to its potential abortifacient properties, which can possibly weaken fertility or induce spontaneous miscarriages, it is highly recommended that the use of Neem Carrier Oil – a traditional Ayurvedic contraceptive – be avoided by women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, until there are conclusive studies establishing that there is no risk of injury or loss. Those with nut allergies should avoid using Neem Carrier Oil, as Neem seeds are essentially Neem “nuts.”

For those with Auto-Immune Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is best to avoid using Neem Oil, as it can boost the symptoms of these diseases. Neem Carrier Oil can also diminish the effectiveness of medications that are taken to prevent organ rejection by the body, thus it should not be used by those who have recently undergone organ transplant surgery. Generally, Neem Oil should not be used at least 2 weeks before a surgery, as it may lower blood sugar levels during or after surgery. For this reason, individuals with diabetes are advised to monitor blood sugar levels carefully, if using Neem Oil. It may be necessary to change diabetes medication dosage.

IN ESSENCE…

    • For thousands of years, parts of the Neem tree have been used for its medicinal and insecticidal properties.
    • Considered by the people of India to be sacred, the legendary Neem tree has come to symbolize good health and protection, leading the Indians to refer to it as the “village pharmacy.”
    • The ancient Ayurvedic tradition is said to be comprised largely of formulations that involve the use of Neem in one form or another.
    • Used in medicine, the remedial properties of Neem Oil improve health and boost immunity.
  • Traditionally, Neem Oil was used to create skin and hair care products that soothed dryness, repaired damage, removed bacteria, eliminated head and body lice, prevented baldness, and slowed the graying of hair.

Evening Primrose Oil: Benefits and Uses

HISTORY OF EVENING PRIMROSE OIL USAGE

Known to be regal and noble enough for Kings and Queen’s to use in medicinal applications, Evening Primrose is famously referred to as the ‘King’s Cure-All.’ Historically, various parts of the Evening Primrose botanical – such as its seeds, fresh flowers, leaves, and roots – as well as its essential fatty acid were used in medicinal applications to address symptoms of acne, asthma, diabetes, eczema, fatigue, loss of libido and impotence, menstruation and menopause, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, poor memory, and rheumatism.

In Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, the plant’s and its oil’s therapeutic properties were revered and used to regulate and address issues associated with circulation, inflammation, the female reproductive system and the respiratory and nervous systems. Among various Native American groups and in communities of early settlers, the plant’s various parts were used to make infusions, poultices, and topical pastes intended to address bruises, wounds, and obesity. For some tribes, the plant’s roots even made up part of their staple diet. Its benefits were also used to support nutrition and nourishment as well as to soothe discomforts such as sore throats, stomach aches, gastrointestinal problems, and hemorrhoids.

Since the 17th century, Evening Primrose Oil has gained popularity for its remedial activity and has been used in Europe since then for medicinal purposes. Having become a nutritional supplement, it is also used in culinary applications. In addition to being used to address the aforementioned conditions, since the 1930s the Evening Primrose plant and its essential fatty acid also came to be used for the treatment of conditions such as hair loss, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Evening Primrose Oil continues to be used to address symptoms of allergies, poor circulation, and immune deficiencies. This article highlights the various other uses, benefits, therapeutic properties, and safe uses of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Evening Primrose Oil are Linoleic Acids (Omega-6), γ-Linolenic Acid (Omega-6), Oleic Acid (Omega-9), Palmitic Acid, and Stearic Acid.

LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-6) are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness

GAMMA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-6) is known to:

  • Be anti-inflammatory
  • Nourish the skin with essential fatty acids
  • Support the growth of healthier and stronger skin, hair, and nails
  • Effectively soothe pain and discomfort associated with arthritis and symptoms of PMS, including headaches
  • Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility
  • Potentially soothe symptoms of allergies
  • Encourage healthier brain activity
  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness
  • Help sustain the health and function of the cells as well as of the immune, nervous, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit anti-oxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Evening Primrose Carrier Oil exhibits soothing and moisturizing properties, and it is gentle enough for use on sensitive and prematurely aging skin. It is reputed to not only moisturize but to also enhance elasticity as well as the texture of flaking or peeling skin, making it an ideal ingredient in formulations for mature skin. With astringent and softening properties, it promotes the look of a healthy, clear, rejuvenated complexion with enhanced radiance. By addressing roughness, wrinkles, redness, dryness, and irritation, it is reputed to soothe skin afflicted with acne, eczema, and psoriasis. When used in hair, Evening Primrose Carrier Oil is known to hydrate and nourish the scalp to fortify the strands and soothe itchiness, dryness, and inflammation, thus preventing or reducing hair loss.

Used medicinally, Evening Primrose Carrier Oil is reputed to ease headaches, dizziness, muscular aches and weakness, tiredness, and slowed reflexes, and irritability.

As aforementioned, Evening Primrose Oil has traditionally been used to address symptoms of asthma, diabetes, itching disorders, obesity, cough, metabolic and digestive ailments, high blood pressure, and symptoms of menstruation as well as menopause, among other complaints. By facilitating the healing process, it works to reduce the appearance of scars, to soothe inflammation associated with topical allergies, eczema, and psoriasis.

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As illustrated, Evening Primrose Carrier 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-Inflammatory, Anti-Oxidant, Cleansing, Nourishing, Astringent.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent, Analgesic, Stimulant, Anti-Depressant, Sedative, Expectorant, Anti-Histamine, Anti-Coagulant, Immune-Stimulant, Hormone Regulator, Vulnerary, Antispasmodic, Demulcent, Bronchodilator, Cognition-Enhancing.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Evening Primrose Oil can be applied directly to the skin to hydrate and prevent acne. To reduce the chances of future breakouts, simply dab 2-3 drops of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil onto pimples to facilitate their healing.

Evening Primrose Oil makes an ideal moisturizer that enhances skin health, leaving the complexion looking rejuvenated. For a moisturizer that calms redness, inflammation, and itching, combine Evening Primrose Carrier Oil with equal parts Shea Butter and apply the mixture to the skin nightly before bed. This natural moisturizer is known to nourish the skin with essential fats, thereby soothing and clearing the complexion while promoting its softness.

For a moisturizer blend that is ideal for use on dry and sensitive skin, combine 5 ml (0.16 oz.) Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, 5 ml (0.16 oz.) Jojoba Carrier Oil, and 20 ml (0.70 oz.) of Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil. To this, add 2 drops of Roman Chamomile Essential Oil, 2 drops Neroli Essential Oil, 2 drops Rose Absolute, 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 4 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil. Using the fingertips, massage this blend into the face and neck and leave it on for 20 minutes. Blot any excess oil with a tissue. This moisturizer can be used 3 evenings a week after cleansing the face and neck.

For a calming balm that soothes sore feet and smooths cracked heels, in a small bowl combine 5 ml (0.16 oz.) Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, 5 ml (0.16 oz.) Neem Carrier Oil, 5 ml (0.16 oz.) Avocado Carrier Oil, and 50 ml (1.70 oz.) Aloe Vera Gel. To this mix, add 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil, 7 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil, 5 drops Benzoin Resinoid, 5 drops Myrrh Essential Oil, and 3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, then thoroughly combine all the ingredients. This balm can be applied to thoroughly-dried feet after they have been washed in a bath or shower. It is highly recommended that the feet be gently filed first in order to buff away any callouses, as this will prevent the deepening of existing cracks.

For a natural facial oil that is ideal for use on mature skin, simply combine the following ingredients in a small bowl: 12 ml (0.40 oz.) Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, 20 ml (0.70 oz.) Avocado Carrier Oil, 16 ml (0.55 oz.) Rice Bran Carrier Oil, 2 ml (0.10 oz.) Vitamin E Liquid, 4 drops Neroli Essential Oil, and 4 drops Frankincense Oil. Regular application of this moisturizer is known to promote the tightening of the skin, which thereby diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

For a formula that can be applied as a nightly facial serum to nourish, soften, and smooth the skin, in a dark glass dropped bottle combine 2 Tbsp. Avocado Carrier Oil, 2 Tbsp. Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, 1 Tbsp. Pomegranate Seed Carrier Oil, and 10 drops of any essential oil that is reputed to have anti-aging effects. Suggested oils include Clary Sage, Frankincense, German Chamomile, Jasmine, Myrhh, Neroli, Patchouli, Sandalwood, or Ylang-Ylang. Next, cleanse the face and pat it dry with a soft, clean cloth. Apply 2-3 drops of this blend to the face and neck each night before bed.

For a hydrating and soothing hair oil treatment, simply massage a tablespoon of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil into the scalp and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes. It can be washed out in the shower as usual with a sulfate-free shampoo, then air-dried. Application of this conditioning hair mask 1-2 times each week is reputed to yield noticeable results for hair that appears stronger, fuller, healthier, more lustrous, and free from dryness and irritation.

Used in medicinal applications, Evening Primrose Carrier Oil is believed to soothe and prevent acne breakouts. To help lessen the topical discomforts of acne symptoms, combine 1 drop each of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil, Patchouli Essential Oil, and Tea Tree Essential Oil. This blend is known to not only promote general skin health but to also address acne-causing bacteria and reduce the chances of future breakouts.

A GUIDE TO EVENING PRIMROSE OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

EVENING PRIMROSE CARRIER OIL (REFINED)

Botanical Name: Oenothera biennis

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from the seeds

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

    • Be Pale Yellow to Golden Yellow in color
    • Have undergone refinement to remove its scent
    • Leave skin looking and feeling nourished with its high fatty acid content
    • Be ideal for use in manufacturing soaps as well as bath and skincare products
    • Be a nourishing, anti-inflammatory emollient for skin/hair that is dry and maturing
    • Soothe and diminish the appearance of eczema while slowing the look of aging
  • Leave an oily residue on the skin

EVENING PRIMROSE CARRIER OIL (UNREFINED)

Botanical Name: Oenothera biennis

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from the seeds

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

    • Leave skin looking and feeling nourished with its high fatty acid content
    • Be Pale Yellow to Golden Yellow in color
    • Retain its virgin state after pressing
    • Retain a stronger color and aroma than the refined variety, which is natural due to the absence of filtering and chemical processing
    • Be ideal for use in manufacturing soaps as well as bath and skincare products
    • Be a nourishing emollient for maturing skin and dry hair
    • Calm the skin while slowing the look of aging
  • Leave an oily residue on the skin

EVENING PRIMROSE ORGANIC CARRIER OIL

Botanical Name: Oenothera biennis

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from the seeds

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

    • Moisturize the skin to promote a revitalized complexion
    • Retain most of its nutrients, making it a potent ingredient for use in cosmetics and skincare products
    • Range in color from yellowish-Green to Deep Green
    • Exude an aroma that is similar to that of Linseed Carrier Oil (also known as Flaxseed Oil)
    • Moisturize and nourish skin and hair to enhance their appearance and texture, while reducing the signs of maturation
    • Leave an oily residue on the skin
  • Be ideal for use in manufacturing organic soaps as well as bath and skincare products that require the use of organic ingredients

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

Evening Primrose Carrier Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Evening Primrose Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Evening Primrose Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of the oil to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Evening Primrose 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 Evening Primrose Oil include itchiness, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, the rapid growth of nails, or bleeding. Those taking anti-coagulant medications may experience excessive bleeding.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this Carrier 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. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Evening Primrose Oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the Oenothera biennis botanical.
    • Evening Primrose Oil has traditionally been referred to as the ‘King’s Cure-All’ due to the belief that its ‘majestic’ benefits and ‘honorable’ properties made it fit for Kings and Queen’s to apply medicinally.
    • Used cosmetically or topically, Evening Primrose Oil soothes and moisturizes the skin, scalp, and hair while enhancing elasticity. Furthermore, it promotes a healthy, clear, rejuvenated complexion with enhanced radiance and addresses roughness, wrinkles, redness, dryness, and irritation. It facilitates the healing process, reduces the appearance of scars, and calms inflammation.
  • Used medicinally, Evening Primrose Oil is reputed to ease headaches, dizziness, muscular aches and weakness, tiredness and slowed reflexes and irritability. It is believed to promote clear-headedness, decisiveness, and concentration while improving coordination, appetite, immunity, memory, sensuality, and vigor.

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:

  • Klein-Tebbe, J., Wangorsch, A., Vogel, L., Crowell, D. N., Haustein, U.-F. & Vieths, S. (2002) “Severe oral allergy syndrome and anaphylactic reactions caused by Bet v 1-related PR-10 protein in soybean, SAM22.” J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 110:797-804. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/5/1213S.full
  • “Low Glycemic Food of the Month.” Glycemic Index Foundation.” (Accessed 13 Jan 2017.) http://www.gisymbol.com/low-gi-food-of-the-month-28/
  • Burger WC, Qureshi AA, Prentice N, Elson CE. “Effects of different fractions of the barley kernel on the hepatic lipid metabolism of chickens.” Lipids. 1982 Dec;17(12):956-63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7162370
  • Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. “Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):380-7. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/6/1237S.full
  • Ho HV, Sievenpiper JL, Zurbau A, et al. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the effect of barley ß-glucan on LDL-C, non-HDL-C and apoB for cardiovascular disease risk reductioni-iv.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov;70(11):1239-1245. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27273067
  • Tosh, S.M. “Review of human studies investigating the post-prandial blood-glucose lowering ability of oat and barley food products.” Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2013, 67, 310–317. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23422921
  • Othman RA, Moghadasian MH, Jones PJ. “Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat ß-glucan.” Nutr. Rev. 2011, 69, 299–309. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21631511
  • Vitaglione P, Mennella I, Ferracane R, et al. “Whole-grain wheat consumption reduces inflammation in a randomized controlled trial on overweight and obese subjects with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviors: Role of polyphenols bound to cereal dietary fiber.” Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2015, 101, 251–261. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/101/2/251.long
  • Srikanth S, Chen Z. “Plant Protease Inhibitors in Therapeutics-Focus on Cancer Therapy.” Front Pharmacol. 2016 Dec 8;7:470. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5143346/
  • Hagl S, Kocher A, Schiborr C, Eckert SH, et al. “Rice bran extract protects from mitochondrial dysfunction in guinea pig brains.” Pharmacol Res. 2013 Oct;76:17-27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23827162
  • Kannan A, Hettiarachchy NS, Lay JO, Liyanage R. “Human cancer cell proliferation inhibition by a pentapeptide isolated and characterized from rice bran.” Peptides. 2010 Sep;31(9):1629-34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20594954
  • Alitheen NB, Oon CL, Keong YS, et al. “Cytotoxic effects of commercial wheatgrass and fiber towards human acute promyelocytic leukemia cells (HL60).” Pak J Pharm Sci. 2011 Jul;24(3):243-50. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715255
  • S. Dey, R. Sarkar, P. Ghosh, et al. “Effect of wheat grass juice in supportive care of terminally ill cancer patients– A tertiary cancer centre [sic] experience from India.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 24, no. 90180 (June 2006) 8634-8634. http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/jco.2006.24.90180.8634
  • Marwaha, R., Bansal, D., Kaur, S., Trehan A. “Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirements in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study.” Indian Pediatric 2004 Jul;41(7):716-20. http://www.indianpediatrics.net/july2004/july-716-720.htm
  • S. Mukhopadhyay, J. Basak, M. Kar, S. Mandal, A. Mukhopadhyay. “The role of iron chelation activity of wheat grass juice in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome.” jco.2009.27.15s.7012. http://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/jco.2009.27.15s.7012
  • Bar-Sela G, Tsalic M, Fried G, Goldberg H. “Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study.” Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):43-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17571966
  • Mueller T, Jordan K, Voigt W. “Promising cytotoxic activity profile of fermented wheat germ extract (Avemar®) in human cancer cell lines.” J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Apr 16;30:42. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104483/
  • Amraie E, Farsani MK, Sadeghi L, et al. “The effects of aqueous extract of alfalfa on blood glucose and lipids in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” Interv Med Appl Sci. 2015 Sep;7(3):124-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609025/
  • Gray AM1, Flatt PR. “Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Medicago sativa (lucerne).” Br J Nutr. 1997 Aug;78(2):325-34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9301421
  • Gatouillat G, Magid AA, Bertin E, et al. “Cytotoxicity and apoptosis induced by alfalfa (Medicago sativa) leaf extracts in sensitive and multidrug-resistant tumor cells.” Nutr Cancer. 2014;66(3):483-91. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24628411
  • Gatouillat G, Magid AA, Bertin E, et al. “Medicarpin and millepurpan, two flavonoids isolated from Medicago sativa, induce apoptosis and overcome multidrug resistance in leukemia P388 cells.” Phytomedicine. 2015 Dec 1;22(13):1186-94. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26598918
  • Takagi S, Miura T, Ishibashi C, et al. “Effect of corosolic acid on the hydrolysis of disaccharides.” J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008 Jun;54(3):266-8. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/54/3/54_3_266/_pdf
  • Li XQ, Tian W, Liu XX, et al. “Corosolic acid inhibits the proliferation of glomerular mesangial cells and protects against diabetic renal damage.” Sci Rep. 2016 May 27;6:26854. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882506/
  • Kim SJ, Cha JY, Kang HS, et al. “Corosolic acid ameliorates acute inflammation through inhibition of IRAK-1 phosphorylation in macrophages.” BMB Rep. 2016 May;49(5):276-81. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070707/
  • Nutan, Modi M, Goel T, Das T, et al. “Ellagic acid & gallic acid from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. inhibit HIV-1 infection through inhibition of HIV-1 protease & reverse transcriptase activity.” Indian J Med Res. 2013 Mar;137(3):540-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705663/
  • Cherian S, Kumar RV, Augusti KT, Kidwai JR. “Antidiabetic effect of a glycoside of pelargonidin isolated from the bark of Ficus bengalensis Linn.” Indian J Biochem Biophys. 1992 Aug;29(4):380-2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1427968
  • Fratantonio D, Cimino F, Molonia MS, et al. “Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside ameliorates palmitate-induced insulin resistance by modulating IRS-1 phosphorylation and release of endothelial derived vasoactive factors.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Dec 21;1862(3):351-357. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28011403
  • Takikawa M, Inoue S, Horio F, Tsuda T. “Dietary anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract ameliorates hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in diabetic mice.” J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):527-33. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/140/3/527.long
  • Himanshu Misra, Manish Soni, Narendra Silawat, et al. “Antidiabetic activity of medium-polar extract from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana Bert. (Bertoni) on alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011 Apr-Jun; 3(2): 242–248. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3103919/
  • Abdula R, Jeppesen PB, Rolfsen SE, et al. “Rebaudioside A potently stimulates insulin secretion from isolated mouse islets: Studies on the dose, glucose and calcium dependency.” Metab. 2004;53:1378–81. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15375798
  • Paul Chan, Brian Tomlinson, Yi-Jen Chen, et al. “A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral stevioside in human hypertension.” Br J Clin Pharmacol. Sep 2000; 50(3): 215–220. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2014988/

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.

In Essence: Geranium Essential Oil

IN ESSENCE…

    • Pelargonium graveolens is the Geranium species that is most commonly cultivated for the extraction of the sweet-smelling essential oil.

 

    • Used in aromatherapy applications, Geranium Essential Oil reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and tension, enhances concentration, improves cognitive function, and balances the emotions as well as the hormones.

 

    • Used cosmetically or topically in general, Geranium Essential Oil is reputed to effectively eliminate dead cells, tighten the skin, promote the regeneration of new skin, and diminish signs of aging.

 

  • Used medicinally, Geranium Essential Oil works as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent. It is reputed to enhance circulation, soothe symptoms of menstruation and menopause, reduce blood pressure and pain, and boost immunity.

HISTORY OF GERANIUM OIL

As early as the time of the ancient Egyptians, Geranium Oil has been used in a vast range of applications including the promotion of a clear, smooth, radiant complexion, the balancing of hormones, the alleviation of anxiety and fatigue, and the improvement of moods. When the Geranium botanical was introduced to Europe in the late 17th century, its fresh leaves were used in finger bowls. Traditionally, Geranium Essential Oil has been used as an insect repellent and it has also to flavor food, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages.

Although this perennial shrub is indigenous to South Africa, the Geranium plant is now cultivated throughout the world, namely in Central America, Europe, the Congo, Egypt, Russia, and Japan. The Geranium species that is most commonly cultivated for the extraction of the sweet-smelling essential oil is Pelargonium graveolens. Depending on the country in which the specific varieties of Geraniums originate, Geranium Essential Oils may exhibit differing properties.

GERANIUM OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Geranium Essential Oil are: Linalool, Geranyl formate, Citronellol, and Geraniol.

LINALOOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:

  • Sedative
  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Analgesic

GERANYL FORMATE is believed to exhibit the following activity:

  • Anti-fungal
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Aromatic (fresh, green, floral, fruity)

CITRONELLOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:

  • Anti-fungal
  • Sedative
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-convulsant

GERANIOL is believed to exhibit the following activity:

  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-septic
  • Analgesic

Used in aromatherapy applications, Geranium Essential Oil is known to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, and tension, thereby enhancing the general sense of well-being and relaxation, while offering relief to those suffering from insomnia. Its sweet, uplifting floral scent makes it an ideal ingredient in the manufacturing of soaps and cosmetics, such as creams and perfumes. Furthermore, the scent of Geranium Oil is known to enhance concentration, improve cognitive function, and balance the emotions as well as the hormones. Its calming and tonic properties are known to regulate several body systems, including the respiratory and circulatory functions. This facilitates functions such as nutrient absorption and digestion, and as a result, it improves general health. When Geranium Oil is combined with any of the following essential oils, it is known to contribute to a blend that is aromatically appealing: Angelica, Basil, Bergamot, Carrot Seed, Cedarwood, Citronella, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavandin, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Neroli, Orange, and Rosemary.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Geranium Essential Oil is reputed to contribute to the health of the skin cells and ultimately the health of the complexion. It is known to effectively eliminate dead cells and to promote the regeneration of newer, healthier skin, thus benefitting the acne-prone skin. Its astringent property helps tighten the skin and to diminish the appearance of the symptoms of aging, such as sagging and wrinkling skin. For decades, Geranium Oil has also been used to promote hair growth by nourishing the scalp and balancing the production of sebum and natural oils.

Its anti-bacterial properties make Geranium Oil an ideal ingredient in cosmetic deodorants, as it eliminates body odor and leaves the body through perspiration.

When applied in a massage, Geranium Essential Oil is known to encourage muscles to contract, which firms the appearance of muscles and results in the body looking toned over time. By increasing collagen production, Geranium Oil is known to enhance elasticity and to maintain the skin’s softness and smoothness, which is especially beneficial on skin that has been exposed to chemicals, UV radiation, or rough physical activity. When used regularly, diluted Geranium Oil is also advantageous for strengthening loose, aging, or acne-prone skin. On scars, unwanted spots, blemishes, stretch marks, and cuts, Geranium Oil’s cicatrizant property is known to accelerate healing and fading. While boosting skin’s regenerative ability, it also evens out skin tone and the appearance of cellulite.

Used medicinally, Geranium Essential Oil works as an anti-inflammatory and anti-septic agent making it a beneficial ingredient for use in moisturizers that are meant to treat skin ailments such as excessive oil, acne, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. It is reputed to enhance circulation, soothe symptoms of menstruation and menopause, and reduce blood pressure as well as pain. When applied to wounds, Geranium Oil is known to protect them against toxins and infections, which then allows the body to boost its immunity from within rather than directing its efforts to an external challenge. By creating blood clots, Geranium Oil stems the flow of blood, which accelerates the healing of wounds. It is reputed to address the discomforts of eczema, Athlete’s Foot and other fungal infections, burns, frostbite, and even sore throats.

 Geranium 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-Inflammatory, Relaxing, Balancing, Astringent, Deodorant, Tonic
    • ODOROUS: Anti-Inflammatory, Relaxing, Balancing, Decongestant, Deodorant, Anti-Depressant, Uplifting
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Inflammatory, Relaxing, Astringent, Tonic, Anti-Viral, Anti-Bacterial, Decongestant, Anti-septic

GERANIUM OIL USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, the sweet scent of Geranium Oil is uplifting, energizing, and inspiring, offering a sense of positivity and good health, both physically and mentally. To diminish feelings of sadness and stress and to enhance cognitive function, diffuse 2-3 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in an essential oil diffuser. This has the added benefit of soothing a sore throat and addressing sinus infections.

For a cosmetic fragrance that balances the mood and that can be applied to the wrist, the inside of the elbows, and the neck in the same way as a regular perfume, first select a Carrier Oil of a personal preference. In a dry glass container, pour in 2 Tbsp. of the chosen Carrier Oil, then add 3 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 3 drops Bergamot Essential Oil, and 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Cover the container and shake it well to thoroughly blend all the oils together. To use this natural, homemade perfume, simply dab a few drops onto the aforementioned pulse points. Alternatively, a cosmetic fragrance can be made in the form of a natural deodorant by combining 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil and 5 Tbsp. of water in a spray bottle. This refreshing and anti-bacterial body spray can be used daily to eliminate body odors.

Used in topical applications, Geranium Oil’s astringency makes it beneficial for tightening skin that is affected by symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles. To firm the appearance of sagging skin, simply add 2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil to a face cream and apply it twice daily until there are visible results. To tighten larger areas of skin, create a massage oil by diluting 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. of Jojoba Carrier Oil before massaging it into the affected areas, concentrating especially on muscles that are likely to sag. Geranium Oil is reputed to not only tone the abdomen and support the growth of new skin but to also facilitate the efficacy of the metabolism.

geranium_captionimage

For a facial serum that that slows the look of aging, pour 2 Tbsp. of a Carrier Oil of personal preference into a dark 1 oz. glass dropper bottle. Recommended oils include Argan, Coconut, Sesame, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed, and Macadamia. Next, pour in 2 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 2 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 2 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, 2 drops Rose Absolute, 2 drops Helichrysum Essential Oil, and 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil. As each essential oil is added, gently shake the bottle to thoroughly incorporate it. Cleanse and tone the face before massaging 2 drops of the resultant serum into the face, focusing more on areas with fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. When the product has absorbed into the skin, moisturize with a regular cream. When the product is not in use, store it in a cool and dark area.

For a gentle oil blend that enhances skin’s health and appearance, especially on skin afflicted by ailments such as acne and dermatitis, simply dilute 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in 1 tsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil. Next, gently massage this blend onto the affected area twice daily. It can be used every day until results are visible. Alternatively, 2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil can be added to a regular facial cleanser or body wash.

For a hair conditioner that gently hydrates and restores the natural pH of the scalp for strands that appear and feel softer and healthier, first combine 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, and 10 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in a 240 ml (8 oz.) glass spray bottle or in a BPA-free plastic spray bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously to thoroughly blend all the ingredients together. To use this conditioner, spray it onto the hair, allow it to soak in for 5 minutes, then rinse it out. This recipe should yield 20-30 uses.

Used in medicinal applications, Geranium Oil is reputed to be ideal for addressing fungal and viral ailments, such as shingles, herpes, and Athlete’s Foot, as well as problems related to inflammation and dryness, such as eczema. For an oil blend that is moisturizing, soothing, and regenerative for feet affected by Athlete’s Foot, combine 1 Tbsp. Soya Bean Carrier Oil, 3 drops Wheatgerm Carrier Oil, and 10 drops Geranium Essential Oil in a dark bottle. To use, first soak the feet in a warm foot bath consisting of Sea Salt and 5 drops of Geranium Essential Oil. Next, apply the oil blend to the foot and massage it thoroughly into the skin. This can be done twice daily, once in the morning and again in the evening.

For an anti-bacterial bath that facilitates the elimination of bodily toxins and inhibits the onset of external contamination, first combine 10 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 10 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil with 2 cups of Sea Salt. Pour this salt blend into a bathtub under hot running water. Before entering the tub, ensure that the salt has dissolved completely. Soak in this aromatic, relaxing, and protective bath for 15-30 minutes to stimulate better circulation and to promote the faster healing of blemishes, wounds, and irritations.

A Geranium Oil massage blend is known to ease puffiness, remove excess fluid in the skin and tissues, and firm sagginess. For a blend that tightens the skin and improves muscle tone, dilute 5-6 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. Olive Carrier Oil or Jojoba Carrier Oil and gently massage it over the entire body before taking a bath or shower. For a calming massage blend that is reputed to address muscle tension and nerve pain, dilute 3 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in 1 Tbsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil. This blend is also beneficial for issues with inflammation, such as arthritis.

For an anti-microbial remedy that not only soothes and disinfects scrapes, cuts, and wounds, but that also quickly stops the bleeding, dilute 2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in water and wash the affected area with this mixture. Alternatively, Geranium Essential Oil can be diluted in 1 Tbsp. of Olive Carrier Oil and spread in a thin layer on the affected area. This application can be continued daily until the wound or irritation heals or clears up.

Alternatively, a remedial salve can be made with the addition of several other healing essential oils: First, place a double boiler on low heat and pour 30 ml (1 oz.) Beeswax into the upper half of the double boiler until the wax melts. Next, add ¼ cup Almond Carrier Oil, ½ cup Jojoba Carrier Oil, ¾ cup Tamanu Carrier Oil, and 2 Tbsp. Neem Carrier Oil and stir the mixture. Remove the double boiler from the heat for a few minutes and allow the blend to cool down without allowing the Beeswax to harden. Next, add the following essential oils, making sure to whisk in each one thoroughly before adding the next: 6 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil, 5 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil, and 5 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil. When all the oils have been added, mix the combination once more to ensure complete blending, then pour the final product into a tin car or a glass jar. Continue stirring the blend occasionally and allow it to cool. This can be applied in a small amount to cuts, wounds, scars, and bug bites. When the product is not in use, it can be stored in a cool and dry area.

Geranium Oil is known to provide relief for feminine issues such as the discomforts associated with menstruation. For a relieving massage blend that soothes the uneasy symptoms, such as pain, soreness, and tightness, first, pour ½ cup of a Carrier Oil of personal preference into a clean and dry bottle. Recommended Carrier Oils include Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, and Sunflower. Next, add 15 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 12 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil, 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil, and 4 drops Mandarin Essential Oil. Cap the bottle, gently shake it to thoroughly combine all the ingredients, and allow it to sit overnight in a cool and dry area. To use this blend, gently massage a small amount of it onto the skin of the belly and the lower back in a clockwise direction. This can be used daily for a week leading up to the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

A GUIDE TO GERANIUM OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL (BOURBON)

Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens L’Her.

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves & flowers

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have the same therapeutic properties as other varieties of Geranium Oil, but to be the preferred variety among aromatherapists, due to its more preferable fragrance
  • Be both mentally and physically balancing, soothing, and regulating
  • Stabilize hormones and negative moods
  • Regulate sebum production in both dry and oily skin
  • Promote cell regeneration
  • Encourage blood clotting to promote the faster healing of wounds
  • Enhance immunity and boost resistance to stress
  • Have uplifting properties that enhance the mood to reduce feelings of anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sadness
  • Exhibit deodorizing and disinfecting properties
  • Reduce the appearance of cellulite

GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL (EGYPTIAN) / GERANIUM ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens Pelargonium x asperum

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves & flowers

Country of Origin: Egypt

Believed to:

  • Balance and enhance the complexion
  • Be ideal for use in addressing feminine ailments related to reproductive health
  • Have uplifting properties that enhance the mood to reduce feelings of anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sadness
  • Exhibit astringent properties that cause the skin, tissues, and muscles to contract in order to leave the face and body looked clear, toned, and tightened
  • Stimulate and enhance circulation
  • Have anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties that may prevent viral infections
  • Facilitate the body’s elimination of toxins
  • Enhance digestion and reduce the chances of developing flatulence

ROSE GERANIUM ORGANIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Pelargonium roseum x asperum

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from leaves

Country of Origin: South Africa

Believed to:

  • Have the same therapeutic properties as other varieties of Geranium Oil
  • Usually be used in combination with other floral essential oils, often with Lavender, or to soften more herbaceous scents
  • Often be used to extend the more expensive Rose Oils or the endangered Rosewood Oil, when it is available.
  • Be a staple ingredient for formulators who rely on essential oils for their high-end fragrance profiles

ROSE GERANIUM SOUTH AFRICAN ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical Name: Pelargonium roseum X asperum

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Steam distilled from petals

Country of Origin: South Africa

Believed to:

  • Have the same therapeutic properties as other varieties of Geranium Oil
  • Be one of the most fragrant species of Rose Geranium
  • Be used in perfumery and in the cosmetics industry, as it can be made to imitate many other fragrances
  • Be often used to ‘stretch’ the scent of much more expensive Rose Oils

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR GERANIUM OIL

Geranium Oil should never be ingested due to its toxicity. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Geranium Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Due to Geranium Oil’s styptic property, those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised: diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and other heart-related ailments, peptic ulcers, liver damage, bleeding disorders, skin disorders, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Geranium Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop of the Essential Oil in 4 drops of a Carrier Oil and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Geranium 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 Geranium Oil include sensitization, rashes, and a burning sensation.

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. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

 

Essential Oils and Flower Essences

Essential oils and flower essences bestow a concentrated dose of plant energy.
In most cases, however, you may want to work with the whole plant. You may find that if you wish to work with a particular plant, you’re obligated to grow it yourself. This may be for a variety of reasons.
* Some plants are rare in an area. You may need to nurture some indoors or order from a specialist nursery.
* What you desire may not be marketable: the alchemists treasured fresh morning dew caught upon the leaves of lady’s mantle. They called it “water from heaven” and prized it as an ingredient in many enchanted potions. If you want some {and you very well might; it’s reputed to provide a beautiful complexion!}, you’ll have to grow it and gather it yourself.
* In some cases, it’s best to have your own fresh stock of plants, to save on expense and safety. Your own roses are not only more powerful than the florists, but you’ll save a small fortune and, as you place the petals in your bath, you also have the assurance of knowing no toxic pesticides and preservatives taint them and potentially you.
* In the case of root charms, often the only way to guarantee that you have the genuine article is to actually start with the whole plant. Too many commercial preparations purporting to include items like High John the Conqueror or Adam and Eve Root contain only petroleum products.
* Unfortunately, in a growing number of cases, the only way to access a power may be to grow your own, because there isn’t any other source.

The decimation of the animal kingdom is well-known and well-publicized, but humans have done no less damage to plants. A 1998 international study conducted by sixteen organizations, including the Smithsonian Institute, indicates that at least one out of every eight known plant species on Earth is now either threatened with extinction or nearly extinct. **

Solomon’s Seal was once a very prominent magical plant, a favorite of ancient spell books and grimoires. Beth Root derives from another very endangered plant. Native to North America, aboriginal Americans prized it as a love potion. The root was boiled and then dropped into the desired man’s food; upon consumption, he should have eyes only for his enchantress. Beth Root was heartily adopted into African-American occult traditions, where it went under the name Low John the Conqueror. Only a few decades ago, Low John was a common Hoodoo charm, used for preserving family peace and encouraging economic prosperity. You’ll rarely find it marketed because it can’t be found in the wild anymore. If you want it, you’ll have to grow it. The magic that you perform together can be especially potent because the very existence of your ally indicates to Earth your willingness to provide healing for her as well as to provide for your own desires.
The best way to gain an ally is to be an ally.
In the past, wild-crafting, the process of collecting wild plants, has been the preferred method. Common metaphysical wisdom held that wild plants were considered to be at the peak of their powers. With the wilderness under siege and quickly disappearing, this is no longer true. Wild-crafting, with few exceptions, has become the equivalent of poaching. It is unethical to remove wild plants; from a magical perspective, whatever power they possess may backfire on you. The best way to generate your personal power is to replenish Earth and nature, not continue to deplete it. The strongest, most powerful plant allies will be the ones you nourish and nurture. They will become familiar with you, your family, your needs, and desires at the same time that you are providing for theirs.
If you are unable to do so, try to find a nursery that will grow them for you.
Flower Essences.
All those steeped in Earth wisdom have always treasured dew, rain and moisture gathered from plants. Infused with the specific power belonging to the plant, the tiny particles of liquid were also perceived as containing the perfect balance of the four elements: not only the power of water but also that of Earth, as radiated through the plant, the surrounding air, and fire from the shining sun.
The ancients were limited to the plants growing on their doorstep. You are not. The modern science of flower essences brings the power of plants from all over Earth directly to you.
The direct descendant of these botanical potions, the flower essences were first prepared in their modern form in Great Britain in the 1930’s by Dr. Edward Bach, a prominent Harley Street physician, and homeopath. Dr. Bach came to the conclusion that true complete healing was not possible if approached solely from the physical plane. Emotional and spiritual imbalances were the root of illness and dysfunction, and therefore true healing must be accessed through soul and emotion. He devoted the rest of his life, at great personal sacrifice, to developing the original flower essence remedies. Dr. Bach reported that the plants communicated directly with him, sharing their secrets with him.
Dr. Bach’s original thirty-eight remedies were almost entirely derived from British flora. Emerging during the Great Depression, the bulk of the remedies served especially to relieve confusion, despair, depression and fear. Since that time, many other flower essence practitioners have followed in Dr. Bach’s pioneering footsteps so that there is now greater access to a wider variety of botanical powers than ever before. The availability of flower essences ranges as far afield as the Australian Bush, the Sonora Desert, the Alaskan wilderness, Hawaii, California and the rainforests of Peru.
As befitting true New Age substances, many were created specifically to facilitate metaphysical and spiritual goals. There are specific essences for strengthening and accessing your magical skills, also for healing divisions between genders and building bridges to other spiritual realms.
How To Use Flower Essences.
* The most common method of use is internal. Flower essences are usually sold as concentrated stock bottles and must be further diluted in pure spring-water. The general dosage is four drops four times a day, however, instructions are available on the bottles or from the manufacturers.
* Flower essences can also be applied topically, rubbed gently onto the body. A few drops on the soles of the feet or on the thin skin between thumb and forefinger before bedtime are especially beneficial. Flower essences can also be added to massage oil or bath.
* A room spray or atmospheric cleanser can be created by adding flower essences to a spray bottle of spring-water.
* Flower essences can be used to enhance and heal the power of crystals, plants, and amulets.
Apply a few drops as needed.
Although flower essences and essential oils have confusingly similar names and are sold in very similar packages {tiny glass vials}, they are by no means identical or interchangeable.
Essential oils are actually planted extracts, with extremely potent and scientifically documented physical effects. All essential oils, for instance, are antiseptic, to varying degrees. How flower essences work remains the subject of debate, the general consensus being that they are a form of vibrational healing. Flower essences are pure water infused and charged with the plant’s energy and vibration. There is no need to kill the plant to create the essence; typically only carefully selected leaves and blossoms are used. The essences are designed to provide a bridge between the plant’s healing aura and your own. There is no direct physical effect; instead, their profound effect is felt upon the emotional and spiritual plane. They are safe for everyone’s use, children and animals included. Flower essence remedies can also be used to benefit plants and crystals.
Flower essences are created for every situation and emotional state. Good source books will bestow a sense of their scope. The Following flower essences are especially beneficial for enhancing your magickal aptitude.
Flower essences are available directly from the manufacturer and also from many health food stores and alternatively oriented pharmacies.
* Angelica {Angelica arcangelica}: enhances the ability to perceive and recognize protection and guidance from spirit beings, especially angels. It is indicated for those who feel bereft of spiritual guidance and protection and can be especially beneficial during threshold experiences.
Angel’s Trumpet {Datura candida}: provides assistance for those who would like to do psychic work but can’t quite accept the reality of psychic forces and energies.
Green Bells of Ireland {Molucella laevis}: recommended for those who feel ungrounded, those who lack a conscious heart connection to the natural world and also for those who feel unaware of, or unable to access, the light and intelligence present in nature. This remedy is intended to strengthen the connection between Earth and one’s body.
Mugwort {Artemisia vulgaris}: the single most profound essence for evoking psychic skill and perceptions, it promotes alignment with the moon, corrects imbalances in the feminine cycle and promotes greater awareness of dreams and psychic ability.
Saguaro {Cereus giganteus}: Because balance is crucial, with all this talk of Earth Mother energy, this essence enhances appreciation of the male energy that serves as protector, provider and the true partner to Earth’s feminine energy. For men, saguaro can help forge a path; for women, it helps heal losses. For both, it provides inspiration and healing. Saguaro eases a sense of alienation from one’s own parentage and spiritual traditions. Saguaro reinforces an awareness of the ancient and sacred. It provides a sense of lineage, a linking of oneself to Earth’s holy traditions.
Saint John’s Wort {Hypericum perforatum}: increases spiritual awareness and consciousness. It also has a protective capacity. As your psychic work and ability increases, as you become increasingly aware of other powers, feelings of vulnerability may arise. Saint John’s Wort provides a psychic shield, soothes fears, provide courage and security and calms the effects of disturbing dreams.
* Star Tulip {Calochorus tolmiei}: creates an aura of receptivity and enables one to tune into other energies, particularly in dreams and meditation. Star-tulip is indicated for those who feel hard and brittle, cut off from Earth and other living beings, especially for those who are unable to meditate or pray but yet feel the need. Star-tulip stimulates psychic awakening and receptivity to one’s inner voices.

* Yarrow {Achillea millefolium}: strengthens and cleanses the personal aura and provides a profound psychic shield. It is indicated for those who feel drained by exposure to toxic forces, whether physical, spiritual or human.

What Are The Health Benefits of Clary Sage Oil.

Clary sage, also known as Salvia sclarea, is a plant native to the northern Mediterranean Basin. It is widely used for medicinal purposes and as a spice.

Many parts of the clary sage plant can be used, including the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds. In alternative health practices, clary sage essential oil is used in aromatherapy.

In this article, we take a look at the uses and suggested health benefits of clary sage oil. We will also look at whether there is any scientific evidence to back these claims up. We also examine how the oil is used, and what side effects could occur.

Uses for clary sage oil

Clary sage oil

Clary sage oil may have properties such as antidepressant effects, improved digestion, and stress relief.

Aromatherapists and related alternative health practitioners often use clary sage as an essential oil in their treatments, and supporters believe it has many health benefits.

People may use the oil for one or more of its potential properties, including:

  • antidepressant effects
  • anti-inflammatory effects
  • improved digestion
  • antibacterial effects
  • stress relief
  • improved circulation

Possible health benefits

Below is a list of possible health benefits for clary oil. It is worth noting that many of the studies listed below either involved small numbers of participants or were carried out on animals rather than humans.

Antidepressant effects

2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the antidepressant and stress-fighting effects of several different essential oils in rats. The oils used included clary sage, chamomile, rosemary, and lavender.

The study found that out of all the oils tested, clary sage oil had the most potent anti-stress effect.

The researchers concluded that clary sage oil could be an effective treatment for people experiencing depression. They also suggested that the effect of the oil was closely linked to the feel-good hormone dopamine.

Blood-pressure-lowering and anti-anxiety effects

study published in 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that inhaled clary sage oil significantly lowered blood pressure and calmed the breathing of women with urinary incontinence undergoing assessment. The paper includes the suggestion that inhaled clary sage oil may be an effective way of promoting relaxation.

Another piece of research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that including clary sage oil in the food of animal subjects lead to a significant reduction in dominant and anxious behavior.

Anti-inflammatory effects

Research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2017 found that an extract of clary sage had significant anti-inflammatory effects in rats. The researchers concluded that the clary sage extract could be an effective treatment for the inflammatory gum condition periodontitis.

It is worth noting that the study also found that applying the same clary sage extract 3 days before infection did not appear to have a preventive effect.

Improved mental function

Different sage plants have long been thought to improve mental function in various ways. A 2017 review looked at the effects of various sage plants, including clary sage. The author found that sage plants seem to be associated with improved memory, greater alertness, and potential Alzheimer’s-fighting effects.

The same review also noted the anti-depressant and anti-stress effects of clary sage mentioned above.

Antibacterial effects

Many essential oils, including clary sage oil, are thought to have antibacterial qualities. A 2015 study looking at the antibacterial effects of clary sage essential oil found that its antibacterial qualities worked against all strains of bacteria tested.

Clary sage essential oil was also found to reduce the growth of E. coli significantly and appeared to attack bacteria cells in several different ways.

Other research has also suggested that some of the chemical components of clary sage have anti-fungal effects.

2017 study comparing the antibacterial and antifungal effects of six different essential oils also found clary sage to have antibacterial and antifungal effects. However, these effects were less significant than most of the other oils that were tested.

How to use clary sage oil

essential oil burner

Clary sage oil may be diffused into the air with an essential oil burner.

As research has found positive effects of clary sage oil when inhaled, taken via the mouth, and applied directly to inflamed areas of the body, there are many options for how someone can use it. Users should make sure to select 100 percent essential oil.

Aromatherapy: Around 2 to 3 drops of clary sage oil can be mixed with water and other essential oils and diffused into the air via an essential oil burner. When vaporized, clary sage oil can help to fight bacteria and other germs in the air

Skin: Add about 6 drops of clary sage oil to 1 oz. of carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and rub directly onto a wounded area, or massage into skin. Add 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to the bathwater to soothe sore muscles and improve mood. When rubbed onto an injured area, it can have a direct antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anesthetic effect.

Oral: Add around 1 to 2 drops of 100 percent essential oil to tea, smoothies, or food for a soothing effect, and to help reduce inflammation in the gums. The Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Guide state that 25-50 microliters (or 1/2 to 1 drop) can be taken orally one to three times daily.

All of these uses appear to be safe and may be beneficial.

Side effects

Clary sage oil appears safe for use.

Various sources make claims about clary sage oil increasing estrogen in the body, but at least one 2017 study that investigated the estrogen-boosting effects of different essential oils did not seem to agree. The study did, however, suggest that geranium and rose otto essential oils might boost estrogen.

Other supposed risks or side effects of clary sage oil seem to be largely anecdotal and appear not to be well supported by research.

A reasonable precaution would be to test a small area of skin before applying the oil to large areas of skin and avoid using clary sage oil before driving or operating heavy machinery. People should also stop using clary sage oil and consult with a medical professional if any issues arise.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. People who wish to use them should speak to their healthcare provider first and be sure to obtain the oils from a respected supplier.

Also,

A large body of research suggests that clary sage oil could have many health benefits.

These benefits include anti-depressant and anti-stress effects, likely connected to the hormone dopamine. These effects could make clary sage an effective natural remedy for low moods. It is worth noting that many studies do not involve large groups of humans, however.

Clary sage oil has also been shown to lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety, and be a great all-around stress buster. There’s some suggestion that, as a member of the sage family, it may even have a positive impact on memory and mental function.

Finally, clary sage oil has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and moderate antibacterial effects, as well as anesthetic properties. It is worth keeping in mind, though, that clary sage oil does not appear to prevent inflammation but instead acts as a treatment for it.