The Apothecary for Skincare

THE APOTHECARY

  • AVOCADO OIL (Persea gratissima) – A nutrient-packed fruit is loaded with good fatty acids, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins A, D, and E. Especially helpful for mature skin. Organic.
  • BEESWAX (Cera Alba) – Protectant, helps keep moisture in the skin, high Vitamin A content. Raw, Organic.
  • ALOE (Aloe barbadensis) – Plumps and soothes skin, Vitamin & mineral rich. Organic.
  • AHA’S (Alpha hydroxy acids) – Exfoliator, increases blood flow to skin, balances and evens skin tone.
  • BLACKBERRY (Rubus fruticosus) – Blackberry is a rich source of Vitamin C which can help in collagen production and in reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. It has an impressive amount of naturally occurring Vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids to deeply support the skin. It’s beautiful darker color is attributed to naturally occurring polyphenols.
  • BLUEBERRY (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Antioxidant. Helps promote the health of capillaries located just beneath the epidermis. Can help minimize redness.
  • CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis) – High Vitamin C content, collagen building. Organic.
  • CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla) – Anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • COMFREY (Symphytum officinale) – anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • CRANBERRY (Vaccinum macrocarpon) – Contain resveratrol, high Vitamin C for collagen-building, antiseptic properties. Organic.
  • COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) – Soothes, reduces water loss in the skin, packed with nutrients.
  • COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma seed butter) – High in fatty acids, hydrates the skin deeply. Raw, Organic.
  • DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) – membrane stabilizer, improves skin tone. Vegan.
  • GERANIUM (Pelargonium asperum) – Helps improve skintone. Organic.
  • HONEY (Mel) – Moisturizing, antibacterial, raw and unprocessed from the Bodyceuticals Apiary. Non-treated hives. Certified pollinator is friendly.
  • HYALURONIC ACID (Sodium hyaluronate) – Helps to keep tissues hydrated and plump.
  • JOJOBA (Simmondsia Chinensis) – Soothing, gentle and deeply moisturizing for most all skin types. Organic.
  • KUKUI (Aleurites moluccana) – High in essential fatty acids,  readily absorbed, very moisturizing.
  • LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia) – Helps tissues to heal, lessens scarring. Organic
  • OLIVE (Olea europaea) – Highly effective transdermal carrier.   Organic, Kosher.
  • FRUIT STEM CELLS (Apple) – Help to rejuvenate aging skin and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Clinical trials show that with use, the skin has a more youthful and radiant appearance. Organic.
  • MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) – Helps to build collagen, assists with cell hydration.
  • NEEM (Azadirachta indica) – Often used for itchy, irritated skin, has antifungal properties and can provide improvement with scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • OAT STRAW (Avena sativa) – Rich in minerals. Organic.
  • PINK GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus paradisi) – High in Vitamin C, builds collagen. Fresh cold-pressed.
  • POMEGRANATE (Punica granatum) – contain sun protective compounds, helps reduce breakouts, show to improve hyperpigmentation.
  • ROSE (Rosa damascena) – Middle note, “flower of love”, farm-grown. Organic.
  • ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis) – Antioxidant, Anti-fungal.
  • RASPBERRY (Rubus Idaeus – Contain a high amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and rich in antioxidants. Can help tone skin. Organic.
  • ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Contains vitamin & minerals such as calcium, has cell regenerative properties, helps tighten sagging skin.
  • SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippophae rhamnoides) – High Vitamin C content and carotenoids, amino acids, minerals, vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas. Can help with redness and swelling. Organic.
  • SEAWEED (Laminaria digitata) – Rich in minerals and trace elements, high vitamin content, helps build elastin in the skin.  High quality from France.
  • SPEARMINT (Mentha spicata) – Pure, refreshing, restorative properties. Organic.
  • TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia) – Antibacterial, Antifungal. Organic.
  • VANILLA BEAN (Vanilla planifolia) – A source of B Vitamins, antibacterial, helpful in hair care, smells amazing.
  • STRAWBERRY (Fragaria Vesca) – Contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which prevents collagen destruction—one of the major causes of wrinkle formation. Has a photoprotective effect. Organic
  • VITAMIN C – Naturally found in Calendula, protects and builds collagen.
  • VITAMIN E – Natural preservative, soothes sensitive skin. Non-GMO.

7 Must Have Herbs for Yogis

Being a Yogi is a commitment to the Self and to living a life that is lived with the essence of health and wellness. Food and lifestyle play a major role in reaching the complete effects of a regular yoga practice, wherein one ceases to be as effective with the absence of another. Experts proclaim that a healthy body and mind is 75% Diet and 25% Exercise. Even though the percentage varies according to the body type and its constitution, nonetheless, the involvement of a healthy Ayurvedic Diet in the span of a Yogi’s life should ideally not be neglected. Since time can recall, the healing system of Ayurveda Science has been employing the use of designated herbs in treating various disorders and for promoting an overall healthy body and soul. These Herbs are countless in number with their specific uses and benefits. While certain Vedic herbs are just so incredibly remedial that they reserve a permanent space in the kitchens of various yogis and even regular people.

As a Yogi, if you are looking for the essential herbs to include in your kitchen and your diet, here are 7 Must-have herbs to check on your list:

Ginger Root:

 

A powerful Ayurvedic herb with anti-inflammatory properties, ginger root is highly useful in treating symptoms of dyspepsia, bloating, flatulence, travel sickness, nausea, and arthritis. It is also effective in reducing LDL cholesterol (bad) and poor blood pressure. This herb is also used to treat menstrual cramps in women for ages. Consume it in a raw form or add it to a curry for gaining its benefits.

Chamomile:

 

Chamomile is a magical herb blessed with anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, analgesic properties and is beneficial for a variety of purposes for the skin, hair, age, and hormones. A cup of chamomile tea at night works like a charm to induce sleep and is a proven Vedic remedy for those suffering from insomnia. It also protects the skin from irritation, tan, pimples, and acne. Additional, Chamomile is also highly useful in treating digestive disorders, reversing the skin aging, inducing detoxification and relaxation.

Rosemary:

 

This green herb is a Mediterranean native and is an excellent source of iron, vitamins, and calcium. Used in multiple varieties of continental culinary preparations, this herb is not just used for its beauty, aroma, and fragrance, but also for improving digestion, enhancing focus, improving cerebral functions, providing anti-oxidants to the body, and more.

Coriander:

 

The aromatic leaves of cilantro and coriander are a regular garnish for a variety of Indian and various other culinary delights. Useful in lowering LDL cholesterol, promoting healthy bowel movements, lowering blood sugar levels, coriander also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties making it ideal for treating mouth boils and pimples. Other than the numerous properties of coriander, it also contains iron and is helpful in treating anemia. It is also used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

Holy Basil (Tulsi):

 

Holy Basil is a sacred herb in the Indian context. However, its presence is not limited to a prayer offering. The Holy Basil, a.k.a Tulsi is highly useful in treating symptoms of fever, asthma, respiratory issues, cardiac issues, and stress. Additionally, consume it orally in a chewable form to have fresh breath in the morning.

Thyme:

 

Thyme is another sacred herb that was used for protection against ‘Black Death’ in ancient times. In the Ayurvedic context, this herb is one of the most perfunctory herbs ever discovered with a range of antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, and insecticidal properties. Use the thyme leaves as a garnish in a raw state to find relief from a variety of skin problems, flu-like symptoms, digestive disorders, and respiratory disorders. It is also prescribed as a diuretic to those who have an issue with retaining water in their body.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla):

 

Of the countless benefits of this herb rich in Vitamin C, Amla contains anti-inflammatory properties as well. In addition to aiding in regulating digestion due to the presence of fiber in this herb, it is also helpful in treating mouth ulcers, whooping cough, and cold. When used on the scalp on a regular basis, the herb works as an ideal anti-dandruff medicine. It is also used as a powerful ingredient for weight loss.

Include these herbs in your yogic diet preparations regularly for extracting the most rewarding benefits for your body and mind.

herbs of jupitor

10 Healing Herbs for Anxiety, Inflammation, and More

Ancient cultures have relied on the healing power of herbs for the entire duration of their existence. Even though we live in the modern world and have access to a wide range of medication, herbs have maintained the same potent properties and they can help us deal with various health problems. In this article, we will present a number of popular herbs, which can be used to forget about anxiety and depression, to bring down inflammation and even to keep infections at a safe distance. Keep on reading and discover more interesting information on the subject.

#1 Ashwagandha

If you are suffering from chronic stress, you might want to consider taking this herb. Available in the form of supplements, it can help one cope with daily stress. You can use it to defeat the signs of depression and anxiety, to strengthen your immune system and even to stimulate your libido. This herb is more than recommended to those who suffer from diabetes, as it can keep the blood sugar levels in check.

#2 Neem

Neem is one of the most popular herbs in the world, especially when it comes to the healing of the hair. It is a well-known fact that neem oil can restore the hair’s natural luster, helping you forget all about dandruff and other similar scalp problems. Neem has great antibacterial properties, representing the perfect weapon against acne. You can also use neem to exfoliate the skin, eliminating the dead cells accumulated on the surface; topical applications are recommended for fungal infections as well.

#3 Amalaki

When it comes to herbs that can help with women’s health, this particular one is a top choice. Not only does it assist with flushing out harmful toxins but it is also rich in beneficial nutrients and vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B12). It can improve the overall blood circulation, balance hormone levels and reduce the intensity of PMS symptoms. It can protect against mood swings, stimulate the libido and work wonders against common complaints, such as stress and anxiety. Given its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it should come as no surprise that it can be used for various skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, etc.).

#4 Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the best-known herbs in the universe, being appreciated for its multitude of beneficial properties. You can use it to improve gastrointestinal health and escape from discomforting symptoms, such as bloating and flatulence. If you suffer from indigestion, peppermint remains one of the best natural remedies to get back you to normal. This amazing herb can take nausea away, alleviate headaches and improve the health of your hair. The application of peppermint oil on the hair restores its luster, thickening the strands and eliminating dandruff.

#5 Dong Quai

Also known as the female ginseng, this herb has a lot of benefits to offer whereas our health is concerned. It can balance hormones, stimulate the libido in both men and women, not to mention it can make one more fertile. The herb is an excellent choice for women dealing with menstrual cramps, symptoms of menopause, it improves cardiovascular health and it prevents blood clots from forming. It is one of the best choices for those who are looking to boost their energy levels, not to mention it protects against hypertension and stimulates mental health.

#6 Dandelion

The reason why dandelion is so popular has to do with its rich content in vitamins and minerals. The herb has detoxifying properties, stimulating the healthy functioning of the liver. At the same time, it contributes to the healthy release of bile, ensuring a proper digestive process. Dandelion represents a good option for those who are suffering from diabetes, as it can keep the blood sugar within normal levels. It is recommended for bone health, is rich in vitamin K, calcium and other beneficial minerals. Last, but not least, it supports kidney health, acting as a diuretic.

#7 Brahmi

Brahmi is considered to be one of the best herbs for the brain, is recommended to those who are looking to improve their memory and overall cognitive performance. It stimulates all of the brain functions, repairing the nervous system wherever it is possible. You can take it to support your mental health, as it relieves stress, anxiety and other depression. Brahmi is a great natural remedy against the manifestations of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

#8 Siberian ginseng

Natural remedies, and especially herbs, can help us escape the number one enemy in our lives: stress. The Siberian ginseng is not only an excellent remedy against chronic stress but it works to boost energy levels and give you more mental clarity. You can take it to improve the overall blood circulation and stimulate the healthy functioning of the immune system. It is well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, as well as for the ability to increase cardiovascular performance and fight chronic fatigue.

#9 Sage

The healing properties of sage have been appreciated for centuries, with this herb being used for a number of health problems. Today, it is known that sage can stimulate the healthy functioning of the brain, boosting cognitive functions and memory. It is especially useful in those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other forms of dementia.

#10 Holy basil

A different herb from the common basil, this particular herb is one of the best weapons against infections of different sorts. First and foremost, it works to boost the healthy functioning of the immune system, thus acting as a preventative measure against infections. Second, if an infection has occurred, this herb will work to inhibit the growth of infectious microorganisms, whether these are fungal or bacterial. Holy basil can also keep the blood sugar levels in check, to improve anxiety and its manifestations.

In conclusion, these are some of the best healing herbs you can consider for maintaining an excellent state of health. As you have seen, each of these herbs has different benefits to offer and it is great to give all of them a try. There are plenty of herbs for you to try out, including Boswellia, cat’s claw, thunder god vine, and willow bark – all of these are great for arthritis joint pain. Give them a try and see for yourself which one works the best.

pickled-garlic jpg

Rosemary Gladstar’s: Pickled Garlic Cloves

Add pickled garlic cloves to soups, sauces, and marinades to help keep winter illnesses at bay.

Ingredients:

• Peeled garlic cloves
• Apple cider vinegar, enough to cover
• Raw local honey, to taste

Instructions:

1. Fill Mason jar with cloves and cover with apple cider vinegar. Keep in a warm, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. (I like to put my jars in a paper bag and place in the sun.)

2. After a few weeks, strain liquid and set aside.

3. Pour half the liquid into a small saucepan over very low heat and stir in honey until fully incorporated.

4. Pour this back over the garlic and allow to sit for another 3 weeks in a cool dark place, such as your pantry.

5. Eat a clove of the pickled garlic whenever you wish, but for treating cold or flu, eat 3 to 5 cloves a day.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide.

The Heat: Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke/Sunstroke

The symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke can start slowly and appear innocent, but this is a potentially dangerous situation, especially among the young and elderly. A person might feel dizzy, faint, nauseous, or drowsy. They might be confused or disoriented, have a headache, fever, rapid heartbeat, or hyperventilation. A temperature over 104 degrees F {40 degrees C} is a sure warning sign unless the person has just momentarily become hot from exercising in the sun. When the body’s thermoregulation system is overwhelmed, the person stops sweating which is a sure sign of trouble, especially if the skin becomes hot and dry and flushed red. Also, the person can be feeling cold and shivering, even though heatstroke is the cause. It’s easy to think that heatstroke won’t happen in humid conditions, but humidity reduces the evaporation of perspiration and so keeps heat in. Whatever the circumstances of heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or sunstroke, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, get the person out of the sun and into the cool. Remove any unnecessary clothing. Attempt to cool them down in any way possible, using cool water sponging, cool compresses, a water spray, or regularly replaced cold, wet towels. Key areas to try and cool down are the head, neck, armpits, wrists, and groin. If nothing more than water is available, pour it over the person’s head and over the key areas. As soon as possible, get the person in a cool shower or, better still, into a bath of cool water. This option, however, is not advisable if the person is elderly or has cardiovascular disease, because it can raise blood pressure.

If pouring water over the body, apply 1 drop of neat eucalyptus radiata to the back of the neck. When sponging, use ice-cold water with eucalyptus radiata and lavender oils added and continue for at least 24 hours. One quick dowsing with water will only lower the body temperature by one-hundredth of a degree, which isn’t going to be enough. Alternatively, if immersing the person in a cold-water bath, add 4 drops each of eucalyptus radiata and lavender essential oil. Apply neat lavender or eucalyptus radiata to their temples, the back of their neck, and the solar plexus – the upper abdomen – and have them breathe deeply.

Although the person with heatstroke may not feel thirsty, they should drink plenty of liquids. If you can’t find rehydration packs in the local stores, make up your own as described below**. Heatstroke can develop over days and takes a few days to recover from it. Keep an eye on the patient throughout this time.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps can occur after unaccustomed exercise and perspiration, with loss of body fluid and electrolytes. Drink plenty of water and take rehydration drinks, or make your own and massage the legs with the following oil:

Heat Cramps

Geranium: 2 drops

Eucalyptus Radiata: 3 drops

Blend together and then dilute by adding 3-5 drops to each 1 teaspoon {5mL} of carrier oil.

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat {miliaria rubra} is a rash of tiny blisters that can look like little pink or red spots. Caused by blocked sweat glands, it is extremely itchy. It can affect any part of the body, and the best line of action is to keep as cool as possible and expose the area to air only cover with light cotton clothing.

Apply a splash to the area, made by diluting 6 drops each of eucalyptus radiata, lavender, and chamomile roman to a teaspoon of alcohol {vodka is fine} and shaking it all in a large cup of spring water. Warm baths are very soothing if you add to them 4 drops each of eucalyptus radiata and lavender essential oil.

Including baking soda in the bath is a good solution. If you can use this method, you only need lavender oil, but – and this is important – add the lavender to the baking soda and mix them together before putting in the bath; don’t just put them in separately. Below are the amounts you will need for various age groups. If wanting to help a baby, try to get hold of calamine lotion. Add 2 drops of chamomile german {or chamomile roman} and 2 drops of lavender to 2 tablespoons {30 mL} of calamine lotion. Alternatively, bathe the baby in a warm bath, ensuring the folds of the skin are thoroughly dried afterward.

Baking Soda Blend for Prickly Heat: Babies

Baking soda: 1/2 cup

Lavender: 1 drop

Mix the lavender essential oil with the baking soda thoroughly before adding a small amount to the bath. If the baby is under 12 months, this quantity is enough for four baths; if between 12 and 24 months, this makes enough for three baths.

Baking Soda Blend for Prickly Heat: Children Age 2 to 7 Years

Baking soda: 1/2 cup

Lavender: 2 drops

Mix the lavender essential oil with the baking soda thoroughly before adding to the bath. This quantity is enough for two baths.

Baking Soda Blend for Prickly Heat: Children Age 8 to 10 Years

Baking soda: 1/2 cup

Lavender: 3 drops

Mix the lavender essential oil with the baking soda thoroughly before adding to the bath. This quantity is enough for two baths.

Baking Soda Blend for Prickly Heat: 11 Years to Adult

Baking soda: 1 cup

Lavender: 3-4 drops

Mix the lavender essential oil with the baking soda thoroughly before adding to the bath.

**Rehydrating Blend

Drink plenty of fluids to replace those lost and take a rehydration formula drink to replace electrolytes. If you can’t get one, make your own:

Bottled water: 1 pint {475 mL}

Sugar: 3 level teaspoons

Salt: 1/4 teaspoon

Lemon essential oil: 1 drop {or fresh lemon or lime juice}

Mix together well and drink one small glass at a time.

A warm bath with 4 drops each of geranium and ginger essential oil diluted in a small amount of carrier oil often helps to calm the nerves, and at the very least it will make you feel better.

Double Chamomile Chronic Pain Cream Recipe

Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile have a lot in common, but they’re also very different.

In fact . . . they’re not even the same genus or species! Roman Chamomile’s Latin name is Chamaemelum nobile, and German Chamomile’s is Matricaria recutita.

They are both beautifully relaxing—they can calm everything from emotions to inflammation. Both are gentle on skin and help soothe skin irritation. They both also ease tension in muscles and pain in joints. They are simply a great team!

I tend to use Roman Chamomile a little more often for relaxation and soothing an upset stomach, while I reach for German Chamomile for topical blends meant to relieve pain and inflammation. In this pain cream, I’m using them both. This blend is especially nice for chronic pain, since it’s persistently effective, and also very gentle on the skin over time.

Double Chamomile Chronic Pain Cream

  • 1 oz (28 g) natural unscented cream
  • 7 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • 10 drops of German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass jar. Put the natural cream into the jar, then stir in the essential oils with a glass stirring rod or the handle of a stainless steel spoon.

Massage the cream into muscles and joints that feel painful—tense, cramped, strained, or swollen. Apply as needed every few hours.

I suggest making this blend fresh every few weeks since most natural cream is not made with a preservative. Also, be aware that German Chamomile is a blue oil, and can stain light-colored clothes or linens.

If you don’t have German Chamomile essential oil, you can use Juniper essential oil (Juniperus communis) instead. It’s also very good at soothing muscle and joint pain.

And if you prefer a rich, luxurious butter for pain relief, you can try:

Kpangnan Butter Recipe for Joint Pain

“Kpangnan” is pronounced “pan-ya”—though it’s often just called “golden shea butter!” It’s deeply moisturizing and has nourishing components that help reduce inflammation.

At room temperature, kpangnan butter’s texture is firm like cocoa butter, and it has a beautiful powdery silkiness. It’s usually a yellow butter, and has a rich scent that’s somewhere between shea and cocoa butter—softly nutty and warm. Once the butter is smoothed onto your skin, the aroma only lingers for a few minutes.

If you’re looking for a super-moisturizer, kpangnan butter is fun to blend with. Its moisturizing properties are as impressive as shea butter’s (and that’s saying something!). In West Africa, where most kpangnan comes from, it’s often called “golden shea butter” or “yellow shea butter,” and is used for skin moisturizing, making soap, and even for cooking meals. (Don’t you just love using natural butters on your skin that are so healthy you could actually eat them?)

I like using kpangnan butter in therapeutic blends where I want a slight warming effect and some pain relief.

Some of kpangnan’s healing effects are due to the high level of stigmasterol in it. Stigmasterol is a natural plant sterol with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

 

Here’s a massage body butter blend with kpangnan butter that you can make to relieve joint pain (especially pain that sets in when the weather turns cold). You’ll need a 4 oz (120 ml) glass jar.

Kpangnan Juniper Joint Butter

  • 1.5 oz (42 gm) Kpangnan butter (Pentadesma butyracea)
  • 1.5 oz (45 ml) Trauma Oil
  • ½ oz (14 gm) Beeswax (Cera Alba)
  • 10 drops Juniper (Juniperus communis)
  • 17 drops of Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  • 13 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

This recipe calls for Trauma Oil, which is actually an infusion of three different herbs in a single carrier oil. The carrier is usually olive oil, and the three herbs are arnica, St. John’s wort, and calendula. It’s so relieving pain.

Directions

  1. Melt your beeswax in a Pyrex measuring cup over the stove. Use the “double boiler method”—put the Pyrex in a soup pot that’s about ¼ of the way full with water. Bring the water to a gentle boil. I like to leave the handle of the Pyrex hanging over the side of the soup pot, so it’s not too hot when I go to grasp it.
  2. Add the kpangnan butter to the melted beeswax in the Pyrex.
  3. Add the Trauma oil to the Pyrex and mix.
  4. Remove the fully melted blend from heat. Add you’re essential oils and stir gently.
  5. Pour the blend into your 4 oz (120 ml) glass Rest the lid on top of the cooling butter so the essential oils won’t evaporate. Allow the butter to cool for a few hours.

The butter itself would be so soothing for joints even without the essential oils, but we’ve added oils with strong anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Use your butter as often throughout the day as you like.

Source:

Aromatherapy Education and Resources

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Beauty From the Roots

Roots are an essential part of plant growth. They help plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil, and they act as an anchor, keeping them in place. We know them as staple ingredients in the kitchen, with vegetables such as beets, turnips, carrots, and radishes often making an appearance as side dishes, and herbs like burdock, ginger, or turmeric flavoring hearty stews and curries.

And while these roots benefit our bodies, including skin and hair, as a source of food, they also work wonders when applied topically. Turmeric and ginger in the bath provide those same anti-inflammatory properties as they do when consumed, and fresh carrots and radishes help revive and renew dull, dry complexions. The thick mucilage of marshmallow root produces a hydrating, soothing texture to many commercial and homemade cosmetic products.

You may use these useful plant parts in several ways. Fresh and finely grated, they can be added to facial mask recipes or bath soaks. Dried and ground into a powder, roots can give a beauty boost to body powders and skin scrubs. If made into an infusion or tea, these roots help treat a variety of skin issues, from insect bites to dandruff. Finally, a simple application of some plant roots can even help fade scars or soothe sore muscles. Here are a few recipes for you to try at home.

Carrot-Turmeric Mask

We know consuming carrots provides an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is essential for healthy skin from the inside out. Applied topically, freshly grated carrots hydrate the skin and help to clean and clear away dead skin cells. The turmeric in this recipe reduces inflammation and also brightens a dull complexion. All skin types can use this mask weekly.

2 Tbls white kaolin clay

1/4 cup fresh carrot, finely grated

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric root

1/2 Tbls distilled water {as needed}

In a small dish mix together all ingredients until you have a smooth mixture. You may need to adjust the amount of water depending on the moisture content of your carrots.

To Use: Spread onto clean face and neck and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize with a natural oil or favorite face cream.

Yield: 2 ounces.

Anti-Aging Fresh Ginger Mask

This spicy root rejuvenates dull skin by stimulating your circulation for a radiant effect. It also deep cleans your pores to retain more moisture.

2 Tbls oatmeal or oat flour, finely ground

2 Tbls strong chamomile tea

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger or 1/8 tsp dried ground ginger

In a small dish mix together all ingredients and stir well, until you have a smooth mixture.

To Use:  Spread onto clean face and neck and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry.

Yield: 2 ounces.

Energizing Ginger Root Soak

In the bath, ginger’s circulation-boosting power has a rejuvenating and detoxifying effect on the body, which is especially great for sore muscles. This is a good bath recipe for the morning or after exercising.

1 Tbls finely grated fresh ginger root or 1 tsp dried ginger

1 cup baking soda

1 cup Epsom salts

2-3 drops essential oil of rosemary

In a clean bowl mix together all ingredients.

To Use: Pour into your bath as you fill your tub with warm water. Stir well to distribute and dissolve all the salts. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 16 ounces.

Soothing Burdock Root Soak

If you want to promote rest, this bath recipe combines muscle-soothing Epsom salts with the aromatherapy of lavender for the ultimate night-time soak. The creamy roots of burdock target dry skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. {A tea made from the roots offers antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.} Find dried burdock root at most natural food shops.

2 cups strong burdock tea

1/4 cup baking soda

1 cup Epsom salts

2-3 drops essential oil of lavender {optional}

In a small container mix together all ingredients and stir until the salts dissolve.

To Use: Pour into the bath as you fill your tub with warm water. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 16 ounces.

Orris Root Dry Shampoo

The root of white iris {Iris florentina} has been used for centuries as a fixative in perfumes and powders. The dried root has a light, violet scent. In this recipe, it works as a dry shampoo, when washing your hair may not be an option.

1/4 cup orris root powder

1 Tbls rice flour or corn flour

1 tsp baking soda

Mix together all ingredients.

To Use: Sprinkle a teaspoon or two of the powder between your hands and rub directly into your scalp and through your hair. Leave the dry shampoo on for 10 to 15 minutes. Then brush out all of the powder.

Yield: 2.5 ounces.

 

Beetroot Lip Balm

Most natural food stores sell beetroot powder, which is often used in place of sugar as a natural sweetener. It also has a lovely purple-red color that’s perfect for tinting lip balms for a bit of natural color. You can also use fresh beetroot juice in this recipe; experiment with the amount depending on how deep you’d like your color.

2 Tbls almond oil

1 Tbls grated raw beeswax

1/8 to 1 tsp fresh beetroot juice or beetroot powder

Mix together the oil and wax and heat gently on a stovetop or in the microwave to melt the wax. Add the beet juice or powder slowly and stir well, until you have the shade you desire. Do not worry if the mixture seems to separate; it will stay together when cooled. Place in a small, clean container or lip balm tube.

To Use: Apply to your lips with a clean finger or small lip brush.

Yield: 1 ounce

Fresh Radish Skin Scrub

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, radishes also have a high water content, helping to keep your skin moisturized. In this exfoliating scrub, they target flaky, dry skin and reduce inflammation.

2 Tbls fresh radishes, finely grated or chopped

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Mix together all ingredients and spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Massage scrub into damp skin; pat skin dry.

Yield: 2 ounces.

The Wonder’s of Chamomile

The chamomile herb is another well-known plant, used in making effective herbal remedies for the treatment of a variety of illnesses. The herb has a great relaxant action on the nervous system and the digestive system. The herbal remedies made from this plant are considered to be a perfect remedy for the treatment of disorders affecting babies and children. The main action of the chamomile is that it brings about relaxation in all the smooth muscles throughout the body of an individual. The herb acts on the digestive tract and rapidly brings relief from any muscular tension and spasms, it alleviates disorders such as colic, and it can reduce the amount of abdominal pain, and remedy excess production of the wind and abdominal distension in patients. The other major effect of the herb lies in its ability to regulate peristalsis along the esophagus, resulting in the treatment of both diarrhea and persistent constipation in a patient. The chamomile is well known for its ability to soothe all types of problems related to the digestive system, particularly when these are specifically related to persistent stress and tension affecting the person. The flow of bile is stimulated by the bitters, at the same time, the chamomile also affects the secretion of digestive juices in the body, as a result, it enhances the general appetite and this leads to an improvement in the sluggish digestion of the patient. When used internally and as a topical medication, the volatile oil is known to prevent ulceration’s and is also observed to be capable of speeding up the healing process in areas of the skin affected by ulcers, this ability makes chamomile an excellent remedy for the treatment of gastritis, and in the treatment of peptic ulcers along with varicose ulcers affecting the legs of the patient. The potent antiseptic action of the chamomile is also very valuable, the herb is very active against all infections arising from bacteria, and it can be used in the treatment of various illnesses, including common thrush – caused by the Candida albicans. Herbal chamomile tea is also another way to use the herb, and this tea helps in lowering the temperature of the body during a persistent fever and furthermore, the herbal tea is also effective against colds, flu, common sore throats, persistent coughs, and against all kinds of digestive infections such as the common gastroenteritis which affects a lot of patients annually. Inflammation of the bladder and cases of cystitis are soothed easily by the antiseptic oils in the chamomile – leading to effective and rapid relief from the condition. Herbal remedies made from the chamomile also helps in relieving persistent nausea and sickness felt by a women during the term of her pregnancy, the herbal remedy can also help bring relaxation from uterine spasms and aids in relieving painful periods, it also helps in reducing painful menopausal symptoms, the remedy can also be used to bring relief from mastitis, it is effective against premenstrual headaches and migraines. In addition, the remedy is also used in the treatment of absent flows during the menstrual period – if the condition is due to the presence of stress felt by the women. The pain felt during the contractions of labor can be relieved by drinking herbal chamomile tea; the tea can also be drunk throughout the process of childbirth to help relax the tension in the muscles. The herbal remedies made from the chamomile also function as an effective general pain reliever, thus, the chamomile can be taken to treat persistent and painful headaches, it can be used in the treatment of migraines, it can be used to treat neuralgia, and it can also be used to relieve a toothache, an earache, or the achiness which occurs during flu, it is effective against muscular cramps, it can be used to treat rheumatic and gout pains in the body. Inflammation in arthritic joints can also be effectively relieved by consuming herbal remedies made from the chamomile. The property of the chamomile in the role of a natural anti-histamine has also been observed during recent researchers conducted the chamomile herb – thus there is a possibility that the herb can be used in this role. Herbal remedies made from the chamomile are also used in the treatment of asthma and to treat hay fever and the herb is used externally as a topical remedy for skin disorders such as eczema. As an antiseptic remedy, the chamomile has been used topically in the treatment of all kinds of wounds, it has been used in the treatment of different types of ulcers, it can be used to treat sores, and to treat burns as well as scalded skin. Chamomile in the form of steam inhalations can effectively aid in bringing relief from asthma, it can ward off hay fever, and it can also alleviate catarrh and sinusitis in patients. Topical chamomile cream has also been used to treat sore nipples and this cream is also used as a vaginal douche for the treatment of all kinds of vaginal infections in women. Soothing relief from cystitis and hemorrhoids can be had by sitting on a bowl of chamomile herbal tea. The antiseptic actions of the chamomile herb are also excellent in the role of an antiseptic eyewash to treat sore and inflamed eyes and it can also be used as a lotion for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions including eczema and common fungal infections such as ringworm.

chamomile_tea

Chamomile herbal remedies must be considered by anyone who has ever suffered from an occasional migraine headache and this remedy is also effective in treating hyperactive children, the famous French herbalist, Maurice Messegue, had great success with herbal remedies made from the chamomile in treating such ailments. In one example, a man affected by debilitating migraine attacks was cured after just 14 days of intensive treatment using herbal remedies made from the chamomile herb – such is the power of this plant. Herbal teas made from the chamomile can be very relaxing to the body, preparation of such teas involve relatively simple steps, just steep about 2 tablespoons of some fresh or dried chamomile flowers in a pint of water, boil the water for about 40 minutes. After removing the pot, cool down the broth and strain the liquid, it can then be sweetened using some pure maple syrup and this herbal tea can be drunk in doses of 1-2 cups at a time on a regular basis for long-term treatment of headaches.

The chamomile has also been frequently praised for its properties by many European herbalists, who have often raved about its big cosmetic benefits – especially when used as a topical herbal application. A healthier and softer glow can be detected for example, when the face is washed several times every week, with the herbal tea made from the chamomile. At the same time, this tea also has other uses, it is considered to be a wonderful hair conditioner and has great benefits, and particularly when treating blond hair, the herbal tea makes hair more manageable and induces a shinier surface on the hair. This herbal tea can be prepared by bringing one pint of water to a boil, once the boiled water has been removed from the heat, immediately add 2 tsp. of dried chamomile flowers. Now cover the pot and let the herbal essences steep into the water for about 45 minutes. After this infusion process, the water can be strained and the resulting tea can be used while still lukewarm or when fully cooled down.

All external conditions of the body, including inflammation in the skin, can be treated using the chamomile as a herbal compress or in the form of a herbal wash; the herbal oil can also be rubbed into affected areas of the body to treat muscular stiffness and to alleviate temporary cases of paralysis in the limbs. Prepare a consumable herbal tea from the chamomile – which can also be used as a wash – by bringing about 1-2 pints of water to a boil, to this boiling water add 2 heaped teaspoons of dried or fresh chamomile flowers. The pot containing the water must then be removed from the heat at once and the herb can then be allowed to steep into the water for about 20 minutes or so it can then be cooled and strained to get the tea. This herbal tea made from the chamomile can be drunk one cup at a time about 2-3 times every day and the tea can also be used as a herbal wash to treat inflamed areas of the skin, by applying it to the affected area several times per day. Paralysis and stiffness in the limbs can also be treated using a chamomile massage oil, this oil can be topically used to treat all aches such as lower backaches, prepare this herbal oil solution by filling a small bottle with some fresh chamomile flowers and pour some olive oil until it completely covers the flowers inside the bottle. Once the oil and the flowers are sealed into the bottle, place a tight lid over the mouth of the bottle and place the bottle under direct sunlight for two weeks at a stretch, during this time, the herbal essences from the flowers will seep into the olive oil and the remedy is ready, it can then be stored in the refrigerator and used as a topical healing oil whenever necessary. Any oil that is going to be externally applied to the skin must always be warmed before it is massaged into the affected areas of the skin. To gain immediate and incredible relief, and to help you soothe your tired or irritated eyes, soak some chamomile tea bags in some ice water for a little while, this solution can then be used as an application on the eyelids for rapid relief from the tiredness and irritation. The particular topical eye wash is an especially good idea during allergy season when eyes are typically affected because of irritants such as pollen in the air.

A chemical compound known as azulene is one of the chief chemical components in all species of chamomiles, and particularly so, in the German variety of the herb. This particular chemical compound is a very potent anti-allergen and has been recorded as helping in the prevention of allergic seizures, up to an hour following its administration even in experimental guinea pigs. A possible cure for hay fever might lie in careful use and administration of the azulene. In little children as well as in adults, the herbal remedies made from the chamomile are effective in relieving sudden asthmatic attacks – this is another very important ability of the herb. In a majority of health stores, a very effective chamomile throat spray is marketed under the name CamoCare, this spray has been used to relieve the distress and blockage during an asthma attack. Patients suffering from asthma can benefit from this herbal spray by spraying some of this chamomile concentrate into the mouth right at the very back of the throat, the spray will aid in relieving the sudden choking sensations during an attack and it will also help in facilitating respiration during the attack. During allergy season, vulnerable adults are advised to drink 3-4 cups of warm chamomile tea on a daily basis, young children can also benefit by taking 1-2 cups per day during this time, concurrently such vulnerable individuals are advised to inhale the warmed herbal vapors while keeping their heads covered using a heavy bath towel and they should do this while holding the face 8-10 inches above the pan which has some freshly made chamomile tea, inhalation must last for 12-15 minutes every sitting for beneficial results.

Clsoe chamomile

The ability to inducing regeneration in the body is a property possessed by only a very few herbs in the plant kingdom, such abilities as producing brand new liver tissue belong to very few herbs. German chamomile possesses this unique property, and so does the common tomato juice among herbs. The chemical compounds azulene and guaiazulene present in herbs were identified as being able to initiate the growth of new tissues in experimental rats which had a portion of their livers surgically removed, these experimental results were obtained in one research recorded in Vol. 15 of Food & Cosmetics Toxicology published in the year 1977. Patients with wasted liver tissues are advised to take up to 6 cups of the herbal chamomile tea every other day or in an average dosage amount of 3-4 cups every day – this regimen is ideal for encouraging the regeneration of liver tissues in the body of the patient. Compared to the powdered capsules, for example, it is known that the herbal tea works much better and is a more efficient way of treatment over the long term. In the treatment of patients, and especially patients already suffering from some severe degenerative liver diseases such as infectious hepatitis or the complications due to the AIDS virus, the consumption of this remedy will prove to be extremely beneficial in the long term.

Chamomile Hair Rinse

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried chamomile flowers

Boil together for 5 minutes. Strain. Apply to the hair after washing.

Herbal Shampoo with Chamomile

  • 2 Tbs. dried chamomile flowers
  • 2 Tbs. dried rosemary
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. borax
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup dried mint leaves, crushed
  • 2 cups no detergent shampoo

Pour boiling water over the herbs in a medium bowl, cover, and allow the herbs to steep for 1 hour. Remove the herbs.
Beat the egg until frothy, and beat into the shampoo, along with the borax. Combine with the herbal infusion. Bottle, and keep stored in the refrigerator. It will keep about 1 month. Use as regular shampoo.

Chamomile Cleansing Milk

Chamomile cleansing milk is excellent for people having dry skin. The ingredients used to prepare this herbal cleanser include:

  • 2 tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of chamomile flowers
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) of milk containing full fat

To prepare this cleansing recipe, you should first gently heat the two ingredients together in a double boiler for about 30 minutes. However, be careful not to allow the mixture to boil. Allow the mixture to cool down for two hours, filter it and store the preparation in a refrigerator. This herbal cleanser ought to be used within seven days of preparation.

A Herbal Ritual: Bath Therapy

When building your herbal apothecary, many people do not consider adding classic beauty products like floral toners, infused oils, bath salts, or luxurious lotions–but beauty care is an integral part of healing. Just as tinctures and teas can promote healthy digestion and relaxation,* herbal self-care rituals encourage whole body wellness and nourish the spirit. For example, golden calendula flowers infused in oils can promote a radiant complexion and the simple addition of lavender essential oil to baths can relax the spirit. And while these spa-like practices and products may seem more indulgent than necessary on the surface, we believe in the wisdom of age-old rituals when it comes to wellness.

Bathing is actually an ancient therapeutic practice called balneotherapy. Romans recognized the importance of water therapy and even provided public bathhouses for citizens. Ayurvedic healers use steams, baths, and cold water plunges to maintain health based on your constitution–also known as doshas—and promote circulation.* Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.

Herbs and oils have long been combined with bath therapy to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote supple skin.* These days, many bath products and cosmetics include harmful ingredients, like heavy metals and toxic carcinogens. Even worse, some commonly used products are also tested on animals. Verifying with The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics is a great way to ensure the quality of your favorite products, and we highly recommend checking labels to make sure they are made cruelty-free. While more and more companies are selling ethically made or sourced natural products, it’s often more satisfying to make products yourself. We’ve crafted two herbal bath recipes that are simple and soothing: our Spring Tea Bath Blend and our Flower-Powered Sea Salts.

Flower-Powered Sea Salts

A relaxing blend to calm your nerves and soothe sore muscles.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 5 jars

Materials:

  • 5 six-ounce jars
  • Labels
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil (or healthy oil of choice, like jojoba or sesame oil)
  • ½ cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup coarsely ground, Kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 4-6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of Moroccan blue chamomile oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by blending the dry ingredients together in the large bowl, then slowly pour in the almond and essential oils while stirring.
  2. Add the mixture to the jars, and label them with their ingredients and the date crafted.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons to each bath to enjoy a deep state of calm.

Spring Tea Bath

An aromatic herbal blend to support your lymphatic system and nourish your skin.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: Enough for five baths

Materials:

  • Five 5” x 7” sized muslin bags or cheesecloth
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Cooking twine or cotton string (if using cheesecloth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried red clover blossoms

Instructions:

  1. Pour flowers into a mixing bowl and blend them together.
  2. Fill each muslin bag with the flower mixture or use cheesecloth and twine to create a small pouch.
  3. Tie shut and use one bag per bath. The bag can be tied to the water spout for the hot water to run through, or simply placed in the tub to float like a tea bag in an infusion.

Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.

Keep in mind that healthy skin and healthy bodies are also fueled by whole foods, proper hydration, and regular sleep. For more natural beauty care tips, check out Stephanie Tourles’s Organic Body Care Recipes or Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbs for Natural Beauty.

Rose and Chamomile Clay Face Mask

Our skin is designed to do its job naturally. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated and using whole, simple products all support the idea that our skin can breathe and do its job naturally. The less we put on our skin and the less we switch up our routines with new products, the more our skin can do its own work. Our skin is the communication between our environment and the inner workings of our bodies! Through our skin, we see the diverse energetic system inside us and any imbalances we may be experiencing. Studies have found that our skin absorbs at least 60-70% of what we put on it. So what goes ON our body, ultimately goes IN the body. There are some nasty products out there full of unnatural ingredients, like parabens. These widely-used preservatives are estimated to be in 60-90 of all makeup and skincare products, so stick to products that are natural, free of toxic chemicals, and products that you could essentially eat.

Rosewater for skin hydration: A spritz after cleansing and again during the day does wonders for the skin’s freshness and moisture, plus you get the added aromatherapy effect from the roses leaving you relaxed, refreshed and feeling pampered. Other herbal hydrosols can be used in replace of rosewater, and you can pair according to your own constitution.

Cleanse and moisturize with oil. It’s simple, and it keeps you away from all the other toxic ingredients out there. Not only can you cleanse, remove makeup, oil pull and moisturize, but oils like coconut are also rich in healthy fats, making it another great thing to eat! Before a hot shower, try massaging oil into your skin. Then wipe off the oil with a warm wet washcloth in the shower. It leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.

 

Rose and Chamomile Clay Face Mask: Herbal masks with clay help to pull out toxins and gently exfoliate your skin. Adding honey or coconut oil helps to not to dry out the skin too much. Apply to a damp face and work in circular motions. Allow it to dry (5-10 minutes) and wash off gently with a warm washcloth. Follow with a bit of coconut oil and a spritz of rosewater! Ingredients: powdered rose petals, rose kaolin clay, honey, coconut oil, and a drop of chamomile essential oil.

Dry skin brushing helps support your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of stagnation, resulting in the healthy and resilient skin! Skin brushing also supports the immune and digestive systems, both of which are involved in detox.

Sweat: Although it is a major eliminative organ, most people’s skin is very inactive. Sweat is a primary elimination route for toxins. Making a habit of getting a good workout at least once a week, or if you can, a hot sauna or bath works magic for the skin and assists its ability to breath, stay hydrated and glow.

Nourishing and Protecting the Skin {Entangled Botanicals by Ashley November}

The skin is our body’s largest organ and serves as the interface between our internal and external world. It gives rise to our sense of touch, the only sense that does not diminish with age. Because our skin is what we present to the world, billions of dollars are spent every year on creams, lotions, and cosmetic surgeries. I have long been fascinated with the world of skin care, learning a great deal about the physiology of the skin.

I have shared my knowledge of how plants could be used to restore barrier function and reduce oxidative damage, inflammation, and irritation. But over the many years, I’ve cared for those with skin problems, I’ve also learned that it takes more than just applying moisturizer to have healthy skin.

Safe in the Sun: Balancing the Benefits and Risks of Sun Exposure

Balancing the risks and benefits of sun exposure can be difficult when looking at the shocking rates of skin cancer diagnoses and soaring numbers of vitamin D deficiency. Not so surprisingly, the answer to this debate lies not in the sun, but in the way we live our lives.

— Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.

When was the last time you let yourself feel the sun on your face without worrying about the damage it may be doing? Before fear of skin cancer sent us all scurrying for the shade, people used to be outside all throughout the day, working in the garden or playing in the backyard. Now we spend most of our lives indoors, except when we choose to sunbathe during the hours of the day when the sun is most intense—a practice that actually increases skin cancer risk. Far from protecting our health, avoiding the sun completely can have serious consequences. As Robyn Lucas, an epidemiologist at Australian National University who led a study on sun exposure and disease points out in an interview with U.S. News & World Report, more lives are lost to diseases caused by a lack of sunlight than those caused by too much.

 

Importance of Vitamin D

Called the sunshine vitamin because it’s made when solar energy converts a chemical in our skin to D3, vitamin D’s importance to the body can’t be overestimated. In addition to keeping our bones healthy, it increases our resistance to infections, protects the heart, and may help prevent some types of cancer. This is why it’s so disturbing to consider how many people have vitamin D insufficiency—more than 66 million Americans, according to the CDC Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the U.S. Population. As I discuss in my blog about vitamin D and children, studies show that obese, minority children are hit especially hard. Why are we seeing such dangerously low levels of vitamin D? Compared to our ancestors, we get a lot less sun. While sunscreen protects us against the damaging effects of UV radiation, an SPF of 8 blocks the production of vitamin D by a whopping 95 percent.

 

Nature’s Healing Power

Growing up, I loved to play outside with the neighborhood kids. When I came home from school, Mom would say, “Take off your school clothes, then go outside and play. Be home for dinner.” How different would my life be if I’d spent my afternoons indoors staring at a screen rather than running free under the sun? I believe that for us to be whole human beings, we must be mindful of our deep and intimate relationship with nature. This is especially true for children. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv uses the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” to describe the increasing separation kids have from natural spaces when they grow up in urban areas and/or spend a lot of time indoors. He cites a number of studies showing the positive effects of nature on the behavior and attention of kids with ADHD. This is confirmed by other research where the inclusion by schools of green space and environment-based education leads to improved test scores and a reduction in classroom discipline problems. Consider how peaceful you feel after soaking up the beauty of a summer day, and how well your little ones sleep after time spent tumbling around in the grass. A little sunshine goes a long way toward boosting our well-being.

 

Safe in the Sun

Knowing the benefits of being outside versus the risk of overexposure, how do we keep ourselves and our kids safe in the sun? Your needs will vary based on circumstances like skin color, geographic location, and time of the year. People with very light skin may require only ten minutes of sun exposure three or four times per week to make the necessary amount of vitamin D, while those with very dark skin might need one to two hours. If you’re close to the equator and/or it’s summer when the sun’s rays are strongest, you should modify accordingly. Also, try to avoid spending too much unprotected time in the sun between the hours of 10 and 2 when its radiation is strongest. If you are out during this time of day or you’ll be in the sun for a while, use a safe, chemical-free sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group offers an excellent guide (see below), as well as tips for making sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage. By using a common sense approach, you and your family can play at the park, splash in the pool, or simply enjoy the sensation of sunshine on your shoulders without fear.

 

To Learn More: 

Interested in learning more about the healing power of nature? The book Life Is Your Best Medicine is a great resource:

https://drlowdog.com/books/life-is-your-best-medicine/

 

For more information on vitamin D and other nutrients, see the book Fortify Your Life:

https://drlowdog.com/books/fortify-your-life/

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18276627

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?linkname=pubmed_pubmed&from_uid=22311168

https://drlowdog.com/vitamin-d-children-good-idea/

http://richardlouv.com

http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/

Calendula Salve Recipe

The cheerful calendula flower is a wonderful bright accent to gardens and porches, as well as an impressive medicinal plant. By nature it is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral, so calendula is especially helpful for skin irritation. I love it for treating cuts and scrapes as it feels quite soothing and helps to reduce healing time. In an ointment, tincture, or a wash, calendula offers cool relief for the pain of superficial wounds and helps begin the healing process on contact. Some experts think calendula works by encouraging blood flow and bringing oxygen to the affected area. No matter its mechanism, though, it feels wonderful on those accidental cuts and scrapes of everyday life and has been proven to speed up recovery. It’s also wonderful on sunburns, allergic skin reactions, and even diaper rash. It’s perfectly safe to use on kids, but I do warn pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid calendula as its effects in these populations has not been fully studied yet.

My Favorite Herbs for Skin Health

Vitamin D and Children: A Good Idea?

It’s well established that vitamin D is paramount to bone development, bone fracture resistance, and mood regulation. This “sunshine” vitamin also supports our immune and cardiovascular systems, and endocrine function, so it’s vitally important that we maintain adequate blood levels. Children especially need vitamin D to develop strong, healthy bones.

In a nation struggling with obesity, it’s hard to believe that we are once again seeing borderline deficiencies. Though rickets, scurvy, and pellagra seem like stories from the days of pirates and early settlers, modern science shows that we are now seeing borderline and frank deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals in the American population. It is clear that though we are overfed, we are undernourished. Furthermore, our messages regarding low-salt and skin-cancer awareness have decreased consumption of iodine and significantly impacted vitamin D levels.

Perhaps the most concerning take away from modern nutritional data is that children, particularly obese, minority children, seem to be heavily impacted. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study found that a large number of children 6-18 years of age are deficient in vitamin D.  The deficiency percentage goes way up in children who are overweight, and amongst obese kids – one-third of white, 50% of Latino, and 87% of African American children – were deficient in vitamin D.

 

Why are we lacking?

With so many fortified foods in our grocery stores and the ability of our body to make vitamin D with exposure to sunlight, why are so many kids lacking?

The most obvious answer is probably the fact that all of us, including our kids, are spending more and more of our lives indoors and engaged in sedentary pursuits, such as watching TV and working/playing on our computers and smartphones. Not only are we spending less time outdoors, we are also much more aggressive about using sunscreen to protect our skin, which dramatically decreases our ability to make vitamin D.

While vitamin D is found in some foods, it is not easy to get adequate amounts in our diet. For example, to get just 600 IU of vitamin D in your diet you would need to eat one of the following every day:

* 3–4 ounces sockeye salmon, cooked
* 11.4 ounces water-packed tuna
* 26 oil-packed sardines
* 15 large eggs
* 5 cups fortified milk OR
* 30-45 ounces yogurt

In the case of vitamin D, the best bet to ensure adequate intake is probably through the use of supplements, which are readily available at pharmacies and natural foods stores. In general, breastfed infants should be given 400 IU per day; older children 1000 IU per day, while obese children probably need closer to 2000 IU per day. Talk to your pediatrician to know what is best for your child. When choosing a vitamin D supplement, look for those that contain D3 (cholecalciferol), the most bioactive form, and take with dinner for optimal absorption.

 

More is not better

While you want to make sure you and your kids are getting adequate vitamin D – more is not better. The Institute of Medicine has set the following upper limits for vitamin D, meaning you should NOT exceed these amounts unless under the supervision of your healthcare provider.

* 1,000 IU/day for infants to age 6 months
* 1,500 IU/day for ages 6 months to 1 year
* 2,500 IU/day ages 1 to 3 years
* 3,000 IU/day for ages 4 to 8 years
* 4,000 IU/day anyone older than 8 years

Vitamin D, like most nutrients, does best when it is taken with its partner nutrients. Vitamin D partners well with calcium and vitamin K2. Vitamin D allows calcium to be absorbed and vitamin K2 directs it to the bone.

 

Sources

http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2436596

http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-d/background/hrb-20060400

Turer CB, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among overweight and obese US children. Pediatrics 2013; 131(1):e152-61

Good Night Beauty Regime

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle.
To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. 
To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed.
To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
 To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.