Argan Oil: Health Benefits for Your Skin, Heart, & Beyond

Nicknamed “liquid gold,” argan oil is renowned for its exemplary therapeutic and cosmetic properties. The oil comes from Morocco, but people around the world have traded it for its health benefits as early as the 6th century.

Argan oil can bring a lovely glow to your skin and hair, but it also may offer benefits inside your body — like your heart, liver, and blood, to name a few.

From balancing blood sugar and cholesterol to covering up the appearance of scars and acne, the range of benefits attributed to argan oil is as impressive as it is broad.

What Is Argan Oil?

Argan oil comes from the tender kernels inside the fruit of the slow-growing argan tree (Argania Spinosa). When argan oil began its boom in popularity, all-female collectives in southwest Morocco began making the oil.

The women gather together, harvest the fruits, smash the hard shells on stones, pick out the tender kernels inside, and press the fruit kernels to retrieve the oil. Finally, the argan oil is sold as is or turned into creams and other products.

Planting and tending argan trees also have environmental benefits: it helps reduce both climate change and desertification — a process where land becomes an unusable desert. The main argan forest in southwest Morocco is now an official biosphere reserve.

Unfortunately, the boom in argan oil’s popularity has led to aggressive harvesting techniques that injure the sensitive trees. Many larger companies have also eliminated the cooperatives, which play an important role in empowering women in a patriarchal society.

If you want to support a sustainably harvested, female-empowering product, look for Fair Trade Argan oil, especially one that is stamped with the UCFA (Union des Coopératives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie) seal to ensure women are receiving a fair price for their knowledge and work.

Top 6 Benefits of Using Argan Oil

Argan oil is not just for beauty. Modern scientific research has uncovered many of argan oil’s other promising benefits. Argan’s natural oils may soothe inflammation, nourish skin and body, speed up wound healing, and provide a barrier against harmful organisms.

In Northern Africa, it’s popular to drizzle roasted argan oil over bread and use it in cooking. Rich in vitamins A and E, fatty acids, and antioxidants, this amazing oil has benefits when taken internally or used topically. Dietary argan oil may be at least partially responsible for the fact that people who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet tend to have less heart disease; Morocco lies along the Mediterranean Sea.

Below are the top health benefits that argan oil offers.

1. Improves the Appearance of Acne & Scars

Did you know that it’s argan oil’s omega-6 and omega-9 content that reduces redness, swelling, and helps acne-prone skin?

People with acne may feel like putting oil on their skin could make it worse. The truth is, oils vary substantially from one another — and some, including argan oil, help reduce the appearance of acne.

You know that olive oil differs from motor oil, of course, but even plant-derived oils have many differences. For example, olive and coconut oil are moisturizing, while grapeseed and castor oils can decrease oiliness on the face. Argan oil falls right in between, providing moisture and protecting the skin with a barrier that deters the harmful organisms that contribute to acne breakouts.

Argan oil’s high omega-6 and omega-9 content also help reduce redness and swelling. Those with acne-prone skin are usually deficient in linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid, which argan oil contains.

Fatty acids may speed up the healing of acne-related scarring and minimize signs of premature aging, such as crow’s feet and age spots. Argan oil’s comedogenic index of zero means it will never clog the skin’s pores or cause breakouts.

2. Promotes Elasticity & Skin Hydration

Argan oil’s high levels of vitamins A and E and its fatty acids deeply nourish skin. Applying argan oil improves your skin’s ability to retain water — also known as hydration — which helps with elasticity. Both hydration and elasticity make your skin look more youthful and healthy.

Argan oil can provide a barrier between your skin and dirt, germs, and toxins.

Argan oil may also boost your skin cells’ ability to regenerate. Applied topically, it can even reduce the greasy appearance of oily skin.

Researchers also discovered that skin exposed to argan oil experienced changes at a cellular level, allowing it to act as a barrier to dirt, germs, and free radicals.

3. Boosts Heart Health

Some people use argan oil for its additional health benefits — notably for the heart. Studies show that consuming food-grade argan oil works just as well as extra virgin olive oil at promoting good cholesterol (HDL) levels, normalizing bad cholesterol (LDL), and balancing triglyceride levels in the blood.

Argan oil consumption also boosted antioxidant levels circulating in people’s bloodstream — which makes sense since the oil contains high levels. Antioxidants fight against free radical damage in your cells, minimizing oxidative stress. This liquid gold also promotes normal blood pressure.

Cholesterol is a major predictor of heart disease, as are high blood pressure and triglycerides. Promoting normal levels of these indicators helps keep your heart healthy.

4. Supports Liver Health

Consuming argan oil supports liver health and may even protect against invasion by harmful organisms and toxins.

Research shows that argan oil helps liver genes stay active, which allows damaged livers to recover.

One study looked into how argan oil helped laboratory mice with damaged livers recover more quickly. The oil worked at the cellular and genetic level, influencing which genes “express” or turn on. Specifically, it helped liver genes stay active, thus promoting better liver health.

Argan oil also helps normalize insulin resistance, which plays a role in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

5. Promotes Normal Insulin & Blood Sugar Levels

Insulin resistance is a condition where your cells do not absorb the hormone insulin well. Insulin helps regulate your blood sugar levels, so if your cells become insulin-resistance, blood sugar rises, causing all sorts of metabolism problems.

Studies suggest that taking argan oil internally not only helped both healthy and diabetic laboratory animals maintain normal blood sugar levels, but it also helped balance insulin resistance.

These properties are likely why the local people in Morocco prize the oil, according to the researchers.

6. Protects Against Cell Proliferation

Thanks to its high antioxidant levels, argan oil helps protect skin from free radicals and UV radiation.

Argan oil contains high levels of tocopherols, a form of vitamin E, as well as oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Taken internally, it helps the body at a cellular level, even decreasing the risk of excess cell proliferation that can lead to serious diseases.

In various studies, argan oil has helped with skin, colon, bladder, and prostate conditions.

Popular Argan Oil Uses

When applied topically, argan oil has important cosmetic benefits for the skin and hair. It is a sought-after natural remedy with healing, anti-aging, and antibacterial properties.

Natural Skin Care

Below are some of the benefits your skin will reap from this powerhouse oil, as well as some simple ways to use it.

Improve the Appearance of Stretch Marks

Thanks to its high vitamin A and E content, argan oil keeps your skin well-hydrated and improves its strength and elasticity, which in turn helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

How to Use: After showering and exfoliating your skin, gently rub a few drops onto areas like the hips, thighs, and stomach — the areas most prone to developing stretch marks. Massage the oil into your skin twice a day, including once before bedtime.

Moisturize & Improve Skin Elasticity

Whether you have oily, combination, or dry skin, you can use pure argan oil as an all-over face and body moisturizer. You can even apply 100 percent pure argan oil directly on your face, lips, and around your eyes. For best results, massage it onto your body right after showering or bathing, paying special attention to any dry patches.

How to Use: Add a few drops of argan oil to a carrier oil, like organic olive, coconut, or other seed oil — this helps a little goes a long way. You can also soothe razor bumps and ingrown hairs after shaving by applying the oil directly over the affected area.

Reduce the Appearance of Acne

Argan oil is non-greasy and won’t clog pores, so it’s a great natural way to add moisture and provide balance to inflamed, acne-affected skin.

How to Use: Cleanse your skin and pat it dry. Put a few drops of pure oil into your palm and, using your fingers, lightly dab it directly onto problem areas. Repeat twice daily.

Protect & Soften Hair

This nourishing, non-greasy oil increases the shine and overall healthy appearance of hair while repairing split ends and smoothing flyaways.

By coating the hair shaft, argan oil reduces drying and damage and makes hair less prone to breakage. Argan oil can also help to seal in hair dyes, increasing the length of time needed between colorings. It may even promote faster hair growth.

How to Use: Add five drops into your normal shampoo or conditioner, massage it into your hair, and rinse it out with warm water. For a deep conditioning boost, coat your hair with 10 drops from root to tip and leave it on overnight with a shower cap over it. This will allow deep penetration into your hair and alleviate frizziness or dryness. In the morning, rinse it out with warm water and style as usual.

Moisturize Nail Cuticles

Ward off painful hangnails and other issues associated with poor nail health by applying a few drops of argan oil on your fingernails and toenails. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities make it an excellent moisturizer and conditioner for both the nail bed and cuticles.

How to Use: To do a cuticle treatment, first, remove all nail polish and rinse your hands and feet thoroughly. Rub a drop of the oil onto each one of your nails and massage it into the cuticles in a circular motion. Leave it on to absorb.

Relieves Tired Feet

Argan oil can soothe dry, cracked skin on your feet and heels. This hydrating moisturizer is full of antioxidants that can prevent further dryness, soften calluses, and make rough feet soft and smooth again.

How to Use: Slather your feet with as many drops as needed to fully cover the area, and put on a pair of socks for at least 30 minutes (but preferably overnight). After removing the socks, use a warm washcloth to remove any excess oil from your soles.

Precautions & Side Effects

Ensure the argan oil you use is not only fresh but also certified organic. This will ensure you avoid chemicals in your beauty products, such as pesticides. Its odor should smell light, fresh, and nutty. Store it in a dark bottle because exposure to light will cause it to oxidize, or decay.

Fairtrade-certified argan oil ensures that the product you purchase goes to help support women artisans in Morocco in an environmentally sustainable and female-empowering manner. Be aware that poor quality argan oil may contain harmful solvents from chemical extraction techniques. Most beauty products that are not 100 percent pure argan oil use this solvent-extraction method, so buyer beware.

For topical application, look for cold-pressed, responsibly-sourced, additive-free argan oil. If you take argan oil internally, only use food-grade oils. People have used argan as food and applied it to the skin for centuries in Morocco, and according to experts, there are few side effects.

Rarely, people experience sensitivity from skin application; if you break out in a rash, discontinue use. Some people also experience an upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea. When taking an argan oil oral supplement, some people experience confusion, excitement, agitation, or difficulty sleeping. If you experience any of these reactions, see your healthcare provider right away.

Points to Remember

Dubbed “liquid gold,” argan oil is one of the most prized beauty and health potions in the world. Moroccans have used it for centuries as a topical therapy to beautify and improve the appearance of skin, acne, hair loss, psoriasis, and eczema.

Argan oil is the secret to healthy, moisturized hair, and you’ll find it in many popular skin and hair products. Make sure to be aware that most beauty products use solvent extraction. If you want the benefits of this product without chemicals, buy 100 percent pure argan oil and add it to your shampoo or directly to your skin.

When taken internally, argan oil may help balance cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. It has valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For best results, make sure to purchase only argan oil that is cold-pressed, additive-free, and organic.

To make sure you purchase responsibly harvested argan that supports female collectives, rather than aggressive harvesting techniques, look for fair-trade-certified products.

Your Guide to Vegan Skin Care

Today it’s easier than ever to choose a lifestyle that aligns with your health goals and ethical choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you avoid meat and fish and opt instead for plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet takes things a step further, eschewing all products associated with animals, including animal-derived ingredients like milk, eggs, and honey.

For homemade natural beauty recipes, which often use dairy as a base for creams and lotions, finding a non-animal option may seem tricky But we actually have quite a few plant-derived substances from which to choose, whether it’s agave, natural plant oils like olive or grape seed, or nut milk. These types of ingredients can help you maintain beautiful skin and healthy, shiny hair – without having to compromise your values. Here are a few all-natural, all- vegan recipes to get you started.

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Shea Butter Body Lotion

From the African shea tree {Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii}, shea butter is an ivory-colored natural fat used much like cocoa butter, with a mild, almost musty fragrance. In cosmetics, it acts as a moisturizer and emollient and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all types of skin conditions, from scars to chapped lips, and it’s helpful in treating acne because it’s easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky residue. It also provides mild UV protection from the sun {but should never serve as a replacement for your sunscreen}. You can find it in natural food stores in the skincare section.

1/2 cup distilled water

1/8 tsp borax powder

1/4 cup shea butter

1/2 cup almond oil

Bring water to a boil. Place borax powder in a clean, heat-proof bowl, and pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, combine oil and shea butter and gently heat the mixture until melted, stirring to mix. Transfer this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on low, slowly adding the hot water solution in a slow, steady stream. Then blend on high until well-mixed. You should have a milky-white lotion. Pour the mixture into a clean container to cool.

To Use Massage into skin. Yields: 6 ounces.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Several plant oils and waxes work great as substitutes for beeswax or lanolin to soothe dry, cracked lips. The shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil in this recipe provides lips with natural shine and protection against the element.

1/2 tsp castor oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1/2 tsp cocoa butter

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil for flavor {optional}

In a heat-resistant bowl or small saucepan, combine all ingredients and gently heat until melted. {This may be done in the microwave, but be careful not to boil the mixture.} Stir well and pour into a small container. Let cool completely.

To Use Spread on your lips with a clean fingertip. Yield: .75 ounce.

Coconut Oil Body Polish

This scrub is perfect for skin that needs some exfoliation, but also a bit of TLC. The raw sugar exfoliates the skin while the coconut oil helps deeply condition it. After using this treatment, your skin should feel softer and smoother.

1 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

2-3 drops essential oil {lavender, rosemary, peppermint} optional

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture into your skin. {Be careful: the oil can make the tub slippery.} Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 8 ounces.

Easy Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos have become a popular alternative to regular “wet” shampoos, proving especially helpful after a workout during the day or when traveling. But spray-on dry shampoos can contain a wealth of questionable ingredients, when, in fact, all you really need is one tablespoon of either baking soda, cornstarch, or rice powder. That’s it…

To Use: Simply massage the powder directly onto your scalp and through your hair. You may want to lean over a sink as you apply the powder. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, and then, using a clean, dry brush, vigorously brush your hair, using long strokes, to remove all of the powder.

Reading the Labels

Our skin is our largest organ, and what you use on it does affect your overall health. One advantage of making your own cosmetic products and treatments is that it puts you in control of the ingredients you use and apply to your skin. Of course, you don’t always have time to make all of your skincare products from scratch. So, knowing how to accurately read the labels of store-bought products becomes important.

To start, the term “natural” on the label is meaningless – there’s no authority that monitors this claim. Therefore, you really need to take an eagle eye to the back of the product. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage: if the first ingredient is water, that means water is the most prominent ingredient. You may see a product that boasts a desirable ingredient on the front label, only to find that it’s the last ingredient listed.

Some ingredients such as “sodium chloride” may sound scary {at least to those who’ve long forgotten their chemistry lessons}, but are, in fact, completely natural {sodium chloride is table salt}. Manufacturers often use scientific or Latin names for basic ingredients, but a quick search online can reveal the common name and whether it’s an ingredient you want to put on your skin.

Vegans may not realize that some of their favorite products actually contain ingredients they wish to avoid. Here’s a quick list of animal-derived substances.

  • Aspic: an industry alternative to gelatin; made from clarified meat or fish
  • Casein: a protein derived from milk
  • Cod liver oil: found in lubricating creams and lotions
  • Collagen: taken from the bones and connective tissues of animals; used in cosmetics to help skin retain water and keep it supple
  • Elastin: similar use as collagen; derived from the neck ligaments and aorta of cows
  • Gelatin/Gelatine: for smooth skin and to add gloss to hair; obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs
  • Keratin: used for hair and as an anti-aging skin care ingredient; obtained from sheep wool or from the skin, hooves, and horns of animals
  • Lactose: a sugar derived from milk
  • Propolis: used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties to treat breakouts and protect skin; created by bees in the construction of their hives
  • Royal Jelly: an anti-aging ingredient; comes from secretions of the throat gland of the honeybee
  • Shellac: found in hair lacquer; obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect, Tachardia lacca
  • Vitamin D3: found in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics; made from fish-liver oil
  • Whey: a byproduct of cheese making
  • Cochineal dye or carminic acid: adds red color; comes from the cochineal insect
  • Ambergris: adds scent and/or color; derived from whales

Garden Fresh Vegan Cologne

This fragrance uses fresh vegetable and herb leaves to create a light, summer-garden scent. Try it as an after-bath or after-shave splash – or anytime you need an aromatic boost.

4 Tbls fresh tomato leaves, chopped

1 Tbls fresh lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil leaves

1 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 cup witch hazel

Place all of the fresh leaves and lemon zest inside a clean jar or bottle. Pour the witch hazel over; shake gently. Cover the bottle top and let it sit in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Strain the liquid and discard any solids. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean bottle.

To Use: Apply as you would any cologne product. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day if kept in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 ounces.

Avocado Facial Mask

Fresh avocados are a classic facial mask ingredient full of natural fats and protein to help stimulate your skin’s own natural production of oil, helping to smooth out rough, dry skin. All skin types can benefit from an avocado facial. Make sure to save the pit; you can grind it up and use it in body scrub recipes, and if you live somewhere warm, you can plant it to have your own little avocado tree.

1/2 fresh avocado, mashed

1 Tbls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

To Use: Spread the mask on a clean face and neck and let sit for 15 minutes. {Take this moment to relax!} Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Yield: 3 ounces, enough for one treatment.

Vegan Substitutions

Need to find a substitute for an ingredient in one of your beauty recipes? Several plant substances serve as effective replacements for some common ingredients derived from animals.

  • Beeswax: Heavy plant waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, and oils like coconut can stand in for beeswax, which is used to thicken creams, lotions, and lip balms and help protect your skin. Cocoa and shea butters also work well.
  • Dairy: Today, you can find a wide variety of plant and nut milks to replace animal dairy called for in beauty recipes.
  • Egg white: This part of the egg provides astringent and cleansing qualities for oily skin types, but cucumber, chamomile tea, and aloe vera gel will work similarly.
  • Egg yolks: Full of lecithin, egg yolks help with dry skin conditions, but you can replace them with soy lecithin or use a rich oil such as coconut and olive instead.
  • Honey: In place of honey to cleanse and moisturize your skin look to molasses, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Lanolin: Found in sheep’s wool, lanolin can be replaced with rich plant oils such as soy, almond, and avocado.

 

Rose Hips and Rose Hip Tea

The rose hips or fruits of different species of the rose plant have always had a significant place in natural medicine, as they are very rich in vitamin C content. The color of these rose hips varies from dark red to bright scarlet and their shapes differ too. While some of the rose hips may be ovoid in appearance, there are others that are pear-shaped. Basically, the rose hips are collected from the variety of the rose plant called the dog rose or Rosa canina. However, herbalists prefer the larger rose hips of the Japanese rose called R. rugosa. Even other varieties of the rose plant, including R. acicularis as well as R. cinnamon, are also valued greatly. Incidentally, all these different varieties of rose plants belong to the Rosaceae family.
As mentioned earlier, the rose hips or the fruits of the different varieties of the rose plants enclose the high quantity of vitamin C and hence are of great value to the practitioners of herbal medicine. In fact, the rose hips are used to prepare teas, purees, extracts, marmalades, and even soups and all these are consumed as nourishment’s as they contain lots of vitamin C. Extracts from the rose hips are generally included in several natural vitamin mixtures like tablets, capsules, syrups and many other similar things. Interestingly, manufacturers of most such vitamin amalgams are always careful about never mentioning the proportion of vitamin obtained from rose hips and from artificial ascorbic acid. The rose hips are known to possess properties that help in preventing as well as healing scurvy (a disease caused by vitamin deficiency). In addition, the rose hips also have gentle laxative and diuretic effects which help in the movement of bowels and increasing the urine outflow from the body respectively.
Chemical analysis of the rose hips has shown that they contain 0.5 to 1.7 percent vitamin C. However, the real content of vitamin C in the commercially available dried rose fruits varies depending on the accurate botanical source of the plant from which the rose hips have been acquired. For instance, the quantity of vitamin C present in these commercially available dried rose hips is influenced by factors like the place where the rose plant was grown, the time of harvesting the rose hips, the manner in which the fruits were dried, where and how the dehydrated rose hips were stored and other things like these. It has been often found that many commercial varieties of the rose plant material contain little or no traces of vitamin C at all. Even though we may take it for granted that the commercial varieties of the rose hips available in the market possess approximately one percent of vitamin C on an average and the entire vitamin is available in the end product, at least, one proposal does not seem to be convincing. As the present cost of vitamin C acquired from the rose hips is at least 25 times more than the artificial product, it is not feasible for the manufacturers to add enough of the natural substance in their products.
In addition to substantial proportions of vitamin C, the rose hips possess several other chemical amalgams which comprise 11 percent of pectin and three percent of a blend of malic and citric acids. Researchers are of the view that the presence of malic acid and citric acid contributes to the rose hips’ laxative and diuretic effects. As a consequence, physicians frequently recommend the use of rose hips or preparations with it to treat constipation and urinary problems.
Over the centuries, gardeners across the globe have admired and loved the rose flowers that are undoubtedly elegant as well as aromatic. At the same time, the gardeners have also held the hips or the fruits of the rose plant in high esteem for its numerous medicinal benefits. The rose hips vary from oval to round to pear-shaped in appearance and they appear either in the latter part of summer or during the fall. Interestingly, in reality, the rose hips are not fruits, but receptacles or containers that enclose the actual fruits of the rose plant. The actual rose fruit is known as ‘seeds’ or ‘achenes’.
Long ago, people thought the rose hips to be sacred. This is corroborated by the fact that during the Middle Ages, the rosary of the Catholics was made from rose hips and hence they were called rosary. These rosaries were used to count the prayers as they were also being said. Even today, the beads of the rosary used by the Catholics resemble the rose hips and as the fruits of different species of the rose plant, these modern-day beads are also smooth and elongated in appearance.
Here is an important point to note. Compared to the hybrids, it is generally easier to take care of the different original species of the rose plant. In addition, the original species of the rose also generate more tender and fleshy hips that are best for consumption. If you intend to use the rose for culinary as well as decorative purposes, you should go for the original species of the rose and cultivate them in your garden. On the other hand, if you fancy the climbing variety of the rose and also want them to fruit generously, never ever trim or prune the plants soon after their blossoming season in summer.
It may be mentioned here that if not harvested, the rose hips generally remain on the plant all through the early part of the winter or till the birds, rabbits, and field rodents have either eaten them up or stored them somewhere for future use. Owing to the high intensity of ascorbic acid present in them, the rose hips stimulating tart taste that is very much fruit-like. In fact, fresh rose hips enclose as much as 60 times the quantity of vitamin C contained in the oranges and the rugosa roses. The rugosa rose bears comparatively large round shaped fruits and are known to contain rich proportions of vitamin C.
In addition to being a beautiful and aromatic flower, the rose is also beneficial as remedies for several disorders. The leaves, as well as the petals of the rose plant, provide a comforting effect and if ingested as a tea, can diminish body temperature during high fevers. The tea prepared with rose petals and leaves is also effective in cleansing toxins and heat from the body, particularly when they give rise to rashes on the skin and inflammatory (swelling and irritation) problems. Several researched have shown that the rose also possesses properties that increase the body’s immunity and helps to restrict all kinds of infections from becoming larger problems. This is possible owing to the rose’s cleansing or purification properties.
An infusion prepared with rose petals may be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. At the same time, the infusion is effective in treating sore throats, runny nose as well as congested bronchial tracts. On the other hand, infusion or syrup prepared with rose hips is beneficial in reinforcing the lungs to combat all kinds of infections and is especially useful for those who suffer from chest problems. At the same time, roses are also effective in combating infections in the digestive system and restoring the normal and essential bacteria in the intestines. The petals and seeds of the rose have a diuretic effect and are beneficial in relieving excessive fluids from the urinary bladder. This way, they also help in getting rid of the waste and toxic substances in the body through the kidneys. Hence, the rose is also considered to be an effective cleanser and purifier.
Like the rose hips, the petals of the rose flowers also have numerous remedial uses. For instance, the rose petals are effective in relieving congestion in the female reproductive system. In addition, the rose petals may also be used to treat the excessive accumulation of fluid in the urinary tract and thereby alleviate pains and, in women, heavy periods. Physicians also recommend the use of rose petals to treat erratic menstrual periods, infertility as well as to perk up sexual desire in individuals.
An infusion prepared from the rose petals acts as a useful astringent and is effective for treating diarrhea, enteritis, and dysentery. It may be noted here that tea prepared from rose petals may be used as a laxative to clear bowel movement. At the same time, the rose petal tea is also an effective medication for the liver and enhances the flow of bile, invigorates as well as purifies the liver and the gallbladder. It also helps in alleviating problems related to lethargic liver like headaches and constipation.
Rose hips, as well as the petals of the rose flowers, possess inspiring as well as reconditioning effects on the nervous system. They are also capable of alleviating the problems of insomnia, do away with depression, drive out fatigue and also offer comfort in conditions such as tetchiness.
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Applications

Different parts of the rose plant are useful for different purposes and hence they have different applications. The rose hips or fruits of the rose plant, flowers, and even the petals are beneficial in some way or the other and used by people as a tincture, syrup, essential oil, cream, lotion, rosewater, massage oil, gargle, and decoction.
Rose hips – R. canina:
 The rose hips (R.canina) or the fruits of the plant are used as tincture as well as syrup to treat different ailments.
TINCTURE: The tincture prepared from rose hips (R. canina) are ingested as an astringent (a medicine the draws affected tissues closer) to treat diarrhea, alleviate colic or stomach pains and is also blended with cough medicines.
SYRUP: The syrup prepared from the rose hips (R. canina) is used to provide flavor to other medicines, mostly the bitter and bland ones. The syrup is also blended in cough mixtures or may be ingested as a rich source of vitamin C.
Rose hips – R. laevigata:
 Medications prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) are normally ingested to treat stomach disorders. They may be applied as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose hips (R. laevigata) may be blended with other herbs like dang shen, bai zhu and shan Yao and ingested to treat insistent diarrhea that is accompanied with stomach flaw.
Essential oil – R. centifolia / R. Damascena:
 The essential oil (R. centifolia / R. damascene) extracted from the rose hips or the fruits of the rose plant are basically beneficial to treat skin and stomach conditions. This oil is normally used externally and applied as a cream, lotion, oil and massage oil.
CREAM: A few drops of the oil extracted from rose hips may be added to creams to heal parched or irritating skin.
LOTION: One ml of the tincture prepared with another herb lady’s mantle may be blended with 10 ml of rosewater to treat itching in the vagina. Use the same blend to prepare a cream by following a standard base. Blend the rosewater with the equivalent proportion of purified witch hazel and use it as a comforting and moisturizing lotion to treat skin that is inclined to be affected by pimples or acne.
OIL: Bathe with water containing two drops of the oil extracted from the rose hips to get relief from depression or melancholy, grief, and/ or insomnia.
MASSAGE OIL: To avail relief from anxiety and fatigue add approximately two ml of rose oil to 20 ml of almond or wheat germ oil and massage the same on the forehead and other parts of the body. The same blend may be used to alleviate lethargic digestion.
 Flowers – R. rugosa:
 The rose flowers (R. rugosa) is helpful for treating menstrual and liver disorders and may be ingested as a decoction.
DECOCTION: A decoction prepared with rose flowers (R. rugosa) may be blended with another herb motherwort and ingested for treating heavy menstruation. On the other hand, when the decoction is blended with herbs like Bai Shao Yao and Xiang fu, it provides an effective medication for liver dysfunction.
 Petals – R. gallica:
 The petals of the rose flower (R. gallica) are beneficial in treating menstruation and stomach disorders. A tincture prepared with them may be used as a gargle for throat infections.
TINCTURE: Ingesting approximately three ml of a tincture prepared with rose petals thrice daily is helpful in treating diarrhea as well as sluggish absorption of food. When the same tincture is blended with other herbs like the lady’s mantle, white dead-nettle or shepherd’s purse, the medication is effectual for treating erratic or intense menstruation.
GARGLE: When the tincture prepared with rose petals is diluted with warm water, it may be used as a gargle to heal aching throats. The tincture may also be blended with another herb sage for a similar application.

Rose bowl

  • 4 cups bone-dry rose petals
  • 2 cups dried rose leaves
  • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups dried lavender buds
  • 1/3 cup orrisroot powder
  • 2 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup ground cloves
  • 2 ground tonka beans
  • 6 drops oil of roses
  • 3 drops oil of lavender
Combine all the dry ingredients, mix well, and add the oils, a drop at a time, mixing as you work. Seal into a jar, and cure for 6 weeks in a dry, dark, warm place that is well ventilated. Shake the jar daily. When cured, turn the potpourri into a decorative container with a tightly stoppered lid. Open only when the potpourri is in use.
rose hip tea

Rose Hip Tea

It’s amazing what I find on my walks around my neighborhood. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where blackberry bushes are literally everywhere and fruit trees grow on almost every street. We’re talking figs, various varieties of plums, apples, and pears. Gorgeous curbside gardens overflowing with kale, chard, and tomatoes are the norm. Artichokes are growing on street corners. Seriously, people, I live in a city that’s full of incredible food! And the best part is that gardeners are willing to share it! It’s pretty freaking awesome if you ask me. Just the other day, I came home with at least eight pounds worth of fruit just picked from some neighbors’ trees. I’m a lucky girl.

On one of my walks yesterday, I came across a gorgeous wild rose bush that was bursting with these gorgeous ruby orbs. They’re called rose hips, and while they may not be the first to come to mind when you think of edible fruits, they certainly are a fruit that’s worth looking for. Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the rose blossoms after their petals have fallen off. Cool, right? Heck, I’d take a bouquet of rose hips over their flowered counterpart any day!

So why should we be eating rose hips? Well, upon doing a little research, I discovered that these little red fruits are incredibly nutritious. Apparently, just a single teaspoon of rose hip pulp provides more Vitamin C than an orange, making it an excellent immune system booster. Rose hips are also incredibly high in beta carotene (thanks to their incredible reddish-orange color). Beta carotene is essential for maintaining gorgeous skin and healthy cells. It’s astonishing how high the antioxidant content of rose hips is! I even read that rose hips are clinically proven to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Those are some powerful fruits, I tell ya.

Rose hips can be eaten fresh (after the seeds have been scooped out) or they can be dried and stored for later use. I’ve seen recipes for rose hip jams, syrups, and tinctures. In fact, there is even a traditional Swedish rose hip soup that is quite popular during the cold winter months to help fend off colds and flu. Here, I chose to make a simple rose hip tea to really enjoy their health benefits. Depending on the variety of rose, the hips will vary slightly in appearance and flavor. The rose hips I found were from a rugosa rose bush, which is known for having the biggest, most vibrantly colored rose hips. Overall, they have a mildly tart taste and remind me a bit of the flavor of cherry tomatoes.

There are a few ways to make rose hip tea. I chose to steep the rose hips in a teapot of boiling water for about 20-30 minutes, but you can also simmer them on the stove in water for the same amount of time until they break up and form a pulp. Either way works, just strain the pulp before drinking the tea. And of course, you can eat the pulp, as well!

Fresh Rose Hip Tea (makes 2 cups)

10-12 fresh rose hips, seeds removed
2 cups boiling water
1. Put the rose hips in a teapot or French press. Pour boiling water over them, cover, and let steep for your desired amount of time. (See note above).
2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or push the plunger of the French press.  I pressed on the rose hips to release more of their goodness. Sweeten the tea with honey, if desired. And eat the rose hips, if you’d like an extra boost of Vitamin C!

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.

ALL ABOUT OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT

Derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract has a long history as a vital and potent ancient Mediterranean preparation with healthful qualities that support, protect, and enhance immunity. As conveyed by Greek mythology, the Olive tree was believed to be the goddess Athena’s gift to humanity. It was reputed to have enthralled Zeus, who was delighted by its nourishing, remedial, and wound-healing properties as well as its effectiveness as a source of fuel for lamps; hence, the Olive tree came to be the revered symbol of the city of Athens. Accordingly, anyone found to be connected to the destruction of these trees would potentially become subject to execution or banishment from the city.

For thousands of years since the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, Olive leaves and their extracts have been used extensively in Mediterranean folk medicine as a panacea for the treatment of numerous health conditions. Compresses and infusions enriched with Olive leaves were used to address pain, infections, fevers, high blood sugar levels, and even anxiety. In the 1800s, various parts of the Olive tree began to be used, albeit largely in liquid form, for medicinal applications, such as for the treatment of infections associated with malaria. In the 1900s, the leaves were found to contain an active and unique compound called Oleuropein, which was then isolated from the leaves by scientists, who discovered that it had antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This unique constituent was also discovered to prevent the growth of parasites, fungi, and harmful bacteria and to have the ability to stimulate circulation, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, enhance cognitive function, and regulate blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. Later, it was learned that Oleuropein also contained Elenolic Acid, which was revealed to contribute an antibacterial property. All of these qualities make Olive leaves beneficial for medicinal applications. In 1995, Olive Leaf Extract began to be used clinically to treat and examine some individuals receiving medical care.

Today, some Olive leaf extracts continue to be taken as a safe natural dietary supplement to enhance immunity by addressing harmful bacteria and infections associated with colds, the flu, HIV/AIDS, meningitis, shingles, hepatitis B, and herpes, to name a few viruses. It is also used to ease symptoms of chronic fatigue, fever, hay fever, dengue, constipation, diarrhea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, malaria, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and tuberculosis. They are reputed to be beneficial for soothing infections of the gums, ears, and urinary tract as well as infections that result from surgeries. They are often used to ease hypertension, to support and improve the health and function of the digestive system, to work as an antiseptic remedy for faster wound healing, to protect against nerve damage, and to benefit those who have suffered from strokes.

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT BENEFITS

Used cosmetically on the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It can slow the appearance of the signs of aging, nourish and purify, calm irritation, repair damage, and eliminate harmful bacteria from developing infections, making it beneficial for soothing conditions such as dermatitis. It is known to reduce redness, to hydrate, to stimulate the growth of new skin, and to enhance circulation. In turn, the complexion appears to be detoxified, healthy, and rejuvenated.

Whether it is applied to the hair or the skin/scalp, it is reputed to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation by slowing the production of melanin and by preventing skin tissue from breaking down.

Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which hinder further development of viruses that are known to be responsible for causing the flu, common colds, and infections of the respiratory tract. It is believed to be beneficial for those suffering from arthritis, as it helps to reduce swelling and has a positive impact on bone health, thus it is valuable for soothing symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. Olive Leaf Extract is believed to improve circulation, address intestinal spasms, enhance cognitive function to prevent cognitive decline, and to promote heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. With detoxifying properties, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to function as a natural diuretic and laxative. The anti-hypertensive properties of Olive Leaf Extract benefit those who suffer from hypertension, as it helps to reduce blood pressure and thus reduces the risk of heart-related conditions and discomforts. It is also believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract 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, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Photo-Protective
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Astringent, Cardiotonic, Hypoglycemic, Hypolipidemic, Hypotensive, Immuno-Stimulant, Immune-Boosting, Inflamomodulatory, Lipotropic, Vasodilator, Photo-Protective

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT USES

Used in cosmetic or topical applications, Olive Leaf Extract cleanses the pores, absorbs excess oil, and facilitates the clearing up of acne breakouts by helping to dry them out and by eliminating acne-causing bacteria. In doing so, it also prevents future acne breakouts. For a facial cleanser soap bar that also helps repair skin damage, prevents the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration, and soothes other skin discomforts, begin by cutting 680 g (24 oz.) of White Melt and Pour Base and melting it in a heat-safe container in 20-30 second bursts of heat. Once the soap base has melted, stir in 2 tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract. Next, whisk in 4 tsp. Multani Mitti (Fullers Earth) Clay until all the large chunks have been broken up. Next, stir in 60 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil and 40 drops Rosemary Essential Oil until they are thoroughly combined. When the soap base mixture reaches a temperature between 49-52 ᵒC (120-125 ᵒF), pour the blend into 6-bar half-cylinder silicone molds or into molds of personal preference. To eliminate any air bubbles, spray the tops of the filled molds with Isopropyl Alcohol. After the soap bars have been allowed to dry and harden, they can be used on the face like a regular face wash. Simply work a soap bar into a lather and gently massage the lather into the skin to promote clearer skin and to soothe uncomfortable symptoms of acne. This soap bar may also be used on the body.

Oliveleaf_CaptionImage

Used in hair, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to discourage hair loss and to promote hair growth. For a natural hair care product that can enhance the health of the scalp, simply add a small amount of Olive Leaf Extract to a regular shampoo or conditioner, cap and shake the bottle well, then apply the blend to the hair and scalp as usual. The addition of Olive Leaf Extract is reputed to repair damaged hair, promote luster, preserve hair color, condition, cleanse, strengthen, and smooth the strands, and thereby enhance the growth of healthier hair.

To create a shampoo blend from scratch, begin by combining the following ingredients in a clean, empty shampoo bottle or a foaming soap dispenser: ¼ cup of distilled water, ¼ cup Liquid Castile Soap, ¼ cup Coconut Milk, and ½ tsp. Olive Leaf Extract. 20 drops of any essential oil may also be added. Suggested oils include Lavender, Orange, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Next, cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. This natural shampoo blend can be stored in the shower and used for up to 1 month. Shake the bottle well before each use and aim to apply only as much as 1 tsp. to the hair and scalp.

Used in medicinal applications, Olive Leaf Extract is known to eliminate harmful bacteria and fungi. To make an anti-fungal foot bath, begin by diluting 3-5 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in a foot tub filled with 4-8 L (1-2 gallons) of warm water. Simply soak the feet in this solution for 15-30 minutes to protect the feet from fungal infections.

A GUIDE TO OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT & ITS BENEFITS

OLIVE LEAF BOTANICAL EXTRACT

Botanical Name: Olea europaea

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been used for thousands of years by Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures for a wide variety of health problems
  • Contain nearly 100 phytochemicals and essential nutrients, which are known to assist in soothing dry and stressed skin when added to skin care preparations
  • Be best known for its antioxidant properties
  • Be ideal for use in formulations for personal care products, soaps, creams, lotions, facial products and tinctures
  • Be best used in a ratio of 2.5 g per 100 ml of liquid, when formulating tinctures

OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT SIDE EFFECTS

Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Olive Leaf Botanical Extract 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. This product 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, skin disorders, bleeding disorders, hormone-related ailments, and conditions of the heart, liver, or kidney. 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. Those with allergies to plants of the Oleaceae family as well as those who are taking medication for diabetes or for blood pressure should avoid using Olive Leaf Extract.

Prior to using Olive Leaf Botanical Extract, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 Tsp. Olive Leaf Botanical Extract in 1 tsp. distilled water and applying a dime-size amount of this blend to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Olive Leaf Extract must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Olive Leaf Botanical Extract include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, migraine, sadness, coughing, asthma, rhinitis, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, swelling in the mouth/throat, pharyngeal edema, abdominal pain, joint aches, diarrhea, hives, rashes, severe itching, hypoglycemia, erythema multiforme, and vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product 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…

    • Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is derived from the leaves of the Olea europaea botanical, better known as the Olive tree.
    • Applied to the skin, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract can protect against the harsh effects of the weather, the elements, and environmental stressors and pollutants. It slows the appearance of the signs of aging, nourishes and purifies the skin, calms irritation, repairs damage, reduces redness, hydrates, stimulates the growth of new cells, and enhances circulation.
    • Applied to the hair, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract contributes moisture and shine while working to smooth out the strands. It is reputed to address alopecia and to protect against the damaging effects of overexposure to UV radiation.
    • Used medicinally, Olive Leaf Botanical Extract is reputed to help reduce swelling and to soothe symptoms of rickets, rheumatic pain, stomach and intestinal pain, sciatica, and burns. It is believed to improve circulation, addresses intestinal spasms, enhances cognitive function, and promote heart health.
  • Applied to wounds and rashes, Olive Leaf Extract is believed to facilitate their healing while strengthening the afflicted areas of skin. It functions as a natural diuretic and laxative, benefits those who suffer from hypertension, and is believed to have aphrodisiac effects.

Nature’s Most Precious Gift: Beeswax

Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees that use it to develop their honeycombs. Beeswax is comprised largely of fatty acids, hydrocarbons, and esters. The wax is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated or exposed to human body temperature. Because Beeswax does not spoil, become rancid, or otherwise expire, it can continue to be reheated and reused.

Like the varying colors of honey, the color of the wax depends on the age of the bees, the flowers from which they gather the nectar, the region of flower growth, and the purity of the honey. Beeswax ranges in color from almost white to black, although it is typically a shade along the yellow spectrum, appearing to be bright yellow, butterscotch yellow, or light amber. These colors are due to the pollen, resin, and gum content in the originating honey. These elements are also responsible for contributing to the agreeable scent of both the honey and the wax.

While Beeswax is commonly known for its light-bearing ability and for this being a source of heat, historically, it has also been valuable for its versatile applications, which include culinary uses, such as food flavoring and food storage. For example, it continues to be used to coat or glaze cheeses in order to create an air-tight seal to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Used on some types of fruits, Beeswax prevents the loss of water while protecting them from gathering dust and from being scratched, bruised, or bitten by insects.

2000 years ago, in China, the significance and potency of Beeswax were discovered and chronicled in one of the country’s most eminent medical books, known as The Shennong Book of Herbs. The record highlighted the positive effects that Beeswax was reputed to have on the circulatory system, energy levels, and wound healing. It was also reported to have an anti-aging effect on the appearance of the complexion.

There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and AbsoluteYellow Beeswax is the natural, unrefined, and raw wax derived directly from the honeycomb. White Beeswax is the result of Yellow Beeswax undergoing a filtering/purifying/bleaching process. This is the type that is used in cosmetic formulations, food preparation, and pharmaceutical products, such as ointments, soft-gel capsules, and in the coating for medicinal tablets. Beeswax Absolute is the result of treating Yellow Beeswax with Alcohol.

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BEESWAX BENEFITS

Used in aromatherapy, the smokeless and lengthy burn time of Beeswax makes it a valuable ingredient in aromatherapy candles. Beeswax candles are also reputed to exude the aroma of honey – which can range from sweet, fresh, or floral to warm, robust, savory, or spicy – and they are also reputed to help facilitate the elimination of airborne pollutants, such as bacteria, dust, allergens, and odors. When pure and natural essential oils essential oils are added during the production phase of natural homemade candles, the resultant products are known to have enhanced fragrances. Furthermore, they are believed to promote overall physical and mental well-being by invigorating the body with increased energy, reducing stress, strengthening focus, helping decrease physical pain, and regulating blood pressure.

Used cosmetically, such as in lip products, moisturizers, and eye makeup, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. Without clogging the pores and preventing the skin from being able to breathe, Beeswax creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier to protect it against environmental pollutants as well as the harsh effects of the elements. Its exfoliating and reparative properties combined with its vitamin content helps promote the skin’s regeneration and rejuvenation by helping diminish the appearance of the signs of aging, including spots, wrinkles, and skin damage. Used in natural product formulations, Beeswax offers its scent, which may be characterized as mild, warm, sensual, floral, woody, rich, “oriental,” or a combination of these descriptions, depending on the preferred Beeswax. Refreshing, restorative, and gentle enough for use on even the most sensitive skin, Beeswax is known to soothe itchiness and irritation, to nourish, and to soften dry, cracked, broken areas, making it ideal for use in lip balms. Used in hair, Beeswax contributes shine that promotes the hair’s luster, making it valuable for use in hair products that promote the look of sleekness, such as pomades.

Its regenerative quality and anti-inflammatory property work in conjunction to help decrease the irritation, redness, and inflammation characteristic of acne, while its antiseptic effect further facilitates the healing process. Beeswax has a similar effect on skin afflicted with eczema and psoriasis, soothing the itchiness and working to prevent further irritation or infection. By promoting the growth of newer skin and by contributing softness, Beeswax leaves the complexion looking renewed. When applied to stretch marks, whether they are caused by a fluctuation in weight or by pregnancy, Beeswax is known to help diminish the appearance of these often-unwanted marks, when used in combination with carrier oils and butters.

Used medicinally, Beeswax makes an ideal ingredient in salves meant for treating scrapes, minor cuts, minor wounds, and burns, among other abrasions. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects help to prevent harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin, which is especially common in dry climates and which makes it valuable for use during the drier times of the year. By providing the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants, including harsh and extreme weather conditions that can cause roughness and dryness, Beeswax moisturizes the skin to restore its natural radiance and smoothness. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Beeswax also benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or other discomforts, such as eczema and rosacea.

Beeswax is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to exhibit:

  • COSMETIC: Hydrating, Softening, Smoothing, Non-Comedogenic, Protective, Smoothing, Regenerative, Strengthening, Conditioning, Soothing, Collagen-Enhancing.
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Allergenic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, Protective, Regenerative, Strengthening.

BEESWAX USES

Used in aromatherapy applications, Beeswax candles exhibit air-purifying properties. Unlike paraffin candles, they help decrease the number of airborne contaminants, such as bacteria, pet dander, and dust. To make a natural aromatherapy Beeswax candle that scents the air with its warm fragrance, cleanses indoor environments, and promotes easier breathing, begin by pouring .45 kg (1 lb.) Pure Filtered Beeswax into an empty coffee can or a metal jug that can be designated for working with wax, which can be difficult to remove from tools. Next, create a double boiler by placing the chosen vessel into a pot filled with water. The water level should not be so high that it spills into the jug. Next, bring the water to a gentle boil, allowing it to simmer as the Beeswax melts inside the jug. In the meantime, cut a 60-ply Cotton Braid Wick #4 into 3 or 4 pieces that are each 15 cm (6 inches) in length. When the Beeswax has melted entirely, remove the jug from the heat and, with a stick or a spoon, gently stir in ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil until it is thoroughly combined with the wax. Pour 1 cm (0.5 inch/1 ml) of this wax and oil blend into 3 240 ml (8 oz.) lidded mason jars, then place the jug back into the hot water to ensure that the wax remains liquid. Place one wick in the center of the small amount of wax inside each jar and hold the wick there for 5-10 minutes to prevent it from moving while the wax hardens around it. To keep the wick vertical and to prevent it from curling, wrap it around a stick until the wick is pulled tight and upright, then place the stick across the top of the jar. When the small amount of wax has dried inside each jar, pour the remainder of the wax from the jug into each jar, leaving at least 3 cm (1 inch) of space between the surface of the wax and the openings of the jars. Leave the jars open and set them aside to allow them to cool overnight. Once the wax has completely dried and hardened, the wicks can each be trimmed ½ an inch. When using the candles, it is recommended that they remain lit for a minimum of 2.5 hours until their surfaces have melted entirely. If the flames flicker or begin to smoke, simply put them out, trim the wicks slightly, then light them again. Trimming the wicks too short will result in small flames that will cause the candles to “tunnel,” however, even tunneled candles can be melted again to create new candles once their wicks have been removed.

Used in skincare, Beeswax hydrates, soothes, repairs, and fortifies the skin. For a Beeswax-enriched lotion bar, begin by combining the following ingredients in a 950 ml (35 oz.) glass mason jar: 1 cup Beeswax, 1 cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa Butter, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, or a combination of butters). Next, place the jar in a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of water, then place the saucepan on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Constantly stir the contents of the jar with a stick until all the ingredients have melted. Once the mixture has turned into a smooth blend, remove the double boiler from the heat. As it cools, gently but thoroughly stir in any essential oils of personal preference and 1 tsp. Vitamin E Liquid. Pour the blend into soap molds and allow them to harden before taking them out. Depending on the size of the mold, this recipe may yield approximately 12 lotion bars.

To make a moisturizing and smoothing lip balm that relieves dryness, roughness, and cracking, begin by combining 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 2 Tbsp. Shea Butter, and 2 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil in a glass bowl or jar to create a double boiler inside a pot. Stir all the ingredients together constantly until they have melted. Once the mixture achieves a smooth and even blend, remove the double boiler from the heat, keeping the bowl or jar submerged in the hot water to maintain its fluidity. As the blend begins to cool, stir in a maximum of 30 drops Peppermint Essential Oil or any other essential oil of personal preference. Next, with the help of a medicine dropper, fill each lip balm tube with the blend. This step must be done quickly to prevent the mixture from hardening before the transfer takes place. Set the uncapped, filled tubes aside and allow them to cool and harden completely before capping them.

To make a natural, Beeswax-infused deodorant bar with a probiotic effect, first combine the following ingredients in a glass jar: ½ cup + 1 tsp. Beeswax, ½ cup Coconut Carrier Oil, and ½ cup of a body butter of personal preference (e.g. Cocoa, Shea, Mango, or a combination of all three). Place the jar in a pot filled with 1 inch of water to create a double boiler. On the stove, bring the pot of water to a boil until the jar ingredients are thoroughly melted. Once they form a smooth and even blend, remove the pot from the heat. To the jar blend, add 1 Tsp. Vitamin E Liquid, 3 Tbsp. Baking Soda, ½ cup Organic Arrowroot Powder, 2-3 probiotics capsules that do not require refrigeration, and 20 drops of an essential oil of personal preference. Suggested oils include Frankincense, Lavender, or a citrus oil. Gently stir all the ingredients together until they have been thoroughly combined. Next, pour the liquid blend into a mold of personal choice. If the chosen mold is a stick deodorant container, the mixture must be allowed to harden for 15-20 minutes before being poured into the tube. When the mixture has cooled to a consistency resembling that of peanut butter, use a spoon to scoop it and fill the tube, pressing it down to ensure it is firmly packed. Set the filled tube aside and allow it to cool and harden completely before using it or capping it.

Used in hair products, Beeswax locks in moisture smooth down fly-aways, promotes easier styling, and encourages the growth of new hair. Without leaving a greasy residue, it maintains a firm hold on hairstyles but is easy to wash out. To make a conditioning, softening, shine-enhancing pomade, begin by melting 2 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles in a double boiler. Once they have liquefied, stir in 3 Tbsp. Coconut Carrier Oil until thoroughly incorporated into the wax. Remove the double boiler from the heat, then add in 2 tsp. Bentonite Clay and 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil, stirring the mixture continuously to facilitate its cooling. Next, transfer the blend into a container of personal preference. Suggested containers include small glass mason jars.

For a calming, clarifying, and balancing bedtime salve that is reputed to encourage the onset of quality sleep, begin by thoroughly combining the following oils in a small jar or bowl: 80 drops each of Ginger Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, and Grapefruit Essential Oil and 40 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil. This essential oil blend will be incorporated into the salve, which can be made by first combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a double boiler. Stir this mixture regularly until all the ingredients have thoroughly melted. In the 10-15 minutes that it takes for the wax mixture to melt, collect 4 separate 30 ml (4 oz.) mason jars and pour 90 drops of the aforementioned essential oil blend into each jar. Once the wax mixture has achieved a smooth and even consistency, pour it into each of the jars and allow it to cool. Once the mixture has set inside each jar, cap the jars. To use this salve at bedtime, massage a small amount into the bottoms of both feet before going to sleep. To prevent the salve from getting on bedding, cover the feet with socks. This salve has an approximate shelf life of 8 months and is believed to provide a warming sensation, promote relaxation and easier breathing, reduce feelings of stress, regulate blood pressure, and balance the hormones.

Used in medicinal applications, Beeswax not only facilitates healing but it also prevents bacterial infections from developing on the skin while also promoting the skin’s regeneration and thereby helping to diminish the appearance of scarring from abrasions. For a simple yet versatile salve that is known to soothe irritation while eliminating bacteria, begin by combining 4 Tbsp. Beeswax pastilles, 1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Carrier Oil, and 1 cup Grapeseed Carrier Oil in a double boiler, stirring the mixture regularly as it melts. While waiting for the mixture to melt entirely, fill 5 mason jars with a customized essential oil blend of personal preference, depending on the desired outcome. Some blend recipes are offered below. Next, fill the jars with the oil and wax mixture, leaving an inch of space between the top of the salve and the rims of the jars, then allow the salve to cool. Once it has hardened, tightly cap the jars.

For an allergy-relief blend with anti-histamine effects, combine Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils for a total of 30 drops. This combination is believed to soothe topical allergies characterized by itching and to soften the skin while eliminating bacteria.

For a pain-relieving blend, combine 30 drops Birch Essential Oil, 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil, and 10 drops White Fir Essential Oil. This combination is believed to reduce inflammation and pain.

For a blend that is reputed to rejuvenate the complexion, combine 12 drops each of Cypress, Frankincense, and Lavender essential oils. This combination is believed to exhibit regenerative and restorative qualities, thus promoting a more youthful appearance.

For a vapor rub blend that is known to help reduce a cough and cold symptoms, begin by combining and melting 2 level Tbsp. of Beeswax pastilles and ½ cup Almond Carrier Oil in a double boiler. Once the mixture has completely melted together, stir in 20 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 20 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, 10 drops Rosemary Essential Oil, and 10 drops Clove Essential Oil. Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, pour the blend into any lidded container, tin, or jar. To use this vapor rub, simply scoop a small amount with the fingertips and massage it into the chest or the soles of the feet to decrease congestion and coughing.

A GUIDE TO BEESWAX VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BEESWAX BEADS (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have been melted then filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Have been shaped into small pellets for easy use
  • Be 100% natural and refined through physical processes without the use of chemicals
  • Be ideal for use in formulations where a cream base or end product is fragrance-free and white in color, but to which color and fragrance can later be added
  • Be suitable for use in lotions, creams, balms, body butter, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations and to assist as an incomplete emulsifier or thickener
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes, when used in candle-making
  • Believed to be the preferred type of wax for aromatherapy-grade candles, due to its slower rate of burning
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BEADS (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Retain its natural fragrance
  • Burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based waxes
  • Be ideal for use in lip balms and candle-making
  • Have a slow and smoke-free burn
  • Be made from 100% pure refined Beeswax
  • Have its fragrance negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (WHITE) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Burn longer and cleaner (no drip) than ordinary paraffin candles
  • Have a smokeless flame
  • Have a higher melting point than other waxes, thus its flame gives off more light and heat
  • Be pure, 100% natural, and refined through physical processes without the use of any chemicals
  • Be melted and filtered through active carbon to remove its scent and color, which may vary from white to off-white
  • Come in convenient blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) each
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many products such as lotions, creams, balms, body butters, and soaps
  • Provide body and stiffness to formulations while functioning as a thickener
  • Have a melting point between 62° and 67° C (143° to 152° F); thus, overheating this wax will impact its scent and color

 

BEESWAX BLOCK (YELLOW) COSMETIC GRADE REFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: China

Believed to:

  • Have a natural but mild scent that makes it a good substitute for those with Fragrance Sensitivity and that allows for the addition of essential oils for fragrance
  • Burn longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Come in blocks of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) each
  • Be Golden-Yellow in color
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of many natural products including candles, soaps, natural wood polishes, and pastes, and sealing wax
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN ORGANIC

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Be completely natural and to come in large blocks of different sizes
  • Be 100% pure
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be processed under Organic conditions that meet the USDA Standards
  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes without dripping
  • Be primarily used to manufacture Aromatherapy and natural Beeswax candles
  • Act as a humectant, emollient, and emulsifying agent in formulations for lotions, creams, balms and body butters
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating
  • Be the ideal wax for those requiring unprocessed premium Beeswax

 

BEESWAX PREMIUM CANADIAN UNREFINED

INCI: Beeswax

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Produce a fragrant candle that burns longer and cleaner than ordinary wax candles
  • Have the highest melting point of any known wax
  • Have a slow, smokeless flame that gives off more light and heat than other waxes and without dripping
  • Be 100% pure
  • Be processed using technology that meets pharmacopeia standards for use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries
  • Retain its sweet, natural fragrance
  • Range in color from Yellow to Golden-Yellow
  • Be ideal for use in the manufacturing of products such as cosmetics, candles, and soaps
  • Be negatively impacted by overheating

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BEESWAX

Beeswax is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this product for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Beeswax without the medical advice of a physician, as it is unclear whether any potential negative effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Prior to using Beeswax, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of melted Beeswax to a small area of skin that is not sensitive and leaving it on the area for 15-20 minutes. Beeswax must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Beeswax include sensitization, redness, pain, itchiness, burning, contact dermatitis, shortness of breath, swelling/crusting/rash around the mouth/lips/tongue, rash, tiny bumps, and difficulty swallowing or speaking. Those with hay fever, rhinitis, and allergies to pollen, propolis, or honey should avoid the use of Beeswax.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product 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…

    • Beeswax is a natural substance generated and secreted by honey bees. It is hard and breakable when cold but soft and pliable when heated.
    • Just like honey, Beeswax varies in color, depending on various factors related to the bees themselves as well as the flowers from which the honey is derived.
    • There are 3 main types of Beeswax: Yellow, White, and Absolute. They vary in their processing methods, benefits, and uses.
    • Used in aromatherapy, Beeswax is known for its long, slow, clean, smoke-less burn. It not only exudes the aroma of honey but it also produces comparatively brighter flames, facilitates the elimination of airborne pollutants, and promotes the overall health of body and mind.
    • Used cosmetically, Beeswax hydrates, conditions, soothes and calms the skin. It exfoliates, repairs damage, promotes the skin’s regeneration, diminishes the appearance of the signs of aging, soothes itchiness and irritation, and creates a hydrating, long-lasting protective barrier against environmental pollutants. Used in hair, Beeswax nourishes, conditions, and softens the strands while and promoting the hair’s luster.
  • Used medicinally, Beeswax helps soothe and facilitate the healing of abrasions. It prevents harmful bacteria from entering the body through the chapped and broken skin and it provides the skin with a layer of protection against external irritants. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefit those who suffer from topical allergies or skin ailments, such as eczema and rosacea.

Activated Charcoal: 15 Benefits & Uses for Health and Wellness

Activated charcoal is a hot topic in health and wellness these days, gaining recognition as a powerhouse agent for detoxification with a wide range of potential uses. We see activated charcoal in everything from facial masks and teeth whiteners to digestive remedies and even an exotic new food trend that uses its charcoal hue for an element of surprise (think jet-black ice cream).

Activated charcoal benefits are no secret. A staple in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, activated charcoal remains to this day a common emergency room antidote for cases of toxicity and poisoning in developed nations around the world. As for activated charcoal uses in daily life, this natural healing product is extremely versatile and generally considered safe. Yet activated charcoal should be handled with care (scroll down for an overview of activated charcoal side effects).

What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning coconut shells, bamboo, olive pits, wood, or various other substances. For your natural medicine cabinet, we recommend purchasing activated charcoal that is organic and made from coconut shells.

Processed at very high temperatures, this unique charcoal is “activated” in a way that changes its structure to increase the surface area and make it more porous. It is the porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (“adsorbing”) toxins and flushing them out of the body. This is the principle behind activated charcoal detox.

Unlike the charcoal briquettes you use to light your barbecue, activated charcoal is free of toxins and carcinogens and is generally safe to consume and apply topically. Never substitute regular charcoal for the activated charcoal used for health and wellness!

What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal?

With its purifying qualities, activated charcoal offers potential benefits including detoxification, alleviating gas and bloating digestive health, lowering cholesterol, reducing the effects of radiation, and anti-aging.

Detoxification

The most scientifically proven of all of the activated charcoal’s benefits, detoxification happens naturally with this powerful agent. Because activated charcoal’s porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract. In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning, toxic exposure and drug overdose.

Activated charcoal is considered to be effective for acute poisoning from a wide variety of drugs and poisons including acetaminophen, aspirin and tricyclic antidepressants. However, it is not useful for poisoning from lithium, iron, cyanide, potassium, and ethanol.

While some use activated charcoal as a hangover cure, there is currently no evidence to support this. More than one study has shown that activated charcoal is not effective at absorbing alcohol.

Alleviating Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal’s ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. A double-blind clinical trial found reduced gas and bloating in subjects that used activated charcoal compared to the placebo group. And in 2011, the European Food Safety Authority presented its scientific opinion in favor of using activated charcoal to reduce excess gas in the digestive system.

Digestive Health

When used for digestive cleansing, activated charcoal can promote overall digestive health. Considered a natural gut cleanser, activated charcoal can help lighten the body’s toxic load — potentially reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening immune System.

Lowering Cholesterol

Some researchers have found that activated charcoal can help people lower their cholesterol. Just as it does with toxins, activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. In a controlled study of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal was effective at lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Reducing the Effects of Radiation

Piggybacking on its powers of detoxification, activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through the process of adsorption, activated charcoal attaches to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins.

Anti-Aging

Through its ability to rid the body of toxins, activated charcoal has the potential to be a natural approach to healthy aging. With a reduced toxic load, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. In the same way, it may help to prevent cellular damage to our natural detox organs (the kidneys and liver) and also support adrenal gland health.

Activated Charcoal Uses

Activated charcoal use runs the gamut from gut-cleansing detox to purifying facials, teeth whitening, bug-bite care and more. Keep activated charcoal on hand for natural healing remedies like these.

Digestive Cleansing

The digestive tract is where a myriad of toxins can enter our bodies, from pesticides and heavy metals in food, to chemicals in water and exposure to mold. When you eliminate toxins with a digestive cleanse, you can feel lighter, stronger, and more energetic. While there are many different kinds of digestive cleanses, a simple approach is to eat whole, organic foods and avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Activated charcoal can supercharge your cleanse by assisting with the removal of toxins through the process of adsorption — that is, the toxins attach to the activated charcoal like metal to a magnet, and then pass safely out of the body with a bowel movement.

Recipe: To add activated charcoal to your cleanse, take 10 grams (either as a powder added to water or in pill form) 90 minutes before each meal for two days. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

First Aid for Poisons or Toxins

An antidote to certain types of poisoning or exposure to toxic substances, drugs, or household chemicals, activated charcoal is handy to keep in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet. It is essential, however, to first contact 911 or a poison control center immediately. Depending on the type of poison, they may instruct you to administer activated charcoal at home before going to an emergency room.

Note: Having activated charcoal in your first-aid kit or medicine cabinet can help jump-start the recovery process but should never replace a healthcare professional.

Facial Mask

In the same way that activated charcoal draws toxins out of the digestive system, when applied topically, it can draw oils, dirt, bacteria and other impurities from the pores, leaving skin clean, clear and less prone to breakouts.

Recipe: Mix a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Apply to face and neck with a cosmetic brush. Keep on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash off with your favorite natural cleanser.

Note that activated-charcoal powder is very messy when spilled! Avoid using it over hard-to-clean areas such as tile grout.

Acne Spot Treatment

Mixed with a bit of aloe vera gel, activated charcoal makes an effective acne spot treatment.

Recipe: Break open one capsule of activated charcoal in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab, mix with a half-teaspoon of aloe vera gel to create a thick paste. Apply paste to acne. Let dry about 30 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Teeth Whitening

It may seem counterintuitive to turn your teeth black in order to whiten them (don’t worry — the black washes off!), but many people have success using activated charcoal as a natural teeth whitener. Because activated charcoal is abrasive to the teeth, dab it on gently rather than using a toothbrush.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open two capsules of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix in just enough water to make a thick paste (less than 1 teaspoon). Dab paste onto teeth, let sit three minutes and rinse.

Flatulence Relief

Activated charcoal’s ability to alleviate gas and bloating is clinically proven. If certain foods trigger gas, activated charcoal is one way to keep flatulence at bay.

Tip: Take 1 gram of activated charcoal at least 30 minutes before you eat and 1 gram an hour after you eat.

Bug Bites

Activated charcoal can be a great remedy for mosquito bites and bee stings, as it can alleviate the itching and discomfort that they cause.

Recipe: In a small bowl, break open one capsule of activated charcoal. Using a cotton swab, mix with a ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bug bite or bee sting.

Water Filtration

Just as it can remove impurities from the body, activated charcoal can also remove contaminants from water. Activated charcoal is a key component in many commercially available water filtration systems, and works in a similar way to the carbon filtration in the popular Brita water pitchers.

Activated charcoal in water filters may be effective at removing pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals. However, it is less effective at removing fluoride, viruses, bacteria, and hard-water minerals.

Air Purification

In the same spirit, activated carbon is also effective as a filter for air purification. Much like baking soda, commercially available charcoal bags can be placed in the refrigerator, car, pet areas, gym bags, and other places to freshen the air, neutralize odors, and combat mold.

Activated Charcoal Forms

Activated charcoal is available in pills, tablets, capsules, and loose powder for multipurpose use. In all forms, activated charcoal is odorless and neutral-tasting.

Pills & Tablets

Activated charcoal to reduce gas and bloating is often taken in pill or tablet form. Generally, two pills or tablets are recommended to be taken at least 30 minutes before eating gas-producing foods, and one hour after.

Capsules

Purchasing activated charcoal in capsule form is a handy way to use small amounts for recipes. Simply break open a capsule into a small bowl to release the powder, and mix it with water, coconut oil or another ingredient to make a paste for DIY healing.

Powder

A jar of fine, jet-black activated charcoal powder is handy for a variety of uses. In cases of poisoning or the ingestion of toxins, the activated charcoal powder is mixed with a liquid and given as a drink (or, in emergency rooms, administered through a tube from the mouth to the stomach).

For more common household use, the activated charcoal powder can be used in small amounts for teeth whitening and other remedies.

Are There Side Effects to Using Activated Charcoal?

It is important to remember that activated charcoal not only adsorbs to toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, too, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.

It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients. Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.

Keep in mind that activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. At least one study supports its use for cholestasis, which is a condition marked by the reduction or stoppage of bile flow, during pregnancy. Some pregnant women use it to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) as well as diarrhea, though its effectiveness in such cases is not well documented. In some people, activated charcoal can cause side effects of vomiting and diarrhea — the very symptoms it may be used to relieve.

Folate Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

If you’re feeling weak or like you have low energy, folate deficiency might be to blame. Folate is one of the essential B vitamins – B9 to be exact. This water-soluble vitamin is essential for making red blood cells and keeping levels of the amino acid homocysteine low. Lack of sufficient folate is linked to a variety of problems, including anemia, memory loss, bone fractures and hearing loss. Folate is also critical for developing fetuses.

While folate is found in many foods, not everyone gets enough of it in their diets. And even if they do, not everyone can absorb it due to issues like poor digestion (specifically malabsorption disorders). Or they have a genetic problem that makes it harder to convert the dietary folate and supplemental folic acid that they do consume into a form their bodies can use.

Read on to learn more about the signs of folate deficiency, the health benefits of consuming enough folate, common causes of folate deficiency, top folate-containing whole foods and recommended doses of folic acid supplements.

Signs of Folate Deficiency

There are several common folate deficiency symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Anemia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Memory loss
  • Pale skin

Low Energy

Do you ever feel tired or weak or have unexplained fatigue? Maybe you feel like your get up and go has got up and gone away. Whatever the case, your energy reserves are low, and you’re not sure why. While there are many causes of low energy, it’s possible folate deficiency is to blame. That’s because fatigue is a common problem with anemia — and folate deficiency can cause anemia.

Hearing Loss

A 2010 study found that age-related hearing loss is associated with significantly lower levels of folate in the blood. If you’re over the age of 60 and experiencing hearing loss without a clear medical diagnosis, it could be from a folate deficiency, which is common in older people.

Anemia

Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells in your body. Because red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen and energy to the cells throughout your body, anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Without sufficient red blood cells to carry oxygen through your body, you may feel short of breath — and your heart rate may go up as it tries to get more oxygen to your cells. Your hands and feet may feel cold, and your skin may be paler than normal.

Anemia can have many different causes. Internal bleeding, heavy menstruation, serious illnesses (like cancer) and inherited genetic diseases (such as sickle cell anemia) are all factors. But anemia is more commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies, particularly low iron, low B-12 and low folate.

Shortness of Breath

If you have trouble catching your breath, or if you feel winded after even mild exertion, the cause may be a folate deficiency. That’s because anemia, an aforementioned common problem in people with folate deficiencies, can lead to shortness of breath.

Memory Loss

Cognitive impairment, including poor memory and dementia, is associated with lower levels of folate in the blood, especially in older adults that need special care. A couple of small studies have indicated that folic acid supplementation can lead to improvement in cognitive function for some patients.

Pale Skin

If your skin looks significantly paler than normal — like your blood has gone on vacation — you may have a folate deficiency. That’s because pale skin is a symptom of anemia, and anemia can be caused by folate deficiency.

If you are experiencing symptoms of folate deficiency, make sure you are getting adequate folate in your diet and consider taking a folic acid supplement to get the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for this vitamin. If your symptoms persist, see your doctor.

Folate-800x416

Folate vs. Folic Acid

You may hear people talk about folate and folic acid. So what’s the difference? While folate and folic acid are both forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9, the difference is their source. Folate is the natural form of this vitamin. You get it by eating natural foods, especially nuts, green leafy vegetables (such as kale and spinach), and other fruits and vegetables.

By contrast, folic acid, also known as folacin, is the synthetic form of vitamin B9. Since 1998, the FDA has required food producers to fortify enriched cereals and flours with folic acid. Many brands of nutritional yeast are also fortified with folic acid. Food manufacturers use synthetic folic acid rather than the natural form of this vitamin, folate because folic acid is less expensive and folate is not shelf-stable.

It is not necessary to eat fortified foods or take folic acid supplements to get enough vitamin B9. You can get enough folate through your regular diet alone, provided you eat a healthy, diverse whole-foods diet rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, and nuts.

Folate and Folic Acid Benefits

There are many health benefits to consuming sufficient folate and folic acid. Adequate amounts of this water-soluble B vitamin help your body produce new blood cells and reduce the risk of stroke in people with high blood pressure. Folic acid can also help promote bone health. During pregnancy, getting enough folate through a healthy diet — or enough folic acid through supplements and fortified foods — helps to protect your developing baby’s health and prevent certain birth defects.

Produce New Cells

Adequate folate doesn’t just enable your body to build more red blood cells; it’s also important for producing and maintaining all new cells in the body. That’s because folate is required for DNA replication (to copy DNA for new cells) — and for the DNA within each cell to be used to create new proteins.

Promotes Normal Blood Pressure

In people with high blood pressure, adequate folic acid intake may help prevent strokes. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed more than 20,000 adults with high blood pressure in China over 4.5 years. Those participants who received folic acid supplements, rather than a placebo, were less likely to have a stroke during those 4.5 years.

Keep in mind, China doesn’t require folate fortification of grains the way the U.S. does, so it’s likely that the China-based study saw a more dramatic benefit due to the lower folate levels of people in the study. But these findings may be relevant to people in the U.S. who do not consume a lot of fortified grains, either because their main source of dietary carbohydrates is corn masa (which isn’t fortified) or because they are on a gluten-free diet due to celiac or other health issues.

Helps Healthy Development of Fetus During Pregnancy

Getting enough folic acid in pregnancy is critical to protecting the developing fetus from neural tube defects (NTDs). One type of NTD is spina bifida, where the neural tube of the spine doesn’t close completely. With the more severe forms of spina bifida, part of the infant’s spine is exposed at birth, and the child will experience minor to major disabilities. Other types of NTD affect the developing fetus’s brain and can lead to stillbirth (due to the failure of the brain to develop) or part of the infant’s brain is exposed at birth.

The good news is that women can help protect their developing babies by consuming enough folic acid before and during pregnancy. According to the CDC, since mandatory folic acid fortification of cereals and flours began, the percentage of infants in the U.S. who were born with a neural tube defect has fallen by 35 percent.

While getting enough folic acid is important throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy, it’s especially critical during the early weeks, since NTDs can occur as early as three to four weeks into pregnancy. That’s why the CDC recommends that women of childbearing age consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, even when they’re not pregnant. By the time a woman finds out she’s pregnant and starts taking prenatal supplements, she may already be six weeks pregnant — or more.

At the very least, folic acid supplementation should begin at least one month before conception, to ensure that blood levels are adequate before conception.

Encourages a Healthy Heart

One marker for heart disease risk is the level of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, which can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart.

The body needs sufficient amounts of B vitamins — specifically, B6, B9 (folic acid) and B-12 — to convert homocysteine into methionine, an essential amino acid. While studies of those who already have heart disease showed no benefit from B vitamin supplementation, the Nurses’ Health Study found that woman with no history of heart disease and high levels of dietary B6 and folate had a lower risk of heart disease.

Helps Protect Your Bones

Folate deficiency can lead to higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine levels can increase the rate of bone fractures. Ensuring you get adequate folic acid through diet and supplements can bring down homocysteine levels, potentially protecting your bones.

What Causes Folate Deficiency

The most common cause of folate deficiency in the U.S. is eating too little of the foods that contain folate. But even people who are eating enough folate can still be at risk. Here are some common risk factors:

A Defect of the MTHFR Gene

Those with a common defect of the MTHFR gene have trouble converting both dietary folate and folic acid supplements into a form that can be used by the body. So even with sufficient intake, they are still deficient. People who have a genetic defect with their MTHFR gene should avoid taking folic acid supplements and instead speak with their health-care provider about methylated folate.

Poor Digestion Due to a Malabsorption Disorder

A malabsorption disorder (like celiac disease) that prevents nutrients from being adequately absorbed into the blood from the small intestines can also cause folate deficiency, even in those who consume enough dietary folate or take folic acid supplements.

Alcoholism

Alcoholics are also more at risk of folate deficiency because long-term consumption of high amounts of alcohol can cause malabsorption problems. It can also cause more folate to be excreted in the urine. Plus, the long-term impact of alcohol on the liver makes it harder for the liver to take up and store folate, and roughly half of the body’s folate is typically stored in the liver.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding can also lead to folate deficiency due to the increased demand for folic acid in women’s bodies during these times.

Medications

Finally, certain medications — including metformin (for diabetes treatment) and birth control pills — can cause folate deficiency.

Top Foods High in Folate

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Lentils
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Nuts
  • Whole Grains

It’s easy to get enough natural folate in your diet by eating a well-balanced, whole foods diets — especially if you eat some high-folate foods every day. It’s probably no surprise that nutrient-dense dark-green leafy vegetables, such as kale, are one of the best natural sources of folate. Just one cup of spinach contains 263 micrograms of folate — or 65 percent of the U.S. RDA. Collard greens come in a close second, with 177 micrograms or 44 percent of the U.S. RDA, for a one cup serving.

Legumes are also a great natural source of folate. Most beans contain between 200 and 300 micrograms of folate (50 percent to 75 percent of the U.S. RDA) per cup. When it comes to folate, though, lentils are the clear leaders — just one cup of lentils contains a whopping 358 micrograms of folate — or 90 percent of the U.S. RDA!

Other good sources of dietary folate include nuts, peas, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, avocados, asparagus, broccoli, corn, and carrots. It’s not just nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables that are high in folate. Unexpected sources of natural folate include egg yolks and organ meats, such as liver and kidney.

How Much Folic Acid Should You Take?

Life Stage RDA
Infants birth-6 months 65 mcg
Infants 7-12 months 80 mcg
1–3 years 150 mcg
4–8 years 200 mcg
9–13 years 300 mcg
Individuals 14+ 400 mcg
Pregnant women 600 mcg
Breastfeeding women 500 mcg

The U.S. RDA for folic acid is 400 micrograms for adults, 600 micrograms for pregnant women and 500 micrograms for lactating women. While most adults who eat healthy amounts of folate in their diet don’t need a supplement, the CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, to prevent birth defects, particularly spina bifida and anencephaly (where part of skull and brain are missing).

Supplementation is also recommended if you are not consuming a lot of folate-rich foods, if you have a malabsorption disorder that prevents you for adequately absorbing the folate you do eat or if you are taking medication that negatively impacts your folate stores.

Points to Remember

If you’re dealing with unexplained weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, memory loss or age-related hearing loss, it’s possible that folate deficiency is part of the problem. The best way to prevent a folic acid deficiency is to get enough folate in your diet by eating ample amounts of dark leafy greens and beans — and also nuts, citrus fruits and other foods that are high in folate.

But diet alone may not be enough. If you have a defect in your MTHFR gene, you should consider taking methylated folate, which doesn’t require conversion to be used by your body. And if you are a woman of childbearing age, you should strongly consider taking a high-quality folic acid supplement, even if you’re not trying to conceive, to ensure you have adequate levels of folate in your blood to support a healthy pregnancy.

But the benefits of folic acid supplementation go beyond ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Adequate folate can help boost your energy and decrease your risk of having a stroke. It can also help protect your bones, hearing, and memory as you age.

A Miracle Herb for Face, Skin and Hair; Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Gel and Aloe Vera Juice are extracted from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant, a botanical that the ancient Egyptians often referred to as “The Plant of Immortality” or “The Plant of Eternity.” It was believed that the “blood” of the Aloe Vera plant would not only address symptoms of fevers, soothe burns and wounds, and enhance daily cosmetic applications, but that it would also magnify beauty and promote imperishability. Known for having anti-bacterial properties, the contents of the Aloe Vera plant were used in embalming rituals, as it was believed that the deceased could achieve everlasting life, both physically and spiritually, if their bodies could be prevented from decomposing.

Even before the Egyptians, the benefits of the Aloe Vera plant’s gel and juice were recognized by the Mesopotamians, who used it for the internal cleansing of their intestines. In this society, physical ailments were believed to be demonic possessions, and it was believed that a “divine” plant, namely the Aloe Vera plant, could eliminate the body’s “demons.” Inscriptions about this healthful plant from this time were written on clay boards and are considered to be the earliest documentation of Aloe Vera.

Although indigenous to Africa, the Aloe Vera plant has been cultivated worldwide, specifically in tropical and subtropical regions. Throughout history, it has been used as a staple in the traditional medicinal preparations of various communities, including Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian. In these and other societies, Aloe Vera Gel and Juice have been taken orally and applied topically to calm inflammation, to support and act as a tonic for digestive health, to heal wounds and prevent scarring, to ease pain, to enhance the overall health of skin and hair, and to address particular health concerns.

In the 16th century, Native American tribes regarded the Aloe plant as one of their many “holy” and “god-like” botanicals, which they worshipped and called “The Burn/Medicine/and Mystery Plant.” Within these communities, Aloe Juice was often diluted and applied to the skin as an insect repellant, which helped protect the tribes from insect-infested swamps through which they often had to march. This insect repellant application was also used as a preservative for materials, such as wood, that was susceptible to damage caused by pests.

Now sometimes referred to as “a pharmacy in a plant,” Aloe Vera Gel and Juice continue to be used to address pain, burns, symptoms of diabetes, high cholesterol, and arthritis, among other health conditions and complaints. It is a valued ingredient in cosmetics, such as moisturizers, masks, toners, hair products, and aftershave products. It is also commonly found in ointments for sunburns as well as dietary supplements and drinks.

An Aloe leaf consists of two parts: the gel and the juice.

The gel is the clear, odorless, mucilaginous, innermost portion of the leaf, and it is the most prevalent form and use of the Aloe plant. It is largely composed of water but also contains vitamins, a protein consisting of several amino acids, and organic and inorganic compounds.

The juice, also known as “Aloe Latex,” is the yellow, strong-smelling, bitter-tasting sap that is found between the leaf’s green inner skin and the gel. This is the liquid that drips from the Aloe leaf when it is cut.

Although the gel and the liquid share similar benefits and can both be used directly and safely on the skin, they are not identical and have distinct properties, thus the terms Aloe Gel and Aloe Juice are not used interchangeably in this article. NDA carries Aloe Vera Gel Juice, which is obtained by stripping away the outer leaf rind, rinsing away the Aloe Latex, and then de-pulping the inner fillets.

I will show you the various benefits and safe uses of NDA’s Aloe Vera Gel Juice, the consistency of which is more like that of a juice (although it should not be mistaken for the drinkable Aloe Vera Juice).

The benefits of Aloe Vera Gel Juice are wide-ranging, earning itself the reputation of being able to address various discomforts, including those associated with allergies, acne, abrasions, asthma, sores, blisters, bruises, burns, blood pressure, constipation, coughs, colds, colic, dry and chapped skin, hair loss, rashes, inflammation, fungal infections, headaches, indigestion, insect bites and stings, jaundice, joint pain, cramps, moles, nausea, razor burn, stretch marks, shingles, sciatic nerve, tendonitis, ulcers,  varicose veins, windburn, various types of wounds, and warts, to name only a few conditions for which it is believed to offer relief.

Used cosmetically, Aloe Vera Gel Juice can hydrate, exfoliate, nourish, clarify, and revitalize the skin and hair. Its antioxidant activity and richness in vitamins help it to repair skin and hair damage and to protect them before and after the harmful effects of UV radiation. Its smoothing quality helps to prevent and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, making it ideal for “anti-aging” formulations as well as formulations for acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It moisturizes without leaving skin or hair with a greasy residue, which makes it beneficial for oily skin and hair types. Aloe Vera is believed to help fade tans and stretch marks.

The natural emollience and anti-irritant property of Aloe Vera Gel Juice make it ideal for use in formulations for cosmetics such as creams, lotions, makeup, soaps, sunscreens, shaving cream, shampoos, and even tissues and incense. When used in beauty applications, it can make a suitable moisturizer as well as a makeup primer for use before the application of foundation, and it can effectively function as a makeup remover.

AloeVeraGelJuice_CaptionImage

Used in massage applications, Aloe Vera Gel Juice is reputed to soothe muscular aches, joint pain, inflammation, wounds, burns, frostbite, and infections. It is also believed to stimulate skin regeneration, thereby improving the look of skin afflicted with dryness, flaking, and other uncomfortable topical conditions, whether it is on the body or the scalp. As a source of protein, it is believed to enhance energy as well as promote the development of muscles.

Used medicinally, Aloe Vera Gel Juice works to eliminate bodily toxins, increase the body’s antioxidant activity, balance digestive fluid, and enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, thus supporting the health and function of the immune system. Its anti-inflammatory function helps the body repair damage to the skin and tissues, making it ideal for not only soothing wounds and burns but also for easing the discomfort of joint pain. It is also believed to be effective for addressing stubborn conditions such as skin ulcers and dandruff.

Aloe Vera Gel Juice 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, Antioxidant, Smoothing, Protective, Nourishing Clarifying, Soothing, Hydrating
  • MEDICINAL: Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, Soothing, Protective, Nourishing, Anti-Viral, Wound-Healing

ALOE VERA GEL JUICE USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Aloe Vera Gel Juice is often used to help soothe and facilitate the healing of sunburned skin with its protective, hydrating, and restorative qualities. To make a hydrating ointment that is reputed to have these therapeutic effects on sunburned skin, begin by thoroughly combining 2 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice, 2 Tbsp. of Coconut Carrier Oil, and 3 drop Lavender Essential Oil either by blending them together in a food processor or by whipping them together with a fork. To use this blend, apply it gently to affected areas of skin and allow it to remain on the skin for as long as possible. This salve can be reapplied 2-3 times a day until significant improvements are noticeable. The remainder of this blend can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator. If the mixture hardens before the next topical application, simply stir the ingredients together again.

For a fast-absorbing moisturizer, that hydrates without leaving a greasy residue on the skin and has a smoothing effect on the look of fine lines, begin by pouring the following ingredients into an amber dropper bottle with the help of a small funnel: 4 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice, 1 tsp. Vegetable Glycerin, ½ tsp. Argan Carrier Oil, and ¼ tsp. Watermelon Seed Carrier Oil. Next, add 4 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil and 4 drops Lavender Essential Oil. Cap the bottle, then shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. To use this facial serum, first, cleanse the face and pat it dry. Place 3 drops of the blend onto the palm and rub the palms together before applying it to the face like a typical moisturizer. This thin, light blend is ideal for those with oily skin and can be used before makeup application as well as after shaving.

For an anti-microbial, balancing, an overnight facial serum that is reputed to soothe and promote the skin’s regeneration and the faster healing of acne, begin by diluting 3 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil in 3 tsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice. After thoroughly mixing the two ingredients together, simply apply this blend to the affected areas of the face and leave it on like an overnight face mask. In the morning, rinse off the mask. This nightly regimen is believed to have a skin-regenerative effect and can be applied each night until the appearance of pimples and/or scarring is visibly diminished. It is also ideal for addressing irritation, inflammation, and blisters.

For a hydrating face mask that is reputed to promote skin’s elasticity, smoothness, and firmness, begin by combining equal amounts of Aloe Vera Gel Juice, Glycerol, Water, and Ground Oat Flakes in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together until the blend achieves the consistency of a paste. Next, apply this blend to the face in a thin layer to make a mask. After leaving the mask on for 5 minutes, rinse it off with cool water. This application is believed to promote the skin’s rejuvenation for a younger-looking complexion.

To decrease the appearance of stretch marks, begin by whisking together ½ Virgin Coconut Carrier Oil and 1/3 cup Aloe Vera Gel Juice, then transfer the blend to an air-tight container. To use this mixture, massage a small amount into the areas of skin affected by stretch marks and allow it to penetrate into the skin overnight. This moisturizer can be applied to the affected areas nightly before going to bed. Results are reputed to be visible after following this regimen every night for 3-4 weeks.

For a natural makeup remover blend that is gentle enough to apply to the sensitive eye area, begin by pouring ½ cup of Aloe Vera Gel Juice, 1 cup filtered water, and ¼ cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Carrier Oil into a blender and thoroughly blending all the ingredients together. Strain the resultant blend with a sieve, then transfer the filtered blend to a clean bottle that will make it easy to dispense the cleanser onto a cotton pad. As the mixture settles inside the bottle, it is normal for the oil to float to the top. To use this cleanser, shake it well to incorporate the floating oil, then pour a small amount onto a clean cotton pad and swipe it across the entire face. Areas of skin with more tenacious makeup, such as waterproof mascara, may require extra swipes of the saturated pad.

For an exfoliating facial scrub that is reputed to promote smoother skin as well as enhance skin’s natural radiance, thoroughly combine 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice, ¼ cup Brown Sugar, and 1 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Carrier Oil. Apply this blend to the face and the body, gently rubbing it in small circles to promote the skin’s exfoliation. Rinse the scrub off with warm water followed by cool water and pat the skin dry.

For a soothing, cleansing face mask that also hydrates and balances the skin’s oil production, begin by pouring 1 Tbsp. Sugar into ½ Tbsp. Milk until the Sugar liquifies. To this, add 2 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice and thoroughly combine all ingredients with a spoon. Scoop this blend onto the fingertips and apply it to the face in a thin layer to create a mask. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. This regimen can be repeated daily.

For a strengthening hairspray that is reputed to contribute shine to the strands while working to eliminate frizz, begin by combining 1 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice and 5 drops Lavender Essential Oil in a small mixing bowl. Transfer this blend to a clean spray bottle. To use this mist, simply shake it well and spray it onto the scalp and strands. If hair is damp, the spray can be spritzed on generously. If the hair is dry, a light spritz is recommended. This conditioning spray is believed to soothe and prevent dandruff, itchiness, and inflammation as well as balance the scalp’s pH level, repair damage, and encourage the growth of longer and stronger hair.

For a hair treatment mask that can be applied before shampooing, begin by thoroughly combining the following ingredients in a small mixing bowl: ½ cup Aloe Vera Gel Juice and 2 Tbsp. a Carrier Oil of personal preference. To apply this mask, section the hair and smooth the blend onto each section. Allow the mask to penetrate the hair and scalp for 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition the hair as usual.

For a softening leave-in conditioner that eliminates knots and tangles and promotes stronger hair growth, combine the following ingredients in a clean, empty shampoo bottle: 2 Tbsp. the leave-in conditioner of personal preference, 2 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice, 2 tsp. Castor Carrier Oil, and 2 Tsp. Jojoba Carrier Oil. Cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. To use this blend, apply it like a regular leave-in conditioner, then store the remainder in the refrigerator.

Aloe Vera Gel Juice is believed to make an ideal shaving gel and can be applied to all the usual places that require hair removal, although it is recommended to avoid sensitive areas. Used after a shave, it is known to offer soothing relief.

To hydrate dry and cracked heels, create a moisturizing overnight foot mask by combining ½ cup Oatmeal, ¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel Juice, and ½ cup a preferred body lotion. Apply this blend to the feet. To enhance the hydrating property of this mixture, keep the feet covered with socks.

For a nourishing treatment that is reputed to diminish the signs of aging on the hands, simply combine 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel Juice and 1 tsp. Coconut Carrier Oil in a clean bottle. To use this conditioning moisturizer, pour the required amount of the oil blend onto the palms to gently warm it up before massaging it into the hands like a regular moisturizer. Next, rinse the oil off with warm water and pat the hands dry.

Used in medicinal applications, Aloe Vera Gel Juice soothes and cools the skin, helps boost immunity, and protects the body against harmful bacteria that could potentially lead to infections. For a simple application that soothes insect stings and bites and that calms minor burns and inflammation, begin by pouring Aloe Vera Gel Juice into an ice cube tray. After the frozen cubes have formed, simply rub one cube in small circles on the area affected by swelling.

To make a natural, non-drying, Aloe-based hand sanitizer, begin by combining the following ingredients in a clean spray bottle: ½ cup Aloe Vera Gel Juice and ¼ cup Alcohol. To add a pleasant scent, simply add 3 drops of an essential oil of personal preference. Cap the bottle and shake it well to thoroughly combine all the components. To use this cleansing and disinfecting blend, spray it onto the palms and massage the cleanser into the hands like a regular sterilizing gel.

A GUIDE TO ALOE VERA GEL JUICE VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

ALOE VERA GEL JUICE (DECOLORIZED) RAW MATERIAL

INCI: Aloe Vera Gel Juice (and) Citric Acid (and) Sodium Benzoate (and) Potassium Sorbate

Country of Origin: Canada

Believed to:

  • Be a thin liquid designed for application in manufacturing processes
  • Be ideal for use in formulations for soaps, creams, lotions, and other cosmetics
  • Be safe for direct application to the skin but should not be confused with a gel
  • Spoil and become contaminated with microorganisms, if not properly stored and used in combination with a preservative system
  • Contain Vitamin B complex, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, and Carotene
  • Be a well-respected moisturizing agent

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ALOE VERA GEL JUICE

Aloe Vera Gel Juice is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this raw material for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Aloe Vera Gel Juice 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. It 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: diabetes, intestinal conditions (e.g. Crohn’s Disease), hemorrhoids, kidney problems, 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. Those with allergies to Garlic, Onions, or Tulips should avoid the use of Aloe Vera Gel Juice.

Prior to using Aloe Vera Gel Juice, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by diluting 1 drop 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. Aloe Vera Gel Juice must never be used near the inner nose, ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.

Potential side effects of Aloe Vera Gel Juice include hives, irritation, inflammation, burning, redness (possible redness of the eyelids), the drying, hardening, and splitting of skin, purple spots, rashes, and swelling. Aloe Vera Gel Juice may also slow down the healing of surgical wounds.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this product 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.

Because Aloe Vera Gel Juice is a water-based product, if it is not used in conjunction with a preservative system, it could naturally become contaminated with bacteria, resulting in a toxic and thus unusable product. For this reason, it is important to ensure its proper storage away from heat, direct sunlight, and other factors that could cause it to become rancid faster.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Aloe Vera Gel and Aloe Vera Juice are extracted from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant.
    • An Aloe Vera leaf consists of two parts: the gel and the juice. Although the gel and the liquid share similar benefits and can both be used directly and safely on the skin, they are not identical substances and have distinct properties.
    • Used cosmetically, Aloe Vera Gel Juice can hydrate, exfoliate, nourish, clarify, and revitalize the skin and hair. It helps protect the skin and hair before and after the harmful effects of UV radiation, and it works to repair the damage. It also helps to prevent and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It moisturizes without leaving skin and hair with a greasy residue and it helps fade tans and stretch marks.
    • Used in massage applications, Aloe Vera Gel Juice is reputed to soothe muscular aches, joint pain, inflammation, wounds, burns, frostbite, and infections. It is also believed to stimulate skin regeneration, enhance energy, and promote the development of muscles.
  • Used medicinally, Aloe Vera Gel Juice works to eliminate bodily toxins, increase the body’s antioxidant activity, balance digestive fluid, and enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, thus supporting the health and function of the immune system. It helps the body repair damage to the skin and tissues and eases other physical discomforts, such as the symptoms of arthritis.

All About Exotic Tamanu Nut Oil

The tamanu nut tree, whose kernels yield the natural tamanu nut oil, is botanically termed as Calophyllum inophyllum meaning the beautifully leafed tree in Greek. This species is native to southeast Asia and is found growing in abundance along the seashores as well as in upcountry regions having tropic climatic conditions. While scientists are yet to undertake a study to ascertain the differences between the oil yielded by the tamanu nut trees growing in the coastal regions and the inland, natives of Polynesia asset that the oil obtained from the trees growing in the coastal regions is more useful compared to the oil extracted from the nuts of the trees growing inland.

Hence, it is not surprising that manufacturers of tamanu nut oil depend more on the nuts produced by trees growing in the coastal regions. It is interesting to note that the oil obtained from the tamanu nuts is somewhat mystifying. This is primarily owing to the fact that when the nut is taken out of the inedible fruit of tamanu nut trees, the light-colored kernel does not give any indication that it has any oil content. This is true even when the kernels are squashed or pulverized. Nevertheless, once the kernel is dried out for a period of a month or two on a rack, its color changes to profound chocolate brown and it is coated with muggy loaded oil that can be extracted mechanically without much effort using a screw press. It may be noted that scientists have still not been able to find the process of such a transformation of the tamanu nut kernel.

The tamanu nut tree is native to the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. Laborers manually collect the nuts of the tamanu trees growing in the coastal regions since the oil extracted from the nuts produced by these trees are said to be of superior or best quality. In may be noted that the oil extracted from tamanu nuts (Oil of Tamanu) is absolutely wholesome and a natural extract from the tamanu nut tree, which the locals consider being ‘sacred’. This natural oil does not enclose any synthetic chemicals, preservatives or additives.

Manufacturers of tamanu nut oil still follow the traditional practices and use manual labor to crack the nuts and dry the kernels out in the sun until their color changes to golden brown. When the kernels have been dried out for about a month or two and they possess a chocolate brown color, they are cold pressed to extract the enclosed natural oil. The cold press using screw press does not involve any heat or addition of chemicals and yields the best quality, unadulterated, loaded, deep green and luxurious tamanu oil.

Tamanu nut oil possesses outstanding therapeutic attributes and the indigenous people of Polynesia and Melanesia have been holding this natural oil in high esteem since ages. The natives of Polynesia and Melanesia consider this wonderful oil as a sacred gift of nature and occasionally talk about it as the ‘Green Gold’ or the ‘Sacred Oil of Tamanu’.

The exclusive attitude of this natural oil is to stimulate the formation of new tissues; this is the real therapeutic power of tamanu oil. The oil’s ability to encourage new tissue formation actually speeds up the healing process of any wound and, at the same time, results in the healthy skin growth. Hence, it is not surprising that this natural oil works as an effective anti-aging agent. Scientifically, this process is known as ‘cicatrization’. In fact, our skin is the largest organ in our body and is composed of three stratum – the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. A number of other layers lie within these three layers and each of them performs particular functions. Since tamanu oil penetrates deep into the core connective tissues of the skin and encourages the growth of new tissues, it is effective in accelerating the healing of any type of wound.

The Islanders, as well as the practitioners of local medications, have been conventionally using tamanu oil to stimulate the regeneration of tissues and, hence, this action helps in the regeneration of healthy skin. This natural oil not only helps the growth of new tissues but also makes the skin new and glowing.

The natural oil extracted from tamanu nuts therapeutically has a number of external applications. Generally, tamanu oil is applied generously to any scrape, cut, burn injury, abrasions, diabetic sores, psoriasis, anal fissures, blisters, eczema, sunburn, insect stings and bites, herpes sores, dry or scaly skin, athletes foot as well as lessening the foul odor of the body, especially the foot. In effect, tamanu natural oil is an excellent deodorant for the underarm also. It is common among the natives of Vanuatu to massage tamanu oil or the natural oil extracted from the nuts of Calophyllum inophyllum on the skin to get relief from the excruciating pains associated with conditions, such as rheumatism, neuralgia, and sciatica. Many of them also use this oil to treat the baby rash caused by the use of nappies.

Several studies have revealed that the oil extracted from the tamanu nuts encloses three primary lipid categories – neutral lipids, glycolipids, and phospholipids. In addition, the oil of tamanu also encloses a distinctive fatty acid known as chlorophyllic acid as well as an unusual antibiotic called lactone. It also contains calophyllolide – a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. The therapeutic benefits of this natural oil are attributed to the above-mentioned substances and anti-inflammatory coumarins. On the basis of the identified actions of the familiar elements of this natural oil, it is obvious that the oil of tamanu is not only anti-bacterial but also anti-inflammatory.

Tamanu nut oil also possesses an exceptional cicatrizing (healing by the formation of new tissues over any wound) properties, but scientists are yet elucidated on this aspect in the available scientific literature. Nevertheless, this unique attribute of the oil extracted from tamanu nuts is not only proven but also accepted by all concerned. The same thing may be said regarding the anti-neuralgic properties of the oil of Tamanu. In fact, there is adequate evidence that this natural oil is effective in providing relief from neuritis (a condition marked by tenderness or continuous pain in a nerve, accompanied by paralysis and disturbance of the senses). Again, in this case, too, scientists are yet to ascertain the elements responsible for this specific property of the oil as well as the manner in which they function to alleviate the condition.

It is interesting to note that scientists in Asia, the Pacific Islands and Europe started undertaking researches on this natural oil in their hospitals only in the 1930’s following a report by a French nun Sister Marie-Suzanne, who was working in Fiji at that time, that external application of Dolno (as tamanu nut oil is known locally) on patients suffering from neuritis accompanied by leprosy showed amazing effects. The research undertaken by these scientists demonstrated that external application of the oil of tamanu is also an excellent remedy for healing skin conditions. In addition, their findings also showed that this oil possessed properties that were effective in providing relief from nerve pains. They also proved that tamanu nut oil possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant as well as anti-microbial attributes.

While the oil of tamanu has been studied by scientists for nearly eight decades now, the tamanu nut oil has been marketed commercially for the last 10 years as an element in first aid purposes as well as cosmetics.

The oil of tamanu is a traditional medication in the Pacific Islands where people apply it topically to cure all types of skin disorders that one can think of, such as acne, scrapes, cuts, insect bites, burns, sunburn, ulcers, eczema, blisters as well as aches caused by herpes – genital pains and cold sores. In addition, natives in the Pacific Islands also use this natural oil to treat arid and scaly skin. Tamanu nut oil has the aptitude to get rid of or significantly diminish scarring caused by burns, acne as well as other skin conditions. On the other hand, the indigenous people of Polynesia also apply this oil topically to lessen foul body and foot smell.

External application of tamanu nut oil to the neck also helps in getting relief from a sore throat. As aforementioned, this natural oil extracted from the nuts of the tamanu plant possesses properties that help in alleviating pain and the indigenous people of the Pacific Islands have been using it traditionally to get relief from nerve pain or neuralgia, sciatica as well as arthritis. Native women also use this oil topically on their skin for clear and flawless skin. This natural oil is also beneficial for infants and it is used to treat nappy rash as well as other skin disorders in babies. It has been established as well as accepted that the compounds enclosed by tamanu nut oil possess noteworthy anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in diminishing pain as well as swellings related to the above-mentioned health conditions when applied topically.

In addition, the oil of tamanu also possesses numerous potent anti-microbial properties and, hence, it has been established that this natural oil is effective in treating several conditions caused by pathogens that are responsible for numerous epidemics and deaths in the present times. It also has the potential to prevent MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus) – a bacterium that enters the body via the open wounds on the skin and is resistant to most of the available antibiotics. Currently, this oil has been creating lots of headlines as it is helpful in preventing this morbid bacterium. In comparison to amoxicillin and ampicillin, the elements present in tamanu nut oil have been found to be equally effective against this bacterium. In addition, the findings of several types of research have confirmed that the anti-microbial and anti-fungal elements enclosed by this natural oil may be used to effectively treat skin and eye contagions, together with ringworms (any skin infection caused by certain parasitic fungi and distinguished by the formation of eruptive patches in the shape of rings).

As discussed earlier, the oil of Tamanu possesses significant antioxidant attributes, particularly in slowing down the breakdown of lipids by oxygen (a process called peroxidization). It may be noted that the membranes of the cells are made up of lipids and, hence, this natural oil facilitates the inhibition of any harm caused to the skin due to oxidation. While the tamanu nut oil is viscous as well as full, it is soaked up by the skin completely without leaving any slippery excess or a greasy feeling. In addition, this natural oil also possesses a gentle and pleasant scent and provides a comfortable experience making it a perfect ingredient for creams, lotions, ointments, balms and other cosmetics.

Although the therapeutic use of tamanu nut oil was started in the Pacific Islands where it is used extensively even to this day, presently this natural oil is being used by people in different countries for remedial purposes. People in Indonesia call the tamanu nut tree as nyamplung and use its leaves to cure inflammation of the eyes as well as heatstroke. While the trunk of this tree is used by them to construct boats, people in Indonesia launched a large-scale program to plant this tree (Calophyllum inophyllum) throughout their country to acquire the tamanu nut oil that is used as an alternate for diesel. Then again, people in Malaysia know this tree by the name penaga laut and use the oil obtained from its nuts.
Inhabitants of the island nation Vanuatu, a republic in the Pacific Ocean, use this natural oil as a remedy for several skin conditions, including cuts, burns, insect bites, stings, blemishes, rashes, and sores.

According to numerous people familiar with the therapeutic properties of the oil of tamanu, it is a marvel of nature since it is effective in treating numerous skin conditions, including inflammation and irritation, as well as pains associated with arthritis and rheumatism. Some of the condition-specific benefits of unadulterated tamanu nut oil are mentioned below.

  • Tamanu nut oil is extremely beneficial for people having dry, coarse and flaking skin as its regular application on the skin makes the skin soft and helps it to retain moisture. While applying the oil of tamanu directly to the skin is the most common practice, as an alternate process, one may also add a few drops of this natural oil to their lotion or moisturizer and use the blend daily.
  • Topical application of the oil of tamanu is effective in preventing as well as healing pimples and eruption of acne. The best way to apply this natural oil is to lightly touch this natural oil on the affected areas prior to retiring to bed.
  • Apart from lessening the blemished tissues as well as stains/ discoloration of the skin, the oil of tamanu has proved to be an effectual remedy for wrinkles and stretch marks.
  • A clinical trial undertaken to treat observable blemished tissues found that the oil of tamanu was effective in diminishing the size of such damaged tissues and, thereby, make them appear less obvious. The participants of the research applied this oil topically on the affected skin areas two times every day for nine weeks continually.
  • Besides being a useful remedy for almost all types of skin disorders, tamanu nut oil is also effective in relieving health conditions like muscle aches, neuralgia, neuritis, rheumatism, and arthritis.
  • The oil of tamanu is used for healing other conditions too, especially in preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth. It has been established that tamanu nut oil has the aptitude to penetrate deep into the hair follicles strengthening them, which, in turn, facilitates the prevention of hair fall or a receding hairline. This natural oil works to clear the uncleanness and rubbish on the scalp and reinstate as well as nurture the scalp while increasing its shine. Tamanu nut oil may be applied directly on the scalp or, added with one’s regular shampoo or hair conditioner before application. Alternately, the oil of tamanu may be applied on the scalp after blending it with other natural oils, such as olive oil, neem oil, and/ or jojoba oil.

In addition to the remedial uses of tamanu nut oil mentioned above, this natural oil is also useful for treating skin conditions like sunburn, psoriasis (a widespread chronic, inciting skin ailment distinguished by formation of flaking patches), dark spots and rosacea (a chronic type of acne that affects the nose, forehead and cheeks and marked by red pustular lesions). This oil, extracted from the nuts of the tamanu nut tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), is also a useful cure for poison ivy. Researchers conducted on animals have shown that the oil of tamanu may also prove to be effective in healing health conditions like yeast Candida, cancer, and HIV.