Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

Dance Therapy & Positive Energy Meditation

Try one of these organic artisan herbal teas by Artisan Orchard!

tea

Organic herbal teas by Artisan Orchard are specially crafted and carefully custom-blended using herbs and flowers known for their therapeutic properties, our herbal teas are both delicious and beneficial. Best of all, they are organic, non-GMO, vegetarian/vegan, compostable, hand-crafted and caffeine-free!

Zzzz Tea: A fragrant blend of flowers and herbs renowned over centuries for their relaxing and sleep-promoting properties, Zzzz Tea is perfect at the end of the day.

Sick & Tired Tea: Formulated from herbs and flowers specifically used for hundreds of years to fight colds, flu and to boost the immune system, Sick & Tired is the best for when you are not feeling well. Enjoy one to two cups a day until you feel better. You can also enjoy some to boost your immune system when you aren’t sick.

Anxi-a-Tea: Crafted from herbs and flowers used since the beginnings of herbal medicine for their relaxing properties, Anxi-a-Tea helps take the edge off in a big way. Can be enjoyed any time of day, even in the morning.

Lo-Tea: Created with flowers and herbs chosen for their proven ability to lower blood pressure, Lo-Tea is crafted to help promote and maintain low blood pressure numbers. Because of it’s fantastic ability to lower blood pressure, Lo-Tea should not be used more than once a day until you see how it will affect you.

Stomach Ease Tea: Using herbs and plants very well-known for their ability to ease stomach pains and problems, Stomach Ease can be enjoyed any time of day.

Sampler: This package contains 4 bags each of our Zzzz, Sick & Tired, Anxi-a-Tea, & Stomach Ease teas.

All blends: 20 single-use tea bags, $7.00 + $3.00 S&H. Please address payment to g.m.mann33@gmail.com via PayPal or order through Etsy

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Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized

A lot of people don’t drink milk for various reasons, and humans are the only animal that still drinks milk after infancy. We are also the only animal that consistently drinks the milk of another animal. Weird, right? However, if you do the dairy thing, you might be interested in this infographic comparing raw milk to pasteurized milk.

Raw-vs-Pasteurized-Milk-v2

How to Make a Solar Still

From MotherEarthNews:

Make Your Own Distilled Water

Make your own distilled water from stream or lake water, salt water, or even brackish, dirty water, using these DIY Solar Still Plans. With just a few basic building materials, a sheet of glass and some sunshine, you can purify your own water at no cost and with minimal effort.

Distilled water is not just for drinking, and it’s always worth keeping a few gallons of it on hand. Clean water free of chemicals and minerals has a number of valuable uses:

• Always refill the lead-acid batteries used for solar energy systems or automobiles with distilled water

• Water delicate plants like orchids with distilled water; minerals and additives like fluoride or chlorine that are present in most tap water can harm plants

• Distilled water mixed with antifreeze is recommended for car radiators, as it’s less corrosive

• Steam irons become clogged with mineral deposits unless you use distilled water

The principle of using the sun’s heat to separate water from dissolved minerals has been understood for millennia, salt ponds being the best example of how this knowledge has been put to use in the past. In salt ponds, seawater is drained into shallow ponds and then baked and purified in the sun until all that remains are crystals of salt. In this case, the pure water that gradually evaporated away was considered a useless byproduct, but as far back as the time of the ancient Greeks it was known that seawater could be made fresh and drinkable by this process.

A solar still works like a salt evaporation pond, except that the water that invisibly evaporates is extracted from the air; the minerals and other impurities are left behind and discarded. As the hot, moisture-laden air rises up to the slanting sheet of relatively cool glass sealed to the box, water condenses out in the form of small droplets that cling to the glass. As these droplets get heavier, they roll down the glass to the collector tube at the bottom and then out to the jug.

The box is built from 3/4 ” BC-grade plywood, painted black on the inside to absorb heat. We used a double layer of plywood on the sides to resist warping and to help insulate the box, with an insulated door at the back and a sheet of glass on top.

Finding a good lining or container to hold the water in the inside of the box as it heats and evaporates can be complicated. The combination of high heat and water containing salt or other contaminents can corrode metals faster than usual and cause plastic containers to break down or offgas, imparting an unpleasant taste to the distilled water. The best liners are glass or stainless steel, although you can also coat the inside of the box with two or three coats of black silicone caulk (look for an F.D.A.-listed type approved for use around food). Spread the caulk around the bottom and sides with a taping knife. After it dries and cures thoroughly, just pour water in—the silicone is impervious to the heat and water.

How to Make a Solar Still

We chose to paint the inside black and use two large glass baking pans to hold the water. Glass baking pans are a safe, inexpensive container for dirty or salty water, and they can easily be removed for cleaning. We used two 10 x 15″ pans, which hold up to 8 quarts of water when full. To increase the capacity of the still, just increase the size of the wooden box and add more pans.

The operation of the distiller is simple. As the temperature inside the box rises, water in the pans heats up and evaporates, rising up to the angled glass, where it slowly runs down to the collector tube and then out to a container.

The runoff tube is made from 1″ PEX tubing. Stainless steel can also be used. However, use caution with other materials—if in doubt, boil a piece of the material in tap water for 10 minutes, then taste the water after it cools to see if it added any flavor. If it did, don’t use it.

Turn undrinkable water into pure, crystal-clear distilled water with a home-built solar still.

View step-by-step photos of how to make a solar still in the Image Gallery as well as this PDF of the DIY Solar Still Plans.

1. Mark and cut the plywood pieces according to the cutting list. Cut the angled end pieces with a circular saw or tablesaw set to a 9 degree angle.

2. Cut the insulation the same size as the plywood base, then screw both to the 2 x 4 supports with 2 1/2″ screws.

3. Screw the first layer of front and side pieces to the base and to each other, then add the back piece. Predrill the screws with a countersink bit.

4. Glue and screw the remaining front and side pieces on, using clamps to hold them together as you predrill and screw. Use 1 1/4″ screws to laminate the pieces together and 2″ screws to join the corners.

5. Glue and screw the hinged door pieces together, aligning the bottom and side edges, then set the door in position and screw on the hinges. Add a pull or knob at the center.

6. Paint the inside of the box with black high-temperature paint. Cover the back and the door with reflective foil glued with contact cement. Let the paint dry for several days so that all the solvents evaporate off.

7. Apply weatherseal around the edges of the hinged door to make the door airtight.

8. Drill a hole for the PEX drain. The top of the PEX is 1/2″ down from the top edge. Clamp a scrap piece to the inside so the drill bit doesn’t splinter the wood when it goes through.

9. Mark the first 19″ of PEX, then cut it in half with a utility knife. Score it lightly at first to establish the cut lines.

10. Drill three 1/8″ holes in the side of the PEX for screws, then insert the PEX through the hole. Butt it tight against the other side, then screw it in place, sloping it about 1/4″.

11. Wipe a thick bead of silicone caulk along the top edge of the PEX to seal it against the plywood.

12. Shim the box level and tack a temporary stop to the top edge to make it easy to place the glass without smearing the caulk. Spread a generous bead of caulk on all the edges, then lay the glass in place. Tape it down around the edges with painter’s tape, then let it set up overnight.

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DIY Facial Mask & Beauty Regimen

So I’m not much of a girly girl. I’m not into fashion and clothes and makeup and hair. My teenage daughters are though, and it’s always a struggle for me to find something to do with them that we are all interested in. Then it hit me: natural beauty treatments. I like natural, they like beauty. It’s girly enough to make them happy and not too girly that it makes me want to run screaming from the house. It’s a win-win.

Here are a few of the things we like to make. Links to buy everything are included. We make them, then we hang out talking while they work. My oldest rolls her eyes sometimes and sighs, “Mo-THER!” at me sometimes when I’m talking but she also asks me things like, “What does this oil do?” and “Which of these herbs is best for my skin?” so it’s good enough for me. She’s 18, so really I should be thankful she even talks to me at all.

Natural Glow Honey Cleanser

  • Raw honey (not kidding, that’s all you need)

Dab the honey onto your face with your finger and then spread it out, massaging upward until it covers your whole face. Leave it on anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. (I make the facial mask while we’re waiting.) When your time is up, wet a rag and wipe it off, just like you would any cleanser. It comes off really easily (don’t get it in your hair). You’re done! Honey has so many purifying benefits that it is a natural cleanser, even for problem skin. It even fights acne! You can use it every day, up to twice a day. It might sound silly, but seriously… don’t knock it until you try it. Honey is also a humectant, which means it draws moisture into your skin at the same time it’s cleansing. I love nature.

You could alternately mix the honey with some milk to enhance the softening and purifying properties of this cleanser if you like but it’s not really necessary. This cleanser can be used on your whole body. I do it at least once a month.

mask

Mask is almost dry.

Chamomile & Rosemary Facial Mask

Place the distilled water in a small pot and simmer until hot. Place the herbs in the water and steep about 20 minutes, until the water looks brown like tea (you’ll know when it’s ready). Add more water if you need to. Strain the herbs out and set the herb-infused water aside to cool. When it’s cooled enough, mix the water and clay together, adding more of either until the desired consistency is reached (you want it to be creamy and smooth; if it’s too thick it won’t spread and if it’s too thin it won’t be a good enough layer on your face). Add the essential oils (optional, but I always use them because I have them) and mix very well. It’ll be a dark greenish-grey. Apply to your face and let it dry. When dry and stiff, wet a rag and gently scrub the mask off. Done! You’ll notice a difference right away in how your skin looks and feels.

After mask. I know, I got some in my hair.

After mask. I know, I got some in my hair.

Fuller’s Earth Clay is a natural antioxidant and brightener for the skin. It’s excellent for lightening acne marks and evening out skin tone. Chamomile calms the skin, evens tone and is also a natural brightener. Rosemary increases circulation and tightens skin, and using a fresh or dried infusion of Rosemary is less harsh on the skin than using Rosemary essential oil. Rose oil promotes circulation, renewal and much more. Geranium is good for tissue regeneration, healing and many other things. Texas Cedarwood oil aids elasticity, tightens skin and promotes circulation. Patchouli softens, smooths, heals and all these oils fight aging.

Some variations of this mask include adding a few drops of Tea Tree oil to fight acne and oil, adding some dried or fresh Hibiscus flowers to the water instead of Chamomile to promote young, fresh skin (Hibiscus-infused water will stain your clothes if it gets on them), adding Lavender essential oil to the clay or fresh/dried Lavender flowers to the water to promote circulation, to calm the skin and to soften… the variations are endless.

There are some oils you should not use on your skin, including citrus oils. Yes, they smell great and they have antioxidant properties but they also create photosensitivity on the skin, which can lead to a chemical burn if you go out in the sun. Cinnamon essential oil of any kind smells wonderful but it will also burn the crap out of you. Best to avoid these altogether as additives to beauty treatments. Because of the lightening properties of this particular mask, I would not use it more than once a week.

ACV Toner

All done!

Done! If you’re wondering if this regimen works, keep in mind that I am 35 years old. :)

Dilute the vinegar with the water at a ratio of 1:1. You might find you need to dilute it further, depending on your skin sensitivity (ACV can be harsh if not diluted enough). I use a 1:3 dilution on my face. That means 1 part ACV to 3 equal parts water. So if you were to use 1 cup ACV, you’d use 3 cups water (that would make a lot of toner, but you get the idea). When I use ACV to rinse my hair, I can mix it a little stronger. You can add essential oils to your toner, or infuse the vinegar* with herbs to get their benefits. Rosemary is fantastic for this and so are roses or other flowers. Shake the toner and then apply to your face with a cotton ball or the tips of the fingers.

We usually follow this with a thin layer of plain coconut oil right out of the jar to moisturize. You can do that or try this instead. So there you have it. A beauty regimen you can do with your girly daughters. I use this time to teach them about natural things and they feel pampered and beautified. These recipes also actually work. Win-win!

*Infusing vinegar is very easy. You simply place the herbs of your choice into a jar or container with a lid, heat the vinegar to hot but not boiling and then pour the vinegar into the container, completely covering the herbs. Let it sit for a few weeks in a dark cabinet, shaking once in awhile, then strain the herbs out and use the vinegar. Simple! (Infusing vinegar for eating or use with food requires more care. Doing it wrong can lead to some serious problems, so please research more before attempting it.)

FDA Targeting Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathic

Not content with outlawing ibogaine and demonizing natural treatments, the FDA has decided to go after homepathic treatments as well. As this article is reposted from a mainstream media outlet, it should be taken with a (large) grain of salt. This, is after all, the same scream machine that has denigrated all known cures for cancer that are not sponsored by Big Pharma, gone after Dr. Oz for promoting preventative natural health and which touts ibogaine as unsafe, in part because 19 people died from it between 1990 and 2008 – that’s barely 1 person a year and far less than those who die from approved medical treatments every day. Readers are encouraged to do their own research and form their own opinions. *It should also be noted that homeopathic medicines and herbal medicines are very different.

Reposted from CNN.com:

By some estimates, about a third of Americans use some form of alternative medicine, including homeopathic remedies because they find Western medicine inadequate.

Creams such as Arnicare for pain relief or liquids such as Sidda Flower Essences for male virility are part of a $2.9 billion business that has seen “explosive growth,” according to the FDA. These drugs do not go through the same level of scrutiny as over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

But now your over-the-counter homeopathic remedies might soon face stricter scrutiny from the federal government.

Products such as the homeopathic cold remedies Coldese and Zicam, among others, came under fire Monday from experts who testified at a Food and Drug Administration hearing Monday.

The two-day “listening session,” as the FDA calls it, is an opportunity for experts and members of the public to help the FDA decide how it should regulate these products. Critics say the agency is not doing enough.

An analysis of hundreds of published studies from the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia found that homeopathic medicine was no more effective than a placebo. There is no evidence that they actually work, the council claimed, and yet it is a multibillion dollar business.

Homeopathy is a medical philosophy that essentially believes your body is the best weapon to fight disease. Homeopathic medicine is based on the idea that “like cures like,” meaning if something causes a symptom in your body, if you take a diluted form, it will boost your body’s ability to fight it. Typically these remedies include a plant or a mineral in a tiny amount.

People who represent the industry, such as Mark Land, a member of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, argue that the current FDA system is a good one and that the products available today are of high quality and label standards are enough.

Critics argued otherwise.

Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman testified that most people don’t entirely know what homeopathy is and “may assume that these products are dietary supplements or are conventional drugs” since they are often sold on the same shelves as traditional drugs.

This practice is “innately misleading,” said Fugh-Berman, an associate professor in the department of pharmacology and physiology at Georgetown. Most consumers, she said, don’t know that the FDA doesn’t “routinely review these products for identity, purity, potency, quality or stability prior to marketing.”

While many people believe the drugs are safe in large part because they are highly diluted, products such as Cold-Eeze, if taken according to the recommendations on the label, would be 10 times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of zinc for adult females and eight times the recommendation for males, according to Fugh-Berman.

Too much zinc can have toxic effects. More than 130 people using another homeopathic medicine with zinc, Zicam, reported to the FDA that they lost their sense of smell. The FDA issued a warning to consumers about it in 2009.

There is a misconception that all homeopathic products are “natural” according to the FDA “and therefore safe. Unfortunately, FDA has become aware of significant safety issues associated with homeopathic products in recent years,” according to an email from the agency.

Other issues include a 2010 FDA warning about Hyland’s Teething Tablets. They also recalled the tablets that had inconsistent amounts of belladonna. Larger doses of the substance can be toxic.

In 2014, the FDA warned consumers about Pleo Homeopathic drug products having penicillin or derivatives of penicillin.

Another expert asking for stricter standards with homeopathic medicine, Janine Jagger with the Familial Mediterranean Fever Foundation, said that there should be stricter label standards that better explained what was actually in the homeopathic product. She believed there was a “deceptive illusion of treatment” when people chose these homeopathic options over pharmaceuticals that have been proven to work.

A third of Americans use alternative medicine

A mother and editor of an alternative medicine magazine and website, Peggy O’Mara, testified that homeopathic medicine has helped her family over the years.

As a writer and editor of health publications, she said she has seen a growing interest in this kind of medicine, and she believes it is is well-placed. She believes people have more trust that consumers do their research before purchasing the product, as she does.

She wishes doctors were better versed in this kind of medicine and believes others want “safe, effective and easily accessible” products that are “nontoxic” alternatives to help people feel better.

The public hearing will continue Tuesday. The FDA could make decisions about these labeling and regulation standards some time this year.

More info:

What is the difference between homeopathic medicine and herbal medicine

Essential Oil Spotlight: Lavender

Lavender_7

Oh, lavender. I love it so much. I am literally never without a bottle of it. Lavender essential oil has so many uses, in some ways it is the only essential oil you really need. I use it in soap, lotion, for pain relief, to treat wounds, for calming my dogs and my kids… this oil truly is multi-purpose. It also smells divine and can relieve a headache just with a sniff.

If you have no other essential oils in your home, pick up a bottle of lavender. It’s great for your skin, your hair, your nerves and so much more.

Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil:

Bug Repellent: The smell of lavender essential oil is potent for many types of bugs like mosquitoes, midges, and moths. Apply some of the lavender oil on the exposed skin when outside to prevent these irritating bites. Furthermore, if you do happen to be bitten by one of those bugs, the lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory qualities that will reduce the irritation and the pain associated with bug bites.

Sleep: Lavender essential oil induces sleep which has made it a common recommendation for an alternative treatment of insomnia. Frequent studies on elderly patients have shown an increase in their sleep regularity  when their normal sleep medication is replaced with some lavender essential oil being placed on their pillows. It has such a relaxing impact on people that it can often replace modern medicine for sleep issues.

Nervous system: Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves and anxiety issues. Therefore, it can also be helpful in treating migraines, headaches, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness while also increasing mental activity. It has a well-researched impact on the autonomic nervous system, which is why it is frequently used as a treatment for insomnia and also as a way to regulate heart-rate variability. One study showed that people taking tests showed a significant decrease in mental stress and anxiety, as well as increased cognitive function when they inhaled lavender oil and rosemary oil before taking the exam!

Acne: According to dermatologists and aromatherapists, lavender essential oil is one of the most beneficial oils in the treatment of acne, which is a very uncomfortable and embarrassing condition that primarily affects young people as they move through puberty, but can also afflict adults. It is characterized by red, raised sores on the face and body that develop due to a bacterial infection near the sebum gland. When sebum cannot be properly secreted from the sebum glands on the face, it begins to build up, particularly because puberty stimulates extra sebum and bacteria feeds off of it, creating a vicious cycle of irritation, infection, and visible sores that can result in serious scarring.

Lavender essential oil inhibits the bacteria that cause the initial infection, helps to regulate some of the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal manipulation, and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal. Adding a small amount of lavender essential oil to other skin creams or ointments can greatly increase the potential for relief and healing.

Pain relief: Lavender essential oil is known as an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore and tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil can also provide relief from pain in the joints. A study done on postoperative pain relief showed that combining lavender essential oil vapor into the oxygen significantly reduced the amount of pain experienced, versus those patients only revived with oxygen after a major surgery.

Urine flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders because of its stimulating effect on urine production. Furthermore, it helps in restoring hormonal balance and reducing cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces any associated cramps with these and other disorders.

Respiratory disorders: Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapor or is applied on the skin of the neck, chest and back. It is also added to many vaporizers and inhalers that are commonly used for colds and coughs. The stimulating nature of lavender essential oil can also loosen up the phlegm and relieve the congestion associated with respiratory conditions, speeding up the recovery process and helping the body naturally eliminate phlegm and other unwanted material. The vapor of lavender essential oil also has antibacterial qualities which can battle respiratory tract infections.

Hair care: Lavender essential oil is useful for hair care because it has been shown to be very effective on lice, lice eggs, and nits. Furthermore, lavender essential oil has also been shown to be very helpful in the treatment of hair loss, particularly for patients who suffer from alopecia, an autoimmune disease where the body rejects its own hair follicles. A Sottish study reported that more than 40% of alopecia patients in the study reported an increase in hair growth when they regularly rubbed lavender essential oil into their scalp. Therefore, lavender oil is sometimes recommended as a preventative measure for male pattern baldness!

Cancer: Although more research needs to be done on human subjects, there is significant research on the effects of lavender, in combination with other essential oils, as a way to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer in mice. However, this could be an indication of an increased chance of lavender battling other carcinogenic effects and the presence of cancer.

Blood circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving the circulation of blood in the body.Research suggests that aromatherapy using lavender oil has beneficial effects on coronary circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and is often used for hypertension. This means that not only do the organs increase their levels of oxygenation, promoting muscle strength and health, but brain activity can have a noticeable boost, skin remains bright and flushed with blood, and the body is protected from the risks of heart attack and artherosclerosis that is often associated with poor circulation.

Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion because it increases the mobility of food within the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile, thus aiding in the treatment of indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhea.

Immunity: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to a variety of diseases. It is well-known that lavender has antibacterial and antiviral qualities that make it perfect for defending the body against rare diseases like TB, typhoid, and diphtheria, according to early research in the 20th century.

General Skin care: The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. It is commonly used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns because it improves the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is also added to chamomile to treat eczema.

Other: Other health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to treat leucorrhoea. The oil can also used to repel mosquitoes and moths, which is why you will find many mosquito repellents that contain lavender oil as one of the primary ingredients.

As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It is also recommended that patients with diabetes stay away from lavender oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people that have unusually sensitive skin. Some people may also witness nausea, vomiting and headaches due to either common or excessive use of lavender oil.

Need more info about essential oils?

You can download the most popular essential oil encyclopedia app on Amazon. This app is also available on the Google Play store.

*Benefits reposted with thanks from OrganicFacts.com 

DIY Remedies For Allergy Symptoms

remedies*credit goes to the creator of this image :)

Kitchen Measurements Cheat Sheet

measurements-cheat-sheet

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