Hydrating Herbals

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

If you’re a new mom, you’ve likely heard the common refrain. While ample fluids after birth are critical for your recovery and well-being, as well as making plenty of breast milk for the baby, there’s more to the story than keeping your water bottle full at all times.

Teas and tonics have historically featured prominently in postpartum care. Traditional healing systems like Ayurveda, in which I’m formally trained, recognize the value in herbal medicine and use much more than plain-Jane H2O for hydrating new moms. In fact, they often viewed the unadorned stuff straight from the faucet a lamentable missed opportunity. After all, with so many changes after birth, every sip and morsel can make a difference, so why not give your hydration the biggest bang for the buck?

Common spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel can be brewed into a simple digestive tea, as can ginger and fenugreek, with added support for breastfeeding. Other mineral-rich plants, like nettles, can infuse postpartum hydration, while more substantive tonics, like specially prepared kinds of milk, provide easily assimilated nutrition as well as hydration.

Before we look at each of these options, in turn, notice the emphasis on heating hydrators like herbal teas. In proper postpartum care, warmth is key! Food and drink should be served warm, with even plain water no colder than room temperature.

This is because birth disperses the newly delivered mother’s critical warmth, which must be rekindled from the inside out. Learn more.

Reaching for warm drinks serves another, less tangible purpose: ritual.

Medicinal and celebratory drinks permeate all cultures and cuisines—and not only for their powerful healing compounds. The ritual of savoring a warm drink can steady the mind and emotions far beyond the capacity of the given constituents to heal the body.

Furthermore, sharing a warm drink with a companion or community, or even in solitude if it’s a brew that’s been cherished throughout the ages, can create a sense of unity, a type of soul synergy that defies time, place, and even explanation. Postpartum hydration is indeed nourishment for body, mind, and soul!

Spiced teas

Cumin, coriander, and fennel (CCF) are powerful digestive spices that create a synergistic blend when simmered together. A traditional Ayurvedic remedy for a number of gastrointestinal symptoms, CCF tea especially benefits new mothers. In addition to gently removing gas, relieving abdominal distension, and enkindling the digestive fire, it aids hormone balance and milk production. Mildly laxative and diuretic, this easy-to-prepare tea benefits both mother and baby, since fussiness may be due to digestive discomfort.

While not classic components of CCF tea, fenugreek and ginger can be welcome additions. For new moms, fenugreek is often the go-to lactation aid, but it has other perks: in addition to supporting digestion and rejuvenation, it encourages the uterus to release remaining placental fragments. It also supports normal bile production, healthy pancreatic function, and blood sugar balance.

Ginger is also a well-known digestive aid. Gently warming with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, fresh ginger features liberally in postpartum cooking. In fact, Ayurveda affectionately dubs it the “universal medicine,” so throw in a few slices whenever you can!

Cumin-Coriander-Fennel Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (optional)
  • fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring seeds, water, and optional ginger to a boil on the stove.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes or more.
  3. Strain and serve hot.

Especially for postpartum moms, the thermos method is even easier. Add the seeds and boiling water to a quart-sized thermos. Drink throughout the day, aiming for 5 to 10 minutes before breastfeeding if trying to counteract digestive discomfort in the baby. Chew some of the seeds while you drink for a little extra strength or strain them and add to a meal later.

If tea isn’t possible, you can still benefit from these healing plants. Herbal suppliers like Motherlove, a family business that makes organic products for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and babies, crafts supplements with similar ingredients. Their More Milk Plus and More Milk Special Blend alcohol-free liquid herbal extracts contain both fennel and fenugreek. Motherlove also makes a plain Fenugreek extract.

Herbal infusions

Other time-honored herbal favorites for both pregnancy and postpartum include red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, and oat straw, often prepared as infusions. When used regularly over time, they have myriad benefits, including

  • nourishing both mother and baby
  • strengthening bones, teeth, lungs, nerves, and the circulatory system
  • preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage
  • easing morning sickness
  • providing vital nutrients like iron and protein
  • reducing pain during labor
  • speeding birth
  • assisting milk production

Infusions are stronger than teas, extracting more vitamins, minerals, and proteins from the plant leaves. Yet they are easy to prepare: steep overnight and drink in the morning! Pick two herbs and prepare on alternating days, or combine several herbs into a large glass jar for storage and then infuse together.

Basic Herbal Infusion

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried herbs (like red raspberry leaf or nettle leaf)
  • 1 quart filtered water
  • fresh lemon wedges (optional)
  • stevia to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put a large handful of herbal matter (about ½ cup) into a quart-sized glass jar or a small handful (about ¼ cup) into a pint-sized glass jar.
  2. Fill the jar with boiling water and cap tightly.
  3. Let stand for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Strain and drink, adding a few squeezes of fresh lemon or a few drops of stevia to taste, if desired. Refrigerate what you do not consume, reheating later as needed.

Again, Motherlove offers alternatives, if tea isn’t available. Check out their More Milk Two alcohol-free liquid herbal extract, which is specially formulated to include both red raspberry and nettle.

Tonics

If you tolerate dairy, consider warm milk tonics for additional nourishment and rebuilding. Make sure to choose raw (or at least low-temperature pasteurized), grass-fed, non-homogenized, organic cream-top milk whenever possible. You can also replace dairy milk with nut kinds of milk like almond, cashew, or coconut. Either way, make sure to warm it up and spice it up with tasty digestive aids like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove.

Here’s one new-mom-approved recipe for a warm milk tonic. You’ll notice that I often camouflage traditional herbal medicine, like Shatavari, in my postpartum tonics. Shatavari is a classic rejuvenating herb that promotes vitality and strength, nourishing the tissues and supporting healthy lactation.

While I like the simplicity of powdered Shatavari, it can also be taken in supplement form, like the Shatavari capsules or Shatavari extract from Motherlove.

Proper hydration with heating herbal brews can ease the transition into motherhood for body, mind, and soul. But much more goes into successful breastfeeding and a peaceful postpartum experience. Learn more.

And if you’re interested in other herbal products designed especially for the delicate and sacred season of new motherhood, check out the whole line of Motherlove products. They’re 15%  off right now at Soap Hope, but only for only a limited time! Use code MLVDD.

 

Stacy Claxton is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner (FDN-P) and an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner (AHP) specializing in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. She offers a range of services that merge the laboratory investigation of her FDN training and her foundational background in Ayurveda and yoga. As an educator and a clinician, she believes strongly in the transformative power of diet and lifestyle and desires to inspire wise stewardship in the realm of holistic health. Stacy is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent (P2P), where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” To learn more about Stacy’s private practice and the mission of P2P, please visit www.preparingtoparent.com.

Aging Naturally

Aging has a negative connotation for many people. It means more doctors’ visits, frailty, wrinkles, fatigue, and sickness. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. We can incorporate steps into our daily routine for better aging and health naturally. These tips are basic needs we should be utilizing; food, water, sleep, and relaxation. While we have no control over our genes, we certainly have control over these! Remember you are beautiful and aging is part of that beauty!

Anti-Aging Foods

Don’t put that dark chocolate down, it’s actually good for you. Eating a healthy amount actually slows aging. Cacao, which is that bitter taste, is the healthy part of the chocolate.  Nuts lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease due to the amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. What kind of nut works? They all do. If you’re not much of a nut or have allergies, then avocados are a good substitute to consider. Bone broth offers many needed minerals, salmon improves blood circulation with astaxanthin, figs are packed with flavonoids. Those are just some of the foods that will keep you healthy and young. Some others include; mushrooms, maca, blueberries, watermelon, green tea, pomegranates and much more. Many of these would make excellent snacks to give your afternoon a sweet kick.

Sleep

It’s starting to become common knowledge that a stable sleep cycle can help many aspects of people’s health. There are many people who don’t get enough sleep, or whose sleep schedule is erratic. A consistent sleep schedule can help the body recharge. Sleep is when our bodies have a chance to repair damage inside and out. One of those damages is daily stress, which, if left to grow, can accelerate the aging process. The best target range is around 7-9 hours. Missing that target every once in a while is fine, but even too much sleep can be detrimental to your health. If getting to sleep becomes difficult, then consider using lavender to help you calm down.

Hydrate

Did you know cells shrivel up when dehydrated? It’s sort of gross, but animal cells don’t do well when left without moisture for too long. When our cells are hydrated, they work more efficiently. This means your system is working faster and keeping your skin plump, and that can lead to fewer wrinkles as well as happy cells. 2 liters over the course of a day is a commonly recommended amount, but if you exercise you may want to raise the amount after a workout. Balance is the key because drinking too much can also be harmful.

Relax

Managing stress is just as important to keeping a youthful glow as fighting off free radicals. Traditional stress reducers include exercise, meditation, tea, and talking. Green tea is already an anti-aging drink. If you’re out at the moment, Yogi offers a Green Tea Super Antioxidant that’s made specifically to fight free radicals. If you’re not a big tea drinker, you can meditate to help center yourself. It’s as simple as finding a comfortable spot, putting on some calming music/sounds, and clearing your mind. I’m an exercise person myself, being a little too restless to meditate. A good walk with my puppy is how I wind down for the day. I find myself feeling the best when friends join me, and we just chat about mindless things. Being able to talk about unimportant matters is what helps me find my center. We don’t have to solve problems we bring up , we’re just listening. That’s another natural way to lower stress. Slow down for a chat with a friend, not to talk about world problems or deep worries. Talk about a sale you’ve seen or a cute animal video. Remind each other of a funny event, or share interesting facts you’ve learned that week.

Top 5 Picks for Natural Mineral Sunscreens

It’s time to get in that summer sunshine! All that fun in the sun means protecting your skin from harmful rays too.

Trying to find the best protection for your skin?  We’d recommend steering clear of traditional chemical-laden sunscreens which have been linked to not only allergic reactions but hormonal disruptions and early onset puberty, low sperm count, and breast cancer.

Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. Each has their own ingredients for protecting skin and evenly maintaining stability in direct sun exposure.

Chemical sunscreens typically include a combination of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. While mineral sunscreens use natural zinc oxide,  titanium dioxide or a combination of both. There are some brands that will combine both chemical and mineral ingredients.

Want a safer option to traditional chemical sunscreens? Here are our top 5 picks for the best natural sunscreens:

Kiss my Face Mineral Sunscreen Spray – SPF 30

One touch and this air-powered bottle gives a continuous spray sans the chemical propellants. It’s fragrance-free and has a base of both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide so its gentle on you and the environment. This power packing mineral sunscreen is certified organic and 100% mineral active ingredients. Take note that when used properly, it’ll leave a white tint on the body (think of a white wetsuit). We also love Kiss My Face’s Dry Oil Sunscreen.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 30

Don’t just protect the skin, give it some healing as well. With extracts of aloe vera and lavender to nourish, this sunscreen can help repair skin from free radicals, the pollutants in our environment. The 100% natural vegetarian ingredients help prevent sunburns. This sunscreen is hypo-allergenic, biodegradable and is free of gluten, parabens, phthalates and is cruelty-free.  It’s for all skin types so you can enjoy the benefits even if you have sensitive skin. Oh, and did we mention it’s also Reef Safe. Protect your skin and decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

Badger’s Damascus Rose Sheer Tint Face Sunscreen – SPF 25 

It’s great to use alone or underneath makeup. This lightly tinted moisturizer provides sheer coverage and protection from the sun’s damaging rays.  It blocks both UVA and UVB rays with non-nano uncoated zinc oxide – remember that zinc oxide is the safest, most effective single mineral active ingredient. This super sheer sunscreen is packed with Damascus rose, chamomile and lavender to soothe, refresh, and revitalize delicate skin. The Seabuckthorn and rosehip deliver potent antioxidants and vital nutrients. Plus this 95% certified organic and 100% natural sunscreen is made with 100% recyclable paperboard packaging.

Derma E Natural Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 for Body

Sheild the body from harmful UVA and UVB rays, prevent oxidative damage and premature signs of aging, this lotion offers both vitamin C and green tea for a fortified extra layer of protection. This super sunscreen was created with the idea that sunscreen shouldn’t just protect, but also help the skin recover. It also absorbs quickly and leaves a sheer, lightweight finish. It’s made for all skin types and is 100% vegan, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, sensitivity tested, fragrance-free, gluten-free and GMO-free. Basically, this sunscreen will give you coverage free of all the harmful side effects.

JASON Natural Mineral Sunscreen – SPF 30

Protect your sensitive skin from sun damage with this hypo-allergenic sunscreen. Its broad spectrum can protect from UVA and UVB rays, and all of JASON’s formulas are non-greasy and absorb quickly. Enjoy the Aloe, Shea Butter, and Jojoba oil in this mineral masterpiece. This wholesome, non-nonsense sunscreen is great to use every day.

 

 

Surprise Those Puffy Eyes! 3 Ways to Improve the Skin

Most people forget or never realized the role your skin plays in the body’s natural detox process. It is designed with over 3 trillion pores to secrete fluids from the body…sweat to cool, oils to lubricate and protect, and toxins to help purge unhealthy substance from the system.

I educate every day on how your internal digestion and body function has a direct impact on the appearance of the skin and one sure way to see how your body is cranking in the detox department is the under-eye area of the face. Do you wake up puffy? Deal with dark circles more often than you like? Constantly struggle with dehydration in the delicate skin around your peepers?

According to traditional Chinese face reading, the eyes are connected to your kidneys and your kidneys filter and facilitate removal of excess water and unwanted waste from the body. Coagulated blood and lymph, the fluid in your body that carries toxins, pool under the eyes and contribute to darkening, tone and texture change.

So, if you have a lot of alcohol during your night out, expect a couple of puffy presents under your eyes when you wake up the next day. The same can happen with excessive salt or sugar intake, processed foods, long-term stress and lack of sleep. These things place added pressure on your kidneys and adrenal glands.

Here are some excellent Soap Hope tools you can use to help keep the kidneys kicking, the skin purging and those eyes bright and tight!

ACURE Brightening Eye Contour Gel – licorice root, cucumber and arnica cool and depuff while red and brown seaweed extracts work to inhibit leaky, dilated capillaries and improve texture of the delicate skin (aka smooth your fine lines…yay!). Additionally, a special argan extract has shown immediate tightening boost in 15 minutes. This gel is the best to put on the minute you wake up and let it soak in, refresh, and boost. TIP: Toss it in the fridge for added cooling benefit upon application…you’ll thank me later!

Timber and Coal Blackland Soap – activated charcoal and bentonite clay are the best at not only drawing impurities but also re-mineralizing the skin at the same time. Give your body a swift once-over with a dry brush, using quick upward strokes towards the heart. This helps shed dead skin cells (another form of detoxification) and stimulate healthy lymph and blood circulation. Hop in the shower and follow with this power bar to facilitate deep cleansing of the skin. Be sure to concentrate in the underarms and creases of the thighs where your lymph vessels and detox pathways are most concentrated.

Pukka Herbs’ Cleanse Tea – nettle leaf, dandelion root, fennel seed…all the best to support kidney function in the maintenance of healthy fluid levels and effective elimination of waste. Nettle leaf is a master at enhancing blood purification and contains lectins that help neutralize toxic agents, and it also helps with allergies.  While you relax and sip, slap a couple of the used, cooled tea bags on the eyes for added support!

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

5 Top Picks to Win the Free-Radical Battle on the Skin

Oxidative stress is a constant in the body…otherwise known as free radical damage. What is a free radical exactly?

It forms when oxygen in your body splits into an individual atom that has an unpaired electron, making it unhappy and very unstable…which sounds like the making of a romantic drama, actually! The unstable atom floats around the body in search of a partner electron, most often stealing them from other stable atoms. Home-wrecker! This triggers a domino effect called the Free Radical Cascade where we now have another unstable atom on the search for an electron, and so on, and so on. Though free radicals are a necessary part of the body’s ability to turn things like food into chemical energy (like when you work out, for example), when they build up it causes havoc…inflammation, cellular damage, and aging. Gasp! This build up interrupts our healthy DNA structure, causing skin cells to regenerate poorly or incorrectly.

This oxidative stress activity can come from normal body function related to poor diet, stress, excess alcohol or smoking, and inflammation but can also be a response to sunlight, air pollutants and toxins in your products and environment.

Never fear…Antioxidants are here! Antioxidant-rich ingredients are such keywords in both optimal diet and topical skin care because they help to deliver the goods to these unstable atoms before they come after your cells, helping to break the cascade and supporting the body from accelerated aging and breakdown. Having a rich supply of antioxidants in your diet and skincare routine, combined with regular exercise, is extremely effective and beneficial.

Here are 5 amazing products with clean anti-oxidant power:

ACURE’s Facial Cleansing Gel not only has an acidic pH to maintain healthy barrier function, which is crucial in protecting against free radicals, environmental pollution, and bacteria, it also has an antioxidant base loaded with highly-targeted superfoods like acai (rich in Vitamin C), pomegranate, and rooibos tea.

Zum Face’s Argan Oil Facial Serum is a luxurious lipid or oil-based serum that contains Vitamin E from nutrient-packed Argan oil, as well as high concentrations of Vitamin A through Carrot Seed, which contains beta-carotene, as well as vitamin B.

Andalou’s Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream contains a goji peptide to smooth and refine texture in the skin but also touts antioxidant-rich resveratrol from grapes, white tea extract, and CoQ10.

The Seaweed Bath Co’s Hydrating Seaweed Bath is loaded with salts from the Dead Sea. These salts contain multiple minerals that not only ward off pro-aging free radicals but also help exfoliate, hydrate, detoxify and soften skin.

Pukka Herbs’ Clean Matcha Green Teaneed I say more? In addition to its impossibly yummy flavor, this tea blend contains powerful matcha powder that cannot only lend up to 10x the antioxidant support of a single cup of loose green tea, it also contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, magnesium, rich fiber and chlorophyll. Dandelion Root is also featured, which is one of my favorites for aiding healthy detoxification!

Amy Halman is an award-winning skin therapist, speaker and product development specialist. As the owner of EcoBlend Therapies, she connects each client’s diet, lifestyle, body wellness and stress levels to imbalances reflecting on the skin. Utilizing this information, she designs topical, nutrition-packed treatments to feed the skin’s ability to re-engage and optimize. Learn more about her services at ecoblendtherapies.com

Let your Vacuum Infuse Your Home

Add a little essential oil to your vacuum to infuse your home and elevate the mood. There are lots of essential oils to select from, but it’s more than just a beautiful fragrance. From insomnia to anxiety and depression to stress, essential oils are powerful and it is easy to add to your vacuum.

  1. Clean your vacuum thoroughly prior to putting in your essential oil. Wipe down the vacuum outside with a damp cloth. Make sure the bag is fresh, or empty and clean the canister on your bagless vacuum. Starting with a fresh, clean vacuum will allow you to infuse your home 100%, rather than dealing with competing odors still remaining in your vacuum.
  2. Open your vacuum cleaner filter pad or dust cup, depending on the type of vacuum you have. Clean reusable parts with running water, refer to your manufacturer handbook or prepare a new filter if the filter is disposable.
CHOICES TO ADD ESSENTIAL OIL TO VACUUM
  1. Use only two to three drops of the essential oil of your choice. Drop, one at a time, onto the filter or dust cup. Wait a moment or so to allow the oil to drive before replacing. Refresh the oil as scent wears or as desired.
  2. Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice on a cotton ball or small cloth, place in the vacuum canister or vacuum bag. Refresh as needed.
  3. Drop two or three of the essential oil of your choice in the water reservoir. Refresh as needed.

You can do this seasonally, infusing your home with the scents of the season, to calm, energize, or whatever mood you are looking to create in your home.

Enjoy!

Detox Naturally – Your Body Already Knows How!

Is it time for a detox? Detoxes are very popular, and no wonder with the promise to give you more energy, lose weight, clear up the skin, among other things.

Most all detoxes do not work. They often are counterproductive because the stripe your body of the essential nutrients needed to function. Our bodies only need to be treated right in order to detox the way they are naturally meant to. The question we should be asking is, how can we support that natural process.

A good detox routine can help you eliminate more stubborn toxins and support you at the same time. Juice isn’t in the process, sorry! But there are plenty of other natural ways you can support your body without spending a lot of money or time.

First, what are toxins? How do we get them in our body? Unfortunately, in today’s modern society, harmful chemicals are everywhere. We have to work hard to remove as many of these toxins from our life where we have control. This can be in the products we use on our bodies, our homes, and of course incorporating a healthy detox every now and then!

One of the things that shocked me the most was the build-up of bisphenol-A (BPA) and other plastics we ingest, while we eliminate most, a small percentage gets in our fat cells, messing with our hormones and accumulating over time. Maybe that is why I can’t lose those stubborn pounds, or it could be the chocolate too, most likely the chocolate, but my new reason is definitely plastic. Plastic is really the real-world villain of our time.  This is just one toxin that your body builds up.

No matter what you do, you’re picking up chemicals throughout the day, be it through physical contact or ingestion.

The benefits of a natural detox built into your routine are boundless. No one is immune from the toxic overload of life and so a natural detox can lead to some major benefits like:

  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Clear skin
  • Reduced cravings
  • Lower inflammation
  • Better digestion
  • Potential weight loss

Where to start with your natural detox? We’ve got suggestions below. Definitely always consult your doctor before starting a new routine or detox as we are all awesome, unique individuals and have different needs and reactions. You are beautiful!

Sauna / Exercise to Flush Toxins

Sweat it out! Go to your local sauna and allow the toxins to seep out of your pores, but drink plenty of water and get plenty of salt while you are enjoying this benefit. I like to add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to my water.

You can also exercise. You should do this for the obvious reasons, but you should also do it because regular exercise is another way to flush toxins from your body. Exercise increases lipolysis (the breakdown of fat tissue) and releases those toxins we talked about that are stored in your fat. Lipolysis is especially effective when you combine with liver and kidney support or adsorbents that can suck up the released toxins.  So get moving!

Drink Detox Tea

Enjoy a nice soothing cuppa while also cleansing your body. We recommend trying Yogi Detox Tea that is infused with Burdock and Dandelion, cleansing herbs that have a time-honored tradition of use, are blended with Juniper Berry and the Ayurvedic “trikatu” combination of Long Pepper, Black Pepper, and Ginger. Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Licorice, and Indian Sarsaparilla are also mixed in to complete this spicy and flavorful blend.

You can also partake in Pukka Herbal Tea Detox, this tea flushes out with the old and in with the new. Sweet aniseed, crisp fennel, lush cardamom, and licorice root work to remove those pesky toxins and reset your spirit.

Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal is a form of carbon that has massive surface area and a strong negative charge. It’s been around for thousands of years and is still used by both western and eastern medical professionals.

Activated charcoal contains many small chambers and cavities that ‘capture’ or bind-up unwanted materials and gas and carry it through the digestive system. Try taking a couple charcoal pills along with exercise or a sauna session. They should absorb many of the toxins you release into your gut and GI tract. Try Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal capsules. 

Shower to detox skin and hair

Enjoying a good shower with a multi-use soap that has the essentials needed to help you purge toxins can have some long-lasting benefits.

We recommend the Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Cellulite Soap and Zum Bar Clove Mint that is infused with not clover, but clove, a bud that comes from certain trees. The mix of clove and spearmint soothes damaged skin. Both these bars take a bite out of toxins.

You can also add a little of Aura Cacia’s Clove Bud Essential Oil to your body wash or shampoo. It will help mend damaged skin and hair. Now that’s something you can enjoy from root to tip.

 

The Benefits of Lavender

Just what are the benefits of lavender? Everyone’s heard of it and certainly smelled it. It’s good for you, especially as an oil.

For whatever reason, the smell of lavender is something that tends to linger and remain in our memory recall for our entire lives. It is a scent that can calm the mind and relax the body. It can conjure up images of the brilliantly purple covered shrub growing in the countryside or even breaking through the concrete jungle of a city center. Wherever you find this incredibly healing plant, lavender has wiggled its way into your subconscious.

The powerful health benefits of ‘lavandula angustifolia’ is immense. This shrub grows naturally in North Africa and the Mediterranean and is exported around the world for its beautiful smelling aroma and benefits.

The first written use of lavender was as a general cure by the Romans. Then it was used in Renaissance Europe as a deodorant and disinfectant. Lavender is one of the many, powerful essential oils to boost your health. Let’s dive deeper!

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Feeling stressed? Anxious? One of the remarkable benefits of lavender essential oil is its ability to influence our mood. Lavender is renowned for its ability to help people relax. Its an antioxidant, which means it helps lower the amount of stress hormones in the body.

Reducing stress loosens tense muscles, lowers blood pressure and can help encourage sleep. When entered into the bloodstream, lavender’s aromatic compounds make their way to the limbic system. This is the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions.

When inhaled, lavender oil’s effects are wide-reaching, spreading from the brain through the body. I’m particularly a fan of KIND Soap Company’s Lavender Fields Natural Perfume Oil. This is a classic herbal scent that relaxes the body and soul. I carry it in my purse and use it almost every day. It is a rich, creamy oil, in glass tube roller, easy for transport and use. Once that cool metal roller ball touches my skin I can feel blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate reducing. It induces a zen-like calmness after application.

You can also take some lavender and add it to a hot bath, and bask in the benefits during a long soak. In what form? Any will do; salts, petals, oil. The scent will relax your mind while the antioxidants work on those sore muscles.

A few of our favorites are Zum Tub Lavender Bath Salts, EO’s Lavender Bath Salt Soak, and The Seaweed Bath Company’s Hydrating Seaweed Bath with Lavender.

Anti-inflammatory and Healing

If you haven’t tried this one, I personally recommend it. Lavender’s ability to prevent acne from scarring is amazing. This is an extension of its antibacterial properties. It is a gentle, natural product so the oil can be applied directly to wounds and burns.

By promoting the growth of new skin cells it accelerates healing. Did you know there are over 150 active chemicals in lavender oil? Let this work directly on those inflamed, cuts, or burns and watch it heal!

Improves Skin Conditions

With the environment being so harsh and so many industrial medicines out there, eczema and acne proven individuals might find more than just a zen-like calmness when hearing that there’s a remedy that is not only natural but pleasant to smell.

Acne is caused by bacteria growing in our pores – YUCK! When sebaceous glands next to hair follicles produce too much oil, dead skin cells come together to create the blockage. Let’s part the red sea with our remedy lavender. Too much of this bacteria creates acne and is damage to tissue and creates inflammation.

Lavender swoops in as your anti-microbial solution, reducing the bacteria and keeping it under control. As we mentioned above it also keeps down inflammation and prevents scarring. That’s a win-win-win on the fight for taming acne.

Check out these skin solving friends to help improve your skin: Avalon Organics Brilliant Balance Purifying Towelettes with Lavender & Prebiotics (perfect when there isn’t enough time for a deep face cleaning or just for a quick wipe after being in the Summer heat). Derma E produces their all-time healing Rejuvenating Sage & Lavender Face Oil, say yes to concentrated boost of intense hydration and powerful anti-aging antioxidants with essential fatty acids to work on improve elasticity. Avalon Organics produces some amazing lavender products, you can see all of them here.

Hair Care Repair

As a woman who recently had a baby, my hair can use all the repair and with summer ticking up to full-force I’m on board with anything that can heal my damaged hair! One of the most exciting benefits of this pungent plant is it can truly repair your hair.

Apply a small amount of lavender oil to your daily routine and you can repair, protect, and replenish all while enjoying those other benefits we listed above. Great hair and a calm aura to slay the day!

Lavender works by increasing the number of hair follicles (it is proven that lavender will help grow hair). Improve your head’s luscious locks by dropping a little oil a few times a week, plus smell amazing.  Check out our favorite lavender infused shampoos and conditioners you won’t be sorry!

Lavender is far from a miracle, but the benefits are truly amazing. From smelling good to an antimicrobial healer, the complex compounds can be applied to any beauty or treatment routine. I challenge you to find a way to enrich your daily routine with lavender.

 

10 Ways to Detox your Home

It’s astonishing how many harmful chemicals are in standard households. These chemicals range from pesticides to plastic and can have serious adverse effects on our health. Here are just 10 little changes you can make to keep your house cleaner.

Reduce Moisture

Moisture causes mold. We all know this. So, even though it’s a hassle, it may be best to check your house for any potential mold spots.

Check for Chemicals

This one seems a bit obvious, but some chemicals are odorless. It’s best to get a detector or have someone come to your house to check for different types of chemicals.

Look Through your Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are chock-full of chemicals. Well, they’re supposed to, right? That’s how they make things clean. No, not really. There are much safer, more natural products that are available. Dish soap that isn’t nearly as toxic, fabric softeners that don’t deteriorate clothes, just a couple of changes here and there will leave a lasting impact.

Avoid BPA

Bisphenol A is one of the ingredients with a Banned grade on Soap Hope. It’s very harmful even though it’s used in plastics. These plastics range from baby bottle to Tupperware, where food can absorb it. Be aware, check what’s in plastic and try to buy products that are in BPA-free containers.

Change Self-Care Products

Aluminum is a popular ingredient in deodorants, but it isn’t the best for people. Many self-care products contain toxins that can cause all sorts of side-effects. Makeup, deodorants, soap, try to go for more natural products that replace harmful chemicals with plant-based material.

Get a Plant

The most natural of natural cleaners. Plants don’t just make oxygen, they made clean oxygen. There are even plants that are known for their ability to clean air. Indoor air can be even worse than outdoor air, so a plant is a must.

Filter Water

Fun fact: one time I went to Estonia and accidentally drank the tap water. Nothing happened. Then I went back home and drank tap water and got sick. Tap water isn’t just water, it’s filled with chemicals. It’s been sitting in a metal container, then went through your pipes that are absorbing whatever happens to be in the dirt. Use filtered water. Also, don’t drink the water in Estonia.

Check Fabrics

Bedding, shower curtains, there’s a chance they contain formaldehyde. You do not want to be sleeping on formaldehyde for 7-9 hours a day.

Pet Products

Why do companies that make products for pets hate pets so much? I mean, I’m just guessing that’s what’s happening with the number of chemicals they put in their products. Protect your furry friend as well as yourself by looking for natural or organic products. You think you need that flea medication, but vinegar can be just as effective. Why spend up to $75 to have someone wash your pet with chemical-laden soap when you can find a dog soap bar, made with natural ingredients for around $10?

Pesticides

This should be pretty obvious when the people who spray it wear the same suits that the government uses around aliens. Or maybe it was just E.T.? Not only are there less harmful pesticides, but there are ways to keep pests out without anything. Plug up holes, keep food in containers, let a couple of spiders settle. I know that one sounds like a joke, but I allowed a spider to take up residence in my home and I haven’t seen any ants in months. Also, once you let in one, they tend to have more. No more waiting for a spider, now you have an army! I kid again, most of them left like Charlotte’s Web, and only two stuck around to continue the cycle.

 

 

 

Benefits of Rosehip

Aren’t roses beautiful? They’ve been a symbol of love for decades, offering both the color of passion and thorns of pain. They’re one of the few flowers that people know the definition for in the language of flowers.

But as it turns out, the rose is only the beginning. Leave the flower alone long enough and the petals will fall off, revealing little red bulbs. What are these? They’re rosehips! Yeah, roses make fruit. And while a rose by any other name is just as sweet, a rosehip is just as nutritious.

We’ve all seen rosehip in products. It’s very popular, and for good reason. Not only does it have various uses, but people have known about these since the stone age. They weren’t just painting weird little stick figures, they were also discovering that rosehip helps the body inside and out.

Boost Immunity

For such tiny fruit, rosehips are packed and I mean packed with nutrients. Vitamins A, C, E, and traces of B. Minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and more. They aren’t small amounts either. A rosehip bud contains 50% more Vitamin C than an orange. This helps the immune system tremendously with blocking free radicals, which can lead to cancer, diseases, asthma and boost the respiratory system.

Lower Cholesterol

Rosehip contains antioxidants, which are helpful little cells that can, as stated before, block free radicals and lower cholesterol.

Aid in Digestion and Diabetes

Rosehip helps all over the body, from blood to organs to cells. It regulates insulin and glucose in the blood, which is very important for keeping sugar levels steady. If you’re diabetic and prone to spikes/plunges, you might want to try rosehip. As for digestion, it simply eases the process, making it much more comfortable.

Skin Care

Here’s where everyone’s seen rosehip the most. Skincare products are littered with rosehip and for good reason. Due to all that nutrients, rosehip soothes the skin, making it more elastic, and ridding it of wrinkles, scars and other blemishes. Because of its popularity, you’ll have your choice of brands and product types. Like oils? Essential rosehip oil. Like mists? Rosehip mist. The world is your oyster! Or, well, your rosehip.

Some of our favorite rosehip infused brands can be checked out here.