Category Archives: Organic herbal remedies

organic herbal remedies

Oil pulling technique or swishing with organic oils

When speaking of dental and oral hygiene, what comes to mind includes brushing teeth and flossing to help prevent bacteria from accumulating in the mouth.
However, one ancient and simple technique that is too often overlooked is oil pulling technique or swishing with organic oils in the mouth for 15 to 20 minutes to purify not only the mouth but the entire body. Oil pulling organic oils is an oral hygiene method that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since 3000-5000 years. Oil pulling technique is also called Kavala or Gandusha and is said to traditionally help with tooth decay, inflamed or bleeding gums, and because it is a powerful detoxifying or cleansing method, people have reported improvements with their overall well being.

Dental and mouth hygiene is very important for the overall health and wellbeing. When the teeth and gums are healthy, this is usually felt in the body as well. The mouth is the first point of entry for bacteria that are kept at bay thanks to saliva and oral care. However, predisposition or poor oral hygiene lead to cavities or gum diseases which makes it easier for the bacteria to spread and enter the bloodstream and is often detectable by halitosis or bad breath (although this is not always the only reason and professional advice should be seeked). When bacteria have reached the blood, they release toxins and many ailments can surface including migraines, headaches, arthritic pain, allergies, respiratory infections, diabetes that is poorly controlled, cardiovascular disease (clogged arteries, blood clots), heart attacks, strokes, and even preterm births because the toxins released by those bacteria can reach the placenta.

Oil pulling technique is a simple well-being technique and it is best done gargling with organic oils first thing in the morning and before going to bed. The commonly used organic oils include organic safflower oil, organic coconut oil, organic sesame oil (light color one, also known as the queen of oils) or organic olive oil. The principle is that the oil will pull the bacteria so it is very important to spit it out after swishing to ensure not to swallow back any toxins. The mouth can also be rinsed with warm water and gargling with sea salt water afterwards will amplify the antibacterial effect before brushing the teeth as usual.

Oil pulling is a strong detoxifying technique so some side effects can be felt especially at the beginning including pimples, headaches, bitter taste in the mouth for a few days. Everyone reacts differently so just observe how you feel afterwards.

From my humble experience, after swishing for 20 minutes each day for 2 weeks, I noticed whiter teeth, no more cracks in the tongue and an increase of energy. Swishing can be done while showering and getting ready for bed or while watching a show on tv so that 20 minutes will not look so dreadful.

Here is our suggestion of Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil 500ml or organic safflower oil .

Organic safflower oil for weight loss

Safflower is a plant belonging to the sun flower family with yellow, red or orange flowers. The plant is 30 cm to 150 cm of height and can resist both very dry climates or intense colds. Traditionally used to produce dyes, the safflower plant produces seeds used to make oil.

Animal fats and vegetable fats

There is a distinction between animal fats and vegetable fats. Animal fats are rich in saturated fats and are therefore to be eaten in moderation. They are often the cause of increase in weight, bad cholesterol and cardio-vascular diseases. As for vegetable fats, they can result in the same complications if they are chemically treated and heated because they also contain saturated fats. On the other hand, an oil that is virgin, cold-pressed and from vegetable origin is rich in polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and will not induce the same problems since those fats are actually indispensable for proper function, nourishment and protection of the human body. A cold-pressed oil extraction is done without pre-heating of the source it is extracted from (seeds, grains, fruits).

Health benefits of organic safflower oil

There are many sources of good fats but cold-pressed organic safflower oil is extremely interesting for its therapeutic use because of its chemical composition; it is indeed very rich in polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and particularly in Omega 6 and Vitamin E. Among all the vegetable oils, safflower oil is the richest in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that should be included in human diet on a daily basis for good health since it is one main constituent of human cell membranes and it is valuable to strengthen the immune system. A lack of linoleic acid can result in skin disorders such as dermatitis, inflammation, acne, dry skin, dry hair and even hair loss.

Safflower oil can be used internally as part of the diet and is particularly recommended for weight loss. It is also recommended to people suffering from type 2 diabetes not only to lose weight but also to reduce blood sugar and safflower is being studied to produce insulin. It can help as well to regularize menstrual cycles and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. However, because safflower oil is very rich in linoleic acid but contains less mono-unsaturated fats, it should be taken in alternation with other oils or food sources rich in mono-unsaturated fats to benefit from a balanced diet and give the body all the nutrients needed.

Topically, safflower oil used in massages can help reduce muscular tensions and muscular pains, rheumatism conditions and intestinal disorders. As mentioned above, it is also an excellent oil against skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, acne, dry skin and even dry hair. It can be added in the bath to really penetrate the skin and the hair and leave it soft and nourished. Safflower oil is odorless and can be mixed with few drops of favorite organic essential oils to make a relaxing and therapeutic bath.

Organic safflower oil can found at any local health store or online Naissance Safflower Oil 250ml Certified Organic 100% Pure like any other organic products.

Organic manuka honey

Organic manuka honey is produced from bees that feed from the Manuka tree. The manuka tree is also known under its latin name Leptospermum scoparium and even called tea tree falsely because Captain Cook used to make tea with its leaves. It is a small evergreen shrub from New-Zealand and Australia that measures between 2m to 5m and produces white flowers whose nectar is gathered by the bees.manuka-tree

Manuka honey benefits

Organic manuka honey has a unique taste and is stronger and darker than most honeys. Manuka honey is reputable for its extraordinary natural anti-bacterial properties and scientists have discovered that this is due to a protein called defensin-1 made by the bee and added to the honey. Defensin-1 kills bacteria and is efficient to treat infections and act against bacteria that have become antibiotic-resistant. Further research is being done to produce natural antibiotic with manuka honey. Manuka honey is also rich in proteins, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and is an amazing product to add to the diet. It is a good product to use against persistent coughs.
Manuka honey is also excellent for the skin as it can help treat skin infections, skin irritations, rashes, wounds, burns while retaining the moisture of the skin and promoting cell reproduction; it is ideal for dry skin and manuka honey is widely used in the medical field. It leaves the skin soft and nourished and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. People with acne can try it because it is very beneficial and will cure spots in no time.

We recommend a certified organic manuka honey as the organic seal will give you peace of mind when buying organic products. Raw manuka honey is ideal if you want to eat honey and if you want to use it for your skin. However, you can also find ready manuka honey moisturizer or manuka honey cleanser for the skin.

Organic cocoa butter

Cocoa butter benefits

Cocoa butter naturally occurs in cocoa beans that contain 40% to 50% fats. Cocoa butter, and even better, organic cocoa butter organic cacao butteris very beneficial for the skin. Cocoa butter is one of the most stable natural fat and is an amazing moisturizer that prevents from dehydration and leaves the skin extra smooth, especially for dry skin. It is also efficient for skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema and is one of the main ingredients in creams that are formulated against stretch marks. Organic cocoa butter should be favored because it is free from chemicals, petroleum and preservatives and has been mechanically extracted so it can provide the expected results. Also organic cocoa butter has not been heated so all the beneficial nutrients remain. You can find organic cocoa butter at local health stores or online.

organic cocoa butter creamCocoa butter is found in many organic skin care products such as organic cocoa butter cream but can also be used raw. It has naturally occurring antioxidants and therefore has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years if conserved in a cool and dark place. You can cut a piece of cocoa butter that will sort of melt in your hands and apply it on your face and body, especially on areas that are dry. The texture is very nice and the smell very pleasant.

A truly raw and organic cocoa butter can also be eaten and because it has high content of stearic acid, it actually contributes to lowering cholesterol levels. You cannot cook with cocoa butter though and it should not be used in the pans, only slightly heated to melt it and make chocolate bars (with organic cocoa powder) for example.

Organic cramp bark to release spasms and painful cramps

Organic cramp bark is issued from the Viburnum opulus tree belonging to the Adoxaceae family. The Viburnum opulus tree grows in Europe and Asia and is also called the Snowball tree or European cranberrybush. It grows 2m to 4m high and produces small hermaphrodite white flowers in the summer resembling of a snow ball that transform into small red fruits during the fall. cramp bark fruitsThe fruits are not edible and can even be toxic. What is interesting about this tree is the bark, also called cramp bark for its health properties. The bark is taken during the spring and dried to manufacture cramp bark tincture.

Cramp bark tincture is a very powerful anti-spasmodic that also help muscles to relax and is very useful for muscular cramps, stomach cramps, colon irritation, constipation, asthma and menstrual cramps, the latest being the most common condition for which it is prescribed particularly if the cramps are induced by uterus contractions. Cramps are usually of nervous origin and can be so painful that people often need to rely on anti-spasmodic drugs that can also have pretty harsh side effects but the cramp bark tincture is as effective and natural and will serve as a muscle relaxant.

cramp-bark1 tea spoon 2 or 3 times a day in water during spasms or 2 days before and after menstruation will do the trick and will help relieve the pain but cramp bark should not be taken on a regular basis. It can also be applied topically especially during muscles spasms (for skeleton and smooth muscles) creating back pain.

Organic cramp bark tincture or cramp bark tincture from natural source is better as like with all organic products, it ensures that the product has not been sprayed or mixed with chemicals. You can find organic cramp bark tincture at your local store or online.

Cinnamon to boost your immune system for the winter

With the winter months coming up, it is time to boost our immune system and organic cinnamon might be one of the spice to incorporate in our daily diet.

Where is cinnamon coming from

Cinnamon, also known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Ceylon cinnamon or “true cinnamon” comes from a small evergreen tree of 10 to 15 meter-high belonging to the Lauraceae family and to the genus Cinnamomum. cinnamon treeCinnamon is native to South East Asia and more particularly to Sri-Lanka that supplies 90% of the cinnamon in the whole world. Cinnamon comes from the Greek kinnámomon and means sweet wood. Cinnamon was not available in Europe before the 16th century but it was already a highly praised spice in the Ancient World (Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia) where it was offered to Gods or to Kings.

The cinnamon is extracted from the roots of the trees that are grown for 2 years and then coppiced (cut down), allowing new branches or shoots to regenerate. Only the inner barks from these shoots are extracted (0.5 mm of inner bark is used) in long rolls of cinnamon strips that curl into rolls upon drying and that are then cut into smaller rolls for trade.

The strong smell of cinnamon is due to its content of essential oil (cinnamon essential oil) and more particularly its chemical content cinnamaldehyde that amounts for 60% of the cinnamon essential oil.

Real cinnamon versus cassia

Real cinnamon is often confused with cassia that looks a bit similar but that is in fact really different. Cassia is known under the latin name Cinnamomum aromaticum and also belongs to the Lauraceae family but to the genus Cassia. Cassia, especially in powder form is often sold and substituted for cinnamon while it is not and when we think we are eating cinnamon, more often we are actually eating cassia. In the past few years, this has alarmed the health authorities in Europe that are sending warnings against consuming large amounts of cassia because cassia can actually be dangerous for our health unlike cinnamon. Indeed, cassia is rich in an ingredient called coumarin. Coumarin can be toxic and create liver and kidney damages when taken constantly.

How to tell the difference between real cinnamon and cassia?

Real cinnamon stickWhen using cinnamon and cassia in the form of sticks, it is actually very easy to tell the difference. Cinnamon is made of very thin and many cinnamon bark layers like on the picture above and the stick looks much like a cigar. cassiaCassia on the other hand is a more solid, uniform and hollow stick with a darker brown color.

In the form of powder, it is more complicated to determine if you are eating cinnamon or cassia but real cinnamon has a sweet aroma while cassia has a harsher smell. Also, the origin of the product can give a clue as to whether it is cinnamon or cassia. Cinnamon is called Ceylon cinnamon and comes typically from Sri Lanka while cassia will often say Chinese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon. In the USA, most grounded cinnamon sold is actually cassia.

The health benefits of cinnamon

If you want to take advantage of the health properties of cinnamon, ensure that you are actually getting real cinnamon, otherwise, it will not work. Cinnamon is known to boost the immune system and will help ward off colds and flu thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and antioxidant activities. A teaspoon of cinnamon contains as much antioxidants as a pomegranate juice glass. It may help the digestive system and bowel movement disorders. A recent study published in the Diabetic Medicine: A Journal of the British Diabetic Association October 2010 showed that taking 2g of cinnamon a day can help lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes as well as lower blood pressure. Cinnamon can also help with blood circulation and as a sexual stimulant. It can be used in case of tooth ache and bad breath. It is great to repel insects.

Of course, cinnamon is mainly used in cooking and incorporating cinnamon in your meals, desserts, beverages will have the positive effects listed above. You can for example incorporate cinnamon in your breakfast by blending 2 fresh oranges with a tea spoon of cinnamon and drink as a morning boost.

If you want to refresh your home and take advantage of the anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon, you can also get cinnamon essential oil and pour a few drops in the filter of your vacuum cleaner. It will leave your house free of bacteria while smelling really good. However, be careful when using cinnamon essential oil as this oil is very strong and can be irritating to the nose or to the skin if improperly used.

Natural green clay

French green clay, also known as sea clay is a valuable mineral used in facial masks, body masks or organic hair products as a rejuvenating agent.

Green clay is a deposit that is taken out from the earth at depths that can vary depending on the quality and health of the land it is extracted from. Once extracted, the clay is sun-dried and goes through a whole process to be readily usable as a fine powder that will be used in masks. The term French green clay does not mean that all clays come from France but France was one of the first countries to trade it and the term remained thereafter. It is also one of the best quality clay and the quality is determined by its color that should range from green to light green, the green color being induced by decomposed plants and iron oxides.

Green clay benefits

Clay is rich in minerals and natural oligoelements and has a powerful action on the skin, body and hair as it helps get rid of the toxins absorbed through cosmetics and environmental pollution and works at a deep level while cleansing the skin and leaving it soft, fresh and toned. The trace minerals (magnesium, calcium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosphorous, silicon, copper, and selenium) are the elements that give the clay its healing properties and all the elements work in symbiosis to produce their healing action.

Bentonite and montmorillonite clay types are the common medicinal clays used in alternative medicine and have been since the prehistoric ages through the Egyptian times until now to help with wounds, inflammations, skin problems and skin rejuvenation.

One can find many clay types and some can even be taken internally. Clay can be useful for internal bowel movement disorders, to treat candida, for detoxification of the body, to ease upset stomachs and in folk medicine, clay is even used by pregnant women to reduce nausea.

Applied on the skin, clay has natural anti-bacterial properties, is used to detoxify the skin, to get rid of impurities, to heal skin disorders such as acne and even wounds or ulcers; it has also a regenerative action on the tissues. The clay elements penetrate the body and go exactly where healing needs to take place, unlike chemical medications that can also destroy the tissues and good bacteria while fighting the bad.

How to use clay

Clay works best when mixed with floral water (rose water for example) in order to create a paste that is then applied as a thick layer on the skin. It should be removed after 5 to 10 minutes, even 20 minutes for normal skins. Clay can be used by both men and women; it is an amazing remedy to have at home and it has a very long shelf-life as much as 4 years. The same paste can be applied on the hair to leave them clean and silky.

When choosing your French green clay, ensure that you are getting a real one (don’t forget to check the color!). The ideal is to choose an organic product or 100% natural green clay. Green clay is mostly used on normal to oily skin. If you have a more sensitive skin, you can also try the red clay that will act the same way as the green clay only in a more gentle way. Clay can even be combined with additional ingredients such as organic essential oils or herbal remedies to intensify its healing actions. Using green clay once a week will help the body and skin to get rid of all accumulated toxins.

Drugs versus herbal remedies

Plants, herbs and their active ingredients

Plants have a defense mechanism against their direct environmental threats that is very complex and they have such an ability to protect themselves against diseases that people have been studying their mechanism and use for thousands of years. Plant cells structure and human cells structure are very similar and our body can recognize the entire plant structure. When an active ingredient (the life force) is taken from a plant, our body recognizes it, processes it and uses it for its own purpose. Plants are living organisms just like humans and the 4 main similar constituents between plant cells and human cells are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Both also have protein-like structure which allows the body to entirely recognize the healing properties of a given plant and use it to cure itself.

Within one plant, one can find numerous active ingredients, some of which having opposite effects so a vast knowledge of medicinal plants is required before using it especially in terms of dosage. For example, a plant can contain 5 active ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties and 2 active ingredients that induce inflammation. However, using all the plant’s active ingredients may have great anti-inflammatory effects depending on how much we intake. Also, a plant is alive and adapts to its environmental threats because of its innate survival instincts just like humans. When threatened by a virus that is also alive and evolving, a plant will have the capabilities to change and adapt to fight against this evolving virus.

Origin of modern drugs

Modern medicine has copied the biological functions of plants but the main difference is that a chemically-made remedy uses typically one specific active ingredient of the plant against which a virus or bacteria can easily become resistant as opposed to the 100 active ingredients of a given plant and as a result, the drug has to be modified, or sometimes, the original plant is used again because only the plant in a whole could evolve at the same time as the virus or bacteria and develop new means to fight it. This is also the reason why sometimes, 10 drugs need to be administered for one single condition while the proper plant would contain them all at once. Another difference also is that a plant cannot be patented and requires clinical trials to prove its efficiency that cost millions of dollars; meanwhile, a chemically-made drug using only one plant’s active ingredient can be patented and because of the pharmaceuticals means, a clinical trial can easily be performed with the newly developed drug.

The advantage of herbal remedies and the dangers of do-it-yourself

When understanding the defense mechanism of a plant, we can easily deduct that plants can have beneficial effects on us when used wisely and as a whole because they can help with a disease without inducing side-effects, but they can also have a devastating effect, just like a pharmaceutical drug that we would not typically intake without a prescription, first of all because it is forbidden by law, but also because it is dangerous.

In the US, herbal remedies, medicinal plants and herbal supplements can easily be accessed in stores because they are regarded as food supplements, not remedies or drugs and suppliers are not allowed to make claims for these remedies. However, depending on one’s condition, herbal remedies and their active ingredients can have beneficial results but also devastating ones, and only a qualified herbalist could ponder whether a remedy is good or not, depending on the patient, his condition, the cause of his condition, his age, weight, other drug intake and lifestyle. Indeed, just like regular drugs can interact with each other, herbal remedies can interact with each other as well and interact with drugs. Herbal and natural remedies does not mean it is always good for us and without consequence, far from it, unless we have done our research or consulted a qualified practitioner that will guide us with dosage, interactions and contra-indications. For example, helichrysum essential oil is a very powerful essential oil to treat various conditions. However, it is also a blood thiner and people already on blood thiner medications should avoid it or use it carefully to avoid hemorrhagia. The healing properties of plants and herbs are very powerful and probably stronger than any given drugs for the facts explained earlier but when taken internally, it is wise to always research about their active ingredients, chemistry, use and consequences and seek help of a qualified herbalist, naturopath or doctor that will be able to determine the cause of our problem and redirect us to the proper remedy. Nature can provide our body with everything it needs and it would be arrogant to believe the opposite when humans have been using its powers for thousands of years so let’s protect it and cherish it in a smart way. At last, herbal remedies have become a marketing tool for companies that saw a huge lucrative market in this field. However, not all “natural remedies” or are actually 100% natural and it is very important to read the ingredients, origin, company ethics before purchasing an herbal remedy that if rogue, might work as well as hot water and give Nature a bad name! The same applies for all organic products.

This article was inspired by the book The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs, by Dr. Leslie Taylor, ND.

You can purchase this amazing book hereThe Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs

Bach flower remedy as an holistic treatment

What is a bach flower remedy?

Bach flower remedy is a simple and efficient remedy that was created in the 30’s by Dr Edward Bach. Bach flower remedies are plants and flowers preparations or flower essences that aim at treating emotional problems. Bach flower remedies help maintaining an harmonic balance with our own self and with others.

The origins of the bach flower remedies

Dr Edward Bach had noticed quickly the limitations of regular medicine and wanted to create an holistic approach to cure human beings. He had understood that negative energies and emotional tensions are bad for the body as they use our vital energy that leads to tiredness, pain and a weaker immune system. He was convinced that diseases are the results of internal conflicts and decided to create a natural healing method to get rid of those emotional conflicts by using the healing energy of certain plants to interact with our own healing energies as both are similar. Throughout his years of research, he discovered that certain plants had the capacity to transform negative energies into positive energies. The Bach flower remedies do not heal physical conditions but by recreating an internal harmonic emotional balance, all the beneficial conditions are gathered to leave the body free of auto-healing itself.

38 Bach flower remedies at your disposal

wild-oat-bach-remedy38 plant remedies were created focusing each on a negative emotional state and Dr Bach classified them into 7 main categories:

– fear
– hypersensitivity
– loneliness
– lack of interest for the present time
– despair and discouragement
– uncertainty
– excessive sensitivity towards the lives of others

Bach remedies became very popular and still are nowadays, even being sold in pharmacies.

Rescue Remedy

A 39th remedy, probably the most popular one was created and called the Rescue Remedy. Rescue Remedy is made of 5 plants and is the must-have remedy in case of big emotional chocks or fears such as a sudden death of a relative, an exam, the fear of flying, panic attacks to name just a few examples. Upon taking few drops of Rescue Remedy, we feel instantly more calm and better. Rescue Remedy contains Rock Rose (for panics and terrors), Clematis (for fainting or inattentiveness), Impatiens (for impatience), Cherry Plum (to remain in control of oneself) and Star of Bethleem (for chocks).

If you ever feel that some emotions are taking over you, try an appropriate Bach remedy to get rid of those negative feelings. Bach remedies have no side effects and can be combined with homeopathic remedies and other organic products. Only a few drops under the tongue are necessary and can be taken as long as you feel the need. Improvements can be seen only after a few drops or after a few weeks, depending on each person.

Rescue Remedy pet

pet rescue remedyRescue Remedy even exists in version for pets (Rescue Remedy pet). If your pet feels anxious or nervous, the pet rescue remedy can have an immediate calming effect and is ideal if you need to leave your pet for a few days or if you go on a plane. You can read about the benefits of the pet rescue remedy in our featured book.

Enjoy!

Organic calendula

Calendula belongs to the daisy family Asteraceae and grows in the Mediterranean region until Iran under sunny weathers. The flower can be yellow to orange and measures around 5cm in diameter. Also known under the Latin name Calendula officinalis, Calendula means first day of the month because the flowers bloom mostly on the first days of each month, from spring to fall. It can grow very easily in any garden. Pot marigold is also a common name for calendula. The flowers are edible and can be used to decorate salads. They are also fed to poultry to produce an egg yolk that is darker yellow.

Calendula is a very interesting flower with numerous healing properties. It is known to ease constipation, cramps or fever in traditional medicine. Studies have also produced hope as extract of calendula officinalis would have anti-tumor properties and would boost the immune system although further investigation is needed. Calendula is also known for its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and is often taken in the form of powder or tea to help treating infections.

As a topical ingredient, calendula is the herb of choice to treat many skin conditions including burns, sunburns, rashes, abrasions, scrapes and insect bites thanks to its antiseptic properties. It is said to even help in case of psoriasis. It is very beneficial to dry skin and damaged skin, has anti-aging properties and it is particularly efficient on baby skin when diaper irritations occur. It can be used to reduce stretch marks or on newly-designed tatoos to help the skin heal. It can speed up wound healing by activating blood flow and oxygen to the wounded area.

Using organic calendula is better as it has grown on chemical-free soils much like other organic products. Organic calendula can be found in the form of organic calendula oil, weleda calendula creamorganic calendula cream, organic calendula ointments. Organic calendula oil is also an excellent massage oil especially when varicose veins occur.

organic calendula oilOrganic calendula oil or cream is good for the whole family and is particularly great to keep your baby’s skin smoother and far from irritations. You can apply organic calendula oil on body and face as needed.You can find organic calendula at your local health store or online.