Natural Remedies for Summer Fun

By: Michael J. Court

Growing up, I always loved getting outside once the snow and ice cleared. I could not wait to start riding my bike, playing ball, and getting into whatever kind of trouble I could muster. Inevitably I would find myself getting cut, bruised,bleeding, or bit by some type of “blood sucking creature”!  As a result, I would usually go to my mom, and she would go into our first-aid cabinet and get some type of remedy.

Over the years I have come to use more natural remedies to handle non-emergency-type problems that have come up for my family. I have put together a partial list of products that I consider to be essential to any home that wants a more natural first-aid kit. I recommend and give them to my patients.

I have always had ready a healthy, live aloe vera plant. It has been used for centuries and is widely known for its healing qualities. Aloe can be used as a pain reducer for just about anything from burns and sunburns to insect bites. Pure aloe works best, especially the mucous after you cut the leaf and apply it to any of the above maladies. It has a soothing and pain-numbing effect.

Another topical agent I like, especially for hard to heal wounds, is wheat germ oil. Natural non-rancid wheat germ oil contains whole food vitamin E for the healing of skin tissue. It is essential that you use wheat germ oil that is pure and has not been exposed to air too long. If left in the presence of oxygen or exposed to heat or light, it will denature the effectiveness. That is why I like the perles from Standard Process. It comes in small perles that can be opened with a pin when they are needed.

Another product is colloidal silver (from Life Silver). You can safely apply the liquid or gel to any cut, infection, or insect bite. Colloidal silver has the unique ability to kill pathogens and reduce infections. In fact, some researchers have found silver to be so effective that they are putting it on dressings and sutures to prevent infection. Water-soluble silver works best and is non-toxic.

Another unknown first-aid product is fulvic minerals. I likeit to treat stubborn fungal infections, insect bites, and bad cuts that will not stop bleeding. Fulvic minerals come from decayed matter that has been processed over hundreds of years by organisms in the soil. It is safe and non-toxic for external and internal use. It is important that it be stored in a dark glass container, in that it will leech out of plastic. I prefer using Optimally Organic brand.

Ever been exposed to too much sun and get a slight case of heat stroke?  This can be a serious problem, so do not mess around, get help immediately if necessary. For those cases that do not require medical attention, an old remedy by Dr. Royal Lee may help. He found that many cases of over-exposure to the sun resulted in an over-production of vitamin D. This resulted in too much calcium getting trapped in the bloodstream. This usually results in symptoms quite frequently seen in heat stroke. Dr. Lee found that by supplementing with Cataplex F you could quickly normalize the blood calcium imbalance. He also found it very effective in helping to protect against infections that thrive in a low calcium environment.

None of these remedies take the place of appropriate medical attention when needed. When a home remedy will do, give it a try!

Dr. Court graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1989.  He received his Naturopathic degree in 2010 from the American Naturopathic Medical Institute.   He is one of 500 doctors who have received the Advanced Clinical Training (ACT) from Ulan Nutritional Systems (UNS), and is the only ACT graduate in the Chippewa Valley.  Dr. Court lectures on topics relating to regaining your health through natural means.  He is an instructor for UNS, training other doctors in Nutrition Response TestingTM technique.

 

 

Moisturizer Matters

It’s winter, and your face has been sending you the signals that it needs some care. Staying in tune with your skins changing needs and choosing moisturizers carefully can make a big difference in your skin’s health.

Moisturizers should provide both humectant and occlusive protection to skin. Humectants draw moisture from the atmosphere to the skin, and occlusives form a seal on the skin to lock existing moisture in. Dr. David Simon, co-founder of Ayurvedic spa The Chopra Center, suggests, “Don’t put it on your skin if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth. Anything you put on your skin will be absorbed within 20 to 30 minutes… into the tissue layers of your body.”

Dry Skin
Symptoms: skin feels tight after cleansing, may start to flake and tends to wrinkle.

Treatment: seek a moisturizer with heavier occlusives such sesame, avocado, or almond oils or butters.

Sensitive Skin
Symptoms: skin gets blotchy in cold wind, blushes easily.

Treatment: ingredients like coconut oil, lavender, German chamomile, or olive oil will provide anti-inflammatory, soothing properties.

Oily Skin
Symptoms: larger pored, thicker skin that tends to be prone to breakouts.

Treatment: eliminating all oils or occlusives isn’t necessary and can even be damaging to skin. Instead, look for lighter moisturizers with emphasis on humectants and stimulating emollients such as safflower or sunflower oils.

8 Bizarre Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

by Vanessa Grassi

You may have noticed your beloved pearly whites transforming into a darker shade over the years. While it’s natural for teeth to become more discolored with time, white smiles are much more ideal. People have spent so much money on teeth whitening products and expensive laser treatments, contributing to a multi-billion dollar industry (according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry). From bleaching trays to whitening kits and bleaching lights, there are a number of other ways to achieve that bright smile. Most of the time, these methods aren’t proven to work, and may even end up causing you more health problems. For bleaching junkies, remember that dental hygiene should be a priority over just pure aesthetic appearances. Here are eight bizarre (and unproven) ways to whiten your teeth.

1. Using Orange Peels: Featured on The Ellen Show as one of the best teeth whitening home remedies, merely rubbing an orange peel on your teeth can solve your teeth discoloration problem. Apparently the soft white inside of an orange has whitening properties. There hasn’t been much research on this, nor can anyone attest to how long lasting this method is, but at least you won’t be using harmful artificial chemicals in the process.

2. Making Strawberry Toothpaste: The logic here is that strawberries contain malic acid, an enzyme found in some whitening toothpastes. Rubbing strawberries or creating a paste from them is supposed to act as a natural cleaning, removing bacteria from your mouth. Be wary of getting the seeds stuck in your teeth, though, if you’re planning on trying this.

3. Biting on Crunchy Fruits & Vegetables: The abrasiveness of crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery act like natural stain removers. Because your mouth needs to produce more saliva (your body’s built-in cleaning agent) in order to chew these crunchy foods, it naturally whitens your teeth in the process. It wouldn’t be bad idea to eat more fruits and vegetables to begin with, as these foods are high in vitamin C, which has great abilities in preventing gum disease and gingivitis.

4. Rubbing Crushed Walnuts: In some cultures, crushing walnuts down to a small enough size to rub them on your teeth actually whitens them. Be careful to remove all of the hard outer shell, as you may damage the enamel of your tooth and irritate your gums. Walnuts are supposed to be natural cleaners for your teeth, preventing yellowing and keeping your mouth bacteria-free.

5. Gargling White Vinegar: White vinegar has many home remedy uses, and teeth whitening is one of them. Unfortunately, it is also an acid, so too much exposure to your teeth may damage the protective enamel layer. In moderation, it may be helpful to dilute the white vinegar with water prior to gargling. As expected, vinegar isn’t the most pleasant kind of mouthwash, so rinse your mouth with water to get rid of the acidic taste.

6. Swishing Coconut Oil in Your Mouth: The many wonderful properties of coconut oil include clearing up your skin, and even possibly whitening your teeth. If you’re a fan of coconut and want to try, simply swish a tablespoonful of coconut oil in your mouth for about 10 minutes. The oil is supposed to absorb heavy metals in your body (and on your teeth), leaving it feeling cleaner and smoother.

7. Using Sage (Salvia) Leaves: Apparently brushing your teeth using the leaves of sage (salvia) is an effective method for teeth whitening. Sage leaves have a strong odor, though, that some people may not enjoy. However, they are popular in the realm of herbal medicine, treating sweating problems and maybe even whitening teeth.

8. Brushing Teeth With Wood Ash: Probably the most bizarre way of achieving a whiter smile, is to brush your teeth with wood ash (i.e. from your fireplace.) The only reason why this would work is because wood ash contains potassium hydroxide. In reality, it’s as dangerous and unpleasant as it sounds, as the harshness of the potassium hydroxide could really damage your teeth.

Better Skin Through Ayurveda

by Jen Quinlan

Vata = Dry Skin

To Cleanse: Mix 1 tsp almond meal, ½ tsp dry milk, 1 pinch sugar. Store in a spice jar.

In your palm, make paste using ¼ tsp cleanser & warm water. Apply it over face and neck and gently massage into the skin for about one minute. Do not scrub. Rinse well with warm water. Do not dry. If skin is very dry, instead just wash with a mixture of 1 Tbsp heavy cream & 2 drops of lemon juice.

To Nourish: Mix 1 oz sesame oil, 10 drops geranium oil, 5 drops each neroli and lemon oil. Store in dark glass bottle with a dropper. In the palm, mix 3 drops of nourishing oil & 6 drops water. While skin is still wet, massage mixture all over face and neck until oil is absorbed.

To Moisturize: Melt 1 ½ oz cocoa butter in double boiler. Add 4 oz. avocado oil & remove from heat. Add 1 oz orange tea a drop at a time while stirring. When cool, add 3-4 drops each geranium and rose oil. Gently apply moisturizing cream over surface of skin and neck. Do not massage into skin.

Pitta = Sensitive Skin

To Cleanse: Mix 1 tsp almond meal, ½ tsp dry milk, ½ tsp ground orange peel. Store in a spice jar. In your palm, make paste using ¼ tsp cleanser mix & rosewater. Massage paste over face and neck gently for 1 minute. Do not scrub. Rinse with cool water. Do not dry. If skin is very sensitive, use the cleanser only at bedtime. In the morning, wash only with plain heavy cream. Rinse with cool water & continue with normal nourishing and moisturizing steps below.

To Nourish:  Mix 1 oz almond oil, 10 drops each rose & sandlewood oil. Store in dark glass bottle with dropper. In your palm, mix 2-3 drops of nourishing oil w/4-6 drops water. While skin is wet, gently massage mixture all over face and neck for 1 minute.

To Moisturize: Melt 1 oz cocoa butter in double boiler. Add 3 oz sunflower oil & remove from heat. Using a dropper, add 2 oz rose tea one drop at a time while stirring. When cool, add 5-6 drops sandalwood oil. Gently apply to face and neck (don’t massage into skin).

Kapha = Oily Skin

To Cleanse: Mix 1 tsp barley meal, ½ tsp lemon peel, ½ tsp dry milk. Store in spice jar. In palm, make paste using ½ tsp cleanser & warm water. Massage paste into face & neck for 1 minute. Do not scrub. Rinse with warm water. Do not dry. Don’t use soaps or astringents containing alcohol.

To Nourish: Mix 1 oz sunflower oil, 10 drops lavender oil, 5 drops each bergamot and clary sage oil. Store in glass jar with dropper. In your palm, mix 2 drops of nourishing oil & 4 drops water. While skin is wet, gently massage mixture all over face and neck for 1 minute.

To Moisturize: Melt 1 oz cocoa butter in double boiler. Add 3 oz almond, safflower or canola oil. Remove from heat. Using dropper, add 2 oz rosemary or basil tea one drop at a time while stirring. When cool, add 1 drop camphor oil, 2 drops bergamot oil & 3 drops lavender oil. Gently apply cream over face and neck.

Weekly Exfoliating Mask:
Dry Skin: Banana or avocado pulp
Sensitive Skin: Banana or pineapple pulp
Oily Skin: Strawberry or papaya pulp

Apply to face and neck and lie down for 10-15 minutes with legs up to increase blood supply to the face. Rinse with water, then nourish and moisturize.

Tuning In To Your Skin: Who Are You?

Vata = Space+Air

The best ayurvedic text, the Chakra Samhita, defines a Vata dosha as dry, rough, cool, lacking weight, tiny, always moving, broad, and unlimited, or unbound. Vatas are more slender and have dry, delicate skin and hair with lots of volume. Quick in speech, thought, and action.  They make friends with ease. They are light sleepers and more often than not choose warm climates to live in. They thrive on creativity and are very enthusiastic. Factors that can cause Vata to be thrown out of balance are foods that are raw or dry, and over consumption of ice-cold beverages as well as extreme cold winds. Daily routine, travel, and mental overexertion also throw Vata for a loop.

Pitta = Water+Fire

Pittas are hot, sharp, burning, flowing, and pungent. Pitta is like gasoline; can be ignited if out of balance. Pitta are more medium proportions with warm, fair skin. They are sensitive and have fine hair that may have premature graying or thinning. They have a set goal and purpose with each step and are sharp and determined in speech, thought, and action. They also tend to be light sleepers and live in cooler climates. Self confidence with strong entrepreneurial ambitions. If you are Pitta you will become unbalanced with spicy food, if you skip a meal, if you are too hot, or if there is emotional trauma.

Kapha = Earth+Water

A Kapha is cold, soft, sweet, and slippery. They tend to be larger, robust people. Their skin is often oily and they have rich wavy hair. They are stable, calm, and very easy going. They are steady in their step while loyalty is their middle name. They are heavy sleepers and uncomfortable in clammy, damp or dank environments. Their dispositions are calm and sweet. Kapha balance can be thrown off by fried, heavy, or sweet foods. Ice cold beverages also cause havoc as well as cold temperature, daytime sleeping and lack of exercise.

Smell Good, Naturally…

by Melissa Ida and Rebecca Gorski

It’s no secret that our personal care products are laden with chemicals and they are bad for us. As with anything you put in or on your body, you need to know what is in that product. We have to be very vigilant consumers and learn to read the ingredients, not just the pretty words on the front of the product packaging. There is no regulation for “natural”, and that’s no secret. The fun part becomes learning what to look for and how to avoid those things.

In addition to shampoos, lotions, soaps, and sun screens, deodorants are on the must-know-what’s-in-them-before-I-put-them-on-my-body list. How bad are deodorants and antiperspirants and how do you know what to look for?
Here is a list of chemicals frequently found in deodorants that you should definitely avoid:

Aluminum

What it is:
One of the most common elements in our environment and the world’s most common metal, it is used for many things, including our personal care products.

What it does:
It restricts the sweat from releasing through your underarms, thus letting you remain odor-free. However, in that process, the antiperspirant is absorbed by your body, aluminum included. The toxins that should be releasing themselves from your body go back in and are absorbed.

Problems with this include: a suspected link between Alzheimer’s disease and toxicity of aluminum (The World Health Organization, 1993), and it may be linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around underarms.

What can you do about it?

The biggest thing you can do to control the scent of what comes out of your body is to alter what you put into it. Foods that cause foul odors include: large quantities of red meat (causes stagnation) and  highly processed dietary foods lacking in fiber but high in white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils. Foods that help: plant-based foods like whole grains, leafy greens, fresh fruits, sprouts, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils, parsley, cilantro, celery, mint, and the aromatic herbs sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. The chlorophyll and other phytonutrients cleanse from the inside out.

Eliminate or reduce problem-causing foods and increase natural foods and you might still sweat when you’re hot and overworked — but you might not smell so bad when you do.

Triclosan

What it is:
This is one of the most common antimicrobial agents used in antibacterial soaps, detergents, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, towels, mattresses, and so on. It was initially developed as a surgical scrub for medical professionals. The surprising news is that in 2005 the FDA found no evidence that antibacterial washes containing triclosan were superior to plain soap and water for protecting consumers from bacteria.

What it does:
It is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity and low levels may disrupt thyroid function.  Some studies show that the triclosan could react with chlorinated water to produce chloroform, a probable human carcinogen.

What you can do about it:
Avoid personal care products with triclosan and triclocarban on the ingredients label. In addition, do not use antibacterial soap or other antibacterial products.

Formaldehyde

What it is:
According to the EPA, formaldehyde is a probable carcinogen, though the risk of cancer from absorption through the skin is not fully understood. The chemical can also trigger adverse skin reactions in children and adults who are sensitive to the chemical. Contact dermatitis specialists recommend that children avoid exposure to products containing formaldehyde. Formaldehyde contaminates personal care products when common preservatives called formaldehyde releasers break down over time in the container.

What it does:
When used in deodorants and antiperspirants, formaldehyde comes into direct contact with the skin and is absorbed through its pores. When absorbed or inhaled, this chemical  can cause short-term and/or long-term effects. Short-terms effects, such as skin sensitivity, rashes, and allergic skin reactions,  have all been linked to formaldehyde use.  Long-term effects, however, may be much more severe. Past studies have shown a correlation between formaldehyde use and leukemia and brain cancer.

What can you do about it?
Avoid roll-on antiperspirants that list formaldehyde-containing preservatives such as Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15 on their labels. By substituting preservative-packed antiperspirants with more natural deodorants, you will be doing your body a favor. Deodorants with plant-based, biodegradable ingredients ensure a healthier you and a greener environment.

Smelly and Good Choices!!

Lime Mint & Lovage Deodorant
Enjoy our refreshing lime mint and lovage scented deodorant with quality direct from our organic herb fields, nurtured through hand processing, and infused with the desire to bring nature’s healing to your well being. $8.00 fourelementsherbals.com

Coconutty
Coconutty is probably the world’s only deodorant with powdered coconut milk, both creamed and desiccated coconut and coconut oil to help it stay in place all day. $7.95, lushusa.com

Aromaco Deodorant
Aromaco Deodorant is our cooling, patchouli scented deodorant block based on an infusion of astringent witch hazel and chamomile vinegar. This also has odor-bashing baking soda in it too, so use it on your feet, your armpits and anywhere else you want to keep smelling fresh and lovely. (Vegan)  To Use:  Apply directly to underarms, feet or anywhere that needs a little stink control. Sold by weight, $6.95

T’eo Deodorant
It contains effective essential oils that get to work quickly and efficiently on the bacteria that live on your skin and effectively breaks down sweat. Lemongrass and tea tree oil to kill unpleasant microbes, juniper berry oil to purify and detoxify, and fresh grape juice which acts as a gentle astringent. (Vegan)  To Use:  Apply directly to underarms, feet or anywhere that needs a little stink control. $7.95

The Guv’ner
The Guv’ner has come to us fresh from the LUSH kitchens — and it’s our strongest, most effective deodorant yet. The Guv’ner was created for the boys. $9.95 lushusa.com

Quick Facts About Your Skin:

“Aluminum can be absorbed into the skin,” explains Dr. Kris McGrath, a Chicago-based allergist. “When it breaks free, it’s highly charged and may affect DNA, which can increase the risk of cancerous cells.”

“Parabens, which are used as preservatives, can behave like a weak form of estrogen — and high estrogen levels over long periods of time may be linked to breast cancer risk.”

Pass the Salt

Not so long ago, “natural deodorant” meant scraping a cold salt rock against your skin or laying heavy on the patchouli in the hopes of masking odor. While these protections did little to stave  off sweat, they offered an alternative to conventional B.O. busters — and their accompanying health risks.