Natural Sinus Help

by Debbie Koteras, Owner, Mother Nature’s Food, Inc

“My nose is all stuffy so I cannot get a good night’s sleep and I feel awful!” At some point this has probably happened to you. This happens when the mucous membrane lining of the nasal cavity becomes swollen or inflamed due to cold or allergies. The channels can become blocked, making it difficult for the sinuses to drain correctly. This can lead to infection and inflammation of the mucous membrane. Below are some natural alternatives to try when you find yourself in this situation.

Essential oils have been around for many years and continue to be recognized more and more for their medicinal properties. Oils like eucalyptus, helichrysum, peppermint, melaleuca, and rosemary, to name a few, are all oils that may be helpful in opening up those sinus cavities. Knowing the quality of your essential oils is very important when deciding how to use them. Diffusing them into the air or inhaling directly from the bottle are both ways to enjoy these oils. With many oils, in order to apply them topically, they may need to be diluted in a carrier oil first so that it will not be too irritating to your skin.

Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol in a convenient vertical spray is another option to help clear out those passages. For thousands of years, silver has played an essential role in safeguarding human health. With the development of technologically advanced refinements in the production of silver colloids, the particle size is so small that it allows for easy absorption and excretion from the body.  I know people who get yearly sinus infections that have used this product and have been able to prevent a sinus infection from happening.

Xlear–you may be thinking I spelled something wrong, but I did not. This is a product that combines purified water, xylitol, and grapefruit seed extract in a nasal spray. Now some of you may use xylitol for your oral health, and you would be right to do so. But xylitol also helps ensure that beyond just cleansing the nasal cavity, it also moisturizes and protects the delicate tissues. Xlear Nasal Spray is gentle enough for infants but effective in adults as well.

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and gotten salt water in your nose? If you think back to it, if you had a stuffy nose before that you probably felt better afterward. A neti pot is something that you can use in the privacy of your own home to give you the same effect. I recommend trying it the first time when in the shower because most people do not love the thought of putting salt water into their nose, but in the shower it does not seem as odd. By doing this it is obviously helping to flush those irritants out of your nasal passage.

Without getting into homeopathy and how it all works, I have to say that Sinus Relief by NatraBio was actually my first experience with sinus pressure and using a homeopathic blend to relieve that pressure. I have talked to my share of sceptics where homeopathy is concerned, but I have a handful of homeopathic products that I always keep in my home and would not be without because they have worked so well for me.

There are many more options out there, and I guess my hope is that after reading this, you will do your research, and if you find yourself or a loved one having sinus issues, that you will think about a natural alternative to relieve the symptoms and help rid yourselves of the irritant that is causing the problem. Getting to the root cause instead of just covering up the symptoms will ultimately leave a healthier you!


For more information, call 715-834-2341, or stop in at 2434 London Road, Eau Claire.

Not Sold on Fluoride? Try Some of These Natural Options

► Baking Soda
This has got to be one of the most popular natural toothpaste alternatives. Like sea salt, you can just dip your toothbrush in baking soda and brush like normal. Or you can dissolve it in water first and use the brine forbrushing (just like the sea salt). A lot of people use baking soda as a base for homemade tooth powder. You mix it with a few drops of peppermint essential oil and stevia to give your mouth a minty fresh feel.

► Dry Brushing
It doesn’t get much more simple than this. Tired of looking for a natural toothpaste alternative? According to some, there’s no need to use anything at all: dry brushing does the job. But while it does seem to work well enough, there’s no minty mouth feel (like we’re all used to, of course) and might feel a little strange.

► Tooth Soap
For those who aren’t keen on using actual soap in their mouths, there are quite a lot of brands of specially designed tooth soaps on the market as a natural toothpaste alternative. Just try to find one without additives.

► Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another great natural toothpaste alternative. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties come in handy for mouth cleaning. Coconut oil can be used alone and combined with other ingredients listed here (like baking soda and essential oils).

► Essential Oils
These can be bought at a local health food store or from a reputable online store. Use a drop or two of peppermint oil on your dampened toothbrush if you want a quick and easy way to get your mouth feeling clean and minty fresh.

For more information on holistic dentistry, contact Health Centered Dentistry at (715) 426-7777

Ease Holiday Stress with Essential Oils

Is the issue lack of information, lack of motivation, or just not sure where to start? We know education is power. Not just in flexing yourbrain but also in the knowledge of the basics to care for yourself and your family. How do we deal with the emotions of the holidays? Too many health issues that were reserved for the “older” citizens are now trickling down to our children and grandchildren. Arthritis, diabetes, obesity, increases in allergies to everyday foods like peanut butter, nuts, breads, and so much more. What were once considered rare diseases are now becoming common place like autism, ADD/ADHD, or even juvenile auto-immune diseases. There is so much information available, but you have a difficulttime in deciphering what is true and what is in error, what is pertinent and what is hype. Does anyone have any reasonable answers? All you would like is to feel better and take care of your family. Not too much to ask…right? What if I told you that there are answers, and you can take back your control and responsibility for you and your family’s health in a logical, science-based manner without breaking the bank and without needing  a doctorate?

Please join us on Tuesday evenings at Unity Christ Center for FREE educational classes. Please  contact me if you would like further information.

Balanced Living » March/April ‘12

Yogurt Cups Get Their Day of Glory

If are like me, you always feel guilty throwing away cottage cheese, yogurt, and three bean salad containers. Thinking there has to be a better way!  There is! As of January 1st, Veolia Waste Removal started taking ALL plastic containers! All of them! So no longer do you have to store #5s to take them to Whole foods the next time you’re heading to the cities. No more saving them in your basement to send to Gimme 5, where you pay the shipping. No more guilt for eating your Stoneybrook Vanilla every morning. Plus they also take the deli containers that your ham spread or potato salad comes in, which are generally #7. So begin noticing people! Look at your plastics and if it’s #1-#7, you are free and clear to take it out with your trash.  And enjoy the feeling of doing one more good thing today!

Who Would Have Thought …

That olive oil is a great makeup remover. It is cheaper than cosmetic removers and serves as a great moisturizer.  That is about as organic as you are going to get.

Keep Recycling Those Batteries

A whopping 13.1 percent increase over 2010, totaling more than 7.6 million pounds of rechargeable batteries collected for recycling.

Since 1994, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 70 million rechargeable batteries from landfills with the help of a network of 30,000 drop-off locations.

Sprint Goes Greener

Sprint announced in early January that it will require all new phones to go through third-party testing to improve repairability, recyclability, and energy efficiency.

The testing criteria, includes materials used, impact on health and environment, energy management, sustainable innovation, performance, and product stewardship.

Through the 2012 standard, which includes packaging as well as product design criteria, Sprint will also introduce a line of sustainable packing materials for its phones. To up the green factor of its packaging, the company plans to eliminate plastic laminate, print with vegetable-based or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) inks and use water-based or eco-friendly adhesives.

New packaging standards are expected to encourage the reduction of packaging volume and size, increase the use of recycled fiber and post-consumer waste, and minimize the use of glues, inks, labels, and plastics.

To learn more about green phones visit

Woof Woof Wash

GOOD TO KNOW: A helpful blend of essential oils made just for our four-legged friends! This soap is sure to get rid of those pesky fleas and keep mosquitoes away! Gentle enough for sensitive skin.

ELEMENT: Water, Fire

Spinach Strength

We all know where Popeye got his strength from, but did you know it may have kept him skinny too? Swedish researchers have discovered that spinach contains thylakoid, a substance which slows down metabolism. When fed to rats, those who ate the spinach with thylakoid gained less weight and had lower blood sugars and blood fats.

Sweet Dreams

Did you know that our sleep duration and quality depends on our sex, race, and socioeconomic status? University of Chicago researchers discovered that African Americans sleep less than Whites and men sleep less than women. The mean scores are as follows: Time spent in bed: 7.5 hours; Time to fall asleep: 21.9 minutes; Sleep duration: 6.1 hours; Time spent sleeping: 80.9 %.

We have all experienced those sleepless nights. Give these ideas a try the next time you are counting your 276th sheep.

Guided Imagery: A study in 2007 in Brazil found that 12 insomniacs slept better after listening to guided imagery CDs for 5 consistent weeks.

Herbal Tea: Many herbs like passionflower, chamomile and skullcap have sedative properties.  Look for them in tea form at your natural health food store and relax with a cup about an hour before you head to bed.

5-HTTP: This is a new drug that is derived form tryptophan, which helps up serotonin levels, a brain chemical that helps regulate sleep. Natural Medicine doctors recommend taking 1 capsule of 100 milligrams nightly.

Smart Tips

Tired of sweeping out the soot in your fireplace?
Add ½ cup of salt to natural wood every time you burn; the sodium chloride forms a weak acid that dissolves the creosote (black soot) that is left after a fire.

Have a dresser knob that won’t stay tight no matter how many times you’ve tried?
Unscrew the knob and coat the screw with clear nail polish. Reassemble while wet. When the nail polish dries, the knob will be glued in place.

Clean candleholders are right around the corner.
Mist the inside of a candle holder with cooking spray and a few drops of water before inserting your candles. The oil stops the wax from sticking to the sides of the glass, and the water provides moisture, which allows the burned candle to be easily removed.

Good Stats

HEALTHIER FOR ME AND MY CHILDREN: Number one motivator cited by parents for choosing organic for the third consecutive year.

78% of U.S. families are buying organic food, up from 73% in 2009.

Four in Ten families are buying more organic products than they were a year ago.

Seventy Two Percent of parents are familiar with the USDA Organic seal, up from 65% in 2009.

The Nose Knows: Aromatherapy and Your Pet

by Meg Wittenmyer

If you Google aromatherapy and essential oil use on dogs and cats, you could get lost in a web of information and never come up. There are the basic oils that have proven to work in specific ways, and then there are the blends, of which there are about ten for every ailment you can imagine.

Sense memory in humans is an amazing thing. How many times have you walked into a shop or passed an open doorway and your nose raised a tad and you sniff that scent that takes you back to a place and time you thought you’d forgotten? Also, certain scents illicit certain reactions. We all know that lavender and chamomile have calming properties in humans and it is the same with dogs. Therapeutic grade essential oils may be used alone or in concert with traditional animal medicine for mental, emotional, and physical ailments.

For instance, depending on the origin and cause of the pain, there are at least five oils which can help dogs with arthritis, wobblers, hip dysplasia, stifle pain, or pain from cancer. There are several oils which can be used alone or blended to repel ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. Digestion and intestinal problems are another area where traditional treatment can be greatly boosted with essential oils.

Essential oils can be used in various ways. If placing directly on the skin, apply to the outside of the ear or paws, and make sure you dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil such as almond, olive, or jojoba, so as not to irritate sensitive skin tissue. You can also add a few drops of oil in the water of a diffuser in your dog’s room or where he lays frequently. Spraying diluted oil on your dog’s bedding is also a good way to introduce it to his environment. Remember that a dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times stronger than ours and no more than a drop or two should be used at any one time. Other things to be aware of are that you should never use oils around a dog’s eyes or on his nose. Normally, oils are not ingested, but if you feel that would be the best way to treat your pet, please refer to your veterinarian first. There are also some oils which are unsafe for pets: juniper, birch, yarrow, and clove to name a few. And always allow your pet the opportunity to get away from the scent by leaving the room or area in which it is being used. They know what they need and if you listen, they will even tell you.

One final warning regarding essential oil use on our feline friends. Cats, even though mammals and carnivores, do not assimilate the phenols and benzyl alcohols present in some essential oils due to the lack of an enzyme which helps them to metabolize the oils. This can cause high amounts of toxicity in the body and could result in serious illness or even death. It is imperative that the chemical compound in the oil you wish to use is known before using an essential oil with a cat. Research the constituents of the essential oil and consult with a Natural Animal Health Practitioner before you use it. If the essential oil contains a phenol or benzyl alcohol property, it should not be used without the supervision of a holistic veterinarian or animal aromatherapist. PLEASE do not just start applying oils to your cat, especially if they are not therapeutic grade.

Some of the oils you may find to be most useful in your pet first-aid kit are provided here. Some of the blends (in bold) are proprietary to Young Living Essential Oils and can only be procured from an authorized distributor; but most other single oils are available from several different companies. The most important thing to remember is that you should always purchase therapeutic, pure essential oil. It helps to be aware of how and where the oils are produced and what tests are performed to verify the therapeutic grade.

• Cuts, wounds and disinfection – Melrose, Purification (use in place of hydrogen peroxide or iodine), and Animal Scents.
• Cuts, wounds and tissue regeneration – Lavender, Melrose, Purification and Animal Scents.
• Pain – Helichrysum, PanAway, Ortho Ease, Ortho Sport, Peppermint and Valerian.
• Infection – Thieves, ImmuPower, Lavender and Melrose.
• Respiratory/urinary tract – RC, Raven and Melrose.
• Inflammation – Helichrysum, Copiaba, Frankincense, PanAway.
• Bleeding – Helichrysum, Geranium, or Lavender.
• Stomach (digestive, colic, constipation, diarrhea, motion sickness) – Chamomile and Peppermint.
• Muscles (torn, spasm, sore, aching) – PanAway, Marjoram, Peppermint.
• Burns – Second Degree: Lavender. First degree (outer skin only): Lavender, Helichrysum, Melrose and Valor.
• Itchy skin – Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Melrose, Purification
• Lyme Disease – Immupower, Melrose, Peppermint, Thieves.
• Stroke – Brain Power (on head and brain stem), Valor (on paws).
• Insect stings, spiders, etc – Purification, Lavender, Chamomile.
• Concentration and focus – Brain Power, Clarity, and Peppermint.
• Calming, relaxing, trauma and shock – Peace & Calming, Valerian and Lavender.
• Coming out of anesthesia/sedation – Brain Power, Clarity and Peppermint.

Finally, one of several long-distance learning courses which are available for pet owners so they can learn about aromatherapy use with dogs and horses is offered by Essential Animals,

Meg Wittenmyer owns Bifrost Farms boarding kennel and whole dog center. She practices a natural lifestyle with her pets and those in whose care she is entrusted. As a canine nutritionist, Meg offers food coaching and sells premium quality holistic, organic, and natural pet food.