Monday, October 31, 2016

5-Ingredient Ear Pain Remedy That Works


Anyone who has experienced ear pain knows how awful it can be. It’s a type of pain that can be pretty relentless. And for relief, many of us turn to anesthetic drugs and analgesic ear drops. But that may not always be the healthiest option, as these medications may cause side effects.

Pharmaceutical side effects

Some analgesics may lead to burning, stinging, redness, new pain in and around the ears, and in rare cases, even more severe symptoms like severe tiredness and weakness. Antibiotics may also be used to treat ear infections. Most notably, antibiotics can lead to stomach pain, rash, headache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. They can negatively impact your digestive health as well. Plus, antibiotics kill both the “bad” and “good” bacteria in our bodies, like the flora found in the gut. Furthermore, many ear infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria, in which case antibiotics will not be helpful.
This is even more distressing when we consider that children tend to have higher rates of ear infections than adults. So especially when a child has repeated ear infections, they may be exposed to these medications more than once.

Natural ear pain remedy

Pharmaceuticals aren’t the only option. One study found a five-ingredient, natural remedy to be just as effective as anesthetic ear drops for treating the pain associated with acute otitis media — the inflammation of the middle ear area that may be related to an ear infection.
The five ingredients are:
  • Garlic
  • Mullein (a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia)
  • St. John’s wort
  • Olive oil
  • Calendula (a type of marigold)
The study looked at 103 children between the ages of 6 and 18 who had been diagnosed with acute otitis media. The children were divided into two groups, one of which was treated with anesthetic ear drops, and the other with drops made from a combination of the five ingredients. At the end of the observation period, both groups reported similar reductions in pain. The natural remedy, therefore, was determined to be just as effective as the ear drops.
So what is it that makes these five ingredients so potent? Let’s break it down.

Garlic

The natural remedy includes garlic because it has powerful antimicrobial effects. One study found that allicin, a compound found in garlic, has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. So if the ear pain is due to an infection, garlic can be used to treat it in a much gentler way than pharmaceutical antibiotics. One summary of a number of studies demonstrates that garlic has anti-inflammatory effects, as well. So even if the pain is not do to an ear infection, garlic can still be useful in treating it.

Mullein

Mullein For Ear Pain
Mullein is the name given to any of the more than 300 species in the genus Verbascum. Like garlic, mullein is believed to have antiviral properties. One study showed that it had an antiviral effect on several strains of influenza A and B, as well as the herpes simplex virus. It also has anti-inflammatory effects, and can therefore be used to treat both the infection and the inflammation, similar to garlic. It is important to note that, although mullein can often be found growing on roadsides, it is not recommended to use mullein found in such places for medicinal purposes. Roadside mullein may have been exposed to pesticides and other toxins.

St. John’s wort

You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of St. John’s wort. It has been used to treat the symptoms of everything from depression to PMS. It is anti-inflammatory, but for different reasons than garlic and mullein. St. John’s wort has inhibitory effects on proinflammatory genes, making it effective at relieving inflammation and a host of related health conditions. It also has antiviral and analgesic properties. However, it is important to note that it can interfere with certain medications, including birth control pills. So if you’re taking any prescriptions, you will want to consult your physician before adding St. John’s wort.

Olive oil

We know that olive oil has a range of health effects when included as a regular part of your diet, largely due to the fact that it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. But the benefits don’t stop there. Olive oil contains polyphenols, which are effective at reducing inflammation. This makes olive oil a good choice as a base for a number of natural healing salves and lotions. And this study found that virgin olive oil has antibacterial properties as well, making it even more effective at treating ear pain caused by an infection.

Calendula

Calendula For Ear Pain
Calendula contains antioxidants known as flavonoids, which protect against free radical damage, as well as inflammation promoting compounds like C-reactive protein. It also has high concentrations of linoleic acid, which is anti-inflammatory. Also, the acids in the plant’s oils have antimicrobial and antiviral effects. They are believed to be effective in fighting pathogens and candida. Calendula has a wide range of other health benefits. It can help to improve oral health, discourage cancer, treat muscle spasms and more.
The decision to try a natural remedy before taking antibiotics or other medications is a wise one. There are also dietary approaches to help you avoid future ear pain and inflammation, like cutting down on gluten, for example, which can be inflammatory.
Of course, it’s important to note that ear pain — and especially ear infections — can be serious. If your symptoms do not improve, it is important to consult a medical professional, especially in the case of a child. And if you are taking any medications, be sure to speak with your physician before using this natural remedy, as some of the ingredients may cause interactions.
— Sarah Cooke

Cabbage Vs. Chemo For Cancer?

Cabbage
It’s probably fair to say that cabbage isn’t a big part of your life. Sure, you might notice it in your restaurant coleslaw, assuming you don’t fill up on your burger and fries first. You might also occasionally ingest some cabbage when you have the odd Asian stir-fry. But that’s about it, am I right?
An increasing body of scientific research suggests that you should probably make a point of getting more cabbage in your life. Ancient cultures have long revered the powerful cabbage. Our modern society, on the other hand, has downgraded it to mere coleslaw food. Healers from antiquity considered the cabbage to contain “moon power,” on account of its ability to grown via moonshine.
Today, science is coming to understand that much of the power of cabbage comes from its high sulfur content. This, coupled with its amazingly high vitamin C levels and plenty of other vitamins and minerals, makes cabbage a true natural superfood. And if you were wondering how to lower your risk of cancer (or perhaps even fight back)… cabbage may have the answer.

What is cabbage and where does it come from?

Cabbage is a green leafy vegetable from the brassica family. When you consider all the other members of this family, it is perhaps easy to see why cabbage is so darn awesome. These members, otherwise known as cruciferous vegetables, include:
Even single one of these vegetables has received special attention at The Alternative Daily, and for good reason. They all pack a hefty punch when it comes to health and nutrition. Cabbage is right up there amongst the best of them.

Origins of cabbage

It’s difficult to say where exactly cabbage began life, due to the wide range of cultivars developed throughout history. People likely cultivated brassica species from one or just a few particular wild brassicas, making identification difficult. It’s thought, however, that the Western cabbage was domesticated in Europe around 3,000 years ago. It’s wild predecessors were valued for their thick edible leaves. This allowed them to retain water and service in dry, cold climates. Experts think the Eastern variety was cultivated in North China around 4000 BCE.
European cabbage fever quickly took hold. In Rome, it was considered a luxury. It was often prized above all other vegetables. Even back then the ancient Romans recognized the potential of cabbage as a medicinal food. It was used to treat anything from gout to headaches to the symptoms of poisonous mushroom ingestions.
In ancient Egypt, cabbage was typically eaten in large quantities before a night of debaucherous binge drinking. This purportedly diminished the presumably devastating hangover the next day (alcohol being what it was, back then).
Cabbage didn’t make its merry way into English life until around the 1300s. From there and the rest of Europe, the Western cabbage soon spread to Asia and the Americas. The first cabbage was reportedly brought to America in 1541 by Jacques Cartier during his third voyage. Not only was cabbage intended as a useful cultivar once land had been reached, it also helped out on long voyages. Sailors on these extended sea voyages would eat cabbage to prevent scurvy, due to its high vitamin C levels. Ship doctors would also use sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage product, to treat the wounds and gangrene of sailors.
If history is anything to go by, cabbage is kind of a big deal.

Health benefits of cabbage

Fights cancer
Cabbage Fights Cancer
Cabbage is well known for its high levels of antioxidants, which prevent the development and spread of certain types of cancer. Cabbage contains the cancer-fighting compounds lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane, which stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.
study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention examined epidemiological data relating to the cancer-preventative effects of brassica vegetables. These vegetables include kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower… and of course cabbage! In total, the researchers examined 94 different studies regarding brassicas and their anti-carcinogenic properties. They found overwhelming evidence in support of the theory that this family of vegetables is dynamite against cancer. Here’s a summary of the most important aspects of their findings:
  • Brassicas all contain a high concentration of glucosinolates. These compounds have a strong anti-carcinogenic (cancer-fighting) effect.
  • Consuming cabbage, along with several other brassicas, had a strong association with decreased risk of lung cancer. Brassica consumption also decreases the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Of all the brassicas, cabbage showed the greatest protective effect against cancer. In a whopping 70 percent of case studies, cabbage was proven to be an effective treatment for a range of different cancers.
  • Lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers are the types most likely to be affected by cabbage and other brassicas.
Another study looked at 241 Chinese patients who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The study then compared these to a “healthy” control group. The study found a strong correlation between consumption of vegetables in general and lower risk of cancer. In particular, however, researchers found that “Chinese cabbage plays an important role in reducing the risk of developing stomach cancer.”
Finally, lab research indicates that cabbage consumption can significantly reduce the risk of cancerous tumors. As part of the study, researchers studied a phytoalexin compound in cabbage called brassinin with regards to tumors in mice. After a range of tests, researchers concluded that “brassinin may be effective as a chemopreventive agent during both the initiation and promotion phases of carcinogenesis.” In other words, cabbage is the bee’s knees when it comes fighting cancer.
Mental health
The legendary health benefits of cabbage don’t stop at cancer prevention. Getting plenty of cabbage in your diet can help your brain as well! Cabbage contains vitamin K and beneficial compounds called anthocyanins. These antioxidants help to improve mental function, hone concentration and prevent nerve damage in your brain. The result is a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-based mental conditions when you eat cabbage.
Skin health
Due to its super high sulfur content, cabbage is great for your skin and beauty regime. Eating it helps to dry up oily skin. This also helps to prevent breakouts and reduce acne. The high levels of sulfur also help your body produce keratin. This substance is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails.
Blood pressure
Cabbage Lowers Blood Pressure
Cabbage is high in potassium, an essential nutrient which our bodies use for a range of important functions. One of these functions relates to blood pressure. The high potassium content helps to open up your blood vessels, easing the flow of blood. This helps to lower your blood pressure and increase circulation. Both are important for efficient healing and keeping your little toes warm at night.
Inflammation
If you’re suffering from inflammation of the joints, muscles or organs, cabbage is just the thing! The leaves on the cabbage accumulate high concentrations of cadmium-binding complexes, the most important of which is glutamine. Glutamine is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This means eating it can help with joint pain, allergies, fever and even skin disorders.
Eye health Cabbage is an excellent source of beta-carotene — the same compound in carrots. Remember your mom force-feeding them to you for better vision? Studies show that she was actually on to something with those carrots. That means that cabbage can have the same beneficial effects. Its beta-carotene prevents macular degeneration of the eyes and delays the formation of cataracts.
Rather conveniently, beta-carotene also reduces the risk of prostate cancer. So get munching, lads!
Weight loss
Cabbage Weight Loss
Cabbage is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nurture the body. It’s a popular go-to vegetable for those looking to lose a few pounds. It’s also quite filling, on account of its high fiber content. Incidentally, this helps to keep things moving along in your digestive system. Finally, a cup of cooked cabbage is only 33 calories, making it a great choice if you’re watching your waistline!
Detoxification
You know the high sulfur and vitamin C content that we mentioned earlier? Well, it turns out that those two compounds are great for detoxifying your lymphatic system and other areas of your body as well. Vitamin C scavenges free radicals. This gives your cells a clean bill of health and prevents them from mutating into something unpleasant (such as cancer). Sulfur removes heavy metals and uric acid from your blood, reducing your chances of gout and other undesirable conditions.
How do you eat your cabbage? Do you stir-fry it, roast it, bake it or even ferment it into sauerkraut? We’d love to know how you get all those amazing health benefits from this wondrous vegetable!
Liivi Hess

Check Out This Insomnia Remedy That Costs $5 A Month

Valerian Root For Insomnia

For anyone who suffers from insomnia, you know how overwhelming sleep deprivation can be. Whether you’re stressing about your day or simply the fact that you cannot sleep, a lack of sleep can quickly evolve into more serious health complications — not to mention the impact insomnia has on everyday functioning.
Many individuals avoid seeing their doctor. If they do, doctors may prescribe them temporary sleeping aids that can actually do more harm than good. Instead of temporarily “fixing” the issue, you need to work with your body and mind to achieve long-term results without relying on medication.

Why treat insomnia?

The term insomnia simply refers to the inability to sleep. For some, this is due to psychiatric or medical conditions. Others have developed unhealthy sleeping habits. Regardless of the cause, sleep deprivation is a major health concern, leading to significant consequences. Valerian For Insomnia
Experts estimate that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep and wakefulness disorder. It’s clear that a lack of sleep if adversely affecting their health, daily functioning and overall longevity. There are approximately 90 different sleep disorders. The majority are marked by one of the following symptoms:
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Not being able to initiate and maintain sleep
  • Abnormal movements, sensations or behaviors while sleeping
While looking at sleep loss as a whole, researchers have linked insomnia to a wide range of health complications. These include an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart attack, depression and stroke — not to mention the effect sleep deprivation has on cognitive function day in and day out.
For those with insomnia, being able to fall asleep is easier said than done. What options do you have?

Say hello to valerian root

People have long been using valerian root to target sleep disorders for its effectiveness and safety. This perennial flowering plant has been popular since the second century AD, treating symptoms of anxiety, nervous restlessness and insomnia. Considered to be both safe and gentle, valerian is a popular alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure how valerian works. However, they believe that it naturally increases GABA levels in the brain — a neurotransmitter that inhibits excitatory responses. Meaning, when levels increase, this chemical regulates nerve cells, producing a natural calming effect.

When taking powerful medications, such as Xanax and diazepam, these drugs target GABA levels, resulting in anti-anxiety effects. Although valerian may be slightly weaker, that does not mean it’s not effective. Research has shown that valerian helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep quality.
Some studies have shown positive benefits immediately. However, one of the best-designed studies, published in Sleep, found that valerian was no more effective than the placebo — until 28 days. At that point, valerian greatly improved sleep for those taking it. It may not be an overnight solution, but it’s a sustainable, natural remedy.
Unlike medications, valerian also comes with fewer side effects, including morning drowsiness. In order to increase the effectiveness of this root, some individuals will take a combination of valerian, hops and lemon balm to treat cases of insomnia. This is especially beneficial to individuals who are ill and want to reduce their intake of medication.
Within one study, published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, the use of acupressure and valerian aromatherapy were utilized, helping to promote sleep for those in the intensive care unit. They found that in comparison to the control group, patients who received this treatment increased sleeping hours, reduced wake frequency and experienced an immediate relaxation response.

How to use valerian root to combat your insomnia

Valerian Tea
You can purchase valerian root in a variety of forms, all which are cost-effective. You can find supplements in tablet form, as well as valerian tea and valerian essential oil. If you suffer from insomnia, please take a dose approximately two hours before bedtime.
If you have sourced dried root, simply boil water and steep one teaspoon for five to ten minutes. For supplements in capsule form, be sure to invest in a product that includes pure organic extracts. For many, this is the most convenient — although, aromatherapy is also a simple approach which many prefer.
Just as a side note, valerian essential oil doesn’t give off the most pleasant smell. Experts recommend that you blend it with other oils, such as lavender, lemon balm or cedarwood. As mentioned above, valerian root is a natural solution and it may take three to four weeks before you feel the effects.
Be patient and maintain consistency. A sleep journal is also a great idea. That way, you can take notes each morning, tracking any positive progress. After all, it’s been said that “your future depends on your dreams — so go to sleep.” Give valerian root a shot. Actively work towards a more restful sleep, night after night.
— Krista Hillis

13 Foods That Scrub Our Arteries Clean

avocado for arteries

As we get older, the collective opinions of the medical community and the mainstream media begin to instill a fear of cardiovascular disease in our minds. Every food becomes a danger for clogging your arteries. Every gym workout is spurned on by the growing fear that your heart isn’t as strong as it should be.
And with all that fear-mongering aside, your concerns are not without merit. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 614,348 deaths were caused by heart disease in 2014. This makes it the leading cause of death amongst all other diseases and health conditions, cancer included.  
Atherosclerosis refers to the progressive clogging of the arteries. It is a key contributor to heart disease, along with stroke and a range of other cardiovascular conditions. Atherosclerosis is affected by a range of variables including autoimmunity, infection and dietary complications. It is also a condition which is entirely preventable. And in my opinion it’s very easy to prevent or even reverse, provided you know which foods to eat and which to avoid. I’ve put together a list of foods known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense and fiber-rich properties. These are all important elements which can set you back on the path to healthier arteries and improved cardiovascular health. The added effect is that these foods will improve your health in general, meaning you’ll feel better than ever!

Fruit for scrubbing arteries

Avocado
A personal favorite of mine, avocados are unbelievably nutritious and make a great addition to any meal. They supercharge a boring sandwich and make salads a whole lot more exciting. They are great simply on their own or in a delicious homemade guacamole dip. It seems hard to believe that something so creamy and delicious can also be good for you, but you better believe it!
In addition to their other wide-ranging health properties, avocados have been shown to dramatically improve blood cholesterol. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research found that consuming avocado on a daily basis leads to a decrease in triglycerides. LDL cholesterol (the unofficial “bad” kind) dropped by about 22 percent and HDL (“good”) cholesterol increased by around 11 percent. Lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol means clearer arteries and less chance of plaque buildup. And yes, avocados are technically fruit!
Cranberries
The deep red hue of cranberries belies their antioxidant-rich properties, along with their deliciously tart flavor. Similar to avocados, the high concentrations of antioxidants contained within their ruby depths really give your cardiovascular health a boost by lowering LDL cholesterol and elevating HDL cholesterol levels. And the best thing about it? You can enjoy all the artery-scrubbing benefits of this fruit in a simple glass of pure cranberry juice. Easy as that.
Persimmons
persmimmons arteries
Let’s face it: they’re a little bit weird. You’ve probably bypassed the occasional persimmon display at the supermarket because you simply didn’t trust the darn things. Are they oranges, tomatoes or something else? Whatever their loyalties, persimmons are positively overflowing with antioxidants and polyphenols. Like the avocado and cranberry, these help to decrease both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from your bloodstream. It also just so happens that persimmons are high in fiber, which is a critical aspect of regulating blood pressure and cleansing your arteries on a regular basis.
Watermelons
It seems hard to believe that something so sweet and delicious can also play an important role in keeping your arteries clear and your heart healthy, but the experts seem to think it’s true. Watermelon contains plenty of a little thing called L-citrulline, an amino acid which lowers blood pressure and decreases inflammation. Therefore, it eases pressure on your arteries and promotes a healthy heart. Reflect on that next time you’re considering whether you’ve earned that next juicy slice of watermelon!

Vegetables and spices

Broccoli
It’ll come as no surprise to you that broccoli, that flowery green vegetable that your mom always forced you to eat, is dynamite when it comes to artery scrubbing. This bushy brassica is packed with vitamin K, an essential antioxidant which helps to prevent calcification and hardening of the arteries. Not only that, broccoli is surprisingly high in readily available fiber. As we know, this helps to support heart health by normalizing blood pressure and lubricating arterial walls against damage.
Cinnamon
The delicious taste and non-sugary sweetness of cinnamon mean that you shouldn’t really need any other reasons to use cinnamon on a daily basis. But here’s another one. It turns out that a tablespoon of cinnamon every day can dramatically reduce LDL cholesterol levels while simultaneously preventing plaque buildup. This effect is further supported by the fact that cinnamon makes an excellent replacement for sugar. It provides that sought-after sweetness in your coffee or baking but without elevating blood sugar levels and increasing inflammation in your arteries.
Still not convinced? Here are 20 other reasons why cinnamon deserves pride of place on your spice rack.
Spinach
Here’s another vegetable which has long received it’s fair share of fame due to its wide-ranging health properties. Spinach is a powerful ally to have on your side when it comes to cardiovascular peace of mind. Spinach contains loads of fiber, potassium and folate, which collectively help to lower blood pressure and keep your arteries humming along without a care in the world. In addition, this study showed that one serving per day of folate-rich leafy greens, spinach included, significantly lowered homocysteine levels, which are recognized as a contributor to cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.
Spirulina
spirulina arteries
While technically not a vegetable, this powder derived from a particular species of blue-green algae holds its own in the vegetable department due to its vast array of amino acids. These amino acids surpass any found in any plant-based sources of protein, helping to fortify your health and regulate lipid levels in your blood. This, combined with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, can significantly lower arterial inflammation and boost the health of your heart. Spirulina is best enjoyed as a nutrient-rich addition to your morning green smoothie or simply as a daily supplement.
Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice which just keeps getting better and better in the eyes of the health community. This powerful anti-inflammatory orange powder owes many of its health benefits to the ultra-high levels of curcumin. This compound has been shown to reduce the fatty deposits in our arteries by as much as 26 percent. Not only that, studies show that curcumin supplementation, or simply getting plenty of turmeric in your diet, can reverse arterial dysfunction and reduce the oxidative effects of aging on your arteries. All good news for your heart.

Oils

Coconut oil
If you’ve been following the dramatic rise of coconut oil in the alternative health community, you’ll probably be aware that the saturated fats found in this oil are loaded with essential nutrients. As a result, they’re amazingly good for your heart. The high concentrations of medium-chain triglycerides (MGT) in coconut oil can significantly reduce plaque buildup in your arteries. They can convert the cholesterol in your bloodstream into a form that is more readily available for utilization by your body. Far from saturated fats being a cause of heart disease (as the authorities led us to believe over the past 30 years), they are actually an important part of robust cardiovascular health. Olive oil
Olive oil has been a favorite amongst health-savvy eaters for considerably longer than coconut oil, and for good reason. It has high concentrations of monounsaturated oleic acid. This is an essential fatty acid which has been linked to a lowering of triglycerides and a reduction of oxidative stress in the bloodstream. And while we’re on the topic, studies suggest that the positive effects of olive may be so profound that people who consume it on a regular basis have a 41 percent lower risk of stroke than those who don’t.

Seeds and nuts

Chia seeds
chia seeds for arteries
If you haven’t yet dabbled in the versatility of chia seeds, it’s time you did. They contain impressively high levels of both fiber and alpha-linolenic acids. These two important compounds work together to regulate blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. All important aspects of maintaining healthy arteries.
You’d probably be surprised by just how many delicious meals and snacks you can construct with chia seeds. Here are five recipes with chia seeds that I have a feeling you’ll love.
Almonds
Due to their high levels of healthy fats and protein, nuts make an excellent snack alternative for anyone thinking of heart health. But in addition to their high fat and protein content, almonds contain plenty of vitamin E and fiber. Both of these support healthy artery function and robust cardiovascular function. If almonds aren’t really your thing, why not walnuts instead? They contain loads of alpha-linolenic acid, the same compound found in chia seeds. It reduces blood pressure, inflammation and keeps things running smoothly in your arteries.
Liivi Hess

21 Strange And Awesome Uses For Honey You Should Try

honey
Honey has been around for about as long as humans. The first recorded drawing of a human harvesting honey is approximately 8,000 years old. Archaeologists have found honeycombs buried with pharaohs in Egypt. In Rome, soldiers used it to heal their wounds. In the Old Testament, Israel was described as the land of flowing milk and honey. Throughout history, honey has been a form of payment or trade.
Liquid gold, as some call it, is no longer considered to be as valuable as in ancient times. Nowadays, we walk into a grocery store and grab a plastic bear filled with honey and feed it to our families.

Of course, there are differences in the quality of honey out there. Pasteurized honey has been heated and valuable nutrients have been removed in the process. This is why many are now looking to purchase raw honey to enjoy its full benefits. But what can you do with honey besides eating it? We’ve found 21 awesome and sometimes slightly strange uses for honey that you should definitely give a try.

1. Use honey to cure a sore throat

honey for sore throat
Simply mix two tablespoons of honey with a full cup of hot water and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon. The whole family can enjoy this healthy remedy.

2. Use it on your chapped lips

Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Plus, it is a great moisturizer. Apply some on your lips and try not to lick it off. A great time to do this is at night after you brush your teeth and you’re on your way to bed. You won’t be as likely to lick your lips then as you be would during the day.

3. Treat herpes blisters

Herpes simplex (also called cold sores) is painful and unsightly. It also seems to take forever to heal. Honey, with its antiviral properties, can help speed up the process. Remember: only the raw stuff will provide full benefits.

4. Stock it for emergencies

When archaeologists found honeycombs in Egypt, they were surprised to discover that the honey was still edible. Raw honey may crystallize, but it will last forever. If you have no access to other sweeteners or healers, you’ll be so glad to have your stash when you need it.

5. Use it on wounds

Honey’s acidity has the ability to increase the release of oxygen from hemoglobin, which creates a good environment for healing a wound. When you apply it, lymph flow increases and the wound can heal faster. Honey also draws liquid from the wound.

6. Wash your hair with it

Shampoos have a tendency to rob hair of its natural oils. As a result, the follicles go into overproduction. With its relative acidity, honey preserves the natural oils and has been found to help with treatment of dandruff, too. Mix one tablespoon with three tablespoons of water and massage into hair when taking a shower. You may have to warm the mixture a little to get it to dissolve in the water.

7. Use it as a hair mask

Rub honey onto the tips of your hair, leave it on for a few minutes, then wash. It will make those tips look healthier and more vibrant.

8. Use it as a face wash

honey face
Got any leftovers from that honey shampoo? Use it to wash your face. So many products include honey because of its healing powers and gentle cleansing ability. Why not use honey without all the added chemicals?

9. Cure that hangover

Use honey instead of ibuprofen after a night with a few too many. We couldn’t believe it either, but the fructose in honey speeds up the metabolism, hence the shorter hangover time.

10. Get rid of parasites

Of course, you just may have to see a doctor when there is a real concern for parasites. But you may also try to drink a daily solution of honey, apple cider vinegar and hot water. The acidity of the vinegar combined with honey’s antibacterial properties may do the trick. Sometimes, it simply takes a little extra work and possibly a change in your diet to get rid of parasites.

11. Soothe dry elbows

Apply some honey to your elbows, leave it on for 30 minutes, then wipe it off. Make sure not touch anything with your elbows while you wait! You may have to repeat this a few times to see lasting success.

12. Eat it raw from the honeycomb

raw honeycomb
Honey will not be any more raw than when it comes directly from the comb. Also, the honeycomb is said to aid with healthy cholesterol levels, thanks to its long-chain fatty acids. The alcohols contained in the honeycomb are full of antioxidants that help protect the liver as well. 

13. Use it on burns

When you apply honey to your burns, the hydrogen peroxide that will be released will clean the wound and ease the inflammation. Plus, you’ll avoid chemicals from other topical creams.

14. Preserve your fruit with it

It’s not too late for preserving fruit. Mix one part honey with ten parts water and pour over your berries to preserve them. The honey actually intensifies the flavor of the berries. You can experiment with different amounts until you reach your own desired sweetness.

15. Pour it in your bath water

Adding just a few tablespoons of honey to your bath water will make it smell sweeter and make the water appear softer. You’ll carry the mild scent of honey around with you all day. Yum!

16. Increase your energy before a workout

Consume some honey before you exercise and the slow, consistent release of glucose will keep you from burning out too quickly. You can also mix honey with some coconut water, which is full of electrolytes to replenish your body during and after a workout. 

17. Make your own body scrub

Use it for yourself or gift it to someone else. Mix 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup raw cane sugar and 1/4 cup olive oil to make an excellent scrub. Careful when you use this in the shower — the oil will make the shower floor slippery.

18. Use it to build up immunity to pollen

Though not widely researched, one study suggests that consuming birch pollen honey can be helpful in people with birch pollen allergies. It is not likely that a lot of research will be put into honey as a cure for allergies, so you may end up being your own guinea pig for this one.

19. Use it as a sweetener in your green tea

Green tea is believed to increase metabolism, and so is honey. Plus, honey is known to have a positive effect on blood sugar. The combination of the two may be a great addition to your weight loss program.

20. Cure halitosis (bad breath)

Mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of warm water. Gargle and swallow, or spit out if you wish. The antibacterial properties of honey can kill the germs that give you bad breath. Plus, cinnamon happens to be an appetite suppressant.

21. Make your own shaving cream with it

Honey mixed with warm water can be used as a shaving cream. It’s soothing and prevents razor burn while moisturizing your skin.
Remember, raw honey is always the better choice because it has not been stripped of its nutrients. It will be much more beneficial than the pasteurized stuff. Enjoy! 
— Ute Mitchell

Hydrate And Heal With This Two-Ingredient Skin Care Remedy

Four years ago, I started making all of my own organic soaps, creams and even sunscreen. It was during this time that I really began to take an interest in various oils and butters, in order to better understand how they would benefit my skin and overall health.
When balancing a handmade soap recipe, I like to use a combination of both soft and hard ingredients. For instance, I generally combine shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil to create a firmer soap. I add olive, castor and hemp oil as my “softer” ingredients to maximize moisturizing benefits.
Throughout my research, there was one oil that came up time and time again, and for good reason — jojoba oil. For centuries, Native Americans would extract the oil from jojoba seeds in order to treat sores and wounds. It is the perfect oil for nearly all skin types, allowing you to achieve hydration without any heavy, oily shine.

Why choose jojoba?

Our “medicine” cabinet at home is full of all kinds of goodies, including a variety of carrier oils. Jojoba oil, which is technically a liquid wax, is generally an optimal choice because it is chemically similar to your skin’s natural sebum. As we age, our glands produce less sebum, resulting in potentially dry skin and hair.
Related: Rejuvenate Your Hair And Skin With Jojoba Oil
When applying this oil, your skin can achieve a more natural balance in terms of oil levels. Today, this oil is commonly used to treat acne, chapped skin, sunburn and psoriasis. Since it does not contain any chemicals, it’s a great solution for dry skin and eczema, without the worry of irritation or an allergic reaction.
Although it can be used as a natural makeup remover or preventative measure for razor burn, jojoba oil can heal and promote overall skin health. Being non-comedogenic, this oil will not clog your pores. Instead, it acts as a cleanser and protectant. Rich in iodine, it is able to target the harmful bacteria which often lead to breakouts.
As this oil’s natural antioxidants are absorbed into the skin, they will also target fine lines and wrinkles. The same is true for wound-healing. Jojoba oil will accelerate this process by stimulating collagen synthesis. In fact, within one study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, jojoba oil was found to accelerate wound closures.
If you suffer from acne, jojoba will also target inflammation. It will also enhance the healing process. Within one Swiss study, 194 participants with acne-prone, lesioned skin were instructed to apply a clay and jojoba oil facial mask two to three times weekly for a total of six weeks.
After six weeks of treatment, participants experienced a 54 percent reduction in total lesions. Both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions were reduced. It’s an ideal oil to have on-hand at all times. It’s able to control oily skin, moisturize dry skin, control acne, reduce the effects of sunburn and even help treat skin conditions such as eczema. 

The addition of essential oil

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The second ingredient we’ll focus on is an essential oil — so feel free to get creative here. Based on your skin and your goals, you can select an essential oil that offers the properties you desire. Some oils will target acne and aging. Others will combat scarring, reduced elasticity, oiliness or dryness. Here are just a few of your options:
  • Tea tree oil: This oil is ideal for acne-prone skin. It offers antibacterial properties that also assist in healing and oil regulation.
  • Neroli: If you have sensitive or mature skin, neroli is generally a good choice. It helps smooth fine lines and supports the regeneration of cells.
  • Geranium: Once again, this oil will help acne-prone and oily skin, but it will also promote blood circulation. Meaning, if you have wounds such as cuts, bruises or broken capillaries, it will assist healing.
  • Rosemary: Offering antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, this oil reduces symptoms of eczema, oily skin, dermatitis and acne. It is able to both tone and protect, reducing damage from the sun and free radicals. 
  • Lavender: Great for both sensitive and acne-prone skin, lavender is able to restore skin complexion and reduce dry skin, acne and age spots.
Just remember, essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil to a maximum of 5 percent. You should also always perform a patch test before applying any remedy to a large surface of skin. Also, certain essential oils should be avoided when pregnant, so be sure to do your homework or ask your physician if you have any concerns.

Two-Ingredient Skin Care Remedy

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Like most at-home natural remedies, this skin care oil could not be simpler.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz jojoba oil
  • 1 to 2 drops essential oil

Equipment

  • Dark, glass container (for storage)
  • Cotton balls

Instructions

1. Combine jojoba oil with your choice of essential oil.
2. After you have completed a patch test, apply to problematic areas with a cotton ball and massage in.
3. Use as needed.
When storing this remedy, be sure to source a dark, glass container. This will protect the integrity of the oils.
Also, if you’d like to use more than one essential oil, no problem. Just add an additional ounce of jojoba oil and mix thoroughly. Always store in a cool, dry location.
— Krista Hillis

Do This, Don’t Do That With Vegetables

vegetables

“Eat your vegetables, or there won’t be dessert!” You may have heard that warning a few times when you were a child sitting in front of that pile of soggy looking vegetables. You may even use the same line with your own kids. After all, you know how important vegetables are for a healthy diet. 
Vegetables are the carbohydrates of a balanced meal. They provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Properly prepared, vegetables can be so much more than a boring pile of green. Your kids may still disagree, but stick to your guns. Research suggests that it takes up to 10 times of trying a food until you develop a taste for it.
However, there are a few things you can get wrong that may turn you into a vegetable hater for life. Preparing them wrong may also make your veggies less nutritious without you even knowing it. Read on for a list of things that you never, ever want to do to your vegetables… and a few ideas of what to do instead.

Don’t boil vegetables

Boiling vegetables practically makes it unnecessary to eat them at all. Most of the nutrients will leach into the water, which you’ll then throw away. Cooking, regardless what method you use, will destroy some nutrients, but it also makes others more bioavailable. For this reason, it makes sense to both eat vegetables raw and cook them at other times.

… Steam or roast vegetables instead

Steaming and roasting are easiest on the nutrients. To steam vegetables, insert a basket into a cooking pan and fill the pan with an inch of water. Add your vegetables, cover and steam at medium heat until they reach desired texture.
steamed-veggies
For roasting, preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment and place cut up vegetables on top in a single layer. You may choose to drizzle some oil and seasonings on them first or wait until after they’re roasted to do so. Roast your vegetables for 20 to 30 minutes.

Don’t overcook them

While steaming is a good and safe method to cook your vegetables, you can still overcook them. You’ll notice they’re overcooked when they start losing their color. They will also turn so soggy that you barely have to chew them anymore. Veggies should be cooked “al dente,” which means cooking them firm to the bite. Of course, you may like them a little bit softer or a little bit harder. Just be sure they don’t turn into a blob.

Don’t store them for too long

Every additional day you store vegetables will result in more nutrient loss. The sooner you eat vegetables after purchasing, the better. If you create a meal plan, make sure you do not purchase too many vegetables that will just sit in the refrigerator and be thrown away.
Also, frozen vegetables haven’t been super popular. But the truth is, shock freezing them actually preserves most of the nutrients. So, if you’re busy or just don’t care to create meal plans, frozen vegetables may be the way for you to go.

Don’t eat vegetables without washing them first

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Unwashed vegetables contain toxins from being sprayed with pesticides. They are also covered with wax or other substances to keep them from spoiling, which can cause inflammation and diarrhea. Plus, if you are exposed to these toxins and chemicals, you are more prone to disease. So wash, wash, wash all of your vegetables, including those that are organically grown.
Did you know there are also a few things that can actually make the nutrient content bigger and more digestible for the body? Read on for a list of simple things to bring out the best in your veggies.

Wait to eat your potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most popular veggies in the United States and around the world. We eat them baked, fried, mashed and even make them into a salad. Potatoes contain calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6. In order to remove some of the starch, let potatoes sit in cold water for a few hours. If you’re looking to keep your blood glucose more level, do this every time you use potatoes in a recipe.

Cook those tomatoes

Tomatoes are similarly popular to potatoes. Declaring ketchup a vegetable may be a bit of a stretch, but as part of a delicious spaghetti sauce, tomatoes can be quite good for you. The lycopene in tomatoes is known to prevent heart disease and some cancers. Cooking them at high temperatures and combining them with some fat, however, increases lycopene transport into the bloodstream. So cook away!

Eat your carrots with some fat

Carrots are an awesome snack food, beloved by adults and kids alike. They are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A. However, chowing away on carrots all day long won’t do you any good if vitamin A is what you’re going for, as vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it needs fat to be properly absorbed. Eating carrots with a nut butter or another source of fat will do the trick.

Tear up lettuce in advance

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If you’re a fan of green salad, you probably have a head or two of lettuce sitting in your fridge right now. In the future, you may consider tearing that lettuce apart before you store it in the fridge. Tearing lettuce activates a self-protection mechanism, which releases antioxidant compounds — and our bodies just happen to love it. Ideally, you’ll mix up your lettuce. Eat some green and some red, as they have different antioxidants. Green lettuce has slower acting compounds, while red leaf lettuce has the faster acting compounds.

Eat leafy greens raw

While cooking can certainly help bring out the best in some vegetables, others should be eaten raw at least some of the time. Foods like chard, kale, beet greens, spinach and collard greens are high in chlorophyll, an antioxidant necessary for the body. They also contain fiber and enzymes, and vitamins C and E. You’ll get the highest possible nutrient content and eating the vegetables raw fills your stomach and keeps you fuller for longer than if you cook them.
Veggies are a key part of a balanced diet. It’s important to pay special attention to our dietary needs — even the nutrient content of organic vegetables has decreased in the past 50 years due to overfarming, pesticides and fertilizers. This list of dos and don’ts, while not comprehensive, will give you some good pointers so you can enjoy your vegetables to the fullest.
— Ute Mitchell