Wellness Wednesday #16 – Lemongrass

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I was strolling the grocery store the other day and saw an interesting item in the produce section: Lemongrass! I did not know you could pick it up fresh at the local market!

Apparently fresh lemongrass is a popular ingredient in Thai food. You can add it to marinades, spice rubs, stir-fry, salads, and any dish you want to add a Thai flavor too. But there’s more to it than just a distinct grassy-lemon flavor.

Native to Africa and Asia, this grassy plant has long been used for a variety of medicinal and culinary uses. Lemongrass is most commonly used for:

  • Stomach problems
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Infection
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory function
  • Fever
  • Rhumatism

Lemongrass is a strong antioxidant, protecting cells against free radicals. The anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of Lemongrass make it an excellent ingredient for salves and tinctures for fighting germs and inflammation in wounds. Some studies have shown that the properties of Lemongrass can help fight cancer and improve cellular health.

Besides adding lemongrass to your food, you can also enjoy it as a tea or utilize the essential oils for aromatic and topical benefits.

Lemongrass is commonly use in lemon flavored cosmetics and also as a bug repellent. Grow some lemongrass around your porch to shoo the mosquitoes away!

I didn’t pick up any lemongrass when I was at the store, but I think if it’s still there next time I go shopping, I need to try it out. The benefits are pretty fantastic!

Have you ever used fresh lemongrass?

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Wellness Wednesday #9 – Turmeric

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This week’s real food feature is Turmeric!

Wow is this one amazing spice! Turmeric could possibly be the number one real food ingredient to add to your diet. There are so many benefits to turmeric that even mainstream medical sites and doctors are recommending it.

The main component in Turmeric that benefits the body is curcumin. It has been cited in over 6,000 scientific studies to help in many different areas.

The top conditions and diseases turmeric helps fight are:

  • Inflammation
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • Arthritis
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Liver and kidney problems
  • And some Cancers

It also aids in:

  • Brain and memory function
  • Maintaining blood sugar levels
  • Relieving skin irritation
  • Reducing chronic pain

This tangy spice has long been used in India and surrounding areas for culinary and medicinal purposes. Turmeric is what gives curry it’s unique flavor and orange color. It has been a secret wellness ingredient for thousands of years.

When taking turmeric for medicinal purposes it can be taken in capsule form or as a tea. Because it is so powerful it could cause some adverse reactions if not taken carefully. Check with your health care practitioner if taking for medical reasons.

To benefit from turmeric for everyday wellness, start including it in your cooking! It doesn’t only have to go in Indian dishes. Personally I love the warm flavor it adds to chicken dishes and soups. You can buy turmeric here.

Turmeric can be used topically to help nourish your skin and reduce aging. It may leave you a little orange if you use a lot of it!

Have you added Turmeric to your diet?

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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How I Beat a Winter Cold Naturally

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How I Beat a Winter Cold Naturally

I had something else planned for y’all this fine Monday. But life sometimes throws you for a loop.

First off, we had an ice storm. So I was iced in for quite a few days and starting to go stir crazy.

Then, Little Man started either coming down with a bug or some bad teething was going on. Regardless he had his first runny nose! I know, we’ve been extremely blessed to not have to suffer through any baby colds or illnesses this first year, I will always be happy about that.

But from the lack of sleep and stress of being stuck inside tending to the little man, I got hit with a bug. The first time I’ve been sick in almost two years! I’ll count my blessings with that as well.

The positive of this past crappy week was that I finally got to try some of the natural remedies in my arsenal. I’ve used my essential oils quite a few times when something was starting to hit me, and was successful to knock it out before any type of cold developed. I think that has also helped little man as well. (Hubby doesn’t count because he has an immune system like I’ve never seen before. He’s only been sick like once or twice since I’ve known him.)

Without farther ado I will share what has worked me this week.

Note: I am not a doctor and am not giving you medical advice. I just want to share what worked for me and my family. You can read my full disclosure here.

I stuck with homeopathic remedies for little man. He has responded well to the homeopathic teething gel that I’ve given him in the past so I assumed it would work well for him with a cold. At the first sign of runny nose I gave him Aconite. I gave that to him throughout the day and it did help. His nose never progressed to anything worse that a little dribble here and there. It still may have been teething and not a bug at all.

Something was definitely off for him though since he was very clingy at night. He would not sleep without me holding him. So in order to make sure we all got some rest, little man and I slept on the couch. I didn’t get much sleep but little man and working dad did. Two nights of this and I started to go downhill.

I got one of those really painful raw sore throats. At first sign of the sore throat, I drank some hot lemon water with raw honey. I also put On Guard essential oil blend on topically and took an Echinacea and Thyme tincture, followed up with some honey infused garlic later in the day.

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I kept up with the herbal tincture throughout the day and drank a few cups of Chamomile tea. The warmth felt so good on my throat. I took the day off of everything else and just rested while tending to little man. And by tending, I mean I caged him in an area of the living room so I didn’t have to chase him all day. He was feeling much better. I kept him on the teething gel for naps since that seemed to help.

Throughout the day, the pain in my throat continued but moved around. Any type of movement in a cold is good! By evening it was much less raw but I was starting to get congested. I oiled up again with On Guard before bed and also some Breathe respiratory blend. Little man was pretty much himself. I gave him some Chamomile to help him sleep.

The next morning my throat was still a little raw and I was congested big time. It was time to move onto homeopathic remedies. I started with the essential oils because I’ve had a really good response to them since I started using them a few years ago. It seems like they helped things move along, but I was ready to really kick this bug. (You can’t use essential oils and homeopathic remedies at the same time. The oils are so strong that they will mess up the efficacy of the homeopathics. They can be used alternately and still be effective.)

I started with Rhus Tox as that seemed to be the right remedy for my symptoms and took that throughout the day. I actually took a nap too. I was pretty zombie-like by evening and my cold was definitely an Arsenicum cold. I had a couple of doses of that before bed. I felt like my cold was continuing to move around though which meant the remedies were working.

Little man went to sleep super easy (Thank the Lord!) and so I was able to get to bed early as well. When he woke up to feed, I used some Breathe respiratory blend again since I was pretty congested. I rubbed some on my chest and neck and my congestion cleared up enough for me to get some solid sleep!

I’m still feeling a little nasally and am taking it easy today. (No laundry allowed!) But I feel so much better. I am impressed again with how quickly and effectively home remedies can work. Using a combination of real food, herbs, essential oils, and homeopathic medicines, I kicked this cold fast!

Well this was supposed to be a really short post, but I guess I had a lot to say after being off my computer for a few days!

How have you used natural remedies to improve your family’s health?

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12 Ways to Use Grapefruit Essential Oil

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12 ways to use grapefruit eo

Energizing, uplifting, cleansing, purifying. Grapefruit essential oil is a mom’s best friend.

Grapefruit got its name because of the way the fruits cluster together resembling grapes on a vine. It’s not exactly known where it originates from but some say Jamaica. Regardless of its origins, grapefruit has long been admired as a multi-purpose fruit!

Filled with antioxidants and rich in d-limonene, grapefruit is known for cleansing and purifying. But the uses for grapefruit essential oil go far beyond just cleaning your home. You can utilize the properties of grapefruit essential oil to promote wellness in many areas of your life.

Here are some fantastic ways to use grapefruit essential oil:

Household cleaner – Add 6-8 drops of grapefruit essential oil to a quart of water or citrus infused vinegar to create a cleanser for surfaces in your home. Make sure and shake the bottle before each use since the oils will rise to the top.

Air purifier – Diffuse grapefruit on its own or as a blend to purify the air and create a refreshing environment in your home. (I like this diffuser!) You can also add several drops to a small bottle of water and spritz around the room as an air freshener.

Skin cleanser – Mix grapefruit essential oil in your favorite blend of carrier oils for the Oil Cleanse Method to cleanse your skin. It is great for those with oily skin types as it helps balance your skin’s production of natural oils to a more normal level.

Ease mental fatigue – To boost your brain after an exhaustive study session or tiring event (or even just a day chasing a toddler!), place a few drops of grapefruit in your hands, rub together and then breathe deeply. The scent is very invigorating!

Increase metabolism – Before meals and throughout the day, add 1-2 drops of grapefruit to a cup of water to boost your metabolism.

Sharpen focus – Diffuse grapefruit essential oil in the room when you need to focus on a project. It enhances your focus and memory functions.

Relieve minor skin irritations – Diluted grapefruit can relieve the sting from bug bites or minor skin irritations. It is not recommended on open wounds, as it can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin.

Curb cravings – When a craving for sugar hits you hard, put 1-2 drops of grapefruit in a cup of water and sip. It will help reduce your craving and can help you with your weight loss goals.

Relieve monthly cramps – For some women, grapefruit works wonderfully to relieve monthly cramping. When cramping occurs, simply rub 1-2 drops on your abdomen along with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or almond oil.

Elevate energy levels – Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee for an afternoon pick me up, take a good whiff of grapefruit essential oil. As with easing mental fatigue, rub a few drops in your hands and breathe deeply. Or diffuse to boost the morale of the whole room.

Ease joint pain – If suffering from minor join pain, rub 1-2 drops of grapefruit with a carrier oil directly on the area of discomfort.

Support body systems – Due to the cleansing and purifying properties of grapefruit, it can benefit your body systems in many ways. It aids in boosting your immune system, improving liver function, and to pump your lymphatic system. Add a few drops to your water or in a capsule. Or apply a few drops topically over the area of concern.

The many wonderful uses for grapefruit! I am particularly fond of the energy and focus benefits. Sometimes my afternoon writing session drags on and I can’t get a good thought flow. Grapefruit has also saved me many times as a mom needing a boost or to clear my head when little guy is on the move. I always make sure to have a supply of grapefruit essential oil on hand for the many occasions that I need it!

 

Have you benefited from Grapefruit Essential Oil?

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Wellness Wednesday #7 – Raw Honey

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Featured this week: Raw Honey!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to have a sweet tooth. Fortunately there is a real food option that satisfies the cravings and has amazing health benefits!

  • Immune System Booster
  • Weight Loss Aid
  • Sleep Enhancer
  • Wound Dressing
  • Skin Cleanser
  • And it tastes amazing

…that’s what I’m talking about!

Raw honey does wonders! Straight from the bees, raw honey is full of nutrients that aid our bodies in various ways.

There are a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in raw honey. It may depend on what kind of flowers the bees were busy with, but most commonly Vitamins B6 and C, along with Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, and Calcium can be found. These are very important nutrients for our bodies!

Raw honey is also an antioxidant. It helps your body fight off free radicals very effectively. It has long been used to dress wounds because of its antibiotic and antifungal properties. Those properties will also help keep your skin beautiful! Honey can be a spot treatment for some types of acne.

Surprisingly, raw honey is a wonderful sleep aid. If taken before bed, honey will help your body sleep by releasing melatonin. Melatonin gives you a good night’s rest and will also improve your immune system. Another part of honey that helps your body functions as you sleep is glycogen. The slow release of glycogen as you rest aids in proper body function while you sleep.

Raw honey is also an excellent energy booster. As it has a high amount of glucose it will get you going, but without the blood sugar spike. It seems odd that honey can help with sleep and with energy, but some how it works out in our bodies to help us in the way that we need it.

The key to making use of these benefits is to make sure you choose raw honey. It has not been refined or processed like many of the golden honeys you find on store shelves. Refining honey will kill off many of the benefits that it naturally contains. And as with anything sweet, it is still best to use in moderation.

I love using raw honey in many ways. Not only for recipes as a sugar replacement, but an immune booster, in shampoo, spot treatment for acne, and as part of a healthy detox.

How do you use raw honey?

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Welcome to this week’s Wellness Wednesday!

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This week’s features:

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coconut Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies by Picky to Plenty

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 The Best Sugar Cookies Ever by Pennies into Pearls

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Are You In the Mood For Lovin’? by The Oil Dropper

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Wellness Wednesday #6 – Ginger

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It’s Wellness Wednesday! Who wants to learn about Ginger?

Ginger

Well I sure picked another power house ingredient. Ginger is amazing. This is difficult to sum up, but here it goes!

In the rhizome or root of ginger, there are over 40 pharmacological properties including:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-parasitic
  • antiviral
  • antibacterial
  • antioxidant

Ginger originates from Asia and has been used for over 2,000 years for medicinal and culinary uses. Most popularly, this magnificent root is used for nausea and upset stomach. (And Ayurvidic texts credit it as an aphrodisiac…wink wink)

Additionally, ginger is used for increasing heart health, improving cognitive function, aiding in weight loss, boosting strong immune response, and the list goes on. It has been used to treat joint pain, flu-like symptoms, headaches, menstrual cramps, and common colds.

The spicy zing of ginger pairs very well with garlic and goes great in Asian or Indian dishes. You can also brew it as a tea to reap the wonderful benefits for upset stomachs or to boost the immune system. Simply cut up an inch or so of ginger root and add to hot water. I enjoyed it several times as a tea when I was experiencing morning sickness when pregnant!

I need to keep ginger around more often as it is so beneficial. Promoting general wellness and soothing various issues ginger root is an excellent addition to your real food kitchen/apothecary!

Do you have a favorite Ginger recipe?

 

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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Welcome to this week’s Wellness Wednesday! 

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This Week’s Features:

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How Blogging Relates to Our Health by 60 – The New 40

Edible-Arrangement-FeaturedDIY Edible Arrangement by Pennies into Pearls

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Learning to Chill Out a Little by The Earthly Ones

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Wellness Wednesday #2

 

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It’s Wellness Wednesday again! I hope you enjoyed last week’s link-up.

This week I’d like to highlight the benefits of Garlic. A staple ingredient in your kitchen!

Garlic

Garlic is one of those wonder ingredients that we really ought to eat more of. It has amazing immune boosting power, helps reduce high blood pressure, aids in maintaining liver function, fights fungal infections, and has even been used to help prevent some cancers.

Allicin is the main component in garlic that brings about these health benefits. It is also the part that tastes and smells so strong! The fresher it is, the stronger the benefits of garlic. You can preserve the freshness of garlic by curing it. This will give it a longer shelf life allowing you to continue reaping the benefits year round.

You can simply add it to most any dish you create in the kitchen. I add it often to stir-fry, chili, and hearty meat dishes. It can also be taken medicinally. I suggest infusing it with raw honey first to increase the benefits and make it more palatable!

To get the most benefits from the garlic, it is best to cut or crush the garlic and let it rest before cooking or ingesting for medicinal purposes. The chemical reaction that takes place when the garlic clove is opened allows the allicin to reach its full health potential.

What is your favorite way to use garlic?

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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