Tag Archives: non-toxic

5 Natural Remedies for Your Medicine Cabinet

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If you consider yourself health conscious, you’re probably fed-up of using pharmaceutical medicines to ease every little ache, pain, or skin issue. In addition to all the chemical ingredients that make up conventional medicines (good luck trying to pronounce the names, let alone spell them), using lab created remedies leave you open to a plethora of unpleasant side effects. The most common, and dare I say “most pleasant” include nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, drowsiness, and insomnia. It doesn’t end there, some of the strangest drug side effects include (brace yourself) inability to hold bowel movements, amnesia, vision changes, compulsive behavior, and birth defects. Seriously, that’s just not right.

Besides the possible side effects, most chemical-based medications only treat one symptom, so you’re stuck buying a ton of medicines and hoping they react OK together. Then they sit in your medicine cabinet for who knows how long and the next time you think about taking one they’ve already expired (has anyone else frantically researched drug shelf-lives at 2am?). All this adds up to a lot of wasted money, overflowing medicine cabinets full of chemicals, and the increased risk of side effects when you mix medicines together.

The great news (that we often forget about) is that Mother Nature has always had our back when it comes to combating many common health issues. While you might not be able to replace all your pharmaceutical meds right away, there are many easy, affordable, and all natural (really natural, not natural flavoring natural) remedies that can help you clean up your medicine cabinet. And the best part is that most natural remedies treat more than one ailment – so you’re not buying one remedy for every symptom (plus natural remedies often smell good, taste good, and are less expensive than the factory made medicines).

Lucky for us, there are many natural remedies available, but the following are my top 5 picks you need to know about:

1. Ginger

Ginger is a natural remedy powerhouse. This root plant boosts immunity, relieves nausea and motion sickness, has anti-inflammatory properties, increases metabolism which assists weight loss, aids in digestion, improves circulation, increases insulin sensitivity, and opens up the sinus passages. Ginger is available fresh, in powder, and pill form (such as Wakaya Perfection’s Ginger-Eze.) You can make a simple ginger paste to apply directly to your skin, take a daily pill (a homeopathic doctor prescribed this to me years ago to improve my circulation), or try some delicious ginger recipes (ginger tea and cookies perhaps?).

2. Bee Propolis

Propolis is a sticky resin used by bees to keep their hive together and protect it from outside dangers. Because of its function, bee propolis has strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in flavonoids. Typically honey has trace amounts of bee propolis, but you can buy pure propolis as a liquid to ingest orally or directly put on your skin to treat minor cuts or sores. If you choose to take it orally (that’s how I always use it), it does have a strong taste so you might want to mix it with quality honey. I don’t travel without bee propolis and I always take it at the first sign of a cold.

3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is one of my favorite refreshing scents. Of course, it made the list because it’s a powerful sinus and chest decongestant, encourages breathing by opening up airways, and relieves achy and sore muscles. It’s easy to use and available fresh or as an essential oil. You can simply smell the oil, make a homemade vapor rub (minus the petroleum), massage the essential oil into your legs or sore areas, or add it to a hot bath. One of my favorite ways to enjoy eucalyptus is a drinking a fresh eucalyptus martini (I told you natural remedies could taste good too)!

4. Dilo Cream

If you haven’t heard of dilo cream, you’re not alone. Dilo cream is made from the oil of the dilo tree – called the tree of a thousand virtues – which only grows close to ocean water in the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa. Dilo cream is becoming a popular natural skin remedy because its magical ingredient, calophyllic acid, is only found in dilo oil. Calophyllic acid enhances your skin’s own repair system – this means better hydration, firmness, elasticity and less appearance of lines and wrinkles. It also soothes sunburns, rashes, insect bites, and various skin irritations.

5. Garlic

Garlic makes the list because it’s easily available worldwide, full of natural healing properties, and it’s really had my back the last couple of years. Garlic strengthens the immune system, fights colds and infections, treats hypothyroid conditions, combats bad cholesterol, provides a good dosage of B6 to create new cells and ward off mood swings, regulates blood sugar, and keeps mosquitoes away. Garlic is available in pills, powders, and fresh. It’s great to cook with and you can use it directly on your skin.

Have you tried these natural remedies before? What other ones do you swear by? I’d love to have a conversation in the comments below.

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mailing_dilo1To experience the benefits of this amazing plant, stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic dilo cream to use in your skin care regime! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to order your dilo cream and explore the pure Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger, too, with accompanying recipes like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops!

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

Green Romance: A Healthy Approach to Intimacy

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The scene is set for romance…perfume, candles, flowers, chocolate, and champagne. But wait…some of these products might contain toxic chemicals! A new report from the Centers for Disease Control says that almost half of all Americans are now living with physical conditions and diseases that could be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.

Know this: What you put on your body gets in to your body. Take perfume, for example. Most perfumes you buy in department stores can contain over 100 different synthetic chemicals to make the scent, plus things like phthalates, and parabens. These are endocrine disrupters – gender-bender chemicals that make girls develop earlier and reduce testosterone levels in boys. When shopping for perfume, look for those made from pure organic essential oils. They’re safe, non-toxic and more subtle than a synthetic perfume…your perfume won’t precede you when you enter a room and it won’t linger after you’ve gone!

What surrounds you can also get in your body and your bloodstream. Artificially scented candles for example, contain chemicals that can trigger asthma and allergies. Also, toxic chemicals have been found in the by-products in the combustion of artificial scents. Instead, choose candles scented with essential oils. Plus, most candles, unless otherwise labeled, are made from paraffin, a petroleum product, and fumes from paraffin wax have caused kidney and bladder tumors in lab animals. Choose beeswax candles with cotton wicks (make sure it doesn’t contain a lead core which will release into the air). There are two types of beeswax: solid, which are dipped or molded and burn well; or rolled, made from sheets of beeswax and tend to burn more quickly. Another good choice is soy candles.

How about roses…romantic right? Well, not if they’re sprayed with pesticides! These are toxic to our planet and to the growers. Look for organically grown flowers that use only natural repellants. When you choose something like that, you’re not only removing harmful chemicals from our environment, you’re also helping to improve the lives of flower growers, who are mostly women in developing nations.

Now, what goes in your body…Chocolate, which I think is my favorite food, is the ultimate in romance. Dark chocolate triggers feel-good chemical endorphins in our brain, which is so important for getting in the mood. The Aztecs believed that chocolate had aphrodisiac qualities, acting almost like a love potion. But most commercially made chocolate contains pesticides. So look for organic chocolates – they’re non toxic and delicious.

Finally, wine and champagne. Did you know that conventionally grown grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet? So, again, look for organic wine and champagnes. You can find some amazing organic varieties that taste wonderful, are very high quality and are competitively priced to those made conventionally.

Try green romance this Valentine’s Day. Non-toxic products will enhance your health, vitality and in turn your sensuality. For more tips go to my website www.supernaturalhome.com

Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom™, is the bestselling author of Super Natural Home as well as a radio talk show host and impassioned champion of toxin-free living who busts open the myth that our homes are safe havens. Beth is a columnist for The Washington Times Communities, Greenopolis.com and NaturallySavvy.com. Follow Beth on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

Originally published in 2010

9 Natural, Non-Toxic Ways To Conquer Your Bug Problem In Your Living Space

 Like many people, I do not like having random insects crawling all over my kitchen and living space. I also do not like the idea of huffing toxic fumes all day long and while I sleep just to kill a few stray bugs. 

So what’s a green-clean lovin’ girl to do when she moves into a new apartment and finds a cockroach or two crawling around the kitchen sink? Eeek! 

You don’t have to reach for the bug spray or call the exterminator right away. Here are 9 ideas for conquering your bug problem without compromising your own health or your love for Mother Earth. (I can personally vouch for the bay leaves / catnip / soapy water spray solutions listed for getting rid of cockroaches!) 

For any bug problem, prevention is the best strategy. The best prevention is regularly cleaning, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your living space, and de-cluttering as much as possible to minimize hiding places for bugs and dust mites. 

For your cockroach problem:

– Leave bay leaves and catnip in places where cockroach infestation is the most susceptible: around the sink, by the garbage bin and countertops. Both items emit a scent which keeps cockroaches away.  Some people even boil catnip in water and spray the catnip-water solution in cockroach-friendly areas to further ward off cockroaches. 

– For the stray cockroach that ignored your bay leaves and catnip warning signs, spray directly with a spray bottle of soapy water to kill it. Boo-ya! 

– Mix sugar and baking soda in an open container. Leave it on the kitchen floor and other problem areas. The cockroach will be lured into the container to eat the sugar, and the baking soda will kill them. 

For your fruit fly problem: 

-Are those nasty little flies hovering over your fruit basket and trash? Make an easy fruit fly trap with apple cider vinegar and a glass container. Fill a container with 1-2 inches of apple cider vinegar. Punch holes in the lid or if you don’t have a lid, tightly wrap the open neck with plastic wrap and poke holes with a pen. The flies will be attracted to the sweet smell and drown in the apple cider vinegar solution. 

For your flea problem: 

– This only works if the flea problem is mild. Make a flea trap using a pie tin filled half-way with water and olive oil. At night, shine a desk lamp over the surface of the water. Fleas will be attracted to the light and drown in the pool of water and olive oil. 

For your fly problem:

– Flies do not like the scent of mint. Leave satchels of crushed mint leave around problem areas. 

For your mosquito problem: 

– Grow Thai lemongrass! You can buy a small pot of them at many gardening centers, and green plants always brighten up a living space, too. 

For your ant problem: 

– Sprinkle cinnamon or black pepper where ants are congregating to ward them off. 

– Dust baby powder around kitchen areas where ants are likely to gather, such as around sugar bowls and salt shakers. 

What are your favorite DIY green tips for insect control? Share your tricks and secrets with the community by commenting below! 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / wmjas 

Grow a Non-Toxic Garden and Lawn

 

Gardeners who use pesticides are much more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who avoid the toxic chemicals. Farmers and other heavy pesticide users are forty-three percent more likely than nonusers to develop Parkinson’s. Even amateur gardeners who use pesticides are nine percent more likely to develop the disease than non-users. 
 
Eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides and herbicides unless absolutely necessary and then use only those with a “caution” label. There are organic alternatives—feed plants with compost or composted manure. For pests, try biodegradable soaps, oils and sprays and beneficial insects. Consult a holistic-type pesticide remover company. Burn citronella candles or use deet-free insect repellant to keep pests away from you.
 
Visit www.BeyondPesticdes.org, for natural pest control tips.
 
A beautiful way to attract garden pest predators is by having a water element on your property. Water gardens attract frogs, toads and garden snakes that eat insects, grubs and slugs. Any mosquitoes that are attracted by the water are eaten by the fish, toads, birds, bats and snakes.
 
Attracting birds to your property has many benefits. They eat bugs, and songbirds create beautiful, soothing music. They are also a joy to watch. If you have space, plant berry-producing trees and shrubs like hawthorn, toyon, dogwood, mountain ash, mahonias and viburnum to attract birds. Bird feeders and bird baths will draw birds, too.
 
To attract hummingbirds to your property, plant bright red and pink flowers such as ajuga, columbine, bleeding heart, lobelia, phlox, butterfly bush and veronica.
 
To attract butterflies, plant the flowers alyssum, butterfly bush, calendula, fennel, marigold and phlox.
 
Bats love mosquitoes and other pests and eat hundreds a night. They can be encouraged with bat houses.
 
Lawns
From an environmental point of view, lawns are disastrous. In addition to using tremendous amounts of water, seventy million pounds of chemicals are dumped onto lawns every year and much of it washes into our water supply. Lawnmowers emit as much hydrocarbon in an hour as a car driven fifty miles. In addition, the chemically-treated lawn clippings that go to landfill leach into the soil. 25
 
  • Consider replacing all or some of your lawn with rocks, ground cover, flowers, shrubs, shredded bark and so on.
  • Mow your lawn on the highest setting and allow clippings to stay put.
  • Use a hand-push, non-motorized mower—think of it as a good workout!
  • Water as little as possible.
  • Use only natural and organic fertilizers and pest controls.
 
Compost
Turn your kitchen scraps into “black gold” and make your own compost. Compost is the super-rich, crumbly soil that is made when dead plants and leaves are broken down by worms and microorganisms and it is super-rich fertilizer for your plants and trees. To make compost, save organic waste—vegetable and fruit parts, coffee grounds, tea, eggshells, brown paper products, grass and plant clippings. Do not add animal leftovers, dairy products, oils or waste.
 
Set up a three-sided stall or purchase a recycled plastic tumbling composter. (An added benefit to a tumbling composter is that it allows you to collect liquid fertilizer as well as the solid compost. Liquid fertilizer is great for indoor and outdoor plants.) Composting requires four elements to work: oxygen, water, carbon and nitrogen. Carbon is created from brown or dry materials such as brown paper bags, newspapers and leaves. Nitrogen is created from green or wet materials like fruit and vegetables, weeds and plants.
 
If you set up a stall for your compost, alternate layers of browns and greens, add some water, and cover with a tarp. With a tumbler, everything goes in and you roll it around. Add water as needed. Microbes will eat the mixture and the temperature heats up as material is broken down. When the pile cools to ninety or one hundred degrees, it is done and you have rich compost!
 

 

Feng Shui Your Kitchen

There are numerous schools of Feng Shui, and what it entails. Generally speaking, not much is said about Feng Shui in the kitchen, and that’s too bad, because it is a very important room. When Feng Shui is discussed, it centers around the stove, and it is generally concerned with the direction or placement of the stove.

My advice is to consider the placement of the stove solely in relation to what works from a design and practical point of view. 
 
The remainder of his article focuses on Feng Shui from and how it will make your kitchen flow well with good energy. The following will give your kitchen “Feng Shui.”
  • Great layout. When appliances are positioned well, there is adequate counter space to work, and kitchen tools and dining ware are thoughtfully stored, you will have a great space in which to work.
  • Appliances are in good working condition. Energy Star rated is even better, as these appliances are more energy efficient.
  • There is appropriate lighting for cooking, eating, and any other activities that take place in kitchen.
  • The kitchen sparkles with cleanliness. Bonus points for using non-toxic cleaning supplies! See my handy guide to non-toxic products. Keep refrigerator clean and have a container of baking soda inside to absorb odors.
  • There is no clutter. Go through your drawers and cabinets and remove anything you don’t use. Donate, sell or recycle whatever you can.
  • Organize your kitchen for maximum efficiency. Give everything a designated space. Extra points for facing cans, bottles and other food items faced forward and lined up, like in a grocery store.
  • Replace non-stick pans, which are carcinogenic when heated, with cast iron, enamel and stainless pots and pans.
  • Use great quality knives. Dull or inexpensive knives make cooking a chore. Good knives—I recommend Wusthof—will last a lifetime.
  • Store and cook wholesome, natural, organic foods. Avoid food with preservatives and artificial colors.
 
Norma Lehmeier Hartie is the award winning author of Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet. She is currently working on a book to help homeowners sell their property.

Guidelines for Eco-friendly and Healthful Purchasing Choices

The following are some basic guidelines to help you make green choices:

 

            Do:

·       Replace products that are made from petrochemicals with products that are made with natural, non-hazardous and preferably renewable products. For example, use bamboo flooring that is finished with natural wax and tung or linseed oil; and purchase natural paints, lime plasters and cork floors.

·       Purchase raw materials near production sites to save on transportation expense and fuel waste.

·       Purchase materials that were processed using renewable energy.

·       Extend product life by reuse and recycling of components.

·       Recycle waste to become ingredients in other products. Called “biomimicry,” these are manufacturing processes that take one product and turn it into something else. For example: carpets that are made from recycled plastic bottles, paints that are made from vegetable extracts, tiles that are made from ceramic waste and rubber flooring that is made from recycled tires.

·       Support companies that employ safe and clean methods to produce products or that use recycled products.

·       Support companies that sell healthy, organic, sustainable products.

·       Support companies that engage in fair-trade and good wages for employees, and a safe and fair work environment.*

 

Don’t

·       Purchase from companies that pollute.

·       Purchase from companies that sell toxic or otherwise unsafe products.

·       Purchase from companies that do not support child-labor laws.*

·       Purchase from companies that practice unsafe or discriminatory working conditions or pay wages that do not constitute fair or livable conditions.*

·       Purchase from companies that use endangered wood or other unsustainable materials.

* Humanitarian, not eco-friendly choices.

 

The following products cause pollution and should be avoided when possible:

 

·       Most commercial cleaning products and other household chemicals

·       Garden pesticides

·       Carpets glued with solvents, treated with fungicides and containing residual pesticides

·       Fabrics treated with chlorine, benzene and/or formaldehyde

·       Most plywood and particleboard, which contain formaldehyde, urea and other dangerous glues

·       Many paints and stains, which contain fungicides, VOC’s and other chemicals

·       Vinyl flooring, furniture and plastics that contain VOC’s such as bromides and chlorine

·       Dry cleaning and dry cleaning solvents

Excerpt from Harmonious Environment, copyright 2007

Toxic Chemicals in Your Home





Virtually every object used in building your home and the objects within it—the insulation in your house, your sofa, food storage containers, floor cleaners and even fabric softener—impacts both your health and the health of the planet. Unfortunately, in spite of the “all natural” or “safe” labels that are included on some of these products, many of them are unhealthy.

 

The good news is that concurrent with growing consumer awareness of the dangers in ordinary household objects is an increase in the availability of environmentally-friendly and human-healthy choices as manufacturers acknowledge and try to meet this burgeoning market.

 

Nowhere has the impact of the average consumer been greater than in the food industry, fueling the rise in the availability of organic food. Organic retail sales have grown an astonishing twenty percent per year since 1990—compared with an increase of between two and four percent of total food sales in United States.

 

As desire for organic food grows, so does the demand for healthful products of all kinds. Even though the major manufacturers are aware that there is a demand for healthful products, the vast majority of them are still not offering them. Although many businesses appear to be providing environmentally-friendly and healthful products; beware of the company that advertises its product with terms that are unregulated—such as “natural.” “Natural,” when used to describe shampoo, is usually a complete misnomer—the shampoo may be filled with synthetic chemicals and might contain only minute amounts of truly natural ingredients, such as jojoba or honey.

 

In addition, the government has historically allowed unsafe products to be sold as safe in this country. The use of lead is a great example. In 1909, eight European countries banned the use of white lead for interior painting. It took half a century for the United States to catch up—lead was not banned in paint and gasoline in this country until the 1970’s and 1980’s respectively.

 

Today, there are still thousands of toxic products being sold. To exacerbate the problem, manufacturers continue to pollute our air, water and land. There is no way to avoid all contamination while living on earth, but this chapter provides practical information and tips to help protect you from excessive exposure to the variety of pollutants that most of us are subjected to.

 

In addition to providing tips on how and what to purchase to live in an environment free from toxins that are made from cheap, unsustainable methods, this chapter explains how to eliminate nearly all pollutants from your home. You may be shocked to discover that many seemingly harmless household products contain dangerous chemicals. However, most of these products can be easily removed and replaced and some will lose their toxicity over time, so you needn’t panic and think everything in your house must be replaced. For example, freshly installed wall-to-wall carpeting emits toxic gases into the environment; however, carpeting stops outgassing six months to a year following installation. Another example is painting your walls with paint containing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s): the damage is already done, the paint stops outgassing and you may as well wait until the next time to use an eco-friendly paint.

 

Indoor pollution greatly increased after the end of World War II, with mass-produced housing. These new houses were made with new, lightweight materials, materials that were produced by the petrochemical industry. These products, made from petrochemicals, release chemicals into the air—through a process known as outgassing. Outgassing is the slow release from the material of chemical residues used in the  manufacturing process into the atmosphere. They include VOC’s and many other petrochemical derivatives. Materials made from petrochemicals include plywood, particleboard, carpeting, vinyl flooring, adhesives, paints, fabrics and much more.

 

Excerpt from Chapter 1, 




Harmonious Environment, Copyright 2007.

 

Green and Beautify Your Home for the Holidays

The EPA considers indoor air quality one of the greatest single factors contributing to ill health, and indoor air can easily be 10 times more polluted than outdoor air. Studies of indoor environments have shown that many modern materials and chemicals contribute to a growing list of environmentally induced illnesses. It is estimated that the scores of potentially harmful chemicals in our homes can be up to sixteen hundred times more potent when combined.

During the holidays, indoor air is of special concern, as we tend to spend large amounts of time inside and many decorations are unsafe.

Here are some tips to healthier living indoors  and during the holidays:

Select a live tree over an artifiical one. While growing, trees absorb harmful CO2 in the air. They are biodegrable when holidays are over. Plastic trees use petroluem to manufacture, using a finite resource that pollutes. They outgass in you home and when thrown out, leach harmful chemicals into the ground.

Make or purchase only ornaments from natural resources. Plastic is bad for environment and outgass into your home.

Burn beeswax, palm or soy candles, as parrifin pollutes your home.

Decorate with fresh flowers, and natural materials like pinecones and evergreens.

More general tips:

• Add houseplants, as they absorb harmful chemicals.

• Make sure you get proper ventilation in your home. Crack a few windows for fresh air.

• If you have carpets, clean them well, as they harbor pollutants and dirt.

• Clean youur home with non-toxic products.

• Avoid plastic whenever possible.

www.amazon.com/Harmonious-Environment-Beautify-Detoxify-Energize/dp/0977963306/ref=sr_1_1

 

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