Showing posts with label home remedies.
Showing posts with label home remedies.

08 December 2014

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman's life, isn't it. It gives us the time to recollect, plan ahead, simplify and focus our lives on a something higher than our well-being, that of another person. During that time of preparation women grow – mentally, spiritually and physically.

Today I want to address the physical growth of pregnancy; although beautiful, natural and glowing, it often has a negative effect on our self-esteem later in life. The growth of our bellies, breasts and thighs sometimes leads to the appearance of stretch marks.

Based on a my detailed research, I created the most effective natural salve that will prevent and treat stretch marks. As with all things I share on this blog, the stretch mark salve is rather simple and will take no more than 15 minutes to prepare.

Before I let you know the full recipe, let me remind you that each type of skin is different but no matter how susceptible yours is to stretch marks it is very important that you keep yourself hydrated and eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fish high in Omega-3.

No to Coconut Oil

For this stretch marks salve I am not using coconut oil, regardless of the number of praises I've heard and read about it, the reason being that for people with very dry skin coconut oil is not moisturizing enough. Actually, I experienced this effect on my lips last winter when I used my which included coconut oil and wondered why the hydration wasn't as expected.

As discussed in Skin Care Talk, coconut oil is made up of glycerol esters of shorter-chain fatty acids, mostly lauric acid (about 47%). Lauric acid has 12 carbon atoms compared to 18 carbons in stearic acid, a common component of most fats and oils. Other major components are 8, 10, and 14 carbon fatty acids. This makes coconut oil a lot different than most other oils.

Coconut oil obtains some very special benefits for your skin from these shorter-chain fatty acids, very nourishing and healing, in part because they penetrate skin very well. What they don't do well is stay on top to form a moisture seal on your skin. Some folks would interpret this as "drying."

Also, coconut oil is considered to be fairly comodogenic, so if you have a tendency to get clogged pores (blackheads, etc), coconut oil might exacerbate that problem. To stay away from any possible harm, I left out the coconut oil this time.

Yes to Aloe Vera and Wheat Germ Oil
Aloe Vera gel is effective in the treatment of many skin problems. It has various essential nutrients and active compounds that can be used in the treatment of minor burns and acne scars. Basically if there is a skin disease chances are that Aloe Vera can help with it. Its healing and soothing properties can be used to get rid of stretch marks as well.

Wheat germ oil aids the regeneration of the natural processes of the skin. It nourishes the skin and heals and preserves it. Its antioxidant properties prevent all sorts of tissue damage and builds collagen.

Wheat germ is a "true carrier" oil, as it has the ability to travel through the epidermis into the dermis where the actual stretching occurs. It carries the regenerating oils or Aloe Vera it is combined with into the dermis feeding new skin cells as they travel up to the epidermis.

According to a study published in Pharmacognosy Research titled the combination between wheat germ oil and Aloe Vera extract produces the highest hydration effect on the skin, due to their synergistic effect. Wheat germ oil or Aloe extract, when present separately produces skin hydration to lesser extent.

Yes to Calendula Infused Olive Oil
According to the same study in Pharmacognosy Research, second in rank in terms of skin hydration is the combination of Aloe Vera extract and olive oil.

It is worth noting that when oil is added to a hydrating salve, the effect is increased as it forms an occlusive layer on the skin and prevents loss of moisturizer. In general, when applied to skin, the vegetable oils are easily absorbed and show great spreadability.

In my stretch mark salve recipe I use calendula infused olive oil because calendula is known to have gentle, cooling, and soothing properties. Calendula oil is the most successful oil for assisting with dry and damaged skin, skin inflammations, rashes, diaper irritations, and other skin disorders. It makes a wonderful baby’s oil and is exceptional for those with sensitive skin.

An easy and quick way to infuse olive oil with calendula is to fill a clean, dry glass jar with dried calendula flower heads, then cover with olive oil. Put in a double boiler on the stove top and warm over low heat at approximately 100 degrees F (40 degrees Celsius) for at least 4-6 hours. Once the oil has infused, strain out the herbs using cheesecloth and pour the infused oil into glass bottles, date and store in a cool, dark cupboard. Add a few drops of liquid vitamin E which will act as a preservative and will be an added bonus for all skin recipes you'll use it in. Use it up within a year.

* * *

Pregnancy Stretch Marks Salve

Equal amounts of:
  • cocoa butter 
  • pure Aloe Vera gel
  • wheat germ oil
  • calendula infused olive oil
I use 100 g / 3.50 oz of each, which is usually enough for 2 months.

Melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler.

In the meantime combine the other ingredients and stir well. Add the warm cocoa butter, stir.

If you dislike the calendula smell you can add a few drops of essential oil of your choice.

Pour in a clean glass jar and let cool. The stretch mark salve will harden at lower temperatures but it will quickly soften by the heat of your fingers and palms before applying.

* * *

And that's it. A pregnancy stretch mark salve cannot get any easier but that doesn't make it unreliable. Backed with serious scientific research, this is the most moisturizing natural homemade salve you can use to prevent or treat stretch marks.

Start applying the stretch marks salve as soon as possible, i.e. once you start seeing your belly grow. Apply on your belly, breasts, and thighs – these are the areas most prone to stretch marks.

Massage the salve gently into the skin and allow about 20 minutes before
getting dressed. It is best to make this a daily ritual after taking a
shower to lock even more moisture in your skin.

  • Blichmann CW, Serup J, Winther A. Effects of single application of a moisturizer: Evaporation of emulsion water, skin surface temperature, electrical conductance, electrical capacitance and skin surface (emulsion) lipids. Acta Derm Venereol. 1989;69:327–30. [] 

21 February 2014

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Unpleasant as it is, as the years progress, our teeth tend to lose their pearly white color for a yellowish tint that is not as attractive and is a sign that something is wrong.

Luckily, there are a number of things we can do to prevent our teeth from discoloring. There are not only ways to prevent it,but  there are also many ways to bring back the white and get that perfect smile everyone wants.

Teeth are made up of 4 tissues:
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  • dentin -- a hard yellow material that carries nerves; supports the enamel
  • pulp -- at the center of the tooth and contains blood and lymph vessels
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According to , when it’s at its thickest, tooth enamel is naturally white. As it is worn down it becomes translucent and starts to show through to the next layer of the tooth called dentin.

The dentin layer has a naturally yellower tone than that of the enamel that covers it, so the thinner the enamel layer becomes the more yellow the teeth will appear. This is why many elderly people have relatively yellow teeth. The longer you’ve had your teeth, the more chance you have to wear down their white protective coatings.

Why do teeth get yellow? 

There are many reasons for your teeth to get yellow. Apart from genetics, the color of your teeth depends on diet, smoking, medications, dental cleaning routine, trauma, etc.

Some times, the reason for discoloring teeth enamel are the acids in certain foods and drinks that wear away your teeth’s white enamel coating. Soda for instance is highly acidic and regularly leaving it sitting on your teeth can start to wear down their protective outer layer.

Other times, the reason is in the foods and drinks that stain the teeth directly when consumed. Some of the most staining foods are:
  • Black tea,
  • Red and white wine,
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  • Fruit juices,
  • Sweets,
  • Certain fruits and vegetables.

Before I continue with the top 5 natural ways to whiten your teeth, here is the most important thing you should do to prevent your teeth from discoloring:
After each meal, have a big sip of water and swirl it around your mouth to clear away any acids or staining compounds.

The following natural remedies focus on whitening teeth, but keep in mind that actively strengthening enamel is just as important so you can keep it from breaking down further.

5 natural remedies for teeth whitening

Coconut oil
In a recipe found on I learned that coconut oil can be used to whiten teeth. The lauric acid in coconut oil can rid your teeth of bacteria found in plaque that can make them yellow. It also promotes gum health, and help keep your breath fresh. Coconut oil is not only great for whitening your teeth but it also effectively inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities and mouth infections, without causing any harmful side-effects.


How to apply:
suggests that before you brush your teeth, you should scoop out a tablespoon of coconut oil. You can either soften it, or just put it in your mouth. Push, swish, and “pull” the oil through and around your teeth for 10-15 minutes, then spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.

Baking soda
Baking soda () is a mild abrasive which effectively removes stains caused by tea, coffee, cigarettes, etc. You can use the following mixture up to 3 - 4 times a week.

NB! Although there are some suggestions to mix the baking soda with lemon juice, don't do this. The acidity of the lemon might permanently damage the enamel of your teeth.


How to apply:
In a small cup, mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water. Mix to form a paste. Dip your toothbrush into the cup, to cover the bristles with the baking soda paste.

Brush your teeth as you normally would for no longer than two minutes, as baking soda is a mild abrasive and may begin to erode the enamel on your teeth.

Ever since I started dyeing my Easter eggs with turmeric I've known how irreversibly it can stain anything. But apart from being a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent fighting against cancer, people swear their teeth got visibly whiter after a single use.

How to apply:
Mix a teaspoon of dry organic turmeric powder with water just enough to form a thick paste. Then brush your teeth thoroughly.

Just remember that anything outside of your mouth that comes in contact with turmeric will be dyed bright yellow including the toothbrush. As suggested on :
Turmeric would also be great for oral hygiene, not just tooth whitening, because it is such a strong anti-inflammatory, which is good for the gums -- since 90% of people over the age of 30 have gum disease, and is also a strong antimicrobial, so it kill all those bag germs causing tooth decay and gum disease.

Activated charcoal (activated carbon) is made by processing charcoal with oxygen and either calcium chloride or zinc chloride. It was used medicinally by both Hippocrates and the ancient Egyptians, and it is still the poison remedy of choice in modern day emergency rooms because it attracts substances to its surface like a magnet. Like absorptive substances which work like a sponge, adsorptive materials bind with certain compounds and prevent our bodies from using them.

As stated on , activated charcoal locks onto tannins – the compounds found in coffee, tea (even herbal tea), blueberries, wine and spices like cinnamon that stain our teeth. It also balances the mouth’s pH and is even considered beneficial enough to be used in some tooth re-mineralization formulas.

How to apply:
Dip your toothbrush in a small amount powdered charcoal, wet and brush for two minutes. After brushing, hold it in your mouth for 2-3 minutes to allow it to continue to work. Spit and rinse thoroughly, then follow with a second brushing using your regular tooth powder/paste.
After brushing, hold it in your mouth for 2-3 minutes to allow it to continue to work. Spit and rinse thoroughly, then follow with a second brushing using your regular tooth powder/paste.

Banana peel
Banana peels are not only doing a great job in and removing the scars from your skin but using the exact same chemicals (potassium, magnesium and manganese) they can whiten your teeth as well.


How to apply: 
Rub your teeth with the inside of a banana peel for about 5 minutes. Don't brush off, leave it like this for another round of 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and brush your teeth as you normally would.

These remedies might not get you ridiculously white teeth within a week but you will start to see a difference in the long run, and what is more, you will not be questioning the ingredients because you will know that they are absolutely safe and natural.

Real, toxic-free beauty takes time. There's no such thing as a healthy overnight transformation, so don't worry and take your time. Your teeth WILL get whiter.


09 January 2014

I have been washing my hair without shampoo for the past 3 years. Once I tried baking soda I never looked back to shampoo. Unlike many people I didn't have any problems adjusting and from day one of baking soda my hair looked healthy and clean.

If you are wondering why I stopped buying shampoo, you can read more about the and decide for yourself.

My routine with baking soda is as follows:

I dissolve 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 1 cup of lukewarm water and then, in the shower I pour carefully the mixture with one hand while I massage the hair and scalp with the other. I try to cover my whole head and make sure I have all my hair curled up in a loose bun on my head, so it can soak too. After I've poured the whole cup I massage once again both the scalp and the hair and rinse.

Edit: Since I wrote this post I have learned the hard way that baking soda is extremely detrimental to hair. You can read a very thorough article with my findings, called and see for yourself. I do not recommend anyone to ever wash their hair with baking soda.

To finish the procedure, in another cup I have 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with water. I use this mixture as a conditioner. My hair is soft and shiny afterwards.

To avoid the smell of the vinegar, I put a pinch of dry rosemary. Actually I have a whole bottle of vinegar with rosemary, which I use for my hair.

I also and I am quite happy with the acquired elasticity and vitality of my hair.

If you have tried using baking soda as a no-poo method and it resulted in dry hair, you might have added too much baking soda. 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water is just enough for my hair, which is currently about 20 inches long.

But even if you've been diligently keeping the ratio and you are still not getting the desired healthy hair, here are a few other natural ways to wash and nourish your hair.

You will find the full recipes and which hair types they're for beneath the graphic.

Egg yolk and baking soda shampoo for all hair types
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Beat the yolk with a fork and add the baking soda. If your hair is longer you may want to add another yolk to the mixture. Massage it gently to your scalp and hair. Cover your head with a a shower cap and a towel and wait for 2 hours. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Egg yolk and castor oil dry hair shampoo
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2,5 tablespoons castor oil
Mix the ingredients and spread on wet hair. Massage gently and rinse with lukewarm water.

Egg yolk, olive oil and lemon dry hair shampoo
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 drops olive oil
  • 10 drops lemon juice
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Mix all the ingredients and use as a regular shampoo. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Yogurt shampoo for dry hair
  • 5 oz. (150 gr.) natural yogurt
Whip the yogurt until no lumps are left. Spread it evenly on your hair. Cover your head with a a shower cap and a towel for 30 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Yogurt and baking soda dry hair shampoo
  • 7 oz. (200 gr.) natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
Add the baking soda to the yogurt and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly on your head. Let it work for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Yogurt and egg yolk oily hair shampoo
  • 7 oz. (200 gr.) natural yogurt
  • 1 egg yolk
Beat the egg yolk and add to the yogurt. Mix well. Spread on your hair evenly and massage gently. Rinse after 15 minutes with lukewarm water.

Soapwort shampoo for oily hair
  • 7 oz. (200 gr.) dry soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Cover the herbs with 4 pt. (2 l.) boiling water and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and wash your hair with the resulting infusion then rinse with clear water.

Soapwort has the ability to dissolve fats or grease and that is why it is one of the best herbs to use for oily hair.

Tip: For increased effect, collect the infusion in a bowl and pour on your head once again before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Kaolin shampoo for regulating the oil secretion
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons kaolin
Mix the kaolin with warm water until it forms a paste without lumps. Spread evenly on your head and wet hair. Rinse.
Kaolin is known to regulate the oil secretion and is equally good for dry and oily hair.

Kaolin and vinegar shampoo for dry and damaged hair
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In a clean porcelain bowl mix the ingredients. Spread the resulting mixture on wet hair and massage well into the scalp. Let it stay for 1 hour. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Using natural ingredients to wash your hair instead of shampoo requires patience and spare time. Make sure you have both before you start.

Here are even more ways to rejuvenate and nourish your hair:

This post was shared here:

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13 December 2013

Welcome to flu season! Apart from the flu itself, the high chance of catching a cold in the winter is reason enough to look for a cheap and effective way to boost your immune system.

If, like me, you are looking for ways to be healthy without medicines and with the help of Mother Nature (and a blender/juicer) you can now make the cheapest immune booster drinks and add daily variations to suit your taste.

Photo: via

What's the secret ingredient in an immune booster drink?

The most important thing to remember is that foods rich in carotenoids boost your immune system. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables have high vitamin A activity because of the carotenoids they contain. The deeper the color of the fruit or vegetable the higher the concentration of carotenoids. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and asparagus also contain large amounts of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are a group of A vitamins that includes beta-carotene, and lutein, all of which boost the immune function, promote healthy skin and bones, and fight against serious diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.

Foods rich in carotenoids
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Apricots
  • Spinach 
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Asparagus
It is best to eat 9 to 10 servings daily of the above mentioned fruits and vegetables high in caretonoids, but if you prefer you can juice or blend them by themselves or in any given combination. Let your imagination run wild, there is no chance of making a mistake.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this information is only meant as a guideline and in no way replaces the advice or treatment provided by your medical practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your physician, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.

11 October 2013

Drosophila residua by Karl Magnacca Creative Commons

During college and for a few years afterwards I worked in a fruit fly lab where we studied the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In the lab they lived in jars with a yeast based food at the bottom and cotton or foam stoppers at the top. There were always stray flies flitting around though.  We caught the stray flies by leaving one of their narrow necked food jars open on a pounding block. When the jar was full we pounded it down quickly and turned it over onto a funnel above a jar full of mineral oil.  That was an ugly mess!  I also had carnivorous plants in the lab such as Venus fly trap and Sundew, but those were there more for fun. The little plants I had couldn't keep up with all of our escapers.

Fruit flies often seem to appear out of nowhere in the home, but the tiny pupae often make it into the home on market fruits and vegetables.  After a recent batch of flies made it into our home, I decided to try a modified version of a fly trap recipe that I found on . It worked! It is much cleaner and not unattractive like fly tape.  Here is our modified method:

Vinegar Fruit Fly Trap

Fill a wide mouth jar about half way with Apple Cider Vinegar.  Then add a small amount of soap scraps mixed to make soapy water and stir well. The soap helps break the surface tension of the water so that the flies immediately sink to their death. The original recipe had called for big frothy bubbles from detergent, but it wasn't needed as our pure handmade  from did the trick.

This completely eliminated the fruit flies we had within a day or two. I had special concern about eliminating them quickly, because a friend had just told me that she stopped sprouting seeds in her home due to fruit fly problems. That just happened to be the next project on my list! We are on our 5 batch of sprouts here now and still no fruit flies! I wish I had known about this recipe when I worked in the lab!

12 August 2013

Summer! Sun! Joy! The sun is the best source of vitamin D, it acts as a pro-hormone, which converts into vitamin D3 in your body. Vitamin D in your skin is generated by UV light, which is divided into three bands – UVA, UVB and UVC. UVB produces Vitamin D but it also is the main cause of caused by overexposure to sunlight.

If you overexpose your skin to the sun you can end up with a sunburn. Here are 6 home remedies that will heal the burn harmlessly. Keep in mind, though, that these remedies cannot reverse the very real damage caused by unprotected exposure to the sun's rays.

Spread evenly a thin layer of yogurt on the skin and let it work for as long as possible, preferably the whole night.

Massage the sunburned areas with a piece of cotton, soaked in vinegar.

Boil and mash 5 middle-sized potatoes. Spread on the affected skin after the mashed potatoes have cooled.

Massage honey onto the sunburned areas. Repeat after the honey has been absorbed into the skin.

Baking soda
A fast and effective sunburn relief is a thick paste of baking soda and water which you can spread on the skin.

An even better solution is to prepare St John's wort oil. It is probably the most effective remedy of all and is also great for treating wounds. .

Did I miss anything? Share the home remedy you use for treating sunburn.

05 June 2013

, or the use of essential oil for health benefits usually usually goes together with various dispersal devices.  Some of those include electric burners, a candle burners, or spray bottles with a carrier such as water. While I have always enjoyed , I have not enjoyed using the accoutrements that come with it whether due to finding space a burner, worrying if my kids will be getting into a candle, or humidifying a room with a water-based spray.  I have recently started using a more simple dispersal method.  For those with a central air system this will work very well.
photo with permission via
You can simply add a few drops of essential oil to your central air filter and turn the fan on. One of the characteristics of an essential oil is that is evaporates completely. As the essential oil evaporates it will be drawn up into the ventilation system by the fan and be dispersed throughout the house. Seven drops is a good number to start with, and you may with to use more depending on the size of your home. Here are a few ideas of oils that can be used and why.
  • when there is high stress in the home
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  • Eucalyptus or when people in the home are recovering from a chest cold
  • Tea Tree or Oregano to fight off microbes in the air to prevent spread of cold within the family.
  • Pennyroyal use a fumigant against fleas at a higher does, such as around 30 drops, but only when animals and people are away from the house for a few hours.  

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website . Read more from Cory at the . Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on , ,  and .

13 May 2013

Burping is also referred to as belching, or dyspepsia. When your body breaks down food into energy it naturally produces gas. When you burp, you release the gas that has built up in your stomach through your mouth. The sound that is associated with burping is embarrassing and often considered rude in some cultures while in others it shows appreciation for the meal.

Although burping is normal and even the most polite of us happen to burp from time to time, excessive burping and belching might be a signal that you suffer from a more serious medical condition.

Some of the causes for burping include:
  • (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
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  • Swallowed air
  • Constipation
  • Medicines
  • Foods and drinks

Here are 13 natural remedies that will help you eliminate harmless burping.

1. Baking soda
A very effective way to deal with harmless belching is drinking a glass of water mixed with two teaspoons of baking soda.

2. Caraway seeds
You can eat them straight or sprinkled on a salad. Caraway seeds are known to calm the digestive tract.

3. Cumin
Use powdered cumin to spice any type of meat or soups. You can also roast equal amounts of cumin, fennel, and celery seed. Chew well about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the mixture, then chase it down with 1 cup of warm water.

4. Cardamom
Excessive muscle spasms are a common cause of belching and cardamom can help to tame your overactive stomach. Cardamom may also treat inadequate digestive fluid production. Use it in baked goods or in exotic meals.

5. Mint
You can use dry or fresh mint in different soups or bean meals. Or you can add a couple drops of mint essence into a glass of cold water and drink the mixture each day for two weeks to significantly reduce the belching.

6. Peppermint tea
Peppermint tea can produce the same results as mint because it soothes your stomach and reduces the spasmodic movements of your bowel. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 teaspoon dried peppermint. Steep for five minutes and drink.

7. Ginger
You can take it in different forms - in meals, as a seasoning and marinade, or as a warm tea.

8. Garlic
Garlic is one of nature's antibiotics. It is very effective in reducing burping. Eat at least 1 fresh clove with each meal or boil 10 to 15 cloves of garlic together with cumin seeds in water and then add milk and sugar to makes a drink, which can reduce burping.

9. Clove leaves
Fresh clove leaves can soothe your digestive system and suppress excessive gas production. Chew a clove leaf after a meal to prevent burping and to increase digestion.

10. Papaya
The enzyme papain that can be found in papaya is known to break down tough meat fibers, so it is very effective in reducing burping. It is also a home remedy treatment for bee, wasp stings and mosquito bites.

11. Lime juice
Drink a glass of water with a teaspoon of lime juice combined with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar after every meal to prevent excessive gas production and indigestion.

12. Yogurt
Yogurt with live cultures, preferably with is extremely good for the flora in your digestive tract. It can help soothe irritable bowels, and reduces the amount of burping. Eat some yogurt with live cultures every day.

Increase the amount of water you drink and avoid carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Large meals can also cause burping, so you might benefit from eating six smaller meals instead of three larger ones. Healthy changes in your eating habits can help you take burping to normal. For example, a high-fat diet poor on fresh vegetables and fruits can be a major reason for burping problems.

NB. If your condition doesn’t improve despite all efforts, you should see a doctor immediately as it can be a symptom of the more serious diseases listed above. 

Did I miss something? Do you know of  a great natural remedy against burping that I haven't listed? Share it in the comments!

22 April 2013

A callus is a thick area of skin which has become relatively dry and hard due to repeated friction, pressure, or other irritation. Since repeated contact is required for callus forming, they are most often found on feet because of frequent walking. Calluses are generally not harmful, but may sometimes lead to other problems, such as skin ulceration or infection.

You can removing calluses naturally. It's quite simple to do, and you can use items that are already in your home.

N.B. Never try to remove calluses by cutting or slicing them. The risk of infection is too great. Besides, there are easier, less painful ways to remove a callus.

The process of removing a callus consists of three steps: soaking, rubbing and drying. Here are a few natural alternatives to each of them. You can alternate between each of them to find the one that suits you best.

4 alternatives to soak your callused feet.

1. Soak your feet in chamomile tea to soften hardened skin for about 30 minutes. Don't worry if your skin gets stained because you can remove any tea stains easily later with soap and water.

2. Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to warm water and soak the affected area. This will help dissolve the dead skin and begin the healing process. Soak for approximately 30 minutes.

3. Soak a bread slice in apple cider vinegar for about 10 hours o form a paste. Before going to bed put the paste on the callus and secure with a bandage. wrap it in a plastic sack and leave it on overnight. Remove in the morning.

4. Soak the callus in warm water with Epsom salts. The warm water softens your skin, and the salts help scrub the corn or callus away.

2 ideas on how to best scrub the callus away.

1. Using a foot file or pumice stone rub the calluses away. Use the file after you have soaked your feet or at the end of a shower, when your feet have been softened by the warm water. Rub your feet with a vigorous, circular motion. If you have a heavy buildup of calluses, rinse your feet often by dipping them back into the water. Also, rinse the pumice stone to get it wet again and remove the dead skin. Work until the skin turns pink for best results.

2. Another great way to scrub away unsightly a callus is to take a barefoot walk on a wet, sandy beach.

Dry the area completely. It is important that you don't allow this area to remain damp. Use a towel to remove all moisture.

Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on the area. This will ensure that the area stays dry. It will also help ward off infections.

Or you can:
- Make a mixture of 1 teaspoon lemon juice, one teaspoon dried chamomile and one clove of crushed garlic. Apply the mixture to your callus once or twice daily until it is gone.

- Cut 2-3 raisins in half and put them on the affected area, (with the cut facing the skin), secure with a plaster overnight. Repeat daily until the callus reduces or disappears.

- Use 1 onion slice, sprinkled with a few drops of lemon juice, and some salt. Tape them to the callus overnight. Repeat daily for a week to remove the callus easily.

- Crush 5 aspirin pills, add 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon water to form a thick paste. Apply to the affected area and cover with a plastic wrap. Cover with a wet towel. Let sit for about 30 minutes. After rinsing with warm water, rub the callus with a wet pumice stone.

Repeat daily for beautiful, healthy feet.

How to prevent calluses
Even if you remove your callus, don't forget where it came from. Prevent calluses from reappearing by taking care of your feet.

Keeping your skin clean and dry can help ward off calluses.

Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly.

Wearing the same pair of shoes every day can lead to calluses.  Open-toed sandals are especially likely to cause your feet to develop calluses, so wear some enclosed tennis shoes with socks every few days to give your feet a break.

Wear shoes that breathe. Shoes made from natural materials, such as leather, allow more air flow to your feet than shoes made from synthetic materials.

Sometimes calluses can be confused with more serious medical conditions. It's best to consult a doctor about any health issue.

You should stop trying to treat your callus naturally at home and see your doctor if it is red and feels hot to the touch, if it cracks, bleeds and looks blue or if it doesn't improve after several days.

29 November 2012

This post is written by Cory Trusty.

There are many sore throat cold  that can be made up in the kitchen. The easiest and most accessible is a simple salt water gargle.  A salt water gargle helps reduce painful swelling and may fight infection as well.  It is a great option especially if you are home bound, and not feeling able or up to going out to the store for cough drops or other remedies and ingredients. Just two ingredients are needed, fine salt and water.
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Salt Water Gargle

  • 8-10 oz very warm water 
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Notice there is some flexibility with the recipe.  You can dissolve the salt in water and taste it to make sure it doesn't taste overly strong to you.  Swish and gargle with the solution about 4-5 times in a row.  For best results, repeat this every few hours as needed. Older children as well as adults can benefit from a salt water gargle, but it cannot done safely by smaller children. It is dangerous for a salt water solution like this to be swallowed, so make sure your children know how to gargle plain unsalted water before you offer them a salt water solution to gargle.

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If you are desperate for a remedy for a young child who can't gargle, here are a few ideas you can try and they are great for adults too in case you have any of these ingredients, or remedies to work with:
  • Hot water together with Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
  • : this is a simple recipe from that you could actually make up with only sage and honey.  
  • Green Tea with Honey
  • or
If I have an ear ache together with a sore throat I like to use the salt water gargle together with this .  

Be well,
Cory Trusty

Cory's Kanelstrand blog posts are licensed under Creative Commons.  You are free to copy, distribute and adapt Cory's Kanelstrand content provided you attribute it to her by linking back to the original post as well as Cory's  website.

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website . Read more from Cory at the . Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on , ,  and .

16 October 2012

This post is written by Cory Trusty. 

With a few simple precautions and an easy DIY ear drop recipe you can keep your ears happy and healthy during cold season. For the last 7 years I have been making a simple aromatherapy ear drop recipe, which has helped fight or prevent ear infections in my family.  I have used it for myself, my husband, and young children, including when they were babies.  

I am happy to have a chance to share the recipe with you, but first how can you avoid an ear infection? 

During cold damp winter months, it is important to keep your ears covered with a hat or a scarf. Exposure to wind can quickly lead to a chill.  When the body is it is more . This is something that has been understood in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many generations. It is always advised to protect the upper back or "Wind Gate" to avoid wind chills. Also importantly, do not go to bed or send children to bed with wet hair. It is too hard on the body to sleep with wet hair and it can often lead to stuffiness in the ears or head. After swimming one should take care to clear the ears of any water that has gotten stuck. This can be done after swimming by tilting the head to the side and filling the ear with a small amount of rubbing alcohol (Isopropanol) and then lifting the head to let the water drain out. If you are not comfortable using rubbing alcohol, then plain water can also work. Now that you know a few things you can do to prevent ear troubles, what can you make to have on hand just in case for ear aches?

Aromatherapy Ear Drop Recipe
  • 1 oz Extra Virgin Olive oil 
  • 18 drops of pure Lavender* (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil 
  • 18 drops of pure Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil

Add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and essential oils to an amber glass bottle.  Label the bottle with the ingredients and date and store in a cool dark place out of reach from children. I use this oil around 3-5 times a day if I have an ear ache.  If it is cold out, one should warm the oil bottle in the hands first before adding drops to the ear.   To apply turn the head to the side, add a few drops of oil to the ear canal until the drops are felt to 'fill' the ear. Put a piece of cotton gently outside the ear to prevent the oil from leaking out. Avoid stuffing a small piece of cotton into the ear canal where it could become stuck.

*It is important to choose that have not been adulterated or extended for this recipe. There are many disreputable sellers who extend their oils with chemicals. You can test for purity of an essential oil by adding a drop of oil to a piece of paper. After 24 hours there should be no residue visible on the paper. Three vendors of essential oils that I can personally vouch for are , and .  

Do you have a home remedy for ear ache? Please share it in the comments.

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website . Read more from Cory at the . Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on , , and .

02 July 2012

We have grown to believe that our home is our castle. But things have changed long ago and nowadays our homes might be hiding more danger than safety.  Indeed quite a lot information has been shared about the infamous formaldehyde, nitrobenzene and methylene chloride - all carcinogens that can be found in everyday items such as rubber, plastic, dyes, perfumes, shampoos.

Take a look at a few of the items you thought harmless and see the health problems they can provoke. Then make sure you take the right decision and rid your home of many cancer-causers and ensure a healthy environment for you and your family.

According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 40 percent of candles on the market contain lead wires inside their wicks. Scented candles most commonly contain lead wicks. Fragrance oils soften the wax, so the manufacturers use lead to make the wicks firmer.

A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC. Exposure to high amounts of lead may contribute to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and many other health problems.

If you want to keep your home softly lit and cozy without risking your health go for beeswax candles with cotton wicks. For more information on how to make your own beeswax candles read .

Art supplies
Certain art supplies like Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic paints and solvents, and permanent markers contain chemicals linked to allergies, organ damage, and cancer.

Children are particularly vulnerable to toxins because of their higher metabolisms, and immature immune systems, so it pays to exercise extra care with the products they use. To find nontoxic and green alternatives to common art supplies, or recipes for making your own, read

Air fresheners
Many air fresheners have carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and toxins such as phthalate esters in their formulas. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study of 13 common household air fresheners found that most of the surveyed products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and affect reproductive development.

According to a 2008 study by Anne Steinemann of the University of Washington, all air-fresheners tested gave off chemicals regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, including carcinogens with no safe exposure level. None of these chemicals, however, were listed on  the product labels or Material Safety Data Sheets. As a replacement, try natural fragrances from essential oils.

Unlikely as it may sound, conventional shampoos . Funny as it may sound,  their effects are still being researched, and there is no scientific consensus  whether they cause cancer. But if you want to be on the safe side, you can use any of the myriad of handmade shampoo bars, offered on etsy, or you can start washing your hair with baking soda, just like .

Most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain several ingredients linked to virulent cancers. Since deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to stay on our bodies for hours, this allows the potential absorption of harmful chemicals through the skin. After I read on Green Living Ideas I completely stopped using antiperspirants but am yet to write an extensive post about that.

Shower curtains
Plastic shower curtains leach toxic chemicals not only into your shower or bath, but also into the environment, emitting harmful chemicals called volatile organic chemicals or VOCs.

Reducing your contact with any of these products, in addition to conventional cleaners, will surely make your home your castle.

Did I miss anything? Share your opinion in the comments!

Republished from with some edits.

03 November 2011

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Baking soda is easy to use, versatile, and as far as I am concerned, it is the greenest cleaning agent! It can help sanitize nearly anything that comes to mind. Oh, and did I mention that you can cleanse your body with it as well?

In May I pronounced baking soda my personal because I learned that apart from using it around the home, I could wash my hair with it! Here I am, 5 months after I went shampooless, still happily washing my hair with soda.

Edit: Since I wrote this post in 2011 I have learned the hard way that baking soda is extremely detrimental to hair. You can read a very thorough article with my findings, called and see for yourself. I do not recommend anyone to ever wash their hair with baking soda.

All of the tips you are about to read have been collected through the years and have been tested vigorously. What is more, they are environmentally friendly, which will save you any doubts associated with using harmful chemicals. Some of the applications of baking soda might come as a surprise to you but rest assured - they really work!


1. Clean your oven – use baking soda to sprinkle generously the oven floor and then spray it with water. Wipe out after several hours and rinse with vinegar.
2. Mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 cups of warm water to wash your microwave oven - boil the mixture in a microwave safe cup for a few minutes. Once the inside walls of the microwave get damp, clean them with a cloth. The soda will also remove any odors.
3. Take the dried crud off your dishes by letting it sit covered with baking soda, after you have rinsed them in warm soapy water.
4. Treat your cups to a warm baking soda bath to remove coffee or tea stains.
5. To boost your dishwashers efficiency and to decrease the smells, add a dash of baking soda.
6. You can clean and remove odors from your cutting board with the help of a sponge and a paste of baking soda and water.
7. When washing your fruits and vegetables, replace the store-bought spray with a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of cool water. Soak the fruits or vegetables for 5 – 10 minutes and rinse or wipe them with a sponge and a small amount of baking soda.
8. Soak dried beans in a baking soda solution to make them more digestible. 
9. Clean your refrigerator with the help of a thick paste of soda and water. Not only will you remove food stains but odor as well.diva human hair wig poly 2l 7561
10. Place an open box of soda in your fridge or freezer to let it absorb the odors. Replace every 3 months.
11. To unclog your drain try pouring 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of hot vinegar. Wait 10 – 15 minutes before flushing the drain with hot water. You can repeat this process a few times if it is necessary.
12. If you sprinkle a bit of soda on the bottom of your trash container you will get rid of the unpleasant smells.


Around the home
13. To absorb the odor from your shoes, pour 3- 5 tablespoons of baking soda into scrap tissue paper or a paper coffee filter, tie it up and put it in for a few hours.
14. Put your old books in a sealed container with baking soda for several hours to remove their musty smell. It is a tried method of used-book sellers. The baking soda will leave the books less malodorous.
15. Replace a tub of spackle and fill a small hole in plaster or drywall with a stiff paste of baking soda and white toothpaste. Once it hardens, nobody will be able to tell the difference.
16. Baking soda is the perfect way to polish silver, stainless steel and chrome without any toxins. Put some soda on a damp cloth and polish away!
17. You can remove oil, grease and wine stains from carpets and different types of fabrics with the help of a little sprinkled soda, left to work for a few hours and brushed off. If necessary, you can rub again with a paste of soda and water.
18. Another way to clean carpets and rugs and remove odor is to sprinkle a bit of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes before you vacuum.  
19. Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls by making a paste of soda and water. Apply with a soft cloth.


20. To get odorless, sparkling white clothes, add half a cup of baking soda to the liquid detergent you put in your washing machine.
21. Baking soda can also replace the fabric softener. Add half a cup to the rinse cycle and you will be surprised by the softness – much better for sensitive skin!
22. Put some soda on an old toothbrush to rub canvas handbags clean.


23. Give your furry pet a dry bath by sprinkling baking soda on its fur and rubbing it well. Brush off after a few minutes.
24. With a dash of baking soda in your cat's litter box you will get rid of any extra odors.


25. You can use baking soda as an exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells, which can be discolored from hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
26. Brush your teeth with baking soda to whiten them. Since it is abrasive and might hurt your gums, do not overdo your brushing.
27. Wash your hair with a handful of baking soda diluted in half a cup of water. Rinse with vinegar instead of conditioner.
Edit: Do not ever wash your hair with baking soda unless you want to destroy it. Read more here: .
28. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in hot water to clean your hairbrushes.
29. Baking soda is the perfect helper against heartburn, gas or other stomach issues because it can neutralize acid. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it. You will quickly feel relieved.
30. To dry out a pimple or to spot-treat acne, prepare a thick paste of soda and water and apply.
31. Ease sunburnt skin by mixing 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a glass of yogurt and applying the mixture to the affected zones. Your skin will quickly cool off and you will not fell pain. If your entire body is red, take a warm bath with 1/2 cup of baking soda.


32. Dip a wet sponge in baking soda to clean the dirt on your plastic outdoor chairs and tables.
33. Melt the ice on your sidewalk in an eco-friendly manner, by sprinkling generously with baking soda and adding just a bit of sand.
34. If you want to get rid of the weeds growing in the cracks of of your sidewalk, sprinkle the cracks with baking soda and sweep the soda into the cracks with a broom.
35. To clean the hazy headlights of your car, or to quickly get rid of splattered insects, scrub gently with a thick paste of baking soda and water.

The most amazing thing about baking soda is that it is both eco-friendly and pocket-friendly! You can do all these things for a very small cost and still be green! Baking soda is truly a miracle product, whether it’s used for baking or not. 

What are your favorite uses of baking soda?

28 May 2011

Knives (axes) have been the moving force behind human evolution ever since a sharp stone was first tied to a wooden stick. But have you thought about how you could keep your knives sharp if you didn’t have any of the following tools?
Photos: , ,

There is a very simple solution which I will share with you - the Kanelstrand way of sharpening knives right on the beach! First and foremost, get your hat with a feather! Without it you are doomed to a shameful failure.

Then you need to have:

1. a blunt knife
2. a solid piece of rock that will fit in your fist
3. a handful of sand
4. water

We are using sandstone, which is particularly appropriate. The hardness of its grains and the uniformity of the grain size makes the sandstone a perfect material for grindstones and for sharpening blades and other implements.

Start by wetting the stone and placing some sand on it. Then rub the blade of your knife against the wet sand with circular movements. Take your time and inhale the beneficial air at the beach. This is an exercise for nature loving as well.

You can alternate between forward/backward and circular movements. Just don’t forget to sharpen the whole blade from both sides. When the sand gets dry, sprinkle some more water and continue.

At the end of the process you will have succeeded to:
  • sharpen your knife
  • get some tan
  • fill your lungs with fresh and beneficial sea air
  • relax!

I am sure you have never thought how stress-free a knife sharpening procedure can be! Now go back home and kiss your spouse (just don’t hold the freshly sharpened knife behind your back, it will surely look suspicious)