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Friday, December 16, 2005

Blue-green algae

Blue-green algae is one of the richest sources of antioxidant compounds including carotenoids (beta carotine, lycopene, and lutein), chlorophyll and phycocyanin. Phycocyanin is a pigment that provides the intense blue color in blue-green algae. Research shows that Phycocyanin has intrinsic anti-inflammatory, live protective, and selective anti-tumor properties.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Rosehip Seed Oil - A Foundation for Beauty

Rosehip seed oil has become widely recognized as an effective skin and beauty care agent in the last decade, with great interest surrounding its scientifically-validated beauty-enhancing effects. The oil has been heralded as a miracle cure for skin, useful for a great myriad of conditions, from premature aging and sun damage to scarring and other damage. What is this wonderful red liquid, where does it come from, how does it work, and most importantly, can it work for you?

Rosehip seed oil is extracted from the seed within the fruit of the wild thorny rose bush. Native to Chile, the plant is now cultivated elsewhere in South America with many countries producing the oil. Also found under the name 'Rosa Mosqueta', the oil has been used by native people for hundreds of years, but only recently became known to the rest of the world.

The red colored oil can be either solvent extracted or 'cold-pressed' – pressing is the really way to go, as there is no chance of any solvent residues remaining in the final product, and it is easier on the environment. The cold-pressed oil is the closest to nature; it has a high essential fatty acid content, and is considered more delicate than other seed oils. For this reasons, pure rosehip seed oil should be kept in a cool place, out of direct light, and should be used within 1 year of purchase. Otherwise the more fragile of the fatty acids could begin to turn bad, and your skin might not be so fond of them.

Rosehip seed oil is an excellent source of natural vitamin E and natural vitamin A, or 'trans-retinoic acid'. Retinoic acid, the acid derivative of vitamin A, is the active ingredient found in Retin-A or Tretinoin. Retin-A (a pharmaceutical preparation) has been heralded as a wrinkle cure because of its ability to increase skin cell proliferation – or speed the time it takes for your skin to regenerate. In fact, rosehip seed oil has been extensively studied for many of the same actions attributed to Retin-A, and has been shown effective without side effects (like over-drying and peeling – though unlike Retin-A, it should not be used to treat acne).

The first major study on rosehip seed oil was performed in 1983 by a team of researchers at the University of Santiago, Chile. The study's participants included individuals with diverse forms of skin damage: deep wrinkles and other premature aging, UV damage, radiation damage, acne scarring, burn scarring, dermatitis, and other problems of this type. Rosehip seed oil was shown to have significant, noticeable effects in regenerating the skin, reducing wrinkles and scars, and helping the skin to regain its natural color and tone.

Another later study was conducted on women ages 25-35 with extensive premature aging of their skin. Again, rosehip seed oil significantly reduced the appearance of wrinkles and sun spots after daily application for four months. Research has continued on the oil, with one study noting: "On some skin troubles like superficial wrinkles, chestnut spots and ephelides, good results have been obtained. After 16 weeks of treatment, wrinkles and spots become imperceptible." The oil has been used to successfully treat a long list of skin related conditions, including: age spots, wrinkles and premature aging, sun damage, scars from acne, burns, and surgery, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, hyper-pigmentation, brittle nails, and even dry and damaged hair.

Besides its regenerative properties, rosehip seed oil is also an excellent moisturizer. This is most likely due to its high essential fatty acid content (fatty acids that the body cannot produce itself), which are necessary for healthy skin. The oil penetrates the upper layers of the skin quickly and, being known as a 'dry' moisturizer, does not leave the skin feeling greasy or oily.

As for daily use of rosehip seed oil, it is considered extremely gentle and can be applied undiluted to the skin. It may also be blended with other oils like jojoba and sweet almond, and will still have wonderful effects at 10% of the total concentration. Further, rosehip seed oil makes an excellent carrier oil for aromatherapy – blends with essential oils having skin regenerative and soothing properties are highly recommended.

For improvement of scarring, a simple blend of 20 drops of Helichrysum Italicum per 1 ounce of rosehip seed oil, applied daily to the area, can be helpful. Helichrysum is known for its content of regenerative 'ketones'. For a more luxurious beauty blend, try the following in 4 ounces of rosehip seed:

5 drops Helichrysum
5 drops Lavender
3 drops Sandalwood
3 drops Neroli
3 drops Carrot Seed
3 drops Geranium
2 drops Roman Chamomile
2 drops Jasmine
1 drop Palmarosa
1 drop Ylang Ylang

Even simply the Helichrysum and Lavender will go a long way – Lavender oil is very gentle, and is also known to have regenerative properties.

So, whether using rosehip seed oil for healing your skin, or simply giving it a little nourishment, you will almost certainly be happy with the results. This luscious oil, with its broad range of positive effects, is sure to take a prominent place in your natural beauty botanical collection.

Rosehip seed oil is available from Ananda Apothecary here...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Hair Loss Solution: Try Aromatherapy

(Editors Note: The first blend described in this article was shown effective on alopecia areata - the jury is still out for effectiveness on male pattern baldness.)

Our ancestors did not have the benefit of today's scientifically researched drugs, but they often found natural remedies that worked just as well. Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat everything from premenstrual syndrome to high blood pressure. Men experiencing the first signs of baldness often looked to natural cures as well, and some of the herbal remedies have surprising results.

A group of dermatologists in Scotland tested an herbal remedy with great success, helping over 40% of their patients with a mixture of essential oils containing cedarwood, lavender, rosemary and thyme. In this double blind study, the group using the essential oils showed improvement in 40 percent of the subjects, while only 15% of the control group noted an improvement.

So, would you be interested in trying out aromatherapy as a hair loss solution? If you'd like to experiment with this, mix three drops each of lavender and rosemary oil with two drops each of cedarwood and thyme oils. Add this mixture to 4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil and one-quarter teaspoon of jojoba oil. Rub the mixture into your scalp for two minutes nightly, then use a warm towel to wrap your head.

If you're not experiencing baldness yet, but your hair doesn't look healthy, you may want to try a mixture of lavender and bay essential oils to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and help circulation to the area. About six drops of each oil should be added to ½ cup of a good carrier oil, like almond or sesame oil. Warm the mixture slightly and rub into the scalp. After letting the mixture penetrate the scalp for 20 minutes, shampoo with your normal shampoo. For additional benefit, you may want to add up to 4 drops of bay oil to your normal shampoo.

Of course, you won't see a whole new head of hair after just one or two treatments. However, repeated use will most likely provide you with better looking, fuller hair. You'll also experience the positive benefits of aromatherapy and scalp massage as well, feeling more relaxed and ready to face the day. Aromatherapy may just be the hair loss solution that you are looking for!

About the Author:
Kathlene Capelle's site includes information on female hair loss, male hair loss, cause of hair loss, hair loss remedy, hair loss prevention, natural hair loss treatments, etc. Please visit http://www.hair-loss-remedy-central.com.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Aromatherapy Use During Pregnancy

Aromatherapy is a natural healing science employing essential oils extracted from aromatic plant sources to treat and balance the body, mind and spirit. During pregnancy, aromatherapy can prove to be extremely beneficial and helpful alternative, while also being very easy to employ and use.

In order to use essential oils safely during pregnancy a few extra safety guidelines will need be followed. Though, there are reports of side effects, the user must be cautious enough to report any adverse effects to the physician immediately. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and volatile. They must be diluted before use. A common dilution for aromatherapy blends during pregnancy is 2 %, which would equal approximately 10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil (this is the most preferred oil). For an aromatherapy pregnancy bath, add 6-10 drops of essential oil to the tub and mix well before getting in to the tub. 3-6 drops essential oil in a bowl of warm water wrung out in a washcloth works well for a compress. Use the same dilution in a bowl of steaming hot water for a steam inhalation.

An aromatic bath is supposed to provide relaxation to the taut pelvic muscles and aid in avoiding stretch marks. How ever, there are many essential oils that need to be avoided during pregnancy. The following list contains oils that should be avoided during pregnancy and oils that are recommended for use during pregnancy.

OILS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY

Use of essential oils should be extremely limited or avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy, but has many wonderful uses in the last two trimesters and especially during labor. Oils to avoid during pregnancy include: Basil, Cedar Wood, Cinnamon, Clary sage (during labor), Clove, Cypress (after 5 months), Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine (during labor), Juniper, Lemongrass, Myrrh, Parsley and Pennyroyal.

OILS RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY

The following oils will be comfortable for using during pregnancy. As always, use caution if you have allergies or a family history of allergies. If you feel you may be allergic to oil, do a patch test first. Good oils for pregnancy include: Bergamot, Chamomile, Cypress (after 5 mos.), Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium (avoid in early pregnancy), Grapefruit, Lavender. Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rosewood, Sandalwood and Tangerine If you are currently pregnant and have been using any of the essential oils that need to be avoided, but are not experiencing any bleeding or cramping, then there most likely is nothing wrong. However, it is strongly encouraged you to consult your doctor or midwife and discontinue use of the "to be avoided" essential oils. Aromatherapy Benefits for Pregnancy Listed below are some of the benefits and therapeutic effects of the essential oils recommended for use during pregnancy:

Bergamot: Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.

Chamomile: Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and Indigestion.

Cypress (ok after 5 mos.) Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Helpful for Varicose veins, hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.

Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion.

Frankincense: Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming

Geranium (ok after 3 mos.) Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Eases aching legs and is good for poor circulation.

Grapefruit: Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Helps with Water retention.

Lavender: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, Relaxing. Helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.

Lemon: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, Tonic. Useful as an inhalant for morning sickness and in Massage for varicose veins.

Mandarin: Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant. Can ease fluid retention in leg and ankle massages.

Neroli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, Relaxing. Useful in pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell Regeneration and for easing nervous tension.

Patchouli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Eases confusion, indecision and apathy. Petitgrain: Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Helpful in dealing with pre or postpartum depression.

Rosewood: Antiseptic, sedative

Sandalwood: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.

Tangerine: Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Helps to prevent stretch marks.

Tea Tree: Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Can be used to treat thrush during pregnancy.

Ylang Ylang: Antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, lowers blood Pressure. Restorative when overworked or tense.

Thanks to Lorna Findlay for this article. Find more great aromatherapy information at http://www.essentialaromatherapy.co.uk

Aromatherapy Massage

Organic aromatherapy recipes have been used for centuries and its usage is very diverse and spread all over the world. Hundreds of recipes have been found and perfected over thousands of years. Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils to combat everyday maladies in our lives such as stress, depression, indigestion, menopause, nausea, immune deficiencies, fatigue and numerous others. The following aromatherapy recipes are for your aromatic information.

First things first! Always remember that essential oils are very potent and volatile liquids that can be very harmful if used carelessly. CAUTION: Never apply undiluted oil on the skin without use of carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, sunflower oil or grape seed oil. Massage is perhaps the most popular way to use essential oils. It combines the healing art of aromatherapy with the healing art of touch. Self-massage is just as effective as being massaged by another person and lack of a partner is no excuse for not trying these relaxing recipes. As a general rule, always use ten drops of total essential oils per mixture, and keep it around five for maximum effectiveness.

You can always concoct your own innovative recipe using many essential oils that available in the market. You don't really need a branded expensive aromatherapy product or go to an expensive aromatherapy spa and some wholesale aromatherapy vendors can be too expensive. Here are a few quick, instant and easy natural aromatherapy recipes that can be formulated at your home: · Beat the depression with 3 revitalizing drops of orange essential oil and 2 drops of zesty ginger. · Drive out insomnia with easeful drops of Roman chamomile, clary sage and bergamot oils. · Reduce menstrual cramps with pacifying drops of peppermint, cypress and lavender oils. · Soothe stress with calming drops of Roman chamomile, lavender and vetiver oils. · Enhance memory with stimulating drops of peppermint and lemon oils. · Boost your immune system with protecting drops of eucalyptus, pine and peppermint oils. · Fight acne with toning lavender and antiseptic tea tree oil. · Ease a grieving heart with oils of warm rose and sandalwood. · Disinfect the kitchen sink with the citrus smell of lemon, lime and grapefruit oils.

Apart from these most common recipes, you can also prepare hundreds of them by using correct amounts of essential oils.

All-Purpose Face and Neck Massage: 3 drops violet oil + 2 drops rose oil: in 20 ml of carrier oil. Add vitamin E for extra richness.

Anti-Tension Massage: 2 drops petit grain oil + 2 drops lavender oil + 2 drops sandalwood oil: in 20 ml carrier oil. Apply on the neck, shoulders, and temples.

Backache Massage: 2 drop eucalyptus oil + 2 drops lavender oil + 1 drop lemon oil: in 20 ml carrier oil. Focus on areas of tension with fingertips.

Bedtime Massage: 3 drop sandalwood oil + 2 drops chamomile oil: in 20 ml of carrier oil.

Calming Back Massage: 4 drop ylang ylang oil + 3 drops jasmine oil + 2 drops geranium oil: in 20 ml of carrier oil.

Circulation Improvement Massage: 6 drop lavender oil + 4 drops rosemary oil + 2 drops vetiver oil: in 4 oz. of sesame oil.

Face and Neck Massage: 2 drop galbanum oil + 3 drops neroli oil: 20 ml carrier oil.

Hand Massage: 5 drops lime oil + 5 drops thyme oil + 5 drops eucalyptus oil + 5 drops cajuput oil: in 4 tablespoons carrier oil.

Leg Massage: 2 drops cypress oil + 2 drop lime oil + 1 drop lemon oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Massage on calves, using gentle pressure on varicose veins.

Mature Skin Massage: 2 drop myrrh oil + 2 drops lavender oil + 2 drops neroli oil: 20 ml wheat germ oil.

Pain-Relieving Massage: 3 drop pine oil + 3 drop eucalyptus oil + 3 drops frankincense oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Apply on sore joints.

Relaxing Full-Body Massage: 3 drop neroli oil + 2 d jasmine oil: in 20 ml of carrier oil.

Relaxing Massage: 2 drops geranium oil + 2 drops rose oil + 2 drops lavender oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Face and scalp massage.

Sensual Body Massage: 2 drops patchouli oil + 3 drops geranium oil + 3 drops rose oil: 20 ml carrier oil.

Stimulating Body Rub: 1 drops peppermint oil + 1 drops myrrh oil + 2 drops lavender oil: 20 ml carrier oil. This is an excellent winter rub.

Summer Stimulating Massage: 2 drop lemongrass oil + 3 drops orange oil + 1 drop rosemary oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Good for back and shoulder massages.

Uplifting Massage: 2 drop bergamot oil + 2 drops orange oil +2 drops petit grain oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Good early-morning body rubs.

Varicose Vein Massage: 2 drops lime oil + 2 drops cedar wood oil: in 20 ml carrier oil. Rub lightly, using only fingertips.

Wrinkled or Puffy Face Massage: 2 drops rose oil + 1 drops violet oil + 1 drops geranium oil: 20 ml carrier oil. Rub lightly on face, using only fingertips.

Oils which are not preferable for home use for massage include: cinnamon (unless HIGHLY diluted), clove (again, unless HIGHLY diluted), hyssop (non-decumbens species), and sage. Oils which should not be used during pregnancy include: basil, clove, cinnamon, fennel, hyssop, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, peppermint, rosemary, sage, and white thyme. Oils which are not recommended for steam facials include: bay, clary sage, ginger, juniper, pine, and tea tree. Oils which are photosynthesizing include, but are not restricted to: lemon, bergamot, lime, and orange. Do not go out into the sun for at least two hours after applying these oils to your skin.

Find more great aromatherapy information at http://www.essentialaromatherapy.co.uk


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