Natural Remedies

A Herb for Parasites and More - Black Walnut

Black Walnut Herb
I remember my first time truly noticing the black walnut tree; what I saw was that nothing could grow around it. I found this to be quite unusual in an otherwise vibrant, diverse woodland. That day, I learned about black walnut's allelopathic (growth-inhibiting) effect on some plant species. The fact that not much will grow under a black walnut tree is likely due to its juglone compounds.  Another remarkable thing about the walnut tree is that although it may grow thousands of kilometers away from any seawater or sea vegetation, scientists have found that it's high in iodine and has the power to change one mineral to another through biological transmutation. The iodine found in black walnut (or Juglans nigra) is organic, antiseptic, and healing. Plant Description  Black walnut is a native North American deciduous tree that grows to a height of 15–23 meters, with a trunk roughly one meter in diameter. Approximately two meters from the ground, the tree divides into numerous neatly horizontal, wide-spreading branches with smooth grey bark that forms an upright, umbrella-like crown in the woods or a round-topped crown when out in the open. The leaves vary from 30–50 cm long, consisting of seven or eight pairs of leaflets along a central axis and a single leaflet at the tip. Leaflets emerge very late in the spring and are yellow-green in color; in the autumn, the leaves are yellow. Its flowers are inconspicuous in elongated green clusters. The fruit is three to five centimetres in diameter consisting of a hard shell, a furrowed nut enclosed in a green husk, and becomes darker when ripe. History It was said that in the “golden age” when people lived upon acorns, the gods lived upon walnuts hence the name of Juglans, Jovis glans, or Jupiter’s nuts. The name walnut comes from the German wallnuss or welsche nuss, which means “foreign nut.” The walnut was dedicated to the goddess Artemis in Ancient Greece, and the tree symbolized wisdom, fertility, longevity, and strength in adversity.6 The late Nicholas Culpeper, a renowned English herbalist, suggests that the bark is very astringent when he states, “Doth bind and dry very much.” He also says that the mature bitter leaves are useful for killing broad worms in the stomach, and the green hulls boiled with honey are a great remedy for sore throats and inflammation of the mouth and stomach.7 Black walnuts have historically been used to dye fabrics a rich tan to dark brown colour. The hulls have the most concentration of stain and cannot be removed with soap and water alone. Any natural fibre may be dyed with Juglans nigra. Medicinal Properties & Indications  Digestive System Juglans nigra is one of nature’s most powerful anthelmintics or antiparasitics. It eradicates the overgrowth of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and yeasts, as well as addresses parasites, worms, and flukes. It is used as a remedy for digestive and liver insufficiency with possible jaundice, headaches, and tissue congestion. Naturopathic doctor Jill Stansbury writes about using it when there is a dry, acrid feeling in the throat and mouth.8 It may also be used specifically when there is soreness in the tonsil area experienced as a sensation coming from the external neck and throat, rather than from the inner throat.9 Though not specific for skin disorders, the colon cleansing and tonifying effects of the herb provide benefits for chronic skin disorders caused by imbalances of digestion and assimilation. Indications:  » parasites  » worms - pinworms, threadworms, roundworms, hookworms, giardia  » flukes - liver flukes  » candida  » fungal infections  » irritation of the intestines  » inflammation of the intestines  » constipation  » diarrhea  » liver congestion  » gallbladder congestion  » intestinal permeability  » dysbiosis Endocrine System  As a superlative herb for the thyroid, Juglans nigra is both stimulating for hypothyroidism, and a nourishing trophorestorative.  Juglans nigra is the remedy for times of change in life. It’s an ally for advancing the stages of maturity (e.g., teething, puberty, menopause) or big life-change decisions that break conventions, helping us leave old limits and habits behind. Indications:  » hypothyroidism   » goitre  » low metabolism  » boils  » abscesses  » electric shocks (often due to mycotoxin illness) Contraindications & Safety  » pregnancy » breastfeeding Use caution with long-term use.  Preparations & Applications  Dosage:  Tincture (1:5): Adult: 5 mL three times daily (TID)  Children:  >1 yr: 1–3 gtts (drops) TID  >2 yrs.: 1–2 mL TID  2–4 yrs.: 1–3 mL TID  >5 yrs: 3 mL TID Tea (Infusion): Add 1–2 tsp dried hull with 8 oz hot water. Cover and steep for 10–30 minutes. Take 3 c/day for adults, ½ c/day for children between 2–5 yrs. ...

A Powerful Antiviral Herb: Desert Parsley

Desert Parsley Antiviral Herb
Medicinal  Uses Lomatium dissectum is a powerful antiviral herb and has been used historically by the Indigenous peoples of the United States for this purpose. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, the Washoe people of southwestern United States gathered the root and used it in the treatment of their sick. They prepared the medicine (either fresh or dried) by boiling it in water, skimming off the oils and resins on the surface, and giving large doses of the broth. The affected person would drink this tea for three days, which was considered the longest time needed to break up a fever caused by a viral or pulmonary infection. Whether a coincidence or not, no deaths were reported among the tribe from influenza or its complications. Other tribes in nearby regions, where the plant did not grow, reported numerous deaths. A doctor named Ernest Krebbs, who was working in the desert in Nevada, also noticed Indigenous people using the root to cure those stricken with influenza. Using strong decoctions of the root, the ill were able to get well within a week. Krebbs and other doctors started to use the root and found it to have great healing benefits. Since the plant grew on the western frontier, it did not get the medical profession's attention in general, and its use fell out of favor for a time. In a modern clinical setting, Lomatium root has been used to cure the initial stages of acute pharyngitis, subacute pharyngitis (which is persistent and slower to heal), and tonsils. It has also been used for influenza and pneumonia. It’s a proven remedy for viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, especially those of the respiratory and urinary tract. Bear Medicines An interesting subject I have come across in my study of traditional medicine is the ascription of certain archetypal pat- terns to medicinal plants. The most basic patterns are based on a circle of elements. For example, warming herbs are associated with the element of fire, moistening herbs with the element of water, and so on. Although there are different systems of elemental patterns from different schools of traditional medicine, they all seem to benefit from working in this way. Certain Indigenous traditions are based on a circle of animals from the local area, which may include snake, elk/deer, bear, wolf, and rabbit archetypes. They historically recognized certain plant medicines as being associated with a certain animal; some resemble an animal in some way or are the food of that animal, or perhaps the plant and its animal appeared together in dreams or visions. It was believed that animal medicine could im- part the beneficial qualities of its associated animal to an individual in need of them. Lomatium is part of a herb group that’s considered to be bear medicines. These herbs typically have brown (some- times furry/hairy), oily, spicy, and aromatic roots. Bears like to eat these plants in the spring after they wake up from their hibernation. The aromatic qualities help to warm up and reinvigorate their sluggish digestive system, which has been slowed through long periods of hibernation. The roots of these plants are full of oils that stimulate lipid metabolism in the liver. As with many medicinal herbs, the effect on the body is regulated. Bear medicines can be of benefits to those who lack oils in their systems, such as those with dry skin or dry hair and scalp; but they can also be beneficial in cases where there is an excess of oils, such as for teenagers with acne-prone or oily skin. Oily plants help us build our stores of subcutaneous fat, which is essential for insulating us from cold and damp conditions. Similarly, bears rely on high quantities of oils in their diet to develop a thick layer of fat which helps to insulate them through the winter. Adequate oil intake is essential in the production and maintenance of the adrenal hormones. The fatty outer layer of the adrenal glands is the adrenal cortex. It’s responsible for the synthesis and secretion of a variety of hormones, such as cortisol. The bear medicines are rich in oils that help to replenish the adrenal cortex and can benefit those with adrenal fatigue. Cortisol is essential for making stored fats and sugars available in stressful situations requiring resilience and strength. Of all the animals, the bear is known for possessing exceptional strength and courage. They are usually docile and calm, spending much of their time fishing or foraging for nuts, roots, berries, and honey; but mother bears are capable of being quite ferocious when they must defend their cubs. They stand their ground (sometimes on two legs) or even charge at a perceived threat when other animals would run in fear. The bear medicines help pro- vide nourishing oils for energy storage and for maintaining the health of the adrenals so that we might possess the strength and courage of the bear when we need it. Other examples of these medicines include members of the Apiaceae family, like Osha (Ligustic ...

Marshmallow Root – A Potent Digestive Aid for Better Gut Health

Marshmallow Root
A cursory Google search will prompt plenty of results associating marshmallow root with better digestive health, and “healing” the integrity of the gut for better health. But how exactly does it do this, and does it really work? First, let us touch on what marshmallow root is – before we approach it as a potent digestive aid for better gut health.  Marshmallow root is “Althaea Officinalis,” a perennial herb that is most commonly native to Europe, West Africa, and West Asia.  As an ancient ‘folk remedy,’ with widespread use across Middle Eastern countries, it has been consumed for thousands of years for relief of digestive and respiratory ailments.  Most commonly, it is consumed in capsule, powdered, or tea form – occasionally, you will see alcohol or glycerin-based tinctures. Marshmallow root is also typically added to many ‘natural’ cosmetics and personal care items.  How Marshmallow Root Protects the Lining of the Gut and can Help Restore Optimal Digestive Health In one study from 2011, an extract of marshmallow root was shown to help protect against gastric ulcers, platelet aggregation (clotting), and digestive inflammation. The extract also raised HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) while having no adverse impact on the liver or other health markers.  When ingested, marshmallow root tends to bulk up, and form a gel-like consistency. This extract can help coat the stomach lining.  Both marshmallow root and marshmallow tea – and by extension, supplements that are sold as “marshmallow extract” act as “mucilage.” This means that it sort of swells up when it comes into contact with water, and functions as a kind of fiber.  Naturally, marshmallow root will contain various bioactive compounds, all of which seem to contribute toward beneficiary effects on digestive health: flavonoids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and phenolic acids.  Various studies proclaim an immediate effect by protecting “inflamed mucosa” or intestinal membrane. This is also seen in the respiratory tract.  Marshmallow Root Dosage and Safety Profile Marshmallow root seems to have a high safety profile, and no negative side effects have been reported in people taking the supplement for colds, flu, cough, sore throat, respiratory issues, digestive issues, or IBD. Generally, the only concern is for those who may have diabetes, as it has been demonstrated to lower blood sugar levels. Otherwise, marshmallow root does not appear to impact any other health markers negatively.  Marshmallow root comes in powders, capsules, tinctures, and tea forms. If you are taking marshmallow root specifically for digestive distress/disorders, your best option is to go for a capsule, alcohol-based tincture, or raw powder/tea. With tinctures, you’ll get the most concentrated dose, and with capsules, you’ll have the most possible control over the among you’re taking compared to teas or powders.  Always stick to the recommended dosage as outlined on the product/bottle itself. The concentration may differ between brands, but the guideline for those with Crohn’s / UC or IBD is around ~6g daily, split into 2-3 daily doses.  If you’re using a powdered form or raw tea, you’ll want to ensure you consume enough water as it can form a more gelatinous substance. As always, you should consult with a healthcare professional prior to use if you have any sort of pre-existing medical condition. We’d also advise taking it a couple of hours before or after other medications.

Goji Berries: A True Superfruit and Anti-Oxidant Powerhouse

Goji Berries
We all know some of the most nutritious, antioxidant-packed (super)foods are berries – from blueberries to mulberries – and everything in between. How does the goji berry or “wolfberry fruit” stack up against its humble competitors? Is Goji a true superfruit and anti-oxidant powerhouse as purported? Goji has been an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, and a popular superfood for fighting free radical damage, aging, and markers of disease. Typically, goji berries are eaten raw and dried, but can also be used in a powdered form for smoothies, bowls, and shakes. Nutritional Content of Goji Berries Before even getting into the polyphenol and antioxidant content of goji berries, the nutritional content alone is quite impressive. ¼ cup provides (depending on dried or powder form, and how they’ve been processed) approximately: 70 Calories 12g of Sugar 9g of Protein 6g of Fiber 150% DV Vitamin A 84% DV Copper 75% DV Selenium 27% DV Vitamin C 21% DV Potassium 15% DV Zinc 42% DV Iron Goji berries are also extremely rich in “phenolic acids,” “polysaccharides,” and “flavonoids” – biologically active compounds with beneficial health properties. These compounds are responsible for many of the health benefits attributed to goji berries. Various studies and literature denote the many health-promoting properties of goji berries, such as those documented and compiled here. Vision Support, Macular Degeneration, and Eye Health Goji contains many ‘carotenoids’ – the natural pigments that give fruits bright orange and red colors, such as carrots (and goji berries). This is why you have probably heard the old adage that carrots are great for vision health. They are extremely high in Vitamin A, and this is due to the beta-carotene content. In particular, goji is high in the carotenoid “zeaxanthin” which is sometimes sold as an individual natural supplement for vision support. Research shows this compound protects the retina and improves retinal function. Further, human and animal studies looking at goji berry extract (not just zeaxanthin) found that goji was protective and restorative in the early stages of retina and macular degeneration. Cardiovascular Protection, Lipid and Cholesterol-Lowering Support Studies demonstrate goji berry extract as having a notable reduction in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to non-goji berry treated animals with elevated blood pressure and hyperlipidemia. Meanwhile, “good” cholesterol levels, HDL, were unaffected or increased with the dosage of goji berry extract. Aside from the high antioxidant levels of goji, they have also demonstrated the ability to lower blood lipid levels effectively in diabetic animal studies. Abnormal fat oxidization and accumulation in the blood vessels were inhibited in animals fed a high-fat diet after administration of goji extract. Goji appears to also be beneficial for diabetes from other studies, which point to its ability to lower blood glucose levels significantly and impact the rate of glucose uptake. Anticancer Benefits and Neuroprotective Benefits Not only are goji berries beneficial for heart health, cholesterol levels, and lipids – but they also have potent benefits in the fight against neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s and even in protecting against cancer cell growth. Goji has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many decades specifically to prevent the progression and early onset of cancer – the whole goji berry seems to have a better preventative effect than just extracts of specific compounds alone (those most commonly sold as supplements). The polysaccharides which are present in goji (polysaccharides are also extremely beneficial parts of what make medicinal mushrooms great) have the ability to inhibit and prevent tumor growth without negative side effects. Neurological brain health is an extremely important area of study, and the benefit of goji has been shown to reduce glutamate excitotoxicity, which is implicated in neurogenerative diseases. Treatment with goji showed a reduction in neurological deficits in stroke models and improved cognitive performance. Goji – Should I Be Adding Them to My Smoothies or Bowls? Similar to many other potent superfruits, goji berry offers a natural, whole-food antioxidant powerhouse that does not require supplementation or medication to confer benefits against cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, cancer, neurological disorders, and vision degeneration. Best of all, goji is easy to incorporate into daily diets in a wide variety of dried forms, powders, and extracts for any need – all available at Healthy Planet Canada.

Shea Butter: Synonymous with Hydration and Won’t Clog Your Pores

Shea Butter Benefits
One of the most commonly used ingredients in ‘natural’ moisturizing skin care products, shea butter, is a force to be reckoned with. Beyond being a natural, non-comedogenic moisturizer, it also boosts a high vitamin E content, fatty acids, vitamin A, and allantoin, and has benefits for those with fine lines, wrinkles, or skin conditions like acne or eczema. For those with dry, flaky skin – opting to try out pure shea butter as a soothing morning or night application and skin calmer is a no-brainer. Those with tree nut allergies tend to still tolerate shea butter without a reaction, as it doesn’t appear to contain any appreciable quantity of the problematic tree-nut proteins that can trigger allergies or anaphylactic response. Allergic reactions or adverse skin reactions to shea butter are exceptionally rare. The Production Process of Shea Butter Shea butter is not refined in the traditional sense, and the production process is quite simple. Extracted from the shea nut tree’s oily kernels within the seed, once the kernel is removed, they are ground and boiled to extract the fatty portion – the ‘butter,’ which becomes solidified. Most shea butter, regardless of organic certification, is sourced from West Africa.   The Many Therapeutic Skincare Applications of Shea Butter Shea butter can always be used on its own or incorporated with other ingredients as a combination moisturizer. Given how dense and solid shea butter is at room temperature, it is usually best incorporated with other body oils for an easier application process. The high amount of natural (and healthy) fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, and palmitic, combined with natural phenols and vitamin E content make it an ideal cosmetic product for soothing irritation or dry skin – the composition of fatty acids also makes shea butter mildly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Shea butter’s natural anti-inflammatory properties make it not only suitable as a moisturizer for dry, irritated skin, but also for sunburns, wrinkles, fine lines, aging, scarring, acne, plumping the skin, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and puffiness. Shea’s properties, including concentrations of linoleic acid, are specifically beneficial in treating inflammation and irritated skin without being pore-clogging or leading to overproduction of oil. Picking and Storing Shea Butter Shea butter should always be stored out of direct sunlight – and it usually lasts about 2 years from the date it was produced. Even after exposure to heat, it will re-solidify back at room temperature.   Refined or unrefined, which works best? Almost all of the shea butter you’ll find at Healthy Planet Canada is unrefined, meaning it is not extracted using any solvents or formulated with preservatives, or bleached. Some people prefer refined because they dislike the smell of natural shea butter’s nuttiness and the consistency may be smoother, but unrefined shea butter allows you to experience all the natural benefits of shea butter with its full range of antioxidants and compounds without any worry of what was used in the production process. Unrefined shea butter has more of a light beige or yellow color, and is much more ‘earthy.’ If you need some skincare help in the form of an all-natural, moisturizing powerhouse that protects against aging, skin conditions, and inflammation, look no further than shea butter. 

Can colloidal silver replace your hand sanitizer?

colloidal silver
There has never been a time when the hand sanitizers in the health food stores are flying off the shelves faster than they can be restocked. Over a year since the pandemic began, hand sanitizer is still essential. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a quick errand or spending the full day at work, we’re willing to bet you have at least one bottle in your purse, maybe even another in your car. These days, you simply cannot leave the house without at least one bottle of hand sanitizer. However, many of these sanitizers, even the ones sold at health food stores, are made up of 70% alcohol and can be extremely drying to the hands. Hand sanitizer is certainly a great product, but there is another that is just as effective: Colloidal silver. This lesser-known sanitizer may sound unrelated, but it’s extremely versatile as a purse staple. A small bottle of colloidal silver takes up little space yet serves many purposes. What is colloidal silver? When comparing the bottles, colloidal silver is similar to hand sanitizer. They are both clear liquids that come in small spray bottles. The difference lies in the ingredients list. While hand sanitizer is composed of alcohol, preservatives, and scents, colloidal silver is described as tiny particles of silver suspended in a liquid. Its only ingredients are silver and purified water. Don’t worry, you won’t see the “silver” in the liquid because they are nanoparticles and less than 100nm in size. How can you use colloidal silver? Before antibiotics were discovered, colloidal silver was used as an all-purpose remedy for infections and pathogens. Not only does it kill bacteria, but it can also fight viruses and fungi like candida. To reap its antimicrobial properties, you can use it as a topical spray or ingest it internally.  Most popular uses for colloidal silver sprays spray on hands to use as hand sanitizer spray on the face after a long day of mask-wearing, to prevent mask (acne caused by wearing masks long-term) spray in the mouth at the first sign of cold or flu spray in the eyes to clear out an eye infection spray on external wounds to prevent infections spray on the scalp to fight dandruff Best options: Sovereign Silver Spray 59mL*, Sovereign Silver Silver Hydrosol 946mL* *when spraying in the mouth, please follow the instructions on the bottle Is colloidal silver safe? Even though colloidal silver has many anti-microbial uses, not everyone is completely sold on the product. Silver itself is present in our everyday environment and we are constantly exposed to small amounts. Can ingesting it as a supplement be toxic? Current studies show that the risk for chronic exposure to colloidal silver is not well known. As with any substance, there can be a risk of overdose, but the exact amounts and time frame needed for colloidal silver to cause this are not known. Considering how long it’s been used and how effective it’s been, the risk of overexposure is likely low. Using colloidal silver as a spray ensures you are using low quantities, and many supplements contain low concentrations of silver. Nonetheless, it is recommended to use colloidal silver with caution. Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Elderberry vs. echinacea: which is more effective at fighting infections?

Elderberry vs. echinacea
In the natural health world, there are two particular herbs that are the most well-known for helping to fight infections. Whether it be to fight the flu or a common cold, it is best to be prepared with your natural health kit. As the back-to-school season nears, some people may reach for their trusty elderberry syrup, while others prefer their echinacea tinctures. The question is, which one is more effective? Let’s take a look. The benefits of echinacea Echinacea is a flower that is commonly grown in the US and in Canada. You may have seen it in parks without realizing it. These pink blossom flowers have been shown to lower the risk of developing colds by more than 50%. When taken at the onset of a cold, it can shorten the duration. How? Echinacea contains antioxidants that help the immune system to make more white blood cells. When the body detects an invader or pathogen, it will send white blood cells around to find and engulf the bacteria virus or dead cells. An increased amount of white blood cells during infections can help the body get rid of the infection faster and more effectively. How to take echinacea Tea: Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Spearmint 16 Tea Bags Lozenges: Quantum TheraZinc Echinacea Lozenges Cherry Mint 14 Counts Tincture: Omega Alpha Echinacea & Goldenseal 50mL Capsules: Nature’s Way Echinacea Goldenseal 100 Capsules The benefits of elderberry As the name suggests, elderberry is a type of berry. It is widely grown across Europe and North America, although it is not as common as echinacea. If you do happen to come across it, keep in mind that only the white flower and dark purple berries are edible. The rest of the plant is poisonous. Despite this, elderberry is traditionally used as a medicine because of its therapeutic properties. It is packed with powerful vitamins and minerals that strengthen immunity –vitamin A, C, E, iron, potassium, and various antioxidants. Similar to echinacea, it helps your body kick off sickness faster by providing you with the nutrients to strengthen your immune system. Elderberry has been shown to reduce severe respiratory symptoms. It takes a more active approach in fighting pathogens and can stop viral replication in cells, to prevent it from spreading. The fewer viruses you have in your body, the faster your immune system can get rid of them! How to take elderberry Gummies: Mega Food Immune Support Elderberry 54 Gummies Syrup: Suro Organic Elderberry Syrup Adults 236mL Lozenges: Now Elderberry & Zinc 30 Lozenges Tea: Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Elderberry 16 Tea Bags Capsules: Suro Organic Elderberry+ 60 Capsules Elderberry extract: Suro Organic Elderberry Extract 118mL Which herb should I take: elderberry or echinacea? If you have access to either, they are both effective at building immunity and fighting off infections sooner. They are great options to boost overall health and can be used together. If you must make the choice between the two, consider your unique symptoms or situation. Echinacea is best taken as a preventative measure, while elderberry works well when you are already sick. Elderberry contains more antioxidants and vitamin C. If you are able to distinguish between bacterial or viral infection, echinacea can help your body fight off bacteria. On the other hand, elderberry is less effective at fighting bacterial infections but can be effective at fighting viral infections like the common cold or the flu. Author Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Healthy Ways to Detox (Hint: it’s not through dieting!)

Body Detox Food
It’s that time of the year again! A new year can be a great time to reconsider or adopt new goals to prioritize your health. Motivation is at an all-time high during January, making it great time to start new healthy habits. How many times have you made New Year’s resolutions about weight loss? Fad diets or cutting out all junk foods may sound exciting, but as you probably know, it is neither sustainable nor realistic. What about detoxing after the holiday indulgences? Let’s say you drank more alcohol and ate more desserts than usual. It detoxing necessary? The word “detox” might make you think of diet pills, food restrictions or even detox drinks. Our bodies can deal with a moderate amount of harmful chemicals and sugary foods. But due to the large amount of toxins we absorb on a regular basis – pollution, processed foods, heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, emulsifiers – helping the body detox and reducing the liver’s burden can make a huge difference. When you detox in a healthy way, you are doing so much more than losing weight. Detoxing also helps the body get rid of toxins, keeps your energy high, lower inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. So instead of using one-time fixes like pills or restrictive diets, consider adding these healthy habits first. Drink Dandelion Tea Dandelion root is a natural diuretic that helps your liver eliminate toxins more quickly. The liver is your primary organ for detoxification, and this powerful herbal tea is well-known for protecting the liver to make sure it is working effectively. Traditional Medicinals offers a high quality, organic dandelion root tea that is specifically created to support everyday detox. Plus, it is delicious!  Use a Dry Brush Before Showering Did you know that your skin is another detoxing organ? We don’t typically think of the skin as detox pathway, but many everyday toxins can be excreted through the skin’s pores. Dry brushing involves using a long brush with natural bristles to brush your skin, in the direction of your heart. This daily process removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and stimulates the lymphatic system, helping your body remove waste more efficiently. Dry brushing is similar to massage – but way cheaper! All you need is a long body brush and you are good to go. Try brushing before you shower so you can wash off the dead skin cells after! Relax with a Castor oil pack Castor oil is an old remedy used for a variety of health conditions. It contains therapeutic fatty acids that provide many health benefits. When used in a castor oil pack, it can stimulate the lymphatic system, help the liver detoxify naturally and reduce inflammation. Castor oil packs are simple to do at home. You will need a high-quality, hexane-free castor oil. Pour just enough oil to soak a dye-free cotton flannel, wrap it around your liver area (right side of abdomen), then wrap another old towel over it to prevent the castor oil from staining. Then cover it with a heating pad or hot water bottle for 30 minutes. This should be a time of relaxation – lying down or sitting on the couch is ideal. Note: Do not use castor packs during menstruation as it can make your bleeding heavier. Everyday Detox Can be Easy Remember, health is a culmination of what you do every day. There are so many ways to improve your physical and mental health, without restriction and rigidity. Detoxing the right way is one of best ways you can help your body function at its best. Give these healthy habits and you will see just how easy it is! Author Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Essential Oils 101

Essential Oils. If you stop to smell the roses, you are experiencing a particular combination of unique chemicals called essential oils. Those chemicals can be extracted and concentrated into what consumers call essential oils. Essential oils can be found in all plant parts including the bark, leaves, flowers and roots. The word “essential” refers to our experience of plant aromas which are considered to be the “essence” or soul of the plant. The oil refers to the volatile component extracted from plants. Since they are volatile they easily evaporates into the atmosphere allowing for the wonderful experience of aromatherapy. How we experience essential oils. The array of potential therapeutic effects of essential oils is a reflection of the multiple points of entry and impact. When we inhale them they make their way directly to a primitive part of our brain responsible for emotions and memories as well as to our lung tissues and from there into our blood streams. We also absorb essential oils through our skin and mucous membranes and ingest them as is the case with peppermint candy cane. For centuries essential oils have been used to treat inflammation, insomnia, stress, skin diseases, pain, infections, headaches and the list goes on. Safety of essential oils. It takes approximately 75 lemons to make just one small 15ml bottle of lemon essential oil.Such highly concentrated extractsare not found in nature and therefore must be treated with care and respect. Never apply essential oils without diluting them. A 1-3% dilution (6-18 drops in 30 ml bottle of carrier oil) is generally safe for an adult body below the neck. My carrier oils of choice are either fractionated coconut oil or jojoba (which has a great self-life). When diffusing essential oils around small animals and babies make sure the area is well ventilated area. For more information visit: https://www.nowfoods.ca/essential-oils/quality-safety Ingesting essential oils. If you have every used natural toothpastes or eaten commercially prepared foods you have likely ingested a variety of essential oils. While certain essential oils are safe to consume (see a list https://www.nowfoods.com/now/nowledge/food-grade-essential-oil-faqs) this does not mean you can simply drop them in water and swallow them. Essential oils that are edible must still be safely diluted and dispersed. Since they are NOT soluble in water (they don’t mix) this is not a safe medium for consumption. Make sure you are working with a professional with knowledge and experience before attempting to make your own ingestible goods. Essential oil quality. NOW® Essential Oils are highly tested for quality and purity using internationally recognized methods and tests which are transparently published on their website: https://www.nowfoods.com/now/nowledge/safety-data-sheets-essential-oils While the term “therapeutic grade” is often tossed around some circles, this is a marketing term and has not official meaning. The term “pure” on a bottle typically means not diluted with a carrier oil and has no official meaning or guarantee of lack of “impurities.” Enjoying essential oils. The plethora of uses for essential oils is mind boggling. You can diffuse them (a great way to wake up, focus, or wind down), soak in them, apply them topically, add them to homemade body care and cleaning products, make a potty spritz, bath bombs, body scrubs, and more! A great place to start is here: https://www.nowfoods.com/essential-oils/recipes