Monday, February 23, 2015

Natural Deodorant - That Works!

Take a look at your deodorant and see if any of these are listed: aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates or triclosan.  Chances are at least one of these is in there as they are all common ingredients in today's deodorants and antiperspirants.  Aluminum is a metal and is often used in antiperspirants to help block the sweat from escaping pores.  It has also been linked to breast cancer in women.  I don't want to scare you but ANYTHING that we put on our skin (our body's largest organ) WILL be absorbed by our body.  Parabens scare me - not only are they contained in an alarming amount of our body care products and makeup but the absorption of them can and will disrupt our delicate hormonal balance.  This can lead to things like early puberty in children and an increased risk of hormonal cancers among other things.  Propylene glycol is a little bit tamer; however, I feel that over time even this ingredient can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.  Phthalates have also been linked to a variety of health issues and they may even disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation (birth defects).  Triclosan has anti-bacterial properties and is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA.  The Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a probably carcinogen.  Some companies are working to remove triclosan from their products, a positive step in the right direction.

So, what does this all mean and what can you do?  First off, the very places on our bodies where we put deodorant are right where our axillary lymph nodes are.  So what we put in that spot will be absorbed into our lymph nodes (and of course our body).  The axillary lymph node area filters the lymph fluid draining away from the breast area.  Since the job of the lymph nodes is to filter out "bad guys" like cancer cells, this can be an area that is susceptible to cancer and the spread of cancer. Not good.  Lymph nodes also filter out and trap bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted substances and wastes from our bodies and make sure that they are safely eliminated from the body.

You want to keep your lymph nodes working well and without any unneeded chemicals from deodorants that will be absorbed!!

After trying out various natural deodorants I've found an easy recipe that you can make at home.  Although not necessarily GAPS legal, if you are on GAPS and in need of a deodorant I feel that this one has better ingredients versus purchasing one.  Here it is:

Natural Deodorant
5 Tablespoons coconut oil
4 Tablespoons baking soda
4 Tablespoons cornstarch
5 drops tea tree oil (or other essential oil; I like lavender oil)
Mix together well with a spoon and put in a container.  Will last a long time and you can halve the recipe if you like.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Little Immune Booster

Ever hear of the elderberry plant?  This berry often grows wild and is cultivated for it's health properties.  The Latin name is Sambucas Nigra and syrup made from these berries (as well as the berries themselves) is a highly effective and preventative tool for colds and flu.  This syrup is loaded with antioxidants, immune supporting minerals, flavonoids and Vitamin C!

In a scientific study, elderberry extract was proven to inhibit several strains of influenza and reduced symptoms in general.  In another study researchers observed that, "Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo".

So during the height of cold and flu season I thought I would pass on my very favorite elderberry syrup recipe.  You can buy more expensive versions of this at your local pharmacy or even purchase homemade versions at farmer's markets and other natural health stores; however, making elderberry syrup is affordable and very easy! 

Elderberry Syrup

  • 2/3 cup black elderberries*
  • 3 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey yet).
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced a bit.  At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled.  Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. I usually take the back of a spoon and press the berries so that most of the liquid has been strained.
  3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.  Then add 1 cup of raw honey and stir well.
  4. When honey has been well mixed then pour the syrup into a glass container (a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle works well).
  5. Store in the refrigerator and take daily through cold and flu season for its immune boosting properties.  Standard dose is 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. for children and 1/2 Tbsp. to 1 Tbsp. for adults.  If the flu or a cold do strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.
This will usually last for 3-4 months stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy! (*Note: I like Frontier Organics whole organic European elderberries).