You may not believe that these 7 tips work for increasing energy

As a small business owner and mother of 4, I often do not get enough sleep. I know, I know, I should go to sleep earlier and manage my time more efficiently. There are many times however, that it just doesn’t happen. I know many of you can relate to this. Here are some of the ways I get through those days, when really I would simply love to crawl back into bed but just have too much to do.

 

1 I drink brightened water throughout the day. Water brightened with things like a squeeze of fresh lemon,  a spoonful (or teabag) of hibiscus with ginger, or a few leaves of fresh mint, help keep me hydrated and happy.

 

2 I stretch the back of my legs and my back. Forward bends, lunges stretching the back of the calves and so on,  help release muscle tension that can cause fatigue. Spending as little as 3-5 minutes, two times per day can bring a significant release within a day or two of taking on this little habit.  That small ache that you weren’t even aware of can cause significant fatigue. Anything you do to help release it, can really bring an increase in energy throughout the day.

 

3  I try to remember to tell someone I love them. The heart is a major source of energy in the body, consciously tapping into it brings me strength and vibrance. 🙂

 

4 I try to avoid eating large quantities of grain, they use a lot of energy to digest and tend to make me feel weighed down and tired. Eating small amounts of grain, like 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time combined with protein sources and lots of non starchy veggies (ie leafy greens) and fruit helps me keep going when I am tired. Also I can munch on red bell peppers and apples or green beans all day long just to stay awake while working at the computer and I am not going to get into trouble with weight gain.

 

5 I try to remember that today could be my last. I got this advice from a Navy Seal veteran, and I see it as a deep wisdom. Choosing to be grateful for today, is energizing, strengthening and brings me courage and patience when I need it.

 

6 I sometimes stop in the middle of working and just do as many push ups as I can. This kind of little physical sprint gets the adrenals going and can buy me an hour or two of productivity when I feel like I am toast.

 

7 Sometimes I just give in to sweet surrender. In other words, sometimes I can find a way to close my eyes for 15 minutes for a power nap or even an hour in the middle of it all. Although I may wake up groggy, I am much more able to handle the rest of the day than if I had not had that sleep.

 

8 Of course, this list would not be complete without an uplifting Minty Cocoa lip balm application recommendation or some Citrus Grove Ultra Healing Body Butter shmeared on the hands and deeply inhaled.

 

Ok, so that’s my list. Anyone else have other tricks for keeping going when sleep is not plentiful in your life? Let us know!

Thanks and be well,

Ora

Ora’s Amazing Herbal, because herbs are amazing

Lice Prevention

Autumn is almost here, and while the fall brings so many lovely associations of crisp weather, pumpkin spice everything, and approaching holidays, there is another association with back-to-school that is less pleasant, and on the minds of many parents: lice. These pests are unfortunately easily transferred among students in close classroom environments, and apparently, a new breed of “super lice” have become resistant to the over the counter pesticide treatments that are usually recommended. These lice have spread through 42 states, and it is certainly easier to avoid them than get rid of them, but how?

Many parents try to buy organic food and avoid unnecessary chemical exposure, so why would we want to apply even stronger prescription strength pesticides to our child’s scalp? Everything applied to the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream in varying degrees, just like any topical pharmaceutical. That makes it very important to consider what we apply to our skin all the time, but especially when looking to eliminate a pest like lice. It can be tempting to use the strongest chemical available just to get rid of the nuisance, but we have to consider the effect on our children’s health. That is where essential oils can play an extremely helpful role!

Pure essential oils are carefully distilled and contain the plant’s strongest, most therapeutic properties. They can be effective even when harsher treatments are not, and since they are non-toxic and health promoting, using them preventatively is a great option to prevent lice from ever having a chance to become a problem!

Some oils that are known to help repel lice are:
Rosemary
Cedar Leaf (aka Thuja)
Tea Tree (aka Melaleuca)
Thyme
Geranium
Lavender
(Any combination of these oils should be effective, but using all of them together even more so.)

Since essential oils are very concentrated plant extracts, it is important to purchase high quality oils from a reputable source, and use care when applying them to children. Usually it is suggested to dilute essential oils with a carrier, such as a salve or oil before applying. One great option is to combine one drop of each oil per teaspoon of carrier in a jar. Mix well, and rub a dab between your hands before massaging into the scalp. This will nourish dry hair and promote a healthy scalp as well! Another way to use the oils is to combine 10 drops of each in an 8oz spray bottle with water. Shake before spraying on a small amount while covering eyes, then smooth over the hair. With either preparation, if any irritation occurs, stop using. The oils may be too strong, in which case, dilute with more carrier. When preventing lice it is also recommended to keep long hair tied back in a bun.

 

 

c_Eisner

 

Caitlin Eisner Fisch is a writer, personal chef, and independent distributor with Young Living essential oils. You can learn more about oils, and order through http://babystepseo.com/u/thejoyofcaitlin

Contact her at thejoyofcaitlin.oils@gmail.com with any questions, or check out her homeschooling journey on Instagram @thejoyofcaitlin and her essential oil journey @thejoyofcaitlin.oils

Natural Hemorrhoid Treatments

At Ora’s Amazing Herbal we have had a few “happy accidents” over the years. Touchy skin salve being so Amazing as a natural hemorrhoid treatment is one of them. This guest blogger, has some fun tips on how to get to the bottom of the situation. (Did she really just say that?!) – Ora

Moms, Let’s Talk About Hemorrhoids

I’ve got three kids, all born in the painful-pushing- split me open-oh g-d it burns way. I like to think that I have three hemorrhoids to match. Not being able to see down there I don’t know for sure, but I do know that motherhood for me has involved a nearly obsessive interest in what I eat and making sure it comes out ok. While my college diet was probably contributory (pizza, cereal and fro yo anyone?) the strain on my body from carrying an additional 50-40- 30lbs around, let alone the strain of pushing out 7lbs at a go, has given me my new lifetime companions.

It’s COMPLETELY normal. Especially for moms. And it’s not as bad as it could be. There’s homeopathy that can help (Hamamelis or Nux Vomica to start), there’s the Squatty Potty (check out the faux-mercial with the unicorn, hilarious) and there’s yoga poses like downward dog that loosen up the region and shift the weight off of your nether parts. Tucks pads are a drugstore standard and are slightly better than baby wipes when it comes to cleaning yourself, since the astringent witch hazel cools and shrinks the inflamed vessels.

Keeping a diet with vegetable fiber, plenty of water and not too much dairy is the easiest way to stay comfortable. But sometimes pizza and wine are in order. And sometimes we just eat way too much matzoh. Whatever the reason, Ora’s Amazing Herbal Touchy Skin Salve is, well, amazing, when it comes to reducing symptoms. The special herbal formula soothes the hemorrhoids themselves, relieves inflammation and generally lubricates the region for less mess and less discomfort.

All natural. All good. Because herbs are amazing. (Thanks for that little plug Ruthie-Ora)

Ruthie Pearlman is a doula, homeopath and mother of three. When she’s not pretending to homestead in Maine she’s shaking it on the dance floor in New Jersey. Check out her Facebook page “Homeopathy For Moms.”

lice!! superlice!! eeeew!!!

lice!! superlice!! eeeew!!!

Spoiler alert! This post is about lice, which are gross. As a mother of 4, I have indeed encountered many very gross things, but few are more gross than lice. One thing more gross than lice though, is the over the counter neurotoxic chemical lice treatments that are sold in most pharmacies. If you are a sensitive person like I am, (or maybe like any child whose neurological system is still developing) and have had lice a time or two, you know, that the way you feel after using that stuff is something to be avoided. Also, it is all over the internet, that there are now resistant lice or superlice. This new type of, um, louse, is not killed by the usual run of the mill neurotoxin. Oh, no this one is stronger.
So we have two choices, we use stronger chemicals and re-enact the arms race in an effort to kill the critters, or we go the old fashioned route.

“This hippy crunchy yoga kale muncher AP mom wants me to just leave my kids’ hair full of bugs in the name of organic world granola balance?” You exclaim?!.
Well my answer to you, is “Hell no! Get rid of those nasty bugs and do it quick!”
With all this resistant lice appearing, it is good to know that the natural or “alternative” treatments for lice, are still equally effective on these new lice, because they rely mostly on physical, mechanical methods rather than attempting the standard strategy of poisoning the bugs to death.

Sometimes being a crunchy hippy mom, you get to say “I told you so, and then give some very useful advice. When these times come, forgive me, but I enjoy it. And today, you too will benefit from my eat more kale t-shirt wearingness.
Here is my highly effective lice treatment strategy that I have developed over my years of formal biology focused education, many hours of internet searching, consulting with experts and then personal experience.

What you will need:

1 Time and patience, there is no way around this. Perhaps a good book or device of some sort to keep your child distracted and not moving.

2 A good lice comb, and you need to use it alot. Here is a link to the one I have found effective. The regular store ones don’t work, I don’t know why they sell them.
http://www.amazon.com/Nit-Free-Terminator-Professional-Stainless/dp/B000HIBPV8/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1457302435&sr=8-3&keywords=lice+comb

2 Apple cider vinegar (ACV from here on). No, I am not a no poo, just wash your hair with ACV advocate, but it does kill lice and possibly the eggs, so it is a useful tool in this situation.

3 In the case of long hair, you need a good silky conditioner to help with combing without pulling.

4 Crisco. Yup, I said Crisco, not coconut oil or mango butter or salve or colostrum. Crisco. *This is the only time I will ever recommend this product for any use ever. It works because it stays put, doesn’t drip around like every other butter I have ever tried, and is thick enough to suffocate the buggers.

5 Dish soap.

6 A head covering you can sleep in and don’t care if it gets ruined. A thick cotton beret, a shower cap, whatever.

7 A pillow case in the same category. It could get Crisco stains on it.

Ok, here is what to do.

1 Check for lice/eggs. Even if I just see little red bumps around the base of the neck or around the ears or the crown of the head, I do a treatment. Why wait till it gets really bad.

2 Wash bedding. I like to put the pillows just in the dryer, the washer ruins them.
3 Soak brushes in ACV. Remember, the dryer heat is what really kills them.

3 Wet hair, saturate in ACV, let sit for about 10 minutes, but even just a few minutes can do the job. Depending on the kids and their, um, compliance level, leave it in as long as you can. Do NOT let it get in their eyes. It hurts very badly. Rinse out.

4 Saturate in conditioner and use the lice comb. Start from one side and go all the way across the head. Make sure you get all peripheral areas like behind ears and base of neck. Rinse out.

5 Blow dry air.

6 Saturate hair in Crisco, paying special attention to the roots. Think hair dye. Thats how thorough it should be in the hair. Saturated. Put hair in a hair band or rubber band or something to keep it up. Cover hair. Leave on overnight and as long as possible after that. Wash it out. Our shampoo hasn’t been strong enough, we have had to use dish soap.

7 Comb thoroughly with lice comb, I like to use salve to help get the comb through (see #8)

8 I like to rub some of my All Purpose Salve into the roots before combing and then put the hair up into a tight braid for the day. I use do this for two reasons. Firstly, lice like clean and not oily hair, it is easier to bind eggs to so keeping roots oiled is a good idea. Second, because this salve has essential oils rosemary, tea tree, and cedar leaf that lice don’t like. You can really use any solid oil at room temperature oil with these essential oils though. Using a liquid oil is too irritating and causes the kids to scratch. This is not what we want. When there is broken skin, there is risk of infection so itching is the enemy. Also, the ACV can sting broken skin.

After this treatment, I comb daily for a week with conditioner. Twice daily if possible.
I also repeat this treatment a week later, and depending how grossed out I am, possibly two weeks later.
I also change pillow cases a lot more often, and soak brushes in ACV weekly.

Even after you treat effectively, sometimes irritation and itchiness can persist to a few days while the scalp heals. Sometimes it is worth asking a school nurse or doing a google search to find a professional lice checker with a magnifier and a good light to confirm that you got them all. I found one locally who charged $15 to just do a good check.

p.s. When ever I hear that lice is going around, which it tends to do about twice a year, I salve or oil my kids hair, and keep it up. I also just comb weekly with conditioner during these times, as a preventative.

There, that wasn’t so bad was it? Ok fine, it was. What can I say, lice are gross and horrible, but as least your kids’ neurons and synapses are unharmed and your home is now nit free. Congratulations and your welcome.

Make Tea Not War

I love autumn but I hate all the warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold confusion. It just wreaks havoc on our immune systems in this house. We have one kid with a cough, one kid with the sniffles, one who is exhausted and one who is, well he is a teenager. Finally today I declared war on seasonal change! And by war I mean I made tea. Here is what I made.
All quantities are eyeball estimates of volume and not weight. The highly complex reason for this is that I am a busy woman and eyeballing is just fine for this. Don’t judge my imprecision! How much measuring do you do when you make tea?

2 oz broken up cinnamon sticks
6 oz hibiscus flowers
4 oz elderberry flowers
4 oz rosehip

Dump it all into a quart size mason jar and shake till well mixed. It will be about half empty. You can add more herbs to fill it if you want, I just like having space to easily blend.
Scoop about an ounce into a quart size mason jar, add boiling water to fill.
Allow to steep until some child comes in complaining or coughing or asking for a tissue.
This may be 8 minutes or 8 hours, both are fine. One is stronger than the other but both have major benefit.
Strain out the infusion. Add water if it is too strong. And raw local honey if you must get it sweetened in order to attain .. compliance, as they call it. It should be yummy so they chug it and ask for more, but too much sugar (yes even honey counts) is not good for the immune system. You know your audience, make your decision for them.
I also sometimes add a cup of the strong (~ 8 hour) infusion to a pitcher of water and put it on the table for dinner, it is always gone by the end of the meal.
Enjoy! Be well!

No Matter How Crunchy You Are, Think Twice Before You DIY Sunscreen

Natural sunscreen do’s and don’ts.

People keep asking me why I don’t sell a natural sunscreen.
The truth of the matter is that I use my Nightly Repair Face Serum in the morning, and although I state no claims, it has enough natural SPF from the tamanu, carrot, and other oils that I don’t need any SPF on my face most days. (See below for citation on a study I found about SPF of tamanu). If I am to spend a day in full sun I use a lab tested, mineral based high SPF sunscreen from a company I trust such as Badger Balm, with sunglasses and clothing as sun protection. A day of full sun happens for me about once a summer. At most I tend to spend an hour or two in full sun, during which I am happy to soak up the rays and feel my melanocytes getting their Vitamin D absorption on.

In the meantime here are a few do’s and don’ts.

1 Do refer to the EWG guide to sunscreen to educate yourself and to double check your choice. They have a search bar, where you can enter the product you are considering and they will rate it for you. (We aren’t on there yet, but we sure hope to be soon!)
http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/

2 DON’T shmear yourself or your kids in a bunch of oil that you read somewhere online has SPF *8-10 and go to the beach all day. YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL BURN! For example I have seen people say things like, “Just use coconut and olive oil!”. As a pale skin person with experience in the sunburn from just shmearing oil department I can say to you, “NO! Make sure you have actual sunblock on if you are going to depend on a skincare product to protect you from the sun.

3 Any natural DIY recipe that has only oils, and no mineral blocking agent such as non-nano zinc oxide, is not to be depended upon.

4 If you want to make your own sunscreen you can check out this article for guidelines. She is talking sense. http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-sunscreen/

5 An easy option is to add some non-nano zinc oxide (see chart in #4) to some of our body butter which is about SPF 8 and use that as sunscreen. Just warm up the body butter in the sun or however else you want and mix it in, then place in freezer to re-solidify. This is basically what I do for my own DIY sunscreen. I don’t use it for a day at the beach though, for that I call in the big guns that have been lab tested for SPF of at least 30.

In case you are interested. Here is a link to the abstract about the tamanu oil study that I found. It was designed in order to assess the possibility of using tamanu oil in an opthalmic solution, since chemical sunblocks are cytotoxic (kill cells) and cause damage to the eye.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17188472photo(46).

Is Tamanu Oil the New Argan Oil? The Story of a Little-Known Miracle Oil That Can Transform Your Skin

Tamanu

One of the key ingredients in our Advanced Nightly Skin Repair Phytonutrient Face Oil Serum is tamanu oil, an oil that is still unknown to many in the Western world. Although the mainstream market has discovered Moroccan argan oil and added it to all kinds of hair and skin products, tamanu oil is just starting to gain attention as the public starts to learn about how this humble little nut can be transformed into an oil with incredible skin-healing and anti-aging properties.

Tamanu nuts (Calophyllum inophyllum) are typically grown in Southeast Asia, East Africa and Australia. They are dried for several months until the nut secretes its precious oil that is cold-pressed to create a skin-healing oil that has anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. It is noted for its ability to heal scars and wounds and reduce stretch marks as well as its effectiveness in the treatment of mild abrasions and rashes. It is strongly anti-inflammatory and also full of antioxidants that can help prevent or reverse signs of aging. Tamanu oil has been used by traditional cultures to protect the skin from extreme weather. Preliminary research has indicated that tamanu oil contains an anti-inflammatory compound called calophyllolide as well as a form of vitamin E and other anti-oxidants.

Tamanu oil is strongly regenerative for the skin thanks to its free-radical-neutralizing polyphenol content, which is why Ora’s Amazing Herbals uses it as a key ingredient in our Night Serum. But it is also used for psoriasis, acne, athlete’s foot, rheumatism, scabies, eczema, sunburn and to prevent wrinkles. It is also used for topical pain relief, as it can relieve some of the symptoms of shingles, joint pain and other conditions. It is known in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands for its ability to heal chapped or burned skin. Peer-reviewed research studies have shown tamanu oil’s efficacy in healing scars.

Tamanu oil, in combination with other phytonutrient-rich oils such as carrot seed oil and pomegranate oil, is a critical ingredient in our popular new Advanced Nightly Skin Repair Phytonutrient Face Oil Serum. Our restorative serums use only gluten-free, all-natural ingredients to protect and repair your skin and keep your face glowing all year long.

Alternatives to Steroids for Eczema in Kids & Adults

Natural Eczema Treatment

Anyone with eczema can testify to the quick speed with which most doctors are ready to dispense prescriptions for steroid creams. However, an increasing number of people are turning a skeptical eye towards this conventional approach to treatment and questioning steroids’ safety. These creams are absorbed into the body through the skin. There are strict maximums on steroid dosages due to potential side effects, which children are particularly prone to. Although regarded by many as a benign medication, steroid creams can actually cause growth restriction for children, thinning of the skin, depigmentation, contact dermatitis, stretchmarks, and more. Although there are cases where eczema requires medical treatment, there are safer alternatives to steroid creams that can be tried first.

The first “treatment” to try for eczema is not a treatment at all but rather prevention via the identification of eczema triggers. Take a look at what some factors might be in causing the appearance or worsening of eczema. This includes infections; very hot or very cold weather; environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or pets; skin exposure to substances that can irritate the skin, such as many soaps and laundry detergents, body care products, and cleaning products. Even emotional stress can cause an eczema flare. Changing hormone levels may also trigger it, as can certain foods (whether or not you have a truly allergy to them).

The second natural approach that can be taken to treat eczema is the use of chemical-free moisturizers, emollients and oils to sooth the skin and deeply moisturize it, as well as protecting it from weather changes and irritants. When Ora’s Amazing Herbal was first launched, two of our first products were our All-Purpose Salve and Touchy Skin Salve. These were initially created by founder Ora Assayag to treat her own child’s severe eczema in order to avoid resorting to the antibiotics and corticosteroids suggested by doctors. Ora quickly discovered these salves were effective for the treatment of eczema and extremely dry skin, didn’t cause stinging for people with irritated and sensitive skin, and provided a protective barrier for people engaging in work or play that can irritate and dry out the skin, in addition to having many healing properties. They can be applied to a child’s exposed skin before going out into the cold or heat, used to treat rough, dry or irritated patches of skin, and can even be effective for cradle cap. Consider giving safe salves and healing oils a try before resorting to medical treatments that may cause as many problems as they solve.

5 Things You Need to Know About Gluten-Free Skincare Products

You have no doubt noticed an astounding array of new gluten-free offerings popping up on grocery store shelves and at restaurants as awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance have grown. But did you know that there’s another gluten-free trend that goes hand and hand with gluten-free diets? It’s important for anyone with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten-reactive eczema or gluten intolerance to keep the following things in mind:

  1. You eat more shampoo and face wash than you realize!
    These products frequently drip down your face and into your mouth along with water. Many shampoos and face washes include various wheat proteins, barley and oat extracts, and other gluten-containing ingredients.
  2. Use soap and bodywash that is clean for your insides and your outsides.
    Soap and bodywash residue remains on your hands, which you then use to eat and wipe your mouth. It is only natural that one would want to make sure these products, too, are free of any ingredients that compromise your body’s wellness.
  3. Your mom told you not to eat that delicious flavored Chapstick™, but you still do.
    Lip balms and lipsticks frequently contain gluten. As you go about your day you consume more of it than you might realize. One study that found that lipstick use was corrollated with rates of systemic lupus erythematosus found that lipstick wearers consume an average of 60 milligrams of it a day. Lip balm wearers likely consume a similar quantity. Make sure any lip product you choose is as gluten-free as your food!
  4. Gluten can cause eczema flare-ups and rashes.
    Ingestion is not the only way that gluten can irritate the body. There are some people who find that applying skin creams that are not gluten-free cause skin problems… Whether it causes you or your child’s eczema to flare up or leads to an itchy contact rash, you may find that gluten-free lotions and oils help moisturize without irritating.
  5. Gluten hides in skincare products under a lot of sneaky pseudonyms.
    Ingredients sometimes found in skincare products that should be avoided by gluten-free individuals include avena sateva (oat) extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract, wheat germ oil, wheat amino acids, hydrolized wheat starch, triticum aestivum, triticum carthlicum, triticum durum, and triticum vulgare. You can avoid these ingredients by purchasing your skincare products from a company that is 100% gluten-free such as Ora’s Amazing Herbals.

Breina Gidseg is a mother of five and is a nutritionist, health and wellness writer, recipe developer and cooking teacher based in New Jersey.

Do NOT Put THAT On Your Skin!

Shea Butter

It seems intuitive that using natural and pure skincare and clean eating are the same thing. Everything that goes on your skin gets absorbed through your skin to your underlying adipose (fat) cells, to your blood, and from there to your whole body.

When I cook food, I do not add Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, or Propylparaben. When I shop at the store I read ingredients, and when I see things like yellow #5, which are known to accumulate over time in the body, I do not purchase those products.

For me, the same goes with skincare. So when formulating my new Ultra Healing Body Butter, it was a no-brainer to select ingredients that I want absorbed into my body.

Shea Butter
Shea butter is an all-natural ingredient made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or “butter seed”) that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. I particularly love the addition of shea butter in this formula, for a few reasons. Obviously the way it feels and how well it works are the first reason. The next is its high nutrient density, vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids, to be specific. Shea butter can be used on babies and pets without any concerns, and feels delicious from the minute it goes on until hours later. It is often used for eczema, stretch mark preventions and minimizing, razor bumps, and plain ol’ dry skin and hair. Organic unrefined shea butter has a buttery texture and nutty scent, as well as an approximate SPF of 6.

Complementing organic shea butter with apricot kernel, castor, and my herbal infused base oil, gives me all the elements I could imagine wanting in a body butter.

I love to take a long hot shower or bath, scrub down, and then after drying off and body powdering, use my face serum and body butter. My skin is fed, I am a whole new me.

My skin is truly clean and happy. And so am I.