31 August 2013

Simple Living Rabbit: Quality Time

Rabbits are social animals and they love being around people. Muffin is no exception to the rule. He can sit on my lap for hours and reply to my stroking him by licking my fingers.

After 4 years spent together we understand each other without words.

Spending quality time with a rabbit

Tune in again next Saturday to read more about the adventures of Muffin, the simple living rabbit.

26 August 2013

How to Remove Blackheads Naturally

Sad truth: blackheads happen to everyone, regardless of skin type and age. I have found out that washing my face with plain soap and lukewarm water helps me keep my face clean in a healthy and cheap way. I also still make a baking soda exfoliation once a week.

But if you've tried these options and they are not suitable for your skin type, here is a quick and efficient solution for your blackheads with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

How to remove #blackheads naturally via @kanelstrand
photo: Orofacial

Natural Blackhead Remover Mask
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour (or oat flour)

1. Beat the egg white lightly and add 2 tablespoons of corn flour.

2. Spread evenly on your face.

3. Let the mask dry out and take it off gently with a wet towel.

4. Rinse your face with cold water.

If you want to treat just a few blackheads on your face you can rub the area energetically with some lemon juice. The lemon treatment will be even more efficient after a steam bath, when your pores have opened by the heat.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this treatment 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.

24 August 2013

Simple Living Rabbit: The Show

After a long flight Muffin Rabbit arrived safe and sound. His cultural life was taken care of immediately on the next day and he was "subjected" to a circus show by tiny loving kid's hands.

Rabbit circus show

It seems that he is enjoying the show and why wouldn't he! He's got his hay, some greens, a tasty nut treat and his salt stone. What is more, the main character in the show is a white rabbit!

Tune in again next Saturday to read more about the adventures of Muffin, the simple living rabbit.

21 August 2013

Homemade Oat Masks for All Types of Skin

Oats are one of nature's best kept beauty secrets. Apart from making a healthy low-calorie breakfast, they are the perfect treatment for your skin. Oats soothe and heal the skin, while reducing inflammation. They soften rough skin and help it heal if it is dry and itchy. Combined with other natural ingredients oats turn into the perfect agent for treating all types of skin.

The hypoallergenic qualities of oats make them a suitable ingredient in cleansing baths. Here are three homemade oat masks that will help soothe and replenish normal, dry and oily skin.

Easy homemade oat masks for all types of skin via @kanelstrand #homemade #beauty
Photo: Paolo Neoz

Normal skin
  • 1/4 tea cup natural, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon oats
Place the mixture evenly between two pieces of gauze. Keep on the face for 15 to 20 minutes. This mask is also very efficient in reducing the pigmentation of freckles and blemishes.

Dry skin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons oats
Mix well and spread evenly on the face. Leave to work for 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.

Oily skin
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons oats
Beat the egg white until stiff. Gradually add 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest followed by 2 teaspoons of oats. Mix well and cover your face. Let it work for 10 minutes. The mask will harden so make sure you take it off gently with warm water. Finally, rinse your face with cold water. This mask is great for reducing large pores.

What other beauty treatments do you use oats for?

19 August 2013

The Best Natural Treatment for Sinus Infection

Last winter I suffered an acute sinus infection that might have become chronic. I knew sinusitis was painful and hard to treat and that is why several months ago I started looking for natural treatments for sinus infection. I tried several of them but the one that had the best effect was a prolonged treatment with drops of St john's wort oil. Here is how you can make your own drops and get rid of sinusitis.
The Best Natural Treatment for Sinus Infection via @kanelstrand
Illustration: NIAID

1. Place St John's wort flowers in a clean and dry mason jar, lightly pressing in order to get more of the herb in. Pour olive oil until the top layer of flowers is covered.

2. Cap with a lid with holes or a piece of kitchen roll held in place with a rubber band. This will allow moisture to escape.

3. Leave in direct sunlight for 40 days. Make sure you protect the jar in cold or rainy days by moving it to a warm and dry place.

4. Stir every day for the first two weeks then leave to infuse for another two.

5. Strain through a sieve covered in cheesecloth. Pour the infused oil into a clean dark bottle, label and date. Store the St. John's wort oil in a dry, cool place but not in the fridge.

Drop 2 drops of the oil in each nostril 3 times a day for adults, and 1 drop 3 times a day for children.

St John's wort is a natural antidepressant, so you might want to dry some of its flowers and drink as an herbal tea.

Here is more information on how to grow and harvest St John's wort.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that these treatments are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace 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.

17 August 2013

Simple Living Rabbit: The Flight

This summer is turning out to be the longest ever for my simple living family. We are traveling through Europe, meeting friends and family. The best part is that as usual we are accompanied by our rabbit named Muffin whom you've shortly met here and here.

Muffin Rabbit is quite the adventurer, very much like all members of my family. In the 4 years of his life he's been an inseparable part of our journeying crew. He has used all kinds of transport but until May of this year he had never ever flown by plain.

Well, today I'd like you to meet the flying rabbit comfortably settled in a lovely traveling cat cage all packed up with hay, oats and soft bedding.

Rabbit at the airport

He's checked in and already boarding!
Rabbit boarding the flight

Tune in again next Saturday to read more about Muffin, the simple living rabbit.

16 August 2013

Eat a Flower, Heal Your Acne

Did you know that flowers are not only beautiful but also beneficial for your health? When properly applied they can even treat your acne. You can eat them fresh or dried, the easiest way to incorporate them in your diet being as a decoration for desserts or cocktails.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on healing your acne, inflammations and respiratory tract infections. 

Edible flowers treat acne via @kanelstrand

The rose flower has an active anti-inflammatory ingredient and boosts the immune system. You can use the flowers of the white rose as a laxative. Or you can treat hard-to-heal wounds with them and stimulate the healing process.

The petals of the red rose contain high amounts of tannin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. You can treat gum inflammation by preparing a rose gargle following this quick gargle recipe: Pour 1 teacup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of rose petals. Leave for 20 minutes and gargle after it has cooled.

Everything about this flower can be used for healing purposes. The root is an effective expectorant and diuretic. The leaves calm the nervous system, and the flowers treat headache.

The wild Viola flower is a powerful antioxidant, it also contains cyclotides which have a diverse range of in vitro biological activities, including uterotonic, anti-HIV, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and insecticidal activities. Drink herbal viola tea for coughing.

For treatment of acne and skin irritations, pour 2 teacups of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of dry violas. Strain after 2 hours and apply on the affected areas.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)
Nasturtium is rich in vitamin C, and is known as an herbal antibiotic. It has been used in herbal medicine for its antiseptic and expectorant qualities. It is effective in fighting chest colds and in promoting the formation of new blood cells, as well as in treating respiratory and urinary tract infections. It is best if you eat the fresh flowers in a salad, vegetable meals, or in soups but don't overdo it because it is spicy.

English daisy (Bellis perennis)
This flower has been used in herbal medicine since ancient Rome when bandages were soaked in English daisy juice to bind sword and spear cuts. Bellis perennis is rich in vitamins and minerals and stimulates the metabolism. It is an anti-inflammatory and expectorant agent and is known to purify the blood.

To treat respiratory infections, pour 2 teacups of boiling water over 2-3 teaspoons of chopped flowers. Strain after 1 hour and drink 75 ml (0,16 pt) three times a day before meals.

Please note that eating flowers might be dangerous as well. As MNN suggests, to avoid unpleasant surprises always consult a reference book on edible flowers and plants.
Eat flowers you have grown yourself, or know to be safe for consumption. Flowers from the florist or nursery have probably been treated with pesticides or other chemicals.

Do not eat roadside flowers or those picked in public parks. Both may have been treated with pesticide or herbicide, and roadside flowers may be polluted by car exhaust.

Eat only the petals, and remove pistils and stamens before eating.

If you suffer from allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may exacerbate allergies.

To keep flowers fresh, place them on moist paper towels and refrigerate in an airtight container. Some will last up to 10 days this way. Ice water can revitalize limp flowers.

Now is your turn, have you tasted the flowers in your garden?

14 August 2013

Herbal Treatment for Foot Fungus (Athlete's foot)

Foot fungus (Athlete's foot) is a common skin condition that affects the sole of the foot and the skin between the toes. It causes scaling, flaking, and itch of affected areas and occasionally may be weepy and oozing. It affects the feet of athletes and non-athletes alike.

Foot fungus is most commonly transmitted in moist areas such as public showers, swimming pools and bathhouses, where people walk barefoot, and requires a warm moist environment, such as the inside of a shoe, in order to incubate and develop.

It is extremely difficult and time-consuming to treat foot fungus. It usually takes about 45 days to cure foot fungus with the help of proper medication. But there are also herbal treatments that are equally effective but cheaper.

Effective Herbal Treatment for Foot Fungus (Athlete's foot) via @kanelstrand
photo: Daniel Horacio Agostini

Tea tree oil is a common suggestion in treating foot fungus but you might feel disappointed after using it because it only improves the symptoms without curing the underlying fungal infection.

A tried and tested herbal treatment for foot fungus is using Smoke tree also known as Smoke bush, which is a common garden shrub and grows in dry, infertile soils.

The smoke tree has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. It is a powerful agent against festers. It is mostly applied for external use because drinking great amounts of herbal smoke tree tea might induce vomiting.

Smoke tree against foot fungus
To successfully treat foot fungus, prepare a highly concentrated infusion of smoke tree by boiling 40 g (1,41 oz) dry Smoke tree leaves, flowers and stems in 400 ml (0, 42 qt) water for about 20 minutes. Strain the leaves and dilute with warm water. Wait until the temperature of the infusion becomes bearable and soak your feet. Keep them in the mixture until the water cools down. Repeat once a day for 40 days.

The health benefits of the Smoke tree will help you treat foot fungus effectively but you should take care to prevent reinfection. This can easily be achieved by  not sharing shoes, towels, and bath mats. Don’t walk barefoot in public areas like locker rooms, swimming pools, communal showers, etc. Keeping your feet dry and practice good hygiene.

What other herbal treatments do you know about getting rid of foot fungus?

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this treatment 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.

12 August 2013

6 Effective Home Remedies for Sunburn

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 sunburn caused by overexposure to sunlight.

6 effective home remedies for sunburn via @kanelstrand
photo: Tom Godber
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. Here is how you can make St. John's wort oil at home.

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

08 August 2013

Health Benefits of St John's Wort Oil and How to Make it at Home

St John’s wort is native to Europe but is also commonly found in the US and Canada on roadsides, meadows, and woods.

The use of St John’s wort dates back to the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates recorded the medical use of St. John’s wort flowers. St John’s wort was given its name because it blooms about June 24th, the birthday of John the Baptist. “Wort” is an old English word for plant.

Health benefits of St John's wort oil and how to make it at home via @kanelstrand
photo: Annouk
Uses of St John's wort oil
  • sunburn
  • first degree burn
  • acne
  • bruises and scrapes
  • inflammation and muscle pain
  • wounds
  • scalp conditions
  • insect bites
  • hemorrhoids
  • nerve/back pain
  • arthritis
  • sciatica
  • fibromyalgia
  • gastritis/ulcer
  • rashes
  • varicose veins
  • gout.
How to grow St John's wort
St John's wort is a sun loving, shrubby perennial whose yellow flowers bloom in the summer. You can grow direct from seed or transplant. The plant reaches a height of 1 to 2 feet and needs about a foot a space around it. St John's wort is considered an invasive weed that can cause trouble to livestock, so while a few garden plants are easy enough to keep contained, be careful of trying to grow it in situations where it could escape cultivation.

How to harvest St John's wort
Harvest St John's wort on a dry day after the sun has dried the morning dew. Make sure you pick clean herbs from an area you can be sure has not been sprayed with chemical fertilisers. This is particularly important as you are not going to wash the plant material, you want it to be as dry as possible to prevent spoilage, though you can bush off any dirt with a soft bristled brush.

St John's wort infused oil
40 g (1,41 oz) fresh St John's wort flowers
400 ml (0, 42 qt) olive oil

Put St John's wort buds and flowers in a clean and dry mason jar. Cover the herbs with the olive oil.

Stir carefully with a wooden spoon or chopstick until all the bubbles have dispersed and cap with a lid with holes or a piece of kitchen roll held in place with a rubber band. This will allow moisture to escape.

Leave in direct sunlight for 30 days.

Stir every day for the first two weeks then leave to infuse for another two.

Strain through a sieve covered in cheesecloth. The active ingredients in St John’s wort can be deactivated by light that is why you have to pour the infused oil into a clean dark bottle.

Put a label and date. Store the St. John's wort oil in a cool place but not in the fridge.

Note that applying St. John’s wort directly to the skin may cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.

St John's wort is a natural antidepressant, so you might want to dry some of its flowers and drink as an herbal tea.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that these treatments are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace 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.

07 August 2013

The Amazing Health Benefits of Elderflower Cordial

Summer days in my childhood were filled with the scent of elder coming from the elder bushes along roads, paths, in the fields and gardens. There was hardly a home without a jug of cool elderflower cordial on the counter to refresh the guests in the summer heat.

Nowadays elderflower cordial marks a powerful comeback and is offered in most trendy cafes around Europe not only because of its sweet taste but also because of its health benefits. You can make elderflower cordial yourself fairly easy at home and store up to a year.

health benefits of elderflower cordial and how to make it at home via @kanelstrand
Photo: Bill Tyne

Health benefits of elderflower
Elderflower has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. It is rich in antioxidants and its healing properties have for centuries been used as a remedy for coughs, colds, hay fever and even rheumatism, so much so that it has acquired the nickname of Nature's Medicine Chest.

Some of the nutrients found in Elderflower include Bioflavonoids, Choline, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, Pectin and Tannins. Together with the vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3 complex, and Vitamin they give the elderflower its anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiviral properties.
  • boosts immune system,
  • purifies the blood,
  • treats asthma, bronchitis, coughs and colds,
  • relieves symptoms of respiratory allergies,
  • diuretic (increases urine production),
  • iaphoretic (increases sweating),
  • laxative,
  • insect-repellent,
  • relieves intestinal problems including diarrhea or constipation, helps to stabilize
  • bowel function,
  • corrects kidney function.

How to harvest elderflowers
Elderflowers are in season from the end of May to the beginning of June which is also the best time for picking. They grow in a variety of conditions including both wet and dry fertile soils, though they prefer sunny locations.

The flowerheads are best collected fresh and new when the tiny buds have just opened and come to bloom before the fragrance is tainted with bitterness. Harvest in dry and sunny weather. Instead of picking, cut the cluster of flowers and put in a basket without pressing.

How to make elderflower cordial
Start preparing your elderflower cordial on the day of harvesting while the flowers are still fresh.

40 fresh elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
1 kg (2,2 lb) sugar
1 l (1 qt) water
85 g (3 oz) citric acid

Make sure that your elderflower heads are clean. Don't wash to prevent them from losing the aroma. Arrange them in a clean glass bowl and cover with sugar. Mix the citric acid in the water and pour in the glass bowl. Cover and keep in a cool place, away from direct sunlight for 2 weeks. Mix gently with a wooden spoon every day. The longer you let the mixture infuse, the stronger the scent of the cordial will be.

In 2 weeks strain the syrup in a clean, dry glass bottle. You can preserve it for up to a year in a cool dark place or a fridge.

For drinking dilute with cold water.

For medicinal use, take 1 tablespoon of concentrate each morning.

Have you tried Elderflower cordial?

DISCLAIMER: Please note that these treatments are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace 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.

06 August 2013

Uses and Health Benefits of Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is best known as a culinary herb but it also has many health benefits. Its highly fragrant, round and often pointed leaves are used as a seasoning herb in Mediterranean cuisine and have become popular as the main ingredient in pesto.

Basil is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, K, iron, and calcium. It is also a good source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Here is a list of some of its most common uses for health.

13 uses and health benefits of basil you should know about

13 uses and health benefits of basil

Antibacterial properties
Fresh basil leaves and basil oil have antibacterial properties. They can be used to disinfect surfaces. Basil leaves, applied to wounds, may eliminate infections. A basil gargle can treat mouth infections.

Sore throat
Water boiled with basil leaves can be taken as a tonic or used as a gargle when you have a sore throat.

Respiratory disorders
Basil used in your cooking or taken as a nutritional supplement can assist in combating common viruses like colds, flu, and herpes. Boiling basil leaves with honey and ginger is useful for treating asthma, bronchitis, cough, cold, and influenza. Boiling the leaves, cloves, and sea salt in some water will give rapid relief of flu. These combinations should be boiled in about two quarts of water until only half the water remains before they are taken.

Mouth infections
Chewing a few leaves twice daily can cure infections and ulcerations of the mouth.

Ear infections
Basil essential oil is antibacterial, and drops of basil oil may relieve ear infections.

Blood sugar
There is some evidence that basil can help level out blood sugar if consumed regularly and drank as a juice or tea.

Calming of stomach
Basil has a calming effect on the stomach and 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh basil leaf in water can often help sooth indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.

Loss of appetite
Add 1 tablespoon of dry basil leaves to 300 ml (10 oz) boiling water. After 1 minute remove from the heat and let  stay for half an hour. Strain and drink 80 ml (2,70 oz) 15 minutes before meals 3 times a day.

Chronic gastritis and colitis
Use the recipe for treating loss of appetite but drink after meals. Or pour 1 l (1 quart) boiling water over a handful of chopped dry basil leaves. Let cool and strain. Drink half a cup 3 times a day.

Insect stings and bites
Chewing up a basil leaf and applying to the bite will help relieve the pain and draw out the venom. Rubbing the bites with juice can relieve the itching and swelling. Also a paste of the root is effective for treating the bites of insects and leeches.

Dental hygiene
Grind dry basil leaves into powder for a tooth cleansing powder. You can also mix with mustard oil to make herbal toothpaste. Both of these methods work against bad breath and can be used to massage the gums, and treat dental health problems.

Basil is a good headache remedy. Boil leaves in half a quart of water, cooking until half the liquid remains. Take a couple of teaspoons an hour with water to relieve your pain and swelling.

Eye Disorders
Basil juice relieves night-blindness and sore eyes. Two drops of black basil juice in each eye at bedtime each day is soothing.

How to harvest and store

It is best if you can grow your own basil and harvest it yourself. Here are some tips for harvesting and storing.

Cut basil for drying is just before it flowers. This is when the leaves have the most oil, which is what gives it aroma and flavor.

Harvest basil as late in the day as possible. Studies have shown that this is less stressful for the plants.

Cutting the plant back by about half or two thirds. Always cut each stem just above a healthy leaf cluster. This gives you plenty of leaves to cook with or store, leaving the remainder to regenerate for further harvesting a few weeks later.

Tie the basil in bouquets right after harvesting and let it dry hanging in an airy room. After drying out completely, store in a dry place, away from other herbs, so that the aromas don't mix.

Cooking with basil

Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor.

How often do you use basil and what for?

DISCLAIMER: Please note that these treatments are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace 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.


05 August 2013

Simple Laundering Options

Natural laundering is a simple and satisfying experience. You can make your own laundry soap in less than 30 minutes while saving money and reducing the toxic chemical load in your home.

Most laundry detergents and dryer sheets are laden with chemical fragrances which are harmful to your health. The marketing on these products can be very deceptive. Packaging may say 'Lavender' and have pictures of flowers, but are really just scented with synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrances are made with proprietary ingredients, so it is hard to know what exactly is in them, but many contain harmful Pthalates and other ingredients which lead to allergic or asthmatic reactions. An introduction to synthetic fragrances with more info can be found at the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. These fragrances wash down into the water supply and are harmful to the ecosystem.

In the past I used a variety of unscented powdered detergent from Arm and Hammer. I alternated using it with soap nuts and soapwort root. I still use soapwort and soap nuts together in a mesh bag for very lightly soiled laundry, like sheets or towels, quilts, and darker colored items. I have found that you need to use the soapwort roots together with soap nuts otherwise whites will come out very dull looking.

If you have children who like to get very messy or if you have diapers to wash, you probably won't find soapnuts and soapwort very satisfying. But you might like this homemade laundry soap recipe from the Family Homestead. I suggest following this recipe precisely, as it is not particularly forgiving to modifications.

Lavender Lemongrass Hard Hand soap by AquarianBath
Homemade Laundry Soap
  • 1/3 bar of soap (Aquarian Bath uses about 2 oz of a hard hand soap like this Lavender Lemongrass soap)
  • ½ cup washing soda
  • ½ cup borax powder 
  • You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size
Grate the soap and put it in a large pot. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Add the soap mixture and stir. Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel. Use 1/2 cup per load.

You can also add a few drops of a deodorizing essential oil to the batch such as lemon, orange, cinnamon, or use Lavender essential oil. Stir up the solution before using it each time as it will separate. Do not use more than 1/2 cup per load or you may find the solution will fade out your colored fabrics. Sometimes I will add a drop or 2 of essential oil to the load if there is anything stinky in the laundry. This laundry soap is not a magic bullet for soiled items that need pre-treatment to prevent stains, but it does the job for regular loads.

I am a big fan of line drying laundry to save energy. However when it is raining out or when I want to soften up the laundry, I like using felted wool dryer balls. The balls bounce around in the dryer to help soften up laundry that has been out on the line. They also eliminate static. These dryer balls are from Bog Berry Dryer Balls. They are very effective and I love the colors. They came in a handy drawstring tote, perfect for travel to a laundry mat. These dryer balls are made from local wool.

I like to add up to 4 drops of my Lemon essential oil to one dryer ball to deodorized any loads that need a little extra freshening. The essential oil comes in handy for drying diapers, loads left in the washing machine a bit too long, kitchen rags, or potty training clean up rags. It feels good to know that the deodorizing essential oils, my favorite being lemon, actually help to remove odors instead of just masking them in the way that chemical fragrances do.

With these natural and chemical fragrance free laundering options, is there any other pollutant in our wash that we need to look out for? Nov 1, 2011 researchers concluded in an article published in Environmental Science and Technology that laundering of synthetic fabrics such as polyester and acrylic were contributing to microplastic pollution. These microplastics are contaminating beaches and working their way up the food chain. Even worse microplastics have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals such as PCBs, DDT, and dioxins. Learn more in this article at Ecocoture. Shop with ecologically safe laundering in mind. Choose cottons, linen, hemp, or wool. Skip the polyfleece.

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 AquarianBath.com 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 AquarianBath. Read more from Cory at the Aquarian Bath blog. 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 TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus and Pinterest.

02 August 2013

To Eat or Not to Eat Watermelon Every Day

Watermelon is believed to have originated in southern Africa, where it is found growing wild. There are 1,200 types of watermelon grown in 100 countries across the globe.

The refreshing qualities of watermelon have been known throughout the centuries but with the development of science much has been uncovered about the health benefits of this moderately sweet fruit.

Photo: White Magnolia Photography

  • Watermelon is packed with vitamins such as A, C, B1, B2, B3,B5 B9, E, D. It also contains minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, fluoride, selenium.
  • Watermelon has anti-cancer qualities. It is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene which contains twice the amount found in tomatoes. Combined with the vitamins C, A, it fights breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer.
  • Watermelon helps maintain a healthy heart because it is rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, which works to fight free radical compounds and protects the vessels and arteries from hardening.
  • Watermelon contains some substances that can help extend blood vessels and lower high blood pressure.
  • It also functions as a diuretic that can make people produce more urine so as to remove more wastes from the body. As a result, watermelon is able to ease patients’ swelling and kidney inflammation to some extent.
  • Use watermelon to detoxify your liver. Start a watermelon diet, eating only rye bread and watermelon for 3-4 days.
  • The great amount of vitamins contained in watermelon plays an important role in the treatment of various inflammations
  • Eating watermelon helps in reducing weight as 100 g contains only 30 calories.
  • Watermelon also helps regulate blood sugar levels, and is thus recommended for diabetics.

  • The excessive amount of lycopene in watermelons causes indigestion, gas formation, nausea and vomiting. That is why there is a limit in consuming watermelon especially for the elderly people whose intestinal tract is weaker and the symptoms are more exaggerated than normal.
  • The high potassium levels in watermelons can lead to complexities of the heart and the nervous system. Too much of potassium can mess with the normal heart beats, weak or absent pulse and can lead to heart attack
  • It can also lead to damage of kidneys and control of motor nerves. People suffering from the kidney problems must refrain from eating too many watermelons as it can seriously cause internal damage. 
  • Many people may have allergy to watermelons and eating them can trigger various allergic reactions in the body like rashes, itching, sneezing etc. obviously then watermelons are a strict no-no for them. 
  • Too many watermelons increase the levels of nitric oxide which has a relaxing effect on the body. It may also decrease the blood pressure and in many cases this may be harmful as too much decrease in the blood pressure may cause the internal arteries to be damaged. 
  • Too many watermelons can decrease the blood sugar levels and ultimately damage the kidneys as decrease in blood sugar triggers the production of insulin which may hamper the kidneys.

As it is in all fields of life everything is good when used in moderation. I love eating a cold watermelon in the summer heat but one should always think of not going over the limit. In any case, you should consider that eating up to 2 kg (4,4 lb) is accepted as normal, so don't get too paranoid about this wonderful vitamin-powered fruit and enjoy it!

Now let me know, do you like watermelon and how do you prefer it?