Six Natural Scar Treatments You Can Try At Home

Scar of caesarean section

Like most people, you may have your share of scars. They may be from a stumble when you were six years old or from picking at your pimples during your teenage years or an accident with the kitchen knife. Scars are rarely something you want to show off, so you may want to look for ways to reduce their appearance. You should always try natural scar treatments first. However, if you really do not see any improvements after a long period of time, topical creams may be your alternative option. The follow website is a great resource on how to get rid of stretch marks, and this knowledge could definitely be applied to scars as well. However, before you spend money on the best stretch mark cream, why not try our natural treatments first? You have nothing to lose, and lots of money to save!

How do scars form?

Scars are caused by a wide range of skin injuries – cuts, abrasions, scrapes, puncture wounds and serious injuries. Once the skin is pierced and damaged, it repairs itself by producing collagen fibers. The newly healed tissue will have a different look and texture than the surrounding skin, making them stand out. Scars flatten and pale out over time, but sometimes the skin ends up producing more collagen, leading to raised or hypertrophic skin tissue.

Reducing scars naturally

As scars are generally part of your skin, they cannot be removed. The good news, though, is that you can improve their appearance to some extent. There are many over the counter products available that contain ingredients to lighten the skin. Or, you can resort to treatments like surgery, steroid injections, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Before trying any of those treatments though, you may want to consider some natural remedies that you can try at home. Here are a few of them:

Aloe Vera – Fresh aloe vera gel is recommended for fresh and dark scars. The gel is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial in nature, promoting fast healing and better collagen and cell regeneration. Aloe vera gel comes in bottles and tubes from health stores, but you can also get it from fresh leaves. Aloe plants are generally available from local health food stores. All you have to do is cut the leaf and squeeze the gel out and apply it directly on the skin. Do this twice a day for several weeks until you see results.

Vitamin E – Vitamin E stimulates the skin to produce collagen, improving its strength and texture. Experts recommend that you use a concentrated formula. They are usually available in the forms of gels or serums, but you can also pierce a vitamin capsule and use its content. A word of warning though – this vitamin can interfere with healing, so use them on scars that have fully been healed.

Rosehip Oil – Rosehip oil comes from wild rose bushes in the southern Andes Mountains. Rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin C and retinoic acid, this oil is known to heal scar tissue and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Aside from improving the appearance of scar tissue, it is also used for a wide range of skin conditions like eczema, acne and dermatitis. The oil is carried by many brands and is common in many skin care shops and natural health stores. Most products have instructions for usage, but most brands recommend that you apply the oil twice daily.

Milk – You’ve probably heard of milk baths, and there’s definitely a good reason for them. Milk contains lactic acid, a mild alpha-hydroxy-acid that is known to improve the appearance of skin roughness associated with scars. If you are dealing with acne scars, wash your face with fresh milk daily. You can also add some oatmeal to create an exfoliating paste. Do this three times a week.

Fresh Lemon Juice – Lemon juice, like other citrus fruits, contain levels of alpha hydroxyl acid, which lightly peel the skin and promote rapid cellular growth. It also lightly bleaches the skin and improves skin color, lightening the appearance of dark scars. Simply take some fresh lemon juice and rub it on the scars twice a day. A word of warning, though, lemon juice may sting on open wounds and fresh acne, so avoid applying them on scars that are not yet fully healed.

Raw Honey – Raw honey acts as a natural moisturizer, and has been used to dress and treat wounds for centuries. Honey stimulates tissue regeneration to improve the appearance on the tissue. Apply raw honey on the skin and leave it on for five minutes. You can also mix it with baking soda to create an exfoliating paste.

Natural treatments require time and patience and it may take weeks for you to see improvements. While you may not see the results you want right away, it is good to know these natural products and ingredients are relatively safe and can be used for long periods of time. So be patient, continue using the ingredients and say goodbye to your scars over time.

Candida Cleanse Diet: Fight Infection With Food

Candida albicans is normally present in the digestive tract and vagina. However it is generally kept in check by good bacteria in the body. Unfortunately, there may be times when you will have lower levels of good bacteria, which may happen when you drink antibiotics or have problems with your immune system. This can lead to Candida yeast overgrowth. Candida yeast overgrowth may manifest itself in different parts of the body, causing infections in the mouth, genital area or bloodstream. While these conditions are primarily treated by anti-fungal medication, you can also treat it and prevent its recurrence with a good candida cleanse diet.

Starting Your Candida Cleanse Diet

A good candida diet consists of two important phases, which begins with a detox cleanse and is then followed by the actual diet.

The Detox  - This phase is optional, but a detox is always recommended to help flush out all the toxins from your body. A good cleanse also enhances the effects of the actual candida cleanse diet. During this phase of the diet, you should stick to raw vegetables and fruits, fresh juices and plenty of water. Your detox should last for three days, and should make you feel light, healthy and refreshed right after. The following is a daily detox drink you could make to give your digestive system a good cleanse.

DAILY DETOX DRINK:

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz. cold water
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (you can use more for a greater detox effect, but the more you use the more bitter the drink will taste. You can counteract the bitterness by adding stevia to taste)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Ice cubes – as much as you like

Mix all the ingredients together in a large jug and drink it all first thing in the morning every day.

Visit this website for futher general information regarding detox and recipes for detox drinks.

The Anti-Candida Diet – This is the most important phase, which directly follows the detox portion.

After going through a detox, most people generally go back to their normal diets. However, you should note that there are some foods that provide energy and increase the activity of the Candida yeast. There are also foods that affect your immune system and reduce your body’s  ability to fight infection.

Here is a quick guide on what you should eat and what to avoid:

Vegetables vegetables Vegetables provide you with vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but you have to be careful with your choices. Starchy vegetables contain sugars that feed the Candida yeast.

  • Eat: Onions, garlic, asparagus, artichokes, broccoli and sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, eggplant, greens and tomatoes.
  • Avoid: Sweet potatoes, carrots, yams and beets

Grains oats Grains are rich in fiber which promote cleansing and elimination of Candida toxins. However, there are types of grains contain gluten, which may trigger an immune system response and inflammation of the digestive tract.

  • Eat: Millet, buckwheat, oat bran and quinoa
  • Avoid: Grains with gluten like wheat, oats, rye and barley

Meat chicken Try to buy organic and fresh meat as much as possible and avoid processed meats which are loaded with sugars and preservatives. Pork should also be avoided as it contains retroviruses which may survive the cooking process, and may pose problems if you have a weak immune system.

  • Eat: Beef, chicken, lamb and turkey
  • Avoid: Pork products, processed and cured meat

Dairy yogurt Some types of dairy are rich in probiotic cultures that help increase good bacteria in the body. Other dairy products, on the other hand, contain lactose which may irritate your digestive system.

  • Eat: Probiotic yogurt, kefir, ghee and butter
  • Avoid: Cheese, milk, cream, buttermilk and whey products

Fish

salmon

Fish is a relatively healthy option, but may contain ocean contaminants such as heavy metals. There are some types of fish that contain lower amounts of contaminants than other seafood, so make sure that you choose them.

  • Eat: Wild salmon and sardines, either fresh or packed in water or olive oil
  • Avoid: All other types of fish and shellfish

Nuts and Beans

beans

Many types of nuts contain high amounts of mold, which may worsen your candida or problem. Beans, on the other hand, are hard to digest and are high in carbs. You can reintroduce them in small portions later on.

  • Eat: Almonds, coconut meat, hazelnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts
  • Avoid: Cashews, peanuts, pistachios, beans and other legumes

Condiments, Sugars, Herbs and Spices

spices

Condiments, herbs and spices bring life to any meal. Most herbs and spices are great additions to your diet, because they usually have anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. Sugars, however, promote cellular growth of the yeast and hasten the conversion of yeast to fungi. Vinegar has been found to deplete the stomach of its acids and cause inflammation.

  • Eat: Black pepper, basil, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, oregano, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and sea salt
  • Avoid: Ketchup, mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, honey, syrup, molasses, artificial sweetener and chocolate

Oils

oil

Use cold pressed oils as much as you can. Other methods of making oil such as boiling or heating can destroy many of its nutrients.

  • Eat: Virgin coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, flax oil, sesame oil
  • Avoid: Peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, soy oil

The anti – Candida diet can last from a few weeks to a few months, depending on a wide range of factors. How strictly you follow your diet, how your body responds to antifungals and probiotics and the severity of your infection are just a few factors that determine your recovery period. Experts recommend that you continue your diet until you are fully recovered from the condition. You could find out even more information at The Candida Diet website.

Going Back To Normal

Once you have beaten the Candida yeast infection, you may want to go back to your original diet right away. This may not be a good idea. After all, your diet may have caused the overgrowth in the first place. So, what should you do? Start by slowly reintroducing some foods back into your diet. Begin with low sugar fruits, or some types of beans. Do not reintroduce all of them all at the same time so that you can see how your body reacts first. If everything goes well, you can go ahead and continue to reintroduce other food options. Do this until you finally achieve a diet that’s not only designed to prevent Candida yeast infection, but is also good for your overall health, too!

Sources:

http://bestdetoxdrinks.com
http://thecandidadiet.com

Phlebotomy: A General Overview

A phlebotomy technician, also known as a phlebotomist or a venipuncturist, is a health care support professional who is responsible for drawing blood for testing, donations, research or transfusions. They usually work in clinics or hospitals in order to aid other health care professionals in ascertaining the possible ailments that may afflict the patient. Since the blood is one of the surest ways of confirming the symptoms of a patient’s illness or condition, the phlebotomist is responsible for blood removal that minimizes pain and anxiety for the patient, and delivering the same sample without any contamination to the laboratories.

What Phlebotomists Do

What a phlebotomist does is more than just extracting blood. In fact, they do not merely march up to the patient and remove a sample from them. They have a list of duties to perform prior and after the extraction, which are:

  1. Explain the procedure to the patient, specifically why the blood needs to be extracted.
  2. Reassure nervous and agitated patients. Phlebotomists often encounter children and elderly, so they need to develop a bedside manner in order to reassure their patients.
  3. Insertion of a hypodermic needle into the vein in the arm and displace the blood into a tube.
  4. Dress the puncture wound made by the needle.
  5. Label the blood sample and make sure that it does not get contaminated.
  6. Deliver the sample into the laboratory concerned and be mindful of the timescales required for the freshness of the sample.
  7. Complete and enter data accurately.

Education and Certification

The requirements for one to become a certified phlebotomist vary from one state to the next, but in general those aspiring to become phlebotomists need to complete the required training, which lasts for several months. They must be healthy physically and mentally, and must be at least high school graduates. Those interested may also check online for locations of training programs and their local community colleges, or even hospitals within the vicinity. These training programs include theories and classroom lessons, as well as hands-on training.

The training classes are anchored in Math, Science and English, so it is an advantage if the applicant has high GSCE scores in those subjects. In claiming certification, the applicant must finish at least six months’ worth of training in an accredited hospital or clinic. Depending on the state, you may also need to pass a written exam as well.

During training, you will receive an on-the-job training as well. The training includes the importance of phlebotomy in the department of pathology, the ethics and professional standards of phlebotomists, the ways of collecting blood samples and choosing the best parts of the body to draw blood from.

When this is done, you can already apply for work as a Phlebotomist, or may even be absorbed in the institution where you have done to training. As the need for health care technicians and professionals continue to rise, there is indeed no shortage of demands, so this is definitely a worthwhile career choice that you may want to consider.

8 Things You Can Do To Detox Your Body

A Fit And Healthy Man

The New Year is definitely the best time to start a healthier lifestyle, and what better way to do so than to detoxify the body. Practiced for centuries people all over the world, detoxification works by letting the body eliminate waste and toxins from the body through cleansing, rest and nourishment.

When the word detoxification comes into mind, you might immediately think about twenty-one day fasts and rigorous diets. Fortunately, there are actually many ways to get rid of toxins from your body. In fact, you can remove some toxic burden from your body by doing the following simple things:

1)    Break a sweat: Sweating is one of the body’s ways to cleanse the system.  While you may be tempted to sit in the sauna, the best way for you to go is by doing cardio, since it also strengthens your cardiovascular system and helps you lose weight.

2)    Eat fruits and veggies: Get as much fruits and vegetables as you can – preferably with every meal. Include spinach, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, garlic, ginger and blueberries, as these are the best detoxifiers among all types of produce.

3)    Increase your fiber intake.  Fiber is very important because it sweeps out contents of your colon to ensure that you completely eliminate waste from your system. Get fiber from fruits and vegetables (see tip #3) and whole grains.

4)    Go organic: Eating fresh produce every day is a great thing, but you can take this a step further by going organic. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are exposed to pesticides, traces of which still remain even if you thoroughly wash them. Organic produce however, are pesticide and chemical free. You can find them at local farmer’s markets or health stores.

5)    Drink More Water: Do you know that thirst is often misinterpreted by the body as hunger? If you feel like eating all the time, try to check if you have had enough water. Water rehydrates the body and keeps your vital organs running smoothly. Make sure you get at least eight glasses throughout the day, and ditch the soda and artificial fruit juices if you can. If you are craving for some flavor, add lemons or cucumber to your water.

6)    Get a Massage. Massages help improve blood flow and circulation, and also stimulate lymph nodes to facilitate better drainage and elimination of waste.

7)    Cut back on liquor and cigarette. The liver is the most important organ in the body when it comes to detoxification. Drinking makes it work even harder. Stop smoking or avoid second hand smoke. Smoking or inhaling second hand smoke gives your lungs a dose of hundreds of chemical compounds.

8)    Go on periodic detoxes: Give yourself a digestive break from time to time. This can be a three day juice cleanse or a week long fresh produce fast. If you are just starting and do not want to shock your system, you can simply start by replacing one meal with a detox smoothie or juice for a whole week. Periodic detoxes allow your digestive system to rest, and are a great way to get your daily dose of nutrients and jumpstart your metabolism. 

Detoxing may sound like a big word that requires strength and commitment, but it doesn’t have to put you off. These little things, which are relatively easy to do, can create big changes for your health and wellness. The good news is, you can start doing all of them today!

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the key mechanisms of Traditional Chinese medicine. It involves inserting long, thin needles into specific points in the body in order to reduce pain and illnesses. It is done in order to balance the life force (Chi) of the body, which is believed to flow through different meridians (pathways) in the body. These meridians are said to sometimes be blocked, reducing the flow of Chi and causing various forms of illnesses. The insertion of needles opens up these meridians and redirects and rebalance the life force, then improving one’s health.

What Is Acupuncture For?

Although there is no anatomical or physiological proof about these meridians or acupuncture points, this alternative method has become popular in the Western world. In fact, even conventional health care practitioners recommend it as alternative treatment.

What is known, however, is that it has many therapeutic effects, especially for pain-related problems. The World Health Organization states that this treatment is effective for treating twenty-eight conditions, and is an excellent form of pain alleviation therapy.

It can effectively improve symptoms of diseases and conditions like colds, asthma, bronchitis and sinusitis. Acupuncture can also help treat musculoskeletal disorders such as the tennis elbow, sciatica, stroke paralysis and osteoarthritis. It can also be used for conditions like chemotherapy-induced nausea, labor pains, headaches and migraines, back pain, menstrual cramps and dental pain.

Acupuncture Benefits

Acupuncture is a great alternative method for alleviating pain and improving symptoms of many problems. Because of its effectiveness, it is less likely for the patient to use drugs in order to alleviate the symptoms. Acupuncture eases symptoms of many conditions while lessening the need for pharmaceutical grade medication. This helps lower the risk of harmful side effects and overdose associated with long term prescription medication intake.

How Is It Done?

During an acupuncture session, your licensed acupuncturist will first perform an assessment of your current condition. He or she will talk to you about your condition, and the course of treatment which you will need to have.

Then once you are ready, he or she will start inserting the needles, following a specific placement. This will depend on your current health condition. You may be asked to lie face up, down or on your side. The needles will then be kept in place for at least five to twenty minutes.

Each acupuncture treatment plan is individualized, so the number of treatments that you need will differ greatly from one person to another. Acute problems may need just three or four treatments, but chronic or complex issues may require frequent visits over several months.

What Are The Risks?

The risks of this procedure are relatively low, especially if you find a certified practitioner to do it for you. However, you can never rule out any possible side effects which include soreness at the sites, infections of the needle sites and organ injury.

If you are considering this procedure, make sure that you choose a certified practitioner who is well known in the field. You may ask your health care provider to recommend someone for you.

How To Start A Juice Cleanse

A Glass Of Green Machine

Photo courtesy of bestdetoxdrinks.com

Thinking of detoxing? Then you have might have already thought about juice cleanses, which has made quite a buzz with Hollywood celebrities and serious health buffs. Is it something worth trying, and if it is – how should it be done?

What Is A Juice Cleanse?

A juice cleanse refers to an all liquid diet, where you replace all your meals with juices made from fresh and raw produce (preferably organic). While also known as a juice fast, many followers do not like to use the term, since fasting means starving the body. The goal of most juice cleanses is not to starve the body but to simply give your digestive system a little rest from processing all those chemical laden and difficult to digest foods, while providing you with nutrition and sustenance at the same time.

Juice cleanses can be as short as one day or can last up to a week, but health experts recommend staying within the three-day range.

What Happens Then

Taking fresh and raw juice for several days allows you to put your digestive system on hold from digesting solid food. With that, it becomes more efficient in flushing out the toxins from your system.

It can help you kick start a new diet, shed a few unwanted pounds, reduce inflammation, improve digestion, clear out acne, reduce bloating or simply just feel better and lighter than before.

During the start of a juice cleanse, you may feel tired and sluggish, but these are just the initial effects as your body adjusts to the liquid intake. After the cleanse, you will eventually feel lighter, more energetic, clearheaded and generally have an overall sense of wellness

How To Start

Once you plan to start a juice cleanse, you will have to decide if you want to make juice all by yourself or buy bottles from a detox bar. If you decide to make your own drinks, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • What to drink: Take a look at recipes online and build your menu from there. This way, you will know what you need to buy when you go to the grocery store.

    Do not be afraid to play around with ingredients. There is no right or wrong when it comes to recipes. Just make sure you get plenty of vegetables and not just fruits in them. In fact, it would be better if you follow a 60% (or higher) vegetable and 40% (or lower) fruit ratio.

  • How much should you drink: The idea is to have at least four to six servings of 16 to 20 ounces every day in lieu of your meals. You should also drink as much water to help with the cleansing process.
  • How to make your juice: It is always best to drink your juice fresh, since it loses nutritional value right as soon as it is made. If you do not have time or are out for work, you can make a whole day’s batch of juice in the morning, provided that you consume the juice within the day.
  • Some more tips: If slicing fruits and veggies every now and then is a pain for you, you can slice up all your ingredients the night before and store them inside sealable bags. When it’s juicing time, all you have to do is take a bag from the freezer and start juicing.

A juice cleanse is very beneficial if you do it correctly, but may not be recommended if you have certain medical conditions or are taking prescription drugs. Hence, it is important that you see a doctor before starting to make sure that you are healthy enough for it. You can also try a one day or beginner cleanse to see how it goes for you. For a beginner’s guide to a juice cleanse, this website has a lot of very useful information and a 3 day juice cleanse plan for you to try.

How To Relieve Colds With Kitchen Ingredients

Sick Woman

Colds are not uncommon when the weather oscillates between hot and cold or when pollen seeds start to permeate in the air. Instead of heading to the pharmacy to buy cold medication, why don’t you try home remedies to relieve colds that are easily found in your kitchen?

Natural remedies are highly effective in fighting colds, without the need to put chemicals  inside your body. Here are some recipes that you may want to check out.

Honey Lemon Ginger Tea

Clogged sinuses and scratchy throat are classic symptoms of an oncoming cold. If you are already experiencing this, you can alleviate the symptoms by drinking honey lemon ginger tea. It is a surefire way to address the irritating symptoms. The steam, combined with the lemon and ginger, will clear your clogged sinuses. The spicy bite of the ginger coupled with the heat of the tea will leave you feeling warm and cozy, and the honey will lessen the itchy feeling in your throat.

Recipe: Place a tablespoon of grated ginger inside a teapot and steep in with a cup of boiling water. Leave it for three minutes. While waiting for the time, place a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey in a mug. Strain the ginger tea into the mug, stir and serve.

Honey and Cinnamon Mixture

Both cinnamon and honey contain antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which are perfect for killing those nasty germs that cause colds or cough. It can leave you sniffle-free in as early as two days, if you drink some every other hour throughout the course of your illness.

Recipe: You will need the fresh juice of one lemon, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, and one cup of boiling water. Prepare a tiny jar of cinnamon and honey, which follows a 3:1 mixture ratio. Add this mixture to the boiling water, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. You can add a bit more honey to improve the taste.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin is a spice that is highly popular in India and Egypt, and it effectively treats colds, the flu, sore throats and even arthritis and indigestion. It is also known to detoxify the body. You may consume cumin seeds by seeping them in tea or by incorporating them to your dishes.

Recipe: This recipe is a salad which allows you to treat your colds while getting your much-needed daily dose of the green leafy stuff. You may use collards, kale, mustard, spinach or turnips and add a bit of cayenne pepper. Clean the leafy green vegetables and boil them in a pot. Add at least two teaspoons of salt to taste. Continue to boil the greens until they are tender. Drain and rinse the greens in cold water and chop them up. Set aside.

Toast the cumin seeds until its aroma fills up your surroundings. Put them in a small bowl and allow them to cool off. Grind them until they become fine. Toss them with the greens you’ve set aside and add ¼ teaspoon of salt, black pepper, cayenne and yogurt. Chill in the fridge and eat when ready. It’s best served with roasted meat, rice, beans or stews.

So, if you’re feeling the onset of a cold, cough or sore throat (or all of them at the same time), do not reach for your medicine cabinet just yet! Try checking out your kitchen and make some of these recipes and see what they can do for you.

Best Body Scrubs That You Can Make In Your Kitchen

woman with a scrub

The secret to beautiful skin lies beyond proper cleansing and moisturizing. You also need a good sloughing off every now and then  and you can actually do it using ingredients that you can find at home.

Why Exfoliate?

Exfoliation takes skin care to a whole new level for quite a number of reasons. It sloughs off old dead skin cells, promote cellular turnover, reveals younger cells and smoothens the skin out so it is ready to absorb the hydrating power of your moisturizer. The rubbing motion associated with exfoliation boosts circulation and increases blood flow to the skin surface, too.

That’s not all. Aside from all these wonderful benefits, getting a body scrub simply feels good. The refreshing texture of granules against your skin, the lovely scent of your scrub, the whole activity of scrubbing and cleansing itself is good enough to relax you and uplift your mood.

See – you’re probably tempted to give yourself a little scrubbing right now. If you do not have any exfoliating product hand, don’t fret. All you have to do is head to the kitchen and make yourself a mixture. Ready to start? Here are some recipes that you can make with ingredients available at home.

Invigorating Coffee Exfoliant

Coffee does not only perk you up and keep you awake, it also invigorates your skin. Studies show that caffeic acid, which is found in coffee grounds, have an anti-inflammatory effect. It can help increase blood flow to the skin, reduce varicose veins and improve the appearance of cellulite.

To make your own coffee scrub, simply mix the following:

  • ¼ cup coffee grounds (use your own or get some for free from your local coffee shop)
  • ¼ cup raw sugar
  • 2 tbps olive or coconut oil

Simply mix all the ingredients together and use in the shower. For best results, use this after using body soap. Leave the mixture on your skin for two to five minutes befor rinsing off.

Honey Sugar Body Scrub

Honey is a good cleansing and anti-bacterial agent, and is a great humectant, allowing it to seal moisture within your skin. Thus, this is great for those with dry skin. Make your own honey and sugar scrub by mixing the following ingredients:

  • 4 tbps of brown sugar
  • 3 tbps honey
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Slather the mixture all over your body. As you start exfoliation, you will find that the sugar will start to melt. Feel free to add more sugar directly to your skin as you continue to rub it on the body. Leave it on your skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing.

Lavender Salt Scrub

Salt is generally more abrasive than sugar, so this is recommended for those who really want a thorough cleansing and exfoliation. What’s good about salt is that it provides mineralization benefits and helps purify toxins from the skin. Add in a little lavender scent for aromatic purposes. Take the following ingredients and mix them all together:

  • ½ sea salt or rock salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp food grade lavender extract or 1 drop of lavender essential oil

Combine these ingredients and rub all over the body. Do not use this on the face since salt can be harsh on facial skin. Use this mixture at night to help you wind down before bedtime.

Lemon and Turmeric Scrub

Do you want your skin to have an instant glow? Have you gone overboard with your skin tanner? This lemon and turmeric concoction is sure to brighten your complexion with just one use. Here’s a recipe you can follow:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric

Use this scrub before an event, but be sure to rinse thoroughly since turmeric can cause stain on clothes.

Some Tips To Remember

To get the most out of your body scrub, soften the skin first with a warm shower or bath. Turn off the shower and start exfoliating – and leave the mixture on your skin for at least three to five minutes. Do not use these homemade scrubs on your face, they may be too harsh for delicate facial skin.

When you’re done, rinse thoroughly and moisturize with lotion or body oil. Do this routine once or twice a week to keep your skin smooth, supple and glowing!

Top 5 Spices and Herbs for Weight Loss

A Variety Of Spices

It is a known fact that to lose weight you must be dedicated in your efforts. You have to eat the right foods and exercise for long hours. Sometimes, even with these efforts, you may not lose as much as you would want to. But did you know that you can give your metabolism a little boost to help you lose weight faster?

There are miracle herbs that you can find in your kitchen to help you lose weight the natural way. These herbs may be diuretics that help you remove the water weight, or curbs cravings and hunger or even herbs that increase metabolism. Read on to find out what the top five herbs for weight loss are.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper does not only give a kick to the palette, it also helps stimulate your metabolism, and thus making you burn all those fats easier. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which is a compound that makes the pepper spicy to the taste. Capsaicin helps your body fight fat by curbing your hunger, lowering blood fat levels and fat build up, and shrinking the fats that surround your tissues. Even a little amount such as one teaspoon consumed before each meal results to loss of appetite, therefore you’re less likely to gorge on the meal that you’re about to eat. You can also add cayenne pepper to your meals or to a glass of lemon juice.

Ginseng

Ginseng provides benefits such as boosting your metabolism and energy levels. There are different kinds of ginseng, and the most popular one for weight loss is Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng has been used in several studies, and it has been confirmed to be highly effective for losing weight. Ginseng extracts are widely available to aid you in your weight loss journey.

This herb can make you feel alert, so it is best to drink it during day time and not at night when you are about to sleep. There are ginseng herb capsules and teas, but you can also find ginseng roots from alternative health stores, which you can boil and drink.

Use ginseng for short periods of time – at least one to three months at a time depending on the variety.

Cinnamon

For those suffering from diabetic and obesity, cinnamon is a spice that will help bring down and regulate your blood sugar as well as boost your metabolism. Studies show that cinnamon helps reduce triglycerides, bad cholesterol, blood sugar levels and overall cholesterol levels in people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. Cinnamon also increases a person’s sugar metabolism by at least twenty times.

Cinnamon works well with a wide range of sweet and savory recipes such as pies, breads, cakes, casseroles and more. You can also add a dash of cinnamon on top of your cappuccino.

Turmeric

Curry fans are probably familiar with this fragrant spice – this is the spice which makes up the base of the curry and makes the sauce go yellow. This spice has a warm, peppery flavor and smells similar to gingers and oranges. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound which helps bring down the formation of fat found around the tissues by suppressing blood vessels around it. Curcumin also effectively fights obesity-related illnesses because it effectively improves hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and other symptoms that may be linked to metabolic disorders.

Turmeric can be found in generic curry powder, but you can use it as is and include it in salads, soups, chili and rice dishes.

Ginger

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties help relax the intestinal tract, making you digest your food better. You also retrieve more nutrients out of the food you eat. There are also researches that show that ginger contains thermogenic properties, which boosts your metabolism and effectively suppresses hunger pangs. It has also been proven to help lower cholesterol levels.

Ginger and citrus go well together, so you can combine them in juices and drinks. Try out recipes that include ginger such as chicken and salad.

There are many herbs and spices that help boost metabolism and help you lose weight fast, but these five are great starters. Who knows, you may already have these in your kitchen already. Try them out along with exercise and proper diet to see results the soonest time possible! For even more information on healthy spices, please check out http://www.eatingwell.com

How To Zap Pimples With These 9 Natural Acne Treatments

squeeze pimple

Acne is a problem that affects millions of people all around the world. While this skin problem is mostly prevalent in teenagers, many adults are not spared from the onslaught of unsightly pustules and pimples. While there is an extensive range of over the counter and pharmaceutical-grade treatments for acne,  there are many who swear by homeopathic and natural alternatives. If you suffer from acne, read on and check out some remedies that you can try at home.

1. Ice that pimple

Pimples are inflamed acne blemishes which can be painful to the touch. Other than that, it can also look unpleasant. Use ice at the first sight of a pimple – wrap a piece of ice and hold it on to the affected area in the morning and at night for at least five minutes. If you can do it more than twice a day, the better.

2. Lemon juice spot treatment

Lemons are high in fruit acids, which kill bacteria and cause the pimples to dry up. It is also a mild bleaching agent that can improve the appearance of acne scars. Simply apply lemon juice on to the affected area in the morning and at night. A word of warning, though, the acid in the juice can sting.

3. Drink some tea

Do you suffer from acne flare-ups during that time of the month? Try some chasteberry tea. The tea comes from itex Agnus castus, which has long been used for hormone related problems in women. Drink a cup or two each day.

4. Apply apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains lactic and malic acids, which exfoliate and soften the skin. It also kills bacteria and regulates your skin’s pH levels. Create a mixture by combining vinegar and water (or witch hazel) and spray it on the face. Use the mixture on the body too, if you suffer from acne on the back or the chest.

5. Exfoliate with baking soda

Create an exfoliating paste by combining water and baking soda. Apply the paste on your face and other parts of the body with pimples. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and wash thoroughly. Baking soda thoroughly cleanses your skin, eliminates blackheads and whiteheads and evens up your skin tone.

6. Use tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is extracted from tea tree leaves, which are native to Australia. There are many tea tree based products, so you can get it in oil, gel, paste or ointment form. Tea tree oil has a low incidence of dryness, irritation and burning, which are usually common side effects from over the counter acne products.

7. Apply honey on your face

Raw or organic honey contains antibacterial properties, which are great for healing and disinfecting products. It is gentle on all types of skin, including sensitive types. It removes excess oil, which keeps your skin moisturized. Take note though, honey does not effectively remove make-up, so it’s best to use the mask in the morning when your face is clean.

8. Scrub with brown sugar

 

Brown sugar is a typical favorite among many users, because it cleanses the skin, unclogs deep-seated dirt and produces a wonderful glow on your skin. Wet the skin with warm water to open up your pores, then scrub the problem area with brown sugar granules. You can also use brown sugar with honey. Use this scrub every two weeks. Overuse can over cleanse your pores and increase oil production, which may worsen your acne.

9. Smash some garlic

Take two garlic cloves, peel them and smash them up so you can squeeze out some juice. Apply the juice on the affected area and leave it there for at least five minutes. Wash the juice off right after that, because too much exposure may end up burning your skin.

Some Preventive Measures

You can increase the effectiveness of these treatments by taking extra prevention measures. Here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Clean your skin regularly, but do not overdo it. Over cleansing causes your oil glands to go into overdrive, which increases your acne.
  • Don’t pick your pimples. It may be tempting to squeeze, pick or pinch it, but doing so can cause infection and result to more pimples. Picking also damages the skin and exacerbates the scars that will form afterwards.
  • Eat healthy – avoid foods that tend to increase sebum production such as sugar and carbs. Good health also reflects on your skin. Get as much vitamins and antioxidants as you can – including Vitamin C, E and zinc.
  • Wash your hair regularly. Excess oil from your hair can clog the pores on your face, shoulders and back.
  • Keep your pillow cases clean. You put your face on your pillows every day, so they absorb oil and dirt each night. Change your pillow cases at least twice a week to make sure they are always clean.

Why take the effort to go natural?

While these natural acne treatments may require time and effort – and may seem weird for many – it is actually better than using chemical based products that may harm the skin. These ingredients gently heal blemishes, exfoliate the skin and normalize your skin’s oil production to safely address skin problems like acne.

New Year’s Resolution: Try The Paleo Diet

pinch stomach

Now that 2013 is coming to an end, many people are starting to writing down their weight loss resolutions and health goals. If you are currently searching for something new to try starting this January, then you may have come across the Paleo Diet, which is something that everyone has been talking about this past year.

What Is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo or Paleolithic Diet is an eating plan that stems from the effort to eat the way humans did back in the day. Remember the average human being tens of thousands of years ago? They were agile, muscular, athletic and versatile. Compare that with the average human being today; fat, stressed and sick.

Why is this so? Proponents of this eating plan explain that our bodies were designed to eat the way hunters-gatherers did in the past. Our modern way of eating, which is rather unhealthy, wreaks havoc in our system and cause a host of degenerative diseases that many of us suffer from today.

Eating like our ancestors is definitely a healthy way to go, since it focuses on high-fiber and high protein. The Paleo diet eliminates the most common foods that we take in, which are processed, refined, high in sugar and trans fat. Increasing the intake of more natural food options reduces our risk of problems such such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer obesity and other health problems. It also helps improve digestion problems, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances and makes people feel better overall.

How To Eat Like A Caveman?

caveman

What to eat

To follow the Paleo diet, all you have to do is remember this rule – only eat naturally occurring food items which can be gathered or hunted. This means that you’ll be eating plenty of the following:

  • Fish
  • Lean meat
  • Fowl
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Tubers
  • Healthy cold-pressed oils

What not to eat

During the course of the diet, you should avoid foods that are cultivated or processed in any way. Anything manufactured and packed in a factory is out of the question. You should avoid the following:

  • Dairy
  • Wheat
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Refined goods
  • Refined oils
  • Soda
  • Junk food

How much can you eat? There are no calorie restrictions, so you can have three square meals plus snacks. You can cook your food anyway you like – you can boil, grill, fry, steam or eat some of the foods raw.

Is It Difficult To Follow?

This eating plan is not difficult to follow, although it requires some effort, especially in kicking out some foods from your daily routine It is good to know, though, that there are no complicated recipes or tedious calorie counting. It is not restrictive in nature, so you can eat whatever you want as long as it is in the list of allowable foods. As long as you eat wisely, you do not have to worry about calorie counts. Unlike other diets, Paleo does not leave you starving because fiber rich vegetables and fruits easily fill you up.

Because there are limitations on the types of food that you should eat, proponents allow “cheating” especially for the first few weeks. In fact, there’s a three-meal allowance per week where you can eat any food that’s not Paleo.

Of course, processed food is not allowed, so you will have to spend some time in the kitchen cooking food from scratch. You will also have to plan your menu and stock up on the allowed foods to make the transition easy for you.

Is It For You?

Many people swear by the Paleo diet, claiming that they have lost weight and have started to feel better about themselves after weeks of eating differently. On the opposite side of things, there are also people who have tried it but remain unimpressed with its hype.

Remember, the premise behind Paleo is relatively sound – cut off processed and refined foods from your diet entirely and improve your health. However, it may also lead you to give up things that you definitely love like cheese or bread. So what should you do?

If you’re really curious, you might want to try it for a full thirty days. After a month of Paleo, try to assess if there are any improvements. Do you feel any better? Have you lost weight? What other changes have you noticed in your body? If you like the results then continue doing Paleo. If not, then you do not have to drop it entirely. You can go on with the diet but make some adjustments, like adding grain or dairy to your meals from time to time.

So for now, go ahead and try it for a month and then decide what to do from there. For even more information on the Paleo Diet, visit The Paleo Diet website.