• Grab a cup of Coffee...

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    While you probably grab a cup on your way out the door each morning, coffee is actually an herb, its botanical name, Coffea arabica, is simply unroasted coffee beans, which can be used for medicinal properties in addition to its ability to perk you up in the morning.

    Coffee is consumed at a quantity of more than 500 billion cups per year and over 75 million people make their livelihood off of this business. A big reason why you do not hear much about coffee as an herb is that it is so widely used in our society already. Most herbalist opt to not recommend something that is already being utilized by about 50% of our population, especially since it can cause some side effects when consumed such as raising heart rate, blood pressure, etc.

    Homeopaths DO utilize the coffee plant.  The remedy is called coffea cruda and it coffea crudaactually helps with insomnia. Often used as a homeopathic remedy for tinnitus, headaches, toothaches, teething, insomnia, restlessness, racing thoughts, labor pains and menopause, the beans help calm the nervous system. When restlessness or insomnia are caused by too much coffee consumption, however, the remedy does not perform as a sleep aid.  It is more for persistent thoughts not allowing to fall asleep.

    The Coffee Plant

    Legend has it that over 1,000 years ago, a goat herder was surprised to find that his animals were acting a bit disorderly after consuming the berries and leaves of a small bush. This herder tried the plan himself and found he felt full of energy and was thinking more clearly. This is how coffee actually came to be as a beverage as experimentation was done with the plant to find the best method for making a drink out of it. Eventually the Arabs learned how to roast the coffee beans to make a delectable treat.

    In the 1800’s Penny Universities were created where men could pay one cent at the door and when they entered they could drink coffee as well as discuss political observations and debates. Coffee houses evolved as time went on and even into the 1960’s these gathering locations were key in bringing about cultural change by way of discussions. We now get our coffee from many areas of the world such as Columbia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Mexico.

    Topical Application

    There are many free radicals in our environment that stem from pollution and they can wreak havoc on our skin. Coffee is used in many face and body products because it is very rich in antioxidants which helps preserve the skin and protect it from these free radicals as well as UV rays. You will notice that coffee can make the skin look much brighter and smoother when used topically on a regular basis thanks to the increased blood circulation that occurs. Coffee can stimulate cell growth, repair tissue, decrease inflammation and help the skin retain its moisture which results in an increased amount of collagen.

    In Combination

    You will often see coffee coupled with some other ingredients when it comes to topical products. One of those ingredients is honey which has great antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It also moisturizes and soothes the skin. A spice that is often used topically is cinnamon thanks to its ability to bring blood to the surface of the skin which aids in healing.

    Just Skin Food has a few different coffee based products that work with some of the ScrubBanner copyother key ingredients such as honey and cinnamon to create a healthy glow by way of clear skin. Our coffee scrubs include actual coffee grounds that are fresh and not used keeping their actual healing properties and not only gently exfoliate the skin but also moisturizes. You can visit www.justskinfood.com to view all of our products including our coffee-based scrubs. All of the products offered by Just Skin Food include USDA Certified Organic ingredients including Harry and Bean's fair trade organic espresso coffee.

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  • Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

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    It is so beautiful to know that Spring on the East Coast is almost here.  With Spring Unknownjust around the corner we will be filled with flowers and weeds.  Weeds,  as are flowers, play an important role in our daily herbal life. 

    Most of us think of weeds as bad but they are so important to us that we should not remove them from our gardens.  Take this weed for instance yarrow.... most would not think of it as a weed since it flowers,  but it is a weed and we like seeing it and having it around.

     

    History and Benefits of Yarrowyarrow-red-velvet

    Before the commonplace drug store existed, our forebears found helpful medicinal compounds in the plants that grew around them. Since store shelves today are stocked with medicines of every kind, it’s easy to forget that many of those medicines were first discovered in wild plants.  Yarrow plant is also referred to as Nature’s Neosporin in the herbal community. The flowers are rich in chemicals that are converted by steam distillation into anti-allergenic compounds, of use in the treatment of allergic catarrhal problems such as hayfever. The dark blue essential oil, azulene, is generally used as an anti-inflammatory, or in chest rubs for colds and influenza.

    It should provide a sense of comfort to know that common injuries and ailments can be treated with common plants. One of the best of these medicinal plants is yarrow.

    Yarrow, also known as millefoil, is a pretty foliage that is native to Europe but can now be found throughout North America growing in many meadows and fields. Many indigenous people like the Shakers began to use yarrow for its medicinal properties many years ago. This plant flowers from the month of June through October.

    The yarrow plant also has a long history as a powerful “healing herb” used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions. The genus name Achillea is derived from mythical Greek character Achilles, who reportedly carried it with his army to treat battle wounds. This medicinal action is also reflected in some of the plant’s common names, such as staunchweed and soldier's woundwort.

    While yarrow was once used as a divine plant to assist with furthering spirituality it now has a number of uses in the herbal world. Yarrow can help a wound stop bleeding, which is why it was used in the military years ago for battle wounds during World War I and the Trojan War. The active components of yarrow include lactones, tannins, flavonoids, amino acids, sterols, coumarins and saponins.

    Yarrow herbal oil has much healing potential and in addition to its ability to stop the flow of blood this herb is also a great antiseptic, it is antispasmodic and has antibacterial properties.  Yarrow oil can even be used on the hair follicles to help stimulate growth. You can also find yarrow in dried herb form, and as a tincture.

    Plants with only white flowers grow on calcium-rich soils, but pink-flowered yarrow may grow on acid soils. Plants grown on acid soils contain greater quantities of the active constituent azulene.84_587

    Yarrow is a very beneficial ingredient to keep on hand as part of a holistic and homeopathic medicine collection. You can find more information on certified organic herbal infused yarrow oil by visiting the Just Skin Food website. All of our herbal infused oils are USDA certified organic and they are made of organic herbs and an organic carrier oil (olive).  All of our herbal oils are also used in our salve products as well.

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  • Comfrey and Plantain Herbs and Homeopathy

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    Comfrey and plantain are two more very critical participants in the natural medicine world. You will find both comfrey and plantain in salves, creams, oils and also tinctures. While these two products have their own distinct healing properties they can also be used together for maximum healing potential.

    Comfrey

    The history of the Comfrey plant being used as a natural remedy actually stems back comfrey-flowers-1over 2000 years thanks to the healing levels of vitamin C and calcium that are in the leaves. Allantoin in comfrey leaves is also very effective as an anti-inflammatory. The Chinese used these leaves in the bath to treat a number of conditions that we still treat with comfrey today including:

    *Bone injuries *Pain *Wound Healing *Feminine issues

    Used topically, as in our salves or in our organic medicinal herbal oil comfrey is an excellent healer. Please refer back to my last blog on how infused medicinal oils are made. Unfortunately, ingesting comfrey in the raw has created a bit of controversy in the past century or so due to the findings that it may cause liver problems, because of toxicity related effect of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the leaves.

    But used homeopathically it has many benefits. Comfrey root is macerated in alcoholimages and then potentized homeopathically which allows for no side effects. Symphytum Officinale (comfrey) remedy as it is known homeopathically, is used in 2 specific situations. The most often is when someone has a broken bone of any kind. f-306960717133Symphytum is given to assist healing. It is also used for injury to the eye. So if someone has been hit in the eye give Arnica first then follow with Symphytum. Think little league situations. These remedies are taken orally.

    Plantain

    The ancients as well as the Native Americans used plantain to heal wounds and was taken orally to treat health conditions associated with:

    *Bites from wild dogs *Snake bites *Bites from other venomous creatures *Throat conditions *Lung conditions *Glandular issues *Epilepsy *Jaundice

    Today, plantain is used topically most often for things like bee stings, insect bites and b37626cd212ffad71422acee21d4fc44rashes associated with things like poison ivy. The entire plantain plant is utilized in homeopathy as the leaves, seeds, stem and tops can all be used for tinctures, oils, salves and more. In homeopathic form Plantain is a popular remedy for toothache.  Arnica is usually given during tooth extraction and for pain but Plantain has also been used successfully.

    You can also take plantain orally in combination with a number of other herbs such as flax, marshmallow, peppermint and more to treat very common ailments such as:

    *High cholesterol *Digestive issues *Diabetes *Liver problems

    Comfrey And Plantain Together

    Comfrey can actually be formed into a poultice with plantain and placed on a part of the body that has a broken bone underneath the skin. This is extremely effective on a body part that perhaps has been left to heal on its own such as a toe or a finger. The product is usually placed on the area of the broken bone or wound twice each day. This not only speeds up the healing process but it also helps with inflammation and pain.

    Both comfrey and plantain are beneficial ingredients as part of a holistic and homeopathic medicine arsenal. You can find more information on both of these plants as well as certified organic herbal infused oils by visiting with Just Skin Food Website. The USDA certified organic herbal infused oils that are currently featured on the site are completely made of organic herbs as well as organic olive oil. You can find other products on the site that utilize these organic herbal oils in our salves such as our Therapeutic Skin Salve (an all purpose salve) and Vein Relief Salve.

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  • Calendula and Arnica

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    Calendula and arnica are very important when it comes to natural medicine. Both of these commonly used homeopathic ingredients are included in a number of products including tinctures, creams, oils and salves for first aid use. Both of these products look very similar and may be hard to differentiate by the untrained eye but they are very distinct when it comes to their healing properties.

     Calendula

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    Calendula is also known as the marigold flower, which is very easy to grow and once established it spreads quickly. The medicinal ingredient that is within the calendula flower is called saponoside and it is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. Essential fatty acids, etheric oils and carotene are also part of what makes calendula so beneficial. It works best when applied to a cut or wound rather than taking it orally and it is extremely gentle to use. As a complement to calendula you can also use arnica.

    Some uses for Calendula:(external only)

    • Bed sores
    • Boils
    • Burns
    • Frostbite
    • Open wounds
    • Slow healing wounds
    • Skin abrasions
    • Skin and nail fungus

    Arnicaimages-2

    Arnica is much more rare to find out in nature than say calendula. It grows most commonly in the Alpine regions of the world and it has muscle relaxing properties as well as anti-spasmodic qualities. In addition, arnica is a natural antibiotic and a natural anti-inflammatory herb. Arnica is not intended to be used on an open wound but rather on a bruise or healed cut to help relieve discomfort, reduce swelling and bruising.

    Some uses for Arnica:(external only)

    • Bruises
    • Joint Inflammation
    • Muscle strain
    • Soreness

    Calendula and Arnica Together

    The two of these holistic treatments have the potential for being used together for ultimate healing qualities. Calendula is placed on a fresh, unhealed cut to help prevent infection and promote healing. After the initial healing has taken place, if there is a bruise or pain remaining, arnica can then be applied topically to further help during the healing process.

    Calendula and arnica are both very beneficial and common ingredients when it comes to a holistic-based medicine cabinet. For information on these herbs or to purchase IMG_5919them in a certified organic herbal infused oil form you can visit Just Skin Food. The newly released line of USDA certified organic herbal infused oils are made entirely of certified organic herbs along with certified organic olive oil as a carrier. These oils are also used in many of our other products including our skin salves and body butters.

     

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  • B. Lime, Pregnancy Journeys and Homeopathy

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    So I am trying something new with guest blogging and thought why not! - it’s always nice to hear and write something from a different perspective…. Will try and have various guest bloggers throughout the year.

    When I asked my guest blogger if she wanted to share some insights into the products she has used and anything else she found helpful and to provide just a short couple of paragraphs, she sent me a 3 page memoir of her pregnancy journey, which I was so delighted to be the first to read! Of course I had to take a snap shot of it to be able to get it into a blog.

    But before starting, please meet Mary of B. Lime an online store that is now 303348_10150624828171917_179142210_acarrying our products as well.  B. Lime,  is an online Green Store in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois that carries eco-friendly products for baby, family, and home.

    Mary, who is the owner of B. Lime, was 7 months pregnant at the time, with a full-time job at the University, and wanted to purchase the B. Lime brand because the previous owner of B. Lime announced she was closing. Mary was so sadden for herself and for her community, she thought- why couldn’t a Green Store flourish in C-U?
  So she met with the previous owner and here she is owner of B. Lime.

     Check out B.Lime online store and all of its non-toxic baby products and as well for the whole family. And you can also read more about Mary’s journey as well.

    leaves-1280x800 copyMeet Arielle and David and hear about their journey …Arielle and David

    Please allow me to introduce myself…I am a pleasantly plump 37-year-old woman who recently lost 90lbs last summer. My husband is a fit 41-year-old male who works out 4 to 5 times a week and follows a high protein diet.

    To our amazement we had no difficulty conceiving. We have been blessed and are expecting a baby boy in May. My pregnancy has been relatively comfortable and uneventful in the sense of complications. It seems that consuming mainly organic food and a moderate vitamin intake has been very good to our bodies.

    When we announced our pregnancy I sought the advice of Gabriella Calvi-Rooney on homeopathic protocols for pregnancy and delivery. After consulting with Gabriella I began the monthly cell salt protocol for optimal fetal development and plan to continue it throughout breastfeeding. I believe the cell salts have played an integral part in the healthy development of my son and the relative ease of my pregnancy.

    I am starting my 37th week now and have had common symptoms of pregnancy, which have been easily remedied. One of the symptoms was sciatic nerve pain in the eighth month, which has occurred only twice, but on both occasions I took one dose of Ruta 30c and massaged Just Skin Foods Deep Pain Salve directly into the area of my right sciatic nerve. I must say that both instances my pain was intense and walking became very difficult. However, with both times it was gone within the hour.

    The other, much more intense symptom happened at 35 weeks when I got a very intense painful carpal tunnel cramp in my right arm. I was literally writhing in pain. Then I remembered the deep pain salve and that Gabriella had advised me to take Hypericum 30c for nerve pain in a tooth after a dental filling a couple of years ago. So I took a dose of Hypericum 30c with a dose of Arnica 30c and massaged the Deep Pain Salve into the nerve from wrist to elbow. I was beyond ecstatic when in a couple of minutes the nerve began to tingle, it went completely numb within 20 minutes and the pain has not returned… the remedies were so effective that I repainted a butcher block to re-purpose as a changing table two days later with no pain.

    In planning ahead I have gotten other products for future use like Just Skin Food’s sunblock that I will need for days outdoors here in sunny South Carolina. I love its’ completely nontoxic rating (EWG rating for sunscreen),  and will be happy to use it without any negative effect on sensitive skin.

     I can’t even begin to describe the peace of mind it brings me to know that with a healthy diet and exercise combined with cell salts, homeopathy and quality organic products like the ones from Just Skin Food I can care for my family without worrying about synthetic chemicals and their side effects.

    This is her journey but there are many other modalities that will help as well, such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Yoga and Massages.  All of these are non-invasive and are a great way of keeping healthy.  Don't forget to buy organic and better yet local organic.

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