Essential oils are volatile, aromatic compounds that have been around for centuries. Frankincense was even used to anoint Jesus upon birth. A hydrophobic, concentrated liquid of plants and flowers can be used to heal, clean and do just about anything else for the body, mind and soul that you can imagine. Here’s how you can introduce these “magical” healing oils into your home.
Aches & Pains The analgesic compounds in essential oils are their secret to easing a variety of common pains and ailments. Our winner for headache relief is lavender by a landslide. If you suffer from arthritis, then frankincense can help limit the production of inflammatory molecules. If your back is causing you pain try several drops of peppermint mixed with a carrier oil to cool inflamed joints. We always recommend using a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil to help dilute the essential oil and strongly advise that you never apply it directly to the skin!
Cleaning Did you know that some essential oils have the power to kill bacteria and mold? Oh yes! But remember, a little can go a long way, so don’t overdo it. Try lemon, tea tree, rosemary and eucalyptus oils combined with hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar for an all purpose, DIY cleaner.
Personal Care Free yourself of the harmful chemical and phony fragrances found in most personal care products. Make them over with essentials oils! Lavender, which can be applied directly to the skin, makes a great perfume. Tea tree is great for acne-prone or oily skin and clary sage fights fine lines. Many natural personal care brands incorporate essential oils into their products, or you can experiment with your own mixes and blends!
Topically As mentioned above, you want to use a carrier oil when applying most essential oils topically to the skin. Tea tree and lavender are great for topical use, however, you’ll want to do a small, isolated skin test to make sure you do not have an adverse reaction before going all-in on a major application. Some great areas of the body to apply oils are your temples for stress, the bridge of your nose for a sinus infection and between the eyebrows when you’re trying to fall asleep.
Gardening Yup, that’s right, you can control garden pests with essential oils! Throw out your chemical-laden garden bug killer. Just combine 8 ounces of water with a teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s soap and 6 drops of essentials oil (like peppermint) to repel unwelcome garden guests such as beetles and aphids. Apply every few days to keep the pesky guys at bay.
Remember that essential oils are derived from plants and can cause a reaction if you are allergic! Like we mentioned earlier, always test a small patch of skin before using all over. Also, like with any major change in your routine, consult a professional before making the long term switch!
How do you use essential oils in your daily life? Share below!
Toothbrushing is important to maintain proper hygiene but what we may not realize is that this healthy, daily procedure can actually cause problems to our health too. Popular toothpastes contain toxic and harmful ingredients that can make people sick and might even lead to more serious long-term health problems. Let’s look as what ingredients you should avoid in your toothpaste.
Used in the vast majority of conventional products sold in the US, sodium fluoride has been linked to lowering productions of testosterone and reducing fertility by immobilizing sperm. Fluoride is effective against tooth decay but it is also known to cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Also known as SLS, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is used as a detergent and cleansing agent and has a long list of potential health risks. This ingredient can easily penetrate the skin and oral mucosa and stay within the body for as long as 5 days. SLS is known to cause skin and eye irritation. Additionally, SLS mimics estrogen when it enters the body and its 1,4-dioxane has been linked to male infertility, breast cancer, as well as other health problems such as development of man boobs.
Propylene glycol acts as a wetting agent and surfactant in toothpaste but this chemical can be rapidly absorbed through the skin, leading to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. It is also an estrogen mimicker.
Diethanolamine or DEA is used in toothpaste and is known to disrupt hormones and form cancer-causing nitrates, which may lead to increased risk of liver and kidney cancers.
Found in many conventional toothpaste brands, triclosan is a type of chemical suspected of causing cancer in humans.
Prebiotics and probiotics. Two similar words, two completely different things. Probiotics have been popular for quite some time as they are essential for gut health and overall wellbeing. However, what’s interesting about this debate is that prebiotics are actually one of the best ways to improve probiotics and get even better results but many people still wonder: what are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a specialized plant fiber that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the large bowel or colon. Prebiotics help your good bacteria grow, improving the good-to-bad bacteria ratio, which is essential to your health and overall wellbeing.
Additionally, prebiotics provide a wide range of health benefits which have been medically proven. These amazing non-digestible fiber compounds are known to improve gut health and enhance digestion as well as lower inflammation, reduce risk of heart disease, boost immune function and promote weight loss.
Found in many fruits and vegetables, sources of prebiotic fiber include greenish bananas, raw garlic, raw asparagus, raw leeks, onions, artichokes, chicory root, and beans. However, it’s nearly impossible to obtain the ideal amount of prebiotic from food sources as one would have to eat in large quantities every day.
Prebiotic supplements are a great option as most products are mild in texture, nearly tasteless, and can be easily added to water or any other food. Prebiotics powders are not affected by heat, cold, acid or time, unlike probiotics which must be kept alive and may be killed by heat or simply die with time.
Kefir is a fermented dairy drink known for its gut-friendly benefits. And if you are interested in trying to make your own we sell a great DIY starter kit here. This kit contains healthy bacteria including S. Lactis, S. diacetylactis, S. cremoris, L. casei, L. acidophilus and lactic acid yeast strains which will do your gut some good.
Kombucha known by diehard fans as “booch,” this is another popular fermented drink made using tea and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and sweetened tea. The process of brewing your own is similar to making beer. Kombucha contains antioxidants and the healthy acids created by the fermentation process aid digestion and help detoxify. However, if you’re not a brew master, no worries, you can find plenty of delicious pre-brewed varieties here at LuckyVitamin.
Ginger contains phenolic compounds like gingerol and volatile oils that are hugely beneficial to your digestive system. Herbalists for thousands of years have known of the healing powers of ginger, including Ayurvedic practitioners who have used it to activate the body’s internal energy to help regain balance and harmony.
Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s no surprise this overall health tonic is great for digestion too! ACV can jump start the production of HCL, the digestive juices that help breakdown food. Try adding a tablespoon to eight ounces of water and drink 15 minutes prior to a meal to help ensure that everything goes down smoothly. Did you know that LuckyVitamin makes their own apple cider vinegar? Oh yeah1 Get yours here (it has the “mother” too!)
Coconut Oil is an anti-inflammatory food. Unlike other fats, the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil are broken down easier by your GI tract. Plus, the anti-viral and anti-microbial properties can help kill the bad micro-organisms that cause inflammation. This explains why many people who suffer from Crohns and colitis use coconut oil as a healing food.
Supplements for heart health may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, strokes, and many other problems that put you at risk. If you are still not familiar with these wonderful products, we present you 5 important supplements for heart health.
1. CoQ10 – Coenzyme Q10
We can’t talk about heart health supplements without mentioning coenzyme Q10. Popular known as CoQ10 and also known as ubiquinol, the body naturally makes small amounts of this enzyme but as we age, production reduces, resulting in heart issues. CoQ10 supplements work really well to balance the amount of the enzyme in the body, especially for people taking cholesterol drugs, which may reduce the amount of CoQ10 the body makes on its own.
Garlic supplements work efficiently to reduce blood pressure and arterial calcification. Studies have shown that garlic can help slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries, lowering the risk of blood clots. Fresh garlic as well as supplements are a great heart-healthy choice as it can improve several parameters of heart health.
3. Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best ingredients for health and fish oil supplements are a great source of them. Fish oil is known to reduce triglycerides, the unhealthy fat in the blood, up to 30%. Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends that adults eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish a week but since many Americans don’t eat fish regularly, supplements may be a great alternative.
4. Vitamin K
Found in foods such as kale, collard greens, and prunes, Vitamin K is known to reduce arterial calcification and can also provide benefits for bone health. During arteria calcification, calcium adheres to the artery wall, increasing its stiffness. Vitamin K can help maintain your arteries flexible and healthy preventing heart problems.
L-carnitine is another key nutrient for cardiovascular health as it can help chaperone EFAs into the mitochondria, where they are turned into energy. L-carnitine works well with CoQ10 to help ensure your heart has the energy it needs to keep pumping.
Winter is coming and it may be the best time of the year to talk about vitamin D. An estimated 85 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient and over 95 percent of senior citizens in the US may possibly be deficient. These numbers may be even higher during the winter months as sun exposure is reduced and vitamin D synthesis is very unlikely across the country.
Vitamin D is extremely important as it plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal health and preventing diseases. Vitamin D can help reduce the risk of several health conditions including type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as cancer. Plus, vitamin D exhibits its infection-fighting abilities in the treatment of tuberculosis, pneumonia, colds, and flu.
Cases of vitamin D deficiency are more frequently in the winter months from early December to late February as people tend to spend more time indoors than outdoors. On top of that, the sunlight exposure may not be enough to produce D, depending on where you live in the US. People living in Northern states are unlike to produce D as there is very little sun exposure and the sun rays aren’t strong enough to produce vitamin D. Exposing your skin to the sun is not likely to produce vitamin D when the temperature is lower than 50F. This occurs in most regions in the US during the winter months.
Aside from sun exposure, vitamin D is obtained from food sources and supplementation. Common types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and D3. Compared to D2, vitamin D3 is 87 percent more effective, and is the preferred form for addressing insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D supplements may be an excellent addition for the winter months, keeping your D levels healthy at least until you get the chance to get outdoors and product it naturally.
Thanksgiving is a great celebration but some folks often end up eating more than they should. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little overeating in one of America’s oldest tradition but the after dinner bad feeling doesn’t have to last long. Many natural supplements can help minimize indigestion, bloating and gas, making you feel better and reducing growling stomach, abdominal pain, burning sensation in the upper abdomen, as well as preventing vomiting. Here’s a quick list of 5 natural products to relieve indigestion.
Chamomile is effective for relieving many gastrointestinal complaints, including indigestion. Drinking herbal chamomile tea after eating a heavy meal can help calm your stomach and relieve digestive problems.
Ginger offers a variety of health benefits including digestive support. Ginger has the ability to not only soothe the gut but also aid digestion by increasing the wavelike muscle contractions (peristalsis) that move food through the intestine. Plus, ginger stimulates digestive juices and the flow of enzymes that help you digest your food, especially when it is caused by overeating.
3. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds can be really helpful for indigestion particularly when caused by very spicy or fatty food. Fennel seeds, and alternatively you can drink fennel tea, contain volatile oils that can help reduce nausea and control flatulence.
Papaya contain enzymes that break down protein, called proteolytics. Research suggest that papaya enzymes can be helpful for relieving indigestion, specially provide good relief for pain in the abdomen.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is often used to kick start a slow stomach. Though acidic in nature, it also has an alkalizing effect that helps settle indigestion.
With the New Year “write” around the corner it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to accomplish in 2017. Not surprisingly, many people choose to take this time of year to focus on improving their overall health. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to assess your health needs is to create a daily personal health and wellness journal. This journal can help you to understand your current health status and inspire improvements to better your overall health. Research has shown that individuals who write about traumatic, stressful and emotional events are more likely to have improvements in physical and emotional health than those who do not.
Combine these experiential writings with a log of other daily events such as what you’ve eaten during the day, how you feel, time slept, sleep quality, medications/vitamins/supplements taken that day, physical activity and overall mood, you have the makings of a personal wellness journal that can help you discover causes or correlations among behaviors, symptoms and health issues. These findings can help you assess your current health and help you form goals on where you would like to be in the coming New Year.
Short Term & Long Term Benefits to Consider of Journaling
Identify personal habits
Identify potential allergens/sensitivities
Personal growth and development
More frequent exercise
Improved working memory
Reduced number of visits to general practitioner or health center
10 Tips for Successful Journaling
Commit to a journaling schedule
Keep your notebook or journal where you won’t miss it
Try using email or calendar reminders so you don’t forget
Write in a private place, free from distractions
Keep it short
Keep it fun and interesting
Don’t worry about being perfect – write what comes naturally to you
Make time for some reflection
How to Keep a Health Journal
There are pre-made health journals that you can use to keep yourself organized, but don’t worry, a general spiral notebook will also work just fine. To start, be sure to note the date and day of the week. You can record your blood pressure and sugar level if necessary, along with weight and body temperature. It is best if these are recorded at the same time each day. Record the total amount of sleep you had for that day including naps. You can also record the number of times you woke up during the night and your overall sleep quality.
Since many individuals feel that their health is affected by changes in the weather, you can note the temperature for the day along with any present weather patterns (such as sunny, cloudy, humid, rainy, snowy, windy, etc.). Log any medications you took as well as any over-the-counter items and vitamins, herbs or supplements. Indicate the brand name, the type of medication or supplement and the dosage or strength. As you get comfortable with journaling, you can simply write “same as usual” to save time and only make notes when changes occur. You should also write down any physical activity that you performed that day, including walking, running, weight training or even vigorous housework, gardening, dancing, etc.
Take note to any pain or discomfort that you feel throughout the day. You can log the area where the pain occurs and number it on a scale of 1-10 in terms of its severity (1 being very mild, 10 being severe). Sometimes pain occurs at the same time of the day, so be sure to take note if this happens. In addition to pain and discomfort, you can also note any symptoms that you felt throughout the day. These may include fatigue, nausea, gas, bloating, watery eyes, diarrhea, heart palpitations, constant hunger, etc. Focus on all the areas of the body (from your head all the way down to your feet) and don’t forget to include any mental or emotional symptoms such as anxiety, nervousness, sadness or anger. You may also want to rate the symptom severity and take note to what time of day they occurred. If you notice any rashes, bruises, bites or other skin conditions take note of these and log them as well.
Finally, log your diet for the day including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Feel free to note the amount of calories, fat, sodium, protein, sugar and other nutritional information consumed at each meal. Also log your water consumption throughout the day. Keeping track of what you eat may help you discover trends in your day to day health to figure out if you are allergic or sensitive to certain food ingredients. For instance, every morning after drinking milk at breakfast you may have noticed excessive gas and diarrhea, which could identify lactose sensitivity. Leave a final section for comments or to include anything else that comes to mind. Congratulations, you’ve finished day one of your health journal!
Teas have been used medicinally for hundreds of years and it is quite easy to understand the reasons people continue to drink tea around the world. Just look into some of the popular tea ingredients and you will find out how many can be used for treatment and prevention of various health issues. Plus, teas are a great source of vitamin and minerals. So, let’s look at 4 teas and which ailment it can be helpful to.
Known as a wonderful digestive aid, ginger tea can also help to curb nausea, vomiting and minimize motion sickness. A good number of teas labeled to support digestion contain ginger as a main ingredient. You can also make fresh ginger tea by simmering ginger root on the stove for about 15 minutes.
Elderberry contains antioxidant-rich flavonoids and it’s known to provide relief for cold and flu. It can also be helpful to soothe sore throat and coughing as well as help treat bacterial sinusitis, an infection more commonly known as a sinus infection. Elderberry and other herbs combined with a decongestant and antibiotic may help clear up sinus infections more quickly than decongestant and antibiotic treatments alone.
Known to gently stimulate the liver and supports healthy digestion, dandelion tea supports the body’s natural detoxification process. Dandelion root tea has shown choleretic effects as it can stimulate the liver to increase bile flow which, once released by the liver, can carry away waste and break down fats during digestion.
The relaxing and calming chamomile is known to improve sleep and can be helpful for insomnia. It can also improve digestion as well as help treating cold and fever, minimize cough and bronchitis, and be used as a gargle for inflammation of the mouth.
L-Citrulline supplements are often labeled as sport nutrition products as they are known to help build muscles and improve athletic performance. This non-essential amino acid can help support nitric oxide metabolism and muscle protein synthesis as well as relieve muscle fatigue. One of the best health benefits from the amino acid L-Citrulline is its ability to support vascular health.
The whole process starts when your kidneys change L-Citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and a chemical called nitric oxide. These compounds are important to your heart and blood vessel health and may also boost your immune system. L-Citrulline boosts nitric oxide production in the body, helping your arteries relax and promoting vascular dilation which improves oxygen and blood circulation throughout the body.
Since proper blow flow is essential for good health, L-Citrulline can help prevent and treat a variety of issues such as lower blood pressure in people with prehypertension and blood vessel problems in people healing from diabetes. In addition, L-Citrulline supplements may ease symptoms of mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction (ED) and, despite the fact it may not be as effective as other drugs, it’s considered a very safe option.
Food sources containing L-Citrulline include watermelon, milk, legumes, meats, and fish. Eating watermelon regularly helps to increase levels of citrulline and arginine, which may be beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Lucky Vitamin is happy to introduce a new product which is a natural choice for upset tummies: Tummydrops.
Tummydrops are the best, natural way to help nausea, morning sickness and upset stomachs. Gluten-free and non-GMO Project Verified, these unique drops were designed to provide a natural alternative to prescription medications and chemicals.
Developed by science, Tummydrops are hand crafted in small batches using only the most premium natural ingredients to provide a convenient, great tasting drop that works efficiently to improve digestive health.
Each drop contains a special blend of ingredients, which may assist with occasional stomach upset, nausea, morning sickness, and even motion sickness. Mother Nature has provided an answer in the form of zingiber officinale, better known as ginger. Prized for its culinary uses, the root-like structure of ginger, called a rhizome, contains multiple active substances, including gingerol, which may assist with occasional nausea and vomit.
When formulating Tummydrops, the company started by carefully selecting a natural and potent source of gingerol. Next, premium natural ingredients were added to complement the natural taste of the ginger. The result is an easy to carry, great tasting drop that you can take anywhere.
Pink – it’s either Spring or it’s October! In this case, we’re talking about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of us are aware we should be checking for breast cancer, but do you? And have you read up on some of the latest news and findings?
Yes, it’s true that 1 in 8 women (about 12%) will most likely be diagnosed with breast cancer but do you know that men can be diagnosed as well? This year it is projected that over 2,600 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed and over 400 men will die from the disease.
There are many factors that increase the risk for men regarding breast cancer.
First, do men (or women) acknowledge that men have breasts? Young boys and girls both have breast tissue that includes ducts. Once puberty begins, while girls will continue to develop, male hormones such as Testosterone suppress the growth of breast tissue, however, it still exists. Male breast cancer has the same causes as for women, higher levels of estrogen, family history, genetics, lifestyle or other exposures.
Although a large percentage of breast cancers for women and men are not genetic, many are due to a genetic or hereditary background. Approximately 5-10% of breast cancer can be caused from a variety of gene mutations including BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility gene). BRCA1 and BRCA2 are responsible for approximately 20-25 of hereditary breast cancers. Learning about your hereditary health can save your life. If you have a family member with early age diagnosis of Prostate, Melanoma, Pancreatic, Breast (including male or female) and other cancers, then you may be at a higher risk. If you’re concerned, seek a genetic counselor to find out more. Even if you are a carrier of the BRCA or other gene mutation this does not mean you will get breast cancer, it just means you are at a higher risk and need to take the necessary precautions and be educated. Perform a self breast exam more often or having frequent mammograms or breast MRIs (yes, men can have these and should do self exams!). These are important tools for early detection.
There are many new types of hormone therapy used to prevent estrogen from binding to estrogen receptor positive cancer. New studies discuss remaining on treatment from 5 to now 10 years. Learning more about your type of cancer, the Oncotype DX and MammaPrint, help to determine the risk of recurrence or spread of the disease. This is important information for the plan of treatment. PARP inhibitors have recently been studied to be helpful against some cancers especially that are caused from BRCA mutations.
Lifestyle, the foods we eat (organic, hormone free, etc), less meat, more cruciferous vegetables, the products we put on our body and use around our home (less chemicals) the amount of exercise we get and alcohol intake all may make a difference to our health. It’s important to feel that even though our genetic background may say one thing, we can make certain choices that are in our control.
Health Tonic –Add two tablespoons of ACV and lemon juice with one tablespoon of raw honey to eight ounces of green tea. Drink daily for overall good health.
Hair Rinse – Combine ½ cup of water with ½ cup ACV and add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil. Store in a spray bottle and use three times a week to replace your conditioner. You won’t believe your hair’s new, natural shine. Oh, and we promise it won’t smell like vinegar!
Facial Toner – Fight acne and clear blackheads with a simple recipe consisting of one cup of witch hazel, one tablespoon ACV add five drops of lavender essential oil. Combine all ingredients, store in a sterile bottle and you’re good to go.
Garden – Combine one part ACV to eight parts water in a spray bottle to form a potent, yet non-toxic, garden weed killer.
Produce Wash – For a simple fruit and veggie wash combine two tablespoons of ACV with two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of baking soda. So simple, so effective.
Immunity Booster – Add one tablespoon of ACV to one teaspoon of honey, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and one cup of warm water for an immunity-boosting cold season cider. Drink it as soon as you feel a sore throat coming on, three times daily.
Salad dressing – Combine two tablespoons of ACV with a half cup of olive oil and one cup of apple cider. Whisk together and add salt, pepper and two tablespoons of honey for a refreshing, autumnal vinaigrette. Keep in a mason jar for several days.
Sunburn – Heal a sunburn and avoid nasty blisters by pouring some ACV on a damp wash cloth and applying to the affected areas for 3-5 minutes. Let the mixture complete dry and follow that up with a light application of coconut oil. The ACV helps dull the burn while the coconut oil hydrates the skin.
Detox bath– Add one cup of Epsom salt and one cup of ACV for a relaxing and restorative soak.
Wart Remover – Put ACV on a cotton ball and cover with a Band-Aid. Repeat every day for a week and save yourself a trip to the dermatologist.
If joint pain has become part of your life, you may want to learn about MSM supplements.
MSM, methylsulfonylmethane, has been used around the world for relief from osteoarthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, and inflammation. A naturally occurring mineral, MSM is an organic source of sulfur-containing compound, which has anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties that can block pain response in nerve fibers. It can also reduce scar tissue by altering the cross linking process in collagen to allow quicker tissue repair.
MSM supplements have gained considerable recognition for its results in relieving arthritis as this incredible product has the ability to make cell walls flexible and elastic. If the concentration of MSM in the body is too low, the new cells lose some of their necessary flexibility, resulting in pain. MSM make cell walls permeable, allowing water and nutrients to freely flow into cells and toxins to properly flow out.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that MSM supplementation was very effective in reducing exercise-induced muscle and joint pain. Three weeks of MSM supplementation at 3g per day attenuated post-exercise muscle and joint pain at clinically significant levels compared to placebo. It’s important to remember that results may take time to appear as some people may feel relief in as little as two weeks while others may only feel significant results after two or three months of supplementation. A good number of supplements for osteoarthritis as well as products to reduce joint-pain contain MSM in their formulas. These products often contain other effective ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.