Author: Nerd

Earth Day 2020 : The pandemic affect.

Earth Day 2020 is a very special day, probably more special than prior years, unfortunately, part of what makes it so unique is that while the earth is improving. What led to this wasn’t by choice and is mostly due to us being forced to stay home. The Covid-19 pandemic is shutting down countries across the world, causing a significant decline in air pollution in major cities as countries implement stricter quarantines and travel restrictions. 

  • Canal water in Venice has cleared up without boat traffic. Air pollution in China has plunged amid unprecedented lockdowns. 
  • In Thailand and Japan, mobs of monkeys and deer are roaming streets now devoid of tourists.
  • Due to the decrease in fishing activities, residents spotted dolphins playing and swimming around in the Arabian Sea. 
  • In China’s Hubei province, the average number of good quality air days increased by 21.5% in February compared to the same time last year. From February 3 to March 1, CO2 emissions decreased by at least 25% because of lockdowns throughout China, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
  • China adds a whopping 30% yearly to the world’s CO2 emissions, making it number one polluting the air. So, a 25% decrease makes a difference in terms of air quality on Earth. CREA estimates it to be about 200 million tons — more than half the entire annual emissions output of the UK.
  • More blue skies were also noted in the Bay Area and Italy as pollution dropped while lockdowns took place throughout these cities.

The unintended air pollution declines from the virus outbreak are unfortunately just temporary, experts say. But the pandemic’s unintended climate impact could offer up a glimpse into how countries and corporations are equipped to deal with the destruction of the slower-moving climate change crisis. In hindsight it makes me think that the earth isn’t as bad as we made it out to be via global warming, and through proper practices, this planet is fully capable of being saved. 

A new issue that we are seeing is that discarded single-use face masks used to protect the spread of COVIS-19 could be causing significant harm to the environment. As it heals, we have found a way to help destroy it more.  Gary Stokes, OceanAsia’s Founder, told Energy Live News: “We have found 70 discarded masks within 100 metres of the beach and an additional 30 masks when we returned a week later. That’s hella masks. Over time the team has seen the odd mask here and now, however, this time they were all along the high tide line and foreshore and you could see new arrivals coming in on the current. When you suddenly have a population of seven million people wearing one to two masks daily the amount of waste generated is going to be substantial.

“A mask that is ingested by a local turtle, pink dolphin or finless porpoise, for example, could easily become lodged in the digestive system of the animal, thereby killing it.”

“Most of these masks contain or are made of polypropylene, which breaks down very slowly. Marine plastic pollution is a serious and ongoing problem. It is estimated that yearly, over eight million tons of plastic enter our oceans. This plastic doesn’t go anywhere, it slowly breaks down into micro-plastic, which enters food chains, and that has devastating effect on everything.

Marine plastic adsorbs toxins, which results in it poisoning animals that accidentally ingest it.”

Everyone should learn the proper ways to dispose of surgical masks, the surge in mask-based rubbish highlights “serious weaknesses in waste management and public education”. You would think in light of the earth healing people would be more mindful.  At home, we could do things such as conserving water, reusing items, composting in or outside. Since a lot of people are struggling financially, being mindful of spending is important, remembering to buy things you need and not want. In the future, we should appreciate the healing of the planet and try our best to continuously work with the land to make it a better place. We already got some major help.

The pandemic is fast, shining a spotlight on our ability or inability to respond to urgent threats. But like pandemics, climate change can be planned for in advance, if politicians pay attention to the warnings of scientists who are sounding the alarm,” Let’s be grateful of these recent earth changes and continue to lighten our footprints.

Regenerating and Edible Immune Supporting Plants: Scallions

What Scallions Can Do for Your Health

Your grocer might label them as green onions. Scallions are an allium (Latin for “garlic”) vegetables. I use them as a suitable onion replacement. Their pungent relatives include onions, leeks, shallots, and chives. Cooks worldwide toss scallions into many Asian style dishes that needs a punch of flavor, but they aren’t limited to Asian style. The hollow, tube-like green tops have a mild, oniony zing, while the small, white bulb ends offer a sharper bite. In my opinion, they are pre-mature onions

Nutritional Values:

Scallions are mostly water, 1 cup is just 32 calories, only trace amounts of fat, and zero cholesterol. It also has less sugar and fewer carbs than vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and corn.

  • About 16% of your daily requirement for folate, a vitamin your body needs to make DNA and which is especially important for women who are pregnant
  • About 25% of your daily value for vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage
  • Twice the daily recommended amount for adults for vitamin K, which helps your blood clot and keeps your bones strong.
  • Iron — It plays a role in the formation of hemoglobin, cell growth and differentiation, metabolism, endocrine and brain function, energy production, and immune health.
  • Potassium — This mineral balances the electrical and chemical processes in your body, which in turn helps maintain proper muscle contractions, transmit nerve impulses, regulate blood sugar levels and improve blood pressure, among

Health Benefits

Prevents infections. Extracts of onions, garlic, and their relatives have long been used medicinally. They can kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Lab tests on certain varieties of onions showed that at high enough concentrations, some can kill or slow the growth of salmonella or E. coli.

Helps in fighting cancer. Scallions and other allium vegetables block mainly stomach cancer growth. Researchers believe that a compound called allicin, which is what gives you garlic breath, may prevent cells from turning cancerous or slow tumors from spreading.

Protects your body. Vegetables in the onion group are packed with phytonutrients, including chemicals called antioxidants that defend your cells against damage. Antioxidants in onions like flavonoids and polyphenols hunt down free radicals, substances that can lead to cancer, inflammation, and age-related diseases. Fresh scallions are always best because antioxidants in vegetables lose their power during cooking.

Fiber. A cup of cut scallions has about 10% of the fiber you need for the whole day. Getting lots of fiber helps you feel full, keeps your cholesterol levels down, and may lower your chances for diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

 

Warning: Scallions are high in vitamin K, which works against blood-thinning medication. If you’re taking warfarin to prevent strokes, heart attacks, or blood clots, ask your doctor if green onions are safe for you.  Always wash all fresh vegetables, including those that are sold prewashed and bagged. It’s rare, but people have been sickened or died of hepatitis after eating contaminated scallions.

Regeneration

When regrowing scallions you can use them to cook with and as a great home decoration. They grow about 3-4 inches + a week. Regrowing helps you #savemoney, #reducewaste, and wow the world. When doing a plant project with children I always use scallions since they grow so fast with low maintenance, and children have short attention spans, that need to see live results.

How to Use Scallions

You can find them practically anywhere. Wild scallions might be growing in your backyard. Your produce aisle likely stocks them year-round.

Here are some shopping tips:

  • Pick scallions with crisp leaves and bright color.
  • Trim the top and bottom tips and rinse with water. You can eat both green and white parts.
  • Store scallions in the fridge for maximum freshness.

People often use green onions as a garnish on salads, soups, rice bowls or stews. But you can enjoy them in lots of other ways!

Grill them whole. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill them for a couple of minutes for a sweet, charred flavor.

Puree them. Put cooked scallions in a blender and mix in eggs, flour, and a dash of soy sauce. They taste similar to scallion pancakes served at Chinese or Korean restaurants.

Buy Seeds

Anti #Radiation & Immune Supporting Plants: Spider

The spider plant #Chlorophytumcomosum is considered one of the most adaptable of houseplants and the easiest to grow. While mostly used in containers or hanging baskets, they can be planted directly in the ground. When planting in a garden or flower bed, they need to be sheltered from direct sunlight.
 

This plant can grow in many conditions and suffers from few problems, other than brown tips. It gets its name from its spider-like plants, or #spiderettes, which dangle down from the mother plant like spiders on a web.

This plant was a part of NASA’s Clean Air Study. It is most effective in removing carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, Xylene, and toluene. It is better than many indoor plants that participated in that experiment. This National Wildlife Federation article claims that spider plant removes more than 95 percent of toxic agents from the air.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that does not cause any irritation. It is produced by incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuels such as wood, petrol, coal, natural gas, and kerosene. In urban areas, the primary source of this pollutant is exhaust from motor vehicles. Gas stoves, gas refrigerator, tobacco smoke, wood burning stoves, fireplaces, and other fossil fuel burners raise carbon monoxide level indoors.

Vital organs in our body such as the brain, nervous tissues, and the heart need oxygen to work properly. As the level of carbon monoxide level rises, oxygen in the hemoglobin reduces simultaneously. It increases the chance of CO poisoning in people suffering from chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems. Lack of coordination, fatigue and concentration problem are also associated with raised CO levels. Spider plant is effective in reducing indoor carbon monoxide level, which helps in decreasing fatigue, headaches, colds, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms caused by CO exposure.

WHO guidelines for indoor air quality, includes formaldehyde in its list of toxic pollutants. The significant health risk of formaldehyde is that it poses a carcinogenic risk and causes nose and throat cancer, claim by American Cancer Society and NIH. It can also irritate eyes, nose, throat and some other severe breathing problems and allergies.  This colorless, combustible, strong-smelling substance is monetarily utilized for making building items. Exposure of formaldehyde in a indoor space is mainly due to Urea-formaldehyde resin that is used for making adhesives of particle board wood. Brand-new flooring, furnishings, particleboard, paneling, cabinet, floor coverings, and mattresses also raise the danger of formaldehyde exposures. Some different sources of formaldehyde emissions are cooking, smoking, painting, beautifying agents, fuel combustion from traffic, etc.

When exposed to formaldehyde for 24 hours, spider plant reduced the formaldehyde levels by approximately 88 percent.

The spider plant absorbs water through its roots and then circulates the moisture through stems and leaves. Once the water reaches the leaves, it evaporates into the air and increases the humidity. The increased humidity decreases the risk of several airborne diseases, such as cold, cough, sore throat and flu-like symptoms. Growing a spider plants at home or office helps in keeping these diseases away and helps increase the concentration and productivity.

 Spider plants are also useful in absorbing #EMF radiation from your electronic devices

 
Buy One: 
 
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Edible Herbs: Dandelion Wildfood and Medicine

I want to start with dandelion, ( Taraxacum Officinale)
which is my favorite because it can be found everywhere. The first sign that it’s good for you is its bitter taste. We all know the bitter the better.  I have come to view them as an amazing gift instead of a weedy curse. Our most powerful remedies are commonly found growing under our feet. My suggestion would be to only pull dandelion from an area closed off from dogs, cats don’t really mess with herbs unless it’s beneficial, they are a bit smarter. 


Identifying Dandelion: 

Dandelion is easy to misidentify. Many look-alike plants have similar leaves, but dandelion leaves are hairless. They generally have toothed edges that gave the plant its French name, “dent de lion.” Leaves and hollow flower stems grow directly from the rootstock. you can find them EVERYWHERE — pioneers infiltrating cracks in sidewalks, grassy lawns, well-tended gardens, abandoned city lots, and mountain meadows.
Soil benefits: What isn’t as well known is that it improves soil quality. Roots draw minerals up from deep layers of earth – concentrating them in the whole plant. When the plant dies back it deposits these minerals into the soil. Roots also aerate hard packed soil and create pathways for water to enter.

Nutrients: Every part of dandelion is useful. The leaves are high in vitamins and minerals including Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and vitamins A, B and C.  Dandelion is higher in Vitamin A than any other garden plant. Roots contain inulin, mucilage, latex resin, and teraxacin.
Inulin stimulates helpful bacteria to grow. Inulin aids digestion by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut, particularly Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria help: fend off unwanted pathogens (bad bacteria)

Mucilage is used in medicine as it relieves irritation of mucous membranes by forming a protective film. It is known to act as a soluble, or viscous, dietary fiber that thickens the fecal mass, an example being the consumption of fiber supplements containing Psyllium seed husks.

Dandelion has several beneficial properties; it is anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory. In some studies, dandelion components were shown to act by inhibiting oxidative stress in liver injury, reducing high cholesterol, and reversing streptozotocin-induced diabetes. It also has anti-rheumatic, anti-carcinogenic, diuretic, laxative, hypoglycemic, and chloretic effects. 

Harvesting Dandelion :

You can harvest leaves, flowers, and roots in the proper season. In early spring leaves quickly shoot up and gather sunlight. This is when they are most tender and can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried for tea. As the leaves age and are exposed to sunlight, they can become very bitter. To preserve leaves for tea, harvest on a dry day. Use a rubber band to bundle small bunches then hang to dry, or dry leaves in single layers in baskets. Store in a glass jar for up to a year.

Buds appear at the base of the leaves in early spring. These can be eaten fresh, cooked or pickled. Buds open into flowering heads. These are best gathered for food or medicine on sunny days when they are dry and fully open, usually in April or early May.

Root medicinal properties vary a little from season to season. In spring, they are more bitter and have optimal medicine as a digestive stimulant. In the fall, they are sweeter and higher in a carbohydrate called inulin, which is excellent for diabetics.

Eating Dandelion

Leaves – can be a gourmet green. They are most delectable in the early spring before flowering. As they are exposed to more sunlight and growth slows, they become intensely bitter. Harvest tender young leaves from the inside of the plant for the best flavor. I pick young leaves and add them to salads. While they taste a little bitter, they add flavor variety as well as dense nutrients. Dandelion leaves have three times more Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin A than spinach! Leaves can also be steamed, sautéed or boiled and then incorporated into dips, casseroles, and soups. Boiling bitter leaves in a pot of water for about 5 minutes helps to remove some of the bitter taste.

Buds – The key to eating dandelion buds is getting them early when they are still tight little buttons close to the base of the plant. I like them best when the sepals have just unfolded. I pinch off the sepals from the base of the bud because they are a little bitter. Buds can be pickled, added to sautés, soups, etc.

If you are looking for dandelion root’s anti-inflammatory and liver cooling properties I recommend eating it fresh, tincturing it or making vinegar. The dry root tea is nutritive, good for digestion and detoxifying. To dry dandelion roots, dig up in spring through fall. Wash thoroughly. With a long piece of string, wrap each root a couple times, let out 6 inches of string and wrap another root, making a long dandelion chain. Hang until completely dry or dehydrate. 

Topical Uses: Dandelion flower’s high nutrient content makes it a popular addition to facial cleansers and creams. The flower oil is used for inflammation, sore muscles, and arthritic joints. The milky white sap from the plant is used to get rid of warts.

Tincture – Only tincture the roots! It’s the easiest way to use dandelion for supporting liver health, digestion and detoxification but all tinctures contain alcohol and this is not appropriate for everyone. Vinegar can be used as a substitute. Chop cleaned fresh roots in small pieces. Place in a jar and cover with 80-100 proof vodka or brandy. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Label, including the date. Let sit for two weeks, shaking it occasionally. Press with muslin cloth and store in a glass jar in a cool dark place. Tincture will last 7-9 years. Do not worry about the milky substance in the tincture that falls to the bottom. This is inulin, and you should just shake the tincture before you use it. Use 30-80 drops depending on usage 2-3 times a day.

Don’t want to forage on your own? Try this tea: 

Dry Dandelion Root:

Nature’s Way Dandelion Root, 1,575 MG

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Vegan Soap Making Notes

Preparing Herbs for Making Soap

You’ll want to pick your herbs (or gather them from nature) when they are at their peak. Mid-morning is best after the sun has dried the dew off the flowers and leaves, but before the sun dries out the natural oils of the plant. You can dry your herbs naturally in the sun, or in an oven or dehydrator. However it’s done, you’ll want to make sure they are thoroughly dry with no dampness left. Herbs that are not completely dry could produce mold in your soap or the lye may rot them. Either way, it’s undesirable.

When your herbs are dry, store them in a sealed container like a canning jar. This will keep them handy, you can see what’s inside, and they will stay dry. You can leave them as a whole leaf or flower or you can use a coffee/spice grinder to powder them.

Herbs for Homemade Soap

Lavender
Its light clean scent is well known and often provides a sense of comfort. It is antibacterial and can help to heal wounds. Lavender is also well known for its relaxing properties and uses as a natural sleep aid. Use it whole in the soap for a gentle exfoliating property or powdered for even gentler action.

Chamomile

Chamomile is soft and fragrant. It’s a gentle healing herb and is very soothing. It can also help to remove bacteria on the skin, although not as well as lavender.

Calendula

Often called pot marigold, calendula is not in the marigold family, but is in the aster family. Calendula is very healing and can help to remove redness from the skin. Many herbs turn dark after a few weeks in soap, but calendula will hold its color very well for a long time.

Lemon Balm

When it’s dried, lemon balm loses some of its lemony scents, but it still works very well in soap. Lemon balm is thought to be antiviral and can help to kill germs when you wash with it. It provides a dark green color and a bit rougher exfoliation than lavender or chamomile, while not abrading the skin.

Marshmallow Root

One of the most soothing herbs is marshmallow root. When powdered and used in making soap, the soap becomes soothing and softens the skin very well.

Comfrey

Comfrey root, dried and ground into a powder, is added to soap to help heal the skin. It is very effective for acne and poison ivy rash, while not being too harsh. It will not dry the skin out but will help to heal the skin. You can also use the leaf, although the root has a more healing ability.

Plantain

One of my favorite herbs is plantain. Not the banana relative, but the herb (or more often weed) found in your yard. It is thought to be very healing, even more so than aloe vera. It is demulcent like marshmallow root, but also has a nice green color that doesn’t fade quickly in soaps.

Mint

Almost all of the mints are antibacterial, making them a great choice for soap making. There are several different types of mint, some having more of the characteristic minty smell than others. Theres pineapple mint, spearmint, and grapefruit mint. It smells just like the peel of the grapefruit and lends a nice quality to soap.

Rosemary

Perhaps one of the most useful herbs in soap making is rosemary. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. It is also full of antioxidants. Rosemary Oil Extract, or ROE, is sold as a preservative for soap, herbal and other cooking needs.

Soap Bases

Aloe: Aloe Vera Soap Base contains real aloe vera, which is thought to benefit the skin! It has a clear, light green color.

Coconut Milk: Coconut milk is thought to be high in antioxidants as well as triglycerides, making it an excellent natural moisturizer for the skin. It helps boost lather and cleaning while eliminating harsh detergents.

HempThis base contains hemp oil, which is considered to be high in phospholipids, antioxidants, and omega 3’s.

Honey: This base is thought to be very high in natural antioxidants and anti-microbial benefits. We often hear that skin glows after using products made with a honey base.

OatmealOatmeal soap base is thought to moisturize the skin and relieve itching.

Olive Oil

Shea ButterThis base contains real shea, which is thought to protect skin from the weather!

Oils

Hemp Seed Oil:
Hemp seed oil is a deep, green color with a light, nutty smell. No, it doesn’t smell like marijuana, nor does it have any of the effects that marijuana has, but it does indeed come from the seed of the cannabis plant. It’s really lovely in lotions and creams and great in soap too. It gives a light, creamy/silky lather. Because of its fatty acid makeup, it has a very short shelf life…less than six months…so it should be refrigerated or even kept in the freezer. Treating it with rosemary oleoresin extract is a good idea to help keep it from oxidizing. It can be used as a luxury healing/moisturizing oil in soap up to 10%-15%.

Palm Oil:
Palm oil, along with olive and coconut, is one of the top oils used by soap makers today. Because of the qualities, it gives soap, it is often called “veggie tallow” in that it gives many of the same qualities that beef tallow does – a hard bar with a rich creamy lather. Alone, it’s pretty unremarkable, but combined with other oils like olive, coconut, and castor, it makes great, hard, long-lasting soap. There are some serious concerns about palm oil farming in Malaysia – and the impact it is having on both the land and the people. We know several soap makers who have eliminated palm oil from their recipes because of this.

Castor Oil:
Castor oil is a thick, clear oil that helps increase the lather in soap – a rich, creamy lather. It’s also a humectant (attracts moisture to your skin) oil. Just a little will do…5% – 8% in your recipe will work wonders. Shampoo bars often use 10%-15%…but more than that and you get a soft bar of soap. Castor oil has a fatty acid makeup that’s completely unique—which makes what it contributes to your soap (the rich, creamy lather) unique.
Castor oil will speed up the rate at which your soap will get to trace – so we usually leave it out of recipes that require complex swirls or designs.
Jojoba Oil:
Jojoba is actually a liquid wax that is very similar to sebum in its chemical composition. It contributes a nice stable lather, has remarkable absorption and moisturizing qualities and unlike some of the other luxury moisturizing oils, has a very long shelf life – 1-2 years! Use it at 5-10% maximum. Or just save it for “leave-on” applications like balms, massage bars, bath bombs, and lotions. It can make the soap batch trace more quickly, so it’s not a good oil to add if you’re going to do complex coloring or swirls, or are working with a temperamental fragrance or essential oil.

Apricot Oil:
Apricot kernel oil is a light oil that is similar to almond oil in its fatty acid makeup. It absorbs nicely into the skin and is a good luxury conditioning oil in soap – at about 5% – 10%. It’s good in soap, massage and bath oils, massage bars and bath bombs.

Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is one of the primary oils soapmakers use in their soap. Susan Miller Cavitch, in her book The Soapmaker’s Companion, calls it “a gift.” Most of the coconut oil sold and used has a melting point of 76°, but there is a hydrogenated type that melts at 92°. Either version works the same to give tremendous, bubbly lather to your soap. It also makes for a very hard, white bar of soap. The collective opinion is that using more than 30% coconut oil in your recipe will be drying to the skin. Yes, the super-cleansing nature of coconut oil can strip oils from your skin, but we have often used it at 30%-40% with great results, especially with a slightly higher (6-8%) superfat. Or, you can make 100% coconut oil soap with a 20% superfat. It’s an amazing bar of soap.

Almond Oil:
A lovely moisturizing oil that is very light and absorbs well. In soap, it produces a low, stable lather, but we wouldn’t use it more than about 5% – 10% in soap – as it’s not a very hard oil in soap. It’s really nice in lotions, massage bars, bath bombs, bath oils, and especially in salt and sugar scrubs.

kukui nut oil:
A rich, liquid nut oil that’s native to Hawaii, kukui nut oil contributes to a nice, creamy stable lather in the soap, and is nicely moisturizing. Like the other luxury liquid oils, we recommend using it at 5-10% of your recipe for a richer, creamier soap. In lotions, creams, massage bars, and balms, it absorbs quickly, conditions skin nicely, and is reputed to help ease acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Avocado Oil:
Avocado oil is a heavy, green, rich, moisturizing oil that has a high percentage of unsaponifiables (the portions of the oil that don’t react with the lye to form soap,) so it’s a good oil to superfat with. It’s often used in soap recipes for people with sensitive skin. On the skin, it first feels a little heavy…but after a moment, it absorbs nicely. It’s high in vitamins A, D & E, which is good for your skin and gives it a longer shelf life. You can use it in your recipes from 5% – 30%. It’s a bit too thick, in my opinion, for massage oils…but it’s wonderful in massage bars.

Neem Oil:
Neem oil is extracted from the bark of the neem tree. It is growing in popularity as a soap making oil due to its antiseptic, anti-fungal and insect repellent qualities. We know of one soap maker who uses neem oil at about 25% of the recipe and sends it to soldiers in the middle east to repel sand flies. It evidently works very well. It’s also great, all by itself (as both an oil and in a soap recipe) for treating skin conditions like athlete’s foot. The scent of neem is very strong…a sort of green, earthy, nutty smell…and takes some getting used to. But it doesn’t come through too strongly in the soap and blends well with other earthy scents. 

Babassu oil:
Babassu oil comes from the kernels of the babassu palm, or Grade A oil (generally the best grade for soap), comes from the second pressing and is lightly refined/filtered. 100% olive oil makes the famous “Castille soap” and “Marseille soap” must contain at least 72% olive oil. Olive oil is generally the #1 oil in most soap makers’ recipes – and for good reason. Olive oil soaps are very moisturizing, make hard, white bars of soap (though high % olive oil soaps take a longer time to cure) and are exceptionally mild. But the lather from Castille soap is low and a bit slimy. Most soap makers combine olive oil with other oils 

Safflower Oil:
Its fairly short shelf life and fairly unremarkable fatty acid makeup have made safflower oil pretty neglected in soap making recipes. If you have it on hand, you can certainly use it in your recipes like you would soybean, canola or sunflower – at 5-15% or so. In soap, it is mild and moisturizing. 

Palm oil, along with olive and coconut, is one of the top oils used by soap makers today. Because of the qualities, it gives soap, it is often called “veggie tallow” in that it gives many of the same qualities that beef tallow does – a hard bar with a rich creamy lather. Alone, it’s pretty unremarkable, but combined with other oils like olive, coconut, and castor, it makes great, hard, long-lasting soap. There are some serious concerns about palm oil farming in Malaysia – and the impact it is having on both the land and the people. We know several soap makers who have eliminated palm oil from their recipes because of this.

Pumpkin seed oil is a rich and vitamin-filled oil with abundant antioxidant properties. It contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and Zinc. Its fatty acid balance is most similar to soybean and sunflower oil and will contribute about the same qualities to soap that they do in terms of hardness, lather, and conditioning. Most soap makers we know save the super-premium nourishing oils like pumpkin seed for special skin care products and focus on the more basic oils for soap making. That said, in terms of pure marketing appeal, it’s a wonderful luxury oil to add (a bit) to a batch of pumpkin soap.

Shea oil, or liquid shea, is fractionated shea butter, one of the most popular luxury oils used in soap making recipes. This variation of shea butter is liquid at room temperature and wonderful for adding to melt and pour soap, massage bars, or to creams and lotions. We’ve also used it in bath bombs. It’s very moisturizing in the tub but may be a bit too oily for some folks. But the fact that its liquid doesn’t give any benefits in soap. So if you’re going to use shea butter in soap, go ahead and use the actual shea butter instead of liquid shea oil.

Exfoliates

Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is one of the most gentle exfoliants. It can be used in face masks, soap, and more. We added it to the Oatmeal Bath Bombs and Gentle Oatmeal Baby Soap because of its silky texture and soothing properties.

Bamboo Powder
This natural powder comes from bamboo stems. It starts as a thick liquid, then crystallizes at room temperature. Add it to handmade soap and cosmetics for gentle exfoliation. You’ll love the way it feels in the Black, White, and Gold All Over Soap.

Pumice Powder
Pumice powder is a fantastic gentle exfoliant created from milled volcanic glass. Its fine texture works well in the Pumice and Poppy Seed Melt and Pour Bars.

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
Baking soda is an amazing multi-purpose product. It’s used in bath bombs, bath salts, and natural cleaning products. It’s great for scrubs as well – try it in the Sea Clay Dry Salt Scrub, Walnut Facial Scrub, or Cranberry Seed Foot Scrub.

Walnut Shells
Along with exfoliation, walnut shells add a natural brown color to handmade soap and cosmetics. We used them for the crust in the Pumpkin Pie Cold Process Soap and the dirt in the Carrot Cold Process Soap.

Salts and Sugar
There are a variety of salts and sugars that can be used for scrubs, bath bombs, and more. Depending on the size, they can offer gentle or more powerful exfoliation. Salt can also be used in cold process soap – it creates really creamy lather. Learn how to use it in the Lavender and Rose Pink Salt Barstutorial.

Jojoba Beads
This biodegradable exfoliant is made from jojoba oil. The beads come in various sizes and colors, so there’s an option for every recipe. Try them in the Rainbow Jojoba Bead Sugar Scrub or the Cleansing Charcoal Facial Scrub.

Shredded Loofah
This exfoliant comes from whole loofah sponges. They’re ground to a fine texture, making it easy to disperse throughout soap or scrubs. Try it in the Lard and Loofah Cold Process Soap or the Gardener Melt and Pour Soap.

Icelandic Black Sand
This product comes from a volcanic beach on the South Coast of Iceland. It has mild exfoliation and a beautiful natural color, as seen in the Coastal Rain Cold Process Soap

Water is Life – Live Intelligent

One in 10 people around the world lack access to clean drinking water, yet the majority of US consumers are unaware of the extent of the global water crisis.

5/2013. A girl is drinking water from the water taps at her school in the Domiz refugee camp in Northern Iraq.

The Power of Clean Water, this documentary follows the lives of three women and their families, providing a first-hand perspective on the daily challenges of accessing clean drinking water. The film also demonstrates the positive impact P&G’s Purifier of Water packets have had on communities in Indonesia, Kenya, and Mexico.  In these countries, people struggle with finding clean water to drink. And without clean drinking water, it’s much harder to keep their children healthy, educated, and provide a better life for their families.

Finally, a global awareness of the water crisis is growing, but many consumers in the US are still unaware of how many people struggle with the daily reality of not having access to clean water. In 2014 I traveled to Kenya to help build a water system to support a school, garden. To my amazement, I returned a year later to a fully-grown garden. When I drove up to see the children enjoying their lunch, I instantly burst into tears, because it was at that moment that I saw the lives of others benefit from my hard work, and knew I couldn’t stop there.  

So about Water

About 60 percent of your body is made up of water. Drinking enough water helps maintain the body’s fluid balance, which helps transport nutrients in the body, digest food, regulate body temperature, and more.

The U.S. problem with Water:

Sadly, water is the second most popular beverage in the United States after soft drinks. TThis fact is scary considering sugary soda is a health hazard, upping the risk of stroke, obesity, heart, and other health problems. However, many diseases can be avoided if people choose to drink water. Water doesn’t have negative side effects except for consuming too much. It is possible to overdose on water and “drown internally”. So kick that sugary stuff habit to the side and make water your number one drinking choice. The benefits are endless. 

Controls calories: Simple, when you drink more water you become fuller and eat less. 

Muscle energy: When you sweat at the gym, you lose water. and when you lack water in the muscles they get tired quicker. Who wants tired muscles when they are trying to work out?

Clearer skin: Water flushes out toxins and reduces the onset of pimples. 

Fatigue buster:

Water can help you fight that tired feeling since a common symptom of dehydration is tiredness. Grab a glass of water when you feel sleepy. 

Hangover help:

Let’s face it, booze is poison, and your body hates it. As soon as you drink alcohol your body starts to dehydrate. removing the water and leaving the chemicals. The best way to avoid a hangover is to drink plenty of water while consuming alcohol and after.

Pain prevention:

A little water can really go a long way. Aching joints and muscle cramps and strains can all occur if the body is dehydrated.

Keep things flowing:

Nobody wants to deal with digestion issue, so drinking enough water adds fluids to the colon which helps make things, move smoother.

Sickness fighter:

Water may help with decongestion and dehydration, helping the body bounce back when feeling under the weather. Just beware—drinking fluids haven’t been scientifically proven to beat colds in one swoop, so don’t swap this for a trip to the doctor or other cold remedies.

Brain Boost:

A study in London found a link between students bringing water into an exam room and better grades, suggesting H2O promotes clearer thinking. While it’s unclear if drinking the water had anything to do with a better score, it doesn’t hurt to try it out!

Event: This is a Great Event Stella Artois put together: 

https://www.facebook.com/events/170556457072502/

Social Media Initiative: Use the hashtag #7billionliters on twitter, facebook, or Instagram and Procter and Gamble will donate a liter of water to people who need it most!

The Secret to Napping for Success

Some people are made to feel a little guilty about taking naps during the day like it equates to being a slacker. Then I read an article about sleep and the importance of naps. Snoozing is no longer considered losing, but gaining. Most people think the secret to being productive is managing your time, they believe that sacrificing sleep is necessary in order to be successful in their industry. But I know it’s all about managing your energy and will reveal some reasons why;

Daily naps reduces the risk of heart disease. Those who take daily naps are 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease? 

“Taking a nap could turn out to be an important weapon in the fight against coronary mortality,” said Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the study.

Daily naps help to restore alertness. Most afternoons you start to feel drowsy, especially at work. This lowers your alertness and focus. 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends a nap of twenty to thirty minutes. This supposedly, “improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”

Daily naps prevents burnout. In a crazy busy world, we are all in the “rate race” but we shouldn’t be racing without resting. Doing so leads to frustration, burnout, and stress. 

Napping is the ultimate reboot of your computer, I mean body. It relieves any stress giving you a fresh start. The same reason we can’t wait to jump in the bed at night. Those who nap show greater emotional resilience, improved cognitive function, and more. All we need is 20 to 30 minutes daily to protect from frying our circuits.

Daily naps heighten sensory perception. Dr. Sara C. Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life says, napping can restore the sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste.

Napping relaxes your mind, which allows new associations to form in it, improving your overall creativity. So, rest before coming up with ideas and making important decisions. 

Daily naps make you productive. 

Numerous studies have shown workers becoming increasingly unproductive as the day wears on. This is where slacking comes from, and it’s mainly after lunch. Instead of taking a nap, they drink coffee or an energy drink, even worse, get up and walk. A twenty-minute nap defeats any and all energy drinks.

Daily naps improve mood. Which improves any and all actions and reactions.

A happier person makes better decisions, has a nicer demeanor, and is easier to approach. 

Daily Naps improve performance including better mental memory and quicker reaction time. 

Napping Tips

Take a twenty-minute nap right after lunch. If you can’t, try to squeeze it in before 4:00 p.m.

Keep it twenty to thirty minutes, anything longer may lead to “sleep inertia”, that feeling of grogginess when you awaken from a deep sleep. Long naps can also interfere with nighttime sleep. Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping. 

Sleep deprivation affects work performance along with mental and physical health. At 36, 48, and 72 hours without sleep, your body and your mind begin operating in altered states that put your health, and your life, at risk,

There are many successful leaders who were known for napping, names you recognize. Could these leaders know that napping was the key ingredient to their success? You be the judge, here are a few.

  • John D. Rockefeller, who was an oil industrialist and philanthropist napped daily in his office.
  • Thomas Edison napped daily, but his ego forced it to embarrass him.
  • Ronald Reagan, a known nap taker was criticized for it.
  • Leonardo da Vinci preffered napping over long sleep.
  • Winston Churchill’s knew he would get twice as much work done daily if he took a nap, this wasn’t up for negotiation.
  • President John F. Kennedy took naps religiously after eating lunch.
  • Albert Einstein not only got 10 hours of sleep at night but napped daily.
  • Napoleon (The French Emperor) took naps daily.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt napped before speaking arrangements to boost her energy.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson figured out a way to break up his day into 2 by taking a nap daily at 3:30 p.m.

The desire to stay connected

Mobile notifications can feel important—leading people to keep their phones close by, even when they’re asleep. An alarming amount of people sleep with their phones near their beds, mostly Millennials. It looks like technology is literally getting in the way of our dreams if you’re allowing it to. 

Yearly we have #NationalNappingDay: 

It typically falls the Monday After Daylight Savings. It’ a yearly celebration of naps that allow us all to re-evaluate naps and recover from the time change.This year it falls on…

2018: March 12

If lack of sleep can seriously harm you, how much sleep is enough to ensure that our brains are functioning properly?
Current guidelines say between seven and nine hours nightly for adults.
What are your thoughts, Please leave comments. 
Some companies are offering their employees nap rooms. Does this mean in the future we will all be snoozing to improve the bottom line?
Some presenters at CES think so,  See link -> http://ow.ly/KDva30iSRlX

 

Boost Health with This Backyard Secret

Warning! You may want to talk to your doctor before using a natural remedy to treat a serious illness.

Since we can remember, man has looked to nature to cure poor health. Within the last decade notably, herbs have made their way into thought culture with the recognition of plant medicines resembling ayahuasca, ibogaine, and cannabis in the headlines for their powerful abilities to heal the most prominent diseases. However, these plant remedies can be forbidden to use for healing in many countries.

The good news is that common weeds in our yards yield superb healing skills and guess what — they’re legal! Here are twelve weeds that possess fascinating medicinal properties.

1. Red Clover (Trifolium pre tense) has chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen in the body. Medical professionals examine the herb as a treatment for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Doctors also warn women with a history of breast cancer to stay away from the synthetic estrogen. Estrogen-like chemicals have a way of bringing on cancer. 

  • The weed helps in reducing the complications during and after menopause.
  • It helps in improving bone density.
  • The plant extract is helpful to improve the immune system, treat could and respiratory disorders.
  • The decoction of this weed helps in regulating heart problems like high blood pressure.
  • The plant is also helpful in treating skin inflammation, eczema, and psoriasis.

2. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) The plant is known to treat gout, aching muscles and joints, arthritis, anemia and eczema. It is widely used to treat joint pain. Capsules of dried stinging nettle is also a good remedy to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. It is also popularly used to treat bladder problems. If you boil nettle it can be eaten as a collared greens alternative. It is very easy to get stung by a stinging nettle. Applying crushed up dandelion, horsetail, Aloe vera, jewelweed or the leaf of a dock or lock plant can counter the acid in the sting.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/n/nettle03.html

3. Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum) is your livers best friend. This has been known for over 2000 years. Research found this may be good for people who damage their liver with alcohol. Silymarin is a chemical that may protect the liver from damage caused by a drug overdose, as well as damage from over the counter drugs like Tylenol. If you are a shroomer, this may be an antidote for a poisonous shroom.

  • The plant decoction is used to cure Jaundice and liver disorders, as it maintains the bile production.
  • The plant also cures heartburns and depression.
  • It is also used for allergies, blood disorders and has anti-aging properties.
  • The plant has been proved to cure Cancer, Malaria as it contains flavonoids which are helpful against the unwanted cells.

4. Horsetail (Equisetum Ravens) – The Greeks and Roman Empires used the herb to stop bleeding and weight gain, heal ulcers and wounds and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems. Used in a tea it tastes mildly bitter, like chamomile. It acts as a diuretic and increases urination. This stuff is so powerful, doctors suggest taking a multivitamin when drinking lots of horsetail tea because it can flush vital nutrients, such as vitamin B1, potassium and thiamine, out of one’s system.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hortai39.html

5. Dandelion – within the past, Europeans used remedies made of blowball (Taraxacum sp.) roots, leaves and flowers to treat fever, boils, eye issues, polygenic diseases and symptoms. Practitioners of ancient Chinese medication take dandelions for abdomen ailments, and breast issues like inflammation or lack of milk flow. Dandelions have a bitter taste and contain vitamins A, B, C and D, and iron, K, and metallic element. Like Milkweed, Dandelion was a traditional remedy for warts. One would protect the skin surrounding the wart with Vaseline. Cover the wart with stem juices that were squeezed out. Let dry and cover with a plaster and repeat daily. After three days the wart should be dried up and a brownish color, it’s then it will fall off.  This weed can be used like coffee, it’s washed, cut into large pieces and dried gently beside the open fire or in the sun until they became hard and brittle. You want to drink it because, the root contains bitters, which is good for cleansing the liver, spleen, and gallbladder. In Co Meath (Ireland) pieces of the dried root were simmered in buttermilk, strained and taken as a cure for yellow jaundice.

Serious about using this?

Read More: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dandel08.html

6. Milkweed – The main use of this herb is for its benefit on the lungs. It helps with breathing conditions, liquefying mucous and reducing spasms. It has also been widely used by Native Americans as a contraceptive.  The sap produced, that’s milky white/The milky white sap produced, is used to remove warts, heal ringworms and snakebites. The sap contains latex, alkaloids, and cardiac glycosides. However, the herb also contains chemicals harmful to livestock and humans. The herb produces toxic chemicals to protect against hungry herbivores. It can help a person manage constipation and diarrhea.

7. Chicory (Cichorium Intybus), a sky blue flower is often seen along roads, provides the largest insulin supply. According to WebMD, patients use insulin to fight high cholesterol and triglycerides. Many women with type-2 diabetes benefit from taking insulin by reducing the rate of blood sugar increase they get after eating. hickory coffees happens when coffee lovers add roasted and dried root to their cups of hot water. Chicory coffee is big in New Orleans.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chicor61.html

8. Burdock (Arctium sp.) – Traditionally, healers use burdock to clear toxins from the blood and increase urination, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The plant also is used to treat skin ailments, such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. The leaves and roots of burdock are edible and contain inulin, like chicory, so they may aid digestion and/or cause a nasty case of flatulence. Burdock also contains high quantities of antioxidants that can prevent damage to cells.

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/burdoc87.html

 

9. Plantain (Plantago Major) –  This is the weed commonly found in sidewalk cracks is actually one of the best healing herbs on the planet. Since the age of the ancient, Greek doctors have used plantains to speed wound healing. Native Americans have used it to heal wounds, cure fever, and to draw out toxins from stings and bites, including snake bites.

Plantain as a poultice is recommended on wounds or as a nutrient-rich tea to treat diarrhea. Plantain leaves are mainly used for herbal preparations, so it is best to pick just the leaves, rather than dig out the entire plant. Pinch off unblemished leaves, selecting slightly mature ones over the very tender leaves, unless you’re planning to use them in salads. Mature leaves have a higher concentration of potent phytochemicals.

10. Purslane – Is commonly found in yards and gardens, but most people do not ever consider harvesting it. It has a slightly citrusy taste and a crisp texture. It is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. This herb is also rich in vitamins A, C, and various B vitamins, as well as a number of minerals. Tilling brings seeds to the surface where they quickly germinate. Purslane seeds germinate best with soil temperatures of 90 degrees so mulching may again help to control it. Since it germinates in high soil temperatures also means it doesn’t appear until June.

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/prugol77.html

 

11. Lamb’s Quarters – Are Very Nutritious The leaves of Lamb’s Quarters can be harvested and used like spinach. Use this herb in your juice, salad, soup, or any recipe that calls for spinach. It has a high content of vitamins A and K, as well as calcium and magnesium. Lamb’s Quarters is considered one of the most nutritious wild foods. These are just a few examples of herbs and weeds that have nutritional value. You may have some of these growing in your backyard and not even know it. Before harvesting any outdoor weeds or herbs, verify the identity of the plant. 

12. Bee Balm (wild bergamot) – Bee-balm is most often viewed as a wildflower and actually sold as an ornamental.  However, this plant can occur as a weed in some pasture and rangeland environments.  Bee-balm or wild bergamot is found throughout the United States except in Florida and along the West coast. The flowers make an attractive edible garnish in salads. Bee Balm herb is a source of oil of thyme, and is noted for its fragrance. The fresh or dried leaves are brewed into a medicinal tea. Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. A medicinal infusion is used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe a sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, for menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, Bee Balm is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot’s distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri. While a fragrant herb in its own right, Wild Bergamot is not the source of the commonly used Bergamot Essential oil.

So there you have it, I covered some of the main backyard herbs, of course, there are many more. Maybe I’ll make a part 2 to this. Remember to be mindful that if you plan on ingesting these herbs, make sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or treated with chemicals. Try looking in your own backyard to see if any of these wild medicinal weeds are at your disposal!

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bethro34.html

References:

https://wellnessmama.com/59478/backyard-herbal-remedies/

https://juicing-for-health.com/weeds-that-are-medicinal-herbs

https://www.theorganicprepper.com/10-medicinal-weeds-that-may-grow-in-your-backyard/

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/plantain-benefits-uses/

https://altnature.com/gallery/beebalm.htm

http://www.pracreation.com/10-common-weeds-that-actually-have-medicinal-properties/