Sunday, April 6, 2014

Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars - Part 1

Top of the Morning To Everyone!  Perhaps spring is finally going to reach my eternally frozen state of Maine . . . the sun is out, the wind is from the south (albeit chilly), the snow has nearly melted, the Robins have arrived, and a pair of rarely seen American Woodcocks are poking deep into my lawn pulling up tasty spring worms.  Supposed to be 50 degrees today . . . yahoo!  My bones and mental attitude sure could use a shot of warmth and healing sunshine!  Gardening seasoning is just around the corner . . . can't wait to taste the season's first peas . . . my favorites!

Today, due to lots of requests, I'm going to begin a new blog series called, "Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars".  If you're an outdoors person, as I am, are physically active, accident prone, or use your hands a lot while crafting/cooking, then you've probably injured or cut yourself a few times and possibly have a scar or two to show for it - probably wishing you had had a scar remedy on hand at the time so that those pesky lines on your skin weren't so obvious now.

Well . . . healing herbs and aromatic essential oils can come to the rescue . . . softening your skin and speeding skin cell regeneration so that your scar tissue can fade and the surrounding skin become radiant, smooth, and well-conditioned.  I'll begin today's series with the definition of what a scar is and tell you about a new product (the first of many) that I'm now making available for retail sale.  It's called Herbal Skin Revitalizer by Stephanie Tourles Herbal Skin & Body Care, LLC (my newly formed company).  I've had sooooo many requests over the years from blog followers and readers of my books for an herbal, totally natural product that will help fade scars, condition skin that is environmentally damaged, minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and deeply moisturize normal-to-dry skin and mature skin.  I'll tell you more about it later in the blog and tell you where to get it if you're interested.

SCARS - What Are They Exactly?

A scar forms as your skin repairs a wound that has penetrated the dermal layer or second layer of your skin.  Scars can result from cuts, scabbing diseases such as chickenpox or acne, minor to major burns, or a severe rash.  They are part of the natural healing process of your body.  Scars can be raised or flat, long, short, or round, and flesh-toned, pink, purple, or brown in color.

Some people are more likely than others to develop more pronounced scars.  A scar's formation and appearance depend on general health, age, skin type, condition of skin, skin color, location of the injury (body or face), and the particulars of the initial trauma.  The degree to which a scar develops greatly depends on the severity of the damage to the skin and the length of time it takes to heal.  The longer the healing process and the greater the damage to the skin, the increased likelihood of a noticeable scar.

A hypertrophic scar is elevated above the surface of the skin, and the tissue forms in direct proportion to the size of the wound.  A keloid is similar to a hypertrophic scar, except that the scar tissue forms out of proportion to the amount of scar tissue normally required for repair and healing.  In other words, it extends beyond the boundaries of the original wound site and into the surrounding skin.  Black skin and those with dark, east Indian skin are particularly prone to the development of keloids.

To avoid scars entirely, you'd need to live in a bubble.  Life happens.  Once you do have an injury, the best way to minimize scarring is to begin proper care of the wound at once and avoid further injury to the wound site.  It pays to keep skin in tip-top shape by conditioning it regularly with nourishing oils, body creams, and lotions and by eating a whole-foods diet to ensure that the skin remains flexible, elastic, and able to heal rapidly.

When treating scars with home remedies, keep in mind that everyone's skin is unique and reacts differently to different products.  For additional assistance, consult with your local pharmacist about nonprescription topical scar treatments.  Scars older than a year or two, raised scars, surgical scars over a joint - such as the knee or a knuckle, major burn scars, or those that develop and deepen over time, such as acne and chickenpox scars, can be difficult to treat with home remedies and should be addressed by a dermatologist if they cause discomfort or negatively impact your self-esteem.

Herbal Skin Revitalizer - Just what is this product and what will it do for you?

Okay, as I mentioned earlier, let me tell you a bit about my first product . . . Herbal Skin Revitalizer.  I actually formulated it nearly two decades ago and have sold it in limited quantities over the years - so it's not really new, but it has been newly re-formulated and now I'm making it available to a larger audience via online sales and through a catalog. 

Herbal Skin Revitalizer is a beautiful, light, blue-green oil that is my personal skin-care favorite.  It is a blend of 14 organically derived and/or wild-harvested, low-heat processed base and precious essential oils from around the world.  This formula will help revitalize, retexturize, and renew skin scarred by acne, damaged by the sun and other environmental factors, slack, crepey, mature skin, devitalized/dull skin, and prematurely aging skin exhibiting fine lines and wrinkles.  Also, it is excellent as an aid in healing bruises and everyday scrapes and scratches.  It contains antibacterial properties to prevent infection.

The ingredients actually penetrate the skin's layers - with no oily residue - to nourish deep-down and encourage regeneration of the supportive collagen and elastin matrix, so necessary to young, taut, firm skin.  Highly beneficial to use after chemical peels and microdermabrasion, on burned tissue and expression lines.  One of the main ingredients is rosehip seed oil.  It is extremely high in essential fatty acids, flavonoids, riboflavin, and betacarotene and helps regulate hydration of the tissues.  The 1/2 ounce bottle should last 2-3 months by using only 4-6 drops twice per day.  A little goes a long way.  The aroma is intoxicating, by the way - warm, earthy and green.  I've frequently been asked to formulate a perfume with the same scent! 

The ingredients are:  organic base oils of sunflower, rosehip seed and calphyllum; essential oils of lavender, helichrysum, neroli, peppermint, thyme linalol, rosemary verbenon, carrot seed, myrtle,  galbanum, Moroccan chamomile, and niaouli.

Currently, my Herbal Skin Revitalizer is available from an experienced, knowledgeable, herbalist friend of mine, Holly Applegate, who is the owner of a lovely herbal product store called "Jean's Greens", in Castleton, NY.  You can order her delightful catalog by calling (518) 479-0471 or (888) 845-8327.  Her website is:  www.jeansgreens.com.  My product is $45.

I hope you decide to give the product a try . . . I'm sure you'll love it.  If you do buy a bottle, please let me know what you think.  Until next time . . . be well, be happy, and be whole.

NOTE:  Portions of this blog were adapted from the book "Hands-On Healing Remedies" by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, c2012.  The information is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of the author.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies - Part 4: Warming Bath Oil

Hello Everyone!  As I sit down to write, on this frigid, windy, yet sparkling sunny, northern Maine, almost spring day, my blasted back deck thermometer says it is only 22 degrees outside, and a mere -5 if you take the wind chill into account!!!  Unbelievable . . . it seems I live in the land of eternal winter.  I must have hope that spring is coming soon . . . hope, hope, hope . . .

Today, as promised, I will wrap up the 4-part, Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedy series, by sharing with you a recipe for a warming bath oil and sweat session that will detox your sick body and make your sore, achy flu or cold-ridden being feel better fast.  Yes, though it is late winter, the flu virus and myriad cold germs still abound.  Do not let your guard down yet, my friend.  If you're feeling sick or think you're coming down with something, partake of the following bath therapy as soon as you can, then don some cozy PJ's, and climb into bed.  Nothing like a good night's rest to restore health to your sick cells.  Enjoy and be well, my friend!

Surround Me In Comfort:  Warming Bath Oil

Feeling all stuffed up?  Got the chills, aches, pains, and general misery of a cold or flu or feel like you're about to succumb?  Then a detoxifying sweat session with this bath oil is just the thing you need to ease your symptoms, open your sinuses, warm your core, and relax your entire body so that you can sleep soundly and get the healing rest you so desperately need.  Ginger, thyme, lavender, palmarosa, and pine essential oils deliver antiseptic and antiviral properties, stimulate sluggish circulation, induce perspiration, relieve muscle tension and aching joints, and even relieve headaches due to congestion.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  DO NOT partake of this heating therapy if you are running a fever, sweating, have high blood pressure, or are extremely weak and debilitated, as it will exacerbate your symptoms.

Ingredients:
- 20 drops ginger essential oil
- 15 drops palmarosa essential oil
- 15 drops thyme (chemotype linalool) essential oil - the "skin friendly" thyme - not as irritating
- 15 drops Scotch pine essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 cup jojoba base oil

Equipment Needed:  Dropper (for measuring essential oils), dark glass 8-oz. bottle with dropper top or screw cap

Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize formula

Yield:  Approximately 1 cup

Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 2 years

Application:  1 or 2 times per day

DIRECTIONSAdd the ginger, palmarosa, thyme, Scotch pine, and lavender essential oils drop-by-drop directly into a storage bottle.  Add the jojoba base oil.   Cap the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes.  Label and date the bottle and place in a dark location that's between 60 degrees and 80 degrees F for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONSThis healing, detoxification process can be performed in the morning, if you are staying home for the day, and also again at night before retiring.  First, you'll need to turn up the heat or stoke the woodstove (get the house nice and toasty) and make a mug of fresh ginger root, cinnamon spice, or decaf chai tea, or just make a cup of plain hot water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice.  Run a hot bath, with the bathroom door closed, trapping the steam.

When the tub is nearly full, add 1-2 tablespoons of bath oil under running water and swish to blend.  Ease into the soothing bath and lie back for about 20 minutes while you sip your tea or hot lemon water.  Sweating helps release toxins from your pores.

Following your soak, gently pat yourself dry, and apply my recipes (found in the previous blogs in this "Cold and Flu" series) for "Winter Defense Oil" to your entire body and "Raven's Wings Foot Balm" to the soles of your feet.  Put on pajamas and socks, and climb under the covers.  Do this once or twice daily for a few days, until you are well.

Regarding diet while ill . . . don't forget to eat plenty of veggie/garlic soup or organic chicken/veggie/garlic soup and drink plenty of green smoothies made with raw kale, spinach, or arugula (add a banana to disguise the "green" flavors if you don't like them).  These foods will stoke your immune system.  Be sure to avoid any foods that can constipate and/or form mucus:  dairy, cheese, yogurt, eggs, butter, cold/icy drinks, nuts and nut butters, citrus drinks, refined flours/sugars/white rice, fatty meats.

Here's a wellness tip:  At the end of this summer, make all 4 of the recipes in this Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedy Series so that you are ready to fend off the onslaught of next winter's nasties!  Perhaps you'll be able to sail through winter with nary an illness!  Take care all you health seekers!


NOTE:  Portions of this article were adapted from Stephanie Tourles' book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies",  (Storey Publishing, c2012) - and used with permission.  The information is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies - Part 3: The Ancient Secret

Greetings To All!  I've enjoyed a brief 1-week respite from the bone-chilling cold and heavy snowfall as of late.  I say brief because it will be in the single digits again by mid-week . . . brrrrr . . . and Maine springtime is still a long way away!  Because all this cold, dreary weather is planning on hanging around for a while (here and elsewhere in the northern USA), that means that there's still a chance to succumb to a nasty cold or the flu.  So, for that reason, I will share with you yet another herbal cold and flu recipe to add to your arsenal of illness-fighting remedies.

Today's recipe is a variation on a very old formulation - used by herbalists around the globe for centuries. You can find it in my latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies (pages 122-23).  It works quite nicely as a cold and flu preventive, and if you do get sick, will help get you back up and running quickly.  Because the herbal extraction process takes a full month, I suggest you make this formula now so that you can have some ready by late March and still have plenty left over for next winter.  Enjoy and be well my friends!

THE ANCIENT SECRET (Formulated for topical use only.  Should you decide to take it orally, do so only after educating yourself as to the properties and safely of each herb in the recipe.  Remember, it does contain consumable alcohol, so be judicious with intake and keep away from children and pets.)

A potent antiviral, antibacterial cold and flu preventive called the "Thieves Formula" has been bandied about by herbalists for centuries.  Its herbal ingredients change a bit, as does the menstruum (extracting liquid), depending on who is concocting it and whether it's intended for topical application or oral intake.  Some herbalists like to brew it in vinegar, some in ethyl alcohol, and some in oil.  This particular formula uses vodka.  The original Thieves Formula, as written in older herb texts, included highly protective essential oils and herbs said to have been used by thieves (orally, topically, and as inhalants) during the bubonic plague or "Black Death" of the Middle Ages to avoid contracting infection.  Supposedly, even though nearly the entire population was dying of the plague, the thieves who stole valuables from the dead and dying never got sick.

Use this strongly aromatic remedy before, during, and after cold and flu season as a protective agent and a topical healing liniment spray if you do succumb.  The benefit is derived via inhalation of the herbal properties as well as absorption into your bloodstream through your pores.  NOTE:  This formula will sting raw skin or open wounds.

Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted lemon balm leaves (To "freshly wilt" an herb means to take a fresh herb that you have recently picked or purchased (stems, leaves, and/or flowers) and allow it to wilt for 24-48 hours.  This process does not dry the herb, but simply allows it to become limp and soft - indicating that some of the moisture has evaporated - which is what you want.  To do this, I place a double layer of paper toweling or a soft, clean bed sheet on top of a table in my house or else on the back seat of my car and then spread the herbs in a thin layer atop.  I check the herbs in a day or so and if they are nice and limp or soft and leathery, then they are ready to process in this recipe.)
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted lavender buds
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted peppermint leaves
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted rosemary leaves
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted sage leaves
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup dried or 1/2 cup freshly wilted yarrow flowers & leaves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, crumbled, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon cloves, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 15 drops eucalyptus (species radiata) essential oil
- 5 drops clove essential oil
- 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
- 3-4 cups unflavored, 80-proof vodka (any brand - inexpensive is just fine)

Equipment:  1-quart canning jar, plastic wrap, fine-mesh strainer, fine filter such as muslin cloth or coffee filter, funnel, glass or plastic spritzer bottles

Prep Time:  10 minutes, plus 4 weeks for extraction

Yield:  Approximately 2 1/2 cups

Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 2 years

Application:  2 or 3 times per day

TO MAKE:  If you are using any freshly wilted herbs, strip the leaves, buds, and flowers off and discard the stems. Cut, tear, or gently mash the herbs using a mortar and pestle to expose more surface area.  Place the lemon balm, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, yarrow, cinnamon, lemon peel, and cloves in a 1-quart canning jar.  Add the eucalyptus and clove essential oils, along with the glycerin.  Pour the vodka to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar.  The herbs should be completely covered.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the mouth of the jar (to prevent the metal lid from coming into contact with the jar's contents), then screw on the lid.  Shake the mixture for about 30 seconds.  After 24 hours, top up with more vodka if necessary.  The herbs will settle a bit in the jar, but that's okay.

Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks so that the vodka can extract the valuable chemical components from the herbs.  Shake the jar at least once a day for 30 seconds, and two or three times per day if you've included cinnamon and clove powders, as they will settle into a paste.

At the end of the 4 weeks, strain the herbs through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a fine filter such as muslin fabric or, preferably, a paper coffee filter, then strain again if necessary to remove all herb debris.  Press or squeeze the herbs to release all the valuable herbal extract.  Discard the marc (or spent herbs).  Pour the liquid into spritzer bottles, then cap, label, and store in a dark cabinet.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:  Shake well before each use.  Spray the formula onto your hands, then rub the liquid onto your throat, the back of your neck, your chest, your ears, and your temples.  Do this two or three times daily.  Massage the formula into your feet prior to bed and again before getting dressed in the morning.  The aromatic medicinal properties extracted from the herbs will penetrate your nasal passages as well as the thousands of pores in your skin and feet and be absorbed into your bloodstream.

I recommend keeping a small spritzer bottle of this formula handy during the height of cold and flu season, so you can sanitize your hands frequently throughout the day.

BONUS:  Keep a bottle by the sink to spray on hands to eliminate the lingering odor of garlic, onions, or fish; it also acts as an everyday hand sanitizer.  Applied by the drop to fingernails and toenails, it will help get rid of fungus, and it can be used as a spot treatment for acne blemishes and other minor skin abrasions and/or infections.


DISCLAIMER:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Herbalist, and Aromatherapist.  Portions were excerpted from her book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (c2012), with permission from Storey Publishing.  The information in this article is true and complete to the best of Ms. Tourles' knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies - Part 2: Winter Defense Body Oil

Hello My Fellow Health Seekers!  I hope everyone is warm and well during this unusually cold winter season!  As promised in my last blog, today I will continue with Part 2 in the Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies series of recipes.   I will be sharing with you my recipe for Winter Defense Body Oil that comes from my latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies (Storey Publishing, 2012).  I hope you find it useful in your arsenal of herbal cold and flu preventive medicines. 

Winter Defense Body Oil

Traditional healers around the globe have used sage for centuries.  With sage growing in your garden, you have an elixir of good health right outside your door.  Their soft, gray-green leaves will be at the ready for making this potent, aromatically earthy, warming infused oil. 

When massaged into the skin from head to toe on a daily basis, sage-infused oil aids in strengthening the body's immune system, supporting its defenses against outside invasion of the three main sources of disease:  bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  The oil conditions the skin, too, keeping it soft, elastic, and healthy.

I can hear you thinking, "If I put sage oil on my skin, won't I smell like Thanksgiving stuffing?"  No worries. The fragrance may be rather potent in the bottle, but it becomes quite subtle upon application.

Note:  I prefer to use the stovetop method of extraction (versus the slower, canning jar - solar method of extraction ) for this formula, as I feel that the resinous sage leaves release their best medicinal properties and strongest aroma when processed in this manner.

Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cup dried or 3 cups freshly wilted sage leaves (To wilt fresh-picked sage leaves, you simply spread them out on a clean cloth in a dry, warm, low-lit area for 24-72 hours so that they become limp and soft, but not dry.  This process removes a great deal of moisture from the leaves prior to putting them into the oil for extraction.)

- 3 cups extra-virgin olive, organic soybean, or almond base oil (use almond or soybean oil if you want a lighter fragrance and texture)

- 2,000 IU vitamin E oil

Equipment Needed:  2-quart saucepan or double boiler, stirring utensil, candy or yogurt thermometer, fine mesh strainer, fine filter (such as a coffee filter), funnel, plastic or glass storage containers

Prep Time:  4 hours

Yield:  Approximately 2 1/2 cups

Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year

Application:  Once daily

Directions:  If you are using freshly wilted sage leaves, first cut or tear the slightly leathery leaves into small pieces to expose more surface area to the oil.  Combine the leaves and base oil in a 2-quart saucepan or double-boiler and stir thoroughly to blend.  The mixture should look like a thick, pale green herbal soup.  Bring the mixture to just shy of a simmer, between 125 - 135 degrees F.  DO NOT let the oil actually simmer - it will degrade the quality of your infused oil.  DO NOT put the lid on the pot.

Allow the herb to macerate (or infuse) in the oil over low heat for 4 hours.  Check the temperature every 30 minutes or so with a thermometer and adjust the heat accordingly.  If you're using a double-boiler, add more water to the bottom pot as necessary, so it doesn't dry out.  Stir the infusing mixture at least every 30 minutes or so, as the herb bits tend to settle to the bottom.

After 4 hours, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.  While the oil is still warm, carefully strain it through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a fine filter such as muslin or, preferably, a paper coffee filter, then strain again if necessary to remove all debris.  Squeeze the herbs to extract as much of the precious oil as possible.  Discard the marc (or spent herbs).

Add the vitamin E oil and stir to blend.  The resulting infused oil blend will be a rich medium to dark green in color, depending on which base oil you chose.  Pour the finished oil into storage containers, then cap, label with product name, creation date, and ingredients, and store in a dark cabinet.

Application Instructions:  For maximum benefit, massage this infused oil into slightly damp, warm skin - fresh from the shower or bath.  Apply daily for at least a month prior to cold and flu season, and continue to use it throughout the winter.

Bonus Uses:  Sage oil makes a terrific diaper rash preventive and is wonderful added to salves and balms to help heal minor skin afflictions, respiratory infections, and dry rough skin on the feet, elbows, and knees.

Quote:  "Why should a man die when sage grows in his garden?" - popular medieval saying


NOTE:  The recipe in this blog was excerpted from the book "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (c2012, Storey Publishing, Stephanie Tourles-author) and reprinted with permission from Storey Publishing. The information in this article is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Aromatherapy Cold & Flu Remedies - Part 1: Raven's Wings Foot Balm

Hello Everyone!  Happy New Year!  Whew . . . January 2014 came in with an icy, subzero bang up here in Maine!  Power outages, loss of heat, pipes freezing, large trees snapping like twigs under the weight of the thickening ice, super loud "frost quakes" strong enough to shake the house, and sooooo much snow shoveling . . . boy am I glad to see a January-thaw - even if it is only 45 degrees.  That 45 feels more like 65 considering I was out snow shoveling over a week ago and it was minus 38 with windchills.  Brrrrrrr . . . .

Well . . . all that talk of shivering and see-sawing of temperatures brings me to today's topic (the first in a series of 4) of natural ways to prevent a cold or the flu from taking hold . . . or if you've already succumbed, how to get better fast.  It seems that when the temperatures fluctuate so much and the body is overexerted and stressed, people tend to get sick - at least that's a few of the factors. 

Cold & Flu Symptoms

You know when a dreaded cold is coming on . . . your throat and voice feel a bit scratchy, your nose begins to run, your eyes resemble those of a frog, your energy dips, you get the chills, and in general you feel like a blob.  Compound these symptoms with muscle aches, joint stiffness, occasional nausea, and fever, and you've got the flu.  According to my wise old grandmother, influenza used to be called "bone fever" because you ache right down to your marrow and it hurts for someone just to touch you.

When you want relief from your misery, instead of reaching for some chemical-filled pill or ill-tasting syrupy medicine that will just leave your brain feeling clogged, why not rely on the following four remedies (they'll all be revealed over the next 4 blogs), with their analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, and respiratory-soothing properties?  They're guaranteed to help ease symptoms and bring comfort so you feel better soon.  Combine these treatments with more-than-ample bed rest, hot organic chicken or vegetable-garlic-onion soup, lots of herb tea, and hot baths with purifying herbal oils, and you've go the recipe for healing!

It's important that you be proactive, and I strongly suggest that you make all four of these remedies before cold and flu season arrives so you'll be armed and ready for defensive health maneuvers and a speedy recovery if the season's nasties do take hold.

Raven's Wings Foot Balm

A foot balm to help relieve cold and flu symptoms?  Yes, indeed!  The soles of the feet are full of sweat glands and have an amazing ability to absorb the healing properties of herbs, especially in the form of essential oils.  This is one of my ultra-favorite remedies when I'm suffering from a bad cold or feel like the flu is trying to take hold.  It's chock-full of antiviral, antiseptic, and respiratory-channel-clearing properties - in short, it will help your symptoms fly away on raven's wings.  This formula can also be used as a cold and flu preventive, as it fortifies resistance and general immunity and keeps microbes at bay, so you might want to use it daily prior to cold and flu season.

Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons refined shea butter (unrefined shea butter will work, bit its stronger fragrance will         often mask the amazing aroma of the essential oils - but not their therapeutic properties, though)
- 15 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
- 10 drops cajeput essential oil
- 10 drops ravensara essential oil
- 10 drops rosemary (chemotype verbenon) essential oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
- 2 drops clove essential oil

Equipment:  Tiny stirring utensil; 2 oz. plastic or glass jar or tin
Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus up to 24 hours to completely thicken
Yield:  Approximately 1/4 cup
Storage:  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year
Application:  2 times per day

Directions:  Warm the shea butter in a small saucepan (a 3/4-quart size works great) or double boiler over low heat, until it has just melted.  Remove from the heat.  Add the eucalyptus, cajeput, ravensara, rosemary, peppermint, cinnamon bark, and clove essential oils directly to your storage container, then slowly pour in the liquefied shea butter.  Gently stir the balm to blend.  Cap and label the container, and set it aside until the balm has thickened.  Unlike beeswax, shea butter takes a long time to completely thicken, and this formula may need up to 24 hours, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.  When it's ready, it will be very thick, semi-hard, and white (or creamy yellow if you've used unrefined shea butter).

Application Instructions:  Massage a small dab into the sole of each foot and between the toes, twice per day.  Put on socks immediately afterwards.  I also sometimes massage a bit of balm into my chest, as I find that the scent and healing properties really relieve sinus and lung congestion. 

BONUS:  Helps heal cuts, scrapes, boils, insect bites, bedsores and skin ulcers, blisters, and any minor to moderate infection.  Plus it smells wonderful!


NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and portions were adapted from her latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies (Storey Publishing, 2012).  The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Raw "Lemon Doodle" Cookie Recipe

To Everyone . . . Tidings of Great Joy!  Christmas is upon us and here in Maine - at noon - it is sunny and a balmy 2 degrees!  Quite wintry indeed!  The forecast is for 14" of dry, fluffy white stuff by tomorrow night . . . better get some sleep, I guess, 'cuz I'll be shoveling my arms off all day.  If you're a southerner, snow shoveling, by the way, is a wonderful, cardiovascular, calorie-burning exercise - extraordinaire!

On the theme of Christmas, today I'll share with you one of my special raw, Holiday cookie recipes . . . Lemon Doodles.  They're one of my favorites . . . and if you love raw food desserts, I'm sure you'll find them most delicious (and nutritious, too)!  Enjoy!

Lemon Doodles

The contrasting flavors of sweet buttery richness and light lemony tartness make an invigorating combination.  Be careful not to eat too many of these confections; they're addictive!  Kids love them, and they make fabulous "finger food" sweets for parties.  Plus, they're full of powerful beauty nutrients . . . perfect for making skin glow, nails strong and long, and hair shine! 

Ingredients:
- 4 teaspoons lemon zest (from 2 medium lemons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds, hulled or unhulled
- 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar, raw honey, or maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded

Method:
1.  Zest the lemons before juicing one lemon for your 2 tablespoons of juice.  The other lemon will keep for a few days in the refrigerator for another use.

2.  Put the lemon zest, juice, walnuts, sesame seeds, raw agave, raw honey, or maple syrup, and salt in a food processor and blend for about 10 seconds.  Scrape the mixture from the sides of the bowl with a spatula and blend again for 15 seconds.  Repeat once more until a moist, seedy dough ball forms.

3.  Scrape the dough into a medium bowl.  Place the coconut in a separate, smaller bowl.

4.  Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Toss the balls in coconut shreds to coat.  If you hands get too sticky, wash with warm water, dry, and begin rolling balls again.

5.  Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Yield:  About 25 cookie balls

A good source of:  vitamins B, C, and E, plentiful calcium, plus potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, natural sugars, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber 


NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, Raw Energy:  124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge your Body (Storey Publishing, c2009).  The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vegan Raw Dark Chocolate Syrup

Hi Everyone . . . winter is rapidly encroaching upon me up here in Maine.  This week's temps are predicted to be in the 30's by day and teens by night!  Not sure if I'm ready for that just yet!  Hunkering down, making tasty foods, and preparing for the Holidays sounds like fun, though. 

In today's short blog, I'm going to share with you one of my favorite Healthy Holiday raw chocolate recipes.  If you're a fan of all things dark chocolate, then throw a party and share this yummy treat with your friends.  It's absolutely fabulous!  Enjoy!

Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Syrup

Chocolate syrup that's actually good for you?  This one is!  Because this syrup is free of refined sugar and sweetened with raw agave nectar, which rates low on the glycemic index, it is even suitable for diabetics.  My favorite way to enjoy this shiny, decadent syrup is to drizzle it over fresh pear, apple, or bananas slices, use it as a dip for sweet, ripe strawberries, or drizzle it atop muesli or parfait recipes.  I'm a big fan of raw, giant Texas pecans and I adore dipping them into the syrup . . . tastes like pure HEAVEN!

Ingredients:
- 3 tablespoons raw agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons raw cocoa (cacao) powder
- 1 teaspoon raw, unrefined, virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- dash of ground cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon is wonderful!)
- pinch of sea salt

Directions:  Put the agave, cocoa, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and stir vigorously to blend.  The mixture should resemble traditional chocolate syrup.  Store the syrup in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Yield:   About 1/3 cup

A Good Source Of:  antioxidants, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, iron, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, protein, manganese, fiber, and healthful fat



NOTE:  This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. esthetician, herbalist, and author, and adapted from her book, Raw Energy:  124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body. The information in this blog is true and complete to the best of her knowledge.  All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.