Monday, April 30, 2012

Herbal Oral Hygiene - Part 3

Greetings My Friends!  I've been tidying up my herb and vegetable gardens in preparation for a mid-May planting.  Still too cold here in Maine to set out seedlings or plant seeds yet.  I did notice that the St. John's Wort seeds that I planted last year are sprouting up as are the fuzzy, gray-green Pearly Everlasting flowers   - two of my favorite herbs.

An update on the progress of my latest book manuscript . . . I just completed the third BIG EDIT on my soon-to-be-published "Hands-On Healing Remedies" book.  In June, I'll get to edit it for the last time and see the almost-final page layout.  When you reach this phase of writing a new book . . . it's very exciting!  Feels like I'm about to give birth to yet another "herbal child"!

Today, I will conclude the three-part series on Herbal Oral Hygiene with a recipe for making tasty, tingly herbal toothpicks.  Hope you enjoy them!

Flavored Herbal Toothpicks

Peppermint- or cinnamon-flavored toothpicks are often free for the taking at restaurants and are sometimes handed out as samples at health food stores where they're sold.  They're tasty and simple to make at home, and are convenient tools to clean food debris from between your teeth, stimulate your gums, and freshen your breath.

Here's what you'll need:  A half or full box (depending on how many you want to make) of quality wooden toothpicks (round or flat style); a small, lidded glass jar; and enough of your favorite edible essential oil (sweet orange, fennel, anise, peppermint, spearmint, clove, cinnamon bark, tea tree, or tangerine) to cover the toothpicks.

Here's how to make them:  Place the toothpicks either vertically or horizontally in the glass jar, pour in enough essential oil to completely cover them, tighten the lid, and allow them to absorb some of the essential oil for a couple of days.  Next, remove the toothpicks with sanitized tweezers and lay them on a plate covered with several layers of paper towels so they can dry for an hour or so.  Store them in an airtight glass jar or tin.  The leftover essential oil is perfectly good to use again, so don't throw it away!

You can use these toothpicks whenever you want to - just be careful not to stab your gums or rub your eyes after handling them.  Depending on the flavor, they just might satisfy your sweet tooth, too!

For the next blog . . . . I'll begin a new series discussing the benefits of consuming raw nut milk - versus dairy milk - and share a few yummy recipes for you to make at home.  Raw chocolate almond milk is out of this world!

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her book, "Organic Body Care Recipes" (Storey Publishing, 2007).  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.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Herbal Oral Hygiene - Part 2

Hello Again Fellow Health Seekers! I trust everyone is feeling a bit of "spring in their step" by now? Hope so. We had blissful, summer-like temps here in Maine last week, but alas, they were short-lived. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has not completely relinquished her icy grip just yet . . . as we have returned to winter-like weather this week! The forsythia buds are about to burst forth and the pansies have begun to bloom . . . harbingers of spring's soon-to-come warmth.

Today, I will continue the discussion of Herbal Oral Hygiene by sharing a natural tooth-brightening recipe plus herbal tips for freshening your breath while improving digestion.

Strawberry Tooth Brightener

Strawberries produce a slight bleaching action upon the teeth due to their naturally-occurring, mild fruit acid and, if used daily, help to rid the teeth of tea, coffee, and cigarette stains. This treatment leaves your mouth feeling clean and tasting wonderful. A strawberry is much safer to use than lemon juice, which is much, much more acidic and can damage tooth enamel when used over time. When the fruit is in season, eating a bowl of strawberries daily is also another good way to brighten teeth and improve health.

- 1 medium-sized ripe strawberry

Recommended For: everyone, especially those with stained teeth
Use: daily or as desired
Follow With: water rinse or herbal mouthwash
Prep Time: approximately 2 minutes
Blending Tools: small bowl and fork or mortar and pestle; toothbrush
Store In: do not store; mix as needed
Yield: 1 treatment

Remove the green top and stem first. Using a small bowl and fork or a small mortar and pestle, mash the strawberry into a pulp.

Application Tips:
Dip your toothbrish into the pulp and brush normally. Rinse thoroughly. Now, doesn't your mouth feel clean? Your teeth should show signs of brightening with consistent use.

Herbal Breath Freshening Tips

- Gargle twice daily with strong peppermint tea. Make peppermint tea as you normally would, but leave either the tea bag or loose leaves in to steep for at least 30 minutes. Tea may be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to 3 days.

- Drink 1 cup of peppermint tea immediately following meals. Peppermint helps eliminate mouth odors and acts as a natural digestive, helping to prevent indigestion, gas, and burping.

- If you have access to fresh peppermint leaves, chew on 1 for a few minutes, then spit out or swallow. Your mouth will feel cool, clean, and minty fresh!

- Place 1 drop of peppermint essential oil (no more than this) on your tongue followed by a sip of water. Swish the icy cool liquid around for about 30 seconds, then swallow. Peppermint essential oil produces an amazing fresh chill on your tongue and helps improve digestion when swallowed.

- Keep a little container of fennel seeds, anise seeds, or cardamom seeds in your purse, desk drawer, brief case, gym bag, or back pack. Chew on a few of these flavorful seeds whenever your breath needs freshening. You can swallow them if you wish. All of these seeds also double as carminatives or digestives, encouraging saliva flow and calming the formation of intestinal gas.

- Let's not forget our green friend . . . parsley. This poor lowly plate decoration need not be tossed in the garbage heap along with leftover food. It is loaded with odor-neutralizing chlorophyll plus energizing nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and anti-oxidants. Next time you're at a restaurant, make sure to munch on that sprig of parsley when you finish your dinner. Your breath and digestion will thank you!

NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and some of the information was adapted from her book, Organic Body Care Recipes, Storey Publishing, 2007. The information 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.