Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Raw Energy In A Glass - Part 2

Happy Holidays, Everyone!  Since many of you are doing a bit of holiday entertaining these days, I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite raw food "mocktail" recipes:  Bloody Bella Daiquiri.  The name may not say "Christmas", but the drink is gorgeously red and absolutely delicious!  Hope you enjoy it.  You can find it, and many other nutritious raw food drinks in my latest book, Raw Energy In A Glass.

What The Heck Are "Mocktails"?

I knew you'd ask, so let me explain . . . They're fashionable, alcohol-free, healthful versions of your favorite cocktails.  Mocktails are perfect for social celebrations, intimate gatherings, or anytime you want a light, refreshing raw drink.

Stimulating to the senses, a colorful feast for the eyes, and tantalizing to the taste buds, mocktails are not just for teetotalers or health nuts, but can be enjoyed by all, including children.  They improve your health and vitality and keep you looking and feeling your best no matter how many you drink.  Can't say that about a vodka tonic, can you?

Bursting with raw ingredients that contain vitamins, minerals, simple carbohydrates, and a whole range of therapeutic phytonutrients, my mocktail recipes are absolutely delicious drinks with which to toast your good health.  Cheers!

Bloody Bella Daiquiri

For all you Twilight movie fans out there, here's a luscious, blood-red drink that Bella might present to her eternal vampire love, Edward.  Makes an excellent "red holiday" (Halloween, Christmas & Valentine's Day) party beverage for kids - they love the color!  Adults do too!  Chock-full of health-promoting antioxidants and vital minerals, it's especially good for those of you suffering from painful arthritis or iron-poor blood.  If you desire an edgier adult drink, add a splash of quality dark rum, organic champagne, or vodka.

- Juice of 5 blood oranges
- Juice of 1 medium lime
- 2 cups frozen cherries
- 1/4 cup raw honey, raw agave nectar, or maple syrup
- 1 cup of ice, cubed or crushed
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla flavoring
- Pinch of sea salt
- Lime slices or mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)


1. Put the orange juice, lime juice, cherries, honey, ice, vanilla, and salt in a blender and blend on high until the consistency is that of a smooth, silky slushy, 20 to 30 seconds.

2.  Serve in two beautiful, chilled glasses.  Garnish each glass with a slice of lime or mint sprig, if desired, and perhaps a pretty straw.

Yield:  2 servings

A good source of:  bountiful antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron, silicon, natural sugars, and fiber

NOTE:  Portions of this blog (including the recipe) were excerpted with permission from Raw Energy In A Glass by Stephanie Tourles (Storey Publishing c2014). 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Raw Energy In A Glass - Part 1

Healthy Greetings to All!  I hope this early fall season finds you looking good and feeling great . . . and on that note, I want to announce to everyone the release of my latest health-enhancing, raw food recipe book, Raw Energy In A Glass: 126 Nutrition-Packed Smoothies, Green Drinks, and Other Satisfying Raw Beverages to Boost Your Well-Being.  It's the 2nd in my raw food series of books - the first being, Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body. My new book will be available in bookstores nationwide by mid-December 2014 and is available for pre-order NOW thru www.amazon.com and other online book retailers.  It can also be purchased as an e-book . . . for all you "digital book enthusiasts".  Raw Energy In A Glass makes the perfect healthy holiday gift for friends and family, too!

Superfoods In Every Sip

Have you ever enjoyed a sweet raspberry smoothie, creamy banana milk shake, rich glass of chocolate milk, or tart strawberry yogurt drink?  Maybe an Orange Julius from the mall, spicy holiday eggnog, or a glass of tangy, dairy-based, peach kefir are favorite drinkable treats.  In this book, I will be introducing you to their raw, vegan cousins - more healthful and nutritionally dense versions that are free of dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol, and artificial flavors and colors.  They're chock-full of plant-derived rejuvenating liquids; energy-enhancing live enzymes; easy-to-assimilate vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, complex carbohydrates, natural sugars, and proteins; plus loads of tongue-tantalizing flavor.

Every day there is new information printed and reported on the television, radio, and Internet regarding the benefits of eating a plant-based diet or at least a diet that relies heavily on plants.  If you don't know by now, you should:  a daily diet rich in raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole, gluten-free grains and other plant-derived specialty ingredients such as raw cocoa, carob powder, spirulina powder, goji berries, and rejuvenating herbs such as maca root and Solomon's seal root, can maximize your health and well-being.

When you feed yourself only the very best raw plant foods - organic if possible - these foods become extraordinarily beautiful and sacred to your being.  Why?  No only because they taste great, but also because you begin to feel better and look better than you have in years.  Energy comes roaring back.  Every cell that hungers for fuel and revitalizing fluids is satisfied.  It's true that when you eat more raw plant foods, you tend to be less physically hungry on a day-to-day basis.  By eating foods of superior quality, your body will be better satisfied and the quantity you consume will naturally diminish.  Raw food does not have empty calories.  Every bite you eat is nutritionally dense, so your body is happier and not always crying out for more.

Every sip of the raw, whole food-derived, superfood beverages in this book is so rejuvenating, refreshing, energizing, and youthifying that every cell of your body will be singing your praises for finally quenching the thirst for nutrient-rich liquids.

Happy cells = a happy, energetic body = happy you!

In the next blog, Part 2 of this series, I'll begin to share with you a few of the dynamic and delicious raw drink recipes from the book as well as other interesting and useful information with regard to raw food nutrition.  Until then . . . be happy, whole, and enjoy unbelievable energy and health!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sensitive Skin: What It Is & How To Make It More Comfortable

Hello Everyone . . . fall has arrived quite early here in mid-coast Maine - extremely early, in fact!  Many of the maples are already shocking red and orange - 3 weeks ahead of time.  This does not bode well for winter weather lurking around the corner.  Mother Nature may behave badly again this year with below zero temps, lots of ice, and arid wind chills that reach depths of minus 38F.  BRRR!  I certainly hope not . . . had way too much of that last year!  Since we're on the subject of winter weather with its accompanying dry indoor heat and moisture-sapping outdoor environment, let's address how to take care of skin that often becomes sensitive at this time of year. Whether you have skin that is sensitive all-year-round, or is just seasonally sensitive, there are tips that you need to follow to keep it comfortable and moist.

Sensitive Skin - What Is It Exactly?

 Environmentally reactive is how I like to refer to skin that is sensitive.  It tends to overreact to outside forces such as commonly used skin and hair care products; over-use of something as simple as water; sunlight; fabric conditioners; detergents; and changes in temperature and humidity.  Excessive stress and/or a poor diet can also contribute to sensitivity.  This skin type easily blushes, sunburns, develops rashes, and becomes irritated.  Especially when more mature, it typically displays couperose conditions - that is, it's characterized by dilated or expanded capillaries.  A diffused redness, or erythema, is generally concentrated on the nose and cheeks.  If not treated with an extremely gentle hand, sensitive skin will simply appear "unhappy" or "unsettled".  This skin type loves warm air and humidity . . . which often doesn't occur in winter - unless you live along the southern coast or in the tropics.

Crisp, dry winter air can further upset already irritated, sensitive skin, leaving it drier and more prone to disturbances.  Summer's heat, humidity, and increased exposure to sunlight can also wreak havoc, leading to itchy, blotchy skin, possible blemishes, and general ruddiness.

Sensitive Skin - How To Make It More Comfortable

When choosing any treatment product or ingredient for sensitive skin, gentle, calming, soothing, hydrating, non-abrasive, alcohol and fragrance-free are key words on which to focus.

You must avoid soap on your face and body at all costs (unless skin is oily - then only use a mild, unscented goat's milk soap or pure olive oil soap such as Kiss My Face brand or my absolute favorite olive oil soap, handmade in Greece by Olea Estates, www.oleaestates.com.)  Using soap on normal, dry, and mature skin is much too drying, instead use a moisturizing lotion or creamy cleaner, such as Soothing Starflower Cleasing Milk by NYR Organic www.us.nyrorganic.com/shop/herbs (I recommend the entire Starflower line, actually!), or an extremely finely ground oat or sunflower seed or almond meal cleanser that you mix with water or yogurt.  Never scrub your skin with a regular wash cloth or loofa pad . . . instead, I recommend purchasing a skin shammy or skin chamois cloth.  You can find these online.  They're just a thin, rubberized "wash cloth" that is ever-so-gentle on the skin - never abrasive - even slightly.  Hospitals often use them to cleanse the skin of burn victims.

For toning and hydrating, use a classic herbal hydrosol such as lavender, rose, chamomile, or lemon balm to soothe and rehydrate skin.  A quick spritz will alleviate thirsty skin any time of the day.  Organic hydrosols are available from www.mountainroseherbs.comNYR Organic's White Tea Facial Mist or Rose Water work wonderfully well, as does the Soothing Starflower Daily Essence which is loaded with intensely soothing and hydrating, ultra-moisturizing hyaluronic acid - which can hold up to 1,000x its weight in water!!!

Your moisturizer should be creamy, lightweight, and easily absorbed.  Soothing Starflower Daily Moisture by NYR Organic is a good choice, but a simple application of pure jojoba oil is also a go-to ingredient to seal in moisture.

Never forget to moisturize your body, as well.  A rich cream or lotion or your favorite organic body oil, applied while skin is still damp, provides a protective barrier against dehydration and keeps moisture in the skin - where it belongs.  In winter, underneath my moisturizer and on top of my Soothing Starflower Daily Essence, I use a layer of NYR Organic's Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil.  The natural rose essence is sooooooo lovely.  When you've lived through a number of arid, cold, moisture-sapping New England winters as I have, you quickly learn to layer moisturizers, much as you layer clothing - the more layers, the more protection from the biting cold!  Makes sense, doesn't it?

Special Intensive Treatments For Sensitive Skin

If you like to bathe in the tub, you can cleanse your body with a small, drawstring bath bag filled with ground oatmeal.  Once wet, the oat flour covers your skin with moisturizing and soothing oat milk.  Alternatively, you can purchase "colloidal oatmeal" in a box from the local drug store.  It is very finely ground so that it practically dissolves in bath water.

A mucilaginous fennel seed, marshmallow root, or comfrey root facial steam once a week helps to hydrate the skin and cleanse the pores.  Use a moisturizing mask once or twice a week as needed.  For gentle facial exfoliation, try a weekly yogurt or fruit acid mask made from apple or raspberry pulp.  At least once or twice per week, using a light touch, exfoliate your entire body (sans face) with a fine sugar scrub, or oat, nut, or seed scrub to remove buildup of dead skin cells.  This is necessary to promote the absorption of your moisturizer, otherwise, all of the product's moisture/active ingredients remains on the surface of the skin and you'll wonder why it's not doing its job.  The nightly use of an emollient eye cream or thin application of your favorite base oil such as jojoba or apricot kernel or hazelnut or rosehip seed, moisturizes the delicate tissue in this area, which is prone to premature wrinkling.

Drink Up!!  I can't emphasize this enough . . . you must hydrate your body from the inside, too!  If you're thirsty, then your skin will be wrinkle-prone and age before its time - guaranteed. Plus, it will be ultra-sensitive. Your best bets are lubricating herb teas that include such ingredients as fennel seed, marshmallow, oat seed, rosehips, raspberry leaves, nettle, and/or licorice.  Plain water with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or cranberry juice is wonderful, as well. 

I hope you find these tips useful for the upcoming winter season.  May your skin remain calm, cool, hydrated, clear, and collected allowing your inner radiance to shine through!  Until next time . . . be happy, healthy, and whole my friends!

NOTE:  Blog is by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, author of the best-selling Organic Body Care Recipes (Storey Publishing, 2007). The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge.  All recommendation 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, September 1, 2014

Frankincense: The Amazing Skin Rejuvenator

Hello All!  September's here . . . can't believe it!  Where is the summer going?  The older I get, the faster time speeds along . . . that's for sure!  If you're over 45, I know you'll agree with me!  Soon it will be time to harvest pumpkins and winter squash from my garden up here in Maine, but for now I'm still getting plenty of cukes and sweet orange "sugar baby" cherry tomatoes - nature's veggie candy!

Well, now that summer is on the wane and the kids are back in school, it's time to really take a good long look at your skin . . . deal with possible environmental damage from overexposure to the summer sun, wind, chlorine, and sea salt and begin a good revitalizing and conditioning program for the upcoming fall and winter months - the seasons that can suck your skin dry.

What if I told you that there was an age-old, wild-crafted, precious herbal resin that had the following rejuvenative and medicinal properties - and that regularly applying it topically via purely organic serums, oils, and creams would lead to rapid improvement of your skin's texture and condition like you'd never seen before??  Would you want to use it?  I bet you would!!  Here's what this resin can do for you:
1.  Soothe inflamed skin conditions - even stubborn eczema
2.  Speed skin cell regeneration and preserve the degradation of collagen
3.  Aid in healing wounds (cuts, scrapes, bug bites, burns, and boils; even hard to heal sores)
4.  Provide antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and astringent actions upon the skin
5.  Help fade scar tissue
6.  Excellent for ALL skin types . . . oily, normal, dry, sensitive, mature, wrinkled, couperose, sun-damaged, acneic (including pustular and cystic)
7. Tighten skin tissue like no other herb!
8.  Used by the ancient Egyptians in the preservation of the bodies of the pharaohs. Liquid Frankincense was their embalming fluid - and can help protect yours!
9.  Still used today in the best natural cosmetic lines for skin rejuvenation
10. Serve as a potent antioxidant - preserver of youth
11. Totally natural - non-chemical
12. Plus, on the spiritual side . . . it is excellent for the base or root or 6th chakra - promoting mental stability and grounding.

Whew . . . that's a lot of beneficial properties for one herbal resin, isn't it?  If you haven't guessed by now, this miraculous resin is called Frankincense - one of the first spices brought back from the East - thousands of years ago.  It's hand-gathered from the stems and trunks of small trees - usually by women's cooperatives - which grow in India, northern Africa, and the Arabian peninsula.  It was one of the original gifts to the Christ Child - Jesus.

In my best-selling book, Organic Body Care Recipes (Storey Publishing, c2007), I have an "elixir" recipe (a naturally formulated skin serum) that highlights Frankincense essential oil.  It's called, "Evening Luxe Elixir", and is quite popular with my readership.  Give it a try, I think you'll like it . . . BUT, if you don't want to make it, then skip the recipe and read the paragraphs that follow it below.

Evening Luxe Elixir

This elixir is designed for all skin types in need of light pampering and balancing.  Hazelnut and jojoba base oils are chemically compatible with human skin and will leave no oily residue.  It softens, moisturizes, heals, rejuvenates, and tones the skin and speeds cell regeneration.  Each of the essential oils has a gently calming effect on the psyche and body.  Applying this just before bedtime can help lull you into restorative sleep.  Good skin care combined with ample rest - the dynamic duo of  beauty enhancement!

- 8 drops neroli essential oil
- 4 drops frankincense essential oil (CO2 extract)
- 4 drops rose otto essential oil
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut base oil
- 1 tablespoon jojoba base oil

Use:  1x per day, right before bedtime

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

Blending Tools:  Shake storage bottle before each use

Store In: 1-ounce, dark glass bottle with glass dropper top

Shelf-Life:  No refrigeration is required, but for maximum freshness & potency, use within 6 months

Yield:  2 tablespoons or 1 ounce  

Directions:  Add the essential oils, drop by drop, directly into your 1-ounce storage bottle.  Next, add the base oils.  Screw on the dropper bottle top, wrap your hand around the bottle, and shake the formula vigorously for 2 minutes to completely blend all ingredients and gently warm them to body temperature.

Set bottle in a dark location that's between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.  Label and date bottle.

Application Tips:  Immediately before bedtime and after cleansing your face, apply the appropriate toner, astringent, or hydrosol for your skin type.  While skin is still damp, lightly massage 4 to 6 drops of elixir into skin, beginning with the decollete, throat, then face, using upward, outward, and circular strokes.  Wait 5 minutes before applying additional moisturizer, if desired.  That's it!

If you want to discover the most superior organic skin care company, then go to my NYR Organic website https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/herbs where you'll find some of the absolute best organically-produced Frankincense skin care products in the world today. Read about the company, too.  They are environmentally conscious, practice Fair Trade, advance the protection of our important pollinators (the bees), and use only pure vegan and vegetarian ingredients in all their products (PETA endorsed).  I wouldn't be a Senior Consultant for this company if I didn't believe in them 100%!

September 2014 Frankincense Skin Care Promotional Special:  September 1st thru 30th -  you can get 4 full-size Frankincense nurturing, skin care products - from NYR Organic - for only $99 - that's an amazing offer!  It's a fraction of the retail cost.  Why not try the line and see for yourself how amazing your skin can look and feel??!!  The products are blended using advanced technology and include a tissue toning/lifting peptide complex and plant-derived stem cells!  There's nothing like this skin care range on the market today . . . and, it's made in small batches with near-100% organic ingredients! You owe it to yourself to nourish and pamper your skin - your "living hide".  Remember - you're all you've got, so why not make the best of who you are and put your best face forward??  If you've got questions about what products to try for your skin type, just email me and ask: stourles@gmail.com. I'll be happy to assist you!

Disclaimer: This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Herbalist, Certified Aromatherapist, and author.  Portions of this blog were excerpted with permission from her best-selling book, Organic Body Care Recipes, (Storey Publishing, c2007). 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, July 28, 2014

Organic Skin/Body/Personal Care Products - Why It's Important To Use Them

Hello My Fellow Health Seekers!  Happy Mid-Summer To You!  As many of you know, I'm a Licensed Holistic Esthetician, certified aromatherapist, raw food advocate, herbalist specializing in topically-applied herbal medicine, and prolific author of books that deal with the topics of chemical-free skin and body care, raw food nutrition, and herbal medicine.  I teach classes all around the country, especially at the regional Mother Earth News Fairs www.motherearthnews.com (see their website for upcoming fair schedules), plus in my local Bucksport, Maine area - espousing the benefits of living a "clean" life with plenty of exercise, fresh air, good organic food, satisfying career, great companions, and using chemical-free products on yourself, on your property, and in your home, etc. 

With the dangers of chemicals in our environment (air, water, soil), and in our food, personal care products, and medicines being in the forefront of national and global news, it baffles me that there are sooooo many people still out there that are of the notion that what we put on and in our bodies makes absolutely no difference in our health and the health of our planet!  How can that be???

Since I specialize in natural skin care - it's near and dear to my heart - I'm going to tell you why it's important to use organic personal care products - for yourself, your significant other, and your children.  Some of this information is adapted from my best-selling Organic Body Care Recipes book (Storey Publishing 2007) and some of it just rambles out of my brain today.  You've got to stop putting chemicals on your body!

A Natural Approach To Skin & Body Care

Did you know that women use an average of 12 personal care products daily?  And men aren't far behind, with about 7 in their daily routine.  Each day we use soap, body scrub, lotion, face cleanser, toner, night cream, shave cream, after-shave balm, sunscreen, makeup, and deodorant, so it's important to know what's coming into contact with our skin.  Remember:  Your skin eats - or, more accurately, absorbs.

The official terms for the process of absorption of substances via the skin is transdermal penetrationAll topical substances can either penetrate or affect the skin's surface.  To what degree depends on the particular substance, molecular size of the ingredient(s), temperature, and the condition of the skin at the time of contact.

If you're having a hard time believing that your skin can actually absorb some of the ingredients from your favorite body product, then you have only to think of 3 popular drugs that are transported into the bloodstream via a topically applied patch:  nicotine used for cessation of smoking, hormones for birth control as well as for menopausal symptoms, and nitroglycerin for angina pectoris.

The High Price of Vanity

According to Myra Michelle Eby, founder of MyChelle Dermaceuticals, a large number of the chemicals and artificial fragrances in our daily applications of body care products have names that might sound like Greek to us - but because our skin may absorb up to 60 percent of them, they can all be potentially harmful.  Once in our bodies, our fatty tissue stores these chemicals, leading to a host of possible problems.  The solution to avoiding these chemicals: Read the label and choose organic next time you purchase personal care products!

Parabens, "estrogen mimickers and chemical preservatives found in almost all standard, commercially-prepared body care products," can affect those who have what's known as paraben-mix allergy, resulting in rashes after applying a product.  In fact, some topical parabens have even been detected in human breast tumors!

Other preservatives such as DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium 15, are very common and can release trace amounts of formaldehyde into the skin, leading to joint discomfort and contact dermatitis.

The chemical triethanolamine (TEA), often used as a base for cleansers and in cosmetics to adjust pH, may cause allergic reactions, skin and hair dryness, and eye irritations.

Artificial fragrances are often manufactured from petrochemicals and can irritate the skin and strip it of its natural protection and even lead to difficulties such as headaches and asthmatic complications. 

Synthetic colors such as FD&C or D&C followed by a number can be carcinogenic.  Fortunately, some commercial products do have natural coloring agents.

Phthalates, which can accumulate in the skin and lead to an increased risk of reproductive abnormalities, can be found in hair sprays, perfumes, and nail polish.

As a lic. esthetician and holistic skin care specialist, my focus is on educating individuals so that they can realize their highest health and beauty potential through the use of natural skin and body care products and vitalizing lifestyle habits.  I want my clients, event attendees, and readers of my books to become active participants in their own well-being (and the well-being of this precious earth of our!), too.

In my years of experience, I've worked with a wide range of commercially prepared products, including high-end preparations and "natural" products from health food stores and wellness spas.   Many of these skin and body care preparations, even the so-called "natural" ones, contain highly toxic and irritating ingredients.  Frequently, I've heard from both clients and my readers who have endured allergic reactions or other skin sensitivities resulting from their use of these often costly and often synthetic products.

But if potentially irritating or harmful chemicals and artificial colorants and fragrances can be absorbed by your skin, then so can highly beneficial natural ingredients (especially organically-derived ingredients), which can promote beauty and wellness.

In this rapidly advancing technological age of skin and body care, you can visit your local medical spa and choose from a dizzying array of "youthifiers."  A few of the products and services offered might be pharmaceutically enhanced cosmetics; laser skin resurfacing; acid-based skin peels; microdermabrasion; surgical face and body reconstruction;  application of permanent eye and lip liner and brow color; intense pulsed light for acne treatment; or an injection cocktail to temporarily remove this, that, or the other wrinkle.

While these technological advancements do have their place, they shouldn't prevent us from taking control of our own bodies. These quick fixes do not come without some pain or irritation, risk, or high cost.  Nor do they offer an everlasting cure-all to our perceived physical or emotional shortcomings.

The time is ripe for getting back to the basics.  Many of us have lost sight of our true selves in an effort to become synthesized, smoothed, or physically augmented.  It's important to remember, however, that Hollywood hype is NOT reality - nor should it be.

Holistic herbal skin and body care comprises an ancient tradition practiced for thousands of years, promoting mutual respect between individuals and generations; harmony and balance within; gentle co-existence with the earth; and a visible physical radiance in the individuals who practice it.  Herbs and other natural ingredients are nourishing, pampering, cleansing, protective, and fragrant to body and soul.  They produce in us a profound sense of authentic beauty, contentment, and well-being.

With the instructions and recipes in my best-selling skin and body care books, Organic Body Care Recipes (Storey Publishing 2007) and Hands-On Healing Remedies (Storey Publishing 2012) - both available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and other retailers of books - you'll learn how to create natural, often organic personal care and topically-applied medicine products that sing with vitality, vibrance, and inner wellness.  The formulas I've created will help correct current skin problems and prevent future ones, smooth and balance your skin, deodorize, pamper, and fragrance your body, entice your significant other, address some intimate-care issues, create radiant hair and nails & beautiful, comfortable feet, and show you how to heal minor-to-moderate afflictions using herbal remedies that you make yourself at home.  Natural, simple, cost-effective remedies can be the basis for long-term skin and body care. 

While I enjoy making many of my personal care products at home, I realize that there are many of you out there that are not of the inclination to do that nor do you have the time . . . so I have discovered a fabulous company from which you can purchase your organic personal care products . . . it is NYR Organic.  Ever heard of Neal's Yard Remedies?  The UK company that began in the early 80's?  For the last 5 years, they have had a strong US presence.  I've been looking for a an ethical, environmentally sound, fair-trade-based, personal care company that uses nearly 100% organic, plant-based ingredients (they're almost vegan) to refer my conference attendees, clients, and readers to . . . I finally found that company.  If you want to peruse their products - which are absolutely fabulous - just go to my NYR Organic website:  www.us.nyrorganic.com/shop/herbs and cruise around.  I'm sure you'll be happy with what you see.  If you would like a seasonal catalog of all the products, just e-mail me with your name, address, and zip and I'll shoot one off to you.  

I'm not trying to do a "hard sell" about NYR Organic - just wanted to tell you -  my health seeking friends -  about an amazing company that will "do your body good"!! 

Here's wishing that your journey with herbs and other pure, natural ingredients brings you endless joy and delight and the realization that your body is a beautiful and faithful friend to your spirit!  Peace to all . . .  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars - Part 4

Hello Everyone!  It's the 4th of July and summer is finally in full swing here in Maine.  My red Russian and Toscano (blue dinosaur) kale plants are ready for harvest (yummy in raw smoothies!); "flashy troutback" lettuce is coming along nicely; and the rest of my veggies (excepting the winter squash and pumpkins), will be ready in about a month.  My red and yellow raspberries, as well as the wild blackberries, will produce a bountiful harvest in late August, if all goes well. If only the weeds weren't so prolific!  With organic gardening, you have to take the good with the bad . . . weeding keeps me sane, though . . . it's a good way to de-stress and get my mind off my heavy writing and book touring schedule.

Today, I'll conclude the "Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars" series by sharing with you a recipe that -  if you love the aroma of lavender and cocoa butter - will have you reaching for this creamy product over and over again - it has myriad uses other than to help prevent and /or soften existing scar tissue, which are mentioned in the BONUS section below. This recipe and many other topically-applied healing remedies can be found in my best-selling book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies".  Enjoy!

Skin-Be-Smooth: Lavender & Cocoa Butter Balm

Lavender essential oil and cocoa butter have long been used to help prevent scarring after an injury in which the skin is abraded, cut, or scraped. This formula combines these traditional herbal ingredients into one potent blend with antiseptic, vulnerary (tissue healing), anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and skin-cell-regenerating properties that will aid in healing the injury and rejuvenating the skin so that scarring is minimized.  It is gentle enough to be used on children over 6 years old.  The blend has a lovely lavender-cocoa cream smell and is readily absorbed into the skin upon application. The final consistency will be that of a firm balm - if you want it softer, add another tablespoon of jojoba oil. Remember, though, that cocoa butter melts at skin temperature.

Note:  This is an extremely mild, yet aromatherapeutically concentrated formula, so use as directed.

To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy: This balm acts as an effective stretch-mark preventive, but for safety's sake, please omit the lavender essential oil or use at your own discretion. Many women use lavender essential oil during pregnancy, as it is one of the absolute safest essential oils to apply to your body during this sensitive time, but I will not recommend it. Typical use for essential oils is a 2% solution, or 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil. This is a 2-ounce recipe. Some pregnant women would only use 12 total drops of lavender in this recipe - but, once again, it's your call.

- 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons jojoba base oil
- 50 drops lavender essential oil

Equipment:Very small saucepan or double boiler, stirring utensil, 2-ounce glass or plastic jar or tin

Prep Time: 20 minutes to make the balm, plus up to 36 hours to synergize and 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: Combine the cocoa butter and jojoba oil in a very small saucepan (a 3/4-quart, or smaller, works great) or small double boiler, and warm over low heat until the cocoa butter is just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the lavender essential oil and stir again to thoroughly blend. Slowly pour the liquid balm into the storage container. Cap tightly and label.

This particular blend of ingredients can take up to 36 hours to synergize and properly thicken, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. If after 36 hours, it has not thickened to at least a soft salve consistency, then give it a good, gentle stir and place the container in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove the container after that time, and allow the product to return to room temperature before use.

Application Instructions: If possible, immediately after incurring an injury, clean the area and then massage a small dab (or more depending on the size of the injury) of this formula into the surrounding skin. Massage a small dab into the entire wound 2x per day as it begins to heal to prevent or at least minimize the potential for scarring.

BONUS USES: This gentle yet highly effective balm is wonderfully healing for minor to moderate cuts and scrapes, blisters, and poison plant rashes. I also like to apply a dab to each fingernail at night to gently condition my nails, soften cuticles, and encourage growth. It also makes a fabulous, rejuvenating "neck cream" when lightly applied to neck and chest after your evening cleansing. The lavender aroma encourages a good night's sleep, too.

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

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars - Part 3

Late Spring Greetings To All!  I just returned from another Mother Earth News Fair - this time in Puyallup, WA - where I presented talks on Herbal Hair Care and Herbal Remedies For Pain Relief.  Turnout was wonderful!  When at such a large fair (nearly 20,000 people attending), I walk A LOT and this time suffered from a couple of painful blisters on my feet - but as luck would have it - I happened to have today's recipe that I will be sharing with you, "Calendula & Calophyllum Rejuvenative Drops," in a tiny bottle with me.  I've been using it, among other of my herbal oil-based formulas, to help fade the 6" scar on my left hip resulting from last October's total hip replacement surgery.  It also works fabulously on new blisters to help them heal quickly!

Today's blog is the 3rd in the series of Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars.  The recipe is simple to make and has multiple healing uses - as do most of my formulations.  Hope you find it of value and a good addition to your herbal medicine chest.

Calendula & Calophyllum Rejuvenative Drops

Homemade calendula-infused oil is frequently (as is rosehip seed oil) my go-to herbal remedy base for treating injuries that have the potential for scarring.  With calendula and calophyllum oils, along with carrot seed and lavender essential oils, this formula has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and skin-cell-regenerative properties, and an amazing ability to assist the skin in successful rejuvenation while restoring elasticity and suppleness.

This recipe calls for only a small amount of calendula-infused oil.  If you have some homemade Simple Calendula-Infused Body Oil (see page 162 in my "Hands-On Healing Remedies" book for the recipe), great.  If not, then purchase a small bottle from your local health food store or herbal supplier (www.mountainroseherbs.com and www.jeansgreens.com are good sources).  But I do recommend that you always have at least a cup of this multipurpose infused oil on hand - fresh and homemade is best, and much less expensive!

- 15 drops carrot seed essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 tablespoons calendula infused oil
- 1 tablespoon calophyllum base oil

Equipment:  Dropper, dark glass 2-ounce bottle with dropper top of screw cap

Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize

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:  Add the carrot seed and lavender essential oils drop-by-drop directly into a 2-ounce storage bottle.  Add the calendula and calophyllulm base oils.  Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.  Label the bottle, and place in a dark location that's between 60 and 80 degrees F. for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.

Application Instructions:  Shake well before each use.  If possible, immediately after incurring an injury, clean the area and then massage several drops (or more, depending upon the size of the injury) of this formula into the surrounding skin.  Massage several drops into the entire wound twice daily as it begins to heal to prevent or at least minimize the potential for scarring.

BONUS:  When applied by the drop, this blend speeds healing to minor cuts and scrapes, blisters, bruises, dermatitis, and dry eczema, plus it soothes and moisturizes patches of severely dry or cracked skin anywhere on the body.

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from her 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 the Ms. Tourles.  She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational use only.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars - Part 2

Hello Everyone!  Hope you are enjoying spring's warmth and getting your fingers dirty in your organic gardens or at least you're potting some veggies and herbs.  Nothing like garden fresh food to nourish deep down and tantalize your taste buds!  With the help of my boyfriend's 3 kids, I just prepped a new garden plot in which to plant some asparagus crowns.  I've never planted this succulent veggie before, so, according to the planting instructions, I should have a bountiful crop in about 2-3 years . . . can't wait!

Today, I'll continue with Part 2 of my series on "Natural Herbal Remedies For Scars".  The formula has a lovely lavender/rosemary aroma and a reddish-gold color from the rosehip seed base oil.  If you've recently cut yourself or had surgery with a resulting incision, then I think you will find this oil quite therapeutic in minimizing potential scar tissue.  This recipe, and more topically-applied herbal remedies, can be found in my book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies" (Storey Publishing, 2012).

Rosehip & Rosemary Recovery Oil Blend

Rosehip seed oil, rich in essential fatty acids, is highly regenerative, promoting the growth of fresh, healthy new skin.  With continued application, it dramatically increases the elasticity of the skin and stimulates the formation of new collagen fibrils (versus using animal-derived collagen), resulting in a smoother, more toned appearance.  Combined with skin-conditioning wheat germ oil, plus rosemary and lavender essential oils, this blend synergizes to form a superior scar-preventive treatment when applied to new injuries and a scar-fading treatment when applied to existing scars less than 2 years old.

- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 15 drops rosemary (chemotype verbenon) essential oil
- 3 tablespoons rosehip seed base oil
- 1 tablespoon wheatgerm base oil or jojoba oil

Equipment:  Dropper, 2 oz., dark glass bottle with dropper top or screw cap

Prep Time:  15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize

Yield:  Approximately 1/4 cup

Storage:  Refrigerate; use within 6 months

Directions:  Add the lavender and rosemary essential oils drop by drop directly into the 2-ounce storage bottle.  Add the base oils.  Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.  Label the bottle and place in a dark location that's between 60 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.  After 24 hours, refrigeration is required.

Application Instructions:  Shake well before each use.  If possible, immediately after incurring an injury, clean the area and then massage several drops (or more, depending on the size of the injury) of this formula into the surrounding skin.  Massage several drops into the entire wound twice daily as it begins to heal to prevent or at least minimize scarring.

Additionally, twice-daily application for at least 6 months can dramatically fade and soften existing scars that are less than 2 years old.  Consistency with application is key.

Bonus:  This remedy can be applied twice daily by the drop to areas of your face and neck where you notice new wrinkles/fine lines forming as well as to deeper, existing wrinkles to help plump, tone, and nourish the underlying tissue.  If you are consistent with application and proper care of your skin, expect to see noticeable results within 6 months.

NOTE:  This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Esthetician, Author, Certified Aromatherapist, Herbalist, and Nutrition Consultant.  Portions of this article were adapted from my book, "Hands-On Healing Remedies", Storey Publishing, (c) 2012.  The information in this article is true and complete to the best of my knowledge.  All recommendation are made without guarantee.  I disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.  It is for educational purposes only.


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.