skin care

metaphysicalEchinacea is an herb that is particularly well known because of its ability to lessen the symptoms and duration of a cold or the flu when taken at the onset. The best way to take this herb is in liquid form, such as in a tea, or one can take the dried herb in capsules. This flower is actually anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Besides treating colds and flu, echinacea is also useful for a variety of other ailments. Brew the herb into a tisane (herbal tea) to help with symptoms of sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, stomach cramps and urinary tract infections. Additionally, echinacea can be made into an ointment to treat skin issues, such as, cold sores, insect bites, and mild burns.

This herb should not be used by people with allergies to plants in the daisy family.

Look for echinacea preparations in the herbal section of your local natural grocer. If you are a gardener, you can create a cold and flu themed garden including thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, yarrow, echinacea, peppermint and rosemary. Peppermint becomes invasive, so plant it in a large container with drainage holes, separated from the other plants. As an added bonus, echinacea and yarrow will draw butterflies to your garden.


metaphysicalMyrrh has a rich, smoky, balsamic aroma that is purifying, restorative, and revitalizing. It is a helpful aid to meditation, having a direct effect on the brain centers where our emotions originate. In ancient times, myrrh was used as perfume, incense, for embalming, as medicine and as an anointing oil. Its medical uses were many, including being used for cleaning wounds and as an analgesic. As late as the 19th century it was used in the treatment of coughs, colds, sore throats, asthma, and gum disease, and is still used for those purposes by alternative medical practitioners.

Not only is myrrh oil of great benefit to the respiratory tract, the digestive system, and gum and mouth disorders, but also in skin care. When used in a cream or lotion, amazing results can be achieved in the treatment of chronic skin issues. It accelerates wound healing and very chapped and cracked skin, as well as acne and other skin ailments show dramatic results when myrrh oil is used to treat them.

Many people are familiar with myrrh because it was one of the gifts of the Magi in the Christmas story. It’s use in funeral preparations made it symbolic of death, but it was also burned as incense and its smoke symbolized prayers rising up. But myrrh is more than an exotic gift of Christmas. It’s truly wonderful for meditation, and its healing properties abound, making it a gift we can give ourselves any day of the year.

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In 1843, Dr. F. Bochkowsky — a physician at the Polish salt mine at Wieliczka in Poland — noticed that salt miners rarely suffered from tuberculosis or respiratory diseases. During WWII, doctors noted that people suffering from asthma who sought shelter in salt caves during bombing saw an improvement in their symptoms. These observations developed into what is now known as cave therapy or speleotherapy. The treatment involves spending time in subterranean salt caves where people can breathe in air heavy with salt and other minerals and experience relief of their allergies and chronic respiratory conditions.

Salt caves in Eastern Europe treat asthma, bronchitis, COPD, cystic fibrosis, psoriasis, rhinitis, ear infection, chest infection, tonsillitis, hay fever, and eczema. The salt air helps dissolve phlegm in the bronchial tubes and kills microbes that cause infection. Even athletes interested in increasing performance take salt therapy to improve their breathing. The salt therapy treatment has been a popular natural therapy in Eastern Europe and Russia for around 200 years. Some people with chronic breathing disorders here spend two to three hours every day in underground salt caves. Salt therapy is medically proven for treatment of asthma and clinical research shows that treatment has an 80% success rate among children, with symptoms in 85% of adults alleviated for at least 1 year.

Salt therapy is becoming more widely known. The micro-climate of a salt cave can be reproduced, and salt rooms specifically for medical treatment are popping up around the world. Clients sit or sleep in the rooms, breathing the mineral-laden air for several hours. There are salt rooms, or salt spas in the United States. Check here to learn more about halotherapy, the use of salt rooms to reproduce the salt cave climate.

If you suffer from back pain, arthritis or other chronic joint pain, the search for relief is a constant challenge. You may have discovered the therapeutic benefits of mud baths for pain relief at a spa or clinic. Canadian bogs which are several thousand years old produce mud that is superior in its therapeutic and healing properties. The bog mud contains high levels of humic acid which aids in preventing arthritic and rheumatic pain and gives the body a sense of well-being. Although visiting these bogs is not practical, some companies (like this one) offer bog mud for sale. With a standard bathtub, you can create a healing mud bath at home.

Bog mud is also helpful in maintaining healing skin. Bog mud contains anti-oxidants which protect the skin from harmful free radicals and diminish signs of aging. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and puffiness for a clear complexion. Organic nutrients and the mud’s astringent property draw out toxins and impurities to deep cleanse pores and help support acne-free skin. Why turn to chemicals when you can look to natural means for health? And what is more natural, more organic, or more healing than a product that Mother Earth has been brewing for millennia?

Apple Cider Vinegar is an old-time home remedy that is credited with curing more ailments than just about any other folk remedy. The reported cures from drinking Apple Cider Vinegar include reduced allergies (including pet, food and environmental); eliminating  sinus infections, acne, and high cholesterol; and recovery from flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout. Apple Cider Vinegar also breaks down fat and is widely used to lose weight.

You will find Apple Cider Vinegar to be one of the most important natural remedies in healing the body. It is best to drink it without any sweeteners, and after getting used to it the taste actually becomes quite refreshing. A wonderful side effect of drinking apple cider vinegar every day is that it brings a healthy, rosy glow to one’s complexion. If you suffer from any of these ailments, or desire to lose weight, drink 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar in 16 ounces of water each day. Sip this concoction slowly throughout the day, and keep a journal to record the improvement. You might be amazed at the simplicity of the cure.

Autumn brings with it the need for heat – whether it be a furnace, wood-burning stove, or fireplace – and with heat comes dry indoor air. According to Emily Altman, M.D., dermatologic surgeon, dry skin develops microscopic cracks which can cause more water loss from the skin. These cracks also allow irritants and bacteria to get into the skin. Also, dry skin is itchy.  Scratching escalates the amount of itch there is and can also deposit bacteria that is under our nails into scratched skin increasing the chances of infection. Additionally, dry skin looks wrinkly and doesn’t have as much elasticity, so it looks older than normal.

All these are great reasons to prevent and/or treat dry skin. She recommends:


1. moisturizing with a fragrance and dye free moisturizing cream

2. using a mild soap, like Dove for Sensitive Skin or Cetaphil bar

3. not using a washcloth, sponge, or any sort of washing utensil

4. keeping the shower water warm, not hot

5. using a humidifier in your house.

Following these simple steps can help keep your skin healthy and soft throughout the fall and winter (not to mention younger looking).

These twin girls were born at the Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA. They each weighed about two pounds at birth. One baby put on a bit of weight following her arrival, but the other cried a lot, leaving her gasping for breath with blue-tinged skin.

On a particularly bad day, an R.N. in the Newborn I.C.U., after trying everything she could think of, put the struggling baby in the incubator with her sister. The weaker snuggled next to the stronger, and almost immediately her frighteningly low blood-oxygen saturation levels soared. The frantic crying stopped and her skin returned to a normal pinkish color. Over the next weeks, lying next to her sister, her health improved.

These girls made history at Memorial Hospital, which says, “The first co-bedding of twins occurred as an innovation from a staff nurse, Gayle Kasparian, R.N.”

Another method used to stabilize premature babies is “kangaroo care,” which involves skin-to-skin contact between parent and baby. The baby, wearing only a diaper and covered with a blanket, is placed on the bare chest of the parent. The effects are astounding – a steadier heart rate, better breathing, greater contentment, and deeper sleep.

“Everybody in the world knows you can take a crying baby and pick him up and he’ll stop crying,” Susan Ludington, professor of maternal and child health nursing at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, says. “You put him down he starts crying again. Babies, and they give us the message quite clearly, prefer to be held. Now we’re just finding out that when they are held, there are all these tremendous physiological benefits.”

We can learn something from these little ones. Give a hug, hold a hand, snuggle with your loved one ~ and never underestimate the power of touch.  Your touch brings healing and positive energy. Your touch communicates love and compassion.  Your touch kindles the fire of life.

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