Natural Insect Repellents
Natural Living, All posts

30 DIY Natural Insect Repellents

Natural Insect Repellents
With summer just around the corner, there is so much to look forward to – including long days at the beach, barbecues with friends, and spending as much time outdoors as possible under the warmth of the sun.

One thing you might not be excited about this summer, however, is the creepy crawlies that are encouraged by the rising temperatures to enter into your backyards or homes.

Then there’s the chemical-laden, potentially harmful sprays and lotions we use to keep bugs such as mosquitoes, ants, spiders, moths, and ticks at bay…there’s got to be a better solution.

Thankfully, we found not one, but 30 all-natural solutions to your insect problems, including sprays, lotions, gels, and balms you can make at home using safe, non-toxic ingredients such as essential oils.

Some are even perfect for protecting children, babies, and pets!

Ready to keep nightmarish bugs away the natural way? Here are 30 DIY natural insect repellents you’ll want to try this weekend.

NATURAL MOSQUITO BALM

1. NATURAL MOSQUITO BALM WITH SKIN MOISTURIZING BENEFITS FROM A PIECE OF RAINBOW

This natural mosquito repellent balm is great for those who are more active, as it can easily be carried on hikes and stays on longer than most sprays – especially when sweating in the heat.

It contains ingredients including essential oils (such as lemon eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, citronella, lemon, or lemongrass), shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax. Store the mixture in a small tin with a lid and apply every few hours as needed.

HOMEMADE PET-FRIENDLY TICK REPELLENT RECIPE

2. HOMEMADE PET-FRIENDLY TICK REPELLENT RECIPE FROM EHOW

Want a natural, homemade tick repellent that both you and your pet can use?

This simple recipe uses ingredients such as water, apple cider vinegar, vegetable or almond oil, and lemon juice, citrus oil, geranium oil or peppermint oil to keep ticks away.

Simply spray the solution onto your pet’s dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including their eyes, nose, mouth, and genitals. If they’re outside for an extended period of time, spray this solution on their coat two to three times per day.

NATURAL ESSENTIAL OIL TICK REPELLENT

3. DIY NATURAL ESSENTIAL OIL TICK REPELLENT FROM LIVING WELL MOM

Whether or not you live in prime tick or Lyme disease areas, you’ll still want to protect your family and pets from the harmful bite and blood-sucking ways of ticks.

Thankfully, this natural essential oil tick repellent features safe ingredients to keep those suckers away from your skin and clothing, including witch hazel, rose geranium essential oil, and water. That’s it! Simple, yet effective.

DIY MOSQUITO REPELLENT

4. EASY DIY MOSQUITO REPELLENT FROM BIOME

Avoid harmful chemicals like DEET and deter mosquitoes and biting insects naturally with this easy DIY mosquito repellent recipe.

You see, it contains ingredients such as apple cider vinegar and essential oils like citronella, lavender and lemongrass – all of which mosquitoes and sand flies can’t stand! Now you can enjoy your picnic, alfresco dining, or picnic without fearing the wrath of insect bites.

BUG REPELLENT CANDLE MELT

5. HOMEMADE BUG REPELLENT CANDLE MELT RECIPE FROM EVERYTHING PRETTY

Repel mosquitoes and other bugs naturally with these homemade bug repellent candle melts. All you do is put one in your wax melter and let it diffuse the essential oils to keep bugs away.

This recipe contains lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, lavender, and cedar wood, but lists so many other essential oils you can include to keep the bugs away. Oh, and did we mention these waxes are reusable?

Just place any leftover wax melt in a plastic bag to use next time.

NATURAL MOSQUITO REPELLENT

6. DIY RECIPE FOR NATURAL MOSQUITO REPELLENT FOR DOGS FROM DOGS NATURALLY

Here’s another great and all-natural DIY to help your pooch stay bug-free, this time focusing on mosquito repellent.

Just as with humans, mosquito bites can cause pain, inflammation, and irritation for your dog. Simply mix together 25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil with 4 oz witch hazel or 2 oz coconut oil (or another carrier oil like almond oil).

Additional, yet optional ingredients include: real vanilla extract, peppermint essential oil, lavender essential oil, or atlas cedarwood essential oil.

PEPPERMINT OIL INSECT REPELLENT

7. NATURAL PEPPERMINT OIL INSECT REPELLENT FROM EHOW

Use peppermint oil alone or in a homemade insect spray such as this one to effectively repel mosquitoes, gnats and horseflies.

You see, bugs may not like peppermint oil, but kids and adults usually enjoy its fresh and energizing scent. Plus, it creates a cooling sensation that’s perfect for those hot summer days.

Other ingredients in this repellent include distilled or boiled water, witch hazel, vodka, eucalyptus essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, and clove essential oil.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT LOTION BARS

8. MOSQUITO REPELLENT LOTION BARS FROM SAVVY NATURALISTA

These lotion bars might look technical, but the process couldn’t be easier! You just melt all of the ingredients over a pot of boiling water and pour the liquid into your mould and set aside to solidify.

Then, simply store your DIY mosquito repellent lotion bars in an airtight container. These ones contain ingredients including beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, Miracle Glow oil, citronella oil, peppermint essential oil, lemon essential oil, and lemongrass essential oil.

HOMEMADE BUG REPELLENT LOTION

9. ALL-NATURAL HOMEMADE BUG REPELLENT LOTION FROM LIVING WELL MOM

This easy DIY insect repellent lotion uses all-natural ingredients, including essential oils, to repel mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other pesky insects.

It’s also gentle and safe for kids! You can just use the base recipe and try your own essential oil blend based on your preferences or what you already have at home.

This one uses fractionated coconut oil, raw extra virgin coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil, and organic shea butter.

DIY MOTH REPELLANT BAGS

10. DIY MOTH REPELLANT BAGS FROM PREMEDITATED LEFTOVERS

If you prefer your repellents to remain in your home, rather than on your skin, then these DIY moth repellent bags are perfect.

They’re a natural alternative to stinky moth balls, repelling moths, adding a nice scent, and keeping your clothes safe from becoming moth food.

You’ll just need dried lavender, rosemary, cotton balls, lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and cedarwood essential oil.

HOMEMADE BUG REPELLENT LOTION BARS

11. HOMEMADE BUG REPELLENT LOTION BARS FROM LIVING WELL MOM

Repel mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and other pests with these DEET-free, homemade bug repellent lotion bars using essential oils and other natural ingredients.

If you’ve ever wondered how to repel mosquitoes without bug spray, this lotion bar recipe is your answer! Just another one of its benefits is that it nourishes and moisturizes the skin due to the shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax ingredients.

You don’t get that with store-bought bug sprays!

BUG REPELLENT AND BUG BITE SOOTHER

12. DIY NATURAL BUG REPELLENT AND BUG BITE SOOTHER FROM DAILY DOSE OF GREENS

As you’ve probably already read by now, there are several essential oils that reportedly repel mosquitoes, so a combination of any of them added to witch hazel or vodka and water makes an effective bug spray.

This particular recipe uses witch hazel, water, TerraShield, cedarwood oil, lemon oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil.

DIY ALL-NATURAL BUG SPRAY

13. DIY ALL-NATURAL BUG SPRAY FROM HELLO GLOW

Forget coating your skin in harmful toxins and chemicals; this DIY all-natural bug spray will come to the rescue, providing you and your family with a safe, essential oil packed solution.

To make it, you’ll need ingredients such as witch hazel, jojoba oil, vegetable glycerine, and 50-100 drops of essential oils of your choice.

This recipe recommends any of the following: peppermint, lavender, oregano, citronella, thyme, lemon eucalyptus, clove, tea tree, geranium, and bergamot.

BUG REPELLENT LOTION BARS

14. DIY BUG REPELLENT LOTION BARS FROM OUR OILY HOUSE

Here are some more DIY bug repellent lotion bars which provide a safe, natural, and effective solution for you and your family.

These are a great solution for kids and babies, as you don’t have to risk the bug spray getting in their eyes and you can rub the lotion bar directly on their faces.

This tutorial also lists effective essential oils for repelling particular insects – whether it be flies, fleas, mosquitos, gnats, ants, spiders, and more. It’s essential reading!

DIY MOSQUITO BRACELETS

15. DIY MOSQUITO BRACELETS WITH ESSENTIAL OILS FROM ONE CRAZY HOUSE

Looking for a DIY bug repellent that’s a little bit different?

This tutorial will teach you how to make a bracelet that repels mosquitos – making it perfect for both adults and kids alike.

There are actually two tutorials – one for the essential oil blend and the other for the fabric bracelet, but both can easily be achieved within an hour or two.

Just add 9 drops of purification and 4 drops of peppermint and 4 drops of citronella to a dropper bottle. Then, top it off with 3-4 tablespoons of carrier oil.

BUG REPELLENT GEL RECIPE

16. DIY BUG REPELLENT GEL RECIPE FROM HOLISTIC HEALTH HERBALIST

This simple DIY bug repellent gel recipe will keep the mosquitos away from your skin, helping to not only prevent those irritating bites but the potential for mosquito-borne illnesses.

Since it’s a gel, it won’t stick to clothing as it’s quickly absorbed into the skin. You’ll need aloe vera gel, witch hazel, nature shield essential oil blend, tea tree essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, and lemon eucalyptus essential oil or citronella essential oil.

MOSQUITO, FLY AND BUG REPELLENT

17. HOMEMADE MOSQUITO, FLY AND BUG REPELLENT FROM NATURAL LIVING IDEAS

To make this handy, all-natural spray, you will need to mix equal parts witch hazel and four thieves herbal infusion.

The four thieves herbal infusion used in this concoction includes a bounty of beneficial herbs, including mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and cloves.

It smells divine, plus it works a treat when repelling mosquitoes, flies, and other annoying bugs!

CITRONELLA LEMON BOWL CANDLES

18. CITRONELLA LEMON BOWL CANDLES FROM LIFE AND REFLECTION

These DIY citronella lemon bowl candles naturally repel insects with essential oils and dried herbs. Together they make a beautiful centerpiece or small arrangement to accompany an outdoor feast.

The maker recommends whipping-up an extra dozen to send home with guests for an evening they won’t soon forget. What a clever idea! Ingredients include lemons, soy wax flakes, lemongrass essential oil, citronella essential oil, and dried lemon balm.

BUG REPELLENT RECIPE

19. DIY BUG REPELLENT RECIPE (WITH FREE PRINTABLE LABELS) FROM THE KINDEST WAY

Within minutes you can make a homemade DIY bug repellent that will help keep the bugs away when you are out enjoying all things nature.

This DIY insect repellent is safe for kids and adults and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. Instead, you’ll find ingredients such as coconut oil, safflower oil, beeswax, and essential oils such as clove, tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and lemon.

COFFEE GROUNDS TO REPEL ANTS

20. COFFEE GROUNDS TO REPEL ANTS FROM HELLO GLOW

This DIY ant repellent uses just one ingredient most of us all have at home – coffee! It’s the easiest DIY repellent on this list and can have you treating your home for ants within just minutes.

Coffee grounds are naturally poisonous to ants, so just take some recently used coffee grounds and sprinkle them around the cracks and holes you think ants are emerging from.

RECIPE TO REPEL SPIDERS

21. A SIMPLE, NATURAL RECIPE TO REPEL SPIDERS FROM HELLO GLOW

Did you know that you can eradicate spiders from your home by creating a natural concoction of vinegar, water, and salt? Pour it in a spray bottle and spray in corners, on windowsills and wherever you see spider webs.

The smell will keep the spiders from returning to that area, so re-mist every so often to refresh the scent.

DIY NATURAL ANT KILLER

22. DIY NATURAL ANT KILLER (PET SAFE) FROM SWEET MAKES THREE

This DIY natural ant killer is easily made from ingredients you probably already have at home. You’ll just need apple cider vinegar, warm water, baking soda, and powdered black pepper.

What’s great about this DIY natural ant killer is that it’s pet safe – unlike a lot of ant killers and repellents available in-store. This one doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT BODY BUTTER RECIPE

23. MOSQUITO REPELLENT BODY BUTTER RECIPE WITH ESSENTIAL OILS FROM SOAP DELI NEWS

Repel mosquitoes and deer ticks with this non-greasy mosquito repellent body butter recipe made with natural essential oils!

This concoction includes lemon eucalyptus essential oil, which has been shown to not only repel mosquitoes and other biting insects, but deer ticks as well.

Other ingredients include emulsifying wax, babassu oil, refined shea butter, cocoa butter, camellia (tea seed) oil, 100% neem oil, fractionated coconut oil, peppermint essential oil, lavender essential oil, and tea tree essential oil.

MOSQUITO REPELLENT

24. NATURAL MOSQUITO REPELLENT FROM SUSTAINABLISSITY

This recipe is super easy to make and actually smells good (if you’re into herbaceous lemony scents)!

It uses vodka, water, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, and lemongrass. Simply fill a glass spray bottle with the mix and when you’re ready to use, just shake and spray.

It’s recommended that you try the solution on a small area of skin first, as some people are sensitive to the naturally occurring compounds in essential oils.

DIY BUG SPRAY

25. DIY BUG SPRAY FROM ONE CRAZY MOM

This DIY bug spray works wonders, and you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals.

It’s very simple to make and only requires a few ingredients too. Forget DEET and other proven-to-be harmful chemicals; this solution just contains witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and 20 drops of essential oil.

This recipe recommends rosemary, citronella, tea tree, lemongrass or eucalyptus essential oil or a combination of all.

BUG REPELLANT STICK BALM

26. HOMEMADE BROAD-SPECTRUM BUG REPELLANT STICK BALM FROM HEALING HARVEST HOMESTEAD

The oils and essential oils used in this stick are all safe and soak into the upper layers of your skin to repel most insects, including wasps and mosquitoes.

This one contains ingredients including peppermint essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, citronella essential oil, neem oil, olive oil, shea butter, and beeswax pellets.

Just as a heads up, make sure the Neem oil you purchase is 100% pure and not adulterated. It should be cloudy and have a yellow or gold color.

DIY NATURAL INSECT REPELLENT

27. DIY NATURAL INSECT REPELLENT FOR BABIES, CHILDREN AND ADULTS FROM THE SIMPLE BALANCE

With just a handful of ingredients, you can easily make your own natural insect repellent against mosquitoes and ticks to protect babies, children, and adults organically and effectively.

The secret is in essential oils, or more specifically, lemon eucalyptus, thyme, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and geranium. When teamed with witch hazel, vodka, and boiling water, you’ve got yourself one safe and effective DIY insect repellent.

NATURAL INSECT REPELLENT JARS

28. DIY NATURAL INSECT REPELLENT JARS FROM JUGGLING ACT MAMA

These DIY all-natural insect repellent jars are perfect for backyard parties and get togethers.  Your guests will love these as centerpieces that are both beautiful and functional.

Using a combination of fresh rosemary and lemons along with essential oils helps make these natural insect repellent jars as appealing to the eye as they are effective to repelling mosquitoes and other insects!

SOLID INSECT REPELLENT

29. HOW TO MAKE A SOLID INSECT REPELLENT WITH ESSENTIAL OILS FROM A BETTER WAY TO THRIVE

Conventional insect repellents contain questionable ingredients, but a homemade solid insect repellent with essential oils works well without the worry!

A hard lotion bar recipe forms the base of this solid insect repellent, using beeswax, cocoa butter, and coconut and castor oils. It’s the essential oils that do the main work in keeping the bugs away, however.

This recipe uses lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, peppermint, and geranium.

HOMEMADE HERBAL SPRAY

30. HOMEMADE HERBAL SPRAY FOR DUST MITES FROM HELLO GLOW

If there’s one annoying creepy crawly we haven’t actually discussed yet in this post, it’s dust mites.

While you might not be able to see them with the naked eye, you can be assured that they’re there – whether it’s on your clothing, furniture surfaces, or running along your bed mattress and pillows.

Thankfully, there’s a simple and natural solution that stops them dead. This homemade herbal spray combines one cup of water with 20 drops each of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon essential oils in a spray bottle.

Which Insect Repellent Recipe Will You Try?

There you have it – the top 30 DIY natural insect repellents that are safe for all members of your family.

Rather than using harmful ingredients such as DEET or other chemicals and toxins, these natural, homemade alternatives use the power of essential oils to repel pests such as mosquitos, ticks, ants, wasps, flies, spiders, and more.

Whether you prefer your natural insect repellent in spray, balm, candle, bracelet, or lotion form – there’s a homemade bug repellent recipe here to suit everyone!

These DIYs also use a wide range of essential oils and are fairly flexible, allowing you to combine your own favorite scents to suit your individual preferences.

Which DIY insect repellent will you be trying first? Many of these can be whipped up in as little as a few minutes, so there’s no limit to how many you can create this weekend or even this afternoon!

Be sure to let us know how you get along in the Comments section below.

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30 DIY Natural Insect Repellents | Happybodyformula.com

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benefits of argan oil
Natural Living, All posts, Beauty & Skin Care

How to Use Amazing Argan Oil for Healthy Hair & Skin

Medically review by Kim Langdon

Argan oil is a vitamin-rich beauty product and culinary product packed with healthy fatty acids for anti-aging, healing acne, and safe DIY beauty recipes. Learn more about its roots, how to use it at home, and how to buy the best argan oil.

What is argan oil?

benefits of argan oil

Argan oil, like all oils, is derived from a tree. 

Argania spinosa L or the argan tree yields kernels (pictured above) from which this oil is extracted. It is notoriously difficult!

In fact, the traditional method of extraction was removing the kernels from goat feces so that it was partially broken down prior to extraction.

Don't worry - commercial processes have made it so this isn't necessary although some traditional cultures still practice this method.

You can find wild argan oil tree fields in the southwestern region.

There are records of Phoenicians in 1550 BC using argan oil as a cosmetic product, for moisturization and beautification.

Upon arrival to Europe, argan oil became a hot commodity; it was a sign of wealth and class.

It is important to source beauty products ethically, so you'll be pleased to know that argan oil is sustainable.

The Argan tree has had a rough go of it though, and it struggles to survive.

Fortunately, it is now protected by UNESCO with its Man and Biosphere Program.

This program aims to reduce the harm done by man on the environment through minimizing exploitation and emphasizing the responsible use and conservation of natural resources.

In Morocco, these trees serve a purpose beyond their fruit.

They stave off the expansion of the desert and offer protection from the harsh winds of the Sahara.

They provide shade necessary for other crops to grow and help to replenish the region's aquifers.

The argan tree is not only abundant with a superfruit; they are necessary to the ecosystem of Morocco and the overall stability of the environment.

Traditionally, the extracted oil is used for culinary purposes such as dipping bread, while in western countries, it is more readily available as a beauty product.

The benefits of argan oil

The benefits of argan oil

Like other oils, we can break its constituents down most easily by looking at its fatty acid content.

Essential fatty acids can provide great health benefits both when ingested and used topically.

Argan oil is mainly comprised of oleic acid at around 43%, but it is also high in linoleic acid (LA) at around 37%.

Argan oil also contains a substantial amount of vitamin E - one of the most important nutrients for the skin.

Benefits of oleic acid (omega-9 fatty acids)

This acid is the same fatty acid that mainly comprises olive oil. Unlike omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid - a class of monounsaturated fatty acids.

This makes it a non-essential fatty acid meaning your body makes it on its own.

  • They can lower fasting blood glucose
  • They can enhance blood flow and circulation
  • They can reduce insulin levels
  • They reduce the risk of stroke
  • They can reduce inflammation
  • They are high in antioxidants
  • They are helpful for cellular regeneration

It's a particularly strong candidate for diabetes management because of its primary benefits when ingested.

However, the anti-inflammatory nature of oleic acid can also be very effective when products with high omega-9s are used topically.

Moreover, their antioxidant content makes them a powerful anti-aging component.

Finally, cellular regeneration can be great for the skin. 

We'll talk about that more in the next section.

Benefits of linoleic acid

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid which makes it a polyunsaturated fatty acid.

It is most commonly found in vegetable oils which we don't always recommend eating due to their inflammatory nature.

Unlike oleic acid, these fatty acids are essential because the body cannot synthesize them independently.

  • They foster healthy cell membranes and cellular function
  • They reduce bodily inflammation (internally, externally)
  • They are moisturizing for the skin
  • They have the potential to minimize scarring
  • Their anti-inflammatory properties may reduce skin pain

Overall, we know that essential fatty acids are crucial for well-being and vitality. They are the key components of healthy cells that comprise everything that we are!

While omega-6 fatty acids are more abundant in the Standard American Diet (SAD) than omega-3s due to the prevalence of vegetable oils in processed foods, it's actually an incredibly important component of a healthy diet.

Moreover, it can be a powerful ingredient in your skincare routine.

Benefits of vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which is one of the main reasons we see it appear so often in skincare products.

Antioxidants are going to reduce free radical damage to the cells, increasing their stamina so to speak.

Our skin cells need rejuvenation, but prevention is the best way to keep it looking youthful.

  • It can protect against toxins in air pollution
  • It can reduce the appearance of scars
  • It can minimize the appearance of stretch marks
  • It can reduce the appearance of wrinkles
  • It can help to ward off UV damage from the sun

Supplementing with vitamin E, eating foods rich with vitamin E, and using it as a topical treatment can be very effective, especially in reducing scarring from acne or otherwise.

Vitamin E oil can be mixed with argan oil and carrier oils to optimize results. You will find more recipes for skincare in the section below.

How to use argan oil

How to Use Argan Oil

Use it as an acne treatment

Argan oil can be effective in preventing acne as well as treating painful acne in the process of healing, or reducing the appearance of acne scars.

You can expect to see reduced redness and swelling pretty shortly after treatment. This is because of its anti-inflammatory properties mainly from the linoleic acid found in argan oil.

It can also help to repair skin cells giving them a healthier, more vibrant appearance. Finally, Argan oil is particularly effective as an acne remedy when paired with tea tree oil.

According to this research, the lips found in argan oil have a synergistic effect meaning it should be applied with a carrier oil or paired with another cosmetic product for the best results when applying topically.

Use it as a moisturizer

One of the most appealing aspects of using argan oil as a moisturizer is that it absorbs into the skin very quickly.

This makes it a great oil for otherwise oily skin because it won't leave you with a film or residue.

Don't worry - it won't clog pores either.

This study shows that using argan oil can reduce sebum production, or in other words, the appearance of oil on your skin.

A single drop or two is enough to provide your entire face with moisture, so a little goes a long way.

This makes it a very budget-friendly choice for natural moisture! Of course, you can pair it with other ingredients, but it's effective for this purpose on its own.

Make sure to warm up the oil in your hands first for the best results and absorption. Simply do this by rubbing it between the fingers or palms.

Use it as a toner

Argan Oil as a Toner

Many toners can be quite harsh on the face, especially if they contain alcohol.

If you add a drop or two of argan oil to your normal toner, it can help reduce some of the, particularly rough effects.

Switching over to a gentler toner like witch hazel may also be a good idea.

For a moisturizing toner, steep green tea and let it cool. Add a few drops of argan oil, and jar it for later use.

Green tea has antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin.

You can also add essential oils if you'd like a scented toner.

Finally, boost your toning by pouring the final product into an ice cube tray to freeze. Rub the cubes over your skin as your daily toner.

The cold contact on your skin will shrink your pores, making them appear smaller.

Use it as an eye serum

Argan oil can be very effective at targeting fine lines which are a major "problem area" for many folks as they age. They can become particularly prominent around the eyes.

Eye serums are a popular beauty product, and notoriously expensive!

However, the main ingredients are often the same across the boards. One of the key ingredients? Vitamin E.

As we know, argan oil provides a healthy dose of the stuff.

For the best results, mix argan oil with a carrier oil like jojoba oil.

Then, add in some additional vitamin E for an eye serum you can use daily.

On the fly, you can simply use a drop of argan oil around the eyes to brighten up and help to minimize the appearance of dark bags under your eyes.

Since this oil is so gentle, you can use it on the more sensitive areas of your skin without it being irritating.

Use it in your exfoliant

Mix just a few drops of argan oil into a natural exfoliant to clear the skin of dead cells and smooth things out.

This is great for the face or for other rough spots - the elbows, knees, ankles, or feet.

Exfoliation is a particularly good step to take prior to shaving as it will open up some of the hair follicles so you can get a smoother, longer-lasting shave.

One of the best ways to exfoliate is with a sugar scrub. Use a coarse sugar like coconut sugar or brown sugar, and simply blend a tablespoon or two with a drop of argan oil for exfoliating spot treatment.

Rub it into a rough patch of skin in a circular motion for 1-2 minutes (without irritation) and rinse.

Use it as a nail strengthening agent

Argan Oil for nail strengthening

Rough cuticles, damaged brittle nails, and inflamed skin surrounding the nails are fairly common ailments.

Not only can they be unsightly, but they can also be very painful.

Using a few drops of argan oil around the nails can reduce redness and pain due to its anti-inflammatory nature.

The oil will also provide moisture that is quickly absorbed, so you can soak up the benefits without having greasy hands.

Furthermore, you can use argan oil to soften cuticles to push them back with ease.

Use it to boost your lotion

Many commercial skincare products or hair products that you already own could be made better with argan oil. You know what they say; if it's not broke, don't fix it.

However, if you knew it could be better, why not? Argan oil is gentle, effective, and very safe to use. Add some to your favorite lotions, conditioners, serums, and creams for a little extra antioxidant action and moisture.

Use it to treat inflammatory skin issues

Psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and dermatitis can be very tricky problems to solve, and often have internal roots.

However, at the root, they are all the result of inflammation.

Due to argan oil's natural anti-inflammatory properties, a drop or two can reduce redness and pain from these conditions while simultaneously offering all-day moisture.

Let vitamin A and vitamin E work their magic.

Use it as a conditioner

Argan Oil as a conditioner

Not only is argan oil great for the skin - but it's also good for the hair.

Considering how much moisture it can provide for the skin, it's no surprise it can do the same for hair.

It's especially potent for sun-damaged hair, heat-damaged hair, or colored hair.

Simply apply a drop or two to clean, dry hair after a shower and style as you normally would to reduce frizz and fly-aways.

Some may even argue that argan oil can promote hair growth and restore hair volume, making it appear thicker.

Make sure to apply some to the scalp to reap those benefits.

If you choose to use argan oil on dry hair, focus on the ends to minimize the appearance of greasy hair.

No matter the method you prefer, you'll be blown away by how soft and luxurious your locks feel!

You can also find argan oil as a key ingredient in many commercial hair products these days.

Use it as a dandruff treatment

Instead of using it as a quick fix for frizz or flyaways, you can use argan oil as a deep conditioning agent to treat dandruff or simply restore moisture to dry and damaged hair.

It works really well to treat inflammation on the scalp while simultaneously improving the appearance and texture of hair.

If you use argan oil as an overnight treatment, you want to use quite a bit more than normal.

You also want to consider heat circulation and how that will enhance the effects.

If your hair/scalp is dry, you can use 8-10 drops. If you have more oily hair, 4-6 drops should do the trick.

With either amount, start at the scalp and massage the oil toward the ends of the hair.

Use a shower cap overnight to seal in the moisture and heat. Wash out as normal in the morning. You can do this treatment 1-2 times per week.

Use it to treat razor burn

Razor burn isn't pretty and it's far from pleasant. These irritated, inflamed hair follicles can be made a bit easier to deal with using argan oil.

Simply warm some oil up in your hands and apply it to the affected area.

Use it as a lip treatment

Argan Oil as a lip treatment

Lips are one of the most vulnerable body parts -, especially on the face. Cold weather can be especially damaging, giving you dry and cracked lips.

Argan oil makes a great 'chapstick.'

You can use it with a carrier oil and DIY your own lip balm or simply rub a drop or a couple into your lips when they feel irritated.

How to buy & store argan oil

How to buy & store argan oil

Like with any lipid or fat, argan oil has the potential to go rancid.

This diminishes the healthful properties of its fatty acids and its antioxidant profile substantially.

Buying a quality argan oil first is key to making sure you have the longest shelf-life and best efficacy possibly.

Moreover, it's important to store your argan oil property.

  • Look for argan oil that is 100% cold-pressed. With growing popularity, there are bound to be cheaper, less effective products on the market. Go for a mid-range buy or a splurge. Even a good quality oil will last a long time and shouldn't break the budget.
  • Store in a cool, dry place. Keep the bottle your argan oil or argan oil product is in away from the path of direct sunlight or places that get very warm. Make sure it's in an air-tight container, too.
  • Try to replace products after six months. Buy smaller bottles of argan oil because it is best used during the first six months. After that, the quality diminishes. However, this is just a guideline.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Dr. Kim Langdon, MD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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benefits of apple cider vinegar
Beauty & Skin Care, All posts, Natural Living

Why You Should Have TWO Bottles of Apple Cider Vinegar

Medically review by Kim Langdon

apple cider vinegar benefits

Apple cider vinegar or ACV is nothing new.

It's something you've likely seen before, and even if you're not familiar with its amazing versatility in your home, you may even have some handy - just in case.

Well, let's get you up close and personal with ACV otherwise known as the elixir of the gods.

Okay, maybe not, but you might reconsider such a bold statement once I let you in on a few secrets!

Apple cider vinegar is basically exactly what it sounds like - a vinegar derived from cider or apple must, giving it a slightly sweet flavor and it's distinct amber-gold color.

This fermented food often contains the 'mother,' which looks kind of like a SCOBY if you're familiar with kombucha.

Don't be put off by the weird, webby thing in your bottle. That just means you've got the good stuff!

ACV has quite a lot going for it with an influx of recent praise and health claims.

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the key benefits of ACV, how you can use it at home, and why you should always have at least two bottles of it.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar

benefits of apple cider vinegar

Because of its unique properties, apple cider vinegar has a few noteworthy benefits for both overall health and well-being and beauty.

It's nutritious. Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins B1, B2, and B6, in addition to a nice dose of immune-boosting vitamin C, folic acid, biotin which is great for hair growth, and niacin.

Furthermore, you can find important trace minerals including iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

It helps to regulate your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar can be a finicky thing for some folks and balance takes work. It comes down to what you put into your body.

For example, it gets thrown off when you take in a lot of quick carbs or sugar.

Your body runs right through it and it drops just as quickly as it spikes, leaving you seeking even more energy.

This is why blood sugar regulation is such an important component of weight loss.

This research shows that consuming vinegar after a meal can decrease the body's glycemic response. Glycemic load is used to describe how much food will impact blood sugar.

It contains acetic acid. Acetic acid is what gives apple cider vinegar its taste and its main constituent. It's commonly used in folk medicine, and it's known to have a few key benefits.

Some theories include it's potential to swiftly move carbohydrates from the bloodstream to the muscles for glycogen replenishment after a workout in addition to slowing down digestion, helping you feel fuller for longer and reducing blood sugar impact.

It might also help manage blood pressure and reduce fat accumulation, once again making ACV a great choice for individuals with weight loss goals.

Finally, acetic acid may be particularly useful for people with type 2 diabetes due to its ability to reduce hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hypertriglyceridemia according to this study.

It's antibacterial. Many people are familiar with using vinegar for natural cleaning products around the house because of its effectiveness.

This is because vinegar and the acetic acid found in it is naturally antibacterial, giving your countertops the love and care they deserve.

These properties also make vinegar a useful food preservative as they will ward off harmful bacteria growth.

Lastly, it can be antibacterial for skin which is why it makes a great acne-fighting toner.

It's great for weight loss. I already mentioned a few components of apple cider vinegar that can aid in weight loss, but there are a few other important considerations.

Because of its role in blood glucose levels and insulin levels, it can also help increase satiety - particularly after a carb-heavy meal - according to this study.

Naturally, these interactions with acetic acid and our body's subsequent interpretation of the glycemic load of our meals lead to overall lower calorie intake. 

This research shows that subjects who supplemented with ACV ate 200-275 fewer calories per day.

That deficit is equivalent to a rate of loss at a pound per two weeks!

It can reduce "bad" cholesterol. Many people struggle with high cholesterol levels, often attributed to poor diet.

While cleaning up your daily intake, increasing vegetables, and avoiding refined oils/carbohydrates is key to maintaining healthy levels, ACV can also work wonders.

This animal study performed on diabetic rats showed that supplementation increased HDL cholesterol (or good cholesterol) and decreased LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol).

It's great for skin health. Like I mentioned above, ACV can kill bacteria so it works as a natural cleansing toner to remove any gunk hanging out in your pores.

It can also help to lighten scars and reduce dark spots, evening out the color and pigmentation of your skin.

It can increase stomach acid. Many people think symptoms of acid reflux are due to too much stomach acid, but this is a pretty common misconception.

While that may be true in some cases, many people suffer from reflux due to having too little stomach acid.

It only makes sense that consuming an acidic substance can help replenish stomach acid stores in the gut and treat symptoms.

It can improve gut health. Fermented foods contain probiotics, which help balance gut flora.

Essentially, this good bacteria is introduced to the gut which keeps the community living inside of you healthy.

Moreover, probiotic foods improve gut permeability which basically means that the good bacteria stays in while the bad bacteria is closed off.

How to use apple cider vinegar

How to use apple cider vinegar

Now that we have a general idea of how apple cider vinegar works in the body, an understanding of its main constituent acetic acid, and some of its most powerful properties, let's put it all into play!

  • Just drink it! Personally, one of my most beloved morning rituals is an ACV shot. If you're feeling up to the challenge or you're already accustomed to the taste, you can simply down 1-2 tablespoons on its own. Otherwise, you can dilute it in a glass of water or juice to sip on. This is most effective on an empty stomach.
  • Use it after a carb-heavy meal. Following the same guidelines as I mentioned above, you can mitigate the negative effects of carbohydrates on the body's blood glucose levels after a particularly decadent meal including bread or starch for steadier blood sugar and reduced cravings.
  • Use it in a salad dressing. A standard vinaigrette is just oil, vinegar, and seasoning. Swap out white wine vinegar for ACV to make a tangy and delicious dressing to top off your leafy greens with or use as a marinade.
  • Use it on a sunburn. If you forgot your SPF or fell asleep on the beach for a little too long, ACV can help reduce the pain of a sunburn. Add some to a bath with your favorite essential oils and coconut oil for a soothing skin treatment.
  • Use it as an effective skin toner. Toner gently cleanses the face and balances out the color while simultaneously hydrating. It's a must-have in your skincare routine, and you can easily make some at home with a little ACV and your magic touch. Mix about 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup of witch hazel, and some essential oils for scent if you like. Use a soft cloth or cotton ball to dab on to the skin after washing and before using lotion.
  • Use it to clean your house. Make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing ACV and water at a 1:1 ratio. You can add 3-4 drops of essential oils for scent if you'd like.
  • Use it as an insect deterrent. Pour a bit of ACV into a glass with a drop of dish soap. This will attract pesky bugs in your kitchen without the use of harsh chemicals. This is especially useful if you have pets!
  • Use it to cure DOMS. DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness can be a huge pain after a tough workout. ACV acts as an antidote and can help you get back into the gym quicker while reducing pain by breaking down the lactic acid buildup that happens in the muscles.
  • Use it to naturally whiten teeth. Most commercial teeth whiteners are pretty heavy on unnatural ingredients. Gargle with ACV to help rid your mouth of bacteria and naturally whiten your teeth.
  • Use it as a fabric softener. Fabric softener is also pretty ridden with chemicals. The smell alone can be overwhelming to sensitive noses, and the ingredients can irritate skin. Add a cup of ACV to your laundry to keep your clothes soft and long-lasting.
  • Use it as a hair rinse. If you don't wash everyday, ACV can help stabilize and normalize the oil content of your hair and scalp, giving your hair the boost it needs in between washes.

The dangers of apple cider vinegar

The dangers of apple cider vinegar

While ACV is a kitchen and beauty routine staple for many, there are a few things to watch out for.

It's important to start small when ingesting ACV.

If you're just starting out with supplementation, begin with 1-2 teaspoons as you work your way up to 1-2 tablespoons.

Otherwise, it could potentially cause some digestive distress.

It can also contribute to or cause gastroparesis which is delayed emptying of the stomach. This means that your food is just kinda sitting around for awhile in the gut which we want to avoid.

For some people, slowing down the digestive process can be great because it has positive effects for blood sugar management.

On the other hand, some people should be careful - namely, those with type 1 diabetes.

Limit your consumption to 1-2 tablespoons per day.

A significantly larger amount can contribute to low potassium levels and leaching of minerals from the bones, ultimately leading to osteoporosis.

Like with soda and even seltzer water and juice, it's important to remember an acid is an acid.

Acid can wear down enamel and cause tooth damage if consumed in excess.

If you stick to the recommended daily dosage of ACV, you shouldn't run into any problems.

This is a fair warning to folks who already have compromised tooth health or have severely worn enamel as supplementation can worsen the damage.

Check with your dentist if you have the go-ahead first in case you're concerned.

Last but not least, there are rare cases in which an individual might discover they have an allergic reaction to apple cider vinegar.

This reaction may be a standalone reaction, or it may be caused by an undesirable interaction with medication.

Check with your doctor before beginning an ACV regimen, and note the potential conflict with any medications you take before using.

What to look for when purchasing ACV

buying apple cider vinegar

If you're looking for the condensed version, here's the main takeaway: buy your ACV with the mother!

One of the most wonderful benefits of apple cider vinegar is the fact that it's a fermented food.

That fermentation process affords us the ability to take advantage of all that great bacteria for our guts.

The mother is the cobwebby thing that lay on the bottom of the bottle. You'll generally find the mother in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar.

It's easy to tell if the product has been pasteurized because the color will generally be much lighter and more opaque.

The unpasteurized ACV is superior in terms of both nutrition and beneficial properties.

How to make apple cider vinegar

How to make apple cider vinegar

Looking to DIY it? That's the spirit!

That's how you can always ensure you're getting the freshest product and the most bang for your buck in terms of health benefits.

Here is a simple recipe to get you started.

Ingredients:

  • A glass jar the size of your choice
  • Enough cored/peeled apples to fill the jar (you can also use apple scraps)
  • 1-2 tbsp. organic cane sugar OR raw honey
  • Enough filtered water to fill the jar of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Fill your clean jar 3/4 of the way full with apples or apple scraps.
  2. Pour in water to submerge the apples entirely. Apples exposed to air will be vulnerable and mold during the fermentation process.
  3. Mix in your sweetener of choice - the sweetener is essential as the bacteria "feeds" on it during fermentation.
  4. Cover your jar with a cheesecloth and secure with an open jar lid or a rubber band. Fermentation requires air, but you also don't want to attract flies.
  5. Let it sit for 3 weeks. Mix the ACV blend once or twice per day to make sure the apples are staying submerged.
  6. After 3 weeks, strain the apples and cover with the cheesecloth. Let it sit for an additional 3-4 weeks to complete the process. Stir occasionally.

Let us know in the comments how you use ACV and what benefits you've seen. We'd love to hear from you. If you liked this article, make sure to hit share too!

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Dr. Kim Langdon, MD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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Evening Primrose Oil
Natural Living, All posts

7 Ways Evening Primrose Oil Reduces Inflammation & Promotes Health

Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil—EPO for short—is a plant extract that is commonly taken as a supplement. It is rich in gamma-linolenic acid, also known as GLA.

It is used for many different things, ranging from PMS relief to eczema to diabetes and beyond.

This article will explore the evidence-based health benefits of EPO along with information on how to take and cautions.

[toc]

What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil comes from a flowering plant with yellow blossoms. It is named as such because the flowers bloom in the evenings. It was first used by Native Americans as a medicinal substance.

The plant is naturally found in Europe and parts of the United States and North America. It has been used for hundreds of years as a healing remedy for wounds and even hormone problems.

The oil extracted from the seeds of the plant is rich in GLA, which is beneficial for a variety of conditions. Evening primrose oil helps support healthy fatty acid ratios in the body.

The specific type of fatty acid found in EPO also fights inflammation both topically and internally.

Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil has many health benefits. While it is frequently used for many reasons, these are the top evidence-backed ways that EPO can support health.

1. Alleviates Menopause Symptoms

There is mixed evidence for evening primrose oil and menopause. Some studies show no benefit, while others find that EPO can improve hot flashes relating to menopause, as well as other hormone-based symptoms like breast tenderness, mood swings, and even fluid retention or bloating.

While the results are mixed, some of the other health benefits—like supporting bone health—are applicable for women in menopause. More studies need to be done to effectively understand exactly how EPO can help menopause and provide natural relief for symptoms.

2. Addresses Eczema

Eczema is a complicated skin disorder that has roots in autoimmunity and inflammation. Research has not produced conclusive results, but oral and topical use for eczema could show promise.

Evening primrose oil might be beneficial for eczema because it can reduce inflammation in the body and help to promote fatty acid balance. In other countries, evening primrose oil is sometimes used as a prescribed treatment for eczema.

When using for eczema relief, EPO was taken orally for up to 12 weeks or used topically for up to four months. Before using anything topically, it’s always important to perform a patch test to ensure that a widespread allergic reaction or irritation won’t occur.

3. May Help Address Nerve Pain

Nerve pain is a common side effect of many conditions, including diabetes. The linolenic acid in evening primrose oil might be beneficial for addressing nerve pain symptoms such as numbness or tingling, weakness, and hot/cold sensitivity. (source)

Evening primrose oil has been found to be particularly successful at addressing nerve pain when other more conventional treatments have failed.

Typically, evening primrose oil taken for between six and 12 months can help to reduce pain and symptoms associated with nerve damage, especially when associated with diabetic neuropathy.

4. Treats Acne and Promotes Skin Health

Evening primrose oil has often been used as a natural way to treat and relieve acne, pimples, or other skin conditions. The fatty acids in EPO can help to promote healthy skin elasticity and firmness along with moisture.

It can be especially effective for acne because of its ability to reduce inflammation, with research finding that it is effective for reducing lesions and breakouts. (source)

It can be used both topically and internally to address acne and overall skin health needs.

5. Promotes Heart Health and Normal Blood Pressure

While more research is needed to fully understand and outline the benefits of evening primrose oil for heart health and blood pressure, it has promising benefits for heart health primarily due to its ability to reduce inflammation.

With more than 600,000 people dying each year in the U.S. from heart disease alone, continuing to find ways to benefit and treat this condition is a top priority.

EPO has even been shown to help balance cholesterol, although it’s not clear if it can prevent cholesterol from oxidizing—which is the primary way that cholesterol affects heart health.

Taking evening primrose oil for heart health can be beneficial, but research has not yet identified a specific, actionable dose. Follow your doctor’s recommendations or dosing instructions.

6. Supports Bone Health

Evening primrose oil can be used in conjunction with other nutrients to improve bone density and slow bone loss, especially in menopausal women.

It is most often paired with calcium, vitamin D, and fish oil for optimal benefits.

Research has not identified why EPO supports bone health on its own, but together with these other nutrients, it helps keep inflammation in check.

7. Relieves PMS Symptoms

There are many causes and triggers for PMS, but some research suggests that women who experience it worse have more sensitivity to the hormone prolactin.

The GLA found in evening primrose oil can help to reduce the sensitive effects of prolactin and the way that it can trigger PMS.

Other research has shown evening primrose oil to help reduce other aspects of PMS like mood swings, irritability, depression, bloating, and more. (source)

It’s also effective when paired with vitamin E and vitamin B6 for PMS relief.

Evening primrose oil might also be able to help with breast pain associated with menstrual cycle hormone changes. Studies show that it’s because EPO can block prostaglandins that trigger breast tenderness.

Evening primrose oil, when taken daily, can have this benefit. (source)

Conditions That Are Not Improved With Evening Primrose Oil

While evening primrose oil has some convincing evidence for certain health conditions, there are some that it is frequently touted for that is not backed by any level of research.

It should not be used as a general GLA supplement since it has several interactions (see below), and should not be used to treat or address any of the following conditions or disorders.

The following are unproven ways to use evening primrose oil:

  • Asthma
  • ADHD
  • Arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Liver cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diaper rash
  • Dyslexia
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Induction of labor
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Infertility

How to Take Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil Benefits

The recommended dose of evening primrose oil varies based on the product strength and suggested dosage. It’s important to check with your healthcare provider before starting evening primrose oil and to get a recommendation of product, dose, intake, and duration.

There are many evening primrose products available online and in health food stores, but many supplements contain extra ingredients or fillers that could change the way they work. Always buy from a reputable source and follow product instructions.

Choosing products that have little to no “inactive ingredients” is the best option, along with reading and understanding every other ingredient in the product. If you have questions on a product, ask your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or contact the manufacturing company.

Cautions, Side Effects, and Who Should Avoid Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is generally considered to be safe, especially when it’s used for a short-term duration (less than four months). It has not been studied for long-term use and could be dangerous if taken for longer periods of time.

Some potential side effects associated with taking evening primrose oil include:

  • Changed bowel patterns (such as softer stools)
  • Stomach ache or nausea
  • Headache

Because evening primrose oil is plant-derived, it can cause allergic reactions in rare cases. If you take EPO and experience rash, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or any other signs of an allergic reaction, discontinue use and seek emergency medical care immediately.

It can also cause allergic reactions if it comes into contact during the manufacturing process with other allergenic substances. Always read the label carefully and ask questions if you are not sure.

Evening primrose oil can interact with certain medications and other supplements. Do not take evening primrose oil if you take any of the following:

  • Blood thinners or anticoagulants
  • Aspirin or NSAID drugs (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Antiplatelet drugs
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Nattokinase
  • Cytochrome P450 substrates
  • Lopinavir, ritonavir, or any other medication or treatment for HIV
  • Any other supplements for blood pressure
  • Medication for seizures
  • Phenothiazines or other medications for schizophrenia
  • CBD oil

This is not a full list of possible interactions, so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting evening primrose oil.

Stop taking evening primrose oil at least two weeks before surgery since it can increase the risk of bleeding. It should also not be taken within two weeks before or after receiving general anesthesia as this can increase the risk of seizures and complications.

While evening primrose oil has many benefits, using it incorrectly could make it a dangerous supplement. Always seek personalized medical advice before starting this or any supplement.

The FDA does not regulate supplements for safety, only for the claims that they make.

Evening Primrose Oil and Pregnancy

Another note of caution is that evening primrose oil is frequently used to help a woman’s body prepare for labor during pregnancy.

It is sometimes taken orally to help prepare and tone the uterus for delivery, and other times it is used topically or internally to help prepare the cervix (ripening the cervix and leading to dilation) or to massage the perineum to prevent tearing.

None of these uses are supported by research. In fact, research shows that none of these are effective and that their uses in pregnancy could be unsafe. EPO has actually been associated with slowing down the time to dilation and leading to longer labor along with complications.

It can potentially increase the risk of preterm labor in those who are at risk for other reasons and can be problematic for high-risk pregnancies. If taking shortly before delivery, it can increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage or complications following a cesarean birth.

Always keep your OBGYN apprised of supplements you take during pregnancy and do not self-medicate. Most supplements have not been studied for safety in pregnancy and can be dangerous to the mother, baby, or both.

Bottom Line

While evening primrose oil has some great health benefits as a complementary and alternative medicine, it has not been as widely studied as certain other supplements. More research is needed to determine what exactly evening primrose oil is good for, how safe it is, and what doses are effective.

Evening primrose oil should never be used to self-medicate or to replace anything that your doctor has prescribed. There is also no single dosage standard for evening primrose oil.

One product could be significantly more potent than another, so it’s important to get your healthcare provider’s feedback on how much you should be taking. If you’re unsure, always start with the lowest possible dose to see if it is effective. This helps to minimize risk and side effects.

If you’re wondering whether evening primrose oil could help you, the best way is to check with your healthcare provider. This natural medicine could be the perfect remedy—just make sure it’s applicable to your health needs.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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seasonal allergies
Natural Living, All posts

Seasonal Allergies – The Complete Guide

Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy

seasonal allergies

It’s always exciting when the weather turns and it’s finally nice enough to spend time outdoors again without freezing, but for many people, spring, summer, and even fall allergies can make outdoor time unpleasant or even downright miserable.

More than 60 million people each year suffer from seasonal allergies. (source)

While common remedies are over the counter medications or even prescriptions, there are several proven natural remedies that can decrease allergy symptoms and even address root causes.

[toc]

What Are Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, refers to hay fever and other allergies that are related to outdoor and seasonal elements of spring, summer, and fall weather.

Allergic rhinitis typically appears at a young age, but sometimes seasonal symptoms don’t develop until well into adulthood. Other times, they can seem to fade for years at a time and then flare up again.

A large part of what determines seasonal allergy and how severe the reactions are is where you live and how severe the pollen or other allergens are in the season.

It’s possible to have seasonal allergies in one state and move to a new area without any signs of hay fever.

Seasonal allergies can be triggered by one or more component, and each individual’s sensitivity level can vary. For example, some may be allergic to pollen from trees, whereas others are allergic to pollen from grass or flowers.

Between grass, trees, flowers, and ragweed, there is almost always something to be seasonally allergic to, except in the winter when pollination goes dormant in most areas.

Seasonal allergies can cause symptoms ranging from mild to completely intolerable and can impact day-to-day living. They can even lead to asthma attacks, with around 80 percent of asthma sufferers also having allergic rhinitis. (source)

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies?

While most know about sneezing and itchy eyes as symptoms of seasonal allergy, the symptoms are more widespread than that in most individuals. Some can even be so severe as to be confused for colds, sinus infections, or other viruses.

Typical symptoms associated with seasonal allergies can vary from one person to the next, but can include any of the following:

  • Itchy and watering eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Excess mucus
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Headaches
  • Ear infections, especially in the middle ear
  • Irritation in the ear or feelings of itchiness
  • Exhaustion, insomnia, and sleep problems
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Impaired decision making
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Skin rashes

While staying indoors can cut down on the severity of symptoms, it likely won’t fully erase them since no one’s house is a fully contained bubble.

Besides, living the warm seasons entirely indoors is never ideal. Yet for some, it feels like the only option given the severity of their symptoms.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies to Develop?

There are a number of underlying causes that can lead to the development of seasonal allergies or which can exacerbate them.

All seasonal allergies are activated by a histamine response, which is controlled by the immune system. When the body is exposed to the allergen, histamine production ramps up.

Some people produce significantly more than others. (source)

Boosting natural immunity can help to reduce some aspects of seasonal allergies, but isn’t always the only trigger or culprit behind symptoms.

Asthma: People who have asthma are significantly more likely to experience seasonal allergies in addition to their existing respiratory triggers. Managing seasonal allergies is a crucial way to avoid asthma attacks.

Stress: The body under stress changes numerous aspects of health, and reduced immunity is one of them. As a result, histamine production can increase, resulting in more severe reactions to allergens.

Illness: Following an illness of any kind, the body is more susceptible to ongoing immune problems and the result can be more dramatic seasonal allergy symptoms. The same is true for those recovering from surgical procedures.

Pregnancy: The body is at a heightened place of sensitivity when pregnant due to extra hormones and a shifted focus. Immunity can be altered, and allergies that didn’t exist before can pop up, including hay fever or seasonal allergies.

One in 100 women end up with asthma during pregnancy—even when they never had it before—and more than that find seasonal allergies added to their plate.

Other allergies: If you’re already allergic to foods or other substances, your body’s histamine production already runs on the higher side and you’re also likely to have a compromised immune system in one way or another.

Allergy disorders tend to stack together, so an allergy to a food or substance can just as easily indicate allergic response to outdoors and other components of seasonal allergies.

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments for Seasonal Allergies

Before we get to some natural remedies for underlying causes, here are some quick ways you can add to your comfort level when going through hay fever or allergic rhinitis in the spring, summer, or fall.

1. Hydration: It’s important for everyone to drink enough water, but when you suffer from seasonal allergies and excess mucus production, ensuring you have enough water can thin the mucus and cut down on congestion.

2. Frequent showers: If you’re outside and around allergens, showering shortly after can cut down on the continued irritation from pollen or other contaminants on your clothing, and you’ll be less likely to bring outside stuff into your living space. Washing clothes in hot water can also cut down on the presence of allergens.

3. Keep clutter minimized: The more stuff you have sitting around, the more dust and other allergens can accumulate underneath. Spring is the perfect time for decluttering and deep cleaning, but so are summer and fall.

4. Don’t open doors or windows: As obvious as it might seem, limiting exposure to allergens in the home will allow for better comfort, especially at night. Limit your time outdoors, too, on days when pollen or other allergen counts are high. Most weather apps will give this information.

9 Ways to Naturally Address Seasonal Allergies

Most over-the-counter or prescription medications for allergies come with side effects and don’t correct the underlying causes of allergies.

Natural therapies can provide relief, but can also help to address some triggers for seasonal allergies, like immune problems or excessive histamine production. These are the top nine ways to naturally address seasonal allergy symptoms.

1. Try Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is often found in supplement form, either powder or capsules. Research finds that spirulina can stop histamine release that leads to allergic rhinitis symptoms.

It can improve such irritating symptoms as sneezing, congestion, nasal itch, nasal discharge, and generalized itching according to the results of a 2008 double-blind, placebo-controlled study. (source)

2. Avoid Trigger Foods

Certain foods can’t cause seasonal allergies but they can lead to increased histamine release in the digestive system, worsening hay fever or other symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.

The foods most responsible for causing problems include:

  • Wheat, gluten, and other grains
  • Peanuts, soy, and other legumes
  • Chocolate and cocoa
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Vinegar and fermented beverages, like kombucha
  • Dairy products
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Citrus except for lemons and limes
  • Chamomile, echinacea, and other herbal teas
  • Processed foods, preservatives, nitrates, nitrites, sulfates, and sulfites
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Cucumber
  • Shellfish
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dried fruits
  • Dates
  • Any foods you’re allergic to, sensitive to, or intolerant of

While all of the above foods won’t worsen symptoms for everyone, they’re common histamine releasers and trigger foods. Other foods could worsen your allergies, too, so being mindful of symptoms and even keeping a food journal can help.

3. Use a Neti Pot

While neti pots might scare some away, they can provide significant sinus relief for allergy symptoms. It’s a great way to flush out mucus or clear the sinuses from fresh exposure to pollen, ragweed, or other allergens. You can use a neti pot once or twice daily.

Be sure to follow the instructions and always use purified or filtered water. Understanding the proper procedure can also make it a successful experience. Most neti pot companies provide helpful support videos or other resources to customers who are new to the concept.

4. Try Quercetin

Quercetin, a potent antioxidant supplement, is backed by research for allergy support. This supplement is a flavonoid that stops histamine in its tracks and can provide long-term relief with regular use.

It’s often paired with vitamin C for maximum benefits. However, quercetin can interact with certain medications, so if you already take any prescriptions—including antibiotics—be sure to check with your doctor first. Don’t pair this with other allergy medications.

5. Eat Foods That Support Healthy Histamines

While there’s a lengthy list of foods to avoid that could trigger worse histamine and allergy reactions, there are also foods that can decrease histamines naturally.

These foods should be eaten in support during allergy season, primarily for the benefits they offer the immune system, digestion, and overall gut health.

The best foods to eat for allergy support include:

  • Raw, local honey: Research finds that truly local honey contains components of seasonal allergens from the area that better help the body cope with symptoms. Over time, it can even decrease the chance for allergies at all. (Note: never feed honey to children under age 1, and don’t try this if you’re allergic to bees or have had other sensitivities to honey-related products.) All it takes is a few bites a day. (source)
  • Bone broth: Perfect for gut health and immunity, bone broth is packed with nutrients that can fight infection and support the body when dealing with seasonal allergies. It’s also comforting when consumed as a hot beverage and can help loosen up the sinuses.
  • Apple cider vinegar: While most fermented foods are histamine releasers, apple cider vinegar is a potent immune booster and can help to dislodge mucus. Try a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with honey and lemon juice, up to three times per day.
  • Omega-3 fats: Allergies often lead to inflammation, and omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory fats. Foods rich in them include salmon, cod, mackerel, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Ginger: Another anti-inflammatory nutrient, ginger helps to decrease swelling and can also support digestive health. This might lead to a decrease in histamine production in the stomach. It can also have a warming and detoxifying effect on the body, helping to remove toxins that could exacerbate allergies.

6. Essential Oils

Some essential oils can help open nasal passages, decrease congestion, and alleviate other respiratory symptoms. Diffusion, especially at night while resting, can help to improve overall comfort in the home.

The best oils to try are peppermint oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus, menthol, tea tree, and lemon. Always use a carrier oil to dilute if you’re going to use topically, or you can make your own vapor rub for chest and sinus congestion by pairing essential oils with coconut oil.

7. Boost Probiotic Intake

Probiotics support gut health and all around immunity. They’re the good bacteria that live in the gut and fight off invaders like viral infections and bacteria.

Supplementing with probiotics can help take the edge off of seasonal allergies, especially when taken regularly. Research backs up probiotics as an effective allergy treatment. (source)

Try at least 50 billion IU or get a recommendation from your healthcare provider.

8. Try Stinging Nettle

A medicinal herb, stinging nettle has been used for natural allergy support for hundreds of years. It has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties that work nearly as effectively as over the counter allergy relief. It especially helps to decrease histamine levels.

It can interact with certain medications, though, so check with your healthcare provider before starting, especially if you take blood thinners, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, or take antidepressants.

9. Supplement with Butterbur

Another supplement with medicinal properties, butterbur is so effective with mucus that it is sometimes used to address bronchitis. It also provides relief for asthma, although should never be used as a replacement for emergency asthma relief.

Research shows that butterbur can be as effective as allergy medications. It, like all other supplements, is not safe for pregnancy or children unless directed by a doctor. (source)

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

The Complete Guide to Seasonal Allergies | HappyBodyFormula.com

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Pranayama
Natural Living, All posts

8 Ayurvedic Practices Everyone Should Know About

Medically review by Kim Langdon

Ayurvedic Practices

Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced for centuries.

If you've been focused on holistic living in general, practice yoga regularly or know anything about your chakras or your dosha, you've likely heard of Ayurveda.

Even if you haven't, you might be more versed in the foundations of it when you begin to see some of the most effective practices.

Maybe you're already doing some of them regularly!

The mission behind Ayurveda drives home the importance of finding balance in life.

It takes into account learning to understand and cater to your body's very innate needs: eating, cooking, cleansing, detoxing and healing as our environment changes around us, shifting with the seasons.

The definition of Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

It's a simple formula that helps us tune in and provides a natural form of medicine as well.

Ayurveda also stresses the need to take our bio-individuality into account when choosing what the best "medicine" for us is. 

It's different strokes for different folks when it comes down to it because we can't all expect one singular approach to be the best across the boards.

You'll see that many daily Ayurvedic practices have variations that will help YOU decide what's right for... well, for you!

You can learn more about determining your dosha with this quiz.

1. Pranayama

Pranayama

Pranayama means the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises. 

?Basically, one of the foundational tools of Ayurveda is breathing - and breathing deeply.

Big belly breaths, meditation, and yoga all come together for some seriously transformative habits you could and should take on for overall health and wellbeing, plus a true sense of peace.

The benefits of deep breathing include clearing the lungs of carbon dioxide, effectively increasing overall oxygen intake and even providing stimulation for the metabolism!

Belly breaths can also help strengthen the digestive fire a.k.a. "Agni" in Ayurveda. It can act like a massage for our internal organs helping to get things moving - literally.

Finally, it can help strengthen your core a bit (forget sit-ups - right?!) if you keep the movement centralized.

Pranayama should be different for each dosha, as the exercise balance will focus on the opposite qualities to restore balance.

You can read more about specific breathing exercises for your dosha here.

2. Tongue scraping & oil pulling

Tongue scraping

This is the dynamic duo of oral hygiene according to Ayurvedic medicine.

Both practices are thought to draw out toxins from the mouth - a big goal of Ayurvedic medicine - better than a toothbrush and toothpaste.

The practice helps to eliminate Ama which is any "accumulation of toxic residue." 

?Tongue scraping is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; it's scraping or brushing the tongue to remove bacteria which generally results in fresher breath as it harbors more gunk than the teeth and gums, plus quite a few other notable benefits.

You can use a stainless steel scraper for the best results.

Oil pulling is rather simple. It's effective because coconut oil is antimicrobial which helps rid the mouth of bacteria as well.

To get started, just pop one or two tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around with a bit of vigor, pushing it through all the teeth, for about 20 minutes.

Spit it out into the trash so as not to clog the sink and rinse. It is even thought to be effective in treating digestive disorders and heart disease.

Finally, having a clean mouth presents little obstruction in terms of tasting your food as much as possible.

Diet is a big part of Ayurveda, and you'll learn more about the eating habits you can practice daily.

Tongue scraping and coconut oil can clear the taste buds for better quality and depth of flavor in foods.

Not only will this help you eat mindfully and identify the six tastes, but it can also lead to less overeating as there will be more clarity in strong flavors like salt and sugar.

3. Lunch large

Lunch large

Have you heard the saying, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper?"

Ayurveda might have it that you switch breakfast and lunch around so that lunch is your biggest meal of the day, but the saying holds true regardless.

Evidently, there are benefits to limiting your larger meals to the beginning half of the day.

Go big or go home at breakfast and lunch with warming, nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, and limit dinner to a much lighter meal.

Another key to eating the Ayurvedic diet is to eat at least three hours before bed.

This allows our bodies to rest when they are naturally inclined to, so matching up our eating times with circadian rhythm is highly beneficial.

When our digestion isn't ideal, our digestive system releases toxins. The gut and our overall gut health are vital to wellbeing, immunity, susceptibility to disease, weight and weight management and even our mood.

By making lunch the focus of garnering nutrition during our day, we can improve digestion and get better sleep, overall reinforcing that Ayurvedic balance and detox with our diet.

4. Sweat it out

Sweat it out

Ah, yet another fine way to detox the all-natural way. Notice how Ayurveda isn't telling you to supplement or juice cleanse?

The body is fantastic at detoxing itself; some habits just help it along the way and make the process more powerful, more effective and more noticeable.

Sweating is one of those habits. Whether you opt for a sauna, hot tub, natural hot springs if you're lucky, hot baths or exercise, letting your skin breathe is the ultimate form of bodily detoxification.

Another Ayurvedic option is Swedana. This is a full-body massage with oil traditionally followed by a steam, increasing the detox properties even more (and the relaxation!).

Sweating allows our pores to open up more than they normally would which subsequently gives them an opportunity to release more toxins.

Sweating also increases circulation and aids the body in shedding excess water weight.

5. Massage

Massage

Nobody can complain about being told to get a massage for your health. You're probably well aware of some of the benefits already.

Massage lowers blood pressure, increases muscle tone, reduces stress short- and long-term and increases lymphatic flow.

Ready to book your next sesh? Me too!

There are quite a few massage styles that are specific to Ayurveda that you could seek a professional masseuse.

Some examples include Shirodhara which works on the scalp and can improve mental clarity and overall focus and Abhyangam which is a full-body affair using medicated herbal oil which is used to release toxins, improve circulation and strengthen bones, joints, and muscles.

Ayurveda places huge stock in massage, and each variety has its own specific intention. You can read more about Ayurvedic massage here.

It can also be really helpful to massage at home. Many people don't practice self-massage regularly when it's a simple and effective Ayurvedic practice with hugely therapeutic advantages!

A simple abdominal massage - a part of the body very accessible to us for the full range of motion - can relieve constipation or menstrual cramps.

When massaging at home, you should generally follow circular movements on joints and long strokes on longer areas like the arms and legs.

You should also make it a point to spend time on parts of the body with lots of nerve endings, so the scalp, hands, and feet.

6. Find the six tastes in every meal

six tastes in every meal

It will be good for you to know what these six tastes are. Look out for them, and better yet, be intentional about them.

You want a balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent, and pungent.

It sounds like a lot of work - right?

Ayurveda is heavy on the spices. Not only are they delicious, but they're incredibly healing and medicinal.

Let's cover some ground with the foundational purposes of each taste.

Sweet: Balancing for Vata and Pitta. Grounding, nourishing. Promotes longevity, strength and healthy body tissue and fluids when eaten in moderation.

Good for those trying to gain weight. Associated with slow digestion. Commonly found in foods such as cereal, oats, dates, pumpkin, honey or maple syrup and licorice root.

Sour: Water + fire. Sparks emotion and thoughts. It can improve digestion and appetite. Aggressive to the body when consumed in excess.

Commonly found in foods like lemon, apple cider vinegar, and other vinegar varieties, fermented foods, wine and tamarind (common in Thai food).

Bitter: Air + space. Incredibly detoxifying. Cool and light compared to other Ayurvedic tastes. Most beneficial for Pitta. Mentally purifying.

Commonly found in foods such as many vegetables - especially green ones, turmeric, and most teas.

Astringent: Air + earth. This is a taste that is probably less easily identified than most. It can cause gas, so it should generally be used in moderation.

Pitta benefits the most from astringent food's coolness. Purifies and strengthens. Commonly found in foods such as legumes, green bananas, green grapes, pomegranates, sprouts, and okra.

Salty: Earth + fire. May aggravate Pitta and Kapha. Stimulates digestion. Balances electrolytes in the body. Cleanses tissues.

Increases mineral absorption and bioavailability. Too much can be a bad thing! Commonly found in foods such as sea salt, seaweed, black olives and Himalayan salt.

Pungent: Fire + air. The hottest of all tastes, so highly stimulating for digestion. Clears sinuses. Improves appetite. Heightens senses. Improves circulation of the blood.

It improves mental clarity and helps you to think clearly. Can aggravate Pitta. Most commonly found in foods such as ginger, onion, garlic, mustard, and hot peppers or spices derived from hot peppers.

7. Eat mindfully

Eat mindfully

At least avoid eating when you're heavily preoccupied with stress or negative emotions.

Heck - even positive stress can take away from the experience and be too distracting for us to sit down with our food.

It's also stressed to take your time while eating. Finally, it's helpful to eat in silence or without any intentional noise to distract the mind. Think of it as an extension of meditation.

In fact, apps like Headspace actually include meditations to use while eating to help guide you down the path of truly mindful consumption.

While there is a lot of emphasis on what we eat in modern-day diet culture, Ayurveda paints a big picture for us by dialing in on many aspects of what a meal is.

Between the emphasis on specific tastes and recognizing them - which is much easier done when eating mindfully - and avoiding heavy foods later in the day, to eating mostly hot, freshly cooked foods, it is very clearly a matter of connecting the mind and body with food rather than addressing them separately.

8. Strike a pose

Strike a pose

You don't have to go for a full-on yoga sesh to take advantage of the benefits of striking a simple post.

Ideally, the pose of choice will open the heart, in which case you have a few options - including the pose shown above. 

Another simple heart opener you can practice is to place a long body pillow lengthwise under the body, having the end meet the top of your buttocks near your tailbone.

This will give you chest a nice lift as you open it towards the sky, and provide support for your upper body while your lower body naturally rests below where the pillow rests.

What Ayurvedic practices do you think you'll work on first? Are you already doing any? Share with us YOUR experience, and share this article if you found it helpful! We'd love to spread the word of healing.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Dr. Kim Langdon, MD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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8 Ayurvedic Practices Everyone Should Know About | Happybodyformula.com

References

Lad V. Ayurveda, the Science of Self-Healing: A Practical Guide. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Lotus Press; 1987.

Baghel MS. Need of new research methodology for Ayurveda. Ayu. 2011;32:3–4.

Jayasundar R. Ayurveda: A distinctive approach to health and disease. Curr Sci. 2010;98:908–14.

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sleepaids_feat
Natural Living, All posts

11 Best Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Improve Your Sleep

Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy

Best Natural Sleep Aids
Without quality sleep and rest, we cannot be healthy people. Sleep is when our bodies regenerate, repair, and generally work to keep us fully functioning. If we run low on sleep a few nights here or there, we might be tired, but we can bounce back pretty quickly.

But if sleep issues become a perpetual problem, as they are for one-third of all adults, then we can slowly become ill, with hormone imbalances, trouble losing weight, poor immunity, and more.

Sleep is the vital medicine that we need, but if sleep is problematic, some feel as if they have no alternative but prescription sleep aids. However, these can come with a hefty dose of side effects as well as the risk of dependency.

Instead of turning to pharmaceuticals, consider trying one of these proven natural sleep aids, which can help to correct sleep imbalances and insomnia without vicious side effects or dependency.

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The 11 Best Natural Sleep Remedies on the Market

The following remedies can all help to improve sleep. If you’re having trouble getting a full night’s rest, explore the natural alternatives in this list.

Note: Never take herbs or supplements without first checking with your doctor. Natural sleep aids and other supplements can have drug interactions.

Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body that is required for hundreds of different processes ranging from muscular function (including the heart, which is a muscle) to neurological function to mood, and yes, even sleep.

Magnesium functions as a relaxer and can help to calm the mind and body when it comes time for sleep.

One of the reasons why magnesium benefits the sleep cycle is that it stimulates the natural production of melatonin, the body’s hormone that helps to regulate the circadian rhythm or the wake-sleep cycle.

Having low levels of magnesium, even if isn’t a true deficiency, can be associated with poor sleep and even insomnia.

Research shows that taking 500 milligrams of magnesium before bed for eight weeks can improve sleep quality and balance the hormones that regulate the sleep cycle, meaning: the body doesn’t get dependent on needing magnesium to sleep. Instead, magnesium helps the body to correct its own imbalances.

How to get magnesium: Supplement form (between 150 and 500 milligrams before bed) or topical magnesium oil, and also found in dark chocolate, spinach, pumpkin seeds, goat’s milk kefir, and almonds

Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid that is essential for several body systems, especially the nervous system. Because the brain plays a key role in being able to settle into a healthy sleep cycle, proper levels of glycine can help to improve sleep quality and quantity.

The brain, along with sleep hormones, helps to prepare the body for sleep by lowering temperature, which helps the body settle into slumber.

Studies show that 3 grams of glycine before bed can result in better sleep, higher energy levels the next day, and improve cognition. Glycine was also able to speed the time it took to fall asleep.

How to get glycine: Glycine supplements come in capsule or powder form (1 to 5 grams daily), and also found in bone broth, all meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, cabbage, kale, spinach, beans, kiwi, and banana 

Passion Flower

One of the more popular herbal remedies, passion flower can help to improve sleep and address insomnia. Passion flower tea is the most effective way to get sleep benefits from this herb, which also boasts mentally calming and anxiety fighting effects.

Passion flower can quiet the mind and prepare the brain for restful sleep.

Not only can it improve sleep quality and address anxiety, it can also work to decrease inflammation, menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, pain from chronic conditions, and muscle spasms.

Passion flower can be beneficial, but it shouldn’t be taken consistently for more than two months at a time. It works best when used on an as-needed basis.

How to get passion flower: Take as an herbal supplement or brew as an herbal tea

Melatonin

Melatonin is produced in the body to regulate the sleep cycle. It is a hormone, but can also be found in supplement form.

Melatonin helps tell the brain when it’s time to go to sleep. The levels are supposed to be low in the morning and rise throughout the day, culminating at bedtime to tell you it’s time for sleep.

But because of many factors, like stress, insomnia, jet lag, or other hormone stressors, the body’s melatonin levels can become off balanced and can result in higher levels in the morning and lower levels in the evening. This combination can result in daytime tiredness and nighttime insomnia.

Melatonin in supplement form can lead to increased number of sleep hours, and can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep. Research shows that 1 to 5 milligrams of melatonin can provide optimal sleep benefits.

Melatonin can be beneficial for awhile, but is not meant to be used as a long-term sleep aid.

Not only does melatonin help to boost the body’s ability to rest and sleep, it can also build the immune system and decrease inflammation.

How to get melatonin: Take it in supplement form, following dosage instructions

Chamomile

Chamomile is a soothing herbal tea that is popular for its ability to produce a calming response. But it can also help to promote healthy sleep and a balanced mood, including working to combat depression and anxiety.

Chamomile is most often used in tea form, although some herbal supplements may be used, too. If you want to use chamomile tea for sleep, brew a cup using dried chamomile flowers or prepared tea bags. Drinking it within an hour of your desired bed time.

While chamomile is safe for longer term use, if you’re allergic to daisies or other flowers, be sure to consult with your doctor before trying chamomile in case of a cross-reaction.

Chamomile can promote restful sleep and relaxation, but it can also help to boost digestive function, address tense muscles, and work to relieve tension headaches.

How to get chamomile: Brew chamomile tea or take in supplement form (less common)

Calcium

The old habit of drinking a warm glass of milk before bed to promote sleep might not be too crazy: calcium, a mineral found in milk, can help to promote a balanced sleep cycle.

When calcium levels are low or deficient, it can prevent the body from going through an entire sleep cycle, since it is needed for REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This could result in sleep that isn’t restful and chronic feelings of tiredness.

The brain uses calcium to make melatonin, so when calcium levels are low, natural levels of melatonin will also be suppressed.

Calcium isn’t only found in milk, however. It is also found in sardines, dark leafy greens, and other foods.

You don’t have to take it every day to correct an imbalance and make sure that you work with a practitioner if you choose to supplement, because supplementing some minerals can result in imbalances with others if the dosage is incorrect.

How to get calcium: Milk, chia seeds, almonds, rhubarb, dark leafy greens, sardines, and calcium supplements

Valerian Root

Valerian root is an herb that is commonly found in natural sleep aids, but it’s also relied on to address anxiety and the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and mood disturbances.

Valerian root supplements help to promote improved sleep quality once you’ve gone to sleep, and some even find that it helps them fall asleep too, as it seems to have mild sedative properties.

It is often combined in tea form with chamomile, but it can also be found in supplements alone or with other herbs, such as hops, lemon balm, and passion flower.

Valerian is an herb to start slowly with and work up to the recommended dosage since it can have a strong sedative effect on people who aren’t used to taking it, and could contribute to next day grogginess.

Valerian root works over time to improve sleep, so should be taken regularly for at least two to six weeks, gradually increasing the dose. When you’re done with valerian root, wean off it in the same manner, especially if you are prone to anxiety, to reduce the chance of developing sudden symptoms.

Valerian root is also used for things like depression and headaches, as well as other mood-boosting benefits. It can also help to address period cramping and some other types of muscle and joint pains.

How to get valerian root: Take in herbal supplement form or drink as a tea

Hops

Hops are often associated with beer, but they aren’t brewed themselves, rather, are used to flavor beer. They’re also an herb that has medicinal properties, including sleep improvement.

Not only can hops improve sleep quality, but it can also help to calm an irritated mind and improve digestion. However, hopes might not be for everyone, as they can worsen depression in certain people, in the same way, that St. John’s wort can.

If you deal with depression or take medication for depression or anxiety, do not take hops.

How to get hops: Drink a non-alcoholic beer that contains hops or take as an herbal capsule or powdered supplement

Lavender

A familiar scent associated with relaxation, lavender is one of the most studied of all essential oils. While it is a flower that can be eaten or used in other ways, including brewed as tea, most uses for lavender come from the essential oil.

Just the fragrance of lavender alone can improve sleep quality, especially when it is smelled within 30 minutes before going to sleep. Some research even shows the scent of lavender to be as effective as oral sleep aids.

To reap the greatest benefits, you can diffuse lavender next to your bed for the entire night of sleep, or make a pillow spray that you add to your pillow every night before bed.

In addition to promoting healthy sleep, lavender can also improve mood and bring a calming stability to anxiety and depression. Bonus: lavender has no reported negative side effects.

It can also work to eliminate headaches and respiratory discomfort, as well as soothing upset stomach and relieving pain—just from the scent.

How to get lavender: Diffuse or sniff as an essential oil, use topically as an essential oil, or brew lavender tea from dried lavender flowers

5-HTP

5-HTP is an amino acid which is associated with tryptophan, the amino acid most commonly associated with turkey and that sleepy post-Thanksgiving dinner desire to sleep.

5-HTP specifically can help to boost certain neurotransmitter levels, which can help to improve sleep quality and length in certain individuals.

5-HTP can also be used to address depression and anxiety as well as tension headaches. It should never be taken unless your practitioner directs you, since it can influence how neurotransmitters work in the brain and can interact with certain medications.

It should never be used for more than four to six weeks.

How to get 5-HTP: Supplement form only

Ginseng

Ginseng is an herb often used to boost immunity and sometimes even to aid in weight loss. But ginseng can also help to promote healthy sleep. In as little as a week, ginseng supplements can help to improve quality of sleep, boost energy levels, and decrease stress levels.

Ginseng should only be taken for two to three months at a time before taking a break.

How to get ginseng: In supplement form

Who Shouldn’t Use Natural Sleep Aids? 

While it’s tempting to rely on sleep aids if you’re having trouble getting the rest that you need, certain people shouldn’t rely on sleep aids, even if they are natural.

Don’t use any of these or other natural sleep aids if you are:

  • Pregnant or could be pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Already taking sedatives or sleeping prescriptions
  • Taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication
  • Taking any prescription drugs
  • Will be having surgery within the next few months

While these natural sleep aids are generally considered safe, they can interact with other medications and even other supplements, which is why it’s vital to run all supplements by your practitioner.

Never give sleep aids to a child under age 18 unless directed by a doctor.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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Want better sleep? Check out these natural sleep aids | Happybodyformula.com

Resources

  1. Choi JJ, Oh E-H, Lee MK, Chung YB, Hong JT, Oh K-W. Gastrodiae Rhizoma ethanol extract enhances pentobarbital-induced sleeping behaviors and rapid eye movement sleep via the activation of GABAA-ergic transmission in rodents. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:426843.
  2. Di Bella G, Gualano L, Di Bella L. Melatonin with adenosine solubilized in water and stabilized with glycine for oncological treatment–technical preparation, effectivity and clinical findings. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2017;38:465–474.
  3. Olsen RW. GABA-benzodiazepine-barbiturate receptor interactions. J Neurochem. 1981;37:1–13. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.1981.tb05284.x
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Red Light Therapy
Natural Living, All posts

10 Surprising Benefits of Using Red Light Therapy

Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy

Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy might sound like a term from science fiction, but it’s not far off! It is also known as low-level laser therapy and uses LED lasers to alleviate pain and improve cellular function in the body.

While high powered lasers could damage tissues, these low level red lasers can be the therapeutic treatment that many have been looking for.

[toc]

The Basics of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy uses low-level lasers to help alleviate pain in the body and to boost cellular function. You can get red light therapy in a few ways.

Tanning bed style: Some red light therapy units look like tanning beds but don’t contain the same UV rays that sunlight tanning beds do, so you won’t tan and you won’t increase your risk for skin cancer.

Handheld units: Use a handheld red light therapy wand to treat localized areas, such as a knee, wrist, or other smaller location.

Facial masks: Some red light therapy is available as a wearable mask for the face or head.

Screens: In order to treat a larger area, like the entire back, some at-home units are available in larger screens instead of having to use a handheld item.

Red light therapy works by stimulating the mitochondria in the cells—the energy factories that each individual cell possesses—at a different wavelength than normal light.

Because of this, it can help the cells to function more efficiently and to repair the body. 

Top 10 Benefits of Red Light Laser Therapy

Red light therapy can have some amazing therapeutic effects for numerous health condition. Here are the best ways to use red light therapy to improve your life and health.

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Joint Stiffness

Stiff joints respond well to heat, but it’s not always effective to use a heating pad, which can cool off quickly and not produce consistent results. Red light therapy can produce the same sort of internal tissue and joint response as heat, without actually causing surface heat.

Red light laser therapy can help to warm a joint and make it more mobile and usable, which will help to prevent worsening stiffness. Regular use of red light therapy can help to improve mobility by at least 20 percent.

Red light laser can also improve the production of collagen in the body and can rebuild cartilage, which can lead to reduced pain levels, with no side effects compared to prescription medications that achieve the same result.

Red light therapy is also effective for osteoarthritis and normal wear-and-tear damage from aging, helping to address things like neck and back pain and increased range of motion.

Circulation

The cellular heat generated from red light lasers can also help to improve the way that blood vessels work in the body, improving circulation. The better the blood vessels function, the easier the blood flows throughout the body, reducing the risk of clotting and other vascular disorders.

Blood transports oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body, so when blood flow is slow or inhibited, the entire body suffers. Improving circulation can help with many things, including immunity, skin health, neurological health, and even digestion.

Wound Healing

There is another added benefit of improved circulation: faster wound healing. The body heals wounds by stimulating white blood cells and the lymphatic system collects waste products and removes it.

When blood circulation is efficient, this process can happen much faster, resulting in reduced swelling, faster healing, and a lower chance of infection. It can even help to reduce scarring and improve skin appearance.

Red light therapy is used by many dermatologists to address scarring, wrinkles, skin rejuvenation, burn healing, and skin grafts. It has even been used by dentists to deal with mouth sores and cold sores that occur around the mouth.

Immunity

Improving circulation will also boost immunity, as was discovered by NASA scientists. Red light therapy can stimulate energy in the body’s cells that can specifically stimulate wound healing and which can boost cells in fighting infections.

It is also now being used to address things like slow wound healing in people with type 2 diabetes as well as infections that are slow to heal or resistant to treatment.

Thyroid Hormones 

The thyroid makes hormones that regulate metabolism and energy levels, and problems relating to the thyroid impact more than 20 million Americans.

Red light therapy has been shown to be a natural means of boosting thyroid gland function in cases where it is suppressed or being attacked by the immune system.

It has the potential to improve thyroid function enough in some cases to reduce the need for medication or hormone replacement, and in others to improve the way that medication works.

Pain

Because red light therapy can improve circulation and blood flow, it can help to alleviate many aspects of pain, such as joint stiffness, inflammation, muscle problems, and more.

The pain-relieving results happen most often with consistent daily use for at least a few weeks.

Restless Legs & Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms or cramps, along with restless legs, can be very distracting and painful, particularly when it is time to be sleeping. These most often occur because of poor blood flow to certain parts of the body, resulting in insufficient amounts of oxygen.

Red light therapy can stimulate better blood flow and oxygen transport, which can, in turn, help the muscles to relax and stop contracting too much. These conditions respond well to regular, daily red light therapy treatment and can show significant improvement in around four weeks.

Compared to pharmaceutical treatments for these conditions, red light therapy has no side effects and isn’t something that patients can become dependent on.

Skin & Hair

While red light therapy is used frequently for cosmetic uses and to decrease wrinkles and other signs of aging, it can also be used therapeutically for scars, wounds, hair loss due to alopecia, severe acne and rosacea skin problems, psoriasis, and more.

Red light therapy helps to increase collagen, which boosts hair, skin, and even nails. It can lead to better skin complexion and tone, reduced scales on the skin, fewer wrinkles and lines, and an overall better feeling for patients.

Red light therapy can even stimulate hair follicles to grow after hair loss for both men and women. 

Mood & Energy

While blue light therapy is often touted to reduce symptoms of winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, red light therapy can also help to improve mood and energy levels.

Red light therapy works similarly to acupuncture to stimulate energy in the cells and to produce a warming reaction throughout the body.

Red light laser therapy can specifically increase sluggish energy levels (partially by working to support the thyroid), support a balanced mood, improve mental clarity and confidence, and improve general positivity, calm, and reduce anxiety.

While red light therapy can have these benefits, it should never replace working with a mental health professional or other treatments for anxiety, depression, or the like.

Always speak with your practitioner before trying alternative therapy like a red light laser.

Weight Loss

Can lasers help to improve weight loss? Some researchers think so! Red light lasers can improve blood flow and circulation, stimulating cells to work more efficiently and correcting poor functioning cells along the way.

This can result in a boosted metabolism but also increased ability of the cells convert glucose to energy, therefore, more effectively burning energy for weight and fat loss. It can also stimulate a faster time for waste to be eliminated from the body.

Red light therapy alone isn’t a magical weight loss treatment, but it can work in conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise, and other natural methods of support, like a healthy sleep routine, staying hydrated, and making sure you don’t have any nutrient deficiencies.

Is Red Light Therapy Safe & How to Use It

Red light therapy sounds amazing, but is it really safe to use? And if you do decide to use it for yourself, how exactly does it work?

Red light therapy can have some amazing benefits, but that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone and every condition. It’s always best to speak to your doctor before deciding that it is right for you.

Certain people should not use red light therapy, such as those who have seizures, women who are pregnant or might be pregnant, people with eye or vision sensitivity, or anyone who has previously had a poor reaction to it.

That being said, red light therapy has few side effects and is considered to be very safe. The only side effects that may exist are mild headaches, mild eye strain if you look directly at the laser (but this isn’t a permanent result), mild nausea, dizziness, and possible muscle weakness if the red light laser is used too long or too frequently.

If you’re using red light therapy at home, always follow directions. Excessive use of red light at one time can lead to a mild skin burn, similar to a sunburn.

To determine what amount of time and level of red light therapy is right for your condition, you should speak to a practitioner for a program plan. Many plans involve two to eight weeks of use, but the level of red light laser, as well as the time used, might differ.

People using red light therapy might notice results after their first session, or it may take a few days or weeks to notice actual improvements.

Most insurance won’t cover red light therapy because it is considered an alternative therapy, and some doctors won’t be in favor of its use. Research is still ongoing as to whether the benefits of red light therapy are applicable to all people with certain conditions.

Can You Do Your Own Red Light Therapy? 

You can get red light therapy at a practitioner’s office, but many in-home units are for sale. If you purchase one for use at home, make sure you do so at the recommendation of your doctor.

Some brands of red light lasers are not as reputable and reliable, and incorrect laser levels can mildly burn the skin or cause other discomforts.

If you do not purchase a red light unit, you may be able to get treatment at any of the following places:

  • Spas
  • Chiropractors
  • Natural health providers
  • Dermatologists
  • Rheumatologists
  • Salons
  • Tanning salons

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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If you are curious about trying red light therapy for the first time, here are a few benefits that you should consider. | HappyBodyFormula.com

References

  1. Gupta A.K., Filonenko N., Salansky N., and Sauder D.N. (1998). The use of low energy photon therapy (LEPT) in venous leg ulcers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Dermatol. Surg. 24, 1383–1386.
  2. Barolet D., Roberge C.J., Auger F.A., Boucher A., and Germain L. (2009). Regulation of skin collagen metabolism in vitro using a pulsed 660?nm LED light source: clinical correlation with a single-blinded study. J. Invest. Dermatol. 129, 2751–2759.
  3. Khoury J.G., and Goldman M.P. (2008). Use of light-emitting diode photomodulation to reduce erythema and discomfort after intense pulsed light treatment of photodamage. J. Cosmet. Dermatol. 7, 30–34.
  4. Smith K.C. (2005). Laser (and LED) therapy is phototherapy. Photomed. Laser Surg. 23, 78–80
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bee pollen benefits
Natural Living, All posts

16 Bee Pollen Benefits That Make It a Buzzworthy Superfood

Fact checked by Aimee McNew for Accuracy

Bee Pollen Benefits

Bee pollen is a nutrient-dense superfood. It isn’t the same as honey or honeycomb and has its own specific health benefits. Read on to discover the most popular benefits of bee pollen!

But first, let’s explore a little more about how this superfood is made by nature’s busy little bees.

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How Is Bee Pollen Made?

Bees flit about, collecting pollen from plants and flowers. Almost everyone knows this. But what happens next is a little fuzzy.

After it’s collected, the pollen is combined with secretions from the salivary glands of bees and then tucked away in little pockets attached to their hind legs.

When the bee returns to the hive, the pollen is deposited into the cells of the honeycomb and covered with a bit of honey and more beeswax. This combination is what feeds the bees.

Most people assume that all pollen is yellow, but it can range in color from bright to dull yellow, or even be brown or black.

Bee pollen is composed of a variety of things, including pollen from flowers, honey, beeswax, nectar, and enzymes.

While many foods contain nutrients, bee pollen contains 250 different nutritious substances. The German Federal Board of Health recognizes bee pollen as medicine because it is so nutritionally dense.

16 Health Benefits of Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is a therapeutic product that is rich in vitamins, flavonoids, lipids, amino acids, and more. Here are the top health benefits of bee pollen.

Rich in Antioxidants That Fight Inflammation

Antioxidants help the body to fight inflammation and damage from free radicals. Bee pollen is a rich source of antioxidants, including glutathione, quercetin, carotenoids, and flavonoids.

Bee pollen contains such potent antioxidants that it has been compared to pharmaceutical medications in its ability to work within the body.

Without protection against free radicals, we are susceptible to oxidizing damage in cells and tissues which can result in chronic disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Bee pollen can help to reduce systemic inflammation, decrease infections, and work against the development, growth, and spread of tumors. It has been used therapeutically for people undergoing treatment for cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Increases Natural Immunity

No one likes to be under the weather, and everyone seems to be looking for the perfect immune-boosting supplement. Bee pollen could be it!

It can help to increase natural immunity that helps to prevent or lessen the severity of cold and flu-like illnesses and other viral infections.

Bee pollen is also antimicrobial and can help to fight off bacterial infections as well as dangerous bacteria like E. coli, staph, and salmonella.

Eases Menopause Discomfort

Menopause can be a long and grueling season for women that involves unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, mood disturbances, insomnia, and weight gain.

Research shows that bee pollen can help ease certain menopause symptoms, most specifically hot flashes, joint pain, mood, and energy levels. It even showed that bee pollen can help women sleep better when they’re going through menopause.

Fights Cholesterol Problems

Excessively elevated cholesterol can cause problems relating to heart disease—which is still the leading cause of death across the world.

Cholesterol itself isn’t bad, but when you get an extreme imbalance in the body, and the LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized, it can form plaque in the arteries and lead to heart issues.

Bee pollen can help to provide a balance to cholesterol by reducing LDL levels and increasing HDL, also known as the “good” kind of cholesterol.

Increases Longevity

Because bee pollen is so rich in nutrients it can also help the body to better absorb and use the nutrients it digests. This can help to improve overall cellular health, leading to more healthy years and a longer life.

Bee pollen can also improve muscular function and metabolism.

Helps Wounds Heal Faster

Because of the antioxidant properties of bee pollen, it can help to fight inflammation and oxidation associated with wounds and burns. It works as effectively as certain prescription burn treatments, with less side effects, and can actually speed the time it takes to fully recover.

Because bee pollen also fights bacteria and infections, it can help to cut down on the chances of infection associated with wounds or burns.

Relieves Seasonal Allergies & Other Allergic Reactions

Bee pollen can be used to manage seasonal allergies, such as hay fever or other grass or pollen sensitivities.

Note that bee pollen can in and of itself produce allergic reactions sometimes, so if you are allergic to bees or any other bee product, or pollen, you should consult with your practitioner first before ever attempting to use bee pollen.

If you aren’t allergic to bee products, it’s believed that by ingesting bee pollen, you build your body’s tolerance of pollen and other potential plant-based allergens that the bees may have come in contact with, thereby reducing overall seasonal allergy reactions.

This is only effective if you use local bee pollen since you’re trying to address allergies that are in the area that you live. Bee pollen can also help to slow the activity of mast cells, which release histamine in response to allergenic triggers.

By slowing the ability of these cells to work, the histamine cascade is diminished, resulting in fewer allergy symptoms.

Revs Metabolism

Bee pollen provides such a hefty dose of nutrients that it can help to boost the body’s metabolic function and support the body at a cellular level.

It’s rich in calcium, phosphorous, iron, vitamin C, and flavonoids, all of which directly benefit the thyroid, the regulator of metabolism.

While research needs to further explore the direct result of bee pollen on thyroid hormone levels, because it contains all of the nutrients needed for the thyroid to do its job well, it can indirectly boost thyroid function and overall energy levels. 

Boosts Liver Function & Aids In Natural Detox

The liver is the largest internal organ of the body and it has a multitude of tasks: detoxing the body from harmful substances, breaking down hormones, metabolizing alcohol and prescriptions, making vitamin D and cholesterol, and so much more.

Without a healthy liver we can’t be healthy people. Bee pollen can support the liver’s natural function and improve its ability to get toxins out of the body.

Bee pollen can also help to protect the liver from damage thanks to its high levels of antioxidants, and it can also help reverse damage done by toxicity.

Fights Development of Cancer

Cancer happens when cells start to reproduce incorrectly, but bee pollen may be able to interfere with this process. Because bee pollen can stimulate cell death in tumors, it may be able to prevent the development and spread of cancer, particularly in colon and prostate cancer, as well as leukemia.

Bee pollen might also be able to fight estrogen-related cancers, like breast, uterine, and prostate. More research in humans is needed, but bee pollen is a promising future treatment potential.

Combats Side Effects of Stress

Stress, whether it’s situational or long-term, can cause numerous health problems. Bee pollen can help to support the nervous system and improve blood flow to the brain, which can better help you to cope with stress in your life.

As such, bee pollen is one of the few natural stress relievers and can help to increase energy levels while dealing with stressful situations. Even small, irregular doses of bee pollen can help to balance mood and improve energy levels, improving one’s overall outlook on life.

It can also help to relieve some aspects of stress-related pain, such as headaches from tension.

Increases Ability to Lose Weight

Bee pollen can help to improve metabolism and reduce fat in the body by improving the body’s ability to break down stored fat.

Bee pollen is also rich in hundreds of beneficial nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, and more, all of which can help to support healthy nutrition that leads to natural weight loss. While some products made with bee pollen will promise rapid weight loss, these products haven’t been tested or backed by research.

But bee pollen on its own can boost health and help lead to sustainable weight loss, reduced inflammation (which is often associated with obesity), and increased energy, which can promote a more regular desire to exercise or be active.

Improves Vision & Eyesight

While bee pollen is more of a roundabout benefit for eyesight, it can specifically help to ensure that arteries are healthy and unclogged, including those behind the eyes.

When arteries in the eyes are congested, it can result in nearsightedness or other vision problems, but the nutrients in bee pollen can promote balanced cholesterol and healthy arteries, which means proper blood flow to eye vessels.

Helps to Increase Natural Fertility

While there is no single miracle cure for fertility issues, bee pollen can help to boost natural fertility primarily by helping to stimulate ovarian function and ovulation.

It might also be able to improve egg quality, which is vital for a healthy embryo and implantation. Overall, bee pollen may increase odds of pregnancy, but won’t correct other forms of infertility and isn’t a replacement for fertility treatments.

You should always speak to your practitioner before using bee pollen for fertility purposes.

Supports Healthy Bones & Fights Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose density and don’t have access to enough calcium and phosphorous for bone rebuilding. Bee pollen is rich in both of these minerals and may help to nourish bones, keeping them strong and reducing density loss.

While bee pollen won’t replace other nutrient support for osteoporosis, it can boost other protocols and help to reduce more severe bone mineral losses.

Clears Skin & Fights Acne

Raw honey is a popular topical treatment for acne, but pairing it with bee pollen can increase the positive results. Bee pollen can help to soothe irritated, reddened, or otherwise pimple prone skin and can help to revive complexion and skin tone.

When used regularly, it might even be able to help reduce overall acne breakouts.

Is Bee Pollen Safe?

Bee pollen has a substantial amount of benefits, but is it safe for everyone to use? Not necessarily. While it’s nutrient dense and can have some great results, certain people need to be cautious.

Bee pollen should never be taken long-term, and for most people, should be taken for 30 to 60 days and then discontinued for a period.

People who have pollen allergies or bee allergies should not take bee pollen, as the potential for anaphylactic or other severe allergic reactions is there.

It is also possible to have a reaction even if you don’t have a known bee allergy, so always carefully pay attention to any symptoms or side effects, especially rashes, shortness of breath, wheezing, or hives.

Pregnant and lactating women should not take bee pollen, nor should infants or children under age three. Always ask your child’s doctor whether bee pollen is safe for them to ingest.

Do not take bee pollen if you’re on blood thinners or anticoagulants as it might increase bleeding potential.

Bee pollen could interact with other drugs or herbs, so be sure to check with your practitioner for safety.

How to Use Bee Pollen & Where to Buy 

If you want to take bee pollen for health benefits, first make sure you’ve checked with your practitioner.

You can purchase bee pollen locally—often at a farmer’s market—which is always ideal, or you can also find it online, at health food stores, and anywhere else that supplements are sold. It can be found in powder form or granules.

If you prefer powdered, you can blend your own granules or mix them into foods. You can also soften granules for use by soaking them in water or warm liquid (milk, tea, juice, etc.) for a few hours and then drinking it.

When taking bee pollen, you can add it to drinks or smoothies, mix with honey and take by mouth, or even use topically.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

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16 Bee Pollen Benefits That Make It a Buzzworthy Superfood | Happybodyformula.com

References

  1. Nogueira C., Iglesias A., Feás X., Estevinho L. M. Commercial bee pollen with different geographical origins: a comprehensive approachInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences2012;13(9):11173–11187. doi: 10.3390/ijms130911173.
  2. Campos M. G. R., Bogdanov S., de Almeida-Muradian L. B., et al. Pollen composition and standardisation of analytical methodsJournal of Apicultural Research2008;47(2):154–161. doi: 10.3896/ibra.1.47.2.12.
  3. Manning R. Fatty acids in pollen: a review of their importance for honey beesBee World2001;82(2):60–75.
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Best Sleep Supplements
Natural Living

Top 10 Best Sleep Supplements Reviewed in 2020

Fact checked by Aimee McNew

The inability to obtain a deep sleep on a consistent basis is problematic for many people.

Are you one of these people?

There many benefits that have been researched when it comes to supplements for obtaining a deeper sleep. If you want to learn more about the effectiveness behind sleep supplements, then you’re on the right path.

Every person that has trouble sleeping has noticed that they have a lack of energy or ambitions through their daily routines.

Therefore, in order to obtain a deeper sleep, that’s undisturbed that can allow you to get the right amount of rest that you deserve each evening, looking into the information about insomnia supplements to see if they are a good fit for you and your lifestyle would be a smart decision.

Product

Details

Rating

OUR #1 RATED

Performance Lab Sleep

Performance Lab Sleep

  • Accelerates sleep
  • Maintains deep sleep
  • Reduces sleep-disruptive spasms

4.5 out of 5

Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid

Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid

  • Clinically Proven Tor Work 
  • Award Winning Supplements
  • Natural And Organic Ingredients

4.5 out of 5

LadyBoss Rest

LadyBoss Rest

  • All Natural Ingredients
  • Helps With Health And Body Structure
  • Scientifically-Backed

4 out of 5

Nested Naturals LUNA Sleep Aid

Nested Naturals LUNA Sleep Aid

  • #1 Rated On Amazon
  • Contains Rebalancing Ingredients 
  • Can Relax Your Mind And Body IN One Session

4 out of 5

Genius Sleep Aid

Genius Sleep Aid

  • All Organic
  • Not Addictive
  • Ability To Wake Up And Feel Your Mood And Body Feel Improved 

4 out of 5

So, below we have put together a list of the top 10 best sleep supplements in 2020 that can be beneficial for you and your desires to get a consistent amount of sleep each and every night. 

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Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid


Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid

The physicians sleeping supplement product come in 60 capsules in each product and they are clinically researched and proven to work for those who are suffering from insomnia.

To top that off these sleeping supplements are award-winning and patented and can give you the organic and natural sleeping habits that you require to function every day.

To top that off, they are known to improve mental clarity as well as allowing you to wake up every morning and feel re-balanced, refreshed, and energized to start again. 

They contain melatonin chamomile as well as the Larry group in order to help with a more natural way to fall asleep and get the full amount of rest that you deserve.

If you’re not 100% satisfied they will give you a money-back guarantee just to ensure that you appreciate and are satisfied with their product. 

PROS

  • Clinically Proven Tor Work
  • Award Winning Supplements
  • Natural And Organic Ingredients

CONS

  • All Raw Ingredients, So Not Recommended For Those Who A Sensitive
  • Those That Do Not Like Vegi Capsules Should Not Take Them

LadyBoss Rest


LadyBoss Rest

The LadyBoss sleeping supplements are manufactured to help women with getting a more driven and consistent sleeping pattern. These sleeping supplements not only help reduce anxiety and stress, but it helps them get on a more consistent sleeping pattern that they can be proud of.

In addition, these supplements are scientifically proven to promote a woman’s overall health and wellness as well as boost their emotional standpoint. They are one of the higher priced items on this list, however, they are effective based on the ingredients that are incorporated into the supplements.

This item would be a good choice for a woman looking to stay on a healthier lifestyle and continue to keep balance within her body. 

PROS

  • All Natural Ingredients
  • Helps With Health And Body Structure 
  • Scientifically-Backed

CONS

  • Only Made In Woman
  • Pregnant Woman Need To Talk To Doctor Before Taking

Nested Naturals LUNA Sleep Aid


Nested Naturals LUNA Sleep Aid

The Nested supplements have been considered the number one sleeping aid on Amazon because of their all natural ingredients.

They have the ability to let you fall sleep with a gentle way and allow you to wake up feeling rebalanced and refreshed, allowing your body and your mind to fill in a happier structure.

There is an ingredient of amino acid that is also introduced into these sleeping supplements, which is also found in green tea so it’s beneficial to your health and your mind at the same time.

These sleeping supplements would be good for those looking to get in a quick organic and natural method of sleeping with a proven and highly reviewed sleeping supplement. 

PROS

  • #1 Rated On Amazon
  • Contains Rebalancing Ingredients
  • Can Relax Your Mind And Body IN One Session

CONS

  • If You Are Allergic To Amino Acid
  • If You Are Sensitive To Organic Ingredients

Genius Sleep Aid


Genius Sleep Aid

The genius sleep aids or supplements are fantastic at helping seen relax your mind and give you the benefit of decreasing your insomnia issues. These supplements are not only beneficial to help with your sleeping habits, but they also help with emotional status.

They have ingredients to boost your moods as well as helping with your overall fatigue increasing to a functioning level. They are not addictive and are backed by science to help improve the quality of each supplement. 

PROS

  • All Organic
  • Not Addictive 
  • Ability To Wake Up And Feel Your Mood And Body Feel Improved

CONS

  • There Are Only, 40 Capsules In Each Product
  • Only Can Take Them 5 Days In A Row

OLLY Restful Sleep


OLLY Restful Sleep

OLLY sleeping supplements have a soothing blackberry aroma to entice your brain to relax and feel more in a Zen state of mind.

They are made to help those who have a problem sleeping in a dysfunctional sleeping cycle and because they are made with melatonin they are highly effective for those looking for a natural way to fall asleep.

If you’re looking for a product that is not a capsule, these supplements are made in a gummy form to make it easier to take on a consistent basis. There is 50 gummy in each of the products and top that off they help the user feel well rested and give you a sweet taste of fall sleeps with. 

PROS

  • Flavored To Indulge Your Taste Buds
  • Are Made In A Gummy Fashion
  • Ingredients Are Driven Through Science

CONS

  • If You Do Not Like The Taste Of Blackberry
  • Not Necessarily for Staying Asleep 

Zhou Nutrition Drift Off


Zhou Nutrition Drift Off

If you are a person who lays down and cannot slow your mind down, then these sleeping supplements may be the right choice for you. They allow you to relax and calm your mind before fully taking the effect of putting you into a deeper sleep.

They include Valerian root and melatonin, which are highly effective at keeping people asleep once they are in that rest mode. And to top that off they allow the user to wake up emotionally refreshed and stable ready to take on the next day.

There are 60 capsules within the product, and they are one of the most cost-efficient products on the market to help with sleep problems. 

PROS

  • Allow User To Calm Down Before Sleeping
  • Contains Effective Ingredients
  • Priced Reasonably

CONS

  • May Want To Talk To A Doctor Before Taking Them
  • Some Allergic Warnings Are Also Included

Jacked Factory Lean PM


Jacked Factory Lean PM

For those interested in a quality sleeping aid supplement than the Jacked Factory capsules are a great go to. They also are phenomenal at helping those who want to lose extra pounds while they sleep in a more organic fashion.

The ingredients have suppressants to help eliminate nighttime food desires and they are great at allowing the user to wake up and feel refreshed and balanced.

A positive feature that they include is a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not being fully satisfied with the outcome. This supplement is a fantastic option for those looking to lose weight and get a good night of rest all in the same period. 

PROS

  • Fat Burner With Sleeping Help
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Mood-Boosting Supplement

CONS

  • They Cost A Little More
  • Not Made For Those Who Are Taking Anxiety Medication

NeuraLife Labs Shut-Eye


NeuraLife Labs Shut-Eye

NeuraLife has an exceptional way to incorporate a perfect sleep supplement for adults that are looking to get a higher strength supplement.

They can help with anxiety as well as insomnia. There are 60 capsules that are included in the product. These supplements have the ability to relax your state of mind and re-balance your body comfortably throughout the night.

With these sleeping supplements, you can get the ability to be confident that you will get a full night’s rest. To top that off they offer a money-back guarantee and also are proud to express their quality and purity of the ingredients for their consumers. 

PROS

  • Includes Magnesium
  • Made In The USA
  • Made With Quality And Assurance

CONS

  • May Be Allergic To Some Of The Ingredients 
  • Strong Smelling Capsules

NutraChamps DreamRite


NutraChamps DreamRite

The NutraChamps supplement is effective for those looking to slow down and calm your mind to help you feel sleep fast or. There are 60 supplement capsules on each of the products.

They have the ability to let you wake up and feel fully rested and energized. One of the benefits of these sleeping supplements is that they are safe as well as nonaddictive.

To top that off, their ingredients are natural and have been proven to be one of the most efficient sleeping solutions for any person that is a hard time relaxing the mind and getting into that calm state to go to sleep in a positive manner. 

PROS

  • Organic And Safe Ingredients
  • Comes With A Guarantee
  • Has Proven Ingredients

CONS

  • A More Expensive Choice 
  • Allergic To Chamomile, This Is Not A Recommend Product 

Evlution Nutrition Sleep Mode


Evlution Nutrition Sleep Mode

The Evlution supplements provide a more natural way to get a night of deep sleep and relaxation when you lay down at night. This product is more cost-effective and it allows the user to fall sleep in a faster and more organic method.

Includes Valerian root, melatonin, and other natural ingredients. These supplements allow the user to take them on a consistent basis and without the need of them being habit-forming.

Some of the features include lemon balm extract as well as passionflower in order for it the user to feel calm and lower their anxiety. There are 60 capsules in the product, and they are proven to be effective for those that are seeking to get rest in a faster sleep method. 

PROS

  • Organic And Safe Ingredients
  • Includes Anxiety Reduction Extracts 
  • Nonaddictive Supplements

CONS

  • Not recommended For Pregnant Women
  • Not recommended for those taking additional antidepressants

Our #1 Recommended Sleep Supplement

Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid


Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid

In conclusion, there are a few recommended sleeping supplements on this list that would an ideal choice.

The two that are highly recommended are Physician's Choice Sleep Aid and Jacked Factory Lean PM because one has been clinically proven to be effective for many different users as well as another to help you lose those additional pounds and gain a mental boost on yourself. 

Therefore take a look now to see which sleeping supplement would be a good choice for you and go ahead and check out the products by clicking on the link to help you get back to the normal sleeping patterns that you deserve.

This article was fact checked for accuracy by Aimee McNew, MNT, a certified nutritionist. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

References

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