November 24th, 2014Trichology

Mishelle Knuteson, M.H.

 

Trichology, the study of hair, teaches that hair is fiber. There isn’t much difference chemically between the hair on your head and fine wool that comes off a pashmina goat. Think about how you would care for a cashmere sweater verses how you care for your hair. Avoid constantly washing it with harmful detergents and drying on high temperatures. Doing this will strip away all the natural oil and cause it to become dry and dull.

 

Here is a quick trick on how to find out the health of your hair. Take 4 strands of hair, 1 strand each from the top, the bottom and each side of the head. Put each strand in a bowl of water. If the hair floats it is in great shape. If it sinks within 5-15 seconds, then it is porous and needs conditioning.

 

I remember watching old movies in which women would sit in front of a mirror and brush their hair 100 times before going to bed. There is actually merit to this because it distributes the hair’s natural oils. Using a natural bristle brush is best. The natural bristles effectively move the oil from the scalp through the hair. Brushing the scalp also stimulates the sebaceous glands, which in turn produce more sebum, the skin’s own protective layer. Jojoba based oil conditioners are great for your hair because it is much like the skins natural oil, sebum.

 

The scalp is like any skin on the body, it must be kept healthy to ensure healthy hair production. A chemical-free way of shampooing is the best way to remove dead skin cells and toxins that are released through the skin. One reason you want to stay away from detergent based shampoo, is that it contains a common chemical used by the cosmetic industry called sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS/SLAS). This is very toxic and contains potent carcinogens. The chemicals you place on your skin (scalp) absorb straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind. Chemical-free shampoos will help prevent any toxins from being absorbed into the skin.

 

For straight hair, shampoo twice per week. For wavy hair, shampoo once or twice per week, and for curly or kinky hair, only every other week.  Between washings you can use dry shampoos or herbal rinses to keep your scalp clean and smelling fresh. A great rinse to try is; 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water with some added essential oils (rosemary and lavender are good ones to use). This will close the hair follicles, prevent color loss, dissolve any soap scum and add shine to the hair.

 

Genetics, health and proper nutrition are also important factors in healthy hair. The living part of hair is under the scalp, where the root is housed in the hair follicle. The hair follicle is fed by a vein, which carries nutrients from the blood to the root system. Medical conditions, changes in hormones, stress, trauma, smoking and so much more can affect hair growth and appearance. Eating a diet full of healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables, good fats, and complex carbohydrates is important.

 

Essential omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12 and iron, prevent a dry scalp and dull hair color. Dark green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins A and C. These vitamins help with sebum production and provide a natural hair conditioner. Legumes provide protein to promote hair growth, and also contain iron, zinc and biotin. A deficiency in biotin can cause brittle hair and can also lead to hair loss. Nuts contain high sources of selenium, alpha-linoleic acid and zinc, all of which help condition the hair and prevent hair shedding. Protein deficiencies can produce weak and brittle hair, and can eventually result in loss of hair color. A balanced diet is extremely necessary for a healthy scalp and furthermore healthy hair.

 

Here are some great resources for more information:

-For plant based natural hair color, visit http://www.greenhare.com.  Chemical hair dye is very toxic to the body.

-For chemical free shampoo, I have been testing a natural shampoo bar from http://www.annbeesnaturals.com. The first wash was a bit strange to me, yet I was told it would be. It takes time for your scalp and hair to adjust. Now I’m really enjoying it. I just basically wash my scalp. My hair seems to be styling well and looking good. I have short hair so I’m not sure how it would work with someone who has longer hair. The company also has a hair and skin oil conditioner, called Moroccan Silk, that I really like.

-Visit http://www.drchristophersherbshop.com to purchase chemical free, BF&C Shampoo and Conditioner, and/or BF&C Hair and Scalp massage oil.

-In Dr. Christopher’s book, Every Woman’s Herbal under Hair Loss, are the instructions for the 3 oil massage to stimulate hair growth and nourish the scalp. There is also a great herbal rinse recipe under Gray Hair.

 

Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

 

October 14th, 2014Oats: Avena sativa

Jo Francks, M.H.

 

Oats; we often overlook this common food as an effective medicine. Oats are a good source of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and are also high in silica.

Different parts of the plant are used at different stages of growth. Oat straw is used for its high amounts of calcium and silica. This is used in Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Calcium formula.

The green tops can also be used as a tonic for the nervous system. A tincture or a tea of the green oats is recommended for nervous strain. They have been used for heart trouble and depression. It is also taken as an antidote for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Oats are exceptional for skin care. Used in the bath they help with itchy skin and help to soften and sooth the skin. Use 1 cup blended dry oatmeal in a tub of water. Another way to use it in the tub is to make a gallon of tea from the oat straw and add that to the tub. Blended oatmeal is also used as a scrub. Mix 1/2 cup blended oatmeal with 1/4 cup shavings of natural soap and 1/2 cup ground apricot pits or almonds. Put 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a reusable muslin tea bag. Get the bag wet and use as a facial scrub or a body scrub. Hang to dry and reuse 3 or 4 times.

In his book Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss referred to oatmeal as “one of the finest foods we have to prevent disease” and that it is “the ideal basic food for children during the winter months to prevent infection from all zymotic diseases.” Oats are also especially helpful when recovering from an illness.

Whether it is being used for food or medicinal purposes, oats provide many qualities worth looking in to. Try using oat straw tea to calm your nerves or have a nice warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning to get your day started. Or for a raw breakfast soak some oat groats in distilled water overnight, strain and blend with fresh berries and a sweetener of your choice and enjoy.

 

Jo Francks is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She is also a Holistic Iridologist and Quantum Touch practitioner. 


October 14th, 2014Giving Your Skin Breath…

Tonya Judd M.H.

Our skin is our largest organ and is often referred to as our 3rd kidney. Our skin receives 1/3 of the blood circulated in the body and 25% of the bodies toxins are released through our skin each day. That’s 1/4 of the body’s detoxification that occurs through the skin!  Adults eliminate over 1 pound of waste acids each day through sweat glands, yet the skin is the last organ we think of giving nutrients to and is the first to show signs of imbalance. Some signs of imbalance in the skin include: acne, cracked skin, dry skin, cellulite, brown spots, etc. Our skin needs to breathe and it needs nutrients. If our skin is clogged with dead skin cells, the elimination that should occur there is forced upon the kidneys and liver.

There is an easy yet amazing measure you can take to help your skin breathe, it is dry skin brushing. The benefits of dry skin brushing are numerous and essential for beautiful glowing skin. Dry skin brushing helps the skin to breathe by removing dead skin cells and opening clogged pores.

 

Dry skin brushing is best done once a day in the morning before showering. There is an order and direction in which you should brush. Please watch these videos for detailed instruction;

(for your body)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZfMhXsjXeQ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QpQZyze3Yk

(for your face)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHCsmPzs4Ds  

This process should take approximately 10-15 minutes each morning. Also, use a good natural soap without chemicals and perfumes. If you find that you need to use a moisturizer try almond oil, coconut oil or other natural oil that will feed your skin and your body. Remember whatever you place on your skin is absorbed directly into the blood stream, so be wise in your choice of what you are “feeding” your skin and your body. Once you have been skin brushing for a few weeks you should start to notice the lessened need for moisturizers. You can get a brush almost anywhere just make sure it has natural fiber bristles.

Some of the amazing benefits you will see include:

-smooth glowing skin

-encourages the body’s discharge of metabolic waste so the body is able to run more effectively

-helps ingrown hairs

-moves lymph

-stimulates nerve endings

-stimulates hormone glands

-tones muscles

-tightens skin

-stimulates circulation

-reduces cellulite

-stimulates oil glands and helps the skin produce protective and moisturizing oils

-strengthens the immune system

-diminishes stretch marks considerably

-opens the pores and allows your body to easily release toxins through sweating

 

Tonya Judd is a Master Herbalist graduate of the School of Natural Healing and an Emotional Release Practitioner.


August 25th, 2014Essential Fatty Acids

Tonya Judd M.H.

 

Essential fatty acids are just what the name states, essential. Our bodies need EFA’s. Omega-3 fatty acids fight disease by reducing inflammation in the blood vessels and joints, protect our central nervous system, improves our mood, help with inflammation and joint pain, improve eyesight, positively affect cardiovascular health, help prevent age related macular degeneration and reduces blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels by eating only 1 ounce of EFA’s per day.

 

A deficiency in EFA’s can lead to mood swings and depression. Symptoms or signs of EFA deficiency in individuals include some of the following: dry skin, cracking skin on heels and fingertips, craving fatty foods, painful/stiff joints, poor muscle strength, hyperactivity, poor wound healing, learning/memory problems, dry hair, excessive thirst, and irritability to name a few.

EFA’s help with pregnancy and post-natal depression. EFA’s are passed to the baby in utero and help with the development of the brain. As the EFA’s are passed to the baby, this reduces the mother’s EFA levels, thus contributing to post-natal depression if the new mom is not consuming enough in her daily diet.

An amazing newer source for EFA’s is Sacha Inchi oil and Sacha Inchi seeds. Sacha Inchi grows in the highlands of Peru and the plant produces year after year and keeps producing for decades. The oil is derived from the cold pressing of the seeds and requires no refining. The oil is similar to olive oil but has a much lighter taste and the seeds (also called Incan peanuts) boast 50% oil content and have a nutty flavor when roasted. Sacha Inchi oil is an excellent source of amino acids, easily digestible proteins and nutrients. Sacha inchi exceeds fish oil and flax in omega-3 = 48% and omega-6 = 36%

High in fiber, high in tryptophan, no cholesterol, high in protein with a 27% protein content and is rich in iodine and vitamins A and E. Sacha Inchi oil and seeds are also an excellent source of amino acids. Another plus of Sacha inchi is that you can get all of your omegas in one shot…omega-3 (48%), omega-6 (35%) and omega-9 (9%) Sacha inchi has been shown to reduce blood sugar and triglyceride levels by eating just 1 oz. per day. Other sources of EFA’s include dark leafy greens such as spinach, flax seeds and flax oil, chia seed and purslane.

Keep in mind that when adding omega-3’s to your diet, it may take up to a month of use before you begin to see results.

 

Tonya Judd is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing and an Emotional Release practitioner.


June 30th, 2014Melasma

Tara Pierce H.

 

Melasma is a skin condition of hyperpigmentation. It is most commonly found in women, in fact 90% of cases belong to us hormone laden females. It is usually associated with estrogen and progesterone levels and can become more severe as these hormones rise and fall in excess, such as during pregnancy (Chloasma; mask of pregnancy), while taking birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy during menopause or following a hysterectomy. Other less common causes are cosmetics, especially those with perfumes, stress, adrenal disorders, and some medications including some antibiotics, antiarrhythmics, and antimalarial drugs. Sun exposure will cause the patches to become darker making them much more noticeable during summer months and seem to fade in the winter months.

Medical treatments include Hydroquinone, Tretinoin, corticosteroids, azelaic acid or kojic acid to lighten the skin, usually found in cream, lotion, gel or liquid form. If the problem is severe and the creams do not give the desired result doctors may recommend a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or dermabrasion. Of course these treatments can have serious side effects causing even more health problems in the long run. Hydroquinone alone has been linked to leukemia, thyroid problems and liver damage.

To treat this condition naturally I would recommend using Dr. Christopher’s Lower Bowel and Liver and Gallbladder formulas to support the liver in processing and eliminating excess estrogen in the body. To help in the removal of excess estrogen I would consume 1-3 Tbls of fresh ground flax and sunflower seeds daily, along with Dr. Christopher’s Hormonal Changese Formula to give the body what it needs to produce the correct levels of needed hormones. The seeds can be added to smoothies, raw cookies, granola bars or sprinkled over your whole grain cereal and salads. If you suspect struggling adrenals, I would also add Dr. Christopher’s Adrenal Formula and a good quality vitamin B supplement.

Externally, I have found that daily, gentle, exfoliation as well as a mask made from organic plain yogurt with fresh lime or lemon juice will lighten the patches effectively. Apply the mask 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes. Additionally I would watch your sun exposure. Avoid the hours between 10 and 2 when the sun’s rays are the harshest, and if you know you are going to be spending a lot of time in the sun this summer, a good natural sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat are essential.

 

Tara Pierce is a Master Herbalist student at The School of Natural Healing.


June 30th, 2014Aloe Vera

Jo Franks M.H.

 

The warmer weather is an invitation to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Often it’s a time that we over expose our skin to the rays of the sun and end up with a painful sunburn. We are able to use the sun’s rays to produce vitamin D only until the skin begins to turn pink. That time frame varies depending on one’s skin type. Aloe Vera gel is one of the first things many people turn to for sunburn or any other type of burn. The quickest and easiest way to use Aloe Vera is to get the gel fresh from the leaves. Cut off a piece of the leaf and split it open, placing the cut leaf right on the burn or gently rub the fresh gel onto a larger area of sunburn.

Aloe Vera has long been considered an important Medicine. Aside from burns, it has also been used for wounds, stomach pain and digestive disorders, constipation, headache, itching, baldness, mouth and gum diseases, kidney ailments, blistering, and blemishes. Native Americans called the plant “wands of heaven” and used it for healing, especially for burns. The gel seems to mildly kill the germs on the surface and promote healing.

Aloe Vera penetrates the skin quickly and deeply. This allows water and other moisturizers to sink deeply into the skin, restoring lost fluids and replacing the fatty layer. It permits the uronic acids, which strip toxic materials of their harmful effects, to penetrate deeply and allows the cleansing astringent qualities of the gel to work better. By increasing the circulation of the blood to an area, Aloe Vera sloughs off the dead cells and fosters the growth of new ones. This helps foster the regeneration of scarred or blemished skin tissue and provides a protective coating on the skin to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This antiseptic action also stops skin infections (acne) in oil-clogged pores. It heals blemishes with little or no scarring. It is also said to replace lost hair and eliminate liver spots.

Aloe Vera makes a nice house plant. It is easy to grow and requires very little care. When the soil dries out, it needs to be watered. Repot when the plant outgrows the pot and when many little starts form. When you need the plant for use, just pinch off an adequate section of leaf, trim off the prickles, and squeeze out the gel or apply directly to the wound.

Jo Francks is a Master Herbalist graduate of The School of Natural Healing. She is also a Holistic Iridologist and Quantum Touch practitioner. 



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