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Natural Aromatherapy Toothpaste

By Aromatherapy Recipes Holistic Healthy Body
on August 12, 2011
2 comments

Homemade Toothpaste - a better alternative?

 

How many of you actually use a "pea-sized amount" of toothpaste when you brush your teeth - and how many of you are sure your kids don't swallow any of that stuff? The warning is clearly there on that tube of toothpaste - look for yourself. And "in case of accidental ingestion, call the poison control center." I know, me either. I have always watched closely when my grandkids brush their teeth, but good grief how can you possibly get your teeth clean with a "pea sized" amount? Dr. Mercola has an interesting article on this and I've shared the link below.

Now I've always had sensitive teeth and gums - hated, hated, hated (did I say hated?) the every six-month trip to the dentist. I've never really paid a lot of attention to the toothpaste I used, probably usually the most inexpensive. I've also never really believed the advertising hype about whiter, brighter, etc. While working on something else the other day and had a bottle of glycerine sitting close by from a batch of cream made earlier in the day, I decided to make myself a new, better, really truly whiter, brighter, cleaner, chemical-free, fluoride-free toothpaste. You know what? It works great and my gums are no longer sensitive and they don't ache periodically through the day. Here's my simple recipe. I think you can get the ingredients in any drug store.

Baking Soda
Glycerine (vegetable)
Lemon (Citrus limonum) essential oil, organic
Hydrogen Peroxide (the low % that's readily available)
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Essential Oil
Xylitol (powdered - easily found in health food stores)

You can make it in whatever size you'd like. I would suggest a small jar that you can close since the essential oils will evaporate more quickly otherwise. I simply put a small amount of baking soda in a small dish, added enough glycerine to make it into a thick paste, then added a little bit more hydrogen peroxide for a thinner paste, but thick enough to stick to your tooth brush. I then added about 1 to 2 drops of each essential oil. I added the xylitol just until sweet enough - not too sweet. It's very good for your teeth and kills oral bacteria that causes dental decay.

The lemon essential oil is a well known whitener, it tastes good and it really does work to brighten your teeth. The baking soda gently scrubs your teeth and actually makes them sparkle. The glycerine is a preservative, plus it makes the mixture sweet imparting a pleasant taste. The peppermint can be used or not, but I like to add it because it makes my mouth feel clean - and it is clean. The peppermint is also a powerful antibacterial that will help eliminate plaque. And, of course, the hydrogen peroxide is another antibacterial ingredient - you could also optionally add this one, depending on whether you have any sores or problems at this time.

Additionally, if you have any sores in your mouth, depending on what the root (pun intended) cause, you could switch the peppermint to cinnamon leaf (Cinnamonum verum) essential oil. Go lightly and test as you go with cinnamon as it is a skin irritant and must be diluted quite a bit - but it has amazing antiviral properties. Watch for a blog soon about herpes viruses (I know yuck, but someone has to talk about it, why not me!).

That's it - simple, cheap and seriously cleans, deodorizes and contributes to both teeth and gum health. Not worried about swallowing any of this stuff since it's good for me anyway. I admit I haven't tried this out on my grandkids yet, but I think they'll like it because it's naturally sweet from the glycerine content.

What about you - do you have sore, aching gums and teeth? Have you tried a toothpaste that you particularly like and why? Do you have your own handmade recipe? I'd love to hear what everyone else uses.

Thanks for listening!

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/07/Warning-Never-Swallow-Regular-Toothpaste.aspx

Absorbed into the blood stream?

By Healthy Planet Blog Your Naturally Healthy Skin
on June 22, 2011
2 comments

Sunscreen, mineral oil, parabens - are they absorbed into the blood stream?

 

Interesting post by Dr. Mercola from a study done in 2009. Although we absolutely don't use any mineral oil, no BPA in our containers and if our creams did actually absorb that easily into your "bloodstream" it would be a good thing. However, I'm not so sure our skin allows that - that's why it's called a barrier. I've asked some experts (other than me of course!) and I'll let you know what they say. Essential oils do, in fact, absorb fairly quickly into the blood stream, but again, that can be a very good thing. But Dr. Mercola makes some pretty bold statements about the permeability of the skin. I've highlighted those statements I find particularly questionable - to quote:

Now these are Dr. Mercola's words not mine: "Remember, your skin is your largest organ -- and also the thinnest. Less than 1/10th of an inch separates your body from potential toxins. Worse yet, your skin is highly permeable. Most items you rub on  your skin will end up in your bloodstream, and will be distributed throughout your body. This is why I'm so fond of saying "don't put anything on your body that you wouldn't eat if you had to..." and a petrochemical is certainly not something you would eat!

Putting chemicals on your skin may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body.

However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs. And once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, it really adds up."  End of quote!

WHY IS THAT NOT A LEGITIMATE DISCUSSION?:

First and foremost, the reason you should choose a nature-based, earth-based product is NOT because of all the scare tactics and the particularly scary discussion about everything being absorbed into the blood stream and then to your organs! Good grief - and this is a Medical Doctor, who, of course, has his own "certified organic" skin care line - just a thought.

The reason we started our business was that we didn't want the mineral oil, the parabens, the sharp harsh fragrances and particularly because of all the products that were accumulating in the bathroom closet not being used because they DID NOT WORK!  I stopped using parabens when I finally found they were the culprit for my breakouts! We discovered the same thing with my daughter. I'm not saying that's true of everyone, but it is a distinct possibility. I didn't even know about the endocrine disruptor thing back in 2002! I just started looking at the ingredients on some of the most expensive products, and looked each of those ingredients up in one of my first books on cosmetic safety and efficacy. The book is written by a cosmetic scientist, Michael Rutledge, "Product of Misinformation - Demystifying Cosmetics and Personal Care Claims, Terms and Ingredients." 

I wrote an article (before Paula Begoun or Skin Deep) on my first website called "Analyze This", where I took each ingredient individually and "analyzed" a 2 oz jar of "Re-Storation by Z. Bigatti", which cost $150.00 in 2002! I looked up what was said about each ingredient and what exactly was that particular ingredient doing, or NOT doing, for your skin. Was it doing anything bad to your body and, regardless, why would you pay that much for a cream that has this junk in it anyway?!  One of the main ingredients of this expensive cream, at that time, was petrolatum and mineral oil - cheap, cheap, cheap. Regardless of the fact they are petroleum products, the molecules are too big to go anywhere to do any good at all. I'll have to find a way to post that original "Analyze This" article even though I was a rank amateur at the time and had not yet learned about the benefits of essential oils or even what Superoxide Dismutase is (thank you Dr. Perricone), it still gives you a clear indication of why you don't need a lot of synthetic ingredients that cost a lot when nature has already provided you with something much better. With one very important exception - at this point in time, "nature" has not provided you with a lot of good choices for preservatives unless you want the cream to smell like the blend of essential oils that are doing the preservation. Believe me - we are all looking for the Holy Grail. Some think they have found it; I don't think so. They (the preservative system) may be approved for organic certification, but they are still processed. Not saying we aren't testing and hoping, because we are.

BACK TO THEN:

At that time, we also had been through an amazing array of totally worthless yet expensive products developed by pharmaceutical companies. My daughter, who has had eczema since birth, and I needed something better. In my research I became acutely aware that it is always a good idea to use products as close to nature as possible. NO - they do not have to have the USDA seal - only very few product lines have that and the majority of those are just a bunch of oils, maybe some butters, melted down and put in a jar - essentially that's a balm! You can easily do this at home people!!  It takes a lot more expense, expertise, extensive research and testing, testing, testing to make a real cream or lotion that actually affects the health of your skin and doesn't rot in less than 2 weeks! Creams and lotions are emulsions - meaning the oil and the water have to figure out how to get mixed together. Think of homemade mayonnaise or vinaigrette's. So - we use "emulsifiers".  In the beginning I used beeswax and borax - it worked but not always and not for long periods of time, besides borax was getting a bad rap at that time. Most of us use what we call Emulsifying wax NF - we use the vegetable based one. Once you've done your testing, testing, testing (did I say testing, testing, testing?) - you can figure out how much emulsifier and preservative you need for the percentage of oils, butters and water in your formula. It is a science, it's interesting and it's fun. By using water in your cream, you can add all sorts of great ingredients that come directly from botanical sources; i.e., blackwillow bark extract, among many others. Many companies are trying to figure out how to make their products meet the organic standards set up by the USDA for AGRICULTURE! So - they're telling us we have to have an organic emulsifier, an organic or approved preservative, etc. What does this mean to you? It means that almost all products that are creams or lotions and have been "certified organic" by the USDA have sacrificed quality for marketing. Look for yourself - what do most of them have at the top of their list of ingredients? Hmmm - organic alcohol! Yep, it may even be organic grape alcohol - it's alcohol nonetheless. They are using that ingredient as their "organic" and "approved" preservative. Do you know that it takes a very large percentage of alcohol to preserve any cream? David Steinberg, the "preservative guru for cosmetic companies" says that alcohol (denatured in the cosmetic world) is "active against everything but dependent on concentration."  Although actually he's not 100% correct on this, because alcohol isn't totally effective against molds - but that's another blog. He tells us that when the "concentration falls below 15% alcohol actually becomes a growth medium." So, that means we need at least 15 to 20%, and probably more than that, depending on how many botanical ingredients are included and what the percentage of water to lipids is - bacteria grows in water, not oils (lipids). Do you also know what alcohol, regardless if it is organic or not, does to your skin? I think you do.

BACK TO DR. MERCOLA:

I'm just not sure I agree with his bold statements about the permeability of the skin. We learned in nursing school that the skin is a barrier, but it only takes a little bit of knowledge and experience to realize that the permeability of most people's skin certainly depends on the health of an individual (diabetics for sure), their age, their ethnicity, and many other variables. Not saying I totally disagree, but there is still much debate out there and to boldly go where no one has is a bit too much marketing prose.

We changed to "as close to nature" as possible just because that's how we live our lives in general. Dr. Mercola has a profit incentive (his own certified organic skin care line), when he says to look for the USDA seal, that is just a bunch of hog wash! A lot of politics in play I'm afraid. Do look at the ingredients - always look at the ingredients. Look for oils and butters that are natural and are at the top of the list. You NEED a preservative!! Unless you want to use your cream in one week or two (probably less in the summertime) - and it certainly couldn't/shouldn't sit on a shelf for very long if at all. That's why most of the USDA certified organic skin care products are made without water! Water causes the bacteria to grow. So do you really want a greasy balm all the time? It's excellent for some applications and we make a great one. But for every day hand and body cream -  give me a thick, rich cream made from certified organic oils and butters - NOT shea extract, but shea butter! You can't make a CREAM without water - that's why it's called an emulsion. These products actually HEAL skin issues, not just cover them up like the dermatology/pharmaceutical products that are thrown at you. Steroids eventually thin the skin and make it less of an effective barrier.

BOTTOM LINE:

If you want healthy, hydrated, regenerated skin tissue, find products that have ingredients that are plant-based oils and butters at the beginning of the ingredient list, not as extracts at the end of the list. Botanical extracts are awesome and they will often come at the end because you don't need a lot and often they are "tinctures", which are alcohol based extracts. Essential oils will also be listed at the end of the list because there are safety limits for the percentage allowed or needed. You really don't want a large percentage of either of those. Ethical cosmetic formulators research and know the percentage of each ingredient that they need to formulate a particular product to allow it to perform the way they want it to - and that should be to be beneficial for your skin and not harmful to your body. My advice? Look for those formulators and companies who are more interested in the health of your skin than they are about how the USDA certified organic seal will affect their bottom line. Oh - and yes, I do have a profit incentive here, but that is not what motivates our company.

Thanks for listening!

Baking soda to fight the flu!?

By Healthy Planet Blog Nutrition and Natural Health
on December 29, 2009
1 comment

Baking Soda - is it good for many things?

Updated October 11, 2011:  While taking one of our 3-day a week walks with a friend of mine, she mentioned that someone with a natural health education had recommended taking baking soda with water every day. I countered this with the comment that I had heard and studied that in my natural health classes, but I also remember being told in nursing school that it wasn't a good idea, but couldn't remember why but there were cautions with using it internally. After that conversation, I remembered I had written a blog about this a couple of years ago - which follows below. In the meantime, I also decided to look at the box of baking soda itself where it lists cautions and "Warnings" as follows:

1. Ask a doctor before use if you have a sodium restricted diet.
2. Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are taking a prescription drug. Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.
3. Do not administer to children under age 5 (all in bold letters.)
4. Stomach warning: To avoid serious injury, do not take until powder is completely dissolved. It is very important not to take this product when overly full from food or drink (again all in bold letters.) Consult a doctor if severe stomach pain occurs after taking this product.

While reading this I remember why I thought that this might not be a good idea to use daily in spite of what I learned in natural health classes and/or what I learned in nursing classes. Always understand WHY you are taking anything before taking it and that includes over-the-counter or pharmaceutical drugs. Are you using it to alkalinize your stomach contents to avoid indigestion or are you using it to alkalinize your blood (balance the pH of your body)? Well, if it's to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach - is that really what you need or want to do? As we get older, actually our stomach has less acid and we need it to digest the food that we eat, which is why I do not advocate TUMS or other such products. I do highly advocate probiotics, yogurt and chewable papaya extract tablets (that taste good too!) Even to use to alkalinize or balance the pH of your body, should we be recommending that people do this daily? I'm not convinced yet, but would really love some feedback from those who have tried this and/or advocate it - or not advocate it.

Original article from 2009:

Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask me for advice on how to either “get rid of” the flu or what to do to enhance their immune system to prevent the flu, or how to keep their environment clean to keep the flu from walking in their door. All very good questions, and I love receiving them because I do think I have a lot of good answers for all of those questions. Many of the answers we will be writing more about in the next few weeks as soon as Christmas orders slow down a little, not that I’m complaining for goodness sakes! Thank you one and all for choosing to give Wingsets’ products for Christmas this year! Take a look at our newly reformulated (as of Oct 2011) Breathe Easy, Immune Enhancer and Cold & Flu #2 essential oil blends. I'll be writing more about each of those separately, as well as our Cold & Flu blends.

I did run across an article today about using baking soda, which is simply 100% sodium bicarbonate. I have sitting beside me a large box of the Arm & Hammer because we use it in our bath salts and body powders. It’s an amazing product and has many uses, but one that is largely ignored by the medical community is that it can be used to alkalinize the body. What this means is that it can balance the pH of your blood, which is important for a good strong immune system and general health and well-being. Here is a link to Dr. Mercola’s article about this product and how to use it: Overlooked 150 Year Old Household Cleaner a Remedy for Swine Flu?

Let me repeat here a caution that he mentions about aluminum being present in this Arm & Hammer product. "Many believe that Arm and Hammer Baking Soda as it is contaminated with aluminum even though the company that makes it claims it does not. We have been able to confirm that there are aluminum free baking sodas like Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda. If you have any information on this please add it to the comment section below.

That being said – we will be changing over to Bob’s Red Mill baking soda. We can still use the Arm & Hammer for cleaning. I just wouldn’t want to take the chance of consuming it or sitting in a bath tub full of it if there is even a remote chance it contains aluminum.

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