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Ginger - Essential Oil/Herb of the Month - January

By Ann C Wooledge
on January 17, 2010

Ginger as a cramp reliever?

Ginger tea has been tested and found to be as effective as ibuprofen for relieving painful monthly periods. Just add 2 tbsp of ground or chopped fresh ginger root in hot water and let steep for about 15 minutes, strain and sweeten as desired.

Ginger essential oil is also a very warming essential oil and improves circulation and blood flow, which is why we’ve added it to our very effective best seller Spicey Muscle Oil.

In a bath you can also gain the benefits of fresh ginger root by grating or chopping about 4 tbsp and placing in a muslin bag and placing the bag under running bathwater. Research also shows that ginger has skin rejuvenating properties and can brighten skin – use carefully and sparingly as it can also be skin sensitizing. We like to add our Muscle Soothe essential oil blend to our Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salts for an easy fix for aching, tired muscles and bones.

Traveling? – for motion sickness either carry a bottle of the ginger essential oil and sniff it from a tissue, use it in a car diffuser (coming soon to our website), or try crystallized or pickled ginger, all of which have been shown to work better than other over-the-counter medications at preventing and treating motion sickness.

Give these a try! Let us know how you use ginger and the results you’ve had with it.

Another recipe using ginger – haven’t tried this one yet, but can’t wait. Please, please!! Let us know if you try this and what you thought, or how you would change it or even any of your own favorite recipes using ginger.


Carrot Ginger Soup:

Spice Blend:
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp black pepper corns
3 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
2 star anise
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Using cheesecloth, gather edges around spices or use a clean muslin bag and tie tightly. Add the bag to chicken or vegetable broth.

Soup Base:
1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil (or enough to saute vegetables)
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 pound carrots (buy the ones marked for juicing – they’re cheaper and chop up easily)
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Saute onions and carrots in olive oil for about 5 minutes – they’ll cook more later. Add bag of spices to broth and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down just enough to keep liquid to a low simmer, add carrots and onions and continue simmering until carrots are tender – about 15 minutes. Remove bag of spices and process the soup with a hand blender until soup is smooth and carrots are pureed. Or – if you’re like us, leave some lumps!

If the soup is too thick, add additional seasoned stock, up to 2 cups, to achieve desired consistency. Adjust seasonings. Place sour cream in a plastic bag, snip the corner and squirt a swirl of sour cream around the bowl of soup. You can be really fancy and drag a toothpick from the center of the bowls out to the edges, forming a spider web design on soup. Top with some fresh sprigs of cilantro!

Be sure to let us know if you try this and if you have any suggestions to improve it.

Hopefully, healthfully helpful!

Ann

Does Ginger really work to prevent nausea?

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on January 13, 2010
9 comments

Other than occasional nausea with flu’s and perhaps mild cases of food poisoning, I don’t think most of us have problems with nausea. There are some populations of people that experience chronic nausea and I can’t think of very much in my life that I find as unpleasant as being nauseous. It’s a terrible way to feel and it carries with it the problem of upsetting the electrolyte balance in your body and that in and of itself can be quite dangerous. As a nurse, mother and grandmother, I’ve seen, smelled, cleaned up and tried to alleviate the suffering of those who had nausea. Frankly, it was and is one of my very least favorite things to do and thankfully, I don’t have nausea except rarely. But, I’ve had friends and loved ones who have suffered with this.

There are three populations of people who experience this debilitating problem on an ongoing basis and below are my recommendations for each, along with some research.

1. During pregnancy – ginger used fresh in tea or foods. If not alleviated with herb, try the essential oil. See note below.
2. During chemotherapy – ginger used fresh, ginger essential oil inhaled.
3. Post surgery – depending on age, ginger essential oil inhaled.

Aromatherapy as well as herbs do have an answer for alleviating nausea. There are really only one or two effective pharmaceutical drugs that actually make a difference, one of which is fairly expensive. I think natural means are more effective, don’t require a prescription and from my research work as effectively, if not more so than pharmaceutical drugs.

From the research I’ve done, as well as anecdotal evidence obtained from others and personal experience, two essential oils in particular have a history of helping to reduce and even stop nausea. Peppermint and Ginger essential oils are both well-known for their ability to do just that.

Ginger during pregnancy:
Some sources say there is not enough information about the safety of ginger in pregnant women to recommend it for morning sickness, saying that ginger inhibits an enzyme called thromboxane synthetase and may possibly influence sex steroid differentiation in the fetal brain. Studies have not confirmed this. Martin Watt, a well-known voice in the aromatherapy world believes, and to quote: “There are NO essential oils that used externally are proven as harmful to a developing foetus. The vast majority of oils you have listed are common food additives. This is all stuff from the aromatherapy novel writers.”

As a nurse and certified professional aromatherapist, I tend to err on the side of caution when using essential oils during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, which is when most nausea occurs. Essential oils are aromatic hydrocarbons and are very small molecules perfectly capable of crossing the placenta and the blood brain barrier. My question is and will be until someone is able to prove differently, since essential oils are metabolized through the liver – does a fetus have the ability to accomplish this and at what risk? However, my favorite resource for essential oil safety is the classic “Essential Oil Safety” by Robert Tisserand and Tony Balacs. They include ginger essential oil in their list of “Essential oils SAFE to use in pregnancy.” So – my recommendation and suggestion would be to try the tea first and if the nausea is truly causing difficulties such as electrolyte imbalances, switch over to the essential oil gradually. To some the smell of ginger can actually be too strong. I am writing a longer discussion that we will publish soon about pregnancy and safety using herbs and/or essential oils. Peppermint is not recommended during pregnancy.

Nausea with migraines:
As I said, I rarely experience nausea. I do, however, have migraines and fairly frequently. I woke up one morning this past summer with an absolutely horrible migraine with accompanying nausea – which rarely (can’t remember ever before actually) happens for me. Migraines are frequently accompanied with nausea. It was my experience this particular morning. My dilemma – I couldn’t take my normal ibuprofen (not recommending that – and that’s another story), or even my prescription medication for migraines (again, not recommending that either), because my stomach was first of all empty and, secondly, I would have just lost it in the toilet anyway. Along with that issue, I really couldn’t even get out of the bed to even get to those items much less take them. This was an unusually severe migraine. To say I was miserable is so not even close to relating to you how bad I felt. Then out of desperation I realized that I had been recommending to other people the use of peppermint and/or ginger essential oils for nausea – just sniffing it is sufficient for most. I’d never really tried it myself – truly. I’d also been recommending Lavender for years for people with migraines, but I’d always thought mine were just too severe to even give it a try. Now, I shouldn’t be admitting this to you, but I knew that it worked for others, but for some reason, (medical background, taking a pill seems easier and more effective? I don’t know) I hadn’t tried Lavender to alleviate my own migraines. Well at that point – it seemed not only the obvious solution, but the only solution. I asked my husband to bring me my peppermint, lavender and ginger essential oils – and quickly please. I simply placed a few drops of the ginger onto a tissue, breathed it in and felt almost immediate relief – seriously. I sat back a minute, actually being somewhat surprised that it worked and worked quickly and effectively. But, my head still hurt and my first impulse was to now take my usual ibuprofen – but decided to try the Lavender instead since it was there in my hand anyway. I opened the bottle, with a dropper cap which should always be on any bottles you buy, and dotted my forehead with straight lavender. It worked! And it has continued to work since that time. I now just put a few drops on my forehead each time I feel a headache starting and it stops it in its tracks. Now, you are talking to someone who has been using and recommending that others use essential oils for years. I just hadn’t personally tried those two for those two problems – shame on me!

Ginger and cancer:
A study (Levine, Gillis, Koch, Voss, Stern, & Koch, 2008) showed that high protein meals that included ginger (fresh) reduced nausea of chemotherapy and reduced the need for use of antiemetic (anti-nausea) medications.

A precautionary statement from the American Cancer Society, who usually sides with allopathic medicine and as an organization is well-funded by pharmaceutical companies, nevertheless, had valid points that I think are important to include in this discussion: "While ginger may be effective in treating nausea and vomiting associated with some cancer treatments, it may also interfere with blood clotting. This could be life threatening to some patients receiving chemotherapy.

Recent preliminary results in animals show some effect in slowing or preventing tumor growth. While these results are not well understood, they warrant further investigation. However, it is too early in the research process to say whether ginger will have the same effect in humans." This is one of those times I would agree with checking with your doctor first. Hopefully you have a physician who has taken the time to become educated on alternative modalities.

My favorite recipes lately have been for anything that has a curry-like taste and we attempt to make our own by simply adding cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger and fresh nutmeg into what would have been a basic vegetable soup or stew. All of these herbs are well-researched for their ability to make you healthier. We’ll do individual articles about each another time. Chai as a coffee substitute is not only wonderful on cold winter days, but includes many beneficial properties in each of its ingredients. A recipe we tried recently:

Chai Tea/Coffee:

3 – 4 peppercorns
2 dried cinnamon sticks (about 1 inch each)or organic sweet cinnamon chips (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
1 tbsp cardamon powder (prefer the whole, but didn’t have it on hand)
4 – 5 clove buds
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and cubed
Approximately 2 turns of the fresh nutmeg grinder – you can always add more to each cup to taste
Either green tea or chicory – amount depending on individual preference as to strength
Sweeten as you prefer. I use and recommend stevia.

Simmer the spice blend (add tea or chicory later) with 3 cups of water for 5 minutes,then steep for another 10 to 20 minutes. Strain into cup and add soy or almond milk and tea or chicory (or both). Reheat slightly if needed. I actually reuse the chai mixture over and over again for a few days, adding water each time and only adding the milk individually with each cup.

So, what does work for you? I’d love to hear comments about things that you’ve tried, things that have worked and things that didn’t work. See our comments section below.

Bryer E. A literature review of the effectiveness of ginger in alleviating mild-to-moderate nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2005 Jan-Feb;50(1):e1-3.

Levine, Gillis, S.Koch, Voss, Stern, and K. Koch “Protein and ginger for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced delayed nausea”, Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.). 01/07/2008; 14(5):545-51.

New & Improved All-Purpose Household Cleaner

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on January 08, 2010
1 comment

Non-toxic, hypoallergenic, all purpose household cleaner – New Formula! ON SALE WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

FINALLY! We’ve finished our testing of the new All Purpose Household Cleaner and frankly we are really impressed with it. We don’t make this cleaner, we purchase the base and then add our own therapeutic, clinical grade (just means they aren’t adulterated) essential oils. This cleaner is non-toxic completely and works on everything I could test it on, plus our other testers were really impressed as well, receiving a thumbs up from everyone. Unscented it still does a great job cleaning, but with the addition of essential oils, it becomes a natural antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral cleaner. Dr. Mercola recently posted a couple articles on his site about how pervasive these bad guys are – germs – in everyone’s house. This isn’t anything we didn’t already know and we’ve all seen that even in the grocery stores, they are offering wipes for your grocery cart to help deter any possibility of picking up some of those nasties. Truth is, it’s really hard to avoid them – even if you’re a hermit in an Alaskan cabin somewhere (okay, my house feels like that lately). We have always offered an all purpose household cleaner, and liked it, but it just wasn’t quite as perfect as I wanted – so we kept searching and testing, which is one of the things we do best. Take a look at the different essential oil blends offered and read about the benefits for each one – all essential oils are naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal – some more than others and they do NOT contribute to the ever-growing problem of resistant bacteria.

Features & Benefits:

My husband, while pouring out of a 5 gallon bucket into a 12 oz bottle, spilled some of the cleaner on one of our upholstered dining room chairs and I was seriously worried that it was going to stain it – but nope it didn’t, nary a spot. Some of our “tests” are unplanned! This all purpose cleaner is the ultimate eco-friendly cleaner for your entire house. It is made with 100% botanical actives and will safely – and very effectively I might add – clean any water washable surface in your home. I have used it extensively on the new ceramic tile floor Warren put in the kitchen and on our laminate wood floor in the family room. It makes me feel very good to know that as a grandmother I don’t have to worry when the grandkids crawl or play on the floor.

Biodegradable:

This cleaner is completely biodegradable! It is made from powerful ingredients that are all natural and from sustainable sources – something we are having to pay much closer attention to these days. I compare this cleaner with one that I used to use in our bathrooms that if I even got a drop on my hand, it would cause a red spot! Now that can’t be good for the air I breathe, it causes additional harm to the water supply, and it certainly isn’t a safe chemical to have in my home. As always, we do not buy products that have been tested on animals. Well…that’s not entirely true, we do use our soaps and balms on Abby and Brit – and the Bugz Off!

Coming Soon:

Coming soon are two blogs that will give you more ideas on how to keep your house free of germs, where to look for them and why essential oils accomplish much of this task. The other blog is the one I had hoped to have out before Christmas – well, it’s still very relevant today. Also keep watch for our updated list of ingredients and their benefits which will give you good information as to why our ingredients are environmentally sustainable, why we choose organic and why they work so well in our products.

Directions:

Effectively and safely cleans all water washable surfaces. Spray product unto surface and wipe clean using a damp sponge or cloth. For cleaning floors, add ½ cup (approx. 125 ml) to a gallon (4.5L) of water. We will be offering this in a larger gallon refill size in the near future.

Stay warm!
Ann

Pumpkin Protein Preventing Yeast Infections?

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

Pumpkin Protein May Field Off Yeast Infections We believe this is why our Baby Boo Boo Balm works so well – we use Pumpkin Oil, but it’s Pumpkin SEED oil – wonder if the seed holds some of the same benefits. VERY Interesting read, we get so many great testimonials on how well our balm works.

Click here to read the article on WebMD!

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.

How Amazing is Eucalyptus Essential Oil?

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on December 29, 2009

This past week I’ve been working on bottling some of our special aromatherapy blends into larger bottles to meet the demands of the season. It occurred to me how many of our blends use the essential oil Eucalyptus. We use three different varieties of Eucalytpus, each similar yet used differently. You will find on our website blends in which we’ve used Eucalyptus globulus, probably the most familiar one and the most adulterated one by the large brand cleaning products and room sprays (ours isn’t!), Lemon eucalyptus, and Eucalyptus radiata. I was reading this article and felt that it would be beneficial and interesting for those of you who are interested in learning more about aromatherapy – especially some of the ones that are a “must have” in every home. Here is an article entitled 4 Amazing Things You Can do with Eucalyptus. Let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or new ways to use these very versatile and powerful – and pleasant essential oils. While you’re here you might want to check out our Organic Eucalyptus (globulus) Air Sanitizer

Have a great day!
Ann

Updated addendum (June 2010) - we recently added Eucalyptus polybractea, certified organic to our supply of essential oils and to our blends using Eucalyptus. This particular Eucalyptus is probably the strongest antibacterial and that is why we've added it to some of our blends used for that purpose. However, we don't and won't add it to the Breathe Easy blend because this would not be a good oil for anyone with asthma as it could produce a strong reaction. The Breathe Easy uses Eucalyptus radiata and a smaller amount of Eucalyptus globulus, both still powerful oils, but this blend was formulated to NOT elicit the same cough reflex that you find with other varieties of this amazing oil.

Certified Organic Jojoba Oil

By Healthy Planet Blog Your Naturally Healthy Skin
on December 29, 2009

Did you know that jojoba oil is not really an oil – it’s a wax, liquid wax, but wax nonetheless? And, more importantly than that, it is very much like the same oil in your skin called sebum, which is one of the many reasons it is such an amazing ingredient to use in skin care products – all of our creams and balms have jojoba oil – certified organic of course. Jojoba contains a natural anti-inflammatory called myristic acid and is useful in formulations for arthritis and rheumatism, which is why we use it in our Spicey Muscle Oil.

Jojoba oil (pronounced “ho-HO-bah”) is produced in the seed of the jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant, a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico. We use jojoba oil in all of our creams because we’ve done the research and testing and know how effective it is in moisturizing dry or chapped skin. Want a more detailed look at this oil/wax – take a look at our ingredients information pages

Spicey Muscle Oil - great for those winter muscle aches & pains!

By Healthy Planet Blog Aromatherapy at Home
on December 10, 2009

Talk about writer’s cramp! Good grief!! I picked up at least 5 different writer’s magazines at Barnes & Noble all talking about writer’s cramp. Read a few and, no I didn’t buy one of them. I’m not a writer, I’m a manufacturer of organic and natural personal care products who does like to write about her products, ingredients, children, grandchildren, husband and our two dogs. I had planned on starting out with an article about using aromatherapy to relieve stress during the holidays – the obvious choice I’d say for our website and what we offer here. It’s written (handwritten – can you believe it?!) in a notebook and will at some point in time be transferred over to this electronic version, hopefully very soon, maybe even before the holidays are over…

Past injuries or surgeries causing pain?
In the meantime, I began to notice how often I was using our Spicey Muscle Oil and how I knew it was helping my aching neck (osteoarthritis), left knee (old surgery) and left foot (new surgery) – especially the past couple days when the weather changed to BAD! Not bad I guess for our son and grandson who came over to borrow the sleds. Point is this – I wanted to introduce you to this very helpful product and didn’t want to wait until my writer’s cramp episode was over. In the past we tried the usual deep heat type rubs, but they didn’t really get down to where the muscles just ached and certainly didn’t help the nerve pain at all. We tried even making our own menthol based cream that was better, but still didn’t address the deep nerve pain and didn’t last very long. No more though. We’ve developed a deep penetrating muscle oil that is warming, soothing, lasts a long time and works immediately. Let me introduce it to you:

Pain due to changes in weather?
Has the weather changed drastically in just the past few days in your part of the world? Well, it has here in Lincoln, NE. Lots of the white stuff and single digit temperatures. I moved to Nebraska a little over 19 years ago and I still haven’t gotten used to the cold. I guess I won’t. Cold weather, especially drastic changes, causes those muscles and joints to flare up with increased inflammation, pain and stiffness. I developed the Spicey Muscle Oil a couple of years ago after foot surgery. I had what seemed like intolerable pain in that foot for quite a long time and still do. As with most of our products, they were developed out of a practical need. This time in desperation I got out all of my books and did some research, bottled it up and ended up with what we believe to be an amazingly beneficial oil that is effective for all types of pain – arthritic, nerves, bruises, even claudication. Recently one of my customers told me she uses it for monthly cramps and it works well! Why am I telling you this you are probably asking? We’ve decided since the temperatures have dropped, that we’re not the only ones with aches and pains. How much snow did you shovel this week?!

One Week Special
We are putting our Spicey Muscle Oil on special at 20% off for one week only. I won’t go into all the benefits and reasons why this oil works so well, some of it we don’t even know, but it makes for a good read on our website. Check out the “description, ingredients and benefits” tabs. It is especially good for inflammation, swelling, and deep penetrating pain that just won’t go away. We all know that regular or chronic use of ibuprofen or Tylenol is counterproductive, so a natural remedy with organic ingredients that really works is really special. So our special Spicey Muscle Oil will be on special starting today, December 10th, and will run until December 17th – hope you get a chance to take advantage of it. Plus we still have free shipping through the month of December!

Too bad it doesn’t work for “writer’s cramp.”

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