Natural facial care, for natural beauty – a gift with Weleda Skincare

Whatever our stage of life, skincare that cleanses naturally deep deep down into the pores is the basis for looking good, and feeling good too.

Weleda’s latest range of cleansing and toning ointments have been made with organically grown raw materials to cleanse thoroughly and tone gently without drying your skin.

Cleanser and Toner
The milky lotion of Weleda’s dual action Cleanser and Toner uses natural saponified olive to cleanse and tone in one step. Fragrant citrus essential oils work to revive the skin and enliven the senses.

Luxurious natural beauty
Luxurious natural beauty

Refining Toner
The Refining Toner is designed to leave your skin looking smooth and fresh. It will purify all skin types employing mildly astringent plant substances, such as extract of wild rose petals for pore refining and vivification.

Gentle Cleansing Milk
A creamy Cleansing Milk completes the range. With its unique combination of natural ingredients and nourishing oils, it has a gentle cleansing action without drying.

Perfect as a gift
It’s a wonderful new range from Weleda – out just in time to make a special beauty gift.

Whatever you give, Weleda gifts are specially selected to be kind to you and gentle on the planet. Why not select from one of their attrictive duo gift boxes?

You could giftwrap a duo of Sea Buckthorn Body Wash and Hand Cream, packed with antioxidants for replenishing your skin’s defences.

Or you could buy your man the soothing gift pack of  After Shave Balm and Shaving Cream.

But we won’t blame you if you just treat yourself. There’s a revitalising new Wild Rose Body Wash and Body Lotion for some  personal rejuvenating skin therapy.

And when you’ve had a hard day shopping try Weleda’s Foot Balm. (Or you could save your feet and order from the huge range at GoodnessDirect.)

Organic creams for the most sensitive skin

Having just written about vegan cosmetics which, by their very composition tend to be safe and natural, it’s good to introduce a new skincare range which is just that, and not surprisingly it’s vegan and organic too.

Organic  cream for sensitive skin
Organic cream for sensitive skin

Natraderm have created a new line of moisturising creams for use in the  shower, and for the hair and skin. And of course, being Natraderm, they are totally free from artificial colours, fragrances, sulphates, chemical preservatives or artificial foaming agents.

What is really excellent about these creams is that they are suitable for anyone with sensitive skin or suffering from eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, skin rashes and irritations.

The shower gels and shampoo are entirely organic and blended with extracts of Jojoba, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.

If you’ve ever used Natraderm you’ll know how soothing it is, so you can look forward to being gently cleansed and moisturised by these new skin-friendly creams.

Winning formula for beautiful skin

When you suffer from skin problems the instinctive thing to do is to take care of your skin more throughly. The trouble is it’s possible to hinder skincare more than you help it. Even when girls use mum’s cosmetics it can spell problems because they won’t necessarily have the same skin type.

If you suffer from spots and acne you might start washing your face twice daily or more to get rid of the bacteria. But the best thing you can do is speak to your doctor, washing your face in the morning (but not at night) can actually destroy your skin’s defences. It’s far better to wash your face before you go to bed and let your skin build up it’s natural protective barrier.

The skin’s natural protection is called the acid mantle, it helps to hold in your skin’s moisture and keep it free from infection. However it is neutralised by using alkaline soaps. Using a cleanser which is mildly acidic itself will strengthen the skin’s acidic shield and form the basis for daily skin care and a lifetime of beautiful skin.

This year, Yin Yang’s Skin Cleanser was winner in the Natural Health Beauty Awards as a “great morning cleanser, which gives the skin a dose of refreshment thanks to the witch hazel and uplifting orange essential oils.” Witch hazel, coconut oil and the essential orange oil are all naturally mildly acidic ingredients but, notably, there is no soap or detergent.

Yin Yang’s first priority has always been to use natural products to make the skin healthy. They base their products on plants which will deliver the proteins you need straight to your skin and their green credentials are very strong: no chemical additives and no animal testing.

Would you like to experience the Yin Yang philosophy “healthy skin is beautiful skin” for yourself? Then I’ve got a competition for you. The winner gets a box of Yin Yang’s essential skin care items. There are some runner up prizes too. All you need to do is send us an email with your address in it and the winners’ names will be drawn out of a hat on 4th December 2009.

The diversity of honey… for cooking to medicinal purposes

Honey in History

Man has been aware of the value of honey for many centuries. A painting found on rock in Spain which is thought to be thousands of years old, shows men taking honeycomb from a hole in a cliff.

The ancient Egyptians used honey in cooking and for medicinal purposes and made sacrificial offerings of it to their gods. Honey has also been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs in a sealed container and found to be almost as good quality as the day it was made, thousands of years before.

Britain was once called the Isle of Honey and it was used widely in cooking before the advent of white sugar. The most popular use for honey was in the preparation of alcoholic drinks, such as mead. It was made from the honey which remained in the combs after extraction by crushing and draining. The pieces of comb were then washed and the honey used to brew mead.

Honey Today

The leading honey-producing countries are the USA, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Mexico and China.

The uses of honey are as diverse as its places of origin. Today, it is used industrially in ice-cream manufacture, in anti-freeze for car radiators, as a spray adherent and in chewing gum.

Honey produced in Britain today originates from a great variety of floral sources, most importantly clover and heather. Gooseberry, plum, pear, apple, cherry, willow, holly, crab apple and maple are frequently basic sources of nectar. Since almost every honey is a blend of many floral nectars, the honey must contain at least 51% of the nectar of a particular flower in order to be labelled as honey of specific origin.

Varieties of Honey

Blended honey is honey from differing botanical and geographical sources which has been mixed together commercially. This can improve flavour, quality and even shelf life (where it alters the water content).

Clover was at one time the major variety of honey produced in Britain. However, the gradual loss of permanent pastureland has led to a decline in production. It is pale straw in colour and has a delightful aroma. However, it tends to granulate quickly. Rowse Organic New Zealand Clover Honey

Acacia is pale yellow and has a mild flavour. It is high in fructose and for this reason will remain liquid almost indefinitely. Origin: Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and China. Marlet Acacia Hive Honey

Australian Excellent quality and produced under the most strict standards of hygiene. Capilano Australian Organic Honey in No-Drip Pack

Chinese Almost a fifth of the honey imported into Britain is Chinese in origin. There are many varieties, but packaging can be below the standard of other sources.

Mexican Mexico has become one of the leading producers of honey. Quality and packaging excellent. Equal Exchange Mexican Honey

Storing Honey

Store in a covered container in a dry place at room temperature. If exposed to the air, honey tends to lose its flavour and absorb moisture. Honey kept some time tends to become darker and stronger, but will still be usable. It may also crystallise if kept at too cool a temperature. However, this does not affect the quality of the honey. In fact crystallisation will occur more readily in a pure and better quality honey. Sometimes a white layer will form on top of crystallised honey as tiny air bubbles are squeezed onto the surface. This does not mean the honey is spoiled. Pure, natural raw honey will never spoil and crystallisation can easily be remedied by placing the container in warm water until the crystals disappear.

How Honey is Made

Bees draw up nectar from the flower and store it in their honey sacs. Conversion into honey then starts immediately. It takes place in 2 stages – firstly fermentation (caused by enzymes in the nectar and enzymes extracted from the pharyngeal glands of the bees) and secondly, evaporation of any excess moisture.

Evaporation of excess moisture is achieved by the worker bee in the hive, who can tell instinctively if the honey has the correct texture – a concentration of about 60% sugar.

She then places it in the cells, fans her wings over it, getting rid of more excess moisture, until there is a sugar concentration of about 80%. The last job is to seal the cell with wax so that the honey will keep indefinitely.

Digestion

Honey is made up of simple sugars, converted by a secretion from the bees salivary tract. It is therefore easily and quickly absorbed and is a source of quick energy.

It promotes the correct working of the digestive organs and can be taken as a laxative. (Mix half molasses to half honey to provide a laxative with a balance of vitamins and minerals.)

Babies whose diet includes honey rarely suffer from colic. (Add 1-2 tsp to 8oz feed.)

Healing Properties

When honey is applied to burns, it will prevent the formation of blisters and promote quick healing of the skin.

Honey can absorb moisture and it has been prized for its mild antibiotic properties for centuries due to this fact. Where bacteria is trapped in honey, the honey will absorb moisture from the bacteria and so kill it off.

Manuka Honey is from the tee tree and has very strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Active+ Manuka Honey, try UMF activity for digestive maintenance Comvita Active UMF10+ Manuka Honey

Cosmetic Properties

A facepack can be made by mixing honey with half a cup of bran to form a smooth paste. Add rosewater to mix if necessary. Remove with warm water and apply a good astringent. Use twice a week to keep the skin soft, supple and free from scaliness.

Many hand and body lotions, facial creams, soaps and depilatories contain honey. It will penetrate tiny crevices through which even water will not pass. It therefore makes an excellent emollient as well as a protective, germ-proof shield.

Comvita Manukacare 18, a high potency sterilised UMF18+ Manuka honey, to protect shield and hydrate the skin.

Nutritional Value

Honey contains all the vitamins and trace elements which nutritionists consider necessary for health: the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and nicotinic acid. Unlike fruit and vegetables, it will never lose its vitamins during harvesting, storage and preparation. Trace elements include iron, copper, manganese, silicon, chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, aluminium and magnesium.

However, the exact composition of honey varies with the type of flower, the type of soil, the season of the year and the weather conditions at the time of collection. The darker honeys have the highest mineral content and can contain four times as much iron as lighter honeys.

Basic Cooking Information

Honey should be stored in a dry place as it absorbs and retains moisture. High temperatures affect the flavour of honey. Products should therefore be baked at lower temperatures (300-350oC/Gas mark 2-4) for a longer period of time. Honey is sweeter than sugar. One teaspoon of honey is equivalent in sweetness to 1.5 tsp sugar. Cakes, puddings, biscuits and sweets will stay fresh longer when made with honey. 1 tsp = 20 calories, 1 tbsp = 60 calories.

Recipes

Honey Wholemeal Bread Combine 450g (16 fl oz) warm milk with 1 tsp sea salt, 4 tbsp veg oil and 100g (4oz) honey. Add 1oz fresh yeast, crumbled. Mix well. Gradually add 400g (14oz) wholemeal flour with 225g (8oz) rye flour, mixing well.

Allow to stand for 5 mins, then knead for 8 mins until it becomes elastic in texture. Coat a large mixing bowl with oil. Coat dough in oil. Cover with a cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until double in size.

Knead the dough again and leave to rise for 45 mins. Knead a third time and divide into two. Allow to stand for 15 mins. Place the ball of dough on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise until double in size (this will take up to 1.5 hours). Bake for 45 mins or until browned at 190°C(375°F)/Gas mark 5.

Honey Mint Dressing Combine 175g (6oz) honey with 100g (4 fl oz) water and 0.5 tsp ground cardamom in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 mins. Add the mint leaves and allow mix to cool for 10-15 mins. Pour the liquid from the pan through a sieve into a blender. Add lemon rind and juice and the oil. Blend at low speed until smooth. Store in a fridge. Shake well before serving. Use with green salads, vegetables or fruit salad.

Honey Sweet and Sour Sauce Heat 1.5 tbsp veg oil. Stir in 15g (0.5oz) flour and gradually add 0.75 pint chicken stock, stirring constantly. Add 1.5 tbsp honey,1.5 tbsp strong mustard and 1 tbsp natural soy sauce. Simmer for 4-5 mins. Serve with nut loaf.

Fruit and Honey Spread Soak 454g (1lb/3 cups) of dried pears overnight. Drain the pears and then puree in a blender. Stir in 454g (1lb) honey and mix very well. Add lemon juice from one lemon and some of the peel of the lemon, finely grated. Store in a screw-top jar in the fridge, and use within a few weeks. Good on bread, stirred into yoghurt, or as a topping with nuts for a dessert. If you like, you can add spices to this spread, or you can make it in exactly the same way using other dried fruits such as apricots or peaches.

…search the range of honeys available from Goodness Direct

Summer Shape Up…

Longer days, shorter nights, sunshine and warmth – what could be nicer? Summer makes you feel good. It lifts your spirits after the depressingly cold months of winter, makes you feel lighter and more carefree…

For many of us it’s also the time of our annual holiday, the break we’ve saved for and looked forward to since… well, since… we came back from the last one. It’s also a time to shed the extra layers of winter – off come the jumpers and scarves, out come the little tops, t-shirts, swimsuits and bikinis that signal fun in the sun. They also take no prisoners – if you’re carrying a few pounds extra weight, if your skin is dull or spotty, it shows. Don’t wait until you’re sipping sangria by the pool to do something about it, prepare to look good now.

Slim down

It’s easy to put on weight in the winter – who wants to eat salad when it’s snowing outside? Hot comfort food, puddings, snacks in front of the TV all pile up while exercise and the gym on cold, dark nights have as much appeal as sticking your finger in your eye. Happily, the mind shift that seems to accompany summer means salads are once again on the menu as we opt for lighter foods and less of them. Heat has a great way of dulling your appetite and a cool drink, fruit and salad will often suffice where before only a three-course meal would do. Hopefully excess pounds will start to drop off naturally as your activity levels also increase, but you can give a helping hand and opt for a sensible weight-loss plan to suit your lifestyle. Supplements could also have a role to play here with lots of products available in-store. Some contain herbs designed to curb appetite or increase metabolism, others contain substances said to cling to fat, stopping its absorption by the body, such as chitosan. There’s also conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle; lecithin, which promotes the breakdown rather than storage of fat; chromium, which helps with blood sugar regulation and to reduce cravings; hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which could reduce the storage of carbs as fat; essential fatty acids, which could reduce bloating and help burn fat and B vitamins for efficient energy conversion.

Shape up

Even exercise becomes more of a pleasure in summer and it’s easier to fit into your schedule with the extended hours of daylight, especially if you’re into outdoor sports. The benefits that come from increased activity levels will stretch far beyond your holiday, improving your health long-term as you lay down more bone and muscle mass, increase and improve muscle tone and lose fat. Your metabolism will increase and you’ll find you have more energy for life as well as a renewed vigour and mental alertness. You don’t suddenly have to become superwoman to benefit either – even brisk walking will bring benefits. If you’re unused to regular exercise then start off slowly, speak to your GP before starting any new activity and work at a pace to suit you, don’t overdo it. Many people start off with the best of intentions only to give up once the novelty has worn off. One way to avoid this is to do something you enjoy then you’re more likely to stick with it – there’s no shame in hating the gym. If you were great at hockey or netball at school find a local club and sign up, if you were a pony-mad youngster then have a go at riding lessons, if you’ve always wondered what it’s like to sail a boat then find out. There’s no rule anywhere that says exercise has to be a chore, think back to being a child when running around and playing outside was fun and get that feeling back in the activity you choose now. Just being outside will blow away the cobwebs and you’ll use extra energy in related activities that don’t feel like exercise – with horse riding for example, you’ll also burn calories when grooming and mucking out.

Hydrate

Before reaching for a snack next time you’re hungry try drinking a glass of water first. It could be that you’re confusing hunger with thirst and you don’t really need those extra calories. The dieter’s friend, water is calorie-free and curbs appetite, it can also help if you’re feeling tired and run down, making you feel more alert and energetic. Try drinking water in preference to anything else – warm and cool – adding lemon juice or herbal tea if you get bored with the taste (or lack of it). Ideally, you should aim to drink one and a half to two litres a day, with more during and after exercise to keep you hydrated.

If you suffer from bloating then perhaps surprisingly, drinking more water can help rather than hinder fluid removal from body tissue. It can also help with cellulite, flushing toxins from fat cells and improving the look of your skin, not just on your hips and arms, but all over your body including your face.

Regulate

Aid weight loss and health by watching your diet and eating well. What you eat affects your weight as much as quantity – cakes, biscuits, crisps all provide saturated fat, sugar and not a lot else in the way of nutrients, while nuts and seeds provide fat but in a form the body can use rather than store. Similarly, fruit provides sugar but in a more natural form along with fibre, which means it’s absorbed more slowly into the blood. It’s this blood sugar balancing act that’s so important as when your blood sugar’s okay then you feel okay and you are able to lose weight more easily. When your blood sugar’s out of sync then not only is it harder to lose weight but cravings, shakiness, headaches, sweating and bad moods can result. Switch to brown rather than white rice and pasta, eat more fresh vegetables for their fibre as well as nutrients, increase fibre in your diet from other sources, such as beans, lentils and cereals like oats. All of these release sugar slowly (low glycaemic index – Gl – foods). Eating carbs with protein also helps keep blood sugar even but cut down on dairy and saturated fat from meat and try to eat oily fish at least a couple of times a week. Look for low Gl foods when shopping, some are nowlabelled as such and consider supplements such as chromium for cravings, omega 3 essential fatty acids (especially if you don’t like fish) as well as a good multi vitamin and mineral to help keep blood sugar levels stable.

Kick start-detox

amount of water you drink and improving your eating habits mean you’re already well on the way to ridding your body of toxins while increased activity levels through exercise can only help this. Look past your holiday and into the future, sticking with the healthy habits adopted now mean your long-term health will benefit.

Consider what else you can do to improve the way you feel and look – after all, what you do on the inside affects how you look on the outside. If you smoke then take steps to stop and cut down on alcohol to reduce your risk of serious illness such as coronary heart disease and cancer. Your skin will also be better for it and you could end up looking as well as feeling younger.

Speaking of skin, body brushing for a few minutes each day helps get rid of dry cells, stimulates lymph flow and even reduces the appearance of cellulite. You can also fight that orange peel menace with the help of specially-formulated massage oils, creams and supplements all purporting to help reduce cellulite. If you suffer from pimples, oily or greasy skin then essential fatty acids could help, regulating and moisturising from the inside; while for varicose veins or tired, heavy legs creams and supplements containing herbs such as horse chestnut, comfrey and butcher’s broom may bring relief.

Go on, dare to bare and have a very happy summer! ®

Lisa Burn © Natural Lifestyle June 2005 in connection with Natural Health Week

Head Start

Get ahead of the rest using natural products. Lisa Burn investigates.

Hair and skin

It’s known as your crowning glory, so keep it that way with lots of love and attention.
A healthy diet will be reflected in the condition of your hair – if it’s brittle and snaps easily it could mean you’re lacking in zinc, if it’s dry then you may not be eating enough foods supplying essential fatty acids. Eat oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon three times a week, eat more nuts and seeds, consider a fish oil or linseed oil supplement. Pamper your hair from the outside by massaging jojoba or olive oil into the scalp and wrapping in cling film or a towel for an hour before washing. A couple of drops of lavender or tea tree oil added to shampoo can help combat dandruff.
If you’re prone to spot breakouts or acne, again see if you can improve your diet. Drink more water – around two litres a day – and see if cutting down on milk, cheese and butter improves your skin as acne or eczema could indicate a sensitivity to dairy products. A good multivitamin and mineral will supply the nutrients needed – including vitamins A, C, E, B vitamins, betacarotene and zinc – for glowing skin, or consider one of the special formulations available.

Eyes down

Too many late nights can take their toll on your peepers, leaving dark circles and bags that look more like suitcases. Refresh them with witch hazel in a compress or a couple of slices of cold cucumber (one on each eye). Chamomile tea also helps – drink the tea first then pop the cooled tea bags over your closed eyes for a couple of minutes. Dark circles can also indicate food intolerance so a visit to a nutritionist can help determine if diet is at the root of your problem. Vitamins A, C and E as well as beta-carotene and zinc make for healthy retinas as well as helping combat damage from pollution and smoke, so a multi vitamin and mineral supplement is a good idea. Or, try one of the specially designed supplements geared to optical health. These contain carotenoids, herbs such as rutin and eyebright, bilberry extract and lutein.

If you suffer from hay fever then the homeopathic remedies nux vomica and allium cepa can help soothe watery eyes.

Pucker up

Do you dazzle with your smile or avoid showing your teeth at any cost? Teeth don’t always get the kind of pampering other parts of the body get – a quick brush twice a day is as far as it goes for many people. It shows in the statistics: according to the British Dental Health Foundation 19 out of 20 people suffer gum disease at some point in their lives.

Daily brushing and flossing is the minimum requirement for healthy teeth and gums, preferably brushing after each meal. Gum disease is a big problem and flossing can help remove the plaque that forms on the edges of the gums. If your teeth feel loose try aloe vera juice to help tighten them; if your gums bleed it could be you’re lacking in vitamin C. Vitamin D and calcium are crucial for healthy, strong teeth while munching on raw vegetables such as carrots improves blood flow to the gums.

Many toothpastes claim to improve the whiteness of teeth as well as freshening breath. Check out those containing natural ingredients – essential oils such as myrrh and tea tree to fight infection, fennel and peppermint for fresh breath, cloves to strengthen the gums, Echinacea for immune support and neem to help fight plaque.

Don’t forget your lips when you’re caring for your mouth. Indulge them with gorgeous balms that not only keep lips moisturised but also look and smell delicious. Many use beeswax or jojoba oil as a base with other ingredients including plant extracts and vitamin E to combat dryness, as well as offering brilliant colour coverage.

Ear ear

Blocked Eustachian tubes, which run from the back of the throat to the middle ear, are one cause of earache, another is an infection caused for example, by a cold or blocked sinuses. Pain can be worse at night because you’re lying flat, so try sitting up for a couple of minutes and swallowing or prop your head up while you sleep to enable the tubes to drain. Echinacea should help clear any infection by stimulating the immune system to fight it off, also, garlic oil applied topically reduces inflammation. Loss of hearing could be caused by ear wax – but don’t stick anything in your ear to remove the wax. Instead, soften it by using olive oil then rinsing with tepid water using a rubber bulb syringe. (Do not put drops or liquid in your ears if you suspect your eardrum may be perforated but seek medical help). Hopi ear candles help regulate pressure inside the ears.

Smell wonderful

Closely linked to your ears and throat, nose blockages can be caused by colds and flu as well as hay fever and allergies. Echinacea and pycogenol from pine bark strengthen the immune system while extra vitamin C or elderberry extract will help fight off snuffles and sniffles. To relieve itching and a runny nose caused by hayfever try a nasal spray containing aloe vera or try the homeopathic remedy euphrasia; for a burning nose try allium cepa. If you’re suffering from a cold, relieve nasal congestion with steam inhalations using essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree or lavender several times a day. Just add around four drops of your chosen oil to a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapours.

If you suffer from nosebleeds try drinking nettle tea to strengthen blood vessels, also bioflavonoid supplements could help in the same way.

Headaches

Rub a couple of drops of lavender essential oil into your temples to relieve pain, or try a blend with peppermint oil in a cold compress. For migraine, try feverfew tincture or one of the solid stick products containing essential oils and rub over your forehead and neck. Common migraine triggers are cheese, chocolate and caffeine so if you think food lies at the bottom or your migraine problem try excluding triggers from your diet. The homeopathic remedies Iris, Bryonia and Nux Vomica can all bring relief.

Healthy mind

Cut stress with relaxation exercises such as yoga or t’ai chi. Drop your daily dose of coffee or tea in favour of herbal teas with calming effects, such as chamomile or vervain. Healthy eating, including nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables, keeps levels of serotonin and tryptophan on an even keel and these will keep you feeling calm. Consider a supplement of B vitamins. For mild to moderate depression St John’s Wort has proven beneficial but consult your GP before taking it if you are also taking prescribed medication because of possible interaction. Regular exercise – such as running, dancing, swimming, cycling or even brisk walking:

– is a great way of making yourself feel good, banishing feelings of low self-esteem and getting you fitter into the bargain. Watching what you eat can also relieve depression and improve memory

– increase essential fatty acids in your diet from oily fish or fish oil or linseed oil supplements. Research into ginkgo biloba has shown it to be effective for memory loss, while in aromatherapy, rosemary is good for mental clarity and is used as a memory improver. ®

Lisa Burn © Natural Lifestyle April 2005 in connection with Natural Health Week