When we’re sick, our body ramps things up to protect us. An increase in mucus brings an increase in antiseptic enzymes and antibodies. Our noses run to wash out some of the germs, and make it harder for others to enter. This increase in mucous, coupled with narrowed inflamed nasal passages that accompany some colds and general bugs; can make for some truly uncomfortable days and nights. If you are suffering from an illness such as a cold or sinusitis and not just allergies, chances are your chest is congested with extra mucous as well. Here to save the day (and night) is an all-natural decongestant and expectorant.
Ingredients: Cayenne pepper, honey, lemon juice, ginger, apple cider vinegar.
Decongestant: Thins out mucous, making it less likely you’ll get a really stuffed up nose/reduces mucous production.
Expectorant: It helps “expel” the mucous by loosening it up and making it easier to cough up.
Why the ingredients?: Cayenne pepper, honey, and ginger are all natural expectorants, meaning they help loosen phlegm or mucous from the lungs, making it easier to rid yourself of it and therefore relieving pressure and making you more comfortable.
Cayenne also works as a decongestant, thanks to the natural chemical capsaicin, which helps relieve swelling and inflammation that is narrowing nasal passages.
Apple cider vinegar is thought to help thin out mucous being secreted, making it easier to drain the congestion. Lemon juice is also thought to help with congestion, although the exact scientific reason isn’t known, and makes the whole thing go down a little easier.
You will need… – ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper – ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger – 3 tablespoons of all natural organic honey – 1/4 cup of lemon juice – 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Pour ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar in pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of raw organic honey and ¼-½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and powdered ginger each (the latter amount makes it quite strong.) Store in a jar in a cool, dark, place indefinitely. Adults take 1-2 tablespoons daily as needed. Shake well before using, as the powder doesn’t dissolve in the most pristine way. I find it pleasant sometimes to warm the mixture before taking it.
One of my least favorite sensations is waking up in the middle of the night with one side of my nose completely plugged up. The sensation is usually followed by frantically flipping from side to side to try and “drain” it, only to have the other side get blocked (I won’t even get started on all the crumpled, wasted, tissues that pile up as a permanent sign of my discomfort.) We’ve all been there, and nobody likes it. When I feel the onset of a stuffy nose, or wake up like this, I go the cupboard for my trusty jar of spicy cider syrup ASAP.
Tip on Decongestants One thing to keep in mind-the best (almost) instant and natural decongestant out there is steam. If you’re in need of instant relief, hop in a hot shower or make a cup of tea/boil some water and breathe in the steam to thin out mucous so it drains easily. Have some tissues next to you!
Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything 🙂 Meet Claire
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Blush, sometimes called rouge, is one of the the most popular makeup products out there. It’s used to redden the cheeks and cheekbone area with the intention of providing a more youthful appearance.
Blush goes way back in history. Initially, anyone who wore blush was thought to have less than desirable ethical behavior. This is when the pinching of the cheeks came into the picture. Regardless, over the centuries from the African Middle Stone Age and even in the Bible, various pigments and foods have been used to create this red tint such as crushed mulberries or strawberries, red beet juice and red amaranth– so natural skin care methods and DIY blush are not as unusual you may think. (1, 2)
However, there are problems with most conventional blush products. Numerous blush products found on the shelf today contain some chemicals, such as ammonium hydroxide. In fact, historically, a lot of make up actually contained arsenic — clearly, something to avoid.
The Environmental Working Group website contains a database of products. From there, you can see many examples that contain ingredients that may cause problems such as endocrine disruption, irritation to the skin, eyes, or lungs, may cause cancer, and organ system toxicity among other hazards. But, making your own DIY blush is easy and contains just a few ingredients. Experiment to get the right shade and texture for you.
How to Make a DIY Blush
There are four types of blush: pressed powder, loose powder, cream based and mineral baked. We are going to make a loose powder DIY blush version today. Let’s begin with the finely ground beet powder. In a small bowl, place the beet powder and the arrowroot powder, and blend well. Beets are jam-packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-aging benefits. While beets are typically eaten, applying them to the skin allows the skin to absorb these health bonuses.
Arrowroot powder is a natural ingredient that helps keep the immune system strong through its vitamin C contents. Additionally, vitamin C is great for the skin by helping to eliminate those annoying brown spots that have formed due to free radical invasion. It also plays a role in collagen synthesis, according to Oregon State University. (3)
Next, add the cinnamon or ginger. Remember, use cinnamon for a darker color and ginger for a lighter color. Start with just a pinch or two and experiment with your skin tone. Like beets, cinnamon contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it’s a natural antibiotic and contains antimicrobial effects that protects the skin from irritations, acne, rashes, allergic reactions and some infections. Ginger helps fight infection, making it a winner in this recipe. Mix all the dry ingredients until well blended.
Lastly, but definitely not least in this DIY blush recipe, are the essential oils. Add 2 drops each of lavender and frankincense to the bowl and blend one more time. Lavender oil is known to be very relaxing, but did you know that is also restores skin complexion, slows aging and reduces acne? Frankincense provides relaxation too, but it’s also a powerful astringent, helping to reduce blemishes, the appearance of large pores and prevents wrinkles all while tightening the skin.
Now, you can put your new DIY blush into a small container with a tight-fitting lid. When you are ready to use it, apply with a clean blush brush. Remember, if it’s too dark, you can add some ginger and if too light, just add some cinnamon. If you want a bit of shimmer, add a small pinch or two of pure mica powder and mix together with the other ingredients.
Age-Defying DIY Blush with Beets & Lavender Oil
Total Time: 5–10 minutes
Serves: 2–3 ounces
2 tablespoons beet powder (ground very fine; you can use your coffee grinder to grind it further if needed)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
pinch of ground cinnamon (for darker color) OR ground ginger (for lighter color)
2–3 drops lavender essential oil
2–3 drops frankincense essential Oil
pinch of mica powder (optional)
Place all dry ingredients into a small bowl. Make sure they are well blended.
Who doesn't want a healthy, flawless, acne-free skin? We generally resort to chemical-laden commercial skincare creams that do no good and instead harm the skin in the long run. Ayurveda has always had a treasure trove of home remedies that can not only help your skin glow but also keep it healthy. Ayurveda suggests some herbal remedies that can help treat your skin according to the doshas of the body. The best part about Ayurveda remedies is that they do not harm your skin in any way and can be used regularly without having to worry about any side-effects.
According to Ayurveda Expert Dr. Dhanvantri Tyagi, "There are many herbs that have essential anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help keep your skin clean and acne-free. These herbs tend to open clogged pores in the skin and encourage the production of natural oils."
We enlist some essential Ayurvedic herbs suggested by Dr. Tyagi that you can use on a regular basis.
1. Jasmine leaves or chameli ke patte
Jasmine or chameli is not only known for its calming and soothing fragrance but also its medicinal properties. Jasmine leaves are antiseptic, which can help prevent microbial infections on the skin. It also regulates the amount of oil produced, which makes it excellent for people with oily skin. Mix jasmine leaves and rose water and apply on your face and skin. Leave it for about 15 minutes before washing it off with water.
2. Sandalwood or chandan
Chandan or sandalwood has been known for its skin-lightening and cooling properties. It helps prevent inflammation that further helps in reduction of acne, pimples and rashes on the skin. It also helps soothe your skin after being exposed to the sun. Make a paste using chandan powder and rose water and apply it on your skin. You will love how it leaves your skin hydrated and cleansed.
Chandan or sandalwood has been known for its skin-lightening and cooling properties
3. Neem or Neemba
Neem is a well-known medicinal herb that is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is known to penetrate deep into the skin and remove dead skin cells. It also opens clogged pores helping stimulate natural oil production. Take some neem leaves and make a paste using rose water and apply it on the skin directly. You will definitely love the results when used regularly.
Moringa leaves contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help cure any rash, blemish or acne on the skin. It helps reduce inflammation, further preventing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Moringa leaves contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties 5. Kesar or saffron
Kesar is widely known for its skin-lightening properties and also for making the skin tone even. Its anti-fungal content is an effective treatment for acne and pimples along with blemishes and blackheads. All you need to do is to add some saffron in warm milk and let it soak overnight. Apply the mixture on your skin and leave it for some time before washing it off.
6. Aloe Vera or Ghritkumari
Also known as ghritkumari, aloe vera is one of the most used herbs with numerous health benefits. It has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and cooling properties that can provide with a lot of relief from skin problems. The gel from this plant gives your skin a soothing effect leaving it rash and blemish free.
Also known as ghritkumari, aloe vera is one of the most used herbs with numerous health benefits These amazing Ayurvedic herbs are easily available and can be used on a regular basis. Give your skin a rejuvenating and replenishing feel!