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My cousin recently told me that she and her newborn son have developed eczema. Sitting around with the thought of the cutest little baby in the world itching and crying his cute little face out provoked me to immediately look into natural ways to treat eczema. When they visited a doctor, of course our little bundle of joy was prescribed loads of non-organic chemically laden ointments and creams.
Eczema is a skin condition that affects over 18.7 million adults and 7 million children in the United States. It’s a very inconvenient condition and can be easily agitated if you don’t know how to deal with flare ups when they occur. My research revealed that there are a host of natural ways that it can be treated. Eczema is term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. During a flare up the skin can become very itchy, flaky, and develop a rash may appear that can turn into blisters and even ooze liquid from them. The more you scratch, the worse it gets.
Some triggers that may cause an eczema flare up include: soaps, household cleaners, perfume, makeup, chlorine, cigarette smoke, sudden changes in temperature or humidity, tight or scratchy clothing, wool, cleaning products, detergents, perfume, certain foods, sweating, medication, stress, mold, smog, dust and STRESS (so chill out!) Important note: Eczema is NOT contagious by the touch (usually hereditary or due to food allergies). For women who are pregnant a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology showed that woman who took probiotic supplements while pregnant were significantly less likely to have a baby who developed eczema. Below are a few things you can try to treat your symptoms naturally. – XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl
- Neem Oil. (Read more about Neem oil: The Healing Wonders of Neem) This soothing and evening oil has properties which are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic. This is certainly a go- to in treating eczema naturally because it brings just the right amount of moisture to your skin. Applying it topically can help relieve itching and facilitate healing. It doesn’t smell great at all, so for regular use mix with a sweeter smelling essential oil.
- Bentonite Clay is always an important substance to remember. Massaging some bentonite clay with a little rose water on the skin is very effective in healing the skin through drying it out while sucking impurities and toxins from the skin. (Read more about Bentonite’s amazing healing ability in article: Natural Cures: the Wonders of Bentonite Clay)
- Dietary Changes. Our body is made from food, water, air, and light energy. From foods, water and air our body must derive 50+ essential factors to function in a healthy way, factors our bodies cannot make from other substances. These include 20 or 21 minerals; 13 vitamins; 8 to 11 essential amino acids; 2 essential fatty acids; water; air; light; and a source of energy (carbohydrates). Make sure to investigate your diet; find and eliminate any foods that are causing allergic reactions.
- Drink Plenty of Water & Take Baths. Eczema involves excessive moisture loss, so you want to keep your skin as hydrated as possible, so drink at least your 8 glasses of water daily. It also helps to soak without scrubbing aggressively on your skin. Adding in epsom salts to your bath should provide some relief as well.
- Use Natural Skin Products. Check your soaps, face creams, and lotions and try to use products with the least amount of unnatural ingredients in them. Anything you can’t pronounce or have no idea what it is research it. You wouldn’t want to increase your flare-ups and aggravate your skin more, just because you wouldn’t switch to a chemical-free product.
- Coconut Oil is an awesome soothing moisturizer for your skin without causing irritation.
- Nutritional Balance. Inflammation is a factor in eczema so getting adequate omega-3 & omega-6’s ‘s is necessary to treat the condition. Adding in foods like nuts and seeds, fish oil or DHA flaxseed oil, spirulina, and hemp oil will give your body these essential fatty acids. To promote vibrant skin and repair of damaged skin cells make sure to get adequate zinc, selenium, silica, vitamin A, vitamin C, and sulfur. Nutrition can be improved by the consumption of whole foods, fresh juices, and super foods supplements.
Dearest Readers: We live in a world where fear rules all. We are taught to believe and accept that sickness, degenerative aging, disease, and war over resources can only be the norm. I am very excited about this post by my lovely contributing writer Nicola. I really encourage you to share this article with people you know. The more that I continue along my path to live optimally, the more I believe that the Divine force that governs all has created the human body to heal itself, and has provided plant life that can address any sickness, ailment, or disease. Even those caused by our own neglect and abuse of our body temples. It’s up to us to believe, to choose courage over the fear and pharmaceuticals. I believe Moringa has a special place in a new world, where the majority of us begin to choose optimal health and sustainable living. I plan to write a sequel to this post which elaborates on the incredible and scientifically proven anti-aging power of Moringa. -XoXo Raw Girl
So I’ve come across another amaaazing plant, which is not only nutritious but highly sustainable and increasingly relevant (basically, what we NEED right now). The Moringa tree also known as Moringa Oleifera, is known by hundreds of other names in different languages, “la libertad” and “mothers best friend” are just two recognized in the Dominican Republic. With a name like that, this miracle tree is not likely to fall short of goodness, cause as you know…MAMA DON’T PLAY. Moringa Oleifera contains more than 92 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. Moringa is said to cure about three hundred diseases and contains almost all the vitamins found in fruits and vegetables in a larger proportions. All of its nutritional benefits easily make it the most nutritional herb on the planet. There are no side-effects which also has tried, tested, documented and proved evidence to support the same. Moringa is being considered as a plant which has the potential to virtually wipe out worldwide malnutrition. This is due to its ability to grow under adverse subtropical conditions, such as that in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia where it is easily cultivated and grows abundantly.
The Moringa trees powerful qualities come in large part from but are not limited to it’s leaves. Moringa leaves are a solid rich green but not dark in appearance, that contain all eight essential amino acids and 18 of the 20 amino acids absolutely essential for good health! Not only that, it has seven times the Vitamin C content of oranges, four times the Vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, and three times the potassium of bananas. It also contains high amounts of iron, and phytochemicals. These humble but giving leaves are a complete protein in perfect proportions, which in plant form makes it super bio-available to your body and easy to assimilate. Some see Moringa as an ideal for a multivitamin supplement. While it is a very reliable source of whole nutrition, I would prefer the term “superfood” because supplement to me sounds so…manufactured. And Moringa, is grown naturally in even the harshest of climates. In a three-week study, researchers saw a complete turnaround in the health in a Sub Saharan African community who used Moringa as food, as a water purifier, and for healing external wounds. Its durability is what’s making it a hot topic in fighting hunger and malnutrition around the world. Moringa contains high nutrients, low calories, and low sodium, and this makes it an ideal high energy food. I personally, have a friend whose mother started using Moringa to treat HIV/AIDS symptoms, and months later her HIV test has come back UNDETECTABLE. Yes, UNDETECTABLE! The high vitamin A content may be in part attributable to this, because it acts as an antioxidant, anti-infection, and strengthens the immune system. Moringa is not completely understood in its totality but it is indeed, a miracle tree.
What I found to be most amazing about Moringa in my research, is that it can actually PURIFY water. As we all know, clean water is becoming harder and harder to come by, and studies have shown that the Moringa seeds not only remove solid contaminants, but greatly reduce amounts of harmful bacteria. Moringa is a treasure. I could write a whole dissertation it seems on the Moringa tree and why this tree seems to be a savior of sorts for the future of our world. Below are some more of Moringa tree uses and benefits. -XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl
The Vitamin Component of Moringa Leaves
Moringa has Vitamin A (Beta Carotene), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 Pyrodixine), Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin K, High in Oleic acid (raises good cholesterol), Complete Protein
*Anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, strengthens immunity, high Vitamin A content keeps the eyes, nose, mouth, and digestive tract strong.
*Water purification (how to: http://www.treesforlife.org/our-work/our-initiatives/moringa/other-uses/water-purification)
*Oil- great for hair, skin, and preparing food in, which also contains even more phytochemicals to boost your immunity
*External wound healer (rub on wounds)
*Use as a tea (treats colds), natural antibiotic, an aid in childbirth (lubricant/tea), used for treating liver disorders, and more.
Diatemaceous Earth is an amazing substance I discovered through a girlfriend of mine who had some crazy run-ins with some bugs and needed something that would be quick, effective, and most importantly natural. This substance which is a mouthful to pronounce, is composed mainly of silica, occurs naturally, and is mined all over the world. Not only is DE good for killing pests such as fleas, ticks, roaches, and slugs (perfect as an organic pesticide), but its also extremely safe for human consumption and helps fight off parasitic infections, cleans the colon, and aids in overall detoxification of the body. Many bread manufacturers actually use DE in their products to prevent pests from eating them. One of the most amazing things about DE is how it actually works. On a microscopic level, DE has a honeycomb structure with razor sharp edges which gets caught into the exoskeleton of the pests and literally slices them up and dries them out. They are made of fossilized diatoms of prehistoric algae which look like cylinders. As these millions of cylinders move through the stomach and digestive tract, they attract and absorb fungi, protozoa, viruses, endotoxins, pesticides, drug residues, E.coli, and heavy metals. These are trapped inside the cylinder and passed out of the body.
DE is easily ground up into a fine powder very similar to talcum, and is usually simply taken with a glass of water. Now before you jump out of your seat to go and quickly purchase some (which is super affordable by the way) it is important to know that if you consume DE you MUST take FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth. There is also Industrial DE which is used mainly as a pool filter and has a more crystallized form of silica which you do NOT want to take. So FOOD GRADE not INDUSTRIAL…alright we get the picture. Anyways, food grade diatomaceous earth is composed of 80-90% Silica which is an important trace element that plays an important role in mineral absorption, as an antioxidant and is great for healthy skin, hair, and nails. And not only that, there are NO negative side effects. My girlfriend noticed after a month of taking one heaping tablespoon every morning that not only did she have increased energy levels but her nails were growing strong, and she was detoxing more heavily. It also helped with that bug problem too.
Diatemaceous Earth is one of those substances that is good for just about everything and has multiple uses for your body, around the house, and in the yard all at the same time. I’ve just purchased my own and I’m excited about it’s cleansing properties, which are useful this time of year. Silica is a trace element that is very important in preserving skin, bone, and cartilage health. DE is 80-90% silica which is what makes it such a great wound healer. If you happen to have any pets, you can also rub it on their fur to keep away any pests. Below is a brief outline on some more of the goodness Diatemaceous earth offers. Based on this list, you may agree it’s something worth trying. – XoXo Nicola, signing in for Raw Girl
● Assists in natural weight loss ● Stimulates metabolism ● Kills Parasites ● Aids healing of external wounds (sprinkle on top) ● Fights acne ● Cleans colon ● Kills household pests (fleas, ticks, bed bugs) ● Aids in calcium absorption (due to silica content) ● Lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol ● Relieves sore joints. ● Promotes healthier skin and hair● Promotes healthier teeth and gums, and harder nails. ● Helps to detox from mercury, viruses, drug residues and common causes of intestinal infections ● Fades age spots and prevents premature aging ● Raises energy levels ● Improves lung functioning
Recently, I started to do some research on the condition known as fibromyalgia to help a family friend. Prior to this research I had heard of this dis-ease but never knew exactly what it was. After learning the symptoms, which are definitely not pretty, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Fibromyalgia is the name of a condition that consists of chronic, widespread muscular pain. It is said that there is no known cause for the pains that may be aching, stiff, throbbing, or burning in any location all over the body. As if fibromyalgia wasn’t bad enough to deal with on its own it is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, and palpitations. Brain chemistry imbalance (of serotonin and neurotransmitters), hormone imbalance, disordered sleep, and nutritional deficiencies are issues that are quite common for those affected. Poor digestive functioning and the need for detoxification may need serious attention as fibromyalgia can sometimes lead to development of leaky gut syndrome or candida overgrowth. Since this is a disease that is dealing with inflammation, it is no surprise to me that diet especially paying attention to foods that rectify nutritional imbalances is one solution that can provide long-term relief to those suffering from this condition.
Some of the minerals and vitamins that need to be added to the diet include foods high in magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Foods high in magnesium are particularly important and include foods like: dark leafy greens, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, papaya, bananas, lentils and more. Omega-3’s are particularly important in the form of cold water fish (if you are a meat-eater) or veg friendly flaxseed oil to assist in reducing inflammation. It’s important to avoid foods that are aggravating and can increase inflammation like caffeine, meat, high fat dairy products, junk foods, sugar (which will also increase candida growth). Valerian Root is a great remedy to have on hand to ease sleep when experiencing pain or just insomnia, and incorporating fermented foods will combat any candida growth and keep the good bacteria going in the gut. Below are five dietary changes that may greatly help those suffering with fibromyalgia to get their symptoms under control. Always take care when implementing any changes to consult with your physician or naturopath/holistic practitioner. If you or someone you know has this condition and has tried the traditional medicine route, but never tried a diet/lifestyle change, I urge you to give it a chance. You have nothing to lose, and your health and livelihood to gain. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Low-glycemic Diet. This is about managing blood sugar imbalances/ spikes in glucose levels to curb inflammation and ease pain.
- Vegetarian, Vegan or Raw Foods Diet. A BMC Complimentary and Alternative Medicine published study confirmed that when thirty patients were put on a mostly raw foods diet for four months that consisted of raw fruits and veg, flax oil, carrot juice and very limited whole grains, their condition improved. It’s no doubt that a vegetarian lifestyle in whatever extreme you choose may be very effective in reducing or even eliminating symptoms. Raw foods take it up a notch because you would be increasing the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your diet, while avoiding a great deal of artificial sweeteners or chemicals in processed foods that may be aggravating the condition.
- Gluten-Free Diet. Some doctors believe that those with fibromyalgia are at greater risk for food sensitivities. Cutting out gluten in the form of wheat products, barley, rye, oats, may assist in calming your symptoms.
- Elimination Diet. This diet would be a trial and error where you discover what foods aggravate your condition and completely cut them out of your diet. This is important whatever dietary change you choose because each person has their own set of triggers. It’s up to you to find yours.
- Organic Diet. Just as those with fibromyalgia may have an increased disposition for food sensitivities, increased sensitivities to chemicals may be an issue as well. To combat this it’s important to try to reduce the number of pesticides, or chemically engineered additives that may be lurking in non-organic processed foods.
This weekend I tossed in some watercress to my green juice and it made for a delightful addition. If you know nothing about watercress, it’s a green herb aptly named due to its high moisture content that has been used for food and medicinal purposes since ancient times. Having an almost peppery taste somewhat similar to mustard greens, watercress can be added to salads or juiced. One bowl of watercress salad greens contains a high level of antioxidants, and almost 1/2 the daily recommended intake of Vitamin A. In addition eating watercress will give you a nice dose of Vitamin C, beta carotene, B vitamins, Vitamin E, folate, iodine, calcium and more. Just 100 grams of watercress will also give you 200% of the daily recommended value for Vitamin K which can strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Incorporating watercress in your diet can also help to prevent several kinds of cancer including skin and breast cancers. Some of the uses of watercress as a medicine or natural remedy include: purifying the blood, healing colds and coughs, asthma, anemia, and much more. Because of its high sulphur content, watercress is also a beauty vegetable that will assist in clearing and improving your complexion. The juice of watercress has been applied directly to the skin to aid in getting rid of acne, blackheads, dark spots etc. I chose to juice my watercress, but you can also toss it in salads, nori rolls, or veggie wraps. Check out the recipe for my juice below, and if you’re looking for a new green to add some spice to your veggie life, give watercress a try. -XoXo Raw Girl
Cucumber Watercress Delight
2-3 long English cucumbers or 4 large regular cucumbers
4-5 leaves of Lacinato Kale
large handful of Watercress
Juice all ingredients, strain and serve. Enjoy!
Women I meet ask me all the time my secret to surviving the looming time of the month called PMS, or as I like to say, vegan b&%$# syndrome. Yesterday when yet again another friend was struggling, it gave me enough fuel to put pen to paper. PMS used to be the bane of my existence. Cramping, bloating, and then of course the lovely mood swings that turn any peace loving vegan into a raging b&!%$ and then pass leaving you wondering what is wrong with you. Your boyfriend, your family, your friends, and even your work colleagues around this time wonder why you seem to be creating drama from things that would normally not bother you at all. Trust me, I’ve been there, and unless you want to be that girl who turns into Medusa every month, you might want to take control of your hormones!
The good news is, it is possible to take control of your body. Diet has a HUGE affect on how horrible your symptoms are. When I was 100% raw all the time (I’m not now), I had absolutely no PMS. It was this incredible new world. I was completely astounded that IT could just go away like that. However, when a woman’s body is going through her cycle the body goes into a cleansing mode, so I noticed that when raw and eating no unprocessed foods, my body had no junk to cleanse and my hormones remained even kilter. Beyond diet though, there is much that can be done to keep you from experiencing the horrible symptoms, and avoid vegan b&%$# syndrome altogether. -XoXo Raw Girl
1. Don Quai. For any woman seeking to control her hormones, this root is KEY. Don Quai helps to maintain healthy estrogen levels and promotes emotional balance. This Chinese herb has been used for thousands of years in China, Japan, and Korea and is mostly used to cure female reproductive issues. Besides giving a vegan B%$@ a run for her money, don quai can treat painful menstruation, infrequent periods, PMS, and menopausal symptoms. When I discovered don quai my life changed, every woman should know about this herb and keep it stocked in her medicine cabinet. I like to take it in pill form and also I found a donquai tea that is the bomb.com, that I take as well. Check it out via this link: http://astore.amazon.com/ragiinatowo-20/detail/B0016BA93A
2. Blackstrap Molasses. If you’ve never heard of blackstrap molasses…it’s basically the byproduct of turning cane sugar into table sugar. When white sugar is made it is stripped of it’s nutrients, and the nutrients are left in this brown syrupy concoction that happens to be full of vitamins including manganese, copper, selenium, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and B6 which ease menstrual cramping almost instantly. I learned this while staying with my friend who is a homeopath. She brought me a cup of tea with molasses. After one cup f tea with molasses I was strong enough to get up and make myself another cup and within twenty minutes the pain had completely dissipated. I never take any over the counter meds, so this is a quick remedy I love. Blackstrap goes into the bloodstream and works fast. Its an acquired taste, but for the benefits, its worth keeping in your home. Make sure to get the kind that is “organic” and “unsulphered.”
3. Arnica. If you’ve got the vegan b$%#* syndrome with a bad dose of cramping, you may feel like you need pain killers. Rather than running to grab some aspirin or tylenol, try arnica. Arnica is an all natural plant based medicine that comes in pill form and you can find it in various strength levels. If the basic homeopathic does you no justice, try the 3x version which is for muscle trauma.
4. Fem Premenstrual by Metagenics. So I’m not into mentioning products unless I use them and they work. My homeopath put me onto this blend which contains vitamins, and an herbal extract blend of various roots including don quai. This stuff works WONDERS. Apparently if you take it long enough, you’ll stop seeing symptoms altogether. I’ve noticed a marked difference since I began taking it. If you are in NYC you can find it at Wilners Chemists on Park Avenue. If you are elsewhere here’s a link: http://astore.amazon.com/ragiinatowo-20/detail/B004GLEUH8.
5. Cut your soy & tofu intake. I generally stay away from processed soy as much as possible. Back in the day before I was more on the raw side, I used to eat a ridiculous amount of tofu and soy. As soon as I cut them out of my diet, it was like a weight had lifted, and some of my hormonal raging calmed down. Check your diet and if you still consume large amounts of soy, give it try one month cutting it out of your diet and seeing what happens to your cycle. To take control of your body you have to experiment and learn what works for you.
6. Young Living Essential Oil: Dragontime. Young living essential oils are incredible. I got so into them I became a distributor not too long ago, so that I can buy my oils at a discount. The blends are incredibly pure. This particular blend appropriately named Dragontime because it is meant to be a remedy for PMS, has worked miracles for me. All you need is a couple drops of the oil and you can rub it directly on your tummy where cramping pains reside, and I kid you not, within minutes the pain will dissipate. I was bugged out the first time I tried it, because I was supposed to be up working and felt horrible. A couple of drops of oil and a little rub, and I was able to stay on my feet and get everything I needed to get done for the day.
7. Practice Yoga. Besides the fact that its good for you in general, yoga cleanses, reinvigorates, and balances out the systems of the body. Incorporating regular practice, will no doubt help you take the edge off. It’s really hard to be a vegan b%$#@ after you’ve said namaste.