Monday, August 4, 2008

Plants to eat, grow, or wear for Health and Beauty

Environmental researcher Bill Wolverton, PhD, says to place plants primarily in your "personal breathing zone", within 6 - 8 cubic feet of where you work, sleep or spend long stretches of time. Also, he says, consider using clay pebbles instead of commercial potting soil for your plants. The plants grown in the clay pebbles remove airborne irritants more effectively than plants in potting soil because their roots are better able to breathe.

NASA studies show that Peace Lilies can reduce levels of microscopic mold spores in the air by 60 percent! The flowers sop up the mold organisms through their leaves then it goes to the root system as food for the plant. Since it eats up those spores, it means less allergens for you! They claim it also prevents spore buildup on shower curtains and tiles meaning less scrubbing for you when you clean!

Cathy Wong, N.D, author of The Inside Out Diet, says that Boston Fern act as humidifiers by releasing water vapor into the air in exchange for atmospheric pollutants, which the plants convert to fuel. So, if you have some dry itchy skin, perhaps the purchase of a Boston Fern could help you out!

NASA's investigation has revealed that houseplants can remove nearly 90% of toxins from indoor air within two days! Researchers say that the Spider Plant is the most powerful air cleanser filtering harmful substances through microscopic openings in the leaves. It also absorbs mold spore allergens and traces of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

Suzy Cohen, R.Ph, says that Eucalyptus offers prime defense against Spring colds. It's leaves are packed with tannins, a chemical that, when inhaled, raises levels of healthy pericilary fluid in the body's airways, thinning and loosening congestion-causing phlegm.

Need to get some better sleep? Get some Gerbera Daisies! According to Dr. Wong, unlike most plants which absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen in the daytime, this flower does it at night. The benefit to you is easier breathing and deeper sleep! Higher levels of atmospheric oxygen were found to stabilize breathing and increase the duration of sleep by over 10 percent.

English Ivy absorbs and chemically neutralizes benzene, a colorless toxin emitted by some paper products and office equipment. The benzene can slow thinking and break concentration by disrupting the central nervous system according to Dr. Wong.

This one is a bit tougher for me to believe, but I'll throw it in the mix anyhow! According to author Leatrice Eiseman, gazing at flowering purple plants, like African Violets, stimulates the release of adrenaline (improving creativity) and also triggers the release of endorphins (improving mood and easing stress). According to Eiseman, the body responds to flowering plants of any color by boosting oxygen flow to the brain, resulting in relaxation.

Now let's move on to ancient Mayan and Aztec secrets for Optimal Health! As you know the Mayan and Aztec empires were among the most advanced civilizations in the world. Here are some of the plant foods they dined on:

Sarsaparilla - the root of the flowering vine has special flavonoids and plant sterols proven to cleanse the liver, kidneys and intestines of toxins, improving immunity and metabolism. Many detox teas have sarsaparilla.

Prickly Pear - the juice of the Prickly Pear cactus is an energy source improving alertness and stamina. The juice is loaded with minerals, fiber and immunity boosting vitamin C. It is proven to lower cholesterol and keep blood sugar stable.

Chia - the seeds have a slightly nutty flavor and have 6 times more calcium than whole milk, 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries! It lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and improves mood. Sprinkle the seeds on cereal or yogurt.

Agave - known as "nectar of the Gods" to the Mayans, the sweet syrup of the Agave plant is 75% sweeter than table sugar and it's broken down into energy at a slower, more steady pace. You feel full longer and don't get the energy rush and crash caused by sugar. Incidentally, there are 136 species of Agave but only the Blue Agave is allowed in the use of tequila according to Mexican Law!

Yucca - the Aztec's and the Mayan's used the trees leaves and roots to fight joint inflammation. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It's main components, called saponins, block toxins that can interfere with new cartilage growth. The Yucca extract also lowers blood pressure.

Chocolate - the cacao bean, the main ingredient in chocolate, was worshiped by the Aztecs. The cacao bean is full of flavonols which improve blood flow to the heart, decrease bad cholesterol, decrease high blood pressure and prevent everything from heart attack to a stroke.

Here's the one the women used in their beauty regimen:
Avocado - the avocado is packed with Vitamin E, a skin smoothing nutrient. Mash up on overripe avocado and smooth over skin, leave on for 5 minutes then wash it off with a damp cloth. It is also packed with glutathione, an antioxidant that prevents aging. Avocado oil improves collagen's elasticity and reduces roughness, cracking and irritation. It even prevents fine lines!! NOTE 8/18/08: I tried this out and was very impressed with the results. I used 1/3 of an average sized avocado for my arms, hands, feet, and face. All came out smooth and very soft! Make sure you get it all off though or you'll be wandering around with a green hue! ha ha I recommend this treatment. It's easy enough to do and takes very little of your time.

Speaking of beauty regimens, here's some secrets from top spa experts:
Glowing complexion - Mix 1/2cup of canned pumpkin, 1/4cup sliced ginger, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4c of brown sugar. Apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes, rinse with warm water. NOTE 8/19/08: I tried this mix and have to admit that it not only smells good, but it's pretty tasty too! ha ha I'm not so sure I have a glowing complexion now, but it is definitely softer and healthy feeling. It's a little messy getting it off and I only used about 1/3 of the recipe but I like it and would recommend this one.

Shiny Hair - Coconut milk reduces hair damage 62% better than other types of milk used in hair products. The milk binds to strands and tightens the hair's protein bonds so locks better maintain their strength and shine. Place a towel in a bowl of hot water, then place the bowl and 1/2 cup of coconut milk next to your tub and settle down into a nice warm bath. Take the milk and pour it over your hair using your hands to massage it in. Wring out the hot towel and wrap it around your head. The towel's heat will open pores so the milk is better absorbed. In 20 minutes, remove the towel and rinse hair in warm water. NOTE 08/18/08: I can't recommend this hair treatment. I tried it last night and this morning my hair looks like I've not washed it for a week! I guess their idea of "shiny" is my idea of "greasy looking". It could just be my hair type that doesn't take to it very well, but I can't wait to wash my hair again! 8/19/08: I've now washed my hair 3 times over the last two days and have almost lost all the "greasy" look. I think one more washing will do it! I think I will use the rest of the can of coconut milk in the form of a "milk bath" and make sure none of it touches my hair because the milk that was on my neck and shoulders made them much softer and even made a dry patch that I have had for years disappear!!

Lose Weight - Pineapple's bromelain and Papaya's papain are specialized enzymes that fight fat. In addition to breaking down protein to reduce abdominal bloat, the dissolve fat trapping waste in the circulatory system and lymphatic system. These enzymes also rev fat-burning liver function and neutralize inflammatory compounds. For a 1 day cleanse, cut at least 2 peeled pineapples or 4 peeled papayas into small chunks; place in a bowl and keep chilled. Fill up on the fruit whenever hunger strikes. Also consume at least 2 liters of water throughout the day.

I'll toss these ones in too:
Relaxing bath - add 3 - 5 cranberry tea bags to the hot bathwater. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Then soak in it for 20 minutes. The bath is relaxing but with the use of cranberry tea, it also stimulates circulation for a healthy glow and reduces the formation of the brown spots that make skin look older.

Baby soft hands - add 1/2 cup Olive Oil to 1 cup of sugar or kosher salt. Stir well then rub onto hands and cuticles for 15 - 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

Happy Feet - add 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes. Using a pumice stone, rub away any calluses. Dry feet then add two drops of peppermint essential oil to your favorite moisturizer and rub in thoroughly. Put on a pair of lightweight cotton socks and allow to moisturizer to penetrate at least 15 minutes

Thicker hair - Champagne gives hair the volume, depth and shine it needs to look lustrous. the antioxidant properties of the champagne grapes remove dulling residue buildup and help hair grow in 20 - 60 % thicker. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts of champagne and water then spritz onto wet roots after shampooing. Doing this before blow-drying ensures hair doesn't get sticky or stiff.

Okay, this is the last thing I read that I wanted to impart to you..... instead of buy that pricey plant food to make your indoor plants grow better, water them once a week with room temperature flat club soda. It contains macronutrients like potassium that help plants thrive.

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