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Una Biologicals is an independent company proud to bring you Organic Beauty & Wellness products. All of our products are hand-crafted just for you.  

Because we believe that your body deserves the best that nature has to offer, we use only premium organic oils to nourish your skin and never include harsh chemicals, additives, or artificial fragrances.  Our goal is keep you Healthy & Gorgeous!

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Health & Beauty Blog

This is where we can expand a little on the ideas of health & wellness.  All information is shared in the spirit of education and fun.  We hope you find a little inspiration, perhaps a new recipe, or even a new way of looking your day.  Thanks for spending a little time with an open mind.

~Namaste, Jessica

Filtering by Tag: wellness

Pep Up with Peppermint

Jessica Graves

We love peppermint. It is a dear friend in the wintertime, brought to us from the far reaches of the Mediterranean and Western Asia. Mentha Piperita, or Peppermint as we know it, is an herb of many hats. It contains volatile oils (the compound we strive to isolate when distilling essential oils), vitamins and minerals, flavonoids, tannins, and menthol.

Everyone knows peppermint tea can help to cool the burning of a sore throat, but peppermint exceeds much expectation. It is an antispasmodic, it offers pain relief, and can be used as an inhalant for congestion. It is great for detoxification and acts as a liver stimulant, nervine, and blood purifier. It cools the body while also allowing it to sweat out toxins. When using peppermint you may find your headache fading away.

There are truly countless ways to utilize the wonderful benefits of peppermint. Una Biologicals has been taking advantage of this special power punch for years. You can find peppermint hiding in most of our teas, including Headache Helper, Revitalize, Mama Maintenance, and Better Belly. We flaunt our love for Peppermint with several of our Body Butters and our Rosemary Mint Salt Scrub, and you can’t miss that minty tingle in our Peppermint and Chocolicious Lip Balms. And with a little help from lavender, peppermint really lends a helping hand to any sorry sufferer with our Headache Relief Roll-On.

Needless to say we are on good terms with peppermint and you should be too! To start your very own first date with peppermint right in the comfort of your home, try one of these DIY recipes!

Peppermint Lip Scrub

Combine:

1 tsp Coconut Oil

    1 tsp Honey

    1 ½ tsp Sugar

    3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Rub on with a finger and roll your lips together. Wash or lick off when done for baby smooth lips!


Minty Mouth Wash

Combine: 1 cup Water

    1 tsp Baking Soda

    3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Swish for 5 to 20 seconds and then spit! Baking soda has a salty taste, but it is excellent for getting teeth pearly white and your breath smelling fresh.

 

Curiously Strong No-Cook Breath Mints

½ cup (approximately) Gum Paste

Powdered sugar

4-5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

2 drops cooking oil

Knead egg sized piece of gum paste with hands until soft. Mix the two oils and then work into the gum paste. Sprinkle powdered sugar on your working surface and roll paste out to ⅛ inch in thickness. Cut out your mints to size or stamp with a large straw. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar and then let sit for 48 hours or until desirably crunchy. Enjoy!


All information is shared for educational purposes only.  Una Biologicals does not offer medical advice or purport to treat, cure, diagnose or assist with any illness.  Always consult your physician before using herbs.

FDA has not approved these statements.

Contributed by Margot Pomeroy, © Una Biologicals ® 2015.

It's OK to Live a Happy & Calm Life

Jessica Graves

Snow falls in thick wet flakes,  swirling among the air currents, falling at once fast and slow.  The kind of snowfall that can make you dizzy if you look too closely.  I sit, watching this drama unfold, tea steaming next to me as I absorb my quiet day.  This week I am working to live a calm and slow life.  A life we are entitled to, yet so rarely actualize. 

Like most of you, my days are booked beyond capacity with obligations for children, work, partners, charities and more. The hours slide past in a blur until I collapse into bed only to rise in a few short hours and hit repeat.  However, it is OK to live a calm life.  I know this to be true. I know in my heart that calm is healthy for mind & body.  And so this year, 2015, while others commit in their own way to a healthier lifestyle, I have committed myself to a slower, calmer life.

I do not intend to create an all-out transformation of my life, indeed I feel that effort would fail.  Rather I encourage you to consider the possibilities in your life for creating small moments of stillness and calm;  segments that are manageable and doable in your real routine.  My goal is to have a 30 minutes of true calm and quiet once a week where I intend to sit in as much stillness as possible.  That may be watching the snowfall while I drink an entire cup of tea, or not, the activity is irrelevant so long as it is quiet & calm (and not working quietly at my desk).  Daily I have implemented a 5 minute rule.  For 5 minutes each day, be it in the morning or evening, I will sit quietly and be still. I will not rush about, talk, text, update, give directions or corrections. I will try to not think. Rather I hope to take these simple moments to recharge my mind, slow my breathing, and settle myself back to center.

This sound a lot like meditating to the perceptive out there.  Indeed I hope to use this time to create a meditation practice. Meditation as a real practice in my life has for years eluded me.  Despite knowing that meditation, for even 5 minutes a day, has been proven to decrease blood pressure, increase mental acuity, improve memory and focus. It calms the body and restores the mind.  Meditation does not need to be a long drawn out affair that strikes fear of time wasting into the hearts of corporate moguls.  Rather, meditation can happen in your car (while parked), in your fave chair, at your desk, in your bed or on your yoga mat.  Sure, a dedicated space is great, but this real life folks and real life means real solutions that you can implement into your daily routine.  Be honest about what Can work for you and start there.  I have 5 minutes, that will likely find me sitting in my home-office, on my floor, at the end of my day hoping my kids read the “I am meditating sign” I left dangling on the door.  I may or may not get all 5 minutes.  I accept this in advance and hope to train my family, much like I am training my mind.

Now that you are convinced that you can find the time, how do you make meditation happen?  Simple: 1. Sit comfortably wherever you are.  If you can’t sit on the floor easily, a chair is great.

2. Close your eyes.  We are creating space for your tired mind. Don’t look at distractions.

3. Take a deep breath in. Deep Breath Out.  Deep Breath In. Deep Breath Out.  The breath is going to help us stay focused.  Focus on that breath filling your body with strength and nourishment on the inhale, and releasing all that you don’t need on the exhale – Carbon dioxide, stressful work situations, sadness, anger, all of it – it flows out with the breath.  Let it all go, you don’t need it anymore.

4. Focus back on your breath.  Why? Because being still a skill that we have to teach ourselves.  Stillness is no longer our strength, so your mind will probably try to wander back to work or that irritating shopper at the grocery store.  No biggie.  Simply acknowledge that truth, let that thought go, and focus again on your breath.

Some schools of thought use mantras or exercises to help with this breath focus.  Are you a tactile or touch person? You can focus on feeling the actual air enter and exit your nostril. This is a delicate feeling  which takes focus to notice.

If you are a words person, SoHam is a great mantra .  Think So-on the inhale and Ham (hum) on the exhale.  So Hum is an ancient Sanskrit term which means simply, I Am. 

As your practice of 5 minutes o’ stillness becomes more routine being still will become easier.  Your mind will quiet faster, and you will how much clearer you can think in those other 23 hours and 55 minutes of your day.

Try it. Share your progress and I will share mine – It is OK to live a calm life.

 

Time for Gratitude

Jessica Graves

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I know a lot of you are cleaning those houses, finalizing your menus, and prepping for extended family! Holidays meant for quality family time, feasts, and gratitude can actually end up causing us more stress than joy. Hopefully a couple scrumptious vegetarian recipes can help us lighten the load from our turkey, potato, and gravy comas and a few yoga positions can help lower our anxiety levels and aid digestion.  Try this delicious and nutritious recipe from "The Hungry Girls" .

Sweet Potato, Green Bean and Smoked Paprika Salad

Ingredients

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into thick wedges about 5 cm long
  • 2 potatoes, cut into thick wedges about 5 cm long
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • large handful of green beans, topped and tailed, cut in half on the diagonal
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sour cream or natural yoghurt to serve (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat around 3 tablespoons of oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, sweet potato and potato and pan-fry for 5–10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly colored.

2. Stir in the garlic, paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and generous black pepper, coating well. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the vegetables are tender (around 15 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the beans and simmer for a few minutes, then drain.

4. Put the hot beans into a large bowl along with the tomato and parsley. Add the hot roasted vegetables, lemon juice and another good splash of oil and toss to combine. Add extra salt and pepper to taste. Serve with dollops of sour cream or natural yoghurt if desired.

The following Thanksgiving recipe is one of our favorites from Jane Sigal in "Food and Wine". It has the perfect touch of sweetness and is absolutely delectable! 

Baked Apples With Oyster Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 4 baking apples (about 1/2 pound each)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon and chives
  • 1/2 cup apple cider

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a small, shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the apples with vegetable oil cooking spray. Cut a thin slice off the top of each apple. Using a small spoon, scrape out the apple flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Rub and moisten the apple cups with the lemon to discourage browning. Discard the skin from the apple tops and the seeds from the cores and finely chop the apple flesh.

2.Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped apple and the oyster mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture over moderately high heat until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs.

3.Season the apple cups with salt and pepper. Spoon the mushroom mixture into the cups, mounding it slightly. Set the apples in the prepared baking dish and pour the cider around them. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the apples are tender; if they begin to brown during cooking, cover them with foil. Serve hot.

Yoga for digestion:

We all know what that overstuffed feeling is like and it is not pleasant! Here are a couple yoga positions that will not only aid digestion but will help calm the mind and reduce stress at the same time. I suggest everyone take a few minutes for themselves this Thanksgiving and find a quiet corner for your stretches. 

Apanasana- knees hugged to chest

Health Magazine describes how to do it as follows: Lie down, relax and inhale, placing your hands on your knees. Exhale, and hug your knees to your chest. Rock your knees from side to side to maximize the stretch. Stay for five to ten breaths, and release your knees. Repeat this move a few more times.

Standing forward bend

Chatelaine Everyday Extraordinary explains: Make sure feet are hip-width apart and inhale to raise arms up. Lowering down, exhale and bend at the hips to come forward. Tuck chin in towards chest and lengthen head towards the floor. Bend your knees if it’s more comfortable. Hold for 5 to 7 breaths.  This will calm the nervous system and pacify adrenals in the kidneys to compress the abdominal area to aid in digestion. 

 

Fire Cider- Just the Kick for Your Winter Cold and Flu

Jessica Graves

We are getting closer to those winter months and preparations for our immune systems should begin, pronto! What better way to warm our chests and throats and clear our sinuses than with a fiery immune booster. Try this old folk remedy- Fire Cider!

The ingredients in this winter cure all are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and great for our circulatory and digestive systems. It is a concoction of herbs, roots, and peels that bring individual healing power to the mix. All together they are an indestructible cold and flu antidote!

Fire Cider is a very versatile medicine- it can be taken straight, in other food or drinks, hot, cold, or as a topping or dressing.  There are variations in the recipes and a few substitutions can be made to include ingredients that fit your tastes and needs. Check out Mountain Rose's recipe for a great tonic to make at home!

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root

1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root

1 medium organic onion, chopped

10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped

2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped

Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon

Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves

1 tbsp organic turmeric powder

1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder

organic apple cider vinegar

raw local honey to taste

 

Directions

Prepare all of your roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart sized jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience! Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or a plastic lid if you have one. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily.

After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next, comes the honey! Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup until you reach the desired sweetness.

 

Ingredient Variations

These herbs and spices would make a wonderful addition to your Fire Cider creations:

Thyme
Star Anise
Rose Hips
Astragulus                                                                                                                                           Schizandra Berries                                                                                                                              Parsley                                                                                                                                                  Burdock
Oregano
Peppercorns                                                                                                                                Beet Root Powder
Habanero Powder
Bird's Eye Chili owder
Whole Chili Peppers
Fresh orange, grapefruit, lime juice and peels      

This living, raw, whole foods tonic should be started now so it is ready for the winter months ahead. A tablespoon a day will help build defenses and prevent those sick days that you and yours plan for each year.

If you don't get around to making your own you can visit the East End Food Coop to pick up your prepared bottle of Fire Cider.  http://www.firecider.com/

Well wishes for a warm and healthy winter!

 

All information is shared for educational purposes only.  Una Biologicals does not offer medical advice or purport to treat, cure, diagnose or assist with any illness.  Always consult your physician before using herbs.

FDA has not approved these statements.