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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: winter

Essential Oils for Winter Health

Jessica Graves

As we’ve recently discussed, winter can be a hard time for your health and your heart. It’s easy to start feeling down when your nose drips constantly, your throat itches in a place you can’t reach, and your toes exist in a perpetual state of cold. Luckily for you we’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorite essential oils to combat the maladies of this seemingly never-ending winter.

What we think makes a good essential oil for the winter, is an oil that can aid in congestion and offer protection against nasty phlegm loving bacteria, as well as boosting the immune system and circulation to help you melt your frozen extremities. But equally important is an essential oil’s ability to aid the brain when dealing with the often inevitable winter blues.  To use any of these essentials add a few drops to your diffuser, take a few whiffs with your head distanced several inches from the bottle, or dilute your essentials in a liquid oil of your choosing by mixing 2 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil. Do not put undiluted essential oils on your skin.

Clove Essential Oil (Syzygium aromaticum) has a spicy smell, though it is cooling on the throat. Clove buds were traditionally chewed to soothe the pain of a sore throat while offering anti-inflammatory properties. It has the most antioxidants of any other essential oil and is rich in vitamins and minerals. This is a very immune healthy oil! It even boosts circulation. Some other great things about clove oil is that it aids brain function and helps you out with mental fatigue and depression. It can even help induce sleep in insomniacs. All that and it smells so dang good!

Ginger Essential Oil (Zingiber officinale) is an energizing oil characterized by its spicy and sweet aroma. Most reknown for its relief of stomach aches, ginger oil also boosts the circulation, and provides a warming effect. It is commonly used to help arthritis for this reason. Ginger is stimulating and helps with depression. 

Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is freshly floral, reminiscent of a time when things were blooming rather than draped in snow. Known most for its relaxing properties, lavender is an adaptogen, helping the body cope and adapt to stress and change. Lavender oil also helps to balance the left and right sides of your brain. This oil is also healing and soothing on the skin, good for that winter-induced dryness.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus) is a very distinctive smelling oil from a plant that is native to Australia. It is reknown for its decongestant properties, providing a cooling sensation comparable to menthol. However, it’s abilities go beyond that as Eucalyptus oil can be used to stimulate and rejuvenate, helping you to combat fatigue. Eucalyptus increases blood flow and because of this, more blood flows to your brain to wake you up. Fortunately, this increase in blood flow also applies to your frozen extremities!

Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus limon) is an immune booster! High in vitamins, especially vitamin C, lemon can help you fight off and prevent diseases that spread during the cold months. You can inhale lemon oil to clean the sinuses, or use the diluted oil to naturally increases circulation. Lemon oil calms and rejuvenates, helping with fatigue and increasing your concentration to help you stay focused on those icy roads.

Where is Peppermint Essential Oil on this list, you ask? Right over here silly-see Pep Up with Peppermint

 

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.

Man's Best Friend

Jessica Graves

 

Winter can be a dangerous time for even the most pampered pooch. Everything from antifreeze, sidewalk salt, and common holiday plants like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias can be toxic to dogs. Outdoor dogs are at risk of hypothermia and frostbite, and just like humans, dog’s immune systems can be compromised during the harsh cold months. But luckily as owners, there is a lot that we as can do to make our four-footed friends more comfortable.

To combat the cracked and sore paws caused by walking in salt and snow, wash paws off with warm water after walks. If dogs develop ice balls between their toes, remove them and consider trimming the hair in this area. You can apply bag balm to cracked paws and paw wax before walks to protect the pads. You can also try this simple DIY Dog Skin Soother by mixing 2 tsp of coconut oil with 10 drops of lavender essential oil. You can also make a soothing herbal infusion to spray on your dog from herbs such as chamomile, calendula, nettle, and oats. Don't forget Wound Wonder is terrific on your cracked puppy paws as well as human cracked fingers!

To keep your dogs healthy and comfortable when it’s cold, do not leave your dog outdoors unsupervised for extended periods of time. Do not shave your dog’s coat as this affects their ability to properly insulate. Dogs that don’t have an undercoat may need the extra protection of a coat and booties. You may get made fun of, but your pooch with thank you. If you get them to wear the booties, that is! Particularly sensitive dogs include many toy breeds and breeds with wiry coats. Be sure to keep walks short, and increase the frequency rather than the length.

What you feed your dog in the winter is also extremely important. During the cold months the body uses up more energy keeping warm on walks and out in the yard. Make sure you give your dog more calories and protein depending on how active they are. Also note that snow is not an alternative to water, and in addition to water your dog could benefit from electrolytes during the winter. To make your own Electrolyte Solution, mix 1 quart of water with 1 tablespoon of raw honey or unrefined sugar and 1 teaspoon table salt. This solution only keeps in the fridge for one day, but warm to room temperature before offering free choice. Make sure to ask your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet. If you would like to add herbs to your dog’s diet to improve their immune system, replenish their skin, and increase circulation, consider herbs such as calendula, echinacea, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and St. John’s wort. Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats is a wonderful resource for home grown options. 

Remember that your pets experience many of the same things that you experience during the winter, so treat them with some extra TLC and you should both be raring to go as soon as spring is here!

 

Contributed by Margot Pomeroy. © Una Biologicals ®,2015

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.

 

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.

Winter Gardening!

Jessica Graves

It is that wonderful time of year again!  We are enjoying the Autumn Harvest, picking pumpkins, sipping cider, and basking in the red and orange glow of fall. It is also the time of year where our lovely, productive summer crops have dwindled away and our gardens are being put to rest for the season. Wouldn't you love to go outside and pick fresh greens all winter long?! Believe it or not, you can! And it is not as difficult as you think.

Using cold frames to extend your planting season is a sure fire way to grow more veggies and sustain yourself through the colder months. A cold frame is simply a place to shelter your plants from the elements and to trap solar energy for heat. It acts as a small greenhouse! What more could a gardener want for these upcoming months?!

These awesome mini greenhouses can give you a 4 season harvest because they keep plants 7-10 degrees warmer than the outdoors and can even radiate heat up to 20 degrees warmer! Using a cold frame is equivalent to moving your garden plot at least one zone south. When choosing a location for your cold frame keep these factors in mind:

  • South facing
  • Protected by a fence or wall on the north side
  • Sunny spot
  • Good drainiage
  • Protection from wind

Choosing materials for your cold frame is important. You can place your veggies in a bottomless wooden box that has NOT been treated, inside barrels of straw, or even  a box lined with cinder blocks. Top the box with glass or plastic. You can use recycled windows or shower doors. Be sure to not use any recycled pieces with a frame that could have lead in the paint. If in doubt, DO NOT USE, as lead can seep into the soil and your food. Lexan is one of the best materials to use for the top closure on your frame,

During the harshest cold spells it is important to keep your cold frame warm by covering it with tarps, straw, or mats. On the flip side, you do not want to overheat your precious plants. It is important to have the ability to prop open the lid for air circulation or shade it with a sash.  Be sure to put a thermometer inside to better monitor your crops.

Cold Frame Crops:

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Leaf lettuces
  • Radish
  • Scallion
  • Clytonia
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mache
  • Sorrel
  • Radicchio
  • Salad Greens
  • Kale
  • Choys