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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 Category: Health & Wellness

Harvesting and Using Elderberries

Jessica Graves

Elderberry  :   Sambucus nigra,  a wonderful plant ally for boosting the immune system.

Elderberry: Sambucus nigra, a wonderful plant ally for boosting the immune system.

     While we are still enjoying long, sun-filled days and super hot weather, I can’t help but start thinking about Fall and the changing of the seasons. August is a great time to start harvesting from our gardens and wild places to preserve food and medicines for the winter months. So, let’s talk about the luscious and powerful Elderberry: Sambucus nigra. From the Elder tree, elderberries are purplish-black juicy berries (see image above) that are known for their immune system-boosting properties. *Please note that there is a related form of elder, Sambucus racemosa, with red berries. These have been known to cause vomiting when eaten raw, so avoid them!*

     The tree itself has a long history of its own. Common in the English countryside, the wood of the Elder tree was used for instruments as far back as Anglo-Saxon times and children’s homemade pop-guns in the more recent past. Legend tells of a wise woman, Elda Mor, who lives in Elder trees and offers healing to those who ask for it, providing they offer her proper respect (it is recommend to always offer thanks to the plants for the healing they give us!). The Elder tree has also made a name for itself in the writings of Shakespeare, among others, though often as a sad symbol of grief and death. But despair not, my friends, for the berry is a whole other story.

     Elderberries contain wonderful properties for health and healing. The berries and flowers have been used for centuries to make homemade wine and cordials (go to town home brewers), and even hair dye. Medicinally, the bark, flower, leaves and berries can all be used.

     The berries have been attributed many properties over the centuries with claims to effectiveness against rheumatism and epilepsy and as a laxative.

     Today, the berries are commonly prepared as a tea or tincture. They have a pleasant citrus flavor and are less bitter dried than fresh.

     Extensive research shows that elder stop the production of hormone-like cytokines that direct a class of white blood cells known as neutrophils to cause inflammation, especially in influenza and arthritis. (Translation – the berries help your body to stop inflammation causing achiness in flu and arthritis). On the other hand, elder increases the production of non-inflammatory infection-fighting cytokines as much as 10-fold. Elderberries are known to be effective against eight strains of influenza. This suggests that elder could be superior to vaccines in preventing flu, because flu vaccines are only effective against known strains of flu, whereas the virus is continually mutating to new strains. Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel, found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses used to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 20% of study subjects reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed complete cure in three days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days to recover.

     In addition, Elderberries have no known contra-indications, though excessive use has been known to cause nausea or vomiting in some cases.

     Now that we know the amazing health benefits of the lovely elderberries, let’s talk about harvesting, preserving, and using them throughout the winter months, when flu season is upon us.

     Elderberries ripen towards the end of August and early September, so now is the time to locate wild Elder trees if you don’t have them in your yard. Collect the ripened berries, which will be a rich black to purplish color, and will fall easily off the stem when fully ripe.

     There are MANY things to make with elderberries, from jams to pies to syrups, so I encourage you to research recipes that most appeal to you! Two simple ways that I love to use the berries for medicinal purposes are drying and using them in teas, and making a basic preventative tonic to keep my immune system strong.

To use elderberries in tea: Dry your freshly harvested berries by putting them in the oven at a low temperature (115 or so) on a baking sheet.  Parchment is recommended as a liner so that your berries don’t hang out on the metal sheet. A dehydrator is even easier. Once the berries are dried, store in a sanitized mason jar labeled with with the herb name & date you jarred it.  Add to teas of your choice, or simply put the dried berries in a mug with hot water and honey.

To make an elderberry tonic: This wonderful recipe from Mother Earth News is a simple way to get the most out of your elderberries for flu season!

Elderberry Tonic Recipe

(adapted from WellnessMama.com)

Tip: Freeze freshly picked elderberries in clusters after harvesting to simplify the de-stemming process.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Elderberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3-1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp fresh or dried ginger root (or powder)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey

Instructions:

  1. Pour water into a medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the liquid reduces to almost half (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).
  3. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  4. Discard the elderberries (feed to chickens or compost) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
  5. Add 1 cup of honey and stir well. (Note: honey is added after the mixture has cooled to keep raw enzymes intact).
  6. Pour mixture into glass jars to be stored in the fridge for up to three months.

Recommended Doses

Prevention (can be taken daily)

1. Kids (13 months-12 years old): 1/2 to 1 teaspoon

2. Adults: 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon

Recovery

Take the normal dose every 2-3 hours until symptoms disappear.

Don’t get caught off guard by cold and flu season this year. Prepare this easy elderberry elixir for a natural alternative for flu prevention and recovery.

Special Notes:

1. NEVER give Elderberry Tonic to infants 12 months/under.

2. Elderberries can be used as any other berry for pies, jams, breads, stuffing, etc.

3. Consuming raw elderberries causes extreme GI distress in many people. Try a few berries raw before overindulging.

Sourced from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/elderberry-tonic-for-cold-and-flu-prevention-zbcz1508.aspx

     So, get out your tea kettles, darlins', and pour yourself some elderberry tea – or just order up some tasty Flu Fighter from Una – and keep those infections at bay!

Resources:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/elderberry-tonic-for-cold-and-flu-prevention-zbcz1508.aspx Web accessed 3 August 2016.

http://honest-food.net/2009/07/06/elderberry-season-is-here/ Web accessed 3 August 2016.

The Herbarium Monographs. “Elder”. http://herbarium.herbalacademyofne.com/monographs/#ID=1005. Web accessed 3 August 2016.

Summer is here....time for poison ivy relief!

Jessica Graves

Jewelweed, Impatiens aurea

As many of you know, it is that time of year when the dreaded Poison Ivy rears its itchy head at gardeners and outdoorswomen alike. One of the most common requests we at Una get at this time of year is for Poison Ivy relief. Well friends, today is your lucky day - as we are going to let you in on the traditional solution for homemade reprieve from the itching.

Jewelweed. Yes, the common Jewelweed has been one of the most effective solutions used for centuries. Part of the impatiens family, this plant grows abundantly throughout the eastern United States. It is said that where you find Poison Ivy, you will find Jewelweed. Though finding a poison and its antidote growing together is a common occurrence, it is not a hard and fast rule, as Poison Ivy will grow in more varied environments and Jewelweed prefers moist, rich soils. However, it is easily found along roadsides, in woods, and near stream beds.

Jewelweed itself is easily identified by its succulent-looking stem as well as the lovely orange flower. Typically the plant grows two feet high, but in the right conditions it can grow up to 7 feet tall (one only needs to see our garden for proof of this). The plant possesses a tall slender stem that appears slightly translucent. The leaves are ovate and thin, growing larger and more dense toward the top of the plant. Most easily identified by its flower, Jewelweed produces slip flowers in orange and yellow from July – September.

Few modern studies have been done on Jewelweed. Some that were completed report no useable results and have created question about Jewelweed's effectiveness. The leaves, however, appear to contain tannins which accounts for its effectiveness when applied to the skin to sooth piles and ivy rashes. Despite these studies, mothers and home healers have turned to this plant for centuries for its soothing relief. Commonly used, you will likely know someone with a Jewelweed story if you start asking about it.

What to do: Jewelweed is most effective when applied directly to the infected area. The leaves and stem should be crushed to release the plant juices. Traditionally the plants would be freshly gathered, lightly crushed and boiled with enough water to cover the plants. Cook the water down until it is darker in color. Apply with a clean cloth to poison ivy rash. This traditional remedy will keep in a covered jar in a lid for up to a week. The liquid can also be frozen in ice cube trays to save for later use.

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.

Honey, I'm Home!

Jessica Graves

Sweet Gold

Honey, a delicacy that could last as long as its extensive history. Offered as a sacrifice to the gods by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, honey is revered. And for good reason! Honey contains 5,000 live enzymes, 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, and is chock full of antioxidants. It’s known to treat a number of ailments from diabetes to anemia and contains quickly digested natural sugars that don’t spike blood sugar. It has antimicrobial properties, meaning it protects and fights against bad micro-organisms and for this reason honey was often used on wounds to heal and protect against infection and disease. It is said to strengthen organs and treat many gastrointestinal disorders, due to its alkalizing nature. In Ayurveda, the medicine of ancient India,  honey has been used to dissolve fat. This is probably because honey naturally lowers triglycerides, constituents of natural fats and oils that pose a health risk.

The makers of honey are just as fascinating as their creation. A honeybee is capable of flying 6 miles and up to 15 mph. Each hive of honeybees contains one Queen bee along with her drones and worker bees. Drones are fertile male bees and their sole purpose in life is to mate with the Queen, who produces about 1,500 eggs a day. Worker bees are all infertile females and they run the hive, collecting nectar from flowers while passively pollinating plants. Other worker bees then turn the nectar into honey by adding enzymes and letting water evaporate. It takes a bee 150 trips to make just one teaspoon of honey. All the honey a hive makes in the spring and summer must sustain the hive through the winter. It’s all quite incredible, and throughout history honey bees have been held in high regard. A honeybee has been taken as the emblem of a pope, a king, two gods, and Napoleon. It wasn’t until the renaissance that honey lost its distinction as a sweetener and honeybees fell out of the spotlight. Now honeybees face colony collapse disorder and a parasite known as varroa mites, which are threatening honey bees everywhere. 

Now who would think just a spoonful of raw local honey in your tea could offer so many benefits!

 

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

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. 

 

Pumpkins Everywhere

Jessica Graves

It is pumpkin season and so many of these wonderful fruits get thrown to the wayside after jack o' lanterns come down and autumn fades into winter. Please don't throw your pumpkins away, use them! All the pumpkin drinks and snacks, center pieces, and decorations are here for a reason. They are awesome!!

Did you know pumpkins are amazing for your skin, very low in calories but bursting with nutritional value, a great wildlife food source, and an excellent ingredient for snacks and cocktails. Get creative with your porch decorations and use every last bit of those pumpkins from flesh to seeds.

Here are a few creative ways to utilize those beautiful fall fruits:

  1. Pumpkin Face Mask- This beauty treat is bursting with skin nourishment. Pumpkin contains alpha hydroxy acid which smooths and brightens complexion. Vitamins A, C, K, and E all pack their own punch of beauty benefits from softening the skin to boosting collagen production. Did you know that the molecular structure of pumpkins is really small? This means it will penetrate deeper when applied topically which is great for aging and dull complexions as it will even that skin tone from within. There are tons of wonderful pumpkin mask recipes out there so find you favorite and get the spa feel right at home!  We like this simple recipe below!
    • Gather 1/4 cup of pumpkin and add one egg white which will tighten the skin
    • Add 2 teaspoons of raw organic honey which is great for dry skin and has many anti-bacterial properties OR add a splash of apple cider vinegar instead of the honey if you have oily skin that needs an astringent.
    • Whisk it all together! For a bonus effect add 2-3 teaspoons of brown sugar to use as an exfoliater. 
    • Apply to your face and neck, relax, breathe deep, and let this pumpkin potion work its magic.  Sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse with warm water.

 

  1. Use the Seeds- Roasted pumpkin seeds are a wonderful snack and full of antioxidants and minerals. Consume the seeds for a good dose of zinc! You can add salt to taste or cinnamon and brown sugar to bake up a sweet treat.
  2. Feed the Birds- Use the seeds you don't want to toast up as an addition to your bird feeder, your feathery friends will love this treat! You can take it a step further and cut your pumpkin in half and use the shell as the feeder itself.
  3. Spike it- Make a tasty cocktail with one teaspoon of pumpkin puree, a dash of vanilla and cinnamon, a squeeze of lime juice, and a drop of honey. Add to a shaker of ice and 2 ounces of vodka.  Enjoy!
  4. Make Pumpkin Puree- Scoop out the seeds and guts. Place your pumpkin in a baking dish with a cup of water (make sure the cut side is facing down)  and bake for about 90 minutes or until the flesh is tender. Scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor. Now your ready to bake your pies, mix it in with hummus, add it to soup, or spice your coffee!
  5. Explore your Tasty Options- Check out this delectable recipe for pumpkin risotto from Marian Burros.

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.

Herbal Update - Arnica

Jessica Graves

Arnica - Arnica montana

This plant has many powerful medicinal properties, Arnica is a serious healer and comes from the same family as one our faves, the Sunflower ! The roots and flowers are used to treat many conditions. This is a strong one people, so use caution and follow direction for its celebrated benefits!

Arnica is native to Central Europe and can be found in forests and mountain pastures.  The leaves form a flat rosette, and a flower stalk which can reach 1 to 2 feet high emerges from the center. It bears orange-yellow flowers and the rhizome is dark brown, curved , and shows brittle wiry rootlets on the underside. Arnica is hardy in zones 5-9. This lovely perennial herb blooms in July and prefers a home in moist, well-drained soil with periods of ample sun. The flowers are picked and dried to make medicine.

Native Americans referred to arnica as leopard’s bane and mountain tobacco, and used the plant for sprains, bruises and wounds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, health practitioners used this herb for contusions, bruised muscles, painful breasts, chronic sores and abscesses. - See more at: http://www.medicinehunter.com/arnica#sthash.8W3sQAv7.dpuf

arnica blog.jpg

 Arnica has been widely used since the 1500's and has a long standing reputation for successful topical treatment . Its constituents are a bitter yellow crystalline principle, Arnicin, and a volatile oil. In early North American colonies the flowers were used in preference to the rhizome but the whole plant is an antiecchymotic, antiphlogistic, nervine. The homeopathic dose has been effective due to its antiseptic , anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving properties. Arnica's actions may be due to two chemicals called helenalin and dihyrdohelenalin. These chemicals may modify the action of immune cells, reduce the activity of chemicals and blood cells that cause inflammation, and kill bacteria.

For tender feet, a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of an Arnica tincture will bring great relief. Applied to the scalp it may make the hair grow.

Great care must be exercised though, as some people are particularly sensitive to the plant and cases of poisoning have resulted from its use, especially if taken internally.

Arnica extract has the power to reach deep tissue layers when applied externally. Its ability to absorb past the skin and penetrate areas that need a little TLC is the exact reason we use it in our Bruise Balm! Come on people, lets start healing!

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.

© Una Biologicals ® 2015.

 

 

 

 

Beauty From Your Kitchen...

Jessica Graves

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If you were asked to imagine your beauty routine and visit your daily regimen in your mind, what images would you see?  Most of us would see face creams, exfoliators, lipsticks, and tweezers. Our mind's eye would take us to a bathroom cabinet or a make up bag. What about our kitchens? How many of you would picture your fridge or fruit bowl? Maybe we need to change our thinking and find beauty in our kitchens first and work from the inside out.

As your local, pretty girl lab experts, we want to coach our gorgeous gals and their health conscious dudes on a whole circle approach to health and beauty. We give you the purest, organic, luxury products to make this a reality but we also want to educate you on how to play an active role in maintaining and maximizing your glowing youth and radiance. Our products will make you stand out for life but your health and wellness will make you invincibly beautiful. Beauty isn't just skin deep but comes from the inside-out and all around. Now let's take a look at some skin nutrient groceries!

We all know that good food = good skin! Here are some great complexion companion foods:

  • Healthy Fats
  • Lean Proteins
  • Color! Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies
  • Super Foods

Greens are densely packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients! Lutein is a vital component of your leafy greens and a key wrinkle prevent-er!

Tomatoes and other red, pink, and orange foods can actually reduce redness in the skin. The powerful antioxidat lycopene found in tomatoes and other colorful fruits like pink grapefruit, papaya, wolfberry, and goji not only help prevent sunburn but boosts collagen production! In a report by Gary Goldfaden, MD And Robert Goldfaden, lycopene has been found to improve skin cellular function, combat free radicals that cause aging, contribute to the body's metabolic processes that result in growth and repair, and actually inhibit the natural process of enzymes that breakdown collagen. In short, these are your wrinkle fighting friends.

Berry madness! These bite sized burst of flavor are BIG on antioxidants. They have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and are packed with essential fatty acids that hydrate and plump the skin. The high levels of Vitamin C and Ellagic Acid found in berries not only prevents the breakdown of elastin and collagen, but increases their production. Talk about the power of youth!

Soy beans, including soy milk & tofu, are great for existing fine lines and aging skin. The isoflavones found in soy promote elastin activity which helps reverse and slow further effects of aging. Go ahead and add those edamame to your salads! 

Eggs are another food source enriched with goodness. Lutein and zeaxanthin are UV protecting antioxidants (great for brown spots) and they help soften and firm the skin. The amino acids that come from the rich protein content of eggs will help generate new proteins (such as collagen) in the skin cells, resulting in better hydration and stronger skin tissue.

Nuts about glowing skin? Almonds are rich in Vitamin E and pump moisture into the lower dermis layers while a 1/2 oz. serving of walnuts gives you 100% of your daily value of ALA (Omega 3) and improve the texture and quality of the epidermis layer of skin.

Dark chocolate in small servings increases circulation and gives us a dose of flavanoids which are known to have a brightening effect on the skin.

Oils are important as they provide us with essential fatty acids that store moisture in the cell membranes. This ultimately gives us that supple look we all strive for!

Avocado crazed! While we are on the topic of fatty acids we cant forget this superfood. This Omega-9 fat packed fruit maintains and regulates moisture in the epidermis layer, regenerates skin cells that have been damaged, and soothes irritation. The high Vitamin E content prevents aging skin which is caused by fat oxidation in dermal cells.

Check out this link for Glowing Skin Smoothies! The Kiwi, Spinach, Avocado Smoothie won our vote for the best skin drink on the list but we love them all!

http://www.youbeauty.com/nutrition/galleries/green-smoothie-recipes-for-glowing-skin

Remember, you can play an active role in your skin care routine! Feed yourself for health, beauty, and balance. Bon apetit! 

Herbal Update - St. John's Wort

Jessica Graves

This blog give us a change to look in depth as some of the plants we utilize regularly here are Una Biologicals.  

St. John’s Wort - Hypericum perforatum

St. John’s Wort,  is fabulous in the garden and grows easily in most climates, happily wintering over through planting Zone 4.   The plant itself possess bright green leaves, small and slender, that are accented by star shaped yellow flowers that practically take over the plant in July and August.  The herb itself can grow into a small shrub 24 inches high if allowed.  A perennial, this sun loving herb is quite hardy and will tolerate partial shade as well.  Though it prefers light, moist soil this herb originated in forests, fields, and roadsides of Europe and has a survivor’s adaptability. Once started these plants need very little attention except in the poorest of soils where fertilizer will be a great aide, and water during long dry spells.  In short, in order to enjoy this amazing herb at home simply stick in the ground wherever you have room and see what happens. 

St. John’s Wort is believed to be have been named for St. John the Baptist. Used for centuries, the Greek physician Hippocrates (ca. 460-377 B.C.E.) was one of the first to speak of the health benefits of St. Johns Wort, and it has been used to treat anxiety, neurosis, and depression since the time of Paracelsus (ca. 1493-1541 C.E.), when it was declared to be "arnica for the nerves."  St. John’s Wort has undergone countless clinical studies and has been proven effective by US physicians in aiding the treatment of depression.  These results have made it one of the most widely marketed and used herbs in the US.  

St. John’s Wort is also an anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, nervine and sedative herb.  It has been used throughout history to treat everything from rheumatism and gout to dysentery, jaundice, urinary issues and bedwetting.  Historically, St. Johns Wort was also relied on for pulmonary complaints including consumption and catarrh of the lungs.  It’s second most popular use today, however, is as an aid to wounds and burns.  Prepared as an extract and applied topically St, John’s Wort has been used to reduce the pain and aid in faster healing.

At home, St. John’s Wort at home can be prepared as a tea using the leaves and flowers (always use organic of course).  You can also make your own extracts using sunflower, olive or wheat germ oils.  If you are harvesting your own flowers, pick them in their prime preferably in the morning after the dew has dried.  Allow them to dry in an arid space away from the sun and store in an airtight container.

St. John’s Wort should be used only after consulting your physician, particularly if you are ingesting it.  It is NOT RECOMMENDED for those on MAO or Protease inhibitors.

St. John's Wort flower

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.

© Una Biologicals ® 2015.