Saturday, 30 May 2015

Argan Oil Uses ❧

Sold as a luxury item, argan oil was once difficult to purchase outside of Morocco. In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of animal feed, timber and fuel. Due to the increasing interest to cosmetic companies, it has also become a fashionable product in Europe and North America over the past decade and is now widely available in specialty shops and supermarkets.

The argan tree, which is unique to Morocco, can grow up to 10 meters high and live up to 200 years. The trees are thorny, with gnarled trunks and small oval leaves up to 4 cm long. The trees blossom in April, with small flowers of five pale yellow-green petals . The fruit, containing one to three oil-rich seeds, is broad with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling (but unpleasantly flavored) layer of pulp surrounding the very hard nut. The fruit takes over a year to mature, ripening in June to July of the following year. The trees are frequently climbed by goats, so until harvesting of the fruit, goats are kept out of the argan woodlands by wardens.

Forests of argan trees have decreased by about half during the last 100 years, owing to charcoal-making, grazing, and increasingly intensive cultivation, now covering some 8,280 km² and designated as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Biosphere reserve. A thriving export market for argan oil as a high-value product may be the best hope for conservation.

production of argan oil
Extraction of argan oil is produced by several women's co-operatives in a labour-intensive process by which the soft pulp is removed then used as feed for the animals. The seeds are then removed and cracked by hand between two stones with a little water and gently roasted (accounting for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavor) to make a paste. The paste is then squeezed by hand to extract the oil. Oil can be stored and used for up to 6 months, and produced as needed, from a store of seeds which will keep for 20 years.

Production of argan oil is beginning to have noticeable environmental and social impacts. Argan oil production means that argan trees are now seen as a valuable resource, leading to their preservation with an impact on the environment. Argan oil production has provided a steady income for many women and their families and improved the social status of some women. The gaining popularity has prompted the Moroccan government to plan for increased production, from approximately 2,500 to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.

Argan oil is rich with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin E and fatty acids (80% unsaturated fatty acids).

Traditionally argan oil is used to treat skin diseases, and as a natural cosmetic oil for skin and hair. It is advocated as moisturizing oil against wrinkled or scaly dry skin, and acne, as well as fortifying the hair. This oil also has medicinal uses against rheumatism and the healing of burns. It is sometimes mixed with pomegranate seed oil due to its anti-oxidizing benefits.

Hair Conditioner - Argan oil contains high quantities of vitamin E and antioxidants and is non-irritating, making it extremely beneficial for hair and scalp, reversing much of the damage done by artificial chemicals and treatments and giving your hair a healthy shine. Unlike many styling agents, which can cause long term damage to hair due to the chemical ingredients, argan oil enriches hair and repairs damage.

Argan oil absorbs easily without leaving any greasy residue, making it a great leave-in conditioner or treatment and can also be used before straightening, protecting hair against heat damage. Rub a few drops of argan oil over your palms and then comb your fingers through damp or towel-dried hair, massaging into the scalp, as a treatment to combat frizzy hair, dandruff and dry scalp. Blow-dry and style.

Argan oil can also be used as on overnight treatment (to absorb as many nutrients as possible), adding volume and shine. Using a liberal amount, massage into your scalp and hair (especially the ends) and wrap your hair in a towel to prevent staining your pillow. Wash hair the next morning or after a few hours and style.

Use argan oil as a styling agent on dry hair as well. Apply a few drops and comb through your hair with your fingers, ensuring even distribution.

Vitamin E enriched argon oil also helps boost cells promoting growth of healthy, strong hair as opposed to thin, brittle hair.

Skin Moisturizer - Due to its absorption rate without leaving any greasy residue, argon oil is great for skin. Use as an overall body moisturizer and cuticle softener, or add a few drops into your bath. The vitamin E will help minimize stretch marks.

Massage a few drops on your face and neck at night, or in the morning after cleansing. Can also add a drop or two of argan oil to your foundation or tinted moisturizer for a dewy glow.

Argan oil will not irritate eyes and therefore, can also be used as a safe and effective makeup remover.

To treat cracked heels, massage a good amount onto the feet and cover with socks.

Acne, Fine Lines and Wrinkles - Argan oil is an alternative solution to chemical based products, for skin problems such as acne and aging skin. When used on a regular basis, your skin is healthier and mild acne will fade away. Argan oil is rich in natural healing properties such as antioxidants, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. Vitamin E is the primary antioxidant helping to prevent cell oxidation and keeping oils in the skin naturally balanced, while decreasing skin inflammation. Linoleic acid promotes healthy skin cell turnover, preventing clogged hair follicles and excess dead skin cells.

If you have dry skin, argan oil helps by producing more natural oils that won’t clog your pores, while on the flip side, oleic acid in argan oil can help keep excess sebum at bay in oily skin types.

  • Wash the affected area with a gentle natural cleanser. (Avoid products with cleansing beads that can exacerbate acne.)
  • Pat dry until skin is damp. (Excessive rubbing can irritate acne, stripping away natural oils.)
  • Apply one to two drops of argan oil (use in lieu of conventional moisturizer), massaging into the affected area, with moderate pressure, massage the areas that exhibit wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Keep the argan oil on face and other treatment areas for a couple of minutes for the skin to absorb it and follow up with your usual skin care routine.
  • Repeat this process twice daily.

The anti-oxidants and vitamin E in the argan oil will protect the skin against free radicals, resulting in fresher, clearer skin as well as improving elasticity and cell strength of facial skin. Since argan oil regulates the production of sebum, which causes acne, it reduces further breakouts. The vitamin E present in the oil contains anti-oxidants that help remove damaged cells and help new ones grow, therefore fading acne scars.

Culinary Argan Oil - Argan food oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous and salads. Results showed that—as with olive oil and some other vegetable oils—regular intake of argan oil instead of butter reduced harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.

A dip for bread known as amlou is made from argan oil, almonds and peanuts, sometimes sweetened by honey or sugar. Amlou, a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter, is produced by grinding roasted almond and argan oil using stones, mixed with honey and is used locally as a bread dip.

Various claims about the beneficial effects on health due to the consumption of argan oil have been made. Researchers have concluded that daily consumption of argan oil is "highly likely" to be one factor that helps prevent various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

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Friday, 29 May 2015

Natural Insect Repellents

Over the past few decades, as our lives became busier, we saw a need for easy, faster, better—convenience!

Many corporations have diligently answered the call by providing us with an overwhelming variety of items, all available at our finger tips. We have an ever-ending array of items to choose from—a selection of colors and sizes, scented, non-scented, for adults, for children, and for our pets. You name it, it's available! This was deemed as progress!

However, most of us know by now, that this luxury of convenience came with a price—and I'm not referring to the financial aspect of 'price.' Products we purchase today are laden with mechanically and chemically processed and artificial ingredients.

We have been bombarded with scented products which many people are allergic to, causing irritations to eyes, nose and throat. These artificially scented products are formulated with chemicals that, in time, are toxic to the body. The chemical concoctions used to 'recreate' a scent are actually petrochemicals (derived from natural gas and petroleum), and frankly don't do justice to the 'true' scent.

If you're anything like me, you are no longer willing to tolerate drenching your body with poisons and filling your home with toxins.

So how do we go about getting the same results achieved from the toxic products we once purchased so readily available on the market? By turning back the hands of time to pre 'age of convenience' and making them at home. Natural ingredients, which are quite easily attainable and most likely already available in your home, are highly effective.

While I look forward to the spring season, I am not so fond of the bugs that come along with it. Even though insects have a role to play in the food chain, we don't want them making a meal of us and our children, or taking up residence in our homes and gardens, or camping out on our pets.

So how do we keep these critters at bay?

The following suggestions for natural insect repellents are quick and easy to make. You will want to pick up a few of the plastic spray bottles and label them according to each use.

(To purchase any of the products at available at Amazon, click on the red product link, or you can visit the Essential Oils Shop to search for more products.)

Ants: While some of these ingredients will deter the ants from coming into your home (for mildly problematic situations), others will kill the whole colony. There are various ant species, where some will prefer a sugar substance, while others will prefer protein based ingredients. You may have to try one or two of the following methods to determine which works best, unless you already know which type you are dealing with.

Vinegar - Placing vinegar around the floor boards, or doorways will deter ants. You can also pour vinegar directly down into the ant nest. Vinegar mixed with water, also makes a good cleaning solution for washing floors and other surfaces in the home.

Lemon - Spray pure lemon juice or mix 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil with water around the openings - the acid skews their sense of tracking.

Baking Soda - Ants defend themselves by injecting or spraying a chemical, such as formic acid. Mix baking soda with a bit of powdered sugar and place where accessible to the ants or colony. Upon digestion, the baking soda will cause a chemical reaction with their acidic component.

Cinnamon - Sprinkle ground cinnamon around the openings, or a few drops of cinnamon essential oil with water and spray the openings.

Diatomaceous Earth - Using food-grade, not swimming pool diatomaceous earth (DE) works well. Sprinkle around the perimeter of your home and can also safely be sprinkled inside where you see the ants. Do not wet the DE or it will not work. This should resolve the problem within a week or so.

Chalk - Ants will not cross a line of chalk. Either draw a line or sprinkle ground chalk around the areas where they are entering.

Cornmeal - The ants are unable to digest cornmeal properly and will eventually die off.

Cream of Wheat - Sprinkle cream of wheat around the ant infestation. When they eat it, it expands and they will explode.

Boiling Water - Pouring a kettle of boiling water on the mound (should be repeated daily until ants disappear) will also solve the problem.

Borax - Even though borax is a natural product, it should be handled with care and kept out of reach of pets and small children. Mix borax with sugar (50/50) and enough water to make a paste. Set on a plastic or a piece of cardboard and place near the ant nest. You can use a small plastic container to make an ant trap such as shown to the right. The ants will take this back to the queen, eventually killing the whole colony. If you find the ants aren't taking to this, you can add a bit of peanut butter to the mix for the ants that prefer protein. This will also take about a week or more.

Black Flies: There are over 1,800 known species of black flies, sometimes called a buffalo gnat, turkey gnat, or white socks, and in New Zealand, called 'sandflies'. They are usually small, black or gray, with short legs, and antennae. They are a common nuisance and spread several diseases. They feed during the day when wind speeds are low. Males feed mainly on nectar, while female black flies gain nourishment by feeding on the blood of animals, and us humans. Eggs are laid in running water with the larvae attaching themselves to rocks.

Black fly populations swell from late April to July, becoming a nuisance to anyone engaging in common outdoor activities, such as gardening, boating, camping, and backpacking. While black flies will frequently land on arms and legs, most bites are often found on the head, neck, and back.

Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves and pants at all times when outdoors, and also wearing a hat with attached netting, specially designed to protect the head and neck from black flies, as they have a particularly annoying habit of swarming the face due to their attraction of the carbon dioxide we exhale. Black flies are attracted to dark colors, so it’s also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing, such as khaki, tan, or white.

Pine Branches - Break open a young branch and rub the moisture from the branch on your skin.

Vanilla extract - In a small spray bottle (8 oz), mix 1 part pure vanilla extract to 1 part water. May need to re-apply after about 1/2 hour, due to evaporation. (Using a vanilla extract that contains sugar, will not work and will actually attract black flies … so make sure it's pure extract.)

Lavender - Add a few drops of lavender essential oil in water or a carrier oil and spray or apply directly to skin using cotton balls.

Citronella or Lemongrass - Add 1 part lemon essential oil or lemongrass essential oil to 20 parts carrier oil (olive oil) and spray or apply directly to skin, will ward off black flies and mosquitos.

Cedar - Mix 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel with two tablespoons of olive oil, and add 20 drops of cedar essential oil. Mix it thoroughly and put in a spray bottle (8 oz). Mixture can be applied to your skin or clothes.

Garlic - A natural sulfur compound is found in garlic, which repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and black flies. Taking garlic tablets or consuming garlic will cause your skin to secrete a natural repellent, which is toxic to black flies. Insects tend not to land, but if they do, the taste of sulphur will have them fly away and discourage them from returning for seconds. (Note: Do not feed garlic to dogs or cats, as it causes damage to red blood cells in animals.)

Centipedes: Centipedes can be found in a wide variety of environments, requiring a moist micro-habitat because they lack the waxy cuticle of insects and arachnids, and so lose water rapidly through the skin. They are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs.

There are estimated to be 8,000 species worldwide. They are arthropods which are elongated creatures having one pair of legs per body segment, normally having a drab coloration of shades of brown and red. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. Therefore, there is no centipede with exactly 100 legs. A key trait of this creature is a pair of venom claws formed from a modified first appendage. Centipedes are predominantly carnivorous. Size can range from a few millimetres to about 30 cm (12 in).

The bite of some species of centipede can be hazardous to humans. Although a bite to an adult human is usually very painful and may cause severe swelling, chills, fever, and weakness, it is unlikely to be fatal. Bites can be dangerous to small children and those with allergies to bee stings. Smaller centipedes usually do not puncture human skin, while the bite of larger centipedes can induce anaphylactic shock.

Centipedes are considered frightening due to their dozens of legs moving at the same time and their tendency to dart swiftly out of the darkness towards one's feet. A 19th-century Tibetan poet warned his fellow Buddhists that "if you enjoy frightening others, you will be reborn as a centipede."

Diatomaceous Earth - Using food-grade diatomaceous earth;(DE) sprinkled around the perimeter of your home or can also safely sprinkled inside where you see the centipedes. Do not wet the DE or it will not work.

Mint - A deterrent for nearly every type of bug, including centipedes. Planting mint is another way to deter centipedes from invading your garden, great for deterring spiders and rodents as well. You can also make a spray by mixing a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water, to use in garden and household.

Vanilla - Due to their sensitive antennae and exceptional smell, using pure vanilla extract, or tea tree essential oil, by dabbing a small amount around window sills and door sills to create a barrier that will keep centipedes away for a couple of months. You can also make a spray by adding 25 drops of the vanilla or essential oil to distilled or boiled water. Spray the areas on a weekly basis where they enter.

Earwigs: Fairly abundant with about 2,000 species, one of the smaller insect orders, earwigs are found throughout the Americas, Africa, Eurasia, Australia and New Zealand. Earwigs have a characteristic pair of forceps pincers on their abdomen, and membranous wings folded underneath short forewings, though rarely use their flying ability. Some groups are tiny parasites on mammals and lack the typical pincers.

Earwigs are mostly nocturnal and often hide in small, moist crevices during the day, and are active at night, feeding on a wide variety of insects and plants, damaging foliage, flowers, and various crops.

There is no evidence that they transmit diseases to humans or other animals. Their pincers are commonly believed to be dangerous, but in reality, even the curved pincers of males cause little or no harm to humans. It is a common myth that earwigs crawl into the human ear and lay eggs in the brain. Finding earwigs in the human ear is rare, as most species do not fly and prefer dark and damp areas such as basements, rather than bedrooms.

It would take a large population to do considerable damage, though there is a debate whether earwigs are either harmful or beneficial to crops, as they eat both the insects eating the foliage (such as aphids) and the foliage itself. The common earwig eats a wide variety of plants, and also a wide variety of foliage including the leaves and petals. They have been known to cause economic losses in fruit and vegetable crops. Some examples are the flowers, hops, and corn crops, and in have been observed feeding on peaches and apricots.

Discourage and reduce entry by caulking and repairing cracks and crevices and checking door thresholds, windows and screens for a tight fit. Remove any leaf litter, large stones, dead wood, wood piles, and mulches, as earwigs like moist dark places to hide in during the day, thus eliminating their desired habitat.

Beer - Place stale beer in small jars and set on their sides for earwigs to crawl in, as they are attracted to beer.

Damp Newspaper - Earwigs will come out at night to feed, preferring to stay hidden in cool dark places during the day. Provide a damp place to crawl into such as rolled up newspaper that has been soaked and placed in the garden, or fill a flowerpot with damp crumpled paper; turn it upside down and prop up with a stick.

Oatmeal or Bran - Placing damp crumpled newspaper in cardboard boxes, baited with oatmeal or bran, with finger-size holes as entry sites punched in the sides near the bottom.

*Place traps near damaged plants or mulch area and dump the contents into a bucket of soapy water in the morning.

Fish Oil - Fill food cans with 1/4 inch of fish oil and sink them into the ground near plants. Empty them daily.

Diatomaceous Earth - Sprinkle a 2-inch-wide circle of diatomaceous earth around beds or the base of plants; reapplying after a rain.

Mosquitos: Few of the species are harmless and even useful to humanity. The females of most species, with tube-like mouthparts, pierce the skin to suck the blood. Thousands of species feed on the blood of various kinds of hosts, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some kinds of fish. The loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the victim, however the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. More serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, and west nile virus.

In most species, adult females lay their eggs in stagnant water; while some lay eggs near the water's edge; and others attach their eggs to aquatic plants. Each species selects the situation of the water into which it lays its eggs and does so according to its own ecological adaptations. Some breed in lakes and some in temporary puddles. Some breed in marshes, some in salt-marshes. Among those that breed in salt water, some are equally at home in fresh, whereas others must acclimatize themselves to the salt. These differences are important because certain preferences keep mosquitoes away from most humans, while other preferences bring them right into houses at night.

Mosquitoes are also attracted to dark colors, so it’s also a good idea to wear light-colored clothing, such as khaki, tan, or white. A mosquito chemical, visual, and heat sensors to locate their prey. In many species the mouthparts of the females are adapted for piercing the skin and sucking the blood. In many species, the female needs to obtain nutrients from a blood meal before she can produce eggs, whereas in many other species, she can produce more eggs after a blood meal. The feeding preferences of mosquitoes include those with type O blood, heavy breathers, those with a lot of skin bacteria, people with a lot of body heat, and pregnant women.

Garlic - A natural sulfur compound is found in garlic, which repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and black flies. Taking garlic tablets or consuming garlic will cause your skin to secrete a natural repellent, which is toxic to black flies. Insects tend not to land, but if they do, the taste of sulphur will have them fly away and discourage them from returning for seconds. (Note: Do not feed garlic to dogs or cats, as it causes damage to red blood cells in animals.)

Citronella - May also substitute citronella essential oil with clove, tea tree, cedar, or mint essential oil. Fill a spray bottle (8 oz) to 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water, add witch hazel to fill. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and 30-40 drops of desired essential oil. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be.

Lavender - Mix 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel with two tablespoons of olive oil, and add 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Mix it thoroughly and put in a spray bottle (8 oz). Mixture can be applied to your skin or clothes. You can use thyme or lemon essential oil instead of lavender for a different aroma—same effect.

Rosemary and Lemongrass - Mix two tablespoons of olive oil, and add 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil and a few drops of rosemary. Mix it thoroughly and put in a spray bottle (8 oz). Mixture can be applied to your skin or clothes. You can use eucalyptus essential oil instead of rosemary for a different scent.

Spiders: An arthropod that has eight legs and mouthparts with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other orders of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea. As of 2008, at least 43,678 spider species have been recorded.

• Cinnamon - Add up to 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil and up to 5 drops of organic dish detergent or 5 drops of olive oil to 1 litre (1 quart) of water.

Citrus - Mixing a few drops of sugar free lemon, orange, or lime juice to water and use as a spray, or you can use citronella essential oils mixed in water, as well. Spray areas in your garden or household to keep spiders away. You can also placing the peel of citrus fruits in your garden as well.

Mint - Planting mint in your garden is another deterrent for spiders as well as rodents. You can also make a spray by mixing a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water, to use in garden and household.

Diatomaceous Earth - Using food-grade, not swimming pool diatomaceous earth (DE) works well. Sprinkle around the perimeter of your home and can also safely be sprinkled inside. Do not wet the DE or it will not work. This should resolve the problem within a week or so.

Garlic - Add two or three cloves of garlic or garlic tablets in a spray bottle, spray where needed.

Soothing the Itch: If you do get attacked by mosquitoes or black flies, you can soothe the itch by washing the affected area with soap and warm water. Avoid scratching the bites as much as possible (scratching can break the skin, increasing risk of infection). Apply aloe vera gel and witch hazel.

What is Diatomaceous Earth? - Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is an off-white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. It is not harmful to mammals, but when sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton, it compromises their waxy coating, due to its abrasive properties. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects' exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water deficiency. It is commonly used in gardening to defeat slugs, however, since slugs inhabit humid environments, the effect is very low. It is commonly used in lieu of boric acid, and can be used to help control and possibly eliminate bed bug, house dust mite, cockroach, ant and flea infestations. It is edible and is, in fact, stored with grains to keep the bugs from eating the grain.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Shared Grace - Could You Help Me Thrive?

Susan Ure Reid is called an 'angel' through what she does for the cats. The truth is that all of these animals need and appreciate the ‘angeldom’ of friends who support her ~ Although she does the 'hands on' tending single hearted ~ it is the friends who are placed to help that makes the deep essential difference. She has exhausted all of her savings just as their needs continue to increase.

With weekly costs of £100 ~ with a few additional 'spay' costs and veterinary care in emergencies ~ this help is needed all the more. To Susan’s great relief, all the fertile females have been spayed, arresting the burgeoning ‘kittendom’ bar two as yet to be coaxed gently into a carrier and delivered to the vet for spaying. She has reduced a potential of 28 kittens this spring to 4 ~ which feels like a great achievement.

Susan needs to raise the funds, for the last two females (260 euros) plus the spay costs of 5 males to arrest the ‘catdom’ conflicts which consign them to a harried life in exile. At this point the colony becomes contained. To achieve this now would be the greatest blessing not just for them but for her too.

Susan also has urgent invoices that need to be paid in order for her to continue her work tending to 31 cats on a daily basis - no small affair.

How can Susan help YOU? ~ She proofreads, edits and copy writes, often on a free basis or in exchange. She also tutors students challenged by their degree dissertations and readily and promptly counsels by request on the same basis as she has done for many years.

If Susan can do something for you, please feel free to email her at her paypal address:

If you are inspired to support the work Susan does with animals (now in its fifth year) your contributions are hugely welcome.

If you feel to contribute to Susan’s efforts and share this information along with her paypal address of, which will be happily received towards helping them ~ others may hear of and support this small pod of devoted animal care. Thank you so much for sharing this ~ it makes a difference.

All our love and many thanks… 

Susan Ure Reid

Monday, 25 May 2015

A Tribute to Fathers

What Makes A Dad
by Anonymous

A Father’s love is patient and kind …
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,

Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it ... Dad

Happy Father's Day

Feed Shark

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Essence of Life ☔

Water is the driving force of all nature. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Even though water has no color, taste, or scent, and is devoid of calories or organic nutrients; it is a substance that is essential to all life forms.

We can last several weeks without food, but only days without water. Water comprises approximately 55-78% of the body (depending on body size), and is therefore essential for the human body to function properly. Water is contained in the lean muscle, fat and bones and forms the basis of our blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration. The body is unable to store water, so in order for the body to perform almost every metabolic process, we require a fresh supply daily.

Water is the most perfect embodimenta pure and concentrated essence.

I have, for many years, been an avid fan of the caffeine beverage— coffee—black, with one sugar. I would drink anywhere from a few cups to a couple of pots of coffee daily. Yes, I was a coffee-aholic! If I happened to miss my morning coffee for some unconscionable reason, I would be the proud owner of a throbbing headache within a couple of hours. Headaches were not something that I had normally been prone to. However, a few months ago, headaches were becoming a common occurrence, staying with me for days at a time. As well, I was experiencing frequent leg cramps (charley horse) in the mornings.

Along with other symptoms such as fatigue, it was discovered that the headaches and leg cramps were due to dehydration. Even though coffee is a liquid, the body requires water with few impurities to supplement the other foods and beverages we consume. Caffeine, which acts as a diuretic, can dehydrate you.

*These symptoms could also be due to a deficiency in magnesium, so best to check in with your health care provider.

When your water intake doesn't equal your output, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration symptoms generally become noticeable after approximately 2% of normal water volume has been lost. Signs and symptoms of dehydration in adults may include dry mouth and increased thirst, weakness, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, sluggishness, confusion, decreased urine output and fainting. If urine color is concentrated and deep yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.

Approximately 20% of our water intake comes from food or beverages (caffeinated included) other than drinking straight water. The adult body requires between 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. The precise amount depends on temperature, humidity and level of activity. Water is excreted from the body through sweating, urine and feces, and by breathing (exhalation of water vapor). With physical exertion and heat exposure, water loss will increase and daily fluid requirements may increase as well.

Women who are pregnant should increase their water intake by 2 cups, while women who are breastfeeding, since a large amount of fluid is lost during nursing, should increase their fluids an additional 4 cups to stay hydrated.

While it is dangerous to drink too little, people can also drink far more water than necessary as well, putting them at risk of water intoxication or hyper-hydration—which can be fatal. For those who have healthy kidneys, it would be rather difficult to drink too much water, especially in warm humid weather and while exercising. Adequate fluid intake is also helpful in preventing constipation and studies have shown that extra water intake (up to 500 ml) at mealtime is conducive to weight loss. Not drinking enough water increases the risk of kidney stones and, in women, urinary tract infections, and can also lower your physical and mental performance.

It takes constant perseverance to make changes to habitual routines. I haven't completely cut out the coffee, but have reduced my caffeine intake considerably. I am now in the habit of filling up a water container and setting it beside my coffee pot (preferring my water to be at room temperature due to teeth sensitivity). Setting the water close to my coffee pot helps as a reminder in making a conscious choice.

Since drinking more water, I no longer have the headaches and leg cramps and my energy levels have improved.

Occasionally, I will add three tablespoons of lemon juice to my water jug, for the taste, as well as vitamins and minerals. Solutes are acceptable and even desirable for taste enhancement and to provide needed electrolytes.

Other ways you can give your water a little flavour and some visual appeal, if you prefer, is to add fruit ice cubes. Wash your fruit pieces or berries, place into your ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze.

Add them to your drink, and enjoy!

And if that doesn't get you drinking more water, take into consideration that depriving the body of it's much needed water can also make us look much older than we are. Water is good for the complexion.

Related Video: Water - Fuel for Your Body

Friday, 22 May 2015

Rumi Quotes

"Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it."

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Spirit Orb Joins in Play

Orbs are considered to be spirits or supernatural beings that travel in the form of balls of light. Orbs are also known as "ghost orbs" or "spirit orbs" and are often thought to be the souls of people.

They may not always be spherical in shape, but oblong and hazy on film and may or may not have a trail attached.

Although rare, they can be seen with the naked eye and can be caught on camera. Videos of orbs are quite common, showing light anomalies moving across the frame, either floating or traveling at a high rate of speed.

“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” – Niels Bohr

Monday, 11 May 2015

Exotic Lavender - Benefits ❧

"And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom shall be, ere-while, in arid bundles bound to lurk amidst the labours of her loom, and crown her kerchiefs with mickle rare perfume."
~William Shenstone

A scent or aroma has the power to stimulate memory and profoundly affect one's mood. It can be more powerful than looking over old photos, having the ability to transport us back in time, re-awakening memories long forgotten.

The scent of spruce floods me with memories of childhood Christmases past; while the aroma of freshly baked bread takes me back to days spent in the kitchen with my mother baking bread. The exotic scent of lavender, being one of my grandmother's favorite scents, is still a favorite of mine today. With all the 'scent-free' zones now, having a chance encounter with someone wearing a perfume or aftershave has become few and far between. However, on those rare occasions that I should cross paths with someone wearing that particular scent, I am immediately taken back in time, to a moment which is very vivid and surreal.

Lavender, derived from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”, is a flowering plant in the mint family which is native to the 'Old World'. It can be found in the Canary Islands, down through southern Europe, and the Mediterranean. Besides being used in gardens as an ornamental plant, lavender is also used as a culinary herb and for the extraction of essential oils.

Flowers of the lavender plant may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish in color, and are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage. The leaf shape is simple in some of the more commonly cultivated species; whereas in others they are toothed in a feather-like arrangement. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs, which normally contain the essential oils.

The plant is grown mainly for the production of essential oil of lavender, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and was used in hospitals during World War I. The flowers and leaves are used as an herbal medicine, either in the form of lavender oil or as an herbal tea. These extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products. English lavender yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Dutch lavender, yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of organic compounds, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance.

The ancient Greeks called lavender nardus or nard, after the Syrian city of Naarda. The Greeks discovered early on that lavender, if crushed and treated correctly, would release a relaxing fume when burned. Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical temple to prepare the holy essence, and is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

Lavender essential oil, when diluted with a carrier oil, is commonly used as a relaxant with massage therapy. Products for home use, such as lotions, eye pillows (including lavender flowers or the essential oil itself) and bath oils, etc., are also used. Both the petals and the oil are the most popular ingredients in handmade soap.

Dried lavender flowers and lavender essential oil are also used as a prevention against clothing moths, which do not like the scent.

Benefits of Lavender
• Helps suppress visible effects of aging by reducing the look of pores and fine lines
• Reduces acne outbreaks
• Protects skin from damaging free radicals
• Helps encourage wound healing and soothes inflammation
• Soothes insect bites and stings

Combining lavender oil with other essential oils, such as frankincense or cedarwood giving you a variety of scent options, which can also be used as a perfume.

Sleep Aid and Relaxation:

The following options can be used to aid sleep and relaxation, as well as alleviation related sleep disturbances and anxiety, (and also helps calm the elderly struggling with dementia).

1. Placing a sachet of lavender seeds and flowers in pillows.

2. Diluting 2 to 4 drops of the essential oil in 2 to 3 cups of boiling water, inhaling the vapor by wafting, not directly inhaling steam.

3. Adding flower heads to 2-3 cups of boiling water, again inhaling the vapor by wafting.

4. Drinking a cup of any of the organic lavender tea blends, such as honey-lavender herbal tea or chamomile- lavender tea.

5. Placing 2 to 3 drops of the lavender essential oil in the palms of your hands, and rubbing together and applying directly to the temples, hair, or clothing.

6. Also placing 2 drops of lavender oil into a spray bottle with approximately 1 cup of water (shake to mix and spray the area).

*There are also various essential oil diffusers available for a continual running air purifier.

Stress and Headache Relief:

Combine a drop of lavender oil and a drop of peppermint oil in the palms of your hands, apply directly to the temples.

Bee Stings and Insect Bites:
Lavender bundles, intended to repel insects.

To reduce redness, swelling and itching, place a drop of lavender oil on the affected area.

*Bunches of lavender will also repel insects.

Minor Cuts and Burns:

Cleanse area, place 2 to 3 drops of lavender oil on the affected area to alleviate pain and redness.

Cold Sores and Chapped Lips:

Add lavender oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil and apply to cold sore or chapped lips.

Dandruff or Dry Scalp:

Mix 10 drops of lavender oil with 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds or until it feels warm. Dampen hair and massage oil into your scalp, cover with a shower cap or towel for about an hour, then shampoo.

Hay Fever:

Alleviate symptoms of hay fever by rubbing a drop of lavender oil between your palms and inhaling deeply.

Acne and Sunburn:

Dilute 1 part lavender oil with 10 parts water, rosewater, or witch hazel and apply to acne or sunburned area.

Eczema or Psoriasis:

Mix a couple of drops of lavender oil with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil.

Motion Sickness:

Spray lavender oil on your skin and clothes or rub it into your temples to alleviate motion sickness or upset stomach.

*A survey paper on lavender and the nervous system published in 2013 states that, "there is growing evidence suggesting that lavender oil may be an effective medicament in treatment of several neurological disorders."

Health precautions - Lavender is traditionally regarded as a 'safe' oil although it is not recommended for use while pregnant or breast-feeding. If used by young boys, caution should also be used due to possible hormonal effects; and may cause skin irritation.

<< ❧❦ Essential Oils Guide - Benefits & Uses ❦ ❧ >>

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Famous People Who Failed Before They Were Famous

Even though you may face a failure, you can still find success!

Monday, 4 May 2015

A Mother's Prayer

A Mother's Day Prayer

Dear Lord, itʹs such a hectic day,
With little time to stop and pray,
For lifeʹs been anything but calm
Since You called me to be a Mom.
Running errands, matching socks,
Building dreams with wooden blocks,
Cooking, cleaning, finding shoes
And other stuff that children lose,
Fitting lids on bottled bugs,
Wiping tears and giving hugs,
A stack of last weekʹs mail to read
So whereʹs the quiet time I need?
Yet, when I steal a moment, Lord,
Just at the sink or ironing board,
To ask the blessings of Your grace,
I see then, in my small oneʹs face,
That you have blessed me all the while
And I stoop to kiss that precious smile.

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