Frankincense Resin & Oil  (Boswellia carterii, serrata, & sacra)

Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae, particularly Boswellia sacra (syn: B. bhaw-dajiana), B. carterii, B. frereana, B. serrata (B. thurifera, Indian frankincense), and B. papyrifera. The English word is derived from Old French “franc encens” (i.e., high quality incense). There are four main species of Boswellia that produce true frankincense. Resin from each of the four is available in various grades, which depend on the time of harvesting. The resin is then hand-sorted for quality.

Olibanum is characterised by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, fragrance of incense, with a conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Chemical Composition: Structure of β-boswellic acid, one of the main active components of frankincense. These are some of the chemical compounds present in frankincense:

  • “acid resin (56 %), soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4”
  • gum (similar to gum arabic) 30–36%
  • 3-acetyl-beta-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • alpha-boswellic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • 4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid (Boswellia sacra)
  • incensole acetate, C21H34O3
  • phellandrene
  • (+)-cis- and (+)-trans-olibanic acids

Blending: Frankincense oil blends well with other oils such as Lime, Lemon, Orange and other Citrus oils as well as Benzoin, Bergamot, Lavender, Myrrh, Pine, and Sandalwood oil. This makes it a popular element of various aromatherapy combinations.

Uses for Frankincense

Boswellia serrata is a tree native to India that produces special compounds that have been found to have strong anti-inflammatory, and potentially anti-cancer, effects. Among the valuable boswellia tree extracts that researchers have identified, several stand out as being most beneficial, including terpenes and boswellic acids, which are strongly anti-inflammatory and protective over healthy cells.

Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. It is also an ingredient that is sometimes used in skincare. The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smells of the frankincense smoke are products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense oil is used by either inhaling the oil or absorbing it through the skin, usually mixed with a carrier oil, such as an unscented lotion or jojoba oil. It’s believed that the oil transmits messages to the limbic system of the brain, which is known to influence the nervous system. A little bit of oil goes a long way; it should not be ingested in large quantities as it can be toxic.

Frankincense Essential Oil

The health benefits of frankincense essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and a vulnerary substance. Frankincense oil relieves pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to heal boils, infected wounds, acne, circulatory problems, insomnia, and various types of inflammation as well.

The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil’s chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols and ketones. It has a good balsamic sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell. Contrary to what some commercial entities claim, steam or hydro distilled frankincense oils do not contain boswellic acids (triterpenoids), although may be present in trace quantities in the solvent extracted products. The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, such as alpha-pinene, Limonene, alpha-Thujene, and beta-Pinene with small amounts of diterpenoid components being the upper limit in terms of molecular weight.

Benefits of Frankincense Oil (

  1. Helps Reduce Stress Reactions and Negative Emotions: When inhaled, it’s been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression-reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications, it does not have negative side effects or cause unwanted drowsiness.
  2. Helps Boost Immune System Function and Prevents Illness: Studies have demonstrated that frankincense has immune-enhancing abilities that may help destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses and even cancers.
  3. May Help Fight Cancer or Deal with Chemotherapy Side Effects: Frankincense oil has been shown to help fight cells of specific types of cancer.
  4. Astringent and Can Kill Harmful Germs and Bacteria: Frankincense is an antiseptic and disinfectant. It has the ability to eliminate cold and flu germs from the home and the body naturally and can be used in place of chemical household cleaners.
  5. Improves Oral Health: The same antiseptic qualities also make frankincense oil a useful preventive measure against oral issues, like bad breath, toothaches, cavities, mouth sores, and other infections.
  6. Heals Skin and Prevents Signs of Aging: Frankincense has the ability to strengthen skin and improve its tone, elasticity, defense mechanisms against bacteria or blemishes, and appearance as someone ages. It helps tone and lift skin, reduces appearance of scars and acne, and heals wounds. It can also be beneficial for fading of stretch marks, surgery scars or marks associated with pregnancy, and for healing dry or cracked skin.
  7. Balances Hormone Levels: Frankincense oil reduces symptoms associated with menstruation and menopause by balancing hormone levels. It can help relieve pain, cramps, constipation, headaches, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and mood swings. Frankincense oil also helps with regulating estrogen production and may reduce the risk of tumor or cyst development in premenopausal women.
  8. Reduces Scars: This is an interesting property of Frankincense oil. When applied topically or inhaled, it can make the scars and marks of boils, acne, and pox on the skin fade at a much faster rate. This also includes the fading of stretch marks, surgery marks, and fat cracks associated with pregnancy and delivery.
  9. Eases Digestion: Frankincense helps the digestive system properly detox and to produce bowel movements, reduces pain and cramping in the stomach, can relieve nausea, helps flush out excess water from the abdomen that can cause bloating and even relieves PMS-related stomach pains.
  10. Acts as a Sleep Aid: Frankincense essential oil is useful in lowering levels of anxiety or chronic stress that can keep you up at night. It has a calming, grounding scent that can naturally help you to fall asleep. It helps open breathing passages, allows your body to reach an ideal sleeping temperature and can eliminate pain that keeps you up.
  11. Helps Decrease Inflammation and Pain: Frankincense can inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with conditions like arthritis, asthma, painful bowel disorders like IBS and many more conditions.
  12. Acts as Tonic: Overall, frankincense essential oil tones and boosts health and is, therefore, considered a tonic. It benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and excretory systems, while also increasing strength by aiding the absorption of nutrients into the body. Furthermore, frankincense oil strengthens the immune system and keeps you strong.
  13. Stimulates Urination: If you think that Lasix and its variants are the only drugs that can help you release water from the body through urination, you are incorrect. These pharmaceutical options may be instantaneous, but not very safe. Frankincense essential oil is a natural and safe alternative. It promotes urination and helps you lose that extra water weight, as well as fats, sodium, uric acid, and various other toxins from the body, with the added advantage of lowering blood pressure. The best part about this is that frankincense essential oil is completely safe and has no adverse side effects.
  14. Reduces Respiratory Issues: It soothes cough and eliminates phlegm deposited in the respiratory tracts and the lungs. Frankincense essential oil also provides relief from bronchitis and congestion of nasal tract, larynx, pharynx, bronchi, and lungs. Its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties also help relax the breathing passages, which can reduce the dangers of asthma attacks, and its antiseptic qualities give it the reputation of being an immune system booster! It also eases body pain, headaches, toothaches, and balances the rise in body temperature commonly associated with colds.

Using Frankincense at Home

  1. Stress-Relieving Bath Soak: Frankincense oil immediately induces the feeling of peace, relaxation and satisfaction. Add a few drops of frankincense oil to a hot bath for stress relief. You can also add frankincense to an oil diffuser or vaporizer to help fight anxiety and for experiencing relaxation in your home all the time. Some people believe that the fragrance of frankincense can increase your intuition and spiritual connection.
  2. Natural Household Cleaner: Frankincense oil is an antiseptic, meaning it helps eliminate bacteria and viruses from your home and clean indoor spaces. The plant has been commonly burned to help disinfect an area and is used as a natural deodorizer. Use it in an essential oil diffuser to help reduce indoor pollution and deodorize and disinfect any room or surface in your home.
  3. Natural Hygiene Product: Due to its antiseptic properties, frankincense oil is a great addition to any oral hygiene regimen. Look for natural oral care products that contain frankincense oil, especially if you enjoy the aroma. It can help prevent dental health issues like tooth decay, bad breath, cavities or oral infections. You can also consider making your own toothpaste by mixing frankincense oil with baking soda.
  4. Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Fighter: Frankincense essential oil is a powerful astringent, meaning it helps protect skin cells. It can be used to help reduce acne blemishes, the appearance of large pores, prevent wrinkles, and it even helps lift and tighten skin to naturally slow signs of aging. The oil can be used anywhere where the skin becomes saggy, such as the abdomen, jowls or under the eyes. Mix six drops of oil to one ounce of unscented oil and apply it directly to the skin. Be sure to always do a small patch area test first to test for possible allergic reactions.
  5. Relieves Symptoms of Indigestion: If you have any digestive distress, such as gas, constipation, stomach aches, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS or cramps, frankincense oil can help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort. It helps speed up the digestion of food, similar to digestive enzymes. Add one to two drops of oil to eight ounces of water or to a tablespoon of honey for GI relief. If you’re going to ingest it orally, make sure it’s 100 percent pure oil; do not ingest fragrance or perfume oils.
  6. Scar, Wound, Stretch Mark or Acne Remedy: Frankincense oil can help with wound healing and may decrease the appearance of scars. It may also help reduce the appearance of dark spots caused from acne blemishes, stretch marks, eczema and help with healing of surgical wounds. Mix two to three drops of oil with an unscented base oil or lotion and apply directly to skin. Be careful not to apply it to broken skin, but it’s fine for skin that’s in the process of healing.
  7. Natural Cold or Flu Medicine: Next time you have a respiratory infection from a cold or flu, use frankincense essential oil to help provide relief from coughing. It can help eliminate phlegm in the lungs. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier, even for those with allergies or asthma. Add a few drops to a cloth and inhale for the respiratory benefits or use an oil diffuser.
  8. Helps Relieve Inflammation and Pain: To improve circulation and lower symptoms of joint pain or muscle pain related to conditions like arthritis, digestive disorders and asthma, try massaging frankincense oil to the painful area or diffusing it in your home. You can add a drop of oil to steaming water and soak a towel in it, then place the towel on your body or over your face to inhale it to decrease muscle aches. Also diffuse several drops in your home or combine several drops with a carrier oil to massage into your muscles, joints, feet or neck.

History of Frankincense

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 5000 years. A mural depicting sacks of frankincense traded from the Land of Punt adorns the walls of the temple of ancient Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, who died circa 1458 BC.

Frankincense was one of the consecrated incenses (Ha-Ketoret) described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud used in Ketoret ceremonies, an important component of the services in the Temple in Jerusalem. It was offered on a specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Temples. It is mentioned in the Book of Exodus 30:34.

Frankincense also received numerous mentions in the New Testament (Luke 1:10 ; Revelation 5:8, 8:3). Together with gold and myrrh, it was made an offering to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:11). Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering.

Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders, although its name refers to its quality, not to the Franks themselves. Although it is better known as “frankincense” to westerners, the resin is also known as olibanum, or in Arabic, al-lubān (roughly translated: “that which results from milking”), a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree.

The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reported that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of venomous snakes that lived in the trees. He goes on to describe the method used by the Arabs to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. The resin is also mentioned by Theophrastus and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Frankincense is used in many Christian churches including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Catholic churches. According to the Biblical text of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the biblical magi “from out of the East.” Christian and Islamic Abrahamic faiths have all used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants, initiates and members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.

Conversely, the spread of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub’ al Khali or “Empty Quarter” of the Arabian Peninsula more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after A.D. 300.


Frankincense Oil DIY Recipes

Scar Reducing Body Butter: Time: 5 minutes; Serves: 4


  • 2 ounces shea butter or coconut oil
  • 10 drops of jasmine oil
  • 10 drops frankincense oil
  • Small container or jar to mix the ingredients


In a double boiler, melt the shea butter until it’s liquid.

Make sure the oil is not so hot that it will burn you, then add the other oils and stir together to combine. Having the shea butter be room temperature or a little warmer is best.

You can either smear it on your scar right away, or if you’d like to make it into a shelf-stable cream texture, place the mixture in the fridge until it’s cool for a few minutes, then use a hand mixer on high speed to whip the oils into a white cream.

Pour into a glass jar or containers, and keep it at room temperature to use whenever you want.

Sleep-Inducing Facial Cream or Body Rub: Time: 5 minutes; Serves: 1

This all-natural night cream is great to help you fall asleep. It also doubles as a skin health-booster if you apply it to your face and may be able to help clear up blemishes or breakouts.


  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1/4 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Small container or jar to mix the ingredients


Use coconut oil that’s not solid but rather soft. If need be, heat it first in a double broiler.

Add the other oils and stir together to combine. Spread over your face and body. You may want to pat yourself off after to not allow the oil to seep into your bed sheets. You can also store this to use at another time.

Homemade Frankincense and Myrrh Lotion: Total Time: 90 minutes; Serves: 30


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup bees wax
  • 1/4 cup shea butter
  • 2 tbsp vitamin E
  • 20 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 20 drops myrrh essential oil
  • BPA free plastic lotion dispenser bottles


Put olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter in glass bowl then place that bowl in sauce pan with water.

Heat stove to medium and mix ingredients together.

Once mixed put in refrigerator for an hour until solid.

With a regular mixer or hand mixer beat the mixture until it is whipped and fluffy. Then add essential oils and vitamin E and mix.

Fill container and store in cool place.

Homemade Frankincense Soap Bar: Total Time: 30 minutes; Serves: 30


  • 20-30 drops frankincense essential oil
  • Soap Base
  • 5 drops pomegranate oil
  • Oval Bar Molds or Decorative Soap Mold


Put soap base in glass bowl then place that bowl in sauce pan with water.

Heat stove to medium and allow base to melt.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Then add the frankincense and pomegranate oil

Mix well and transfer to a soap mold

Let mixture cool fully before popping bar out of mold. Keep at room temp

Frankincense Interactions/Side Effects

For oil safety concerns, you should know that frankincense essential oil is extremely well-tolerated, especially compared to prescription medications. To date, there are no reported serious side effects of using frankincense oil, as long as you do not ingest large quantities, which can result in it becoming toxic.

Rarely frankincense oil can cause certain reactions for some people, including minor skin rashes and digestive problems like nausea or stomach pains. Frankincense is also known to have blood-thinning effects, so anyone who has problems related to blood clotting should not use frankincense oil or should speak with a doctor first. Otherwise, the oil may have potential to negatively react with certain anticoagulant medications.




Why are Liquid Extracts better than Dried Supplements?

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Forms of Herbal Supplements

The tea is where you steep a small quantity of dried herbs in boiled water for 10 to 30 minutes, then strain and drink.

The infusion is where you steep a larger quantity of herbs in boiled water for several hours to overnight, then strain and drink. Obviously, the infusion is more concentrated than the tea.

The capsules are filled with dried herbs. You swallow them like any other pill. They are generally 4 times more potent than teas.

The tinctures/extracts are where you put the herbs in a solvent base (such as alcohol) for a number of weeks and the alcohol (or other solvent) extracts the nutritive properties of the herbs into itself. Then you strain, bottle, and take by the dropperful. These are the most potent and concentrated because the alcohol is a powerful extractor.

What’s the difference between Tea and Herbal Tea?

It depends all on the plant that is used in your ‘tea’. When talking about tea, green tea and black tea tend to dominate the conversation. But what you may not realize is that herbal teas are one of the few common threads running through all the world’s traditional healing practices. So why is herbal tea not considered “real tea” and what’s the difference?

Real tea is made from the leaves of a single plant, the tea bush (Camellia sinensis). Green tea, black tea, white tea and oolong tea are all considered to be real teas, the only difference among the four is how they are processed. Read more about the differences between green tea and black tea (as well as the other two varieties).

Herbal teas, as the name implies, are produced from any number of different herbs and combination of herbs. Unlike “real tea,” which is only brewed from leaves, herbal teas can be prepared from steeping the leaves, stems, flowers, roots, bark or rhizomes of the particular herbs.

There are also two different ways of preparing your herbal teas:

Infusion: This is the most common form of herbal tea preparation, whereby you simply steep the plants in boiling water. Infusion is only used with the non-woody parts of the herb (the leaves, flowers and, in some cases, stems). When you make tea using tea bags or a tea ball, you’re using the infusion method.

Decoction: The other method of preparing herbal tea is combining the woody parts of the herb (the roots or bark) with water, bringing it to a boil and letting it simmer. Decoction is the best way to extract the nutrients from the denser parts of the herb.

Are powders better than tea pills? Or would tinctures or tea be better?

The most effective herbal treatments are the ones that real patient can realistically utilize. While growing fresh organic herbs in your personal garden and making a fresh tea or infusion from the freshest herbs would be the optimal situation, it is completely unrealistic for most. It is understandable that people want the most effective herbs, so here are some things to consider:

1st – There is a misunderstanding about the absorption rates of liquid herbs versus tablets. It is true that herbs that are decocted or tinctured are rendered in to a liquid state and the body does not have to break down the cellulose of the plant material; however, those with a normal digestive system break down plant material every day to render nutrients available from vegetables.

2nd – In Chinese medicine, decoctions are traditionally used more often than tinctures, although medicinal wines are sometimes used; tinctures are more widely used in western herbalism. Doses of medicinal tinctures are misleading; when tinctures were 4introduced to the market place at the turn of the 20th century, the public was used to homeopathic dosing from ounce bottles. Tincture manufacturers followed suit producing 1 ounce bottles with low dosages. A true dose of therapeutic quantities of 1:6 tincture is 2.5 teaspoons per day, not 20-60 drops. Tinctures might make sense for acute conditions such as a cold or flu that are treated for only a week or two with something like echinacea tincture, but for chronic health conditions that take many months to treat, they become prohibitively expensive.

3rd – Traditional methods of herbal therapy tend to prove more clinically efficacious than the ‘latest fad’ practices in herbal medicine and natural healing, so herbalists tend to respect a decoction of whole herbs over isolated herb compounds and high potency ‘pharm’ herb products; it is clear that the herb industry is being influenced by the same science babble that the food industry marketers have been feeding us over the last 40 years leading us away from real, whole foods.

There are actually more important questions that people should be asking themselves about their herbs: Are these fresh organic herbs of high quality, or are they made from the brown lifeless remnants of herb medicines that are old or stored improperly? Am I taking the correct formulas for my specific health imbalances? Do I understand how herbs work with the body to bring about positive change and are my expectations realistic? Are there binders in my tablets or herbs that may make them less absorbable or make them an allergen?

Which form of herbs offers the most therapeutic benefits?

The therapeutic benefits achieved by using herbs depend on a variety of factors. For instance, does the herbal product contain all of the active constituents in ratios found in nature, or have the constituents been altered? How fresh is the herbal product you are about to purchase or ingest? What is the shelf life of the herb? Has the herb been processed in a way to ensure that it will be effective when you are ready to take the product? Does the product require you to digest the herbs in order to get all of the benefits from these herbs? Is it convenient to take? Is it affordable? Does the product address the problem you are trying to solve? Of all the available forms of herbal products, liquid herbal extracts address (in a positive way) most of these factors. This is one of the primary reasons American herbalists recommend liquid herbal extracts the most.

Why are herbs in liquid herbal extract form preferable over dried herbs found in capsule or tablet form?

The success of herbal medicines as healing agents is dependent upon how active their constituents (ingredients) are when you ingest them. For maximum therapeutic benefits it is important to take herbs in the form that best captures and preserves their active constituents. Liquid herbal extracts achieve these goals. This is why they are one of the most therapeutically beneficial form of herbs available on the market today.

The herbs found in tablet or capsule form are ground months prior to appearing on store shelves. These products lose many of their active ingredients both when they are ground and while they are in storage. Herbal tablets also contain fillers, binders, and other materials necessary to compress the ground herbs into tablet form. Tablets must also be dissolved by the body’s digestive system before the herbs can be assimilated. Herbal capsules tend to be better than tablets because they do not contain the extra manufacturing materials and they dissolve easily in the stomach. However, if the person is not digesting and assimilating well, the potential therapeutic benefits of herbs in tablet and capsule form diminishes because it is the digestive system’s role to free the active constituents from the fiber and cellulose. Additionally, the herbs in capsule and tablet form lose potency as they are exposed to oxygen (capsules oxidize more rapidly than tablets).

Herbs in liquid extract form, on the other hand, contain no fillers, binders, or “extra” ingredients so they are immediately assimilated into the body. The plant fibers and cellulose do not have to be broken down or digested in order for the body to absorb them. In liquid form, the herbs are immediately available for assimilation into the bloodstream, glands, and organs. Even a person with poor digestion and assimilation can enjoy the full therapeutic benefits of liquid herbal extracts.

Most herbalists prefer liquid herbal extracts over other forms of herbs for four main reasons: freshness, potency, absorption and formulation.

Freshness: As detailed in the previous answer, herbs in liquid herbal extract form retain their freshness and potency over a longer period of time than ground herbs in capsule or tablet form. Also, in many instances, using fresh [undried] herbs is a unique way to deliver the specific properties and herbal constituents necessary for healing. Liquid herbal extracts are the only type of products that may start with fresh [undried] herbs that are picked and processed the same day to protect and preserve specific active constituents only found in fresh herbs.  On the other hand, herbs found in capsules, tablets, teas, and loose herbs, must first be dried before being used.

Potency: Herbalists have long recognized that potency is not about isolating a single “active constituent”. Potency is the result of the interaction of many constituents within each herb. Herbal products must contain a full spectrum of bioavailable constituents to promote the maintenance of health and support the body’s own healing process. Liquid herbal extracts deliver more bioavailable constituents than any other herbal supplements.

Absorption: Liquid herbal extracts bypass the digestive process and enter the bloodstream rapidly. This makes them the most effective way for the body to absorb the medicinal principles from herbs. Once assimilated, the herbal constituents start working in your body within minutes.

Formulation: Liquid herbal extracts can effectively deliver the healing power of several herbs at once. Years of clinical experience has shown that herbal formulas, comprised of several herbs, produce better results than single herbs, this is due to the synergy of the plants. In a formula, each herb is designed to support a specific body system in a manner that complements the action of the other herbs, and the systems they support. Well-designed, time-tested formulations support the body’s healing needs.

How long do herbs in different forms retain their effectiveness?


Powdered Herbs
Tea Bags
Herbal Capsules
Whole dried Leaves
Herbal Tablets
Whole dried Herbs
Alcohol-containing Liquid Extracts
Non-alcohol Liquid Extracts
Liquid Herbal Extract Softgels

Shelf Life

1-6 months
1-6 months
1-12 months
2-12 months
2- 24 months
1-10  years
5+ years
5 years
5 years

Benefits of liquid extracts

Fast, ready absorption. Your body does not need to break down a liquid extract, allowing its health benefits to be readily absorbed. And it’s fast. It only takes about 1-4 minutes to assimilate a liquid extract while capsules or tablets can take upwards of 30.

Easy to digest. As you age, you don’t digest pills and capsules as easily. Some may pass through your system fully in tact. Individuals on acid blockers may have even more difficulty digesting due to the reduction of stomach acids making liquid extracts a good choice for them.

Greater potency. You get more pure nutrition – just the plant and its beneficial nutrients in their most potent state. Because of this, liquid extracts may cost a bit more, but the value you receive is often worth the price.

Flexible dosing. If you’re unsure how your system will react to a certain extract, you can easily cut the dosage down to a drop or half-drop and adjust from there.

Customized to your needs. Want to support your immune system, heart health plus digestion? Mix various liquid extracts to address each of those concerns into a single, customized drink.

Convenience. Its small sized bottle makes it easy to carry in a purse, pocket or suit case.

Longer shelf life. Typically liquid extracts are stable much longer than tablets and are less affected by heat and humidity. When stored out of direct sunlight or near heat, liquid extracts containing alcohol can last up to five years while those containing no alcohol can last about three.

Taste. Newer liquid extracts include pomegranate, blueberry and other fruity flavors to enhance their taste.

How Long Do Herbal Supplements Last?

The storage life depends on the base. All should be stored cool and dark (not next to the oven or a warm place). If stored properly, here’s the shelf life you can expect:

  • alcohol — unlimited shelf life
  • glycerin — 3 to 5 years
  • apple cider vinegar — 1 year

Strategic Timing for Taking Herbal Medicine

Timing Around Meals

Herbs can be taken before meals to stimulate digestion or when a person’s symptoms occur before eating.

Herbal extract and tinctures can be taken while eating if there is a problem while ingesting food.

Generally speaking “herbal bitters” can be taken in small amount before eating to stimulate the body’s digestive secretions and one’s appetite or after meals to relieve bloating. A teaspoon or tablespoon should be a sufficient dose.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a very common complaint, answered by the huge market of antacids and pharmaceuticals with long-term negative side effects. But one of the simplest treatments is to simply go to your spice cabinet, mix together a pinch of every spice and take a teaspoon of the powder washed down with room temperature water.

Herbs that are intended to go to the liver, Kidneys, intestines or reproductive organs are taken after meals.

Often this can be too complicated for people who are on the go to follow so my basic thought is to take herbs regularly before meals. If there is any discomfort, try switching to taking them after meals.

Another simple and basic approach is to take tonic formulas before meals (when you body is most ready to digest food) and the more eliminating and detoxifying formulas after meals.


Conditions caused or aggravated by cold should be treated with hot medicines (i.e., teas and decoctions). This would include the early stages of colds as well as respiratory allergies.

If the condition is caused or aggravated by heat, or to provoke urination, give room temperature herbal preparations.

Enhancing additives

When treating low energy, the addition of a little honey or some sweet flavored substances such as jujube or other dates and a small amount of licorice will serve as a carrier for herbs like ginseng.

When treating Kidney adrenals with symptoms of lower back, knee, joint pains, low libido and urinary problems taking the appropriate formula with a pinch of salt or soya sauce will help focus and direct the action of the herbs to the intended Kidney-Adrenals.

When someone is nutritionally compromised, and weak, tonic herbs are best taken in soups.

Preparation containers

One should never brew herbal teas in certain types of metal containers. This especially applies to iron or aluminum pots where the soluble metallic ions can alter the chemistry of the medicinal herbs. The ideal medium for preparing herb teas is a clay or glass receptacle. Good quality stainless steel is neutral and does not leach metallic and is therefore also all right to use.

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What is Lectin?

Leucoagglutinin, a toxic phytohemagglutinin found in raw Vicia faba (fava bean).

The name “lectin” is derived from the Latin word legere, meaning, among other things, “to select”.

Long before a deeper understanding of their numerous biological functions, the plant lectins, also known as phytohemagglutinins, were noted for their particular high specificity for foreign glycoconjugates (e.g. those of fungi, invertebrates, and animals) and used in biomedicine for blood cell testing and in biochemistry for fractionation.

Is Lectin the New Gluten?

In recent research by Dr. Gundry and several other doctors they found that Gluten intolerance only affects 1% of the population. So, what’s causing all this inflammation and weight gain if it’s not gluten? Lectin.

Fruits and vegetables that contain lectins are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • String beans
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • Soybean, mung bean and lentil sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • ​Grapes (especially the seeds)
  • Cherries
  • Pomegranates
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Beans
  • Wheat germ
  • peanuts
  • dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • garlic
  • marjoram
  • allspice

However, variation can occur from day to day and from plant to plant. In addition, the lectins found in dairy, nightshades, nuts and seeds aren’t as bad for you.

What are Lectins?

Lectins are a type of protein that, in humans, may help cells interact with one another. Some scientists also believe that lectins provide a form of defense in plants to keep insects away.

Lectins are the natural insecticide and fungicide that plants produce to protect themselves from their environment. If an insect eats a tomato or eggplant, it dies from Lectin poisoning. So, what does this poison do to us?

These proteins also contain nitrogen, which is needed for plants to grow. While many parts of plants contain lectins, the seed is the part that people eat most often. Lectins may impact health in multiple ways, ranging from digestion to chronic disease risk. They have been shown to cause red blood cells to cluster together. They are categorized as antinutrients since they block the absorption of some nutrients.

Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins, macromolecules that are highly specific for sugar moieties. Lectins perform recognition on the cellular and molecular level and play numerous roles in biological recognition phenomena involving cells, carbohydrates, and proteins. Lectins also mediate attachment and binding of bacteria and viruses to their intended targets.

Lectins are ubiquitous in nature and are found in many foods. Some foods such as beans and grains need to be cooked or fermented to reduce lectin content, but the lectins consumed in a typical balanced diet are not harmful. Some lectins are beneficial, such as CLEC11A which promotes bone growth, while others may be powerful toxins such as ricin.

Lectins: The Diet Connection

A chemical reaction occurs between your blood and the foods you eat. This reaction is part of your genetic inheritance. It is amazing but true that today, in the twenty first century, your immune and digestive systems still maintain favoritism for foods that your blood type ancestors ate.

So, too, with the lectins in food. Simply put, when you eat a food containing protein lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen, the lectins target an organ or bodily system (kidneys, liver, gut, stomach, etc.) and can begin to interact with the tissues in that area.

Let’s say a Type A person eats a plate of lima beans. The lima beans are digested in the stomach through the process of acid hydrolysis. However, the lectin protein is resistant to acid hydrolysis. It doesn’t get digested, but it stays intact. It may interact directly with the lining of the stomach or intestinal tract, or it may get absorbed into your blood stream along with the digested lima bean nutrients. Different lectins target different organs and body systems.

Once the intact lectin protein settles someplace in your body, it literally has a magnetic effect on the cells in that region. It clumps the cells together and they are targeted for destruction, as if they, too, were foreign invaders. This clumping can cause irritable bowel syndrome in the intestines or cirrhosis in the liver or block the flow of blood through the kidneys – to name just a few of the effects. Lectins can also act as ‘fake hormones,’ latching onto the receptor for a hormone and either blocking the normal action of the hormone (this is called an ‘antagonist’) or revving up the hormone receptor non-stop (termed an ‘agonist.’)

Signs that you might be experiencing problems from lectins in your diet:

  • Bloating and flatulence after meals
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Achy joints and muscles
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Skin eruptions
  • Fatigue and tiredness

Common Foods to Avoid For Each Blood Type That Contain Harmful Lectins 

Type O Type A Type B Type AB
·         Wheat

·         Soybean oil

·         Peanut

·         Kidney bean

·         Lima bean

·         Tomato

·         Eggplant

·         Garbanzo bean

·         Chicken

·         Corn

·         Soy

·         Lentil

·         Chicken

·         Corn

·         Banana

·         Fava bean


What do lectins do to the body?

  • Humans don’t have the proper enzymes necessary to digest lectins.
  • As they pass through the stomach, lectins remain largely unaltered.
  • When they reach the intestines, they can attach to the lining of the gut. In one study that was conducted on rodents, lectins made it through the stomach and attached themselves to the small intestines. They temporarily thickened the walls of the small intestines, affecting their ability to absorb nutrients.
  • They also changed the length and function of the entire digestive tract. These effects were mostly reversed upon elimination of lectin from the diet.
  • Lectins can enhance pancreas growth and increase the release of digestive enzymes.
  • Lectins make it difficult for the body to maintain its own cells.
  • Therefore, people with damage from lectins may experience more digestive problems. This may occur gradually.
  • Phytohaemagglutinin are the most commonly studied lectins. Kidney beans are one of the main sources of these proteins. If you eat raw kidney beans, you can experience major pain in your abdomen, diarrhea and vomiting. These are symptoms of lectin toxicity.

Too Much Dietary Lectins Can Cause Leaky Gut

Consistently consuming lectins can damage the lining of the intestines and create a leaky gut that allows unwanted substances into the bloodstream.

The gut wall becomes damaged when lectins attach to it. The tiny hairs that line the mucosa become damaged and become less able to extract nutrients from food. In a normal intestinal lining, the cells are tightly packed. They form what is referred to as “tight junctions.” This prevents unwanted substances and molecules from leaking through the intestinal walls and entering the bloodstream.

These intestinal cells and their tight junctions are highly linked to immune processes. When they are compromised, immune responses to antigens change. As lectins enter the bloodstream through the now-permeable intestinal wall, they attach to glycoproteins on the outside of cells.

Overexposure to Lectins Can Trigger Autoimmune Disease

Although autoimmune diseases are connected to deficiencies somewhere in the immune system, some researchers believe that they are caused or exacerbated by certain lectins.

Lectins may also target antibodies, which help fight disease. In reaction, the immune system attacks the cells. If the lectins are bound within the tissues of the body, the body may attack itself. Wheat gliadin is a lectin that causes celiac disease. It is often referred to as the “celiac disease toxin”.

People who are sensitive to this lectin may have a deficiency in certain peptides and a deficiency in their immune systems. The autoimmune disease diabetes mellitus is linked to the lectin found in tomatoes.

Researchers have found connections between lectins and rheumatoid arthritis as well.

How to reduce Lectins in your diet

Lectins may be disabled by specific mono- and oligosaccharides, which bind to ingested lectins from grains, legume, nightshade plants (tomato, eggplant, potato) and dairy; binding can prevent their attachment to the carbohydrates within the cell membrane. The selectivity of lectins means that they are very useful for analyzing blood type, and they are also used in some genetically engineered crops to transfer traits, such as resistance to pests and resistance to herbicides.

Ways to decrease lectins in foods include:

  • boiling
  • fermentation
  • sprouting
  • peeling
  • deseeding
  • pressure cooking

While lectins have some undesirable effects, they also have some positive ones. Small amounts of lectins may help the good bacteria that live in human digestive systems.

What is the lectin-free diet?

Dr. Steven Gundry popularized the lectin-free diet. He is a former heart surgeon who switched his focus to food and supplement-based medicine. Dr. Gundry describes lectins as the main danger found in the American diet. In response, he has written a book that provides information on how to avoid lectins, alternative food choices, and recipes.

Possible benefits of the lectin-free diet

Following a lectin-free diet could be a way to lower inflammation in the body.

Some scientists believe lectins are harmful and cause inflammation. An older article links them to autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. One article discusses the research associated with wheat germ lectin. It may impact the immune system by increasing inflammation. Long-term inflammation is linked to many serious medical conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and depression.


Beans & Legumes – Beans carry more lectins than any other food. Do your best to limit beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes or cook them in a pressure cooker. Also, some legumes hide as nuts – so it’s best to cut out peanuts and cashews as well.

Grains – For the most part, grains are a relatively new food to us. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t search for grains. Plus, most grains are lectin bombs, as well as gluten-free grain substitutes. It’s best to limit grain intake. If you must, eat white flour over wheat.

Squash – An easy rule to remember is that any vegetable with seeds is actually considered a fruit. Such is the case with squash, pumpkins, and zucchini. The seeds and peels of these foods are full of lectins. If you MUST eat squash, make sure to toss the peels and seeds aside.

Nightshades – Nightshades are vegetables that include eggplant, any kind of pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes. The peels and the seeds of these plants contain loads of lectins, too. Make sure to peel and deseed them or pressure cook or ferment them. All these techniques reduce the amount of lectins.

In-Season Fruit – Again, it’s nature’s candy, so you’ll want to limit the quantity you eat, but when it’s in season, fruit is okay to add to your diet.


Corn and corn-fed ‘free-range’ meats – It doesn’t take much to see why corn is among the worst lectin-filled grains. Just look at the American farm industry. Farmers use corn for the sole purpose of fattening up cattle. And, guess what? Corn has the same effect on us. Not only that, it causes fatty deposits in the muscle. So, avoid ‘free-range’ meats. ‘Free-range’ means the cattle are eating corn and, therefore, so are you. Instead, opt for only pasture-raised meats.

Casein A1 Milk – It may sound like science fiction, but a couple thousand years ago cows in Northern Europe suffered a genetic mutation. The result was a lectin-like protein in their milk called casein A1. Turns out, casein A1 is converted to a protein called beta-casomorphin. And this protein can prompt an immune attack on the pancreas of people who consume milk from these cows, or cheeses made from it.

Most store-bought milk in your grocery store, even if it’s organic, is A1 milk. The unmutated cows, found primarily in Southern Europe, produce a safe protein called casein A2. When people think they’re lactose intolerant, they’re generally affected by casein A1. So, eliminate casein A1 milk from your diet.

Instead, stick to A2 milk, Southern European cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and buffalo milk. Health foods stores are pretty good about carrying these. Also, consider these milks an indulgence, and consume them only in moderate quantities.


Cooked tubers – Sweet potatoes, yucca, and taro root are a great source of vitamins and minerals. That’s because their roots have strong absorption abilities and draw water and minerals from the soil for nourishment also, they’re also high in fiber that feeds your good gut bugs.

Leafy Greens – Romaine, red & green leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, mesclun, spinach, endive, butter lettuce, parsley, fennel, and seaweed/sea vegetables are all great to add to a lectin-free diet. They are high in nutrients and incredible for your health. To boot, they are very filling, especially if you drizzle olive or avocado oil on them!

Cruciferous & other great vegetables – Load up on broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. And include these lectin-free veggies in your diet as often as you like: asparagus, garlic, celery, mushrooms, and onion. They are full of fiber and polyphenols.

Avocado – Now, avocado is a fruit, but it’s actually okay to eat when ripe because it’s essentially sugar-free! Not to mention, it’s full of good fat and soluble fiber – key when trying to lose weight and absorb antioxidants.

Olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Olive oil is filled with essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, it contains vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, iron, sodium, and potassium. Furthermore, olive oil contains polyphenols and fatty acids. It’s an all-around superfood.

In fact, olive oil can contribute to the reduction of inflammatory activity in those suffering from autoimmune disorders.4 And, it’s an incredible source of polyphenols, especially oleuropein – a.k.a. the longevity polyphenol.


Use a pressure cooker – If you’re cooking with beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and quinoa, the pressure cooker is your best bet for destroying plant lectins. But, using a pressure cooker doesn’t get rid of all lectins – it won’t even touch the lectins in wheat, oats, rye, barley, or spelt.

Peel and Deseed your fruits and veggies – If you’re going to use lectin-rich plant foods, make sure to peel and deseed them. Often, the most harmful part of a plant is it’s lectin-filled hull, peel, or rind. To reiterate, the peels and the seeds are often where lectins are hiding, so you can significantly cut down on your intake by eliminating that part of the plant.

White over brown – Finally, if in fact you must eat grains, opt for white over brown. So, instead of brown rice, eat white rice. Instead of whole wheat bread, find a healthier version of white bread.

Turns out, though many believe brown rice is healthier than it’s white counterpart, those who eat rice as their staple grain have always stripped the hull off of brown rice before they eat it. That’s because the hull contains all the dangerous lectins.

Sprouting – Allowing seeds, grains, and beans to sprout can help reduce lectin content related to the process of germination. In general, the greater the sprouting duration, the lesser concentration of lectins.

Soaking and Cooking – Soaking raw beans and grains is suggested to minimize lectin content. As a general rule of thumb, soak beans for at least two hours, or overnight if possible. Adding baking soda and pressure-cooking can also lessen lectin concentration.

Fermenting – Fermentation is the process in which beneficial bacteria are able to reduce harmful substances in the body, and mostly known in sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, and other fermented foods. The fermentation process has shown to reduce lectin content up to 95 percent.

Are Lectins In or Out?

To truly gauge whether or not lectin-supplying foods are blocking nutrients is difficult, as researchers do not have clear evidence regarding its effects on the body. However, most nutrition experts suggest consuming a well-balanced diet limits the risk of nutritional deficiencies. If interested in or following a specific diet, consulting with a dietitian is encouraged, especially if single or multiple food groups are restricted or eliminated. Their expertise and guidance can also help determine whether or not following a lectin-free diet is right for you.

Limit but Don’t Eliminate All Lectins (

In summary, while I believe lectins have the potential to wreak havoc on health, complete avoidance is neither possible nor ideal. Conducting an online search for “lectin-rich foods” will yield lists that are so long, they basically encompass the entire vegetable kingdom. You cannot eliminate them all, and since SOME lectins have health benefits, you wouldn’t want to, either.

The key is to identify the worst culprits, cut those out, and make sure you prepare and cook certain high-lectin foods properly to make them safer to eat. Naturally, your individual situation will determine just how strict you need to be. Many people, especially those with autoimmune disorders, tend to be particularly sensitive to specific lectins found in specific foods.

So, experimentation may be needed to identify them. As a general rule, I recommend paying particular attention to lectins if you are currently eating a healthy, whole food diet yet continue to have health problems. While not a guarantee for success, eliminating or reducing lectins just might be the missing key to your healing.

Lectin use in medicine and medical research

Purified lectins are important in a clinical setting because they are used for blood typing. Some of the glycolipids and glycoproteins on an individual’s red blood cells can be identified by lectins.

  • A lectin from Dolichos biflorus is used to identify cells that belong to the A1 blood group.
  • A lectin from Ulex europaeus is used to identify the H blood group antigen.
  • A lectin from Vicia graminea is used to identify the N blood group antigen.
  • A lectin from Iberis amara is used to identify the M blood group antigen.
  • A lectin from coconut milk is used to identify Theros antigen.
  • A lectin from Carex is used to identify R antigen.

In neuroscience, the anterograde labeling method is used to trace the path of efferent axons with PHA-L, a lectin from the kidney bean. A lectin (BanLec) from bananas inhibits HIV-1 in vitro. Achylectins, isolated from Tachypleus tridentatus, show specific agglutinating activity against human A-type erythrocytes. Anti-B agglutinins such as anti-BCJ and anti-BLD separated from Charybdis japonica and Lymantria dispar, respectively, are of value both in routine blood grouping and research.

Use in studying carbohydrate recognition by proteins

Lectins from legume plants, such as PHA or concanavalin A, have been used widely as model systems to understand the molecular basis of how proteins recognize carbohydrates, because they are relatively easy to obtain and have a wide variety of sugar specificities. The many crystal structures of legume lectins have led to a detailed insight of the atomic interactions between carbohydrates and proteins.

Use as a biochemical tool

Concanavalin A and other commercially available lectins have been used widely in affinity chromatography for purifying glycoproteins. In general, proteins may be characterized with respect to glycoforms and carbohydrate structure by means of affinity chromatography, blotting, affinity electrophoresis, and affinity immunoelectrophoreis with lectins as well as in microarrays, as in evanescent-field fluorescence-assisted lectin microarray.

Use in biochemical warfare

One example of the powerful biological attributes of lectins is the biochemical warfare agent ricin. The protein ricin is isolated from seeds of the castor oil plant and comprises two protein domains. Abrin from the jequirity pea is similar:

  • One domain is a lectin that binds cell surface galactosyl residues and enables the protein to enter cells
  • The second domain is an N-glycosidase that cleaves nucleobases from ribosomal RNA, resulting in inhibition of protein synthesis and cell death.


  34. Peumans, Willy J. “Lectins As PLant Defense Proteins”. N.p., 1995. Print.
  35. Freed, David. “Do Dietary Lectins Cause Disease? : The Evidence Is Suggestive—And Raises Interesting Possibilities For Treatment”. PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2017. Web. 23 May 2017.
  36. Pal et al. 2015. Milk intolerance, beta-casein and lactose. Nutrients 7(9): 7285–7297.
  37. Puertollano MA, et al. “[Olive Oil, Immune System And Infection]. – Pubmed – NCBI”. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 May 2017.


CC BY 2.5,

Feverfew leaf (Tanacetum parthenium)

Feverfew is a flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. It is a traditional medicinal herb which is commonly used to prevent migraine headaches and is also occasionally grown for ornament. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms, Chrysanthemum parthenium and Pyrethrum parthenium. It is also sometimes referred to as bachelor’s buttons or feverfew.

The name stems from the Latin word febrifugia, “fever reducer.” The first-century Greek physician Dioscorides prescribed feverfew for “all hot inflammations.” The ancient Greeks called the herb “Parthenium,” supposedly because it was used medicinally to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century BC. The first-century Greek physician Dioscorides used feverfew as an antipyretic. Feverfew also was known as “medieval aspirin” or the “aspirin” of the 18th century.

Common names: Chrysanthemum parthenium , Feverfew, featherfew, altamisa, bachelor’s button, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, midsummer daisy, nosebleed, Santa Maria, wild chamomile, wild quinine, chamomile grande, chrysanthemum atricaire, federfoy, flirtwort, Leucanthemum parthenium, Matricaria capensis, Matricaria eximia hort, Matricaria parthenium L., MIG-99, mother herb, Parthenium hysterophorus, parthenolide, Pyrenthrum parthenium L, European feverfew, feather-fully, feddygen fenyw, flirtroot, grande chamomile, mutterkraut, and vetter-voo.

Feverfew is native to Eurasia, specifically the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Caucasus, but cultivation has spread it around the world and it is now also found in the rest of Europe, North America and Chile.

Uses: The plant has been used to treat arthritis, asthma, constipation, dermatitis, earache, fever, headache, inflammatory conditions, insect bites, labor, menstrual disorders, potential miscarriage, psoriasis, spasms, stomach ache, swelling, tinnitus, toothache, vertigo, and worms. Feverfew also has been used as an abortifacient, as an insecticide, and for treating coughs and colds. Traditionally, the herb has been used as an antipyretic, from which its common name is derived.

History: In Central and South America, the plant has been used to treat a variety of disorders. The Kallaway Indians of the Andes mountains value its use for treating colic, kidney pain, morning sickness, and stomach ache. Costa Ricans use a decoction of the herb to aid digestion, as a cardiotonic, an emmenagogue, and as an enema for worms. In Mexico, it is used as an antispasmodic and as a tonic to regulate menstruation. In Venezuela, it is used for treating earaches.

The leaves are ingested fresh or dried, with a typical daily dose of 2–3 leaves. The bitterness is often sweetened before ingestion. Feverfew also has been planted around houses to purify the air because of its strong, lasting odor, and a tincture of its blossoms is used as an insect repellant and balm for bites. It has been used as an antidote for overindulgence in opium.

Properties: It has multiple pharmacologic properties, such as anticancer, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, antispasmodic, an emmenagogue, and as an enema for worms.

The plant contains a large number of natural products, but the active principles probably include one or more of the sesquiterpene lactones known to be present, including parthenolide. Other potentially active constituents include flavonoid glycosides and pinenes. There has been some scientific interest in parthenolide, which has been shown to induce apoptosis in some cancer cell lines in vitro and potentially to target cancer stem cells.

Health Benefits of Feverfew (

Migraines: It is one of the few herbs with substantial scientific evidence for its efficacy in migraine prophylaxis. Most RCTs and surveys of individuals using feverfew for migraine prevention have documented beneficial results. Not only has feverfew demonstrated a reduction in migraine frequency and pain intensity, but also a profound reduction has been observed in typical accompanying symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, photophobia, and phonophobia.

Anxiety and Stress: Although the pathway for this particular benefit is not fully understood, feverfew has been known to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety in some users. This is very important for those who suffer from chronic stress, as the presence of stress hormones in the body can be dangerous over long periods.

Lower Inflammation: Some of the volatile compounds in feverfew have anti-inflammatory abilities, which effectively reduces inflammation throughout the body. For those who suffer from chronic joint pain, arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory conditions, herbal treatment with feverfew is a painless and effective solution.

Pain Reduction: This is closely related to the anti-inflammatory effects of feverfew, but any analgesic substance deserves some recognition. For thousands of years, feverfew has been used to prevent pain throughout the body, not just the pain of headaches and migraines. Following surgery or an injury, it can be successfully utilized for rapid and long-lasting relief.

Fever Symptoms: Traditionally, feverfew has been used to break and eliminate fevers. The name of the plant should be some indication of this ability. If you are suffering from a fever, whether it is linked to another more serious illness or not, it can help to promote sweating and eliminate toxins from the body, speeding the healing process and reducing inflammation.

Menstrual Discomfort: One of the popular uses of feverfew is in the reduction of discomfort during menstruation. For billions of women around the world, menstruation can be a painful monthly occurrence that includes cramps, bloating, hormonal swings, pain, and excessive bleeding. It can effectively lower inflammation, eliminate cramps, and induce calm to reduce mood swings and anxiety.

Appetite Booster: For people trying to gain weight or recovering from an injury/surgery, increasing one’s appetite can be very important. Feverfew has been linked to certain hormonal activity that induces hunger. While this may not be ideal for people trying to stay on a diet, it can certainly help the healing process and weight gain efforts for those individuals who may be underweight or calorie-deficient.

Respiratory Function: The soothing ability of feverfew also extends to the respiratory tract, where this herb is able to reduce inflammation and irritation, which can often exacerbate conditions like asthma or coughing. By allowing the respiratory tracts to relax, it can help soothe these symptoms and improve overall respiratory health.

Skin Guard: One of the more recent health benefits of feverfew is its role in skin health. Research is ongoing on the full effects of feverfew on the skin, but when it comes to dermatitis and other common forms of irritation, it has been shown to improve symptoms when topically applied.

Heart Health: Feverfew can inhibit the production of certain prostaglandins in the body that are responsible for increasing blood pressure. By reducing symptoms of hypertension, feverfew can protect overall heart health and lower the chances of experiencing atherosclerosis, and the consequent heart attacks and strokes linked to that particular blockage of the cardiovascular system.

How to Take: Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard adult dose for feverfew supplementation is 100-300 mg of a feverfew supplement containing 0.2%-0.4% parthenolide, taken one to four times a day.

Children younger than two should not be given feverfew. The standard feverfew dose for children is based off of a standard adult weight of 150 lbs. For example, if a child weighs 50lbs, the dose is one-third of the adult dose.

Liquid and tincture feverfew supplements are sometimes used to alleviate arthritis. The suggested dose is 60 – 120 drops of 1:1 (fluid) supplement or a 1:5 (tincture) supplement, taken twice a day.

Essential Oil of the Root of Tanacetum parthenium: The roots and rhizomes of Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schulz. Bip. (Asteraceae), have been used in Iranian traditional medicine under the name of Aqhovan, as digestive and stomachic tonic. Composition of the essential oil, which was obtained from the root of T. parthenium collected from Karaj, was determined by gas chromatography, combined GC/MS and GC/IR. In total, 20 components (92% of essential oil) were identified. Major constituents were camphor (30.2%), (Z)- chrysanthenyl acetate (26.5%), α-farnesene (11.1%) and spathulenol (8.2%).

Common side effects: oral ulcers and tongue soreness if dried leaves are chewed. It can cause increased heart rates, dizziness, anxiety, sleeplessness, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.

Long-term use of feverfew followed by abrupt discontinuation may induce a withdrawal syndrome featuring rebound headaches and muscle and joint pains. Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis.

Other side effects have included gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence. When the herb is chewed or taken orally it can cause mouth ulcers and swelling and numbness of the mouth. Feverfew should not be taken by pregnant women. It may interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding and may also interact with a variety of medications metabolized by the liver.



  24. Duke JA. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs.



Fennel seed & oil


Fennel seeds, bulb, stalk, and leaves. Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Fennel seed & oil (Foeniculum vulgare)

Common Names: Large fennel, sweet fennel, wild fennel, sweet cumin, finnochio, fänkål (Swedish), hinojo (Spanish), Fenchel (German), fennikel (Danish), hui-hsiang (Chinese), fenouil (French), fennika (Icelandic).

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) comes from either a perennial or biennial herb with yellow flowers in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

There are two variations: bitter/common (F. vulgare var. amara) and sweet (F. vulgare var. dulce). Bitter fennel oil should be avoided in aromatherapy and home use. Sweet fennel smells like anise with a hint of earth and spicy pepper.

Fennel is a member of the carrot and parsley family. It can grow to five feet tall and has delicate, lacy leaves. Sweet fennel oil is produced in places like Bulgaria, France, Germany, and Japan.

It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.

Fennel has several subspecies and varieties including:

Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. dulce (Mill.) Batt. (Sweet fennel)

Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. piperitum (Ucria) Cout. (Bitter fennel)

Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. azoricum (Mill.) Thell.

Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. vulgare (Sweet fennel)


Historical Uses

Fennel is considered one of the oldest medicinal plants and culinary herbs. It is fairly certain that fennel was in use over 4000 years ago. It is mentioned in the famous Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian collection of medical writings made around 1500 BC. There it is referred to principally as a remedy for flatulence.

The name foeniculum is from the Latin word for “fragrant hay.” Fennel was in great demand during the Middle Ages.

Wealthy people added the seed to fish and vegetable dishes, while the poor reserved it as an appetite suppressant to be eaten on fasting days.

The plant was introduced to North America by Spanish priests and the English brought it to their early settlements in Virginia. Fennel has been used to flavor candies, liqueurs, medicines, and food, and it is especially favored for pastries, sweet pickles, and fish.

Fennel was used by the ancient Egyptians as a food and medicine and was considered a snake bite remedy in ancient China.

During the Middle ages fennel was hung over doorways to drive away evil spirits. (Herb Society of America) Fennel has been used since ancient times to treat menstrual disorders, dyspepsia, flatulence and cough, and to reduce the griping effect of laxatives.

Fennel fruits have been used as TCM for the treatment of infants suffering from dyspeptic disorders in China for centuries. It was also recommended for bronchitis, chronic coughs, kidney stones, dysmenorrhea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The ancients believed eating the fennel herb and seeds imparted courage, strength, and conveyed longevity. In Imperial Roman times the physicians were in high regard of fennel for medicinal purposes.

The ancient Greeks and Anglo-Saxons snitched on their fast days by nibbling a little fennel, which reduced the appetite. The ancients believed that myopic reptiles ate fennel to improve their vision and so used it themselves for this purpose. It is still prescribed as an eye-wash. Also, for failing eyesight, a tea was made from fennel leaves to be used as a compress on swollen eyes.

As Old English finule, fennel is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.

In the 15th century, Portuguese settlers on Madeira noticed the abundance of wild fennel, and used the Portuguese word funcho (fennel) and the suffix -al to form the name of a new town, Funchal

Longfellow’s 1842 poem “The Goblet of Life” repeatedly refers to the plant and mentions its purported ability to strengthen eyesight:

Above the lower plants it towers,

The Fennel with its yellow flowers;

And in an earlier age than ours

Was gifted with the wondrous powers

Lost vision to restore.


Known Hazards of Fennel

Skin contact with the sap or essential oil is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Ingestion of the oil can cause vomiting, seizures and pulmonary edema.

Epileptics, people with cancer or on multiple medications, and anyone pregnant or trying to be shouldn’t use fennel.

Those who are allergic to celery, carrot, mugwort, or other plants in the Apiaceae family may have a reaction to the herb and its oils.

Fennel might slow blood clotting. Taking fennel might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Fennel might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use fennel.

Keep in mind that fennel interacts negatively with multiple medications including Cipro and may decrease the effects of birth control. If you are taking any prescribed drugs, confer with a physician before using any form of fennel.

Cautions and Contraindications: avoid use of oil in liver disease, alcoholism, while breast feeding, or during the use of acetaminophen; pregnancy due to emmenagogue action (empirical), essential oil use with infants or small children under 2 y.o.a. (speculative), prolonged use (speculative), acid reflux (speculative)

Constituents of Fennel

Fennel oil contains 50-60 percent of the licorice-tasting terpenoid anethole, the same active constituent found in anise. Anethole is thirteen times sweeter than sugar and is widely used as a flavoring agent in many things including liqueurs like Ouzo, Absinthe, and Pernod.

The main chemical components of fennel oil are a-pinene, myrcene, fenchone, trans-anethole, methyl chavicol, limonene, 1,8-cineole and anisic aldehyde.

Blending Fennel

Fennel blends well with other seed oils like cardamom and caraway, spicy oils like black pepper and ginger, and citrus oils, as well as geranium, lavender, rose, and sandalwood.

Therapeutic Uses

The dried seeds are steamed distilled to produce a thin yellow liquid that is good for a variety of therapeutic uses. This oil is helpful for conditions like gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual issues. It is detoxifying and can be used for weight loss and to reduce fluid retention and cellulite.

The plant is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactogogue, hallucinogenic, laxative, stimulant and stomachic.

An infusion is used in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal distension, stomach pains etc. It helps in the treatment of kidney stones and, when combined with a urinary disinfectant like Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, makes an effective treatment for cystitis.

It can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as an eyewash for sore eyes and conjunctivitis. Fennel is often added to purgatives in order to allay their tendency to cause gripe, and also to improve the flavour.

For the mind, it adds courage and strength in the face of adversity. It has a cleansing and toning effect on the skin, helping with bruises, sorting out overly oily skin and to fight wrinkles in more mature complexions (possibly due to the estrogenic properties of the oil).

The essential oil of fennel contains several bioreactive secondary metabolites, such as aldehydes. The oil apparently affects the stability of biomembranes and interacts with molecular targets, such as proteins and DNA, which causes a low cytotoxicity.

It has a toning effect on the spleen and liver, that helps with the results of excess drink and food. Hepatoprotective properties.

It is also used for increasing insufficient milk in nursing mothers – but for boosting breast milk, rather use the fresh herb, since the oil contains very high concentrations of trans-anethole.

An infusion of the seeds is a safe and effective cure for wind in babies.

An infusion of the root is used to treat urinary disorders.

An essential oil obtained from the seed is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is “Normalising”. The essential oil is bactericidal, carminative and stimulant.

Benefits of Fennel

Rich in phytoestrogens, Fennel is often used for colic, wind, irritable bowel, kidneys, spleen, liver, lungs, suppressing appetite, breast enlargement, promoting menstruation, improving digestive system, milk flow and increasing urine flow. Fennel is also commonly used to treat amenhorrea, angina, asthma, anxiety, depression, heartburn, water retention, lower blood pressure, boost libido, respiratory congestion, coughs and has been indicated for high blood pressure and to boost sexual desire. Fennel offers us the opportunity to release toxins, increase energy, release self-limiting beliefs, and support our ability to ‘digest’ and ‘transform’ food/experiences/thoughts in a healthy way.

Increases Confidence: If you have a problem being assertive, fennel can help break you out of it. Add a drop of fennel to a cotton ball to sniff throughout the day. Changes will not happen overnight, but with repeated use, you may find your confidence increasing. Alternatively, you could blend fennel with other ‘meek-busting’ oils like jasmine, ginger, patchouli, bergamot, carnation, or lime. Find a mix you enjoy, and add a drop of that to a cotton ball.

Calms Digestive Disorders: Fennel has long been used for digestive complaints. A fennel massage using four drops of the essential oil in a tablespoon of a carrier can be made to help with diarrhea, constipation, or painful bloating. Rub this into the abdomen three times a day until symptoms subside. If you have fluid buildup elsewhere in the body, then simply rub the oil there instead of the abdomen.

If nausea is the issue, add this blend to a pint of hot distilled water. Mix as well as possible, then soak a small towel in it to make a compress and lay it over the stomach. Alternatively, you can rub the blend on first and then put a hot towel over instead of using the oil water.

Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial infections because some components such as anethol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.

Reduces Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL or bad cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart diseases, atherosclerosis, and strokes.

Eases Menstrual Issues: Fennel is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.

Promotes Breast Enlargement: The flavonoids present in fennel seeds increase the amount of estrogen thereby acting as a stimulant and tonic. Fennel seeds help increase the size of the breasts as they increase the formation of new cells and tissues in the breast.

Helps Hangovers: Drinking too much alcohol can wreak havoc on the body. If you imbibed too much the night before, dropping 3-4 drops of fennel in your shower and breathing in the steam can help make you feel better.

Soothes Infant Colic: Besides calming gastrointestinal disorders in adults, fennel can be helpful for infants. ‘Gripe water’ is either dill, anise, or fennel water mixed with syrup and bicarbonate of soda that eases painful flatulence in infants.

Prohibits Growth/Causes Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells: In 2017, researchers found that the high anethole content present in fennel essential oil has an inhibitory effect on cancerous prostate cells. It stops proliferation of the cells and leads to apoptosis, or spontaneous death of the prostate cancer cell line (PC-3 cells). This study shows that anethole could be promising in the fight against the often-fatal prostate cancer.

Regulates Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Also, for diabetics, blood pressure issues can make management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications. A cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet will pump you full of potassium and all the benefits that come along with it.

Improves Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.

Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation and also help reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin C and amino acids like arginine are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically found in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of its leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied to the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue.

Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.

Treats Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such as congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of cineole and anethol, which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body to ensure quick recovery from respiratory conditions.

Other Benefits & Uses: Fennel is a diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. It also increases the production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory, and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer. This can be achieved if the pale, greenish-yellow water, in which it is soaked, is ingested with a bit of sugar and black salt.


Fennel tea is a delicious and popular variety of tea that happens to provide a number of health benefits, including its ability to lower blood pressure, protect the respiratory system, improve digestion, detoxify the body, and help with weight loss, among others.

Anti-spasmodic Effects: Calming the stomach and other organs can be an important first step in eliminating inflammation and stomach upset. The natural soothing effects of fennel tea can reduce spasms in the gut and other parts of the body, thereby reducing stress hormones and taking less of a toll on your overall system.

Improves Digestion: for thousands of years, fennel has been used as a digestive aid. The anti-inflammatory and carminative effects can prevent the formation of gas, thereby eliminating bloating and cramping, while also speeding up the digestive process and ensuring maximum nutrient uptake. Fennel can even help to rebuild damaged tissues and prevent further injury to the digestive tracts.

Boosts Immunity: This herb has powerful antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal effects, making it an excellent immune system booster. It is also well known to stave off cold and flu before they can fully manifest into an infection. Drinking fennel tea is, therefore, a preventative measure and a treatment to keep you on the right side of healthy!

Weight Loss: There are a number of ways in which fennel tea can help you lose weight. First of all, by promoting urination, it can eliminate water retention and bloating. Secondly, as a metabolism booster, it can help your body burn fat and calories faster, making your exercise efforts more rewarding. Finally, by regulating your appetite and hormones, it can prevent overeating and obesity.

Detoxifies the Body: One of the most important functions of urination is not only relieving that pressing feeling in your gut, but eliminating excess toxins extracted from the blood and kidneys. Fennel works as a blood cleanser and a diuretic, keeping your kidneys and liver healthy and working at full capacity.

Balances Hormone Levels: When it comes to protecting female reproductive health and wellness, few herbs are as important as fennel. The compounds found in fennel tea have estrogen-like qualities, meaning that they can alleviate many of the painful symptoms of menstruation, while also regulating hormones, increasing libido, and stimulating the production of breast milk in lactating mothers.

Reduces Inflammation: Those suffering from arthritis, gout and other inflammation issues have found relief from fennel tea for generations. By detoxifying the body, you also help your tissues and muscles function more normally and lower the chances of unnecessary inflammatory responses. This can help you get better sleep and have more energy to take on your daily tasks.

Protects the Eyes: Nothing shows a bad night of sleep like swollen or puffy eyes, but fennel tea can be an ideal solution for this. The rapid anti-inflammatory response of this tea can help your physical appearance, while the antibacterial and immune-boosting effects can further protect the eyes from other infection, such as conjunctivitis.

Lowers Blood Pressure: The impact that fennel tea can have on the heart is largely based on its mineral content, namely the potassium found in this herb. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, meaning that it can relieve the tension on arteries and blood vessels, thus making it more difficult for atherosclerosis to occur. This can help prevent coronary heart diseases, as well as lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Eliminates Bad Breath: Not only is fennel great for the digestion of a meal, but also to eliminate any traces of it on your breath. As mentioned above, the similarity of fennel to anise seed gives it a refreshing and cleansing effect on your breath, while also protecting your gums and teeth, due to its antifungal and antibacterial effects.

Relieves Respiratory Distress: When it comes to congestion of the respiratory system, fennel tea is an excellent solution, as it works as an expectorant, eliminating the phlegm and mucus where infectious pathogens can reside and multiple. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects help to relieve sore throats and sinus pressure, thus allowing you to breathe normally.

Word of Caution: Fennel tea is generally considered to be very good for overall health, so much so that it is often given to infants in order to calm them down and ward off colic. However, people who are allergic to carrots or celery should avoid fennel tea, due to the plant’s close relationship to those allergens. Furthermore, women suffering from breast cancer or undergoing treatment for such should not consume fennel unless they clear it with a doctor, as the estrogen-like effects can be a dangerous complication in the case of those conditions.


Weight Loss Bath Oil: Taking fennel herb supplements may help those that are trying to lose weight, and oil-lovers can benefit from the stimulating effects of fennel in the bath. Add five drops of the following blend to a teaspoon of carrier oil and mix into your bath water.

8 drops Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

4 drops Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

4 drops Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

2 drop Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

1 drop Fennel, sweet (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)

Facial Steam: Fennel hydrolats are an excellent choice for brightening up normal, dull or oily complexions, and mature skin. Or, try a vapor steam by putting 3-5 drops in a bowl of steaming hot water. Place a towel on the back of the head and lean over the bowl until cool.

Hair Loss: Most people think of rosemary for hair loss. While that is an excellent choice, there are other oils that can be beneficial or this condition. Blend the following oils together and add two drops to a teaspoon of a carrier suitable for hair loss, such as avocado. Massage into hair nightly.

10 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

10 drops Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)

5 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

3 drops Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)

2 drops Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Colic Soother: If you are dealing with a colicky baby, you can make a massage blend to help ease the symptoms. This combination, from Kurt Schnaubelt, can be utilized while making the dietary changes needed to solve the problem.

3 drops Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. amara)

3 drops German Chamomile (Matricaria recutica)

3 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

3 drops Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

3 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Gas Reliever: Infusion – 1-2 tsp/cup three times daily, or before meals





Aroma, Scent, Smell, Perfume or Fragrance

What’s the Difference?

Our sense of smell is a wonderfully powerful sense. It can impact our mood or recall a long-dormant memory. It can be evocative or soothing, attractive or intriguing. We perceive the smell of thousands of different types of molecules, they can be either man-made (synthesized) or naturally derived (extracted from plants/animals/minerals).

These molecules directly affect our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states. These are common terms that define what we are experiencing (definitions from

Aroma: suggests a somewhat penetrating usually pleasant odor. A term used to describe a sensation which is between smell and taste, such as the aroma of coffee.

a distinctive, pervasive, and usually pleasant or savory smell the aroma of freshly-baked bread; broadly: odor

the odor of a wine imparted by the grapes from which it is made – The wine has a fruity aroma.

a distinctive quality or atmosphere: flavor the sweet aroma of success

Odor: may imply a stronger or more readily distinguished scent or it may be equivalent to smell; caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans or other animals perceive by the process of olfaction; odors are also commonly called scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors.

a quality of something that stimulates the olfactory organ: scent

a sensation resulting from adequate stimulation of the olfactory organ: smell

a characteristic or predominant quality: flavor the odor of sanctity

repute, estimation in bad odor

archaic: something that emits a sweet or pleasing scent: perfume

Fragrance: a sweet or delicate odor (as of fresh flowers, pine trees, or perfume)

something (such as a perfume) compounded to give off a sweet or pleasant odor

the quality or state of having a sweet odor

Perfume: the scent of something sweet-smelling

a substance that emits a pleasant odor; especially: a fluid preparation of natural essences (as from plants or animals) or synthetics and a fixative used for scenting

Scent: applies to the characteristic smell given off by a substance, an animal, or a plant.

effluvia from a substance that affect the sense of smell: such as

an odor left by an animal on a surface passed over

a characteristic or particular odor; especially: one that is agreeable

power of smelling: sense of smell a keen scent

power of detection: nose a scent for heresy

a course of pursuit or discovery throw one off the scent

inkling, intimation a scent of trouble


bits of paper dropped in the game of hare and hounds

a mixture prepared for use as a lure in hunting or fishing

Smell: implies solely the sensation without suggestion of quality or character

to perceive the odor or scent of through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves: get the odor or scent of with the nose

to detect or become aware of as if by the sense of smell – I smell trouble

to emit the odor of

to exercise the sense of smell

to have an odor or scent

to have a characteristic aura or atmosphere: smack

to have an offensive odor: stink

to be of bad or questionable quality

What is Aromatherapy?

A form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering mind, mood, cognitive function, or physical health. Aromatherapy does not cure conditions but helps the body to find a natural way to cure itself and improve immune response.

Mechanisms of Action:

  1. is the influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system.
  2. the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils on the body; oils interact with the glands that excrete hormones and enzymes to cause changes in bodily functions.

Synergy: The interaction or cooperation of two or more substances combined that produce an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. When combining certain essential oils their synergy can provide a more effective and well-rounded therapy than a single oil.

The Difference Between Aromatherapy & Natural Perfume – by Robin Kielkowski August 08, 2017

Aromatherapy and natural perfume have similarities but there are differences in purpose and in some of the ingredients. Aromatherapy is the therapeutic application of aromatic essences (essential oils) for health and healing. This holistic practice encompasses the whole body, mind and spirit. The use of essential oils goes back in history, long before current medical therapies were available.

Natural perfumers use many of the same essential oils but the focus is on making something that smells great! Ingredients include essential oils as well as absolutes and CO2 extracts. Absolutes and CO2s are aromatic essences extracted using techniques different than those used to extract essential oils. Some of the oils used by natural perfumers have limited therapeutic value but add nuance to a fragrance.

Natural fragrances are ‘aged’ to smooth and bring out their uniqueness. Because of the volatile (evaporative) nature of oils, creating a natural fragrance that lasts after application requires thoughtful formulation. The natural perfumer will often use oils that have fixative properties. These fixatives not only provide long-lasting fragrance, they also give the total blend more staying-power.

What’s The Difference Between Essential Oils And Fragrances? (

As more people continue to uncover the power of aromatherapy, fragrance oils are sometimes confused with essential oils. To understand the difference, we can simply look at how each is produced. Fragrance oils are synthetically made and lack the volatile components of essential oils. Rich with effective properties, essential oils are extracted from plant parts through steam distillation or are cold-pressed. Some fragrance oils do contain a small fraction of essential oil but the essential oil is adulterated and diluted.

Used in perfumes, colognes and personal care products, the term “fragrance” on various products includes phthalates, which has been linked to a swath of health concerns such as cancer and obesity. According to the EWG, the average fragrance contains 14 chemicals not listed on the label. When sprayed or applied, many of these undisclosed chemicals are inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Over time, the chemicals accumulate in the body and result in health issues.

AROMA CHEMICALS: Molecules obtained from natural products or made by synthetic organic chemistry that have an aroma. Most of the synthetic aroma chemicals are nature identical, i.e., identical to the same molecule obtained from a natural product.

AROMA-CHOLOGY: A term coined by The Fragrance Foundation to describe the interrelationship between psychology and the latest in fragrance technology to elicit a variety of specific feelings and emotions.

The Difference Between a Botanical Family and a Fragrance Family (

Here’s a quick look at defining both botanical families and fragrance families for aromatherapy and perfumery:

Botanical Family defines a group of plants that share common botanical features and, in the case of aromatherapy, therapeutic properties. Aromatherapists learn the common traits of each botanical family that produces aromatic plants (and essential oils) so that they become familiar with making suggestions for alternative essential oils with similar properties.

Fragrance Family defines a group of scents (or chemical components) of plants (or synthetic components) that share similar aromas. Perfumery concentrates on the note and scent of an essential oil in comparison to the overriding notion of a therapeutic property for aromatherapy purposes; in addition to essential oils, a perfume may be made up absolutes, extracts, and/or artificial aromas and substances.

Aroma Compound: also known as an odorant, aroma, fragrance, or flavor, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. A chemical compound has a smell or odor when it is sufficiently volatile to be transported to the olfactory system in the upper part of the nose.

Generally, molecules meeting this specification have molecular weights of <300. Flavors affect both the sense of taste and smell, whereas fragrances affect only smell. Flavors tend to be naturally occurring, and fragrances tend to be synthetic.

Aroma compounds can be found in food, wine, spices, floral scent, perfumes, fragrance oils, and essential oils. For example, many form biochemically during the ripening of fruits and other crops. In wines, most form as byproducts of fermentation. Also, many of the aroma compounds play a significant role in the production of flavorants, which are used in the food service industry to flavor, improve, and generally increase the appeal of their products.

Coffee Aroma vs. Coffee Fragrance: What’s the Difference? (

Fragrance:  A fragrance is simply the unit of smell or the scent of something. When you smell something, fragrance enables you to say, “Oh, that smells like coffee.”  When referencing coffee specifically, dry coffee grounds have fragrance. Add water to the coffee and Shazam!—You now have aroma.

Aroma: The aroma of something is more encompassing.  It’s not just scent.  It’s also the flavor and mouthfeel. Though they are similar in some aspects fragrance and aroma are different, especially when revealed during a cupping.

Fragrance vs. Aroma: Scent, or fragrance, is processed one way through our noses. Aroma is processed two ways through our nose as well as retronasally. Retronasal is when a smell is first processed via your taste buds. When you slurp coffee, the aromas then drift up and the smell receptors in your nose add the scent to the flavor to produce an aromatic profile.

Why EVERYONE Should Avoid Fragrances

The Side Effects of Synthetic Scents (

The dangers of synthetic scents aren’t always evident, but we have the science to prove that everyone, regardless of age or health, needs to make avoiding fake fragrances a major priority.

A National Academy of Sciences points out some vital facts: About 95 percent of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil). They include benzene derivatives (carcinogenic), aldehydes, toluene and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

Some of the worst toxic ingredients used in lotions, shampoos, laundry detergents, cleaning products and so much more include synthetic scents, often listed as on labels as the elusive “fragrance.” And many on the list are known or suspected endocrine disruptors, compounds that tinker with hormonal health that can trigger weight gain and even set you up for diseases decades down the line.

When a company puts “fragrance” on the label, don’t be tricked. This is a catch-all term actually can stand for thousands of different ingredients (literally, at least 3,000). And when you use a product containing “fragrance” or “parfum,” all of those mysterious ingredients are absorbed right into your bloodstream. These ingredients are predominantly made from chemicals and are just outright toxic for your health in so many ways.

Serious Dangers of Synthetic Scents

  • According to the Breast Cancer Fund, when it comes to the prevention of cancer, avoiding synthetic fragrance is one of the main ways to help yourself. That’s because the dangers of synthetic scents include hormone-disrupting phthalates and synthetic musks.
  • Styrene is found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust. Doesn’t sound like it would smell too good, but shockingly, it’s actually being used in cosmetic sprays and liquids as well as cleaning products.
  • Phthalates are another group of chemicals often disguised as “fragrance.” They are connected to cancer, endocrine disruption as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity.
  • Research conducted by Dr. Philip J. Landrigan of the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center demonstrates that fetal exposure to phthalates is linked to autism, symptoms of ADHD and neurological disorders.
  • These dangerous synthetics are already banned from cosmetics in the European Union but are still quite common in products produced and sold in the United States. Phthalates often hide under the “fragrance” ingredient, but they can also appear on ingredient lists as phthalate, DEP, DBP, and DEHP.
  • Fragrances are one of the top five allergens in the world. Allergic reactions include headaches and migraines, difficulty breathing and sinus irritation, just to name a few. Fragrance mixtures also commonly trigger contact dermatitis, a type of allergic skin reaction.
  • It’s extremely common for asthmatics to suffer health symptoms when exposed to perfumes, colognes and other scented products, especially when they contain artificial scents.

Why Use Essential Oils Instead?

Essential oils are natural chemical compounds that are extracted by water (steam) or expression (pressure). There are no chemicals used in acquiring these compounds.  Highly concentrated plant cell extracts or aromas; all have aromatic principles. They are essential because they are essential to the plants survival and function in its environment.

They are extracted from a plant’s fruits, flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. Mixed with a carrier (such as water, oil, alcohol, or lotion), and then put on or applied to the skin, sprayed or diffused into the air, or inhaled from a tissue or cloth. Because they are naturally occurring molecules they help the body by nourishing it instead of poisoning it with synthesized toxins that interrupt or hinder normal bodily functions.

This is why uses only the purest, unadulterated raw ingredients and essential oils when hand blending her products fresh to order. Find yours here.




Eucalyptus Tea & Oil

Eucalyptus leaf & oil (Eucalyptus globulus)

Eucalyptus globulus, the Tasmanian bluegum, southern blue-gum or blue gum, is an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia. They typically grow from 30–55 m (98–180 ft) tall. The tallest currently known specimen in Tasmania is 90.7 m (298 ft) tall. There are historical claims of even taller trees, the tallest being 101 m (331 ft). The natural distribution of the species includes Tasmania and southern Victoria (particularly the Otway Ranges and southern Gippsland). There are also isolated occurrences on King Island and Flinders Island in Bass Strait and on the summit of the You Yangs near Geelong. There are naturalised non-native occurrences in Spain and Portugal, and other parts of southern Europe incl. Cyprus, southern Africa, New Zealand, western United States (California), Hawaii, Macaronesia, and the Caucasus (Western Georgia).

Other Names: Blue Gum, Blue Mallee, Blue Mallee Oil, Eucalipto, Eucalypti Folium, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptol Oil, Eucalyptus blatter, Eucalyptus bicostata, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Eucalyptus fructicetorum, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus Leaf, Eucalyptus odorata, Eucalyptus Oil, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus smithii, Fever Tree, Fieberbaumblatter, Gully Gum, Gully Gum Oil, Gum Tree, Huile Essentielle d’Eucalyptus, Huile d’Eucalyptol, Huile d’Eucalyptus, Red Gum, Stringy Bark Tree, Sugandhapatra, Tailapatra, Tasmanian Blue Gum.

History of Eucalyptus

The first to use eucalyptus tea to bring down a fever were the aboriginal people of Australia. This plant was only introduced to the rest of the world in the 18th century by a botanist on the Cook voyages to the Australian continent.

Eucalyptus was quickly adopted by traditional Chinese and Ayurveda medicines and, in the 19th century, it began being planted in Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century large plantations of eucalyptus would be found in many countries.

The rapid growth of these trees helped not only to reforest vast areas of land but feed into the growing industries from pulpwood and charcoal to hygiene and cosmetics. In swamp areas the eucalyptus trees helped to drain the soil and reduce cases of malaria.

Uses for Eucalyptus Today

Eucalyptus leaves are still appreciated for their value in teas, inhalations and even for making cough candy. The nectar produced by lovely eucalyptus flowers is made into high quality honey.

As potpourris or stored inside a drawer, leaves are used to scent both clothes and home. You will find many products using eucalyptus oil for its refreshing and antiseptic properties, such as detergents, mouthwash, toothpaste and much more.


The therapeutic benefits of Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Radiata are quite similar. Both oils are high in 1,8- cineole, with varying monoterpenes. For example, Eucalyptus Globulus is high in 1,8- cineole, with significant amounts limonene, whereas Eucalyptus Radiata is high in 1,8- cineole with significant amounts of terpineol. These constituents lend our Eucalyptus oils to being excellent at supporting respiratory issues. The 1,8- cineole leads Eucalyptus oil to act as an astringent, and an aid to oily skin and acne.

Benefits of Eucalyptus Tea

Eucalyptus leaves are rich in limonene, which is antiviral, eucalyptol, and pinene, which is antiseptic. Apart from the volatile oils, this tea also contains flavonoids and tannins. These elements account for some of the main benefits of this herbal tea.

Treat Respiratory Problems: The most important of all eucalyptus tea benefits is its ability to help speed up the treatment of cold, flus and sore throats. Its antibacterial properties may help treat the cause of your respiratory ailments.

  • Taking this tea may also help to break a fever, bringing high body temperature down. You may even use eucalyptus leaves to create an air purifier, helping to clear the room of microbes.
  • As an expectorant, this tea may help by relieving irritation and disinfecting the respiratory tract. Eucalyptus herbal tea may help to expel phlegm and mucus that is causing chest congestion and making it difficult for you to breathe.
  • This herbal tea may treat all sorts of respiratory ailments such as laryngitis, bronchitis, emphysema and other infections. Gargling with it may even help to heal and calm a bad cough, treating an inflamed sore throat.
  • It also helps with other breathing problems such as allergies, asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis. You may even try using eucalyptus tea to try to reduce snoring. It is worth a try.

Blood Sugar Regulator: Drinking eucalyptus may help to lower blood sugar levels and stimulate the production of insulin. This may help prevent the onset of diabetes. If you already have diabetes then you should speak to your doctor before drinking this tea. A cup of this herbal tea may also improve blood circulation, relieving blood pressure and thus possibly preventing heart disease and other health problems.

Digestive Aid: Eucalyptus tea may be used to improve your digestion by clearing away any bacteria or parasites that may be causing you digestive problems. This herbal tea may be used as a cleansing agent, clearing your intestines of toxins and harmful agents.

It is a refreshing and cooling tea that may begin helping you the moment you take your first sip, as it helps to treat mouth infections, gum disease and even preventing cavities and plaque. It is a great remedy to try when you have mouth sores or just simply bad breath that could have been caused by bacteria.

Infection Fighter: Eucalyptus tea may be used to treat an illness, but it may also be used to prevent the occurrence of future ailments. A cup of this tea may help to give your immune system a boost reducing the chances of you getting sick.

  • Drink daily to help clear up acne, as this is a minor bacterial infection that may be fought using this antibacterial herbal tea. Eucalyptus is said to help detoxify the liver and cleanse the kidneys, resulting in healthier and fresher skin.
  • A cup of eucalyptus tea may be what you need when you have bladder or urinary problems. It is said to help not only treat bladder disease but also clear away infections in the urinary tract. This antiseptic tea may also help fight cystitis.
  • This herbal tea may be able to treat other infections, such as strep throat, E. coli, or yeast infections.

External Uses: Make a cooled eucalyptus infusion to use as a topical treatment for skin infections or inflammation. Use this herbal tea to clear away bacteria or microbes that are causing your problems.

  • As a compress this herbal infusion may be used to help scar wounds and begin the healing process. It may be used on cuts, burns and other wounds that you need help cleaning.
  • When applied topically this tea is also said to make your skin look healthier and feel fresher. You may resort to this tea when you need to get rid of lice or just simply repel insects.
  • You may find relief from muscle pains or joint stiffness by using a warm compress made with eucalyptus tea. This may also apply when the ache is caused by rheumatism or arthritis. The herbal infusion may clear away the inflammation and soothe the area.
  • Tip: Try soaking in a bath infused with eucalyptus tea when your body is aching.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

There are around 500 different species of eucalyptus essential oil produced around the world, but these four are the most commonly used:

Eucalyptus globulus: This species is the top choice for creating eucalyptus essential oil, and is the ingredient used for various eucalyptus products as well.

Eucalyptus polybractea: Also known as “Blue Mallee,” it is high in cineole, which is a colorless liquid terpene with an odor similar to camphor.

Eucalyptus radiata: Also known as “narrow-leaved peppermint,” it is known for its refreshing aroma.

Eucalyptus citriodora: Nicknamed the “lemon-scented gum,” it is primarily used in perfume and industrial purposes.

Benefits and Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Colds and Flu: Basically, Eucalyptus can cleanse the body of micro-organisms and harmful toxins that make you feel unwell. One of the best ways to use eucalyptus oil is to add the essential oil to a diffuser and leave this on all night. You sleep sound as the healing benefits of eucalyptus works its magic. If your cold/flu is more severe then add between 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and inhale for 5 minutes. This should certainly clear your breathing.

Alleviating Pain: Eucalyptus essential oil has been scientifically proven to be particularly effective in alleviating pain, especially joint and muscle pain when topically applied. This is due to the beneficial herbal remedy’s potent compounds with incredibly powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Topical application of eucalyptus oil on the affected area is recommended to offer an almost immediate relief for arthritis, stiff muscles, fibrosis, nerve pain, ache, rheumatism, sprained tendons and ligaments, and lumbago among other types of body pains. Massaging the potent eucalyptus oil on the affected area in a circular motion is considered to be an even more effective treatment strategy.

Repelling Insects: You can now easily do away with irritating pests and insects thanks to the natural herbal remedy’s distinct smell that drives them off. The natural remedy is a potent natural insect repellant that can be used to effectively scare harmful and irritating pests. You can either use the eucalyptus essential oil as a mist in a vaporizer or mix it with your favorite skin care cosmetic cream before topically applying it on your body. This essential oil is mostly used as an effective natural insect repellant by individuals who are allergic to pharmaceutical aerosol products created for the same purpose.

Promoting Good Dental Health: Eucalyptus essential oil is a common natural ingredient used in various toothpaste and mouthwash dental products. This is mainly because of the herbal remedies increasingly potent germicidal and antibacterial properties that are combined with its minty yet quite camphoraceous taste. Apart from playing a major role in improving oral breath, the eucalyptus natural herbal remedy can also be used to treat a wide variety of dental disorders, fight tooth decay, alleviate toothaches and treat both cavities and dental plaque. All these beneficial properties make the essential eucalyptus oil a must-go-to drug for various if not all dental-related issues.

Boosting the Immune System: Various scientific studies show that eucalyptus oil contains potent natural properties and compounds that can be used to enhance the immune system. For instance, when topically applied to the human skin, the essential oil can easily strengthen and stimulate immune cells, thus providing a super protective barrier against common infections.

Macrophages are unique types of body cells that whose main role is to fight and kill infections. Apart from that, the published scientific study also revealed that the natural herbal remedy actively helped the body to strengthen its protective mechanism (immune system) even further.

Treating Respiratory Issues: Eucalyptus essential oil has been scientifically proven to be quite effective in treating a wide range of respiratory issues, especially coughs and colds. The herbal remedy can also be used to offer relief against various sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis symptoms.

Eucalyptus leaves contain potent expectorant compounds that help in removing excess mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract and sinuses thus actively eliminating thus threatening the existence of pathogens like bacteria that thrive in such environments. The natural herbal remedy’s vasodilating, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties are particularly effective for treating multiple asthma symptoms. All these eucalyptus benefits for breathing are crucial for maintaining a healthy respiratory system.

Alleviating Fever: The eucalyptus plant is often referred to as the “fever” tree due to its amazing ability to reduce body temperature and manage fever. A more effective natural herbal fever remedy can be produced by combining the eucalyptus essential oil with peppermint oil and then spraying it on the sick person’s body. You can also dilute the potent mixture with either water or olive oil when using it on a patient with a sensitive skin.

Diabetes Management: The natural herbal remedy can be used to manage and even prevent diabetes. There are various scientific studies that are still being carried out to explain the eucalyptus essential oil’s significant role in lowering blood sugar levels. Various research findings also indicate that the eucalyptus tree’s leaves can be brewed into a highly potent herbal tea that can be used to prevent and even treat diabetes. Drinking particularly one to two cups of the herbal infusion daily is highly recommended.

It is important to consult your doctor or licensed health practitioner before consuming the herbal remedy or any other natural remedy for that matter to manage your diabetes condition. This is because the essential oil’s blood sugar lowering effect might be dangerous depending on your current diabetes condition. Eucalyptus oil’s vasodilating properties can also lead to an increase in overall blood circulation, which is a major diabetes symptom.

Treating Anxiety, Stress, Depression, and Fatigue: This essential health benefit is attributed to the natural herbal remedy’s potent soothing and sedative effects. Eucalyptus tea is a natural remedy commonly recommended, especially for individuals suffering from chronic stress and anxiety. Apart from that, the herbal remedy’s vasodilation and stimulant properties help to relax blood vessels thus increasing blood flow.

By increasing blood flow to the brain, the herbal remedy actively rejuvenates the entire body system, thus; promoting active behavior. Mental exhaustion can also be alleviated by consuming the eucalyptus natural herbal remedy. You are likely to become slightly sluggish when suffering from any major or minor medical condition. However, you can solve this issue simply by consuming the natural herbal remedy.

Eucalyptus Benefits for Skin: According to the “University of Maryland Medical Centre,” the eucalyptus essential oil has been used to reduce inflammation, treat various skin infections and heal wounds for centuries now. Cineole, citronellal, and citronellol are the main compounds that provide the herbal remedy with its potent antibacterial compounds that are beneficial to the skin.

Eucalyptus oil also contains antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that are particularly effective for treating sores, wounds, burns, abrasions, scrapes and cuts. The herbal remedy can also be made into a healing ointment or salve for treating insect bites and stings.

Wound Treatment: Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that are effective at treating wounds, burns, cuts, abrasions, sores and scrapes. It also can be made into a salve or healing ointment and put on bug bites and stings. Along with acting as a natural pain reliever to the area, it also keeps the area from getting infected, which speeds healing.

Odor Remover: Whether you’re battling smelly shoes or a stinky dog bed, topically wash items to remove odors with a wet rag soaked in eucalyptus oil-infused water, and place outside to dry in the sun. This can prevent odors as well as keep the shape intact! You may also mix it with lemon oil or tea tree oil for an anti-stink spray.

Air Cleanser: Try putting a few drops into your vacuum and clothes dryer filters to freshen them up and sanitize them a little. Also, it’s great for killing mold in your home, and you can mix eucalyptus with other oils like clove and tea tree oil to cleanse the air and maintain a mold-free home.

Spot Remover: Like lemon essential oil, eucalyptus oil is highly effective at removing spots on your carpet, clothes and basically every fabric you have in the house. It even works to get gum off your shoes! Make sure to “test” it on an inconspicuous place first just to make sure the oil doesn’t react strangely with the material you treat. You just don’t know what’s in the synthetic materials nowadays!

Eucalyptus Side Effects: Eucalyptus essential oil in its original state is extremely potent and can be actually poisonous when undiluted, especially for young children. It is important that you consume the herbal remedy in small quantities as it can be toxic when overused. The herbal remedy has also been reported to cause airborne contact dermatitis in individuals with certain levels of allergic sensitivities. Eucalyptus essential oil is also known to interfere with certain homeopathic remedies, hence; it will be wise for you to consult a licensed herbalist before deciding to use it.

Recipes with Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Asthma and Bronchitis


1.5 ounces of dried eucalyptus leaves

1 ounce of dried coltsfoot leaves

1 ounce of dried thyme leaves

1 cup of water


Mix all herbs together, and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.

Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Serve and enjoy.


Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Acne


1 ounce of dried eucalyptus leaves

1 ounce of dried dandelion roots and leaves

0.75 ounces of dried licorice root

1 cup of water

0.75 ounces of fennel seeds


Mix all herbs together and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.

Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Serve and enjoy.

Alternatively, you can use the tea as a facial wash. Simply let the tea cool to a comfortable temperature first before applying to your skin.


Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Head Colds


0.5 ounces of dried eucalyptus leaves

0.5 ounces of dried chamomile flowers

1 ounce of dried peppermint leaves

1 cup of water

Raw, organic honey to taste


Mix all herbs together, and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.

Add honey to taste. Serve and enjoy.


Making Infused Eucalyptus Oil: The great thing about eucalyptus oil is that you can make it in your own home, especially if you have leftovers from making tea. Below are a few things you need to make infused eucalyptus oil:


Kitchen weighing scale

2 ounces of eucalyptus leaves

Olive oil or a different carrier oil

Crock pot

Small-gauge mesh strainer

Airtight jar made of dark glass


Gently crush the eucalyptus leaves with your fist to release the oil. You may use more or less depending on the size of your crock pot.

Place the eucalyptus leaves in the crock pot.

Add 1 cup of olive oil for every 1/4 ounce of leaves in the crock pot.

Place the lid on the crock pot and turn it on at low heat. Let the mixture steep for 6 hours.

Strain the eucalyptus oil through the mesh strainer and into the jar.

Seal the jar and date it.

Store the eucalyptus oil in a cool, dry spot, where it will remain viable for 6 months. If needed longer, store the oil in the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator, where it will last for about a year.



Balancing Hormones Naturally

What are Hormones?

Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that are created in the endocrine glands. These messengers control most major bodily functions, from simple basic needs like hunger to complex systems like reproduction, and even the emotions and mood. Understanding the major hormones and what they do will help patients take control of their health.

The Endocrine System

The best way to answer the question “what are hormones?” is to take a look at some of the major hormonal systems in the body. Hormones are created by glands, which are part of the endocrine system. The main hormone-producing glands are:

Hypothalamus: The hypothalamus is responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods and the release of hormones from other glands; and also controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.

Parathyroid: This gland controls the amount of calcium in the body.

Thymus: This gland plays a role in the function of the adaptive immune system and the maturity of the thymus and produces T-cells.

Pancreas: This gland produces the insulin that helps control blood sugar levels.

Thyroid: The thyroid produces hormones associated with calorie burning and heart rate.

Adrenal: Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and cortisol, the stress hormone.

Pituitary: Considered the “master control gland,” the pituitary gland controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.

Pineal: Also called the thalamus, this gland produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, which affects sleep.

Ovaries: Only in women, the ovaries secrete estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, the female sex hormones.

Testes: Only in men, the testes produce the male sex hormone, testosterone, and produce sperm.

*These glands work together to create and manage the body’s major hormones.

Major Types of Hormones

What do hormones do, exactly? The body has many different hormones, but certain types have a bigger role to play in the body’s health and well-being. Understanding these roles is important for those looking to protect and manage their health.

For women, estrogen (or estradiol) is the main sex hormone. It causes puberty, prepares the body and uterus for pregnancy, and regulates the menstrual cycle. During menopause, estrogen level changes cause many of the uncomfortable symptoms women experience.

Progesterone is similar to estrogen but is not considered the main sex hormone. Like estrogen, it assists with the menstrual cycle and plays a role in pregnancy.

Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone” because of the way it assists the body in responding to stress. This is just one of several functions of this important hormone.

Melatonin levels change throughout the day, increasing after dark to trigger the responses that cause sleep.

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. It causes puberty, increases bone density, triggers facial hair growth, and causes muscle mass growth and strength.

*When they are in proper balance, hormones help the body thrive, but small problems with hormones can cause serious and life-altering symptoms.

What Causes Hormonal Imbalances?

There are three basic cause of hormone imbalances in everyone – chemical exposure, lifestyle choices, and illness or disease.

Chemical exposure comes from endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances in the environment (air, soil or water supply), food sources, personal care products, and manufactured products that may interfere with the normal function of your body’s endocrine system.

What are EDCs?

EDCs, a broad category of compounds used in consumer products, electronics and agriculture, have been associated with a diverse array of health issues. These non-natural chemicals or mixtures of chemicals can mimic, block, or interfere with the way the body’s hormones work.

They have been linked to human health issues related to sperm quality, fertility, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, early puberty, nervous system function, immune function, cancers, breathing problems, metabolic issues, obesity, heart health, growth, neurological and learning disabilities, and more. Common EDCs used in:

Pesticides- Example EDCs: DDT, Chlorpyrifos, Atrazine, 2,4-D, Glyphosate

Children’s Products – Example EDCs: Lead, Phthalates, Cadmium

Industrial Solvents or Lubricants and Their Byproducts – Example EDCs: PCBs and Dioxins

Plastics and Food Storage Materials – Example EDCs: BPA, Phthalates, Phenol

Electronics and Building Materials – Example EDCs: Brominated Flame Retardants, PCBs

Personal Care Products, Medical Tubing – Example EDCs: Phthalates, Parabens, UV Filters

Anti-Bacterials -Example EDCs: Triclosan

Textiles, Clothing – Example EDCs: Perfluorochemicals

Where are EDCs?

Industrial chemicals can leach into soil and groundwater and then make their way into the food chain and build up in fish, animals, and people.

Consumer products such as plastics, household chemicals, fabrics treated with flame retardants, cosmetics, lotions, products with fragrance, and anti-bacterial soaps.

Pesticides, fungicides, or industrial chemicals in the workplace the best way to avoid exposure is to check labels and avoid products with known EDCs.

Lifestyle Choices That Cause Hormone Imbalances

Under-eating & Over-exercising: A diet that ignores your hormones is not a diet. Too much, too little or doing the wrong exercise, as well as yoyo-, crash- and fad-dieting, are one-way tickets to hormonal imbalances. Your diet and exercise routine should work with your hormones, not against them. The right nutrition and lifestyle habits can actually restore balance in your hormone system! Unfortunately, 99% of the diet and exercise routines out there does exactly the opposite throwing your body off-balance, making you gain weight and lose muscle mass.

Wrong Foods: Foods have a major impact on your hormone balance. Unfortunately, many hormone-unbalancing food trends have slipped into our diets over the years, that drive our hormones crazy:

  • Too little fatty acids
  • Too little fibre
  • Too much carbohydrates
  • Too much soy
  • Too much beer
  • Too much unhealthy fats
  • Too much processed foods
  • Too much sugar

Stress: Physical and mental stress also disrupt your hormones. Chronic stress is so powerful that it can even be the only source of hormonal imbalance. How does that work? Once your body gets into a state of chronic stress, your body starts using up your progesterone and transforms it into cortisol, the stress hormone. Your stress-system is literally “stealing” from your sex hormone system, throwing off your healthy oestrogen-progesterone ratio.

Toxins: Alcohol, chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins enter our bodies not only through what we eat and drink but also through environmental pollution and medication. Toxins burden your liver, and too much of it results in a liver overload. The liver is the most important organ to break down excess oestrogen and get it out of your system. A liver that’s too polluted and burdened dealing with toxicity, therefore, results in high levels of oestrogen, again disrupting your hormonal balance.

Too High Body Fat Percentage: The enzyme aromatase found in fat tissue converts testosterone into oestrogen. That means that too much body fat results in a low testosterone-high oestrogen ratio. Sadly, you need testosterone to gain muscle and burn fat, making it increasingly difficult to keep your body in shape. Excess fat results in oestrogen dominance. But the vicious circle doesn’t stop there! Oestrogen dominance also increases the amount of body fat. How does that work? Oestrogen and insulin interact. Insulin is needed to get the glucose from your blood into your cells. Oestrogen causes fluctuations in your blood sugar level and upsets your insulin-factory (the pancreas). An out-of-control insulin production makes your cells less insulin-sensitive. When this happens, the sugar in your blood can’t enter your cells and use it as fuel anymore; forcing your body to store sugar as fat instead.

Ageing: Ageing also impacts your hormone levels. While we do add beauty and wisdom with our years, our hormones don’t always play along nicely.

  • Men – When men age their testosterone levels decline. The problem is that oestrogen in men decreases at a slower pace, causing an uneven ratio: too much oestrogen compared to little testosterone. Strength training is your best friend when trying to boost testosterone! Magnesium is also a true testosterone booster. So make sure to eat plenty of dark leafy greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale, watercress and collard greens), pumpkin seeds, fish (mackerel, pollock, turbot and tuna are excellent!), avocado, unroasted nuts (Brasil, almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts), bananas, and dark chocolate.
  • Women – When women age, both oestrogen and progesterone will decline. Unfortunately, progesterone levels often drop at a faster rate than oestrogen and can even get to zero. Oestrogen doesn’t decrease as quickly as progesterone and this difference cause hormone imbalances, resulting in an oestrogen dominance (menopause) once again. Add the other modern lifestyle factors such as chronic stress, toxins and a wrong diet and you’ve got the perfect formula for hormones-gone-wild and hormonal imbalances. It also explains why more and more women experience menopausal complaints already at a relatively young age.

Other Influences: Our environment almost overdoses us with non-bodily hormones that mimic the natural ones in our bodies while forcing our bodies to treat them the same. These strangers behave ‘biodentically’ and have a hormonal effect on us even though they differ chemically from the hormones that our bodies produce internally. A few examples:

  • Phytoestrogens are substances similar to estrogens found in many edible plants. Usually, they don’t pose a threat to our hormonal balance. Soy products and beer are an exception because they contain such a high level of phytoestrogens that they throw off your oestrogen balance.
  • Synthetic xenoestrogens imitate oestrogen and are widely used industrial chemical compounds such as pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, plastics, and preservatives in cosmetics (e.g. parabens). They also creep into our lives in the form of processed foods, anti-conception and even through plastic water bottles!
  • Synthetic testosterone/progesterone/oestrogen is often used for hormonal replacement therapy and anti-conception. This often leads to even bigger imbalances and can throw off your natural cycle badly.

Physical Illness/Disease That Cause Hormone Imbalance

There are many possible causes for a hormonal imbalance. Causes differ depending on which hormones or glands are affected. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include:

  • diabetes
  • hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid
  • hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid
  • hypogonadism
  • Cushing syndrome
  • thyroiditis
  • hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules
  • hormone therapy
  • tumors (benign or cancerous)
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • eating disorders
  • medications
  • stress
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • pituitary tumor
  • injury or trauma
  • cancer treatments

Causes unique to women: Many causes of hormonal imbalance in women are related to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:

  • menopause
  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • PCOS
  • premature menopause
  • hormone drugs like birth control pills
  • primary ovarian insufficiency

Allergies and Hormone Imbalance

An allergy is simply an over-reaction of the immune system to a substance in the environment that for most people does not trigger symptoms. Hay fever and many food allergies generate a type 1 hypersensitivity response involving increased IgE antibodies (proteins intended to identify and neutralize a foreign target) and the release of histamine. This process stimulates inflammation and is the source of symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, hives, itchy rash, swelling, scratchy throat, wheezing and coughing.

Allergies can develop at any point during your life, but it’s also possible to be born with them, especially if your mother is allergic to foods and passes an excessive number of undigested protein particles to you through breast milk. Type 1 hypersensitivities are usually lifelong, even if we can manage to control the symptoms.

The term “allergy” is now used more loosely to refer to any kind of hypersensitivity that triggers an immune response and inflammation. A better term for the reactions that aren’t mediated by IgE antibodies and histamine is “sensitivity.” While these reactions typically involve IgG or IgA antibodies, and histamine release might be part of the picture, these type III hypersensitivity reactions also involve the formation of immune complexes between the antibody and the substance that the antibody is targeting, known as the ‘antigen.’ Many of these reactions are to foods, or additives in foods.

Estrogen causes an increase in histamine production, while progesterone promotes something called myelination, which is one of the ways the body breaks down histamine. Therefore, in cases of unopposed estrogen the body will actually produce more histamine than normal and cause more severe allergic reactions. There have been several studies showing the effects of estrogen on histamine production. One such study observed an increase in the reaction of skin prick tests during times of elevated plasma estrogen levels. Another study observed that when anaphylaxis was induced in rats, that the female rats experienced more severe reactions. They found that the estrogen levels in the female rats were the cause of this increased allergic response.

What is the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?

The key difference is in the symptoms. When someone is allergic to certain food, skin rashes, hives, itchiness or swelling happen in the matter of minutes. Allergies are caused by the immune system not being able to ingest the food.

Food intolerance on the other hand gives less drastic immediate effects. Instead, it manifests itself anywhere from 30min to 3 days (some even longer than that). Symptoms can be bloating, indigestion, skin problems (acne, eczema), frequent colds and sinus issues, candida and yeast infections, stubborn weight that just won’t go away, thyroid malfunction, etc.

Allergies and Toxic Load

Every substance on earth that can be eaten, inhaled, or touched is a potential allergen, depending on your individual genetic profile and how well your system is running. Your emotional inheritance, lifestyle, diet, and physical environment are also important because they define the burden your system must detoxify and process on a daily basis.

How well you process this “body burden” is crucial to you feel each day. The older we get, the greater this toxic burden becomes and the less able our bodies are to deal with it. As pollution has increased, so have allergies. Air pollution is a factor too, because particles have been shown to increase IgE activity in nasal passages and may carry pollen and other compounds into our bodies.

Every day, particles from synthetic chemicals — like the fresh scent in fabric softener — go right up your nose and into your lungs. Heavy metals, chlorine in our water, phthalates and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are all dangerous substances that surround us all day every day. (For more information, see our article on endocrine disruptors.)

Over the course of many years, this chemical exposure has a cumulative effect. When you add in other factors prevalent in many women’s lives — e.g., hormonal imbalance, poor diet, and emotional stress, it puts us at the tipping point! Roughly 10% of adults in the U.S. have a diagnosed food allergy, but countless more have food sensitivities. A few of the most common categories of allergens:

  • What you eat: dairy, wheat (and other gluten-containing grains), corn, soy, shellfish, eggs, nuts, chocolate, caffeine, yeast, medications, sulfites, salicylates, MSG and other glutamates, xanthan and other gums, artificial food coloring and preservatives (e.g., BHA and BHT), sorbic and benzoic acid, pesticides
  • What you inhale: Mold, pollen, dust and dust mites, pet dander, down, feathers, VOCs, scented candles and cleaning products, perfumes
  • What you touch: Latex, plastics, cleaning solvents, insect bites, chemicals in the air, water, cosmetics, sunscreens, shampoos, and other personal care products

Everything you eat can be supportive or burdensome, depending on your unique profile. Help equip your body to process its toxic load by giving it the right nutrients and minimize your toxic load by eliminating environmental toxins and dietary allergens. Then when a particular substance is introduced to your system, your body won’t react with symptoms. Some women may also be intolerant of — but not allergic to — foods and other substances that are not mediated by the immune system. Examples include:

  • Intestinal symptoms from lactose intolerance
  • Joint pain from a compound called “solanine” in the ‘nightshade’ family of foods (e.g., potatoes, tomatoes, peppers)
  • Migraines from blood vessel-dilating compounds in red wine or cheeses. While qualifying as “intolerances,” they are not allergies.

What About Gluten Sensitivity?

Gluten — the family of proteins found in the seeds or grains of wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale — is usually associated with celiac disease, an inherited condition in which the immune system reacts to gluten while producing antibodies against the lining of the small intestine. That makes celiac disease an autoimmune disease, not an allergy. Over time, autoimmune responses to gluten can also affect other systems besides digestion.

Gluten ingestion can also cause a temporary increase in intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, and allergic reactions in individuals without genetic susceptibility to celiac disease. This occurs most often in people who are allergic to wheat, one of the “big eight” food allergens that together account for around 90% of allergic reactions.

If you are descended from cultures dependent on corn, potatoes, rice or other grains, you may not possess the genetic snippet required to process grains in the wheat tribe. If you are gluten-sensitive and continue to eat a lot of it, your body may be simmering on a low burn. This can eventually wear down the immune system and disrupt your metabolism, setting the stage for systemic inflammation and other problems.

What are the Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance? (

There’s more than one way your hormonal system can be unbalanced, and each imbalance comes with its own signs and symptoms. Oestrogen dominance and low testosterone levels are the most common.

In women hormone imbalance is commonly caused by natural changes or cycles that occur throughout life. Hormone fluctuations occur naturally, such as in puberty, menopause and perimenopause. Hormone imbalance may also be caused by toxins or an unbalanced lifestyle. Understanding the causes of hormone imbalance empowers us to prevent them, and at the same time, feel better, think better, and better prevent breast cancer.

In men these cycles are less pronounced yet changes throughout life do have an effect on male hormone balance. Male hormone imbalance can be brought on by stress, an acute injury or illness, poor nutrition, inadequate exercise and a host of other factors. As men age hormones decline and can cause significant, progressive symptoms in men. The decline in male androgens is termed “andropause.” Because testosterone levels decline gradually, signals of a hormone imbalance and symptoms of low testosterone often go unnoticed or are dismissed as normal part of aging.

The Signs & Symptoms Of Oestrogen Dominance

External Bodily Symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Increased body hair
  • Increased facial hair
  • Thinning skin
  • Thinning hair
  • Brittle hair/nails
  • Belly Fat
  • Puffy Eyes

Internal Bodily Symptoms:

  • Night sweats
  • Water retention
  • Tingling hands/feet
  • Decreased energy
  • Hot flashes
  • Sugar/carb cravings
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Incontinence
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hot flashes
  • Heavy menstruation
  • Tense breasts
  • Cysts in ovaries/breasts
  • PMS
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Low libido
  • Stiffness
  • Inflamed joints

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Concentration problems
  • Depressed mood
  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Less energized

Do you recognise 2-3 symptoms from each list? Then chances are high you’re dealing with an oestrogen dominance.

Extra risk factors, if you’ve got a history of:

  • Smoking
  • Taking hormonal anti-conception
  • Polycystic ovaries/breasts
  • Breast cancer
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Weight loss problems

The Signs & Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels

  • Physical
  • Pale Face
  • Muscle Mass Loss
  • Infirm Skin
  • Dry Eyes
  • Fat Gain in Abdomen
  • Fat Gain on Chest
  • Inability To Built Muscle
  • Hair Loss
  • Infertility
  • Difficulties Achieving Orgasm
  • Decreased Strength
  • Decrease In Bone Mass
  • Men: Female-Like Features
  • Men: Erective Problems
  • Psychological
  • Low Libido
  • Depressive Feelings
  • Fatigue/Lack of Energy
  • Confusion
  • Irritability/Mood Changes
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Feeling Stressed

Common hormonal conditions affecting both men and women could cause any of the following symptoms:

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • increased sensitivity to cold or heat
  • constipation or more frequent bowel movements
  • dry skin
  • puffy face
  • unexplained weight loss (sometimes sudden)
  • increased or decreased heart rate
  • muscle weakness
  • frequent urination
  • increased thirst
  • muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
  • pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
  • thinning hair or fine, brittle hair
  • increased hunger
  • depression
  • decreased sex drive
  • nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
  • blurred vision
  • sweating
  • infertility
  • a fatty hump between the shoulders
  • rounded face
  • purple or pink stretch marks

Symptoms in women: In women, the most common hormonal imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during:

  • puberty
  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • menopause

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance specific to women include:

  • heavy or irregular periods, including missed periods, stopped period, or frequent period
  • hirsutism, or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body
  • acne on the face, chest, or upper back
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • darkening of skin, especially along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
  • skin tags
  • vaginal dryness
  • vaginal atrophy
  • pain during sex
  • night sweats

Symptoms in men – Testosterone plays an important role in male development. If you aren’t producing enough testosterone, it can cause a variety of symptoms. In the adult male, symptoms include:

  • development of breast tissue
  • breast tenderness
  • erectile dysfunction
  • loss of muscle mass
  • decreased sex drive
  • infertility
  • decrease in beard and body hair growth
  • osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass
  • difficulty concentrating
  • hot flashes

Symptoms in children: Puberty is the time when boys and girls start producing sex hormones. Many children with delayed puberty will go on to experience normal puberty, but some have a condition called hypogonadism. Symptoms of hypogonadism include:

In boys:

  • muscle mass doesn’t develop
  • voice doesn’t deepen
  • body hair grows sparsely
  • penis and testicular growth is impaired
  • excessive growth of the arms and legs in relation to the trunk of the body
  • gynecomastia, the development of breast tissue

In girls:

  • period doesn’t begin
  • breast tissue doesn’t develop
  • growth rate doesn’t increase

Hormonal Imbalance and Acne

The primary cause of acne is excess oil production, which leads to clogged pores. Acne is most common in areas with many oil glands, including the face, chest, upper back, and shoulders. Acne is often associated with pubescent hormonal changes, but there’s actually a lifelong relationship between acne and hormones.

Acne and menstruation: The menstrual cycle is one of the most common acne triggers. For many women, acne develops the week before you get your period and then clears up. Dermatologists advise hormonal testing for women who have acne in combination with other symptoms, like irregular periods and excess facial or body hair.

Acne and androgens: Androgens are male hormones present in both men and women. They contribute to acne by overstimulating the oil glands. Both girls and boys have high levels of androgens during puberty, which is why acne is so common at that time. Androgen levels typically settle down in the early 20s.

Hormonal Imbalance and Weight Gain

Hormones play an integral role in metabolism and your body’s ability to use energy. Hormone disorders like hypothyroidism and Cushing syndrome can cause you to become overweight or obese. People with hypothyroidism have low levels of thyroid hormones. This means that their metabolism doesn’t work as well as it should. Even when dieting, people with hypothyroidism can still gain weight. People with Cushing syndrome have high levels of cortisol in their blood. This leads to an increase in appetite and an increased fat storage. During menopause, many women gain weight because the metabolism slows down. You may find that even though you’re eating and exercising like normal, you still gain weight. The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying condition.

Hormone Imbalance and Hair Loss

Hormonal changes and imbalances can sometimes cause temporary hair loss. In women, this is often related to pregnancy, childbirth, or the onset of menopause. An over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones can also cause hair loss. Most hair loss, like male pattern baldness, is hereditary and unrelated to hormonal changes.

Complications of Untreated Hormone Imbalance

Hormone imbalances are associated with many chronic, or long-term, health conditions. Without proper treatment, you could be at risk of several serious medical conditions, including:

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • neuropathy
  • obesity
  • sleep apnea
  • kidney damage
  • depression and anxiety
  • endometrial cancer
  • osteoporosis, or bone loss
  • loss of muscle mass
  • breast cancer
  • infertility
  • urinary incontinence
  • sexual dysfunction
  • goiter

Common Medical Treatments for Hormone Imbalance

Treatment for a hormonal imbalance will depend on what’s causing it. Common treatment options include:

Estrogen therapy: If you’re experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, your doctor may recommend a low dose of estrogen. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy with your doctor.

Vaginal estrogen: If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness or pain during sex, you may want to try applying an estrogen cream, tablet, or ring. This local therapy treatment avoids many of the risks associated with systemic estrogen, or estrogen that travels throughout the bloodstream to the appropriate organ.

Hormonal birth control: If you’re trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control can help regulate menstrual cycles. Types of hormonal birth control include:

  • birth control pill
  • birth control patch
  • birth control shot
  • vaginal ring
  • intrauterine device (IUD)

It may also help improve acne and reduce extra hair on the face and body.

Anti-androgen medications: Androgens are male sex hormones that are present in both women and men. Women with high androgen levels may choose to take medication that blocks the effect of androgens, such as:

  • hair loss
  • facial hair growth
  • acne

Metformin: a type 2 diabetes medication that may help some women with PCOS symptoms. It isn’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat PCOS, but it might help lower androgen levels and encourage ovulation.

Testosterone therapy: Testosterone supplements can reduce the symptoms of low testosterone in men. In adolescents with delayed puberty, it stimulates the start of puberty. It comes as an injectable, patch, and gel.

Thyroid hormone therapy: In people with hypothyroidism, the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) can bring hormone levels back into balance.

Flibanserin (Addyi): This is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of low sexual desire in premenopausal women. It has some serious side effects. Talk to your doctor to see if this medication could be right for you.

Eflornithine (Vaniqa): This is a prescription cream designed specifically for excessive facial hair in women. Applied topically to the skin, it helps slow new hair growth, but doesn’t get rid of existing hair.

Risks Associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

The Women s Health Initiative (WHI) study was canceled because of a high risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke associated with using HRT (hormone replacement therapy). The study analyzed the health of 16,000 women aged 50 to 79 years. After five years, those using HRT (Premarin and Provera or PremPro) had a 29 percent higher risk of breast cancer, a 26 percent higher risk of heart disease, and a 41 percent higher risk of stroke.

To personalize these numbers a bit more, of the 6 million women who are using PremPro, this translates to approximately 4,200 women who got breast cancer, 4,800 women who got heart disease, and 10,800 women who had a stroke in a five-year period because they were taking this form of HRT. If we extend these numbers out over a decade, nearly 40,000 women were harmed by taking these drugs. That’s an epidemic and doesn’t include all the women who suffered from weight gain, fatigue, depression, irritability, headaches, insomnia, bloating, low thyroid, low libido, and gallbladder disease and blood clots.

Side effects of oestrogen – The main side effects associated with taking oestrogen include:

  • bloating
  • breast tenderness or swelling
  • swelling in other parts of the body
  • nausea
  • leg cramps
  • headaches
  • indigestion
  • vaginal bleeding

These side effects will often pass in a few weeks, but the following measures may help relieve some of them in the meantime:

  • taking your oestrogen dose with food may help to reduce nausea and indigestion
  • eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet may reduce breast tenderness
  • regular exercise and stretching may help reduce leg cramps

If side effects persist, your GP may recommend switching to a different way of taking oestrogen (for example, changing from a tablet to a patch), changing the specific medication you’re taking, or lowering your dose.

Side effects of progestogen – The main side effects associated with taking progestogen include:

  • breast tenderness
  • swelling
  • headaches or migraines
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • acne
  • tummy (abdominal) pain
  • back pain
  • vaginal bleeding

As with side effects of oestrogen, these will usually pass in a few weeks. If they persist, your GP may recommend switching to a different way of taking progestogen, changing the specific medication you’re taking, or lowering your dose.

Weight gain and HRT – Many women believe that taking HRT will make them put on weight, but there’s no evidence to support this claim. You may gain some weight during the menopause, but this often happens regardless of whether you take HRT. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet should help you to lose any unwanted weight.

More serious risks – HRT has also been associated with some more serious risks, such as an increased risk of blood clots and certain types of cancer.

Breast Cancer:

  • taking combined HRT (oestrogen and progestogen) is associated with a small increased risk of breast cancer – some studies have suggested that for every 1,000 women taking combined HRT, there will be around five extra cases of breast cancer (from a normal risk of 22 cases of breast cancer per 1,000 menopausal women to 27)
  • the risk of breast cancer decreases when you stop taking HRT – estimates suggest the level of risk returns to normal after about five years
  • oestrogen-only HRT is associated with little or no change in the risk of breast cancer

Ovarian cancer: Studies looking at whether HRT can increase your risk of ovarian cancer have so far had conflicting results. It’s thought that if there is any increase in cases of ovarian cancer in women taking HRT, the risk is very small. A recent study found that for every 1,000 women taking HRT for five years, there will be one extra case of ovarian cancer. Any risk of ovarian cancer is thought to decrease once you stop taking HRT.

Womb cancer: Oestrogen-only HRT can increase the risk of womb cancer (also called endometrial cancer), which is why it’s only used in women who don’t have a womb (for example, because they’ve had a hysterectomy). Taking combined HRT, particularly a course of continuous HRT (where you take both medications without a regular break), largely eliminates this risk. If you still have a womb and you’re taking HRT, it’s important to take both medications as advised by your doctor to avoid increasing your risk of womb cancer.

Blood clots: can be serious if they become lodged in a blood vessel and block the flow of blood.

  • taking HRT tablets can increase your risk of blood clots
  • there’s no increased risk of blood clots from HRT patches or gels

It’s thought the risk of developing a blood clot is about two to four times higher than normal for women taking HRT tablets. But as the risk of menopausal women developing blood clots is normally very low, the overall risk from HRT tablets is still small. It’s estimated that for every 1,000 women taking HRT tablets for 7.5 years, less than two will develop a blood clot.

Heart disease and strokes:

  • HRT doesn’t significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and strokes) when started before 60 years of age
  • oestrogen-only HRT is associated with no, or reduced, risk of heart disease
  • combined HRT is associated with little or no increase in the risk of heart disease
  • taking oestrogen tablets is associated with a small increase in the risk of stroke, although the normal risk of women under 60 having a stroke is very low, so the overall risk is small

Balancing Hormones Through Lifestyle Change

Some people find that yoga helps treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also help you lose weight, which can help regulate your hormones. You can also make the following lifestyle changes:

Lose weight. A 10 percent reduction in body weight in women can make your periods more regular and increase your chances of getting pregnant. In men, weight loss may help improve erectile function.

Eat well. A balanced diet is an important part of overall health.

Remove unwanted hair. If you have excess facial or body hair, you can use hair removal creams, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.

Decrease vaginal discomfort. Use lubes or moisturizers free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum.

Avoid hot flashes. Try to identify things that commonly trigger hot flashes, like warm temperatures, spicy foods, or hot beverages.

How to Balance Hormones Naturally (

Eat Enough Healthy Fats: the body is simply not meant to consume the man-made fats found in vegetable oils. The fat content of the human body is largely saturated fat, with only about 3% of the body’s fat coming from other types.

  • The 3% of the body made up of polyunsaturated fats contains both Omega-3 fats and Omega-6 fats in about a 50:50 balance. This ratio is extremely important for health, and it is often ignored. Seed based vegetable oils (like canola oil, soybean oil, etc.) are very high in Omega-6 fats and low in Omega-3 fats. Since the 1950s, these seed based oils have replaced many sources of saturated fats and Omega-3s in the diet. This is one of the reasons that most people are not getting enough vital Omega-3 fatty acids from their diet.
  • Not only are we consuming way too many omega-6 fatty acids from polyunsaturated vegetable oils, but we are not consuming enough beneficial Omega-3s and saturated fats. These types of fats are vital for proper cell function and especially for hormone function, as these are literally the building blocks for hormone production. When we don’t give the body adequate amounts of these fats, it must use what is available, relying on lower quality polyunsaturated fats.
  • The trouble is that polyunsaturated fats are less stable and oxidize easily in the body, which can lead to inflammation and mutations within the body. Emerging evidence suggests that that this inflammation can occur in arterial cells (potentially increasing the chance of clogged arteries), skin cells (leading to skin mutations) and reproductive cells (which may be connected to PCOS and other hormone problems).
  • Other types of fats, especially saturated fats, are vital for hormone health and balance as the body uses fats as building blocks for hormones.

For this reason, Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Other quality sources of fats include avocados, animal fats, olive oil, grass fed meats, pastured eggs, and raw dairy (for those who tolerate it). Quality seafood is also very important, as it is nature’s best source of naturally occurring Omega-3s.

Limit the Caffeine: much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved, like pregnancy, presence of toxins, beneficial fat imbalance or stress. Cut down the coffee if you can, or replace with beneficial herbal teas. If you can’t or won’t cut the coffee, use it as a way to sneak in your beneficial fats by adding 1 tablespoon coconut oil to each cup and blending in the blender to emulsify. It is like a latte but with healthy fats!

Avoid Harmful Chemicals: Harmful chemicals found in pesticides, plastics, household cleaners, and even mattresses can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones. Things like hormonal birth control can (obviously) do the same thing.

  • For those with a hormone imbalance or who are struggling to get pregnant, avoiding these unnecessary chemicals is very important! Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (no non-stick or teflon) and avoid heating or storing foods in plastic. Find organic produce and meat whenever possible and don’t use chemical pesticides or cleaners. Here is a recipe for a natural cleaner.
  • Beauty products are another source of chemical exposure for many people. There are tens of thousands of chemicals in the personal care products we encounter daily, and most of these chemicals have not been tested for long-term safety. Avoiding these products can make a tremendous difference in achieving hormone balance.

Prioritize Sleep: Without adequate sleep, hormones will not be in balance. Period. While you’re sleeping, your body is extremely active removing toxins, recharging the mind, and creating hormones. Skimping on sleep, even for one night, can have a tremendous impact on hormones and even one night of missed or shortened sleep can create the hormone levels of a pre-diabetic. Try some of these tips to help improve sleep:

  • Improve your sleep environment by removing artificial light, optimizing temperature and sound, and other stimuli.
  • If possible, remove chemicals from your mattress and choose a non-toxic mattress that supports sleep naturally.
  • Create a daily routine to help support your natural circadian rhythms. Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends to keep your hormone cycle regular.
  • Eat a high protein/high fat snack a few hours before bed (7pm or earlier) or consume a lot at dinner. If you have trouble falling asleep, try these four tricks.
  • Get a lot of natural light during the day and spend at least 30 minutes outside each day if possible. The wide-spectrum of natural lighting helps boost serotonin levels which balance melatonin levels at night. In fact, my doctor routinely recommends that his patients get 30 minutes of sunlight or bright light within an hour of waking when they are working to balance hormones.
  • Avoid artificial light as much as possible after the sun goes down. Install F.lux (it is free) on all computers and devices to reduce blue light and help you sleep better (it is also easier on the eyes).
  • Drink enough water during the day and stop drinking about 2 hours before bed so you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom.
  • Take a soothing salt bath about an hour before bed with some relaxing music or a great book.
  • Pray, meditate or find a way to reduce stress.
  • Give yourself (or have someone else give you) a massage before bed to release stress and help relax (Personally, I love this for home-massage). Stretch before bed to relax muscles.

Supplement Wisely: Unfortunately, we live in a world where the food supply is often depleted of nutrients due to over-farming, the water is often contaminated with chemicals, and even the air can contain compounds that cause havoc in the body. Ideally, we could get all of our nutrients from food, properly hydrate from water, and get enough Vitamin D from the sun on a daily basis. We’d get magnesium from the ocean and not get deficient in the first place since we’d be consuming adequate minerals from eating fresh seafood.

  • Maca– A hormone boosting tuber in the radish family with a long history of use in Peru. Women who use this often see improvements in fertility, reduction in PMS and better skin/hair. It can help men with sperm production, testosterone levels and muscle composition. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids, which is one of the ways it supports hormone balance. It is available in powder form (least expensive option) or in capsules. Maca should be discontinued during pregnancy.
  • Magnesium– vital for hundreds of functions within the human body and many of us are deficient in this master mineral (here’s how to tell if you are). There are several different ways to get Magnesium: In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly, ionic liquid form can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly,or transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to the skin (this is my favorite method). Topical application is often the most effective option for those with a damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.
  • Vitamin D & Omega-3s– A pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. Best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Cod Liver Oil (a good source of Omega-3 and Vitamin D and what I do in the winter). Make sure not to get too much, and optimally, get Serum Vitamin D levels checked to monitor levels.
  • Gelatin or Collagen- a great source of minerals and necessary amino acids. Gelatin and collagen powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel” and is useful in recipes like homemade jello and probiotic marshmallows, while collagen protein does not gel but is easily added to soups, smoothies, coffee, tea or any other food. (I get both gelatin powder and collagen peptides from here)
  • Natural Progesterone Cream– PMS and menstrual troubles are often linked to specific hormone imbalances. Especially for those with short cycles or short second phase of their cycle (ovulation through start of menses), progesterone can be the issue. I’ve seen people add only natural progesterone cream and see symptoms greatly reduce. If you do use progesterone cream, do you own research, make sure you have a good brand that is soy-free and only use for the second half of your cycle (ovulation through menses). Check with a doctor or professional before using any hormone supplement.

Exercise The Right Way: For those with hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. Sleep is much more important, at least during the balancing phase, so focusing on relaxing exercises like walking or swimming and avoiding the extended running, cardio, and exercise videos, can help the body in the short term. While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting (kettlebells, deadlifts, squats, lunges) can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. Aim for a few sets (5-7) at a weight that really challenges you, but make sure to get help with form and training if you haven’t done these before as bad form can be harmful.

Consider Adding Herbs: Certain herbs and plants can also help the body bring hormones into balance. Of course, it is important to talk to a doctor before taking these, especially if a person is on hormonal contraceptives or other medications. Some herbs that I’ve personally used are:

  • Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry– Nourishes the pituitary gland and helps lengthen the luteal phase. It lowers prolactin and raises progesterone. For some women, this alone will improve symptoms.
  • Red Raspberry Leaf– A well know fertility herb that is also helpful in reducing PMS and cramping. It has a high nutrient profile and is especially high in calcium and is a uterine tonic. It is available in capsule form but makes an excellent hot or cold tea.
  • Adaptogens- Herbs that help the body handle stress and support the adrenals. They are a great and natural way to work toward hormone balance for many people.

Support Digestive Health: The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than many of us realize. Not only is the digestive tract the source of many vital neurotransmitters in the body, but an imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in neurotransmitter and hormones. Serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for sleep/stress balance is more concentrated in the gut than even in the brain! 70% of the immune system is found in the gut and it is quite literally the motherboard of many functions in the body. Even thyroid health has been linked to gut health. What Hippocrates knew thousands of years ago seems just as true today… that “all disease begins in the gut.” Those who struggle with gut problems may have trouble ever achieving hormone balance without first addressing gut health. (This is the most comprehensive program I’ve ever seen for addressing gut health issues.)

Fix Your Leptin: a master hormone, and if it is out of balance or if you are resistant to it, no other hormones will balance well. Fixing leptin will also help boost fertility, make weight loss easier, improve sleep, and lower inflammation. Dr. Jack Kruse, a neurosurgeon, has a whole system for getting leptin into balance.

Green Tea: In addition to metabolism-boosting caffeine, it contains an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been credited with several health benefits. Research suggests that consuming green tea may increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in both healthy people and those with insulin-resistant conditions like obesity and diabetes.

7 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally (

Swap Carbs for Healthy Fats: Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.

Use Adaptogen herbs: a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress. In addition to boosting immune function and combating stress, research shows that various adapotogens — such as ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola and holy basil — can:

  • Improve thyroid function
  • Lower cholesterol naturally
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Reduce brain cell degeneration
  • Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Support adrenal gland functions

Ashwagandha, in particular, can be extremely effective at balancing hormones. It benefits thyroid function because it promotes the scavenging of free radicals that cause cellular damage. Ashwagandha can be used to support a sluggish or overactive thyroid, and it can also help to overcome adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals can become overtaxed when you experience too much emotional, physical or mental stress, leading to the disruption of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and progesterone.

Holy basil, which is also known as tulsi, helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for anxiety and emotional stress. Studies show that holy basil can also protect your organs and tissues against chemical stress from pollutants and heavy metals, which are other factors that can lead to hormone imbalance.

Address Emotional Imbalances: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, internal emotions have a direct impact on a person’s health and addressing emotional imbalances, external factors and lifestyle choices can help to prevent health conditions associated with hormonal imbalances. TCM practitioners believe that the emotions of fear cause disease in your reproductive organs, kidneys and adrenals, affecting cortisol levels. This can lead to serious conditions like PCOS and infertility. The emotions of frustration, impatience and un-forgiveness cause disease in your liver, which can lead to an estrogen imbalance. And emotions of worry and anxiety can cause issues with your insulin levels, which can then affect several hormones.

Use Essential Oils: To balance your hormones naturally, it’s important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially-harmful chemicals including DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate. A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil. To replace toxic body care and cleaning products, use these hormone balancing essential oils:

  • Clary sage: helps to balance estrogen levels because it contains natural phytoestrogens. It can be used to regulate your menstrual cycle, relieve PMS symptoms, treat infertility and PCOS, and even reduce the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer. It also serves as a natural remedy for emotional imbalances, like depression and anxiety. Diffuse 3-5 drops of clary sage to help balance hormone levels and relieve stress. To ease cramps and pain, massage 5 drops of clary sage with 5 drops of coconut oil into your stomach and any other area of concern.
  • Fennel: Problems with your gut health have been found to cause autoimmune reactions, including thyroid disorders. Use fennel essential oil to relax your body, improve your digestion and gut health, boost your metabolism and reduce inflammation. You can rub 2 drops of fennel into your stomach or add 1-2 drops to a class of warm water or tea to take it internally.
  • Lavender: promotes emotional balance, as it can help to treat anxiety, depression, moodiness and stress. It can also be used to promote restful sleep, which will help to balance your hormone levels as well. Diffuse 5 drops of lavender oil at home, add 5 drops to a warm water bath or apply 3 drops topically to your temples, back or neck or wrists.
  • Sandalwood: can be used to increase your libido, reduce stress, promote relaxation, boost mental clarity and even help you to relax. The powerful fragrance triggers peaceful feelings and results in the overall reduction of stress that can lead to hormone imbalances. Inhale sandalwood directly from the bottle, diffuse it at home or apply 2-3 drops to your wrists and bottoms of the feet.
  • Thyme: improves progesterone production, which helps to treat or relieve health issues like infertility, PCOS, menopause, depression, fibroids, hair loss and insomnia. To help balance your hormones naturally, add 2 drops of thyme oil to a warm water bath or rub 2-3 drops with equal parts coconut oil into your abdomen.

Supplement to Fill Nutritional Voids: It’s sometimes necessary to supplement in order to fill nutritional voids that can be leading to a hormone imbalance. Here are the top supplements that I recommend for your hormones:

  • Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as LA and GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low. This is why people who live in dark areas often suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D. Sunshine is really the best way to optimize vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun.
  • Bone broth: Bone broth soothes the digestive system and supplies the body with nutrients that can be easily absorbed. Consuming bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth is especially beneficial to your health because it contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which have the powder to boost your overall health.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation. Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can actually improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin.

Beware of Medications and Birth Control: Are you aware of your medication’s side effects? Some can disrupt your hormone balance, leading to side effects like fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, sadness and even depression. Some medications that can mess with your hormone balance include corticosteroids, stimulants, statins, dopamine agonists, rexinoids and glucocorticoids. Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.

Get More Sleep: Unless you get 7–8 hours of sleep every night, you’re doing your body no favors. A lack of sleep or disturbing your natural circadian rhythm can be one of the worst habits contributing to a hormone imbalance. How so? Because your hormones work on a schedule! Case in point: Cortisol, the primary “stress hormone,” is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from their sympathetic flight/fight stress response. A lack of sleep, long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are three of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels. A report published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that “Stress can lead to changes in the serum level of many hormones including glucocorticoids, catecholamines, growth hormone and prolactin.”

48 Foods To Balance Your Hormones & Give You Glowing Skin (Megan Kelly on

Basing meals off clean protein, hormone-balancing healthy fats, antioxidant-rich vegetables, and healing herbs will help your body thrive. Choose one food from each category for an easy, hormone balancing, skin healing, meal.

Clean protein:

  • Soaked or sprouted nuts
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Organic pasture-raised/grass-fed chicken, turkey, beef, bison, elk, pasture-raised eggs
  • Wild caught fish

Hormone-balancing healthy fats:

  • Coconut oil (and all coconut products for that matter). It contains lauric acid, which is incredibly healing to the skin and extremely beneficial for hormonal production. It also kills bad bacteria and viruses in the body, provides a quick source of energy, is easy to digest, and speeds up metabolism.
  • They’re rich in healthy fat that helps our body absorb and use nutrients They are also full of fiber, potassium, magnesium vitamin E, B-vitamins, and Folic acid – all essential for maintaining hormonal balance in the body.
  • Raw butter/ghee. They provide a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2. These nutrients are key building blocks for hormonal production. Butter provides great amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism and have anti-microbial properties; meaning, they fight against bad bacteria and viruses in the body.
  • Egg yolks. They’re rich in countless vitamins and minerals including: A, D, E, B2, B6, B9, iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and choline which all contribute to a healthy reproductive system, hormonal balance, and healthy skin. The choline and iodine in egg yolks are also crucial for making healthy thyroid hormones.
  • Nuts and seeds. Soaked nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, fermented cod liver oil, hemp seed oil, flax-seed oil, and raw cultured dairy products.

Antioxidant-rich vegetables:

  • Look for anything dark green: asparagus, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, cilantro, etc.
  • Opt for brightly colored veggies: green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, red cabbage, red/white onions, tomatoes, and carrots.
  • Don’t overlook starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, yucca, beets, artichokes, butternut squash, and turnips.

Healing spices & herbs:

  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne
  • Cumin
  • Garlic
  • Ginger

If your body has the nutrients it needs to be in hormonal balance, it will be. You’ll experience glowing skin, stable moods, fertility, and consistent energy. Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal and be in balance, when given the nutrients they need to flourish.




Trans Fats

What Are Trans Fats & Why Should We Avoid Them?

Trans fat, or trans-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, are a type of unsaturated fat that occur in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and frying fast food starting in the 1950s. Trans fat, has been shown to consistently be associated, in an intake-dependent way, with increased risk of coronary artery disease, a leading cause of death in Western nations.

Trans fatty acids are made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil — in a process described as partial hydrogenation. If the hydrogenation process were allowed to go to completion, there would be no trans fatty acids left, but the resulting material would be too solid for practical use. Usually the hydrogen atoms at a double bond in a natural fatty acid are positioned on the same side of the carbon chain. However, partial hydrogenation reconfigures most of the double bonds that do not become chemically saturated, so that the hydrogen atoms end up on different sides of the chain. This type of configuration is called trans (which means “across” in Latin).

Fats contain long hydrocarbon chains, which can either be unsaturated, i.e., have double bonds, or saturated, i.e., have no double bonds. In nature, unsaturated fatty acids generally have cis as opposed to trans configurations. In food production, liquid cis-unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils are hydrogenated to produce saturated fats, which have more desirable physical properties, e.g. they melt at a desirable temperature (30–40 °C). Partial hydrogenation of the unsaturated fat converts some of the cis double bonds into trans double bonds by an isomerization reaction with the catalyst used for the hydrogenation, which yields a trans fat.

Partial hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats. Partial hydrogenation also raises the melting point, producing a semi-solid material, which is much more desirable for use in baking than liquid oils. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are much less expensive than the fats originally favored by bakers, such as butter or lard. Because they are not derived from animals, there are fewer objections to their use.

Although trans fats are edible, consumption of trans fats has been shown to increase the risk of coronary artery disease in part by raising levels of the lipoprotein LDL (often referred to as “bad cholesterol”), lowering levels of the lipoprotein HDL (often referred to as “good cholesterol”), increasing triglycerides in the bloodstream and promoting systemic inflammation.

Trans fats also occur naturally. Vaccenyl and conjugated linoleoyl (CLA) containing trans fats occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminants. Butter, for example, contains about 3% trans fat. Two Canadian studies have shown that vaccenic acid, found in beef and dairy products, could actually be beneficial compared to hydrogenated vegetable shortening, or a mixture of pork lard and soy fat, by lowering total and LDL and triglyceride levels. A study by the US Department of Agriculture showed that vaccenic acid raises both HDL and LDL cholesterol, whereas industrial trans fats only raise LDL without any beneficial effect on HDL.

In light of recognized evidence and scientific agreement, nutritional authorities consider all trans fats equally harmful for health and recommend that consumption of trans fats be reduced to trace amounts. In 2003 the World Health Organization recommended that trans fats make up no more than 1% of a person’s diet. In 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (which contain trans fats) are not “generally recognized as safe”, which was expected to lead to a ban on industrially produced trans fats in the American diet. On 16 June 2015, the FDA finalized its determination that trans fats are not generally recognized as safe, and set a three-year time limit for their removal from all processed foods.

Two sources: There are two types of trans fat, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  1. Naturally formed trans fat: This type is produced in the gut of some grazing animals, so small quantities of trans fats can be found in meat, milk and milk products.
  2. Trans fat formed during food processing: Artificial trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to (unsaturated) liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Food manufacturers use partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) to improve texture, shelf life and flavor. PHOs are the main source of this type of trans fat in the United States, according to the FDA.


PHOs were discovered in 1902 by scientist Wilhelm Normann. For many years, it was thought that eating shortening or margarine made from PHOs was preferable to butter because they didn’t contain saturated fat. It wasn’t until the 1980s that researchers started uncovering the health hazards that come from consuming PHOs. In 2015, the FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils are no longer “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) in human food and took steps to restrict its use. According to the new restrictions, companies must remove PHOs from their food products by June 2018. Removing trans fat could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks, and 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated.

Before the advent of partial hydrogenation, the only trans fat that humans consumed came from eating cows (or dairy products), lamb, and deer; in ruminants like these, bacteria living in the stomach make small amounts of trans fat. But due to the growth of partial hydrogenation, by the early 1990s, trans fat intake in the United States averaged 4 to 7 percent of calories from fat.

In 1981, a group of Welsh researchers speculated that trans fat might be linked with heart disease. A 1993 Harvard study strongly supported the hypothesis that intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils contributed to the risk of having a heart attack.  In that study, the researchers estimated that replacing just 2 percent of energy from trans fat with healthy unsaturated fat would decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by about one-third. An influential symposium on trans fat later in the 1990s drew public attention to the issue.

Nutritional information

The FDA recommends eating as little trans fats as possible. Finding out if a product has trans fats can be tricky, though. A food can list “0 grams of trans fats” on the label but still contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic. The FDA also noted that trans fats have no percent daily value (%DV) on nutrition labels, so the grams (g) labeling is all that is posted on the label. A better indicator of trans fat content may come from reading the ingredients list. If a food contains partially hydrogenated oils, it contains trans fats.

What Are the Health Consequences of Consuming Trans Fat?

  • Gram-for-gram, trans fat is the most harmful fat of all, causing 50,000 fatal heart attacks annually. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration finalized its determination that artificial trans fat is no longer generally recognized as safe for use in food.
  • Consuming trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol. This effect contributes to increased coronary heart disease and death.
  • Trans fat may also have other adverse health effects like decreasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol.
  • Known to trigger systemic inflammation, trans fat can be found in fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers and most stick margarines. Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient labels.
  • Further reducing trans fat consumption by avoiding artificial trans fat could prevent 10,000–20,000 heart attacks and 3,000–7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the U.S.

Artificial trans fat can be found in many of the same foods as saturated fat, including:

  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pies, and crackers)
  • Ready-to-use frostings
  • Snack food (such as potato chips and microwave popcorn)
  • Fried food typically found in fast food restaurants (such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts)
  • Refrigerated dough products (such as biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and frozen pizza)
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Stick margarine
  • Coffee creamer

The amount of trans fat can vary within food categories:

  • Margarine and spreads 0.0-3.0 g
  • Cookies 0.0-3.5 g
  • Frozen pies 0.0-4.5 g
  • Frozen pizza 0.0-5.0 g
  • Savory Snacks 0.0-7.0 g

What Can Be Done to Reduce Artificial Trans Fat Intake?

  1. Read the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list to compare foods. Choose products with 0 grams trans fat. Check the Ingredient List to see if there is any partially hydrogenated oil in the product. Because products containing less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as having 0 grams trans fat, checking the Ingredient List is important to avoid all artificial trans fat.
  2. When choosing foods low in trans fat, make sure they are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol: look for foods with 5% of the Daily Value or less. Foods with 20% or more of the Daily Value of these two components are high.
  3. Use monounsaturated fat (canola and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fat (soybean, corn, and sunflower oil) in recipes that call for fat.
  4. A good way to avoid trans fat is to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  5. Ask your grocer to stock products free of “partially hydrogenated oil” and “shortening”.
  6. Talk with your favorite restaurant establishment about current use of partially hydrogenated oils or changing to a menu that is 100% free of “partially hydrogenated oil” and “shortening”.
  7. Choose restaurants that do not use partially hydrogenated oil to prepare food.

Margarine Sticks & Spreads

Not so long ago, margarine was marketed as a healthier alternative to butter because it’s made from vegetable oil instead of dairy or animal products. But for the margarine to maintain its solid form, many brands (especially stick varieties) depend on hydrogenated oils that are high in trans fat and/or saturated fat. Steer clear of Blue Bonnet Regular Sticks (1.5 grams per serving), and instead opt for whipped, reduced-fat, or fat-free soft spreads.

Developed in the 1800s in France when butter was scarce and expensive, margarine has had its ups and downs, including several U.S. bans and taxes driven by the dairy industry. It’s been called a healthier, plant-based alternative to butter, but it also faced a backlash for being artificial and having trans fats, which help keep oil-based ingredients solid at room temperature. Margarine is any vegetable-oil-based, butter-flavored spread that contains 80% oil; anything with a lower oil and fat content is called a “soft margarine spread.”

To stay solid at room temperature, vegetable oils are hydrogenated, which creates trans fatty acids that can raise LDL, or bad cholesterol. Most solid sticks of margarine contain trans fats and/or saturated fat. These include Country Crock Spreadable Sticks (80 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 2 grams trans fats), Blue Bonnet Sticks (70 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat), Land O’Lakes Margarine Sticks (100 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 2.5 grams trans fats), and Fleischmann’s Original Stick Margarine (80 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat).

The American Heart Association suggests buying soft, trans-fat-free spreads instead of regular butter or stick margarine. Choose a blend with the least amount of saturated fat and zero trans fats. Check the ingredients: If it says partially hydrogenated oils, it still has some trans fat (less than 0.5 gram per serving), even if the label says trans fat free.

Trans-fat-free sticks

A gram or two of trans fats may not seem like a lot, but even small amounts are bad for the heart. Baker recommends keeping trans-fat intake as low as possible. There are trans-fat-free options if you need hard butter or margarine for baking. Promise Sticks contain 80 calories per serving, and 9 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated). I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Sticks and Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spreads contain no trans fats, but they still have 3.5 grams and 4.5 grams of saturated fat, respectively, and the same amount of total fat and calories as butter.

Soft spreads

Soft spreads packaged in a tub are generally much healthier for your heart, because they contain less saturated fat and many are trans fat free. Some examples include Fleischmann’s Original Whipped Tub with 60 calories and 7 grams of fat (1 gram saturated) per serving, Smart Balance Original Buttery Spread with 80 calories and 9 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated), and Blue Bonnet Soft Spread with 60 calories and 6 grams of fat (1 gram saturated).

Is Butter Better?

Regular butter is made with one ingredient: cow’s milk or cream, churned or shaken until it reaches a semisolid state. By definition, it contains at least 80% milk fat by weight, and it takes about 11 quarts of milk to make 1 pound of butter. Traditionally, butter comes in salted and unsalted varieties, and it can be found in solid stick form or whipped and packaged in plastic tubs. You may also find cultured butter, a rich butter made from cultured cream popular in Europe, at your grocery store or specialty foods store.

Most “original” butter sticks contain 100 calories per tablespoon, a typical serving size. One serving has 11 grams of fat, and 7 grams of it is artery-clogging saturated fat—about one-third of your recommended daily value! It also contains 30 milligrams of dietary cholesterol (10% of your daily value). Some have even more fat; Ireland’s Kerrygold Unsalted Pure Irish Butter, for example, contains 12 grams of fat, 8 grams of it saturated.

Better: Whipped butter

The process of whipping adds air to the butter, making it lighter and less dense. If you can stick with the same tablespoon-size portion, you’ll save up to half the calories and saturated fat by choosing whipped butter in a tub. Land O’Lakes Whipped Butter, for example, contains 50 calories and 6 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated), and only 15 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.

Even Better: Vegetable-oil blends

A butter blend with added olive or canola oil won’t cut calories or fat much or at all—most have 100 calories and 11 fat grams per serving—but it will lower saturated fat and cholesterol.  What’s more, these are typically softer and easier to spread right out of the refrigerator. To lower calories, select a “whipped” or a “light” blend. We like Shedd’s Spread Country Crock Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil (80 calories and 9 grams of fat, 3.5 saturated), and Land O’Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil (50 calories and 5 grams of fat, 2 saturated).

Beware of What’s Replacing Trans Fats & Partially Hydrogenated Oils

(  by Deena Shanker)

Research showing the dangers of trans fat, which raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, solidified with a major study published in 1990 and got stronger with each successive round of research, forcing food makers to start looking for alternatives. From 2006 to 2008, according to one estimate, the amount of PHOs in food in North America was cut in half. By 2015, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said trans fat had been reduced by 85 percent. That year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that food makers had three years to completely remove the oils from their products.

PHOs come in many forms and serve a variety of hidden functions. They could be in the deep fryer at a national fast-food chain or in your favorite packaged baked goods—you know, the ones that tastes as fresh today as when they were purchased three years ago. They’ve shown up in creamers, cereal bars and microwave popcorn. Replacing them requires a mix of liquid oils and solid fats, along with collaboration among oil-producers, fast-food industry and packaged food producers.

Consumers likely won’t be able to tell the difference when they sample the new generation of PHO-free products. In fact, many have already been eating them for years. Nutritionally, all are an improvement over standard partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Producers tout their high content of “good fats,” (aka monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and low levels of “bad fats” (trans and saturated fats). Omega-9 fatty acids, or oleic acid, makes the oil both more stable and healthful. (The high oleic acid content of olive oil is one reason it is considered the gold standard of healthy oils.) Yet these oils fall short in at least one respect: Because all the new oils are liquid, baking with them requires the addition of other solid fats. In these cases, palm oil, an ingredient associated with negative environmental impacts, is often the solid fat of choice.

Non-GMO Omega-9 canola oil, from Dow Chemical Co.’s Dow AgroSciences LLC, has even lower levels of saturated fats than olive oil and about the same level of omega-9s. “This oil has the whole package,” said Dave Dzisiak, the global business leader of oils and grains at the company. The oil also has a cleaner, light taste, he said. It’s currently being used by major national and regional foodservice chains, as well as by snack makers, according to the company.

DuPont Co.’s DuPont Pioneer subsidiary makes similar claims about its trans-fat free oil, Plenish. Through genetic modification, the company lowered the amount of saturated fat in standard soybean oil by 20 percent and raised the omega-9 fatty acids to rival that of olive oil. Plenish is also currently being used in packaged goods, according to DuPont. It believes its soy oil holds a competitive advantage over canola because soy is so entrenched in the American diet. “There’s a pretty strong belief that the U.S. consumer in particular has developed a preference for soy,” said Russ Sanders, director of food at DuPont. “The flavor of the food comes through more than the flavor of the oil.”

Monsanto Co. is banking on the same preference as it prepares to launch its own soybean oil, Vistive Gold. Like its competitors, Vistive Gold has a high omega-9 count, low saturated fat content and better stability than standard soybean oil. It is also a product of genetic engineering. The company declined to name any specific customers, but a spokesperson said it has been working closely with the food industry to develop an oil producers will want to use.

At the moment, high-oleic canola oils are more popular, largely because they have been around in commercial quantities much longer than the new soybean oils, said Robert Collete, president of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils. (High-oleic sunflower oils have also been available for some time in lower quantities.) But the soybean industry is fighting back with Qualisoy, an organization that promotes high-oleic soybean oil, including Plenish and Vistive Gold.


  39. S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human
  40. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
  41. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2005.
  42. Doell D, Folmer D, Lee H, Honigfort M, Carberry S. 2012. Updated estimate of trans fat intake in the U.S. population. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A: Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment.
  43. Dietz WH, Scanlon, KS. 2012. Eliminating the Use of Partially Hydrogenated Oil in Food Production and Preparation. JAMA. 2012;308(2):143-144.

Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate)

Magnesium sulfate is an inorganic salt with the formula MgSO4(H2O). It is often encountered as the heptahydrate sulfate mineral epsomite (MgSO4·7H2O), commonly called Epsom salt. The overall global annual usage in the mid-1970s of the monohydrate was 2.3 million tons, of which the majority was used in agriculture. Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts. Epsom salt can also be used as a beauty product. Athletes use it to soothe sore muscles, while gardeners use it to improve crops. It has a variety of other uses: for example, Epsom salt is also effective in the removal of splinters.

Magnesium sulfate is a common mineral pharmaceutical preparation of magnesium, commonly known as Epsom salt, used both externally and internally. Magnesium sulfate is highly water-soluble and solubility is inhibited with lipids typically used in lotions. Lotions often employ the use of emulsions or suspensions to include both oil and water-soluble ingredients. Hence, magnesium sulfate in a lotion may not be as freely available to migrate to the skin nor to be absorbed through the skin, hence both studies may properly suggest absorption or lack thereof as a function of the carrier (in a water solution vs. in an oil emulsion/suspension). Temperature and concentration gradients may also be contributing factors to absorption.

The magnesium contained in Epsom salt is a mineral that is crucial to the human body’s functioning. Some of the key roles of magnesium include keeping blood pressure normal, heart rhythm steady and bones strong. Sulfate is an essential mineral key to many biological processes, helping flush toxins; cleanse the liver; and assisting in the formation of proteins in joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins. Recent studies have shown that Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can even be used intravenously for the treatment of asthma and pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension) in pregnant women.

Epsom salt is used as bath salts and for isolation tanks. Magnesium sulfate is the main preparation of intravenous magnesium.

Internal uses include:

  • Oral magnesium sulfate is commonly used as a saline laxative or osmotic purgative.
  • Replacement therapy for hypomagnesemia
  • Magnesium sulfate is an antiarrhythmic agent for torsades de pointes in cardiac arrest under the ECC guidelines and for managing quinidine-induced arrhythmias.
  • As a bronchodilator after beta-agonist and anticholinergic agents have been tried, e.g. in severe exacerbations of asthma, magnesium sulfate can be nebulized to reduce the symptoms of acute asthma. It is commonly administered via the intravenous route for the management of severe asthma attacks.
  • Magnesium sulfate is effective in decreasing the risk that pre-eclampsia progresses to eclampsia. IV magnesium sulfate is used to prevent and treat seizures of eclampsia. It reduces the systolic blood pressure but doesn’t alter the diastolic blood pressure, so the blood perfusion to the fetus isn’t compromised. It is also commonly used for eclampsia where compared to diazepam or phenytoin it results in better outcomes

People use Epsom salt baths as a home treatment for:

  • Arthritis pain and swelling
  • Bruises and sprains
  • Fibromyalgia, a condition that makes your muscles, ligaments, and tendons hurt, and causes tender points throughout your body
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Insomnia
  • Psoriasis, a disease that causes red, itchy, scaly skin
  • Sore muscles after working out
  • Soreness from diarrhea during chemotherapy
  • Sunburn pain and redness
  • Tired, swollen feet

Benefits of Epsom Salt

There is a laundry list of ways to use Epsom salt in your daily life. Here are some of the top benefits of Epsom salt:

  1. Boosts Magnesium Levels: Appropriate levels of magnesium are absolutely key to good health, and it is very common to have a magnesium deficiency. Known as hypomagnesemia, low magnesium levels can be caused by alcoholism, severe diarrhea, malnutrition or high calcium levels (hypercalcemia). By simply soaking your feet or entire body in a bath containing Epsom salt, internal levels of magnesium can be increased naturally without taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium regulates over 300 enzymes in the body and plays an important role in organizing many bodily functions, including muscle control, energy production, electrical impulses and the elimination of harmful toxins. Magnesium deficiencies contribute to today’s high rates of heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive disorders as well as mental illness. By boosting your internal magnesium levels through external use of Epsom salt, you can help improve or ward off many avoidable health ailments.
  2. Reduces Stress: Everyone has heard of the recommendation to have a good soak in a warm bath after a rough day (whether mentally or physically rough) — it’s a great way to bust stress. If you want to amplify the stress-reducing benefits of a nice, long soak, then add a cup or two of Epsom salt to your bathwater. Not only will the magnesium in the Epsom salt help to relax your muscles, it can also help to relax your mind. According to research from the University of North Carolina, magnesium deficiency enhances stress reactions. Further studies show that magnesium has a profound effect on stress and neural excitability — and magnesium salts such as Epsom salt can reduce stress and improve neuropsychiatric disorders. Magnesium is critical to the production of energy in cells so, by increasing magnesium levels, you can feel revived without feeling restless (as opposed to how people feel revived from caffeine consumption).
  3. Eliminates Toxins: The sulfates in Epsom salt assist the body in flushing out toxins and providing a heavy metal detox from the body’s cells, hence lowering the internal accumulation of harmful substances. Human skin is a highly porous membrane; by adding minerals like magnesium and sulfate to your bathwater, it sparks a process called reverse osmosis, which literally pulls salt out of your body and dangerous toxins along with it. For a detoxing bath, add at least two cups of Epsom salt to bathwater and soak for 40 minutes total. The first 20 minutes will give your body time to remove toxins from your system while the last 20 minutes will allow you to absorb the minerals in the water and help you emerge from the bath feeling rejuvenated. Make sure to consume water before, during and after the bath to protect yourself from dehydration and increase detoxification.
  4. Relieves Constipation: Epsom salt is an FDA-approved laxative and is commonly used to naturally relieve constipation. When taken internally, Epsom salt acts like a laxative by increasing water in the intestines and cleansing the colon of waste. A roundup of studies published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology notes that there is strong evidence that Epsom salt “has potent laxative effect in vitro through the release of digestive hormones and neurotransmitters.” Internal use of Epsom salt can bring about temporary relief from constipation, but like any laxative, it is not meant to be a long-term solution or a substitute for a healthy high-fiber diet. If a laxative solution is a must, it’s smart to avoid many of the harsh laxatives on the market today, which are commonly loaded with artificial colors and flavors and questionable chemicals. To take magnesium sulfate orally, it’s typically suggested to dissolve one dose in eight ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. You may add a small amount of lemon juice to improve the taste. Make sure to drink plenty of liquids while consuming Epsom salt to prevent dehydration. Magnesium sulfate taken orally should produce a bowel movement within 30 minutes to six hours. Adults are usually advised to take 2–6 teaspoons (10–30 ml) of Epsom salt at a time, dissolved in at least 8 ounces (237 ml) of water and consumed immediately. You can expect it to have a laxative effect in 30 minutes to six hours.
  5. Reduces Pain & Inflammation: A warm bath containing Epsom salt is known to ease pain and relieve the inflammation at the root of most diseases, making it a beneficial natural treatment for bronchial asthma, sore muscles and headaches (including migraines). Epsom salt can also help heal cuts and reduce the swelling that accompanies sprains and bruises. Have an annoying and painful splinter stuck in your hand? Soak the problem area in warm water and Epsom salt, and the splinter should be drawn out of the skin in no time! Soreness after childbirth? Epsom salt can help with that, too. In general, healthy magnesium levels from Epsom salt use can help overall bodily inflammation since low magnesium has been linked with higher C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body.
  6. Improves Blood Sugar Levels: Healthy magnesium levels have been linked with a reduced risk of developing diabetes. Epsom salt is an excellent source of magnesium. Both magnesium and sulfate help improve the body’s ability to produce and utilize insulin. Regular intake of Epsom salts, either orally or transdermally, can help to regulate blood sugar, lowering the risk of diabetes and improving daily energy levels. Studies continue to show how a healthy intake of magnesium is associated with a lower risk of the development of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, proving Epsom salts work as natural diabetes remedies.
  7. Promotes Sleep: Adequate magnesium levels are essential for sleep and stress management, likely because magnesium helps the brain produce neurotransmitters that induce sleep and reduce stress. Magnesium may also help the body produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Low magnesium levels may negatively affect sleep quality and stress. Many report that taking Epsom salt baths can reverse these issues by allowing the body to absorb magnesium through the skin.
  8. Volumizes Hair: Adding Epsom salt to hair products can help decrease excess oil, which contributes to hair looking flat and weighed down. One easy way to create your own volumizing conditioner at home is to combine equal parts Epsom salt and conditioner (example: two tablespoons conditioner + two tablespoons Epsom salt). After shampooing hair as usual, apply the volumizing conditioner mix to hair, coating it from the scalp to the ends. Leave the mix in for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing. This is a great weekly hair treatment.
  9. For Skin Care: Epsom salt may be used as a beauty product for skin and hair. To use it as an exfoliant, just place some in your hand, dampen it and massage it into your skin. Some people claim it’s a useful addition to facial wash, since it may help cleanse pores. Just a 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) will do the trick. Simply combine it with your own cleansing cream and massage onto the skin.
  10. Soften callused feet. If your feet are feeling a little rough around the edges, try this simple at-home softening treatment: Pour ½ cup of Epsom salt into a tub of warm water and soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes. “It will soften the skin,” says Bhatia. You can then take a handful of Epsom salt, dampen it, and massage it on your feet to slough off dead, callused skin.
  11. De-flake lips. Cold weather and even just repeatedly licking your lips year-round can leave you with a parched, flakey pucker. For smoother, healthier-looking lips, mix a few tablespoons of Epsom salt with a teaspoon of petroleum jelly, gently massage the mixture onto your lips, and then wipe off.
  12. Soothe a sunburn. If you miss a spot with your trusty sunscreen and end up with an angry red mark, try this trick for easing a sunburn: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of water in a spray bottle, and then spray the mixture on the sunburn to help reduce irritation.
  13. Gallbladder Flush. The gallbladder is not as well-understood or talked about as our other organs, but an optimally functioning gallbladder is something we all should strive for when it comes to our health. Some of the warning signs that you may have a gallbladder problem include gallbladder pain, poor fat digestion, rosacea of skin and leaky gut syndrome. Epsom salt can be utilized in a gallbladder and liver flush recipe.
  14. Headache Relief. There is quite a bit of evidence that magnesium may help headaches and even migraines when used regularly. Some sources even think that magnesium deficiency may increase the chance of headaches. I’ve noticed that when I consume magnesium or use it transdermally, I also don’t seem to get headaches. And my husband swears that the best hangover cure is a long swim in the ocean, which is much higher in magnesium than lakes or swimming pools. What to do: Use any of the methods to get more magnesium. I also find that magnesium spray and magnesium lotion are especially helpful for headache relief.
  15. Epsom salt has a long history of use in the garden as well. For more robust vegetables, you can try adding a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the soil underneath a plant to boost growth. Epsom salt is also great for indoor gardening. For potted plants, simply dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water, and substitute this solution for normal watering once a month.
  16. Looking to get rid of slugs from your walkways and patios without using chemicals? Sprinkle some Epsom salt to keep them away!
  17. For itchy skin, bug bites or sunburn, you can dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a half cup of cool water in a spray bottle and spritz on skin as needed.
  18. Epsom salt can also be used for household cleaning. To clean tile and grout, mix equal parts of liquid dish soap and Epsom salt and apply this mixture to dirty and/or stained surfaces anywhere in your home. Allow the mixture to soak in for a couple of minutes, scrub away the loosened filth and rinse clean.
  19. Epsom salt helps draw the moisture out of lesions caused by rashes, such as poison ivy, according to the doctors. And with bites or stings, Epsom salt reduces the swelling, which eases the itching sensation because the body’s nerves fire less frequently, the doctors say.
  20. Healthy House Plants. House plants are great for cleaning indoor air and we love to keep them around. Just like garden plants, house plants love a magnesium boost once in a while. Add some Epsom salt as part of a regular watering or fertilizing routine for more robust house plants. What to do: Sprinkle a little Epsom salt on the soil in a house plant container or add a little Epsom salt to the water when watering. A tablespoon is usually plenty for a month or two.
  21. Scour Pans. Scrubbing pans with a quarter tablespoon of salt and warm water should get them clean and gleaming.
  22. Regenerate Your Car Battery. The mother of all Epsom salt uses! Make a paste by dissolving about an ounce of salt into warm water, and then spread onto each battery post.
  23. Clean Your Washing Machine. Fill your washing machine with hot water, add the salt and run an agitate-soak-agitate cycle.
  24. Get Rid of Toenail Fungus. Soak feet three times a day in warm water with a handful of Epsom salts dissolved into it.
  25. Remove Hairspray. Combine one gallon of water, one cup of lemon juice and one cup of Epsom salt. Cover the mixture and let set for 24 hours. Apply to dry hair and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing for squeaky clean strands.
  26. Make a Mask. If you’ve got oily skin, mix one tablespoon of cognac, one egg, a quarter cup of non-fat dry milk, the juice of one lemon and a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt. Apply to damp skin and leave on for 20 minutes.
  27. Soften Fabrics. Mix four cups of Epsom salt with 20 drops of essential oil for homemade fabric softener crystals. Use a quarter cup per wash and add at beginning of each load.
  28. Remove Blackheads. Mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt, three drops iodine and half a cup of boiling water. Dab the solution onto blackheads, allow to dry and rinse with warm water.
  29. Remove Tree Stumps. Drill holes into the tree stump, fill each hole with Epsom salt and then add water to each hole. In a few weeks, the stump should begin to decay.

Health uses of Epsom salt

Doctors cite many health benefits from either soaking your feet or taking a bath in Epsom salt, including: soothing muscle pain and aches, providing itch relief from sunburn and poison ivy, removing splinters, decreasing swelling and boosting your body’s levels of magnesium and sulfate. Here are some natural recipes for different at-home remedies and uses of Epsom salt:

What to do for sore muscles, aches, pains, bruises and splinter removal – In each case, experts say taking an Epsom salt is a natural, at-home remedy. Here’s what you do:

  • Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub (double the Epsom salt for an oversized garden tub). Soak for at least 12 minutes. The Epsom salt will dissolve quicker if you put it under the running water. Note: For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.
  • MAKE COMPRESS – Soak a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (2 tablespoons per cup)
  • CREATE A PASTE TO APPLY TO THE SKIN – Adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to about a cup of hot water until it dissolves. Chill the solution in the fridge for 20 minutes. Note: Clean the skin and pat dry before applying the paste.
  • SOAKING ACHING FEET IN AN EPSOM SALT FOOT BATH – Create an Epsom Salt bath by pouring 1 cup into a tub of warm water.

Epsom Salt Detox

Magnesium absorption is the biggest benefit of an Epsom salt bath. There need to be more studies to confirm that your body can absorb magnesium across the skin. One 2004 study looked at 19 participants and found increased levels of magnesium and sulfate in the blood after the baths.

Benefits Method How it works
softer skin 20-minute bath soak may soften skin, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the skin barrier to keep skin hydrated
muscle soreness and pain 12-minute bath soak reduce inflammation, muscle aches, and tension; there’s moderate evidence that magnesium can reduce muscle cramps
relaxation and anti-stress 1-hour bath soak can help relieve stress (magnesium deficiency may induce anxiety, depression, and stress)
laxative 20-minute soak or oral ingestion: 10 to 30 grams for adults; 5 to 10 grams for children 6 years old and above leads to bowel movement 30 minutes to 6 hours after dose
ingrown toenails 12-minute foot soak reduces inflammation and pain
splinters Epsom salt paste can help draw out tiny splinters
magnesium balance 12 to 20-minute soak might restore magnesium (this may benefit people who are at risk for low levels, including those with fibromyalgia)


Safety and Side Effects of Epsom Salt

While Epsom salt is generally safe, there are a few negative effects that can occur if you use it incorrectly. This is mostly a concern if you take it by mouth. First of all, the magnesium sulfate in it can have a laxative effect. Consuming it may result in diarrhea, bloating or upset stomach. If you use it as a laxative, make sure to drink plenty of water, which may reduce digestive discomfort. Furthermore, never take more than the recommended dosage without consulting your doctor first. Some cases of magnesium overdose have been reported in which people took too much Epsom salt. Symptoms of this include nausea, headache, lightheadedness and flushed skin. In extreme cases, magnesium overdose can lead to heart problems, coma, paralysis and death. This is unlikely as long as you take it in appropriate amounts as recommended by your doctor or listed on the package.

Why do we need magnesium?  (

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and impacts blood pressure, metabolism, immune function and many other aspects of health. Some experts claim that magnesium deficiency is the single largest health problem in our world today. There are many reasons that deficiency is so widespread in modern times (even though it wasn’t in the past). Depleted soil conditions mean that plants (and meat from animals that feed on these plants) are lower in magnesium. Use of chemicals like fluoride and chlorine in the water supply make magnesium less available in water since these chemicals can bind to magnesium. Common substances that many of us consume daily, like caffeine and sugar, also deplete the body’s magnesium levels. So does stress. In other words, the lucky (but small) percentage of the population that lives near the ocean (a good source of magnesium) and eats foods grown in magnesium rich soil, drinks magnesium rich water, and doesn’t suffer from stress or consume sugar or caffeine might be ok… but the rest of us might need some additional magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency Leads To:

  1. Calcification of the Arteries – Though this is not (hopefully) the first symptom of magnesium deficiency, it can be one of the most dangerous. Calcification of arteries from low magnesium levels can lead to coronary problems like heart attack and heart disease. In fact, half of all heart attack patients receive injections of magnesium chloride to help stop the blood clotting and calcification.
  2. Muscle Spasms and Cramps – Just as calcification causes stiffening of the arteries, it can cause stiffening of muscle tissue as well, leading to cramps and spasms. I had horrible leg cramps during one of my pregnancies. Potassium didn’t help at all, but magnesium fixed the problem almost instantly (which makes sense in light of the sodium:potassium pump).
  3. Anxiety & Depression – There is a lot of research showing that magnesium deficiency can have a tremendous impact on mental health. Psychology Today explains one possible reason: Magnesium hangs out in the synapse between two neurons along with calcium and glutamate. If you recall, calcium and glutamate are excitatory, and in excess, toxic (link is external). They activate the NMDA receptor. Magnesium can sit on the NMDA receptor without activating it, like a guard at the gate. Therefore, if we are deficient in magnesium, there’s no guard. Calcium and glutamate can activate the receptor like there is no tomorrow. In the long term, this damages the neurons, eventually leading to cell death. In the brain, that is not an easy situation to reverse or remedy.
  4. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension – This is perhaps one of the most well-studied areas of magnesium deficiency. A Harvard study of over 70,000 people found that those with the highest magnesium intake had the healthiest blood pressure numbers. A follow up meta-analysis of available studies showed a dose-dependent reduction of blood pressure with magnesium supplementation. A University of Minnesota study showed that the risk for hypertension was 70% lower in women with adequate/high magnesium levels.
  5. Hormone Problems – I personally saw the effects of low magnesium in my hormone levels. The higher the estrogen or progesterone levels in a woman’s body, the lower the magnesium (pregnancy anyone?) This is also part of the reason why pregnant women experience more leg cramps and women notice more of these muscular type complaints and PMS in the second half of their cycles when progesterone/estrogen are higher and magnesium is depleted. Chocolate is a decent source of magnesium, and there is speculation that cravings for chocolate may be a sign of magnesium deficiency. Muscle cramps related to the menstrual cycle can also be related to magnesium levels. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of the Magnesium Miracle, often recommends that women with bad PMS and cramps take magnesium early in their cycles before the symptoms begin.
  6. Pregnancy Complaints – Related to the hormone problems above, magnesium levels can drastically affect pregnancy health and mood. I noticed this when my morning sickness was tremendously less in my pregnancy when I supplemented with transdermal magnesium. Magnesium is also often used to help with pregnancy related hypertension and muscle cramps, to help ward off preterm labor and to alleviate headaches.
  7. Sleep Problems – With all of the above symptoms of deficiency, it makes sense that magnesium would have a drastic impact on sleep, but the impact is often immediately noticeable when a person starts taking magnesium. Dr. Mark Hyman calls it the ultimate relaxation mineral. Magnesium helps relax the body and the mind, which both contribute to restful sleep. Additionally, magnesium is needed for proper function of the GABA receptors in the brain, and GABA is the neurotransmitter that allows the brain to transition to a restful state.
  8. Low Energy – Magnesium is required in the reactions that create ATP energy in the cells. Let’s flash back to freshman biology for a minute. ATP or adenosine triphosphate, is the main source of energy in the cells and it must bind to a magnesium ion in order to be active. In other words, without magnesium, you literally won’t have energy on a cellular level. This shows up as fatigue, low-energy, lack of drive and other problems.
  9. Bone Health – Calcium is always considered the most important mineral for bone health, but it turns out that magnesium is just as important (or even more so!) In cases of magnesium deficiency, the bones suffer in multiple ways:
  • Vitamin D Absorption: Magnesium is needed for Vitamin D to turn on calcium absorption- this is why it is also important to get enough magnesium when taking Vitamin D (or magnesium levels can become even more depleted)
  • Proper Calcium Use: Magnesium is needed to stimulate the hormone calcitonin which draws calcium out of the muscles and soft tissues and into the bones. This helps explain why magnesium helps lower the risk of heart attack, osteoporosis, arthritis and kidney stones.
  1. Other Mineral Deficiencies – Many vitamins and minerals work synergistically, and magnesium is a work horse on this list. It is needed for proper utilization of calcium, potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin D and many other nutrients. By using magnesium externally, or transdermally (meaning “across the skin”) the body can absorb what is needed without absorbing to much. It is similar to soaking in an Epsom salt bath or in the ocean.

Homemade Healing Bath Salts


  • 3 cups Epsom salts
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • Water to fill bath (as hot as you can stand without burning yourself)
  • 40 drops lavender essential oil (or use 20 drops lavender essential oil and 20 drops juniper berry essential oil)
  • Large glass jar


  • Combine dry ingredients and store in a closed container
  • At bath time, add 1 cup of dry ingredients and the essential oil to the water
  • Soak for 20–40 minutes (the longer the better)