Category Archives: Natural Recipes & Remedies

Culling garden insects aka plant munchers

Stanley Lawn & Garden Sprayer

A few days ago, Curls of Curls & Q, wrote about landscaping their back yard.  Check it out if you have the time the before and after pictures are amazing.

Anyway, Curl’s post made me realize that I hadn’t made any of my natural  insect repelling sprays! I’ve been so caught up with my honeybees that I haven’t thought about spraying my garden.

With the garden showing signs of our labor, it’s high time I get out there and protect all of our efforts, right?

Since I needed to update my garden sprayer, I logged onto Amazon and purchased the metal Stanley Lawn & Garden Sprayer. Which makes a nice upgrade from the plastic sprayer that I was using. If parts wear out I won’t have to purchase a brand-new sprayer, I just need to replace the part.

Neem oil, is my favorite oil that I used to keep the insects at bay. I spray plants once every four days, using a total of six applications. Insects that ingest the plants sprayed with neem become sterile and prevents egg production. I even spray this brew around mosquito friendly areas.

What’s even better the beneficial insects, like butterflies, honeybees and spiders aren’t usually affected. It’s recommended to spray your garden with neem oil in the early morning or evening, so you don’t douse the beneficial insects.

Later this week, I’ll post more about the awesomeness of neem oil and I’ll make sure I include a simple recipe.

Update:

Neem recipe to eliminate garden pests has been posted.

Resources:

  1. Mosquito Control by neem
  2. Use of neem oil as a mosquito repellent in tribal villages of Mandla district/ Madhya Pradesh

Too hot for gardening….

Red savina habanero pepper

Today, the majority of the gardening work has been put on hold, because of the heat. It’s 100 F today. I’m used to the heat, after all I sit in a dry sauna that’s stays at least 180 F, I stay in there for about an hour. I make sure I stay hydrated.

Even so, I decided to do work inside today.

Early tomorrow morning, I’ll be outside and applying the homemade organic insect repellent to another part of the gardening. Hot peppers are back in the mix, but this time I’ve added habanero peppers. Red savina habanero peppers are some of the hottest peppers that you can find,  I believe it’s only nudged out from top ranking by the naga viper chili which was cross bred with three of the hottest peppers.

I use habanero peppers in a variety of dishes including homemade smoothies, and freshly made fruit and vegetable juices, and yes the type I mainly use is red savina. Whenever I work with hot peppers, I make sure I wash my hands after using them, since touching my skin after being in contact with the peppers can cause an unpleasant burning sensation. When I’m working with a lot of habanero’s, for example… when I’m making one of my homemade hot sauces, I always wear a mask to cover my nose, since I don’t want to breathe the fumes. 🙂

I’ve been eating hot peppers raw since I was five years old. My dad would eat them, and since I did a lot of things my father did, I started eating them too.

Currently I have my latest natural insect repellent simmering on the stove, and tomorrow morning, I’ll be adding the mixture into a spray bottle, and making some insects extremely unhappy… since the brew will prevent them from munching on the plants.

And while habanero peppers are hot, and not loved by insects, they have some excellent health benefits too; Such as being high in vitamin C (350% more than an orange). It’s also a great source of vitamin A. They’re also a great source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. Habanero peppers can help clear mucous, and it also contains B9 (folic acid). Several years ago, I’d read some studies that said they’re helpful in preventing heart attacks.  So this tiny little pepper is loaded with health benefits. If you can take the heat…

Three Reasons to use Aloe Vera; Health benefits

Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe vera can be traced back to over 6000 years. Egyptians depicted the aloe plant on carvings. Aloe vera is a natural remedy, and its used to treat a variety of conditions. Because of aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is effective in treating conditions such as sun burns. Aloe vera gel can be extracted directly from the plant or it can be purchased at many health food stores, drugstores, and online stores.

 

Aloe Vera Soothes Sunburns

 

  1. Sunburns usually effects large areas of the skin. Redness, itching, swelling, scaling, and pain are all symptoms of a sunburn and can leave an individual feeling miserable. Reduce the pain from a sunburn by applying aloe vera juice to sunburned skin. Aloe vera gel or juice is an ingredient that can be found in many sunburn products. Apply aloe vera juice to the affected skin several times daily.
  2. Aloe Vera Promotes Dental Health

  3. Teeth require daily cleaning. We brush them several times daily to remove the plaque, food, and bacteria that can be trapped inside the mouth. Finding a suitable toothpaste is essential in maintaining healthy teeth. Toothpastes with aloe vera juice is as effective as other toothpastes. According to a study published in PubMed, it protects against Candida albicans, Enterococcus faecalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Peptostreptococcus anaerobius, Prevotella intermedia, and Streptococcus mutans.
  4. Aloe Vera Can Help Eliminate Constipation

  5. Fast paced lifestyles, stress, medication, and poor eating habits are a few causes of constipation. Aloe vera is recognized for its stool softening properties. Aloe also contains a powerful compound called aloin. Aloin is a powerful compound containing strong laxative properties that helps treat constipation. Taking 150 mg of dried aloe vera juice is effective as laxatives, according to the Mayo Clinic.

References:

This post was written in advance, since I’m away for the Thanksgiving holidays. I won’t be checking my personal mail. My holidays are spent taking a break from everything technology related. I’ll be back soon, and will respond to comments, and visit your virtual homes.

Blessings, Opal

Natural glass cleaner; earth friendly recipes

Leaf

Those looking to ditch chemical based window cleaners might want to consider an environmentally friendly glass cleaner.

The current economy has caused many people to scale back the amount that they spend on items. Within that group, I imagine there’s some that will be looking for affordable natural recipes to replace normal items they purchase from stores. The items used in this all natural glass cleaner, are cheap and does a great job getting your windows cleaned.

What’s great about this homemade glass cleaner? Since the items used are common, you might already have them at home. The essential oil is optional, but since I use it in my natural skin care products I always have plenty available.

I use this glass cleaner at home. I like it since it does leaves our windows streak free.  The added benefit is that it does it naturally without any harmful ingredients.

Natural Glass Cleaner

  1. Spray Bottle
  2. 1 quart of warm water
  3. 1/4 cup white vinegar
  4. 10 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients into the spray bottle.
  2. Shake well before using.

Photo Source: Luigi Diamani

 

Cholesterol: Natural ways to lower LDL cholesterol

Pasta

Over 106 million American, above the age of twenty, have high cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Finding time to include healthy food choices into a daily routine can be challenging for some.

Lack of time can cause people to make unhealthy food choices.  It can be difficult to change old habits, however, the rewards received by cleaning up an unhealthy diet makes it worthwhile.

Healthy foods do not have to be boring, explore new cuisines, and adopt healthy alternatives to reduce the cholesterol in meals. Give high fat recipes a healthy make-over, replace high calorie, high-cholesterol ingredients with healthy substitutes.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily. It is necessary to eat several servings of fruit and vegetables daily since it is impossible to obtain all the nutrients needed from one fruit or vegetable.

The recommended daily servings are 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruit daily, according to the USDA. Get creative, make delicious salads, add vegetables to a spicy stir fry, include them in hearty soups. Prepare a delicious fruit salad, or create a stimulating smoothie. Making healthy food choices is useful in melting fat and lowering cholesterol.

Beans

There are many ways to cook beans. They are an excellent source of soluble fiber, soluble fiber assists in lowering LDL cholesterol. Therefore, they make a needed staple for people looking to reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat consumed through diet.

Beans are flavorful and come in many different varieties. Because of their texture they can be used as a meat substitute. Replace meat recipes with beans, added to soups, salads, stir fries, or turned into a delicious bean burger, letting beans play the starring role can assist in lowering the amount of fat and cholesterol consumed.

Fiber

Increasing the amount of dietary fiber consumed daily normalizes bowel movements and helps maintain colon health. Adding fiber to the diet can also help lower cholesterol levels.  This occurs when dietary fiber binds with fatty acids, bile, and blood cholesterol. This procedure creates a significant amount of waste. Fiber promotes easier bowel movements by making the stool bulkier; this process helps move cholesterol out of the body. Fiber rich foods are; Apples, black beans, bran, barley, oatmeal, split peas, and spaghetti.

Fish

Most fish are low in fat which makes them an perfect option for a low fat diet. Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and trout are high in fat content, but they are also an excellent source of two forms of Omega 3 fatty acids; EPA and DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids can help boost your HDL (the good cholesterol.), which may prevent heart disease. Omega 3’s is especially useful since they reduce triglycerides. Frying fish cancels its healthful benefits. Bake, broil, or poach fish.

Reduce High Cholesterol Foods

Eggs, dairy, fat meats, organ meats, are all high in cholesterol. Decreasing fattening foods in the diet helps successfully cut the harmful cholesterol.  Trim the fat off of meat before preparing it. A tasty alternative to dairy milk is soy milk or rice milk. These nondairy milks come in a variety of flavors.

Check out the recommended books and references for more information on natural ways to lower your LDL cholesterol.

Recommended Books

  1. Eating for Lower Cholesterol by Catherine Jones
  2. Vegan Planet by Robin Roberson

References

  1. American Heart Association: Cholesterol Statistics
  2. United States Department of Agriculture: My Pyramid
  3. University of Maryland Medical System: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

 

What causes acne?

Pimple popper

The main cause of acne is the overproduction of an oily substance called sebum.

Sebum serves a vital role it keeps the skin and hair lubricated and supple. The problem arises when sebum pairs up with naturally occurring dead skin cells. They block hair follicles from escaping.

The sebaceous glands begin to swell, causing an increase in sebum production. This gets the ball rolling and causes a bacterial overgrowth. Since the sebum cannot escape, this is an ideal place for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria multiples and soon your skin becomes inflamed, producing a pimple.

Common Causes of Acne

  1. Diet (although it might not directly cause acne — it can make it worse)
  2. Skin irritations
  3. Certain medications
  4. Hormonal activities
  5. Menstrual cycles
  6. Constipation

Do not squeeze pimples

Squeezing acne can  make the situation worse. Why? Squeezing acne can press the bacteria deeper into the skin. Squeezing acne can also injure the skin around the pimple, Additionally it can lead to scarring, and in extreme cases, this can be permanent.

Do not touch the face

Many people touch their face out of habit, so it is essential to remember to leave it alone. Why is this a problem? The hands contain oils and bacteria which can make the acne worse. It is not only your hands. Think about anything that touches your face like your hair, glasses and phones. They all must be kept clean to help break this cycle of infection.

References:

Natural remedies that soothe mosquito bites

Mosquito bites

Despite the preventative methods available to keep mosquito’s away, at times these pests still manage to feast on  untreated skin. The resulting irritation can be extremely uncomfortable for some people.

Do all mosquitos bite?

Females are the only mosquitos that bite. Human blood contains isoleucine, which she needs to make her eggs. Blood is required for its survival. As the mosquito bites, she injects a small amount of her saliva into the victims blood. Her saliva works as an anesthetic that stops the blood from clotting, and it numbs the victims skin. The human body react defensively to the protein mixed with her saliva, which manifests itself by the telltale itching and the bumps.

Do not scratch the itch

Never scratch a mosquito bite since doing this can make the irritation worse. In some cases, it can lead to infection, skin discoloration, or scar formation. The next time an annoying mosquito  launches a successful attack fight the itch with a natural anti-itch remedy that soothes the mosquito bite. These natural remedies are gentle, kid friendly, good for the environment, and most people will have some of the items in their home.

Natural remedies for mosquito bites – Apply directly to area

  • Leaf from aloe vera plant
  • Lime
  • Vinegar
  • Banana peel
  • Ice to the bite
  • Clean with soap
  • Apply two drops of lavender essential oil

References

  1. Department of Environmental Science and Technology: Taking a Bite Out of Mosquito Research