Category Archives: skin care

The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 1

Dry skin is a common challenge, yet very few people know how to identify the cause of their dry skin or how to alleviate the symptoms. This article is the first in a series of three articles about effectively alleviating dry skin. This article shares information about little-known causes of dry skin and how to identify them. The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 2 shares information on different ingredients that are great for alleviating dry skin. Lady with dry skin 

The medical term for dry skin is “xeroderma,” but knowing the medical term does little to alleviate the symptoms. The bottom line is that dry skin needs to be addressed from the inside out. Most people use topical treatments to alleviate dry skin. Doing so creates very temporary relief. For prolonged relief, one must identify what is causing the dry skin and address that while using topical products to reduce symptoms.

Dry skin is typically the result of a lack of oil or water in the upper layers of the skin. Potential causes of the lack of oil and or water are listed below. 

Most Common Causes of Dry Skin

  • Hormonal imbalances:  Hormonal imbalances are a very common cause of dry skin which are sadly often overlooked. Imbalances in thyroid hormones and/or reproductive hormones can create dry skin which itches so severely it strongly impacts quality of life. To ensure all hormone levels are normal, ask your physician to order a complete thyroid panel and a saliva hormone test. For more information, read How to Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate. You can order your own saliva hormone test here: Saliva Hormone Tests. Most people find their dry skin challenges disappear once their hormone levels are brought back into balance.
    .
  • Physiological illnesses or conditions:  There are several health conditions that may cause dry, itchy skin. The following are known to cause dry skin: anemia, asthma, diabetes, thyroid imbalances, food and environmental allergies, high blood pressure, hepatitis (all forms), kidney disease, liver disease, ichthyosis vulgaris (“fish scale disease”), and others. If you suspect your dry skin is caused by an unidentified disease or illness, work with your physician to have the correct testing done.
    .
  • Dehydration:  This seems like a no-brainer, but even mild dehydration can cause the skin to dry out. To ensure you are drinking enough water, make it your goal to drink half your body weight in ounces of purified water every day. This means a woman who weighs 150 pounds should aim to drink 75 ounces of purified water daily. The skin’s texture, health and vibrancy often improve dramatically simply by drinking more water. If skin dehydration is being caused by your heating system, using a humidifier may help.
    .
  • Lack of healthy dietary fat or a fatty acid imbalance:  The myth that dietary fats are dangerous was especially damaging to skin health. Your body requires healthy forms of fat to maintain healthy skin, balance hormones, maintain healthy blood vessels, and more. Eating a fat-free or low-fat diet almost guarantees dry skin. Incorporating healthy fats such as those found in nuts and seeds, coconut oil, organic meats, dairy and eggs, avocados, etc. is one easy way to moisturize from the inside out. During the winter, I find that eating 1-2 tablespoons of organic coconut oil on a daily basis is a simple way to prevent or alleviate dry skin.
    .
    Eating large amounts of oils which are high in omega 6 fatty acids may also have a drying effect on the skin, as those oils are known to be very inflammatory. Avoid oils such as soy, peanut canola and corn, as those oils are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids. Using organic oils such as olive and coconut are much better options. Increase your omega 3 consumption by eating organic chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, etc.
    .
  • Failing to protect skin from harsh weather, cleaning products, etc.:  If you are going to be in extreme weather conditions, please take time to protect your face and hands. Moisturizing prior to the exposure and covering your face and hands with a warm scarf or gloves can help. If you are frequently exposed to harsh cleaning products or chemicals, please protect your skin with gloves and other protective gear. If it is not practical to use gloves, coat your hands in a heavy coating of lanolin or cocoa butter prior to doing the work.
    .
  • Using products containing Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate:  We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking a product cannot clean without lots of bubbly lather. That is simply not true. In order to create fake lather, many manufacturers add chemical foaming agents (sodium laureth sulfate and/or sodium lauryl sulfate) to their products. Both products are known skin irritants which are also known to cause dry skin. For more information on these products, read Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products.
    .
  • Using products containing alcohols or other harsh ingredients:  If you do not recognize an ingredient in a body care product, chances are you’d be better off without it. Believe it or not, many lotions contain various forms of alcohol. The alcohols are added to make the product dry quickly or feel very light on the skin. The problem is that the alcohols in the moisturizers actually dry out the skin. If you don’t make your own body care products, only use moisturizers that do not contain alcohol and which contain truly natural ingredients.
    .
  • Taking medications that dry the skin: There are a number of prescriptions which have dry skin as a known side effect. Those medications include statin medications for high cholesterol, several medications for high blood pressure, and multiple medications for acne. If you suspect your dry skin is caused or exacerbated by one of your medications, discuss the issue with your physician and ask about alternatives. (Never stop taking any prescribed medication without discussing it with your physician.)
    .
  • Excess bathing:  You do not need to take a shower or bath every single day. I promise. Frequent bathing, especially in very hot water, will dry the skin very quickly. Bathing in unfiltered water can also cause dry skin due to the drying effects of chlorine. Most people do just fine bathing 2-3 times per week. If you can’t bring yourself to bathe less frequently, bathing in slightly cooler water and using a dechlorinating shower filter or bath ball will help protect you from the drying effects of chlorine. (Click the links to see the products I use.)
    .
  • Aging:  Sadly, one of the side effects of aging is that the skin produces less sebum, its natural moisturizer. The strategies discussed previously can help maintain more moisture in your skin, as can eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, exercise, etc.

Next up:  The Definitive Guide to Ending Dry Skin: Part 2

 Photo courtesy of Ruby Blossom

Common Uses for Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver has been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with Colloidal Silver, please read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more information about the myths surrounding Colloidal Silver. This article shares the most common uses for Colloidal Silver. There are many other uses, but the most common ones are described here with information on the safest way to use colloidal silver for each application.

Please note all information shared in this article is shared for educational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Please discuss any changes in your lifestyle or health regimen with your physician. Never take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.

The most common uses for colloidal silver include:

Water Purification

if you have any doubts about the purity of water, colloidal silver can be used to purify it and remove bacteria. Use at a ration of one tablespoon colloidal silver to one gallon of water. If you are trying to purify water from an outdoor source, filter the water first. Proof of its effectiveness is that NASA used a silver purification system on the space shuttles and many airlines use silver filtration combined with hydrogen peroxide to purify the water on their planes.

Oral Care

Soak your tooth brushes between uses to ensure they are free from bacteria, viruses and fungus. I have a dental partial which I also soak in colloidal silver a few times a week. As an added benefit, add a bit of colloidal silver to your oral irrigator to help control oral bacterial. I make my own toothpaste and mouthwash and always add colloidal silver.

Nasal Irrigation and Sprays

Colloidal silver can be used in a neti pot as a nasal wash. Many people have reported success in reversing colds and sinus infections using colloidal silver, but please do not substitute colloidal silver for an antibiotic if your doctor has identified a severe sinus infection. Colloidal silver can also be used as a nasal spray to help diminish symptoms of allergies.

Household Cleaning

Colloidal silver is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. For that reason, it makes an effective household cleaner. Keep a spray bottle filled with it and use as a topical disinfectant on counter tops, as an anti-fungal spray in the bathroom, or as a means of preventing bacterial growth on kitchen sponges and dishrags. It is also a very effective cleaner for trash cans and diaper pails. If you make your own household cleaners, adding a few ounces of colloidal silver can boost their effectiveness.

Conjunctivitis

In my household, we have always used colloidal silver at the first sign of an eye infection or conjunctivitis. I place 3-5 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in the affected eye every two hours until the issue clears. However, I watch the condition of the eye closely and immediately seek medical attention if the condition does not improve within two to three hours. Please do not substitute colloidal silver for a physician’s care. Any issue affecting the eyes should be immediately addressed by a medical professional.

Skin Care

Colloidal silver is popularly used for mild abrasions, burns, fungal infections and even acne and eczema. One advantage of colloidal silver is that it does not harm skin cells as many topical antiseptics do. (Please never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound or sore. It kills new cell growth and may slow healing.) Many people find that spraying colloidal silver onto minor burns and abrasions speeds healing and helps prevent infection. (The key word there is “minor.” Serious wounds and burns require medical attention.) 

Internally

I purposely left this topic for last. Most of the controversy surrounding colloidal silver revolves around its use internally. Every person has his or her own opinion about whether or not colloidal silver is “safe” to use internally. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people use it internally on a daily basis. These people experience health benefits with no negative consequences from the colloidal silver. If you’re comfortable using colloidal silver internally, then do so in a controlled manner and do plenty of research. If you are not comfortable using it, never let anyone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Each person must decide what is right for him or her. I believe colloidal silver can be very effective and used without danger if:

  • A true colloidal silver is used. Be sure your colloidal silver is a colloid and not a protein synthesis. Most of the products sold over the counter are ionic, not colloidal. Ionic silver solutions are clear; colloidal silver solutions are brown or rust colored, not clear. Ionic solutions are safe to use, but are not as strong as a true colloid.  Beware of any product that foams when shaken and has bubbles that remain for several minutes, as that product is most likely a protein synthesis which may be dangerous.
    .
  • A realistic, safe dosage is used. Dr. Mercola recommends the following formula to determine the appropriate amount of colloidal silver to take on a daily basis:
    .
    12 times body weight divided by the colloidal silver strength (ppm) = drops that can be safely ingested on a daily basis
    .
    If someone weighs 150 pounds and is using a colloidal silver at a strength of 10 ppm, the equation becomes:
    .
    150 lbs x 12 = 1800 / 10 ppm = 180 drops per day. (One tablespoon is approximately 180 drops.)Having shared that,
    .
    I can also share that many people take much higher doses during an illness. Please contact a trained professional for guidance on what dosage is correct for your personal needs.
    .
  • Colloidal silver should never be used by anyone who has an allergy to silver jewelry.
  • Use caution when reading about people who claim colloidal silver miraculously cured them of incurable diseases. I’m not saying their claims are not true, but each person’s situation is very different. Use caution and do extensive research.

I use colloidal silver on a daily basis. Since starting to use it daily, I have experienced fewer bladder infections, lower yeast levels, improved digestion and slightly lower blood glucose levels. My experience was very positive, but each person must monitor his or her health and make changes as needed.

We make our own colloidal silver using this generator: LifeForce Compact X-2 Colloidal Silver Generator. Please note it is imperative to use distilled water and extremely pure silver if making your own colloidal silver. We also use a TDS Meter to measure the potency of our colloidal silver so we know exactly what we’re using.

If you don’t want to make your own colloidal silver, I highly recommend Sovereign Silver colloidal silver. It is sold in most health food stores and is highly reliable.

What do you think? Do you use colloidal silver? If so, what do you use it for and how do you use it?

Little-Known Facts About Soap

Beautiful Bars of Handmade SoapSoap is a common ingredient in every household. How many times each day do you use it? Most of us use it five to ten times each day, yet few of us pause to think much about it. The following facts may give you a new appreciation of and perspective on soap. It’s not just a bunch of bubbles!

For information on why soap is better than hand sanitizer, please read: Why You Should Never Use Hand Sanitizer.

Next Soap Making Class: November 16, Indianapolis

Did you know the following facts? Which ones do you find surprising?

These Facts May Surprise You

  • Soap was first used as a medicinal agent.
    . 
  • The Egyptians regularly bathed, using a soap made by combining animal fats with wood ash.
    . 
  • Real soap is created by combining a strong alkali (lye) with oils and fats.
    .
  • Real soap made with natural ingredients often has a healing effect on acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.
    . 
  • The soapmaking process, called “saponification,” separates the oils’ fatty acid bonds and combines them with molecules in the lye to form a salt. This salt is what we refer to as “soap.” (Yes, some salts are soft.)
    . 
  • Most commercial soaps are not true soap, but are a combination of chemical detergents, artificial lathering agents and toxic chemicals.
    . 
  • After a perfectly balanced saponification process finishes, the soap no longer contains lye or fat. Both are “consumed” during the saponification process.
    . 
  • The best soapmakers add extra oils to their recipes. Doing so means some of the oils do not saponify and remain in the soap. This is called “superfatting” and creates a very moisturizing, nourishing bar of soap.
    Natural Handmade Soap. 
  • Glycerin, a natural moisturizer, is a natural product created during the soapmaking process. Commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerin, replacing it with artificial detergents and other chemicals. This creates a soap that is very drying to the skin. Real, homemade soap retains the glycerin.
    . 
  • A single bar of commercial bar soap may contain over 20 toxic ingredients, many of which have been connected to cancer, endocrine issues, skin problems and more.
                     .. 
  • The lather, hardness and moisturizing qualities of a soap are dependent on the various oils used in the recipe.
    . 
  • A simple, moisturizing soap can be made using nothing more than olive oil, lard and lye. This soap can be made using common kitchen equipment. Nothing special is needed!

Learn to make your own soap … it’s easy!

It is surprisingly simple to make your own soap. No special ingredients or equipment is needed. If the facts shared above make you want to learn how to make your own soap, stay tuned for my ebook and for upcoming classes on soapmaking.

The Smart Way to Deal with Zits

Zits and acne used to be a malady of the teenage years. Unfortunately, more and more adults — male and female — now find themselves dealing with pimples on a daily basis. The truth is that the average age of patients who see dermatologists for acne ranges from 20-26 years, and the anti-zit business brings in over one billion dollars per year. Acne rates are much higher now than they were 20 years ago. There are specific reasons for the increase and there are very simple solutions. 

The first step in addressing zits is to figure out the cause. Zits don’t “just happen.” There is always a reason. The most common causes of acne include:

  • Hormonal imbalances: Most zits in the teenage years are caused by an excess of either testosterone or estrogen. The belief used to be that acne was only caused by excess testosterone, but more recent studies proved an excess of either hormone can cause acne. The fact our food system is now overloaded with foods containing growth hormones and other synthetic hormones has a lot to do with this, as does the excessive use of highly-estrogenic soy that is included in almost all processed foods. I’m often amazed that people who eliminate soy from their diet often report that their skin becomes clear as a result.
    .
    Women often get zits on their chin as a normal part of PMS. These zits are definitely caused by hormonal changes. Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome often frequently experience acne as a result of the hormone imbalances it creates. If you have consistent acne, it is wise to get a saliva hormone test to check the levels of your reproductive hormones and identify any imbalances. Frequent zits often disappear once hormonal imbalances are corrected.
  • Food allergies and sensitivities: I know personally that eating a food that I’m allergic to will cause a fairly large zit (or zits) to form within three days. The skin is a huge detoxification organ, so when we expose ourselves to foods our body considers toxic, the body may use the skin to eliminate some of those toxins. I know many people with food allergies who report their only symptom is that they get zits. They have little or no digestive disturbance, but know they’ve been exposed to an allergen when they develop a zit. Even a mild sensitivity to a food will increase inflammation in the body and decrease immunity, making it more difficult for the body to naturally resist the factors that cause a pimple to form.On a related side note, there is a lot of conflicting evidence both pro and con about dairy products causing acne. The American Academy of Dermatology has now done three studies that conclusively proved there IS a link between acne and dairy. My clinical experience is that 9 out of 10 people’s acne greatly diminishes or disappears when they eliminate dairy. My own daughter had horrible acne and refused to believe this point for years. When she finally tried eliminating dairy, her skin completely, totally cleared within a week and a half. She doesn’t have a dairy allergy that we’re aware of, but her skin made it very clear that dairy is not a good option for her. Why does dairy contribute to acne? Mainly because it is so hard to digest. Let’s face it, we’re not cows, so our bodies have a very difficult time digesting and absorbing milk intended to be drunk by baby cows. The result is that the body tries to eliminate the toxins in the milk through the skin. Unfortunately, mainstream milk and dairy products are loaded with growth hormones that negatively impact our own hormone balance, causing a the skin to produce excess acne-causing sebum. Dairy is also known to be one of the most inflammatory foods in our diet. Any food that increases inflammation will only worsen acne symptoms.
  • Comedogenic facial products (even some used to combat acne): Comedogenic is used to refer to products that are irritating and which block the skin’s pores, thereby causing acne. Mineral oil is one of the worst oils possible for the skin, yet it is used frequently because it’s cheap. (Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct that is discarded during the production of fuel oils. Not a good choice to put on your skin, anyway.) Many of the most commonly used skincare ingredients are comedogenic, and many anti-acne products contain quite a few of these ingredients. Your best option is to use products from companies such as Aubrey Organics, Pangea Organics, Burt’s Bees and other chemical-free companies.
  • Prescription medications: A well-known side effect of steroids (both prescription and black market) is acne. Other prescription medications that may cause acne include anti-convulsant medications (such as Lithium), prescription iodides and bromides. (Supplemental iodine is not related to prescription iodides and is not known to cause acne.)
  • Reduced liver function: It is a well known fact that many skin problems originate in the liver. The primary function of the liver is to eliminate toxins. If its function is reduced, the body resorts to eliminating toxins through the skin. My favorite herb for improving liver function and reducing skin issues is Burdock Root. Burdock Root is known to cleanse the liver and to target the skin to assist with healing. Although Burdock Root works well, other supplements known to improve liver function often result in clearer skin. Milk Thistle is another one of my favorites.
  • Over-washing of the skin: Excess use of soaps and drying anti-acne cleansers can actually make acne worse by overdrying the skin and causing it to produce more and more sebum. (Most pimples are caused when the skin produces excess sebum. Sebum is intended to protect the skin, but it can harbor bacteria and can cause pimples when the skin produces more than is needed.)

In addition to the tips shared above, here are my top ways to eliminate and prevent zits:

  • Eat a healthy diet: (You knew that was coming.) Good skin happens from the inside out. Clear, healthy skin requires a healthy diet. Period. Eating a healthy diet loaded with vegetables and fruits, whole foods, and void of excess sugars, processed foods and refined grains boosts the immunity and has a very anti-inflammatory effect on tissues. If your immune system is working at 100%, your body will often be able to very naturally eliminate the bacteria that cause pimples and acne. Obviously, a healthy diet does not include hydrogenated oils, processed foods, or excessive carbohydrates and fats. As I stated above, many people find their acne disappears once they eliminate dairy from their diet. One of my favorite books on naturally eliminating acne is: The Acne Cure. It is worth reading if you suffer from acne!
  • Don’t squeeze: We’ve all done it … squeezed a zit because we believe it will go away faster if we do. That is, sadly, a myth. The problem with squeezing a zit is that it has the potential to push the bacteria deeper into the skin. The other problem squeezing creates is that it creates an open sore that is wide open to bacteria in the air and environment. Squeezing may also cause scarring, and nobody wants that. Your best bet is to use the topical remedies I mention below and to be very, very patient.
  • Use topical antibacterials: One of my favorite remedies to speed the healing of a pimple is Tea Tree Essential Oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most antibacterial chemicals known, but it has the added benefit of being known to stimulate the skin to heal itself. It works well. I also find that a drop of CellFood morning and evening has an amazing effect. CellFood is a powerful oxygenator that can be used internally and externally. I use it straight when I have a zit, but I recommend blending one drop of CellFood with one drop of purified water. It is a powerful antibacterial that also stimulates the skin to heal itself.
  • Use Goldenseal and probiotics internally: Goldenseal is a natural herb with powerful antibacterial properties. I use it to help pimples go away faster. (Do not use more than 10 days in a row.) For more information on how amazing Goldenseal is, please read my blog post, The Wonders of Goldenseal. Using oral probiotics will also boost the body’s own immunity and help the body heal pimples faster.

How do you deal with zits? Please share your favorite remedies!

Make Your Own Age-Defying Cream

Today I want to share the recipe for a cream that has amazing anti-aging effects and that is incredibly easy to make. When I created the formula for this cream, it soon became the hottest seller in my organic skincare business. A friend of mine was heartbroken when I closed the business, because she had come to depend on this cream to keep her skin looking young and radiant.

If you enjoy making your own skincare products, be sure to check out my post on how to make your own hand sanitizer: Hand Sanitizer Alternatives.

The base formula for Wonder Creme only uses two basic ingredients. I share suggestions of ingredients to add to bolster its effectiveness or to customize it for specific needs at the end of this post. The recipe is easily increased or decreased, so you can make a tiny amount or a huge amount based on need. It is best used within six weeks if not kept in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly when choosing how much to make. When making your own facial and body products, please use fresh ingredients and please thoroughly cleanse your work space and all containers and utensils used. Wiping everything with an alcohol wipe or with a bit of Tea Tree Essential Oil is a good way to ensure cleanliness. The recipe follows.

Wonder Creme Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. Two Parts Liquid Oil (1 cup)
  2. One Part Aloe Vera GEL (1/2 cup) – note that this is the gel and not the liquid. The product in the link is my favorite because it uses seaweed as a thickener instead of chemicals. It is organic and has a few herbs added which are wonderful for skin health. Most aloe vera gels contain a preservative to inhibit bacterial growth. This product uses a very tiny amount of a more natural alternative.

When choosing which oil to use, use the following guidelines. I’ve included links to additional information on Amazon for each oil. (On a side note, Amazon has some of the best prices I’ve found for oils.):

  • Jojoba Oil: One of my favorite oils. Jojoba oil is actually a wax that is liquid at room temperature. Jojoba is known to be anti-inflammatory and to be mildly antimicrobial. One amazing fact about Jojoba oil is that its chemical structure almost exactly matches that of the skin’s own sebum, making it a very healing oil that is readily absorbed and which penetrates many layers of the epidermis. In my experience, Jojoba oil is great for reducing wrinkles but is also a “safe” oil to use in moderation with acne due to its antibacterial properties. It is a great “go to” oil for any skin type, but it also known to be a great oil for use on the hair. (If you want to pamper yourself, use Jojoba as a hot oil hair treatment.) Jojoba oil is very easily absorbed, but is a bit heavier than other oils. I love to use it straight or as a bath oil or in creams during the winter to keep my skin moisturized.
  • Grapeseed Oil: Grapeseed is a much lighter oil than Jojoba but is still very easily absorbed. It is known to be a very soothing oil and to have mild anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in Vitamin E, Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants. Grapeseed is known to be highly moisturizing, is known to help repair the cell structure of the skin, and is known to be great for acne because it is lightly astringent. It is commonly used in products for older or damaged skin. It is a great oil to use during the summer months because it is so light.
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil: Meadowfoam Seed Oil is an amazing oil. It penetrates more layers of the epidermis than almost any other oil. This makes it a wonderful choice for carrying healing herbal extracts or essential oils into the skin. Meadowfoam Seed Oil is known to be extremely high in antioxidants and to contain an extremely high amount of fatty acids. It is known to be wonderfully healing and regenerating.
  • Shea Butter: Shea Butter is solid at room temperature, so be aware that it will need to be melted over VERY LOW heat before being blended into the cream. (Shea Butter will crystallize if heated to too high a temp, so please heat very, very gently in a double-boiler. It liquifies in contact with the skin, so it doesn’t take much heat to get it soft enough to blend.) Shea Butter is amazingly emollient and has been used in Africa for thousands of years to reduce wrinkles, heal cracked skin and as a barrier to protect the skin from damaging products. The unrefined variety has the most healing properties, but also has a slight smoky odor. The odor is easily covered by essential oils, but be aware that using Shea Butter will impart a very slight odor to the product if essential oils are not added.

Instructions:

Combine oil (melted if using a solid oil) and aloe vera gel in a glass container. Blend using a fork to whisk the ingredients together. In about five minutes, the consistency will change to a consistency resembling apple sauce or watery tapioca pudding. If adding other ingredients, add them at this stage, but only if the cream is starting to thicken. Continue whipping product. After about five more minutes, the product will suddenly transform into a gorgeous white, fluffy cream. Transfer to a clean container (glass preferred) and store for up to six weeks. (The preservative in the aloe vera gel will help inhibit bacterial growth.) Trust me that this cream will receive rave reviews if you give it in a decorative container as a holiday gift.

Optional Ingredients:

The following ingredients may be added as desired.

  • Essential Oils: Essential Oils can be added to add fragrance to the produce or to add healing benefits. Lavender essential oil is a great option. Please always thoroughly research your chosen essential oil(s) before using. Some do have contraindications. Please do not use essential oils at too high a concentration. Essential oils are best used at a dilution of 3%. This equates to 9-10 drops per tablespoon. For the recipe shown above, the recommended amount would be 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of essential oils.
  • Herbal Extracts: Herbal extracts such as Calendula (wonderfully healing), Chickweed (great for itchiness), or Comfrey (wonderful regenerative properties) may be added if desired. Please thoroughly research before using. For the recipe shown above, I recommend adding 60-90 drops.

That’s it! If you make this, please let me know your results. Have fun with it!!

My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting systemic imbalances. I have helped thousands of people eliminate their health challenges using a holistic approach. If you are ready to improve your health, please contact me to schedule a consultation. I will help you identify the cause of health challenges and will then work with you to create a plan to reverse them.

The Wonders of Goldenseal

Goldenseal Plant and Flowers

Many people have heard of the herb Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) but have little idea of the multitude of uses this versatile herb has. Goldenseal has been used throughout history as a medicinal herb, partly because of its amazing ability to stimulate the body’s own immunity. The bushy plant typically grows wild in rich soils. and has beautiful bright yellow flowers that produce a gorgeous red oil when infused. Goldenseal is now an endangered species due to excessive wild harvesting. It should therefore only be purchased from companies who grow it and who do not wildcraft it.

Please note that this information is shared for informational purposes only. None of these statements were reviewed by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please check with your MD before taking any supplement.

Goldenseal’s popularity is based on the following properties herbalists believe it has:

Antibacterial and Antiviral

Goldenseal has been shown to have powerful antibacterial properties. Because it targets the mucous membranes, it is commonly used to address issues such as upper respiratory infections, dental infections, conjunctivitis, sinusitis, allergies, urinary tract infections, and bacterial diarrhea. It has even been shown to successfully combat the bacteria H Pylori which is thought to cause some forms of bacterial ulcers. Goldenseal is often described as having a “miraculous” effect on colds or flus that have lasted longer than they should. I can attest to Goldenseal’s effectiveness as an antibiotic, having recently used it to avoid needing a prescription antibiotic for an abscessed tooth and a root canal.

Goldenseal’s antibacterial properties make it wonderful to use topically on small wounds and cuts. It is known to be especially useful in preventing or addressing skin infection. Another benefit of Goldenseal is that it is a powerful styptic and can be used to stop bleeding in minor wounds. I again can personally verify its effectiveness on wounds. I used Goldenseal in ample amounts after wrecking my motorcycle two years ago, and had incredibly rapid healing with no infection. I also used it recently when I deeply gashed my finger but didn’t have a way to get to a mainstream medical facility for stitches. I poured Goldenseal powder (which I always keep on hand) over the cut and bound it tightly. The bleeding stopped in less than a minute. (I had been applying strong pressure to the wound for over 45 minutes with no luck.) The wound healed cleanly within a week without stitches, with no infection and with very minimal scarring. I was amazed at how little scarring occurred, as I tend to scar deeply and very easily.

Goldenseal is also known to have powerful antiviral effects which make it popular used internally against colds and flus. It is also commonly used to help with cold sores and herpes lesions when made into a tea and used as a gargle or topical wash. Goldenseal has the added benefit of being known for boosting the body’s own immunity, which makes it a great help in colds and flus.

Anti-fungal

 

Goldenseal is known to be a powerful ally against Candida overgrowth and other forms of fungal infection. Whether used internally or topically, Goldenseal is reported to curtail fungal growth very quickly. The trick with using Goldenseal for Candida is to keep the Candida confused so that it cannot adapt to the antiviral properties of Goldenseal. I use Goldenseal for two weeks and then use a different antifungal supplement for two weeks on a rotation basis.

Digestive Aid

Goldenseal has a long history of use as a digestive aid and a liver supporter. It is thought to stimulate the production of bile, which may make it helpful in digesting fats and as a general digestive aid. The fact it stimulates bile production makes it a popular choice for use in addressing potential liver and gallbladder issues. Goldenseal also has a strong reputation as a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and appetite.

Anti-diabetic

Many herbalists recommend Goldenseal to people with diabetes because of its reputation of helping lower blood sugars and the belief that it has a stimulating effect on the beta cells of the pancreas. Goldenseal is a popular addition to many herbal products designed to help lower blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and support the pancreas. I find that my blood glucose levels stay much lower when I use Goldenseal on a regular basis. It is most effective when used in combination with other herbs that support normal blood sugar levels.

Astringent

Goldenseal has a very astringent effect when used topically, which makes it an excellent choice for topical use on hemorrhoids. It is also known to help alleviate inflammation in hemorrhoids and to have a soothing effect. Some people find that using it as a wash for acne is also very helpful. I find that using an infused oil of Goldenseal in my baths adds a wonderfully soothing touch and makes me feel very pampered.

Preparations
Goldenseal is commonly sold as (listed in order of my opinion of the highest potential strength to lowest):

1.  Tinctures containing an alcohol-based extract of Goldenseal root. Herb Pharm makes one of my favorites: http://amzn.to/Qsmm80

2a. Capsules containing an extract of Goldenseal root.  

2b. Capsules containing powdered, dried Goldenseal root. There are many on the market. I have come to rely on Nature’s Market as an over-the-counter brand providing reliable, high-quality herbs: http://amzn.to/QIdOLO

3.  Teas containing dried Goldenseal root. Alvita carries a wide range of herbal tea bags: http://amzn.to/UFRKQb

When determining what form of Goldenseal to use, select the form you take the most consistently . For example, if you do not like the strong taste of a Goldenseal tincture (which does have a very strong flavor) and may not take it as frequently as needed because of the taste, then using a capsule form may be best. If you find swallowing capsules to be difficult, then a liquid tincture might be best. The powdered extract, which contains only the active chemical in Goldenseal, may or may not be more potent than the straight herb, depending on how many milligrams are delivered per serving. The author’s preference is to use the root in its entirety to ensure receiving the full potential of the herb’s beneficial qualities. There is some evidence that suggests that some of the chemicals in Goldenseal are not soluble in water but are readily soluble in alcohol.

Dosage
There are many different opinions about the ideal dosage of Goldenseal. Please note that the dosages that follow are intended for adults only. Please consult a qualified practitioner before giving Goldenseal to children. The general recommendations for adults include taking 400-2000 mg of the powdered root three times per day. Recommended dosage of an alcohol based tincture is 90-210 drops per day in divided doses. Typical dosage for a powdered extract is 30-120 mg three times per day. As with any herb, discontinue use if any unusual symptoms or reactions occur after starting to take Goldenseal.
In my experience, a low dose (500 mg, three times per day) of powdered root is effective for Candida overgrowth, while higher doses (1000-2000 mg, three to five times per day) are effective for bacterial infections. I used 6000 mg/day when battling my abscessed tooth and during my root canal. It worked like a charm!
Considerations
As with any herb, there are some things that should be considered when taking Goldenseal. Although these considerations are important, please note that Goldenseal is considered a very safe herb to use. I recommend Goldenseal without hesitation when appropriate.

1. Goldenseal should never be used by pregnant women or given to children under age two unless under the direction of a qualified practitioner.

2. People using the prescription medications Warfarin (Coumadin), protease inhibitors or cardiac glycosides should not use Goldenseal due to a potential interaction with these prescription medication.

3. Goldenseal can sometimes cause an imbalance in the bacterial balance of the digestive tract. It is therefore recommended to take a probiotic (acidophilus or other probiotic) when taking it long-term. If using Goldenseal on a short-term basis, most people take it for a period of 10-14 days, then take a break of one to two weeks, then resume taking it if needed.

4. People taking prescription antibiotics should refrain from taking Goldenseal within two hours of taking the prescription medication.

5. Some people with pre-existing hypertension have noticed higher blood pressures when taking Goldenseal for a prolonged period of time. Although this side effect is rare, it is wise to check blood pressures frequently if taking Goldenseal for more than two weeks.

6. Goldenseal may lose its effect if taken for a long period of time. For that reason, I typically recommend a “two weeks on, two weeks off” regimen when Goldenseal is needed for use over an extended period of time.

7. Diabetics who use Goldenseal should check blood glucose levels more frequently.

This explains why Goldenseal is one of my most favorite herbs!!!


[i] Mahady GB, Pendland SL, Stoia A, et al. In vitro susceptibility of Helicobacter pylori to isoquinoline alkaloids from Sanguinaria canadensis and Hydrastis canadensis. Phytother Res. 2003;17(3):217-21.
[ii] Jellin J.M., Gregory P.J., Batz F. and Hitchens K. (2004): Pharmacist’s Letter/ Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA, Therapeutic Research Faculty. http://www.naturaldatabase.com/member_home.asp?ph_img=memberhome.gif&ex=0&ex=0

Some links in this post are affiliate links. Each was provided solely to provide an example of the product being discussed.