Natural Health
Better living through nature

Sweet Orange Essential Oil: A Fresh and Fruity Plant Remedy You Need to Know

Did you know that oranges are among the oldest cultivated fruits and they were mentioned in ancient Chinese literature as long ago as 2,400 BCE? It’s true! The dried peel, from both the bitter and sweet orange, and essential oil from the sweet orange, have been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments including coughs, colds, anorexia, cystic breasts, digestive spasms, stagnant digestion, respiratory congestion, and constipation. From the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), the vitamin C-rich fresh juice and essential oil have offered valuable protection against infectious diseases as well. Sounds like a good fruit to have on hand and an essential oil to include in your natural medicine cabinet, right?

sweet orange essential oil
Photo by Michaela Jebb

Sweet orange trees are extensively cultivated today in the United States (California and Florida), Brazil, Italy, Spain, the Mediterranean region, and Israel. Much of the essential oil is produced in the United States, Brazil, Israel, Sprain, and Cyprus.

The yellowish-orange essential oil, with its familiar, rich, lively, zesty aroma, is cold-expressed from the outer peel of the ripe or near-ripe fresh fruit. Be aware that sweet orange essential oil oxidizes quickly (as do all citrus oils), so use it within 1 year, or 2 years if you keep it refrigerated.

Essential Information

Sweet orange essential oil has a gently warming energy, with antibacterial, antiseptic, deodorizing, cleansing, carminative/digestive, and mild astringent/diuretic properties. This bright, cheerful oil also lifts the spirits, helping to improve your mood.  It helps open the heart, and reduce irritability, nervous tension, anxiety, restlessness, and other stress-related conditions, including PMS.

Like other citrus oils, such as lemon, lime, bergamot, and grapefruit, it instills a general feeling of well-being and builds your sense of humor. Especially calming and balancing, this oil will help you relax and unwind, no matter how chaotic your day.

Sweet orange essential oil is considered nontoxic, nonirritating, and generally non-sensitizing, with only a low risk of photosensitivity, and can even be used with young children. Always keep in mind that when using any essential oil, adherence to safety guidelines and dilution protocol is vital. In my new book, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide (Storey Publishing, 2018), I discuss safety tips, special precautions to take with children and infants, and dilution guidelines for various methods of application. Less is more with essential oils as they are highly concentrated plant remedies. Please educate yourself prior to using any essential oil, whether for self-care or when using on friends, family, or clients.

Below are some of my favorite ways to use sweet orange essential oil:

  • As an aromatically pleasing nervous system tonic for children—great for use at bedtime when blended into a relaxing foot massage oil (6 drops to 1 ounce carrier oil) or diffused into their bedroom for 20 minutes.
  • In the morning, I diffuse it in the kitchen while eating breakfast; starts my day off on a sunny, joyous note.
  • As a topical digestive aid to help relieve constipation, cramping, and gas, I like combine 2 drops of orange essential oil with 2 drops of peppermint oil in 1 teaspoon carrier oil and massage my own belly in a counter-clockwise direction, beginning at the navel and spiraling outward, ending at the top of the left thigh, to encourage the digestive process to move in the normal direction. If massaging someone else’s belly, use a clockwise direction.
  • Added to a moisturizing, muscle-relaxing, skin-soothing bath blend. (See recipe below.)

cream and honey bath ingredients
Photo by Mars Vilaubi

Orange-Honey-Cream Moisturizing Bath

Imagine the familiar, smooth, fruity scent of orange peel softened by sweet honey and the essence of rich cream. Ahhh . . . just the thought of slipping into a tub filled with this skin-pampering blend is enough to instill a bit of tranquility and make you feel pampered! The aroma of sweet orange and calming lavender soothes the senses, while honey and cream—natural moisturizers—nourish your skin. It’s the perfect way to end a hectic day, and it’s guaranteed to comfort and calm irritable young ones as well.  Indulge, won’t you? Safe for folks 2 years of age and older.

Essential Oils:

• 5 drops sweet orange
• 3 drops lavender


• 1/4 cup honey, preferably raw
• 1/2 cup heavy cream, preferably organic (you can substitute light cream, half-and-half, or full-fat coconut milk)

To Make the Bath: Fill the tub with warm water. Meanwhile, combine the honey, cream, and orange and lavender essential oils in a small bowl. Stir well.

To Use: Add the mixture to the tub and swish with your hands to thoroughly disperse the ingredients.  Step in and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. When you’re finished, pat your skin damp-dry and apply your favorite natural lotion or cream, if desired.

Yield: Makes enough for 1 bath

beginner's guide to essential oils by stephanie tourles book cover
Recipe excerpted from Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide (2018). Used by permission from Storey Publishing.

Getting a More Natural Energy Boost

Did you know that among coffee drinkers the average daily consumption in the United States is over 2 cups per person? Although coffee can have its health benefits, there’s a reasonable chance that any more is too much for you. However, many hardworking Americans don’t think they can survive without multiple caffeine boosts through the day. They need their energy, and coffee is a convenient way to get it.

There are other ways to obtain your pick-me-up however which don’t require excess or for you to ingest things that you don’t need to. You won’t have to drink too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages when you’re taking care of yourself and getting your energy intake more naturally. It does involve some awareness, though. Here are some ways to get energy throughout your day without resorting to caffeine or harder drugs.


Food Intake

As most people know, food gives you energy. And in a separate exchange, taking some cues from the keto diet, it’s possible to burn your own fat for energy. Some readers may be thinking “wait, won’t eating too much just take away my energy?” This is a concern if you’re eating giant meals that are full of unhealthy food. But healthy snacking throughout the day and enacting portion control will give balance your amount of energy throughout the day and is good for you. Food is a key to energy — not a tool to deplete it.


It’s what you eat as well, not just how much and often you’re eating. Good nutrition is scarce in a culture of excess and ultra-processed food, though. Additionally it’s becoming more difficult all the time to get our needed amount of nutrients due to the rise of CO2 in our atmosphere (a result of “climate change”). But some careful research will give you a good idea of what food and nutrients can naturally raise your energy levels and be healthy for you. That said, be on the lookout for food products posing as nutritious that may not be. For instance, energy bars and diet soda are actually worse for you than they are good, as exemplified by Web MD here.


Did you know that simply drinking enough water can fill you with energy? In an article entitled “20 Reasons Why Water is the Best Energy Drink You Can Give Your Body,” the author writes, “Being dehydrated means, as you’ve seen, having to work harder to do less, your joints are less spry and you’ll have less water to sweat out to cool yourself – you can cramp up faster, and in general won’t be as effective.” Water is important for your energy because it keeps you from losing energy and getting tired. If you want to keep up, keep hydrated.

Staying Active

Your body gets natural energy from glucose, which is what it uses during exercise. The more you work out, the more glucose your muscles will need, and therefore the more your body will produce. On a simpler level however, habits matter. When you start working out consistently, your body will want to keep working out, and it will start to feel odd when you don’t. Your endurance while participating in physical activities will be up, and your body and brain will be less content staying inactive. Any way you look at it, activity begets more activity.

Spirituality and Personal Motivation

There are a number of other actions different people take to mentally and spiritually tap into the natural energy they have. For instance, diffusing essential oils can potentially influence a variety of things, from clearing the air to helping you sleep, and some believe they can aid in helping people feel energetic. Other people watch various types of media to motivate themselves — self Ted Talks and inspirational movies for instance. And some give themselves pep talks in the mirror. The point is, energy boosts can depend on what you’re putting in your head as well as your body. Keep this in mind and surround yourself with good influences.

It’s clear that caffeine isn’t the only — or even the most natural — way to get an energy boost. So how else do you make yourself feel energized? Let us know in the comments below!

Eco-Friendly Ways to Keep Your Teeth Looking Healthy and Clean

For most people, brushing their teeth is part of their morning ritual, usually one of the very first things they do in their day. Many people also make it part of their nightly ritual, doing the same thing before they go to bed. Likely, there is some flossing and extra brushing throughout the day added in.

The priority of and frequency in which people brush their teeth shows their importance; teeth are perhaps one of the most important parts of your body to keep healthy and clean. Not only is your smile one of the first things people may notice about you, but you also need your teeth to eat and feed your body.

While keeping your mouth clean and healthy is important, it can be a strain on the environment. Excessive water used when brushing your teeth, plastic in toothbrushes and floss, and other environmentally stressful factors can be easy eliminated while retaining the health of your teeth.

dark-haired woman smiling
Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Keeping Your Smile Healthy

Besides wanting a beautiful, white smile, there are many important reasons to prioritize your oral health. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, unclean and untreated teeth can lead to significant health issues:

...In many cases, the condition of the mouth mirrors the condition of the body as a whole. Recent reports indicate a relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and stroke, heart disease and preterm low-birth-weight babies. Likewise, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases have oral manifestations, meaning your dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem

Basically, keeping your teeth clean and regularly visiting a dentist could have a significant impact on the quality and span of your life. Plus, rotting, unbrushed, or even just poorly brushed teeth can leave a malignant odor in your wake, putting off the people around you. Also, it’s always nice to keep your teeth and avoiding dentures as long as possible.

Fine Tuning Your Dental Routine

Clearly, oral health is important. But how do keep your pearly whites fresh and shiny without causing too much damage on the environment? Well, two of the most important dental health care tips are ones that you have likely heard many times since you were a child—and they are natural, too.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are the most notorious uses of plastic related to oral health. Especially because there is not a lot of variety when you to to the store. However, you can order bamboo toothbrushes online, and shop for plastic-free toothpaste containers as well. For example, some companies sell powder toothpaste in tablet form that use minimal packaging.

Flossing is another natural way to care for your teeth. Flossing gets rid of enamel-eroding acids and toxins that can cause plaque and lead to gum disease. According to dental experts, not flossing can have severe consequences resulting in expensive dental procedures:

  • Root planing and scaling to remove tartar below the gum line can cost upwards of $1,600.
  • Surgical treatments for periodontitis can cost over $3,000.
  • Since gum disease can attack the bone, you could end up spending $300 to $400 per tooth is you require bone grafts.
  • Even simple tooth extraction can cost $100 per tooth, and then you are left choosing between dentures and dental implants. Dentures can cost up to $8,000 a set, and dental implants typically cost an average of $4,250 per tooth.

Flossing can eliminate these risks and fight gum disease directly. Plus, you can look into getting no-waste or biodegradable floss in order to be truly natural and eco-friendly, and it will only cost a few dollars.

Another easy way to change up your dental routine is not running the faucet while you brush your teeth. Not doing this is an easy way to save water that you can start immediately without having to go to the store to buy special products.

Eco-Friendly and Natural Tooth Tips

If you are on board with all of the tips so far and are looking for more, here are some more tips to consider.

Keeping your teeth healthy is one thing, but keeping them white is quite another. Wine, coffee, and mustard and more can stain your teeth to a not-so-appealing color. However, you don’t have to resort to expensive whitenings or harmful chemicals to get your pearly whites back to white.

With natural teeth whitening, you can avoid harsh chemical in your body—and also get in some healthy snacks. For example, putting bananas and strawberries on your teeth for a while will help brighten them up. Then, you can have the rest of the fruit and berries as a snack.

You can also look into making other concoctions to keep your smile attractive. Making an herb mouthwash, for example, will not only keep your breath fresh, but it can also reduce inflammation to maintain a healthy mouth.

Lastly, if you’re not convinced by the eco-friendly toothpaste options you find, you can just make your own. Though there are many ways to do this, the easiest—and perhaps the best—is made out of baking soda and water, adding enough of both to make a paste. You can also add a few drops of peppermint extract to get the fresh taste in your mouth.

If you are feeling more crafty and want something more creative, you can make your own charcoal toothpaste out of wood ash and a few other ingredients. Charcoal toothpaste is a natural dental trend that eliminates plaque and whitens your teeth. Here is the recipe:

  • Wood Ash
  • Baking Soda
  • Orange Peels (optional)
  • Lemon Peel (optional)
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Xylitol
  • Calcium Carbonate

Hopefully, these tips will help you to change up your dental routine, allowing you to maintain cleaner teeth, a healthier mouth, and a brighter smile—all while reducing your environmental impact.

Self Care Tips as the Weather Changes and the Holidays Approach

If you are lucky enough to experience fall, I hope you are enjoying what the season has to offer. For many of us, we are probably hunkering down, gearing up for the colder season and the busy holiday season. The unfortunate reality is that the change in season, plus the stress of the holidays can put a strain on our body and our body’s natural defenses. Remember to take care of yourself so that you may be fully present to enjoy the next few months.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and our body. Sleep is the only time our body can repair itself. For many of us, our circadian rhythm is off because we live in a 24/7 world. We are constantly exposed to light (false sunlight) that tricks our body into thinking the body should continue to stay awake. People sometimes have a hard time sleeping when the clocks are adjusted because their body has to get used to the amount of light it is exposed to. Many things also vie for our attention that it becomes hard to shut down. Without quality sleep, the body struggles to fight illness, repair cells, and clean out old cells.

As you prepare for the many changes coming up for the fall and winter season, consider taking a look at your sleep routine. With the days getting shorter, many of us will be more apt to stay in and it’s important that instead of going to a higher quantity of sleep that we go for good quality.

  • Institute a nighttime routine that will allow you to disconnect from electronics and slow down the brain. Meditating or reading a good old-fashioned book can help with this.
  • Experiment with leaving your phone outside the bedroom. If you need an alarm clock, find one that is not connected to the internet and has a dim light. This will reduce temptation to check it before you go to bed and immediately after you get up.
  • Get comfortable and opt for organic linens that breathe to keep your core temperature stable. This may mean testing out your best pajama combination.
  • Take care to cover excess light from the windows or from other devices in the bedroom to reduce light distraction.
  • Declutter the bedroom so that as you settle in your mind is calm. Empty space is good for the mind.

simple-bed-sleep-well-cagopcan-tdsp-min (1)
Good quality sleep is critical to winter and holiday self-care.

Eat Well

Fall brings about so many tempting treats. Fall and winter normally results in a slower pace, more hibernation, which means less calories burned being out and about. Go simple with your meals so that your body can burn it easily. It’s sometimes easy to constantly eat because we are indoors, so take time to listen to your body for signals of hunger instead of boredom. Fuel with food that’s easy to make and isn’t loaded with lots of artificial ingredients or processed chemicals.

The body must expend energy to burn and process food. Excess food, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other inflammatory foods means the body has to work double-time to process it all. In a similar vein with sleep and light, we are also constantly exposed to food. As we no longer hunt, it’s easy to continuously eat and eat late into the night, but doing so doesn’t allow our body and our organs to recover and take a break.

  • Eat what’s in season. For a period of time, this will be squashes, pumpkins, cauliflower, broccoli. See what’s being offered at the farmer’s markets.
  • Eat simple. Make soup out of anything or roast them in the oven. Nothing fancy. Just cut, place in a pot or pan and let cook.
  • Go for warm meals as these will bring you comfort.
  • Fast. Set a time at night to stop eating until the next morning.
  • Everything in moderation. Enjoy the holiday treat, but eat in moderation.

Easy butternut squash soup to keep you warm and toasty.

Opt Outside

It’s so tempting to stay on the couch, under the covers and watch shows all day and night, but our body needs to move. There’s a saying out there for folks that live in the coldest climate. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” Invest in quality winter clothing. If you do, you’ll have these pieces to last you through many winters. Movement and exercise is more important during the colder season because we are more apt to be sedentary and partaking in the holiday festivities. The air in our homes can also get stale and dry. It’s important that we expose our bodies and brains to natural, fresh air.

  • Make it a personal goal to go on a short walk every day. Make sure to bundle up with a hat.
  • Get at least a few minutes of sun and a few breaths of fresh air.
  • Open your windows on days when the temperature isn’t too cold to circulate air in.
  • Get grounded by walking through a forest, touching a tree, or observing animals.
  • Perform light stretching outside or a few squats to get your blood flowing.

Remember that running yourself ragged isn’t good for you or the people around you. Take care to stop, breathe, and slow down.

7 Natural Remedies to Help You Sleep

Do you ever lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling, begging your mind to turn off so you can get some shut-eye? At one point or another, we have all suffered from the frustration of sleepless nights. In fact, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation. Some adults are so desperate for a good night’s sleep that they’d be willing to give up booze and social media for the rest of their lives in exchange for a lifetime of restful sleep.

girl sleeping
Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

The problem? When faced with a restless night, many turn to sleeping aids rather than natural remedies. Dr. Frank Lipman, New York Times best-selling author and founder of Be Well, explains that sleeping pills increase the risk of dementia, addiction, and harmful behaviors. That’s because sleeping pills contain sedative hypnotics called benzodiazepines (think Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and more) which are potentially addictive and can cause memory and attention problems if used over a long period of time.

All this to say, sleeping pills should not become the crutch that gets you through the night. Rather, consider these natural remedies to help you get the shut-eye you so desperately long for.

couples' feet in bed
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Yes, sex can help you sleep better!

Oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”, is a chemical released in the brain after orgasm. This is the hormone that gives you that all-over, feel-good feeling after sex. Oxytocin acts as a sedative. It counteracts the effects of stress, which keeps you up at night, and rather bathes you in relaxation.

Next time you are having trouble getting to sleep, opt for a late-night rendezvous.

relaxing bath
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

A Warm Bath

After a long day, there are few things that sound as good as drawing a hot bath. Well, maybe there are a few things…(see point #1).

A nighttime bath, about an hour before bed, may be just the thing you need to get a good night’s sleep. That’s because, in order to fall and stay asleep, our core body temperature must drop one to two degrees.

A warm bath will cause your body temperature to rise and then rapidly drop when you get out. This loss in heat will pave the way for a night of uninterrupted, deep sleep.


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, is more than just an internet sensation made famous by Bob Ross. Yes, the iconic painter was unknowingly the first ASMR video creator.

You are probably wondering what the heck ASMR is at this point. Essentially, ASMR videos are binaural recordings designed to be heard through headphones that consist of ASMR artists whispering into a camera. Sounds weird, right?

Well, ASMR aims to trigger an experience involving a tingling, euphoric sensation that typically starts on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck, through the upper spine. Many have likened it to when someone plays with your hair, but with simple audio and video triggers.

Although there hasn’t been much research done on the effects of ASMR, there are a variety of individual testimonies of people reporting how ASMR has aided in the management of anxiety, depression, and sleep. ASMR artists must be onto something considering some have thousands of followers on YouTube.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is an all-natural and legal compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s purpose is not to get you high. In fact, there are a variety of medicinal benefits to CBD oil. It’s known for its pain-reduction qualities, assistance in reducing inflammation, and calming effects. Another benefit? It aids in sleep.

CBD assists in reducing anxiety—you know, that pesky emotion that keeps us up all night. According to research, CBD has been shown to reduce symptoms of insomnia and increase our quantity of sleep. 

Marc Lewis, Executive Editor of Remedy Review, explains: "CBD empowers your body to better regulate its basic functions, things like mood, appetite, and sleep."

calming essential oils 
Photo by Tiara Leitzman on Unsplash

Essential Oils

Speaking of oils, aromatherapy has been proven to put your body in a state of relaxation. The use of essential oils such as lavender, frankincense, and Roman chamomile, to name a few, are known for their calming effect. In particular, lavender has been proven to increase the amount of deep, restorative, REM sleep we all need.

You can incorporate essential oils into your wind-down routine by diffusing them throughout your bedroom, adding a few drops to a hot bath, or applying them directly to the skin.

A Cup of Chamomile

Indulging in a cup of hot tea before bed is the OG, tried-and-true natural remedy for sleep. Although caffeine is a no-no before bed, many herbal teas, like chamomile, peppermint, and valerian, aid in fighting insomnia.

Next time you feel restless, try brewing your favorite sleepy time tea to help your body relax and unwind.

bowl of cherries
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Foods with Melatonin (Not Pills)

Melatonin is the hormone whose function is to calm and relax you. Although our body produces melatonin, there are certain foods we can eat to increase production of the hormone or are a source of the hormone itself.

Tart cherry juice contains the highest concentration of melatonin out there. Studies show that if you drink eight ounces in the morning and at night, it can greatly improve your sleep.

While a melatonin supplements can help, they don’t work for everyone. It’s much better to get it naturally from the food you eat. 

If you are struggling with insomnia on a regular basis, you may need to address the problem from a holistic point of view. Are you experiencing pain, from your mattress or an injury, that keeps you up at night? Drinking caffeine too late in the day?

Are there other disturbances to your sleep such as light, noise, and temperature? Assess your sleeping environment for possible disturbances and make adjustments accordingly.

Sleep is an integral part of overall health and wellness. It’s important you take the appropriate steps to protect it. 

Is Ayurveda Completely Vegan?

Eating meat is always a personal decision, based on your morals, religious practices, individual needs, and health status.

What might be the reason for the popular belief that Ayurveda is vegan? The reason might be linking Ayurveda and yogic, or saatvik, diet together. If you check the ancient Indian scriptures like the Vedas and Puranas, the description and explanation of meat has been given.

Do you know what Ayurveda says about food?

Ancient classic ‘Charaka Samhita’ says, “The life of all living things is food; the entire world seeks food, complexion, clarity, good voice, long life, understanding, happiness, satisfaction, growth, intelligence etc. are all because of food.”

Like plants and grains, Ayurveda also accepts meat as a form of food. Emphasizing upon it Charaka says, no other food excels meat in producing a nourishing effect in the body (mamsam brimhananam). And Ayurveda also gives detailed explanations on meat in eight different categories which include animals, birds and fish.

Here are the eight categories of non-vegetarian food mentioned in the ancient classics.

  1. Prasaha (animals and birds who eat by snatching)
  2. Bhumisaya (animals who live in burrows in earth)
  3. Anupa (animals inhabiting marshy land)
  4. Varisaya (aquatic animals)
  5. Varicara (birds moving in water)
  6. Jangala (animals dwelling in dry land forests)
  7. Viskira (gallinaceous birds)
  8. Pratuda (pecker birds)

assorted grilled meats with rice and veggies
Photo by Eiliv Aceron on Unsplash

The classics give numerous elaborate descriptions as per the properties of various meats—especially for their Vata-reducing properties.

• Those such as peacock for example were commonly used for improving eyes, voice, intellectual capabilities, complexion, hearing etc. and was commonly used.

• Goat meat was also well-known for bulking the tissues and often used as a meat soup or even basti (enema). Goat and mutton are said to be strengthening or tonifying for the body, and so good for Vata people and severe debilitated conditions. Goat also does not cause malas, or wastes in the body.

• Beef is said to cure dry cough, exhaustion, chronic nasal catarrh, emaciation, and excess hunger.

• Charaka says that fish is in general heavy, hot in potency, sweet, strength promoting, nourishing, unctuous and aphrodisiac.

• Acharya Charaka also says, good quality meats are brimhana (strengthening and building) and also balya (promoting strength). It states meat soups (mamsarasa) as one of the best for the body—that they are sarvarogaprashamanam (alleviates all diseases) and promote vidya (wisdom), swarya (good voice), strength (bala) of vayas (age), buddhi (intellect), and indriyas (senses) respectively.

Type of Meat

Nutritional and Medicinal Benefits in Ayurveda


Homologous with the dhatus (body tissues), anabhishyandi (does not obstruct the bodily channels) and is nourishing


Aphrodisiac and nourishing. It clarifies the voice, promotes strength, produces sweating


Exclusive vitiation of vata, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue, atyagni (increased appetite) and wasting of muscles


Strength promoting, nourishing, unctuous and aphrodisiac, causes skin diseases, not recommended for daily use


Vermifuge and tonic, improves intellect and digestion, laxative

But, keep in mind Ayurveda doesn’t recommend the intake of certain types of meat on daily basis. There is a detailed list of food materials that should or should not be included in diet on daily basis.

Foods for Regular Use

  • Ghee
  • Honey
  • Indian Gooseberry
  • Fruits, such as grapes and pomegranates
  • Rice and barley
  • Immature Radish
  • Chebulic fruit
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Meat of animals in arid or dry land

In short, dishes that are capable of promoting health and curing diseases are suitable for regular use.

Undesirable Foods for Regular Use

  • Cheese and curd
  • Alkaline preparations such as vinegar
  • Sprouted seeds
  • Black gram
  • Dried meat
  • Molasses
  • Tuberous roots
  • Sweets prepared by grinding cereals
  • Uncooked radish

This list of undesirable food materials is not because of any religious or spiritual reasons, but because too much of these substances can result in health problems.

Another popular misconception is that you are not supposed to take meat items while undergoing Ayurveda treatments or when having Ayurveda medicines.

The truth is that Ayurveda dose advises certain Pathya-Apathya (wholesome-unwholesome foods and regimen) depending on the nature of disease. This Pathya and Apathya are not for the medicines. There are certain disease conditions where Ayurveda advises the intake of meat as medicine. In tuberculosis, for example, after correcting the digestion, processed meat with certain herbs are advised as medicine. In certain sexual disorders meat is also mentioned as a medicine.

Bone broth has been used for thousands of years to build bone tissue in those suffering from fractures, dislocation of joints, etc.

Another common doubt is whether there is a particular time of the day to eat meat. 

It is ideal to have meat at mid-day because your digestive fire will be highest during that time of the day.  Cook meat properly with clarified butter, curd, sour gruel (Kanjika), acidic fruits (as the pomegranate etc.), pungent and some aromatic condiments (black pepper, etc.). Meat prepared like this is considered as very wholesome, though heavy to digest. It is possessed of relishing, strength-giving and tissue-building properties. 

Varieties of cooked meat are also mentioned in Ayurveda classics.

  • Ullupta (minced meat)
  • Bharjita (fried)
  • Pishta (made into balls or cakes)
  • Pratapta (roasted with clarified butter over a charcoal fire)
  • Kandupachita (dipped in mustard oil and powdered aromatic condiments and roasted and done to a honey colour over a charcoal fire)

In addition, the benefits of thin meat soup have also been described in detail.

A thin meat soup is a pleasant tonic and proves beneficial in cases of dyspnea, cough, and consumption. It subdues the Pitta and Kapha, destroys the Vata, and has an agreeable taste. It is wholesome to persons of weak memory and reduced semen. Meat soup, prepared with the juice of the pomegranate and seasoned with pungent condiments increases the quantity of semen and tends to subdue the action of all the three deranged humors (i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha of the body).

Eggs and Ayurveda

Ayurveda gives explanation about different types of eggs. Ducks, poultry and quail eggs are effectively used as medicine in various diseases like decreased sperm count, chronic cough, tuberculosis, heart diseases, and more. Eggs are also said to improve the growth and development in children.

Modern medicine explains that egg have nine essential fatty acids along with omega-3 fatty acid.

A large egg contains over six grams of protein. A large egg has 4.5 grams of fat, only 7 percent of the daily value. Only one-third (1.5) grams are saturated fat and 2 grams are mono-unsaturated fat. They contain, in varying amounts, almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans, as well as several other beneficial food components.

Though eggs are highly nutritious, their heavy in nature as per Ayurveda. This heaviness makes it hard to digest. People with strong digestive power can definitely include eggs in their diet.

Fish in Ayurveda

Ayurveda also has explanations and details on consuming fish. Eating fish improves strength and helps in gaining weight. It is Vata pacifying in nature and can be consumed in diseases occurring due to aggravated Vata. It also increases Kapha, which means that fish is not advised for daily use.

Acharya Susruta explains, in detail, about the quality of fish residing in ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. Ayurveda prefers small fish varieties over larger ones. Small fish, like anchovy, are light for digestion, provide instant energy, are delicious and pacify all three doshas.

Fish is a low-fat, high-quality protein. Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, such as D and B2 (riboflavin). It is also rich in calcium and phosphorus, and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet. Fish is packed with protein, vitamins, and nutrients that can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Shellfish is one of the more common food allergies. Certain descriptions on allergic reactions due to fish has been described in Ayurveda as well. Intake of prawns and milk together are considered as Virudh ahara (incompatible).

There are two groups of shellfish: crustacea (shrimp, crab and lobster) and mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops). Crustacea cause most shellfish reactions, and these tend to be severe. Shellfish can cause severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions can be unpredictable and even very small amounts of shellfish can cause one.

Ayurveda considers prawns as the worst in fish varieties described since it aggravates all the three doshas.

Keep in mind the following thing when you consume meat.

  • Do not consume meat on daily basis, have it moderately, more in winter season when you have a strong digestive power.
  • Keep in mind your digestive power and constitution while consuming meat. A Kapha predominant person must consume less meat when compared to a Vata predominant person.
  • If you consume meat, make sure you exercise to keep the body healthy and fit.
  • Along with meat, include vegetables and grains and make sure you receive all the necessary nutrients in your diet.
  • Choose organic, hormone-free meat whenever possible.
  • Choose quality over quantity. A meatball size portion of meat (1/4 c) eaten daily with vegetables and grains is an appropriate amount that your body can process fully.
  • According to Acharya Charaka, healthy and wholesome food, even if taken in proper quantities do not get properly digested when the individual is afflicted with grief, fear, anger, sorrow, excessive sleep, and excessive vigil, therefore, mind matters.

Food taken in proper quantities provides strength, vigor, good complexion, and nurtures the health of tissues. In order to live healthy, one must live in harmony with his surroundings and follow a diet suitable to one’s own bodily constitution.

DIY Herbal Throat Spray

Echinacea Flower. Photo by Sarah Baldwin.

With fall just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what to stock up on for our winter apothecaries. Homemade herbal throat spray is one thing that I consider an indispensable household item for cold and flu season.

The dry air of woodstoves and heating systems causes our throats to become drier and more susceptible to harboring viruses. Herbs with antibacterial and antiviral compounds create an uninhabitable environment for viruses and infections. When you have a sore throat, these botanicals boost your body’s healing response to fight off the infection more quickly. If you use an herbal spray at the first hint of a scratchy or sore throat, you can often prevent a cold from ever taking hold.

Throat spray also comes in handy even when you don’t feel sick. While traveling, it can ease a dry throat that comes from flying in airplanes and sleeping in hotel rooms. Throat spray is also nice to use before all kinds of vocal performance, from speaking engagements to concerts. 

With a few key ingredients and a little know-how, you can create a homemade throat spray from scratch. This will ensure that what you’re ingesting is totally natural and also save you money. Plus, the process fosters a deeper connection with your medicine. When you get involved with your own healing process, you form a strong intention for health that works on multiple levels to keep you at your best.

Sourcing Herbal Extracts

Herbal throat spray can be simply made from a combination of tinctures, herbal extracts made with alcohol. If you buy a top-dollar herbal throat spray at the store, this is basically what you’re getting. It is more cost-effective to make your own tinctures from wildcrafted or cultivated plants. You can also buy dried herbs; I recommend purchasing organic herbs in bulk and making large batches to save money over the long run, especially since alcohol-based tinctures keep for years. (Glycerin-based extracts can also be used for throat spray if you’re avoiding alcohol.) Of course, you can also purchase pre-made tinctures, but it will add some cost to your throat spray.

Home-grown Goldenseal root
Homegrown Goldenseal Root. Photo by Sarah Baldwin.

There are many medicinal plants that can ease a sore throat and boost the immune system. Below are several to choose from based upon your specific needs and what is available in your area. You can start out with combining equal parts of these tinctures, and adjust the ratios as you please for taste and medicinal properties:

  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp.): Superb immune-booster; anti-inflammatory to ease pain; also cleanses blood and lymph for detoxification.
  • Red Root (Ceanothus americanus): Specific for sore throat, even severe conditions like mononucleosis, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Highly antiseptic, antifungal, and expectorant.
  • Horehound (Marrubium vulgare): Eases hoarseness and laryngitis; expectorant.
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis): Specific remedy for sore throat; antimicrobial and antioxidant.
  • Goldenseal root (Hydrastis canadensis): Antibacterial and antifungal; eases chronic inflammation of the throat and pharynx. (This is a strong remedy and at-risk plant, so use sparingly in your formula.)
  • Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis): Soothing and softening; especially useful for dry throat.
  • Elderberry (Sambucus spp.): Tasty and sweet; antiviral and anti-inflammatory.
  • Elderflower (Sambucus spp.): Opens up the throat for speaking and singing; also eases cold, flu and fever.
  • Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and expectorant; adds a pleasant flavor.

Final Tips

To sweeten the deal, add some raw, local honey to your recipe. Honey has natural antiseptic properties that will heal and soothe a sore throat while also greatly improving the taste of your throat spray. You can also add a few drops of high-quality, organic tea tree oil for an added antiseptic boost.

A one-ounce glass spray bottle is a great way to keep your throat spray handy and portable. If you make a larger batch, keep the rest in an airtight glass jar and store it in a cool, dark place. Alcohol and honey are natural preservatives, so your remedy will keep for a long time.

It’s as simple as that! Herbal throat spray is a wonderful tool that will help keep you healthy everywhere you go. It also makes a nice homemade gift for family and friends.

Sarah Baldwin is immersed in the world of herbalism, writing and teaching about the physical and spiritual benefits of healing plants. She is the author of The Herbal Healing Deck, an earthy and mystical oracle deck featuring guidance and wisdom from medicinal plants. Sarah is a regular contributor to Plant Healer Magazine and The Herbarium and has also written course material for The Herbal Academy. Her interests include gardening, yoga, meditation, dance, and music.

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