Sunday, October 9, 2016

DIY: Old Time Fave Milk Bath Recipe

Hey loves,

Winter is coming.

So... here's an age-old, skin softening technique to include in your skincare regimen. Your mom or grandmother may have given them to you when you were just a little, adorable munchkin. But, the busy-ness of life has taken such timely luxuries out your beauty routine. These types of everyday living practices are now reserved for spas and we pay top dollar for them.

If shelling out dough for these pampering services is your thing, then by all means enjoy! On the other hand, if you're in need of some TLC that's a little closer to home and wanna save yourself some money, then check out this skin softening milk bath recipe that'll have your skin glowing and silky smooth.

As you know your skin is a living, breathing organism. In fact, it's the largest organ on your body; with this in mind, we hear a lot about the importance of eating healthy and proper diet to keep our body internally balanced and operating at an optimal level. 

Meanwhile, little to no attention is given to the importance of proper skin maintenance -- at least not from a natural, healthy point of view. Sure, you've seen anti-wrinkle ads and commercials promising radiant youth, but nothing speaking to your skin's diet for longterm skin health. 

Some people may be experiencing the bonuses of beautiful skin from genetics and/or reaping the benefits of eating a healthy diet, drinking proper fluids (water/electrolytes) and exercise. In an effort to keep a good thing going, the ingredients that you place on your skin matter. 

One of the ways you can nourish your skin is by enjoying a creamy milk bath. Simply, soak your sore muscles and relax your mind when you create a setting of tranquility by lighting candles, playing your favorite music and unwind with this creamy milk bath,  but first lather up with a delicious smelling handmade soap...

Milk bath recipe

Powdered Milk -- 2 cup
Grounded/Powdered Oatmeal -- 1 cup
Lavender or Rose Essential Oil -- 15 drops
Epson salt -- 1/4 cup

You can mix all ingredients together and pour into the tub, or add each ingredient one by one.

- Avec Amour

Monday, September 12, 2016

FLINT WATER CRISIS: Natural Approaches

Our skin is a living breathing organism, which needs to be protected from harmful toxins, hormone disruptors, carcinogens (cancer causing substances) and most of all heavy metals including lead. 

There are several reports downplaying the effects of lead exposure to Flint residents, but the numbers say something altogether different. According to, "Twelve people have died and nearly 80 others have fallen ill in the Flint area from the disease since April 2014." It hurts deeply to see anyone suffer from such a heinous act without any recourse, remorse or long-term resolutions in sight.

Let me backup and give a quick recap of events... since 2014, Flint residents have had one of their most important life resources compromised -- water. For years now, people have been left with the only choice to bathe, cook, clean and drink in lead poisoned water as their only water supply. Although solutions to replace the water pipelines are promised, its implementation is slow and caught in the bureaucratic process.

So, knowing that information is key to resolving catastrophic issues like this, earlier this year I posed the question on my Facebook page, asking herbalists to share some known herbs that could be useful and accessible in this public health crisis.

Although there are no studies to prove their efficacy (such the case with most natural approaches to health), there are some personal testimonials of heavy metal reduction over time. So my thinking is to share what I've found out thus far, in hopes that it'll help someone out there. I'm sharing this information in hopes that some info here is a nugget for someone else to use this information to commit further studies, findings and solution. Some effort beats no effort at all is my thinking.

I did some digging myself and sifted through the responses from more advanced, skilled and renowned herbalists and listed them here in bite-size info, and here's what we have thus far. 

As with most things in life, full agreement on one preferred method was not reached, this could be because with our unique body makeup (DNA), approaches to health may need to be modified based on the individuals' unique personal health. 

This post also serves as a reference for myself as I continue researching the matter.  As it stands, I have a few of my own running hypothesis, however, in my opinion, this situation cannot afford to keep waiting on research and scientific studies. 

So, the following is a list of herbs and natural approaches to assist in heavy metal remove:

Cilantro: an easily accessible herb touted for its ability to assist the body with heavy metal removal. You can grow this plant in your backyard or indoors if the soil your isn't good.

Ground Ivy Plant
Ground Ivy a.k.a. Creeping Charlie (Scientific Name: Glechoma hederacea): is looked at as a weed because it takes over lawns, yards and disturbed soil. It's from the mint family, which speaks a lot to its invasiveness. This plant can add a good kick to foods like stir-fry, pesto, soup, salads etc. Contemporary herbalists often use this plant for headaches, congestion and digestive upset. However, this tenacious plant has even more benefits when it comes to chelation (reducing heavy metals), see below for more about ground ivy below...

Organic Apples & Homemade Cranberry Juice: per the Facebook thread, one herbalist shared that this homemade remedy has high amounts of pectin (fiber found in fruits and vegetables, which is useful in its ability to help the body discard lead), which also assists with removing heavy metals. Other known foods high in pectin include: okra, cabbage, beets, oranges and more specifically green apples. Studies have proven its effectiveness.

Moringa Seeds: assist with biosorption, helping to decrease the presence of heavy metals. Clinical trials shows that Moringa seed powder is effective in reducing lead in lead contaminated water.

Sea Vegetables: Kelp, wakame, dulse and Irish moss are known sea vegetables that contain algin, a phytonutrient that helps the body extract heavy metals. These seaweeds are also nutrient dense, helping to nourish the body in the process. Some eastern diets and natural healers have used sea vegetables as a means for keeping lead/heavy metal contamination at bay.

Alkaline Water: this is a hypothesis, assuming the alkaline water will help give the body an internal wash, filtering toxins out through the urinary tract. Use distilled water with fresh lemon or lime juice if alkaline water isn't cost efficient.

Renowned herbalists weigh in on the topic: 
Jim Mcdonald said, "I've also been collecting information. Of all the herbs stated to "remove heavy metals from the body" (which is problematic thinking, because: which metals? All of them? Some? Do we know which?), the one that has a traditional use specific to lead is ground ivy aka creeping charlie (Glechoma hederacea). This is a common weed that grows abundantly in lawns and disturbed ground (which also means we'd want to be sure that the soil it grows in is safe). 
King's American Dispensatory states: 'An infusion of the leaves is highly recommended in lead colic, and it is stated that painters who make use of it often are never troubled with that affliction.'
David Winston has told me that 'Many years ago while reading Maude Grieve's Modern Herbal I found a mention that Ground Ivy was useful for treating Painter's Colic. Not knowing what that was, I looked it up (pre-google days) and found it referred to lead poisoning. I wondered for years whether it just relieved symptoms or if it actually enhanced lead excretion. 
Finally I had a patient with very elevated lead levels and decided to try giving Ground Ivy (tincture) to see if it would make any difference. It reduced lead levels (as determined by serum lead levels) and it increased urinary lead excretion. It is now some 30 years later and I have used it many times with significant success, as have many herbalists I have mentioned this to. I do not believe there are any human studies to back up my clinical experience , but the empirical evidence is intriguing. There are other uses for the herb as well including treating hot/damp lung infections, expelling gallstones and relieving tinnitus. I use it as a fresh tincture 1:2, a usual dose is 1.5 - 2 mL TID).'

And there's more:
Lauren Abbey Stauber said, "I've been gleening bits of info over the years about Vitamin D3 and heavy metal uptake, mostly in relation to vaccinations, but a quick google shows that studies are being done regarding the relationship between D3 serum levels and lead poisoning. The thing is, it's not straightforward. 
For example, there is some connection between higher blood lead levels in the summer time among urban African American children. But there may be other factors causing this connection, such as environmental changes caused by heat, more outdoor activity in contaminated areas, and all that getting tracked into houses. Also, I wonder how heat affects the pipes in plumbing systems? AA people in the northern parts of the world are more vulnerable to D3 deficiency as it is, so the relationship between summer and lead poisoning is unclear at this point. And on the flip side, studies show a correlation between low D3 levels and higher rates of lead poisoning. Part of this is that lead may deplete D3 from the body. 

And part of it is that low D3 levels impact the body's metabolism of calcium, magnesium and other minerals, and low levels of those minerals may make the body more vulnerable to environmental lead. So, with all this in mind, it seems to me that it's not as simple as more D3, less lead, and I'd be wary of any site that says to high dose D3 as an isolated nutrient in order to protect against lead poisoning. It's more about that beautiful synergy between D3, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients. 

Tending to D3 levels and how it is metabolized in the body with all its co-factors could have a protective action against led poisoning. I don't have my brain wrapped around the nuances of this research yet, but I think this is an area worth exploring as you consider both the herbal and the nutritional approaches to supporting the communities being affected by this horrific crime of neglect and corruption in Flint MI, and so many other places too. And I'm seeing info about vitamin C too, which someone mentioned Ground Ivy is a good source of. Here are some links you might find interesting...  Thinking about what an affordable meal plan might look like to help cover the nutrient bases. And certainly many herbs can be a great affordable source of minerals, and vitamins! Not vitamin D3 though."
I feel it's important to share words of wisdom another natural healer forewarned about the dangers of moving heavy metals throughout the body; and encouraged working with a medical professional, allowing herbs to serve more of a backup supportive role.

No one person has all of the answers, especially when in dire straits such as these we must pass on the knowledge that one day we may arrive to the solutions we're looking for. As a new herbalist friend of mine stated, "It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to heal the sick," said Aku Richter.

As I learn of more solutions, I'll share here and update this post... In the meantime, if you know of any other solutions, please share them below. Let the learning continue. 

- Avec Amour

NOTE: Results may vary based on each individual's body makeup, follow your inner knowing.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMER: This is not to be taken as medical advice, cures or remedies. Please consult a qualified health professional.