Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
Mother Earth Recommended . . .
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Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful women who have touched our lives!!

Enjoy the day and relax  . . . garden, plant and reconnect with the best mother of all  . . . Earth!!

 

Many blessings and enjoy the day!

 
 

Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water . . first batch of the season

Hello all  . ..   due the beautiful weather here, I have an early batch of my Grandmom's Queen of Hungary's Water is back in stock!!!

This remedy takes quite a while to make and the batch turned out to be absolutley wonderful!!

May all of your senses and skin enjoy!!

Here is a link - http://www.localharvest.org/grandmoms-queen-of-hungarys-water-C4528

Peaceful Blessings !

 
 

Info on 1,4-dioxane toxin found in skin care products

I was recently flipping through a great magazine and came across a little blurb about 1,4-dioxane and would like to share it on the blog roll. There was no author listed on the blurb but I would like to credit whoever wrote it for sharing great info.

In cosmetics, 1,4-dioxane is the byproduct of a chemical process used to soften harsh ingredients. Although the FDA says 1,4-dioxane levels in cosmetics aren't hazardous to consumers, the National Toxicology Agency says even its prescence - even in a trace amount - is cause for concern, and the EPA lists its as a probably human carcinogen.

Research from the Environmental Working Group revealed 1,4-dioxane in many children's bath products. Steer clear of the toxin by avoiding products with the ingredient names that include myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth and any other -eth, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, or oxynol.

Peaceful Blessings and please read your labels and as always, buy local and organic!!!

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What's in your lip care products?

Your lip care products are just as important as your basic skin care needs and what you apply to your lips is even more important. Lip skin is very thin and does not have oil glands therefore, it needs deep moisture and added protection. Your lips can absorb harmful substances because of their thin nature so you must give them the beneficial nutrients they need to keep them healthy and safe.

We have all had our out bout with dry, cracked and chapped lips; cold and sun exposure can aggrivate this and can sometimes be the main cause. You should never lick your lips and this only irritates them and can cause further dryness and cracking. Water helps to moisturize the body from the inside out so be sure you are getting enough daily to also keep your lips hydrated. If you apply sunblock (natural based, see previous blog for more information on this topic) also apply a suncreen to your lips, preferably a natural balm that contains zinc oxide.

If your lips are dry and cracked all the time, whether you have been in or out of the sun, they your system may be low on B Vitamins. B Vitamins are essential for good skin and lip health. Ty eating B vitamin rich foods to give your system the extra boost or try a daily tea like Oatstraw with other added benefits.

Most lip care products you find in stores are loaded with things that you would never even think are in there like coal tar or synthetically products products made from petroleum or crude oil products! Yikes!! That's like slopping some oil from your car on your lips!!! Most of these products can cause sensitivities in some people and even allergic reactions in chemically sensitive people. Some symptoms of this are headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, sneezing, wheezing, lack of concentration, fatigue, lethargy, nervousness, irritability, confusion and on site swelling. Can't figure out why when you wear your favorite shade of rose that you get a littel edgy, you may possibly have a chemical sensitivity to the artifical colors and products used.

There are many natural brands of lip products out there that have all natural ingredients with no by-products or crude oil. Be careful too with your little ones, some toddlers love lip gloss and enjoy the flavor and may attempt to bite the tube or ingest the product itself - not good if you are using mass market products! It is still not good to let your little one eat the lip balm but if it is natural based you would feel a little better that they were not eating petroleum!!

Here's what your lip products SHOULD contain: Aloe Vera, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Natural Colors (beet powder, beta carotene, iron oxides, grape skin, turmeric, annatto), Peppermint, Shea Butter, Allantoin, Sweet Almond Oil (great for sensitive skin) and Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin A, Vitamin D.

Here's what your lip products SHOULD NOT contain: Alcohol, Cety, Cetearyl, Behentrimonium, Methosulfate, Lanolin (although naturall derived, this can cause allergic reactions, it is a powerful absorbing agent and can become contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides), Mineral Oil, Petroleum, Petrolatum, Preservatives . . basically anything you cannot pronounce or re-spell if you were asked to do so, these can lead to contact dermatitis.

I have more information on the specific ingredients listed above (good and bad), I just did not want a 5 page blog. If you would like more information, please email me and I will be happy to further educate on the chemcial hazards found in our products. wintersaurora@yahoo.com

Hope you enjoyed this "mouthful" and happy puckering!!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

What's in your fabric softener and dryer sheets?

I received an email from a great friend and wanted to pass the info onto you. It is an excerpt from a very helpful book and may surprise you when you read on  . . .

Here are some words taken from Sloan Barnett's book, 'Green Goes with Everything' regarding fabric softeners and dryer sheets:

 
"...Here's what's in many everyday fabric softeners:  toluene, trimethylbenzene, styrene-which are neurotoxins according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health-as well as phenols and xylene.  Still sound soothing?
     If you use conventional fabric softeners in your wash, this alphabet soup of toxicity is all over your body.  There's a party going on in your pants.  And your shirt.  And your nightgown.  And your baby's pajamas.
     Here's a quick list of other chemicals typically found in fabric softeners:  a-terpineol (irritates mucous membranes and causes central nervous system damage);  benzyl acetate (eye and respiratory irritant);  benzyl alcohol (can cause headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, respiratory irritation, and a drop in blood pressure);  camphor (on the EPA's hazardous waste list);  ethyl acetate (eye and lung irritant and a narcotic); limonene (irritant, sensitizer);  linalool (central nervous system effects);  and pentane (eye and skin irritant and may cause headache, vomiting, dizziness or loss of consciousness).  So it's not the spin cycle that's making your head spin.
     If all this weren't troubling enough, there's another problem:  the whole point of fabric softeners is that they stay on the fabric...which means they are being released into the air you breathe and onto your skin as you wear your own clothes....
.....And speaking of static cling, let's talk dryer sheets.  They're made from synthetic fabric and/or polyurethane foam, which means they're not biodegradable, so they fill up the landfills.  More important, they include many of the same harmful toxins as fabric softener.  And because you use them in the dryer, there's no rinse cycle to dilute or dispurse them, and the heat of the dryer vaporizes some of the chemicals, sending them out into your home through the dryer vent.  This is yet another reason why indoor air is now far more loaded with pollutants than outdoor air.....
.....You can also make your own fabric softener by adding 1/4 cup baking soda to the wash cycle.  Adding 1/4 cup of white vinegar will also soften clothes as well as eliminate static cling.  You can eliminate static cling in the dryer by drying natural-fiber clothes and synthetic material clothing separately.  Better still, use an indoor or outdoor clothesline."
 
 
By the way, the Material Safety Data Sheet on Bounce Sheets suggests that we should 'wear gloves to minimize exposure and a mask so as to minimize the particles we inhale.'
There are many natural fabric softeners, dryers sheets and laundry soaps available. I like Seventh Generation products - they have a great website, are very informative and have lots of household products to choose from.
Peaceful Blessings!
 
 
 

What's in your feminine care products?

This blog is a little more focused for us ladies, sorry boys but you may not find this as intersting as the ladies or for some, you may not be interested at all. I am blogging about feminine care products because for most of us when that time of the month arrives, we grab for the same feminine products month after month, year after year and chances are they are the same as what you used when you had your first cycle. We tend to be bothered with menses and just want it to pass rather then trying to help ourselves stay well as we embrace its onset.

We all tend to follow the path of the female guardian who first informed you about your body and what will happen. Years ago, feminine products were made differently then they are today and you might be very surprised as to what you are actually using could be harmful. If you remember stories of your Grandmother (I know I do) and Great-Grandmother explaining how there was no such thing as feminine care products, they used rags and cotton towels as products; they were the best choices ever! Technology can be wonderful as well as harmful. We look for convienence rather then safety and who wants to be bothered with washing dirty towels or rags when we have an agenda that is non-stop.  

If you have a daughter or niece, you are likely to share with her what to do and what to use every month and she will take it with her through life as well. It is important to really know what you are using and putting close to your skin because vaginal tissue is very sensitive and can absorb chemicals, toxins and heavy fragrances into the body.

Most mass market feminine hygiene products have gone through a heavy bleaching process using chlorine dioxide. This process contains low level dioxins which are chemical contaminates deemed unsafe for human use by the EPA. Synthetic tampons that have received this process may contribute to varying uterine conditions such as endometriosis, cancer, immune system concerns, fertility concerns, fibroids, pelvic imflammatory disease as well as other female related health ailments.

Besides the bleach, mass market products may also be made with synthetic fibers like viscous rayon which may increase the risk for TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) as well as other bacterial illnesses or yeast.

If you product contains a fragrance, that perfumey aroma could be highly irritating to sensitive vaginal tissue and some also contain cancer causing parabens.

All of these chemicals could cause minor concerns like itching and discomfort and depending on the sensitivity of your system, it could develop long term concerns. Many of the products do not allow the skin to breathe, especially heavy pads with plastic weaves, these can lead to folliculitis in the groin area which can be very unpleasant.

There are many natural feminine care products that use organic cotton or sea sponge that work just as well as the mass produced products. There are even products that collect flow internally without the use of tampons or sanitary products. I urge you to please check your grocer, market or health food store for these products and give them a try. Feel good knowing you are doing the right thing for your body and you will be able to pass this information onto the next woman of the house so she can continue the natural traditions too.

Personally, I like Natracare products, you can find them in many stores and they are very reasonable. Honestly, I don't know why I decided to blog on this, I was researching a few things and came across some info and just wanted to share it and spread the world. As women, we need to protect every part of our body as well as embrace life's path, try a natural product and you will be surprised at how good you feel. This blog was not meant to offend anyone, I am a big supporter of public awareness and hope that it was an educational read.  :)

Peaceful Blessings and embrace life!

 
 

Label Reading body care products

Do you ever take the time to read labels on your body soaps, lotions, shampoos or really anything you are putting on your skin? Skin is the largest organ and what you are applying topically is being absorbed into your system and is being utilized by other organs.

Reading labels on skin care products is very important, if you read what was really in there you may put it back. If a tomato was labeled with "Formaldehyde", would you buy it? Probably not, so why then do most people disregard what is in their body lotions? Most don't realize or look at foods the same way they do other products when in reality they are one in the same  . . . body products are food for your skin!

I become especially concerned with skin care needs when young girls begin to learn about cosmetics and all those scented body glittler sprays. Did you know that teenage girls can use up to 17 personal care products per day and adult women can use up to 12! That's a lot of snacks for your skin! I stress skin care with young women because most of the ingredients in drug store brands could intefere with proper hormone production and function during an adolescence time of growth. This change in levels could damage the reproductive system, bone growth, immunity issues and the exposure to these toxins long term in young women who begin breast development could increase the risk of cancer as they age.

These ingredients should be avoided so be sure to check your labels - Ammonia, Formaldehyde, Parabens (just look for this work mixed in with any other words you may not be able to pronounce), Peroxide, Phtalates, Sodium Laurel (laureth) Sulfate, Triclosan and Triethenolamine. I state it like this, if you can't pronounce it or try spelling it again, then chances are it's not the best for you. Sometimes companies mask good ingredients with their scientific names but these companies will also put in parenthesis next to the scientific name, the layman name so you know what you are really buying. (i.e.: Avenna sativa - Oat)

The above ingredients could be found in anything from soap, acne washes, shampoo, conditioners, hair spray, facial and body lotions to nail polish!

Try to avoid synthetic preservatives, heavy frangrances and chemicals - look for products containing pure essential oils and natural based butters and ingredients. Also, be aware - just because the front label may read "natural" be sure to actually read the ingredient list! Some companies boast they are natural because they have a few plant based ingredients but read deeper and you may find sodium laurel sulfate in the blend. In addition, avoid harsh exfoliating and tight firming lotions as well as chemical based anti-aging serums - these are loaded with parabens and synthetics unless they are a natural based product.

Did you know that one of the best forms of exfoliating your feet is a walk on the beach? Instead of the heavy pumice based foot cremes, salves and scrubs; if you live near the sea, take a stroll and feel how soft your piggies will be after!

There are many great natural skin products on the Local Harvest site but if you want to explore more and learn about how natural based soaps and lotions are made check out www.northerncatskillsessentials.com or for info on natural based skin care and products for young adults go to www.teensturninggreen.com

Any of the skin care remedies I offer like Grandmom's Queens of Hungary's Water, Astringent Herbs, Herbal Pimple Popper, Herbal Facial Steams or Herbal Hair Rinses are all 100% natural and the carriers I use are natural based and work with the body. I never use any chemicals or preservatives only mediums that are from the Earth to be used with gentle healing on various skin concerns. These are all topical and can be used in conjunction with my Liver Detox Tea or Skin Detox Tea for deeper skin conditions. Did you also know that may skin conditions stem from an overtaxed Liver? Read more about this if you view my Liver Detox Tea.

I hope this helps the next time you grab that watermelon scented lotion, it may smell wonderful but are the side effects worth it long term?

Peaceful Blessings and Happy Pampering!

 

 
 

What's in your sunscreen?

The warmer weather is here and as you reach for sunblock, please be aware of what it may contain. May studies have linked the chemicals found in many body lotions and sunscreens to contain xenoestrogens which has been found to cause many unwanted effects such as cancer.

So, what is a "xenoestrogen"? Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that have unintended and unknown effects. Some of these effects have been linked to fertility concerns, puberty problems, growth conditions and even cancer.

Read you sunscreen label carefully and avoid any that contain Benzophenone, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate (aka: octyl methoxycinnamate) and Homosalate. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and can act as xenoestrogens in your body. You will want to be especially careful when using any of these chemicals on a child's skin. A baby and child's skin is much thinner and more sensitive then older children and adult skin and it can absorb quicker and deeper.

Parabens is another chemical to avoid; this is readily found in almost all body lotions and skin products. Parabens are presevatives, they can also act like xenoestrogens in the body. Look for skin care products that are "paraben free". You may pay a little more but it is quite worth it in the long term.

So what's safe? When purchasing a sunscreen look for natural mineral based products that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (Jason's Naturals makes a great one!). Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, the higher the better and make sure it is labeled with broad spectrum, this means it will protect against both UVA & UVB rays which is very important.

You can also look for clothes and swim suits with an "Ultra Violent Protection Factor" or UPF of 50 or more. These pieces are readily available in today's market are great for infants and toddlers. Everyday clothes will only protect against the sun ray's so far. For example, a cotton tee has an SPF of about 7! Look for hats, shoes, tops, swimmies, shirts with UPF and don't forget your sunglasses . .  for your little one too!!! A baby is never too young to be protected.

Sunscreen and sun protective clothing should be worn year round, any season and any time. Even if it's hazy or overcast, the sun is still there and you can still get sun burn. Apply sunscreen about 20-30 minutes before you go out in the sun and reapply about every hour and half and always after swimming. Although we don't think of it, winter is also an optimum time to get sun burn; snow reflects the sun ray's, be sure to apply sunscreen.

Protection from skin cancer begins at birth and if you protect your little one now, there will be less of a chance later in life for problems. By chosing a safe sunscreen as I mentioned above, you are also giving your little one a great head start and yourself piece on mind from this day on that you are not only protecting yourself (and family) from the side effects of chemicals but you are also helping to prevent skin cancer.

Enjoy and worship the sun  . . . just be safe!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 

20 Minute or less skin care routine for healthy skin

With the warmer weather upon us and as we grab for the sun block, I am frequently asked what is the best routine I do to keep my skin happy and healthy? There are lots of things especially in our diets to keep our glow about us but if you want to keep your skin looking great try starting a simple cleansing routine every day or night to topically help while you work on the internal side of skin.

I will blog more about "skin internals" at a later time but thought I would share a really quick skin care routine to get you going for the summer months.

20-Minute Skin Care Routine

 

1.       Cleanse face with gentle cleanser to suit skin type, using a cotton ball or a washcloth.

 

2.       Steam face with head over bowl of steaming hot water for 2 minutes.

 

3.       Apply a moisturizing, purifying face mask composed on French green clay.

 

4.       Bathe or shower with a few drops of relaxing essential oil or invigorating oil in the water. You may also put herbal tea bags like my Puffy Eye Tea, or cucumber or potato slices over your eyes to remove the bagginess around the eyes. I like to put the cucumbers in the freezer for a few minutes to really help with deep opening of the capillaries. Relax totally for 10 minutes.

 

5.       Pat body dry with thick warm towels. Apply a natural body lotion like cocoa butter all over while skin is still moist. Take special care of feet, knees, elbows, and neck. If you prefer using oils on your skin try coconut, jojoba or almond.

 

6.       Remove mask with warm water and spray or splash face with mineral water.

 

7.       Apply an eye-soothing gel or aloe vera (fresh if possible) if you are going out or night eye cream (if you are going to bed) around eyes and on lids.

 

8.       Apply moisturizer to face if going out, or your favorite night cream/oil if not. My favorite for either day or night use is Camocare light moisturizer.

 

9.       Apply a natural hand cream and a nail cream around cuticles. I use cocoa butter as a lotion and use Vitamin E oil or almond oil on my cuticles.

Breathe deep, relax and enjoy the aura of your skin, it is the largest organ and needs some forgotten pamerping too!

Peaceful Blessings!

 
 
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