Lic-Or-Ice Is The New Spring Protective Ingredient

licoriceLicorice root extract has a long history for its flavor in food and drinks as well as for its anti-inflammatory properties in medicinal preparations, but did you know that it can also play a role in promoting healthy skin?  As an active ingredient in skin care treatments, licorice root extract does double duty by lightening dark spots as a botanical alternative to hydroquinone while offering protection against UV damage.

As a skin lightener, licorice root contains a compound called glabridin which suppresses pigmentation by stalling melanin production.  It accomplishes this by hampering tyrosinase activity, the enzyme responsible for producing melanin.  For those who are not able to tolerate hydroquinone, licorice root extract offers a plant-based option with few side effects or allergic reactions.  Irritation is also rare, most likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

As protection against UV damage, new research has been focused on another of licorice root extract’s compounds called Licochalcone A, an antioxidant that has the unique ability to boost the body’s own defensive system against skin-damaging free radicals.  When the skin is exposed to daily assaults by environmental hazards, pollution and UV rays, the body’s natural defense kicks in to eliminate the free radicals that are generated.  Using a lotion containing Licochalcone A, researchers found that pretreated skin cells in a laboratory setting produced a higher amount of antioxidant molecules and, as a result, significantly fewer harmful free radicals. A subsequent study on volunteers supported those findings by showing how licorice root extract was able to protect from UV damage by stimulating the skin’s own defense system.

Another new research project that backs this concept was published in Experimental Dermatology introduces a new plant-sunscreenderived agent, which protects skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation. “We found out that the antioxidant active licochalcone a, which is the main component of the root extract of the plant Glycyrrhiza inflata (Chinese Licorice), is able to protect the skin from subsequent UV irradiation damage from within by strengthening the skin’s own defense systems,” says Gitta Neufang, a researcher involved in the work from Beiersdorf AG (Hamburg, Germany). “Thus plant extracts with the described profile are able to provide a protective shield from sun exposure supporting and going beyond the action of sunscreens regarding sun protection.” Neufang and colleagues isolated human skin cells and irradiated them with solar simulated light mimicking sun exposure. They were able to show that skin cells pretreated with licochalcone a produced a higher amount of self-protecting, antioxidant molecules. Consequently, significantly fewer harmful radicals were detected in licochalone a treated human skin cells. In addition, they also conducted a study with healthy volunteers demonstrating that the application of a lotion containing Licochalcone A-rich root extract on the inner forearms for two weeks protected the skin from damage after UV irradiation.

The hope is to use licorice root extract as a means to boost the effectiveness of sunscreens. These findings show that the skin’s own defense system can be stimulated by the application of licorice extract. In combination with UV-filters this approach therefore might provide superior sun protection by not only offering physical but also biological sun protection.  No sunscreen is able to block out 100% of the sun’s damaging rays.  Even SPF 50 products only block up to 98%. Researchers are hoping to make up the 2% gap by using new information about licorice root extract to boost the body’s own defensive systems.

~ Courtesy of American Spa Magazine

Africa Maybe The Home Of The Most Healthiest Wine In The World

imagesJY5ROBSYIf you had any reservations about how healthy wine really is, a vineyard in South Africa is helping to convert even the most skeptical: The Audacia winery on the Western Cape has developed a wine made from rooibos and honeybush that may be the healthiest we’ve seen yet.

Traditionally used for tea, rooibos and honeybush have been grown in the region for centuries. Winery owner Trevor Strydom took this traditional crop and developed a new way to produce wine that replaces the traditional oak wood with indigenous rooibos and honeybush wood.

Here’s the exciting part: that antioxidant-boost red wine is so well-known for is actually increased in this South African variety, thanks to the rooibos itself. A study in Food Chemistry found that rooibos is not only rich in antioxidants, but also significantly increases our blood’s capacity to absorb the nutrient. This study found this boosts the body’s natural defenses too, and previous studies have linked higher antioxidant levels to reduced risk of certain cancers and heart disease, among other benefits.

The higher antioxidant levels also help preserve the wine naturally. This means the rooibos-and-honeybush vino is free of a preservative by-product, sufites, which is found in most wines. And sulfites cause an allergic reaction in many people. Both plants also have low tannin levels, another compound found in some traditional wines that can irritate people.

As for the most important part—the taste—Audacia describes their vino with words we love to hear regarding any Merlot: a tobacco-like smokiness with hints of vanilla, cherry, and black pepper. And since rooibos tea is already a little fruity, this is a blend we’re dreaming of tasting.

The wine is currently only available through the winery’s website, but our fingers are crossed it gets picked up by American distributors soon.

And the mastermind behind this pumped-up variety, Strydom, is looking beyond just grapes. The unique taste and natural preservation abilities of rooibos and honeybush wood make them ideal for beer and cider as well. That means that the health benefits of all alcohol—at least the non-hard liquor variety—may one day be supercharged. Cheers to that idea!

Courtesy of Shape Magazine

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lavender Lemonade

lavender lemonadeFlavoring your lemonade with lavender is a great way to utilize the amazing medicinal properties of lavender. Lavender is a wonderful aromatic herb that calms the senses.

Pure lavender oil is an incredible essential oil to use for your own health and wellness. It’s among the gentlest of essential oils, but also one of the most powerful, making it a favorite of households for the healing properties and uses of lavender essential oil. Lavender oil  has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents, which explains its effectiveness at helping with a lot of health ailments. Lavender oil possesses amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifier, hypotensive, and sedative properties.

Florida researchers have found that lavender oil benefits include reducing anxiety and lowering pulse rates in nursing students taking stressful tests. And in hospital settings, lavender aromatherapy has been demonstrated to decrease pre-surgery distress and to be more relaxing than massage or merely resting.

Lavender essential oil has medicinal properties as well. It has been shown to reduce depression, improve insomnia and ease labor pains. And anecdotal evidence suggests that lavender oil benefits those with headaches, hangovers, sinus congestion and pain relief.
“Much prior research on lavender has focused on the administration of lavender via an olfactory route. The anxiolytic activity of lavender olfaction has been demonstrated in several small and medium-sized clinical trials. The efficacy of aromatherapy of lavender is thought to be due to the psychological effects of the fragrance combined with physiological effects of volatile oils in the limbic system. These calming effects of lavender oil and single constituents may be the origin of the traditional use of lavender. Lavender oil olfaction has been shown to decrease anxiety, as measured by the Hamilton rating scale,51 and can increase mood scores.

The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy:

  • Dunn and colleagues demonstrated anxiolytic activity of lavender oil aromatherapy in patients in intensive care units. Subjects received at least 1 session of aromatherapy with 1% lavender essential oil. Significant anxiolytic effects were noted in the 1st treatment, though 2nd and 3rd treatments did not appear to be as effective.
  • Alaoui-Ismaili and colleagues found that the aroma of lavender is considered by subjects to be very pleasant and is correlated with changes in the autonomic nervous system.
  • Tysoe and colleagues conducted a study of lavender oil in burner use on staff mood and stress in a hospital setting. A significant number of respondents (85%) believed that lavender aroma improved the work environment following the use of the lavender oil burners.
  • Diego and colleagues demonstrated that people receiving lavender oil (10%) olfaction for 3 minutes felt significantly more relaxed and had decreased anxiety scores, improved mood and increased scores of alpha power on EEG (an indicator of alertness), and increased speed of mathematical calculations.
  • Lewith and colleagues investigated the effects of lavender aromatherapy on depressed mood and anxiety in female patients being treated with chronic hemodialysis.  The effects of aromatherapy were measured using the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HAMA). Lavender aroma significantly decreased the mean scores of HAMA, suggesting an effective, noninvasive means for the treatment of anxiety in hemodialysis patients.
  • Lavender aromatherapy, with or without massage, may also reduce the perception of pain and the need for conventional analgesics in adults and children, though more rigorously controlled trials are needed.

DIY Lavender Lemonade with Lavender Essential Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 12 cups pure water
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 6 lemons, peeled and juiced
  • Lavender sprigs for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients together and chill. Add more water or raw honey if needed.

Other ways you can use Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Headaches

  • Mix 5 to 6 drops of Lavender essential oil to your bath water if you have dry skin.
  • Diffuse 10 to 12 drops of Lavender into the air during your workday for natural stress relief.
  • Add 2 drops of Lavender per ounce of your favorite lightly scented, unrefined organic oil (like almond oil or olive oil) for a body oil with all the benefits of lavender for improving your skin, relaxing your mind, warding off insects or helping you sleep.

~ In courtesy of Living Traditionally

OMG! Eat Your Way To Firmness

Food for skin blogDimples can be cute, but not when they’re on your butt and thighs! Since there’s no one signular solution to melt the extra fat away, we asked diet experts to share their top nutrition tips that work wonders to reduce the appearance of uneven texture. Get on the fast track to smoothness today, starting with these eight simple eating solutions.

1. Eat On Schedule.Sticking to a regular daily pattern trains your brain when to expect food and when not to, so you’re less likely to nosh between meals. Its those unplanned snacks that tend to trip you up because they’re often high-calorie or high-sugar foods.

2. Slow Down On White Flour. At least two studies have found that people who eat the most whole grains have less belly fat than those who eat fewer complex carbs. With the variety of whole-grain products on store shelves today, it’s easier than ever to snub the refined stuff. The higher fiber content in whole wheat bread and pasta keeps you feeling full longer, so you won’t have to contend with a rumbling belly.

3.  Be Fat Friendly.  It may sound counterintuitive, but trust us: To lose fat, you have to get over your fat phobia. Healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil, can actually help with weight loss (and cellulite). They provide flavor, texture and a feeling of satisfaction, all things you need if you want to stick to a healthy eating plan. Just use them as condiments, not the main attraction. Spread a tablespoon of mashed avocado on to a sandwich for lunch or toss a teaspoon of sunflower seeds with veggies at dinner.

4. Why Not Go Vegetarian One Day A Week.  A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate the most meat were about 27 percent more likely to be obese and 33 percent more likely to have abdominal obesity (dangerous fat that accumulates around your organs in your midsection and increases your risk of heart disease) than people who ate the least amount of meat. They also consumed about 700 more calories per day, on average.

5. “Cheat” the Right Way. The concept of a cheat day is weight-loss staple, but its also the Achilles’ heel of many eating plans. A day of eating whatever you want can add up to thousands of extra calories. It can also make it harder to get back on track the next day, when your brain has a chocolate cake hangover. Instead of splurging for an entire da, limit yourself to just one cheat meal each week. Plan it, enjoy it, and as long as it happens just once a week you wont break the calorie bank.

~Courtesy  of Shape Magazine

 

Is maple water the next coconut water?

maple water

One of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets has been exposed. Maple water, the all-natural, nutrient-packed elixir enjoyed for centuries by native peoples in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, is landing on retail shelves across America. Made solely from raw sap—the very stuff that brings maple trees back to life after each long, cold winter—maple water is now being tapped, Tetra Pak’d and sold to natural-minded consumers and athletes looking for a hydration booster not fabricated in a lab.

If this sounds a lot like the darling hydration drink of the past few years—the venerable coconut water—it’s definitely similar. Both plant-based products provide refreshment with the added value of vitamins, minerals and minimal processing. However, maple water offers a few attributes that coconut water can’t match—less sugar, fewer calories, a subtler taste, and a less-milky mouthfeel. And although maple water has fewer electrolytes than its tropical counterpart, it still provides a solid option for everyday hydration. Perhaps maple water’s most salient selling point is its North American sourcing, whereas coconut water comes from so far away. Though maple water is trying its best to not position itself as the next coconut water, it clearly has potential to pilfer from coconut water’s market share.

 

Absolutely Breath Taking: Cancer Breakthrough

bees cancerCancer is Detectable in Breath

A hand-blown glass device housing a small team of honey bees may be able to detect cancer and other diseases, thanks to the acute sense of smell of the bees. Their extraordinary sense of smell can detect particles in the air in the parts per trillion range, naturally used for searching for pollen in flowers. By training the bees to recognize smells associated with certain diseases and cancers, the bees can determine the presence of the disease or not, based solely on the breath of a patient.

The device was revealed at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, by Portuguese designer Susana Soares. There were multiple distinct structures presented by the designer, but the function relies on two main chambers. The first chamber is a diagnosis area, into which the user exhales. The honey bees are kept in the outer larger chamber, but fly into the smaller chamber if they detect any aroma they were previously trained to recognize.

By training different groups of bees to recognize different odors, doctors can accurately determine the presence of lung, skin, and pancreatic cancers, as well as tuberculosis. “Trained bees only rush into the smaller chamber if they can detect the odour on the patient’s breath that they have been trained to target,” explains Soares.

The bees can be trained in only 10 minutes using Pavlov’s reflex, connecting a certain odor with a food reward. Mentally wired to constantly search food for the hive, the bees will remember the odor for the entire six week duration of their lives. The bees are especially sensitive to pheromes from apocrine glands, which excrete information about a persons health.

~Courtesy of Healthy Living Magazine

A Fruit Replaces Hormonal Sleep Aid

cherriesIf you’re having trouble getting enough quality sleep, try drinking tart cherry juice, according to research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting. Louisiana State University scientists say imbibing tart cherry juice, a rich source of melatonin, the sleep hormone secreted by the body’s pineal gland, twice a day for two weeks increases sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among adults with insomnia.

Tart cherries also increase levels of tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to manufacture serotonin, a neurotransmitter that facilitates sleep.

It is increasingly important to find sleep aids without side effects, says co-author Frank L. Greenway, MD, director of the outpatient research clinic at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Courtesy of Healthy Living Magazine

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