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  • Honey Do!

    Honey is more than the delicious nectar of the gods to add to tea or smear on toast, it has wonderful benefits for the skin as well!

    Vitamin and mineral rich, honey even contains amino acids, enzymes, and proteins.  Honey can be beneficial for all skin types and has numerous qualities that improve the appearance of skin and strengthen its barrier function.

    Honey has been used topically to improve the skin's appearance for centuries.  Cleopatra, Hippocrates and Nefertiti regularly used honey to improve the quality of the skin or reduce scars.

    Honey is an anti-oxidant which fends off free radicals and helps to slow the signs of aging. Free radicals are abundant in our modern world and we encounter them through environmental pollutants, industrial chemicals, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.  Just taking a walk down a street with traffic going by introduces free radicals into your system.

    Honey is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic all of which contribute to its ability to clean pores.  Acne and blackheads are often a result of bacteria paired with dirt residing in the pores and blocking the skin's normal secretion of sweat or sebum. Since honey is such a powerful anti-bacterial substance it is able to dislodge the bacteria and clear the pores, leaving you with a radiant complexion.

    Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture from the air and retains it on the skin.  Applying honey to the face is a wonderful way to moisturize your skin and achieve a glowing appearance. Applying honey to the skin increases elasticity and makes the skin look more youthful.  Application of honey also reduces the appearance of scars.

    The Honey Moisturizing Mask & Cleanser from Apothecuryous contains raw organic honey, organic sunflower seed oil, organic beeswax and Vitamin E.  The addition of the sunflower oil reduces the sticky-ness of honey and beeswax makes the mixture easier to handle.  

    Sunflower seed oil protects elastin and collagen, reduces redness and will not clog the pores.  For this reason it can be used by all skin types.

    Beeswax itself is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.  It is also an occlusive which means that it creates a protective barrier on the skin (while still allowing your skin to breath) that reduces moisture loss and enhances the skin's barrier function.

    Because these potent ingredients have so many healing attributes this cleanser can also be used on problematic areas.  Consider using the Honey Moisturizing Mask & Cleanser as a spot treatment for eczema or psoriasis, or for cracked or broken skin on elbows, feet or hands.

    While Apothecuryous strives to make as many vegan products as possible, the benefits of honey are too numerous to pass up.

  • Are your personal care products making you sick?

    In the United States there are 11 substances that are banned for use in the personal care industry, while in Europe there are 1300. There are as many as 57,000 chemicals used in personal care products and only 10% of them have been tested for safety.  This number includes chemicals found in make-up, nail polish and perfumes. The Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate the chemicals that are included in personal care products, but instead leaves it up to the manufacturers of those products to regulate themselves. 

    There's a chance you've heard of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or seen product statements that indicate there is no SLS in their formula.  This is an ever present substance found in shampoo, toothpaste, body wash, and more.  It is a detergent, emulsifier, and mostly a foaming agent.  Don't be fooled, that foam isn't making you cleaner, its just playing on the psychology that if something foams it makes you clean.  In the process of manufacturing SLS it is left with a residue of 1,4 Dioxane, which is linked to organ toxicity and breast cancer.

    Some of the other chemicals used include Formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation and headaches in the short term, and cancer over long periods of use.  If you are savvy and read the ingredients on your personal care products this will be listed as one of the following: DMDM Hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, and quaternium-15.

     Phthalates are hidden within the term "fragrance" and are endocrine disruptors that are linked to birth defects, breast cancer, and low sperm count.  Parabens mimic estrogen and create hormonal imbalance.  They are linked to reproductive issues, including infertility and developmental disorders or slow growth of children.

    These substances are absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream. Repeated exposure can lead to serious health issues, and considering these substances are found in daily use products, repeated exposure is built in.

    The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act  was adopted in 1938 and has allowed the cosmetic industry to self-regulate, largely unchecked, ever since.  Thankfully there is an increasing consumer awareness of harmful chemicals in personal care products, and demands for regulations are increasing.  In 2015 legislation was introduced to make manufacturers more accountable to the Food and Drug Administration.  The Personal Care Products Safety Act was submitted by senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins and was supported by the Personal Care Products Council which represents 600 of the best known brands.

    If you are interested in learning more about the products you have at home I recommend going to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website here: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/  There are numerous products for this organization to evaluate and as of this writing they have reviewed over 69,000 products and 2,000 brands.

    I strongly suggest starting the practice of reading the ingredients labels on your personal care products if you aren't already.  This can help you avoid putting a chemical stew on your body as well as give you an opportunity to learn the function of certain ingredients.  For example Cetyl Alcohol is a stabilizer that imparts a velvety feel to a cream or lotion.  Cetyl Alcohol can be derived from either natural plant materials or petroleum products.  Apothecuryous only uses Cetyl Alcohol sourced from Certified sustainable palm.

    Apothecuryous makes every effort to use ingredients that are chemical-free, sustainably sourced and Certified Organic.  Apothecuryous products are scented only with Essential Oils, many of which are Certified Organic.  

  • Benefits of the Bath

    Balneotherapy is defined as the treatment of disease by baths.  While these diseases might be arthritis, skin conditions, or illness, it could also be used to treat dis-ease, as most people are more at ease after taking a bath.  Bathing in mineral waters like hot springs or mineral pools has been practiced around the world for centuries.  If you have ever gone to a hot springs or sprinkled Epsom Salts in your bathwater you have practiced Balneotherapy.  Who knew?

    While I am not a medical professional and this information should in no way be interpreted as medical advice, Balneotherapy is an easy and pleasurable custom to add to your personal care routine (and your vocabulary). It's very relaxing to soak in hot water and sometimes its even hard to bring ourselves to get out of it.  Maybe because it reminds our subconscious of being in the womb, where the stress of life has not yet taken hold on our consciousness.

    The practice of soaking in thermal springs or mineral pools dates back many centuries, across the globe. The Greeks were attracted and intrigued by thermal springs and endeavored to study their effects, properties, and benefits for the body.  Herodotus was the first to establish the specific practices of Balneotherapy.  A bit later Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote extensively about the beneficial properties of bathing in thermal waters.   While the Greeks were studious of the healing water of the thermal springs, the Romans made work of creating elaborate architectural bath houses.  Remnants of a "Great Bath" in modern Pakistan dates back to 2500 BCE.  Meanwhile in Japan the first recorded Onsen (thermal bath house) dates back to 712 AD.  Then, of course, there is the Dead Sea where the water is 29% salt compared to the water in the ocean which is 4%.

    There are more benefits to soaking in these waters than just putting yourself in an adult "time out".  Using bath salts is a terrific way to replenish minerals in your system.  Several minerals, specifically Magnesium, are easily absorbed through the skin. 

    Magnesium is considered a "Master Mineral" as many of our bodily functions need Magnesium in order to perform optimally.  It is utilized by the Nervous, Cardiovascular, Immune and Muscular systems of the body, and more.

    In our modern world where mono-culture dominates (growing huge amounts of a single crop year in and year out), and "conventional" agriculture uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc., the mineral content of the soil has been depleted.  If the soil that our food grows in doesn't have adequate minerals, then the food that it produces also doesn't provide us with adequate minerals.  Magnesium deficiency shows up in a variety of symptoms like physical weakness, anxiety, calcium deficiency, muscle cramps, poor heart health, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, fatigue, poor memory, muscle cramps and more.  Does that sound like you?  Does that sound like everyone you've ever met?  It's quite possible it is.  Magnesium deficiency is experienced by around 75% of the population of the United States.

    There are various ways to boost your Magnesium levels, like eating foods that are rich in Magnesium like avocados, nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens, fish, bananas and dark chocolate (yay!), as well as others.  You can apply Magnesium oil topically in an easy-to- use spray application.  Of course you can also practice Balneotherapy, your new favorite word (and mine). 

    Apothecuryous' Mineral Soak is a blend of Epsom Salts (not actually salt but a compound of Magnesium and Sulfate) which draws toxins from the body and improves circulation; Dead Sea Salts contain 21 minerals including Bromide, Iodine, Sulfur, Potassium and, of course, Magnesium; Himalayan Pink Salts (which contain over 80 minerals and trace minerals); Colloidal Oatmeal which improves the skin barrier function and contains antioxidants not found in other plant sources; and Sea Kelp Powder which is rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins that are not found in land plants, like B12.  This blend easily dissolves in water (unlike Himalayan Pink Salts by themselves), and is relaxing and invigorating.

    While I can justify eating chocolate by reminding myself it is high in Magnesium, I certainly won't shrink away from a reason to soak in the bath.  Maybe I'll eat chocolate while soaking in a bath filled with the Mineral Soak by Apothecuryous.

     

  • Rhassoul Clay for stronger, healthier hair

    Does your hair lack vitality, strength and fullness?  Are you ready for the best possible version of your hair?  Its time to make the break from chemically laden shampoos and conditioners, and use naturally derived, earth friendly products!  Look no  further than the Rhassoul Clay Hair Cleanser for the best hair of your life.

    Rhassoul Clay is mined solely from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco where it has been in use for cleaning hair and skin since at least the 8th century.  It also was noted for its regenerative and healing properties on Egyptian papyrus. Rhassoul or Ghassoul Clay is derived from the Arabic word "ghasil" meaning "wash".  The use of Rhassoul Clay is so steeped in Moroccan culture that it is still included as a traditional wedding gift to the bride from the groom's family.

    Generally speaking, clay adsorbs (that's with a D) toxins from surfaces it comes into contact with.  Adsorption is the process when a substance can attract and capture another substance to its surface and bind with it.  Absorption (with a B) is like when a sponge drinks up water.

    Rhassoul Clay, as well as Bentonite Clay, have a negative ionic charge on the molecular level.  These negative ions attract positive ions (opposites attract), commonly referred to as free radicals. toxins, pollutants, viruses, heavy metals, etc.  The positive binds to the negative through adsorption, and is washed away or flushed through the system.  For this reason clay should never come into contact with metals as it impacts the drawing capacity for its intended use.

     Medicinal clay was first recorded to have been used in 2500 BCE in Mesopotamia for its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties. Rhassoul Clay has more trace minerals than other types of clay, but is mostly comprised of Silica (52%) known to stimulate hair growth, and Magnesium (25%) which strengthens hair follicles and hair. Silica helps to prevent hair thinning, restores vitality by delivering minerals to the hair follicle, and encourages hair growth by strengthening blood vessels and improving circulation.  Silica is an essential component of collagen.

    In the tradition of what is old is new again, Rhassoul Clay has emerged as the premium clay choice due to its many benefits for the body and hair.  Rhassoul Clay is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-viral which means that it can calm an inflamed scalp, cleanse impurities, and fend off viruses. It is favored for use in high-end Spa treatments, and can be used on the entire body.  Rhassoul Clay is sun dried so it hasn't undergone any chemical processing. It is also hypoallergenic so it is suitable for all skin (or hair) types.

      Make Rhassoul Clay Hair Cleanser part of your beauty routine and feel good knowing that what you are using is not only completely natural, as well as biodegradable, but has abundant benefits for the vitality of your hair and scalp.

  • What's with the Tooth Powder?

    Have you ever heard of a dentist telling a patient to stop brushing so hard?  I think on some level we know that something has to scrub teeth to get them clean, and since tooth paste is so smooth, people take it upon themselves to do the scrubbing.  With tooth powder a certain amount of abrasiveness is present in the formula and you can give your tooth brush (and gums) and break.

    Tooth powder has been used for many millennium, starting with ancient Egyptians in 5000 BCE.  They used a combination of powdered ox hooves, burnt egg shells, dried Iris flowers, and pumice.  Ancient Greeks and Romans made tooth powders with crushed bones and oyster shells, while ancient Chinese included Ginseng and mint.  Read more about the history of toothpastes and powders here: http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/article/history-of-toothbrushes-and-toothpastes

    While tooth powder has ancient roots, modern people are less accustomed to it.  Clearly most ingredients used in ancient times were quite abrasive and it was the Persians in 1000 AD who first cautioned against using overly abrasive tooth powders due to concerns about damaging enamel.

    Tooth powder, developed by doctors, dentists, and chemists, was introduced into the British market in the 1700's.  In the early 1800's a dentist, Dr. Peabody, added soap to tooth powders for extra cleaning power.  By the 1850's chalk was added and tooth powder became available as a cream for the first time.  In 1873 Colgate was the first to offer commercially available tooth paste that had a pleasant smell and taste.  By the end of that century it was available in a tube, similar to what we see today.

    Sodium lauryl sulfate replaced soap in toothpaste around the second world war.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a foaming agent added to many personal care products, including toothpaste.  It gives the sense of clean because it foams, similar to soap or shampoo.  While Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is derived from a natural substance (coconut) the manufacturing process leaves it contaminated with a carcinogenic byproduct.  Read more about SLS here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/09/toxic-toothpaste-ingredients.aspx

    Toothpaste as we know it has only been in use in the United States since soldiers who fought in Europe during World War II came home.  They had experienced tooth paste while in Europe and developed a liking for it.  Now tooth paste is far more common than tooth powder in the US.

    What exactly is added to the active ingredients in toothpaste to give it the gel or paste consistency?  Many toothpastes, including natural options, contain Glycerine which coats teeth with a film that may prevent mineral absorption.  It is suggested that it takes up to 20 rinses to remove glycerine from the teeth after use of a standard toothpaste.  Starting in 1914, Fluoride was added to most commonly available toothpastes as it is considered to be beneficial for strengthening teeth and preventing tooth decay even though fluoride is more toxic than lead and slightly less toxic than arsenic. Learn more here: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/fluoride-named-neurotoxin-medical-journal/

    Apothecuryous offers two different tooth powders, Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder in several flavors or Pearl's Pride Tooth Powder for sensitive teeth and gums.  These tooth powders are free of additives, chemicals, fillers, and by-products that are all too common in conventional oral care options.  Apothecuryous is committed to complete transparency and lists all ingredients on labels including their common names.

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