Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Grow Rehmannia Flowers

The best herbs and supplements are the ones that you can grow in your own backyard. Being able to infuse your diet with homegrown natural goodness is both healthy and fulfilling. One herb that is perfect for backyard gardening is known as rehmannia (also called Rehmannia glutinosa or Chinese foxglove.) Rehmannia is a Chinese herb that has been foundation in natural, Eastern medicine for centuries and can be used to support brain, blood, heart, kidney, digestive, and reproductive system health.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of rehmannia and how you can incorporate it’s beautiful, bell-shaped blossoms into your home gardenscape.

Why Grow Rehmannia?

Rehmannia is considered a multi-purpose tonic and health supportive plant with a rich history of use in holistic medicine. Although the pink, bell-shaped flowers are a lovely addition to your garden, the health benefits of rehmannia are found mainly in the root or rhizome of the plant. Studies have shown that rehmannia is a powerful antioxidant and scavenger of free radicals, meaning it can reduce inflammation and support healthy cells across multiple systems in the body.

Rehmannia has also been shown to support a healthy gut by feeding and boosting the good gut bacteria and improving digestion and elimination. Rehmannia has also been studied for its ability to support female reproductive health, particularly in easing the pain and discomfort of cramping during menstrual cycles. Using rehmannia roots may also help detoxify the liver, removing toxins and improving function. Occasionally, the leaves are also used as a compress to promote healthy looking skin and help with redness and rashes.

How to Grow Rehmannia at Home

If you’re convinced of the wide-reaching benefits of this ancient, Eastern herb you should try growing rehmannia for yourself. This plant grows best in Zones 7-10, but if you live in a cooler zone you can grow rehmannia in containers and move it indoors in the winter months. If you have well-drained soil, rehmannia can tolerate full sun, but it does appreciate a bit of afternoon shade as well. You can expect this rhizome-rich plant to produce beautiful pink blossoms up to 2 inches long in the late spring to early summer. When it comes time to harvest the rehmannia root, it’s best to do so in the late fall for cultivated plants, but if you have wild rehmannia, a springtime harvest is recommended. Dry the roots in the sun for several weeks if you intend to prepare them for long-term use.

Using Rehmannia Root

Once you’ve harvested your rehmannia roots, you have two choices; you can either boil the roots and use them fresh or dry and prepare them for later use. Fresh rehmannia can be cooked and eaten and may help reduce fever and clean blood. One of the most common ways to use rehmannia is to prepare it in a mixture of black beans and wine and then extract it into a powdered form which can be easily taken in water, smoothies or teas.

Do you grow rehmannia at home? Tell us about how you tend and use this powerful plant in the comments section below.


Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Make Your Own DIY Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

The fragrances you use around your home can have a distinct impact on your health, mood, and energy. Vibrant, citrusy scents and essential oils can be bright and uplifting, while calming smells like lavender can help you and your family settle off to sleep. For years, many of us have relied on brightly colored, mass-produced candles with names like “Tropical Island Paradise” or “Grandma’s Vanilla Cookies” or pricey reed diffusers to fill a room with fragrance. 

However, as it turns out, many of these commercial products contain more than just overpowering aromas. They usually contain harmful chemicals and toxins too! For instance, experts in air quality and environmental pollutants have shown that many scented candles are manufactured using harmful substances such as benzene and toluene. These chemicals could be damaging to lungs, brain and central nervous system.

Thankfully, Mother Earth has provided us with a number of ways to infuse our home with safe and natural smells. Some companies create candles from beeswax and soy, which are scented using only natural oils and ingredients. Diffusing essential oils is another simple way to fill your home with safe, holistic fragrances. To help you create ways to infuse your home with natural fragrances, we’ve put together a simple tutorial for a DIY essential oil reed diffuser. Keep reading to learn more!

What You’ll Need For Your DIY Essential Oil Reed Diffuser

      A tall, narrow glass jar such as a bottle or a vase. (Your local thrift store surely has many colorful and unique options.)
      Essential oil reeds or bamboo skewers with the pointy part cut off. (These are inexpensive and easy to come by online or at your local supermarket.)
      A few of your favorite essential oils or essential oil blends.
      ¼ cup of your favorite carrier oil. (Lighter oils have an easier time travelling up the reeds, so we suggest safflower oil or sweet almond oil for best results.)
      A funnel or small measuring cup with a pour spout.

Putting It Together

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to get started on this simple DIY reed diffuser.
      Start by ensuring your vase or bottle is clean, dry, and ready to use.
      Next, in a small bowl or measuring cup, mix your carrier oil and essential oils at a ratio of roughly 20 drops of essential oils to every ¼ cup of carrier oil.
      Carefully pour your mixture into your narrow vase or bottle, using a small funnel if available to ensure you don’t spill a drop.
      Add in your bamboo skewers or reed diffusing sticks to the vase and flip them every few hours as the oil travels up the reeds.
      Place your diffuser as an artful, functional decoration in your bedroom or living area.
      Anytime you need a refresh in scent, flip your reeds for a boost of all natural fragrance.

A Few Helpful Hints

This project makes a fantastic housewarming or hostess gift and can easily be replicated in any room of your home to spread around the gentle scent of essential oils. Be sure to keep your reed diffuser out of the reach of children and pets for their safety, as essential oils can be harmful when ingested or used incorrectly.

6 Essential Oil Blend Mixtures & Ideas

If you need a few essential oil blends, experiment with these ideas.

  1. Increase immunity with rosemary, clove, wild orange, cinnamon, and eucalyptus oils.
  2. For a fresh, floral scent try lavender, geranium, and Roman chamomile.
  3. Bring a sense of calm into the home by combining vetiver oil and cedarwood oil.
  4. For a bright and citrusy aroma, blend lemon oil, grapefruit oil, and wild orange oil.
  5. Decrease stress by blending frankincense oil and bergamot oil.
  6. Boost your morning energy by diffusing peppermint essential oil and wild orange oil.

For more reed diffuser ideas, check out The Prairie Homestead and Apartment Therapy.

How do you use essential oils around your home? Tell us about it the comments section below!


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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Get Allergy Relief with Nettle Leaf

With spring in full force and summer on the way, many people are in the middle of another season – allergy season. At best, allergies can be annoying and at worst, they can keep you trapped inside on sunny days, unable to enjoy the warm weather with your family and friends.

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who experiences allergies every year, nettle leaf may help! Known for many natural healing properties, nettle leaf has long been embraced for its ability to provide temporary relief from allergy symptoms. Keep reading to learn about the little plant that may make a big difference in fighting allergies this spring and summer.

What is Nettle Leaf?

Before they are broken down into a natural health supplement, nettle plants are those pesky plants that sting your legs as you walk by them on a hike through the woods. This herbaceous perennial is originally native to Europe, but is now prevalent throughout Asia, Africa, and North America as well. Used for thousands of years as a traditional medicinal herb, both the root and leaves of nettle plants are embraced for potential benefits related to everything from healthy pregnancies to joint mobility. Of course, nettle leaf is perhaps best known for its support in the relief of symptoms related to allergies.

How Can Nettle Leaf Help with Allergy Relief?

As you may already know, seasonal allergies are often a result of the body overreacting to its outside environment, causing the pathways in your immune system to become inflamed and blocked. Thanks to both the anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic properties of nettle leaf, this little plant can be a powerful supporter of your immune system in the middle of allergy season, helping your body find balance in its reaction to nature without going crazy.

Nettle leaf is also a great alternative to over-the-counter antihistamine medications. While these mainstream products are effective in helping you to stop sniffling and sneezing, chemicals that block the histamines that your body naturally creates in order to flush out an irritant could actually make you sicker. By switching your mainstream allergy drug with a natural nettle leaf supplement instead, you can let your body do what it needs to do in order to flush out irritants, while still experiencing temporary relief from allergy symptoms.

How Can You Use Nettle Leaf for Allergy Relief?

There are multiple ways that nettle leaf can be used to combat allergies. From teas to powders to tablets, nettle leaf makes it easy to get allergy relief naturally. Here are a few of our favorites.

Nettle Leaf Capsules

Perhaps the most common way to see the full benefits of nettle leaf for allergy relief is to take the same dose everyday in capsule or tablet form. Vegetarian and gluten-free Nettle Leaf capsules can be taken once or twice daily to promote natural levels of histamine and help your immune system balance its reaction to allergens.

Nettle Leaf Tea

If you’re looking for quick relief from allergy congestion and symptoms, nettle leaf tea is a great option. Dried nettle leaves and flowers make up teas like Nettle Leaf Organic Tea by Alvita Teas, providing a soothing tea and an effective natural combattant against allergies. And bonus – this tea supports joint health and mobility as well!

Nettle Leaf Extract

Nettle leaves and roots can also be turned into liquid extracts to support a healthy immune and respiratory system during allergy season. Simply mix 30-40 drops of an extract like Certified Organic Nettle Leaf from Gaia Herbs with water on a daily basis or as needed. The anti-allergen properties in the nettle lead will get to work and have you breathing easier in no time!

Are you ready to fight your seasonal allergies the natural way with nettle leaf? Take a look at all the amazing products available and Natural Healthy Concepts and let us know which nettle leaf supplement you choose!


Photo by Paul M on Unsplash