Wednesday, March 14, 2018

DIY Bladderwrack Seaweed Face Mask

From acne to aging, from dry skin to dermatitis, almost every person struggles with some form of skin annoyance. And as the first thing others often notice, skin issues are particularly challenging when they show up on your face. While some more serious issues require medication or topical creams, most people can keep their faces healthy looking with a regular routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and detoxifying facials once or twice a month.

But while there’s nothing quite like a rejuvenating and relaxing facial, sometimes that spa or salon treatment might cost more than you want to spend. That’s why a DIY bladderwrack seaweed face mask may be just the ticket for your body and your bank account!

Read on to learn about this powerful skin treatment and how you can give yourself an amazing facial right in the comfort of your own home.

What the Heck is Bladderwrack?

Contrary to what you may be thinking, bladderwrack has pretty much nothing to do with your bladder. In fact, this brown algae or seaweed, found mainly in cold water, has the potential to positively impact almost every part of your body except the bladder! Known scientifically as Fucus vesiculosus, its colloquial name comes from the small, air-filled pods that grow along the main stem (or thallus) of the plant and help it to stay afloat. The other part of its name (wrack) signifies something that is driven ashore.

Bladderwrack is most often found in the waters off the Northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the U.S. and on the Atlantic and Baltic coasts of Europe. Although it has been growing for thousands of years, its use in health and well-being is somewhat recent. While many of the potential health benefits of bladderwrack are still being discovered, its composition rich in minerals like iodine and magnesium has already made the plant an important element in the health of the body’s mineral levels, internal responses, and even the thyroid gland. Even more, this seaweed plant has fan-shaped leaves with a thin, leathery texture, perfect for face masks!

Potential Benefits of Bladderwrack for Your Skin … and Lots More!

High in minerals like iodine and vitamin C, bladderwrack is a powerful friend of the face. It nourishes the skin with macro-minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and copper, plus over 70 trace minerals like zinc, manganese and more. Bladderwrack also helps the skin by supporting the production and absorption of collagen, which gives skin strength and elasticity.

But before we get to the DIY bladderwrack face mask that may just change your life, it’s important to note a few additional bladderwrack benefits that have been explored in recent years. Made up of compounds that support the thyroid hormone and joint functionality and that fight free radicals to keep your immune system strong, bladderwrack seaweed has a positive impact on many of the body’s essential functions.

For example, one study found that the iodine derived from bladderwrack helped increase a thyroid stimulating hormone, while another found that it could help balance hormones and maintain a healthy monthly menstruation cycle for women. Bladderwrack has also been effective in studies surrounding improved antioxidant levels and their ability to protect cells from free radical damage, as well as in the creation of long chains of sugar molecules, which can support joint and cartilage health. Along with these benefits, bladderwrack has also been known to support liver health, energy levels, a balanced metabolism, and mineral levels.

DIY Bladderwrack Seaweed Face Mask

Now that you know all about bladderwrack and how it can keep your skin and your body looking and feeling healthy, here is not one, but TWO of our go-to home recipes for a refreshing bladderwrack seaweed face mask. Use these trusty DIY blueprints to rejuvenate your face and give it a salon facial glow that won’t break the bank!

Recipe 1: Using Bladderwrack Powder
*Adapted from Butter Nutrition.

      1 teaspoon bladderwrack powder
      1 teaspoon honey
      1/4 teaspoon water

  1. Combine bladderwrack powder and honey in a small dish.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon water in stages until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Pull your hair back to expose as much facial skin as possible and apply your bladderwrack face mask.
  4. Draw a nice hot bath – optional, but recommended for full relaxation!
  5. Allow your bladderwrack face mask to dry and remain on your skin for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Rinse with warm water and apply a gentle moisturizer like coconut oil.

Recipe 2: Using Dried Seaweed
*Adapted from Wellness Today.

      3-4 sheets dried bladderwrack seaweed
      Coffee grinder
      1-2 tablespoons water
      1 teaspoon aloe vera gel (optional, but great for skin irritation!)

  1. Break up the dried seaweed with your hands into small pieces.
  2. Place in coffee grinder and grind until you have about 1 tablespoon of powder.
  3. Place the seaweed powder into a small bowl and add water in stages until you have a thick, paste-like consistency.
  4. And aloe vera and stir to mix.
  5. Pull your hair back to expose as much facial skin as possible and apply your bladderwrack face mask.
  6. Allow your seaweed face mask to dry and remain on your skin for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Rinse with warm water and apply a gentle moisturizer like coconut oil.

Have you tried a bladderwrack seaweed face mask at home? Let us know what worked best for you by commenting below!


Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Breastfeeding Made Easy for New Moms Using Shatavari

Any new mom will tell you that breastfeeding can be one of the most intimate bonding experiences between a mother and her child. But they may also tell you that it can be one of the most difficult aspects of new motherhood. Challenges from latching to lactation can make breastfeeding especially hard for new moms and their newborns.

Known the world-over as the “queen of herbs,” shatavari belongs to the asparagus family and is best known for promoting women’s health, especially as it relates to reproductive health and hormone production. Shatavari can also be a big help for nursing mothers, as it helps with both the quality and quantity of milk production. Read on to learn more about this amazing herb and how it can help new moms make nursing easier.


The Origin of the Queen of Herbs

Although shatavari belongs to the asparagus family, in its natural state, it actually looks more like a pine tree. Its thin trunk and narrow branches often sprout green pine needles, white flowers and even dark berries throughout the year. And while the entirety of the shatavari plant can be used for medicinal purposes, it’s in the roots where the its true power is found. Shatavari plants produce more than 100 roots when they are fully grown, with each being about 3 feet long and looking like pale sweet potatoes. As the roots mature over time and grow deeper into soil, they absorb more nutrients that give shatavari its ancient healing properties.

Most often taken as a liquid or powder extract, shatavari roots are used mainly for female health, including lactation as noted above, as well as conception and reproduction. In fact, some translations say that shatavari means “she who possesses 100 husbands,” as a nod to the herb’s ability to rejuvenate libido and enhance fertility! But while this wonder herb is most often used to give women a boost, it also has a wide range of potential benefits for both women and men, including antioxidant support, brain and mood support, as well as gastrointestinal tract and digestive health support.

Shatavari and Ayurvedic Medicine

The shatavari herb has played a pivotal role in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Ayurvedic medicine is a 3,000-year-old medicinal practice that originated in India and continues to be used all over the world as one of the most popular forms of traditional medicine. The term “Ayurveda” combines the Sanskrit words for life (“ayur”) and science (“veda”), with key concepts of its medicinal practice including universal interconnectedness between humans, health and the universe, the body’s constitution called “prakriti” and life forces called “doshas.”

The doshas are where shatavari comes in. In Ayurvedic medicine, all living things contain space, air, fire, water, and earth, and these are the building blocks that correspond to three doshas: pitta, vata, and kapha. According to Ayurveda, the pitta dosha can influence an individual’s well-being – both in the moment and over the course of life – but it can also fluctuate in the face of multiple conditions such as weather, emotional state, and stress. If the pitta dosha is out of balance, shatavari may be an ideal herb to help bring it back in line with the four elements of space, air, water, and earth.

How Shatavari Can Help Nursing Moms

Now that you know a little bit about Ayurvedic medicine and shatavari’s role in this ancient medicinal practice, there are some pretty cool ways that this queen of herbs can help mothers who are breastfeeding. Shatavari works, not just to improve the amount of breast milk your body can produce, but also the quality of it. The herb is known to stimulate two key hormones in balanced lactation, called prolactin and corticoids. In fact, shatavari is considered so safe and effective that many pediatricians in India recommend the herb for nursing mothers.

A DIY Shatavari Recipe for Nursing Moms

Using shatavari to help with lactation and breastfeeding is pretty simple. Add the dry root to a cup of milk (dairy, almond, or whatever you like!) and heat for 10 minutes or until it reaches a temperature you like. Filter out the root and any residue and drink early in the morning to promote lactation. As a good rule of thumb, start with one or two small roots, then add additional roots over time until you find what works best for you.

In addition to this DIY shatavari recipe, there are also a host of shatavari supplements you can try. Whether you want a pill, a powder or a liquid, you can find the shatavari remedy that works best for you! 


Photo by Sean Roy on Unsplash