Category: Cleansing

Lacking Energy? Try Herbal Tonics

Herbal Tonics are a form of preventative medicine. Tonics are a class of herbs that strengthen the body by supporting its natural defences and promoting stamina. Nourishing and health building, Herbal Tonics build wellness over time and promote your most vibrant state of being.

Based on the idea of building health and not just curing illness and disease, Herbal Tonics support overall well-being and vitality, while encouraging healthy aging. According to Medicinal Herbalists, the bitter taste of Tonics stimulate enzyme production by the liver. Enzymes assist us with absorbing food and offer us more nutrients to help us fight infection.

There are many different types of herbal tonics on the market today. Tonics promoting energy, immunity, and joy are among those you may come across.

Energy Tonics often consist of a blend of the most commonly used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the draining effects of stress. Benefits include:

  • Boost energy
  • Support athletic performance
  • Push back fatigue
  • Promotes mental alertness
  • Help maintain emotional balance while under stress

Immunity Tonics are a blend of immune-toning herbs and medicinal mushrooms.  They help to restore your immune system to a healthy, balanced state. Daily use will help build and maintain radiant health. Benefits include:

  • Promote overall wellness
  • Prime immune function
  • Support a healthy, balanced allergic response
  • Tone & build Chi
  • Support body’s natural defences
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Source:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Joy Tonics are a combination of aromatic herbs and flowers that help you through life with fluency and ease. Joy Tonics minimise tension in our nervous system, internal organs, and blood vessels. Benefits include:

  • Promote joyful spirit
  • Enliven the heart
  • Lessen occasional sleeplessness
  • Relieve occasional stress
  • Ease tension in the body
  • Calm during times of grief, transition, loss

Adding a drop of Joy Tonic into sparkling water will help to volatilize the aromatics in the blend, and dilute the taste of the alcohol.

Visit our store to view our range of Certified Organic Herbal Tonics by Urban Moonshine. Zebra Organics supports Urban Moonshine’s mission to reignite interest in and restore the use of Herbal Tonics in modern times. Take Herbal Tonics daily on a regular basis for best results. We encourage you to embrace tonics as a part of a regular regime to build radiant health. To learn more about the Energy Tonics, watch this video by Urban Moonshine:

5 Tips for Natural Skin Care

The skin is our largest organ and it’s important to care for it. Who doesn’t want a radiant complexion? When it comes to skin care, take the same approach as you would for your diet. The products you apply to your body are like edible treats for the skin. Fresh, natural, minimally processed ingredients will have a better impact on your body than processed, unnatural products.

What we apply to our skin is absorbed by the body and when we use products that contain harmful artificial ingredients, the body and immune system is burdened unnecessarily by a detoxification processes. Some chemicals remain in the body for many months or sometimes years before they are completely removed. Here are 5 things you need to know about natural skin care.

 

1. Simple is best

If a product contains a super long ingredient list, chances are it only contains small amounts of each ingredient. Even if they have great properties, minuscule amounts won’t work as well as larger quantities. When it comes to choosing a product, the fewer ingredients, the better.

 

2. Look for natural products

Ingredients in natural and organic products are pure, as they originate from nature. This means there’s a reduced risk of your skin reacting negatively and suffering from skin irritations or allergies.

Natural or organic products are significantly less, or completely free of, potentially toxic ingredients that may harm you or the environment. They do not contain artificial colours and fragrances, and their colour and aroma originates from natural sources such as coconut oil, mango, lemon or mandarin oils.

Unfortunately the USDA does not regulate the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ when it comes to skin care. If a product is associated with these terms, study the ingredient list. Is this list long? Are natural ingredients that you recognise at the start of the list? The David Suzuki Foundation has a great list of 12 chemicals linked to health and environmental concerns, from cancer and reproductive disorders, to asthma and severe allergies. Check the ingredient list and be sure to avoid products that contain these ingredients.

Our recommendation: Sea Chi Organics‘ team of herbalists and aromatherapists handcraft  skin care products using organic raw materials. They offer a ton of botanical products, from body oils and washes, to peppermint shampoo. Soignée Botanicals is another great all-natural brand.

 

3. Explore the values of the skin care company

A skincare company’s philosophy and values can help guide you towards healthy skin care products. Check out their website: is it committed to reducing environmental impact? Does it test on animals?

Juniper Ridge is a great example of a company that utilises sustainable harvesting practices to wildcraft their products. They’re also the only US company to donate 10% of their profits to wilderness conservation groups each year.

Image_Juniper Natural

4. Say No to Fragrance

According to a study by Environmental Defence Canada 17 brand name fragrances (some of them big names that you’ll recognise) were found to contain sensitising chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions. Canadian and American fragrance manufacturers don’t have to test their personal care products for safety. The report says;

“People using perfume, cologne, body spray and other scented cosmetics, such as lotion and aftershave, are unknowingly exposed to chemicals that may increase their risk for certain health problems.”

The reports notes that fragrance is considered among the top 5 allergens in North America and European countries and is linked to an array of skin, eye and respiratory reactions. Be mindful of the health effects products that list ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on ingredients labels can pose.
Here’s a great video that features Dr. Anne Steinemann of the University of Washington, discussing toxic chemicals that are released by laundry products, air fresheners, cleaners, lotions and other fragranced consumer products.

5. Follow a healthy lifestyle

A good diet and exercise regimen will support healthy, glowing skin. Eat a balanced diet that’s abundant in fresh, nutritious foods drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help flush toxins out of the body.

More and more of us are starting to catch onto the benefits of organic products. According to Transparency Market Research the global organic personal care products market is growing at 9.3% between 2014-2020. It’s market value in the United States is expected to almost double from 2013 to 2020.

DIY natural skin care treatments

You can’t go past making your own skin care treatments to know exactly what’s in them. Coconut Oil has been shown to be great for the skin.You can rub it on your skin as a moisturiser to prevent dryness. Check out our blog post Health Benefits of Coconut Oil. Honey mixed with coconut oil make for a good facial cleanser that’s easily spreadable and helps unclog pores. Rinse with warm water.

Keep these tips in mind to care for your skin and care for your body.

Health Lessons From International Cuisines – China

This is our second post of a series that shares some of the most beneficial and interesting elements of food cultures from different countries around the world. Learn health lessons from international cuisines to enrich your health and wellbeing.  For this post our focus is China.

 

Use chopsticks

Much like the Japanese, Chinese traditionally eat with chopsticks, which can help slow down eating speed. The benefits of this have been observed in a study by The American Journal of Clinic Nutrition. Research on eating rates demonstrated that those eating faster ate more than those eating slower and that “up to three and a half hours after the meal, there was no difference in hunger between those eating speedy or slow.”

If you’re looking to cut calories without being hungry, eating slower may help. This may assist those seeking to maintain a healthy weight and this is crucial to reducing risk of cancer, given that obesity and overweight are linked to the increased risk of various cancers. A Japanese study also supports this; revealing that people that eat faster increase the likelihood for cardiovascular disease.

Using chopsticks is only one way to slow down your eating. Other strategies include chewing slower and conversing between bites.

 

Use garlic in cooking

Rich in allicin, garlic is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine and is also used for medicinal purposes. Allicin contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties and can assist in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and preventing blood clots.

 

Drink Green Tea 

Rich in antioxidants, green tea is a common Chinese beverage that counteracts cell damage as you age. More powerful than vitamins C and E, catechins in green tea are capable of halting oxidative damage to cells.

According to a study of over 40,000 Japanese adults, participants that drank more than five cups of green tea per day reduced their risk of death from a heart attack or stroke by 26 per cent and lowered their risk of death from all causes by 16 per cent, compared to people who drank less than one cup of green tea per day. Clinical trails revealed that green tea substantially lowered LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Green tea is high in flavanoids, which are essentially plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. Zebra Organics offers yerba mate, a tea that originates from Argentina, which contains nearly twice that amount of antioxidants than green tea.

Harvard Medical School advises on drinking three cups of green tea per day and allowing it to steep for three to five minutes. Drinking freshly brewed tea brings out its catechins and and other flavonoids. Bottled teas will contain less of these beneficial compounds.

 

Minimize Cooking of Vegetables

Traditional Chinese cooking practises include deep-frying foods, which tend to be high in calories. Many restaurants and chefs prepare fried foods using artificial oils that contain trans fats. Nutrients are heat sensitive and the longer you cook food, the more that will be destroyed by heat. Cooking on high heat for a short time or low heat for a longer amount of time can help preserve the nutrients in vegetables. Lighter cooking alternatives to deep-frying include steaming and stir-frying.

 

Avoid MSG

MSG is a common ingredient in cooking in villages in northern and southern China and it has been linked to numerous negative health effects, including headaches and numbness in certain people.

Flavour enhancer and food additive Monosodium Glutamate may increase likelihood of becoming overweight, according to a 2008 study in the journal Obesity. Although the research lacks a clear cause and effect, lead author Dr. Ka He told the New York Times that the question is whether it is healthy. He explains, “MSG is not toxic” and “this study is a warning that we should be cautious.”

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy learning about how the Japanese culture can enrich your health and wellbeing.

Health Lessons From International Cuisines – Japan

What is it about the Japanese or Indian diet that keeps obesity rates under five per cent? Why do some cultures excel in longevity? Learn Health Lessons From International Cuisines to enrich your health and wellbeing.

This is our first post of a series that shares some of the most beneficial and interesting elements of food cultures from different countries around the world. This post’s focus is Japan.

The Japanese have cultivated a rich, diverse food culture during the course of its long history. Encompassing not only seasonal ingredients and various cooking techniques, Japan’s food culture comprises of tableware and furnishings, architecture and an aesthetic and spiritual nature that’s encapsulated by the tea ceremony.

The core of Japanese cuisine

The cultivation and consumption of rice has been a long-running tradition in Japanese food culture for more than 2,000 years. Today rice served with seasonal vegetables, tofu and fish remains at the core of native Japanese cuisine.

Japanese take great pride in their seafood, as an island nation and serve up an array dishes with of fish, squid, octopus, eel and shellfish. Japan’s higher fish consumption compared to that of western countries is arguably a major contributing factor to the country’s low rate of heart disease.

While fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, be mindful that fish such as tuna, king mackerel and swordfish consist of the heavy metal mercury, which can cause nervous system damage. Fish consumption is a controversial issue, with bluefin tuna being driven close to extinction.

While milk is not typically a part of the Japanese diet, calcium is sourced from animal bones that flavour soup.

Multi-course dinners are a tradition in Japan. Foods such as sliced raw fish, soup, grilled food and salad-like foods are served first, followed by miso soup, rice, sweets and fruit. Tea concludes the meal.

Although you may think multi-course dinners mean more food, this is not necessarily the case. Portion sizes are small and this style of dinner draws out the meal time, giving your stomach more time to alert your brain that it is full.

Small portion sizes

As is done in most of Asia, the Japanese eat using chopsticks rather than a fork or spoon. Taking smaller bites when using chopsticks, promotes digestion. The Japanese also serve their meals on multiple small plates, to keep flavours isolated. This often results in reduced portions and helps control calorie intake.

The Japanese follow a philosophy called hara hachi bunme, which involves stopping eating when you are 80 per cent full.

“Eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man; the other two sustain the doctor” – Yasutani

Emphasis on food’s appearance 

The Japanese have a reputation for creating visually appealing dishes. They serve up works of art; small, colourful visually appealing portions that tend to consist of an array of vibrant vegetables. Enhancing the appearance of foods creates a greater sense of appreciation. This may inspire you to consider everything you put in your mouth as a source of nourishment for your body.

Use of seasonal ingredients

Japan have long celebrated seasonality with rice planting and harvest festivals. The Japanese even have a word to describe seasonal food at its peak, shun. Bamboo shoots are commonly used for cooking in spring, while eggplant in summer and chestnuts in fall. Anticipating seasonal ingredients enhances the excitement of the upcoming season. Eating seasonally is a trend that is growing in the United States. For more information on which ingredients are season, see this info graphic.

The growing trend of the importance of a healthy diet spurred a Japanese food boom overseas and led to the growth of Japanese restaurants in major cities around the world that serve sushi and tempura.