Artichoke leaf extract is derived from artichokes. This plant has been used for hundreds of years due to its medicinal properties. It has been linked to lower blood sugar levels as well as improved intestinal, heart, and liver health. In ancient Rome, it was used as a diuretic and digestive herb, as well as being used to stimulate an appetite.
Artichoke extract is packed full of vitamins and minerals. It offers vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as important minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, zinc, and manganese. Consuming this herbal supplement also offers the benefits of caffeoylquinic acid, cynarin, inulin, and luteolin.
Caffeoylquinic acid is an antioxidant that bonds with toxic compounds and lowers their toxicity
Cynarin is an antioxidant that stimulates bile production. This helps your gut absorb vitamins and digest fats from food.
Inulin is a prebiotic (benefits you by increasing the amount of beneficial microorganisms in your gut).
Luteolin is an antioxidant that can prevent inflammation and cancer.
Because of the components of artichoke leaf extract, it is very beneficial for your gut! While it doesn’t prove to be helpful in completely relieving the pain associated with indigestion, it has proven to be effective in improving the symptoms and quality of life. A study in which 247 people suffering from indigestion consumed this extract daily for six weeks showed that symptoms including flatulence and uncomfortable feeling of fullness were reduced. Artichoke leaf may also relieve bloating, nausea, and heartburn. Due to its concentration of cynarin, it is also effective in accelerating gut movements, fat digestion, and vitamin absorption. Because of the amount of inulin in the herbal extract, it is effective in balancing your gut flora. This just means that it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria while also inhibiting the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) should also know that artichoke leaf can offer effective relief from symptoms! One study concluded that 96% of participants rated the extract equally as effective, if not more effective, than other IBS treatments at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Can Improve Heart Health by lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Artichoke Leaf may reduce the total “bad” LDL cholesterol while also increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. It affects cholesterol in two different ways. First, luteolin is found in artichokes. It is an antioxidant responsible for preventing cholesterol formation in the first place. Next, the extract leads to lower overall levels of cholesterol due to the fact that it encourages your body to process cholesterol more efficiently!
High cholesterol levels can cause plaque formation in the arteries, which contributes to heart diseases. Remember cynarin? It is the antioxidant responsible for stimulating the production of bile. The body’s main method of eliminating cholesterol is through the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. In a study focusing on this fact, hamsters showed an increase in bile acid when given artichoke leaf, which could be a contributing factor in lowering their cholesterol levels. The antioxidant effects of the herb may also lower the amount of plaque in arteries by inhibiting LDL oxidation.
High blood pressure also contributes to heart disease. Artichoke leaf extract can increase the levels of an enzyme that produces nitric oxide which is responsible for widening blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure.
Because cynarin stimulates bile production, artichoke leaf extract can protect the liver by increasing bile production. This helps to remove dangerous toxins from the liver. Artichoke leaf extract reduced liver fat levels and liver damage in a clinical trial of 90 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver damage. In a separate trial conducted with 30 people, it reduced liver damage due to high blood cholesterol levels. There was also a study in which rats showed lowered DNA damage, more antioxidant enzymes, and higher glutathione levels (a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals).
Artichoke leaf extract also slows fungal activity. The extract actively inhibits eight different types of fungi, including those that cause thrush! In a different study, the extract proved to be helpful in fighting bacteria, including those that can cause food poisoning and diarrhea.
Artichoke Leaf Extract is a wonderful herb to have on hand if you ever suffer from any of these issues. As versatile as it is, please remember that:
Any information given through this platform is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical care or medical advice. Please do not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should always speak with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement.
OH, Sunscreen. The summer item deemed essential by every governing health official under the sun. It is an item we quickly grab off the shelf after skimming which one has the highest SPF coverage. We pat ourselves on the back if it has some kind of “natural” component added to the title. Then we slather it onto our skin and our children’s skin and rush out to play in community pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
The sad truth is that many drugstore sunscreens contain harmful ingredients. These ingredients are not only hazardous for our health, but they also harm marine health as well. I don’t know about you, but I would love for my children and grandchildren and GREAT grandchildren to live in a world with abundant marine life.
Conventional sunscreens contain toxic chemicals including:
Whew. Hefty list, right? Let’s break this down a little bit.
Oxybenzone forms colorless, soluble crystals and is used as an ingredient in sunscreen as well as other cosmetics because it absorbs UV-A ultraviolet rays. Sounds helpful, doesn’t it? What manufacturers don’t tell you is that oxybenzone is also known to exacerbate skin issues and can cause skin allergies. The EWG states that oxybenzone is clearly a photo allergen, meaning that it can cause your immune system to attack sun exposed areas. On top of that, studies done on both animal and human cells show that this ingredient can be a hormone disruptor. While this ingredient is potentially dangerous to us, it is also suggested that it may be hazardous to coral reefs. So much so, that Hawaii has actually banned the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone beginning in 2021.
Avobenzone is used in conventional sunscreens to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays, and on it’s own, it really isn’t that harmful. The problem is that it also isn’t really effective on its own, as it breaks down when it is exposed to sunlight and only offers about 30 minutes of protection. That is, of course, unless it is paired with a not-so-safe chemical (like octocrylene) to make it work for a longer period of time. Think of Avobenzone as a “gateway” chemical if you will. The use of it leads to more chemicals that cause more harm than good.
While we are on the topic of avobenzone, let’s chat about octocrylene! Octocrylene is a known endocrine disruptor that helps to stabilize avobenzone. It also releases free radicals. According to this study, more free radicals were present when using octocrylene than skin exposed to the sun with no sunscreen at all. It is also important to note that free radicals can damage skin cells and increase the risk for cancer and other health issues.
Homosalate is used in 45% of U.S. sunscreens as a chemical UV filter, absorbing UVB rays specifically. It is a concerning ingredient because it is known to disrupt the estrogen system in particular. In human breast cancer cells, exposure to this chemical multiplied cell growth 3.5 times. Homosalate also affects the androgen and progesterone systems. It is absorbed by the outer layer of the skin, and is easily transmitted during gestation and infancy due to the mother’s exposure to the chemical. According to one study, 85.2% of breastmilk samples from 54 women contained UV filters. Homosalate also increases the amount of pesticides we absorb through our skin, which is concerning considering sunscreen and bug spray tend to go hand-in-hand this time of year.
We have heard over and over again that parabens are bad for us. They are what manufacturers use in their products to preserve them and fight against bacteria. Parabens are harmful in that they have the ability to mimic estrogen. These potential hormone disruptors have been found to weakly bind to estrogen receptors. In addition to this, parabens can block androgens (like testosterone) and inhibit the enzymes that metabolize estrogen. Applying products containing parabens (especially methylparaben) can lead to UV-induced damage of skin cells and the disruption of the rate at which cells grow. Methylparaben in particular can accumulate with daily application because it cannot be completely metabolized. Some parabens can also be harmful for men, as studies have found that the chemical can reduce sperm production as well as lead to reduced testosterone levels.
Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone that is regularly used in cosmetic products. It gives that silky, slippery feeling when applied to the skin and hair which allows the product to spread more easily. This ingredient is cheaper compared to similar chemicals, which is why it is favored by manufacturers regardless of its safety for humans or the environment. Great, right? While there is minimal risk for human use (it may be a hormone disruptor in higher concentrations, and most products contain lower concentrations of this chemical), it does wash off very easily, causing it to accumulate in some aquatic animals.
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical that is actually recommended by the FDA to not be used in the home as it can encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It has also been used as a pesticide since 1969. Even low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. It is also linked to liver toxicity. While it is not cancerous per se, recent studies have shown it to promote the growth of a tumor in the presence of a carcinogen in mice. According to the EWG, wastewater treatment doesn’t even remove all of this chemical, meaning it ends up in our water sources and accumulates in fatty tissues of our aquatic life.
Formaldehyde is used to preserve bodies in funeral homes, so it makes sense that it is also present in sunscreens (and other cosmetics as well), right? According to safecosmetics.org, “Formaldehyde is considered a known human carcinogen by many expert and government bodies, including the United States National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.” A study conducted in 2014 found that this chemical initiates and promotes tumor formation. The use of formaldehyde in cosmetics has been correlated with allergic skin reactions and rashes. So much so, that in 2015, it was actually qualified as the American Contact Dermatitis Society Contact Allergen of the Year! A sensitivity to this ingredient can develop over time after repeated exposures. When reading labels, you have to look out for other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin, as these are just as dangerous.
This chemical is an antimicrobial and a preservative used in both personal care items as well as cleaning products. While formaldehyde had to wait until 2015 to claim its title as Allergen of the Year, MIT claimed it in 2013. This chemical is known to cause skin sensitization. In high doses, rats were revealed after autopsy to have died from reddened lungs and swollen intestines due to the exposure.
Using any product with microbeads is harmful for the environment (and yourself!) While microbeads do exfoliate your skin, they actually do more harm than good. Instead of only removing the dead skin from your face, they actually create small tears in your skin, leaving it more susceptible to bacteria. These plastic beads are then washed down the drain and end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Once in the water, they can damage the health of marine life, hurt our environment, and create more health risks for humans. This is due to their composition, their ability to absorb toxins, and their potential to travel up the marine food chain.
According to the EWG and the European Commission of Endocrine Disruption, there is strong evidence that octinoxate is a human endocrine disruptor. They also state that it can significantly disrupt wildlife and the environment. This study shows that octinoxate produces damaging reactive oxygen species when exposed to sunlight. Which is ironic. Considering it is commonly used in sunscreens..
Unfortunately in the U.S. manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of synthetic chemicals by using the umbrella term, “fragrance”. They do not have to disclose those ingredients, meaning we have no idea what we are being exposed to on a daily basis. According to the EWG, more than 75% of products using the ingredient “fragrance” contain phthalates. Phthalates have shown to affect hormone activity, lower sperm counts, cause reproductive malformation, and have been linked to many different forms of cancer.
This form of Vitamin A, according to a study conducted in 2012, may speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight. While taken internally, it can actually reduce the risk of certain skin cancers, the same is not true when used topically. Officials in Germany and Norway have cautioned that It can spur excess skin growth, and form free radicals that can damage skin cells.
4-MBC has strong evidence against it as being a human endocrine disruptor according to the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption. It delays male puberty and changes hormone receptor expression in the prostate of rats. It has also been found to persistently accumulate in wildlife, and it is suspected to accumulate in humans. In one study, 78.8% of women reported using products with UV filters, and 76.5% of breast milk samples contained these filters.
So why not be intentional about the things that go onto and into our bodies? Take the time to look for a sunscreen that takes our health and the health of our planet seriously. Your skin, your body, and the earth will thank you for choosing to be intentional about what chemicals you expose yourself and others to. Be mindful this summer. Cover up when you can, go out in shorter intervals, and choose a quality sunscreen! Enjoy yourselves, and, most importantly, enjoy the benefits of being outside!
With Covid19 running rampant through our community, we just want to reach out and encourage you by saying whatever you are going through will not last. Our jobs may be on the line or lost completely, our families may be struggling after being confined in our homes for weeks on end, and the stores may not have every single thing we think we need. BUT we want to encourage you that this is only temporary.
In Psalm 30:5 we read that “His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may endure for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” How blessed are we to live in a time where what the Enemy meant for evil has brought up new job opportunities, has brought families closer together, and has taught us what we actually need to live healthy lives. Joy is coming. Breakthrough is coming! It is up to us to take our health into our own hands, and begin to understand what makes us so susceptible to illnesses.
Did you know that stress directly affects the immune system? When we are stressed, our body’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. The stress hormone corticosteroid suppresses our immune system by lowering the number of lymphocytes, which are needed to fend off illnesses. The way we cope with stress also greatly determines how our bodies will be able to defend itself.
Alcohol sales have skyrocketed since the beginning of the outbreak. Alcohol can damage the immune system cells responsible for clearing viral particles from the lungs, making you more susceptible to illnesses like Covid19. It also kills the good gut flora responsible for promoting overall health as well as reducing your risk of infection.
If we instead focus on how we can manage stress while supporting our immune system, Covid19 will not have such a strong grip on our community. Using essential oils to keep your stress levels at bay is simple and very effective! It can be as easy as placing calming oils directly onto your palms and inhaling their scent, or it can be as elaborate as creating blends, making relaxing bath salts, or scenting your own candles.
Using Essential Oils to Manage Stress
Energizing oil blends can help to alleviate stress symptoms by boosting your mood, inciting creativity, and improving metabolic functions. These oils include:
Using more grounding oils can have lasting benefits and can help to create a calm atmosphere amidst the chaos.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil can help to slow your heart rate and induce feelings of comfort, happiness, and peace.
Chamomile Essential Oil has antidepressant properties that help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
Clary Sage Essential Oil is known for its balancing, uplifting, and euphoric scent. It can be used to calm your nerves and relieve hypertension. This oil also has mild sedative properties to encourage a sense of calmness.
*Clary sage can stimulate contractions in pregnant women*
Patchouli Essential Oil has a rich, earthy smell that is known for its grounding, balancing, and calming effects. It can be used to reduce depression, relieve anxiety, and lessen stress symptoms. It also acts as a mild sedative.
Geranium Essential Oil can help to calm the mind and body. Its scent makes a wonderful perfume that also encourages positive emotions while serving as a natural sedative.
Sandalwood Essential Oil is well known for its centering and grounding effects. It encourages your body to remain in the restorative sleep phase longer. Getting quality sleep each night lessens your risk of stress-induced problems.
Bergamot Essential Oil can help to relieve depression, lower blood pressure, and can help with symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Lavender Essential Oil is well known for its calming and relaxing effects. It's ideal for adults and children and can be applied topically or diffused in the air.
Pine Essential Oil’s scent also encourages fortitude and strength. In times of over-work, stress, or disconnection from nature, pine’s aroma can be grounding and reconnect us to the natural world.
Rose Absolute Essential Oil has a rich and long-lasting scent that, when diffused, will create a stabilizing atmosphere during times of stress, anxiety and grief. It can help to relieve depression symptoms by triggering your brain to release those wonderful feel-good hormones!
Our favorite Recipes:
Lavender and Geranium Room Spray:
1. In a bottle, combine essential oils.
2. Top off with water, replace lid and shake until well blended.
3. To use, shake the bottle and mist the airspace.
Geranium Rose Bath Salts:
1. In a mixing bowl, toss together Himalayan pink salt and crush rose petals.
2. Sprinkle mixture with oils and mix until well blended and salt granules are well saturated with aroma.
3. Transfer to the wide mouth jar.
4. To use, dissolve 1 to 3 tablespoons in a warm bath.
Cedarwood Rose Roll-on Perfume:
1. In your roll-on bottle, measure essential oils, top off with jojoba oil, replace cap and shake until well blended.
2. To use, anoint pulse points with 2 to 3 swipes of perfume oil.
Roll-on Temple Massage with Clary Sage:
1. In a bottle, combine essential oils.
2. Top off with grapeseed oil, replace the lid and shake until well blended.
3. To use, shake the bottle and gently roll onto temples.
Sandalwood Lemon Essential Oil Diffusion
1. In diffuser, combine essential oils.
2. Operate the diffuser according to directions.
3. Refresh with additional oils whenever needed.
If you are just beginning your journey with essential oils, lavender is the perfect oil to start with! It is considered to be one of the safest oils for both children and adults. It is easily paired with other oils to create beautiful, floral scents as well as promoting mental clarity and relaxation. Lavender is also effective in reducing skin irritations, reducing fevers, and it aids in a restful night's sleep.
Lavender essential oil is considered to be one of the most versatile essential oils that you can buy. The use of lavender essential oil dates back 2500 years. The ancient Egyptians used the oil for mummification and perfume while the Romans used it to cook, as well as to scent their soaps and soothe their skin. They also recognized it for its antiseptic and medicinal properties. It is referenced Biblically as a holy herb and was used in temples.
Aura Cacia prides themselves with the purity and quality of their essential oils. Their lavender essential oil is sustainably sourced from Bulgaria and harvested annually from the flowers, leaves, and stems of new growth.
Homemade Laundry Powder
Using a box grater, grate the Castile soap bar into a medium coarse crumb. In a bowl, thoroughly mix the grated soap and all the ingredients until a damp powder forms.
Use 2 tablespoons for a small load of laundry, 4 tablespoons for medium, and 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) for large.
Store in an airtight glass or plastic container.
Castor oil heat pack
In a small bowl, combine castor oil and essential oils. Drizzle the mixture onto a washcloth, and fold a flannel cloth (about 1’X2’) around your washcloth. Place on the afflicted body part, cover with a heating pad, and let sit for about 30 minutes.
*spot-test on an inconspicuous area to ensure the product does not irritate the skin BEFORE use
Rosehip Lavender Face Mist
Measure all ingredients into a spray mist bottle, replace cap and shake vigorously until well blended.
To use, apply 1 to 3 sprays to the face and neck, smoothing into surface with fingertips.
*Avoid contact with eyes
Lavender Geranium Bath and Body Oil
Measure sweet almond oil into the bottle. Add essential oils, replace the lid, and shake until the contents are well blended. Use up to 1 ounce in bath water or massage into clean skin after bathing or showering.
Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oil Cleaning Spray
In a bottle, combine soap and essential oils. Top with water, replace the lid and shake until well blended.
Lemon Lavender Hand Cream
Combine beeswax and sweet almond oil in a double boiler. Heat just until melted. Dissolve borax in water, and add the water mixture to a blender. Turn the blender on and stream in the wax and oil mixture. Continue to blend until the cream begins to thicken and takes on a hazy appearance. Add essential oils and resume whisking until cream is thick. Transfer to resealable container.
*Test on a small area before general use, and do not use on broken skin. Discontinue use if irritation occurs
While, generally speaking, lavender essential oil is a safe essential oil, always dilute with a carrier oil and test skin for sensitivity. Discontinue use if skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, or headache occur after using lavender essential oil.
If pregnant, nursing, or taking any medications, consult a healthcare professional before use.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. THis product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Nature knows how to take care of you. And when your body is craving vitamins, supplements, and health support from earth-true resources, you can count on Natural Foods & Supplements of Kearney to have the products and tools you need. Our broad selections of supplements, essential oils, and effective probiotics make it easy to fill your body with goodness. And our holistic offerings like Zaza Boo cosmetics and Himalayan Salt lamps support your wellness from the outside in. Plus, our caring staff is always here to help you find exactly what you're looking for among our variety of offerings. Give your body the tools for wellness and healing, and let nature do the rest.