Monday, April 22, 2013

Dandruff Remedy: Tea Tree Oil vs Head & Shoulders

A month and a half ago my husband and I were presented with a rare opportunity. Somehow we both ended up with dandruff at the same time, so I knew it was the perfect opportunity to test my herbal remedy against his traditional one. After doing a little research, he decided to go with Head & Shoulders, while I decided to use Tea Tree Oil. We both shower once a day, so we each used our own cures once a day. Here's the results:

Ease Of Use: 
My husband definitely won this one. All he has to do is pour a little shampoo in his hand, massage it into his hair and rinse it out. But me? Before I shower, I pour a bit of my shampoo into a little cup and use a toothpick to stir in 4 drops of tea tree oil. Then when I'm in the shower, I scoop it into my hand, massage it in my hair, and then wait 5 minutes before rinsing it out.

Two ounces of Tea Tree Oil cost me $8. I use 4 drops a day. After 45 days, I still have 3/4 of the bottle left.  A 14 oz bottle of Head & Shoulders cost us $5. He goes through a bottle every 3 weeks. We just bought his third bottle, which brings his total so far to $15 (yikes!).

Immediate Results:
To be honest, there were no immediate results with the Head & Shoulders. A week after he started using it, my husband still had the same amount of dandruff as before. Plus he said his hair was really hard to brush. Even though he bought shampoo plus conditioner (2 in 1), he still had to use conditioner in order to brush his hair.
My Tea Tree Oil was a different story. First off, let me tell you how amazing it feels when I massage the oil laced shampoo into my hair and scalp. It's amazing! After a minute or so, my scalp feels all cool and tingly (and that feeling lasts even after I rinse it out). I love it! Plus I started to see results after just 3 days. Yep, after 3 days, I actually had to search to find the dandruff flakes.

Long Term Results:
Like I said, it's been 45 days and for the last 30 of them, I've been completely dandruff free. Two weeks ago, I started only using the oil every other day and still, no dandruff. So I guess you could call it a complete success. My husband, on the other hand, isn't as happy with his results. After 45 days of using Head & Shoulders, he still has dandruff. While it's not as bad as it was, you can still see the flakes.

So I hope you don't mind if I end this post with a little "Yay for herbs!" happy dance!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Herbs for a gum infection

Once again, I'm dealing with a gum infection. It hurts all the time and it leaves a funny taste in my mouth. Usually I just use Echinacea but this time I'm using a combination of Echinacea and Licorice. I'm drinking a cup of Echinacea tea (recipe found here) every 8 hours. And yesterday I made some Licorice Lozenges (recipe found here) to place directly on the sore.

For some pain relief, I tried something I've never done before. I took a little crushed dried licorice root and added just enough water to cover it. I boiled it and when the water was almost gone, I added a little more. I did this for about 30 minutes, adding water 6 or 7 times. When the juice turned thick and dark brown, I strained out the licorice pieces. Then I soaked one end of a cu-tip and applied it directly to the sore. The relief was immediate and intense. I was even able to eat without wincing. This is definitely a recipe I'm going to try again in the future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hibiscus vs. Hawthorne for High Blood Pressure

Something strange happened the other day. My Mother-in-Law, Patsy, came to me and asked if there was an herb that could lower her high blood pressure. Apparently, she's scared that if she starts taking a prescription blood pressure medication, she'll never be able to stop. After getting over my shock, I agreed to lend her a hand.

We discussed 2 different herbs that help lower blood pressure, Hawthorne and Hibiscus. At first I was leaning towards Hawthorne because it's the first herb that comes to any herbalists mind for high blood pressure. It's been proven effective in numerous studies and it has a very few side effects. Unfortunately, it tastes horrible and I was worried that the bitter taste would keep Patsy from using it effectively.

So, we decided to go with Hibiscus. In 2004, a study compared the effects of drinking 2 cups of Hibiscus tea a day for 2 months to the effects of taking a prescription blood pressure medication for 2 months. At the end, both groups had very similar results. That was enough to convince Patsy to give it a try. I made her some tea the next day and even I was surprised at how delicious it is! Here's the recipe:

Hibiscus Tea
6 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp dried Hibiscus
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 orange, unpeeled and cut into rings
1 lemon, unpeeled and cut into rings

1. Boil water and remove from heat. Add Hibiscus and cinnamon. Cover.
2. Let steep for exactly 15 minutes. Set a timer because at 20 minutes, your tea will turn bitter.
3. Strain tea. Use something like a coffee filter to strain the cinnamon out.
4. Add sugar, honey, orange and lemon rings.
5. Refrigerate and serve cold.

She started drinking it 3 days ago and I think she's going to stick with it. We won't know if it's working for a couple months, but I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Licorice Root: Healer or Harmer?

Licorice Root is a very powerful herb. It's ability to heal illness has been well documented in almost 200 clinical trials. Although it's commonly used to treat everyday ailments, licorice root has also been found to help major illnesses like cancer and HIV. Most studies show that it heals better than the pharmaceutical drugs because in most cases, it only affects what it's treating. For example: Chemotherapy kills everything in it's path. But the polyphenols in licorice root have the ability to kill cancer cells without having any negative affect on the bodies healthy cells.

But power isn't always a good thing. Licorice root has just as much ability to harm as it does to heal. Glycyrrhizin is the active compound responsible for a lot of the healing abilities in licorice root. But ingesting too much of it can cause major health problems ranging from fatigue to death. Here are almost 200 documented cases of death and other adverse affects of licorice root.

Because glycyrrhizin is the only compound in licorice root that causes these side effects, doctors figured out how to remove it. DGL, short for deglycyrrhizinated licorice, can be used without fear of causing additional health problems. But it won't treat as many ailments as whole licorice root. For instance, DGL is almost useless in treating hepatitis, herpes, arthritis, fibromylagia and asthma because they all require the anti-inflammatory properties from the glycyrrihizin. In those cases, ingesting less than 500 mg of glycyrrihizin a day lessens the chance of unwanted side effects.

In conclusion, as long as you're careful about the amount and type you use, licorice root will be a powerful and effective healer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Many people think the benefits of Echinacea are limited to helping out with a cold. But that's just not true. Echinacea purpurea is actually a very effective herb for many other ailments, especially for fighting against infections and boosting your immunity.

Drinking echinacea tea daily can actually help your body build up it's own defenses so it can fight off more types of infections. Echinacea can even be made into a poultice and placed directly on burns, cuts and scrapes. This will keep your wound from getting infected while encouraging your skin cells to heal faster. Faster healing means less chance of scarring. Seriously, echinacea is an amazing herb.

Natural Remedies using Echinacea  has a wealth  of information concerning the many benefits of echinacea. Benefits, side effects, dosage, recipes and even facts about studies being done on echinacea. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cooking with Essential Oils

I don't use herbs and essential oils exclusively for herbal remedies. I also like to use them to cook! Just using a few drops of the right essential oils can add an enticing flavor, an intoxicating scent and romantic overtones to your meal.

There are certain essential oils that have the power to invoke feelings of passion and romance. Rose oil, ylang-ylang oil, jasmine oil and geranium oil are the ones I use the most because  they're readily available and they also work wonders.

These oils rely on one things to work their magic: Aromatherapy. You see, fragrance and the sense of smell cause a quicker reaction in the brain than anything else. So when you infuse a box of chocolates with ylang-ylang, the first thing that's going to hit their brain when they open it is the aphrodisiac aroma.

I like to focus on desserts when adding essential oils. Since the oils have more power when they aren't cooked, they work best as icings and other toppings. This isn't to say that they don't work if you cook them. It's just that their aroma and taste are reduced.

I've gathered up some of my favorite dessert recipes using essential oils to add romance to your meal. Take a look and try a few out. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Herbs for cancer treatment

I don't understand why there isn't more research being done on treating cancer with herbs. There has been study after study that's shown that certain herbs can shrink tumors, stop cancer cell growth, and even kill cancer cells. But it seems like every time they reach that conclusion, they stop researching. Keep going!

I have a 7 year old niece that has multiple tumors growing in her heart and brain. Conventional medicine hasn't helped. Maybe herbs could. I mean, just look at this list!

Black Cohosh
Cascarsa Sagrada



Celery Seed




Red Clover

Every single one of these herbs has been shown to have some kind of tumor shrinking or cancer fighting abilities. Any one of them could potentially be "the cure". But, until someone figures out that these herbs are killing cancer cells because they are meant to kill cancer, we'll just have to sit around and watch more people die.

Sorry. I didn't mean to go on a rampage, but......