NATURES BEAUTY - CRANBERRIES

What would our Thanksgiving Day feasts be without cranberries? This staple of our holiday dinner has a long, proud history in the United States. According to the Cranberry Marketing Committee (uscranberries.com), Native Americans used cranberries as a food staple as early as 1550. They ate them fresh and mashed them with cornmeal and baked them into bread. They used maple sugar or honey to sweet them. They also mixed cranberries with wild game and melted fat to make pemmican.

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NATURES BEAUTY - MISTLETOE

My mother loved decorating for the holidays. From the tree in the den to the lights around all the windows and a big Santa decal on the front door, she was all in. She would also hang a sprig of (fake) mistletoe, complete with sharp-edged leaves and white berries, from the lintel of the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. She and my father always shared the first kiss under the mistletoe after she put it up.

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NATURES BEAUTY - YLANG YLANG

A new year is the perfect time to try new things. Recently a friend who is into essential oils and aromatherapy told me about ylang ylang. She touted its many benefits – they range from head to toe – and offered to get some for me, but I wanted to do some research on the substance first before committing myself. Ylang ylang is becoming very popular in a wide variety of cosmetic products these days, so perhaps you’d like to learn more about it, too.

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NATURES BEAUTY - YLANG YLANG

A new year is the perfect time to try new things. Recently a friend who is into essential oils and aromatherapy told me about ylang ylang. She touted its many benefits – they range from head to toe – and offered to get some for me, but I wanted to do some research on the substance first before committing myself. Ylang ylang is becoming very popular in a wide variety of cosmetic products these days, so perhaps you’d like to learn more about it, too.


Ylang ylang (pronounced EE-lang EE-lang) essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the ylang ylang tree, which is mainly found in Asia and the South Pacific islands, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Java and Sumatra. It is an ingredient in the well-known perfume Chanel No. 5. One source says ylang ylang essential oil works as an antidepressant, an antiseborrheic (fights seborrhoeic eczema), an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory, an aphrodisiac, a disinfectant AND a sedative. It is also purported to boost the nervous system, reduce stress and lower blood pressure due to its natural ability to dilate arteries. The oil strengthens and thickens hair and cleanses the skin. The pressed flowers of the ylang ylang tree can be made into a tea. Taken in recommended doses, ylang ylang oil is not toxic, although excessive amounts of it can cause nausea and headache.


Some popular uses of ylang ylang essential oil include adding it to a warm bath to relax and soothe sore muscles; incorporating it

into a steam facial; massaging it into your chest and legs with a carrier oil to improve circulation; or rubbing it onto your throat, chest and abdomen, again with a carrier oil, before you go to bed to help you sleep better. (A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually the seeds, kernels or nuts. Carrier oils are used to dilute essential and other oils before topical application because some undiluted essential oils can cause severe skin irritation, redness and burning or other reactions.) Other benefits of ylang ylang include relief from menstrual cramps, increased libido and wrinkle and skin cancer prevention.


When using any essential oil, be sure to test it for skin sensitivity first. Never use undiluted essential oils on the skin and keep them out of your eyes, ears and nose. Place one to two drops of the oil on your inner forearm. Cover the area with a bandage and do not get it wet during the test. If you feel any irritation or if any reaction occurs, immediately remove the bandage and wash the area with mild soap and water. If no irritation occurs after 48 hours, the essential oil should be safe for you to begin using on your skin. But be sure, as always, to talk with your primary care physician before using any new product, however natural, however

marvelous its proponents claim it to be. It just may be my mission this new year to discover more about ylang ylang.


Sources and Resources


TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler