Apple Cider Vinegar – The Mother Of Home Remedies

The benefits of apple cider vinegar

Some health fads come and go, but apple cider vinegar is holding on to its status as a kitchen remedy cure-all. Natural old fashioned goodness is often the most trusty! From the Egyptians 3000 years ago, to Hippocrates in Ancient Greece to the Samurai warriors in Japan, vinegar has traversed history to land on your kitchen table today.


The Mother

An important distinction to make when it comes to singing the health praises of ACV is that is needs to be the right version. That is, it should have cloudy, wispy cobweb-like strands you can see floating around in it. These are a natural sediment with pectin, trace minerals, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, that develop in fermenting alcohol. This has the lofty name of the Mother and means your vinegar is truly alive and kicking with all the healing properties you want.

The clear pasteurised and distilled vinegars you generally find on the shelf may be useful for rinsing your hair, shining up your windows and adding some tang to your food, but are essentially dead. You can even get vinegar these day that is produced from coal tar.

An All-rounder

What qualifies this fermented golden tonic as a home remedy deluxe is how versatile it is – you can eat it, clean with it, disinfect things, preserve things, use it as a external skin treatment, and treat all sorts of nasty internal ailments too.


Reasons ACV Takes The Gold

Health

Taking a tablespoon of ACV in some water everyday can have so many benefits:

Balances the pH in your body preventing illnesses caused by an over-acidic system.

Cleanses the lymphatic system and breaks up mucous in the body, which can benefit sinus, allergies and sore throats.

Balances your gut flora: it’s a prebiotic, which means it feeds your healthy probiotic gut flora.

The Complete System - Natural Anti-Cellulite Pack
The Complete System – Natural Anti-Cellulite Pack

Candida: contains enzymes that help eliminate candida.

Weight loss: acetic acid in ACV is great for reducing overall body weight, as well as that pesky abdominal and waist fat. And it’s great for cellulite too! You can mix it into your moisturiser or body oil and massage it into your cellulite-prone areas every day for an external remedy, or sip two tablespoons in 500 ml of water throughout the day for an inside job.

Heartburn & indigestion: corrects the acid balance in your stomach, helping you digest foods such as proteins and fats better. For relief from heartburn, take a teaspoon followed by a glass of water.

Food poisoning: when your tummy is feeling a little grumbly post-meal, ACV is an antibacterial that can help relieve food poisoning. Have a tablespoon in water before you eat out when you are travelling, it could help prevent those cases of deli belly.

Sugar cravings: ACV can help stop those insatiable sugar cravings that can lead to diabetes, candida and that unwelcome extra weight.

Sunburn & stings: add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath and have a good 15 minute soak to recover from sunburn. It’s also great for dabbing on stings and itchy bites.


 

Earth Products Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Earth Products Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Beauty

Hair tonic: ACV makes your hair super soft and shiny. Use it as a rinse by adding 1/2 a tablespoon of ACV to a cup of water, then pouring over freshly washed hair every few washes. You can make this mix in an old shampoo bottle to make it easier to use. This will not only add shine, it can help balance the pH of you scalp and improve dandruff!

Bee Natural Face Toner with Apple Cider Vinegar
Bee Natural Face Toner with Apple Cider Vinegar

Some people who go shampooless even use it in combination with Sodium bicarb to make a completely natural hair cleanser (https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8953/diy-this-baking-soda-shampoo-saved-my-hair.html).

Skin tonic: ACV as a toner can have wonderful effects on your skin. Dilute it two parts to one with water and use instead of a toner on your face. Apply with a cotton ball after washing morning and evening, for a clear, radiant complexion.

You can also use it to fade scars, clear up acne, or even warts, by dabbing a little neat ACV onto small problem areas at night. Just be careful to avoid your eye area as ACV is very potent and can sting. For warts, soak a small cotton ball in ACV and secure it with a plaster. Do this for a few days. Take care, your skin may get a little red from this remedy.

Deodorant: dab some under your arms to get rid of smelly bacteria.

Mouthwash and tooth whitener: add two parts water to one ACV to swish around as a mouthwash after brushing. This can also help to whiten your pearlies.

Aftershave: mix one part water to ACV for a soothing aftershave.

Home

Use ACV to replace toxic detergents:

• Wash dishes, windows, kitchen surfaces, glass and mirrors: mix a half-half solution and put into an old detergent or spray bottle.
• Pour some neat into your toilet and leave overnight for a super clean disinfected loo.
• It’s a trick to eliminating funky and smoky smells in your home: place a shallow bowl in the offending area and leave it there ‘til the smell improves.

Kitchen

ACV adds a tasty zip to salad dressings, sauces and marinades. It also livens up veggie soups and lentil stews. A dash in your pancake batter can also give added lift, for some gorgeously light fluffy treats. Using ACV instead of distilled vinegar when you cook means you’ll be receiving its super health benefits, especially when it comes to your digestion.


Choosing The Right Apple Cider Vinegar

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

For the full benefit of this delightful remedy from the humble apple, be sure to check that your ACV is:

Unfiltered so that all the sediment that feeds the mother is still present
Unpasteurised so that the Mother hasn’t been destroyed and is still alive
Organic means your apples haven’t been exposed to toxic pesticides. Apples are one of the most sprayed crops you get.


Apple cider Vinegar is one of those classic pantry treasures that’s always worth having at hand. Here’s to the power of the apple!

 

The Lowdown On Matcha

The low down on Matcha

Matcha has been stirring up a lot of interest in the wellness circuit recently as a new, yet ancient take on the firm favourite, green tea. Matcha is green tea taken to the next level. This traditional brew is a luscious traditional Japanese beverage, with a zen-like ceremonial appeal and amazing health benefits for mind, body and spirit.

What Is Matcha?

The word Matcha means powdered tea and is green tea that has been grown and processed with extra special care. The plants are covered with shade cloth before they are harvested to encourage fresh green growth with a renewed depth of flavor, then are handpicked, steamed and dried in cold storage. Next it is ground into the fine green powder known as Matcha. This delicate treatment makes for a green tea deluxe that has been the subject of sacred Japanese Zen ceremonies for centuries.

When you drink a cup of matcha you drink it powdered leaves and all – this means that you are getting in all the possible nutrients available, and that includes some pretty potent antioxidants. In fact, one cup of matcha matches the nutritional content of 10 cups of green tea!


Lady Bonin’s Matcha Green Tea
Lady Bonin’s Matcha Green Tea

Helps with Weight loss and More….

09 Jun, 2015, By Anonomous I bought the tea to assist with weight loss and it did definitely help lessen my appetite but I have noticed that it have also helped improve my libido. This is a ready great product.


 What Can Your Cuppa Of Matcha Do For You?

Catechins

Matcha is s packed with antioxidants including a special antioxidant called EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) which is known as a catechin. Catechins counteract the effects of free radicals present in our polluted environment and foods which lead to DNA damage, cancer and vulnerability to viruses. Matcha has three times more of this potent catechin than green tea.

Boosts Metabolism

Matcha can boost your body’s ability to burn calories by over 5% for those of you with a few kilos to burn.

Detoxifies & Nourishes

Matcha is super green because of the special way it’s grown, and that means one good thing –chlorophyll. This green wonder is a premium detoxifier that helps you get rid of heavy metals and chemicals. It’s rich in all sorts of vitamins, such as Vitamin C, selenium and magnesium, as well as fiber as you are drinking a ‘wholefood’ in your matcha cuppa.

Relaxes

Matcha is an adaptogen, this means it calms down your adrenals and reduces your production of stress hormones such as cortisol, which makes it a fantastic anti-aging tonic. It’s rich in l-theanine, an amino acid that encourages your brain to produce alpha waves. These babies help your brain stay alert and yet calm and improves concentration. This is why monks a thousand years ago used it to aid their mediation.

You get this in all tea, which is why they say a cup of tea solves everything! The thing with Matcha is that it has 5 times morel-theanine than any other tea. Matcha does contain some caffeine, but its effect is of the calm, alert variety because of the combination with l-theanine.

Cholesterol & Blood Sugar

When your body struggles to use insulin properly it’s a sign you could be on your way to developing diabetes. Matcha has been found to increases insulin sensitivity and reduce your risk of diabetes, a disease that is becoming more prevalent these days. It also lowers your bad cholesterol without affecting your good cholesterol.

Alzheimer’s

Special compounds in Matcha have been found to help prevent the plaque that forms in the brain with Alzheimer’s. That combined with its concentration boosting properties make it a great anti-aging tonic for your brain.


Taste

Matcha has a distinctive grassy spinach-like taste that is quite strong. It’s a wholesome pleasant taste, but you can sweeten it with some honey or healthy sweeteners such as erythritol if you prefer.

                                     The Zen of Matcha preparation

Zen Tea Set
Zen Tea Set

Matcha has traditionally been used in beautiful Japanese tea ceremonies. The tea is measured into a warmed bowl called a chawan with a bamboo spoon called a chashaku. Hot water, not boiling, is added, as this preserves the full healing value of the tea. It is then whisked with a bamboo whisk called a chasen to create a lovely smooth silk-like texture.

In keeping with the Zen history of Matcha, preparing your cuppa with a touch of mindfulness won’t go amiss and can add some simple beauty and meditative sacredness to your day.

Cooking With Matcha

Yes you saw right – Matcha has been taking the culinary world by storm as the superfood of choice to cook with, from brownies, to cakes to smoothies, the emerald tinge of Matcha is adding some super anti-aging properties to dishes of all descriptions.

Here’s a yummy example to whet your appetite:

Matcha Dark Chocolate Bars

Makes approximately 12 bars or 24 squares

Ingredients

• 9 oz pitted dates (about 1 2/3 C)
• 1/3 Cup cocoa powder
• 4 oz Almonds (about 2/3 C)
• 2 Tbsp matcha powder
• 2 Tbsp coconut butter
• 1/3 C coconut flakes
• 2 Tbsp maple syrup

How to

• Pulse the almonds into little pieces in a food processor
• Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until they’re well blended
• Empty onto some baking paper and form one lump
• Then press into a rectangle shape
• Wrap in the baking paper and pop in the fridge to cool for 2 hours
• Cut into squares and dust with more matcha powder
• Place paper between the bars to prevent sticking and store in the fridge

(Adapted from: https://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/matcha-recipes-matcha-latte/)


Tap into the power of green and down a cup of Matcha for some super anti-aging and de-stressing TLC!

Mark-free cupping: a soft spring detox kiss

Spring is soon upon us. It’s the time to air out musty rooms and let the sunlight kiss your skin again. And time to shake off that sluggish winter feeling with the perfect detox – a different kind of kiss from one of the most happening therapies around.

The art of cupping has been rediscovered because, like most things that work really well, it’s been around since ancient times – the proof is in the pudding. And it’s become so popular that there are many celebrities who opt for a spot (or rather, quite a few spots) of this therapy that dates back all the way to the Egyptians and is well known these days as a Chinese healing modality.

Vampire Therapy?


There is just one drawback to this amazing health technique. The secret to cupping is the suction on your skin created with cups, a kind of reverse

massage

that really gets in there and gets the blood moving towards the surface of your skin, helping to treat a number of ailments, as well as give you a good detox. So the temporary result of this treatment is a spate of red marks, and sometimes even bruising. After a session with these little suckers, people could be forgiven for thinking you have had a run in a vampire (of course the marks do fade). This therapy must be really worth it for so many people to still want to do it then.

And because it’s so amazing, there have been some really innovative leaps to make this therapy more modern and user-friendly, so that you can reap the benefits of cupping without the alarming temporary marks.

Enter the Silicone Cup


Before we get into the benefits of cupping, let’s first introduce you to the innovative silicone cup. Silicone is soft and flexible, yet strong too. And you can squeeze it.  The perfect material to create suction and also move around on your skin in a massage-like movement.

Traditionally the cups were heated and placed on the skin so as to form a suction and left in place for a few minutes. Chinese practitioners say this removes ‘wind’ that is believed to cause the aches in our body. But with silicone cups, you get to experience the benefits of a cupping treatment combined with flowing massage, all without the marking.

This technique has been perfected by our very own local, Keren Trabelsi, an experienced, certified therapeutic massage therapist, beauty and health spa owner. After her second pregnancy, she rid herself of excruciating back pain after having a cupping session and was inspired to create the Bellabaci cupping system. She set out to find a system with the benefits of cupping minus the bruising and came up with medical grade silicone cups.

The beauty of this system is not only its enhanced modality but that you can safely do it at home (of course if you have serious health complications such as high blood pressure, heart or circulation problems you should always consult with a health professional first).

How does silicone cupping therapy work?

The cups are squeezed and applied to your skin, creating a partial vacuum. This draws the body tissues up, and the silicone cup is then moved about in massage-like movements, helping to shift stagnant blood and lymph, as well as open the energy channels in your body called meridians. The channels flow to every part of the body and through every organ and tissue and can become blocked and sluggish due to various lifestyle issues, stress being a huge one.

Throw in some aromatherapy for good measure

In order not to pull at and mark the skin, the cups need a lubricant, and base oils work wonderfully for this. Add some therapeutic aromatherapy blends tailor made for your health issues and you have upped this already powerful technique yet another notch.

What Can it Do For You?

Cupping can have effects that go as deep as 10cm into the body, that’s quite a reach – all the way into your organs. A deep tissue massage deluxe.

This deep stimulation has many benefits

  • It releases stored toxins
  • Activates the lymphatic system
  • Clears colon blockages
  • Helps activate and clear the veins, arteries and capillaries
  • Activates the skin
  • Treats stretch marks
  • Improves the appearance of cellulite
  • Helps alleviate aches and pains
  • This list looks pretty much like a what’s what of detoxing.

After a few kisses from these cups, you’re sure to start feeling that soft spring feeling waking up after a long, cold winter!

 

Edible flowers: Make a Super Pretty Salad!

Food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you see flowers blossoming in your back garden. Perhaps food for bees and butterflies? Yet edible flowers have been valued across cultures as a special kind of cuisine since ancient times. Rose petals in Indian food and squash blossoms in Italian, there are many flowers that are edible, and some are famous for their use in teas such as hibiscus or jasmine.

Floral Flavours

Although you may think they’re too pretty to eat, flowers in your cuisine bring a fresh, fun and romantic flair, and who knew, they can be nutritious and have a surprising range of tastes, from spicy to fragrantly floral, to herbaceous. For instance, marigolds are sometimes called “poor man’s saffron” because of their peppery, saffron-like flavour, apple blossoms taste as delicate as they sound, and chive flowers imbue a garlicky touch.

There are so many ways you can add blossoms to your homemade goodies – roll them in pasta dough, add fragrant petals such as rose petals and lavender to your homemade ice-cream or make syrup infusions, pickle blossoms – did you know that capers are made from flower buds?

Fresh flowers go especially well with salads: nasturtiums, dandelion and primrose are very popular and are a beautiful way to celebrate the new life waking up in the Springtime.

Flower Power


Flowers are more nutritious than you may think and contain many phytochemicals that can benefit your health.  A good example is dandelion; the whole plant has been used as a traditional health tonic for hundreds of years and the flowers are  packed with antioxidants and flavonoids, including four times the beta carotene of broccoli, as well as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. They’re also brimming with vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyroxidine, niacin, and vitamins E and C.

Violets contain rutin, which is anti-inflammatory and may help strengthen capillary walls, while rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E. Nasturtiums contain lycopene and lutein which are cancer fighters and are also supportive for good eyesight. Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and as with the essential oil, is calming for the nervous system.

Before you rush out and start plucking, here a few safety tips:


  • Only eat flowers you know are non-toxic and edible, some could be poisonous, check your facts before you forage!
  • Eat flowers you have grown yourself, or that you know how they were grown to avoidf pesticides and poisonous chemicals
  • Don’t pick flowers next to the road as they have been polluted by car exhausts
  • Flowers in parks may have been treated by pesticides
  • Eat the petals only and remove pistils and stamens before eating
  • Flowers can pack a powerful punch, eat a small amount at first if you haven’t eaten them before as they can cause allergic reactions or digestive upsets, especially if you tend to have pollen allergies

Popular Edible Flowers


Calendula

Daylilies

Dandelion

Borage

Lavender

Pansies

Violas

Hibiscus

Nasturtiums

Roses

Edible Flower Salad with Dijon Mustard Dressing


It’s best to pick flowers for salads fresh and serve them as soon as possible as their petals are very fragile. Handle them carefully as they bruise easily. If you need to keep them fresh for a little while longer, you can place them carefully between two moist paper towels or place them in an airtight container, and put them in the fridge. When you’re ready to use them, rinse each flower gently with water, and blot dry with paper towelling. A knife or tweezers will do to remove the stem, leaves and pistil, and separate the petals for use.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

5 1/2 ounces tender baby salad greens (about 12 cups)

unsprayed violas or other edible flowers such as nasturtiums

Directions

  • Combine vinegar and mustard in a bowl
  • Gradually whisk in oil, then season dressing with salt and pepper
  • Toss dressing with greens and top with flowers
  • Serve immediately

(via marthastewart)

(Sources: mercola,bonappetit, marthastewart)


Related Links

Turmeric Face Mask For Renewed Spring Skin

It’s time to show your beautiful face to the world again – no more hiding indoors wrapped in cuddlies! For spring skin that’s radiant and glowing with health, try this quick & easy Turmeric face mask. These 3 simple ingredients are all super skin beautifying tricks brought together to pamper your skin into the new season

Turmeric has been used a beauty treatment in Ayurveda since forever for brightening the complexion. It’s packed with antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties that are great for acne, and it can even help fade scars.

Avocado is brimming with vitamin E, skin’s best friend, and essential fatty acids. It will hydrate and nourish your skin with a numerous amazing nutrients that create a youthful glow.

Yoghurt is alive with cultures that will combat bad bacteria on your skin, as well as having an array of B vitamins, and is very cleansing and hydrating too.

Turmeric’s golden colour is divine but does have a tendency to stain, don’t worry though, it won’t stain your skin! Make sure you’re prepared by tying your hair back in a pony, using a hairband to keep stray hairs back, and wear something old you don’t mind getting some drips of turmeric on, like an old t-shirt.

You’ll need:

1/4 teaspoon organic turmeric powder
1 tablespoon avocado
1 teaspoon yoghurt (natural, unflavoured yoghurt)

Directions:

• Mash 1/2 an avocado with a fork or blend it until it’s smooth
• Mix the tablespoon of avocado, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon yoghurt
• Spread it over you face and leave on for 10 minutes
• Rinse with cold water


A happy glowing skin and a radiant spirit is all you need to be your most beautiful!

 

How to Fill Your Garden With Birds, Bees and Butterflies

How-to-Fill-Your-Garden-With-Birds,-Bees-and-Butterflies

Birds, bees and butterflies in your garden not only mean you are nurturing an environment that supports biodiversity, you are also adding another beautiful thriving little oasis! These creatures are crucial pollinators in our eco-system and every small haven created for them ensures a better future for our green and wildlife. You’ll also be reclaiming urban spaces for Mother Nature’s beauty.

As the earth comes back to life this spring, contribute your own little piece of Eden to the Earth and invite the buzz, whir and tweet of some colourful little guests that will appreciate it as much as you do. The beautiful colours and scents that attract these special creatures are also a treat for your own senses, so follow a few of these tips and you’ll soon have a garden to delight in.

The way to attract these pretty creatures is to make sure your garden has a ready supply of what they love and need. And think variety: the bigger the variety in your garden, the more varied your inhabitants will be.

BIRDS


Planting the right plants can attract anything from 50 to 100 species of birds to your garden. Birds like eating nectar, berries, fruits and seeds, so planting plenty of these delicacies is the way to go. A bird feeder providing a variety of seeds is a sure-fire way to attract some avian friends too, especially in winter when food is scarcer.

Nectar

  • Red Hot Pokers
  • Strelitzias
  • Watsonias
  • Pincushion
  • Aloes
  • Cape Honeysuckle
  • Ericas
  • Wild Fuchsia & Tree Fuschia

Lure the exquisite jewel-like sugarbird with plants such as Aloes, Ericas, Hibiscus, cape honeysuckle, proteas, fuchsias, pincushions, red-hot pokers and watsonias.

Fruit, Berries & Seeds

  • Sunflowers
  • Acacia
  • Cassias
  • Wild plum
  • Wild peach
  • Cape lilac
  • Tamarisk
  • Cherry guava
  • Elderberry
  • Pepper trees
  • Wild olive
  • Cosmos
  • Grasses
  • Marigolds
  • Strawberry tree
  • Tortoise berry
  • White stinkwood
  • Hawthorn
  • Kei apple
  • Loquat
  • Wild figs

 

Insects

A biodiverse garden will also attract insects. Butterflies and moths start off as caterpillars, so encouraging these fluttering beauties in their earlier worm-like form will create a juicy supply for our avian feasters. They will also make sure they don’t get out of hand. The ones that survive will soon be fluttering around as a further food source for birds, frogs and lizards.

Nesting Materials

Some bigger plants or trees in your garden will give birds a safe spot to build their homes. You can provide nesting materials by:

• Leaving twigs that fall from bushes on the ground
• Growing plants with fluffy, soft, silky seeds for lining nests, such as wild rosemary
• A little patch of mud will encourage birds such as swallows and swifts who build their nests from mud
• Leave longish pieces of dried grass in a little accessible spot when you trim longer grass
• A shady area in your garden could provide some soft moss
• Provide an enticement by putting up a birdhouse at a height that is safe from predators, in a spot that isn’t too exposed to the elements.

Water

Birds are great bathers, so a bird bath for them to ruffle about in will definitely go down well, as well as give them a supply of water.


Having birds in your immediate environment is a wonderful way to learn, both for you, and your kiddies if you have some. The sweet chatter of birds is so uplifting and soothing too! Why not get yourself a good bird guide and get to know your neighbours a little better?

BEES


BeesBees are such a precious part of our ecosystem and there has been some concern about their wellbeing over the last few years. It is thought that certain pesticides and mass monoculture farming are playing a key role in weakening their immune systems, causing colony collapse and declining numbers. Loss of habitat and urbanization are also taking their toll. This problem is far more severe in the industrialised northern hemisphere but is starting to gain ground in South Africa too

By making your garden a biodiverse haven you can play your part in keeping the bees thriving as an indispensable part of our ecosystem.

Pesticides

It’s important to make sure that you are not using nasty pesticides in your garden that are known to contain bee-harming chemicals such as neonicotinoids. Read your labels. They usually contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and/or thiamethoxam as active ingredients. Explore greener, healthier pest control options.

Plants That Bees Love

• Calendula
• Primulas
• Borage
• Bee balm
• Vygies
• Sweet thorn
• Karee
• Bush willows
• Weeping wattle
• Fuschias
• Geraniums
• Rosemary
• Linaria
• Blanket flowers
• Sage
• Scabiosa species
• Sunflowers
• Thyme
• Cosmos
• Thyme
• Blombos
• September bush
• Cape may
• White alyssum
• Lavender
• Fruit tree blossoms
• Agapanthus
• Anisodonteas
• Butterfly bushes
• Bottlebrush

 Some More Bee-Loving Tips

• They are especially attracted to purple, violet, blue, blue-green, yellow, ultraviolet and white flowers and prefer scented flowers.
• Plant flowers that bloom at different times of the year to keep the bees well fed year-round.
• Leave some wild meadow-like areas, bees like natural wildness. If you have a lawn, let some wild clover grow on it.
• Some bees live in the earth so they’ll appreciate a little mud to go round.
• A bee bath needs to be shallower than a bird bath – a shallow tray-like bath of water is ideal. You can also put some marbles in a shallow pan and fill it with water – that way the bees will have somewhere to land and drink.
• Provide shelter with rotting vegetation and tree stumps. You can install bee shelters and hives too.

BUTTERFLIES


If you want the privilege of these floating jewels in your garden, you’ll need to make peace with a few munching caterpillars, because that’s how butterflies start off. Look at them in a different light – they provide food for things like frogs, birds, lizards, spiders and praying mantis’ and they really only make temporary, repairable inroads into your foliage. To encourage butterflies in your garden means you have to allow for the larval stage too.

Pesticides

Go lightly on pesticide and only use them when really necessary, to give caterpillars a fighting chance – they are already pitted against plenty of natural predators if you are creating a diverse ecosystem on your garden. Toxic pesticides can also get into the plant nectar that adult butterflies drink.

Host Plants

The female butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant and this plant will be the first thing the little caterpillars munch their way through to grow up to be a beautiful butterfly. You need the right kind of indigenous host plants to start the transformation from larvae to butterfly.

Good Host Plants For Butterfly Eggs and Larvae

• Mackaya bella
• Mona lavender
• Trailing daisies
• Cape forget-me-not
• Setaria megaphylla grass
• Indigenous Jasmines
• Wild mint
Wild Peach
• Flowering salvias
• Gazanias
• Geraniums
• Asystasia
• The small honeysuckle tree
• White Ironwood
• Horsewood
• Orange and lemon trees
• Butter Cassia

 

ADULT BUTTERFLY FOOD 

Butterflies like colours ranging from blue to mauve, red, pink or white when it comes to flowers. Some butterflies like rotting fruit such as bananas or pineapple. Leave some fruit from your fruit trees to rot on the ground as food. They like to get some minerals in from pockets of mud too, so a little mud puddle or two is appreciated.

Plants Butterflies Love

• Cape plumbago
• Sweet thorn
• White iron wood tree
• Wild peach
• Cape honeysuckle
• Foxglove
• Pride of De Kaap
• Rice Flower
• Star flower
• Verbena
• Zinnias
• Butterfly bush
• Flowering acacia
• Bottle Brush
• Puzzle bush
• Lavenders
• Mint plants
• Sacred basil
• Salvia sages
• Rosemary
• Hibiscus
• Impatiens
• Ribbon flower
• Lucerne
• Daisies
• Impatiens
• Marigolds
• Alyssum
• Gazania
• Lobelia
• Vernonias

Some More Butterfly Tips

• Butterflies are coldblooded and like the odd spot where they can sun themselves
• Butterflies are paper-light in winds and breezes, a calm wind and breeze-free area will give them a chance to rest
• If you are one to love the nocturnal version of the butterfly, the mysterious moth, plant some night blooming flowers such as jasmine.


The web of life is so vast and intricate, weave yourself a magical, colourful living tapestry outside your front door and be a part of it!

For all sorts of gardening inspiration and amazing Heirloom seeds, why not check out Faithful to Nature’s range of eco-friendly gardening products here?

Free Pattern! Gorgeous DIY Spring Cowl

They say there’s a DIY renaissance afoot, and knitting and crocheting have really made a comeback – the rainbow of colours, tactile textures, the calming therapeutic effects of the simple repetitive movements and the satisfying results, make it a firm, fun favourite in the blossoming DIY Spring. And what better time to get creative than spring? Join mother earth as she weaves her colours and magic!

Whether you’re knitting your own scarves, culturing your own kefir, fermenting sauerkraut, growing your own veggies, or making your own body products; for conscious greenies they all have one thing in common – the growing awareness that the materials we use impact our environment and health.

Knitting and crocheting yarns are made from a variety of material – synthetic, real wool, cotton or even bamboo, and they are not created equal!

Choose Organic


Conventional cotton is one of the most toxic crops in the world, requiring a staggering amount of pesticides that have been found to cause cancer, birth defects and nervous system disorders, not to mention the environmental impact. It’s also often grown with genetically modified seed, ‘frankenseeds’ that threaten to contaminate our natural seed supply and are often patented and controlled by giant corporations. Organic cotton, on the other hand has been grown from non-genetically modified seed and in a pesticide free environment.

Another option that is growing in popularity is bamboo yarn. Bamboo plants need much less water than cotton, grow quickly, and don’t need pesticides, making bamboo a naturally organic crop.

Choosing natural, organic yarns to create your knits may be a small start when you think about all the tons of conventional yarns and synthetic materials being used every day in mass manufacturing, but it’s a choice that starts at home and extends to your other retail choices too. Not only that, natural organic fibres are way healthier for you and look and feel gorgeous. You wear your clothes right next to your body all day, close enough for it to matter whether they’re toxin-free, as your skin absorbs more than you realise.

Nurturing Fibres


We’re excited to be stocking Nurturing Fibres, a local yarn brand that creates an array of yarns in exquisite colours made from organic wool, cotton or bamboo. On the farm where they keep their free range sheep and hand dye their yarns they aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

They designed their dye house to run with the lowest possible environmental impact and the greatest possible socio-economic benefit to their very small local community. They use solar power to heat their dyeing water and it’s gravity fed instead of being pumped. Their water is also recycled, being used to water their veggie garden and irrigate their olive trees.

Nurturing Fibres have given us the exciting opportunity to release one of their new spring patterns here at FTN first. An exquisite lace cowl perfect for that in-between cool spring weather and frivolous fun mood the spring feeling wakes up in us nature lovers. This pattern uses their Eco-fusion yarn, a luxurious mixture of shimmering bamboo and sumptuous cotton – a nurturing fibre for sure. Check it out:

Nurturing Fibres Collage

Click here to get the pattern!

You can find Nurturing Fibres Eco-Fusion yarns at Faithful to Nature online Organic Store.


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Is Aloe the New Coconut Water?

Coconut water has been the darling of the day for some time now for those looking for a refreshing drink they can toss in their bag instead of a sugary soft drink loaded with stimulants. But there is another drink waiting in the wings that packs its very own unique punch when it comes to the natural health drink department. And the great thing about it, apart from some pretty powerful health boosting effects, is that it’s from the proudly local Aloe plant. South Africa’s answer to coconut water.

Although this African elixir may not have the nectar-like taste of coconut water, the exquisite little humming bird adores the nectar from its radiant orange-red blossoms and its leaves are filled with  an amazing gel-like substance that truly wow with their amazing healing effects. This plant is much more than a source for a soothing and regenerating skin gel, it also brings you a juice that when drunk regularly could leave you feeling as if you caught some of that radiant happy vibe from those whirring little nectar-drinking birds.

Aloe’s Awesome Benefits


Boosts Your Immune Defences

Aloe is brim-full of antioxidants called polyphenols which are strongly antibacterial and help combat bacteria and damaging free radicals. This is great news for your immune system. It’s anti-inflammatory effect helps to slow  inflammatory reactions in your body, which can lead to a host of diseases such as acne, eczema and Cohn’s disease. Aloe juice is rich in vitamin B, C, as well as vitamin E, which are vital  for keeping your immune system strong and healthy.

Paves that Digestive Superhighway

The special sugars in aloe are very healing and regenerative for a damaged digestive lining and the gel-like quality creates a soothing coating along an irritated gut. It helps to keep your regular in a gentle way, without giving you diarrhoea the way aloe bitters may (although aloe bitters certainly has its place).  If you suffer with digestive issues such as IBS, give drinking some aloe juice every day a try. It’s also thought to be beneficial for stomach ulcers.

Plumps Out Those Lines 

This stuff works wonders used topically, but taking it internally also has benefits for the health of your skin, helping to speed up the healing of cuts and sores.  It’s been said that aloe can speed up skin healing by as much as eight times and acts to stimulate collagen production, much like a natural botox treatment! Just one teaspoon a day can help protect against signs of aging.

Protects those Pink & Pearlies

You can use aloe juice to rinse your mouth. It was found in studies to be as effective for reducing plaque as mouth wash and that’s minus the toxic triclosan and other nasties in most commercial mouth washes. If you struggle with, or want to prevent gum disease, give your mouth a swish of aloe vera juice every day.

Revs That Metabolism

Aloe vera juice helps raise you metabolic rate so you burn more calories, so is a clever way to support a healthy weight-loss program. It’s been found to help stabilise blood sugar and so prevent hunger pangs and crashes. It’s full of all the right kinds of sugars, the kind that heal and regenerate.

Soothes That Burn

Aloe Vera naturally contains  magnesium lactate which is thought to help balance stomach acid. That makes  is great remedy to help alleviate heartburn and acid reflux.


Much like coconut water,  aloe vera juice has an endless list of health benefits and can be added to your smoothies, or mixed up  in delicious mocktails or cocktails. It’s a refreshing and hydrating drink for hot summer days too and is lusciously local, which we always love!

Robyn’s Top Detox Picks

If you are choosing to give your body a spring “clean” by way of a detox or diet, please consider the whole picture. What I mean by this is that for the first time ever in recent months, I am starting to feel some peace that is coming from 35 rotations around the sun. I’ve survived my fair share of life shocks and come out stronger on the other end, and more importantly to this spotlight – I’ve learnt the hard way that there is no such thing as a sustainable fast fix. And this applies to the annual spring detox… Please be careful of getting yourself into a corner where you feel that the only way to feel better about who you are is an aggressive diet – they are the flimsiest of plasters.

Apart from looking deeper and appreciating how magnificent you really are, you will benefit from putting your health first. Consider adopting some or all of these quick habits for a gentle and loving detox which will not require you to starve yourself of any of the things you love. I personally engage in every single one of these “health habits” and can attest to how they renew me and keep my body in vital balance.

 

Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing is traditionally done with bristles but I prefer using String Greens’ Vanilla Bamboo Face Cloth. Sometimes I add an extra factor of luxury in by making the cloth wet and the rubbing in black soap  while I exfoliate my skin. Dry skin brushing stimulates your lymphatic system helping your body to detox. Lymphatic congestion is actually a major factor leading to disease and inflammation so this has massive benefits. Dry skin brushing will also help with cellulite and water retention (I have some a real difference in my skin since starting). Always brush towards your heart.

 

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that detoxes the body, whitens teeth and improves oral health. It’s a really simple practise of swishing an oil (usually sesame, coconut or olive) around in one’s mouth for 15-20 minutes, before spitting it out. This is done once a day before teeth brushing. I have personally experienced improved oral health from the periods that I maintain this practice. The CocoBaci 15 Day Oil Pulling Program has been specially formulated with coconut oil and botanicals for a super-effective, conveniently packaged oil pulling programme.

 

Detoxing Baths

I bath in Himalayan salt almost every single day as part of my “energetic hygiene” as it helps to clean the aura. But it also has amazing benefits in terms of alkalising and balancing the body which in turn, detoxes the body to achieve this. I do mix up my routine with Epsom salt baths  for increased detoxification or I add a few drops of the Bellabaci Detox Concentrate into the bath.

 

Detoxing Teas

Sipping detoxing, balancing and even slenderising teas is such a gentle way to keep your body topped up with the right herbs and well hydrated. I am constantly trying new teas, but my favourites right now are the Polari Detox Tea and the Sing Fefur Tea Range.

 

Cupping

Cupping is found in almost all of our oldest and more revered traditions from the North American Indians, the Chinese, The Egyptians and the Greeks. Archaeologists have found evidence of cupping going as far back as 3000 B.C. Cupping boosts the immune system, stimulates healthy digestion, heals unbalance and obviously helps with cellulite too.

 

Drinking Wisely

I’m no saint – I love a glass of organic red to celebrate or decompress after a long day. I have learnt however that if I am smart about what else I am drinking, that it is much easier to stay in balance when enjoying the occasional glass of red.

My current favourite non-alcoholic but totally invigorating, detoxing and health boosting drink to indulge in is our newly listed Karkade  which is a natural hibiscus drink that slows down the metabolism of sugar, and thus helps to shed unwanted weight, apart from a host of other awesome benefits like being a great detoxer.

For those who follow my picks regularly you will also know how obsessed I am with kombucha , which ALSO helps with circulation, detoxing, weight-loss and energy levels.
Lastly, a dose of apple cider vinegar  each day, and or before meals will also help to boost your metabolism, curb cravings and reduce water retention.

 

Indulging in Lemon and Honey

Starting and ending one’s day with freshly squeezed lemon in hot water is a simple but effective way to help keep your body alkaline. I have also just recently learnt that a spoonful of honey in a hot drink at night will help your body kill fat as well as helping your liver to process toxins effectively while you sleep. Raw honey contains an ideal ratio of fructose to glucose, and if we re-supply the liver with honey before going to sleep, we activate the recovery hormones such as melatonin that are exclusively fat burning, rather than the stress hormones like cortisol that store fat.

 

Alkalising To Stay in Balance

There are two “supplements” I keep handy in my bag to take when I can. The first is the alkaline powder from A.Vogel which has a fantastic combination of nutrients to bring sustained balance to the body as a whole. Rich in anti-oxidants and calcium, you can be sure of good health that comes from your body’s acid levels being neutralised.

The Real Thing Chlorella Tablets are also a “go-to” of mine- especially during the busier festive season which is just around the corner. This power-packed green algae rids your body of all sorts of nasty toxins, including mercury and other heavy metals.

 

Moisturising Smart

I am very happy with the Bellabaci Cellulite Be Gone Oil  that I use on select areas of my body after a shower. I use it almost every day and its just one of the products that feel like it is never going to finish. And just to keep it real, I do my best to focus on the gratitude I feel for my body when I massage it in. I feel that we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we are thinking negative things about ourselves in the very routines we undertake to look and feel more beautiful.

Our Fabulous Indigenous Fynbos Pharmacy

Fynbos Harvest

The Fynbos kingdom is a South African Floral wonderland of exquisitely beautiful shrubs with flowers of all shades and wild, delicate fragrances that extends from Vanrhynsdorp up the West Coast towards Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, never leaving the coastline by more than 200km’s. For such a small area, an amazing 3% of the worlds plants are found here and 20% of Africa’s.

It’s a kingdom unique in the world and its intricate web of life holds many healing secrets that are being explored by scientists for their many wonders. The thin soils they grow in mean they are not particularly nourishing as a nutrient source, but it is this very thing that results in them producing very powerful healing phytochemicals as they strive to survive in these meagre soils.

Their healing powers are not a new discovery though, they were used by the indigenous Khoikhoi and later by the European settlers as traditional remedies for a wide range of health issues and as such, hold a place in our heritage that deserves respect and protection.

Perhaps the most famous Fynbos remedy that you may not even realise is part of the Fynbos family, is Rooibos tea, a Fynbos species endemic to the Clanwilliam area that has become an international hit with its powerful anti-aging, antioxidant profile and many health benefits ranging from cancer prevention to calming the nerves.

As awareness of preserving and exploring this special kingdom has grown, there has been a blossoming of products sourcing from the fynbos kingdom, from teas, to beauty products and skin remedies to essential oils, the healing wisdom of these rare protected plants is becoming available in a carefully sustainable and responsible fashion. Let’s take a quick dip into the Fynbos medicine chest.

BUCHU


shutterstock_395937622This species with the wonderful fragrance is well loved for its association with a traditional remedy that is said to give you plenty of oomph! The stalks were added to brandy to create a classic cure-all tonic, or else steeped as a tea. It was revered as a digestive aid that could help alleviate bloating, gassiness and stimulate digestion. It also has a beneficial effect on the urinary system, helping to combat infections and acting as a diuretic to prevent water retention and cleansing the kidneys. The fragrant foliage can act as an uplifting tonic too, helping to dispel stagnation and depression.

The current word on Buchu is that is a super anti-inflammatory and is being studied as a possible aid to overcoming the problem of antibiotic resistant superbugs.

IMPHEPHO


shutterstock_67244773Another aromatic herb with an out of this world fragrance that touches the spirit, Imphepho with its silvery woollen leaves and golden flowers is abundant in the Fynbos Kingdom. From packing a punch in the antiaging department to being burnt to invoke trance states and blessing from the ancestors, this is a herb that is synonymous with South Africa, and the fynbos pharmacy wouldn’t be complete without it.

The Khoisan stuffed mattresses with due to its soft, rambling structure and it’s an effective ant-parasitic too, just the thing to keep those bed bugs at bay! Its medicinal uses have ranged from treating high blood pressure, to heart and kidney ailments and the Khoi used it as a calming tea that helped with insomnia. As an essential oil it can help calm skin ailments, prevent infections and repel insects, these protective properties also making it a good treatment for aches, pains, coughs and colds.  The leaves can even be smoked to provide pain relief.

HONEYBUSH


The honey bush is a cousin to the Rooibos plant and has been found to have amazing anti-aging effects. The longer you steep this herb as a tea, the more powerful it gets and the green form of the tea gives you the ultimate health kick.

This caffeine-free, low tannin tea has been found to help clear many skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis, as well as skin cancer and all sorts of intestinal disorders. It’s hailed as an overall health tonic and studies by the University of Stellenbosch have found promising evidence that it can help prevent breast cancer.

CAPE MAY


Cape mayThis plant is closely related to Buchu as so also has that wonderful aromatic power. Its fragrance is its blessing as it has traditionally been used as a deodorant to hide bad odours and as a pleasant natural perfume. As is often the case with clean, sweet fragrances, it can be used to lift depression, anxiety, and even anger.  Cape May also acts as an insect repellent and can help ease the aches and  pains of colds and flu as well as help expel harmful infections with its antiseptic properties, both internally and externally.

SNOW BUSH


The Cape Snowbush with its snow-like white blossoms is a naturally uplifting, whether it be to soother the tensions and strains in your muscles or your emotions. It has a sedative, anti-anxiety effect that helps you move past negative thoughts to a more positive perspective, helping you to focus and gain mentail clarity. Use the essential oil in your bath to give yourself an emotional reboot.

The essential oil can also be used to promote circulation and combat water retention and oedema and its antiviral properties protect against infection. Snowbush can also be used to painful or irregular menstruation and helps alleviate premenstrual water retention in the legs.

BULBINELLA


shutterstock_406406050This little succulent otherwise known as burn jelly plant, or Snake Flower, is what you could call a living first aid kit for your skin you can pluck fresh from the veldt. The stems contain a jelly-like substance well known for treating all manner of skin ailments – acne, blisters, cold sores, insect bites, eczema and sunburn – it’s your skin on tap quick-fix – simply pluck and squeeze the gel onto the affected area. It can also be taken internally too – pour some boiled water over some leaves in a cup and drink it up for coughs, colds and to help ease arthritis.


This is just a taste of this vast little kingdom that smatters the southern tip of Africa with fragrant magic. The Fynbos kingdom may cover a small area, but it holds big secrets that we should approach with respect, and cherish for future generations.


 

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