Category Archives: All Natural Ingredients and Their Uses

Xylitol – What Is It and Why Do I Use It??

Xylitol is an alternative sweetener used to replace sugar.  It has roughly 40% less calories and is almost as sweet as regular sugar.  It is all natural and safe for diabetics and measures 7 on the glycemic index while glucose measures at 100.

Health Garden Birch Xylitol 5

Xylitol is used in homemade and natural toothpastes along with Bentonite Clay to help re-mineralize your tooth enamel.  It also actively fights plaque by neutralizing plaque acids.  Also, it lowers the occurrence of cavities because it does not have any 6-carbon sugars which is needed to help bacterial growth and reproduction of cavity causing bacteria.

Health-Garden-Birch-Xylitol-Nutritionals

Also studies have shown that it has been used to help reduce incidence of acute middle ear infections in normally healthy children.  Not really sure how that was found to be but thought it was an interesting point.

Two things to be aware of are it also has a laxative effect if too much is consumed because Xylitol’s sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion which can cause diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence.  This typically takes several weeks to months to materialize and occur with normal digestion.   And also xylitol can be very toxic to dogs, so keep out of reach of your animals.

Also keep in mind that while it is a good alternative for sugar, when baking, do not combine it with any recipes that call for yeast.  The xylitol and yeast do not like each other chemically and will cause your yeast to die.  So good for cookies and cakes, not good for breads and rolls.

So, now what’s the big debate on where xylitol comes from??

Xylitol is extracted from hardwoods, mainly birch but can come from some beach trees.  But it is also commonly made from corncobs.  Xylitol does have a stigma for being expensive, which it is, but the corncob xylitol is made cheaply from corncobs typically by companies overseas, namely China.

I’m not knocking on anything Chinese made, they made lots of good products, but they also make lots of cheap knockoffs.  So when you look at corncob xylitol there is a good chance it’s not organic and is probably genetically modified.  I for one am not a big fan of GMOs so I try to stay away from them, but that’s another debate in itself and I’m not going there today.  Also cheap knockoffs can be cut with sorbitol which is a sugar alternative as well, but it contains all the same sugar related characteristics, which is the main reason I use xylitol in the first place.

So in conclusion, I use only birch xylitol.  I want my package to say All-Natural or GMO free.  It needs to say “Made from Birch” or something of that nature on the package.   And it needs to be 100% sugar free, so you know there are no additives .  When you receive the package, your xylitol should be in granules larger than normal sugar and it should not have any traces of powder.   That would indicate an additive.

I buy the brand Health Garden brand off of Amazon Prime in the five pound bag for the best price.  There will be a link below as well as a link on my blog page that bring you to the brand I buy and recommend.  It costs $36.49 for five pounds with Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping.  This is the best price I have found by far for Bitch Xylitol.  Make sure you carefully check out the package and ad page for the product if you buy something else.

If you found it cheaper than I did from somewhere, please let me know in the comments below.

I hope you learned  something and check out my link for Homemade toothpaste that contains xylitol.

 

Bentonite Clay – What Is It and How Is It Helpful?

What is it??

  • Bentonite usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water. For industrial purposes, two main classes of bentonite exist: sodium and calcium bentonite.
  • Sodium bentonite expands when wet, absorbing as much as several times its dry mass in water. It is often used in drilling mud for oil and gas wells the property of swelling, used in most cat litter, and also makes it useful as a sealant and groundwater barrier.  It is used in landfills and retention ponds for this purpose as well.
  • Calcium bentonite is a useful adsorbent of fats and oils as well as ions.  Calcium Bentonite can also be converted into Sodium bentonite if desired
  • The clay has a strong negative electromagnetic charge and when activated by water it acts like a magnet around our bodies and pulls metals and toxins to it
  • So when used as a detoxer, it will draw out and exchange the toxins in your body and replace them with sodium or calcium depending on the type of clay, however sodium is the best since it has a stronger negative charge.

bentonite-clay

Uses:

  • Removes proteins from wines and clarifies them
  • Mix 1/4 cup with water and soak fruits and vegetables to get real good and clean
  • Helps reverse the degrading of soil
  • Used in Homemade toothpastes
  • Use to make homemade Calamine Lotion
  • Apply with water for burns, scratches and bites
  • Can be used to help bleach tattoos
  • Used for detox your body of heavy metals that have been built up
  • Used to help soothe eczema
  • Can be used in soaps and shaving creams
  • Can be used to relieve constipation bloating and gas, can help ease IBS, and helps cleanse colon

Where to buy:

Personally I buy Redmond Clay, They are a very reputable company and have a great website with tons of information on their product.  Redmond Clay is also a mix of Sodium and Calcium Clays, so you get the best of both worlds in this one.  I purchased it on Amazon Prime for $11.68 for 10oz by weight, also its available as an add-on item for $9.01 if your total purchase is $25 with Amazon Prime.  A little goes a long way with this stuff, but you can buy it in a 6-lbs bucket for $63 as well.  I will list all the links below.

redmondclay4

Also I have heard Mountain Rose Herbs is reputable site and their prices are reasonable, but be aware that they only sell Sodium Bentonite Clay.   And it does note that this should only be used externally. While Redmond Clay can be used internally.  It may just be a disclaimer to protect them, but wanted to bring it to your attention.

For Calcium Bentonite Clay I would recommend the brand, Living Clay, it is more expensive, but it is pure Calcium Bentonite Clay and not a mix like Redmond Clay, the link is also provided below.

Coconut Oil – Quick Facts and Uses

Coconut Oil is antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial meaning coconut oil can kill the bacteria that leads to tooth decay.

Coconut Oil – Comes in several varieties

  • Extra Virgin – Unrefined – 76 degree
  • 92 degree – Not common
  • Fractionated – Liquid – low aroma – more expensive long process to isolate and distill the triglycerides in the oil – infinite shelf life – Refined without chemicals
  • Refined – 76 degree – Long Shelf Life

The two most common types are Refined Coconut Oil, and  Extra Virgin or Unrefined Coconut Oil.

The least processed and healthiest is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. When looking for Extra Virgin Coconut Oil try to find a brand that is Cold Pressed, Non-Hydrogenated, and Organic, if possible.

I won’t get into the ways of extraction for Coconut Oil and the refining process, but here are a few quick facts.

Coconut oil is mainly made up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid.  (Lore-Ick) Lauric acid consumption gives beneficial effects including antibacterial, anticancer, antiviral as well as giving you immune-boosting effects.

Now, Both refined and unrefined coconut oil contain the same amount of Lauric Acid. However Unrefined coconut oil is richer in phytonutrients. Also Polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body, are damaged by the process used to produce refined coconut oil, so more are present in the unrefined kind.

Uses:  Coconut Oil can be used in food, drinks, fuels, lubricants, medicines, cleaners, toothpaste, creams, lotions, balms, massage oils, body butters, lipsticks among several, several others.  But it has many direct skin, hair, and a few other uses as well. Let’s cover those now.

  • Apply directly to dry skin especially on Elbows and use after showers on your whole body instead of lotion
  • Rub on eczema to help tame it
  • Rub on age spots to help fade them
  • Mix with salt for an exfoliating scrub for your face or even for your feet
  • Mix with sugar for a body scrub
  • Put in spray bottle for a nice tanning oil
  • Massage a light layer directly to your face for facial moisturizing
  • Apply to hair for an overnight, leave-in conditioner – just apply a small amount and comb it out – wash it out in the morning
  • Use sparingly to help tame flyaway hairs
  • Use a small amount to help de-frizz split ends and reduce static in your hair
  • Apply to your cheekbones over your makeup to highlight them
  • Use as a moisturizing and gentle shaving lotion
  • Works as a great makeup remover
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Chaffed skin? apply a small amount as often as needed to soothe the area
  • Apply to scrapes and cuts instead of Neosporin
  • Use by itself for massage oil

o   And if the massage goes well, works as a natural Sexual Lubricant

  • Has also been used as a lubricant for small motors and engines
  • Works as a stretch mark preventer if applied to your stretching skin during pregnancy

o   Also works as a nipple cream during breastfeeding – natural and safe

  • Apply to Sunburns
  • Great for use in homemade deodorant and homemade toothpastes
  • Take a spoonful everyday to help boost your metabolism

o   Also can be used for a quick boost of energy throughout the day

  • Use to Season your cast Iron pan
  • Its gluten free and used for cooking as a replacement for butter in baking or a high heat cooking oil
  • Lastly give small amount to your pets for health benefits or use on your kitten’s paws to help cut down on hairballs

Let me know what your favorite uses for coconut oil are in the comments below.

Also the cheapest place I have found Organic, Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil is at Sam’s Club where you can get a 54 oz bottle for just under 15 bucks.  I Researched Amazon, but the cheapest I found was $24 dollars for a 54 oz.  You may be able to find a cheaper price at a bulk seller online, but make sure to factor in shipping costs when doing so.  $15 dollars is a great price compared to everything else I have seen.

Let me know in the comments below if you found it anywhere else cheaper.

Borax – What Is It and What Is It Used For?

Borax – what is it? Is it good – bad?

Most people know Borax as sodium tetra-borate, is a boron mineral and salt, mixed together and its mined directly from the ground.

Some people confuse this mineral for Boric Acid.  Boric acid is when you take Borax and mix it with acid such as hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.  So therefore boric acid can be found along side borax near volcanoes or other areas such acids may occur naturally.

Since many people confuse Borax with Boric Acid and wonder if Borax is bad for you.  Well first Boron is a mineral your body needs for bone building and development, your immune system and your brain need to it function as well.

Through my research of this product there are several points to be made.  First borax is completely natural.  It has not been found to be a carcinogen, which simply means it does not cause cancer.  It does not accumulate and build up in your body, it is not absorbed easily through the skin, and it is not harmful to the environment.

There are a few negatives. First, it is a mild skin irritant.  The FDA has banned Borax as a food additive because excess boron in the soil can kill crops.  And Finally, when consumed at high levels in mice, it was shown to disrupt the reproduction cycle.  So, it is not recommended to ingest Borax.

So overall I find it to be an extremely helpful product and only dangerous if ingested, so keep it away from your children and pets, other than that is has a multitude of uses.  Here they are

  • Use to make homemade laundry detergent
  • Use to make homemade dishwasher detergent
  • Use 1/2 cup per gallon of water for carpet cleaning machines
  • Pour into your toilet bowl and let sit for a few hours, it loosens the buildup, and clean with brush
  • Pest repellant when mixed 1 to 1 with sugar
  • Mice repellant when used by itself, sprinkle on floor
  • Flea Killer – sprinkle on carpets, pet beds, or anywhere else fleas may be hanging out and hatching.  Vacuum clean after 30 minutes.
  • Used to preserve fresh flowers – use one part borax and 2 parts cornmeal
  • Remove sticky, gummy adhesive residue when mixing 2 parts Borax and 1 Part Water

o    Also use paste for a gentle dish cleaner – clean with dishcloth for porcelain and aluminum cookware

o    Rust remover – add lemon juice to the borax paste and remove surface rust

  • Deodorizer – mix 4 cups water with 1 tablespoon borax – rinse after cleaning

o    Bonus tip – soak stinky kitchen sink sponges and scrubbers overnight to remove odors.  Can also put into trash cans, garbage disposals, humidifiers or any other containers that can generate odors

  • Shower, Tub and Tile cleaner when used as other powdered cleaners

o    Safe and Gentle fiberglass cleaner won’t scratch the surface

o    Perfect for sinks as well

o    Lots of Mold? – smear paste on moldy are and let dry overnight – sweep/vacuum up powder and rinse the residue

  • Clean outdoor furniture – Mix 1 tsp. dish soap, 1 tsp. borax, 4 cups water in a spray bottle
  • Cat litter additive – Mix a few Tbls with litter to minimize odor
  • Stinky linens? Soak in 64 ounces of water with 2 cups borax – soak 2-4 hours rinse clean
  • Drain Cleaner – 1/2 cup borax then 2 cups boiling water – sit for 15-30 minutes and run warm water to flush out
  • Mattress Cleaner – dampen mattress, sprinkle with borax, use warm wet towel and rub in – let dry then vacuum clean
  • Weed killer
  • Sparkle your china dishes – soak in sink with 1/2 cup borax – rinse and wash normally
  • Clean hairbrushes and Combs – small container of warm water – 1 tbls of dish soap, 1/4 cup borax – soak, swirl, swish – drain water, rinse, and let dry

Have anymore uses, let us know in the comments below

Borax can be used to make your own slime and bouncy balls!  Crazy Stuff!  Let me know if you want to know how those are done!

As far as the cost goes, I found 10 lbs bags for $20 on Amazon Prime.  This is a great price and I’ll include the Amazon link below.  And if you do not already have it, I will provide the link to get a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime as well.