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 - LULO

Continuing our 2018 theme of seeking out new and unusual produce and other types of foods to try, we present to you lulo. Also known as naranjilla, this exotic tropical fruit is a member of the tomato family. It is native to northwestern South America and is found primarily in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama.  The lulo plant is a spreading herbaceous shrub with thick stems. Some of its leaves have spines, but others are spineless.

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NATURES BEAUTY - LULO

Continuing our 2018 theme of seeking out new and unusual produce and other types of foods to try, we present to you lulo. Also known as naranjilla, this exotic tropical fruit is a member of the tomato family. It is native to northwestern South America and is found primarily in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Panama.


The lulo plant is a spreading herbaceous shrub with thick stems. Some of its leaves have spines, but others are spineless. Its blooms are composed of five petals that are white on the upper surface and purple and hairy beneath. The outside of the fruit is bright orange with a smooth, thick peel. Inside you will find a juicy green or yellow pulp that tastes like a combina- tion of pineapple and lemon and even rhubarb. The seeds are edible. Lulo is added to ice cream mix, made into sauce for various dishes or used in making pie and other desserts, including sherbet. Mostly it is made into a juice with an unusual green color or used for a drink called lulada. Naranjilla jelly and marmalade are also produced. Lulo can even be turned into wine.


According to Organic Facts, lulo has a variety of health benefits. These include an ability to improve the immune system, boost vision and protect against certain cancers by neutralizing free radicals. Lulo will promote heart health, regulate digestion and lower cholesterol. Lulo has high levels of vitamins C, K, E and A, as well as beta carotene, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. With significant iron levels, lulo may

increase your red blood cell count, improving circulation and increasing oxygenation to vital organ systems and cells. A diversity of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and phosphorous enables lulo to strengthen bones and fight against osteoporosis. Lulo has been linked to hormonal changes in the body that can improve mood, reduce stress and combat insomnia. It’s also said to accelerate wound healing and is purported to have some aphrodisiac properties. It is a good diuretic that helps detoxify the kidneys and liver. Naranjilla extracts are included in some beauty products to reduce wrinkles and strengthen the hails and hair. Lulo fruit is also used as an emollient and exfoliate in combination with other fruits such as bananas, mango and papaya.


Lulo is difficult to find in the United States. An exhibition of lulos at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York stirred interest in the fruit. In February 1948, 20 naranjilla plants were planted at the University of Florida’s Agricultural Research and Education Center. They were just beginning to fruit when hurricanes destroyed nearly all of them. The naranjilla will not fruit in temperate latitudes and is notoriously difficult to grow for large-scale cultivation. It is easily damaged, thus reducing its ability to become a top-level export. That means if I want to try it, I’ll have to go right to the source. On my bucket list for 2018 is a trip to the Panama Canal. I’ll be on the lookout for lulo.



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TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler