NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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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