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Reducing Chemical Use in Your Life

Have you decided to be more mindful of chemical use in your life? While living in our industrialized world poses a difficult situation for many that are reducing chemical exposure, many of us have a plan for being more mindful and wary of harmful chemicals we come into contact with every day. Whether you are interested in beginning a long-term campaign for ridding your life of chemical use and exposure, or if you’re just thinking of trying a more natural approach to living, we have some tips for you!

  1. Start with organic products. Not everyone can find organic options near them, especially on a budget. However, try switching just a few products to their organic counterparts to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
  2. Get the skinny on the products you already use. Many body care products are filled with chemicals that cause skin irritations, mild allergic or sensitivity reactions, or do long-term damage to your health. Many manufacturers of these products get away with this because the damage seems to be on a small scale and may not even be noticeable to you over time. However, if you were to use more natural products, you may see a boost in your personal health and better looking skin and hair. Use products from a company you trust, like Medicine Mama’s. Our line of products is safe and scores a perfect “0” on the irritant index in dermatologist tests.
  3.  Try natural cleaning products. Lots of the solutions you use to clean your home can leave behind harmful residues and fumes for period of time. Have you ever gotten a headache after using too much disinfectant or spent the day spring cleaning? Much of what goes into products to help kill bacteria and other unwanted organisms in your home are also known irritants. Many natural options have antibacterial qualities and can help keep your house healthy and looking great. Vinegar and baking soda are often in recipes for homemade cleaning products, and there are more and more safe and organic products coming up in the market.
  4. Use natural methods to control pests. Some “pests” are great for your home and yard and actually eat other pests. However, if you do need to kill some unwanted renters in your home, try using natural methods or safer products to get rid of them. For example, if your dog or cat has fleas, consult your veterinarian about safer products to get rid of them.
  5. Do your research. You can’t trust every product you buy to be totally honest about irritants and chemical use. However, you can look into these on your own. You can also consult a doctor that specializes in natural health and living methods.

As a consumer, you can demand better and safer products for you and your families. If something irritates you or you feel it may not be safe, err on the side of caution by choosing a more natural method or asking for advice from a health professional. Irritants and allergies to many chemicals can go untreated for years, causing long-term damage. Good luck in finding your perfect balance with the products you use, and know that you can always trust Medicine Mama to make products that are safe, pure, clean, and free of toxins and irritants!

Posted by Donna Steinmann on 01 October, 2014 chemicals, cleaners, home, ingredient, living | 0 comments | Read more →

Make your own Bath Balls

Stress continues to be a problem for many Americans and others all over the world, so much that the American Psychological Association conducts a survey every couple of years to find out what is stressing out Americans and where attention needs to be focused in order to make us all healthier. You can take steps to improving your own stress levels, and we have just what you need to get started!

After a long stressful day there is nothing more relaxing or rejuvenating than a nice long bath. We recently just stepped up our bath game with a homemade recipe for a luxurious, aroma therapeutic and skin-softening bath ball. Hot water releases stress and tension and soothes muscles, but when you add essential oils, herbs, and other ingredients you are giving your whole body an incredible treat. We found this amazing recipe for an oatmeal, lavender, honey, and milk bath ball, and took some liberties – we added a few ingredients and changed the method of use a bit.

What you need:

Cheese cloth cut into about a 12 inch x 12 inch square

1 cup of oatmeal

Handful of lavender or 5 – 10 drops of essential oil

2 table spoons of powdered milk

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of Sweet Bee Magic

Instructions:

Pour all of the dry ingredients into the middle of the cheese cloth. In a small bowl mix together the honey and the Sweet Bee Magic together until smooth and add to the center of the cheese cloth.

Wrap up the cheese cloth and fold it tightly so none of the contents spill and then tie it securely with another piece of cheese cloth or a string (floss will work too).  You can either drop it in the bath and let it steep or tie it so the running water runs over it.

The oatmeal and milk will smooth and calm your skin, the lavender is incredibly calming and relaxing, and the Sweet Bee Magic will make your skin feel silky smooth.

After the bath ball has been soaking in the tub you can actually rub the cheese cloth on your skin for extra exfoliation.

Posted by Donna Steinmann on 28 July, 2014 beauty, home | 0 comments | Read more →

Who will Win the GMO Debate?

We’ve all heard the news – labeling genetically modified organisms in food and other products has been a hot-button issue for politicians, farmers, and citizens alike. Many petitions have been signed, for and against labeling, and bills have been proposed and defeated. Still, the public debate continues. It is clear this is not going away, but with little ground gained in actual policy, Americans are wondering who will actually win this fight.

It is impossible to know what will happen over the next few years, but there are some strong indicators coming from both sides of the debate. First, there are several states that are have proposals and measures in the works that will require labeling GMOs. There are even three states, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, who have passed these laws. You can find a great map of progress this legislation is making on The Wall Street Journal’s recent web article on this topic.

Also, there are companies who have taken the initiative to begin cutting out genetically modified ingredients. Chipotle and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream are two high-profile companies who have said publically that they will phase out the use of GMOs over a period of time. Some companies’ products are made completely without genetically modified organisms, including many products at Whole Foods under their 365 Everyday brand, Sprouts’ organic Mac & Cheese dinner, and all of our own very special Medicine Mama’s products. To search for some verified non-GMO products, visit The Non GMO Project’s web page.

Other than companies and some states leading the way in labeling and quitting the use of these products, it is also clear that many Americans are calling for labeling at the very least so that they can make educated choices about where to shop and what to buy. There have been several polls taken that indicate most Americans wish to have their products labeled for GMOs, and you can view some of them on the Center for Food Safety website.

As for the other side, there are plenty of Americans, including some powerful politicians and large agricultural companies, who are completely against even the labeling of these organisms. Despite large numbers of consumers who vote and petition to have these products labeled, Big Agriculture and its lofty connections have done a great job at keeping this from being a reality in most areas of the country. Companies such as Monsanto have seen great success with production through the use of genetically modified organisms, and they are not likely to want to take the hit that will come with the education of Americans which could lead many to stop buying products containing GMOs.

However, it is not simply the large companies or the public figures benefitting from them that are fighting against GMO labeling. Some economists and agricultural experts have claimed that GMOs are safe and that the ability to produce more with them could help to end the world’s hunger problem and allow us to grow food where we previously could not. In a recent Huffington Post article, the author gives the reasons why GMOs can be the best thing for the world from an economic standpoint. He also cites some arguments from the other side and states the opposing viewpoint.

While both sides of this debate certainly have valid points and ideas, motives are also called into question by each side. Those in favor of simply labeling are not often calling for the eradication of these organisms, but simply the chance to be educated on what they are consuming. They wonder why those opposed would want to keep this knowledge from them – after all, some people may wish to be educated, but will still continue purchasing GMO products anyway. Not everyone buys locally-grown organic food even though they have the option, right? All the while, those opposed to labeling wonder why we need more legislation to educate Americans on each product when it seems like many of them will not take advantage of it anyway.

This battle continues to gain steam, so the next few months should yield more interesting developments in many states across the country and in the rest of the world. Check back at Medicine Mama’s blog for future news on this topic. To learn more about how Medicine Mama’s uses non-GMO ingredients, view our About Us page!

Posted by Donna Steinmann on 14 July, 2014 home, living | 0 comments | Read more →

Spring Clean your Beauty Routine

The weather is getting warmer these days, and I find it’s time to do some spring-cleaning in my medicine cabinet! One of our guiding beauty philosophies at Medicine Mama’s Apothecary is beauty minimalism – the belief that a minimalist approach to skin care is a whole lot better and more effective for you than the one preached by the media. So, if after reading a magazine or watching a little TV you suddenly feel the need to purchase an eye cream, a foot cream, a night serum, a day lotion, a lash enhancer, a lash booster or whatever else they’re trying to sell today, it might be time to Spring-Clean your own beauty routine!

Why does the cosmetic industry think it’s necessary to have a separate beauty product for each part of your body? And are all these disparate products really necessary? This spring it’s time to empty out your medicine cabinet and feel the relief that some simple minimalism can bring.

What’s wrong with specialized beauty products?

Most cosmetic products sold by massive corporations that you can buy at the drug store or department store are filled with chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and synthetics fragrances. And while they promise to give you the skin of a nineteen year old model they clog the pores and leave a chemical residue on your skin. Layering your skin with tons of different beauty products stresses the skin and may be causing more harm than good. In some cases, using lots of thick “goopy” petroleum based moisturizer, inhibits the skin from making its own natural oils.

Apart from being just plain toxic and unhealthy for your skin once you open a product like a lotion or cream it oxidizes and can get “funky” (for lack of a better word) when left open and unused for longer than a few months. And here’s the thing: the truth is most of these formulations are basically the same, they just have different labeling for each type of product. In essence this means you might be spending three times more on a product labeled as an eye cream, while the ingredients inside are almost identical to that of a face cream. The same goes for hand and foot creams.

The slight difference between a day and a night moisturizer is that a night moisturizer tends to be thicker and may even have the tendency to make your face oily. That’s why it might be more comfortable to wear a lighter moisturizer during the day. That said, I would still recommend investing in one good all over moisturizer for your face and body, and simply apply more of it at night and around the eyes (or wherever else you feel it might be necessary).

So here’s what you do: Simplify, consolidate, and get organized!

Open your medicine cabinet and look at the products you have. READ the ingredients, if there are over 15 words that you can’t pronounce let alone understand what they are, it’s a good chance that that product is chemical laden and unhealthy for your skin. Toss it out! If you have had something open and not fully used in over a year – toss it out! If you are hanging onto a product because you bought and, although you don’t really use it you still feel bad getting rid of it, stop dawdling, and just toss it out!

Being a beauty minimalist

Becoming a beauty minimalist this spring can have lasting, positive effects, both financial and psychological, on your entire life. Your bank account with thank you when you stop spending a small fortune purchasing a different beauty product for every part of your body. And freeing yourself from the consumer driven materialistic need to fill your medicine cabinet with more products than you know what to do with is actually very liberating. It feels so great to be free from the nagging NEED to own more than is necessary. Your ideal beauty regime should include only: One gentle cleanser, one all-over moisturizer like Sweet Bee Magic, a great sunscreen and a great exfoliating scrub/face mask. And that’s it!

This spring take the time to change your old patterns of cluttering up your beauty routine and your life! Break the cycle of over purchasing and over spending. Take the time to simplify organize and find your own lighter easier rhythm. Spend less time obsessing about the latest and greatest product and more time outdoors, playing in the sunshine, reading your favorite book and spending time with your loved ones. nurture your inner beauty and let it shine!

Posted by Jaclyn Steinmann on 02 April, 2014 beauty, home | 0 comments | Read more →

Benefits of Zinc in Skin Care

Seems like lately, everyone is talking about zinc. It just recently popped up on Dr. Oz! Why is it gaining popularity and notoriety? Well, simply put, zinc is a skin superhero! Zinc is an essential trace element, which helps repair damaged tissues and heal wounds. In fact, without zinc your body has a hard time repairing damaged tissues, both internally and externally. Some research suggests that zinc might be particularly effective in treating topical irritations and skin imbalances, such as acne, skin sores and minor wounds, by helping cells to regenerate.

How does zinc help acne-prone skin?

Many of the benefits of zinc in skin care are being discovered these days. Using zinc topically and taking it orally has shown significant success in healing and alleviating acne-related scarring and inflammation. Zinc may also be helpful in stopping the formation of zits before they even arise by reducing the amount of natural oil, or sebum, produced by the skin. In fact, research has shown that acne results in part from a lack of zinc in the diet. Several studies indicate that dietary zinc may reduce acne, even as effectively as antibiotics such as tetracyclines. This may be because it interacts with vitamin A as a component of retinol-binding protein, which is necessary for transporting vitamin A in the blood.

How can I use zinc?

Dietary sources of zinc are most easily absorbed from animal sources. Organs such as kidney and liver, red meat such as beef and lamb, and seafood such as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish are the highest dietary sources of zinc.

Plant foods such as pumpkin seeds and other nuts can also be high in zinc as well, but they are less bioavailable (meaning that they are not as easily absorbed), as the zinc is bound to plant based matter. To achieve higher level of Zinc in your diet, eat shellfish, organ meats, and red meat on a regular basis.

Although more research is needed, studies have shown that zinc may aid in the treatment of several other skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, burns, boils and leg ulcers. It seems clear that zinc does yield many potential health benefits for you and your skin. At the very least, zinc has positive effects in tissue healing and is essential for regular cell growth and regeneration.

Posted by Jaclyn Steinmann on 19 March, 2014 home, living | 0 comments | Read more →

6 Advantages of Sugar Waxing ("Sugaring")

Sugar waxing, or “sugaring” is gaining popularity and growing in notoriety for its benefits over conventional waxing. So what it is and how does it work? Sugaring is a process during which the sugar paste is applied to the desired area and sticks, and essentially removes hair without attaching to the skin. The paste can be applied at room temperature or heated to a lukewarm temperature, minimizing the risk of burns. For this reason (among many others), sugaring is generally preferred over waxing when it comes to removing hair from larger areas of skin. I personally love sugaring because, like Culinary Cosmetics, sugaring paste can be prepared with common household food items such as water, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, honey and molasses. Getting the correct consistency takes practice for most users, but, for those who don’t want to make their own, pre-made sugar paste is also sold. The most common recipe for sugaring wax is as follows:

  • 8 parts sugar
  • 1 part lemon (either fresh or from a bottle, not from concentrate)
  • 1 part water

Advantages of sugar waxing over ordinary waxing

  1. Sugar will not stick to live skin cells, only dead skin cells are removed, so there is no risk of abrasion or tearing.
  2. Sugar paste is luke warm when it is applied, So there is no risk of burning the skin.
  3. Sugar paste is applied against the direction of hair growth then removing the hair in the natural direction of growth … resulting in less painful hair removal and eliminating hair breakage.
  4. Hair growth only needs to be 1/8 inch after shaving or 1/16 inch after sugaring! (May vary depending on individual and hair type).
  5. Sugaring is so gentle it can remove the vellus hair on some woman’s faces and is safe for clients with sensitivities, eczema and psoriasis.
  6. Sugar paste dissolves easily with water leaving no sticky residue left on your skin.
Posted by Jaclyn Steinmann on 05 March, 2014 home, living | 0 comments | Read more →

Spring Clean your Medicine Cabinet

The cosmetic and beauty industry is a billion dollar industry with hundreds of thousands of products to choose from and more and more coming out each day. When the flawless complexion of a gorgeous super model is the promised outcome, it’s hard to keep that voice at bay that says, “I need that!” Throughout the year we collect (some of us verging on hoard) cosmetic products.

Most cosmetic products sold by massive corporations that you can buy at the drug store or department store are filled with chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and synthetic fragrances. And while they promise to give you the skin of a nineteen year old model they clog the pores and leave a chemical residue on your skin. Layering your skin with tons of different beauty products stresses the skin and may be causing more harm than good, In some cases, using lots of thick “goopy” petroleum based moisturizer, inhibits the skin from making its own natural oils. Other than being just plain toxic and unhealthy for your skin once you open a product like a lotion or cream it oxidizes and can get for lack of a better word “funky” when left open and unused for longer than a few months.

SO here’s what to do: Simplify, consolidate, get organized!

Open your medicine cabinet and look at the products you have. READ the ingredients, if there are over 15 words that you can’t pronounce let alone understand what they are, it’s a good chance that that product is chemical laden and unhealthy for your skin. Toss it out! If you have had something open and not fully used in over a year. toss it out! If you are hanging onto a product because you bought and you don’t really use it but you feel bad about tossing it out. Toss it out!

Here are the 4 essentials for healthy skin:

1 gentle natural cleanser
1 exfoliating scrub
1 all over face and body moisturizer like Sweet Bee Magic
1 face mask for a once a week treatment (I love to put one on in the bathtub!)

Posted by Jaclyn Steinmann on 19 February, 2014 home, living | 0 comments | Read more →

Dry Skin Brushing: the Why's and How's

January is the time for setting ambitious New Year’s Resolutions, and, if you’re anything like 92% of the country, watching these resolutions dissolve within the first couple months of the year. That’s why I prefer to pick resolutions that are so simple they’re fail proof, one of which I want to share with you today. So ignore your plants to get organized, lose weight or save more money in the New Year, and focus instead on learning about Dry Skin Brushing: the easiest way to get your skin, clean healthy and glowing.

An Introduction To Dry Skin Brushing

Dry brushing is an ancient technique used to bring the skin to its optimum health and appearance. The skin is not only the largest organ in the body it is also one of the bodies’ main forms of elimination. This means that when the body has toxicity it is visible in the skin. Dry brushing, with a natural boar bristle brush (seen left) removes dead skin cells at the deepest level of the dermis, not only eliminating pore-clogging dead skin cells but stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage.

Dry skin brushing effectively opens up the pores on your skin, which makes it smoother and healthier, and also better prepared to absorb moisturizers such as our Sweet Bee Magic. Since you’re most likely moisturizing daily, it’s therefore natural to also dry brush your skin daily as part of the same process, either in the morning or before bed. Focus especially on rough parts of the skin, such as elbows and knees, and be sure to always brush toward the heart in long sweeps.

While the brush clears away the dead skin, it also stimulates circulation and blood flow throughout the body, making skin look tighter and more youthful. That’s why many people recommend using dry brushing to help eliminate cellulite and improve the appearance of fatty tissue beneath the skins surface. The massage will also make skin more elastic, which helps clear away scar tissue (dry brushing is especially effective in clearing away acne scars).

Personally, I love dry skin brushing. It’s cheap, it’s easy, the results are instantaneous and the process is a relaxing part of my daily beauty routine. If there’s one New Year’s resolution that I promise you will stick to this year, it’s dry body brushing.

Posted by Donna Steinmann on 03 January, 2014 beauty, home | 0 comments | Read more →

Discover the Magic of Beautiful Skin.

Medicine Mama’s Apothecary is proud to offer a line of certified organic skincare products that moisturize, soothe, nourish and heal. We are passionate about making the highest quality natural skincare possible, which is why we make all of our organic skin creams with the most medicinally active raw materials from around the world, in small batches at our own boutique apothecary under the meticulous care of our artisan masters.

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