- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Turning Common Kitchen Ingredients to Health and Beauty Aids
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Chances are you have quite a few common kitchen ingredients in your refrigerator, pantry or spice cabinet. You have them to make your daily life easier—mayonnaise for your sandwiches, baking soda for baking, eggs for breakfast and maybe, a couple of lemons to add flavor to your food. From tea bags to herbs to milk, common kitchen ingredients can double up as health and beauty aids as well. They are common and relatively inexpensive—two very good reasons to use them for other purposes. No need to fork out a load for that spa treatment or a visit to the masseuse. With a few simple tweaks to these common kitchen ingredients, you can add glow to your skin, put shine back in your hair, get rid of puffy eyes and banish acne. Want to know how? Or is that even possible?
Suspend your disbelief for a while and read how you can weave magic with these common kitchen ingredients. Questions later, let’s get on with the list:
Use mayonnaise to condition hair
We all have at least one jar of mayonnaise sitting in the fridge. It’s quite an indispensible part of sandwiches and a constant in some salads. Why not whip it into a hair conditioner—one that tames frizzy hair (bad hair days, ehh?)? Simply combine a quarter cup of mayo with 2 teaspoons of castor oil, Eucalyptus oil or sweet almond oil. Massage into hair and leave it on for half an hour. Shampoo as usual and rinse off—viola—hair that is sleek and contour-conforming.
Not only do they smell good, lemons act as an astringent due to their acidity. Utilize this quality to coax shine out of your hair. Combine equal amount of lemon juice with freshly brewed black tea. Rinse hair with this mixture after shampooing. See the shine?—it’s all in the lemon/tea concoction and the good news is that it doesn’t alter the ph balance of your hair or scalp.
Lemons work wonders on complexion too. Rub lemon juice on your face to induce brighter complexion.
But that’s not all that lemons can do. Its rich vitamin C content also makes a good cold and flu fighter. Combine lemon juice and honey in a drink to fight and banish the bug. Drinking the juice of one lemon mix with a glass of warm water also promotes regularity of bowel movement. The sour taste of lemon encourages peristalsis of the bowels to eliminate waste and improve regularity.
Milk is quite a staple in most households. They’re a must with cookies, they work well with eggs and cereals would be quite naked with it. Drinking milk not only strengthens bones (thanks to the calcium content), the lactic acid found in milk is also good for nourishing the skin. Perhaps that’s why Cleopatra must have her beauty milk bath. It may not be feasible to fill the whole bathtub with milk, but you can certainly add a few cups to your bath to enjoy the skin-nourishing effect. If you prefer, add a few drops of honey as well for antibacterial effect.
Milk can also be used to make facial mask. A simple doable one includes mixing equal amount of oatmeal and milk. Apply mixture to face and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and wash it off with warm water thereafter. It will leave your skin soft and fresh.
The sweet syrupy stuff you put in your tea or food is more than a sugar alternative. It offers antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal protection due to its rich antioxidant and flavonoids content. Got a burn? Slather some on. According to a study, the medicinal ability of honey to heal burn is seen just one week after applying honey to 104 first degree burn patients. 91 percent of the patients were infection free after one week. Due to its antibacterial property, honey is also effective in treating cold sores. One health source explains it this way: The sugars contained in honey—glucose and fructose—absorb water from the sores or wounds, drying it out, thereby inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi.
Honey is also a well-know skin moisturizer. Tap into its hydrating qualities by using it to nourish skin. You can simply massage honey (preferably organic) directly on skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash off with warm water. You can also make your own jar of honey moisturizer. Simply mix 1/3 cup of honey with 1 cup of your favorite oil (sweet almond, avocado, grapeseed, olive) and store it in a jar. Use it to moisturize dry skin.
Health benefits of Yogurt.
Some studies suggest that yogurt is good for dental health. Other studies have uncovered a number of health benefits associated with yogurt: helps weight control since it's a rich source of protein, stimulate fat metabolism and promote healthy bacteria growth in the gastrointestinal tract. Beauty experts are not about to let the goodness of yogurt slide either—they suggest that the biotin found in yogurt is good for conditioning hair and nails.
To condition dry or frizzy hair, mix one whole egg with 5 tablespoons of yogurts. Slather onto already shampooed hair. Rinse off after 5 to 10 minutes. Feel the difference? Don’t like the smell of raw egg? Use fruits instead—simply mix ½ banana, ¼ avocado, 2 tablespoons of castor oil (or wheatgerm), 3 tablespoons of yogurt. Apply to hair and rinse off after 15 minutes. As for nails, apply yogurt and allow it to strengthen cuticle and bring out the shine.
Surely, you have some tea bags in your kitchen, even if you’re not a tea drinker. You never know who may drop by. Generally used as beverage, tea bags can come in handy for beauty emergencies as well. If you’re up all night and wake up with puffy eyes—no worries—steep a tea bag in hot water and then chill it for 20 minutes. Lay them on your eyes—the cold will constrict blood vessels and lessen the darkness under eyes and the caffeine helps to increase micro-circulation to the eyes. Some teas like chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce puffiness.
The rich polyphenols in green tea makes it a natural skin saver. Whether you prefer drinking green tea to harness its therapeutic effects or use green tea to make a facial scrub or moisturizer, allow green tea's antioxidants to work its magic.
If you know of a case of stinking feet (either yours truly or someone else), soak feet in black tea. The tannins found in black tea helps to neutralize odor.
Even if you’re not the spice-rack kind of person, you may still have certain spices handy to spice up your food. You may have these lying around—pepper, oregano, rosemary, cayenne , curry or cinnamon. Spices make good flavoring agents but why limit them to just that? Discover other ways to use them. Consider cinnamon, a very common spice. This versatile spice is antiviral and has a soothing and warming effect on the body. Use it to treat acne. Mix cinnamon powder with enough lemon juice to form a paste. Apply to skin and rinse off after 5 minutes. If you’re having problems with bleeding gum and bad breath, boil cinnamon bark in water, cool it and gargle. It will also ease joint pain. Make a paste with cinnamon powder, honey and lemon juice. Apply paste to aching joint.
Looking for a quick way to combat bloating (PMS? )? Grab some celery seeds from your kitchen cabinet and make it into a tea. Pour 1 cup of hot boiling water over a teaspoon of crushed dill seeds and drink.
A pinch of baking soda may be indispensible for certain baked foods. But baking soda has been linked to many other uses--from brightening teeth to adding shine to your lackluster nails, baking soda is one mightly versatile kitchen aid--read my entire hub dedicated to the health and beauty aspects of baking soda.
Your kitchen may be stocked differently from mine. Red wine, oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, fresh herbs? All these can be used for beauty and health purposes. You may never look at common kitchen ingredients in the same way. You may find new respect for them, since they're multi-taskers when it comes to uses.
Feel free to share any others in the comment capsule below.