ChatterTip of the Month May 2010

Beauty & Health Tips from the Kitchen

© Kurt Wilson

The sign of Taurus is concerned with beautiful things, food, wine and physical pleasures. So for this month I decided to give you some Beauty & Health Tips using ingredients from the kitchen. If you can eat it, you can generally put it on your skin, from avocado to olive oil, to yogurt or strawberries… Taurus loves to eat, drink and look good at the same time. And because it is also the sign that introduces us to our “senses,” I am giving you some tips that relate to each of the five senses.

For the eyes (sight) – many of us suffer from “bags” under the eyes and generally looking tired. Some of you have perhaps heard of the old home remedy, which is to apply cold Tea Bags over the closed eyelids in order to cool the skin and reduce the swelling. And apparently, if you don’t have any cold tea bags handy, another suggestion is to use slices of Potato, or Cucumber. Lie quietly with eyes closed and the slices placed over the eyelids. The cooling vegetable will certainly soothe those tired eyes.

For the ears (sound) – I remember as a child that whenever I had a bad case of earache (probably from too much swimming!) my mother would heat up a small amount of Olive Oil and then gently pour a few drops into the ear from a silver teaspoon, and then plug it up with some cotton wool. Sometimes a little of the warm oil escaped and ran down my neck, but the sensation was both soothing and, more importantly, it also successfully melted the blocked earwax and dissolved the earache.

For the nose (smell) – although I consider myself to be pretty healthy, I do have a history of sinus problems (also resulting from swimming & diving too much as a child!) Sinus headaches are miserable but one of the best ways to break up the mucus is to drink a tea made from Goldenseal powder. Boil some water in a saucepan and only use a very small spoonful of the powder – it is very strong and somewhat bitter, so if you really can’t take it, can add a little honey. Drink the tea 3x a day and the sinus will start to break up. Another remedy is to fill a large bowl with boiling water and then cover with a towel. I like to add Eucalyptus Oil to the vapors. Wait a few seconds (otherwise you’ll burn yourself) and then pop your head under the towel and gently breathe in the steam. Not only does it help the sinus but it also gives you a great facial at the same time!

For the mouth (taste) – One of the best remedies for a healthy mouth is Myrrh. It can be purchased in capsule form and taken several times a day, or as a liquid tincture. Simply add a few drops to a little warm water and rinse your mouth out as you would with a regular mouthwash. Again, it is a little bitter tasting, like the Goldenseal, but it can really improve the overall health of your teeth, gums and mouth. Another good remedy found in the pantry is Baking Soda, which can be sprinkled on to your toothbrush either on its own or with a dab of toothpaste as well.

For the skin (touch) – Here’s an interesting pair of remedies for the skin using Eggs and one that beautifully demonstrates the Yin Yang principle. For dry skin, make a face pack of beaten egg yolks with a little lemon juice – and for oily skin, make a face pack with whipped egg whites and lemon juice – now how interesting is that? There are many ingredients from the kitchen that can be added to the bath, such as Baking Soda, which helps to soften the skin and helps to soothe aching muscles. It is a great substitute if you don’t happen to have any Epson Salts in the bathroom cabinet. I also recall a English friend of mine telling me how her mother would add Olive Oil to her bath water to soften the skin.

Now, although I do admit I tend to like my baths hot, it is supposedly better and less drying for the skin if the water is warm. Better still would be to shower in cold water, but if that is too extreme for you, try showering with hot/warm water first and then gradually turn the water to cold before you get out (Yin & Yang again). I tend to like hot baths when it is cold outside and cold showers in the summer heat, but that isn’t quite what we are talking about here! The principle of alternating from hot to cold is nothing new – I remember years ago meeting a beautiful forty-something year-old Scandinavian woman whose skin was perfect. She told me that back home they would literally alternate between the hot sauna and rolling in the snow outside and, the only crème she had ever used was Nivea! Come to think of it, when I first lived in New York I used to go to the famous Russian Baths in the East Village, where we would spend as long as we could stand in the sweat room before jumping into an icy pool of cold water. Not exactly my favorite thing to do but very invigorating, to be sure, and great for the complexion!

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