Light Mountain Natural Henna Hair Dye Review

Henna has been around for thousands of years and the use of henna to decorate the body originates from the Middle East and India. Today it is very popular around the world as a temporary tattoo but can even be used to dye the hair.

Not all henna is made the same. See how Light Mountain Natural worked for me.
Not all henna is made the same. See how Light Mountain Natural worked for me.

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Henna has always been interesting to me but it’s not surprising that plants can be used for dye. Plants were the first dye material but dying our hair with is isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. This was not only my first time using any sort of henna but also my first time dying my hair!

I’ve wanted to dye my hair for some time now but didn’t want to use the harsh chemicals that are involved in dying hair. It can also be pretty expensive to go to a salon to get your hair done. I also didn’t want to try at home permanent hair dye since I’ve never dyed it before. I kind of act like I don’t care too much about my hair and to a point, I don’t, but the health of my hair is more important to me than how it looks. What drew me to henna was the fact that it is made from plants and can actually help repair your hair.Continue reading →

History, Identification, & Uses of White Pines

White pines are one of the largest trees in the Eastern United States. They play an important role in the lumber industry but have had many different uses throughout the centuries.

white pine

The tallest white pine in the United States is located at Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont, MA. It stands at 174 feet tall and before the settlers cut most of the white pines dow down they stood as tall as 230 feet. Due to their large size, this made them optimal for building ships. It’s a possibility that white pine lumber played a role in sparking the American revolution. Since Britain was short on lumber, King George I claimed the tallest white pines for the British Royal Navy. Three hatchet slashes known as The King’s Broad Arrow was used to mark the King’s trees. The settlers wanted to keep their livelihood alive and disregarded the marks and cut them down anyway. After finding out what happened, the British tried to charge those who stole the trees and the town rioted.

White pine trees have a long historic use by the Native Americans. The Ojibwa Indians have a legend about a chief who’s dying wish was for his son to plant a seed from a tree he collected a long distance from their home every time a child in the tribe was born. His son did as his father wished and planted these seeds every time a child was born. After some time these trees grew into great white pine trees and he began to collect seeds from these trees. Continue reading →

Natives: The New Garden Ornamentals

Ornamental plants are very pretty and make landscapes very attractive. However, many ornamental trees that are planted in yards and cities are not native to the region. Non-natives can become invasive, though not all are, but also can have a harder time growing in our climate or soil types. Planting native plants is a better option for not only maintenance but also for the environment.

Natives are the next popular plants for gardens. Are you up to date on the newest trend?
Natives are the next popular plants for gardens. Are you up to date on the newest trend?

 

Have you ever seen a Japanese maple tree? They are gorgeous trees but as the name suggests, they are from Japan and not native to the U.S. Not all non-natives become invasive but most of them do not provide anything for the local ecosystems. Some do end up outcompeting native species and can even be hazardous as they age such as the Bradford Pear tree. Planting native plants provide shelter and food for local fauna and can even tolerate local soils. Being from Ohio, I’m going to be talking about native plants from the Midwest and the Eastern United States.Continue reading →

How to Make an Elderberry Tincture

Elderberries are a great immune booster and making a tincture from the berries provides an easy way to get the plant’s benefits. Tinctures are easy to make and have a longer shelf life than most remedies available.

Tinctures are easy to make and this is one everyone should always have come winter!

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Tinctures are one of my favorite remedies because they are easy to use, have a long shelf life, and are easy to store. If you are unfamiliar with tinctures, they are essentially a strong alcohol extract. Infusing herbs in a high proof alcohol creates a potent herbal extract that contains the medicinal qualities of the herb used. You can learn more about tinctures here.

Elderberries have a long history and are a well known medicinal ingredient. In Germany, elderberries are approved for the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, fevers, and colds. Today, it is a common remedy for colds and flu due to it’s immune boosting properties. There are many ways to take elderberries including tea, syrups, tinctures, and even desserts. Elderberry syrup is easy to make as well but it has a short shelf life, must be kept in the freezer, and contains honey that not everyone can have. This tincture is great to have on hand and one dosage has the strength of two cups of tea!Continue reading →

Healing Eczema Salve

Many of us suffer from dry skin, especially during the winter, but some suffer from eczema that can be itchy and painful. There are many herbs available and when combined together can create a healing and soothing salve to help with dry skin and eczema.

This eczema salve is made with natural ingredients and can truly transform skin.
This eczema salve is made with natural ingredients and can truly transform skin.

 

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I first started working on an eczema lotion in December of 2015 for my husband. Eczema is not uncommon in his family and this was the first time he developed eczema in the time that I knew him. It started on his hand and it was bothersome to him but we didn’t think much of it. Next thing we knew it had taken over the back of his hand, his fingers, and spread all the way up to his elbows on both arms. It was painful and uncomfortable and his skin looked like a dried, cracked piece of land hit by a drought.

The tricky thing about eczema is that you don’t always know what is causing it or why. It’s not something that can be cured but is managed usually by lotions and avoiding things that cause flare-ups. It took awhile but we found that for my husband his eczema is worse in the winter and his flare-ups are usually caused by dust (he works retail) and from most soaps. We have completely switched what shampoos and soaps we use, he uses gloves while doing dishes, and uses an eczema salve almost every day and it helps keep his eczema at bay.Continue reading →

How to Identify Plants: Leaves Part III

Deciduous woody plants lose their leaves every autumn but some trees, like evergreens, keep their leaves. Evergreen leaves are often different from deciduous plants and pine trees are a very well know group of evergreens. Check out Part I to learn about leaf parts and arrangements and Part II to learn about leaf shapes and margins.

Learn how to learn plants on your own!
Learn how to learn plants on your own!

 

Not every evergreen is a conifer (pine family) and not every conifer is an evergreen. However, most conifers are evergreen and have very different leaves compared to deciduous plants. We are going to talk about the leaves found specifically within the conifer family.

Conifer Leaves

Conifers leaves are called needles and can either be rounded, flat or angled.Continue reading →

How to Create a Wildlife Garden

Have you passed by a home with a Certified Wildlife Habitat in their yard full of flowers and other plants? Anyone can create a wildlife garden on their property to help local fauna and even get it certified.

Want to attract wild life to your garden? Want it to be a certified wildlife garden? See what it takes to make a wildlife garden.
Want to attract wild life to your garden? Want it to be a certified wildlife garden? See what it takes to make a wildlife garden.

 

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Importance of Wildlife Gardens

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “wildlife”? Maybe deer or raccoons? This may deter you from considering planting a wildlife garden but the point of a wildlife garden is not to attract deer or raccoons but butterflies and other smaller creatures.

Most urban homes have nice, trimmed grass lawns in both the front and backyard. Some people may have some flower beds and a tree here and there but it’s mostly grass. As soon a spring begins people rush out to buy Roundup® to kill those “pesky” dandelions in their yard. Not only are the pesticides being used not great for the environment but what is a lawn full of grass doing for the environment? Nothing. Grass doesn’t provide any value to the local fauna and you’re not grazing cows in your suburban yard.Continue reading →

The Best Herbs for Colds & Flu

Cold and flu season is upon us. There are many herbs available that can help you get through this winter. Are you ready?

Not all herbs will help you get through a cold or the flu. Learn which herbs you should have in your herb cabinet!
Not all herbs will help you get through a cold or the flu. Learn which herbs you should have in your herb cabinet!

 

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Before we talk about herbs that can help with a cold or flu, please know that the flu can turn very serious very quickly. Always talk to your doctor before starting something new and special attention should be taken to the very young, elderly, and with those who have underlying conditions such as asthma or having a compromised immune system. The flu could lead to the contraction of pneumonia or strep throat. See a doctor if you start coughing up blood, you have trouble breathing, can’t keep fluids down, have a very high fever, or experience confusion.

Since the flu and common cold are both viruses and not bacteria you will not be prescribed antibiotics to treat them. You usually just have to wait it out or take over the counter painkillers and decongestants. There are some herbs available that can help prevent colds and flu as well as help you get through the sickness if you manage to catch either. I’m very prone to getting colds and many of these herbs I have personally worked pretty well for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.Continue reading →

Planet Saving Resolutions Anyone Can Do

The new year is a time for change and resolutions. A lot of people choose to focus on their health whether it be attending a gym or starting a new diet. Why don’t we try to focus on improving the health of our planet this year?

A new you, a new planet. What are you doing this year to better the environment?
A new you, a new planet. What are you doing this year to better the environment?

 

Living an eco-friendly or green lifestyle can be very daunting. You see people like Lauren Singer who is best known for producing so little trash in the past 4 years that it fits in a mason jar. You sit there and think, how on earth is that possible? Singer proved that is its possible to live a zero waste lifestyle which is very good for our planet. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go all out at once but there are baby steps that you can take to reduce your impact on the earth.

A lot of these things we will be discussing are things that I have started doing and some of them I haven’t even completed since the year before. Every little thing counts and over time making eco-friendly choices will become easier and easier. Are you ready? Here are 5 things you can do this year to reduce your impact and start living a greener lifestyle.Continue reading →

Warming Winter Cats Tea

Need something other than chai to drink this winter? Give this warming, cinnamon filled tea a try and it might be the perfect tea for getting you through the winter.

Need something to warm you up? Try this warm cinnamon herbal tea blend that you can make yourself.
Need something to warm you up? Try this warm cinnamon herbal tea blend that you can make yourself.

 

I originally created this tea for my mother in law who wanted a cinnamon tea. This tea blend did not disappoint. It’s even a favorite of my husbands who is very much like his mother. I named it “Cats Tea” because of the cats claw and catnip in the tea but it’s also ironic because my husband is very allergic to cats. Also, don’t give this tea to your cat…

Whenever I make tea I make it with more than the purpose of enjoying a cup of tea. Each herb is picked for a specific reason. This tea is very different from what I normally make since fruity teas are more my thing.

Cinnamon– anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-infective, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, astringent, stomachic, diaphoreticContinue reading →