Bee Pollen and Its Uses

Bee products such as honey and royal jelly are commonly found in just about any store today. Have you ever walked down the aisle and wondered why they might be also selling bee pollen?

(This post contains affiliate links. Learn more.)

Bee pollen is different from bee venom, honey, and royal jelly. It is made up of plant pollen and bee saliva that is compacted into little balls and carried on the legs of worker bees. This ball of pollen, also called bee bread, is used as a food source for the bees. Since it is made from pollen, each ball of pollen can differ significantly from one another depending on what pollen is collected from what plant.

Uses

Bee pollen has been used for thousands of years by various cultures. Hippocrates used it in many of his healing concoctions. The Chinese, Romans, and Egyptians would also use bee pollen in their medicine. The Native Americans would eat the pollen during long journies to keep their energy up. Today it is used for a variety of things.

In the 1970’s bee pollen became a popular supplement for athletes. Many popular athletes promoted the pollen for its ability to improve athletic abilities. It has been used to treat constipation, diarrhea, premature aging, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, hay fever, mouth sores, joint pain, painful urination, prostate conditions, radiation sickness, bleeding problems (nosebleed to menstruation problems), eczema, pimples, diaper rash, wounds, alcoholism, asthma, and allergies. Has also been used to stimulate appetite, improve stamina and athletic performance, reduce premature aging, soften skin, improve liver function, reducing stress, and weight loss.

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Contains:

-Fat
-Protein
-Carbohydrates
-Amino acids
-Enzymes
-Minerals
-Trace Vitamins (including vitamin C)

Possible Properties: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immune booster, diuretic, general tonic

Precautions

Bee pollen is not safe for everyone. Do not take long term, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, are allergic to pollen or bees, or if you are on blood thinners.

Side Effects:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Possible liver or kidney damage
  • Acute hepatitis
  • Photosensitivity
  • Increases heart rate
  • Cardiac arrest

Tainted bee pollen could cause severe reactions including death. Make sure you get quality bee pollen supplements. Learn how to find quality supplements here.

Does it Work?

For the most part, it is not know how effective bee pollen is for humans. Some research has shown that a bee pollen extract had anti-inflammatory effects in rats, that bee pollen has antioxidant activity similar to fermented foods, and has been shown to increase liver health in chickens. However, studies have not been done on how bee pollen effects humans. Results found in animal testing does not always translate into effective human uses.

More studies are needed specifically on how bee pollen may or may not benefit humans. Talk to your doctor before taking bee pollen supplements or any supplements at that. If you are going to use bee pollen make sure to get it from a trusted source such as Greenbow’s Organic Bee Pollen.


Sources

Web MD
How Nutritious Is Bee Pollen Exactly?
MedlinePlus
Drugs Overview: Bee Pollen
Mountain Rose Herbs Bee Pollen

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

History, Identification, & Uses of Bloodroot

Bloodroot gets its name from the blood-red sap within the plant. It has been used not only as a dye but for medicine. Today, it is planted mainly as a garden ornamental but it could play an important role in cancer research.

Bloodroots are early spring perennials that are very popular garden flowers. They have beautiful white flowers but more impressively, they have almost blood red sap. This sap has played an important role in Native American culture and as a medicine.

The sap was once used as a body paint by Native Americans to scare their enemies. It has also been used as a dye for clothing and other materials which can still be done today. For the Ponca tribe, it was used as a love charm. A man would rub part of the root on his hand and then shake the hand of the woman he wanted to marry. It is said that 5 days or so after shaking his hand, the woman would be willing to marry him.

The sap and roots have been used to treat anything from skin problems, fevers, to arthritis and scarlet fever. It was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820-1926 as a botanical drug. It had also been used in toothpaste and mouthwash up until the early 2000’s when they found that the root was not only toxic but causing oral leukoplakia which can lead to mouth cancer.

Since the active ingredient in bloodroot is an alkaloid called sanguinarine, it has peaked an interest in cancer treatment. Sanguinarine is the compound in the plant that makes it toxic, along with a few other alkaloids. It works by blocking the cell’s ability to transport proteins which will lead to the cell’s death. Applying this topically to cancerous skin cells will cause the tissue to die and then scab over. Bloodroot’s use in skin cancer treatment is still being studied and is not heavily practiced at this time.

Profile

Common Name: Bloodroot
Scientific Name: Sanguinaria canadensis
Identification:
Perennial
Leaves- single basal leaf, palmate, round-lobed, grayish-green
Flower- white, yellow stamen, 8-10 petals, 2 inches wide
Root- thick rhizome, inside is red
Sap- reddish-orange
Harvest Time: Fall
Parts Edible: Root
Found: Eastern half of North America; rich wood sites and along streams

Historic Uses

-Fresh root was once used as an appetite stimulant in small amounts
-In larger amounts, the root was used as an arterial sedative
-Was once used as an ingredient in cough medicine
-The Cherokee used the root for rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, fevers, and as an emetic
-The Algonquian used the sap as a blood purifier
-Juice from the roots was used topically to treat warts, eczema, and ulcers
-Various parts of the plant were once used to treat cramps and induce abortions
-Sap was once used to treat skin cancer by Native Americans
-Used as a plaque-inhibiting agent during the 1980’s and early 2000’s
-The root has been used as a homeopathic remedy to treat migraines
-Has been and is stilled used for creating a dye for clothing and other materials
-Native Americans used the sap to paint their skin
-Crushed root was also used as an insect repellant

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

Active ingredients:
-Sanguinarine alkaloid
-Chelerythrine
-Berberine
-Oxysanguinarine

Properties: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anesthetic, anti-cancer, cathartic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, stimulant, tonic

Preparations

Not readily available commercially but can be found or made into a tincture or dried.

Available mainly for gardens and landscaping.

Precautions

-All parts of the plant are considered toxic
-It is not recommended that any part of the plant be ingested
-Do not use while pregnant or nursing
-Sap can cause topical and internal irritation
-Do not take if you have intestinal problems or an eye disease
-Do not take longterm
-Could cause nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and grogginess

Harvest

-Harvest during the fall. Be sure to ark where plants are before they lose their leaves
-Gently dig up roots making sure not to damage them in the process
-Rinse clean of soil, rocks, and other debris
-Bloodroot roots are prone to mold and should be dried or used right away
-Considered exploitably vulnerable in New York and special concern in Rhode Island

Recipes

Dying Natural Materials With Bloodroot

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)


Sources

PFAF Bloodroot
Missouri Botanical Garden Bloodroot
WebMD
USDA Bloodroot
Drugs-Bloodroot
Botanicals Bloodroot
UpS Bloodroot
St. Olaf College Bloodroot
-Foster, Steven, and James Duke A. Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 65-66. Print.
-“Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.” Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, by Claire Kowalchik and William H. Hylton, Rodale, 1998, pp. 48–49.

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

History, Identification, & Uses of Ramps

Wild leeks, or ramps, have gained in popularity recently spawning specialty dishes in high-end restaurants and even festivals. What exactly are these wild onions and where do they come from?

Ramps are a wild onion that grows in damp woodland areas. They are not, for the most part, grown commercially but are instead harvested from the wild. The bulb and leaves are prized for their oniony to garlic taste. They really are quite delicious.

This plant has a long history in its native region in Eastern North America. It has been used medicinally by many Native American tribes but is best known today as a wild edible. They are best known in the Appalachian regions due to the mountains providing a very suitable habitat for these wild onions to grow. However, there once was a thick grove of ramps along Lake Michigan which led to the name a large city you might be familiar with, Chicago. The name Chicago was a French adaptation of the Native American word for ramps, shikaakwa, which was adapted to Chicagou. Who would’ve known that such a big city was named after a wild onion!

While ramps are growing in popularity with the popularity of wild edibles, we could soon see them wiped off the map. They take a long time to reproduce, are frequently poached, and are not grown commercially. This is discussed further below but keep in mind that sustainable harvest of this plant is very important to furture enjoyment.

Profile

Common Name: Ramps, Wild Leeks, Ramson, Wood Leeks
Scientific NameAllium tricoccum
Identification:
Perennial
Leaves- 2-3, 6-18 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, lanceolate, smooth, onion/leek aroma
Flower- globe shaped, white-creamy yellow, 1/4 inch in length
Harvest Time: Spring
Parts Edible: Bulb, Leaves, Flowers
Found: Native to Eastern North America; likes moist, woodland areas

Historic Uses

-Eaten much in the same ways as garlic and onions
-Either boiled, salted, or dried by various Native American tribes
-Used as a spring tonic in many Native American tribes
-Chippewa created a decoction to cause vomiting
-Cherokee consumed ramps to treat colds and croup
-Juice made from the leaves and bulbs were used to treat earaches
-Iroquois made a tonic to treat intestinal worms
-Plant juices used to repel moths

Vitamins, Minerals, & More

-Vitamins A & C
-Sodium, Calcium, Iron, Potassium

Properties: Emetic

Preparations

-Fried in butter or animal fat
-Eaten raw
-Added to soups and other dishes
-Eaten much in the same ways as garlic and onions

Precautions

-Consumption of large amounts of ramps could cause poisoning in some mammals, especially dogs

Harvest

Ramps are considered an overharvest wild plant. There is a high demand for ramps and are often poached. They are listed under “special concern” in Maine, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. They are protected in Quebec, Canada and cannot be harvested in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ramps are slow to reproduce, only producing seed when it is at least 7 years old. A patch of ramps could take 20 or more years to recover if entirely removed. That’s why it is important to know how to properly harvest them! Check with your local laws as you may need a permit to harvest, especially if it’s not on your own land.

When harvesting ramps, take only the leaves. The bulb is very important to the health and reproduction of the plant. If you take the bulb you are taking the entire plant! There is no way to reproduce after that. Only take one leaf per plant and harvest only 10% of the population. The leaves are just as edible as the bulb and just as tasty! Taking only leaves, and only one will ensure that the population stays intact, can photosynthesize, and reproduce. Also, consider planting your own or planting new seeds in areas that you have disturbed to get ramps. Sustainable harvesting will ensure we can enjoy ramps for generations to come!

Recipes

Potato Ramp Soup
Ramp Pesto
Caramelized Ramps
Ramp Frittata
Ramp & Cheese Scone

Don’t forget, if the recipe calls for whole ramps you don’t have to use the bulb. In fact, just use the leaves if you can! Try to source your ramps from farmers that harvest them sustainably (just the leaves!). Learn about the proper way to harvest ramps above.

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

 


Sources

Foods Indigenous to the Western Hemisphere
PFAF Ramps
UPS Ramps
United Plant Savers Ramps
-Foster, Steven, and James Duke A. Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. 40-41. Print.

How To Help Save Our Earth When All Hope Seems To Be Lost

Today it seems almost impossible to make a difference and help improve the earth. However, there is hope and many things we can all do on our own to push our way to a greener earth.

America has been at the forefront of a lot of new advancements for years. Unfortunately, it seems as though we are taking a step back into our old, dirty ways. We were paving the way to a new, cleaner, and greener world. It started with the Clean Air Act and later the Paris Agreement. Last year it was announced that the U.S. would be leaving the Paris Agreement, an agreement to reduce carbon emissions amongst 195 nations, and this year it was announced that portions of the Clean Air Act would be changed to allow for lower pollution standards. I know, this might be depressing, but there are ways we can move forward when our leaders are moving backward.

1. Support Environmental Agencies

There are many agencies out there fighting for the environment and animals. Consider donating to these organizations to help them with research, legal fees, and more while they do what many of us cannot. Here are some agencies that are fighting the good fight for our earth.

World Wildlife Foundation

Defenders of Wildlife

Natural Resources Defense Council

Alt National Park Service

2. Vote for Environmentally Conscious Candidates

Who we vote for and put into power over our country, and our land does make a difference. Some people want to preserve our land, put regulations in place to reduce human pollution, and protect endangered animals. Some people want to sell off our land, deregulate pollution regulations, and don’t care that we have endangered animals. Who we vote for does matter because these are the people writing and passing our laws that will either help or hurt our environment. Research candidates and get out and vote. Your vote does make a difference. Get to the polls and vote for those who will help protect our precious earth!

Learn how to register to vote here.

3. Let Your Voice Be Heard

Getting out to vote is very important but we don’t have elections every year. Contact your representatives and join marches and protests to let your voice be heard. Bring attention to the public, friends, and family about the issues we are facing. Volunteering for various environmental agencies and marches is a great way to help too.

Text RESIST to 50409 to contact your representatives in Congress

Learn about the March for Science

Okay, so now that we’ve gotten through the politics lets talk about some other ways you can help make a difference.

4. Be an Example

Practice what you preach. Don’t just talk about how to go green and ways to make a difference, get out there and do it! What you do can lead to educational opportunities where you can change the minds and habits of other people. Don’t be afraid to bring your reusable straw with you when you go out to eat. Brag about your love of an organic and sustainable brand on Instagram. Plant a garden in your front yard. Add bumper stickers to your car and pins to your bags. Don’t be afraid to get out there and show how you are personally making a difference. Show people it’s possible for anyone to enjoy their 21st-century life without hurting the environment around them. However, don’t put people down and belittle someone for not living a green lifestyle. Don’t be that person. Educate people and be an example.

5. Accept That Going Green Is A Way Of Life

It may seem like being “green” or “eco-friendly” is the next big trend, but it’s not. It’s a way of life. Yes, some may hop on the eco-friendly bandwagon while it is popular but what really makes the difference is when you stick with it. To really make a difference means to change your lifestyle. If you go “green” for a week and say, not use any plastic bags, that does make a small impact. But imagine how many plastic bags would stay out of our environment if you never used a plastic bag again? This is where the difference lies. You must be willing to change your lifestyle in order to reduce your own environmental impact.

Are you up for the challenge? Take a pledge to change how you impact the environment. Get involved and make a difference. One by one, we will all make a difference.

What It Is Like Living In A Commune

Have you ever thought about what it is like living in a commune? What really goes on might surprise you.

I live in a commune. This is my story.

Just joking, I don’t really. I live in a small apartment building in the suburbs with some awesome friends who just so happen to like to garden. We joke that we all live in a commune because we all like to garden and regularly hang out together.

What it is like Apartment Gardening

We are super fortunate to have a landlord who doesn’t like to mow and is okay with the idea of us turning the lawn space into a garden. The year before we had a small 10’x10′ area approved for a garden and tried to grow some veggies mid-summer. It didn’t work too well with our poor clay soil and starting our plants in July. So, this year, we got approved to turn the entire front yard of our building into a garden! How awesome is that! We also tried container gardening and but we did not get enough sunlight on our patios.

We have about a dozen 4’x4′ raised beds on the hill in front of our apartment building. We are looking at taking a permaculture approach to our garden. This means that we will be planting high maintenance plants near the building entrance and low maintenance plants further away. We are also going to be doing companion planting to naturally repel insects and improve plant health without having to apply too many pesticides and fertilizers. We even have some compost going for the garden.

Turning the front lawn into a garden will have a positive impact on our local community and environment. Visually, it will be an interesting site for those doing their daily commute. Grass is boring and our lawn will be full of color! It also provides us with an opportunity to talk with people about growing their own produce and even converting their own laws into a garden. Since we are taking a permaculture approach, we will have a lot of flowers and diversity for pollinators and local wildlife. Grass does not promote diversity but a garden will. We will also have a bee and butterfly garden in the back that has been dominated by bush honeysuckle since we moved in. Simply changing the lawn to a garden is going to make a big difference in more ways than one.

Living in A Plant-Loving Community

What I love about the group of friends we live with is that we are 1. all friends, 2. plant lovers, and 3. have a sense of community. We hang out, we garden, we walk our dogs together, we go out drinking together, but we all live our own lives. My husband and I have moved around a lot and we never knew most of our neighbors. Here, we are friends with all of them. Since we all love plants we are actively trying to better our environment. Beyond the garden, we compost, eat a lot of veggies, try to go organic, recycle, and all around try to reduce our impact on our planet. I guess we are just a bunch of suburban hippies.

Finding a community of people who share the same interest and passion for whatever you are interested in is important. For us, it was gardening and the environment. We found our community in the building we live in. For you, it may be through your own neighbors, gardening clubs, or community gardens. Find where you belong and embrace it, even if it might be seen as out of the norm for society. It certainly was for us.

Commune
noun
1. a small group of persons living together, sharing possessions, work, income, etc., and often pursuing unconventional lifestyles.
2. a close-knit community of people who share common interests.

We don’t share an income and we all have our own apartments, but I guess you could say we are a commune. 😉

History, Identification, & Uses of Black Raspberry

Black raspberries aren’t as popular as red raspberries but they too have edible and medicinal properties.

Black raspberries are different from both red raspberries and blackberries. They have a history of medicinal uses and are being study for cancer treatment today.

Black raspberries are related to red raspberries but they are two separate species. Both are native to North America but red raspberries are more well known for their fruit and medicinal qualities. You can find black raspberries growing in the wild and if you’re lucky, you may even find them for sale at farmers markets.

The berries from the black raspberry bushes have been used for food and medicine for as long as people have been in North America. Native Americans would preserve the berries for winter to provide them with nutrients that could not find during the winter months. They would also use the roots to treat stomach and intestinal issues as well as a leaf tea for dysentery and a wash for sores and wounds. Today black raspberries are being studied for their role in treating cancer. The Ohio State University found that mice with colon tumors saw a 60-80% tumor reduction while on a diet containing black raspberries. Mice with esophageal cancers also saw an 80% reduction on a diet containing 5-10% black raspberries. Human trials have started and hopefully will provide good results.Continue reading →

Plant Invasion: How Invasive Plants Are Impacting Nature

Plants are brought in from different countries on purpose and sometimes on accident. Bringing non-native plants into an entirely different ecosystem can have a drastic impact on that system and the flora and fauna living in that ecosystem.

Can you name a few invasive plants in your area? Everyone has some and you may have even planted some in your yard without knowing. It’s important to know and be able to identify problems plants before they take over your yard and wildlife areas.

How They Got Here

Plants have been transported around the world for hundreds of thousands of years and were originally traded for their medicinal and agricultural uses. Pleasure gardens soon became popular and these gardens once served a utilitarian purpose. They were not only beautiful and well maintained but also had many uses. As time progressed, pleasure gardens lost their utilitarian use and many plants were imported as ornamentals.

It is estimated that over 80% of the introduced woody plants in the U.S. were introduced for landscaping. These plants escaped cultivation and many are now invasive plants. An estimated 3% of invasive woody plants were introduced as both ornamental plants and for erosion control. It’s not just the U.S. either. Anywhere from 57%-65% of naturalized species in Australia are not native to the country. Many species are introduced through landscaping, botanical gardens, and seed trading.

Plants were also introduced as people began colonizing different parts of the world. White clover (Trifolium repens) was introduced to North America for the honey bees the colonists brought over to help pollinate their European crops. The French and Spanish also introduced plants to North America including peaches from Spain. People wanted plants that they regularly used back home as they were conquering the world. I supposed it’s understandable, but they had no idea how that would impact these environments.

The Impact

Not all plants that are introduced to a region become invasive. An invasive plant is a plant that has become established, can successfully reproduce and becomes dominant or disruptive to an ecosystem. Plants that become invasive usually have an advantage over native flora. They could reproduce rapidly and produce a lot of seeds. Some may have allelopathic properties in their roots that prevent plants around them from reproducing or growing. Others may lack competition, predators, or grow rapidly. Any of these properties can make a plant hard to control or eradicate and allows them to completely take over a region. Because of their advantages, they can completely wipe out all of the native flora which in turn affects the animal populations in the region.

Invasive Plants in North America

It’s important to know what plants are considered invasive in your area so you can avoid planting them and pull them out when you see them. Almost everyone has some sort of invasive plant, however, since I’m from the U.S. I’m going to cover some plants that have become a problem here.

1. Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)

Kudzu is probably one of the most well known invasive plants in North America. It was introduced in the late 1800’s as an ornamental plant and in the early 1900’s to help with erosion and help save America from the dust bowl. Kudzu grows rapidly and can create dense shade that inhibits some native plant growth. It can also completely engulf a tree and weight it down. It is a host of a few diseases and insects that impact agriculture crops including soybeans. It is more predominant in the Southeastern U.S. but has made its way up into some Northern states.

2. Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)

Autumn Olive was introduced for erosion control, as an ornamental, and as wildlife habitat. It produces berries both edible for animals and humans. The plant can grow up to about 20 feet and displaces much of our native flora. It reproduces quickly, is hard to remove, and is spread around rabidly by wildlife. It is found throughout the eastern U.S. and in some parts of Canada.

3. Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Japanese honeysuckle is a woody vine honeysuckle introduced from Japan and Korea as an ornamental and for erosion control. It outcompetes native flora by growing very densely and shading out areas and utilizing all of the available resources. They will also climb up small trees and bushes and choke them out. Japanese honeysuck is found in the Southern U.S. and parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. It has been found in Canada.

4. Euonymus

There are quite a few Euonymus species both native and invasive to North America. Euonymus americanus is native but Euonymus alatus, burning bush or winged Euonymus, is native to Aisa. Winged Euonymus was introduced as an ornamental because of its attractive fall color and fruit. It can reproduce by seed, a lot of seeds, or asexually. It starts to leaf out before native flora does, keeps its leaves longer than natives, and the seeds are spread by wildlife. It is found primarily in the Midwest and along the Eastern Coast of the U.S. It is also found in some parts of Canada.

6. Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima)

When you see tree of heaven you can tell it is not native to North America. It is native to China and was brought over as an ornamental plant. It grows just about anywhere, has rapid growth and reproduction, and crowds out our native flora. It can even destroy pavement and building foundations. It has allelopathic properties in its leaves which, once they fall, help keep plants from gowning around it. It can be found throughout most of the United States and Eastern Canada.

7. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic mustard was brought to North America as a medicinal and culinary plant. Since its introduction, it has completely dominated the understories of many forests. It can self-pollinate, send out adventurous roots that can become new plants, and can overwinter without dying back. It is hard to control and remove because of how rapidly and easily it reproduces. It outcompetes native flora and prevents anything must garlic mustard from growing. It is found throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States and is creeping west. It can also be found in Eastern and Western Canada.

8. Bush Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)

There’s actually a few species of honeysuckle that are not native and are an invasive plant in the U.S. Tatarian honeysuckle (L. tatarica) can be found throughout most of the Northern U.S. And through most of Canada. Amur honeysuckle (L. maackii) is found through most of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lmorrowii) can be found throughout most of the Midwest and Northeastern U.S. and Northeastern Canada. These bush honeysuckles can grow from 6-20 feet tall and prefer full sun but can survive in partial shade. They were brought over to North America as an ornamental and erosion control. Now they have taken over many of our natural regions by out-competing native flora and growing in dense thickets. Native birds eat the plant’s berries and transport the seeds. However, the berries do not provide sufficient nutrition for native and migrating birds. Native honeysuckles have solid stems when cut off whereas nonnatives have hollow stems.

Control

Each plant has their own method of control. It is important to stay vigilant and try to prevent the plantings of invasive species and removal of what is already established. Control can be as simple as pulling the plant up by hand or could require special equipment and herbicides. Research what methods work best for what every plant you may be dealing with. These eight plants aren’t the only plants affecting our native environment. Learn what plants are issues in your area and try to help stop the spread of problem plants.


Sources

Invasive Species – Coming to America By Land, Sea, and Air…
Honey Bees Across America
Controlling Non-Native Invasive Plants in Ohio Forests: Bush Honeysuckle
USDA Morrow’s honeysuckle
USDA Tatarian honeysuckle
USDA Amur honeysuckle
Invasive Plants Fact Sheet Japanese Honeysuckle
USDA Japanese Honeysuckle
The History and Use of Kudzu in the Southeastern United States
USDA Kudzu
Invasive Species: Autumn Olive
USDA Autumn Olive
Winged Euonymus: An Exotic Invasive Plant Fact Sheet
USDA Winged Euonymus
Invasive Species: Tree of Heaven
Tree of Heaven: An Exotic Invasive Plant Fact Sheet
USDA Tree of Heaven
Penn State Garlic Mustard
USDA Garlic Mustard

Do Pink Himalayan Salt Lamps Work?

Himalayan salt lamps have become popular recently with claims that it can improve your health and clean the air in a room. Is it just another internet hoax or does it really have health benefits?

(This post contains affiliate links. Learn more.)

It is believed that Himalayan salt lamps can improve mood disorders, reduce depression and anxiety, boost the immune system, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and purify the air. How? Negative Ions.

How It Works

Some studies have found that increasing the number of negative ions you are exposed to can improve your mood and could potentially be an antibacterial agent. The idea is that the chunk of salt naturally produces its own negative ions. Salt is naturally hygroscopic, meaning salt absorbs moisture from the air, and water will stick to the outside of the lamp. Pollutants in the air get trapped by moisture in the air which is then attracted to the lamp. The salt lamp has a light bulb inside of it which is supposed to warm up the salt and dry out the water. As the water dries it releases negative ions and leaves the pollutants on the lamp.

Does It Work?

The explanation above sound pretty convincing doesn’t it. This is what a lot of Himalayan salt lamp sellers boast about and promote on their websites. However, none of it is true and there is no evidence currently available to back up any claims about Himalayan salt lamps.

Dr. Jack Beauchamp, a professor and researcher at the California Institute of Technology, analyzed one of the most popular Himalayan salt lamps off of Amazon to test how many negative ions it produced. He and his team found that the salt lamp did not produce a single negative ion. So far he is the only one who has tested this, but it does not look promising that any lamp will produce negative ions. Another chemist, John Malin, explained to Live Science how the salt lamp cannot produce negative ions and how they don’t have any befits these companies are promoting. Essentially, salt is a very stable element and would have to be heated to 1,500*F (816*C) to release ions. The chances of pollutants also mixing with what little water is attracted to the salt is very small. What water that does land on the salt lamp can split the salt ions into sodium and chloride ions. However, when it dries up it goes back to being salt.

Other Possibilities

There are a lot of claims when it comes to Himalayan salt lamps. There is no evidence currently that shows that it has any health benefits. However, some people have claimed that their allergies and asthma have improved while using a Himalayan salt lamp. This could possibly be a placebo effect but more research is needed to test its health benefits. Right now it does not appear to improve any health conditions.

Even though it doesn’t help the way many companies claim it does it has a beautiful glow. It makes a great night light and an excellent addition to any room. If interested in a Himalayan salt lamp for whatever reason, I recommend this one.


Sources

Himalayan Salt Lamps: What Are They (and Do They Really Work)?
Do Salt Lamps Cure Everything?

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

Whole30 Diet: A System Reboot

The Whole30 diet is a type of elimination diet that is highly restrictive and short term. It is meant to help heal and reset your body and identify food that negatively affects you. However, does this diet actually help and can you lose weight?

This diet is not your standard weigh lost diet, in fact weight loss is not even the point of this diet. Whole30 was designed to eliminate common foods and ingredients that regularly cause people to have health issues.  From acne, diabetes, to intestinal issues, different kinds of food can affect your body differently. This diet eliminates some of those common foods such as dairy and sugar. However, this diet is not for the faint of heart and takes a lot of planning and dedication.

How It Works

The idea behind Whole30 is that food can influence you in a negative way but can also heal you. The diet only last for 30 days, it is not a long-term diet. During these 30 days, you stop eating foods that commonly influence different health issues. At the end of the 30 days, you begin to reintroduce certain foods to find out which may be causing you issues. There are a lot of rules to follow, no cheat days are allowed, and there are no current studies available to show if this diet is at all beneficial.

What You CANNOT Eat

  • Sugar of any kind
    • No honey, maple syrups, agave, Splenda, xylitol, or Stevia
  • Alcohol- not even for cooking
  • Dairy
  • Grains
    • No corn, rice, quinoa, wheat, rye, millet, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, bulgur, or sprouted grains
  • Legumes
    • This includes peanuts and legume products (soy sauce, tofu, etc.)
  • Processed & Junk Foods
    • Avoid foods with carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites

If you eat any food on this list, according to the diet, you have compromised your system and have to start over at Day 1. There is no room for cheat days or slip-ups in this diet. You have to read every label on food that you buy from the store.

Junk Food & Comfort Food

One thing that is different about this diet is that they also look at the phycological side of eating food. During the Whole30 diet, you are not allowed to make Whole30 compatible junk food. This means you cannot take food that you can eat while on the diet and use it to make a “Whole30 friendly” recipe. No almond flour bread, cauliflower crust pizza, or coconut flour cupcakes. They claim that this affects your state of mind and still encourages you to go after those sweets and junk food.

What You CAN Eat

  • Vegetables (even potatoes!)
  • Fruit
  • Meat, unprocessed
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oils & Ghee
  • Coffee

Reintroduction of Food

After you have successfully completed the 30 days, you start to reintroduce the foods that you cut from your diet. The written diet plan also helps you add these foods back into your diet slowly. The idea is that after eating wholesome food for 30 days you will be able to see what foods your body negatively reacts to as you slowly reintroduce it.

Does It Work?

There’s not a lot of data or independent studies available on this type. In theory, it might work, however, there’s nothing to back up the claims that this diet will help reduce or heal ailments you might be suffering from. There is a possibility that you could lose weight on the Whole30 diet. Losing weight is possibly on any diet where you cut out sugary foods and start eating more fruits and veggies.

Talk with your doctor before starting any new diet. If you think something you are eating is causing a health issue, talk with your doctor about going on a supervised elimination diet.


Sources

Whole30 Program Rules
Here’s What You Can and Can’t Eat on Whole30
Whole30 Diet Overview

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

Essential Oil Safety For Pets

Essential oils have increasingly become popular as a natural ingredient and for medicinal uses. From aromatherapy to bug spray, they can be found in a lot of products including some you may even use for your pets. Not every essential oil is safe for pets and some can’t tolerate any oils.

If you have pets of any kind whether that be cats, dogs, ferrets, horses, or birds it is important to understand how your use of essential oils may affect your pets. Speak with your vet before using any essential oils with your pets. And just like with humans, essential oils should never be used without first diluting it.

Essential Oil Poisoning

Essential oils can cause your pets to become extremely sick. Symptoms may include:

  • Unsteadiness on the feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Depression
  • Difficulty breathing (labored breathing, fast breathing, panting, coughing, or wheezing-these are not a normal thing for cats!)
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on the lips, gums, tongue, or skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low body temperature

If you expect your pet to be suffering from essential poisoning contact your vet immediately. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is available 24/7 by phone (888) 426-4435. *A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.*

What oils you use, their concentration, dose, and whether it was applied topically or consumed could produce different reactions with every pet. Pet size and age can also play a role in their reaction and some pets may be more tolerable of one oil more so than another. Toxicity or poisoning could appear immediately or over time.

Hydrosols & Liquid Potpourri

Hydrosols are the distilled steam left over during the essential oil process. They still contain remnants of the essential oils. While they are very diluted, they can still cause issues for some pets. Some animals are able to tolerate hydrosols but generally, you should avoid using them around your pets, especially if it is made from a plant toxic to them.

Liquid potpourri is exactly what it sounds like, liquid potpourri. It is an alternative to dried flowers and is much more dangerous to animals. It can be made up of essential oils and perfumes that are either derived from plants or are synthetic. These should also be avoided around pets who are sensitive.

Essential Oil Safety

There are many products out there for pets that contain essential oils including ones that may be toxic to them! Make sure you look at ingredients in pet products before buying them.

Essential oils should never be used undiluted or internally on animals! Always make sure that any essential oils that your pet can tolerate or is not considered toxic to them are always diluted.

Diffusers can still be used in your home if used properly. Avoid using oils that may be toxic to your pets and place your diffuser in a room that the pets rarely visit or are not allowed in. Make sure to also keep it in a location where your pets cannot knock it over. Do not use diffusers at all around birds, ferrets, young and old animals, and those with respiratory problems. The best option would be to save the use of a diffuser while at work.

Always keep essential oils out of reach of pets. If knocked over, especially while open, could cause some serious issues with your pets. Never use essential oils undiluted.

Cats

Cats are rather sensitive to essential oils and can become irritated. These oils once absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or consumes, get processed by the liver and other organs. Cats do not have the right enzymes to break down and get rid of the oils. This can lead to a build-up of toxic oils in their system that they cannot process. They are also very sensitive to phenols which can be found in many essential oils.

Here are some oils you should avoid using with cats. This is not a complete list and each pet may react differently to each oil.

  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Melaleuca/Tea Tree Oil
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Wintergreen
  • Peppermint
  • Spruce
  • Thyme
  • Birch
  • Cassia
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Any oils containing phenol

Ferrets

Generally, if it is not safe for cats it is usually not safe for ferrets. In the case of essential oils, ferrets are just like cats and their liver cannot break down the oils and can build up in their system. However, it is recommended that all essential oils should be avoided with ferrets.

Dogs

Dogs have a strong sense of smell so essential oils can irritate them because of how concentrated they are. Some are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Puppies and dogs with liver issues have a hard time processing essential oils so they should be avoided with at-risk dogs.

Here are some oils you should avoid using with dogs. This is not a complete list and each pet may react differently to each oil.

  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Citrus
  • Juniper
  • Sweet Birch
  • Rosemary
  • Pine
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Melaleuca/Tea Tree Oil
  • Thyme
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Wintergreen

Birds

Birds have a very sensitive respiratory tract so it is recommended that essential oils not be used around them or allow them to inhale the oils.

Other Pets

Talk with your vet and do your own research to see how essential oils may affect any other pets you may have. It’s better to be safe then sorry so if you can not find any information or don’t know if an oil is safe to use with or around your pet, do not use it.

It is important to keep your pets safe and know that not everything we use is safe for them. Always talk to your vet before using something new with your pets and always know what oils could be toxic to them.


Sources

Do Essential Oils Pose a Risk to Pets?
Is the Latest Home Trend Harmful to Your Pets? What You Need to Know!
Essential Oil and Liquid Potpourri Poisoning in Dogs
Essential Oils and Cats: A Potentially Toxic Mix
Essential Oils and Cats
Essential Oils for Pets – Medicine or Toxin?
Are Essential Oils Harmful to Cats and Dogs?

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)