Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coconut Oil - A great Discovery

Bare footed on some deserted tropical beach sipping a cocktail while soaking up the sun... that's probably the first thoughts that most of us have when smelling most commercial coconut tanning oils.... well, I hate to break the news for you... that sweet smelling delight  is NOT coconut oil!

Pure coconut oil is actually solid in room temperature although in hotter climates/hot summer months , it may be in a liquid form then return into a buttery consistency in cooler months....And contrary to what most people believe,  REAL coconut oil is next to odorless! Don't be fooled by the commercial 'coconut smelling' oils that you find in most pharmacies and supermarkets. These oils are usually paraffin based products with added scent and alot more harsh chemicals then you may wish for.   Always look for raw, cold pressed virgin coconut oil if you want the real thing.

Composition of Coconut Oil: Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats (Don’t panic! Keep reading and watch the video below, your opinion will change), with traces of few unsaturated fatty acids, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

This video was extracted from an official site of Dr.Mercola:

Let us now explore some of the benefits of coconut oil in detail:

Hair Care: Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, Eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.

Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

Premature Aging: Coconut oil helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.

Weight Loss: Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Immunity: Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have anti fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its anti fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athletes foot, thrush,diaper rash, etc.

Reference for this article:

My personal opinion about all this....  
Honestly, I simply LOVE coconut oil. I've been substituting most of the butters and oils in my cooking for almost a year now. I also make regular use of coconut oil in the soaps and creams I produce. The following are some of the recipes with coconut oil which I personally tried and tested. 

Fruit Cheese cake:
Substitute all the butter in the biscuit base with coconut oil. I would recommend to use just a notch less then your usual amount of butter as coconut oil is harder then butter so you don't need as much.I also tried it with my apple crumble...again, substitute butter with coconut oil... Had some really tasty results.

Vegan Mr.Mash:
I have to admit it, sometimes I don't have much time to prepare my food so I sometimes find comfort in a packet of Mr. Mash for a quick snack. And, although I'm not vegan, I still like to experiment with alternatives to animal produce. Ok, so here goes... Follow instructions on the pack. Substitute your cow's milk to coconut milk and your knob of butter to a knob of coconut oil. I usually like to add some mild curry powder to my potatoes, freshly crushed pepper and Himalayan salt (CLICK HERE to more about the benefits of these salts) ... gosh, i'm drooling!

Stir Fry:
What can I say, I tried it with, chicken , vegetables ... I also fried eggs and bacon with coconut oil! (Pork +coconut = perfect match) ...Frying onions and garlic before adding them to my soups also produce tasty results.

And of course...Curries:
What's a chicken curry without coconut oil?... One great curry recipe for you coming up, thanks to PlanetMona.

For some Extra TLC:
As already mentioned above, coconut oil is also excellent for hair and skin care. In pure form, it can be used safely on expecting mothers (it is great for stretch marks) and also delicate enough for babies. And if you are just as sensitive and prone to mosquito bites as I am, try the  following recipe.(For external use only).

This balm is also excellent for sore muscles, tired feet, headaches (to be applied on temples and forehead), for bruises (as it fasten the healing process) and as a chest rub for common colds and flu .
Homemade 'Tiger Balm'

50 grams Raw Virgin Coconut oil
10 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops Peppermint essential oil
5 drops Tea Tree essential oil

Melt the coconut oil on very low heat . When completely melted, take of from heat source (It only takes a couple of minutes to melt, so don't leave it unattended) . Add your essential oils and mix well. Pour into a clean jar and close lid tightly. Leave to set for about 24 hours.  This batch should last for at least 6 months. Not to be used on children under 3 years old.

Raw, Virgin, Cold pressed coconut oil can be purchased from SoapCafe`shop in Sliema (46, St.Mary Street), Or contact us to send it to you via post

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Benefits of Lemon

Lemons entered Europe (near southern Italy) no later than the 1st century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. It is said that it's actually a native plant of Asia. 

Lemon (Citrus x Limon) Maltese: Lumija

The health benefits of lemon oil can be attributed to its stimulating, calming, carminative, anti-infection, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, sleep inducing, and antifungal propertieswhich is of particular benefit to people with problem and acne skin. The rubefacient and diuretic properties are also used to bring balance to the fluids in the cells and ensuring optimum circulation - which isneeded to remove cellulite.

Health benefits of lemon oil include the following:
Stress: Lemon oil is calming in nature and therefore helps in removing mental fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness and nervous tension. It has to ability to refresh the mind by creating a positive mind-frame and removing negative emotions. It is also believed that inhaling lemon oil helps in increasing concentration and alertness. It can therefore be used as a room freshener in offices to increase the efficiency of the employees

Insomnia: Usage of lemon oil ensures good sleep and helps those suffering from insomnia.Immune System: Lemon oil has high vitamin content and therefore it helps in increasing the immunity of the body. It further stimulated White Blood Cells and thus increases your ability to fight diseases. Lemon oil also improves the circulation in the body.

Fever: Lemon oil is effective against infectious diseases such as fever, malaria and typhoid.

Stomach Disorders: Since lemon oil is carminative, it is used in treating various stomach problems including indigestion, acidity, stomach upsets, cramps, etc.

Weight Loss: Lemon juice is very helpful in reducing weight.

Asthma: It is believed that lemon is also useful for treating asthma.

Hair Care: Lemon oil is also effective as a hair tonic. Many people use lemon oil to get strong, healthy and shinning hair. Lemon oil is also used for removing dandruff from head.

Skin Care: Lemon oil is a good remedy for the increasing the luster of dull skin. It is astringent and detoxifying in nature, and rejuvenates dull skin. Its antiseptic properties help in treating pimples and various skin disorders. Lemon is also recommended for oily skin

Soaps and Cosmetics: Lemon juice and lemon essential oil is used in soaps, face wash and many personal care and skin care cosmetics due to its antiseptic nature.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Benefits of Olive oil in Cosmetics

Olive oil is a popular choice amongst the fruit oils available, due to its numerous uses. Extracted from Olive, the botanical name of which is Olea europaea, this traditional plant is basically a crop of the Mediterranean Basin.

 Olive (Olea europaea) Maltese: Zebbug

Olive oil is known for its therapeutic properties. Very soothing in feel, it is very effective in curing several forms of diseases. Quite thick in consistency, Olive oil is usually greenish in color, though the shade may range from light to medium. It is rich in essential fatty acids vital for the human body. The oil helps a great deal in combating heart diseases. The external application of Olive oil is of great value in preventing the body from being dehydrated.

Using Olive oil at home.

Extra virgin olive oil can be used to make many homemade cosmetics. You can add it to bath water, use it as a shaving oil, mix it with sugar or salt to make an exfoliating scrub or just rub it directly on your skin, nails and cuticles as a moisturizer. For extra-dry feet or hands, rub on extra virgin olive oil just before going to bed, then cover feet or hands with cotton socks of gloves. Remove when you wake up for much softer skin.

Eye Makeup Remover
Just a drop or two of extra virgin olive oil on a cotton pad is all it takes to gently and effectively remove eye makeup without irritating the delicate skin around the eye area. The biggest added advantage is that when used consistently, olive oil can soften the skin around the eyes and smooth out wrinkles.

Hair Care
When used on hair and scalp, olive oil can be considered two products: a deep conditioner and a dandruff controller. After shampooing, massage a mixture of equal amounts of olive oil and water into your hair. Leave on for 5 minutes, then shampoo and rinse. Your scalp will benefit from healthy conditioning; your hair will respond with more shine and strength.

CLICK HERE For more DIY recipes by SoapCafe`