fats-for-postDo you know if your skin is getting all the yummy fatty acids it needs to stay healthy and glowing? See, oils provide our skin much needed fats, each unique in composition. Our body doesn’t produce some of these fats, therefore are considered “essential” to intake through our diet and skin care. Linoleic, gamma linoleic, and oleic are all EFA (essential fatty acids) and are present in different amounts depending on the source. You can eat your EFA’s in the form of fats AND you can put them directly on your skin for lovely benefits!

Essential fatty acids help to make your skin healthy, resist damage, and keep your skin hydrated and elastic.

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One specific EFA, linoleic acid, is composed of ceramides which provide our skin:

*skin barrier repair
*reduction of inflammation
*reduction of itching and skin scaling
*reduction in water lost in your skin

Ceramides make up about 50% of the outer layer of our skin! In the winter our ceramides decrease which can lead to itchy and dry skin. And, those with chronic inflammation of the skin (atopic dermatitis) and acne show lower levels of these fatty acids in their skin.
Olive Oil Image
Intrigued and wondering which oils contain the highest amounts?

*rice bran oil – 37%
*sesame oil – 40%
*wheatgerm oil – 55 – 60%
*watermelon seed oil – 60%
*hempseed oil – 57%
*sunflower oil – 61-73%
*safflower oil – 70%
*grape seed oil – 72%

Grape seed oil has one of the highest amounts of linoleic acid in all oils – a whopping 72% linoleic acid!

Once learning this (from the super knowledgeable Swiftcraft Monkey) I thought this sounded like a perfect base for an all over body oil.

And, turns out after some experimentation, paired with complimentary carriers; jojoba wax, shea olea, and vitamin E the blend feels soft and silky to the skin.

I FELL IN LOVE with this blend as an after bath oil and love the glow it leaves behind! First Touch was born!

If you’re looking for skin care products that nourish and feed your skin look at the first few ingredients to ensure they are packed with essential fatty acid oils. It is empowering to understand how these ingredients from the earth can encourage and support beautiful, healthy, and radiant skin!

I love getting out on the local nature trails this time of year to spy new patches of elderberry shrubs…which can be spotted all across Kansas and Missouri. With their above eye-level clusters of deep purple berries hanging the American Elderberry are difficult to miss. Even our neighborhood walking trail has a nice little picking spot. We don’t have to go much more than 1/2 mile to get several grocery sacks full right here in the city!

Elderberry Image

The kids really enjoy the hands-on experience of cutting the clusters off the shrub. I want to normalize the use of plants as food and medicine in our family and this is such a fun activity to do just that! And, as you can see from the video from last years de-stemming below, they are into it (almost) as much as I am! 🙂

 

It has been a real pleasure to share information on the almighty elderberry these past couple years through private classes and workshops. I love the preparation that goes into these workshops and really geek-out on all the research. It is so fun to learn all the reasons the elderberry has been used in traditional herbalism long before the double-blind placebo studies showed us scientific proof.  So, what are the benefits of the elderberry and why would someone use it?

  • High In Flavonoids – The highest concentration of the flavonoid anthocyanin are found in black elderberries, nearly double the amount found in any other fruit.

  • Regulates Immune Response – Anthocyanins regulate the immune response by boosting the production of cytokines 10-fold. Cytokines are unique proteins that acts as messengers to help regulate immune response, telling the body when to fight and when to rest.

  • Stops The Spread Of Cold and Flu – Antivirin is in proteins of the black elderberry and it stops the spread of the flu virus. This compound prevents the flu virus from invading the membranes of healthy cells.

  • Prevents and Treats Colds – Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating colds and upper respiratory infection. Elderberry is approved by the German Commision E for coughs, bronchitis, fevers, and colds. It also may be good for hay fever, sore throat and sinusitis stuffy nose.

  • Anti Inflammatory – Elderberry extract has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation. Elderberry reduces inflammation for aches, pains and fever.

  • Reduces Oxidations Of LDL Cholesterol – Oxidation leads to atherogenesis (plaque growth) contributing to cardiovascular disease.

  • Good General Blood Purifier – Elderberry contains triterpene, a substance that has been shown to demonstrate liver cleansing action.

Interested to learn more? Check out one of my favorite traditional herbalists, Rosemary Gladstar, shares more about the elderberry.

Rosemary and I

I was just a little excited to meet Rosemary at The Mother Earth News fair in 2012. 🙂

The elderberry is extremely useful and a must have staple for immune support. You can learn how to make several elderberry preparations an All Things Elderberry Workshop or purchase Mindfully Made FOR You Elderberry Juice.

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