Category — Menopause
My fabulous, wonderful, beautiful, talented, brilliant, and hilarious little sister got married a few days ago and is currently on her honeymoon. While shopping for her bachelorette party gift I came across a horrifying amount of artificial sweeteners in the various edible oils and lubricants you can buy at Victoria’s Secret and other less classy establishments (sorry Grandma if you’re reading this!). Yes, while everyone else is enjoying the funny gag gifts at such stores, I am the weirdo in the corner reading all the labels of the freaky love potions (I ended up buying my sister a tasteful nightgown and a classy and respectable book). On almost every single container, I found various artificial sweeteners hidden in the ingredients such as Acesulfame K, Sucralose (Splenda), Aspartame, and Saccharin. I do understand the rationale behind using artificial sweeteners in these products – you wouldn’t want to add real sugar to an area prone to yeast infections and artificial sweeteners are cheaper than natural alternatives. And yes, I don’t think anyone is going to buy these products and eat entire bowls of them for breakfast so it’s not like the amounts you would be exposed to are the same as those causing cancer in lab rats. But still, with so many chemicals in our environment that are causing levels of sperm to drop worldwide and making fertility more of an issue for so many people, it seems to me that the last thing a person should do is apply artificial sweeteners to an area that absorbs so much.
So, all that to say that I was deeply troubled after my shopping excursion, thinking of all the new couples starting out with funny wedding gifts that are actually poisoning their genitals (okay maybe I am being a little dramatic). Rather than running into the shops and breaking all the bottles on the ground while hysterically screaming about the worldwide decline in sperm counts I decided to fight back by posting a few recipe ideas for all natural freaky deaky love potions that my dear readers can enjoy and make for their friends as wedding or anniversary gifts. Enjoy!
Warming Coconut Cream -Combine the following in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (for warm climates where coconut oil stays liquid) or a small jar (for cool climates where coconut oil stays solid):
- 4 oz. Coconut oil (any kind except hydrogenated)
- 2 drops Cinnamon essential oil
- 2 drops Orange essential oil
- 2 drops liquid Stevia
Cooling Coconut Cream– Combine the following in a 4 oz. squeeze bottle (for warm climates where coconut oil stays liquid) or a small jar (for cool climates where coconut oil stays solid):
- 4 oz. Coconut oil (any kind except hydrogenated)
- 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 2 drops Vanilla essential oil
- 2 drops liquid Stevia
For a gift, you can give a cutely wrapped bottle of each of the above as a kind of His and Hers gift. Please note that any kind of oil will weaken latex so even though coconut oil is exceptionally good for skin it may cause your friends to have a creature of their own before their time if they’re using any type of birth control involving latex, such as latex condoms or a latex diaphragm (though most diaphragms these days are made of silicone).
Tropical Delight– Yes, the name is creepy enough to make it just as cool as any other edible massage oil on the market. In an 8 oz. glass bottle or plastic squeeze bottle, combine:
- 6 oz. Jojoba oil
- 8 drops Jasmine essential oil
- 4 drops Vanilla essential oil
- 1 tsp Xylitol
Since this one is oil based it will also weaken latex. Using xylitol as a sweetener may actually have some benefits for skin, since xylitol has been shown in some studies to kill overgrowth of yeast and harmful fungus or bacteria.
Cookie Potion– This one uses glycerine as a base, which is safe for latex. The smell I recommend is vanilla, a smell which many men associate with love. The theory behind this is that the smell of vanilla reminds them of the childhood smell of baking cookies. In an 8 oz. squeeze bottle, combine:
- 1/2 cup Glycerine (look for it either in the cosmetic or baking section at your local health food store)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp alcohol-free Vanilla extract (real, not imitation) or 12 drops Vanilla essential oil
Glycerine has a naturally sweet flavor, so there is no need for added sweeteners.
August 5, 2011 1 Comment
It seems like I have a freakish amount of friends and relatives who are pregnant or are looking to get pregnant soon. Either the government is adding something to the water or the people I know are just happy and want to bring another life into the world to share their happiness! In honor of all of you, I wanted to post some fun facts about raspberry leaf tea that I’ve learned either from research or from personal experience. And no, you don’t have to drop lemons into your glass of tea from a height of 10 feet as seen in the above photo to enjoy the benefits.
- Has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy to increase fertility. If druids drank it, then so can you.
- Strengthens the uterine wall while relaxing smooth muscle in the uterus, which improves chances of implantation and prevents miscarriage (basically the bizarro opposite effect of gin).
- Full of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that help the body to detoxify extra hormones that may impede conception.
- Hugely miraculous and amazing remedy for morning sickness (according to reports from friends – I did not try raspberry leaf tea myself for this as I did not realize I was pregnant for the 4 days during early pregnancy that I was vomiting and thought I had stomach flu but actually had a parasite known as Mr. Milk).
- Provides vitamins and minerals including A, B complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium in an easily absorbable form to help baby grow while keeping mom nourished.
- Many women also report that it reduces leg cramps and swelling associated with late pregnancy.
- Has been shown to concentrate the effects of contractions to make them more effective. From personal experience, I drank 1-2 quarts daily of raspberry leaf tea during my last 2 months of pregnancy and had a great labor (8 hours labor at home, 30 minutes in hospital, 10 minutes of pushing). I can’t say it was just the tea – I think laboring at home helped a lot because I could run around like a crazy person with each contraction rather than being confined to a small hospital room and Mr. Milk was only 5 1/2 pounds at birth (yay for being a small Filipino mom!) – but I do think it helped.
- May be especially helpful for women who are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) because of its ability to tone uterine muscles (since the uterus was cut open during the C-section).
- Many reports I have read from midwives say that the tea especially helps to shorten the second stage of labor (the pushing stage – from complete dilation of the cervix until the baby is born). I have also heard from midwives that women who drink the tea later in pregnancy tend to have extremely strong membranes protecting the baby. I would attest to this, since my water never broke on its own – the midwife actually had to break it when I got to the hospital since it didn’t break even as the baby was emerging – and I think the fact that this membrane remained intact was the only reason that Mr. Milk was not born in the bathroom at home or in the car on the way to the hospital.
- Has been reported to “bring in rich milk”, most likely due to its mineral content.
- Helps to balance postpartum hormones to prevent the drastic change in hormones that causes many women to experience postpartum depression.
Even if you don’t want to get pregnant benefits
- Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and may help to regulate the flow of menstruation due to its effects on the uterus.
- Helps to detoxify excess hormones which is very helpful during times of hormonal shift such as menopause or in the second half of the menstrual cycle (the two weeks before starting your period, which is when most women experience PMS).
Benefits for menfolk (also known as dudes but since this is a blog about herbs I thought to use midieval terms like “menfolk” and if possible I will throw the most despised of all renaissance terms – “m’lady” – in here somewhere)
- In herbal terms, it’s a “nourishing reproductive tonic” for men, which is just a fancy way of saying it helps your junk work better.
- Its ability to detoxify extra hormones is helpful for men also since they are bombarded with artificial estrogens on a daily basis from commercial meat and milk, plastics, food additives, and chemical fumes (especially if they are in the construction business). These extra estrogens, along with too much unresolved stress over a lifetime, are major culprits in the phenomenon known as “andropause” or male menopause, which is characterized by a drastic drop in testosterone levels.
- May also help with diarrhea, which if you’ve ever been kind enough to clean the bathroom at a location shared by several college age men who drink beer, you will see that diarrhea is apparently something that needs to be helped.
The nice thing about raspberry leaf tea is that it is a balanced food so it’s safe for virtually everyone at every stage of life (I even saw one article about giving it to children with stomach aches) and you can’t really overdose on it. Herbal experts and midwives recommend between 1 cup daily all the way up to a gallon daily during pregnancy with no side effects. I did a little bit of research on PubMed and only came up with 2 research articles on raspberry leaf tea, but neither of them found any negative side effects and the articles I saw on other research sites only found unwanted side effects when specific active ingredients were taken out of the tea and used in ridiculously huge doses. Drinking the tea in its whole state is supposed to be “self-regulating”, meaning the active ingredients balance each other out.
To make the tea, I suggest 1 Tablespoon of bulk tea per cup of hot water. Or you can just buy tea bags and follow the brewing instructions. I also like to use the bulk tea to make sun tea (since I am too lazy to boil water, which is why I specialize in nutrition and not delivering babies). I just take a handful (mind you a small, half-Filipino handful so if you have big hands ask a half-Filipino neighbor to do your measuring for you) of bulk tea leaves and throw it into a half gallon Mason jar, fill it with water, put on a lid to keep out bugs, and set it outside in the sun to brew to desired darkness (also known as, set it out and forget about it for several hours until my husband comes home and asks me why I left jars filled with dirt and leaves and is that urine? on the back porch) like so:
Then I just keep it in the fridge and have iced tea to sip on whenever the mood hits. So drink up, m’lady!
NOTE: This blog is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. All information contained in this blog is the opinion of Jessica Forbes and is not to be interpreted as medical advice.
October 8, 2010 79 Comments
Yesterday I took my baby boy out to run a bunch of errands with me. We went to Whole Foods, Costco, Ross Dress for Less (yes, the Filipino half of me literally cannot drive by a store that has “dress for less” in the name without stopping and I did buy a pair of bright orange baby board shorts for the boy for only $1.99 so it was a successful trip), and finally to Long’s Drugstore.
While at Long’s, I was in the baby section browsing for baby spoons since Mr. Milk is almost 6 months old, at which time he will become Mr. Milk and Poi as we begin to introduce solid foods. Appropriately, the birth control and sexual health products are located directly next to the baby products. This may seem strange to some, but when Mr. Milk started fussing because he was fed up with being in his stroller, the thought of a rapid-fire sibling arriving drove me to thoughts of birth control…which conveniently was right there!
And here’s where this blog ventures into the TMI category, which my husband does not appreciate but he understands why I write about such things because if I don’t then who will? Most couples with a young baby realize that there is very little time for intimacy (please agree with me here other parents lest I think it is just us!) but I thought maybe I’d buy something fun in faith that we would soon have opportunity to use it. While browsing over the sexual health products I noticed that KY’s new highly touted product – KY Yours and Mine – was on sale for almost half off. I tend to prefer natural products such as natural lubricant by Emerita but Yours and Mine has such exciting commercials that I thought I’d at least read the label to see what was going on.
And here is where I discovered the wrongest of wrong placement of artificial sweeteners – peppered in among other slippery chemicals is Splenda (to see for yourself check out the ingredients where Splenda is listed under it’s chemical name, “sucralose”). Splenda is an artificial sweetener that is similar in structure to table sugar, with the exception of a chlorine molecule where half a water molecule used to be. This substitution makes the product taste a lot like sugar, but the body can’t break it down the same way so it is not processed as sugar. My main issue with this is that chlorine in that form is not something that people (especially children) should be exposed to because chlorine competes with iodine, a nutrient in the body that is vital for growth and hormone balance. Anyone who has heard me lecture knows that I have a personal vendetta with Splenda more than any other artificial sweetener because its creators freely market their product to children, whereas most other artificial sweeteners have enough self respect to stay in products targeted for adults. And now KY has gone a step further and made Splenda available to our children before they’re even conceived.
It’s a sad day in TMI blog land! So please, don’t make the next generation swim through a Splenda bath on their way to new life. Just say no to Splenda on your private parts!
June 24, 2010 5 Comments