Natural toothpaste recipe

Did you know that the capacity of absorption of the oral mucosa is two times superior of that of the skin?

DentifriceYes, it’s true, and that is one of the reasons we should be careful about not only what we eat, but also about what we put in our mouths to then spit out. Many modern toothpastes contains doubtable ingredients like fluorine, whiteners of different origins, consistency agents and so on… A large number of these are not healthy to be exposed to in the long run, and the fact of using strong bacterial killing products like mouth flush often actually harms the important balance of oral bacteria more than anything.

Luckily – there’s numerous ways of making your own toothpaste with all natural, and often quite inexpensive, ingredients. That way you are not only sure about what it contains, but you also no longer contribute to spreading substances like triclosan into nature, and you don’t make waste since there is no need for throwing the empty package of the toothpaste tube.

Here comes one natural green clay-based toothpaste recipe that I like.

  • ½ teaspoon of green clay powder
  • 4 tablespoons of potato starch
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of plant powder (thyme for example)
  • A little water
  • 3-4 drops of peppermint oil

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small glass jar. Add water in small quantity (teaspoon by teaspoon) and blend until you reach the consistency you like. Finish with a few drops of peppermint oil. This mix doesn’t make a big quantity at a time, adapt it for the number of persons in your household. It can be kept for about two weeks, and if it tends to dry out on the end you can just ad some more water and repeat the blending.

To apply the toothpaste to my brush I use a little spoon to not put bacteria into the mix.

N.B. Remember to vary your paste with different base products. Even if it’s all natural, substances like clay, lemon and baking soda can alter the tooth enamel if used exclusively in the long run. Try excluding or including ingredients from time to time, or use coconut oil combined with plant powder like thyme or fennel to vary.

And then a thought on keeping a happy smile… Today, an increasing number of research is conducted on the human gut microbiota, that is, the complex community of microorganizms that live in the digestive tract. We begin to understand the important role that micro organisms play in our body, and that the bacteria present in our internal “eco-system” actually has an impact far beyond what we have imagined so far. Our behaviour and our mental health, as well as the function of the immune system, are all currently being intimately connected with the gut flora.

But the gut flora is only one part of the whole picture, and another part of the body containing about 600-700 species of bacteria on itself, is the mouth. We are not only constituted by genes, but also of small living organisms within our own organism. Their role being to contribute to the metabolism of diverse nutriments and vitamins, we couldn’t live without them. So if you choose to make your own toothpaste or not, think about what you put into your mouth to take care of those precious fellows to keep your happy smile!

Source of base recipe: Je fabrique mes produits ménagers, Laetitia Royant

Gardening is politics

Gardening can represent a lot of things. It’s a way of eating well, a way to practice presence in the moment, a hobby, a medicine, an experimental approach on life and it also represents an act of politics. Maybe you followed me in the beginning but not quite at the end… Let’s dig in to the subject!

In almost whatever country we live in today, we are touched by huge commercial interests dealing with our every day food. We are what we eat, and what we eat comes from the soil. To begin with, numerous studies have shown that the common supermarket food only contains about 20 % of the nutrition in the food that the generation of our grandparents consumed when they were young. It’s not only due to the fact that the food is processed once it has been harvested that contributes to this, but also that intense culture has removed the natural minerals from the soil, that the living organisms of the soil are strongly affected or eradicated by chemicals, and that vegetables are picked before being ripe to be stored for long periods prior to being consumed. As a result of this, more and more diseases with various symptoms that can be connected to poor nutrition are appearing today.

seedsA very complex law that treats the farmers right to grow specific plant varieties a
nd to produce seeds is today applied in the European Union. It has the practical consequence that our genetic banc of seeds, and many locally adapted varieties that actually makes out a cultural legacy, are on the verge of disappearing. Instead big seed companies are extending their market and developing more and more genetically modified seeds, or only offering the option of buying seeds that are pre-treated with pesticides for a “safer” germination.

Luckily, people are reacting against this outrageous deterioration of quality, something we can see on the almost explosive development of the organic market. It’s an important act by consumers that shows that we understand the importance of a balanced agriculture, for the sake of the earth and our health.


Own vegetables – an independant choise

Furthermore, every gardener has a huge possibility to do an important political act by continuing to grow his or her own vegetables. By growing our own food we take the power back over what we eat. We do not rely on international laws concerning our dinner. We do not contribute to enrich the seed lobbies. We do not put money into a machinery that doesn’t suit us. We don’t get sick by the hidden bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals in the food, and we don’t need to buy isolated food supplements. Instead of being dependant,
we become self-contained.

And every single gardener also contributes to another important phenomena and political subject – lowering the greenhouse effect. Yes, on a planetary scale, every piece of land, every garden soil takes part in the carbon cycle. It is one of the fundamental parts of planetary health and YOU have the power to make a difference by simply building up a healthy soil with an increasing humus level. This is how it works…

There exists a certain amount of carbon molecules on the planet. Our issue today is that more and more of them are found in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The rest is either stored in the soil as humus, or in living creatures like plants, animals (on land and in the oceans) and humans. On the scale of the earth, we have over the past decades lost two thirds of our humus, due to extensive agriculture. That carbon is now in the atmosphere and contributes to the climate change we are seeing. In the same time, some scientists claim that an increase of only 1 % organic matter in our soils could seriously slow down or even stop global warming.


Mulching – a way to create humus

This means that every method that increases the forming of humus contributes to resolve this worldwide problem. By applying mulching (covering the uncultivated soil of the garden with, for example, straw), by regularly making and adding compost to our soil, and by practicing all methods that encourages the development of natural earth organisms we contribute to this cycle. By these simple acts we are actively a part of positive climate change.

So growing can be a lot of things besides the actual vegetables; growing health, growing knowledge about our own food, growing influence and growing political power among other things. Let’s all take action.

Stocking up

This time of year nature is abundant with fresh, nutritive dense greens in many shapes and forms. All around, flowers are blooming, and whilst the garden is still warming up, many plants in the wild are at the perfect time of harvest. We enjoy eating meadow salads again, coloured by spring flowers and young chlorophyll-filled leaves, as well as remineralizing Nettle soups or Hogsweeds gratins for the cooked meals. It’s not hard to find ideas when nature inspires with such a burst of vibrant energy!

And coming out from winter we haven’t forgotten how appreciated these wild greens are at other times of the year, when we cannot find them just around the corner. That’s why we are taking the time to stock up on certain of our favourite greens for some spring-revisiting later on. Hogsweed (Berce en français), Nettels (Ortie en français) and Hedge woundwort (Épiaire de Bois en français) are easy to conserve by freezing. Even if they are not as nutritive after beeing frozen as in fresh condition, it’s still a good compromise that provides a much healthier vegetable base than, for instance, imported greenhouse tomatoes in december.

Before freezing, I find it practical to « blanchir » my greens. I simply wash, and let my leaves take a 1-2 minutes plunge in boiling water, before quickly cooling them of in ice cold water and squeezing them from excess fluid. Then of they go to the freezer, packed in flat blocks, handy to defrost whenever we feel like making a wild meal without going harvesting first.

So, in-between those so longed-for spring salads in the sun, take a cloudy afternoon to prepare for colder days. You will appreciate it later on, I promise.

♦   ♦   ♦

Another interesting technique for keeping different kind of vegetables, and even making them richer, is lacto fermentation. I’m currently experimenting on some new recipes and I will share more in another blog post coming soon…

Neorigins’ first market

P1030952It was with great pleasure and a lot of enthusiasm that Neorigins met the people for the first time, at the event of “Ça Pousse à Grandrif” (Plant Exchange in our home village), this passed Sunday. We couldn’t have imagined a better start, with loads of interesting exchange, great curiosity regarding our future plans, and a warm welcome from the visitors.

It’s really great to see that people are turning their attention back to nature. Many discovered Chaga for the first time, as we offered to taste the decoction throughout the day. Besides Chaga, we also brought the other dried plants available at the moment.

  • Blackberry (Ronce)
  • Blackcurrant (Cassissier)
  • Dandelion (Pissenlit)
  • Scots Pine (Pin Sylvestre)
  • Stinging Nettle (Ortie)
  • Raspberry (Framboisier)

At three o’clock pm everybody was invited to take part of a free wild plant walk, offered by Denise Médoux-Régnier. What a great woman!! She is a self-thaught wild picker who has gathered knowledge about edible plants since about 35 years now, and she couldn’t be more happy to share and inspire. From not having much money she has grown a great interest in wild cooking, and at this occasion we were about 25 people taking off from the village in her company. I ( Therese) was happy to be able to add a few pieces of information concerning the medicinal properties of some of the plants we found, and I think the whole walk was very appreciated by the participants as well as by Denise and me.

Together with Denise, we had also prepared pots with wild plants for people to introduce into their garden. This way it’s simple to study the plants in question at all stages of their life cycle, and it becomes easier to identify them in nature. At the end of the wild walk quite a few persons found this a nice idea and brought some wild plants home with them.

Besides sharing around plants and greens it was also an occasion to just enjoy the nice vibe of the village of Grandrif (that we are lucky enough to live near by). Sun, smiles, live music, home made pizzas and crêpes were all the ingredients besides the greens that made this a super good day. I have even already almost forgot about the wind that wanted to sweep away with what we had on the tables! With such a good atmosphere what is a little wind?

Already looking forward to next time!

Spring is coming!

seedPopping with excitement and eager to share, we are feeling like the herb exploding out from the seed, impatient to experience the first days of spring! This is our first article in the blog and we are so happy to finally be “in action”.

The idea of this blog being to share inspiration and knowledge about everything between plants, gardening techniques, nutrition and personal growth, we wanted to start of with something combining several of these areas. Hope you will enjoy the reading, this time, and many more times to come!

Far before the first vegetables and herbs have started to grow in the garden at spring, the freshly budding wild plants wakes up around us. From stinging nettles, dandelions, hogweed, or just-opened birch leaves, one can prepare excellent dishes or make revitalizing spring-infusions. These wild plants are all bursting with vitamins, minerals and trace elements – the very same things that are so important for us humans to refill our bodies with in this particular season.

Since wild vegetables contain considerably more vital substances than the cultivated ones, it is not hard to understand how valuable they can be to us. While the cultivated plants must be content with the nutriments that the soil in the garden offers them, the wild plants only grows where the earth contains exactly what they need to thrive, often making them a powerful concentrate of vitamins and minerals.

In the old days, this knowledge of what nature has to offer was intuitive, and therefor it was common to fast or do cleanses during the spring. One wouldn’t eat any meat for several weeks, and people would pay attention to eating lightly during these periods. In these kind of cleanses it was important to have a vitamin dense diet, but without animal or diary products, and excluding any processed or transformed products. Instead one was advised to drink a lot and do herbal infusions on a regular basis. These advices are still as true today for anyone who wants to detox their body, and the spring cleanse itself may be even more important since the lifestyle of our society makes many have more food of poor nutritional value in the wintertime.

If this speaks to you, and if you feel like giving yourself an opportunity to start the new season bursting with the same energy as the fresh greens shooting up from the ground, here are five useful plants to take a closer look at:

Spring Stinging Nettle GreenStinging Nettle
The Stinging Nettle is given to be included in a spring cleanse. It is filled with many important vitamins and minerals, and it has the ability to help the body to get rid of its waste products. Besides iron, it contains quite a lot of potassium and silicon, and also a good amount of chlorophyll, which increases the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. It acts as preventive drainage of the body and generally helps rebalance its functions.

Stinging Nettle is diuretic, depurative, antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiulcer, antianemic, hepatoprotective (protecting the liver in aggressions, especially in the case of hepatitis), antioxidant, hypoglycemic, antiallergic , immunostimulating, hypotensive and body tonic.

The birch tree is the very symbol of the spring, and it has been used in spring cleanses in traditional cures for centuries. Its buds, leaves, sap and even the bark can all be used in different ways.
A tincture of the buds can be very useful to support the body and to strengthen the immune defence. It acts as a diuretic, which helps drain the urinary tract in case of inflammations or bacteria. It also prevents engorgement of the lymph nodes, which helps the immune defence to work more effectively. On its list of virtues’ we can also add anti-rheumatic abilities and being an overall anti-infectious.

The Ash tree is in some native traditions seen as the link between heaven and earth. Its young leaves come out quite early in the spring and they have several interesting properties, which can be used for various purposes.
In general use, ash acts as a diuretic and light laxative, helping to accelerate the body’s elimination. It is specially recommended in parallel of a period of diet or detox, to facilitate the excretion of waste and because of its action against cellulite.
Besides these virtues it is also useful in soothing arthritis or rheumatism since it has an anti-inflammatory effect on these conditions.

The Dandelion is another commonly spread plant with powerful virtues. Its leaves are known to contain minerals and vitamins in large quantities, and it is perfect in a spring cure since it stimulates and soothes the liver, acting against engorgements.
It also prevents gall bladder problems and stimulates the body in case of urinary or hepatic insufficiency. Furthermore, it acts against excess cholesterol and helps the digestion. A perfect start to your detox!

Elderflowers have long been used as a spring cure, taken in infusions. Possessing sudorific and diuretic actions, which promote perspiration and urine secretion, it is a depurative that forces the organism to eliminate its toxins. It also has a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids, essential oils and minerals.
The Elder is indicated against problems of overweight since its depurative properties helps to clean and purify the organism. Its medicinal properties are also used against rheumatism, arthritis and osteoarthritis, to relieve joint pain.
Furthermore it has an anti-allergic action, which can help to restore the health of the mucous membranes in case of abundant secretions due to hay fever.

All of the above plants have the ability to help our bodies in the process of self-healing, but it is important to be aware of how the choice of what we include in our diet, in our lives, has the ability to affect us far beyond a one-time spring cleanse.

For nature it is all about balance, and out to the smallest cell, our fantastic body is always trying to develop the most favourable environment within itself and around it. Healing and repairing is an innate mechanism in all living organism, and it goes on in a continual, everlasting process. Our bodies’ repairs, removes, replaces and builds new material constantly. In 24 hours we produce about 50 millions new skin cells, and the mucosa of the intestines’ is replaced in one week. A lot of material is recycled but we have to supply things that can raise the energy for this perpetual process to keep working.

When our over-all energy is low, the communication between cells doesn’t work well, but by raising the energy and removing blockings, the mind and the body will heal itself. This is why it is not possible to rest yourself into health. Of course it is important to include time for mental and physical recovery, but becoming healthy requires action. Staying quiet but not changing your current situation will not help. By deciding to give yourself the right building blocks to feel great, the body will make it happen!

It has been proved by molecular biology research that the environment has a much greater influence on the genes than earlier thought. Our biology is not predicted at our birth, but it is largely affected by how we choose to live. Influence from our environment, like the stress we are under, our emotions, our way of acting and even our diet can change the genetic code. The sole fact of living an isolated life for example, will actually physically change the genes of the body! This also indicates that developing your spiritual forces, will strengthen the self healing abilities of your body. And according to this way of thinking we can look upon the food we are eating as direct information given to our genes. The food we choose will unconditionally decide which genes will be activated. Junk food will activate junk genes – the ones who develop inflammation, less circulation and accumulation of waste products; while fresh, nutritious dense food will activate the healthy and energetic healing powers we all possess.

And going further, it means that physical blockings, like having a low blood flow or kidneys that struggles with a lot of waste products, will have a great impact of our mental energy. It means that negative, low energy thoughts will affect even the most well oiled physical body by slowing it down and obstructing its over-all balance. The good news on the other hand is that we all have great power over this development. Let’s strengthen the great abilities of our own system!

Sannas matbok – för den självläkande människan, Sanna Ehdin
Gröna apoteket – att bruka och bereda terapeutiska örter, Marie-Louise Eklöf
Naturläkarbok för barn och föräldrar, Sabine Schwabenthan and Vivian Weigrt