Neem Safety, Neem Side Effects And Neem Toxicity

How safe is neem oil? As it turns out, the use of neem oil is very safe, within certain parameters.

Is neem oil safe to use? Does neem have side effects?

Neem toxicity, or neem safety to word it positively, is a fairly simple issue. It can be summed up in a few points

Neem use is safe, provided you…

only use neem seed oil externally,
don’t take any neem products internally if you are trying to conceive a child (this applies to women and men!) or pregnant (applies mostly to women).
don’t attempt to treat fever in children with neem.
Let me repeat the last point: never give neem in any form to children with fever or viral illnesses. Neem contains Aspirin like substances and like Aspirin it can lead to Reye syndrome.

Now, two of those points are very general, and of course they lead to more questions.

How dangerous is it to ingest (eat) neem oil?
What exactly are those side effects?
How safe is it to eat neem leaf?
Is neem oil spray safe

for cats or dogs to lick?
to spray around the house?
in the vegetable garden just before harvest?
And if you are, or hope you soon will be, pregnant, you may also want to know how and why neem may harm you or your child. So let’s look at the details.

The Side Effects Of Neem Oil: Research Results

Several small studies into neem side effects showed different results.

Some studies suggest that neem should be used with caution. Several neem extracts did show negative side effects when fed to laboratory rats in daily high doses over an extended period of time. (I have always cautioned against ingesting purified neem extracts.)

In other studies there were no side effects from neem products (including neem oil) at all, even when using large amounts, and over several generations. (Note: the studies used laboratory rats, not people…)

Neem Side Effects And Pregnancy/Conception

There is increasing interest in the use of neem as a safe contraceptive. The research here focuses on neem oil, which shows the strongest effect.

But neem bark and neem leaf may also make conception less likely when you take them internally. (Actually, the research used large doses of concentrated extracts, not everyday amounts of leaf or bark). Neem leaf or bark extracts stimulate the immune system, and the increased immune system activity is thought to be responsible for the contraceptive and even abortive effect of neem oil.

Neem And Birth Control/Neem Oil As A Contraceptive

In short, even if there is no hard data, why take chances? Don’t take neem if pregnant or trying to conceive.

(You can still use neem soap, neem shampoo, lotions, etc. and of course you can still spray it in the garden. And yes, of course you can eat the sprayed produce, too. That’s not like ingesting capsules of the stuff. Just don’t drink the spray…)

Is Neem Oil Safe For Dogs And Cats To Lick?

This is a common concern of pet owners. Especially cats, which forever clean themselves, ingest whatever you spray them with.

Some studies on laboratory rats did show negative neem side effects (again mostly related to reproduction) when neem seed oil was taken internally. Those rats were fed considerable amounts of neem oil on a daily basis. The neem side effects were reversible, meaning they disappeared when the animals stopped taking neem.

I would not treat any animals that are pregnant, or that you are trying to breed. Otherwise the use of dilute neem oil products (including neem soap and neem shampoo) on pets is considered safe.

Side Effects Of Neem Spray In the Vegetable Garden

The EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) says neem is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in food products. They even exempted their typical requirement for maximum pesticide residues on agricultural products.

If there are no restrictions regarding maximum allowable residues for farmers, then you also don’t have to worry about residues from your neem spray in your vegetable garden. Yes, neem spray is safe. A heck of a lot safer than all the other sprays you ingest with conventionally grown produce!

How Safe Is Eating Neem Leaf?

There is no data or experiences that indicate any negative side effects from using fresh or dried neem leaves (unless you are pregnant/trying to conceive). But any medicinal herb should be ingested with caution. Also, please do take note of the warnings on that page regarding neem extracts. Neem leaf is not the same as leaf extract.

Apply common sense, only take neem leaf in moderation, and start with little when trying it for the first time.

For those who want to dig deeper and read all the scientific details of the individual studies, the sources are below. You can find them and more by going to the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. Just enter “neem” (plus additional keywords) in the search box and go for it.

Neem Oil For Dogs

Learn how to use neem for dogs: treating mange, fleas or ticks with neem dog shampoo and making neem oil spray for your dog.

Neem can help dogs with fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites and mange mites.
It promotes a strong immune system, healthy skin, a shiny, problem free coat, strong healthy teeth, all the signs of a radiantly healthy dog.

People usually only discover neem when struggling with a persistent condition that no nasty prescription drug could clear up. And then: a natural product resolves the problem seemingly over night. It is not surprising that we forever read about the “miraculous” abilities of neem and neem oil.

It’s a shame that it takes a severe problem for people to discover neem oil for their dogs. It’s also a shame that by then the dogs have usually suffered for weeks or months and have been subjected to a range of heavy duty medications, which in themselves have taken a heavy toll on the immune system and the general health of the dog.

Dog owners who tried neem oil or neem products rave about the impressive and immediate effect of neem on the health of the dogs.

With the regular use of a neem dog shampoo and occasional supplementation of dog food with neem leaf it is often possible to prevent problems in the first place.

How To Use Neem Oil In Dogs

General Care

This is simple and obvious: give your dog a regular wash with neem shampoo and occasionally supplement its food with neem leaf.

One of the best things you can do for your dog is to buy or make a good neem oil dog shampoo. Yes, I said make. Any dog shampoo can be turned into neem dog shampoo by adding some pure neem seed oil into it.

(You can buy pure neem oil here.)

Neem oil shampoo for dogs keeps fleas, ticks, mange mites and any other annoying biting insects away, and generally promotes a shiny coat and healthy problem free skin. (Just like using neem products on your own hair and skin does.)

The neem leaf is a powerful herbal supplement that strengthens the immune system in general, supports liver function, purifies the blood and may eliminate intestinal parasites. Considering that most dogs eat commercial dog food, such a herbal supplement is a good idea.

Dealing With Skin Problems

No matter if it’s a fungus (ringworm), mites (mange), or biting insects, neem oil helps dogs. How exactly you use neem on your dog depends on the severity of the problem.

Using neem spray: dogs can be sprayed with neem spray, just as we spray ourselves with insect repellent. You can do this to prevent problems or re-infection. You can also use a spray to treat your dog repeatedly. This may be necessary when dealing with a persistent problem. It’s certainly easier than bathing your pooch three times a day.

Using neem dog shampoo: bathing with a neem dog shampoo is of course also an excellent way to discourage fleas and ticks, and to clean up mange or ringworm. Make sure you leave the shampoo in for several minutes (as long as your dog will tolerate it) before rinsing. Do this two or three times a week. That usually does the job.

If making your own neem dog shampoo (by adding neem oil to normal dog shampoo), source some oatmeal shampoo. It’s the best shampoo to soothe already irritated skin and relieve pain and itching a bit. Otherwise use the mildest shampoo you can find.

If your dog hates bathing, just use a dry neem dog shampoo!

Using pure neem oil: if you have a severe case of anything you may want to try pure neem oil. Don’t use it undiluted, though, especially if the dog has cracked, open skin, oozing sores etc. Neem oil is very strong stuff! You would add to the stress and discomfort, and that makes things worth.

Rather dilute the neem oil 1:10 in a light carrier oil (e.g. grape seed oil or almond oil). Then massage the oil mixture into the skin. You can apply it several times a day on problem spots.

For hot spots like moist eczema, or to treat demodectic mange, you can increase the concentration to a 1:1 ratio. Some people do use 100% pure neem oil in those cases. Don’t leave the pure oil on the skin for more than 48 hours, or you dog may develop an irritation. Also monitor the skin, and if there is any reaction, wash the oil of immediately.

Using neem leaf: the preferred Ayurvedic people treatment for scabies (the human equivalent for mange) is a paste made from neem leaves and turmeric. It’s more effort to make than the oil, but is certainly a good thing to use on dogs with mange.

An easier way to use neem leaves on dogs is to make a strong neem leaf tea or extract, and to dab or spray that onto the skin.

Make sure your dog also eats a healthy diet, with plenty of natural foods, vitamins and minerals. Any neem treatment shows best results when internal and external treatment is combined. Consider supplementing your dogs diet with dried neem leaf or bark. You can buy dried neem leaf, neem leaf powder, or bark powder, either lose or in form of capsules.

Internal use of neem leaf helps with intestinal parasites, generally helps the intestine, stimulates liver function and strengthens the immune system. In short, it will help your dog to deal with the external skin problem by fighting it from the inside.

Where Neem Oil Can’t Help Dogs

Neem affects many internal parasites, but it is not effective against tapeworm.

Neem is also not equally effective against all ticks that may affect dogs. Particularly the brown dog tick appears to be very resilient. While neem will help it will not prevent all bites.

This was a general introduction to using neem for dogs. Below are links to more detailed information and related articles and questions.

13 Best Benefits Of Shea Butter For Skin, Hair And Health

Shea butter is a solid fatty oil that is derived from the nuts of the Karite trees (also known as Mangifolia), predominantly found in Africa (grows wild in the equatorial belt of central Africa between Gambia and Sudan where oil palms do not grow because of insufficient precipitation). The Karite tree bears the fruits and the nuts inside the fruits contain shea butter. The nuts are then crushed, boiled, and manipulated in order to extract a light-colored fat, which is commonly referred to as shea butter.
Pure shea butter resembles lumps of hard caramel ice cream. Being edible, shea butter is often used in food preparations. It has gained huge popularity in the western world due to its widespread use in several beauty products such as lotions, cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners and many more.

What Is Shea Butter?

The main components of shea butter include oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, etc. It gets absorbed quickly into the skin as it melts at body temperature. Shea butter may be refined or unrefined. Raw or unrefined shea butter is the purest form of shea butter, which is the most natural and the least processed. Since it is extracted manually, it is able to retain its vitamins, minerals and other natural properties. Refined shea butter, on the other hand, is the processed form of butter.

Health Benefits Of Shea Butter

Shea butter exhibits several health benefits, particularly for the skin and the hair. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and medicinal formulas in combination with other botanical ingredients. Some of the health benefits of shea butter are given below.

1. Healing Qualities:

Shea butter is known for its healing properties that can be attributed to the presence of several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids. These oil-soluble components do not undergo saponification or convert into soap on coming in contact with alkali. Shea butter is more non-saponifiable than other nut oils and fats, thus imparting it a great healing potential for the skin. Raw, unrefined shea butter is effective in curing skin rashes, skin peeling after tanning, scars, stretch marks, frost bites, burns, athletes foot, insect bites and stings, arthritis, and muscle fatigue.

2. Antioxidant Qualities:

Shea butter contains plant antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, as well as catechins. The vitamins A and E protect the cells from free radicals and environmental damage. The cinnamic acid esters in the shea fat help in preventing skin damage from ultraviolet radiation.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

Shea butter has several derivatives of cinnamic acid that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. Research has proved that in addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, lupeol cinnamate found in shea butter prevents the development of tumors. Its anti-inflammatory properties render it beneficial for the improvement of skin conditions.

Shea Butter For Skin

Shea butter is considered a super food for the skin as it is rich in precious constituents such as unsaturated fats with a large proportion of non-saponifiable components, essential fatty acids, vitamins E and D, phytosterols, provitamin A and allantoin. It has been used since time immemorial for skin care, baby care, and for consumption. In fact, the legendary Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, owed her beauty secrets to shea butter, which further demonstrates its goodness for the skin. Given below are its various benefits for the skin.

4. Sun Protection:

Shea butter acts as a natural sunscreen by providing protection against the ultraviolet radiations of the sun, though the level of protection offered may be variable. Shea butter is considered as the best skin care for winter and after-sun care as it provides the extra moisture, nutrients and protection needed by your skin during the cold season and summer.

5. Healing Agent:

Shea butter has amazing healing properties. It is often used as a base in medicinal ointments due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used since ages for the treatment of scars, eczema, blemishes, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretch marks, dark spots, and in reducing the irritation caused by psoriasis. Due to its high content of vitamin A, it is effective in promoting healing and disinfection, and soothes skin allergies like poison ivy and insect bites. Vitamin F acts as a rejuvenator for soothing and healing rough and chapped skin.

6. Anti-Ageing Benefits:

Shea butter is considered as one of the best anti-aging and moisturizing agents for the skin. It stimulates the production of collagen, the youthful scaffolding protein in the skin. The vitamins A and E found in this butter keep the skin supple, nourished, and radiant, and prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. Shea butter penetrates the skin easily, without clogging the pores, and is effective for dry skin.

7. Baby Care:

Shea butter is an excellent natural moisturizer that is devoid of chemicals. Thus, it is ideal for baby care as besides being gentle and soft on the skin, it is specially adapted for the delicate and sensitive skin of babies. It can be used for after bath application on the skin and also for healing eczema or diaper rash on the skin of babies.

8. Lip Care:

Shea butter is easily absorbable and provides extra moisture and nutrients that are needed during the cold season and dry weather. Thus, it acts as a perfect lip balm to protect your lips from cold and dry weather and is effective for treating dry and chapped lips.

9. Restores Skin Elasticity:

The non-saponifiable matter and vitamin F in this butter are vital ingredients for maintaining the skin’s elasticity. Thus, the application of shea butter restores the elasticity of the skin and helps maintain an even skin tone, besides hydrating, softening and beautifying it.

Shea Butter For Hair

When we talk about the benefits of shea butter for the skin and the hair, the list is simply unending. In short, one can say that it is considered a natural conditioner for the hair, thanks to its moisturizing and healing properties. Some of the numerous benefits of shea butter for the hair are given below.

10. Soothes Dry And Irritated Scalp:

Shea butter is effective in soothing a dry, itchy scalp or dandruff. It possesses anti-inflammatory qualities and gets absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue or clogging the pores. Being rich in vitamins A and E, it soothes dryness, repairs breakage and mends split ends. Hence, it is extremely effective in providing relief from a dry scalp, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

11. Moisturizer:

The presence of vitamins A and E makes shea butter an excellent moisturizer to moisturize your hair from the roots to the tips. Thus, it can be used as a natural conditioner. It is highly effective in locking in moisture, without leaving the hair greasy or heavy. Shea butter has wide usage in curly hair treatments due to its emollient qualities. A number of chemical treatments like straighteners, perms, curlers, etc. are responsible for stripping off the natural moisture from the hair. Shea butter can help restore this lost moisture.

12. Hair Protection:

Shea butter provides protection to the hair against the harmful free radicals in the air and water and harsh weather conditions. Moreover, shea butter has a low amount of SPF that is sufficient to protect the hair from sun damage caused due to the exposure to ultraviolet radiation and repairs the damage that has already been caused by the harsh weather and the sun. This is largely due to the fact that once absorbed, shea butter coats the hair shaft so that it is protected from a heat tool or any other damaging material being passed along the hair. This is particularly beneficial for processed or colored hair. It also protects the hair against salt and chlorine when applied before swimming.

13. Hair Softener:

Shea butter is great for softening and revitalizing damaged and brittle hair. Due to its non-greasy nature, it helps to control and spread the excess oil in the scalp. Massaging the hair with generous amounts of shea butter can give soft and silky tresses. This benefit of shea butter is applicable for dry as well as fragile, curly hair. Shea butter should be applied twice a week for hair growth, improving the hair texture and moisturizing the hair.

Shea Butter: Nutritional Value

The healing properties of shea butter can be attributed to the nutritional value of this fat. It contains UV-B absorbing triterpene esters such as cinnamic acid and tocopherols. In addition to these, shea butter also has a high percentage of phytosterols, triterpenes, and hydrocarbons such as karitene. The nutritional profile of shea butter is given below:

Fatty Acids: Shea butter, basically, is comprised of five principal fatty acids namely palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and arachidic acids, with a higher proportion of stearic and oleic acids, that together accounts for 85-90% of fatty acids. Stearic acid provides a solid consistency, whereas oleic acid influences the hardness or softness of the shea butter.
Phenolics: Phenolic compounds are known for their antioxidant properties. Shea butter contains 10 phenolic compounds, eight of which are catechins. Traditionally extracted shea butter has higher phenolic levels than that extracted with hexane. In fact, the catechin content of shea butter is higher than the total phenolic content of ripe olives. The overall concentration and relative percentage of the shea kernels varies from region to region, depending upon the level of environmental stress endured by the trees.

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Benefits of Green Coffee Beans for Health:

Green coffee beans are un roasted seeds of the plant Coffea Arabica. During roasting, the natural antioxidants present in the coffee beans are removed, which is not at all beneficial for our health. But as these green coffee beans do not go through the same procedure, they are considered as highly beneficial for our overall health. Read on below to know more on green coffee beans benefits:

Benefits of Green Coffee Beans for Health:

1. Rich In Anti-Oxidants:

Green coffee beans are rich in antioxidants, which reduce the damaging effects of free radicals in our body and take care of our overall health. A number of studies have confirmed that raw and unprocessed green coffee beans possess 100% pure Chlorogenic Acid (CGA), which is basically an ester of caffeic acid having strong antioxidant properties. It can put a check on the levels of glucose in our bloodstream and prevent our skin cells from getting dented.

2. Boosts Metabolism:

The Chlorogenic Acid present in green coffee beans is also known as a metabolism booster. It increases the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) of our body to a great extent, which minimizes excessive release of glucose from the liver into blood. Due to the lack of glucose, our body starts burning the stored fat cells in order to fulfill its glucose requirement. Thus, pure green coffee beans raise our fat burning capability and eventually help us shed off excess weight.

3. Helps Burn Extra Fat:

These beans also contain large amount of kelp. It is a certain type of seaweed loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it helps in maintaining the levels of nutrients in our body. In unison, it perks up the burning metabolism of our body so that we can burn out unwanted fat and calories fast.

4. Suppresses Appetite:

If you are suffering from frequent hunger pangs, green coffee beans can help you very much. Being a strong and effective appetite suppressant, it can control our cravings for food and averts us from overeating. So, our body starts burning the fat deposits and we get rid of additional weight.

5. Treatment Of Diabetes:

These green beans are also capable of treating Type 2 Diabetes successfully. Their extract is known to lower high levels of sugar in our bloodstream, while accelerating weight loss. Both of these are essential for curing Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

6. Reduces Levels Of Bad Cholesterol:

Our cholesterol levels can be checked considerably with green coffee beans. Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as ‘bad cholesterol’, is the main culprit that makes us vulnerable to deadly cardiovascular disorders including cardiac arrest. Studies have shown that it can be prevented by consuming green coffee bean extract regularly.

7. Helps Improving Blood Circulation:

High blood pressure can lead us to several fatal diseases like stroke, heart failure, chronic renal failure, etc. But researchers have found the presence of a very active and powerful aspirin-like ingredient in green coffee beans that imposes a positive impact on our blood vessels by preventing platelets from getting clustered. As a result, our arteries don’t get hardened and the circulation of blood throughout our body is improved to a great extent.

8. Used For Natural Detoxification:

Green coffee bean extract is a natural detox. It cleanses our liver to make it free from toxins, bad cholesterols, unnecessary fats, and so on. As the liver is detoxified, its functions improve a lot which eventually perks up our metabolism and improves our overall health.

9. Boosts Energy:

Due to the presence of high amount of caffeine, green coffee beans can be used as excellent energy booster. They can raise our energy level and keep us active during the whole day.

Benefits of Green Coffee Beans for Skin

10. Reduces Effect Of Free Radicals:

Chlorogenic Acid present in green coffee beans can reduce the effects of free radicals in our body up to 10 times than regular green tea. As the beans are not roasted, there are some other antioxidative agents from the polyphenol family, Ferulic Acid, etc., which decelerate the ageing procedure and give us youthful skin.

11. Enhances Immune System:

These coffee beans are highly effective in enhancing our immune system. Due to the occurrence of potent free-radical busters, they can help our body eliminate all types of toxic and damaging elements. Consequently, we can get rid of dull and acne-prone skin.

12. Helps Slowing Down The Appearance Of Signs Of Ageing:

Green coffee beans are also known to retain high levels of volatile materials as they do not need to undergo the roasting procedure. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), Theophylline, Epigallocatechin Gallate, etc. are some of such ingredients that can help us maintain our skin health and avert the appearance of wrinkles.

13. Helps Moisturize Skin:

Apart from the antioxidant agents, green coffee beans are also rich in fatty acids and esters including Arahidic Acid, Linoleic Acid and Oleic Acid, which nourishes and moisturizes our skin to stop sagging, discoloration and other severe damages.

Benefits of Green Coffee Beans for Hair

14. Removes Substances That Damage Hair:

Antioxidant content of green coffee beans is equally beneficial for our hair. As it helps us fight against everything toxic and damaging, our hair remains strong, healthy and beautiful.

15. Fights Baldness:

Androgenetic alopecia, also called ‘female pattern hair loss’ can also be cured with green coffee beans. The extract of these beans can boost the growth as well as thickness of our hair strands significantly.

On the whole, green coffee beans are worth a look if you want to take optimal care of your health, skin and hair.

African Masks History and Meaning

In Africa masks can be traced back to well past Paleolithic times. These art objects were, and are still made of various materials, included are leather, metal, fabric and various types of wood.
African masks are considered among the finest creations in the art world and are highly sought after by art collectors. Many of the pieces some replica’s, can be viewed in museums and art galleries in many parts of the world. Masking ceremonies in Africa have great cultural and traditional significance. Latest developments and understanding of Aesthetic principles, religious and ceremonial values, have brought about a greater insight into the ideas and moral values that African artists express in their art.

During celebrations, initiations, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace and trouble times, African masks are worn by a chosen or initiated dancer. It can be worn in three different ways: vertically covering the face: as helmets, encasing the entire head, and as crest, resting upon the head, which was commonly covered by material as part of the disguise. African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer.

Ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological beings, good and or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other beings believed to have power over humanity. Masks of human ancestors or totem ancestors (beings or animals to which a clan or family traces its ancestry) are often objects of family pride; when they are regarded as the dwelling of the spirit they represent, the masks may be honored with ceremonies and gifts.

During the mask ceremony the dancer goes into deep trance, and during this state of mind he “communicate” with his ancestors. A wise man or translator sometimes accompanies the wearer of the mask during the ritual. The dancer brings forth messages of wisdom from his ancestors. Often the messages are grunted utterances and the translator will accurately decipher the meaning of the message. Rituals and ceremonies are always accompanied with song, dance and music, played with traditional African musical instruments.

For thousands of years, rituals and ceremonies was and to a lesser extent is still an integral part of African life. The gradual, effects of parceled out territories to Colonial governments, and the ensuing damage to traditional economies followed by the displacement of huge quantities of people, by colonialism, resulted in economies and food production systems being wrecked. In general the vast number of people have lost some of its tribal identity and culture, hence masking ceremonies are no longer common place in Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

SENEGAMBIA: THE TRIBES OF SENEGAL & GAMBIA

Though the proportions of tribal populations vary between Senegal and The Gambia, the conflict-drawn borders between the two countries are blurred when considering the ethnic heritage shared largely within the peoples of these two West African nations.


Tribal ceremony in Gambia
WOLOF (JOLLOF)

Dominating the urban areas and trade routs, Wolof has become the unofficial lingua franca or most common non-Western language spoken in Senegal and The Gambia. Non-Wolof people often learn Wolof as a first or second language from a young age, as it is a unifying language used by taxi drivers, shop owners and even office workers. Because of the Wolof people’s geographic position near the coast when colonizers arrived, the Wolof of today are commonly thought of as the business and entreprenuial tribe. Wolof masks are most commonly made from wood rather than metal or ivory.


Father and child in Senegal
JOLA / DIOLA

Perhaps the most common Jola is Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh, who touts himself as a farmer and man of the people. Though an extraordinary ethnic minority in both Senegal and The Gambia, the rich cultural history of the Jola (also called Diola) people remains strong due to several modern initiatives to preserve traditions through celebrations and tourism. Jola masks often feature wide, smile-like open mouths and can be adorned with many embellishments such as rings in the ears.

MANDINKA (MANDINGO)

Though an ethnic minority in Northern Senegal, Mandinkas make up a significant percentage of The Gambia’s and Guinea’s population. Most associated with an aggressive disposition, some Mandinka sculptures depict warriors. Others, such as weekday masks, include horns or protrusions for linking with ancestors, and are often found in sets of seven to represent an entire week. Some Mandinka masks are carved with goatee-like beards in the chin as well.

FULA/PULAR (FULANI)

Sometimes called Pular for their language, the Fulani people of West Africa are often revered for their historically gentle treatment of animals. Many Fula tribal masks are crowned with animals such as elephants, and some will show clean-shaven chins indicative of its people. Traditionally, including up to present day, the Fulani tribes are well-known musicians. Fula instruments include shakers, calabash drums, and wooden clackers. The Toucouleur ethnic group is also an agricultural people comprised within the group of Fulani tribes.


Women working on various crafts in Senegal
SERER

Comprising nearly 15 percent of Senegal’s population, the Serer are the third largest ethnic group in the country. Senegal’s first president, Leopold Senghor, belonged to the Serer tribe. Many Serer people now learn Wolof as their first language, which has become more common than Serer-Sine. The Serer people are also related to the Mandinkas as well as the Wolof people of West Africa. A a result, many Serer arts and crafts, including masks and sculptures, are becoming increasingly similar to those of their relative tribes. Some traditions, such as traditional wrestling, are still preserved through cultural festivals, sculptures and figurines.

10 Reasons to Use Bitters (hint: it all starts with digestive health)

Posted by Kayla Grossmann
Sweet, sour, salty, umami and bitter. These are the 5 major flavors that the 5,000 taste buds speckling your tongue and throat have been primed to identify. Each with unique gastronomic qualities and health indications, traditional cultures believed in the fundamental importance of consuming a rich balance of all these flavors. However today, with the overwhelming load of sugar-encrusted, salt-sprinkled and MSG-doused foods filling our plates, bitterness has essentially vanished from the modern palate. This unfortunate disappearance has done more than simply change the tang and smack-factor of our foods. In fact, the general lack of bitter flavor in the diet may very well be contributing widespread problems with digestion and appetite control.

Bitter: A Mysterious Flavor

Bitter is an intriguing flavor. The very most sensitive of all tastes, bitterness has an excitable quality that some people would describe as disagreeable and harsh. The very word “bitter” has even become linguistically associated with expressions of anger, resentment, pain and reactivity. Yet complex bitter flavor does far more than cause lips to pucker and heads to shake. Known for stimulating the senses and engaging the digestive system, foods possessing a bitter quality have long been valued for a unique ability to cleanse the body and build vitality.

Many cultures revered bitter foods as an essential part of a regular healthy diet. Large numbers of of the diverse roots, barks, flowers and herbs of the wild plant kingdom are bursting with complex bitter flavor. When consumed, such plants naturally stimulate the production of saliva, gastric juices and bile to balance the appetite and prime digestion. Yet while bitter botanicals were consumed readily by our foraging ancestors, such richly flavored plant foods have been unfortunately lost to the endless aisles of sweetened and salted snacks filling grocery stores today.

10 Reasons to Use Bitters

Including bitter foods in the diet isn’t simply a matter of reviving tradition or taste. Bitter flavored foods also have a rich history in the healing arts. From the wine infused herbal concoctions used by Ancient Egyptians to the 16th century prescriptions of famous physician Paracelsus and beyond, elixirs brewed from carefully selected bitter herbs have been treasured as cure-all remedies across the ages. Studies have confirmed that getting an adequate amount bitter flavor is important for digestive balance and linked with many related health benefits. Eating bitters regularly has been shown to:

1. Curb sugar cravings

2. Soothe gas and bloating

3. Relieve occasional heartburn

4. Encourage digestive enzymes, bile & HCL production

5. Calm upset stomach and nausea

6. Increase absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K

7. Help maintain healthy blood sugar levels

8. Balance appetite

9. Ease constipation and regulate bowel movements

10. Support liver function and healthy skin

How to use Black Seed Oil for Weight Loss

Some of you might find black seed oil a little difficult to swallow so we created a black seed oil weight loss recipe.

Mix a teaspoon of black seed oil and a bit (1-2 teaspoons) of honey.
Mix a teaspoon of black seed oil, teaspoon of honey and cinnamon, and a cup of water (use room temperature water for a better mix).
Due to its effects on inflammatory diseases, black seed oil fights not only the effects of obesity but also helps people in the fight to lose weight and achieve optimal health. Black seed oil weight loss reviews have helped many find a solution to a common problem.

 

 

 

 

 

Black Seed Oil for weight loss

With the spread of knowledge and useful information we hope that black seed oil can become a staple supplement for everyone.

How is black seed oil and weigh loss tied together? Black seed oil and weight loss is interlinked from its curing and preventative properties which target your body’s immune system, making it a supplement for many uses and purposes.

There are numerous studies supporting Nigella Sativa (Black seeds) and weight loss . When picking a weight loss plan always consult with your physician and take all the proper steps to fulfill those plans including research on what can help.

 

 

 

 

Black Seed Oil for weight loss

We suggest you research the amazing qualities of this miracle black seed on your own and see what it has to offer, as this article is only scratching the surface. Black seed oil benefits weight loss unlike any other supplement.

If you’ve been struggling shedding those extra few inches around the waistline, we suggest its time you consider trying it.

Neroli Skin Care Benefits

Posted by Maia
Isn’t it amazing how nature delivers multiple benefits — beyond expectations? For example, oranges are great for eating, and its juice for drinking; it’s an excellent source of vitamin C. But the fruit of the orange tree is not the only beneficial part of it. The flowers of this citrus tree also offer a world of good, especially in the realm of natural skin care.
Neroli essential oil, botanical name Citrus aurantium, is the highly fragrant, steam distilled oil of orange blossoms whose rejuvenating aroma has become indispensable to aromatherapy and perfumery. It’s wonderfully floral, exotic, citrusy and earthy. Therapeutically, neroli is credited in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and decrease high blood pressure.

But neroli goes far beyond smelling nice and improving overall wellbeing. Neroli also has many skin care benefits. When combined with cleansers, lotions, creams, and various skincare products, neroli delivers even more. Here are a few neroli essential oil skin care benefits you may find interesting.

Neroli essential oil is antibacterial.
The citrusy essential oil has antimicrobial properties. Neroli is effective for improving the appearance of acne-prone skin and improving the appearance of other skin irritations. When you mix a few drops of neroli in with your or toner, face mask or moisturizer it can help to make pores look smaller, cleaner and unclogged. Neroli also balances oil on your skin which can improve the appearance your overall complexion.

Neroli can improve the appearance of stretch marks.
Whether it’s due to weight loss or recent birth, you may see stretch marks on your skin. Neroli oil not only fights the appearance of stretch marks but also reduces the look of broken capillaries.

Neroli helps your skin look younger.
Aside from the anti-microbial properties, neroli also has anti-aging effects. It can soften the appearance of wrinkles and scars. A few drops may also improve the appearance of skin elasticity making your skin look younger, smoother and firmer. Neroli essential oil is truly a must-have for your anti-aging skin care regimen.

Gator Balm

Tired of dry, itchy and irritated skin? Gator balm can soften and soothe even the roughest most problem-prone skin. This corrective cream is rich in natural ingredients like oatmeal, avocado oil, and African shea butter that work to deeply replenish and build up your skin with healing nutrients and moisture. This balm is also enriched with potent herbs like comfrey root, goldenseal and agrimony. These herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and are known to help relieve pain, and heal wounds and scarring because of their ability to enhance cell growth. These herbs are also naturally antibacterial.

The colloidal oatmeal in this balm helps to relieve itching and heal rashes. Gator balm works quickly to give you the soothing refreshment you need! Soothes and softens dry, flaky, chaffed skin. Excellent for cracked heels and split fingers, rough elbows and knees, chapped lips and skin patches. It can be applied to genitals to reduce itching. It is also a natural treatment for insect bites, sunburn, peeling and rashes. A wonderful natural way to treat diaper rash.

Shelf life up to 18 months after opening