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Commercial hair care products contain surprisingly many chemicals and synthetic ingredients, but it is easy to treat your hair naturally at home. These home treatments use simple, affordable ingredients: apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, olive oil and herbs. They nourish the hair and the scalp, condition and moisturize dry and damaged hair, and give your hair new shine.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

Apple cider vinegar adds shine and removes chemical residue from hair care products. Mix a cup of warm water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Pour over wet hair and comb through. Leave for five minutes, rinse well with water, and condition and style as usual.

Apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal and can remove dandruff. When treating dandruff, make a stronger solution and mix equal amounts of vinegar and water. Apply to your scalp and leave for a few minutes before washing and conditioning your hair.

Chamomile Hair Rinse for Blond Hair

Chamomile tea gives blond hair new shine and natural highlights. Make a cup of chamomile herbal tea using fresh or dry herbs or a chamomile tea bag, and let the tea cool down. Use as the last rinse after washing and conditioning your hair.

Coconut Oil Conditioning Hair Treatment

Coconut oil is one of the best treatments for dry or damaged hair. Coconut oil is solid in cold temperatures but becomes liquid if you place the container in hot water for a few minutes. Massage the oil into your hair, wrap your hair inside an old bath towel or a shower cap, and leave for at least 15-20 minutes or longer if you have time. Shampoo well (you may have to shampoo twice). Coconut oil adds moisture, protects hair from damage and is another good home remedy for dandruff.

Hot Oil Treatment with Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural, affordable alternative to commercial hot oil treatments. It is ideal for dry and damaged hair or hair that has a lot of split ends. Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl and place the bowl in hot water for a few minutes. If you have rosemary essential oil at home, add 1-2 drops to boost circulation in the capillaries and to stimulate hair growth. Comb the warm olive oil through your hair, cover your hair with a shower cap or a towel, and leave for at least 15-20 minutes or longer if you have time. Shampoo and condition as usual.

Jojoba oil is a good alternative to olive oil. Alternatives to rosemary essential oil include tea tree oil to treat dandruff and lavender oil to treat itchy scalp. If your scalp is oily, avoid the scalp and apply oil only in the hair, but if your scalp is dry, you can massage oil into your scalp too. Massaging your scalp regularly boosts blood circulation and helps to stimulate hair growth.

Homemade hair treatments are affordable and easy to do. Most ingredients can be found in grocery stores or natural health stores. Using natural ingredients and avoiding chemical hair treatments is also better for the environment.

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The Way to an Asthma and Allergy Safe Garden

One of life’s simple pleasures is relaxing in a garden filled with beautiful plants. The ‘outdoor room’ is often the best room in the house, a retreat from the hassles of the working day. But what if you or someone in your home is an asthmatic or suffers from plant allergies? It might seem an insurmountable problem, but there is a solution. Rid your garden of the troublemakers and choose plants that are safe for asthmatics and allergy sufferers. You may lose some plants you love, but you will gain peace of mind.

The first step to a safe garden is to identify those trees, bushes, and flowers in your garden which cause a reaction. The chief culprits are plants which produce airborne pollens. Among the flowers look out for amaranth, sunflowers, alyssum and chrysanthemums, while climbing vines like jasmine, lilac and wisteria are other hazards. It is these pollens which invade human airways and cause hay fever. There are many non-allergenic flowers to replace them, These are self-pollinating plants which have male and female components that fertilize themselves – no pollen needed. Bulbs like hyacinth, daffodil and snowdrop are excellent allergy-free choices and are always welcome in the garden, Other garden favorites such as carnations, geraniums and pansies are also wise choices for beds and borders. Herb lovers should avoid chamomile and wormwood but can grow thyme, lavender, rosemary and other aromatic herbs as much as they like.

A rose garden is a constant delight but asthmatics and allergy sufferers have to make good rose choices to be able to enjoy the. Some roses can cause a reaction if they have an abundance of pollen or are highly scented. But there are many varieties that will cause no trouble. A favorite in allergy free gardens is the glorious double pink Cecil Brunner, but most roses register from 1-2 on the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS) where a low number is an assurance that a plant will not cause allergies.

Trees are more complex, as only the male trees, which send out pollen to fertilize their female counterparts, cause allergic reactions. You may be able to keep some pollen producing trees if you can identify which are male and which are female and remove only the male trees, pollen will still be a hazard from other trees in the neighborhood. If you are planning a new garden, or want to remove trees which cause problems, avoid trees which need a male and female to pollinate, like olive, oak or elm. Check with your local nursery to make the right choices. Fruit trees like apple, plum and cherry are good choices, providing spring blossoms and fruit, while citrus trees are pollinated by insects so are safe to grow.

Keeping your garden free of weeds can also be beneficial to asthma and allergy sufferers. Weeds are notorious for causing allergies. There is even a weed called the asthma weed, a Mediterranean plant that flourishes in sunny climates. Weeds need to be completely eradicated, for they will just grow back if any root remains. Any plant that sends out seeds on the wind to pollinate is a likely cause of allergies, so check common areas around your home as well. Some grasses cause allergies, such as rye, so it is best to choose buffalo grass or another ground cover for lawns.

Mold in the garden is another problem for asthmatics. You will normally eradicate mold inside your house, but the garden is often overlooked. In 2010, a research team at the University of Leicester in the UK found that sputum from asthma patients contained common garden mold. The most likely sources were compost and soil. So in an asthma-safe garden, avoid open compost bins and heaps.

Check for other places where mold and fungus can grow, such as wood piles and rotting logs. Areas that are normally damp and shady should be opened up and allowed to dry out. An allergy and asthma-safe garden also allows sufferers to be able to work in their gardens as well as relax. Potting mix, compost and other garden soil can create allergic reactions, so sufferers should wear a mask to keep mold spores from entering their airways. Wear a mask if you grow mushrooms or, if someone else in the family has an allergy, keep your mushroom farms under cover in a basement or garage. For seriously affected asthmatics, it may be safer to remove them altogether and get your mushrooms from the supermarket.

Outdoor furniture can be another mold hazard, so check your installations, tarps and sheds, Air them thoroughly after winter and wash down any item that has mildew on it. Make a homemade solution of half a cup of powdered borax to one cup of hot water and one cup of cold and put it in a spray bottle. This will remove the mildew and the cushions, chairs and other items can be left out to dry on a sunny day.

With these simple precautions and careful planting, you can make your garden a haven that everyone can enjoy.

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