Sunday, July 29, 2012

Homemade Face Masks for Acne and Blackheads

Homemade face masks for acne and blackheads are surprisingly effective. They may succeed where everything else has failed. They are very easy to make and can be made from the ingredients available off the shelf. Several recipes for face masks are available to get rid of acne and blackheads
Cucumber Face Mask

Cucumber is rich in silica. Silica is very good for the health of the skin. It is used in the manufacture of several skincare products.

The benefits of cucumber are too numerous to enumerate. It is an excellent moisturizer and hydrates the skin. It also softens, cools and relaxes the skin

Cucumber Yogurt Facemask

Yogurt exfoliates the skin.  Cucumber and yogurt are an excellent combination to get rid of acne and blackheads. They moisturize the skin and open up the clogged pores and get rid of all the dirt and oil from the skin.


1 Cucumber
½ cup of Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of milk powder

Cut cucumber into pieces and remove all the seeds. Put it in a blender. Add yogurt and milk powder. Make a thick paste.

Wash your face. Spread the paste evenly on the face and neck keeping clear of the eye area.

 Wash it off after 30 minutes. Pat your face dry with a towel.

Cucumber Aloe Vera Facemask

Aloe Vera is very food for skincare. The combination of Aloe Vera and cucumber makes an excellent remedy for acne, blackheads and sunburn


1 cucumber
4 tsp of Aloe Vera gel

Peel cucumber and cut it into pieces. Remove the seeds. Add Aloe Vera gel and mash it well with a fork till it becomes a paste.

Apply the paste to your face and spread it evenly. Wash it off with cold water after 30 minutes. Pat your face dry with a towel.

Honey Face Mask

Honey has anti-microbial properties. It cleans up the clogged pores of the skin and kills the microbes to get rid of acne. I also helps to soften the skin make it glow. Just take 2 tbsp of honey and spread it on your face and neck with your fingers. Make sure that you use raw honey. Wash it off after 30 minutes.

Application of honey face mask on a regular basis 2-3 times a week will help you to get rid of acne and blackheads. As honey is an anti-oxidant, it also helps to get rid of wrinkles.

Milk, honey, yogurt and lemon face mask

2 tbsp of milk powder
2 tbsp of honey
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp of lemon juice

Mix it together and make a paste

Citric acid contained by lemon clears up the clogged pores of the skin. Yogurt softens the skin. Honey not only opens the pores but also kills the microbes. Together they make a very good recipe to get rid of acne and blackheads
Apply the paste obtained by mixing the above ingredients and wash it off after 30 minutes. Repeat the process at least thrice a week

Oatmeal Face Mask

Oatmeal face mask helps to remove the dead cells as it has exfoliating properties. It also soaks up the excess oil clogging the pores and opens them up.

Using Oatmeal

Boil half a cup of oatmeal in water and allow it to cool. The resulting paste should be spread on the face and neck.  Wash it off with warm water after 30 minutes and pat the face dry with a towel. Repeat it several times a week. It helps to get rid of acne and blackheads.

Oat meal can also be mixed with baking soda, egg white or tomato for the face mask.

Turmeric Face Mask

Turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin which has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to remove acne and blackheads.

The ingredients

1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp of milk

Mix the ingredients together and make a paste. Apply it to your face and wait for 20 minutes. Wash it off after 30 minutes when the skin begins to feel tight.

These are some of the recipes for homemade face mask to get rid of acne and blackheads.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Black Pepper Health Benefits

There are several health benefits of black pepper, which is known as the"king of spices". It has been used for culinary purposes for thousands of years. It adds flavor and taste to your food  Black pepper also provides relief for colds, cough, respiratory disorders, digestion, constipation and heart disease. It is grown in Southern India, especially in the state of Kerala and is available right through the year.

Black Pepper
Wikimedia Commons: Minasari66
Health Benefits of Black Pepper

Is an antioxidant
Has anti-bacterial properties
Promotes urination and sweating
Is rich in dietary fibers
Aids Weight loss

Black Pepper for Weight loss

Black pepper contains an ingredient called piperine which prevents the growth of fat cells. It is useful in the treatment diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders. Black pepper stimulates gastric secretions and increases the metabolic rate. Research has shown that it increases the metabolic rate by about 8% and promotes weight loss.

Black Pepper for Blood Pressure

Black pepper contains vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron which can help to lower blood pressure. Even though it contains very low levels of potassium it neutralizes the effects of sodium to reduce blood pressure.


Black pepper contains piperine which has anti-depression properties. It stimulates the nervous system and the brain function.

For Colds

Black pepper contains vitamin C which helps to clear the nasal passages and clear congestion.

Improve Digestion

Black pepper helps to increase the secretion of gastric juice and improves digestion. As it is rich in dietary fiber, it helps to regulate and cleanse bowel movements. If it is included in your diet you can prevent problems like gas and diarrhea. To improve digestion mix powdered black pepper and ginger. Take it 3-4 times a day.

Black Pepper for Skin

Piperine contained by black pepper can treat skin ailments like vitiligo. Its antioxidant properties can neutralize the effects of sun’s rays on the skin. It also has anti-cancerous properties.

Add a tsp of ground black pepper to clarified butter. Use it as a topical application for eczema, skin allergies and scabies

Dental Care

Black pepper is a very good remedy for toothache. Mix 3 tsp of ground black pepper and ½ tsp of salt. Add some water and make a paste. Apply this paste to gums or cavity. It will help to relieve toothache.

Black Pepper and Honey

Add a tsp of ground black pepper to a tbsp of honey and 2 tsp of lemon juice. Take it twice daily. It helps to get rid of colds, cough and also to reduce weight

Black Pepper Tea

Add a tsp of powdered black pepper to 2 cups of water and boil it. Add a tsp of honey and a tsp of lemon juice to it. Drink this tea piping hot to relieve all the symptoms of cold and cough.

Black Pepper Milk

Add a tsp of black pepper and a pinch of turmeric powder to milk and boil it. Drink it to get rid of colds and cough.

These are some of the health benefits of black pepper. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What are Good Fruits to Eat?

What are Good Fruits to Eat

It can be said that most of the fruits available are good to eat and promote health. Eating fruits daily helps to improve digestion and promote weight loss. Fruits help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and chances of heart attack. Some of the fruits provide instant energy. Certain fruits have anti-oxidant properties, reduce skin wrinkles and are good for skincare. Apple, banana and papaya are among the best fruits to eat.

Wikimedia Commons: Gkyciak


Apple is rich in dietary fiber and helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels. It contains beta carotenes and vitamin C. Vitamin C is a very good anti-oxidant and has anti-aging properties. It helps to reduce skin wrinkles and under the eye dark circles. As apple is rich in potassium, it helps to reduce arthritis and rheumatism pain. Apple helps to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s disease.

Apple skin contains phenol (anti-oxidant) which protects your skin from the UV rays of the sun. It is one of the healthiest foods available and helps to reduce the chances of developing asthma. It reduces skin inflammation and is a good cure for acne. Apple can keep Alzheimer’s at bay as it can fight the effects of aging on the brain. It also provides a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s disease. As it is rich in natural fiber it can prevent diarrhea and constipation. It can also mitigate the effects of irritable bowel syndrome.


Banana is sweet and tasty. It is a high energy food, which is cheap. It contains far more vitamins and nutrients than any other fruit. It is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin A and iron. It is also rich in potassium. Banana can provide instant energy. Sports persons eat the fruit for instant energy boost. Banana promotes digestion. It is an excellent remedy for constipation, diarrhea and dysentery. Banana contains an enzyme which helps to reduce hypertension. It also contains a substance that can help your mind to relax.  It can be said that banana is a mood lifter. The potassium content of banana helps to boost brain power and the ability to concentrate. For persons who are trying to give up smoking banana can help to reduce the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It can reduce the acidity levels in the stomach and prevent ulcers. Fully ripe banana can provide remedy for heartburn.


Papaya has abundance of natural fibers and helps lower blood cholesterol levels reducing the chances of a heart attack. It is an anti-oxidant and has anti-aging properties.

Papaya promotes digestion and prevents constipation. It has a digestive enzyme called papain which promotes digestion and weight loss.

It has anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce pain due to arthritis and osteoporosis.

Papaya is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. It helps to boost the immune system. It is especially good for people suffering from colds, cough and flu.

It helps to clean up the stomach, intestines and acts as a stomach tonic.

Papaya juice is a very good remedy for dengue and helps to reduce fever and the ill effects of dengue.

Most of fruits are very good for health. But only the health benefits of banana, apple and papaya are discussed here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is obtained by the distillation of eucalyptus leaves.  Eucalyptus essential oil blends with other essential oils and is used in aromatherapy. It an excellent remedy for common colds, congestion, sinus infection, blocked nose, asthma and other respiratory problems. To open up your blocked nose, drop a few drops of eucalyptus oil on your handkerchief and smell it from time to time. It is antibacterial, antiviral and deodorant.  Eucalyptus tree is a tall evergreen tree which originated in Australia. It is now grown across the world. 
Wikimedia Commons: Abhinaba Basu

Respiratory Problems

Eucalyptus oil helps to control the ill effects of respiratory problems. It contains an active ingredient called ‘eucalyptol’ which helps loosen phlegm in the lungs and make breathing easy. Apply eucalyptus oil with a gentle massage to your chest. You will get relief almost immediately.  It also helps to get rid of nasal blockage

Lozenges and Cough Drops

Eucalyptus oil is an ingredient of several lozenges and cough drops which can help to get rid of sore throat and cough. It is also used in the manufacture of topical creams used relieve chest congestion when applied to the chest.

Inhaling Eucalyptus oil

Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to water and boil the water. Inhale the steam. It helps to relieve chest congestion.

Eucalyptus oil Room Freshener

Eucalyptus oil makes and excellent room freshener. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to half a liter of water in a spray bottle. Spray it across the room. 

It is used in the manufacture of soaps, perfumes, deodorants and other products related to personal hygiene

Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to henna before applying to your hand. It gives a richer and deeper color.

Eucalyptus oil can be mixed with other massage oils to get rid of muscle pain, headache and mental fatigue.

It is an excellent mosquito repellent. It is also effective against insect bites and skin rashes

It can be used as a household disinfectant after mixing with water

Add 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil to a glass of water and use it as a throat gargle to get rid of sore throat.

It has anti bacterial properties and used in the manufacture of tooth paste and mouth washes.

Diabetes patients can take it internally. A drop of eucalyptus oil can be added to a glass of water. It helps to bring down blood sugar levels

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meditation Benefits: Mantra Meditation

Meditation was a spiritual practice for thousands of years. Meditation helps you to relax and reduces stress. It helps to focus your mind away from all the worries and reduce anxiety. It helps to calm your mind and achieve mental peace. It is increasingly recognized that your mental health is correlated to physical health. Meditation moves you into a peaceful state. As you meditate you focus your mind, helping you to improve your concentration. Meditation can help to reduce all the stress related ailments. As one of the reasons for heart disease is stress, the chances of the disease are reduced.

Wikimedia Commons:Tevaprapas Makklay  
To Control your Thoughts                     

It is said that everything is in the mind. Controlling your thoughts is not easy. You get irritated very easily. But meditation helps to switch off the mind completely. It helps to blank your mind, away from all the worries for some time. It can be said that meditation brings your unruly mind into control.


You may get irritated by what another person says. Most of these things may be minor. But they keep flooding your mind, even when you try your best to keep them out. Meditation helps you to focus your thoughts away from all these irritations.

Happiness is said to be a state of mind. Meditation helps to keep the negative thoughts out of your mind. It helps you to discover the source of happiness. As meditation makes you oblivious to the circumstances, you will be much happier.


To succeed in any endeavor, concentration is extremely important. When you study, concentration is everything. In sports you need to focus your mind, whether it a game of chess, table tennis or boxing. Meditation is beneficial to students, sportsmen, musicians and even painters. Creativity needs ability to focus for long periods.

Meditation in the olden days was the preserve off sages and saints. It helped them to focus their mind on god. But the modern day techniques can be applied to tame your mind and bring it to a focus away from all the irritating thoughts. Meditation is a method to achieve mental and physical well being.

 Benefits of Meditation

  • Helps to lower the oxygen consumption
  • Decreases the respiration rate
  • Slows down the heart rate and increases blood flow.
  • Brings in a deep sense of relaxation
  • Brings down high blood pressure
  • Helps to relieve emotional distress
  • Helps to reduce symptoms chronic diseases 
  • Helps to reduce pain

    Methods of Meditation

    There are several methods of meditation
    • Mindful meditation
    • Spiritual meditation
    • Focused meditation
    • Movement meditation
    • Mantra meditation

    Mantra Meditation

    Mantra is a word or a phrase which is repeated continuously during meditation. Mantra mediation has been practiced by Hindus and Buddhists for thousands of years. The most common mantra word chanted by Hindus is “om”. It has been evolved over thousands of years. The continuous chanting of the mantra helps to bring your mind to a focus. Another common phrase repeated by the Hindus is “om namah shivaya” which translates into “I salute god Shiva”

    The most important part leaning meditation technique is to persist. To start with, you will find it very difficult to focus.  As you close your eyes try to focus your mind, the mind wanders away every few seconds. As soon as it does, bring it back. As you start to practice, it slowly starts to focus. It may take single minded effort to achieve your goal. It is necessary to meditate at least half an hour every day to reap the benefits. 

    Some of the steps to be followed for mantra meditation are

    • The ideal time for meditation is early morning as soon as you wake up
    • Take a shower, wear fresh clothes and sit down in a clean and quiet place
    • Squatting position is ideal. But can be practiced sitting on a chair also.
    • As you close your eyes and start to chant the mantra of your choice. It could be any phrase. But with “om”, it would be easier to bring your mind to focus. 
    • Concentrate on an imaginary object like a lamp in your mind as you chant the mantra
    • As you start meditation hundreds of thoughts erupt in your mind. As it does, bring your mind back to focus.
    • Keep doing this once a day for weeks and months.
    • Finally you will be able to concentrate for half an hour without your mind wandering off.
    You have achieved your goal. This is what you wanted to do.

    The stress levels come down and so does your blood pressure. You will begin to feel healthier. You will feel more at peace with yourself and your work.

    Now you have started to reap the benefits of meditation. Your concentration levels will improve.  You will feel relaxed and will be more productive at work.

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Health Benefits of Strawberries: Antioxidants

    Strawberries are delicious, highly nutritious and anti-oxidant rich food. It offers a wide range of health benefits. It is one of the best foods available to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. It has anti-ageing properties and helps to prevent skin wrinkles.
        Wikimedia Commons: Foenyx      

    Strawberries grow in the wild and are also cultivated. They were cultivated by the Romans even before the Christian era. Strawberries are used in ice creams, desserts, salads, yogurt and beverages. They are rich in vitamin C, B2, B5, B6, folate and potassium. They also contain manganese and copper.


    Strawberries contain high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants have anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory                                             properties. Strawberries are among the top 8 foods that lower the risk of cancer.

    Dietary Fiber

    Strawberries are rich in dietary fiber. One cup of the fruit contains 13% dietary fiber but only 43 calories. It helps to relieve constipation and stabilizes blood sugar

    Risk of Heart Attack

    Eating strawberries regularly, lowers blood pressure and decreases inflammation of the blood vessels. It has anti-coagulant properties which prevents blood clots and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. It contains potassium which is also beneficial for the heart.

    Boosting Immunity

    Regular consumption of strawberries raises the antioxidant saturation levels in the blood. This helps to boost the immune system and ward off common diseases and infection.

    Macular Degeneration

    Consumption of strawberries will reduce the risk of macular degeneration due to ageing. Strawberries can be made a part of each and every meal in the form of salad, juice or some other preparation.

    Oral and Dental Care

    Strawberries can get rid of tartar. They can also stop bleeding gums. Rub slices of strawberries against your gums and teeth. You can also hold strawberry juice as long also possible in the mouth before swallowing it. It also helps to whiten the teeth.

    Delicious and Healthy Strawberry Preparations
    1. Wash strawberries
    2. Cut away its green cap using a knife or a strawberry huller
    3. Cut it in to 3-4 parts
    4. Sprinkle sugar to sweeten them
    5. Mix it well
    Keep it in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving
    It is not only delicious but also healthy.

    Strawberry Juice

    Cut strawberries into 5-6 parts

    Add 2 tsp of sugar

    1 tbsp of vanilla

    One cup of water

    1 tbsp of lemon juice
      Put all these ingredients in a blender. Blend it for a few minutes. Take it out and strain it. It will be delicious to drink.   

      Strawberry Sauce

      Mash a pint of strawberries with a potato masher till they are soft. It can also be mashed in a blender but has to be taken out before it becomes too soft. Then place it in a sauce pan. Add 2/3 cup of sugar, 8 tbsp of water and 2 tbsp of corn starch. Cook it over low heat till it starts to boil. Add a few strawberry slices to the mixture and stir it well. The sauce can be served hot or cold

      Strawberry Jam

      The ingredients for strawberry jam are

      1 kg strawberries
      1 kg sugar
      1 lemon
      1 tbsp of butter

      1. Remove the hull of the strawberries and cut them into half.
      2. Place them in a bowl and add sugar. Turn it over till it mixes well
      3. Place it a in a freezer overnight
      4. Transfer it in to a sauce pan and place it over low heat. Keep stirring it
      5. Boil it for about half an hour till the jam reaches the setting point
      6. The setting point can be determined by placing a drop of jam on a dry plate. 
      7. Press the drop with a finger. If it wrinkles it has reached the setting point. If it runs, it has to be cooked for some more time.
      8. After it reaches the setting point remove it and let it cool
      It can be transferred to sterilized jars for storage. It can be stored for one year in a cool cupboard.

      The above preparations make the healthy strawberry delicious too.