Natural health: Face masks and superfoods

Find out how to make your own facemask out of French green clay and are superfoods really worth the expense?

Natural health: Face masks and superfoods

Q. I recently bought some French green clay with the intention of using it to make my own face mask.

Is there is anything in particular I should be doing with it?

A. You can just mix a little together with cold water to use as a beauty mask — it is often used by natural beauty therapists to treat all types of skin conditions, from dry, sensitive, oily, and also to help with spots or acne.

Just use around a teaspoon of clay powder in a small cup or ramekin, and add the water little by little, mixing with a clean wide paintbrush or foundation brush to get a smooth thick consistency. Use the brush to paint the compound onto your skin.

The water component of the mask can also act as a vehicle for herbal remedies.

Whether you use a cold herbal tea (chamomile, calendula, rose petal, or similar) or a floral water/hydrosol (tea tree, rose, witch hazel, etc), the healing properties of the botanicals are infused into the clay.

Of course, you can also add in other nourishing ingredients, such as raw honey, coconut oil, or aloe vera for an extra soothing blend.

Oils are useful when you are applying the clay to a particularly sensitive area, since it keeps the poultice soft and pliable.

Clay has long been used medicinally, not just as a beauty preparation. Topically, it can be used to draw out infection, or to treat sprains and strains.

It can also be used as a hot or cold poultice depending on your needs.

You can keep the area warm by using a heat pack on top of the painted area, particularly if it is to treat pain in the joints or muscles.

Many people use clay as an internal remedy as part of an intestinal cleansing protocol.

This is worth consideration, but should be discussed with your health practitioner first.

It is thought to help draw out toxins and also to soothe inflamed intestinal mucosa.

Q. I have a quick question for you about so-called superfoods, are they worth the expense?

A. The answer depends on which superfoods you are referring to specifically, and also which condition(s) you are addressing.

In many cases, you are likely to get good results from everyday superfoods and needn’t spend big money on imported miracle cures.

There are so many regular foods that we tend to bypass in our search for the next big thing — berries, particularly those very dark or rich in colour, are full of flavonoids that are powerful in their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action.

Carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato are fantastic examples of food packed with carotenoids and betacarotene; broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (such as kale, turnip, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, watercress, and horseradish) are linked to reducing your cancer risk.

Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years to treat and prevent a number of ailments.

While it is not typically considered a food by itself, it has value in both herbal medicine and as a seasoning or flavouring agent in cooking.

Garlic has more than 200 active constituents, but one in particular — allicin — has been of particular interest to scientists. Allicin is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral in its action, plus it helps to lower cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis.

As far as getting any value from the more expensive superfoods, I totally rate Maca powder for its value in balancing hormones for both males and females, as well as it being rich in minerals and vitamins.

Chia seeds are fantastic for getting your essential fatty acids, as are many nuts and seeds, but chia seeds are more resistant to oxidative damage by light, air, and heat than other seeds.

A greens blend containing spirulina, wheatgrass, barleygrass, and perhaps chlorella can be a valuable addition to the diet, particularly for people wanting to cleanse and alkalise their body.

It is worth noting that wheat and barley grass powders are both gluten-free, unlike the grains they are from.

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