Your body’s needs change in every season and if appropriate changes are not made your health may suffer. You can develop dryness at any age and any time of the year although it is likely to worsen when there is low humidity—commonly during the winter months. We are all influenced by climatic changes and, to experience good health, it’s necessary to make adjustments for each season.
Symptoms of dryness are thirst, dry cough, skin, nostrils eyes, lips, throat, mucus membranes, and itchiness. Patterns of dryness can lead to constipation, diabetes, hypoglycemia, infertility, and some types of arthritis. If you’ve been feeling anxious, restless, frustrated and irritable, it’s likely you need more internal humidity. Drinking lots of water may be hydrating, but does little to moisten the internal organs which, in turn, moisten skin, throat, lips, eyes and sinuses.
Each of your organs performs a variety of functions. Your lungs are responsible for the health of your skin, sinuses, air passageways, and bronchial and respiratory system. Dry lungs can cause dryness in other areas.
This article describes some causes of dryness; how to moisten from the inside out; minimize dryness in your home; skin care; herbal solutions; and links at the end of the article to some of the products described.
Causes of Dryness
- Dry centralized heat
- Wood burning stoves
- Sitting in front of a computer for long hours
- Too much electromagnetic radiation
- Alcohol and coffee
- Excessive spicy food
- Smoking cigarettes and marijuana
- Many medications, supplements, and herbs
- Airplane travel
- Lung imbalances
Moistening Dryness is an Inside Job
Oats have been used to treat skin for a few thousand years, and are effective for moisturizing; imparting warmth and stamina; and soothing the nervous system. Use whole oats, steel cut oats, or rolled oats as a breakfast porridge. Add chunks of butternut squash and/or sweet potatoes for even more benefit. Sweet and Savory Oats Recipe
Good quality unrefined sea salt not only moistens but also alkalizes the food making it more digestible, and nourishes your bones and joints. Use a small pinch in cooking only. If your food tastes salty you’ve used too much. I prefer “Si” stone ground unrefined sea salt from Baja. If you can’t find it, contact me.
Chia seed lubricates dryness and are a high source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia also treats constipation and improves physical endurance. It reduces nervousness; improves mental focus; and help insomnia The gray-black variety is nutritionally superior to golden chia. Sprinkle a spoonful on oatmeal or other foods. Flax seeds have many of the same benefits.
Coconut Oil is warming, moistening, and strengthening. It’s useful for nosebleed, dryness, general weakness, and a good source of saturated fats for vegetarians. It is not recommended for those who eat a diet rich in saturated fat—meat, eggs and dairy. Take 2-4 teaspoons daily on a spoon. You can also melt coconut oil on cooked vegetables. Buy the organic, unrefined, cold-pressed variety.
Black Sesame Seeds are lubricating and a good general tonic. Eating them regularly relieves rheumatism, dry cough, and constipation. A bonus benefit is that they can darken prematurely gray hair. Soak them overnight and pan roast to reduce effects of oxalic acid content, Use a couple teaspoons daily as a condiment sprinkled on food. Alternatively you can purchase Eden black sesame seed Condiment.
Sea Vegetables are the most nutrient dense food group. There are many varieties and those that are most moistening are wakame and arame. I prefer wakame flakes. Simply reconstitute ¼ teaspoon in room temperature water for 2-3 minutes; drain; and add to soups, vegetables dishes, or grains. Wakame is very high in calcium; promotes healthy hair and skin; counteracts tumors and growths; and is useful for coughs with yellow or green phlegm.
Arame sea vegetable is a rich source of iodine, iron, and calcium. It moistens dryness; builds bones and teeth; benefits the thyroid; and promotes hair growth and prevents its loss. Arame Recipe Here.
Pears help resolve dryness especially when cooked. Pear Compote Recipe Here
Fresh figs are lubricating especially to the lung and large intestines, and are useful for dry cough and constipation. Simmer 1-2 fresh figs in 1.5 cups water for about 5 minutes. Drink the liquid to relieve dry coughing. You can also eat the figs.
If you eat animal food, clam, crab, oyster, mussel, herring, salmon, cod and other fatty fish, and pork can combat dryness. Include small amounts in your diet and always eat 3-4x as many vegetables to insure healthy acid/alkaline balance.
Tofu and tempeh are two great sources of protein for vegans. Both remedy internal dryness when eaten on regular basis. I recommend purchasing organic and non-GMO. Try my Pumpkin Tofu Curry and Savory Tempeh Stew
Many common vegetables improve dry conditions especially sweet potatoes, parsnips, sweet winter squashes, potatoes, green beans, eggplant and beets. Try my Borscht Soup Recipe
Minimize Dryness in Your Home
Electromagnetic radiation is everywhere. In addition to causing dryness, it is linked to suppressed immunity, Alzheimer’s, dementia, DNA damage, and other problems. It is emitted from laptops, tablets, eReaders, hair dryers, cell phones, appliances, stereos, televisions, bluetooth equipment, microwave ovens, and Wi-Fi routers. Nearly every electronic device in your home emits electromagnetic fields to greater or lesser degrees. Those closest to your body have a greater effect.
You do not have to abandon all of your modern conveniences, but do take simple steps to minimize your exposure.
Start with your bedroom. Avoid putting your cell phone and clock radio next to your bed. Get the computer and television out of the bedroom or at least unplug them.
Turn off your Wi-Fi router when not using it. Avoid using your tablet, eReader, laptop and cell phone while they are plugged in. Make your calls on speakerphone or use an earpiece. Unplug electronics when not in use. Purchase a laptop shield that blocks 100% of radiation. I like the DefenderPad.
Consider investing in a whole house humidifier for your furnace. If that’s not possible run a portable humidifier in your bedroom. I recommend Remedies Ultrasonic Mist Humidifier and Honeywell Germ Free Humidifier. Links to learn about and purchase these products are at the end of this article.
Avoid overuse of a sauna.
Caring for Your Skin
Oatmeal has been used to treat skin for a few thousand years; effective for cleansing and moisturizing, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Blend 1 cp. oatmeal into a fine powder in food processor. Pour into tub under running water swirling with hand for even distribution. Soak in the tub 15-20 minutes. Or use Aveeno Bath instead.
Avoid using harsh soaps and moisturizers with synthetic ingredients such as parabens. Use soaps made from olive, coconut, palm and/or avocado oils. All are vegan.
Generously apply a natural oil such as coconut, avocado, jojoba or almond to the skin after shower or bath. Use 100% pure aloe vera gel for extremely dry skin 1-2x daily.
Sea salt is hydrating. You can add a cup to your bath or use it in a scrub. I like Hugo Natural Sea Salt Scrub or you can make your own.
Nine Flavor Tea is an herbal formula that treats dryness, chronic inflammation, night sweats, blurred vision, dizziness, and tinnitus. Order Here
EPAQ Krill Fish Oil treats dry skin conditions, dry eyes, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psychological stress, ADD, ADHD, diabetes, asthma, autoimmune diseases. It has anti-inflammatory activity and nourishes brain function. It is rich in EPA and DHA and more effective than regular fish oil. Order Here
Skin Balance moistens and nourishes skin; reduces itching and skin inflammation; treats psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, and hives; removes toxins from blood. Order Here
Lily Bulb moisturizes the mouth, nose, and respiratory tract. It is effective in stopping dry cough and eliminating dry throat and dry nose. It treats bronchitis, laryngitis, wheezing, chronic sore throat, and hot palms and feet. Lily Bulb nourishes and strengthens lungs. Order Here
Calm Spirit is a stress formula for anxiety, anger, depression, anger, restlessness; treats dryness of the mouth, constipation, insomnia, and poor memory. Has been proven to be useful for dryness. Order Here
Xylimelts are very effective for dry mouth.
Marshmallow is a moistening, demulcent herb that is useful for dry cough, dry, itchy skin, dry mouth and throat. It is soothing for dry, irritated lungs. The dried herb can be decocted into a tea, or you can purchase it in a tincture. I like Mountain Rose Herbs marshmallow and other products.
Are you anxious, restless, easily irritated, and frustrated? Do you find it difficult to move through grief and sorrow in healthy ways? These feelings, along with poor memory, can be caused by dryness. And they can contribute to dryness. It is sometimes difficult to discern cause and effect.
Incorporate on a regular basis some of the suggestions in this article and you will see improvements in body, mind and emotions. They are not separate.
It’s important to relax more and avoid working long hours. A stressful, fast paced life takes you from your calm center. Long, slow deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness practices can help restore your equilibrium.
I’ve given you a lot of options. You don’t have to do everything but do choose something and do it now. You have far more control over your body, mind, and emotions than you realize.
Consider some professional guidance for the right nutrition and holistic health plan for you. You can greatly improve every aspect of your physical, mental and emotional health with a customized holistic approach. Schedule a Holistic Health and Nutrition Session with Deborah Barr, 35-year Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor. You’ll be on your way to better health. Sessions can be done by phone, zoom, skype, or at Pittsburgh office.
Links to some of the products recommended in this article
Click on each product to learn more
- Kevala Organic Black Raw and Unhulled Sesame Seeds, 2 Pound
- Barlean’s Organic Oils Organic Chia Seed, 12 Ounce – whole seeds
- Barlean’s Organic Oils Lignan Flax Oil, 32-Ounce Bottle
- Barlean’s Organic Oils Forti-Flax Flaxseed Supplements, 28 Ounce
- Cold-Pressed, Extra Virgin, Raw, Organic Chia Seed Oil – 8 oz. Bottle
- Garden of Life – Real Cold Milled Raw Organic Gluten Free Golden Flax Seed – 14 oz
- Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 15 Ounce
- Hugo Naturals Dead Sea Salt Scrub, French Lavender, 9 Ounce
- Hugo Naturals Body Butter, French Lavender , 4 Ounce Jar
- DefenderPad Laptop EMF Radiation & Heat Shield – blocks radiation emitted from laptops
- Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier, HCM-350
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