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Sunday, January 18, 2015



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Hair is man’s crowning glory, and that’s why many hair products promise beautiful, shiny hair. Yet many users end up with falling or damaged hair due to toxic chemicals. The toxic chemicals in shampoo also contribute to the pollution at home, which eventually flows to the sewerage system.  It is not really easy reading the ingredients of personal care products, while burdened with a long grocery shopping list.  As mentioned previously in Body Care, there are many ways to get educated like perusing over websites that expose carcinogens in personal care products.

Hair is not just the attractive locks and curls, or the shiny, straight d├ęcor that people see.  Its appearance manifests a person’s health.  Hair is attached to the skin, that’s why it hurts when its strands are pulled.  It has a specialized protein called keratin that serves as its protection from harsh wind, different seasons, rough handling, strong heat and the sun. On the other hand, the hair color depends on the natural pigment of the cortical cell called melanin.  The hair, skin, nails, sweat and oil glands comprise the Integumentary System of the body.

The Integumentary System regulates body temperature, eliminates waste and functions as pressure and pain receptors. To function well, it needs the following:

1.       Vitamins A, B Complex, C, E, D, biotin, folic acid, bioflavonoids, and pantothenic acid;
2.       Minerals like silicon, calcium, fluorine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iodine, copper, manganese, magnesium, and zinc;
3.       Food - avocados, sea vegetables, cucumber, rice polish, sprouts;
4.       Drinks – carrot/celery/lemon juice and cucumber/endive/pineapple juice;
5.       Herbs – aloe vera juice taken orally or topical hair application.

Hair is important because it protects the head, in the same way the head shields the brain. According to Dr. Shiv Dua, writer of the book Hair Care, there are factors that affect hair health. Below are some factors that affect hair health:

1.        Food has a direct effect on the mind and body.  In Ayurveda, food is classified as:
a.        Satvik food – These are food which give peace, calm, and purity of mind. These are cereals, butter, milk, cheese, curds, wheat, tomatoes, fruits and vegetables;
b.       Tamsik food – These are food which induce darkness, and anger in the mind. These food include meat, onions, garlic, wine and tobacco;
c.       Rajasvic food are food luxuriously mixed with masala, oil, and servings of different food varieties.  Masala is an Indian black tea made with Assam and mixed with warming spices such as ginger and green cardamom pods. Spices like peppercorn, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and fennel seeds are also added to enhance its flavor.  (Read: Tea Break Time for more information on Black, Oolong and Green Tea.)
2.       Sleep and rest are very much needed to form new cells.  Hair needs rest from all the combing, harsh winds, rain, storm, heat and cold;
3.       Good blood circulation strengthens the hair. Water is necessary for blood circulation, digestion, healthy hair and body temperature regulation. Since the body consists of about 75% water, it is important to drink 10 to 12 glasses of water every day. (Read: Do you Drink Water Sip by Sip for more information.)

Hair care is not limited to the shampoo and conditioner one uses. It takes much more discipline to have beautiful hair. Below are some tips to name a few.  

1.       Do not drink carbonated drinks excessively because these makes the blood acidic. Acidity starves the hair from minerals.
2.       A cold shower improves blood circulation and strengthens hair.
3.       Tying hair too tightly causes breakage.
4.       Brush and comb gently. Do not lend or borrow personal things like combs.
5.       Massage hair before or after a bath.  Use the tips of the fingers to separate hair when applying oil.
6.       Apply oil when hair is dry.
7.       When a strand of grey hair is pulled, 10 more strands will come out.  It is suggested to just cut these grey strands near the roots.
8.       Anxiety causes scalp muscle tension. This prevents nutrients from reaching hair follicles and is one of the leading causes of falling hair.
9.       Using a hair dryer is harmful because of the hot air it emits.  It is healthier to air-dry hair.

Now, here are some simple and natural preparations to enhance the crowning glory. 

1.        Aloe Vera can be:
a.       Used directly on the scalp before taking a bath;
b.       Made into a simple bottled mixture used for rinsing. It is composed of aloe gel, water and half a teaspoon of white natural vinegar. This mixture makes the hair soft and manageable. (Check out Aloe Vera for more information.)
2.       Gugo is the traditional Philippine shampoo made of Gogo bark, which was used by our ancestors for soap, shampoo and laundry.  Aside from having healthy hair, it removes dandruff and stops falling hair. There are 2 ways of using the bark. One may opt to;
a.       Squeeze the Gugo in a dipper with water. When it makes suds, it means it is ready for application;
b.       Make a simple bottled mixture with procedure like that of Aloe Vera. (Check Gugo for more information.)
3.       Apple Cider Vinegar can remove dandruff.  Just dilute it with warm water and apply on the scalp. Lemon can replace vinegar.

4.       There are plenty of shampoo substitutes. Just beat an egg and massage the scalp.
After rinsing with vinegar, rinse with plain water.  This makes the hair healthy and shiny.

5.       Herbs can also be added in ordinary shampoo.  Rosemary and lavender can be added for normal hair, while mint can be added for greasy hair as follows:
a.       Infuse 6 tsp. of fresh (or 3 tsp. of dried) herbs of your choice in 1/2 cup of boiling water. 
b.      Cool and keep in the refrigerator. 
c.       Add 1 tablespoon to shampoo before every bath.

6.       Mayonnaise can be used as shampoo since it has olive oil and egg.  It can be left in an hour on hair before rinsing.  Apple cider vinegar may be used for the rinse.

As natural beings, our hair needs natural solutions. There are many ways to enhance the crowning glory using the least or, preferably, with no synthetic chemicals at all.  This will surely benefit people as a direct user, and their home, too, where chemical pollution moves around for some time because of the enclosed house walls.  These natural and eco-friendly hair DIYs will be a welcome to our sewerage systems that will eventually flow into the creeks, rivers, seas and oceans of Mother Earth.

Watch out for the next installment of the It’s Twice or More Polluted Inside Homes series, Part VIII – Baby Care – Diapers, Baby Skin Product, Toys and Green Tips!

The Gardener

Callard, S. and Millis, D., 2009. The eco-living handbook: A complete guide to your home and life. London, UK. Carlton Books, Ltd.

Retrieved from

Dua, S. 2009. Hair care: A complete solution to your hair problems. New Delhi, India, B. Jain Publisher (P) Ltd.

Handa, P. 1998. Speaking of skin care. New Delhi, India. Sterling Publishers Pvt., Ltd.

Todd, J. 2012. Herbal home remedies. New Delhi, India. B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.

Friday, November 14, 2014



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There are many beauty and body care products competing in the market.  According to the World Wildlife Fund, chemicals commonly found in beauty and body care products have contaminated the environment. These are classified as:

1.        Chemicals that break down slowly or not at all, which accumulate in the bodies of people and wildlife;

2.       Chemicals called Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which interfere with the hormone systems of animal and humans;

3.       Chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive problems, or damage DNA.

These chemicals are used in a variety of products such as phthalates, acryloamide, formaldehyde, and ethylene oxide which have been found to act as carcinogens or reproductive toxins.

In Europe, laws were passed against cancer, mutation, and birth defect-causing chemicals. In California, a Safe Cosmetics Bill was passed which forces companies to notify the state when using chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects.  In the Philippines, cosmetics are monitored by the Food and Drug Administration.

Awareness is the key factor to reduce pollution and health hazards in our homes.  The Eco-Living Handbook recommends:

1.       Checking the website of World Wildlife Fund which is also the proponent for ‘Earth Hour’, and Women’s Environmental Network which can give you a toxic tour;

2.       Checking the Skin Deep database which gives safety information of 25,000 body care products at This will also show companies that have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics;

3.       Being aware of every ingredient in beauty products before we buy them. Many chemicals are not manifested in the list of ingredients. Below are some trivia and tips to help you the next time you buy beauty products:

a.       The term ‘parfum’ includes byproducts of chemicals produced while undergoing manufacturing process;
b.      If in doubt, choose a product with the least ingredients;
c.       Choose a beauty product with essential oil instead of fragrance;
d.      Avoid products with preservatives, colorants, emulsifiers, and detergents. Buy organic products. Beware of some products that use the term ‘natural’ loosely. Some countries allow this despite the use of minimal natural ingredients in the product; 
e.      Anti-bacteria ingredients make the user immune to bacteria after long usage;
f.        Choose plant-based products rather than petroleum-based products. Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum oil;
g.       UV absorber is a chemical protecting another chemical from fading from sunlight.

It is enlightening to know that there are natural and unprocessed products that are helpful to the skin.  Here are some Beauty and Body care Green Tips:

I.                    Skin

A.       Use organic soaps or choose one with neither color nor fragrance;
B.      Choose bar soap over liquid soap.  Save leftover soap by putting it in a container with water. You can use this to clean cemented areas around the house and the pet area;
C.      Use Gugo scrub. Gugo is a bark from the Philippine Gogo tree.  It was used as shampoo, body soap and laundry soap by our ancestors.  Since it is a bark, it can be used as exfoliant.  You can use it as an exfoliant after using the Gugo as shampoo. (Click here for more information.)
D.      From D-I-Y
1.       Milk sponge bath –
a.       Chilled milk can be applied everyday as mild exfoliant for both the face and body;
b.    Chilled milk can be applied every other day with the use of face towel;
c.    Lemon may also be added to lighten the color of the skin and scars. Just  
       let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
2.     Banana peel
        To make pores look smaller, apply the inner portion of the banana peel on skin     
        and leave for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not rub.
       E.     Ginger Bath                           Ginger tea is serves as detox and soothes aches and pains, relieve colds, fever, and                                 menstrual cramps.

II.                   Bath Oil – before or during bath

A.      Do-it-Yourself Breath of Mint Oil.  You can make your own oil out of Peppermint and Spearmint or herbs of your desire. (Click here for instructions.)
B.      Do-it-Yourself Citro-Mint Oil which mixes Citronella, Peppermint and Spearmint together. You may also opt to just make Citronella oil. (Click here for more information.)
C.      If you have an available essential oil, you can mix it with cup of olive oil or whatever oil you have available.

III.                Powder

 – Choose organic corn flour or cornstarch powder.

IV.                Shaving

        Choose plant-based shaving cream or old-fashioned soap and water. The aerosol propellant is a pollutant inside your home.

V.                  Food

 – The skin, hair, nails, oil and sweat glands are called Integumentary System.  The best food for this system are avocados, sea vegetables, cucumbers, apples, carrots, brown or red rice, sprouts, and pineapples.

VI.                Herbs for youthful skin are Aloe Vera, Dokudami and Ashitaba because of their anti-aging properties. (Visit for more information.)

A.       Aloe Vera can be made into the following:
1.       Syrup gel with honey;
2.        Be applied to skin directly;
3.        Aloe Vera rinse is a simple preparation which makes the skin smooth and the hair manageable. (Click here for more information.)
B.       Dokudami can be eaten raw. It serves as an antioxidant and anti-aging, prevents anaphylactic shock (allergic reaction to medicines) and relieves nose congestion and respiratory system.
C.       Ashitaba is eaten raw.  It is an antioxidant, all the while being anti-cancer and anti-aging.

We cannot avoid processed body and beauty products, but we can aim to live green by being aware of their ingredients, and exert more diligence to make our own beauty products.
We will be featuring Hair Products in our next’ Its Twice or More Polluted Inside Homes’ chapter. Stay tuned!

The Urban Farmer

Callard, S. and Millis, D. (2009) The eco-living handbook pp. 138 – 148, London, UK: Cartlon Books Ltd.
Handa, P. (1998) Speaking of skin care, pp. 7 -8, New Delhi, India: Sterling Publishers Ltd.

Jensen, B. (1993) Foods that heal, p. 62, New York, USA: Avery Publishing Corp.

Friday, May 16, 2014


PART V: HOME CLEANERS – Laundry Soap, Bleach, Cleaners, Air Freshener, Insecticide and GREEN TIPS

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Our aim to keep our homes as clean and comfortable makes us vulnerable to highly- advertised chemical solutions such as:

1. Laundry soap which contains chemically- based surfactant;
2. Bleach which contains synthetic chlorine;
3. Household cleaning aids which contain chemicals like phosphate, chlorine, scents, and dye.

Every year 6,000 chemical compounds are developed and many of these are marketed for home use.  A British study, according to Eco-Living Handbook, found that frequent use of household chemicals are linked to wheezing and asthma.
I used to experience that sick feeling so, I shifted to back-to-basic solutions such as white vinegar, fresh lemon (or Philippine Kalamansi), sodium carbonate (baking soda), and herbs.

Here are economical green tips and guide in choosing your cleaners:
1. Laundry soap –
a. Most preferable is the laundry soap which is biodegradable, phosphate-free, dye-free, perfume-free, and with vegetable-based surfactant. There are several         natural herbal or organic laundry soap available in the supermarkets and organic markets.

Here are more laundry tips:

a. Do not follow the manufacturer’s recommended tablespoon, scoops, or cups for washing. According to Eco-Living Handbook, half of the recommended is enough.
b. Conserve water by adding Sodium Carbonate (baking soda) when rinsing.  Baking soda is repacked at bakery supply stores in the Philippines, which are cheaper          by the kilo.
c. Powdered soap is better than liquid detergent.  Liquid detergent contains 4x more chemical surfactant. Chemical Surfactant is the most toxic ingredient in              laundry products, according to the Environmental Detergent Manufacturer’s Association of United Kingdom. Surfactant is called surface-active agent such as          detergent which when added to a liquid reduces its surface tension increasing its wetting and spreading properties.
d. Conventional washing powders contain several chemicals such as pigments, fluorescent whitening agent, and silicone de-foamer.  According to a Study of Ethical          Consumer Magazine of UK, a typical laundry detergent has 12 to 16 ingredients but only few are listed on the package.
e. Anti-bacterial agents and musks, according to World Wildlife Fund( WWF) and Green Peace have been found in tested blood samples from babies and mothers in a          ‘Study on the Presence of Man-made Chemicals in the Blood’.
f. Concentrated soap is better than standard powder.  Concentrated soap does not contain active filler ingredients to fill up the bulk of ordinary powder.
g. The best drying is by means of sunlight because it disinfects as well. Just make sure your clothesline is clean.

2. Bleach – Using synthetic chlorine creates more toxic substances, which is harmful to the environment. Thus , here are some effective ways of removing stains:

a. Lemon or white vinegar can remove food, fruit, and vegetable stains.
b. I/4 cup of vinegar removes odor and dirt from clothes.
c. Sodium carbonate (baking soda) when dissolved in water can be used to wash clothes to remove stubborn stains.
d. 1 can of cola removes grease from clothes.
e. Oxalic crystals are used as acid rinse for laundry stained by rust or ink.  Soak stained clothes, towels etc., in water and place oxalic directly on affected          area overnight. Oxalic acid is an organic compound. It is colorless and toxic.
f. Lemon is a disinfectant. It can also be applied on stubborn stained clothes, added with soap and exposed flat under the sun.
g. Sunlight is a good bleaching agent. Simply, soak white or stained laundry in soap and water, spread clothes in a basin and expose under the sun.  

3. Floor  tiles

a. Use environment-friendly cotton dishcloth for polishing floors.  We also have coconut and coco coir husks for polishing.
b. Use environment-friendly string mop instead of foam.
c. Mix Sodium Carbonate in warm water to clean tiles and surfaces.
d. White vinegar cleans floor tiles.
e. For a stronger solution, mix white vinegar with Sodium Carbonate.
f. Use old toothbrush to clean corner edges.

4. Kitchen

a. Most preferable is concentrated herbal dishwashing liquid which is biodegradable, paraben-free, phosphate-free, dye-free, perfume-free, and with vegetable-        based surfactant. There are several organic or natural dishwashing liquid in the market.

Other kitchen green tips are:
a. Sodium carbonate (baking soda) can be used to clean as follows:

(1) Mix with warm water to clean the refrigerator.
(2) Add to water when rinsing dishes for shinier plastic containers, cups and utensils.  
         This also conserves water since utensils are easily cleaned.
(3)      Mix with dishwashing liquid and essential oil as kitchen floor cleaner.

b.      Soak white vinegar on lime scale of sink, iron, and kettle to remove the stain.
c.      Clean kitchen tiles with warm water and soap.

5. Toilet/Bathroom Cleaner

a. Fresh lemon juice or Philippine kalamansi disinfects surface, removes grime at the base of faucet, grout, and edges.
b. White vinegar cleans toilet and lime scale from sink.
c. A can of cola cleans toilet bowl and tiles.  Make sure it is warm and has no fizzes before using. (Also good for cleaning of tires)

6. Glass cleaner

a. Glass and mirror – Mix a proportion of ½ white vinegar and ½ water for wiping.

7. Furniture cleaner

a.      Mix a proportion of  ½ white vinegar and ½ water to remove fingermarks on polished wood.
b. Mix olive oil with white vinegar to remove wood stains
c. Mix 1 tsp olive oil with ½ cup of lemon juice in small pan.  Pour mixture into cloth then dust off and polish the furniture. The clean leftover solution can be         kept for a week.
d. To minimize pollution from furniture paint and spray paint, you may put a bowl of the following in a room:
1) A bowl of vinegar;
2) Charcoal;
3) Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
e. Chrome cleaner – Cut fresh lemon chrome and apply to the chrome.

8. Floor wax

a. Mix 4 Tablespoons of Paraffin with 8 cups of Mineral Oil in a crystal bottle with a wide opening. Cool before covering the solution. The solution is         concentrated and has no waxy odor.  I bought the paraffin from a religious store, and the mineral oil from the drugstore.

b. Mix 30% beeswax and 60% coconut, then, add scented oil. This solution comes from Satinka who owns a store at the Sunday Organic Market at Legazpi Village,         Makati, Metro Manila.

9. Air Freshener

a. Citronella –

1) Boiling leaves in water spreads the fragrance all over the house.
2) Make a wreath and tie with ribbons.  You may hang it anywhere like doors. You may even put it near the electric fan or air conditioning unit to spread         fragrance.
3) Make homemade scented oil.  Check Citronella at for the procedure.  Put drops of oil and water at the top of the candle holder. When the         candle is lighted, the Citronella scent will waft in the house.
4) After the homemade citronella oil is safely placed in a bottled container, the leftover leaves are still useful as potpourri for the room or toilet.
5) Dried Citronella leaves can be placed in pillows, under bed sheets, throw pillows, and more.
b.      Orange – Boil in water to freshen air.  This process also cleans aluminum kettles.

10.     Insect/pest repellant

a. Mosquitoes –
(1) Citronella - same procedure as air freshener.
(2) Neem – boil or soak neem leaves overnight.  Put in a sprayer to drive away mosquitoes.

b. Citronella and Pandan leaves for Cockroach and Flies. (check

(1)     Cockroach - Put in garbage can and around the garbage area.
(1)     Flies – Put inside flower vase.

c. Garden pests –
(1) Tie citronella leaves around the stem.
(2) Cut leaves of citronella, oregano, lemongrass (Tanglad) and mint leaves into sme all pieces and put on the topsoil of the plant.
(3) Put different herbs pots beside each other so that pests would not dominate a certain type of plant. Pests do not like fragrant and minty herbs.
(4) Soak leaves of either Neem Tree , Serpentina, minty herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, etc. overnight with water.  Then, add more water for pouring on plants         and pots, or just pour inside a sprayer to spray on the leaves.
d. Rats –  Rats do not like the peppermint smell.

The use of old fashioned cleaners like vinegar, lemon, herbs, sunlight, etc. have been a common practice in remote areas while ready-to-use products are used in the metropolis to adopt to its fast-moving lifestyle. Now, environment is suffering because the Wisdom of Mother Nature has been replaced with chemicals created inside laboratories.

There is so much pollution confined in our homes, that in reality, it is a necessity to go back to the basics of green living. Luckily, these environment-friendly cleaners are just within our reach ever ready to help us enjoy cleaning and make our homes a real comfort zone!

* Watch for Part VI:  Body Care.  Share with your friends!  

The Gardener


Callard, Sarah and Millis, Diane, Superbugs p. 98, Detergent pp. 99-102, Cleaners pp. 101-105, The Eco-Living Handbook, London, UK, Carlton Book Ltd. 2009

Jazmines, Tessa, Indoor Air Pollution p. 2, Home Chemicals pp. 19-20, The 3M Handy Book of Health and Personal Care 2005 edition, Pasig City, MM, Philippines, Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Todd, Jude C., Cleaners, Fresheners, Laundry pp.260-263, Polish and Wax p. 264, Herbal Home Remedies 2012 edition, New Delhi, India, B. Jain Publishers(P)Ltd.edition

Encyclopedia Britannica Wikepedia, Definition Oxalic

Wikepedia, Definition of Surfactant

Saturday, March 29, 2014



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There are viruses and bacteria in our homes. Recognizing these intruders may help us reduce the risk.

A. Virus 

Virus  is airborne.  But, according to Public Health Agency of Canada, 80% of sickness like colds and flu come from contaminated hands.

Green Tips:

1. Eat  healthy food and more green leafy vegetables to maintain a strong immune system.
2. Make sure hands are clean before eating, after using the comfort room, and before preparing food.
3. Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth with your hands.

B. Bacteria

The human skin has natural resistance to infection.  Most simple cuts and abrasions heal quickly because the human skin has a bactericidal property.

We both have beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria existing within our human selves.

1. Beneficial Bacteria

        Not all bacteria are harmful.  To mention a few:

         a. Lactobacillus Acidophilus

               These bacteria grow inside the lower gastrointestinal tract which help normalize the intestinal flora

and improve regular bowel movement. This gut flora carries 100 trillion microorganisms in the intestine more than the number of human cells of the body.

Beneficial bacteria synthesize Vitamin K in the lower intestine. But it is sad to know that antibiotics and constipation destroy the friendly Acidophilous bacteria.

               Banana feeds the natural Acidophilous bacteria of the bowel. There are milk products that contain                Lactobacilli. I take a  concentrated product called Lactobacilli (Carica product), which is taken                  by spoonful that my doctor recommended for asthma and allergies.

          b.  Saprophytic 

               This bacteria acts as an agent to break down dead organisms and organic wastes for                                    decomposition.  This bacteria is present in our compost to be able to produce organic fertilizer.

          c. Bacteria for food industry

               Different bacteria are used for the production of buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, pickles, etc.

2. Disease-causing Bacteria

Some of these harmful bacteria that we should be careful about are:

         a. Salmonella -  Causes typhoid, gastroenteritis from food contamination), blood poisoning.
         b. Meninggococcal -  Infects the brain.
         c. Tubercule – Infects the lungs
         d. Staphyloccocai- Infects the skin (acne), blood stream (blood poisoning), and bones                                    (Osteomyclitis)

Green Tips:

1. Keep the kitchen clean
         - Sponge absorbs most of micro-organisms from utensils according to a study.  So, it is best to                       change the sponge regularly and expose it under sun.
         - Clean the kitchen sink using soap and hot water to kill microorganisms.
2. Clean the fruits and vegetable very well. Wash them even if you will not the eat the outside covering.
3. Separate raw meat and seafood from other food when storing.
4. Use different knives and chopping boards for meat and seafood, and for fruits and vegetables.
5. Thaw meat in the chiller of the refrigerator or in a container that has no leak. The temperature of  40 or         140 degrees Fahrenheit  or 4 to 60 degrees Celsius will cause bacteria to produce fast.
6. Heat food, sauce and soup at 70 degrees Celsius.
7.      If food is cold, keep cold. If hot, keep hot.  Food should be eaten within 3 to 4 days.
8. When grocery shopping...
       - Make sure fruits and vegetables have no damage so bacteria would not enter.
       - Check expiration date.
       - Always wash reusable shopping bags or baskets. Those with meat and fish drippings should be                    washed with soap and hot water to kill bacteria.
       - Travel time of frozen food from the point of purchase to the home should be 30 minutes.
9.  Eating in restaurants...
        - Check the cleanliness of table cloth, plates, waiters, etc.
        - Leftover food should reach the home within 2 hours especially if temperature outside is 32 degrees               Celsius according to the Food and Drugs Administration of the United States.

 True, there are many microorganisms that  pose a threat inside our homes. But as humans, the superior species, we can counteract through diligent care and simple housekeeping solutions.

Watch out for Part V : HOME  CHEMICALS and DIY GREEN TIPS
*Share with your friends

The Gardener


Jazmines, Tessa, Most Common Allergies pp. 49 – 50, Clean Air Act p. 18, The 3M Handy Book of Health and Personal Care copyright 2005 Pasig City, Philippines, Anvil Publishing
Gumising Magazine,  Be Clean p. 5, Be Careful in Preparing and Storing Food p. 6,  Be Watchful When Eating in Restaurants p. 7,
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of the Philippines, Inc. 2012, Philippines,(Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania),
Wikepedia, Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Jensen, Dr. Bernard, Fruits and Vegetables, p. 114;  Problems with Proteins, pp. 55-56, Foods That Heal 2004, New Delhi, India, Kuldeep Jain for Health Harmony
Encyclopedia Britannica, Infectious Agents pp. 589 – 590, Macropedia 21,  Salmonella p. 360 Macropedia 10, Immune Response p. 591, Bacterium p. 779 Macropedia 1, 

Friday, February 28, 2014

DILL: The Kitchen Herb

Also for Flatulence, Colic, Stomach Disorders & Breast Milk Production

Dill grows into a tree if grown on the ground. It is a biennial plant, which means its life is good for two years. Small dill plants will grow surrounding the tree. This maybe be transplanted.  Its scientific name is Anethum Graveolens.   It is also used decorative plant. 

As a medicinal herbal, it can be taken as tea or eaten fresh for flatulence, colic and stomach disorders.  It helps in breast milk production.

As a kitchen herb, the chopped dill can be used as topping for rice with garlic and onion.  Chopped dill can flavor boiled potatoes and other vegetables.  Dill is at its best when picked from the garden when it is needed as topping.  It has a tendency to lose its flavor if kept for some time.

Care For Your Dill:

This herb wants full sun, daily watering and monthly organic fertilizer.

The Gardener


Todd, JUDE C. ,General Principles of Herbs p. 22, Herbal Home Remedies, Health and Harmony, B. Jain Publishers(P)Ltd., 2012, New Delhi, India 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Molds, Pollen, Insect & Rat Waste, Pet Dander & Green Tips

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There are microscopic organisms existing in our home environment that are not easily noticeable to the human eye.  These microorganisms thrive in different places of our comfort zone such as:

A.    Damp Areas - Fungi produce molds in humid places.  Since the Philippines is humid, molds and mildew thrive the whole year. Inside the house, molds grow in old shower curtains, bathrooms, refrigerator drips, and decaying building materials. These molds have microscopic fungal spores that float in the air that enter the nose and cause respiratory illness.  Mildew grows on plants and organic matter that we have at home.

         Green Tips:

1. Air Purifier/humidifier is a big help to normalize humid home condition.
          2.  Exhaust fans can also help by driving out some humidity.
3.  Clean damp areas.  The toilet tiles, bowl and lavatory may be cleaned with vinegar alone or mixed with baking soda.  Cola can also be used for toilet cleaning. Just make sure it has warmed enough that it no longer fizz.
4. Clean closets that have odor.  Wash the clothes to remove odor of molds.
          5.  Keep kitchen dry to prevent molds from developing.

B.    Plants, Trees and Grass

Pollen comes from flowers plants, trees and grass.  Thus, these are seasonal. Pollen causes allergic rhinitis, asthma and allergies.

         Green Tips for Those with Allergies:

1.  If necessary, prune some buds of flowering plants, trees and grass to lessen pollen entering the house.
          2.  Keep few windows open for air circulation when windy.
          3.  Stay indoors when it’s very windy during pollen season.
4.  There are herbals plants like Oregano, Ashitaba, Dokudami, Serpentina, Damong Maria, Peppermint, Java Mint to prevent or relieve cough and colds and allergies.
C.     Waste from Insects and Pests

              1.  Dust Mites

Dust Mites are the particles that you see floating while sweeping the floor under sunlight.  Actually, these are dead dust mites and the waste products that they excrete 20 times a day. Cotton-like dirt called dust bunnies contain dust mites. These mites produce fast when humid.  A double-bed is estimated to house 2,000,000 (two million) dust mites.

         Green Tips:

          a.        Keep windows closed when no one is using the room.
b.        Use DIY Furniture Polish – Mix 1 tsp. Olive Oil with ½ (half) cup  of lemon or Philippine Kalamansi juice.  The leftover mixture may  be used for a week.  It is also good for glass tables. It is effective,  economical and does not cause irritation to the eyes and nose.
c.        Floor Tiles - Mop with vinegar and baking soda to remove odor of  molds when humid.
d.        Beddings and curtains may be washed with hot water at 50°C  temperature to kill dust mites.                          
e.        Avoid upholstered furniture and stuffed toys or keep these toys  away from dusty places.
e.        Use of air purifier/humidifier lessens humidity and production of  dust mites.
f.        Wash your broom, dustpan, feather duster, and rugs regularly with  hot water (50C) to remove dust mites.

          2.        Flies, Mosquitoes, Lizard Waste etc.

We are aware of the insects flying over us and the lizards crawling at the ceiling.  These have the tendency to excrete from above and contaminate food and the air.

         Green Tips:

a.        Keep food covered. Keep plates, spoon, etc. in covered container.
b.       Herbals like Citronella and Pandan leaves drive away flies and cockroach. Citronella also drive away mosquitoes.
c.        Use candles or candle holders with citronella essential oil. (Check  out citronella.html for more info!)

         3.        Cockroach and Rats

The wastes of these pests are very noticeable because of the odor. These pests usually go to garbage, drainage or where there is food.

         Green Tips:

a.       There is an electronic gadget that can be plugged and drive away these pests.
b.      Herbals against cockroach: (1) Citronella, the scent of which lasts long and (2) Pandan, the scent of which lasts until it dries. 
          c.         Herb against rats is Peppermint. 

                   4.        Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats shed off dander from their skin and from dried saliva after licking their fur.  These pet dander when inhaled cause allergies.  
         Green Tips:

a.     Weekly bath with Citronella and Neem Tree (Check out for more information.)

Microscopic organisms are not easily seen but can be detected through their odor.  Luckily, we have natural ways to minimize, if not totally eradicate, these intruders. The challenge to keep these microorganisms at its lowest level will surely benefit every family member, thus, create more comfort in our home zone.

The Gardener

*Watch out for Part IV: Virus and Bacteria and Green Tips. Hope you would share with your friends!


Jazmines, Tessa , Molds, Dust Mites p. 18, The Most Common Allergies pp. 49 – 50, The 3M Handy Book of Health and Personal Care,  Anvil Publishing, Inc., Pasig City, Philippines