Delta-8 THC is a cannabis product that has become a bestseller over the past few months, as many consumers find they can legally purchase it from CBD retailers. Its proponents say that Delta-8 THC will give you a nice little buzz, minus some of the more intense feelings (including paranoia) that are sometimes associated with marijuana.
Delta-8 THC is being marketed as a legal option for consumers who either don't live in a state with legal cannabis, or are a little apprehensive about how traditional psychoactive THC products will affect them. But is it all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look, exploring what Delta-8 THC is, how it differs from other THC products, and whether it's actually legal for use.
What is Delta-8 THC?
To better understand Delta-8 THC, it helps to cover some basics about THC and cannabis.
Cannabis plants come chock full of different cannabinoids. These are naturally-occuring chemical compounds that bind with receptors throughout your body. They can offer a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical effects; indeed, the healing and therapeutic properties marijuana or CBD products offer can be attributed to cannabinoids.
One of the most common cannabinoids is what's known as Delta-9 THC. Simply put, this is the part of marijuana that gets you "high." It's worth noting that Delta-9 THC remains illegal in many states, except for in the most minute doses, and is still illegal at the federal level. CBD products are made with trace amounts of THC, ensuring that consumers can enjoy positive health effects in a perfectly legal way, without the risk of getting high.
On a chemical level, Delta-8 THC is not too different from Delta-9 THC; the distinction comes down to just a few molecules. But those molecules make a big practical impact: Delta-8 THC will give you a buzz, but the psychoactive effects are considerably milder than with Delta-9 THC.
More specifically, many cannabis enthusiasts report that Delta-8 THC helps them feel good but also leaves them relatively clear-headed; and, it doesn't produce the anxiety or jitteriness that often characterize a Delta-9 THC high.
Additionally, because of the way the law is written regarding Delta-9 THC, some CBD companies now sell Delta-8 THC products in places where traditional cannabis is still illegal.
What's the Difference Between Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC?
Here are the primary differences to note between Delta-9 and Delta-8 THC:
- Delta-9 THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. In other words, it's the part that gets you high.
- Though some states have found workarounds, Delta-9 THC is still illegal under federal law.
- Delta-8 THC is also found in the cannabis plant, though it's not quite as powerful or as well-known.
- Delta-8 THC is milder in its psychoactive effects. And, it's not technically illegal under current law.
These are just a few of the key distinctions to keep in mind. Delta-8 THC is popular among consumers who want a smoother high, and don't want to violate federal law.
Is Delta-8 THC Legal?
We noted that Delta-8 THC is not technically illegal. Here, we need to get into some of the nuanced legal considerations that surround this substance.
First of all, there are plenty of cannabis companies that actively promote Delta-8 THC as a legal way to get high. Again, that's technically true, but is still a point of debate for some.
For one thing, it's not explicitly listed as an illegal substance. While federal laws, and some state laws, specifically ban Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC is never mentioned. More to the point, though, many proponents will cite the 2018 Farm Bill. This law legalized several industrial hemp products on a national level, including CBD.
The Farm Bill also includes some fairly nuanced positions regarding THC. In summary, the law says that hemp and cannabis-derived products are legal so long as they contain less than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC.
With that said, some lawyers contend that Delta-8's heyday may soon come to an end. That's because the Farm Bill clears it only so long as it's derived directly from hemp; most of the Delta-8 THC products sold today aren't made from hemp, but rather from synthetically-altered CBD.
Some of these issues are a little fuzzy, and the legal future of Delta-8 THC remains a little uncertain. For now, though, many experts would argue that it is legal to purchase.
What Kinds of Delta-8 THC Products Are Available?
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
If you're looking to try Delta-8 THC products, you'll certainly find plenty of different products. Dispensaries and legal cannabis stores currently have a trove of products that use this cannabinoid. Some examples include:
- Vape cartridges, tinctures, and capsules.
- Beverages made with Delta-8 THC, including some seltzers.
- Edibles, including Delta-8 THC gummy bears, chocolate bars, and more.
The cannabis industry has really been running with Delta-8 THC, finding creative ways to bring it to market. And chances are, even more products will be springing up in the weeks and months to come.
It's very important to note that you should only purchase Delta-8 THC products from reputable brands and established cannabis retailers. We do not recommend purchasing any products that contain Delta-8 THC from gas stations or vape shops. If you are looking for a reputable place to explore these products, here are a few brands that we trust and recommend:
NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum Delta 8 THC Oil is made from organic hemp and organic virgin hemp seed extract. It's available in a 150 mg bottle and a 450 mg bottle, which both provide 15 mg of Delta 8 THC per serving. This formula is also available in a soft gel.
The Botany Farms Delta-10 THC Vape Cartridge actually contains both Delta-10 and Delta-8 THC.This is designed to provide the desired effects of Delta-8 THC but without the drowsiness. They also offer a vape cartridge with a 1:1 concentration of Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC. Note that while vape products can be used to aid in smoking cessation, we do not recommend vaping or smoking because of the negative health effects they can cause.
What are the Pros and Cons of Delta-8 THC?
As you consider whether Delta-8 THC is worth your time, it may be helpful to weigh the pros against the cons.
Let's start with some of the positives:
- Delta-8 THC does have psychoactive effects, but it's a milder effect than with traditional Delta-9 THC.
- Delta-8 THC is currently legal and widely accessible in multiple states.
- There are a wide number of products that use Delta-8 THC.
Now, a few of the downsides.
- Delta-8 THC isn't quite as commonplace as other cannabis products, including CBD, and some of the options on the market are expensive.
- While this substance is technically legal, there are plenty of uncertainties over its legal future. It's something you want to keep in mind.
- As a relatively new product, Delta-8 THC products are not regulated by the FDA and there is not independent testing in place to verify that it is safe or pure.
As with any cannabis product, Delta-8 THC has its pros and cons. As you seek the cannabis product that's best for you, it's largely a matter of personal preference.
Also note that smoking, vaping, or otherwise imbibing any kind of cannabis-related product can carry some medical risks and negative health consequences. If you have any specific concerns, we recommend consulting with your doctor before you try any Delta-8 THC product.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys. They are produced when minerals and salts, most commonly calcium oxalate, crystallize in the kidneys, creating hard, crystal-like stones. If you've ever had a kidney stone, we're sure you won't want to repeat the experience!
Ideally, you never want to have to go through this painful process. Fortunately, several steps and natural treatments can be used to reduce the chances of suffering them. In this article we'll examine how these annoying solidifications originate and how to treat them effectively and quickly with natural remedies.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are solid mass made up of tiny crystals. One or more stones may occur at the same time in the kidney or ureters. The stone formations can consist of calcium oxalate, phosphates, or cystine. Stone formation occurs when urine is high in certain crystal-forming substances. The stones have to travel through the urinary tract to leave the body, which is known as eliminating kidney stones, something that can be utterly painful.
Deposits made of calcium are the most common ones, and they can be formed by combining with phosphate or carbonate. But there are also calcium oxalate stones, which involve a nutrient present in certain foods like spinach and vitamin C supplements. These can be recurrent in people suffering from small intestine diseases, increasing the risk of kidney stones.
The crystals can turn into stones over weeks or even months, so you may not have symptoms until the stones move down the tubes called ureters, through which urine empties into your bladder. This is why it is possible to have kidney stones without you noticing any discomfort at the beginning.
However, the main symptom is intense pain that begins and disappears suddenly. This acute pain can be around the abdominal area or a side of the back, and sometimes it spreads to the groin area. Some more advanced symptoms include an abnormal color of urine or blood in the secretion, shivering, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Kidney Stone Treatments
Before trying any home remedies, it is necessary to speak with a doctor, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or you are taking prescription medication.
Kidney stones that cause serious problems can be treated with a technique called "extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy," which is a technique that can break up these stones from outside the body, allowing them to pass out through the urethra more easily. However, occasionally, surgery may be necessary.
For those who can spontaneously pass a stone, the conventional treatments are pain relievers and drinking lots of fluids. But if you already know that you frequently suffer from "silent" stones or those that do not cause symptoms, they can be mainly treated with preventive dietary measures alone. These methods include increasing fluids, modifying your diet, and taking medications or supplements that alter urine chemistry.
Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones
Joff Lee / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Make sure you are constantly hydrated. Drink enough liquid to generate at least 2.5 liters of urine daily. If you do not drink enough, the chances of developing deposits are more significant, and, therefore, the formation of stones will increase. If you avoid products from the processed food industry, you will already reduce sodium consumption, which is responsible for increasing urinary calcium excretion and present in high quantities in almost every preservative additive. Drinks such as sodas are a big facilitator for the formation of stones. This is why water—at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day—is the number one aid in both preventing and expelling kidney stones.
This amazing herb, native to South America, is one of the best natural remedies for kidney stones. It is rich in minerals that cleanse and detoxify the body, and it has been used for decades by the ancestral healers of Peru with wonderful results and a very low incidence of side effects. It is also used for the treatment of cystitis and urethritis resulting from the presence of calculi in either the kidney or bladder.
If you buy a Chanca Piedra product and aren't sure of its source, it's likely that it's not as potent as it could be. It's essential to choose reputable supplements to really take advantage of all the benefits and to be sure of its safety. Disolvatol is a supplement that uses 99.8% purity grade Chanca Piedra, making it an all-natural, safe, and effective herbal supplement designed to support kidney health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid, which can help dissolve calcium deposits. Two tablespoons of pure apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 ounces (0.24L) of water can reduce the symptoms of kidney stones and prevent their development. This mixture should be drunk several times a day and can be most effective when consumed before meals.
Citric acid consumption increases diuresis, and this benefits renal filtration. Therefore, juices that contain citric acid, such as lemon juice, have a diuretic effect and can help us for two reasons. The first is that they leave less calcium available in the urine, and the second is that 60% of the patients with kidney stones have a low level of citrate in the urine, which is responsible for preventing crystals from forming.
Basil contains compounds known to help stabilize uric acid levels, and since it contains acetic acid, it helps to dissolve existing stones too. By simply drinking one teaspoon of basil extract or pure juice a day for two weeks, you can pass your stones safely and naturally without surgery or drugs. Also, it can help prevent and treat possible future kidney stones.
Buying whole pomegranates and eating their seeds, or squeezing them for juice, is the easiest way to get the health benefits of this fruit. Pomegranate juice also contains compounds that decrease urine acidity, making it difficult to form stones. The astringent and antioxidant properties of pomegranates are believed to reduce the chances of developing kidney stones and facilitate their elimination.
Olive is the fruit of one of the most ancient trees on earth. Its cultivation goes back at least eight thousand years. It is a natural remedy for kidney stones. Because olive oil contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats, it is an excellent alternative to facilitate the removal of kidney stones by lubricating the urinary tract.
A 5-ounce (0.15L) glass first thing in the morning and another in the late afternoon, ideally at the same time as other herbal or home remedies, can reduce pain and discomfort.
These small red beans provide a robust and nutty flavor and are a natural remedy against forming kidney stones. Kidney beans are rich in nutrients that can affect the uric acid cycle, preventing calcium oxalate crystals.
Dandelion root and honey blend have been used as folk remedies for kidney stones for more than 100 years. It contains compounds that increase the production of bile and urine, which helps eliminate waste from the body. It is recommended to take 3 to 4 cups daily in the form of tea or juice.
Horsetail is one of the most prevalent kidney stone natural home remedies used by holistic practitioners for years due to its apparent ability to increase urine flow. The standard dose of horsetail is 1 g in capsule or tea form up to three times daily.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones
ericsphotography / E+ / Getty Images
Among the most common causes of kidney stones is a diet too rich in foods such as animal protein, bacon, dried legumes (peas, chickpeas, etc.), chocolate, cocoa, coffee, products with excess phosphorus or calcium.
Also, vitamin deficiency (in particular vitamins A), the acidity of the urine, or inflammation of the pelvis can play a role in kidney stones. Considering this, the primary tool to prevent kidney stones is to follow a healthy lifestyle, especially a diet based on vegetables, and abundant fruits, especially pears and grapefruit. Avoid eating foods that are high in oxalate, salt, and animal proteins, as well as eggs, strong cheeses, and alcohol.
When to Consult With a Doctor
Kidney stones are most common in men between the ages of 40 and 60. In many cases they can cause severe pain in the back, lower abdomen, or the side below the ribs. If not treated quickly, they can damage your kidneys, and they can even lead to a kidney infection, urinary tract infection, or complete kidney failure if they are left too long. It's a good idea to see a healthcare professional long before any of these complications arise.
If you have already been diagnosed with a blockage due to a stone, its expulsion should be confirmed either by trapping it in a filter during urination or with a follow-up X-ray under the supervision of a qualified doctor. Some cases could even require immediate surgery. Remember, having no pain does not in any way confirm or guarantee that the stone has already passed.
Warning signs that should be evaluated by a doctor include persistent lower abdominal or lower back pain lasting more than four weeks, fever, chills, or vomiting.
Prevent the Formation of Kidney Stones Naturally
We can use natural aids in the form of supplements, herbs, or specific foods to help decrease kidney stones and improve urine diuresis. The best way to deal with kidney stones is to prevent them in the first place with naturally available nutrients and supplements. Knowing how to take advantage of the magical tools that Mother Nature puts at our disposal can make a tremendous difference in our well-being and lifestyle.
Sarita Vanegas is a writer based in Medellín, Columbia, where she covers environmentally-friendly products, natural health, and plant-based remedies. A former Baselang teacher, she is also passionate about learning languages and exploring other cultures.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Vitamins are nutrients that our body cannot manufacture by itself, yet are essential for its proper functioning. Under ideal circumstances, you should obtain these vitamins through a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. However, multivitamin supplements can work to compliment your diet and provide you with complete nutrition.
You can incorporate essential vitamins into your daily routine with personalized vitamin pack subscription services. Take a look through the following guide to discover the best vitamin subscription packs that are designed specifically for your lifestyle needs.
Our Picks for the Top Vitamin Packs
- Best Natural Supplements - Vital Plan
- Best for Heart and Brain Health - CocoaVia
- Best Vitamin Tinctures - Global Healing
- Best Supplement Bundles - Sunwarrior
- Best Sustainable Sourcing - LYFE Fuel
- Most Customizable - Rootine
- Best Gummies - VitaFive
- Easiest At-Home Test - Baze
- Widest Variety - Nurish by Nature Made
- Most Personalized - Vitl
- Best Selection - Care/of
- Most Eco-Friendly - Persona
How We Chose the Best Vitamin Pack Subscriptions
There are a number of factors to consider when committing to a vitamin pack subscription. Here are a few that we prioritize in making our list.
- Personalization: Some of the subscription services include a laboratory test that analyzes the levels of enzymes in the blood, thus allowing a more accurate and successful mix of vitamins to help you achieve your goals. Others let you shop by specific health needs with pre-built packages.
- Options: Vitamins and supplements can aid in filling gaps of what you need but aren't getting from your diet. Everyone's needs are different, whether you're a pregnant woman, an older adult, or have medical afflictions such as immune or vitamin-deficiency issues. So having a wide variety of products to choose from can make the difference between a vitamin pack supplier being a go-to, or a hard pass.
- Ingredients: Vitamins and supplements come from raw materials, and it's important to know how they source those ingredients. With that information in mind, you need to look for a company that does not include fillers, additives, or preservatives in products.
- Testing: Daily vitamin packs have to be tested for strength and composition to ensure purity, efficacy, and bioavailability of ingredients. Expertise can not be improvised, and some brands even run several tests on their products before making them available.
- Sustainability: If it's helping you, it should help the planet in the process. Suppliers that work with vegan, natural, organic, and even reusable packaging are a win-win on this matter. Since you will be getting their product delivered regularly, it is an important consideration. We also looked for companies committed to higher standards in their sourcing and manufacturing practices.
- Cost: Depending on the number of recommended supplements, costs might vary from as low as $1 or less per day (in products with small batches) to up to $6 or $7 per day. Keep in mind that access to personalized knowledge centers can be included in some of the plans, and you will receive nutrition and wellness insights and dietary assessments.
The Best Vitamin Pack Subscription Services
Gabriel Vergani / EyeEm / Getty Images
Vital Plan was founded in North Carolina by Dr. Bill Rawls after he sought a more natural and holistic treatment for his chronic pain. An expert in modern herbology, Dr. Rawls formulated botanical herbal therapies that use high-quality, hand picked ingredients that are backed by clinical research and tested by third-party labs. Vital Plan is also a certified B corp, an Environmental Working Group supporter, and a Pledge 1% member.
Why buy: Vital Plan lets you shop by specific health concerns or categories, like immune or joint health, for a physician-formulated herbal supplement kit that can naturally support your body.
CocoaVia focuses on delivering the naturally-occurring health benefits found in the cocoa bean. They use a process that unlocks the cocoa flavanols found in the plant, which is the ingredient that makes dark chocolate good for you. CocoaVia offers subscriptions for their Heart & Brain Capsules, designed to boost both cardiovascular and cognitive functions, and their Memory+ Capsules that are clinically proven to boost memory and brain function.
Why buy: CocoaVia offers powerful cocoa extract supplements that can help improve your heart and brain health. Receive a discount on your order when you subscribe for one, three, or six month supplies.
Global Healing offers organic and plant-derived supplements for a range of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and enzymes. You can shop by individual vitamins, like B12 or Zinc, or you can purchase bundles based on your desired health benefit, like immune system support or digestion. Most all of their products are USDA organic, and their supplements come in both vitamin tinctures and capsules.
Why buy: Global Healing has 20 years of experience in creating natural health supplements. They offer a wide variety of options so you can achieve your desired health benefit. Plus, save on each order when you subscribe.
Not only does LYFE Fuel provide small-batch organic and non-GMO plant-based nutritional supplements, they do it with a focus on sustainable sourcing and packaging, carbon offsetting, and social impact. You can purchase their 21-day Transformation Program, or you can buy the supplements individually. The products are derived from whole foods instead of synthetic to give you clean, plant-based nutrition.
Why buy: We love that LYFE Fuel focuses on both natural and plant-based nutrition as well as sustainability. Their Omega-3 supplement is derived from algae instead of fish oil as a more sustainable alternative.
Sunwarrior provides plant-based proteins and nutrient-dense superfood supplements. Their products include protein powders, vitamin tinctures, capsules, and probiotics. You can purchase individual supplements or shop by specific health benefit bundles and save up to 30%. Sunwarrior has bundles available for goals like cellular health and immune shield to joint health and digestion.
Why buy: Sunwarrior offers big savings when you subscribe for specific supplements or when you purchase a health bundle. They make it easy to add plant-based nutrition to your routine.
Rootine takes vitamin customization to the next level. Like most websites in the vitamin subscription game, you apply by completing a lifestyle quiz. It then takes DNA information and a blood analysis into account to provide the best vitamin mix for you. A Rootine subscription is $70 a month, regardless of what's in your pack.
Why buy: All vitamin and mineral supplements in the program are made from 100% vegetarian-friendly ingredients, and are as personalized as they can get.
VitaFive pre-made gummy pouches give you the option to choose from a vitamins to support a broad spectrum of health benefits or to boost a specific aspect of your health. There are nine to choose from, including vitamin D3, vitamin C, a multivitamin, biotin, apple cider vinegar, melatonin, omega 3, probiotics, and elderberry for immunity.
Why buy: VitaFive makes it easy to take your vitamins with tasty vitamin gummies and vegetarian-friendly ingredients.
With Baze you'll receive a blood nutrient testing kit in your mailbox. This will help identify your levels of 11 essential nutrients to customize your vitamin pack. Baze has also created a nutritional guide that educates consumers on how to boost their supplements with the right foods. Baze supplements are all made in the USA and tested according to the FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Process standards.
Why buy: Baze customizes your vitamin pack subscription through a blood nutrient test to provide you with an optimal mix of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
The Nurish quiz evaluates your health needs based on your age, sex, weight, height, activity level, dietary habits, sleep quality, and sleep patterns. Once you get your recommendations, you can customize your 30-day supply of vitamin supplements and adjust as needed. It also offers products specifically for men's health, prenatal and postnatal vitamins, brain health, and diabetes.
Why buy: This is a vitamin pack subscription from a trusted brand with over 50 years of experience in nutrition. Shipping is free on orders over $20.
Vitl offers a number of options to help personalize your vitamin pack: you can take advantage of an online consultation; you can go further by taking a blood test for vitamin levels; or you can go so far as to take a DNA test. Vitl also allows you to shop for supplements by health goals and general multivitamins.
Why buy: Vitl allows you to check and monitor your vitamin and cholesterol levels through at-home blood tests to help you stay on top of your nutrition and health.
Care/of offers a wide variety of vitamins, powders, and quick sticks for on-the-go nutrition. The brand recently switched to fully compostable, plant-based packaging. They are also known for being transparent about their sourcing from around the world and maintaining close relationships with their ingredient suppliers. You can get personalized recommendations or shop by a number of different health categories.
Why buy: All products are tested a minimum of three times for quality, and we love Care/of's mobile app and compostable vitamin pack film.
This company offers a questionnaire about your dietary requirements and medical conditions to work out the supplements you should be taking. Persona partners with Vitamin Angels to provide two malnourished children with a year's vitamin A supply for each order made. Persona is also committed to sustainability with recyclable and biodegradable packaging sourced from local, sustainable suppliers.
Why buy: Persona offers nearly 100 products, and their supplements are non-GMO and adhere to current FDA regulations. Plus, they take sustainability seriously.
What are Vitamin Packs?
Aphiwat Chuangchoem / EyeEm / Getty Images
The actual effectiveness of traditional multivitamins has been questioned in recent years. This is due to findings about low absorption rates of certain supplements, mislabeled amounts or ingredients that can be found in each pill, and doubts about whether many of these vitamins are necessary in the first place depending on your diet.
Looking to solve this problem and help restore faith in the vitamin industry, many companies have proposed the alternative of more customized vitamin packs and vitamin bundles. These are designed to create a culture of personalized care and well-being for its consumers. The idea is basically that you receive a "prescription" of dietary supplements and vitamins delivered directly to your door, usually on a monthly basis, to address your individual needs.
Among the benefits and novelties of this service, there are plenty of options for different types of health goals, nutrition needs, and budgets. The vitamin package subscription is normally curated based on a questionnaire that the company asks you to fill out, with items about your lifestyle, medical conditions, preexisting condition, or simply the area of your health that you would like to improve. Others go further and customize your vitamin supplement routine using a blood test or DNA test. With this information, they create an individual profile and vitamin pack for you.
What are the Benefits of a Vitamin Pack Subscription?
These services provide customized nutrients in convenient packs for daily health and wellness improvement. Not only can they give you more targeted dietary recommendations, they can help you identify any deficiencies that you can correct with a supplement to optimize your health. Not to mention that they offer the convenience of delivering your personalized supplement packs directly to you. And with a subscription, you'll never run out of your daily vitamins.
Should You Take Vitamin Supplements?
Whether you're looking for a complete vitamin recommendation, like prenatal vitamins, to control allergies by caring for your immune health, to lose weight, or trying to correct for a vitamin deficiency, there's a vitamin subscription for you. There are daily vitamin packs that can boost every type of person and every type of health goal. And with a personalized vitamin pack, you can get a curated supply of supplements that will best work with your body's needs.
What are Some of the Most Common Vitamin Supplements?
If you don't know where to start, here are some of the most crucial vitamins the body needs to function:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in a number of bodily functions, and can help improve a range of ailments and conditions, including poor bone health, type 1 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension.
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve functioning, and it has been recently touted for its ability to reduce the frequency and symptoms of migraine, headaches, as well as improving sleep.
Fish Oil: This supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help In everything from cardiovascular health and brain functioning to arthritis and inflammation.
Vitamin C: Researchers have found that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which can lower the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration. It also plays an important role in the immune system.
Vitamin packs are doubtless the next generation of vitamin supplements. This service helps health-conscious consumers take the randomness out of their daily dietary supplements by aligning science, data, and technology to deliver personalized nutrition safely and conveniently.
Sarita Vanegas is a writer based in Medellín, Columbia, where she covers environmentally-friendly products, natural health, and plant-based remedies. A former Baselang teacher, she is also passionate about learning languages and exploring other cultures.
CBD oil is an increasingly popular hemp extract that many people use for its potential wellness benefits. But some people prefer CBD flower for its desirable effects like relaxation and pain relief. Here you can learn all about hemp flower and where to buy the best CBD strains.
What is CBD Flower?
CBD flower is taken directly from industrial hemp plants without the need for extensive extraction processes. These flower buds contain the same beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found within CBD oil, but tend to elicit a stronger entourage effect.
Hemp flower is different than many other CBD products since it is trimmed from the stalks of hemp without any additional manufacturing or purification needed, which keeps all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in tact.
What is the Best CBD Flower to Buy Online?
Compared to CBD oil, there are many more challenges facing the selling and distribution of hemp flower across the United States. For this reason, there's a more narrow market for people that prefer to smoke hemp flower. This also means there are less suppliers to meet demand.
With that being said, we've found the best company that sells hemp flower.
Botany Farms CBD Flower
Botany Farms is our choice for the best hemp flower company because they pride themselves on offering organic, hand-crafted CBD and CBG flower products. They work with select farmers in the U.S. who raise certified-organic hemp that is free from heavy metals, pesticides, and fungicides. Each of their cannabis flower strains is made in small batches that are hang dried and hand trimmed. Botany Farms also uses independent third-party lab testing to ensure each batch's quality and contents.
The Best Botany Farms CBD Flower Products
The products featured here have been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the link included, we may earn commission.
- Best for Sleep - Bubba Kush
- Best for Focus - Hawaiian Haze
- Best for Calm - Sour Space Candy
- Best for Energy - Sour Lifter
- Best for Relaxation - Cherry Blossom
This indica strain contains dark chocolate and coffee notes with an earthy taste. It provides calm for both the body and mind and is best for relaxing at the end of the day or in the evening.
Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 15.1%
Hawaiian Haze is a sativa that provides stress relief while leaving you clear and focused. It offers a strong floral scent with notes of pineapple and berries, and is great for daytime use.
Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 13.3%
A CBD-heavy hybrid strain, Sour Space Candy contains a fruity and sour flavor profile, with dense orange, purple, and green hues. It can produce a relaxing calm, great for stress-relief or unwinding after work.
Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 16.4%
With notes of grapes and lemons, this sativa offers a large dose of CBD and provides energy and focus. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day.
Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 17.3%
An indica with notes of dark cherries, florals, citrus, and pine, Cherry Blossom has a rich taste that can help you calm your mind and relax before bed in the evenings.
Percentage Levels: CBD ~ 11%
Hemp Flower for Sale Online: What to Look For
The CBD market can be a confusing and vastly unregulated place. When shopping online, look for lab tested CBD flower. Accredited lab tests help ensure a high quality cannabis flower by verifying the CBD vs THC content, terpene profile, and testing for the presence of any pesticides, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants.
Can CBD flower get you high?
Industrial hemp strains have naturally low THC levels. This means that their flowers also contain minimal amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants). These plants produce CBD rich buds that will not create any mind altering effects like those commonly associated with a THC high.
Is CBD flower legal?
Hemp derived CBD flower is legal in the U.S. as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC by dry weight. The 2018 Farm Bill recently legalized hemp federally as an agricultural crop, therefor making hemp flowers legal as well. Other cannabis plants may produce buds with high CBD and low THC concentrations, but these are not considered federally legal since they originate from marijuana cannabis strains.
How do you use CBD flower?
Smoking hemp is the preferred method of use for CBD flowers, especially for the converted user looking to gain relaxation without the high. Many people opt for pre-rolled joints or CBD cigarettes made from hemp flower, but others prefer to buy the buds and smoke them on their own terms.
While this isn't necessarily the healthiest habit, it may be a better option for individuals who are looking for an alternative to nicotine cigarettes or psychoactive marijuana. Additionally, CBD flower has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. It's not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
CBD Hemp Flower Benefits
Much like CBD oil, hemp flower is believed to have many beneficial effects that can be used to alleviate issues like chronic pain, anxiety, sleep troubles, and more. While most of this is based off of anecdotal evidence, some scientific studies have shown the benefits of CBD, including:
- Anti-inflammatory properties that work to mitigate pain
- Anxiolytic effects help reduce anxiety and stress
- Potential neuroprotective properties
These wellness advantages appeal to many people, but it's important to note that smoking CBD flower is not the healthiest way to benefit from CBD. Inhaling anything other than oxygen into your lungs can be harmful. So for people that choose to smoke hemp, there is typically a trade off between the relieving effects they may experience versus the internal effects they do not see.
Understanding CBD Flower Measurements
Although hemp and marijuana vary in their cannabinoid composition, their flowers are weighed in the same manner. Using the metric system, CBD hemp flowers are weighed from grams to ounces, and are often broken up even further into eighths, quarters, and half ounces.
There are 28 grams in one ounce, and 1 gram will likely be able to make two or three joints filled with hemp bud.
CBD flowers taken from industrial hemp plants are legal to sell in most states, and these products must comply with the laws set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on marketing and advertising. A supplier must deliver their products as described, including the weight of an item, when you are buying from them. If this isn't done, the FTC will likely take action against the company supplying the product. So you should receive the amount of hemp flower you purchase, but it never hurts to check.
Smoking Hemp Flower vs. Taking CBD Oil
When you inhale smoke from hemp flowers, the CBD will take effect almost immediately as your lungs absorb the cannabinoids and transfer them into the bloodstream. This effect likely won't last as long as ingesting CBD oil, which prolongs the on-set and steady absorption of CBD.
Smoking hemp flower looks and may even smell similar to marijuana, so be wary of this fact if you live in a state where recreational marijuana use is illegal. Hemp flower is legal, but it may cause confusion and unwanted attention, which should be taken into consideration.
Additionally, smoking is not good for your health — even if CBD flower may alleviate other issues like anxiety or pain. For this reason, we recommend exercising caution if you do decide to smoke hemp flower. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider other application methods when it comes to CBD.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Melena Gurganus is passionate about health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.
- CBD for Dogs: Best CBD Dog Treats of 2020 - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression 2020 – 10 CBD For ... ›
- Best CBD Oil for Pain Management - Top 10 CBD Oil Review 2020 ... ›
- Best Dry Herb Vaporizer - Top 14 Products of 2021 - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Things You Didn't Know About Sustainable Hemp Farming ›
- What is Delta-8 THC and is it Legal? ›
There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.
More and more people are looking to boost their health with CBD oil. The rise in CBD's popularity shows that many people are experiencing positive outcomes through the regular use of CBD to help control and improve difficult health issues.
Since there are a great deal of brands out on the market today, it can get confusing trying to figure out which brand is best and which oil strength will work best for you and your needs. Keep in mind that even though it might feel exciting to have a host of brands to choose from, not all brands are created equal.
Our guide to the strongest CBD oils will help to point you in the right direction so that you can choose the best, most potent oil for your needs. We will also educate you about the best CBD oils along the way, while also discussing how we chose our top three brands and why we named FAB CBD Oil our top pick.
The Strongest CBD Oils
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
- Most Effective - FAB CBD Oil
- Best for Pain Relief - Spruce CBD Oil
- Best Value - CBDistillery Full Spectrum Tincture
- Best Organic - Cornbread Hemp Distilled CBD Oil
How We Selected Our Top Brands
The influx of CBD brands out on the market can be both a good and a bad thing. While it's great to have many options to choose from, it's frustrating to not know exactly which brand is the best in terms of quality, strength, and overall reputation. It's tempting to buy products from the first brand you come upon online. However, in doing so, you might be purchasing products that are unclean, ineffective, and just simply not the best for you.
When it comes to choosing a CBD oil brand, you need to take the time and put in the research to ensure that you are getting the strongest, and best quality product you can purchase.
We've put the time and effort into selecting the top brands that we feel have the strongest CBD oil, the best reputation, and the cleanest, most effective products. But before we were able to choose our top brands, we set up strict guidelines to follow. Next, we used our guidelines to break our list down until we were left with the top brands.
When it came to selecting our top strongest CBD oils, we looked at six key categories:
- Value - product pricing
- Strength - oil strength and purity
- Source - where the brand sources its hemp from
- Flavor - oil flavors and the ingredients used in the oil
- Transparency - if a third-party lab was used to test the products and if those results are easy for customers to find
- Customer experience - verified customer reviews
Based on these factors, see which brands made our list of strongest CBD oils.
Why buy — FAB is our number one pick simply because the brand offers some of the strongest, cleanest, and best CBD products out on the market today. Moreover, its customer services and transparency are second-to-none. The prices are affordable and the products are excellent overall.
FAB believes in being transparent, crafting the highest quality products, and having a strong customer service department to make sure all of its customers' needs and questions are met and answered. The brand does not use any pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals when it comes to cultivating hemp and creating products. All of FAB's organic hemp is grown and harvested in Colorado. The brand is involved in every step of its creation process from seed to sale.
All of FAB's products are crafted from the purest, cleanest extracts possible. FAB's full-spectrum CBD oil comes in a variety of flavors and strengths. The brand offers mint, citrus, vanilla, natural, and berry oils in strengths of 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg. Every one of FAB's products is tested by ProVerde Labs, an independent third-party laboratory.
- Value — Every one of FAB's products fall into the range of what you would expect to pay for a top quality CBD product. Remember, if a product is extremely cheap, then you need to look deeper into how it was made. FAB's products are absolutely priced accordingly and are of the best quality.
- Strength — FAB has some of the best, strongest, and most effective full-spectrum oils on the market today. Their oil is available in 300mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg potencies.
- Source of hemp — FAB sources all of its organic hemp from Colorado. The hemp is free from herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and other dangerous substances. All of the hemp is grown using state-of-the-art growing and cloning technology and machinery.
- Flavors — Mint, Citrus, Vanilla, Natural, and Berry
- Transparency — Every one of FAB's products is tested by ProVerde Labs, an independent third-party laboratory.
- Customer experience — The brand has a strong reputation among both customers and industry experts for having top-quality products that are highly effective and potent.
Why buy — While Spruce oils are expensive, we do feel that the brand does everything possible to ensure that its oils are high-quality, extremely potent, and 100 percent all-natural. The founder of Spruce got his start in the supplement space and is deeply involved in customer service and feedback, making it a wellness brand we trust.
The high potency CBD oil from Spruce CBD is a popular product among customers, and for good reason. This organic and all-natural CBD oil has no added flavor to allow for their strongest CBD concentration in a 30mL bottle. You can choose between an organic hemp seed carrier oil, best for pain, or an MCT oil option. The products are organic and non-GMO, and do not contain any additives or preservatives. The brand has a strong following online, especially in the arthritis community due to the strength and quality of their CBD oils for pain relief.
- Value — As far as pricing goes, Spruce is more expensive than other oils. The prices vary depending on the strength of the oil that you choose. The brand does, however, offer a subscribe and save option.
- Strength — Spruce's Extra Strength Full Spectrum CBD Oil contains 2,400mg of lab grade CBD oil.
- Source of hemp — Kentucky and North Carolina
- Flavors — None
- Transparency — Third-party lab tested with easily accessible test results found on their site for each batch.
- Customer experience — Just read the comments on the brand website or watch the plethora of testimonial videos, these strong CBD oils have built a following for a reason.
Why buy — CBDistillery is a reputable brand that works hard to create quality, potent, and affordable products. The brand has a broad product line that includes oils, gummies, and topicals. All products are made in America. CBDistillery does offer coupon codes.
CBDistillery sells a line of carefully crafted CBD hemp oils. With quality CBD oils starting at $20, CBDistillery offers good products at a great price. This affordability and their extremely potent CBD oils (like the 2500mg option) have made CBDistillery one of the fastest growing companies in the hemp space. Their Colorado-grown product line is comprehensive, including various oil concentrations, salves, edibles, and suppositories.
- Value — The brand offers customers premium products at affordable prices.
- Strength — The oils come in a variety of strengths, including 500mg, 1000mg, and 2500mg, which is the strongest concentration found on our list.
- Source of hemp — CBDistillery sources all of its organic hemp from Colorado. The hemp is regularly tested for the presence of microbes, solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers.
- Flavors — None
- Transparency — All CBDistillery products are tested by independent third-party labs with results available online.
- Customer experience — CBDistillery has a strong reputation among customers for crafting high-quality products that are both strong and effective. According to verified customer reviews, the brand's products are effective and clean.
Why buy — Cornbread Hemp CBD oils are all USDA-certified organic. They use a distillation process designed to preserve as many of the beneficial phytonutrients and minor cannabinoids as possible. This CBD oil is vegan, non-GMO, and ideal for daytime use.
Cornbread Hemp's Distilled CBD oil comes in several different strengths, the most potent offers 50 mg of full spectrum CBD per serving. Their specific processing methods are meant to retain as many plant compounds as possible from their Kentucky-grown industrial hemp to provide enhanced relief through CBD's entourage effect. While it's not the strongest CBD oil available, we do like that it's USDA organic and uses USDA organic MCT coconut oil. Cornbread Hemp also offers a Whole Flower CBD oil that is great for nighttime use.
- Value — Very reasonably priced with the option to save with a monthly subscription.
- Strength — The oils come in a variety of strengths, including 375mg, 750mg, and1500 mg
- Source of hemp — Kentucky
- Flavors — A mild flavor with notes of pepper.
- Transparency — All Cornbread Hemp products are third-party lab tested with results available online.
- Customer experience — Cornbread Hemp offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on their products, and they ship CBD oil orders in 24 hours. Customers note that their CBD oils are noticeably smooth and effective.
How To Know If You're Selecting The Most Potent Oil
There are several key factors to take into consideration when choosing the strongest CBD oil. One of the first things to look at is the concentration of CBD within the product. Next, take a look at the milligrams of CBD that are in a single serving. The best quality products clearly have all the facts and information laid out on their labels. In reading the labels, you should be able to tell exactly how much CBD you are getting per serving. How much CBD you need to be taking depends on how your body reacts to the product over time.
CBD strength per serving will appear smaller when compared to the listing of CBD for the whole bottle. In looking for the strongest CBD oil, look to the serving size listed on the bottle. The total amount of CBD in a bottle will do very little to tell you how strong the product is overall. For example, 2400mg of CBD oil in a 30ml bottle is a lot stronger than 5000mg of CBD oil in a 60ml bottle.
How Much CBD Oil Is Enough?
Everyone's body is different, so what works well for one person might not work for another. Smaller individuals might need less CBD than larger individuals based on body size and overall mass. Along with body size, the reason you are taking CBD is another consideration in purchasing strong CBD oil.
Likewise, if you are new to CBD or are not taking for pain, consider purchasing CBD oil in strengths of 300mg, 500mg, or 750mg. Conversely, if you have been taking CBD for quite some time or are trying to alleviate chronic or severe pain, then you might consider purchasing oils of higher potencies such as 600mg, 1200mg, or 2400mg strengths.
Whatever oil strength you choose, you should first start low and go slow when it comes to dosing. For example, begin by taking 5mg of CBD once a day for one week. If you are not feeling any relief from your pain, then go ahead and take 5mg twice a day. Continue increasing the dosage slowly until you are achieving the desired effects. Always check in with yourself to see how you are feeling along the way. This will help you to determine if you should increase the dosage at all. As with any other medication or holistic supplement, your body will need adequate time to get used to a new CBD dosage.
To use a real life example: when you receive your bottle of CBD, begin by taking ½ a dropper of FAB CBD's full spectrum oil once a day for one week. This will equal about 5mg of CBD. After one week has passed, increase the dose to ½ a dropper two times a day for a week. This will now equal about 10mg of CBD a day. While you are going through this, do a body check-in to see how you are feeling and what your pain levels are, if you have any. This will be the best way to determine whether or not you should increase your dose of CBD.
Should You Take The Strongest Potency CBD Oil?
As with any natural supplement, there are a list of pros and cons that come along with CBD. Each one of these should be taken with the utmost consideration before purchasing an oil of a higher strength. In taking the strongest CBD oils, here are the benefits vs the drawbacks:
- You need less of the oil to have an impact
- Stronger potencies have a better impact on severe symptoms as well as larger people
- Since you will need to take less of the oil, stronger doses are more affordable in the long-run
- Stronger oils work better in tackling sleep issues and decreasing pain
- Stronger oils may not be for everyone, as they can cause some mild side effects including dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, and lightheadedness/dizziness
- It may be difficult to find the right dosage for you with stronger oils
- Stronger oils can have a sedating effect
The Science on CBD Oil
CBD oil is created when cannabidiol, or CBD, is infused into a fat-based carrier oil such as hempseed oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil. Carrier oils are usually medium-chain triglycerides that are easily digested by the body. The very basic oils will only have CBD and the carrier oil, however, some can also contain other compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, flavonoids, phytonutrients, and terpenes. Some brands will also infuse various natural flavors or essential oils into the final products.
CBD oil can vary in color, flavor, and consistency depending on its makeup. Likewise, the strength also depends on the oil's formulation. CBD oils can be isolates, broad spectrum, or full spectrum. In CBD isolates, only pure CBD is used. These oils are usually 99 percent pure. CBD isolates are typically made solely from the hemp plant.
Broad spectrum and full spectrum oils, on the other hand, are typically sourced from the cannabis plant and have had minimal processing and purification. These oils have a large amount of cannabinoids, terpenes, nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients. The difference between the two is that broad spectrum CBD products contain zero THC.
Along with CBD, one of the main compounds in full spectrum oils is THC. In large amounts, THC causes feelings of euphoria. However, legally, all CBD crafted and sold within the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC. When CBD and THC are combined, an entourage effect occurs. In the entourage effect, the compounds work together to dampen each other's negative side effects while amplifying each other's best qualities. For example, too much THC can cause feelings of nausea or dizziness. However, when THC is combined with CBD, the THC enables those with sleep issues to finally get some rest, and helps those with extreme nausea, due to cancer treatment, finally get some much-needed nourishment by increasing appetite. Put simply, the cannabinoids bind with cell receptors in the human endocannabinoid system to create therapeutic effects.
How To Choose The Best Strength
While it may be easy to read the label on the CBD bottle and take the strength listed at face value, this is not the case when determining the strength of each dose. Strength equates to potency. In a 30ml bottle of CBD oil, you could have 3,000mg of CBD or 6,000mg of CBD depending on which you purchase. The stronger bottle will have 6,000mg of CBD per bottle, as you would have to take twice as much of the 3,000mg CBD to equal just one dose of the 6,000mg bottle.
Quality CBD brands test the potency during every stage of oil production. They test hemp plants, then they test the initial crude oil, and they also continually test the oil during every stage of the distillation process. The reason that there is so much testing done to the product is because reputable brands need to ensure that the oils they are creating are of the best quality, consistency, and that their products are falling within the legal guidelines.
Reputable brands, like the ones we've profiled above, bring in independent laboratories to test the overall oil strength by analyzing for 14 minor and major cannabinoids including CBD, THC, CBN, and CBG. Their results show the overall percentages of these compounds that are in the oil. All reputable brands will then make those results easily available on their website or within the product packaging.
Why Strength Matters
The strength of an oil does matter. The more potent a CBD oil is, the stronger effects it will create. To that end, full spectrum oils are the best oils to go with because CBD isolates do not have all of the other vitamins, terpenes, compounds, and phytonutrients that full spectrum oils have. So, not only will you be getting all the positive effects that a strong oil has to offer, you'll also be able to receive the vast therapeutic benefits that the many compounds, terpenes, and phytonutrients bring to the table.
When it comes to receiving the therapeutic benefits of a strong, full spectrum oil, experts advise to hold the oil under your tongue for a few minutes (up to four minutes) in order for the oil to enter into your bloodstream. Otherwise, if you swallow the oil right away, the oil will be quickly broken down by the body's digestive system.
Is It Safe To Take Strong CBD Oil?
This is a common question asked by many who are new to the world of CBD. Regardless of the strength, CBD oil is very safe. In fact, there are very few minor side effects associated with it. To date, a great number of studies have been done on CBD proving it's safety and efficacy.
Some of the most common side effects associated with CBD are:
- Changes in weight
- Changes in appetite
When you take into consideration the many dangerous side effects associated with prescription medications, CBD is a very safe alternative. Therefore, it's no surprise that more people are turning to more potent options of CBD to help with tough health issues.
Final Thoughts On The Strongest CBD Oils
There are many different strengths of CBD oil available. And while there are benefits to using CBD oil regardless of the potency, stronger oils are recommended for larger individuals or for people who are trying to get a handle on difficult health conditions such as sleep issues, severe arthritis pain, Crohn's Disease, osteoarthritis, cancer-related nausea, and others.
In selecting a strong oil, you first need to do the research so that you can make sure you are buying a high quality product from a reputable brand. When you find a brand you like, go ahead and look into the brand's hemp sources, oil strengths and purities, verified customer reviews, transparency, and whether or not the brand used a third-party lab to test its products and if those results were made readily available for customers to find.
Less oil needs to be consumed when stronger oils are used. In order to receive the most benefits from the dose, it's advised to hold the oil under your tongue for about four minutes so that it can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream. Simply swallowing the oil means that the digestive system will break it down faster than you can obtain any benefits.
When it comes to selecting a brand to go with, keep in mind that not every brand is created equal. While it's great to have so many options to choose from, you really need to put the work in to make sure you are purchasing the best possible product from the best possible brand.
If you're becoming frustrated or overwhelmed in your research, feel free to use our article as a guide.
Our Choice for Strongest CBD Oils
We've chosen FAB as our number one choice in our strongest CBD oils guide because FAB has a stellar reputation for putting out the best, most potent, cleanest CBD oils on the market today. The brand is also extremely transparent in the way that it operates and in the overall production process of its products. FAB also uses an independent third-party lab, ProVerde Laboratories, to regularly test all of its products. Those results are then made easy for customers to find on FAB's website.
By law, all of the best CBD oils that are sold and purchased within the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC in them. Oils that have over that amount clearly are not following the mandatory legal guidelines. Another fact to keep in mind is that while strong oils are great, the type of oil matters too. CBD isolates, while fantastic in their own way, do not contain any of the vitamins, cannabinoid compounds, terpenes, and phytonutrients that broad spectrum or full-spectrum oils do. The combination of strength and what the oil consists of is what determines its effectiveness and therapeutic value.
In selecting a strength, remember that a 3,000mg oil will be less strong than a 6,000mg oil if they are both sold in a 30ml bottle. However, if you have 2,400mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle and 5,000mg in an 80ml bottle, then the smaller, 30ml bottle with 2,400mg of CBD will be more potent. When selecting a product, you will absolutely need to take your time and choose wisely.
Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns surrounding CBD, potential side effects, strengths, etc., then please do not hesitate to reach out to your primary care physician or specialist to set up an appointment to discuss things more at length.
CBD oil can be a great addition to any natural healthcare routine. Just make sure you are putting in the time and effort to find the product and the brand that is best suited to your own unique needs, condition, and lifestyle.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
By Sarah Reinhardt
When it comes to healthy eating, there's a lot we already know.
Just take a look at the scientific report issued by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group of scientific experts behind the newly released 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. At 835 pages, the report spans a rigorous review of current research on dozens of topics, from whether eating peanuts early in life reduces the likelihood of peanut allergies (it probably does), to how much added sugar we can eat and still maintain a healthy diet (way less than what we're eating now). It also outlines the broad contours of a healthy diet, which has changed little from past editions of the Dietary Guidelines: it's typically higher in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, lean meat and poultry, seafood, nuts, and unsalted vegetable oils, and lower in red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
But food is more than just nutrition. We also know that food can affect the health of many people before it even reaches our plates. For example, pollution caused by fertilizer runoff from farms have left communities without access to safe drinking water, while many of the people who produce our food don't earn enough to afford healthy diets themselves. So, is it possible to eat in ways that promote health and produce better outcomes for our collective wellbeing, livelihoods, and natural resources? And what would it take to get us there?
These are complex questions, but critical ones—and if the federal government made it a national priority to answer them, we might have a chance at avoiding otherwise devastating consequences.
That's why leading experts and scientific bodies, including the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, are increasingly calling attention to the importance of research on sustainable diets. Though there is no official record of how much federal funding is currently supporting this field, funding for nutrition research across the board has remained stagnant for decades. Research funding at the intersection of food and agriculture issues, in particular, is decidedly inadequate to address the magnitude of the public health challenges before us, including climate change, threats to food security, and persistent poverty and health disparities.
Many, including UCS, are working to change that by advocating for greater government investment in sustainable diets research. Here are three of the most pressing questions that research can answer to enable more sustainable eating for all.
1. When it comes to healthy and environmentally sustainable diets, what exactly is on the menu?
Research on healthy and environmentally sustainable diets has seen extraordinary growth in recent years. According to UCS research, nearly 100 new scholarly articles were published on this topic between 2015 and 2019, including 22 articles focused specifically on US diets. For reference, that's more than four times the number of articles published on the same topic between 2000 and 2015—in about a quarter of the time.
Much of this research agrees that, in general, healthy diets that are higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods are more environmentally sustainable—meaning they are often associated with reduced energy and land use, as well as less air and water pollution.
This is an important finding that enables us to take the first steps toward more sustainable diets—and each step is critical, given the urgency and magnitude of dual public health and climate crises. Indeed, a number of other countries already have acted on existing knowledge to incorporate sustainability into national dietary guidance.
But the more we know, the faster (and further) we can move forward.
For example, we need to better understand the impacts of all different kinds of dietary shifts that could improve health and sustainability, and the most effective ways to encourage such shifts at the individual, institutional, and societal levels. We also need to better understand how a wide variety of sustainable diets align with diverse cultures and culinary traditions. Both of these areas of research will be crucial to informing practical public health interventions and policy recommendations that can help all people make meaningful changes.
There are also challenges with available data and models. Many studies on sustainable diets rely on models called Life Cycle Assessments, which help estimate the cumulative environmental impacts of the foods we eat. For example, how much energy is required to process, package, and transport a pound of beef from the farm to the grocery store? How much land, water, and energy was required to raise the cattle? While a Life Cycle Assessment is useful in providing general estimates, it's often based on averages that don't account for key differences in production methods, for example, or regions. More data—and more diverse data sources—could make this an even more powerful and practical tool.
These and other outstanding research gaps prompted the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR), an interdisciplinary group of leaders across key federal agencies, to identify sustainable diets as a research priority in the creation of its 2016-2021 National Nutrition Research Roadmap. And though interest in this topic continues to grow, there is evidence that federal funding remains woefully inadequate to support independent research on sustainable diets and food systems.
2. How could more socially and economically sustainable food systems support healthy eating?
While environmental sustainability receives a lot of attention, a truly sustainable diet also takes into account the social and economic conditions that can threaten our health, wellbeing, and the future of our food supply.
Among these considerations are the persistent health and economic disparities embedded in the current US food system, which disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and other resilient communities of color who have faced decades of racist and discriminatory practices and policies. Even before the pandemic, the people working throughout the US food system—nearly 40 percent of whom are people of color—experienced greater poverty, poorer healthcare access, and higher occupational health hazards relative to the general population. Many of these same populations are also most vulnerable to the environmental consequences of unsustainable food systems, such as climate change, water pollution, and other environmental impacts. The irony should not be lost on anyone that many Indigenous populations have for generations produced food in harmony with ecological systems—a way of living that, in the US and elsewhere, was deeply and violently disrupted by colonization and genocide.
Pervasive exploitation in the food chain can function to make certain foods cheap, while also preventing workers from being able to afford healthy diets themselves. And unfortunately, this isn't a challenge unique to workers in the food chain. Many US households are already struggling to afford a healthy—let alone sustainable—diet.
So how can research help?
For one, there are an increasing number of studies that are putting dollar signs on healthier and more sustainable diets. Understanding what these diets might cost consumers, and what segments of the population might be unable to afford them, is an important first step in creating policy and programs that can bring healthier and more sustainable eating into reach for more people. Existing research on programs and initiatives such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as SNAP), cash assistance programs, or minimum wage increases will also be useful in identifying the best ways to increase consumer purchasing power, particularly among low-income households. Perhaps most importantly, effective community-based participatory research can support community efforts to resist and address the root causes of social and economic disparities, including racism and exploitative economic systems. Organizations like the HEAL Food Alliance, a multi-racial coalition building a national movement to transform food and farming systems, should be looked to as experts and leaders in shaping the goals and objectives of research that will impact the communities they represent.
3. What are the synergies and tradeoffs when you value both public health and sustainability?
Not every food choice that supports health will support sustainability, and vice versa. In fact, as our research shows, if the US population shifted from our current diet to a healthier diet, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, and water use could actually increase. This is due in part to the fact that many fruits and vegetables—which most of us don't eat nearly enough of—are produced in ways that require a lot of water and energy.
Another commonly cited example is the conflict between US dietary recommendations for fish and shellfish and the ability of fisheries to meet this demand in a sustainable way—an issue highlighted by experts in a National Academies of Science workshop and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
None of this is to say that we should abandon our efforts to eat healthfully. Rather, it's to say that we need to do some problem-solving if we want to eat in ways that are healthy and sustainable for people and the planet, and research can play a key role in helping us get there.
Solving the sustainable food Rubik's cube
It was more than thirty years ago that federal policy established the first specific directives for prioritizing nutrition research, yet its funding has remained stagnant for decades and coordination across federal agencies remains inconsistent. Meanwhile, many complex factors are fueling the public health challenges embedded in the US food system: rates of diet-related disease and health disparities continue to climb, the degradation of soil and other natural resources has grown more dire, many workers are still underpaid and unsafe, and climate change is now a reality that looms large in our daily lives.
It's time for the next generation of nutrition research. To fill these gaps in research and provide information we need to make the best possible policy decisions, we must invest in research that is systems-oriented and can help identify healthy diets that deliver the best possible social, economic, and environmental benefits for all populations. Such research must span disciplines, take leadership from communities most affected by health disparities and environmental injustices, and at its core focus on tackling root causes of the greatest threats facing the food system, including the systemic exploitation of people and finite resources.
President Biden's administration has no shortage of opportunities to prioritize this area of research, which sits at the nexus of some of its foremost policy priorities. US Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is well positioned to play a powerful role in lifting up and improving coordination of nutrition research needs, particularly as he works to rebuild capacity in the department's research arms. And Congress, for its part, can leverage legislative opportunities such as appropriations and the potential reauthorization of child nutrition programs to ensure that funding is finally available to answer these and other critical nutrition research questions.
Reposted with permission from Union of Concerned Scientists.
- Chipotle Proves Sustainable Food Sourcing Is Profitable - EcoWatch ›
- How Organic Farming Contributes to a Sustainable Food System ... ›
- 20 Most Sustainable Food and Health Solutions on the Planet ... ›
In this guide, we break down the best and most popular essential oils on the market today. Keep reading to discover the many different types of essential oils, their uses, and incredible benefits.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are potent, highly concentrated extracts from plants. Many of them have been used for centuries with the primary objective of promoting wellness and wellbeing. Aside from that, they are also an excellent way to connect with an ancient and profound part of nature.
Essential oils provide a natural alternative to chemical products made with synthetic components, which can often be unsafe or untrustworthy. For many people, this makes plant therapy a better option for body care, or home use. Common uses of essential oils include aromatherapy, taking care of your skin, easing muscle pain, or merely cleaning and perfuming your home.
The Best Essential Oils
You may not know it yet, but essential oils can be used to enhance many day-to-day activities. You can find countless synergistic practices for the best essential oils to use in your daily routine. Let's take a look at our favorite essential oils and what makes them so great.
Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the plant before it actually blooms, which is why it is much more concentrated than other essential oils. Its main ingredient is menthol and is trendy in cosmetics since it brings significant benefits to the skin, hair, and of course, your general well-being.
Eucalyptus essential oil has a fresh, camphoric aroma and a low tone of sweet wood; its infusions and the inhalation of its vapors are used against catarrhal processes. It has stimulating, clearing, and antiviral effects. It is also a great expectorant and nasal decongestant.
Chamomile contains mainly anti-inflammatory properties, but it is also an effective antipruritic, making it an excellent anti-itch medication. Roman chamomile is also known for its mental benefits, including potential relief from stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Tea tree oil comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree. It is useful in strengthening the immune response against influenza epidemics and in disinfecting the skin in case of wounds.
Geranium is an essential oil used to treat acne, sore throat, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Distilled from the leaves of the Geranium plant found in places like Egypt and Madagascar, you'll be able to identify it by its distinctive pink color and herbaceous scent.
Frankincense is called The King of the essential oils because of its many different benefits, including skincare treatments, the strength of cellular health, immunity, and inflammatory response. The particular aroma of this oil gives an atmosphere of relaxation, peace, and satisfaction, which explains why some of the most ancient civilizations used it for their rituals and ceremonies.
Jojoba oil is great for hair, skin, and nails, and helps balance oily and acne-prone skin, making it one of the most popular ingredients of moisturizers throughout the last decade. It can also be used to help hydrate your hair or as a massage oil.
Ylang ylang is the most efficient essential oil extracted from the Cananga tree (Cananga odorata), found in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. It is known as a great promoter of skin and hair care, with uses that range from sun protection to soften the skin. Due to its ability to create calm atmospheres, this oil is used in anxiety and depression treatments, and is also an excellent natural insect repellent.
Bergamot, which comes from the bergamot orange citrus plant, is used for its aroma and flavor in some perfumes. This essential oil is known for having benefits in skincare treatments, offering cleaning and purifying effects, as well as its calming benefits.
Clary sage is recognized for its properties that promote female health during the menstrual cycle, relieving abdominal pain and contributing to a healthy nervous system. Similar to lavender, Clary Sage can help with rest and relaxation as well.
Lavender essential oil is made from distilling the fresh flowers of several species of lavender. Its appearance varies between being colorless, yellow, or somewhere on a yellowish-green spectrum. It has a pleasant aroma but a bitter taste. Its relaxing, uplifting, and revitalizing effects can help improve your mood.
Patchouli, an aromatic oil obtained from a Southeast Asian shrub, is used in perfumery, insecticides, and medicine. From mouthwashes to soaps, it is highly appreciated for its scent and is known as a grounding and calming aroma.
What to Look for in the Best Essential Oils
Getting started in the world of essential oils can be overwhelming due to the amount of information, uses, interpretations, and varieties that are available. That is why having concise information on what to look for in your oils will always result in a better experience.
Three factors you should always consider when looking for essential oils are the quality, the price, and the bottle.
The best aromatherapy oils must be 100% pure and organic with a scent that properly corresponds to the part of the plant from which it was extracted. If that is not the case, you may have reason to suspect that the oil is a sham that contains additives or fillers. One important factor in quality is the extraction method. Look for products that are USDA-certified organic whenever possible to be sure that the plants and flowers used are free from pesticides.
The extraction method is the process used in order to achieve the separation of aromatic compounds from the physical plant. These processes largely determine the quality standard of the final product. Find an oil extracted by the following organic methods to guarantee that toxic solvents sometimes used for such separation are not in your essential oil.
The first is cold-pressed extraction. This is the more popular option for essential citrus oils, and works by exposing the skin of the fruit or pericarp to mechanical pressure.
Steam distillation, which works by subjecting bits of plant matter to a stream of water vapor, is the other preferred extraction method. The essence is condensed in this process and then collected by separating it from the water. While there are other methods to distill essential oils, these are the best to guarantee quality.
Next up is the question of pricing. While we can be wary of the "higher price, higher quality" theory in some products, you shouldn't look to skimp on essential oils. Prices can also vary widely between different types of oils. It is rare to walk into a shop and find all of the essential oil extractions are priced the same. If the oils are truly 100% natural, they shouldn't share the same price since not all plants are equally as accessible.
Costs can vary depending on the raw material used, transportation costs, and special storage requirements, making the final value vary a lot. For example, the number of roses required to extract an ounce of oil is quite high, unlike lavender which is much more accessible. This is why the price of these two oils will be very different if it is a 100% original extraction. You can find many popular essential oil brands like doTerra, Plant Therapy, Aura Cacia, and Vitruvi on Amazon that offer pure essential oils. Always be sure to check for the signs of quality when purchasing.
Finally, the essential oil bottle should always be made of glass and carry a dark tint. Look for a blue, amber, or dark brown tonality. This is crucial because most essential oils are very volatile and evaporate quickly in contact with the light. Remember, plastic is the bigger enemy here. If quality matters to you, essential oils should be bottled and stored with the same care as you would expect with an expensive bottle of wine.
How Does Aromatherapy Work?
A Persian doctor, Avicenna, wrote extensively on health and wellness and is known as the father of aromatherapy. Still, it was actually René-Maurice Gattefosse (chemist and perfumer) who coined the term. This ancient practice is widely used around the world because its effects are rapid and widely recognized. For many people, tapping into the power of the mind, and calming the soul, is seen as a more desirable solution to their ailments than daunting prescriptions.
One interesting explanation for why aromatherapy may work for many people is that the part of the brain that associates odors is the same part of the brain that deals with memory. Stimulating this part of the brain generates a response in the body naturally. The smell is undoubtedly one of the most primitive senses since it allows messages to be sent through the nervous system to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
What are the Benefits of Essential Oils?
Inhaling or applying essential oils activates the hypothalamus, which is the brain area in charge of sending messages to other parts of the body. Benefits mentioned by consumers include promoting sensations of clear breathing, providing digestive well-being, boosting the immune system, creating a relaxing environment for rest, as well as contributing to a multitude of skin, hair, and teeth benefits.
Even though they are very rare, the few adverse side effects reported are mucous, skin, and eye irritations. Most of the cases recorded are due to inadequate storage conditions.
What is the Best Way to Use Essential Oils?
There are two main ways to best access the benefits of essential oils: aromatic application and topical application.
The first option involves the smelling or inhalation of your essential oil's aroma through direct inhalation, diffusion, or evaporation. The last two are typically done through diffusers, humidifiers, or using essential oil burners. Essential oil diffusers are an easy and generally inexpensive way to enjoy your essential oil through a device that disperses essential oils into the air through evaporation, or steam. Ease of use, stream intensity, water capacity, and appearance are items to look for when buying one.
Using a diffuser is as simple as choosing the place where you will enjoy your aromatherapy session. It is important to be aware of any allergies or medical conditions of other people who may be around, and if there are children, pets, or pregnant women. Then fill the water tank of the diffuser with clean water at room temperature and add a few drops of the oil. The regular capacity of diffusers is 100ml and it is advisable to use 4 to 6 drops of your essential oil. This quantity varies depending on the taste of the person, the size of the room as well as its temperature.
Applying essential oils on the skin, or topical application, is another way to use them. But for this method, it is important to know which dilutions and carrier oils to use, so you don't accidentally irritate the skin. The most common way to massage the oil onto the body is with a lotion, cream, roll-on, or carrier oil like coconut oil. This way the aromatic molecules are able to penetrate the skin.
In body massages the oil can be rubbed on pressure points such as your temples, wrists, forehead, or even feet. Again, being mindful of the dilution rate is key. Fifteen drops per one ounce of base oil are the standard for an adult, giving a 2.5% dilution rate. Warm compresses on the forehead and neck with a few drops are also recommended or applying approximately 2 -12 drops of essential oil to a bath, including the dispersing agent.
And remember, any questions or concerns you have about the composition, use, or effects of the oils as a treatment for any condition or simply their use for fun should be consulted with a certified doctor.
Discover the Benefits of the Best Essential Oils
Our ancestors used the natural world to take care of themselves and their families. As long as they're created in an environmentally sustainable fashion, essential oils and essential oil blends can continue to serve us today by promoting mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Sarita Vanegas is a writer based in Medellín, Columbia, where she covers environmentally-friendly products, natural health, and plant-based remedies. A former Baselang teacher, she is also passionate about learning languages and exploring other cultures.
As the winter weather wanes and we patiently wait for our backyard blossoms to appear, we can look forward to more than just the aesthetic appeal of spring flowers – but also their unexpected uses in the kitchen.
Throughout history, flowers have been both appreciated for their beauty and used for consumption, with the first recorded use of edible flowers in 140 B.C. Various indigenous tribes in North America have a long history of using native flowers for food and medicine, such as rosehips and the leaves and roots of violets; Victorians would prove their refinement by decorating cakes with candied flowers; the ancient Romans were known to garnish their dishes with rose petals, and carnations were a crucial ingredient of Chartreuse, a French liquor made by French monks in the 1600s.
While not as popular in the United States, flowers have a greater place at the table in other parts of the world: chrysanthemums were used in ancient China for pain relief and ceremonial drinks and still hold an important place in Chinese cooking, orange blossom water is a traditional North African beverage, and lotus and papaya flowers have played an important role in Indian cuisine.
Some of the flowers already growing in your backyard might have surprising – and tasteful! – culinary uses. Small flowers frozen into ice cubes are an attractive addition to ice water or cocktails, and candied blossoms – coated in a thin layer of sugar and egg whites – can add both flavor and beauty to desserts. Some flowers can even be fried, added to a salad, or incorporated into homemade ice cream.
Here are a few flowers you might already have growing in your backyard, and how to bring them into your kitchen this spring and summer.
Native to central and eastern North America, both the leaves and flowers of common blue violets can be eaten (the leaves are blander, the flowers sweeter).
Violet leaves are comparable to spinach in both texture and taste – containing twice the vitamin C of oranges and twice the vitamin A of spinach – and thus are delicious when cooked or used as a green in salads. Early summer leaves will have a softer, less bitter taste. The flowers too can be added to a salad for sweetness and a bit of color.
Violet flowers are also a delicious addition to desserts; violet sugar and violet flower syrup can preserve the sweet, floral taste from the delicate blossoms, and crystallized violets are an especially beautiful candied topping for desserts.
Marco Verch Professional Photographer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
The large, florid flowers of the hibiscus plant range in color; white, yellow, pink, and red hibiscus can be found in tropical and subtropical environments, and are used both ornamentally and for medicinal and culinary purposes.
The tart petals of the flowering roselle plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa)– native to parts of Africa, Asia, and India – are commonly used to make an infused hibiscus tea, served either hot or cold. Fresh or dried petals can be steeped in water to create a deep pink tea, made even more delicious by adding honey or lime.
Cooking with roses dates back to the Greeks, Romans and Persians, and is relatively common, given the many ways they can be eaten – and, of the 150 different rose varieties, all of them are edible! The sweet flavor is more pronounced in darker varieties, especially if the bitter center is removed.
Fresh petals are great for infusing honey or vinegar, garnishing a salad, mixing into fruit-laden water, or stirring into butter for a colorful spread. Rose-flavored desserts often call for fresh or dried petals, and homemade rose jam is a striking floral spread on fresh bread or biscuits. Petals can also be candied for cake toppings, dried for tea, or even added to granola for a sweeter taste and more aesthetic appearance.
Rosewater is a common phenomena – known for its soothing aroma and many health benefits – but try rosewater syrup for a stronger, sweeter flavor in spring cocktails, like a classic, pre-dinner rose and cucumber Collins.
Pansies have a "wintergreen," lettuce-like flavor, and are a colorful garnish for savory dishes – even pasta! – and fruit bowls alike. Their rather nondescript taste means you can use them rather generously in a pansy salad or a spinach quiche.
jchizhe / iStock / Getty Images
Dandelions are believed to have been brought to North America on the Mayflower and have since been a common, sunny fixture in American backyards. While many view dandelions as a nuisance, the flowers have been revered for their health benefits throughout history – including in traditional Chinese medicine – and are packed with vitamins.
Along with more common dandelion green salads – an oft-prepared meal during the Great Depression – a delicious dandelion wine can be brewed from these under-appreciated weeds. The drink (believed to be of Celtic origin) was once lauded for its therapeutic effect on the kidneys and digestive system. Typical dandelion wines combine sugar, acid of some kind, and other typical wine-making ingredients with the petals to create a rich, sweet, drink. Recipes call for different amounts of petals per gallon of wine (some only 2 quarts, or sometimes up to an entire gallon) so you can choose which version to pursue based on your yard's dandelion yield.
Dandelion honey is also a popular vegan alternative to the traditional honeybee variety.
Daylilies have been cultivated and used in Asian countries for millennia, and began spreading throughout Europe during the 1500's-1800's. In Chinese cuisine, dried lily buds – also known as gum jum choi, or "golden needles" – have been used for food and medicine for over 2,000 years.
The buds and flowers of daylilies taste, surprisingly, like asparagus, and can be stuffed and made into fritters, or added to soups and stir-fries. For a starchier option, dig up the roots to be baked, boiled, or prepared any way you would asparagus or celery. The roots – at their best in the late fall and winter – can even be served as a side dish in place of potatoes.
Daylilies are toxic to pets, so make sure to keep your plate to yourself.
7. Marigolds (Calendula)
HMVart / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Note: Flowers of Tagetes marigolds are not edible, but those of Calendula are.
The peppery taste of Marigolds (Calendula) paired with their vibrant hue makes for a flavorful pop of color in iced teas, a summer salad, or a buttery spread. They can even be incorporated into pastas or cookies, making them one of the more versatile edible backyard flowers.
Originally grown in the Mediterranean and northern Africa, lavender has a very distinctive aroma and is a delicious addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Either fresh or dried, the flower can be used in liqueurs, infused syrups, baked goods, and herbal mixtures/teas, or even incorporated into plum-colored cocktails.
Chocolate pairs especially well with their aromatic flower, and many lavender cake recipes call for fresh sprigs as an ingredient or edible garnish, perhaps served with a side of vanilla-lavender ice cream. Berries, citrus, and savory herbs are also excellent partners to lavender, leaving ample options to integrate it into your culinary repertoire.
These red, orange and yellow funnel-shaped flowers can be enjoyed either raw or cooked, and have a slightly spicy, peppery flavor (think watercress), although the greens carry a slightly stronger flavor than the blossoms. The flowers and leaves can be tossed with mixed greens for a sweet-and-spicy salad, and the buds and seeds can also be pickled like capers for a tangy snack.
For apartment-dwellers, nasturtiums can be easily grown on a fire escape, readily available to add a dash of flavor to your favorite summer dishes.
Along with their intoxicating scent, lilacs can be enjoyed in sweet treats by brewing your own lilac sugar, honey, or syrup. Their bright color and lemony taste lends itself well to summery drinks or as an addition to frozen yogurt.
Fresh petals can also be steeped to brew a hot drink reminiscent of earthy herbal teas.
Most flowers can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days when placed on a moist towel and stored in an airtight container.
Before heading outside to harvest, make sure any flowers you're cooking with are free of chemicals or pesticides. Since roadside blossoms have likely been exposed to pollutants, and flowers grown in nurseries or by florists have probably been treated with chemicals, it's safest to stick with only those you've grown yourself.
Always be sure to thoroughly research any flowers you plan on consuming to determine if they are safe to eat, and remove any inedible elements (stems, pistils, anthers, etc.). If you're prone to spring allergies, sprinkle those petals sparingly at first.
Flowers have long been a part of edible history. Armed with your new knowledge of efflorescent eating, you can enjoy your backyard garden with fresh appreciation this season!
Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Along with her most recent position at Hunger Free America, she has interned with the Sierra Club in Washington, DC., Saratoga Living Magazine, and Philadelphia's NPR Member Station, WHYY.
- 5 Ornamental Plants You Didn't Know Were Edible - EcoWatch ›
- 7 Smokable Plants You Can Grow That Aren't Marijuana - EcoWatch ›
The World Health Organization has determined that red meat probably causes colorectal cancer in humans and that processed meat is carcinogenic to humans. But are there other health risks of meat consumption?
A new study published in BMC Medicine on Tuesday sought to find out. Researchers investigated whether meat consumption was linked to any of the 25 leading causes of hospital admission in the UK, besides cancer. They found a connection between regularly eating red or processed meat with five non-cancerous diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and pneumonia. Meanwhile, frequent poultry consumption was associated with six different diseases, including gallbladder disease and diabetes.
"We have long known that unprocessed red meat and processed meat consumption is likely to be carcinogenic and this research is the first to assess the risk of 25 non-cancerous health conditions in relation to meat intake in one study," Dr. Keren Papier from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford and lead author said in a press release.
The researchers surveyed 474,985 middle-aged adults in the UK and asked them to complete a dietary questionnaire assessing how often they ate meat on a weekly basis. Researchers then compared the participants' meat consumption to hospital admission and mortality data.
In addition to the above findings, researchers determined that for every 70 grams of red or processed meat someone ate a day, their risk of developing heart disease increased 15 percent and their risk of diabetes increased 30 percent.
For every extra 30 grams of poultry someone consumed in a day, their diabetes risk increased 14 percent.
However, eating meat did have one health benefit: reducing the risk of iron deficiency. Researchers estimated a 20 percent risk reduction for every 50 extra grams of red meat a day and 17 percent for every 30 extra grams of poultry a day.
The researchers did find that people who ate meat three or more times a week were also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol or eating fewer fruits and vegetables. They were also more likely to have a high body mass index. The researchers adjusted their calculations to remove those factors, and learned that the health risks from meat consumption were reduced after factoring out body mass index.
"Additional research is needed to evaluate whether the differences in risk we observed in relation to meat intake reflect causal relationships, and if so the extent to which these diseases could be prevented by decreasing meat consumption," Papier said.
The results don't mean that people should stop eating meat, according to public health experts.
Instead, Public Health England recommended that anyone who eats more than 90 grams of meat a day should reduce it to 70 grams, The Guardian reported.
"Globally the evidence suggests that people who eat red and processed meat should limit their intake," Dr. Alison Tedstone, the agency's lead nutritionist, told The Guardian. "While it can form part of a healthy diet, eating too much has been linked to increased risk of developing bowel cancer."
However, there are also environmental and ethical reasons one might choose to stop eating meat. Some studies have found that cutting out animal products is the single biggest step a person can take to limit their environmental impact. Papier has advice for those who do so.
"The result that meat consumption is associated with a lower risk of iron-deficiency anemia, however, indicates that people who do not eat meat need to be careful that they obtain enough iron, through dietary sources or supplements," she said.
By Stephanie Eick
You may not realize it, but you likely encounter phthalates every day. These chemicals are found in many plastics, including food packaging, and they can migrate into food products during processing. They're in personal care products like shampoos, soaps and laundry detergents, and in the vinyl flooring in many homes.
They're also in the news again after an editorial by scientists in the American Journal of Public Health included an urgent call for better federal regulation of the chemicals.
In particular, scientists are urging state and federal agencies to eliminate phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) from products used by pregnant women and children. Despite evidence of the harm these chemicals can cause, federal regulation in the United States has been minimal beyond children's toys. A recent move by the General Mills-owned food brand Annie's to eliminate phthalates from its macaroni and cheese suggests stricter rules are feasible.
So, what's the risk, and what can you do about it?
I'm an environmental epidemiologist who studies the impact of pregnant women's exposure to environmental chemicals. Here are answers to three important questions about phthalates.
Who's at Risk?
Ortho-phthalates, commonly referred to as phthalates, are synthetic chemicals that are used to manufacture plastic. They help make plastic more flexible and harder to break.
Despite their abundance in many products, phthalates can be harmful to pregnant women and their children. These chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system, the glands that release hormones as the body's chemical messengers. Studies suggest that can lead to pregnant women delivering their babies early. Other studies have found that children born to mothers exposed to high levels of phthalates can have a lower IQ and poorer social communication development, and that these children are also more likely to develop ADHD and behavior problems. Researchers have also found effects on the genital development of male infants born to mothers exposed to phthalates during pregnancy.
While phthalates can be found in nearly everyone, minority women have been found to be especially burdened. Studies show that many beauty products targeted at these communities contain high levels of chemicals.
Infants and young children may experience high phthalate levels because they often put plastic products in their mouths as they explore the world.
Phthalates can enter food at many places in the supply chain, including through plastic tubing for liquids during production, plastic storage containers and even food preparation gloves. Foods that are high in fat in particular can absorb phthalates through exposure during processing. Eating out doesn't avoid the risk. A study of U.S. children and adults showed that those who ate food outside of their homes had higher phthalate levels.
How Do I Know if a Product Has Phthalates?
Figuring out which products have high levels of phthalates isn't always easy. While phthalates are required to be listed on ingredients labels, they are sometimes included instead as part of the fragrance, which allows them to be excluded from the ingredients list.
Many companies have voluntarily removed phthalates, and many consumer products are now labeled "phthalate free." The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website also offers a way to search for details about chemicals in cleaning and personal care products.
How Do I Keep My Family Safe?
Phthalates are rapidly metabolized and generally removed from the body once exposure stops. Until there is better regulation, a few simple changes can make a big difference in promoting health and reducing phthalate levels in the home.
One easy change is to swap out all plastic food packaging containers with glass containers. If that's not possible, it's best to let food cool to room temperature before placing it in plastic food storage containers.
Don't microwave anything in plastic, because phthalates can migrate from food storage containers into food.
You can also reduce phthalate exposure by checking labels to avoid using products that include phthalates, by eating less processed food that might have absorbed phthalates during production, and by cooking more meals at home.
Stephanie Eick is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco.
Disclosure statement: Stephanie Eick does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
- 7 Types of Plastic Wreaking Havoc on Our Health - EcoWatch ›
- Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Results in Decline in Toxic Phthalates ... ›
- Phthalates Exposure in Womb Linked to Autistic Traits in Boys ... ›
By Amanda Sheffield Morris and Jennifer Hays-Grudo
Parents are dealing with huge demands on their time and energy. Children may not be attending school or involved in regular activities. As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on families, routines have collapsed, patience is wearing thin and self-care is a distant memory.
Decades of research have taught us that adversity during childhood has damaging effects on health and development. Many studies have shown that kids who have faced abuse, neglect and family conflict struggle forming friendships, have academic difficulties and face physical and mental health problems in adolescence and adulthood.
Fortunately, developmental scientists have identified ways to help children survive and thrive during times of adversity. The beneficial effects of protective and nurturing experiences are powerful antidotes to stress and adversity and prepare children to cope with hard times for years to come.
Families worried about possible long-term effects of pandemic-related disruption can learn from these proven strategies. Here are 10 ways parents can foster children's resilience during challenging times.
1. Connect With One Another
Make time to talk, listen and play without distractions. Be sure children know they are loved unconditionally. This can include taking breaks to check in during the day when learning and working at home, having a special bedtime routine that includes talking about the day, taking walks together, or playing favorite games. Making the effort to connect helps children know they're valued and creates a sense of security.
2. Support Children's Friendships
Think about ways for children to play together outdoors, talk via technology or play a video game virtually with friends. Some families are creating safe zones or bubbles, where they allow children to pick a close friend or two whose family is practicing recommended coronavirus precautions that they can interact with more closely. Maintaining friendships gives children opportunities to learn from peers and reduces stress, providing support and acceptance.
3. Find Ways Children Can Help Others
Talk about how others are also struggling. Encourage them to donate toys they've outgrown, save money for a special cause or help a neighbor with errands like shopping, bringing in mail, doing yardwork or dog-walking. When you do things for others in the community, include your children and talk about why you do it. This helps children learn about the needs of others and cultivates empathy.
4. Help Children Stay Involved in Clubs or Groups
Some groups that work well during a pandemic include outdoor Scouting, Zoom clubs and other special-interest clubs such as outdoor sports, fishing, hiking or biking. Being part of a group helps children feel a sense of belonging and promotes identity development. It can also help build morals and values and even promote academic success.
5. Stay in Touch With Important Adults
Children benefit from relationships with other grown-ups, like grandparents and teachers. They can be another source of support and someone to talk to about problems or successes. They're particularly important when parents are unavailable due to work or other obligations. Help kids stay connected through Zoom, email, phone calls, FaceTime and special activities like outdoor events. Some social media groups have targeted programs to link children with others to play games or chat.
6. Keep Up With Hobbies
Boredom is a parent's worst enemy. Having an enjoyable hobby is rewarding for kids; it provides engaging leisure time and opportunities to master something. Such activities provide connections with others, can teach discipline and how to manage one's emotions and behavior, and promote self-esteem. Explore art, music, science projects, writing, chess and other hobbies that develop physical, artistic and intellectual skills while providing hours of enjoyment.
7. Be Physically Active
Make exercise a part of family routines. Take walks or ride bikes, play active video games like Wii, go to the park, stretch or do yoga together. Exercise has many of the same benefits as hobbies. It also helps children handle the physical effects of stress on the body and improves mood and mental health.
8. Create Routines
Routines are a powerful nonverbal signal to children's brains that they are safe and that life is predictable. Keeping a routine can reduce the number of conflicts, and children know what to do and expect during different points of the day.
Create and display (together, ideally) daily or weekly calendars with words or pictures that remind children when learning, playing, resting, sleeping and eating activities occur. Invent little rituals that comfort as well as accomplish goals, especially at bedtime: read, tell stories, sing a special song, say a prayer or list loved ones. Such activities ensure better sleep than allowing children to drift off watching a video. Children may push back if they've gotten used to less structure during the day, but most will welcome knowing what to expect.
9. Keep Realistic Expectations for Learning
Children's involvement in schooling varies widely during the pandemic, with some hardly affected and others learning entirely at home. Virtual schooling requires parents to be more involved than before – monitoring assignments, checking in during the day and seeking help when children are struggling.
While schoolwork is indeed important, not all learning takes place in class. Involve children in opportunities to learn during everyday tasks such as cooking (measuring, timing), gardening, shopping (figuring sales prices, adding), and games (cards, dominoes, board games) that build memory and thinking skills. Read with your child every day. Depending on the level of the book, you can read to your child or take turns reading pages.
10. Maintain a Healthy and Safe Home
In addition to maintaining COVID-19 precautions, make nutritious meals, declutter and organize toys, games, hobby supplies and learning materials. Find ways to involve children in preparing meals, organizing their work and play spaces, cleaning up after activities, and sharing in conversations about family rules. Chaos and clutter are the enemies of calm. Creating safe and orderly spaces helps children manage stress. Eating healthy foods together benefits physical and mental health.
Parenting in the Time of Coronavirus
Many parents naturally do the things listed above. However, with increased stress and demands on time, these activities are difficult to maintain. Now is a good time to pick a few of these strategies and get back on track.
Every family is different, and what's appropriate differs by children's ages, whether infants and toddlers, school-age children or teens and young adults. But adjusted for age and circumstances, these tried-and-true techniques can help youngsters make it through tough times and come out the other side OK.
Amanda Sheffield Morris is a Professor of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University.
Jennifer Hays-Grudo is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Oklahoma State University.
Disclosure statement: Jennifer Hays-Grudo receives funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM109097. Amanda Sheffield Morris does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson
The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.
Lifestyle medicine is the clinical application of healthy behaviors to prevent, treat and reverse disease. More than ever, research underscores that the "pills" today's physician should be prescribing for patients are the six domains of lifestyle medicine: whole food plant-based eating, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, addiction reduction or elimination, and positive psychology and social connection.
We are a primary care preventive medicine physician and a computational immunologist, both committed to applying state-of-the-art research to inform the clinical practice of lifestyle medicine. Our findings and recommendations were just published. We highlight the key take-home points for each of the areas below.
Whole-Food, Plant-Based Eating
Diets high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and lower in animal products and highly processed foods have been associated with prevention of many diseases. These diets have also improved health and even reversed common cardiovascular, metabolic, brain, hormonal, kidney and autoimmune diseases as well as 35% of all cancers.
We believe that future research should include larger trials or new research methods with emphasis on quality of diet. This would include more data on the micronutrient composition and protein sources of plant versus animal-based foods – not just proportion of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Such trials should include children, as many adult disorders are seeded as early as infancy or in utero.
Regular Physical Activity
For decades, surgeon generals' guidelines have emphasized that daily moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity has both immediate and long-term health benefits. For example, why we age and the rate at which we age – chronological age versus biological age – is determined by multiple molecular processes that are directly influenced by physical activity. And now scientists are gaining a better understanding of the cellular and molecular changes that exercise induces to reduce disease risk.
Research priorities for scientists and physicians include obtaining a deeper understanding of the type, intensity and frequency of activity, and better insights into the molecular and cellular alterations that occur with exercise.
Sleep helps the cells, organs and entire body to function better. Regular uninterrupted sleep of seven hours per night for adults, eight to 10 hours for teenagers and 10 or more for children is necessary for good health.
Though understudied, there is evidence that high-quality sleep can reduce inflammation, immune dysfunction, oxidative stress, and epigenetic modification of DNA, all of which are associated with or cause chronic disease.
Therefore, research into the biological mechanisms that underlie the restorative properties of sleep could lead to environmental or population-based and policy approaches to better align our natural sleep patterns with the demands of daily life.
Though some stress is beneficial, prolonged or extreme stress can overwhelm the brain and body. Chronic stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel disease, obesity, depression, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological disorders and obesity.
One of the most powerful mechanisms to reduce stress and enhance resilience is by eliciting a relaxation response using mind-body therapies and cognitive behavioral therapy.
More research is need to gain a better understanding of how these therapies work.
Addiction Reduction and Elimination
Many social, economic and environmental factors have fueled the national rise in substance abuse generally and, most tragically, the opioid epidemic.
Physicians and researchers are beginning to understand the underlying physiology and psychology of addiction.
Yet the continued stigma and disjointed or absent access to services remains a challenge. Clinicians and scientists need to explore how to predict who is more vulnerable to addiction and find ways of preventing it. Treatment that incorporates integrated care focused on all the patient's needs should be prioritized.
Positive Psychology and Social Connection
Maintaining a positive mindset through the practice of gratitude and forgiveness has a significant impact on psychological and subjective well-being, which are, in turn, associated with physical health benefits.
Social connectivity, namely the quantity and quality of our relationships, has perhaps the most powerful health benefits.
Conversely, social isolation – such as living alone, having a small social network, participating in few social activities, and feeling lonely – is associated with greater mortality, increased morbidity, lower immune system function, depression and cognitive decline.
Further study is needed to uncover how an individual's biology and chemistry change for the better through more social interactions.
Inflammation's Role in Lifestyle-Related Diseases
Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors produce a vicious cycle of inflammation. While inflammation is a healthy, natural way the body fights infections, injury, and stress, too much inflammation actually promotes or exacerbates the diseases described above.
The inflammatory response is complex. We have been using machine learning and computer modeling to understand, predict, treat and reprogram inflammation – to retain the healing elements while minimizing the detrimental more chronic ones. Scientists are unraveling new mechanisms that explain how chronic stress can turn genes on and off.
Overcoming Challenges and Barriers
We and others who study lifestyle medicine are now discussing how we can leverage all of these approaches to improve clinical studies on the impacts of lifestyle interventions.
At the same time we and our colleagues realize that there are environmental challenges and barriers that prevent many people from embracing these lifestyle fixes.
There are food deserts where healthier foods are not available or affordable. Unsafe neighborhoods, harmful chemicals and substances create constant stress. Poor education, poverty, cultural beliefs and racial and ethnic disparities and discrimination must be addressed for all people and patients to appreciate and embrace the six "pills."
The application of lifestyle medicines is particularly important now because unhealthy lifestyles have caused a pandemic of preventable chronic diseases that is now exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately afflicts those with these conditions.
Ask your doctor to "prescribe" these six "pills" for a longer and better life. After all, they're free, work better than or as well as medications and have no side effects!
Yoram Vodovotz is a Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh.
Michael Parkinson is a Senior Medical Director of Health and Productivity, UPMC Health Plan & Workpartners, University of Pittsburgh.
Disclosure statement: Yoram Vodovotz is a co-founder of, and stakeholder in Immunetrics, Inc. Michael Parkinson, MD, MPH is founder of P3 Health (Prevention, Performance & Productivity).
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.