Alternatively Speaking: How Hanukka can be healthy

With Hanukka approaching, expert Natalie Marx answers your questions about different types of oils.

Olive oil (photo credit: Reuters)
Olive oil
(photo credit: Reuters)
Q. Dear Natalie, I suffer from very dry skin and inflammation, especially in the winter. Can you tell me which natural oils are best for using on my skin without making it greasy?
A. My favorite and probably the most popular natural oils that benefit the skin are lavender, coconut, sandalwood and geranium oils.
Lavender oil is most famously known for its anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. I prescribe lavender oil for different types of inflammation such as psoriasis, eczema and even wrinkles. It also helps heal cuts, wounds, burn and sunburn. If you suffer from scar tissue or acne, lavender can reduce swelling and soothe the skin and reduce any redness.
Coconut oil is found in many natural beauty products because of its amazing healing and beautifying properties. It’s ideal if you want to soothe rough and dry skin. As-well as protecting against damage, coconut oil absorbs easily and moistens the skin without leaving it greasy. It has the ability to penetrate the deep layers of the underlying tissues of the skin, removing the dead skin cells on the outer layer, making the skin smoother. Coconut oil also helps to prevent the skin from sagging, wrinkling, liver spots as well as fungal and bacterial infections. I frequently use coconut oil to heal wounds and rashes.
Sandalwood has a beautiful woody, spicy scent and is particularly hydrating and regenerative for the skin, while at the same time also very cleansing. As an emollient it softens and soothes the skin while also relieving itchiness and irritation.
Lastly, geranium oil is a wonderfully smoothing oil that is best used on dry, aging skin. Geranium essential oils help to regenerate dead skin and increase inflammation. Always dilute essential oils in skin cream or carrier oils such as grape seed or almond oil before topical application.Q. Dear Natalie, are there medicinal benefits of Olive oil?
A. Olive oil has been used for centuries by people worldwide and in particular in the Mediterranean diet. There are countless benefits of using olive oil.A study made by Dr. Niva Shapira and Bob Kuklinski, shows that due to its high antioxidants, olive oil can help slow down and prevent malignant melanoma.
Since olive oil is a monounsaturated oil, it is hard for people to gain weight from it. Olive oil instead boosts the metabolism and increases energy levels.
Olive oil should be the oil of choice when considering any serious diet or weight loss program. Olive oil also slows down the aging process due to its high level of Vitamin E, which prevents the skin and hair from drying out thereby reducing the chances of wrinkles.
I suggest drinking olive oil or applying it topically to start receiving the anti-aging benefits. It’s very popular in South East Asia to use olive oil to moisturize hair. You can also heat the olive oil in the microwave for 15 seconds and massage it into your scalp. After 15-20 minutes rinse out and you will notice that it will help not only damaged hair but it promotes hair growth too.
One of the major benefits of olive oil is that it is able to mix with other foods – unlike mineral oil, and that is why it is excellent for the digestive system. It works to lubricate the digestive system thereby helping food digest healthily. The phytosterols in olive oil work to lower cholesterol levels, thereby lessening the risk of heart disease.Q. Dear Natalie, I am a massage therapist. Can you suggest any specific oils I should use to massage my clients with during the winter?
A. I suggest using a base oil such as almond or grape seed and simply adding it to warming oils such as cinnamon leaf, peppermint, black pepper and orange.
You may also simply just add cinnamon sticks to seep in the bottle of carrier oil for a few days. This mix is wonderful for the muscles in the winter and lovely and warming after a long day out. 
You can also try using apricot or jojoba oil adding the following ingredients to make for a wonderful winter massage oil and even a perfect bath time oil. Add grated or peeled ginger root, one teaspoon or arnica infused oil, 5 drops of chamomile essential oil and two teaspoons of mustard seed oil. First make sure you boil the ginger root with the base oil of your choice and then simmer on a low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Store in a dark glass bottle. This oil is also particularly good for anyone suffering from any strains or sprains.
Finally, carrot seed oil is very warming and stimulating. This massage oil can help eliminate toxins in a soothing and gentle way.  I always prefer massage oils to be warmed up before using them. For warming up the oils, leave the bowl containing the oil in a sauce pan or a pot that has hot (not boiling water) for 10 minutes. When the oil is warm, remove and use immediately for massage.This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment, including a women’s clinic every Wednesday. To make an appointment please email [email protected].Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer, email Natalie with your question at [email protected]Someone Once Said: “‘There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”- Albert Einstein