RNA Intro for those curious

Ribonucleic acid or RNA acts as a messenger between DNA and the protein synthesis complexes known as ribosomes, forms vital portions of ribosomes, and acts as an essential carrier molecule for amino acids to be used in protein synthesis.

RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: RNA is single stranded, while DNA is double stranded. Also, RNA nucleotides contain ribose sugars while DNA contains deoxyribose and RNA uses predominantly uracil instead of thymine present in DNA.

RNA is transcribed from DNA by enzymes called RNA polymerases and further processed by other enzymes. RNA serves as the template for translation of genes into proteins, transferring amino acids to the ribosome to form proteins, and also translating the transcript into proteins.

RNA is a polymer with a ribose and phosphate backbone and four different bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil. The first three are the same as those found in DNA, but in RNA thymine is replaced by uracil as the base complementary to adenine.

Uracil is energetically less expensive to produce than thymine, which may account for its use in RNA. Having thymine as the normal base in DNA makes the detection and repair of incipient mutations more effective. Thus uracil is appropriate for RNA, where quantity is important but lifespan is not, whereas thymine is appropriate for DNA where maintaining sequence with high fidelity is more critical.

My Take:
Aren’t you glad I cut out some of the technical jargon? In simpler terms, RNA is a mirror image made from the template of DNA. RNA is used to make proteins that primarily function as enzymes in the body, catalyzing specific chemical reactions.

RNA is also cut into smaller pieces, made into a double helix (microRNA) then transformed into mature mRNA in the cytoplasm of the cell. mRNA directs cell differentiation by inhibiting specific DNA transcription. This allows the body to produce different cells – heart, liver, skin, etc. from the same DNA. RNA is available as a supplement from Standard Process. I use it to improve brain function. It is especially effective for those with short term memory issues or people having difficulty with multi-tasking. A simple test for RNA is to stand on one foot with your arms extended out from your side. Steady yourself, then close your eyes. If you can maintain your balance for several seconds with your eyes closed, your RNA levels are probably adequate. If you fall quickly, then RNA supplementation may be beneficial. It’s a good idea to have someone close by to catch you when you fall.

Bottom Line:
RNA is a fascinating area of study and research into microRNA is currently at a fever pitch. However, practical supplementation of RNA has been available since 1952.

For the love of fur-kids

Animals have a way of bringing joy into our lives and making us smile, no matter your age. About half the households in the U.S. are pet owners because of this.

The holiday season is the most popular time that pets are brought home as gifts. People are well-intentioned when they do this and need to remember it’s a big commitment and responsibility. Training, particularly for dogs, is important to bring out the best in them. They interpret our behavior, understand our energy and will respond to that energy.

My brothers and I had a variety of animals growing up: a rabbit, a bird, a gerbel, and lots of lizards/turtles and a few dogs and cats over the years.

At my home there is a retriever-hound mix (Spooner) and a very handsome DLH tuxedo cat named Charlie (who was adopted through Cat Crusade)and having these pets is a blessing, even when the very senior dog wants to go outside for no reason at 4am. There are many proven health benefits for people, including physical, mental and emotional improvements with pets around. The benefits outweigh any negatives in my opinion.

My fellow animal lovers will agree with these five great reasons to open your home to a furry friend (or any type of pet), and why doing so can be what the doctor ordered.

1. A pet can be your personal trainer. Dogs need to be exercised on a daily basis. A fenced yard really is not enough. Doing activities with them is a treat and movement is healthy for both of you. You can take them walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, and even along for a bike ride. Cats need movement too and that can be through interactive play if they are kept indoors.

2. A pet is good for your heart. Petting an animal has a calming effect and decreases your cortisol level (stress hormone). They fill your heart with love and help reduce risks such as a heart attack – pets can help reduce your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

3. Pets give you a sense of purpose. You establish an emotional bond with them like a family member. Taking care of them does require responsibility and that can give you a sense of value and importance. It also adds a positive focus to your life. An added bonus – allowing your children to help take care of the pets is great way to teach them about empathy along with responsibility.

4. Pets provide companionship. They offer unconditional love, and this can help reduce loneliness and boost your overall mood. Animal-assisted therapy is very popular with nursing homes and hospitals too.

5. Pets are a great way to bond with others. Pets are social facilitators. They provide common ground to interact with others and help develop friendships. There’s the empathy factor in play again. And you can’t neglect a smiling stranger when they ask about your pet. I just had a lovely conversation with a neighbor, whom I have seen but never really spoke with, the other day all about our dogs which lead to other topics. It was delightful to meet someone new.

Remember that animals don’t care about what you have or what you look like. They accept you for who you are. What’s not to love about that? Adopt today, below are a few organizations that need foster and furever homes.

Skin Care Young to Mature…

Skin Care
Skin demands hydration, moisture, and tender loving care at any age. The array of products below deliver a blend of alpha lipoic acid, hyaluronic acid, CoQ10, MSM, DMAE, vitamin C ester, and vitamins A, B, and E and many, many botanicals. This powerhouse combination works together to help protect young skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, to clarify, soften, refine and rejuvenate mature skin.

Step 1: Cleanse
We have two favorite cleansers for skin: Green Tea Cream Cleanser and the Hemp & Honey Wash. Packed with antioxidants and moisture-retention ingredients, your skin will look and feel amazing. Perfect as is, you can also personalize these cleansers by adding any of our Pure Organic Essential Oils such as clary sage, rose, ylang-ylang, neroli, geranium, and lavender to help enhance skin tone, and relax the mind and body.

At Home Application of the Cleansers

• Use 1-2 pumps pea-sized amount onto dampened palms and rub palms together.

• Apply to wet face, neck, and chest.

• Massage in upward circular motions with your fingertips.

• Rinse thoroughly with tepid water or use a steamed towel to remove traces of cleanser. and pat dry with a soft, clean towel.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Exfoliants polish away dead skin and leave skin soft and supple, enhancing a natural, fresh look. But, BEWARE, they should also be safe and gentle for regular use. Numerous facial “scrubs” contain harsh granules such as nut shells and irregular shaped items that may actually scratch and injure the skin rather than slough off the unwanted layers. Our Milk & Honey Face Polish is formulated with Bamboo Stem Silica which is not only gentle and effective, but also sustainable. The added fruit enzymes and lactic acid create a chemical exfoliation to reveal soft skin. Unscented, this item may be customized further to suit individual likes/needs.

At Home Application of Milk & Honey Face Polish

• Use every week and up to three times per week as a deep cleansing process. (This is a cleansing exfoliant and typically is enough unless you have a full face of make-up on, then pre cleanse with one of our cleansers).

• Gently massage in upward circular motions onto face avoiding eye area. Don’t forget your neck and chest!

• Rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry with a clean, soft towel. Follow with the Phytotanics toner of your choice to pH balance the skin and prep for a moisturizing protectant.

Step 3: Tone

Toners help the skin by balancing the pH, minimizing the look of pores, removing residuals missed during cleansing, and preparing the skin to receive the serums and moisturizers to come.

NOURISH Tone: A hydrating facial toner that has been formulated with a surge of moisture-boosting properties to soften and condition the skin while balancing and toning. Formulated with Lebanese Rose Water & Bulgarian Rose Oil, this toner smells just like a blooming rose garden. And is a bestseller! Organic Aloe helps soothe while Vegetable Glycerin leaves skin soft and supple. With carefully selected ingredients, this formula can help renew, rejuvenate, and smooth, and is suitable for all skin types. Ingredients with real results: vegan DMAE and a spectrum of brightening alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).

Clarify Tonic: This effective toner gives the skin a necessary pH boost while balancing excess surface oil and tightening pores post cleansing or shaving. Organic Grapefruit and Rosemary provide additional nourishment to skin and scalp. This is a “FINISHED” Product, but may be additionally customized. Vegan – Gluten-free – Paraben-free and with an Organic Content of 90% you can feel good about using this on most any skin type for toning and a little refresher.

At Home Application of Mature Skin of Facial Toners

• After cleansing, moisten cotton round, and gently wipe over cleansed face, neck, and chest, avoiding eye area.

• Let air dry before moisturizing.

Step 4: Serum

Serums provide fast absorbing, concentrated ingredients to create beautiful, glowing skin. Always use a small amount before or as your moisturizer as part of your skin care.

We currently have 2 favorite serums:

NOURISH HydroSilk: A delicate but highly potent serum formulated to improve the appearance of tone, hydrate, soften, and revitalize the skin. Provides all skin types with a needed boost of Coenzyme Q10. While a long list of powerhouse ingredients elevate this serum, including Organic Silk Peptides, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Vitamin A, Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide), Provitamin B5 (DL-Panthenol), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin C, DMAE, Hibiscus Flower Extract, Organic Neem, Chamomile and Organic Rosemary Leaf Extract. A customer favorite with a very light hint of roses and lemon.

STEM Skin Elixir: Provides skin with everything it needs to fight back against the effects of time. Powerful Botanical Hylauronic Acid, Plant Stem Cells, Aloe & Algae Leaf Extract, Green Tea, Coenzyme Q10, Cranberry & Raspberry Oil, Shea Butter, Ginko Biloba, Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, Grapeseed, Blue Tansy, Turmeric, Blueberry Extracts and more all work in harmony to create a super effective serum that remains light and easily absorbed. Gently scented with the hint of Sandalwood & Ylang Ylang.

At Home Application of the Serums

• Use a petite pea-sized amount and apply with fingertips, do not squirt a bunch in your hands then apply unless you would like to treat the palms of your hands rather than your face ;). But feel free to use the serum on back of hands anytime for the same benefits as facial skin.

• Massage onto cleansed toned face, neck, and chest.

• Follow with Protective Facial Moisturizer if additional moisture is needed.

Step 5: Moisturize

Every face (neck and chest, too), needs a moisturizer on a daily basis. Moisturizers’ primary function is to help keep all of the nourishing ingredients from serums and natural moisture locked on your skin.

Synergy Crème: This cream is perfect for the most delicate skin, including around the eyes. Extremely versatile, this amazing nourishing cream will work wonders on your face, neck, or anywhere you need some gentle, soothing rejuvenation. It’s star ingredients are antioxidant-rich Organic Golden Jojoba, Coconut & Avocado Oils, Sunflower Seed, Neem, and Plant derived DMAE which leaves skin soft and happy. This is an unscented and organically preserved crème and we encourage you to add Essential Oils for boost and scent as you choose. (only our of course)

AHA Whip Moisturizer: This perfectly soft and gentle cream is expertly formulated to soften skin. Your whole face will be asking to get in on the party. This cream is packed with antioxidants from Bilberry, Green Tea and Mango Seed to hydrate and gently functional fruit acids such as sugar maple, malic, tartaric to reveal soft, hydrated, fresh skin. The light scent from our organic lemongrass essential oil not only lifts the spirit but gives skin a lift as well. May be used as primary moisturizer or alternated with another if you prefer.

Luminous Face Oil: Do not be afraid. Facial Oils can be highly beneficial to skin when formulated with non-comedogenic ingredients. The health effects of fatty acids, nutrients, and vitamins are healthy inside as well as outside the body. Our Best Selling moisturizing oils were carefully created and have quickly become customer-favorite, youth-boosting formulas. Some of our favorite ingredients in the Luminous Oil include Cranberry, Pomegranate, Pumpkin, Marula, Baobab, and Evening Primrose Oils combined with moisturizing Organic Neroli and nourishing Helichrysum and Chamomile. A delightfully light scent.

At Home Application of the Moisturizers

• If using a serum, apply your serum then use a bean-sized amount of moisturizer and apply with fingertips.

• Massage onto cleansed face, neck, and chest and tap gently until absorbed.

Step 6: Masks (full at home pampering and beneficial too!)

Masks are a wonderful and indulgent part of any skin care routine and allow you to address skin-specific concerns. We typically recommend using masks once a week, depending on the function of the mask, but your skin will almost always love gentle, nourishing masks like…

Our Brand New Berryliscious O2 Mask which delivers intense hydration and gentle exfoliation with delicious ingredients that set this mask apart. Skin will feel smooth and moisturized after this pampering mask rich in Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Squalane (from olives), Tamanu Oil, Sugar Cane Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil and boosted by Organic Blueberry, Cranberry Extract and Organic Jojoba Oil, this mask is ideal for dry, mature skin, but all except hyper-sensitive can benefit from this yummly concoction.

Photo by Taryn Elliott on

At Home Application of the Mask

• Apply the Berryliscious O2 Mask to clean skin with fingertips or a mask brush.

• Allow mask to remain up to 20 minutes. Good time for a bubble bath if you ask me. I like the Berryliscious All Over Wash or One of the WH Bath Salt Blends for this part.

• A bubbly action may be felt and is a sign that your skin will soon be renewed. Remove with a damp soft cloth, sponges or rinse under shower. Follow with toner and moisturizer to complete the skin care process.

Skin Care Products You Can Trust

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Your skin will look and feel amazing, and your heart can feel good about your use of Phytotanics Herbothecary products, Most of which are Organically Preserved. NONE CONTAIN PARABENS, SULFATES or PHTHALATES. Most are vegan (except those with honey). They are also FREE FROM PETROCHEMICALS, FILLERS, FORMALDEHYDE-RELEASING INGREDIENTS, PROPELLANTS, or SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE OILS.


The beauty industry is built on the idea that the path to good skin is paved with expensive topical products. Don’t bother trying to map an alternative route, it taunts, because such a thing does not exist! This is a very effective strategy, and one that has ensured the industry is worth upwards of $532 billion today.

Don’t get it twisted: Topical skincare routines are important, but they’re just one piece of the breakout banishing puzzle. A comforting thought if you’ve tried every product under the sun, but still struggle to keep your disobedient skin in line.

As the largest organ of the body, our skin has a very taxing job of taking care of us. After all, the environment by which our skin lives is incredibly harsh. Think of it like a commune of survivors after a zombie apocalypse. Everyone has a job to keep the facility safe and as comfortable as possible, however it is important that it is well managed because mismanagement can, frankly, bring about an unsafe environment. Our skin’s microbiome (or skin flora/microbiota), like our zombie safe commune, is colonized by symbiotic microorganisms. Be them bacteria, viruses, fungi and/or protozoa—these living organisms strive to live harmoniously together, protecting against the invasion of pathogens, and to strengthen our immune defenses! This environment is also known to be represented in the gut and have mental health implications as well (aka the “brain-gut-skin axis”).

When we think about skincare, we are generally thinking about the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). Most bacteria on the skin are found on the superficial layers of the epidermis and the upper parts of hair follicles. These bacteria can prevent pathogenic organisms from colonizing on the skin surface (by outwitting nutrients, secreting chemicals, or stimulating the immune system.

While many of these organisms are benign at worst and helpful at the best, organisms like Cutibacterium acnes (or C. acnes) formerly Propionibacterium acnes, are long thought to contribute to the inflammatory skin conditions like acne. Found in sebum (oil) rich areas, C. acnes has been shown to be in excess in inflammatory acne where other helpful bacteria are deficient.

A lot of acne is hormonally driven—including the type that plagues teenagers during puberty—but, as Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology in NYC states*, “When most people talk about [hormonal acne], they’re talking about acne in adult women.” According to a study by the American Academy of Dermatology, roughly 50 percent of women in their 20s and more than 25 percent of women ages 40 to 49 are affected by hormonal acne.

Hormonal acne is generally related to a woman’s menstrual cycle and the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone that accompany it. Convinced this could be you? To decipher whether the cause of your acne is hormonal, some signs to look out for are cyclical flares each month, dotted along the lower face, jawline and/or around the mouth. These zits are usually deeper, painful pimples (as opposed to blackheads, whiteheads and blocked pores).

Taking a multi-pronged approach is your best bet in saying ‘laters to hormonal acne. ZitSticka KILLA patches aside, a change in diet and the incorporation of key vitamins can help to alleviate hormonal zits. Many evidence-based studies suggest cutting dairy and sugar can help to reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts. According to Anne Chapas, the founder of Union Square Laser Dermatology, “The spikes in blood sugar which arise from eating high-glycemic foods causes oil production, which in turn causes acne… We know that those cause a harmful hormonal environment.”

So far, research has learned that optimum skin health (and gut health) is achieved by improving the biodiversity of the microbiota. Agents like probiotics and prebiotics, when applied to the skin, can help to suppress the growth of acne causing bacteria as well as improve the overall health of the microbiome and its defenses


Probiotics are live microorganisms extracted and isolated from humans and then cultured in a lab for supplementation. They have the capacity to survive in the gut and immune system to enhance the natural environment in the way that  natural good bacteria does. Probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium regulate skin inflammation by working with the gut environment. They also help to promote an overall healthy immune system. Streptococcus thermophilus has shown to improve ceramide production, a lipid molecule known to trap water in the skin, thus strengthening the skin barrier. These can be found in fermented food sources like yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, kimchi, and pickles. And if you don’t quite like the acidity component to these foods, supplements like ZitSticka’s SKIN DISCIPLINE provide blended doses of probiotics often supplemented with additional vitamins which help dial down internal inflammation that shows up externally as breakouts.


Prebiotics are the food source for the helpful bacteria in our intestinal tract and skin. Since our digestive system cannot break down prebiotics, they survive only to reach the colon where they can be consumed by the healthy bacteria, helping them grow and thrive. In terms of the skin, they provide a nutrient base for the healthy bacteria! Foods like fiber-rich fruits, veggies, whole grain, starchy potatoes, bananas, onions, asparagus and garlic are where prebiotics are derived.

Just as it is important for your hydration levels to consume actual water, it is equally important for probiotics and prebiotics to be present in your diet as well!

Fun fact: Did you know that stress impairs the normal gut microflora? Psychological stressors can cause intestinal microbes to produce stress related neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine that result in an overarching system inflammation.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here we go, again! ANOTHER beauty fad to add to our shopping lists. When will it end?” And I get it. But, think about it this way: As diverse a species as we are, “healthy” may look a number of ways. The one key factor is that it starts from the inside. Providing our bodies with the nutrients and hydrants to defend ourselves are the means by which we can achieve our healthiest body, most beautiful skin, and our best selves. And now we know that another mechanism we should be mindful of is this wonderful thing called the Microbiome. Beauty, skin-deep.

Want some more tips on taking care of your skin from the inside, out?

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