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Displaying items by tag: nature how to make simple changes towards an eco-friendly lifestyle? Have you wondered where to buy your organic food and goods locally? Or how to be more energy efficient? Do you know what is recyclable in Belgium? We do - or we know someone who does! This site is intended to be an information rescource and focal point for ecologically minded people living in and around Brussels. Please revisit the site often, because we update it on a regular basis. http://sunbeams.eu Mon, 24 Apr 2017 19:06:54 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Nature’s Helping Hand http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/222-nature’s-helping-hand http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/222-nature’s-helping-hand Nature’s Helping Hand

Summertime is here! Before you head off to your summer destination, you can plan ahead with some help from nature. Don’t let minor stings and aches spoil your travel fun! Put together a natural first aid kit so you are prepared for the unexpected.

When traveling, it’s always easier to have things close by and avoid the emergency scramble to find things and/or communicate your needs in a foreign language.  All it takes is a few trips to an organic store and a pharmacy to take care of the essentials. 

So what are some emergency essentials to keep on hand?  The Belgian Red Cross has a First Aid kit available for around 20 euros and contains all the basics including bandages, an emergency thermal wrap, etc.  In addition, here are some natural remedies (in alphabetical order) to get you started.

Arnica – a tube in gel or cream form of this is useful for any trauma – but do not use on open wounds.  Arnica also comes in oil form which you can use on sore and strained muscles.  Try arnica in homeopathic form for internal use to minimize trauma.  

Aloe Vera – the gel of this plant is great for sunburns and skin irritations.

Calendula – available in many forms including cream, this plant has soothing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties often used for healing wounds and burns.  Many baby creams and oils contain calendula to help skin irritations.

Charcoal – look for this at a bio store and get the activated charcoal variety. This is a highly absorbent powder that is great for stomach ailments including diarrhea. It comes in powder, granular or capsule form (easiest when traveling). 

Clay – Bring along a tube of ready-to-use green clay paste made from raw illite clay which can be used for clay packs and compresses in case of bone or muscle damage.

Essential oil-based insect repellant – make your own or buy one of the ready-prepared mixes that include essential oils like lemongrass, peppermint, cedar, geranium, or rosemary.

Natural eye drops made from euphrasia are useful for long flights. They come in handy, single-use tubes.

Ginger – with anti-spasmodic properties, ginger capsules are especially useful for motion sickness.  Keep on hand for car or sea sickness.  Another easy way to bring it with you is in tea bag form.  You can also try specially formulated wrist bands that use acupressure to soothe stomach upsets.

Homeopathic remedies – head over to a specialist pharmacy like Debrus-Tensi near Montgomery for some tubes to help with common problems like runny nose, fever, stings, and overindulgence. You can also get homeopathic bug bite ointments.

Oregano – another plant with anti-bacterial properties that comes in capsule form, oregano is useful at the onset of a cold or sore throat.  Pranarom has a whole line of essential oil formulas that come in capsule or spray form for easy transport and storage.

Other essential oils that come in handy include lavender and tea tree oil.  Lavender is easy to use directly on the skin (test a small area first to ensure there are no allergies) and helps with burns and wounds.  It’s also good for relaxing and for easing headaches.  Both lavender and tea tree take the swelling and itch out of mosquito bites. Tea tree has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Rescue Remedy - Bach flower remedies for calming all kinds of emotions like anger, grief, and fear are also handy to have. There is also a specific night time formula to help with sleeplessness.

Keep all of the above in a safe place – you can get creative and store them all in a recycled cookie tin or lunch box, and remember to include some padding for the glass bottles so the contents stay safe for traveling.

Happy travels!

 

Nüket is a coach with a holistic approach to living a healthy and fulfilling life.  She lives in Brussels and works with individuals and companies, supporting them in making positive changes. Helping to create lifestyles and environments that are more balanced and healthy are her passion!  If you would like more information, or a free sample session, contact her by email at nuketveral@globalwellbeing.org

 

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Articles Thu, 28 Jun 2012 19:01:44 +0000
Spend Time in Nature, Take Care of It and It Will Take Care of You! http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/203-spend-time-in-nature-take-care-of-it-and-it-will-take-care-of-you http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/203-spend-time-in-nature-take-care-of-it-and-it-will-take-care-of-you Spend Time in Nature, Take Care of It and It Will Take Care of You!

Spend time in nature and you might just be curing what ails you. Easier said than done, you might say. After all, the weather in Belgium isn't always kind to those who spend time in the outdoors. Those gloomy grey skies with the ever present rain clouds? How can they amount to any good apart from keeping Belgium a very green place to live? And what about all the puddles, mud and cold weather? It doesn't sound like the recipe for a fun time (although you have to admit, it sure looks like fun when you see scouts running around in shorts and muddy boots in the parks on the weekends).

It's no surprise that a lot of people will spend less and less time outdoors as the days make their way to winter. How does all this indoor time affect our health? Not so well, I'm afraid, because our bodies need outdoor time. Let's look at some of the benefits of getting out (and this is also for all the people who are in offices – Brussels has a large number of parks, big and small, that are perfect for lunch time or break time strolls).

In good weather, it's easy to see the benefits of getting out – who doesn't want to spend some time in the sun? Sunshine is life. Sunshine is good for our body. Our body needs sunlight to produce vitamin D, a must for a healthy immune system. Vitamin D seems to be in the news everywhere these days as more and more health benefits are being attributed to it. And yes, you can get a supplement at the store, but make no mistake; your body better assimilates that which comes from nature.

And on those days when it's not so sunny?

There is an amazing amount of things that our bodies get from being outdoors. Being outdoors in nature often means you are walking, running, biking, or playing. The common denominator in all of these activities: physical movement. So you can build muscle, get your blood and lymph fluid circulating, increase bone density, improve flexibility and even ease your mind with some walking meditation, or whatever activity you like, all in beautiful surroundings, making the whole event more enjoyable.

A breath of fresh air and some negative ions

Indoor air, despite circulation, can get stuffy. Add to that all the off-gases that are produced from carpeting, furniture, compressed wood panels and flooring, synthetic perfumes and air fresheners, and your body is craving for some fresh air! Indoors, we have computers, air conditioners, heaters and all this pollution that basically makes the air unhealthy and removes the healthy negative ions.

Nature provides us with negative ions. Negative ions are atoms or molecules that have gained an electron and are created in nature by rain or waterfalls, lightning, trees, seashores and other natural sources. Negative ions are believed to increase levels of the chemical neurotransmitter serotonin and increase oxygen flow to the brain. Benefits include better brain function, alleviated depression, stress relief, better breathing and sleep, and increased energy levels in the body. This is why waterfalls have a calming effect on people and why a walk in the forest can be much more than exercise.

Even sitting on a park bench has its benefits!

Look around you in nature and you'll see and hear healing energies all around. The myriad of colors from plants, flowers, animals, trees all affect your body. Colors are different wavelengths of light and each has its unique effect on your physiology. Chromotherapy is color therapy, a way to heal with color. Colors affect our moods and energy levels. With chromotherapy, colors can be considered as medicines for the body, soul and spirit. So with that in mind, know that green is considered the color of love, balance and healing, among other things.

Sounds of nature are proven stress reducers.

Birds chirping, water running down a creek, waterfalls – they all affect stress levels. According to Sound Therapy pioneer Dr. Tomatis, the ear is intended to hear mainly high frequency sounds, because most of the sensory cells in the inner ear are accumulated in the high frequency zone. These sounds replenish the brain's energy and activate the cortex, improving our ability to think. Most of the sounds in cities, such as traffic, computers, etc., are low frequency sounds which drain the brain of energy and cause stress. The high frequency sounds of nature - bird songs, wind and running water, stimulate the ear in a way that helps the nervous system function more efficiently, reducing stress and increasing energy levels.

So the next time it rains, grab your hat, coat and whatever else you need to get out and get yourself some well-being in nature. Even the sound of rain has healing benefits! And don't worry; if you are in Belgium, you won't have to wait long for the next occasion to arrive!

Nuket is a coach and health consultant with a holistic approach to living a healthy and fulfilling life. She lives in Brussels and works with individuals and companies, supporting them in making positive changes to create lifestyles and environments that are more balanced and healthy.
You can contact her by email.

This article was originally published in the October 2011 edition of the Sunbeams Newsletter.

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Articles Wed, 05 Oct 2011 08:01:40 +0000
Sunbeams Sprouting Workshop http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/159-sunbeams-sprouting-workshop http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/159-sunbeams-sprouting-workshop

sprouting2Sunbeams is holding a free 'sprouting' workshop for anyone interested in learning how to sprout their own seeds
and beans for tasty, fresh and nutritious food that is easy to make at home.

Wednesday, 09 February 2011, 09:15 - 10:30

The workshop wil be held at:

Savoorke,
International Montessori School,
Bergestraat 24,
3080 Tervuren

info and registration: info@sunbeams.eu

view all sunbeams events

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Articles Fri, 04 Feb 2011 21:21:00 +0000
Sunbeams Nature Workshop - Birds in Winter http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/157-sunbeams-nature-workshop-birds-in-winter http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/157-sunbeams-nature-workshop-birds-in-winter

sunbeams nature workshopSunbeams Nature Workshop - Birds in Winter


30. January, 13.00h - 16.00h,

For children aged 7 and up.

Fee: 15€

Learn how to identify birds that stay during the winter and how to attract them to your garden, nature walk with winter bird survey.workshop_flyer

More information: www.lokilino.com

 

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Articles Fri, 21 Jan 2011 20:13:43 +0000
2010 International Year of Biodiversity http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/117-2010-international-year-of-biodiversity http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/117-2010-international-year-of-biodiversity

Sunbeams has written a series of articles to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity. 

biod2010_LogoJoin us to make small steps for biodiversity around us.  

Sunbeams articles on what you can do for biodiversity:

Sunbeams articles on biodiversity in Away Magazine:

  • Interview with IUCN representative, by Leanne Halewyck [Jan-Feb 2010]
  • Permaculture, by Dave Meyer [Mar-Apr 2010]
  • You and me and biodiversity, by Ilke [May-June 2010] (available here soon )

Sunbeams article in Small Talk (BCT):

Celebrating biodiversity with children [June 2010] (available here soon)

Sunbeams Events related to biodiversity:

  • 4 Workshops for children on nature and wildlife (as from October 2010)
  • Annual workshop for adults on wildlife in Belgium (fall)
  • Annual tree planting event (spring)
  • Annual composting event (May-June)
  • Build a herb spiral together with Sunbeams in your commune
  • Guided nature walk in Zoniënwoud/Forêt de Soignes (in the fall)

Other events focusing on biodiversity:

  • Natuurpunt needs your help to count biodiversity in your garden, weekend of 22-23 May 2010 www.waarnemingen.be
  • EU Green Week, 2-5 June 2010
  • Environmental Party outdoor in Jubelpark/Cinquantenaire, 6 June 2010 (come and see us at the Sunbeams stand)

Useful links can be found in all teh above articles, and here are a few more:
Check out the activities at the Museum of Natural Sciences and their focus on Biodiversity
http://www.naturalsciences.be/active/biodiv2010/biodiv2010_site
Order a little booklet with 366 ideas on what you can do for biodiversity in Dutch:
http://www.post-online.be/biodiv/nl/index.php
or in French:
http://www.post-online.be/biodiv/fr/index.php

More Sunbeams articles relating to specific areas of biodiversity:

This article was originally published in the January 2010 issue of the Away Magazine.

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Articles Fri, 13 Aug 2010 23:07:00 +0000
Flowers and Plants in Four Languages http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/51-flowers-and-plants-in-four-languages http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/51-flowers-and-plants-in-four-languages

This is an overview of beneficial plants and flowers for bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies. To find a specific term, just use the search function of your browser.

Flowers for bees

Latin

English

French

Dutch

Arabis

Arabis, Rockcress

Arabis, Arabette

Scheefkelk

Erica

Heaths, Heathers

Bruyère

Dophei

Daucus carota

Wild carrot, Bird's nest, Bishop's lace, Queen Anne's lace

Carotte

Wilde peen

Rosa canina

Dog Rose

Églantier

Hondsroos

Epilobium angustifolium or Chamerion angustifolium

Fireweed, Rosebay Willowherb

Épilobe en épi, Laurier de Saint-Antoine

Wilgenroosje

Vicia faba

Broad Bean, Fava Bean, Faba Bean, Field Bean, Bell Bean, Tic Bean

Fève

Tuinboon

Erysimum cheiri

Aegean wallflower

Giroflées

Muurbloem

Iberis

Candytuft

Iberis, Tabouret, Thlaspi

Scheefbloem

Verbascum

Mullein

Molène

Toorts

Rubus

Raspberries, Blackberries, Dewberries…

Framboisier, Mûre, Ronce commune…

Framboos, Gewone braam, Bosbraam, Dauwbraam…

Pastinaca sativa

Parsnip

Panais

Pastinaak

Isatis tinctoria

Woad, Glastum

Pastel des teinturiers

Wede

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Russian Sage

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Reseda odorata

Mignonette

Réséda odorant

Tuinreseda

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary

Romarin

Rozemarijn

Verbena officinalis

Common Vervain, Common Verbena, Simpler's Joy, Holy Herb

Verveine

IJzerhard

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper, Five-leaved ivy

Vigne vierge de Virginie

Wilde wingerd

Flowers for bumblebees

Latin

English

French

Dutch

Achillea

Achillea

Achillée

Duizendblad

Pimpinella anisum

Anise

Anis

Anijs

Centaurea montana

Perennial Cornflower, Mountain Cornflower, Montane Knapweed, Mountain Bluet

Centaurée des montagnes, Bleuet vivace, Bleuet des montagnes, Jacée des montagne

Bergcentaurie

Cynara cardunculus

Cardoon, Artichoke thistle, Cardone, Cardoni, Carduni, Cardi

Cardon, Cardon d'Espagne, Artichaut sauvage, Chardonette

Kardoen

Lonicera

Honeysuckle

Chèvrefeuille

Kamperfoelie

Leucanthemum x superbum

Shasta daisy

Grande marguerite

Margriet

Centaurea jacea

Brown Knapweed, Brownray Knapweed

Centaurée jacée

Knoopkruid

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal Flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis

Lotus corniculatus

Bird's-foot Trefoil, Birdfoot Deervetch

Lotier corniculé

Gewone rolklaver

Marrubium vulgare

White Horehound, Common Horehound

Marrube blanc, Marrube Commun

Malrove

Monarda didyma

Bergamot, Scarlet Beebalm, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, Crimson Beebalm

Monarde

Bergamotplant

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Lacy Phacelia

Phacélie à feuilles de tanaisie

Phacelia

Pulmonaria

Lungworts

Pulmonaire

Longkruid

Trifolium repens

White Clover

Trèfle blanc

Witte klaver

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover

Trèfle des prés, Trèfle violet

Rode klaver

Centranthus ruber

Valerian, Red valerian, Jupiter's Beard.

Centranthe rouge, Lilas d'Espagne, Valériane rouge

Spoorbloem

Solidago virgaurea

Goldenrod, Woundwort

Verge d'or

Echte guldenroede

Echium vulgare

Viper's Bugloss

Vipérine commune

Slangenkruid

Flowers for hoverflies

Latin

English

French

Dutch

Achillea millefolium

Yarrow, Gordaldo, Nosebleed plant, Old Man's Pepper, Sanguinary, Milfoil, Soldier's Woundwort, Thousand-leaf

Achillée millefeuille

Duizendblad

Crataegus

Hawthorn

Aubépine

Meidoorn

Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower, Bachelor's button, Bluebottle, Boutonniere flower, Hurtsickle

Bleuet des champs

Korenbloem

Convolvulus tricolor

Dwarf Convolvulus, Dwarf Morning Glory

Convolvulus annuel

Driekleurige winde

Lobularia maritima

Sweet Alyssum, Sweet Alison

Alysson maritime

Sneeuwtapijt, Sneeuwkleed, Schildzaad

Coriandrum sativum

Coriander

Coriandre

Koriander

Rosa canina

Dog Rose

Églantier

Hondsroos

Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel

Fenouil commun

Venkel

Hedera helix

Common Ivy

Lierre grimpant, Lierre commun

Klimop

Chrysanthemum segetum

Glebionis segetum

Marguerite dorée, Chrysanthème des moissons

Gele ganzenbloem

Eschscholzia californica

California poppy

Pavot de Californie

Slaapmutsje

Anthriscus sylvestris

Cow Parsley, Wild Chervil, Wild Beaked Parsley, Keck

Cerfeuil sauvage, Cerfeuil des bois

Fluitenkruid

Phacelia tanacetifolia

Lacy Phacelia

Phacélie à feuilles de tanaisie

Phacelia

Prunus spinosa

Blackthorn, Sloe

Prunellier

Sleedoorn

Rubus fruticosus

Blackberry

Ronce commune, Mûrier sauvage

Gewone braam, Bosbraam

Fagopyrum esculentum

Buckwheat

Sarrasin

Boekweit

Scrophularia

Figwort

Scrophulaire

Helmkruid

Flowers for butterflies

Latin

English

French

Dutch

Aster

Aster

Aster

Aster

Aubrieta deltoidea

Common Aubrieta, Lilacbush, Wallcress

Aubriète

Gewone aubrieta

Buddleja

Buddleja, Buddleia

Buddleja, Buddleia

Buddleja, Buddleia

Buddleja davidii

Summer lilac, Butterfly-bush

Buddleia de David, Arbre aux papillons, Lilas d'été

Vlinderstruik

Cardamine pratensis

Cuckoo Flower, Lady's Smock

Cardamine des prés

Pinksterbloem

Erica

Heaths, Heathers

Bruyère

Dophei

Eupatorium cannabinum

Hemp-agrimony,

Eupatoire à feuilles de chanvre, Eupatoire chanvrine

Koninginnenkruid

Hyssopus officinalis

Herb Hyssop

Hysope

Hyssop, Hysop, Padde-kruid

Iberis umbellata

Globe candytuft

Tabouret lilas

Scheefbloem, Schermscheefbloem

Hesperis matronalis

Dame’s Rocket, Damask Violet, Dame’s Violet, Dames-wort, Dame’s Gilliflower, Night Scented Gilliflower, Queen’s Gilliflower, Rogue’s Gilliflower, Summer Lilac, Sweet Rocket, Mother-of-the-evening, Winter Gilliflower.

Julienne des dames

Damastbloem

Lavandula angustifolia

Common lavender, True lavender

Lavande vraie

Spijklavendel, Echte lavendel

Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'

Munstead Lavender

Lavande ‘Munstead’,

Lavendel 'Munstead'

Hedera helix

Common Ivy

Lierre grimpant, Lierre commun

Klimop

Mentha

Mentha, Mint

Menthe

Munt

Lunaria annua

Annual Honesty

Lunaire annuelle, Monnaie du pape

Judaspenning

Dianthus barbatus

Sweet William

Œillet de poète

Duizendschoon

Origanum vulgare

Oregano

Origan

Wilde marjolein, Oregano

Knautia arvensis

Field Scabious

Knautie des champs, Scabieuse des champs

Beemdkroon

Scabiosa columbaria

Pigeon scabious, Pincushion flower, Small scabious, Dove pincushion

Scabieuse colombaire

Duifkruid

Sedum spectabile, Hylotelephium spectabile

Showy stonecrop, Ice plant, Butterfly stone crop

Sédum remarquable

Roze hemelsleutel

Veronica

Veronica, Speedwell, Bird's eye, Gypsyweed

Véronique

Ereprijs

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Articles Thu, 25 Mar 2010 20:16:17 +0000
Bees for Biodiversity http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/40-bees-for-biodiversity http://sunbeams.eu/index.php/information/our-articles/item/40-bees-for-biodiversity

In our series on biodiversity, we will focus on bees this time. There are two major groups of bees: the honeybees, whom we all know, living in big communities and the solitary bees, less known and with a big variety of species (more on them later).

As you might know, all bees are crucial for humans, because they pollinate: if bees were extinct, it would take human kind another 4 years to disappear as well. The problem is we do not know where the tipping point is in the declining numbers among bees we see today. Even the causes are not always clear. Recent studies show that the general loss of biodiversity is a main factor, the excessive use of chemicals and climate change have all been mentioned in this regard. Hopeful news is reaching us, like the French government announcing a large scale project to plant wild flowers, the thriving of bees in towns, and the raised interest in beehive associations. There are also things you can do!

  1. Keep your garden or balcony free of chemicals;
  2. Plant a big variety of plant species;
  3. Give a piece of your garden/balcony to nature and plant some wild flowers (Sunbeams hands out and sells wild flower seeds, but they are of course also available in the good garden centres);
  4. Buy and grow organic or environmentally friendly as much as you can;
  5. Look for the “forgotten” and domestic species of fruit and vegetables (translations available on our website);
  6. Buy artisanal harvested honey (many minerals and vitamins + a low glycemic value), preferably organic (e.g. no antibiotics);
  7. Contact the local beehive association and get some bees on your property (you can even let them fly up vertically!); they can do the maintenance for you;
  8. Become a beehive keeper yourself;
  9. Ask your school, company or commune to do a project on bees or to install beehives;
  10. Place shelters for solitary bees: easy to make yourself or to order at online shops like www.vivara.be or www.natuurpunt.be;

Did you know bees keep the wasps away? Did you know bees are protected in Belgium? If a nest bothers you, only a beehive keeper is allowed take care of it and remove it.

The Sunbeams Team

This article can be found in the March 2010 edition of the Sunbeams Newsletter.

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Articles Thu, 25 Mar 2010 13:35:43 +0000