Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer Soothers TIP #2: Insect Repellent

If you have ever read the ingredients in commercial insect repellent, you may wonder how you are not on the ground next to that mosquito who's legs are in the air. It is pretty toxic. Considering the skin is the biggest organ of our bodies, we need to be aware of what we are putting on it. It is estimated that 60% of everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream and therefore our organs.

A few years ago at our annual family reunion, the mosquito's were having a reunion themselves. The bites were abundant,except for my little family. We used a natural repellent made with essential oils (recipes to follow) and the only bites we received were where we forgot to spray. The great thing about all natural repellent is of course, it only benefits our skin and body and causes no harm. The other thing is-it smells good! I like to put it in a 6 oz spray bottle with a spritzer top. You could even do an industrial size in a big cleaning spray bottle. This blend I use works for mosquito's, ticks and other insects as well. As a bonus, rodents don't like it either!

Happy Camping Aromatherapy Repellent
Proportions are for 6 oz.

Distilled Water
60 drops Citronella Essential Oil
60 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
20 Drops Thyme Essential Oil

Mix well.

You can also mix the essential oils in an amber glass bottle and keep it on hand to make more spray when you need it. Spray all over exposed skin, and close eyes when spraying on face.

If you do get bit by some stronger than usual pest or one sneaks under your clothes and bites you were you didn't spray (don't laugh, we have documenation of this happening!;)) than I would apply Lavender essential oil directly on the bite. A few applications for the first day to keep the sting and itch away and as needed, if there is more itch or infection on subsequent days, keep applying. If you get bit by a bee or wasp, I will reccomend my mom's age old remedy. Make a paste out of baking soda and water (I of course add essential oils to this, but it is optional), remove the stinger with a credit card, or other object that works, and apply the paste. Leave on until it starts to crack and dry and reapply. Then apply essential oils. Comfrey Plantain Salve is also a wonderful thing to have on hand for bites and stings. Comfrey is known as nature's band aid and Plantain is anti-inflammatory and was such a popular and widely used herb for centuries that Chaucer and Shakespeare reference it in their works. There you have it!

Happy camping!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Soothers Tip #1

Question #1- What do I do for a sunburn?

The first thing you need to do is cool the body so that the dermal layers of skin do not continue to burn deeper. Keep in mind that sun is good for us, overexposure can be harmful and painful.

1. Take a luke warm bath. You do not want it cold or it can shock the body. A great neutralizer for the skin is baking soda, or himalayan salt. I would put one or both in the water as well. You also want to be drinking lots of room temperature water. Again, if you drink it cold, your stomach has to warm it up before it can use it. But, cold water is better than no water!

2. Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic Bragg's is the best) You want to see some sedimentary looking floaty stuff at the bottom to indicate that the ACV is good stuff. This is called the "mother", and just like your mother is important to you, this is important to good ACV! Put this in your bath, or swab the burned areas with it and let dry. ACV is a natural coolant and balances PH. It is also highly antibacterial and good food for the skin. It helps rehydrate and nourish.

3. Mix 100 drops of pure lavender essential oil with 2 oz. of good quality aloe vera gel. My favorite is Aloe Life. Shake it up well and roll it in your hands to warm it a bit so the oils disperse in the aloe. Apply to burned areas, often. This is key. The skin will continue to burn unless cooled. I would apply this every hour or so for the first 6 hours.

4. For rehydration of lost minerals, fresh young coconut water is the best.Click here: How to use young coconuts for your vibrant health! Second to that is bottled coconut water. This is full of electrolytes and minerals and replenishes depleted mineral stores better than anything I have ever used. You can usually get these at grocery stores, Asian markets or raw food cafes. I would also suggest the Inflease tincture from HerballyGrounded to work on the body from the inside out.

5.For continual healing Angel Oil from Herbally Grounded is fantastic. You can purchase this or make your own. Calendula oil is also amazing and is super easy to make. (see recipes below)

Angel Oil

1 part Lobelia Herb
2 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10 ml. Lavender Essential Oil

In a clean glass mason jar that has been cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, add lobelia and cover with the olive oil. Cap tightly and keep on counter. Shake every day for
1-2 weeks. Strain through washed (no softener) unbleached, cotton muslin, squeezing out as much oil as you can, which will leave a powdery looking dried herb that can be discarded. (I like to put it on my plants or add to compost) Put in clean bottle with squirt top. Add Lavender EO to it and shake well.

Calendula Oil

1 part Calendula
2 parts Extra Virgin Oilve Oil

Same process as above. Essential oils can also be added. I like Roman Chamomile and Lavender for sunburns. IF you have Helichrysum or Imortelle Essential oil it is an amazing skin healer.

All of this can safely be used on people of all ages.

PS... using a natural good quality sunscreen is of course foremost! :)

Summer Soothers

I have decided to do a running list of important things to have on hand for summer. Even if you are new to herbalism and essential oils, these things are easy to buy or prepare, and are worth having in your home or car for summer fun and travel. Plus, they work. When you think of it, what better things to use then the gifts nature has given us? More now than ever in my lifetime, natural remedies are "popular". They have always been popular with my family because of their efficiency and healing powers. My mission is to share my favorite remedies for a happy summer with you so that you too can enjoy what nature has to offer and see the benefits for yourself.

We are preparing to go on our annual family reunion. I am the family's official witch doctor and welcome the task! I start preparing my summer kit in spring, but never fear, there are many things you can buy prepared or start making now to still use. I welcome questions and will post answers to some in the actual blog so we can all learn from each other.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Frog in the throat....use this to coat.

My favorite little adopted sisters down at Herbally Grounded came up with this one. It is simple, soothing, and has worked for us everytime. We have used it for all things throat related. It tastes great too and the kids like it.

1 8 oz. bottle of water
1/2 cup Elderberry Syrup (found in your local health food store, if local-Herbally Grounded)
2 squirts or 2 tbsp. Agave nectar

Shake and drink throughout the day. You can make it in larger batches also.