Creatively Supporting Our Health, Beauty, and Clean Homes
I don't know about you, but I have a hard time spending money on health, beauty, and cleaning products that contain a lot of ingredients whose names I can't pronounce, never mind be sure of their value and safety. So for years I have been interested in finding ways to stay healthy, look after my body, and clean my home using simple, natural ingredients. And when it boils down to it, it really feeds my creative nature! So today I thought we would explore just a few ways that we can create our own products that employ some basic elements that our Creator has given us with which to be creative -- and healthy. I know there are many ideas and resources available on the internet alone, but I'll share a few of the things I've made -- and perhaps you can share (in the comments) some of the things you've tried with success.
This post was actually inspired by a link that TOS's Nancy Carter shared on facebook recently: Cheap Ways to Cure Simple Ailments at Home. Having been plagued by an annoying tickle in my throat the last few days (especially at night), I have been drinking apple cider vinegar and water -- which really helps (I don't mind the taste just like that -- but the addition of honey makes it more palatable). But in the Econobuster's guest post, there was a recipe for a cough remedy that I decided to try -- and it worked :) (I haven't tried it for night time yet -- but it worked to treat the coughing fit I was having after church!) Here's the simple recipe:
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (I always use the unfiltered kind -- it's healthier)
2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar (I used stevia instead, though raw honey has some good health properties)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Just take a teaspoon of the mixture when you feel a cough coming on.
Essential oil of lavender
Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be applied "neat" -- or directly to the skin without a carrier oil. So for sunburns and other burns that happen in the course of life, I apply lavender multiple times until the wound is healed. Not only does it help heal, it prevents blistering and scarring.
While I'm on the topic of lavender, I might as well tell you that I also use it for treating bug bites, as well as repelling mosquitos, and for soothing minor abrasions and cuts (it has many cleansing and healing properties) -- and treating my dog's hot spots. We sometimes put it on our pillows to help induce sleep, as well as put a few drops in the bath for a calming effect. I also use it in my homemade beauty products -- but I'll get to that later.
Congestion Relief Vapour Rub:
1/2 cup carrier oil (olive, almond, grapeseed, melted coconut)
5 or more drops each of lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oils
Rub on chest and back.
a few ounces of grapeseed oil
5 or more drops each of lavender, rose (I use rosewood because that's what I have on hand), and geranium essential oils
I keep mine in a small, brown, glass bottle with a dropper insert. Shake before use and apply to face, then rinse with warm water and a cloth. (This is said to be an anti-aging cleanser! ;)
1 cup or less of water
10 or more drops of lavender oil
I store mine in a vinegar dispenser from the dollar store. Shake before use and apply to face after washing. Pat dry.
1/2 cup almond, grapeseed, or olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
essential oil(s) of your choice
Mix all with a spoon and keep in a small jar. Stir together and use in the shower, bath -- or even in the kitchen to remove odours from hands. (Essential oil of lemon is especially good for this.)
Any amount of virgin coconut oil (regular or descented -- it doesn't have to be the expensive kind) with a few drops of an essential oil that appeals to you (lavender and geranium are two that are good for the skin). Apply to the whole body, including the face (though I don't like using this on my face in the mornings because it's a little too oily. I just use it at night).
Brush with plain baking soda! :)
A small amount of a mild-smelling carrier oil (grapeseed or almond) with several drops of your favourite essential oil (or any pleasing combination) enables you to create your own signature perfume! (Note: little girls love doing this -- and it's safe for them to use:)
Baking soda is my favourite cleaner for toilets, sinks, and tubs. You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to make it smell nice, if you'd like. Just make sure to rinse well.
Any combination of cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, pine, tea tree, rosemary, thyme, grapefruit, and lime added to a spray bottle of water (I don't really count drops -- I just add stuff until I like the smell:) acts as an antiseptic and bactericide.
Any of the above bacteria busting oils can be added to a spray bottle of water and sprayed as a room freshener -- as can patchouli (my current favourite -- when it's sprayed with water, not smelled straight from the bottle). They can also be added to water in a diffuser (the kind that has a candle under a ceramic or metal "bowl"). (As an aside -- we always have an artificial Christmas tree, so I put essential oil of pine in a diffuser so we can get that fresh-cut scent:)
As you can tell, I'm rather fond of creating things with essential oils! Two of my favourite book resources for learning about how to use and combine oils are The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy and The Fragrant Pharmacy, both by Valerie Ann Worwood.
Have you created some delightful health, beauty, or cleaning products with safe and inexpensive resources? Please do share your discoveries! Also, if you know of any great resources along these lines, please do let us know :) And if you've never tried anything like this before -- I encourage you to start with something simple. You'll be amazed at how fun it can be to create in this way! Your children will enjoy being involved, too -- and it's safe for them to do so:)