The Apothecary for Skincare

THE APOTHECARY

  • AVOCADO OIL (Persea gratissima) – A nutrient-packed fruit is loaded with good fatty acids, proteins, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins A, D, and E. Especially helpful for mature skin. Organic.
  • BEESWAX (Cera Alba) – Protectant, helps keep moisture in the skin, high Vitamin A content. Raw, Organic.
  • ALOE (Aloe barbadensis) – Plumps and soothes skin, Vitamin & mineral rich. Organic.
  • AHA’S (Alpha hydroxy acids) – Exfoliator, increases blood flow to skin, balances and evens skin tone.
  • BLACKBERRY (Rubus fruticosus) – Blackberry is a rich source of Vitamin C which can help in collagen production and in reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles. It has an impressive amount of naturally occurring Vitamin E as well as essential fatty acids to deeply support the skin. It’s beautiful darker color is attributed to naturally occurring polyphenols.
  • BLUEBERRY (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Antioxidant. Helps promote the health of capillaries located just beneath the epidermis. Can help minimize redness.
  • CALENDULA (Calendula officinalis) – High Vitamin C content, collagen building. Organic.
  • CHAMOMILE (Matricaria chamomilla) – Anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • COMFREY (Symphytum officinale) – anti-inflammatory, soothes skin, Organic.
  • CRANBERRY (Vaccinum macrocarpon) – Contain resveratrol, high Vitamin C for collagen-building, antiseptic properties. Organic.
  • COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) – Soothes, reduces water loss in the skin, packed with nutrients.
  • COCOA BUTTER (Theobroma seed butter) – High in fatty acids, hydrates the skin deeply. Raw, Organic.
  • DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) – membrane stabilizer, improves skin tone. Vegan.
  • GERANIUM (Pelargonium asperum) – Helps improve skintone. Organic.
  • HONEY (Mel) – Moisturizing, antibacterial, raw and unprocessed from the Bodyceuticals Apiary. Non-treated hives. Certified pollinator is friendly.
  • HYALURONIC ACID (Sodium hyaluronate) – Helps to keep tissues hydrated and plump.
  • JOJOBA (Simmondsia Chinensis) – Soothing, gentle and deeply moisturizing for most all skin types. Organic.
  • KUKUI (Aleurites moluccana) – High in essential fatty acids,  readily absorbed, very moisturizing.
  • LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia) – Helps tissues to heal, lessens scarring. Organic
  • OLIVE (Olea europaea) – Highly effective transdermal carrier.   Organic, Kosher.
  • FRUIT STEM CELLS (Apple) – Help to rejuvenate aging skin and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Clinical trials show that with use, the skin has a more youthful and radiant appearance. Organic.
  • MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) – Helps to build collagen, assists with cell hydration.
  • NEEM (Azadirachta indica) – Often used for itchy, irritated skin, has antifungal properties and can provide improvement with scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • OAT STRAW (Avena sativa) – Rich in minerals. Organic.
  • PINK GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus paradisi) – High in Vitamin C, builds collagen. Fresh cold-pressed.
  • POMEGRANATE (Punica granatum) – contain sun protective compounds, helps reduce breakouts, show to improve hyperpigmentation.
  • ROSE (Rosa damascena) – Middle note, “flower of love”, farm-grown. Organic.
  • ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis) – Antioxidant, Anti-fungal.
  • RASPBERRY (Rubus Idaeus – Contain a high amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and rich in antioxidants. Can help tone skin. Organic.
  • ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Contains vitamin & minerals such as calcium, has cell regenerative properties, helps tighten sagging skin.
  • SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippophae rhamnoides) – High Vitamin C content and carotenoids, amino acids, minerals, vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas. Can help with redness and swelling. Organic.
  • SEAWEED (Laminaria digitata) – Rich in minerals and trace elements, high vitamin content, helps build elastin in the skin.  High quality from France.
  • SPEARMINT (Mentha spicata) – Pure, refreshing, restorative properties. Organic.
  • TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia) – Antibacterial, Antifungal. Organic.
  • VANILLA BEAN (Vanilla planifolia) – A source of B Vitamins, antibacterial, helpful in hair care, smells amazing.
  • STRAWBERRY (Fragaria Vesca) – Contains the antioxidant ellagic acid, which prevents collagen destruction—one of the major causes of wrinkle formation. Has a photoprotective effect. Organic
  • VITAMIN C – Naturally found in Calendula, protects and builds collagen.
  • VITAMIN E – Natural preservative, soothes sensitive skin. Non-GMO.

Can Essential Oils Reduce Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins or spider veins can arise from aging, pregnancy, or sitting down for too long. They also tend to run in families. Along with medical treatments, a person may want to try home remedies for varicose veins, including essential oils.

Varicose veins are larger-than-normal veins that commonly appear in the legs. They are raised and often twisted veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored. Sometimes, these veins can ache, swell, or itch.

There are several studies to suggest that essential oils, such as grapevine, lavender, or yarrow, may be able to reduce or shrink the appearance of varicose or spider veins. However, more research is needed in this area.

In this article, we look at the best oils to use and the evidence behind them. We also look at the causes and prevention of varicose veins, and other methods for reducing varicose veins.

Causes of varicose veins

Varicose veins on the leg.Varicose veins are common in the legs because veins in the legs are under the greatest pressure when returning blood to the heart.

Veins are responsible for returning blood that does not have oxygen back toward the heart. There are tiny valves periodically throughout the veins to stop the blood from flowing backward.

However, if these valves weaken or are damaged, blood can flow backward and pool. The result can be varicose veins.

Varicose veins most commonly appear in the legs because the leg veins are under the greatest pressure to return blood to the heart.

Several risk factors increase the likelihood a person will have varicose veins. These include:

  • getting older, as the valves in veins start to weaken over time
  • genetic history of family members with varicose veins
  • pregnancy, as the growing uterus places extra pressure on a person’s veins
  • being overweight
  • sitting down for long time periods
  • sun exposure, which mainly causes varicose veins on the face

Although varicose veins are not usually a major cause for concern, they can be irritating and sometimes painful. Sometimes, a person may experience sores or skin ulcers related to poor blood flow in the legs.

Five best essential oils for varicose veins

Essential oils are derived from plants, including flowers, herbs, or trees. These oils are often used for alternative therapies. The dosages and instructions that come with them are not regulated, so a person should talk to a doctor before they use essential oils.

Some of the essential oils that have been studied in relation to varicose veins and their symptoms, such as leg swelling, include:

1. Lavender essential oil

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL IN BOTTLE WITH FLOWER TO TREAT varicose veins.Lavender is a popular essential oil that may help to manage the symptoms of varicose veins.

Smelling lavender has been shown to help reduce pain, according to the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Lavender is thought to affect brain chemicals, such as serotonin and GABA, which are associated with pain relief.

Applying lavender to the skin may reduce pain and the size of skin ulcers when massaged on the feet or other affected areas.

2. Horse chestnut essential oil

Horse chestnut seed extract (HCSE) can be prepared as a topical gel, oral tincture, or tablet. It may be useful in reducing swelling, pain, and itchiness.

According to an article published in the journal Advances in Therapy, topical applications of HCSE helped to reduce varicose vein symptoms, including leg swelling, leg pain, itching, and heaviness.

While the method of action is not known exactly, HCSE is thought to keep the small sections of veins known as capillaries from breaking down.

3. Sea pine essential oil

Research has suggested that sea pine essential oil could reduce swelling, or edema, in a person’s legs.

Research from 2018 shows that sea pine bark essential oil, also known as maritime pine oil has anti-inflammatory action.

This study also found that sea pine bark oil was superior to horse chestnut extract for reducing edema related to chronic venous insufficiency that can cause varicose veins. However, this study only tested 40 people, so more research is needed.

4. Grapevine essential oil

Grapevine essential oil may reduce swelling in a person’s legs, including swelling related to varicose veins.

According to a study published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, taking red grapevine extract at dosages of 360 to 720 milligrams a day helped to reduce lower leg swelling related to weak blood flow through the veins, also called venous insufficiency, which is a common cause of varicose veins.

5. Yarrow essential oil

Essential oils extracted from the yarrow plant have been used traditionally for treating varicose veins. When a person applies yarrow to the skin above varicose veins, it may help to reduce their symptoms.

Other treatments

There are other treatments for varicose veins besides essential oils that people may wish to try.

Other treatments for varicose veins include:

  • Compression stockings. These are a common treatment for varicose veins as they improve blood circulation in the affected areas. People can buy them over the counter or online, and a doctor can prescribe stronger compression stockings when necessary.
  • Sclerotherapy. This treatment involves injecting chemicals into varicose veins that cause the veins to swell and seal shut. The veins may require several treatments to make sure they go away permanently.
  • Laser treatments. Laser treatments can help to treat varicose veins that are smaller than 3 millimeters in size.
  • Endovenous treatments. These methods are usually performed at a doctor’s office and involve inserting a small catheter into a vein and using heat to close off the affected vein. Because the varicose vein does not work well, to begin with, sealing it off does not usually cause significant side effects.
  • Surgical treatments. If varicose veins are very large and bothersome, a person may require surgery. This involves removing the veins in a procedure known as ligation and stripping.

Doctors are frequently inventing new treatments to treat varicose veins. However, varicose veins are normal, and if they are not causing a person significant symptoms and have no side effects, they usually do not require medical or invasive treatment.

Preventing varicose veins

Man walking dog outside on street.Exercising regularly and stretching the legs may help to prevent varicose veins.

Because genetics and hormones play a role in the development of varicose veins, it is not always possible to prevent them from forming. However, there are some steps a person can take to reduce their risk for varicose veins.

Possible steps for preventing varicose veins include:

  • Exercising regularly to improve circulation and promote the return of blood to the heart.
  • Dieting and exercising to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoiding crossing the legs if sitting for long periods, as this can reduce blood flow to the legs.
  • Taking frequent “walk breaks” to stimulate blood flow in the legs and throughout the body.
  • Wearing support stockings, which provide mild pressure to compress the legs and encourage blood flow to return.
  • Avoiding excessively tight clothing around the waist, groin, and upper legs, as this can restrict blood flowing back toward the heart.
  • Cutting back on salt, as excessive sodium can lead to swelling.

Risks of essential oils

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate essential oils. However, these oils do fall under the “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS classification.

To be safe, essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil before use. Put 3 to 5 drops of the essential oil in 3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil, coconut oil that has been warmed up, or olive oil and apply gently to the skin.

Essential oils do not often cause significant side effects, though they can be toxic when swallowed, leading to nausea and vomiting.

Applying essential oils to the skin may also cause allergic reactions or skin irritation in some people. A person should always do a patch test before they use the oil. This involves applying a small amount of essential oil to a small patch of skin and waiting overnight to test for swelling or allergic reactions.

Lastly, a person applying citrus oils may find that their skin becomes more sensitive to the sun.

Unless varicose veins cause medical problems for a person, they do not usually require invasive treatments.

If adding essential oils and leg massages do help a person experience reduced symptoms, then this can be of benefit.

A person should always talk to their doctor about using essential oils to treat varicose veins, and about other treatments if essential oils are not effective.

How to Make Aloe-Based Sweet Basil Hand Cleanser

Have you ever touched a surface that felt a little sticky or dirty, and then been unable to fully relax until you washed your hands or used a hand cleanser?

Sweet Basil essential oil knows the feeling!

For Sweet Basil, cleanliness and peace of mind tend to go hand in hand. It’s good at both inspiring mental clarity and helping to reduce germs so you feel healthy. You can make a hand cleanser with aloe vera gel and Sweet Basil essential oil that accomplishes both of these things, and use it anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to run and find the nearest sink!

This recipe also includes Tea Tree and Clary Sage essential oils. It has a clean, fresh, herbal scent.

Sweet Basil’s Super Fresh Hand Cleanser

  • 1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • 6 drops Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum linalol)
  • 9 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 3 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) bottle. Combine the aloe and essential oils, shake well, and use a small amount to rub into your hands and cleanse them, even when you don’t have a sink and soap nearby.

Aloe-based hand cleanser is so convenient, and it doesn’t tend to dry out skin as much as alcohol-based cleansers can. You can even make a version of this blend for kids—it’s very easy for children who are over five years old to use, and can help them stay healthy at school or daycare.

Here’s a version with a low kid-friendly drop count:

  • 1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • 2 drops Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum linalol)
  • 3 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 1 drop Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

Once you’ve made your first aloe-based hand cleanser, you might get inspired and want to make more!

Essential Oil Hand Cleanser for Kids

This essential oil hand cleanser uses skin-nourishing ingredients, including aloe vera gel, so it’s gentler than alcohol-based hand sanitizers you can find in stores.

I know a lot of parents and caretakers who are big fans of this hand cleanser. They like that it’s natural and that kids can keep it with them and use it on their own without having to ask a grown-up. It’s so empowering for kids and it helps keep their hands clean—a great combination!

This recipe is just right for kids who are at least five years old. You can make it in a 2 oz (60 ml) PET plastic bottle, which is small enough to fit in a child’s backpack or bag without taking up too much space. The PET plastic is very strong and won’t break with rough use. (PET plastic is known as a non-reactive plastic that doesn’t leach. In cases where glass isn’t ideal, PET plastic is a good choice.)

My Hands Are Clean!

  • Just under 2 oz (60 ml) Aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • 2 ml Solubol dispersant
  • 4 drops Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 2 drops Cedarwood essential oil (Juniperus virginiana)

To make it, combine all the ingredients together in the PET plastic bottle. Screw on the lid and shake it gently.

To use it, just spray some essential oil hand cleanser into your palm, and rub your hands together. It feels so good when your skin is dry! I like to use my aloe-based hand cleansers as moisturizers too. (I love that so many Aromatherapy products we can make have multiple uses!)

For kids younger than five, or if you don’t want to use essential oils, you can make a hand cleanser with pure hydrosols.

My Little Hands Are Clean Too!

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Peppermint hydrosol (Mentha x piperita)
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Lavender hydrosol (Lavandula angustifolia)

This one doesn’t double as a hand moisturizer . . . but it can double as a surface cleaner in a pinch! It’s great to have “on hand” (haha!) when you’re eating at a restaurant and want to wipe down the table top.

There are different approaches to using essential oils with little children. The Aromahead Approach for kids under five is extra cautious. For topical use, we prefer to use hydrosols, butters and carrier oils.

Babies’ and young children’s skin can be so sensitive that essential oils can easily become overwhelming for them. Hydrosols, butters, and carrier oils can often give a child the nudge they need toward rebalancing their health

I recommend making these blends fresh every few weeks.

Hungary Water, Lavender Washes and More…

Lavender Antiseptic Wash.
This is a favorite treatment for eczema, cuts, acne and minor burns.
Take a good handful of the flowers and boil together with half a liter of water for ten minutes. Filter and allow to cool before using.
Since Roman days this has been used in hot baths, to relax the body, and it is known to have a marked effect on the peripheral nervous system. It has also been widely used as a gargle for sore throats and sore or infected gums, due to its antiseptic properties and relaxant effect on the nervous system.
Hungary Water.
1-gallon brandy or clear spirits {equal to 16 cups}
1 handful of rosemary
1 handful of lavender
1 handful myrtle
Handfuls are measured by cutting branches of the herbs twelve inches long. A handful is the number of such branches that can be held in the hand. After measuring, the branches should be cut up into one-inch pieces, and put to infuse in the brandy. You will then have the finest Hungary Water that can be made.
Soothing Massage Oil.
1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil
Dried pot marigold petals
12 drops essential oil of rose geranium
12 drops essential oil of lavender
10 drops essential pine oil or oil of cypress
Place the safflower oil in a glass jar and add as many freshly dried pot marigold petals as possible.
Cap the bottle and place in the sun for 4-5 days. Filter off the petals and squeeze out any retained oil from them before discarding. The oil will now be deep orange and fully charged with the active healing principles of calendula. Mix the other essential oils into the infused oil of marigold, bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Hungary Water{2}

Rosemary reinvigorates. As the legend goes, at age seventy-two, Queen Isabel of Hungary was crippled by gout and rheumatism. Her master herbalist concocted a reviving water for her, originally only with the intent of relieving her physical pain. The water was administered in daily vigorous massage. Not only was she soon moving, dancing as well, her former beauty and youthful aura was also revived. Hungary Water has been popular ever since. The original 14th-century formula called for one-and-a-half pounds of fresh flowering rosemary tops added to one gallon of alcohol and distilled. Should you happen to have distilling equipment, you can experiment with that, but modern versions also proliferate. Here’s one formula:

1 ounce infused water of dried rosemary and vervain

4 drops essential oil of rosemary

4 drops essential oil of May Chang

2 drops essential oil of German or Hungarian chamomile

2 drops essential oil of peppermint

1 drops essential oil of neroli

8 ounces vodka or other scent-free alcohol

1-ounce orange blossom water

1- ounce rose water

  • Make the herbal infused water by placing equal proportions of dried vervain and rosemary in a metal bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Steep for 15 minutes and strain out the botanical material.
  • Blend the essential oils and add them to the vodka in an airtight bottle.
  • Next, add the infused flower waters. Shake vigorously.
  • Ideally, this beauty potion should now be allowed to mature for 6 months {giving the bottle a good shake every week} to gain full strength, however as it’s pretty hard to wait that long, give it as long as you can.

Although it lacks a historical tale to equal Hungary Water, the following bath formula can be prepared quickly and simply, perfect for when you just want to feel {and maybe appear!} a little younger. Rosemary and patchouli are both plants of profound psychic power: Both are reputed to ease the physical signs of aging as well as helping to maintain a youthful heart.

Both have powerful aromas. Adjust the formula to please your nose. You can also use this formula for bath salts, a salt scrub or body oil.

Four Thieves Vinegar

This recipe came from my Great Grandmother’s Journal.

Four Thieves Vinegar.
This antiseptic vinegar is attributed to a gang of four thieves who robbed the bodies of victims of the plague in Marseilles in 1722. They washed their bodies with it, frequently disinfecting their hands, and sprinkled it on their clothes and around their houses. It is said that all four survived without infection.
Actually, it is not surprising that this famous aromatic vinegar was so successful. Many of its ingredients are among the most powerful natural antibiotics in the world. Another case of empirically gained knowledge long preceding that obtained by scientific investigation.
*Infuse garlic cloves, lavender flowers, rosemary, sage, calamus root, mint, wormwood, rue, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a glass flagon of wine vinegar and leave sealed in the sun for 3-4 weeks to release the powerfully antibiotic oils into the vinegar. Filter, pour into smaller bottles, add a little camphor and seal until ready for use.

A Herbal Ritual: Bath Therapy

When building your herbal apothecary, many people do not consider adding classic beauty products like floral toners, infused oils, bath salts, or luxurious lotions–but beauty care is an integral part of healing. Just as tinctures and teas can promote healthy digestion and relaxation,* herbal self-care rituals encourage whole body wellness and nourish the spirit. For example, golden calendula flowers infused in oils can promote a radiant complexion and the simple addition of lavender essential oil to baths can relax the spirit. And while these spa-like practices and products may seem more indulgent than necessary on the surface, we believe in the wisdom of age-old rituals when it comes to wellness.

Bathing is actually an ancient therapeutic practice called balneotherapy. Romans recognized the importance of water therapy and even provided public bathhouses for citizens. Ayurvedic healers use steams, baths, and cold water plunges to maintain health based on your constitution–also known as doshas—and promote circulation.* Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.

Herbs and oils have long been combined with bath therapy to relax the mind, soothe sore muscles, and promote supple skin.* These days, many bath products and cosmetics include harmful ingredients, like heavy metals and toxic carcinogens. Even worse, some commonly used products are also tested on animals. Verifying with The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics is a great way to ensure the quality of your favorite products, and we highly recommend checking labels to make sure they are made cruelty-free. While more and more companies are selling ethically made or sourced natural products, it’s often more satisfying to make products yourself. We’ve crafted two herbal bath recipes that are simple and soothing: our Spring Tea Bath Blend and our Flower-Powered Sea Salts.

Flower-Powered Sea Salts

A relaxing blend to calm your nerves and soothe sore muscles.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: 5 jars

Materials:

  • 5 six-ounce jars
  • Labels
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil (or healthy oil of choice, like jojoba or sesame oil)
  • ½ cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup coarsely ground, Kosher sea salt
  • 1 cup Epsom salt
  • 4-6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of Moroccan blue chamomile oil

Instructions:

  1. Start by blending the dry ingredients together in the large bowl, then slowly pour in the almond and essential oils while stirring.
  2. Add the mixture to the jars, and label them with their ingredients and the date crafted.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons to each bath to enjoy a deep state of calm.

Spring Tea Bath

An aromatic herbal blend to support your lymphatic system and nourish your skin.

Time: 5-10 minutes

Servings: Enough for five baths

Materials:

  • Five 5” x 7” sized muslin bags or cheesecloth
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Spoon for mixing
  • Cooking twine or cotton string (if using cheesecloth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried lavender flowers
  • 1 cup dried rose petals
  • 1 cup dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 cup dried calendula petals
  • 1 cup dried red clover blossoms

Instructions:

  1. Pour flowers into a mixing bowl and blend them together.
  2. Fill each muslin bag with the flower mixture or use cheesecloth and twine to create a small pouch.
  3. Tie shut and use one bag per bath. The bag can be tied to the water spout for the hot water to run through, or simply placed in the tub to float like a tea bag in an infusion.

Whether you are drawing a bath infused with medicinal herbs or lathering on a natural and nourishing lotion, these healthy habits are fundamental to whole body wellness. In this busy era, it can often be hard to fully show up for ourselves and commit to these simple acts of self-love. When we weave herbs into wellness, these practices become even more enticing, like a sweet treat we want to indulge in again and again.

Keep in mind that healthy skin and healthy bodies are also fueled by whole foods, proper hydration, and regular sleep. For more natural beauty care tips, check out Stephanie Tourles’s Organic Body Care Recipes or Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbs for Natural Beauty.

Good Night Beauty Regime

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of your beauty regimen and does more for your good looks than the best balm or treatment. While you sleep, blood continuously replenishes your skin, giving it a rosy glow. A well-rested complexion is also less prone to breakouts. Of course, night time is also the right time to treat your body to some extra conditioning and moisture.
Here are a few recipes to try that you can use right before you get in bed.
Night Time Lotion
This rich lotion is packed with oils and vitamins. Massage it into your body and face before going to bed at night and you’ll wake up with soft, smooth skin that looks and feels amazing. Make sure to remove any jewelry and wash your skin before applying it.
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon wheat germ oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax
In a glass container, dissolve baking soda in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish, mix the oils and wax together and heat gently {use the stove-top or microwave} until wax is melted. Heat the soda-water mixture but do not boil and then pour it into a blender. Blend on slow speed, slowly adding the oil-wax mixture in a steady stream. Mix well and transfer to a heat-resistant container. Allow the mixture to cool. {The lotion will thicken as it cools.} Yield: 6 ounces
Lullaby Massage Oil
With lavender and chamomile in the mix, this massage oil is the perfect cure for a bad case of insomnia. The almond oil conditions skin.
1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
5 drops essential oil of Lavender
Place chamomile flowers in a small saucepan and pour the almond oil over them. Gently warm the oil for a few minutes, but do not boil. Allow the oil to cool; then strain out the flowers. Add the lavender essential oil and pour into a clean bottle.
To use: Slowly massage a small amount onto dry skin or tired muscles. Yield: 4 ounces
Relaxing Lavender Bath
This is the perfect herbal bath to ease your mind and body after a full day. Along with lavender, it contains oatmeal and baking soda to soothe dry, sensitive skin. Substitute dried chamomile for the lavender in this recipe if you prefer.
1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup baking soda
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until you have a smooth, fine powder. 
To use: Pour 1/2 cup into your bath as you fill the tub. Yield: 28 ounces
Eye Rest Pillows
These pretty silk pillows are simple to make and offer an effective way to ease eye strain and relax at the end of the day. You can find flax seeds at most grocery and natural food stores. If you can’t find silk fabric, try using old scarves.
2 rectangle pieces of silky material, 5″ x 9″
1 cup flaxseeds
1 tablespoon dried lavender
Stitch the material together to form a small sack, and fill it with flax seeds and lavender. Stitch the remaining end closed.
To use: Lie down with the pillow over your eyes. To calm inflamed skin, cool the pillow by placing it in the refrigerator.
Evening Nail Oil
Massage this rich combination of natural oils onto your nails before going to bed to strengthen and condition them. Do this regularly and you’ll see improvements in a few short weeks even with dry, cracked nails. Find liquid lecithin at your local natural food store.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
 To use: Dab a small amount on your fingers and rub thoroughly into your nails. Yield: 1/2 ounce
Tips for a Good Night’s Rest
 
* Stick to a sleep schedule to keep your biological clock in sync.
* Avoid late dinners.
* Exercise at least four times a week, but avoid workouts close to bedtime.
* Use your bedroom only for sleep, not for surfing the web or work.
* Practice a sleep ritual like a warm bath, reading, or listening to music before going to bed.

Creative Organic Green ~ Detox For Your Home

Winter is the time of year that we start eating heavier and detoxing. It’s time for winter cleaning of body, mind, and home! While there is a lot of focus on what we eat, often not enough attention is paid to how we clean our homes… Making sure that all of your household cleaning products are naturally-derived is extremely important – especially if you have children. The products we use every day may give off toxins that we then breathe in or absorb through our skin. They may also pollute the air in our environment. Studies have shown that environmental toxicity is a contributor to many conditions such as autoimmune disease, heart disease and even cancer(1). The chemicals found in many common household cleaners are carcinogens which mean that they can cause cancer. Bleach and ammonia are highly toxic and, when mixed together, they are a lethal combination(2).  Other chemicals which are hormone and endocrine disruptors are glycol ethers and phthalates (3) so it’s important to be able to identify every ingredient on a label that you are using in your home. If you can’t identify it, don’t use it. With just a few simple ingredients, including some wonderfully fragrant essential oils, you can disinfect and clean, as well as rid your home of bacteria, mold, viruses, unpleasant odors, and dust mites.

As a caution, when you buy essential oils you should beware of anything that says “fragrance added.” If it does not say “100% (pure) essential oils” then the ingredient is synthetic. Most of the fragrance used in household cleaning products and deodorizers are synthetic. There is nothing natural about them and they are harmful to your health. Essential oils are great for the home since they are non-toxic and they possess many therapeutic properties that will benefit you for a clean healthy home. They are antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal – and of course, they smell great.

These are some recipes I created to get you through all your spring cleaning. I use sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) in all three recipes so you don’t have to go out and buy too many essential oils; however, I am also giving you a list of essential oils you can substitute.The citrus oils are all antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal so you can replace orange oil with lemon (Citrus limon), grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) or lime (Citrus aurantifolia) essential oil.

It’s also fun to experiment and mix scents that you like. It might even make you enjoy cleaning!

General All-purpose Cleaner

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Lemon is one of the most popular citrus fruits in the world. It is extracted from the rind of the fruit. It is antiseptic, a disinfectant, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, making it a great all-purpose household cleaner. It was even used during World War I as a disinfectant in hospitals. Lemon essential oil is calming but it is also refreshing to the mind, as it helps lift negative emotions. It is believed that inhaling lemon essential oil helps to increase concentration and alertness; therefore, it can be a great room freshener in offices.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

Orange Sweet is a citrus essential oil that is extracted from the rind of the orange. It is antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. It is also very uplifting for your mood, making it a good scent to have in any home. Sweet orange essential oil is an excellent degreaser and cleaner due to an ingredient called, d-Limonene. A study conducted by The University of Arkansas and Colorado State University found that Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis var. valencia) essential oil inhibited E. Coli and Salmonella during the refrigeration process of beef(3). It also inhibited Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is a deadly staph infection(4).

 

Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

Peppermint essential oil is extracted from the leaves of a herb. It is a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica). It is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic. Bugs tend not to like it, so it is a good choice to add to an all-purpose aromatherapy blend around the house.

 

White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar is one of the best cleaning ingredients for the home since it is a natural disinfectant. It can help to kill mold, bacteria, and viruses. In addition, it is very inexpensive.

 

Directions for Use:

You will need a sixteen-ounce size spray bottle.

 

Essential Oils:

20 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

30 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

15 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water.  I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent, from time to time you can substitute with lime, grapefruit, eucalyptus (Eucaplyptusspp.), clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).

You can use this blend as a general cleaner for your kitchen, especially for the countertops, refrigerator, cabinets and even wood surfaces.

Window Cleaner

I like using an eight-ounce size bottle since it’s smaller and easier to handle and it will fit in any cabinet. If you want to make a sixteen-ounce bottle, just double up the recipe.

 

Essential Oils:

3 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

3 drops Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

White Distilled Vinegar*

Distilled Water*

*Fill the remaining bottle with a 50/50 combination of white vinegar and distilled water. I prefer distilled water but if you don’t have distilled water, you can use filtered water. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use because the essential oils and water will separate. If you want to change the scent from time to time, you can substitute lemon with lime, grapefruit or orange.

Bath and Sink Scrub

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove essential oil is extracted from the buds of the clove plant. It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic and antiviral, making it a great choice for cleaning tubs and sinks.

 

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

 

Pure Liquid Castile Soap

Make sure that your soap is pure Castile. I use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap because for over 150 years it has been a family-run business and the quality of the product is never comprised for profit. The soap is pure and organic, with no dyes, whiteners or synthetic fragrances. The bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic so you are doing something good for the environment. They are available in different scents such as orange, sweet almond (Prunis Dulcis), eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and lemon, and the soap blends perfectly with essential oils. You should have this product in your home as it has so many uses and can replace many products. I also use it as a hand and body wash, and shampoo – and you can even wash floors and clothes with it.

 

Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)

Baking soda is right up there with vinegar as a cleaning superstar! It is non-toxic, absorbs odor, and it is great for sinks and tubs due to its abrasive texture. It has many uses in the home – from brushing your teeth to shining silver. I never use toxic oven cleaners. Instead, I mix baking soda and water to get rid of spills in my oven. You can rub it on with a soft cloth or leave some on the spills overnight and then wash it the next day.

Use a twelve-ounce glass jar with an airtight clamp lid or a screw top.

 

Essential Oils:

5 drops Clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum)

5 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ cup Pure Liquid Castile Soap*

½ cup Baking Soda*

*I mix equal parts of baking soda and castile soap to make a paste. If you want to make a bigger batch just double-up the recipe. Add the baking soda and castile soap to the jar, then add the essential oils. Once you have all of the ingredients in the jar, mix it together with a spoon or spatula. You can apply a small amount to a cloth or sponge to clean.

As the seasons change, or you just want to try a different aroma, you can use ten drops of any of the following essential oils, or just mix two essential oils together. They all have antiseptic, disinfectant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

 

• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

• Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus globulus)

• Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis)

• Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)

• Lemon (Citrus limon)

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

 

Wood Cleaner

Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)

Olive oil moisturizes dry wood and gives it a shine.

White Distilled Vinegar

See above description under General All-purpose Cleaner

You will need a two-ounce flip top bottle.

 

Essential Oil:

15 drops Orange Sweet (Citrus sinensis)

½ ounce of White Distilled Vinegar

Olive Oil (Olea europaea)*

*Fill the remaining bottle with olive oil. Once you have all of the ingredients in the bottle, shake it prior to every use. Put about a tablespoon on a soft cloth and wipe down the wood. Apply more as needed.

7 Essential Oils for Allergies

Essential oils are among the most popular natural remedies for allergies. These concentrated aromatic liquids are distilled from plants and have been used therapeutically for centuries.

Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, affecting approximately 50 million people. While there is no cure for allergies, there are several ways that allergy symptoms can be managed.

This article lists the most effective essential oils for relief of the symptoms of seasonal allergies and skin allergies and suggests some ways to incorporate essential oils into your allergy treatment regimen.

Fast facts on essential oils for allergies:

  • Although considered a natural product, this does not mean they are always safe.
  • Seasonal allergies can affect people during summer or winter, or all-year round.
  •  Eczema, dermatitis, and hives are some of the most common skin allergies.

Seasonal allergies

Bottle of peppermint essential oil with blooming peppermint leavesPeppermint oil may help to relax the muscles that cause coughing.

Symptoms of these conditions include watery eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and chest congestion. People with these allergy symptoms may wish to try the following oils:

1. Peppermint

2010 study, although on animals, found that peppermint oil has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle, which helps to reduce the contractions that cause coughing.

According to other research, the oil may also help treat anxiety and mental fatigue, symptoms that are often experienced by allergy sufferers.

2. Frankincense

Frankincense is another oil that reduces inflammatory activity in the body. One study reports that frankincense exhibits anti-inflammatory effects in bronchitis, which causes inflammation of the airways, and sinus infections. It may also be beneficial for people with asthma.

3. Eucalyptus

Research suggests that using a blend of oils, including eucalyptus, for infections of the upper respiratory tract leads to a significant and immediate improvement in symptoms. Participants reported a reduction in hoarseness, cough, and sore throat.

The essential oil blend used in the study contained Eucalyptus citriodoraEucalyptus globulus, peppermint, Syrian oregano, and rosemary.

4. Lemon

In one study, it was found that a lemon-based nasal spray helped in the treatment of perennial and seasonal allergic rhinitis. Lemon essential oil can also inhibit bacterial activity.

It is not recommended to apply citrus-based essential oils to the skin before exposure to the sun. These oils can cause the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight, increasing the risk of harmful blistering or burning.

Skin allergies

Lavender oil bottle with pipette taking oil from it.Lavender oil can support sleep, which may be disrupted by the symptoms of allergies.

Symptoms caused by skin allergies include swelling, itching, and redness.

It is advisable to consult a doctor first and then proceed with caution when using the following essential oils for skin allergies:

5. Lavender

Lavender naturally quells inflammation, inhibits anxiety, and encourages a deep sleep, all of which can benefit people with allergies.

Lavender is an especially good option for skin allergies, as it is gentle on the skin and calms irritation, with research indicating that it speeds up healing. The oil can be applied directly to the skin, or added to baths, lotions, and other skin products.

6. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has proven antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. It also reduces inflammation, with research finding that tea tree oil applied topically significantly decreases swelling from histamine-induced skin inflammation when compared to paraffin oil.

It must be noted that, due to its potency, tea tree oil may induce allergic contact dermatitis in some people. Also, the oil should only be used topically and should not be ingested.

7. Chamomile oil

In a review of the properties of chamomile oil, it was reported that chamomile is an effective anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat skin conditions, inflammation of the mucous membranes, and symptoms of sinusitis.

It may also relieve the itching and swelling associated with eczema when mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically.

How to use essential oils for allergies

Essential oil burner for diffusion aromatherapyEssential oil burners can diffuse the oil, helping to clear respiratory congestion or irritation.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways to treat allergies. Some of the most popular include:

Diffusion

Add a few drops of the oil or oils to a plug-in diffuser or oil burner. This method is especially beneficial for treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies, as well as other respiratory conditions.

Direct inhalation

Essential oils can be breathed directly from the bottle or by putting a drop or two on a handkerchief.

People with seasonal allergies may relieve congestion by adding a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water and breathing in the vapors. For nighttime allergy relief, a person can add 5 drops of essential oil to their pillow.

Topical application

People with skin allergies and symptoms such as itching, hives, and rashes can apply the oil to their skin.

Most oils should be mixed with a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond oil before application. A ratio of 2 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil is recommended.

Take care when applying lemon essential oil or other citrus-based oils to the skin, as they are sun and light sensitive and cause discoloration of the skin.

Targeting allergens

Some oils, such as lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree, can help kill molds and dust mites, both of which are common allergens that trigger symptoms.

To do this, a person should add 20 drops of essential oil and a tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of water. The mixture can then be used to spray on bathroom fittings and other areas prone to mold, and on to mattresses and other textiles to kill dust mites.

Always do a patch test and wait 24 hours before spraying on larger areas of fabric.

Potential risks and side effects

People should bear in mind the following guidelines when using essential oils:

  • Always choose high-quality oils from a reputable source.
  • Follow the instructions for use carefully.
  • Do not apply undiluted oils to the skin.
  • Do not take essential oils internally.
  • Children and pregnant and breastfeeding women should only use essential oils under the guidance of a qualified professional.
  • Always do a skin test for allergic reactions before applying to larger areas. If none occurs after 24 hours, it should be safe to use. Each essential oil must be tested separately.
  • It is advisable to speak to a doctor before beginning treatment with essential oils.

Essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so should be used with caution.

Flavors of Fall – Vitality Extracts

DIY: All-Natural Homemade Bug Repellent Recipe

Source: Flavors of Fall – Vitality Extracts

Shorter days, cooler temps, and more time indoors are signs that autumn is settling in. It’s a time for family gatherings, cozying indoors, and warm & rich scents like apple cider, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon.

Fall Freshness
Invigorating and cleansing, yet calming.
◇ 4 drops Lemon
 Oil
◇ 3 drops Lavender
 Oil
◇ 3 drops Rosemary Oil
Fall Wellness
Keep yourself feeling healthy and energetic during the coming months.
◇ 3 drops Cinnamon
 Oil
◇ 2 drops Clove
 Oil
◇ 2 drops Eucalyptus
 Oil
◇ 2 drops Lemon Oil

◇ 1 drop Rosemary Oil
lemons in box
pumpkin latte 2

Double Lavender Roll-On Muscle Oil

Lavender and Spike Lavender are both excellent for soothing pain, with Spike Lavender being more energizing—it’s often used to soothe sore muscles during the day when you want to keep moving instead of lying back to relax.

Double Lavender Roll-On Muscle Oil

  • 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis)
  • 8 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 8 drops Spike Lavender essential oil (Lavandula latifolia)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass roll-on bottle. Combine the ingredients, snap the roller top into place, and shake. When muscles feel tight and achy, roll on this blend and Massage away. It works great when you have a cramp or strain.