- Cayenne pepper
- Juice ½-1 whole lemon
- Juice 1-inch piece of ginger
- Add a dash or two of cayenne pepper
I love essential oils. You can cook, clean and improve your health both physically and mentally. The cost can seem a little daunting at first, but remember you literally use it by the drop which takes a little getting used to. You will be amazed at the literally hundreds of things that you can do with the 5 oils listed here. You’ll also find that you can use one mixture for several different things. For example, I keep a spray bottle with 1 part apple cider vinegar, 4 parts water and about 10 drops of lavender oil. After I shampoo, I towel off the excess water and spray my hair with that mixture as a conditioner, and the results are amazing (especially if you shampoo with baking soda). I also use that same spray bottle to replace products like Febreeze and Oust. Both chemical laden making them not so great to touch or breathe and are expensive too. My mixture costs pennies, it’s safe around children, pets & Grandma and I don’t have to spot test fabrics either. That very same mixture works great in my carpet cleaner too, although I use white vinegar for the carpets. I choose lavender because I like the smell but you can choose whatever essential oil appeals most to you. Even just few drops of essential oils on your furnace filter will have you in a better mood in a matter of minutes! Try sweet orange & clove, cinnamon & nutmeg or fir around the holidays, lemon for the first of spring, sweet basil for summer… it’s all up to you.
Just a few basic principles to remember when dealing with essential oils:
Tea tree essential oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral as well as an immune stimulant. Think about that one for a minute. Think of all the chemicals you buy right now to accomplish all those things in your home.
It can be added to homemade cleaning spray (or as I like to call it, vinegar, baking soda or castile soap and water) to kill germs around the house without the harmful side effects of commercial cleaners.
Diffused during cold and flu season to replace products like Lysol to keep your home and family healthy and germ free.
A few drops mixed with coconut oil makes a perfect homemade antibiotic ointment.
Traditional uses include skin issues such as athlete’s foot, chicken pox, corns, warts, acne and boils, infected burns, scrapes, wounds, insect bites and stings. Internally it can be used for things such as cystitis, mononucleosis and post viral fatigue, ring worm, sinusitis, oral infections, gum disease and sore throats, as well as topical and vaginal yeast infections, warts, whooping cough….
Lavender essential oil is great for soothing – both the nerves and your skin.
I keep a glass spray bottle with witch hazel and lavender oil as hand sanitizer, it also doubles as first aid spray.
Use lavender oil on burns, behind the ears to soothe earaches or on the temples or back of the neck for headache.
5 drops in a hot bath with a half cup of Epsom salts and your muscle aches are a thing of the past.
Diffusing lavender aromatically before bed works to induce peaceful sleep, or put a few drops of oil on your pillow under the pillow case.
Lavender essential oil is also safe for use on babies – as long as it’s pure and diluted, of course. I like to use it and tea tree essential oil in homemade diaper rash ointment.
Additional uses include: acne, allergies, anxiety, asthma, athlete’s foot, bruises, burns, chicken pox, colic, cuts, cystitis, depression, dermatitis, flatulence, insect bites, insect repellent, itching, labor pains, migraine, scabies, scars, sprains, stretch marks, vertigo, whooping cough… the list goes on.
Peppermint essential oil is antibacterial, analgesic/anesthetic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
It’s also refreshing and cooling and great to use in the summer time when you’re too hot. To help cool off, dilute 3 drops of peppermint essential oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil (or other carrier oil) and apply to the back of your neck and chest and the undersides of your forearms.
On that same note, the very same mixture can also be as a sore muscle rub or used on your forehead and temples for headaches. It’s an instant ice pack. (Caution: don’t get it in your eyes! Trust me when I tell you, it’s not a great feeling and will completely derail your day.)
As an inhalant or diffused it will help open breathing and congestion due to a cold as well as if it’s mixed with a carrier oil and rubbed on the feet then put socks on.
Peppermint is also used for asthma, colic, exhaustion, fever, flatulence, headache, nausea, scabies, sinusitis and vertigo as well.
Lemon essential oil is very handy for cleaning and as a degreaser.
Hands sticky from the wood pile? Need to remove one of those super sticky labels? Kids like to play with clay on the table? Just a drop or two will get the funky residue off in no time.
Add a few drops to dish water to help cut grease on dishes.
Mix a few drops with 3 parts olive or vegetable oil and 1 part white vinegar and I promise you’ll never buy Pledge for your wood furniture again.
For a stinky fridge, add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a cup of baking soda and let it hang out in there to absorb odor.
Combine one part water to one part vinegar in a glass spray bottle with 10 drops of lemon essential oils as a deodorizing spray for my wooden cutting board.
A drop or two in a glass of hot water with a pinch of sea salt makes a great sore throat gargle, to treat canker sores or gingivitis.
A few drops in a half cup of local honey works wonders to soothe your throat during a cold too.
Other uses include: athlete’s foot, chilblains, colds, corns, dull skin, flu, oily skin, spots, varicose veins, warts, just to name a few.
Eucalyptus is most recognized for breathing issues but as an essential oil its antiseptic properties make it a great addition to DIY cleaning recipes. A couple squirts of liquid castile soap and 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to mop water and you’ll be amazed!
A spray of water and eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle will clean both yoga mats and hardwood floors.
A few drops on the dog’s bed will help keep away fleas.
Mix some eucalyptus oil with a little castile soap and give your pets a flea bath. Follow up by mixing eucalyptus oil with carrier oil and give your pets a massage. They’ll enjoy the attention, the oil will be great for their skin and coat and it’ll keep your home flea free. Make sure to work it down to the skin where pests hide.
Eucalyptus is also a great expectorant and can be diffused in the air when you have respiratory issues. You can also add a drop or two to a tablespoon of coconut oil to massage on your chest and back to help you breathe better during a cold or again on the feet and covered with socks.
Massaging joints can help to relieve rheumatic joints, pain and stiffness as well as to aid in circulations
The next time you experience a cold or the flu, remember this: rather than take conventional drugs to suppress uncomfortable symptoms, it’s better for your health to allow the cold or flu to run its course while you get plenty of physical and emotional rest.
Conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry would have you believe that there is no “cure” for the common cold, that you should protect yourself against the flu with a vaccine that is laden with toxic chemicals, and that during the midst of a cold or flu, it is favorable to ease your discomfort with a variety of medications that can suppress your symptoms.
Unfortunately, all three of these positions indicate a lack of understanding of what colds and flus really are, and what they do for your body.
Colds and flus are caused by viruses. So to understand what colds and flus do at a cellular level, you have to understand what viruses do at a cellular level.
Do you remember learning about cellular division in grade seven science class? Each of your cells are called parent cells, and through processes of genetic duplication (mitosis) and cellular division (cytokinesis), each of your parent cells divides into two daughter cells. Each daughter cell is then considered a parent cell that will divide into two more daughter cells, and so on.
Viruses are different from your cells in that they cannot duplicate themselves through mitosis and cytokinesis. Viruses are nothing but microscopic particles of genetic material, each coated by a thin layer of protein.
Due to their design, viruses are not able to reproduce on their own. The only way that viruses can flourish in your body is by using the machinery and metabolism of your cells to produce multiple copies of themselves.
Once a virus has gained access into one of your cells, depending on the type of virus involved, one of two things can happen:
1. The virus uses your cell’s resources to replicate itself many times over and then breaks open (lyses) the cell so that the newly replicated viruses can leave in search of new cells to infect. Lysis effectively kills your cell.
2. The virus incorporates itself into the DNA of your cell, which allows the virus to be passed on to each daughter cell that stems from this cell. Later on, the virus in each daughter cell can begin replicating itself as described above. Once multiple copies of the virus have been produced, the cell is lysed.
Both possibilities lead to the same result: eventually, the infected cell can die due to lysis.
Here is the key to understanding why colds and flus, when allowed to run their course while you rest, can be good for you:
– By and large, the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect mainly your weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that you want to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new, healthy cells.
So in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu is a natural event that can allow your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.
Have you ever been amazed by how much “stuff” you could blow out of your nose while you had a cold or the flu? Embedded within all of that mucous are countless dead cells that your body is saying good bye to, largely due to the lytic effect of viruses.
So you see, there never needs to be a cure for the common cold, since the common cold is nature’s way of keeping you healthy over the long term. And so long as you get plenty of rest and strive to stay hydrated and properly nourished during a cold or flu, there is no need to get vaccinated or to take medications that suppress congested sinuses, a fever, or coughing. All of these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which your body works to eliminate waste products and/or help your body get through a cold or flu. It’s fine to use over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen if your discomfort becomes intolerable or if such meds can help you get a good night’s rest. But it’s best to avoid medications that aim to suppress helpful processes such as fever, coughing, and a runny nose.
It’s important to note that just because colds and flus can be helpful to your body doesn’t mean that you need to experience them to be at your best. If you take good care of your health and immune system by getting plenty of rest and consistently making health-promoting dietary and lifestyle choices, your cells may stay strong enough to avoid getting infected by viruses that come knocking on their membranes. In this scenario, you won’t have enough weak and extraneous cells to require a cold or the flu to work its way through your body to identify and lyse them.
Curious about how to differentiate the common cold and the flu?
– A cold usually comes on gradually — over the course of a day or two. Generally, it leaves you feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose. You often don’t have a fever, but when you do, it’s only slightly higher than normal. Colds usually last three to four days, but can hang around for 10 days to two weeks.
– Flu, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and hits hard. You will feel weak and tired and you could run a fever as high as 40 C. Your muscles and joints will probably ache, you will feel chilled and could have a severe headache and sore throat. Getting off the couch or out of bed will be a chore. The fever may last three to five days, but you could feel weak and tired for two to three weeks.
One final note on this topic: because the common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, antibiotics are not necessary. People who take antibiotics while suffering with a cold or flu often feel slightly better because antibiotics have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. But this benefit is far outweighed by the negative impact that antibiotics have on friendly bacteria that live throughout your digestive tract. In this light, if you really need help with pain management during a cold or flu, it is usually better to take a small dose of acetaminophen than it is to take antibiotics.
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