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Rose Water for…Eczema?

As I’ve mentioned before, my son has a decent case of eczema on his little legs. And it just breaks my heart when I see him scratching. My biggest treatments are baths with baking soda, honey, milk, and oatmeal, as well as a homemade moisturizer, the recipe for which I found here.

The moisturizer recipe felt a little sticky to me – probably because of the honey – so I decided to try mixing it with some water before rubbing it into my son’s legs. On a whim, I tried spritzing Josiah’s legs with Rose Water that I use as a skin toner and then rubbing the cream on his damp legs. This smoothed out the stickiness and allowed the moisturizer to absorb much easier.

I have to say, after two days, I was very shocked at the sudden improvement in his skin. The redness was almost completely gone. I’ve now used this combination of rose water and moisturizer and his skin is 90% healed. There’s no redness. Just a patch of skin that gets dry easily if I forget to moisturize it.

Rose water or rose hydrosol can be found at local health stores or online (Amazon, for sure). Rose water and rose hydrosol are basically the same thing except rose hydrosol has been steam distilled from rose water (it’s purified). Both are essentially highly, highly diluted rose essential oil.

Blessings.

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Safely Ingest Essential Oils

So, I’ve seen a lot of posts that suggest consuming essential oils by diluting them in some tea or water and then drinking. And this is okay if you are absolutely certain the specific oil you are consuming will not irritate your mouth or throat if it’s used undiluted. And you are absolutely certain the essential oil is safe to consume in the first place. If you are not sure of these two things, get a professional opinion or just don’t do it. Try an inhaler instead. Because water and oil. Do. Not. Mix. Dropping essential oils in water and drinking is the same as just dropping the oil directly on your tongue. 

Why would you want to ingest essential oils in the first place? Just diffuse or apply topically.

Oh, darling, I’m so glad you asked. You see, there are a few ways most people absorb essential oils.

  • Diffusing into the air
  • Applying to the skin
  • Inhaling through a tissue or inhaler
  • Ingesting

Diffusing disperses the oil throughout the entire room. So you are only breathing in some of the oil.  This is great for young children or pregnant women because the oil is strongly diluted. Skin application is great but your body only absorbs so much of the oil this way. Inhaling directly from the bottle, tissue, or inhaler (especially an inhaler) is an excellent way to absorb a higher amount of the essential oil. But your body still does not absorb all of the oil so the therapeutic impact is still diluted. Which is perfectly fine for most purposes. When you ingest essential oils, your body absorbs 100%. It’s like drinking a LOT of therapeutic herbal tea.


So how to consume essential oils as safely as possible?

Here’s three tips you can use if you know the essential oil is safe for consumption.

  • Put oil drops in an empty pill capsule and swallow as a pill.
  • Blend the essential oils in a smoothie and drink. The thickness of the smoothie will keep the oils diluted.
  • Thoroughly mix drops of oils in a tsp of honey and then mix the honey into a cup of water. Drink. The honey will act as a sort of light emulsifier. 

Blessings.

Verse of the Day

Hydrocortisone Cream Alternative

Hydrocortisone Cream is an over-the-counter steroid treatment for agitated skin. It works rather well for temporary conditions – insect bite, temporary rash, etc. However, it can be as much a a curse as a blessing for chronic conditions. Hydrocortisone Cream is only meant to be used for up to a week before the skin needs a break from it. Long term use can actually dry out and thin our skin – making it more sensitive and agitating the original problem. The problem is, people with chronic skin conditions have a hard time finding anything as effective and yet safe for longer-term use.

I know because my skin is very sensitive and very easily agitated. And I’ve definitely over-used hydrocortisone. Soooo…here’s my solution:

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Semi-DIY Skin-Soothe Cream

1 Tablespoon of any cream or lotion (preferably all natural because essential oils may interact with synthetic ingredients) OR 1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel (or even coconut oil or shea butter or some other carrier oil is fine)

10 drops of Helichrysum Essential Oil

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (Optional)

10 drops German or Roman Chamomile Essential Oil (Optional)

5 drops Carrot Seed Oil (Optional)

1 drop Clove Essential Oil (Optional)

Why these ingredients?

  • Helichrysum is the Big Daddy of soothing-agitated-skin-essential-oils. It is the absolutely best option for any chronic itchy skin condition. (Some people say any skin condition. Period.) It is on the expensive side but you do not need much. A 5 ml bottle will have approximately 80-120 drops of essential oil; there is an average of 25 drops essential oil per milliliter, but this, of course, varies between essential oils. For an alternative; Aura Cacia (the brand found at most health stores) has a diluted version for around $20 that works pretty well when applied directly to the skin without further dilution. However, if you have a chronic skin condition, and you need more Helichrysum over the long-term, it is more cost-effective to buy this oil undiluted. This is the major anti-itch/agitation ingredient in this formula.
  • Lavender is very skin soothing and anti-bacterial.
  • Chamomile is very healing to damaged skin.
  • Carrot Seed is skin’s best friend. It is very nourishing and regenerative for any skin type.
  • Clove is a natural numbing agent. But only use a minimal amount because it is very strong and too much may cause skin agitation. Robert Tisserand recommends a maximum dermal usage of only .5% for Clove oil.

Directions

Pour the cream/lotion/aloe in a glass or stainless steel container (essential oils react to plastic). Add essential oils of choice. Mix. If the container is not opaque, store in a dark place to avoid light degrading your essential oils.

As always, when using essential oils for any therapeutic purposes, only use a given essential oil for a maximum of three weeks, then take a one week break (you can use regular hydrocortisone cream during this week off). This will prevent your body from desensitizing to the oils.

Blessings

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Ear Infections!

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Ear infections. They suck. There’s no getting around it. They are crippling in their painful simplicity. They haunt your every waking moment. They are annoying. Eventually, your mind starts to play games on you. You start to wonder; will cutting my ear off produce a higher quality existence than I currently have now?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 5 out of 6 children experience an ear infection before they are 3 years old. Wow. I suppose that little statistic only confirms what most parents already know. According to Mayo Clinic, young children are more susceptible to ear infections because their eustachian tubes are still developing into their more permanent, adulthood shape.

So what is a parent to do?

According to Mayo Clinic, if your child is less than 6 months old and you suspect an ear infection, contact your pediatrician. If your child is older than 6 months with mild ear pain and a fever below 102 degrees Fahrenheit, you can wait and see if conditions improve within 48 hours. If they do not, contact your pediatrician. If your child is older than 1 year, the pain is mild, and doesn’t have a fever above 102 F, it’s also okay to wait and see if the infection will resolve on its own. I would suggest also employing the Tea Tree Essential Oil remedy described below as soon as the “patient” begins to experience inner ear discomfort. 

For children (1-12), dilute 1 drop each of the following essential oils into 1-2 teaspoons (1 tsp for older children to 2 tsp for younger children) of carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond, etc): Thyme, Lavender and Tea Tree. If you only have Tea Tree, go ahead and try this remedy with only that oil. I have done that and it still worked. The key is to use oils with anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities. Apply some of this mixture around the ear – around, not directly on the ear – every hour until symptoms are relieved. At night, place 1 drop of this mixture onto some tissue or cotton ball and leave in the ear overnight. 

For teenagers and adults, apply 5 drops Tea Tree, 5 drops thyme, and 10 drops lavender in 1 teaspoon carrier oil (or just 10 drops Tea Tree)  and apply around the base of the ear every hour. At night, place 1 drop of Tea Tree on some cotton/tissue (the tea tree will dilute/disperse throughout the tissue) and leave in the ear overnight. 

Do NOT use undiluted Tea Tree around your ear. This is a very sensitive  area of skin. I tried this once and while, I must say, the pain went away after 24 hours, my skin was very irritated. Lavender, however, is perfectly safe for older children and adults to use undiluted. 

Mild ear infections that are not going away on their own will most likely notably improve within 48 hours of using this treatment. Severe ear infections may still require a visit to the doctor. 

If conditions worsen with this alternative treatment (unlikely), discontinue use and consult a doctor. This may be the result of an allergic reaction to the oils. 

Blessings,

Verse of the Day


Ingredient Highlight: Tea Tree Essential Oil

This week, we will be making use of Tea Tree Essential Oil as an ingredient. Therefore, I decided to start the week out with an overview of this highly useful oil. 


Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternafornica) Essential Oil is usually extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca Tree using steam. This oil has an herbal, medicinal smell to it. 

Infamous for its anti-bacterial qualities, Tea Tree Oil is undergoing a great deal of study for possible use against Staphylococcus aureus; an anti-biotic resistant bacterial infection. 

In the world of aromatherapy, Tea Tree Essential Oil is also considered an anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. A search through Pub Med will show current research supporting these claims. 

I have to acknowledge that there is a nasty little rumor that the “small quantity” ingestion of Tea Tree Oil caused breast enlargement in a 4-year old boy. First of all, it is not recommended that any child 6 years or younger ingest any essential oils. (Although the ingestion of a small quantity of child-safe essential oils by young children is highly unlikely to cause harm. So if your 3-year old child takes a swig from his bottle of coconut massage oil that contains 2% Lavender Essential Oil, I really wouldn’t panic. He probably only drank the equivalent of a teaspoon of coconut oil and about 30-50 little lavender buds.) 

There is another case where a 10 year old apparently also developed breast enlargement after using a hair product by Paul Mitchell that was said to contain Tea Tree Oil. According to world-renowned essential oil safety expert, Robert Tisserand and his book, Essential Oil Safety, the products contained neglible amounts of Tea Tree Oil and since Tea Tree Oil is very poorly absorbed by the skin, it is highly unlikely the gynecomastia was caused by the Tea Tree Oil. 

So I really wouldn’t take the Tea Tree and breast enlargement scare too seriously. 

Regarding the use of this first-aide essential oil, Robert Tisserand only cautions against using Tea Tree undiluted on the skin. He recommends a maximum dermal use level of only 15% to avoid skin irritation. 

One of my favorite uses for Tea Tree is air purification. I like to place 3-6 drops in my essential oil diffuser everyday to help combat any nasties that may be floating around in the air. Of which I have forgotten to do lately and my son and I currently have a cold. Go figure. 

Blessings,

Essential Oils


Today, I want to talk about essential oils. Since I will be referring to them often, it is best to cover the basics of them. Essential oils are, in the most simplified of descriptions, the most therapeutic chemical components of an herb or fruit incredibly condensed into tiny little drops of oil. We could talk about how they are extracted from the plant, but that’s more science than I have sanity for at this moment.

As implied above, essential oils are very therapeutic. Their medical qualities are astounding. A well-known example of this is Vick’s Vapor Rub. My sister actually brought this to my attention; Vick’s Vapor Rub contains as one of it’s active ingredients; Eucalyptus Essential Oil. It also contains menthol – a chemical compound that can also be found in Spearmint and Peppermint essential oils – and camphor – which is an herbal extract as well as a compound found in other essential oils such as Ravintsara, Sage and Rosemary Essential Oils. Vick’s includes these compounds because they are natural decongestants. In fact, many modern day medicines contain active ingredients that are derived from or reconstructed from chemical components found in nature. Aspirin is a primary example. It’s active ingredient, acetylsalicylic acid, was originally derived from Willow Bark. Wintergreen and Birch Essential Oils contain over 90% of Methyl Salicylate – making them basically the Aspirins of essential oils.

How are essential oils used? They can be applied directly to the skin, or diluted and applied to the skin, depending on the oil and the age of the person using the oil (children need much smaller quantities than adults). They can be inhaled, consumed, and injected into the vein. Most common, and most recommended, is skin application and inhalation. Many people believe essential oils should NEVER be consumed. And it is true that safe is better than sorry. But if done appropriately, using ONLY pure, unadulterated essential oils, many essential oils can be consumed. However, this is best done under the guidance of a certified clinical aromatherapist if one is not experienced and well-educated with essential oils. Most essential oil companies do not recommend the consumption of their oils, but this is usually more from an insurance standpoint than anything else.

Where do I buy them?

There are several companies that sell safe and pure essential oils. Some that come to mind are Mountain Rose Herbs, Eden’s Garden, Aura Cacia (this is the brand usually found in health stores), Young Living and do’TERRA. All of these brands sell pure, quality essential oils. Of these, Mountain Rose Herbs and Eden’s Garden are the most reasonably priced.

However, my favorite company is Plant Therapy. The reason I like them is they are also reasonably priced and do not adulterate their oils. But mostly, because they provide third party gc/ms testing results for each batch of each oil that they sell – something that I believe every single essential oil seller should do. There are other companies that also provide gc/ms but usually their prices are unnecessarily high. 

Some people believe it is most important to buy essential oils grown in their natural and original habitat. So an essential oil originally from India should not be produced from plants grown in the United States. But this is not necessarily true. Many plants can produce quality essential oils in diverse locations. And many can’t. What is important, is what makes up the chemical components of the essential oil that the plant produces. This is where gc/ms testing comes into play. It basically tests the percentage of different chemical components contained within one sample of essential oil.

For example, if I want to inhale Ravintsara as a decongestant, it would not do me much good to use Ravintsara Essential Oil from a batch that is low in the compound Camphor. But if I had the gc/ms test results for the Ravintsara I purchased, I could rest assured that the essential oil that I am using will actually be as effective as possible because its components are in the proper range for therapeutic value. 

For example, Tea Tree Essential Oil from Australia is considered a “premium” oil because of all Tea Tree Essential Oils extracted in various regions, Australia’s has the highest level of Terpinen-4-ol, which is what gives Tea Tree it’s therapeutic value. So I would want to look at the gc/ms testing and make sure that the batch I am looking to buy from contains at least 30% Terpinen-4-ol. If the batch does not contain a high level of the proper components, I may need to use more of it to accomplish the intended goal. And that may or may not be safe to do. And most certainly would be wasting money.

I say all this to say this; essential oils should be treated with the same level of care one would treat western drugs. They can be very powerful healers, but they’re also, well…very powerful. There are maximum doses. Dilution ranges. Chemical compounds. Safety concerns. Don’t be afraid of them. But please research. Or consult an aromatherapist. 

On this blog, I will use essential oils a great deal. But understand that I only use them with the highest of respect, care, and a great deal of research. 

Blessings. 

 Verse of the Day