Every year I can't wait for summer to arrive. Life gets taken out side, put on the road, in the garden or the swimming pool. Longer sunny days bring with them a sense of freedom and holiday. Nature is in her stride, exploding in colour everywhere! So much beauty, bloom and buzz in the air.
Yes. Buzz. Of the bug variety.
Bug bites are definitely uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. So of course we want to repel those bugs, right? But how? By using chemicals or natural ingredients? Which direction to go in?
EWG, (Environmental Working Group) surprisingly, leans heavily towards the use of chemicals over natural ingredients. When I first read this, I had to give my head a shake. What?!? Then I read a little closer, between the lines. They focus on an increase of tick-born diseases since 2004 as the basis of their recommendations. As such, they are erring on the side of blanket-blasting all ticks and bugs with everything in the arsenal. This feels like a panicked overkill to me, given the research on DEET being potentially damaging to brain function.
Bug repellents in Canada are regulated by Health Canada. They recommend everything from DEET (in concentrations ranging from 10%-30%, depending on the age of the user) to blends of specific essential oils. Their approach seems more evenhanded, taking into account safety considerations and individual preferences--allowing something for everyone. How Canadian, eh? I just love that!
My preference is to go natural, as much as possible. I also want to empower you to DIY. So here are a couple of recipes that can bring and your family some relief.
1. Natural Ant Killer
My son, Javid is no fan of the creepy or the crawly. So when the neighbourhood ants started conducting long parading visits through the house, something had to be done. Our research took us to WikiHow, where we found the recipe that did the trick.
Its a simple but effective blend of three ingredients--Borax, sugar and water. The sugar attracts the ants, the ants ingest it. The borax interferes slowly with ant digestive systems, giving enough time for an ant to get back to its colony and share it with its fellow ants. Once shared, the borax can take out the whole colony. Most humans don't have major reactions to this small an amount of Borax. That being said, handle the Borax carefully and follow the cautionary advice on the Borax box.
What you'll need
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 tablespoon Borax
1-1/2 cups warm water
A Jar for mixing
Stir stick or chopstick
Cotton balls or pads
Shallow dishes or Yogurt container lids
Pour the sugar and the borax into the jar. Cap the Jar and shake, shake, shake the sugar and borax together. Uncap the bottle and pour in warm water. Use stir stick or chopstick to stir water until borax and sugar are completely dissolved. Place cotton ball or pad on container lids. Pour ant killer liquid onto cotton ball or pad until it's saturated. Place the container in a high ant traffic zone indoors. Give it a few days, and then buh-bye ants!
2. Natural Mosquito Spray
This recipe is from Scratch Mommy. It's a simple, four ingredient blend that relies mostly on the wonderful properties of Tea Tree and Geranium Oil. I've adjusted the amounts of essential oils in the formula to reflect Health Canada safety standards and metric volumes.
Tea Tree or Melaleuca has been used for centuries by Aboriginal peoples in Australia. It's really a superpowered plant, known for its antimicrobial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps human wounds heal, and it is toxic to many insects, including mosquitoes. Its some pretty stong stuff, so Health Canada recommends that it make up only 1% of your total formula.
Geranium Oil has some of the same properties as Tea Tree Oil (anti-bacterial, wound healing). It's also known for its ability to keep mosquitoes away. Health Canada recommends between 1-5% of the total formula.
Vegetable Glycerin helps hold the essential oils to your skin.
Combine the following ingredients in a 113ml spray bottle.
Glass or metal is best. I get some of my supplies from here.
• 1.5 ml (22 drops) Tea Tree Essential Oil
• 0.5ml (8 drops) - 5ml (110 drops) Geranium Essential Oil
(Scratch Mommy recommends only 0.5ml. Health Canada says you can go up to 5ml. My recommendation is somewhere in the middle--2.5ml (55 drops). The choice is yours, depending on your skin and scent sensitivities.)
• 15 ml (1tablespoon) Vegetable glycerin
Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water and shake until well mixed. Spray on as required and reapply as needed.
In case you don't feel like making it yourself...
If you don't feel up to making it yourself, I'm happy to do that for you. My Shoo Fly! formula has a number of extra goodies that make it useful for keeping more than just mosquitoes away. It also has soothing ingredients that can help in after-bite care.
So here's some anecdotal evidence about Shoo Fly! and its efficacy. Free Lion Body Care was at the Mission Folk Festival, enjoying both sunshine, music and meeting people who were trying out our products. Along came a little guy with a sad face.
"Why so glum, chum?" I asked. he told me he had been stung by a wasp. He showed me a huge, angry red welt on his forearm. His mum asked if I had anything for that.
"Try our Shoo Fly!" I suggested. I told her more about the formula. In a nutshell, Shoo Fly has witch hazel and aloe vera in it to help soothe the itchy feeling and speed up healing. There's Tea Tree, Geranium and Peppermint essential oils to help heal and cool the wound. These, plus the rest of the essential and carrier oils in it, work together to help keep other bugs away.
So Mum sprayed some Shoo Fly! on his red, swollen sting and off they went. The next day they came back. The little guy was smiling and eager to show me his wound. It had almost disappeared! Thank you, said Mom. She bought a bottle for the rest of the summer. And I had the satisfaction of a job well done.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
Do you have a favourite natural way of keeping the summer bugs away? Please share it with us.
Hello Summer Sun! So good to see you again. We love you Sun, we really do, but every good relationship needs boundaries. Preferably natural and non-toxic ones.
Think of natural sun protection in terms of shielding your skin from the sun. Well, how do you do that? Here are some basic tips from the Environmental Working Group to consider doing before you hit the sunscreen.
Tip #1: Cover Up
Shirts, hats, shorts, long dresses, skirts, pants--these provide the best protection from UV rays. Cover up as much skin as you can without getting uncomfortable. That ideally means from head to toe! But that is not everyone's comfort zone. So just go for as long a sleeve and pant/skirt length as you can tolerate.
Form fitting garments tend to hold both heat and sweat to your skin. Looser ones can provide some much needed, cooling air flow. Tightly woven or knitted, but lightweight fabrics like natural silk, cottons, t-shirting, or synthetic materials like rayon can all shade your skin beautifully, while letting the air flow through. Wearing bright or dark colours can also help. For example, a black T will absorb more UV rays than a white one.
Natural or synthetic fabrics? Choose what feels right for you. Have fun with it and don't forget the wide brimmed hat and sunglasses! Good shades protect your eyes from UV radiation that can cause cataracts.
In my wanderings on the net, I ran into Coolibar. If you need sun protective clothing for specific activities, they might be able to help you out. They have spent 20 years developing specialized UV protective fabrics and clothing. like long sleeved swimwear. In their words:
"Because Coolibar is a product with a purpose, we work closely with outdoor athletes, cancer survivors, dermatologists, medical advisors and organizations like the Melanoma Research Foundation, The Skin Cancer Foundation and the Lupus Foundation of America for additional design insight and technical expertise. The result is a new "user group strategy with product groupings around seven activities...designed to provide maximum comfort, coverage and UV protection for the whole family."
Tip #2: Find Shade or Make It
While you're out and about this summer, look for shade and spend some cooling time under it. Read a book under that big old oak tree, followed by a relaxing picnic. Keep the babies in the shade wherever you are. They are still developing the tanning pigments, known as melanin, that protect skin. If you have a canopy, or large umbrella, set it up on the beach or in the back yard.
Or take an umbrella parasol with you. Traditionally and currently, parasols are the personal sun shade of choice in Japan, China and surrounding countries. In Europe and North America, it had its moments but fell out of fashion in the 1920's as constructions of womanhood and beauty changed to adapt to more active lifestyles for women.
Jump cut to today. With the increasing concern about UV radiation, parasols have made a come back. If you are looking for a fashionable, artisan made parasol, Lily-Lark, based in New York, can definitely help. The fabrics are unique for parasols--playful and painterly, a fun twist on a traditional fashion accessory. The parasols are made by artisans in Bali (it looks like to me). It's my hope they are paid well for the lovely work they do. In the founder of Lily-Lark's words:
"Umbrellas have emerged as the latest go-to sun protection option for women. But most umbrellas are made of cheap nylon, metal and a whole lot of boring. Something more eleant than an umbrella was called for, which is why we've created chic, handcrafted parasols with a UPF 50+ coating that protects from over 98% of UV rays. Our Asian-inspired bamboo frames are topped by soft fabric canopies printed with exclusive contemporary fine art."
Tip #3: Plan around the Sun and Siesta
Ever wonder why siesta time is in the middle of the day? Well, the sun is its hottest then and a great way to beat the heat is to be out of it. Many sun cultures plan their days to avoid being out and about when the sun is at its hottest. Work activities happen early in the morning, there is a pause, and then things resume again when the sun is cooler. But there is a little more to it than that. Studies have shown that a half hour siesta can help reduce both stress and blood pressure, increase productivity and improve alertness and memory. So millions of people around the world who siesta can't be wrong!
If you're looking for a hammock for the back yard, your balcony or a travel sized one, La Siesta has you covered. The family-run company has a strong commitment to ethical practices, taking their responsibility to "creating a better world for our children and grandchildren" very seriously. To them a hammock is more than just furniture; it's a cultural asset that reflects a way of life. Their hammocks are artisan made in South America. In their words:
"The hammock’s message is very near and dear to our hearts, which is why we also want to support the people who make them. LA SIESTA has made a social commitment to many local projects in South America and in doing so we support, among other things, the use of high-quality and ecological materials like organic cotton and FSC-certified wood, in order to constantly improve the quality of our products and the living conditions of the people who make them."
How do you shade yourself from the sun? What are your favourite sun protective fashionables?
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion
Disclosure-The websites in this blog are provided as information only. I am not affiliated with them, nor do I get paid for advertising them. If you buy from them or have tried their products, please let me know how their products worked for you.
It's Rose Petal Time! My friend PJ and her lovely, precocious 4 year old granddaughter, Londyn, and I went urban foraging the other day. PJ has been doing so for years, incorporating her finds into her beautiful gourmet creations. I'm going to tell you right now that her Rose Petal Jelly is to die for, closely followed by her candied ginger.
Out we went into the wilds of Vancouver, bags and snips in hand, on a slow, rambling walk, in search of rose and lavender flowers. PJ taught Londyn to look for flowers that were in their full bloom and scent, just at the edge of making that turn into flower death. After a tearful encounter with some thorns, we looked for ones at her height that she could pick easily and thorn-free. She quickly caught on, saying "Londyn height" before harvesting each rose, while we harvested ones from taller locations. The three of us stopped and smelled the roses, literally, watched the geese and tug boats and made sure one of us wasn't too close to the water for danger of falling in. Mimi (PJ) and Auntie Lion (me) are terrible swimmers!
Now off to the kitchen! Here are four beautiful things that can be done with these incredible, fragrant gifts from Nature.
1. Drying Flower Petals
Gather roses that are in their full bloom and have not been sprayed with pesticides. To dry the rose petals, simply spread newspaper, parchment or kraft paper (I used kraft) on a flat surface. Gently separate the petals from the stems. Make sure there are no stems or bugs in your petals. Spread the petals evenly across your paper and let them air dry. They should be ready in a few days. Store them in an airtight container once they're dried.
If you don't have days to wait, place the petals in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the petals for 10 minutes at 170°F or until the petals are crisp and break easily (like potato chips). If your petals are still soft, bake for a couple of more minutes, remove, and recheck the crispy factor. Cool the petals completely and store them in an airtight container.
2. Rose Petal Raita
Raita is a fairly usual happening in our house. It's essentially a yogurt based condiment that can be used as a dip, a dressing or a way to cool down a spicy hot curry. And it's a fabulous way to get your acidophilus quotient in. I made this one using the rose petals we foraged. The chives and coriander are fresh from my garden.
500g Greek or Balkan Yogurt (you could use lower fat yogurt, it'll just taste less creamy)
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/3 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup dried or fresh rose petals
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Pour yogurt into a bowl. Add the rest of ingredients except salt and pepper. Stir in. Taste. Now add the salt and pepper according to your taste. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and rose petals.
3. Flower Petal Salad
It's BBQ season! What better way to enjoy the gifts from the grill with a lovely flower petal salad? This recipe uses Chive flowers, those beautiful purple, round flowers that top chives, they have a subtle onion flavour. Rose petals give the salad some sweetness. Both a complemented beautifully by a light vinaigrette.
4 cups greens of your choice. You could use kale, baby spinach, arugula...the possibilities are endless!
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot grated
Flower Petals from 2 roses
Flower petals from 2 chive flowers
For The Vinaigrette
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Tear or cut greens into bite-sized pieces. Combine remaining salad ingredients in a bowl. In separate bowl, mix together the white wine vinegar and honey (or maple syrup). Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!
4. Rose Marzipan Tea
One of my favourite teas from the Granville Island Tea Company is their Rose Marzipan, a delicately flavoured rose and almond black tea. Black tea, one of the most consumed beverages in the world, has a number of health benefits. So here we go, with some of its super powers.
Black tea contains:
• polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. Consuming antioxidants may help decrease the risk of chronic disease and improve your overall health.
• flavonoids, which are beneficial for heart health. Studies have found that regularly drinking black tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
• LDL is a ipoproteins that carries cholesterol throughout the body. Too much LDL in the body can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Studies have found that black tea may help reduce LDL levels.
• Polyphenols and antimicrobial properties found in black tea may help improve gut health and immunity.
High in Vitamin C, A and E Rose petals have been used for centuries to boost the immune system, improve digestion, relieve menstrual cramps and reduce stress and anxiety. The added bonus is that Rose tea has skin benefits. It can help hydrate and tighten the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles as well as support the production of collagen which is vital for the health of your skin and hair.
Almond extract is full of proteins, vitamin E and b-6 and essential minerals. It, like roses, also improves digestion, and is beneficial to the immune system, hair and skin.
So when life gets to you, keep calm and have a cuppa!
2/3 cup of Black Tea leaves
6 teaspoons pure almond extract, food grade
2 cup of dried rose petals
Place your tea leaves in a bowl and add the almond extract. Mix it well into the leaves using a spoon or your very, very clean and sanitized fingers. Add the rose petals and, with that trusty spoon, mix the petals in, making sure they are evenly distributed. Put into an air tight bottle and allow the flavours to infuse the tea leaves.
I've been thinking about the word Beauty recently. Not a big surprise, given what I do for a living. What does it mean exactly? Is it a noun, a person place or thing? Is it a feeling? An action? Is it learned? Why is it important anyway? And what does it mean to me, as an artisan and a formulator of natural skin care products? Okay, I know, too many questions. But it's how I figure things out for myself. Ask, and ye shall perceive.
Beauty, the Thing
Physical Beauty is a thing, I suppose, a phenomenon viewed objectively, almost instinctually. How do we humans know what is beautiful? Funnily enough, this one comes down to math. Yep. Math. And geometry.
Geometry is at the core of all things natural, from flowers to fauna and beyond. Humans were quick on the artistic uptake and have been using geometry for proportion and beauty in art and architecture for centuries. Studies show that humans consider a person to be beautiful based on how perfectly symmetrical the face is. It’s an innate thing, something evolutionary we have encoded within us, that seems to transcend training or opinion.
Leonardo Da Vinci believed that all creation was part of a universal plan. He ambitiously aimed to embrace the whole universe in his a life-long study to discover its rules and mathematical principles. Drawing and painting were the means to an end, his method of communicating his findings. Remember his Vitruvian Man? It is a symbol that depicts balance and harmony as represented in the symmetry and ratios coded within the human form. To me, it's more than that: it's a metaphorical map of how to live a harmonious and balanced life, in alignment with nature's blueprint for continued growth and evolution. It indicates the need to consider all of ourselves--mind, body and spirit-- in this equation.
Beauty the Feeling
What does it mean to “feel Beautiful”? Ever looked in the mirror and had that moment of “you’re beautiful?” Did you track your thoughts before you had the beautiful moment? Often the thoughts and feelings that precede are loving, joyful or compassionate ones. You could have been thinking about someone you love, or have just come back from a great hike through the forest or had a fulfilling interchange with someone.
Human experience is messy and physical beauty fleeting. Qualities of the heart, mind and soul come through the face, enhancing beauty. These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-command. They also include curiosity, excitement, challenge, growth.
Inner beauty is reflected in many ways--through our thoughts, compassion, friendship, giving to others and ourselves, and the very choice to engage our lives, full-on. I think this is what it means to be beautiful from the inside out. When one feels engaged and fulfilled, it sparkles in the eyes. It shows on the face in a radiance that face make-up just can’t approximate. It is the flush of happiness, the excitement of adventure. It's the glow of a life well lived.
Beauty as Self-Care
I know that when I am tired, stressed, anxious, angry, depressed, these all show on my face in dark, scowling brooding measure. So, not a moment when I’m inclined to say, “Hey, you’re beautiful” to my mirrored reflection. This is why balanced self-care is such an important thing.
All that wisdom you hear about eating healthy, exercising, not bottling up negative emotions, experiencing gratitude, setting healthy boundaries? These are some of the actions that precede feelings of love, joy, oneness that become expressed in your face as beauty. Hokey as it sounds, beauty seems to rest deeply in the act of loving yourself. Being loved in return is a residual benefit!
Beauty as Creative Process
Then there is the creative process, a source of beauty all its own. It requires you to have a connection to your spirit, a sense of purpose and a desire to express your Self. Okay, I know that's centuries of Art Theory distilled down into one sentence, but I've been thinking about this for a long time!
The urge to create is like a compulsion or a calling that flows through your being, pushing you to make, write, paint, compose, garden or whatever your art medium asks of you. It is a playground on which mind, body and spirit meet to play. In this case, the product of that meeting is secondary to the sheer will and audacity to put yourself out there, to say, "I am here and this is how I experience my world." Creating a beautiful object becomes the happy by-product of this beautiful act.
We’ve been trained by Big Beauty, by way of fashion magazines, movies and a myriad of other media to understand beauty as something that is physical, young, thin, with perfect skin, perfect curves, perfect you-fill-in-the-blank. As a woman who turned 55 this year, I no longer fit that stereotype. In fact I’m not sure I ever did.
I’ve had sensitive skin for most of my life. In my twenties, I experimented with make-up, as many of us do. The killer for me was foundation. It clogged my pores, choking and irritating my skin. The matte finish felt fake, muting my natural skin glow. So despite the best efforts of many advertising executives, foundation was not a staple in my make up bag.
Mascara was quick to follow. It made my eyes go into watering overdrive. Eyeshadow became something only for special occasions, as it would dry out my eyelids, making them itchy. The only things that worked for daily wear were eyeliner and lipstick. So be it.
My Big Beauty training in ‘the look” was irreparably interrupted by my body just saying NO. It was a call I had to hear and so I found myself looking for natural solutions, way before it was trendy to do so. And I learned to love my look, no matter what magazine covers screamed at me from the grocery checkout line!
What does Beauty mean to me as a natural skin care formulator?
Beauty, to me. is about what emanates from within. It's in the glow of the skin, the sparkle of the eye, and the joy in the heart. How could i possibly bottle that? I can’t. But what I can do is formulate natural blends that will help support your skin and self-care rituals. And if you feel even a little happier using something natural and non-toxic on your skin, that’s going to show in your glow! If I can help you achieve that, then my job is done here.
Why is Beauty Important?
Quite simply, its an external indicator of your overall health and wellness in mind, body and spirit. If you’re feeling beautiful, it means you’ve likely been taking some good care of yourself, having some loving thoughts and feelings about yourself and others, setting healthy boundaries, nurturing yourself inside and out, exercising, believing in yourself, feeling your fears and doing it anyway. You’ve likely been walking in your own authentic natural self. Now THAT’S beautiful!
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Body Care
What are your thoughts about Beauty? What makes you feel Beautiful?
You've been asking me to come up with a body lotion for some time now, a lighter option to our Body Butters. After much deliberation in the kitchen lab and much testing, I'm proud to announce the birth of 8 bouncing bundles of skin hydrating and moisturizing joy!
About Hydration and Moisturizing
First up, a little about skin and why it needs both hydration and moisturizing. Your skin is your largest organ. And its made up mostly of water, like most of our body cells. Water is constantly evaporating from those cells--especially the ones on the surface of your skin as well as the ones deeper down in the epidermis. In relation to skin care, hydration means increasing the amount of water in your surface skin cells, which results in a healthy, smooth and plump complexion. That's what the water-based ingredients in our body lotion are busy doing. Moisturizing means putting a layer of emollient (meaning soothing and softening) ingredients on the skin to prevent water loss from the deeper layers of the epidermis. That's what the oil-base ingredients in our body lotion are busy doing.
97% of the ingredients we've used in our body lotion are natural and plant based. So what are the rock-star natural and non-toxic ingredients doing your skin such a solid?
1. Calendula Tea
Most Body Lotions are made with water. We've infused our distilled water with the soothing, skin-calming treat of Calendula petals. Calendula is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely. That's why we also use it in our Paw Wax.
Calendula Tea is just that little extra oomph we put into our lotions to give your skin some soothing calm while bringing out your inner glow. Yes, this is a thing. Read our previous post on The Magic Of Calendula Tea for more information.
2. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera is full of nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties that soothe, nourish and repair skin. Its leaves contain a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep skin hydrated. Not only that, it feels cool on the skin--a definite benefit during hot months or hot flashes!
Aloe Vera is brilliant for all skin types, delivering amazing benefits to skin. Read more about the wonders of Aloe Vera in a previous blog post. If you're up for making your own Aloe Vera Formulas at home, here are some suggestions from me.
3. Rice Bran Oil
Rice Bran Oil is one of my favourite moisturizing ingredients. Oh, for so many reasons. Let me recount the ways!
The oil, extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice, has been a staple in Old School Asian beauty regimens for centuries. For good reason, too! Rice bran absorbs quickly into the skin. It is flush with skin-loving omega-6 fatty acids, wrinkle-busting Squalane and Vitamin E, and skin firming Vitamin B. Antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene protect your skin from environmental stressors; enzymes like CoQ10 provide active components that help skin maintain its youthful glow. Rice bran oil also has a slight ability to brighten the look of your skin, helping to fade out the appearance of dark spots and to even out skin tone. And what's not to like about that?
4. Macadamia Nut Butter
Macadamia butter has become one of my new favourite ingredients. Not just because its so easy and forgiving to work with; but because it's so wonderful on the skin. Like Rice Bran oil, it absorbs quickly into the skin without feeling greasy. Nutritionally Macadamia Butter is a moisturizing all-star. It is high in both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are moisturizing, softening, anti-inflammatory and regenerating for skin. Omega 6's help restore skin's barrier function and reduce water loss. It also contains Omega 7's, an active anti-microbial that is found naturally in youthful skin, helps slow down signs of aging. Added bonus: Macadamia butter can improve the appearance of scars, sunburn and other minor skin irritation.
5. Non-Toxic Synthetics
So, I do add some non-toxic synthetic ingredients to our Body Lotion. They make up 5% of the overall formula. Now why would I do that in a natural product? True confession: I have struggled over this question. I really wanted to be "all natural all the time". But the fact is that science does some things really quite well and ca really give Nature a helping boost without compromising the effectiveness of natural ingredients.
So, for these reasons I add lab-made ingredients to my lotions: to improve the glide, absorbability and texture of the lotion; to give your skin an added protective barrier; to extend the shelf life of our lotions; and to ensure your lotion doesn't go moldy on you. I add two silicones--cyclomethicone and dimethicone for a smooth texture and to help your skin absorb the oh-so-good natural ingredients. I also add Germall Plus, a broad-spectrum preservative, necessary in any formula containing from both water and oils. Water is a hotbed for mold. Germall Plus provides for complete, broad spectrum preservation against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, yeast, and mold. It is composed of Diazolidinyl Urea, 3-Iodo-2-propylbutylcarbamate, and less than 1% Propylene Glycol.
So what do you get when you put all these wonderful ingredients together? Free Lion Body Lotion in our eight fragrance blends! And hydrated, moisturized skin.
In ancient Egypt, Aloe Vera was known as the “plant of immortality.” Mother Nature sure knows how to pack a healing punch in her creations, and Aloe Vera is no exception. It has been used for centuries to heal wounds, hydrate and repair skin and keep people regular. Ya. No lie on that one.
In last week’s blog, the Raw Chef walked us through extracting gel from Aloe Vera leaves. Click the link, in case you need a refresher. It’s a pretty straightforward process. Just make sure your knives and peelers are sharp to easily slice through that aloe leaf skin.
So now you’ve extracted your aloe gel from an aloe leaf. What’s next? Making awesome skin soothing concoctions, of course! Here are a few simple recipes you can try that don’t require you to have a full apothecary shelf or years of making knowledge.
Aloe Vera Skin Soother
This spritz-on blend is made of skin soothing, healing ingredients. It can be helpful for sunburn, bug bites, rashes, dry skin, minor cuts and scrapes. If you are running low on our Hydrating Tonic for Normal Skin this is a good stopgap.
Aloe Vera Gel acts as a protective, moisturizing antioxidant that helps skin heal quicker.
Calendula Tea has skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties; powerful yet gentle and soothing. Click here to our blog on how to make Calendula tea
Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness of irritated skin
Gently Blend together:
2 parts Aloe Vera Gel
1 part Calendula Tea
1 part Rose Water
Pour into small spray or spritz bottle. Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Shake gently before use. Spray affected skin area. Sigh with relief!
Daily Digestive Aloe Vera Smoothie
This delicious smoothie recipe packs a powerful combination of natural ingredients proven to be effective in aiding digestion and overall wellness. Our all star ingredients:
Aloe Vera is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It ontains everything from digestive enzymes to vitamins and minerals that promote healthy digestion.
Kefir or Yogurt is extremely rich in probiotics, helping to promote the growth of good bacteria.
Berries pack immune-boosting antioxidants and very rich in vitamin C.
Bananas are packed with a number of vitamins for general wellness: potassium, B6, manganese, and fiber.
Ginger is probiotic and carminative (removes excess gas from the intestines). Ginger is also known to aid in relieving nausea and heartburn.
Parsely removes excess gas from the intestines and improves digestion of proteins and fats.
Spinach or kale helps support digestion
¼ cup Aloe Vera gel
½ cup kefir or plain Yogurt
1 cup berries
½ cup banana
1 cup Greens (Parsely, Spinach or Kale)
¼ inch slice of fresh ginger
½ cup distilled water or coconut water
Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Drink immediately, it's best fresh. Smile broadly. You've just engaged in an act of Radical Self Care!
All Natural Mouth Wash
As I’m aging, I’m beginning to appreciate the value of a good mouthwash, mostly because there are nooks and crannies in your mouth that you can’t always get to with brushing. This recipe is simple, made from 5 common ingredients. It’s best stored in the fridge.
Baking Soda is not just for making quick breads, cookies, and muffins. In oral care, baking soda can help neutralize acids, take care of odors (bye-bye, bad breath!), and fight germs. Added Bonus: baking soda may help fight stains on teeth.
Aloe Vera Juice serves so many purposes, including dental health. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Aloe Vera is extremely helpful in the treatment of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums. It is a powerful antiseptic in pockets where normal cleaning is difficult, and its antifungal properties help greatly in the problem of mouth ulcers, and cracked, split corners..
Essential Oils Peppermint and Tea Tree are both used in this recipe. Peppermint gives a cooling, minty flavor to the mouthwash. Tea tree provides beneficial cleaning and antibacterial properties.
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
1/2 cup distilled water
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2-5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
1-3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
In a bottle, add all the ingredients. Cap the bottle and gently shake to combine the ingredients until the baking soda is fully dissolved. Store your mouthwash in the fridge. To use your mouthwash, gently shake the bottle and pour a mouthful into a cup. Swish it in your mouth for several seconds, pulling it through your teeth. Spit, don't swallow, especially if you feel essential oils are not safe to ingest.
Aloe Vera Gel Hair Mask for Dry Hair and Itchy Scalp
Your hair and scalp need replenishing from the daily toxins met out there in the world and in what you may eat. A hair mask, done once or twice a week, can help. Here's one you can concoct at home, using that Aloe Vera Gel that you so expertly harvested!
Aloe Vera Gel's hydrating properties make it an excellent moisturizer for dry hair. Bonus: it makes your hair SHINY!. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties can provide some relief from an itchy scalp, while its enzymes can help to promote the creation of healthy new scalp skin cells. It can also help with repairing split ends.
Coconut oil is moisturizing and can help nourish hair dryness. Its antibacterial properties also help with that itchy scalp issue.
Banana is rich of in vitamins, calcium, potassium, carbohydrates and natural oils that help the overall nourishment of the hair. It promotes shiny, silky hair with great elasticity and control. A simple banana mask can help with frizziness, dandruff and hair fall.
Tea Trea Essential Oil is antibacterial and skin repairing. Great for your scalp.
Lavender Essential Oil is also anitbacterial and stress relieving. Why? Because Bad Hair Day! 'Nuf said.
Hair Mask Ingredients
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
1 ripe banana (2 if you have long hair)
4 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Throw all the ingredients but the essential oils into a blender and hit the high speed button. If the ingredients have trouble blending, add a little more coconut milk. Once you have a gorgeous, creamy liquid in the blender jug, add the essential oils and blend again.
Pour your creamy mix into a bowl and apply it to your head and scalp using a paint brush. You don't have to use the paint brush but it does help get the mask all over your hair without making a huge, gloopy mess.
Once you've finished applying your mask, throw on a shower cap and make your self a snack, soak in a relaxing bath, listen to some soothing music, grab a book, or turn on Netflix (ok, I admit it, the last two are my favourite go-tos! Like my namesake, I love a good story). Let the mask sit on your hair for at least 20-30 minutes.
Rinse off the mask and shampoo as usual, using a gentle shampoo. Conditioner not required. You can use this mask once or twice a week. Enjoy your beautiful hair!
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
Do you have any favourite Aloe Vera Gel recipes or stories about how Aloe Vera Gel has worked for you? Please share in the comments section.
Aloe Vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family. Known as the "Lily of the Desert", it is thought to have originated in the deserts of Sudan and then transported to the hot desert climates of the ancient world--Africa, India and China.
In ancient Egypt, Aloe Vera was known as the “plant of immortality.” Cleopatra used it in her daily skin treatments. Otherwise, it was used to treat burns, wounds, infections, parasites and fever in both China and Egypt. Legend has it that Alexander the Great, advised by Aristotle, conquered the island of Socotra, off the coast of Africa, for its supplies of Aloe Vera in order to treat wounded soldiers. Why he couldn’t have just traded for it, I don’t know. But it gives you an idea of just how valuable a plant Aloe Vera was to the ancients. More recently 1n 1944, the Japanese who were exposed to nuclear bombs applied aloe gel to their wounds and reported faster healing and less scarring. Wowza! That’s one powerful plant.
The Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera contains over 200 biologically active, naturally-occurring constituents including polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that promote nutrient absorption, digestive health, a healthy immune system, and a reduction of nitrates
Here’s a video from the Raw Chef showing how to remove Aloe Gel from the leaf.
So now you have the gel. Here are 8 ways to use it
1. Treat sunburn.
Aloe Vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It acts as a protective layer on the skin and helps replenish its moisture. Because of its nutritional qualities and antioxidant properties, the skin heals quicker. You can put pure gel onto your skin. You can also lay the aloe vera leaf rind that you took the gel from, gel side down on your skin.
2. Moisturize Skin.
Aloe moisturizes the skin without giving it a greasy feel. It`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion because it will moisturize while healing breakouts and their aftermath scars. Aloe vera gel can be used as an aftershave treatment as its healing properties can treat small cuts caused by shaving.
3. Treat Acne and Eczema
Aloe vera gel contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that gently and effectively reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin in aloe vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring.
Aloe is soothing and can reduce skin inflammations, blistering and itchiness, while helping the skin to heal more rapidly. In Ayurvedic medicine Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema.
4. Fight aging.
Need a little extra help on the fine line front? Aloe Vera gel to the rescue. As we age, we lose elasticity in the skin. Aloe gel contains a plethora of antioxidants including, beta carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin's natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated. It can work beautifully as a soothing eye gel.
5. Lessen Stretch Marks
Think of your skin as one big piece of elastic that’ll expand and contract as needed to accommodate growth. But if the skin stretches too far, too fast (due to pregnancy, say, or rapid weight gain or loss) the skin’s spring-back factor can be damaged, due to minor tears in the layers of the skin caused by sudden and excessive stretching And so…hello stretch marks. Aloe vera gel can help by healing these wounds and when they do, they fade. Goodbye stretch marks.
6. Nutritious Superfood
This solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid. Whew! That’s a mouthful but what does Aloe Vera ingested do for your body?
It can help boost your immune system. A major part of the immune system are the white blood cells that form the first line of defense by creating a barrier that hunts down and kills foreign particles, helping the body fight off infection and disease. A compromised immune system drops in white blood cell count; ingesting aloe Vera gel can help increase the body’s white blood cell count.
Aloe vera can also help the body clear out environmental toxins by boosting metabolism. It has a significant amount of antioxidant properties and it also helps the body absorb antioxidants from our foods and supplements.
Aloe Vera gel has also been shown to support healthy muscle and joint function, when ingested.
7. Soothes in Periodontal Disease.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Aloe Vera is extremely helpful in the treatment of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums. It is a powerful antiseptic in pockets where normal cleaning is difficult, and its antifungal properties help greatly in the problem of denture stomatitis, apthous ulcers, cracked and split corners of the mouth.
8. Digestive Aid.
Aloe Vera helps maintain a healthy intestinal pH while promoting a friendly environment for probiotics in the digestive tract. It also can assist in controlling bad bacteria growth that can inhibit nutrient absorption. Aloe Vera has been known to improve digestion and to relieve ulcers. Some people consider it a laxative, while others attribute that effect to its digestive qualities (which normalize the system and induce regularity).
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
Do you have any favourite uses for Aloe Vera Gel? Please share in the Comments Section.
A Very Short History of Calendula Use
Calendula has been revered as a magical medicinal plant for centuries. Ancient Egyptians used it to rejuvenate their skin. Bathing in water infused with calendula petals was thought to give give you a healthy, sunny glow, just like the flower itself. The Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary garnish. In India it was strung into garlands for weddings and religious rituals to call in powers of protection and good luck. Europeans and early American colonists used Calendula in soups and stews, relying on its gentle immune boosting properties to protect against the damp cold of winter.
What's not to love about this bright, yellow and orange, cheery member of the daisy family?
Calendula flowers are one of nature's most precious and useful gifts. The flower is loaded with powerful skin-healing, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, yet is gentle enough for most people and animals to use safely. Calendula can help get circulation moving and stimulate the immune system. My gardener friends tell me the flower is really easy to grow and requires low maintenance. Flowers and leaves of the calendula may be dried and stored for later use in making Calendula Tea. I'm not there yet in being able to grow my own for the amount I need to make Free Lion products. So here is where I get my Calendula Petals
And now here's the "how to" on Calendula Tea.
How to Make Calendula Tea
One way of making a tea is basically pouring boiling water over plant materials and allowing it to steep. This is primarily the East Asian and European way. Then there's the way India does it--which is boil the water; add the plant materials and let it boil some more before you turn the heat off. That is how I do it. But I'll give you options. See which works for you.
1. The Steeping method
Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula flowers in a canning jar and pour around 1 cup (8 oz/240 ml) boiled distilled water over them. Cover and let steep for around 15 to 20 minutes. Strain petals out of tea before using.
2. The Sun tea method
Fill a canning jar 1/4 full with dried flowers and cover with cold distilled water. Cap and place in a bright sunny spot (like a windowsill or outside porch rail) for at least 5 or 6 hours. Strain out petals before use.
3. The Boiling Method
Bring 10oz/375ml of distilled water to a boil Place around 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried calendula petals into the water and let boil 3-5 minutes before you turn the heat off. Let the tea cool. Strain out petals before use.
What is Calendula Tea Good For?
Now that you've made your Calendula Tea, here are some things you can use it for:
1. Use as a gargle for sore throat. Or use as a mouth rinse to help relieve canker sores, inflamed gums or thrush. Calendula's soothing properties will calm that gravely throat while its anti-microbial properties will go after infection-causing bacteria.
2. Pour some into a small, clean spray bottle to make a disinfecting wound spray. Spray clean strips of cloth or gauze with the tea and apply to wounds or scraped, itchy, scratched or otherwise inflamed skin conditions.
3. Take heavy duty paper towels and fold them into a container, one on top of the next. Pour Calendula tea over paper towels and let them soak up the tea. Voila! Now you have natural baby wipes to help ease diaper rash.
4. Strain through a coffee filter to remove all fine calendula flower particles. You can use this as an eye rinse to ease itchy eyes due to allergy, dryness and pink eye.
5. Wash your face with Calendula tea in the morning and at night if you're prone to acne and breakouts or have dry sensitive skin. If you don't want to make the tea, you can get our Face Chai Foaming Wash for Oily and Break-out Prone Skin or Face Chai Foaming wash for Dry and Sensitive Skin.
6. Pour some Calendula Tea into a foot bath for fungal conditions like athletes foot. Add some to your regular bath to help soothe and heal inflamed skin or rashes.
7. Use as a hair rinse, after shampooing to help ease an itchy scalp situation.
8. Calendula tea can be safely used on most non-pregnant animals as a soothing rinse for flea bites, scratches, scrapes, itchy coats or to help cleanse and heal minor wounds. You can also spritz it onto hot spots or chapped sun burnt noses, too.
So there you go, 8 ways you can use Calendula Tea. It's an amazing flower and it is no wonder that its popularity has not waned over centuries all over the world.
Before I go, let me leave you with this lovely flower bath surrounded by flower garlands. Treat yourself tonight!
Free Lion Team
What could joint pain, skin, problems, sugar cravings, food allergies, food sensitivities, constipation and autoimmune disease have in common? Would you believe, Leaky Gut Syndrome?
The ancient Greek physician and Hippocrates said that “all health and disease begins in the gut”. Maybe he was on to something. Today, scientific, published study after study (which number in the several thousands) have grown our understanding of how modern diets and lifestyles negatively affect gut function and so lower our disease immunity In short, we could be currently eating ourselves into unwellness.
When my partner Thom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, the neurologists tried a few drug combos, none of which worked. They verbally patted his head and told him that there was nothing to be done, that he should just accept his fate like a good boy. The condescension is not exaggerated. Enter me into his life in 2011, unable to accept that verdict. As a 3rd level Reiki practitioner familiar with plant-based remedies and aromatherapy, I had been around enough situations where people (including myself) could turn around physical conditions without having to revert to Western Medicine and its “triage management” approach. And so the research into what could help Thom began. Which is when we met, “Leaky Gut Syndrome".
What Is Leaky Gut Syndrome?
Your gut is a powerhouse that works night and day to process the food-fuel you put into your body. Your gut lining is like a security guard that lets beneficial nutrients into your bloodstream while keeping the toxic waste out so that it can be eliminated. Now imagine that there are so many toxins in your intestines that they have riddled your gut lining with holes through which undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria are free to enter your bloodstream and poison your body. Now you have Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Studies show that 80% of your immune system cells live in your gut. When random particles enter your bloodstream, your body sets off its warning alarm to tell your immune system to call in the troops and fight the infection. Your immune response will protect you, but each time it’s triggered, it causes systemic inflammation. And if the stream of toxins is relentless, your immune system will go into overdrive, preventing your body from being able to heal and repair itself naturally. The long-term effects of this could be more chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. Leaky gut has also been linked to autism, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, obesity, cancer and Multiple Sclerosis. Cue Light Bulb Moment.
How do I know if I have Leaky Gut?
According to those same studies, there’s a direct link between the gut and the skin (gut-skin axis) gut and brain (gut-brain axis). What that means is that there’s a long list of symptoms you could have when your immune system is fighting toxic infection. Here are some of them:
• Skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis
• Allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances
• Digestive symptoms, like bloating, constipation, diarrhea
• Candida yeast overgrowth
• Irritable Bowel Diseases, like Celiac Disease, Crohn’s and ulcertaive colitis
• Autoimmune diseases, like Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, MS
• Depression, anxiety
• Hormonal imbalances, including PMS and estrogen dominance
• Nutrient deficiencies
• Brain fog
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
The ones that twigged for Thom were Autoimmune disease, food allergies, skin conditions, brain fog, asthma and depression. So I began to research how we might be able to heal his gut.
Can You Heal a Leaky Gut? Eat Gut Healing Foods
Our modern, North American fast food/processed food diet really sucks for health and wellness. The major culprits, in our experience, are refined sugar and carbs, trans-fats, gluten, non-organic dairy products,, wheat, additives and preservatives and pesticides. These pro-inflammatory foods are most damaging to gut health. Yet in North America we consume them on a regular basis.
So we made changes to his diet. Bye Bye Donuts, brownies, dairy, pasta, bread, noodles, lagers. Hello Green Smoothies, grass fed meat, coconut oil, veggies and fruits, seed butters, bone broth, sauerkraut, and Guiness. This process took some time. We eliminated foods and put them back to see what he reacted to. In the end, we found ourselves in the Paleo Diet terrain, which also works for me and my eczema. I’ve included a downloadable PDF from www.blog.kettleandfire.com of lists of foods that heal Leaky Gut and foods to stay away from. There are some things on the “Never Eat” list that Thom can eat, just not everyday. It’s all a matter of paying attention, trial, error. Or getting yourself tested to see what foods are “no go zones” for you. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to download the PDF.
Here are some gut-healing must-haves:
• Bone Broth. It's full of collagen, gelatin and glutamine, which help heal and repair the gut lining. We make ours broth at the top of the week in a slow cooker. It get put into smoothies and other meals.
• Lightly cooked veggies - steamed or stir fried in coconut oil. The rule of thumb is that raw foods can be hard for a leaky gut to digest. I’d say see what works for your gut.
• Coconut oil. Its natural antibacterial properties help combat bad bacteria in the gut; its anti-inflammatory properties can soothe and calm the intestinal lining. Besides, it provides much needed “brain fuel”. An essential ingredient of Thom’s smoothies, and my go-to for stir frys.
• Grass fed meats are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and minerals— two nutrients needed for gut health. And it tastes WAAAAY better than grain-fed meats.
• Wild fatty fish or fish oil is an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fish also contains vitamin D, which has been linked to gut health. We also use flaxseed oil.
• Oat Juice. It helps soothe and repair intestinal linings. We found that this was the case with Thom. If you have serious grain intolerance, this might not work for you.
Keep Stress Levels Down.
This one is critical because stress unleashes hormones in your body that can exacerbate the immune system. Here are some suggestions to beat stress.
• Go to bed an hour earlier each night (bonus: every hour of sleep you get before 11 p.m. is said to be worth 2 hours). I must confess that Netflix and binge watching sometimes makes this one hard to do!
• Turn off the Tech before bed time. The artificial blue light from screens is linked to disturbances in your natural sleep and wake cycles. Yeah, also not an easy one for me, much easier for Thom.
• Spend time outdoors (even if it’s just a 20-minute walk during your lunch break) to absorb vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it promotes a happier mood, and it also plays an important role in reducing gut inflammation. This one makes a huge difference!
• Yoga, meditation, and exercise can help ground you through stress and release those“happy hormones”, your body’s natural anti-depressants. Thom has been hitting the gym with our friend, Pam three times a week. His stability, strength and mood have greatly improved. I have been walking more and going to Zumba Classes. A little happy dancing goes a long way!
• Hang out with with people who inspire and uplift. Do more things on your own that nurture your spirit. Spend less time with people and situations that depress or create anxiety. This is totally making a difference for Thom. And music is his go-to for soul nurturing.
Put in some Good Bacteria
Probiotics are incredibly important when it comes to healing and preventing leaky gut. Not only do they help keep bad bacteria out of your digestive tract, they also strengthen the gut lining, to help prevent leaky gut. There’s a few things that can deplete good bacteria from your system: antibiotics, chronic stress, too many carbs, too much refined sugar and stomach viruses. But fear not, you can replace good bacteria with fermented foods like:
• Unsweetened coconut or goat milk yogurt (organic cows milk yogurt if you don’t have dairy sensitivities)
• Apple cider vinegar (raw, unpasteurized, and with “the mother”)
• Beet Kvass
• Organic unsweetened goat milk kefir
Or you can take a probiotic supplement that will contain several different strains of good bacteria. These can be found in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. Goat milk kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are Thom’s go-tos. Mine is organic yogurt, which I have with fruit and nuts in the morning.
Detox Your System
While you can’t control all the toxins around you, there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to them. Number three below is actually one of my inspirations for starting Free Lion Body Care in the first place.
• Drinking plenty of clean, filtered water.
• Choosing organic produce when possible.
• Switching to natural cosmetics, body care products, and household cleaning products. I make my own (!!).
• Making it a priority to sweat. Sweating through exercise helps your body eliminate toxins naturally.
The state of your gut matters to your health, on a daily basis. Even the most basic, little changes can mean the difference to feeling more energetic, having healthier looking skin, and having deeper, more restful sleeps. And who doesn’t want that!?
It is my hope that these changes we’ve made are setting Thom’s body up for some success in the eventually healing MS department. Already we have seen improvement, though not total reversal, in his symptoms. And dude is WAAAAY happier to be around these days. I have no idea if the damage already caused by the disease is actually reversible. Apparently, the MS doctors don’t either. So it comes down to choosing between, “Nothing you can do, but be a good boy and have this pill while you’re waiting to die” vs. “Hell, YA, let’s give that natural remedy a try. What’ve we got to lose? And are you up for sit skiing this winter, honey?” For us, that choice is a no brainer.
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team.
This blog post represents my opinion and experience only. Do what works for you. Below is downloadable PDF infographic on foods the help or hinder the gut.
There are so many current conditions that can benefit from a little lavender oil. Here’s a couple of situations where Lavender Oil can be the champ you need. Word. Most essential oils have to be diluted before use. Not Lavender oil. You can use it topically, straight up, no carrier oil. Some Aromatherpists advise not to ingest Lavender Oil. If that's really the case, someone should tell those peeps who make lavender shortbread and infuse tea leaves with it to cut it out!! Seriously, though, historical anecdotal evidence and Wise Woman Wisdom tells us that it has been safe to ingest, a drop or two when needed, for centuries. And Personally, I've benefitted from ingesting Lavender.
That being said, here's the fine print: I’m not a doctor. But I have tried various home remedies over the years on my family and myself. I’m sharing some instances when Lavender Oil came to the rescue. Use your own discretion and experience to figure out what will work for you. It's best that you test for your self. See how you react to Lavender by spot testing a drop on your skin or ingesting a drop and seeing if you have any reactions.
Relieve Tooth Pain
A few years ago, I developed a bad toothache that felt like it was on the road to a root canal. Not fun. Dentists. Even less fun, except at parties! I had been using Lavender oil on wounds for many years so I thought, “What the heck! It can’t hurt.” Within a day or two, no more toothache.
Lavender’s antibacterial properties got to work under my gums and essentially neutralized the infection that was causing the pain. I’m not saying that one shouldn’t see a dentist when one has to. But I am saying, to morph a quote from Shakespeare, that, “There are more things in heaven and earth, dental profession, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I have passed that piece of anecdotal evidence on to friends and family since then. We’ve saved a ton on dental bills.
Heal Burns and Wounds
At our house, we use Lavender oil for burns and on cuts (2 drops applied to the gauzy part of a plaster bandage). It did a bang up healing job that time I accidentally poured boiling water on my hand. I have even used it on gauze to heal a major surgery wound. The nurse who visited the house daily to change my bandage used only Saline water to disinfect. She was impressed at how efficacious Lavender Oil was in my speeding up my healing process.
The A to Z of Essential Oils also calls lavender a “first-aid kit in a bottle,” suggesting that it should be kept in the kitchen to treat First and Second degree burns. A first-degree burn, like typical sunburn, is red and hurts mildly, with usually only the first layer of skin affected. A Second-degree burn is worse and may have blistering with more pain, with the first and underlying layers of skin affected. You can use Lavender Oil straight up or blend it with Aloe Gel (10 drops of Lavender Oil to ½ cup of Aloe Gel). This makes a fabulous healing combo. While Lavender is busy desensitizing your nerves, relieving pain, healing and preventing scarring, the aloe is cooling and protecting the skin.
In case of first or second degree burn:
In case of a cut or scrape:
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Have trouble sleeping? Can’t relax? Those thoughts keep romping round your head? Lavender Oil can help. It’s calming components basically chill you out so that you can more easily fall asleep. It works well for adults and wonderously for children who can’t seem to settle down. I have used a Lavender Spritz on my pillow when I'm super stressed out. Before I know it, I'm off to lala land!
There are a few options on how to use lavender to help you fall into the Big ZZZ:
These are some ways our family uses Lavender Oil. Hope you find them helpful, from our pride to yours. .
Sherazad Jamal, Free Lion Team
What are your favourite ways to use Lavender Oil?
Leave us a comment.