Healthy Household: Simple Rosemary Peppermint Shampoo

“Rosemary improves memory and naturally thickens hair, which makes this essential oil a welcome addition to homemade shampoo.”
Eat Dirt by Dr Josh Axe

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Try this shampoo without adding liquid soap and see how well it works on your hair.

I have been researching and making shampoo recipes for many years. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never find a good, homemade shampoo. This shampoo recipe works well and can be made without soap. I found the original recipe in the book Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems by Dr Josh Axe. The original shampoo recipe doesn’t use soap.

If you have never used Dr Brunner’s Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap you’re in for a treat. I started using this liquid soap years ago during camping trips. This liquid soap can be used for washing anything including clothes, dishes, hair and body. Personally, I like the peppermint liquid soap the best. The soap is made with organic peppermint essential oil. If you add it to the base recipe, it will make your shampoo even more pepperminty.

“Peppermint supports digestion, improves focus, boosts energy, reduces fevers and headaches, and offers muscle pain relief.”

If you find washing your hair without lather too strange you can add the optional liquid soap to the recipe later.

1c organic aloe vera gel
4T organic olive oil
1/3c baking soda
25 drops organic rosemary essential oil
10 drops organic peppermint essential oil
1/2c-1c Dr Brunner’s Peppermint Castile Liquid Soap (optional)
Combine all the ingredients except the liquid soap in a plastic container. An old shampoo bottle will work well. Don’t worry if the contents doesn’t fill the bottle. The extra space will making shaking the shampoo before use easier. Try the shampoo without the liquid soap first and see if you like the results. If you find shampooing without a lather too weird, add 1/2c of liquid soap and try again. If that’s not enough lather add another 1/2c of liquid soap until the shampoo lathers to your personal needs. Remember to always shake the shampoo before using.

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This shampoo recipe is easy to make. You may have many of the ingredients already in your kitchen.

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely.

Healthy Household: Self Heal Essence

“Seal-heal has gained recent respect for its antiviral qualities. Effective for feverish colds and flu, it has also been proposed for treating herpes and AIDS, and is an underrated liver, gallbladder, and thyroid remedy.”
Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal

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Self Heal Essence is very easy to make. Self Heal reminds us that “all healing is self-healing”.

This weekend in the backcountry, I was lucky enough to find a meadow full of Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris). I decided to make an essence of Self Heal. If you have ever used Rescue Remedy or the Bach Flower Remedies you have used plant essences. I first learned about Rescue Remedy from my sister Christine who used it on her anxious dog. I have since used it for years on anxious or upset children? and adults.

Self Heal Essence
I’ve never made an essence before and the process is a bit woo woo. According to instructions you need a bright sunny day and a positive, peaceful state of mind to make a good essence.

1/2c wildcrafted Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris), flower heads
1c spring water
1/2c organic vodka
The Self Heal flowers are put into some spring water and let sit in the warmth of the sun to infuse for 3-4 hours. The plant material is strained out and one part organic vodka is added to two parts infused water. I reused a Rescue Remedy bottle which was perfect for my homemade Self Heal Essence!

While you are waiting for your essence to infuse, collect the tops of the Self Heal flowers. Dry the flower heads completely before storage. The flower tops can be used to make hot or cold infusions.

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Self Heal is a very common plant with a very long history of use. The plant likes wet areas in the woods or meadows.

Put the Selfheal flowers into spring water and let sit in the warmth of the sun to infuse for 3-4 hours.

Put the Self Heal flowers into spring water and let sit in the warmth of the sun to infuse for 3-4 hours.

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While you are waiting for your essence to infuse, collect the tops of the Self Heal flowers. Dry the flower heads completely before storage. Julie Bruton-Seal uses one or two flower head in iced infusion to help with hot flashes.

“Self-heal essence reminds us that all healing is self-healing, and is useful if you are ill and don’t know where to turn for help.”

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely.

Healthy Household: Quick Summer Salve

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Quick Summer Salve gives protection for dry or mature skin. It may even help keep the bugs away.

This Quick Summer Salve is nourishing for the skin and helps keep the bugs away. A low-carbohydrate diet is still the best defence against bug bites.

1 part organic shea butter
1 part organic mango butter
organic essential oils: frankincense, lavender, catnip, peppermint and geranium
Melt the shea and mango butter in a Pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water. Remove from heat and pour butters into containers. Add the essential oils. Mix gently and allow to cool. Label the containers.

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely.

Healthy Household: Vertigo

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Here are the Epley Exercises for home-treatment of Benign Positional Vertigo (BPV).

Thank goodness for the wonders of the internet!

About a month ago out of the blue, I started having a very scary experience. I became plagued with dizziness and nausea. I would turn my head or even roll over in bed and experience vertigo. Usually, any health problems I have are connected to my diet so I cut out the iffy foods. That didn’t help. I started taking ginger and licorice extracts. The ginger extract did help with the nausea. I started drinking ginger tea but the vertigo did not go away.

After three weeks of vertigo, most people would run to the doctor. I’m not most people but I was getting scared. So, I decided to do some internet research on dizziness and after less than five minutes found this quote on Benign Positional Vertigo:

“A person who has short episodes of intense spinning sensations when looking up or even rolling over in bed, may have BPV. This is a condition that causes small calcium carbonate crystals to become out of position from the central portion of the inner ear, where it floats about in the semi circular canals, bouncing on nerve cells and making them fire the wrong signals to the brain.”

“Because of hormonal factors women develop this condition more frequently then men. The way women process calcium could also be a factor. A women 40 years old has a 1-3% chance of getting BPV. The risk is higher the older she gets. For women who are postmenopausal BPV is the leading cause of dizziness. Thankfully the treatment for BPV is very easy. Your doctor or a physical therapist can perform a maneuver to re-position crystals in the inner ear. By applying different swift head motions it can shift the crystals to a pocket in the inner ear that is less sensitive, and will later dissolve.”*

What caught my attention was the description of exactly what I was going through and that there were exercises that a doctor or physical therapist can do to re-position the crystals. Well, I could do the exercises at home if I knew what to do! It took another five minutes of research to find the exercises. There are a number of types of exercises. I tried the Epley Exercises which were stated to work for most people. Here’s a link to a PDF download for the Epley self-help exercises.

I had someone in the family read out the directions while I did the exercises. I did the exercises twice and 90% of the vertigo disappeared! Within another two days the vertigo was completely gone! I think I had done the exercises a total of eight times. The exercises are very easy to do. There was no need for a doctor’s visit or medications.

Like I said, the wonders of the internet! The internet is an amazing modern resource for finding health information quickly that would have taken days or weeks to research a generation ago. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the internet to help solve my own household health problems and not have to resort to using the medical system.

* Here’s the link to the original article on Benign Positional Vertigo which got me on the right track for solving my vertigo.
11 Causes of Dizziness

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely and Saving Money.

Healthy Household: Douglas Fir Resin Salve and Liniment

“As respiratory medicine, applied externally in a rub,?these saps make a great winter medicine for colds, flu and winter congestion. They help break up phlegm, open breathing passages, reduce irritating and dry coughs, deepen the breath, calm the mind and encourage a restful sleep.”
Apothecary’s Garden

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Local resins have many of the same properties as exotic resins such as frankincense or myrrh. Tree resins are analgesic and antiseptic and can be used to treat wounds, cuts and burns.

Last winter I did two posts on using frankincense resin in salve and liniment. Many of the local tree resins can be used like frankincense. Local resins have some of the healing properties of frankincense though many local resins have not been thoroughly tested for their medical uses.

There are a number of good reasons to experiment with local plants from our bioregion. The first reason is cost. Local resins are free for the gathering. The second reason is flexibility. It’s good to know that even if we couldn’t get a supply of frankincense for some reason there’s a local solution. Just because the science hasn’t been completely worked out doesn’t mean we can’t experiment with local resins. Who knows, we might even stumble upon some new use for these common plants.

“When used for tired and sore muscles and joints, they stimulate surface blood flow which helps remove toxins from muscles and joints, help invigorate tired muscles, ease aches and pains, reduce swelling and inflammation in joints and reduce the pain of sprained and strained muscles.”

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This salve smells like laying in the grass in a Douglas Fir forest on a hot day in the Gulf Islands. Very calming.

Douglas Fir Resin Oil
1 part wildcrafted Douglas Fir resin
2-3 parts organic olive oil
1/2 part pure bee?s wax, small pieces

Remember to be very careful working with resins. Use a mason jar that can take the heat but can be thrown out after use or reserve that jar for use with resins. Put the resin into a mason jar and add the olive oil. Half fill a sauce pan with water and put the mason jar into the sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil and simmer the resin and olive oil for 30 minutes. Cool the resin infused oil overnight. The resin will drop to the bottom of the mason jar.

Carefully, pour off the resin infused olive oil into another mason jar. Add the bee?s wax cut into very small pieces. Half fill a sauce pan with water and put the mason jar into the sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer until the bee?s wax is melted. Carefully, pour the hot mixture into containers and label.

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Add the bee’s wax to the resin oil and carefully warm. After the bee’s wax melts completely, pour the mixture into containers and label.

“[Tree resins] also help moisturize, increase the suppleness of skin and help reduce wrinkles and crows feet. These healing phytochemicals are the whole saps or oleoresins as naturally produced by the trees for their own healing and well-being, not just isolated essential oils.”

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Douglas Fir Resin Liniment can be used like any other liniment or medical adhesive. For more information about how to use liniments see the post on Frankincense Liniment.

Fir Resin Liniment?
1 part wildcrafted Douglas Fir resin
3-4 parts 95% alcohol (190 proof) Everclear

Many liniments are made with methanol which is NOT safe for internal use. As I have stated before, I do not put anything on my skin that I would not consider safe to ingest. This liniment is made with ethanol, so it can be used internally.

Have caution when working with resins. Resins are messy and sticky. Use a glass container that will only be used for that type of resin or use a container that can be thrown away after use. It will be impossible to clean the glass container after cracking the resin. The cracked resin will stick to everything it touches and once the resin dries it will produce a very hard, varnish-like coating.

Once you have acquired some 95% alcohol, this liniment is very easy to make. Remove any pieces of wood or dead insects from the resin. Put the cleaned resin in a glass container that will only be used for resin or can be thrown out after use. Add the 95% alcohol to the resin and seal the jar with a lid. Label the jar as fir resin. Put the percentage of alcohol, today?s date, and the decanting date. Decanting day will be in one week but liniment made with fresh resin can be ready in as little as a day.

On decanting day, carefully pour off the liquid into a glass bottle. Use a glass bottle that can be discarded or reused for more liniment because the resin cannot be cleaned out of the bottle.

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Making liniment with fresh resin can take up to a week but can be ready in a day. The fresh fir resin is very soft and seems to almost melt into the Everclear. Yes, those are dead ants. If some dead ants get through the cleaning process just remove the bodies as they float to the surface.

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For best results use the Fir Resin Liniment followed by a top layer of the Fir Resin Salve or shea butter to avoid sticking.

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely and Saving Money.