Archive for the ‘Essential Oils’ Category

Smell the Flowers for Earth Day

May 19, 2016
There is nothing quite like the honesty and directness of children!

Cathyand Kids
I spent a few hours during Earth Day showing kids of various ages photos of flowers being pollinated by bees and butterflies, and then they could smell the essential oil that came from that flower. Everyone enjoyed the experience, and had their favorites. (Click on the images below to see in larger gallery.)

What was most interesting was how very few of the children had heard of jasmine, had never smelled it before, and yet their responses were almost identical. One small boy who was maybe 5 years old smelled the vial of jasmine, closed his eyes, cocked his head, and literally got blissed out….when I asked if he liked it he gave me a big smile.

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Vacation Beauty

September 11, 2012

I just recently went on a vacation with 2 friends, one I’ve known for 24 years, and one who is brand new. Serendipity rules! I took a chance and was rewarded with an easy and beautiful journey to the Tetons through the middle of Colorado and back home via Flaming Gorge and Arches in Utah. I am stunned by the diversity and immensity of land forms here in the mountain west. We ended up taking the less traveled path, and found ourselves on historic trails.  And who knew Utah grew such fabulous peaches?

2000 miles later I am both tired and rested and will continue this blog on all things healthy next week. Also coming is a new blog on aromatherapy. For those who are wishing to do one more learning/vacation activity: I am teaching aromatherpy at The Santa Fe School of Massage this weekend, and in Monument, CO (near Colorado Springs) the last weekend of September. Go HERE for more details.

 

Cold and Flu Prevention For Kids (of all ages)

January 14, 2012

When I went to look at my stats for this blog, especially what folks were searching for, I found cold and flu prevention for kids…and I thought, oh good, now I know what I’m blogging about!

First: limit sugar as much as humanly possible. Why? (other than we all know it’s not good for us, empty calories, mood swings, etc.) Because the nasty micro-organisms LOVE sugar, and our immune systems are compromised almost immediately after consuming sugar, and can take hours to rebound back to their robust selves….

Second: everyone needs to sleep WAY MORE than they realize, and children especially need sleep to be regular: same time every night; a dark room if possible (night lights may help anxiety, but if your child is a poor sleeper it may be too much light in the room); bedtime stories really work (for adults, too), and leave plenty of time to brush teeth, etc. so family members aren’t unduly stressed before bedtime.

Third: for children who get frequent ear infections, there is good research showing that prophylactic use of xylitol based nose sprays help prevent ear infections by destroying bacterial cell walls. Iris Herbal’s Mullein Garlic Oil really helps clear infection if used at the first sign of ear infection. Many folks (parents for their children, and adults for themselves) have found this combo safe, easy and effective. Mullein oil (made by infusing mullein flowers in olive oil) and garlic essential oil (a very strong anti-bacterial oil) together are quite potent; just don’t use if the eardrum is perforated.

Fourth: WASH YOUR HANDS, often. Before meals, after the bathroom, after blowing one’s nose, after being in a public space where folks are coughing and sneezing. Teaching children the hand washing habit really helps because kids touch their faces a lot (well, so do adults, but we’ve often curbed some of those tendencies…), and hands deliver germs to the eyes, ears, and mouth.

Fifth: in one of the latest AARP newsletters, a very simple remedy was mentioned: gargling! Although young children may not be able to do that yet, anyone of any age who can: do so several times a day with warm water. It really lessons the number of time folks get sick.

and Sixth: take a supplement to increase immunity. Some folks swear by Echinacea and/or Elder berry at the first signs or if exposed. Some people are helped by herbal immune adaptogens like Astragalus, Bacopa, Eleuthero, and/or Spikenard. But often children don’t like the taste. So I recommend a supplement called Epicor (easily found on the web) which really does have good science (and my clients’ experience) to back it up. You can order this from me through my supplement buying club, whose next order is this coming Monday morning (and happens every month around the 15th). Just call (toll-free 877-286-2970) or email (irisherbal@yahoo.com) me this weekend and I can order you either adult strength or kid strength at a more affordable price that just about anywhere on the web.

pS: it’s also good to drink water…and if plain water is too boring, then add the juice of lemon or lime: tasty and helpful both!

A Good Night’s Sleep: Essential for Health

September 17, 2011

This seems self-evident…and yet research studies consistently show that we are sleeping 1 to 2 hours less a night than previous generations. We are also being exposed to artificial light late at night, which interferes with our sleep patterns. Here are 2 recent studies that show how important sleep is to 2 growing populations. First, if you have high blood pressure, check out this article  HERE . If you are diabetic or have heart disease (or are at risk) then please read HERE .  For those who want to know more about our circadian rhythm, you’ll want to read HERE .

As the seasons start changing, sleep patterns may become slightly disturbed. Some folks need to eat a small protein/fat snack before bed to keep their blood sugar regulated. Others just need to eat a meal 2 hours before bed. There is research that shows that for many (especially people with adrenal fatigue), the hours before midnight are “better” for quality sleep than after midnight. Like with diet, there isn’t a “one size fits all”; however, if you are experiencing sleep difficulties, try a few of these easy inexpensive possibilities: 3 mg of the hormone melatonin about one half hour before bed; no television or computer work an hour before going to sleep; reading with a full spectrum light bulb; sleeping with eye shades if you can’t make your bedroom completely dark.

And yes, there are many helpful herbs; however, I find that they should be used only if the above suggestions don’t work. As for essential oils, lavender, sweet marjoram and bergamot are very beneficial. Some folks use one scent and others may need to rotate. Just a drop or 2 on your pillowcase can ease your way into sleep.

Shingles Adventure and OK Blog Readers: What Next? Plus Update on Radiation

May 18, 2011

No I am not abandoning Detox, gentle or otherwise…it seems I have material enough to beat this subject to death; therefore  I’ll continue to talk about detox a bit at a time. Since our bodies are constantly detoxifying (or trying to) every day, I’ll keep adding tidbits from my stacks of research as we wander into the future.

Shingles is not something I thought much about until I “got” them. Now I find that almost everyone I’ve spoken with in my age group (and older) knows a friend or relative who has had them, or has suffered themselves. Who knew!? And that many did not know what it was for several days (myself included). And anyone can get them (children, teenagers, young adults: no one who has had chicken pox is immune). So, if you have NOT had them, after reading this blog, please find a good website that shows you pictures so you can recognize the lesions (they looked like the systemic poison ivy I once had). They key info: the outbreak is preceded by a  burning feeling in the area, and pain along nerve endings, even before eruption. As the eruptions increase, so does the pain. Also: they do not necessarily occur in the most common places (around the middle or on one side of the trunk).

The allopathic response (and the one I had to take as I was away on vacation) is Acyclovir (or other heavy-duty anti-viral). It really does work to halt the progression, and start the lesions’ reduction in size.  The holistic response: double-blind placebo studies have shown that the immediate use of very strong proteolytic enzymes (Wobenzyme N has been used with success) can work as well as anti-viral drugs. Another possibility (especially if this is a recurrence) is large (approx. 5 grams each per day) doses of Vitamin D, Vitamin C and l-Lysine.

On the lesions themselves: clay with essential oils of tea tree or other anti-viral oils (see previous blog posting), powdered charcoal and cornstarch (equal parts) mixed into a paste and applied, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) oil or salve, hydrogen peroxide gel, and the following as herbal tea poultices: Lemon Balm, Baikal Skullcap, Mullein Flowers, St. Joan’s wort, and/or Turmeric (found a great Chinese recipe that called for Turmeric, honey and yogurt: kinda messy, but very cooling).  Aloe Vera Gel is nice and cooling as well.

Now for the pain…suffice it to say that I have the deepest sympathy for any and all who have suffered intense pain, having now made a very personal acquaintance with it for a month. I fully understand why folks get depressed, discouraged and hooked on pain meds. I am currently weaning myself off Gabapentin (and it doesn’t really work unless you’re damn near unconscious). The Western herbs I am taking now in rather large doses during the day: 2 parts St. John’s/Joan’s wort, 2 parts Skullcap (I’m doing 1 part regular and 1 part Baikal) 2 parts Oats, 2 parts Licorice, and 1 part Ginger. Kathy Keville’s original recipe called for an additional 1 part Vervain (which I’m getting and making into a tincture pronto). There are other excellent Chinese possibilities; however, they work best with an individual diagnosis. My friend (and fellow blogger) Lisa Goodstein is formulating one for me now that she’s seen me.  Acupuncture in general is very helpful with post-herpetic neuralgia (the official term for the pain that often INCREASES after the lesions are almost or fully resolved). However, one must see an acupucturist at least once a week for  4 to 6 weeks.

And here’s an interesting herbal and pharmaceutical combo: Capsaicin creme. Works for 80% of the folks who use it (myself included). The really effective stuff is prescription only (but not terribly expensive), and the studies are impressive. The usual dosage is 0.075% Capsaicin (an oleoresin derived from Cayenne peppers) added to a (wish it were organic) hypo-allergenic base. Any compounding pharmacy can make it. One applies it 3 times daily.

And here it comes: the detox part: 2 especially great liver detoxifiers: Milk Thistle Seed (as a tincture or standardized extract) and the supplement Calcium-d-Glucarate. This patented form of glucaric acid is supported with numerous studies and used in several cancer centers. It works by assisting the liver and healthy cells to eliminate wastes and foreign elements (and those pharmaceuticals and their metabolites I’m taking are definitely in that category). I won’t get all technical on you here, but it is a really cool (though expensive) supplement, especially for anyone that is concerned about breast cancer.

What Next, dear blog readers? Please let me know what you’d like to see me address. Either respond to this blog or email me: irisherbal@yahoo.com.

Radiation from Japan update: check this out for an in-depth expose of the current situation…NOT for the faint of heart. And may we all continue to send prayers and energy to the people of Japan who must persevere through this enormity.

More Aromatherapy for Gentle Detox

May 10, 2011

As I’ve been dealing with shingles, I’ve found some new ways of using essential oils.  When applying essential oils on the body, they must be diluted, and sometimes (like with shingles lesions or broken skin)) you do not want to use the more common mediums like oils and lotions. So I’ve been using alternatives: yogurt, fresh aloe gel (just the inside goop, not the skin), honey and clay. If you are wanting a drawing, astringent, use the clay (and for shingles, tea tree is a great addition, as is any anti-viral including bergamot, niaouli, cajeput, basil, lavender and eucalyptus). The yogurt is cooling and good for hot conditions (and is aided by using cooling essential oils like the chamomiles, lavender, blue cypress and yarrow). Honey is anti-microbial as well as soothing, and helps prevent secondary infections. Use any of the first list for added antiseptic power, and any of the second list for the anti-inflammatory effect.

Eucalyptus is penetrating and cleansing; helping to disperse negativity and constriction through clearing stagnation, thereby bringing inspiration for positive change. {anti-microbial, stimulant, decongestant/expectorant, mild diuretic}  There are several species of Eucalyptus that are useful in aromatherpy. Here are some of the most commonly used:

Peppermint Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives) is great for bronchitis (as it thins the mucus very effectively) but not for children or pregnant women.

Narrow Leaf Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) is strongly anti-viral, an expectorant, and anti-inflammatory. Is excellent in a vapor steam.

Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) is the most commonly used; be aware that much of this Eucalyptus sold (even in natural food or herb stores) has been redistilled and is not as therapeutically valuable as the pure and natural oil, which is an excellent expectorant.

Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) smells like a combination of regular Eucalyptus and Lemon. With its high aldehyde content, it is anti-viral and calming (but irritating if not well-diluted).

Gully Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) is the safest for children because it is milder. Like all Eucalypti, it is antiseptic, anti-catarrhal, analgesic and fever-reducing.

Grapefruit this fresh, light citrusy oil is essentially cleansing, especially of deep-seated frustration, self-blame, and feelings that lead to “comfort eating.” It helps disperse the heaviness of angry disappointment. {liver tonic, digestive stimulant, lymphatic decongestant).

Juniper with its pungent woodsy aroma, has been used since ancient times to purify on the spiritual level, using its power to drive away negativity (this is the herb we commonly call cedar). There is also a sweeter note that reflects Juniper’s empowering potential  as it helps us to confront the rigidity of worry. {loosens phlegm, lymphatic decongestant, anti-rheumatic, stimulates circulatory system, a general tonic– especially of the nervous system–and anti-microbial}.

Bay or Sweet Laurel has been a symbol of triumph and achievement since ancient times.  Its fresh camphoraceous scent brings warmth to chilly, congested folks who are burdened with doubt and debility. {pulmonary antiseptic and expectorant, anti-spasmodic–especially of the digestive system–stimulant, diuretic, anti-rheumatic and nervous system tonic}.

Any of the above oils may be purchased from www.irisherbal.com , as well as individually formulated for specific health enhancement purposes. None of the info presented here in this blog is for diagnostic or treatment purposes. It is just the traditional wisdom of our ancestors conveyed in a modern way. Nothing here has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for specific illnesses. For that you must consult a qualified health care practitioner. This info is for educational purposes only.

My 60th Birthday Adventure

May 6, 2011

Or, why this blog is late!

In February of 2010 I suggested to an old friend of mine that we go back East to an intentional community we helped found as a way to celebrate my 60th birthday. By February of 2011 it had morphed into a “Founders” Reunion. So on April 15th I began the kind of road trip I used to do when I was much younger: drive lots of miles one day, and not so many the next because there are friends to visit, or, in this case, friends I didn’t even expect to see. And everywhere spring was busting out: dogwoods, redbud, wildflowers, so much green for our high desert hearts to enjoy.

The place we helped establish back in 1980 had for infrastructure a pre-Civil War log cabin and barn, plus a couple of hippie-made structures, none of which were winterized. No phone, no running water, no electricity, and a rudimentary outhouse: primitive. I was there living in a tipi for 6 months, and ended up going back to the big city because there was no way to make money, no warm place to live in the winter, and just too much isolation. But the 8 of us who started this experiment did the ground work, including by-laws for what became a non-profit intentional community that has persisted 31 years.

When we rolled up in my friend’s car we were greeted like visiting royalty by the 15 residents (and several others who were there preparing for the annual  Beltane celebration) and given the grand tour: a large bathhouse with a sauna and massage tables, a well-appointed outhouse, a huge industrial kitchen and places to eat, decks, porches, cisterns, running water, hot water, solar electricity, and real homes with insulation….only the garden looked much the same (though larger), and all the trees had grown. Oh it was beautiful.

So I became part of an oral history project, reconnected with another founder, hiked the verdant spring mountains, made Bloodroot tincture, taught how to make Nettles tincture, engaged the residents and visitors in conversation, danced, ate great food, and basically had one of my best birthdays ever. I was honored for being a pioneer, and humbled by the appreciation. Definitely a peak experience….and then I “got” shingles.

Yup, from the sublime to the ridiculous, as in ridiculously painful, turning the last part of my vacation into an exercise in enduring being debilitated (I cannot sit or drive).  And so I managed to limp home (on the train, which was quite an adventure) and am now slowly catching up. So next week I’ll get back to essential oils and detox, which I’ve been putting to good use in treating my condition. Nice to know this isn’t just theory…

Gentle Daily Detoxification

April 26, 2011

Guest blog post by Lisa Goodstein, DOM

Last week I wrote that Oriental Medicine does not recommend specific spring detoxification however; there are some gentle detoxification methods that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. One is drinking warm water with the juice from half an organic lemon squeezed into it first thing in the morning.  (Lemon is sour and supports your Liver).  If the lemon irritates your stomach, just drink the warm water without it. If you are constipated, or your stools are hard or your evacuation feels sluggish this will help, especially if you also have a glass of warm water before bed. Warm water does not mean room temperature. The water must be heated, not to a point of hot, but definitely warmed. Another method is dry skin brushing.

Dry brushing removes surface dead skin cells and stimulates the lymph system which removes a lot of our body’s waste.  Poor lymphatic drainage contributes to arthritis, cellulite and high blood pressure. This technique can be done year round.  If you are not currently doing it, this is a great time to start.

All you need is a bristle brush with a long detachable handle.  Most health food stores carry these brushes.  The brush must be used when it, and your skin is dry.  (It is advisable to wash the bristles in warm soapy water every 2 weeks).  Brush your body once daily prior to a shower or bath. The whole process only takes 5 minutes.  If you do this daily, it is also good to take a few days break every month so your body does not become lazy, similar to the pulsing method while taking supplements. The technique is rather simple: always brush toward your lymphatic glands.  There are several throughout our bodies but the two main areas are near the groin and underneath the clavicles.

Be gentle with your skin.  If you brush too strongly, you could scratch or irritate your skin and not engage your lymphatic system, which is just shallow to your skin’s surface. First, start at the soles of your feet, then the tops and the ankles, move up your legs. Use long strokes on your legs toward the upper inner thigh.  Brush your fingers, hands and arms towards your shoulders. On your buttocks and back, stroke towards the front to follow the lymph system. For your abdomen, use circular strokes from right to left – following the direction of your colon.  Be gentle on your chest, the skin is thinner here – again, you are stroking towards your clavicles.

Areas to avoid include genitals, nipples particularly if you are a female; areas of skin which are infected or broken, eczema, psoriasis, and areas of bulging painful varicose veins. This method is not to be used on the neck or face because the skin is too fragile.

After your shower or bath, you can massage into your skin essential oils diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond, sunflower or sesame oil.  You can use a single essential oil such as cypress, which is wonderful for detoxification or blend it with juniper and lemon or grapefruit in a very small concentration. Both of these citrus oils can be skin irritants and make you more sensitive to sunlight. Do not use them if you will be in the sun.

Examples of possible essential oil blends which assist the lymphatic system with 1 ounce of carrier oil: 6 drops cypress, 3 drops juniper, 1 drop lemon or grapefruit.  Use this blend daily for not more than 3 days consecutively. To make a gentler blend you could try 3-4 drops of cypress and 5-6 drops of lavender, not to exceed 10 drops total.  Experiment with the oils and discover what suits you.  Cathy has pre-blended oils for the bath and individual essential oils on her Iris Herbal website.

I admit I do get out of the habit of dry skin brushing at times.  When I remember to start again, I feel better and my skin looks healthier.  Having a human body can be a lot to take care of!  I hope you are enjoying Spring, this wonderful season of rebirth, and use some gentle detoxification if you feel it is appropriate.  Always remember to check in with yourself. You are usually your best authority.

Lisa Goodstein, DOM
505-­501-2130
www.goodmedicineassociates.com

Addressing the Emotional Aspect of Detox with Essential Oils

April 12, 2011
Anytime we change our habits, add or subtract food groups, look at how and when we eat, and/or start a detoxification process (however modest) emotional issues are going to arise. Our emotions (which some folks call feelings with a story) are inextricably linked to our thoughts and to bodily sensations (both “positive” and “negative”…what we often call “symptoms”).  Although much of our culture treats our minds as “ourselves” and our bodies as the “mules” which haul “us” around, we are really whole and indivisible beings. Those of us reading this know that intellectually (myself included), but doing any kind of detox will bring home this truth, as old “stuff” gets liberated during the release of toxins, and we get to “deal with” whatever we’ve back-burnered, or let slide into our subconscious.
Essential oils, which are very concentrated plant distillations (yes, they do come in other forms, but the vast majority are steam distilled), offer us a unique melding of the physical, emotional and “spiritual” (unseen dimensional/non-specific to any religion) aspects of herbs. They contain chemicals that are biologically “recognizable to our bodies (and some of these can be toxic or toxic at high doses) and which, if used properly, interact with our own bodily chemistry in beneficial ways. Because essential oils usually have agreeable (or at least “interesting”) scents, we tend to inhale them, and the same chemicals interact with our brain chemistry which can affect our mood, almost always in a positive manner (the main caveat here is you must like the scent, or at least not find it offensive). As we begin to “feel” an effect from inhalation, our souls are engaged….leading to an enhanced ability to both face our shadow aspects, as well as to let in more joy.
So here begins a journey into the physical and energetic effects of approx. 20 essential oils that are useful in assisting us with detoxification (and which are affordable and safe). I’ll start with 5 oils in this blog and the blog entries after I get back from my journey east…the next two blogs will be guest–edited by Lisa Goodstein , DOM.
Bergamot is a cold-pressed oil from a citrus tree, and is the magical ingredient of Earl Grey tea. It is very helpful in releasing tension, irritability, frustration and repressed emotion, especially unexpressed anger. A gentle, calmative, Bergamot is uplifting to the spirit and emotions. {anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, digestive and nervine tonic}.

Atlas Cedar

Atlas Cedar

is a distilled oil from the true Cedars (unlike what we call  Cedars, which are actually Junipers!) With a lovely deep scent this oil imparts strength and determination while dealing with difficult situations. { lymphatic decongestant, anti-microbial and general tonic}.
Roman Chamomile helps relieve nervous stress especially in the solar plexus region. Much like its herbal tea counterpart (though much stronger in both effect and aroma) Chamomile brings calm acceptance of our limitations. {analgesic, anti-inflammatory, gentle sedative, anti-spasmodic and digestive}.
Clary Sage brings inspiration and restores clarity of purpose. Its uplifting scent is gently euphoric, helping to restore balance when over-stimulated and experiencing mental and emotional fatigue. {anti-microbial, antispasmodic, digestive and uterine tonic}.

Cypress

Cypress

is excellent for general detoxification on the physical level, while supporting change on the emotional level. Its clean scent imparts strength to relinquish what needs to be let go, while lending stability and optimism for renewal. {anti-microbial, astringent,antispasmodic, and decongesting to the lungs, lymphatic system and prostate}.
Using these essential oils in the bath is an easy way to introduce aromatherapy into your self-care routine. You only need to use 4 to 10 drops of essential oil (mixed into a teaspoon of vegetable oil, or vodka, or dish soap) and add to a tub of warm (not hot) water. Relax, and let the scent and the energy of the oil relax or invigorate you. To read more about these and other essential oils, go to Iris Herbal Essential Oil Info Portal. To purchase these or any other essential oil, you can visit the Iris Herbal website or call Cathy on the phone toll-free @ 877-286-2970 (useful if you are just ordering one or two essential oils and would rather pay less shipping). For those who would like their bath oils already mixed in vegetable oil (or emulsified in a coconut base so that the blend completely disperses into the water) please go HERE. Enjoy!

Implementation: Which Herbs, How Much, When To Take

March 31, 2011

In the middle of last night I awoke thinking, how will folks implement that big wad of info? So here we are again regarding herbal detoxification, only with this additional info you may actually be able to start!

Gentian: great digestion enhancer, both in the stomach and intestines; good for anemia and convalescence to jumpstart digestion. Put 1/2 teaspoon of the root in a cup of water. Boil for 5 minutes. Drink warm 10 to 30 minutes before a meal.  It is BITTER! Ginger and Cardamom are great additions: use a total of 1/2 tsp of herbs.

Ginger: relieves indigestion, nausea, cramping. Stimulates peripheral circulation and can promote perspiration. Pour a cup of boiling water over a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger and drink when cool enough, before, during or after a meal (or anytime you feel nauseous).

Cardamom: good for relieving gas, cramping; stimulates the appetite and the flow of urine. Pour a cup of boiling water over freshly crushed seeds and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a saucer over top of all steeping herbal infusions: this captures beneficial chemicals in the steam.  Drink freely during the day, or before a meal.

Anise: the seed is great for intestinal cramping as well as getting rid of bronchial mucus. Pour boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons full of freshly, gently crushed seeds, and let steep, covered, for about 10 minutes. can be drunk several times a day, especially before meals or to assist in productive coughing.

Fennel: very similar to Anise: use the same way. Some folks prefer to just chew their seeds, and spit out when the taste has been extracted.

Cumin: these spice/herb seeds are a major part of many traditional cuisines because they are aids to digestion and taste good. Often used in bean dishes to aid beans’ digestion.

Cascara Sagrada: this is one of the gentlest of the purgatives (aids to elimination), as it encourages peristalsis and tones slack muscles of the digestive system. Start with 1 teaspoon of the bark in a cup of water. Bring to a boil, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drink before bed. Much better tasting and effective if used in conjunction with Ginger, any of the Seeds above, or Licorice.

Chickweed: good for acidic system due to heavy meat-eating; to gently increase the flow of urine (especially for PMS edema); and externally to treat arthritis, gout, eczema and psoriasis. Pour a cup of boiled water over 2 teaspoons of dry herb and let sit at least 5 minutes. Drink this 3 times daily, or use as a skin wash externally. You can also make a super strong infusion and pour into your bath water (just warm, not hot) to relive itching.

Dandelion: the root and leaf are both useful. This herb is a strong diuretic, increases bile production (and is a good liver tonic) and  stimulates digestion and elimination. Put 1 to 3 teaspoons of the root into a cup of water and gently simmer for 15 minutes. Drink three times daily. The leaves can be added raw to salads when young and tender, or steamed as a pot herb.

Parsley: eat the leaves! The root is used as a diuretic, to bring on menstrual periods, and to ease digestive cramping. Pour a cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the root and infuse, covered, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Do this 3 days a day. DO NOT use this herb at this medicinal dosage if PREGNANT.

Tomorrow I will do the next 10 herbs mentioned in the previous blog, and then the last 11 herbs over the weekend.

Here is the info for safe and effective essential oil usage at home:

Essential Oil Use & Safety Guidelines

  • Do not take essential oils internally unless you are following a cooking recipe (many herb and spice oils can be used as flavorings in minute quantities) or under the supervision of a licensed health care practitioner (with aromatherapy training).
  • Do not apply essential oils directly to the skin; always dilute with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, sesame and/or olive oil.
  • Here are the standard dilutions (as recommended by several internationally known aromatherapists) for a variety of home uses (on healthy adolescents and adults over 100 lbs):
    • Massage: use a total of 12 to 15 drops of essential oil(s) per one ounce of carrier oil. This is a 2 % dilution.
    • Bath: use 5 to 8 drops of non-irritant essential oil(s) in a teaspoon of vegetable oil and add to the water just before you enter the bath.
    • Inhalations: a drop of essential oil can be placed on a handkerchief or cotton ball and inhaled. Three to five drops may be added to a bowl of steaming water and the vapors inhaled. Be sure to close your eyes!
  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
  • Do not use citrus oils (or Angelica…and some references include Lavender) on the skin before exposure to UV light.
  • Use only pure and natural essential oils; avoid synthetic fragrances.
  • Do not use essential oils on infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and/or those with serious health problems without specific aromatherapy training. There are books available that, when read and understood, can help parents make informed choices about aromatherapy use for the whole family. When in doubt: don’t use.
  • Should ingestion of an essential oil occur, immediately call your Poison Control Center (http://www.aapcc.org/DNN/) Do not give water if breathing or swallowing is difficult.
  • Do buy a reference book to help you use essential oils safely and confidently. If you have a specific question, the folks at Iris herbal are happy to assist you.