Something I share in common with Pam, one of the characters in my first novel, is that I’m a big homeopathy fan.
There is a tattered, brown leather traveler’s notebook I’ve kept over the years that has homeopathic tips I’ve picked up in Europe scratched throughout it. Glancing back several weeks ago, I realized I had a plethora of cool recipes and formulas jotted down for toxin-free self care and other things you can make from simple things you probably already have in your kitchen, so I thought I’d share them here while I have some down time between edits.
The ones I’ve made and can vouch on for certain having guinea-pigged them myself, include: the lip balm, exfoliate/body scrub (which leaves your skin really smooth), perfume, face mask, and vinegar distillent, which is a great bathroom cleanser and doesn’t make you dizzy from ammonia fumes! The lemon juice works so-so. It lightens wood, so be careful which furniture you use it on. It goes well on teak wood bookshelves, and more importantly on wooden cutting boards. It will lighten cutting boards and get rid of stains.
I still want to make half of these and hope to try the ones I haven’t within the next little while. As I originally wrote them as chicken scratch and random smatterings in my travel book, now typed up, they’re in no professional order and can be taken at face value (but they truly work and you might find something useful in here). Hope you all enjoy, and if you have any to add to the list, please do – the more knowledge the better!!! : )
Lip Balm: For softening lip balm with a bit of zing, melt 50g (2 oz) of sweet almond oil with 7g (¼oz) of beeswax in a double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of organic set honey. Whiz into a cream with an electric whisk and add a few drops of lemon or peppermint essential oil. Pour into an old lip-balm pot or miniature screw-top jam jar, and leave to set in the fridge. Keeps for about 6 months.
Face Mask/Pack: For a nourishing, moisturizing face pack that smells nice, suitable for dry skin, mash a ripe banana with 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil and a fresh organic egg yolk (I’ve tried oatmeal to substitute for the egg and it works just as well – about 1 teaspoon). Smear on your face, leaving for up to 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Exfoliant/Body Scrub: Make your own micro-beaded exfoliant: 1 tablespoon of sea salt (I grind it with a pestle and mortar to make them more micro), 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Can be used weekly in the bath on both face and body, it’s cheap, and smells nice while being toxin free. Easier if stored in a jar of some kind; I usually just recycle small body scrub pots and make-up tubs to store it in.
Body Talc: Make your own deliciously scented talc by adding 20 drops of mandarin essential oil and 10 drops of orange essential oil to 6 tablespoons of cornstarch. You can store this in an old talcum powder dispenser, and it will keep for up to 6 months. It works just as well as Shower to Shower, and it smells heavenly.
Perfume: Make your own cologne, toxin free, by adding 18 drops of your favorite essential oil to 2 tablespoons of vodka (if you’re like me and don’t drink, borrow some from a friend who does, they’ll get a kick out of it. 😉 ). The nicest scents I’ve made so far are pear essential oil on its own (nice fruity scent), and rose and sandalwood (floral and woodsy, really nice and feminine).
Grapeseed Oil: It’s about $3-6 dollars in the U.S, and will last you three times as long as Loreal ReVitalift or any anti-aging skin cream. Use just a dime-sized amount under each eye and on the areas of the face and body you want to every night after washing your face, and once in the morning before putting on make-up, and it works as a skin toner in addition to fighting wrinkles. It does the exact same thing as anti-aging eye cream, and doesn’t use whale oil components. Grape seed Oil is also great for your hair, containing lots of essential minerals. You can pat it on your hair (just a tiny bit) a few times a week, better if done after a shower when hair’s still damp.
Toothpaste: If you’re feeling brave, a traditional alternative is a paste made with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 3 drops of peppermint or fennel essential oil and a little water (for the record, I’ve never tried this. I use Crest or Arm & Hammer. :S But it’s something to think about in the event of a disaster, if you’re trapped at home and out of toothpaste or what have you).
Sunburns: Pure aloe Vera is the greatest natural remedy for sunburns. Look for pure aloe Vera gel (over 97% aloe content) in your local health food store (Wild Oats has it). It has been proven to promote healing and is the best way to soothe sore skin.
Air Freshener: Mix 1 teaspoon of your favorite essential oil with 250ml (8fl oz) of water. Store in a spray bottle and spray two-three times in the center of the room.
Lemon Juice: A natural bleach and fabric whitener. Also an effective deodorizer, degreaser, and disinfectant. As a substitute for baking soda, slice a lemon in half, sprinkle salt on it, and put it facing up in your fridge door where the eggs go for 2-3 days, and it gets rid of odors. I tried this just to test it a few years ago, and my fridge smelt really fresh and nice when I took the lemon out.
White Distilled Vinegar: White vinegar is acidic, which means it can neutralize alkaline substances like limescale. It’s also an effective disinfectant, anti-fungal agent and degreaser. Good to use on bathroom sinks and toilets. A great alternative to bleach.
Essential Oils that can be used without dilution that promote wellness:
Lavendar oil: can be used in everything; de-stressing, worn as perfume, put a few drops in bath to relax, also is great added to the final cycle when washing clothes.
Neroli oil: mood enhancing. Great to add a few drops into the bath for kids to help moisturize and makes any plain massage oil smell wonderful.
Rose Oil: great as a night/facial cream. Adding 2 drops to some evening primrose oil makes a great facial oil to apply before you go to bed (so you don’t have to use night cream made from whale products that include non-natural fragrances and toxins).
Bergamot oil: Scalp soothing. A few drops added to your shampoo/conditioner are great if you have itchy or dry skin (this is a good thing for Army buddies who are/have been in the field for a couple of days, and ya know what I’m talkin’ bout!). Good to use after camping.
Frankincense oil: Helps prevents wrinkles. Mix frankincense with lavender oil and add it to hand cream or a natural body lotion for a nice scent. About 2: 2 ratio when mixing.
Look for shampoos/conditioners made from natural, organic or vegetable ingredients and use only a small amount when you wash. Use grapefruit or lemon oil for greasy hair, sandalwood or rose for dry hair, and tea tree for dandruff.
To lighten hair, make a chamomile infusion. Put 8 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers in a heat-proof jug or (for my Army buddies) a stainless steel thermos with 200ml (7fl oz) of boiling water. Leave to stand for 4 hours, strain and apply to your hair. Leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse well.