HealingForReal

Category Archives: Essential Oils

Fresh Breath FAST – Naturally Flavored Toothpicks

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Sunday mornings on the way out the door to church, I used to grab a stick of gum to make sure my breath was nice and fresh. It was usually sugarless and fruity or sugared and cinnamon. When I switched to real food and tried to eliminate toxins from my life, I realized the gums and breath mints I was using had some nasty ingredients. Some that have even been linked to cancer.

I looked for ‘healthy’ gum and found a few like this and this, but they weren’t the same. Not bad, just not what I wanted anymore. I still wanted fresh breath without having to bring my toothbrush or mouthwash along.

I found the solution at the health food store! Flavored toothpicks. The ones I found were only available with tea tree oil and I am not a fan of tea tree in my mouth. It’s a great oil. I use it for a lot of things, like my molluscum contagiosum treatment blend and as a topical anesthetic, but I do not like the taste of it. That led me to this bright idea!! I can make them myself! I have oils in various flavors that would work. I just needed toothpicks. I chose a natural sustainable bamboo toothpick I found at my local health food store. These toothpicks are pretty close and super cheap.

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I chose cinnamon and vanilla for a bit of a ‘cinnamon roll’ flavor. You can also use peppermint, citrus, clove, etc. for different flavors. I put the drops right in the bottom of the container. (*Caution: cinnamon oil is strong and can be a skin irritant, so be careful while using it. I have not had a problem with the cinnamon being too strong once it is dried, but if you are concerned, dilute with a carrier oil. Wash your hands after handling the oils and toothpicks and don;t touch your face or sensitive areas. And because of a concern from a reader, I will mention that these and all oils should be kept out of the reach of children. Also mentioned by the concerned reader, wintergreen should not be used internally.)

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I added a couple of drops of vanilla and put the toothpicks back in the container. They immediately started to wick the oils and soak them up.

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After a couple of hours, I took 10 or 12 of them out and dried them flat on a paper towel. I figured I’d leave the rest in the container to keep soaking up the oils and dry them as I need them. I took a rollerball container and removed the roller ball and the toothpicks fit right in. I can stick these in my purse and have a quick non-toxic way to freshen my breath anywhere. They are cheap and easy to make and store.

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Chlorine Neutralizing Bath Salts

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I love a nice, long, relaxing bath. I’ve been taking more baths lately with epsom salts to get a little bit more magnesium and to soak away some stress. Recently, I reordered the chlorine filter for our shower head and realized that the water in my baths was NOT being filtered. I was soaking for half an hour or more in chlorinated water when we had been trying to avoid it as much as possible by filtering our shower and our drinking water.

WHY? Chlorine is a chemical that kills living organisms. Unfortunately, it is not selective, so along with killing pathogens in our water, it kills beneficial bacteria and cells and tissues within the body. Inhaling chlorine byproducts in the steam from chlorinated showers and absorbing chlorine through the skin can trigger the body to produce free radicals, which cause damage to cells. Chlorine byproducts have also been shown to cause cancer and are a factor in heart disease .

[stextbox id=”info”]”Breast cancer, which now affects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue.” (source).[/stextbox]

My plan to eliminate as many toxins as possible, definitely includes chlorine. For a more detailed article on the adverse effects of chlorine, click here.

I thought about how I might filter my bath water and found a few commercial products and contraptions that would do the trick.  When I looked into how they worked and what was used to filter the chlorine, I was surprised to find it was mostly ascorbic acid. What is ascorbic acid? Nothing more than VITAMIN C.

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Vitamin C as ascorbic acid has long been known to neutralize chloramine and chlorine in water. The reaction is quick and just one gram of ascorbic acid will neutralize 100 gallons of tap water(source).

OK, GREAT! Vitamin C. I had some in my cupboard and wondered if I should just crush a tablet or dissolve it in the water or what? I guess I could have done that, but a quick search lead me to find PURE VITAMIN C POWDER, ready to neutralize! The cost per bath is about SIX CENTS! I added it to the rest of the fun stuff I put in my bath and had myself a nice de-chlorinated soak in the tub. The difference in the smell of the bathwater was distinctly noticeable! It had a slightly sweet, metallic smell. Not at all unpleasant, just different. Different is GOOD in this case. No more chlorine smell! No more yuck.

So, here’s my ‘recipe’ for Chlorine Neutralizing Bath Salts!

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Chlorine Neutralizing Bath Salts

Relaxation Version (enough for 1 bath)

1/2 cup Epsom Salt
1/2 tsp VITAMIN C POWDER
3 drops Lavender (or other favorite) Essential Oil

Detox Version (enough for 1 bath)

2 cups Epsom Salt
1/2 tsp VITAMIN C POWDER
1/2 cup Bentonite Clay
1/2 cup Sea Salt
1/2 cup Baking Soda
3 drops Peppermint (or other detoxing) essential oil
3 drops Rosemary (or other detoxing) essential oil
(Other oils good for detox might be grapefruit, lime, lemon, rose, cypress, etc.)

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If you already have a favorite recipe, just add about 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin c powder (or 1 gram if you want to get technical and weigh it) for EACH ‘serving’ of bath salt. (Example – If you use 1 cup of your bath salt recipe per bath and you make a 4 cup batch, you would add 1/2 tsp per cup which would be 2 tsp. total – MIX WELL!).

If you’re NOT filtering your drinking water and shower water, read the articles linked above and below and maybe reconsider and get a good filter! We use THIS ONE and LOVE it. And it’s not ugly, so it sits nicely on the counter.

“…Chlorine represents a very real and serious threat to our health and should be removed in our homes, at the point of use, both from the water we drink and the water we shower in.”
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

Note: I’ve had a few skeptics wonder if this can really be true. For more information and and some chemistry lessons, here are a few links!
http://h2oblogged.wordpress.com/water-treatment-systems/chloramine-removal/vitamin-c-for-chlorine-removal/

http://www.inspiredliving.com/chloramine-filters/vitamin-c-removes-chloramines.htm

SFPUC determined
that 1000 mg of Vitamin C (tablets purchased in a grocery store, crushed and mixed in with the
bath water) remove chloramine completely in a medium size bathtub without significantly
depressing pH.

You can google more or buy a test kit like this one and try it out yourself.

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Natural Alternatives for Molluscum Contagiosum

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Molluscum Contagiosum is a virus that causes a pox-like skin disease. According to the CDC it affects the outer layers of the skin but doesn’t spread through the body. It can be spread to other people by sharing towels or clothes or by touching the infected area.

I had never heard of Molluscum until about a year ago when my 5 year old son erupted in raised wart-looking spots on his shoulders and back. I asked his doctor, a friend who lives across the street, to take a look. She checked out the spots and asked if there was one spot or a few that had come before the others. There were, in fact, a couple on his hip that had been there for a while that I thought were bites of some kind. She confirmed that it was Mulloscum Contagiosum and said that it was common and required no treatment and would go way on its own within 6-18 MONTHS!! That seemed like a long time for my little guy to itch and scratch. In that time, he could also spread it to other people and to other areas on his own body.

While it REQUIRED no treatment, I wasn’t satisfied with waiting so I turned to natural websites to find another option. I found several sites with forums that had some personal experiences. Some people had used Tea Tree oil, some used Clove and others used Oil of Oregano all with varied success. I decided to blend them all. (Please note that I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. I am sharing a home remedy that worked for me. Please use caution with essential oils and always use a carrier oil to dilute them for topical use.)

This is what I used:
Essential Oil Blend for Molluscum
10 drops of Oil of Oregano
10 drops of Clove Bud oil
5 drops of Tea Tree oil
5 drops of Lemongrass oil
1/4 cup of Coconut oil

It had a strong smell – kind of like a pizza – so I also added a little peppermint oil to cover it but it is not necessary. My son was happy to have this oil blend massaged into his skin a couple of times a day. Within a week, the cores were visibly dying. Another 10 days and all the spots on his back were gone. The larger original spots on his hip took another 2 weeks to fade and go away completely. He had scratched the largest so much that he still has a small scar from that one. You can see the progression in these photos (click to enlarge image). (I took them just to watch the progress myself so they are not “pro” shots, by any means, but you can see the difference in each shot.)

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If you are not familiar with blending essential oils or would rather not do it yourself, there are other natural options for treatment. I suggested the oil mixture to one mom who ultimately decided to use a product called Zymaderm which has Tea tree oil, Lemon Myrtle oil, and Iodine as its main ingredients. She reported that Zymaderm worked very well to clear up the Molluscum spots on her daughters.

I have had other parents tell me they had their child’s Molluscum spots burned or frozen off by a doctor. While this might be considered a non pharmaceutical option, it may leave scars and can be painful. It has not been found to be effective in treating the skin condition.

Although Molluscum Contagiosum will typically resolve itself, it’s great to know that you don’t have to wait months or years for the bumps to go away and you don’t have to subject yourself or your child to painful procedures or pharmaceuticals. I gave some of the same mixture to a friend whose daughter had several Molluscum spots on her neck and they also faded in a couple of weeks. Massage at home with a slightly smelly oil beats having bumps burned or frozen off at the doctor’s office. I keep a small jar of the oil blend handy just in case, although, I usually end up passing it on to other moms.

This post also shared at HOLISTIC SQUID, Thank Your Body