My Holistic Library!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the absence, I’ve missed being in my Little Bird creative space! School has been keeping me busy and really testing my ability to balance my spiritual self with my academic self. I’m reminding myself not to become my role; yes, I’m a Smithie, but I’m so much more than that! In an effort to align with my spiritual self and growth, I’ve been diving back into my homeopathic practices. Some of you may know I distribute wellness products during the summer months as One Love Wellness. I am really looking forward to reviving One Love Wellness this summer! In the meantime, and to pay tribute to that grounding, healing practice, here are some of my favorite natural remedies from my personal Holistic Library. I consulted many of my friends in my house to see which ailments plague them most this time of year, as we approach the end of the harvest season. (If you’re interested in supporting Little Bird Blog, please scroll to the end of the article!)

Acne/Complexion

  • Applesauce Face Mask: especially good for oily skin
    • Quarter one apple (preferably local, of course!) a teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon dried and ground herb of choice. I enjoy using rosemary! See what you already have in stock, and research its metaphysical and/or holistic attributes.
    • Cook the apple in water until it can be easily mashed. Mash the pulp and strain, discarding the solids. Add the lemon juice and herb. Apply to face and leave on for 5 minutes. Rinse with warm water and apply a moisturizer.
  • Aromatic Facial Steam
    • Combine thyme, lavender, and chamomile in a bowl of steaming water. Drape a towel over your head to capture the steam. Bathe your face in the vapors for 5-10 minutes to reinvigorate a dull complexion. Eyes closed!

  • Natural astringent
    • Cover one cup of elder flowers with a pint of boiling water. Let it steep, covered, for 24 hours. Afterwards, combine with 1 tbsp lemon juice and bottle for use.
  • Aromatic Toner
    • Combine 4 oz. witch hazel hydrosol or extract, 4 drops tea tree oil, and 2 drops lemon oil in a spritzer bottle. Apply by spritzing the face or combine 1 tbsp with 2 ounces of unscented castile soap: click here for my favorite multi-purpose castile soap!
  • Herbal Teas
    • “The liver is the primary organ of detoxification in the body, but if it’s overwhelmed by the wrong food and drink or hormonal imbalances, it can cause an acne flare-up. Certain herbal teas help the liver detoxify, including burdock root, dandelion leaves, milk thistle, and red clover. Chaste tree berry is especially good for hormonal women.” (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies)
  • Essential oil application
    • Simply apply a small amount of lavender, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil to an acne flare-up to dry it out!

Allergies

  • Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized salt in 1 cup of warm water, with a pinch of baking soda, to be used with your Neti Lota Pot. Use daily to clear sinuses and relieve irritation/congestion. Click here for a great low maintenance, affordable Neti Lota pot.

Shampoo and Conditioner

Okay, you know how annoying it is when you have to wash your hair at LEAST every other day, because the oil build up is too real? Not only is it tedious, but it’s expensive! So many of us struggle with this issue today because our shampoos are loaded with sulfates that strip our hair of their natural oils. This is why we have to use conditioner in the first place! As a result, our body over-produces oil to compensate, leaving us with gross hair in the span of just a day or two. Use these holistic shampoo & conditioner recipes to cultivate a healthy, happy scalp. (When I switched to sulfate free, natural hair care, I went through a 2 week oily period as my hair adjusted. But now, I only have to wash my hair every 5 days to eliminate oil build-up. Yes, I do shower and rinse my hair more than every 5 days!)

  • Castile soap is the way to go! You can use a teeny tiny amount of castile soap- Dr. Bronner’s is my favorite- as a shampoo. I got my 16 oz bottle before moving into school 3 or so months ago, and you can barely tell I’ve used any. A little goes a long way! Rinse with a cap-full of Apple Cider Vinegar to balance your hair’s pH.
    • Want to get more creative? Add a strained herbal infusion (1 tbsp your choice of dried herb per 1 cup boiling water, steeped for at least 30 minutes) to your castile soap to make a customized herbal shampoo. 
  • If you’re a redhead, rinse your hair with steeped green tea to naturally add sheen to your hair.
  • If you’re a brunette, rinse with an infusion of raspberry leaves, rosemary, stinging nettles, sage, or elderberries. Combine the herbs at a ratio of 1 tbsp for every cup of boiling water, steep for 30 minutes minimum before bottling.
  • Blondes! Rinse your hair with chamomile tea and a splash of lemon juice to lighten and brighten your color, naturally.

Colds

  • Garlic is a multi-faceted holistic tool. It’s an antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. As an expectorant, it also helps loosen and release mucus. Make a yummy garlic and asparagus dish, or use it in a homemade soup! Stay away from starchy carbs like potatoes, which direct a lot of your body’s energy to digestion.
  • Ginger is a warming herb. It soothes digestive upset and warms away our chills, so it’s a great go-to herb for cold relief. It’s also an immune boosting antiviral. Ginger can instigate sweating, helping your body to purge the virus. An easy way to get ginger into your system is a ginger tea! Click here for a simple, home-made recipe.
  • Aromatic Bath Salts
    • Combine 2 cups fine sea salt or Epsom salt with the following essential oils: 5 drops rosemary, 4 drops eucalyptus, and 2 drops lemon. Eucalyptus, known for being the universal healer, is a go-to essential oil for all ailments. Lemon will help invigorate your immune system, while rosemary acts as a detoxifying agent.
  • Massage oil for colds:
    • 1 oz sunflower or apricot kernel vegetable oil
    • 6 drops rosemary oil
    • 4 drops peppermint oil
    • 3 drops ginger
    • 4 drops lemon oil
  • Steam inhalation
    • Bring 4 cups water to a boil and remove from stove. Add 2 drops eucalyptus, 1 drop rosemary, and 1 drop lemon into the water.
    • Place a towel over your head and stand over bowl of water, breathing in through the nose and out of the mouth. Eyes closed!

Anxiety

  • Steam inhalation
    • The ultimate anxiety-busting essential oil is lavender. Add 3 drops of lavender to 2 cups of water, boiled and removed from stove, as described above. Breathe in slowly, consciously, allowing the lavender to permeate your anxiety and dissipate it.
  • Coconut oil stress relief
    • This was one of the first products I created for One Love Wellness! Simply heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until it takes liquid form. This can be done in little pan over the stove. Remove from heat and place in jar or bowl. Add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil. Stir and cool the coconut oil.
      • You can keep it in your fridge and use as a moisturizer, or simply rub it in your palms and inhale 3 deep breaths when anxiety sets in. Using an old lip balm tin, you can make this remedy to take on-the-go!
    • Other super simple, anxiety-busting essential oil blends (to be used per 2 tablespoons of coconut oil):
      • 2 drops rosemary to 1 drop sandalwood
      • 2 drops clary sage to 1 drop lavender
      • 2 drops sandalwood to 1 drop ylang ylang
  • Monaural and Binaural Beats
    • I will always always swear by binaural music/beats. Binaural beats introduce two pure sine waves with low frequencies, one through each ear. The tones have a frequency difference of less than 40 Hz. The brain perceives a third tone, an auditory illusion, to create equilibrium. These tones help us to align, to feel balanced, and to instigate meditative responses. Certain frequencies yield different effects!
    • For two of my favorite anxiety-busting beats, click here or here.

Premenstrual Syndrome, Menstrual Pain, etc.

  • Steam inhalation
    • Make a steam inhalation chamber of lavender, rosemary, lemon balm. Boil 4 cups of water, remove from heat, and add 2-3 drops of each essential oil. Create a tent over your head using a towel and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes. Eyes closed!
  • Dandelion leaf has been used as a remedy for menstrual discomfort by indigenous peoples and homeopathic healers for generations. It is a diuretic, reduces water retention, and relieves breast tenderness.
    • Dandelion leaf tea: Combine 1 tbsp dried dandelion leaf per one cup of boiling water. For added effect, add raspberry leaves, which are relaxing to the uterus. Drink 3 cups daily.
  • Bath salt remedy
    • Before running your bath, add 1-2 cups Epsom salt or fine sea salt, half a cup of baking soda, 8 drops of lavender essential oil, and 2 drops peppermint or eucalyptus oil. The combined effects of the Epsom salt, baking soda, and essential oils will help to lower your stress hormones and balance your pH.
  • DIY shower diffuser
    • For those of that don’t have access to a bath, using a coffee filter as an in-shower diffuser can be a great trick! Simply drop 8-10 drops of your chosen essential oil onto a coffee filter and place within proximity of the stream of hot water. As the air steams up, it will be infused with your essential oil

Cramp Relief

  • Vitamin B6 will help to naturally ease cramps. B6 can be found in sunflower seeds, lentils, lima beans, pinto peans, and broccoli, as well as in the supplement aisle!
  • Ginger has traditional associations with cramp relief. Here is a recipe to an easy, home-made ginger tea.
  • What’s fueling you? Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, chocolate, cola, tobacco, and dairy. These products can offset your blood sugar balance, which impacts cramping
  • Make a decoction of peppermint and vervain by boiling 3 cups of water with a handful of each herb, dried. Soak the herbs in water for 30 minutes, making sure the herbs are covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30-40 minutes. Strain the liquid, discarding the herbs. Make sure to squeeze the herbs for all of the moisture contained! Drink a cup at room temperature or warmer in the morning and at night, or whenever you are feeling particular discomfort. I wouldn’t suggest more than 3 a day, as it can result in upset stomach.
  • Foot soak
    • Combine 1/2 cups Epsom salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 1/2 cup 1 cup mustard powder. Optionally, you can add 8 drops of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils.
    • Add a heaping cup of the mixture to a large bowl, to be used for a foot bath. Fill with comfortably hot water, and soak feet for at least 15 minutes.
  • Cinnamon tea
    • Ideal for any and all period discomfort. Add ½ tsp cinnamon and 1 cup boiling water, easy as pie and so soothing.

Back pain

  • Backache relief ointment
    • Remedy 1. Heat half a cup of coconut oil until it reaches liquid form. Remove from heat and add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil. Place in fridge to cool. Rub on area experiencing pain to reduce inflammation and bring cooling relief.
    • Remedy 2. Heat half a cup coconut oil until it reaches liquid form. Remove from heat and add 5 drops frankincense and 5 drops cypress oil. Place in fridge to cool. Rub on area experiencing pain to increase circulation and reduce inflammation.
  • Yoga for healing
    • Lower back pain can be relieved by doing the Bridge or Reclined Twist, (click links!) both comfortable beginner positions.

Headache

  • My go-to for headache relief is a simple one: simply rub a drop of peppermint essential oil between the fingertips and massage into temples. This will increase circulation and oxygenate your blood. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Stretching, moving, and hydration. I know, it’s not as fun as the other remedies, but most headaches can be relieved or eliminated by increasing circulation and water intake. Dance around a little, take a walk, get some fresh air and water into your system!
  • Caffeine
    • A lot of us experience caffeine withdrawals without even knowing it. Sometimes, a cup of lightly caffeinated tea will do the trick in headache relief.

Asthma

*Always consult your physician or emergency care if you experience an acute asthma attack!

  • Caffeine! It’s true, caffeine is an anti-asthmatic compound, which helps open the body’s airways. Two other anti-asthmatics, theobromine and theophylline, help to reduce bronchospasms. Find these elements in coffee, tea, cola drinks, cocoa, and chocolate.
  • Eucalyptus salve
    • Make a salve with 2 drops of eucalyptus oil per tbsp of coconut or jojoba oil. Inhale deeply for ease of breath.
    • For consistent relief, release eucalyptus using a diffuser, and your whole environment becomes holistically healing!
  • “Chamomile, a natural antihistamine, can offer relief. Drink in a pure tea, or decoct the flowers and inhale the steam. If your asthma is allergy-based, and you’re comfortable with using bee products, source locally: local bee pollen and honey will contain trace elements of the allergens that cause asthmatic reactions, and naturally, slowly build an immunity.” (The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Traditional Home Remedies)
  • Grate and inhale deep breaths of horseradish, which will help clear the sinuses and stimulate easier breathing.
  • Take Vitamin C every day. Vitamin C is found in the lining of the airways that lead to the lungs, and if you don’t have enough, your lungs may not work as well as they should!
  • Yoga for Healing
    • Pranayama breathing will help to strengthen your diaphragm and lungs, as well as oxygenate your body. Click here for a guided video on one technique, dirgha pranayama.
  • Just a spoonful of…what?
    • Combine one pint of Irish moss jelly, 1/2 yellow onion, and 2 cloves of garlic in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve and add 1 cup of honey. Take 1 tablespoon every couple of hours as needed to relieve inflammation and open airways.

 

donation

I will be leaving this button up on each of my posts, if any readers would be so inclined. At Smith, I’m surrounded by a community of activism, art, and education. However, I’m a full-time student and have limited work-study availability. Many advocacy events, speakers, and community classes demand a fee. Help me to immerse myself in the opportunities my community has to offer by donating a dollar (or two!) Thank you for your consideration, Jenna Scout

$1.00

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