Category Archives: Natural Medicine Cabinet

How to Make Epsom Salt Spray

I’m a big advocate for epsom salt baths. Many people don’t have a tub, don’t fit in a tub or just don’t enjoy a good soak. My alternative recommendation is usually an epsom salt foot soak because its pretty easy to find a container to fill with warm water and salts to soak your feet. Your feet are the most porous part of your body making the salts readily available to your body so you can get the benefits of the salts. Sometimes there is just an area that is sore or tight that needs a little extra TLC and an Epsom salt spray is perfect for that.

I like to use Epsom salt sprays for menstrual cramps, shoulder pain, sciatica etc. This is also an awesome options to help with afterbirth pains. Its super simple to do too.

spray

What you need:

a spray bottle (got one at the dollar store)

1 cups water

1 cup Epsom salts

essential oils (optional)

This picture is of epsom salt, dead sea salt and pink Himalayan salt with peace and calming essential oil, great for nervous tension

This picture is of epsom salt, dead sea salt and pink Himalayan salt with peace and calming essential oil, great for nervous tension

What you do:

I have a water cooler that has a hot water option so I simply pour hot water into a bowl and mix in the salts, stirring until dissolved. You could also warm water on the stove and mix in salts this way.

As the salts dissolve it will become thick and almost gel like in consistency.

If you’d like to incorporate essential oils for added benefit you can either place 10 drops of essential oil into Epsom salts before mixing into water or apply essential oil to the affected area first before applying spray.

Spray Epsom salt mixture over the affected area and cover with a warm or cool compress. (a damp washcloth works great)

If using the Epsom salt spray for relaxation I like to use peace and calming essential oil blend or lavender. For tight, sore muscles I love aroma seiz. A combo of wintergreen (cooling), lemongrass (warming) and cypress (great for circulation) is awesome for all sorts of aches and pains as well. You can order essential oils here. If you need help I’d be happy to get you set up! If you love Epsom salts as much as I do this is an awesome place to order salts in bulk.¬†

Let me know what you use Salt Sprays for. ūüôā

Peppermint for Pregnancy

Peppermint is a very versatile oil/herb to have on hand when pregnant. Here is why, when and how to use it. Hope it helps!

Peppermint is great to combat the digestive ails during pregnancy such as nausea, the burps, heartburn and flatulence.

Some women are sensitive to smells during pregnancy, especially early pregnancy. If that’s the case the easiest way to get the benefits of peppermint oil for nausea is to simply take a deep breath while holding the bottle under your nose. Many people make the mistake of putting an essential oil bottle directly under their nose, instead hold the bottle by your heart and slowly bring it closer to the nose until you can smell it. This way it will be subtle and less overwhelming. Smelling peppermint from the bottle can be great for nausea, car sickness, indigestion and flatulence as well as if you are in an area with an unpleasant odor to help combat it. Stick the closed bottle in your purse or pocket to have on hand when needed.

PC6, "the seasickness point"

PC6, “the seasickness point”

You can also try massaging a drop of peppermint oil into the acu-point PC6. The combo of scent and acu pressure can be quite profound. From time to time you can feel free to hold your wrist close to your face and take a deep breath too.

Diffusing peppermint essential oil is another option. This can also be helpful for tummy troubles as well as fatigue, pregnancy brain, and feeling overheated. ūüôā If you don’t have a diffuser you can place a drop of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place in your car air vents or fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of peppermint oil and mist into the air.

For feelings are heat you can add a drop of peppermint oil to a bowl of cool water and dip a wash cloth into the bowl, wring out and place the wash cloth on the back of your neck and/or back of knees to cool off.

Peppermint can also be added to coconut or olive oil as a massage oil for tired, achey, sore muscles. You can also try any of the above techniques for headaches too. (peppermint is very cooling in nature, if it causes discomfort cover the area with olive or coconut oil to cut the intensity of the sensation do not put water over the area as this will make it worse!)

A few drops of peppermint oil on the highest point of your belly or where baby’s head is has been known to help turn a breech baby. (especially when in combination with moxabustion)

I recommend peppermint from young living because they are super high quality and pregnancy especially is not a time to be using toxic products. You can order some here!

Have you used peppermint oil during pregnancy? Did I miss anything?

 

 

 

 

Its Time for Spring Cleaning

It seems as though the worst of winter is now behind us.

Now is a great time to sweep away winter! What can you do?

Open the windows! Get that stagnant winter air out of your house. If its cold out try opening just one or two windows at a time for 5 minutes or so. (This a great time to dust and get winter out of your house)

Deep clean your house! I love using Thieves House Hold cleaner for cleaning the house. Its great on just about every surface and it smells lovely without any toxic chemicals.  Dust the base boards, ceiling fans, behind the refrigerator and other furniture and all those other places you often ignore or forget.

Home Diffuser

I also like to use my diffuser to purify the air especially with all the sickness that has gone around this winter. For my spring cleaning I use Purification. Purification is an essential oil blend that contains citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, melaleuca, lavendin (hybrid lavender), and myrtle. It‚Äôs a great blend to purify the air and can also be used to relieve bug bites or as a natural bug repellant. It helps combat fungus and mold too. If you don’t have a diffuser you can put a couple of drops of Purification in a spray bottle of water and mist into the air.

We’ve also had an ant problem this winter. Put 10 drops of purification in 4 oz of water and spray the ants directly as well as their entry points to keep them away.

I also love sprinkling a few drops of purification on the carpet with baking soda before vacuuming to freshen the floor space as well.

 

Clean out your closets!¬†Start to put winter clothes away or to the back of your closet making room for spring clothes. Throw away anything you haven’t worn in awhile or that no longer fits.

Take inventory of your clutter!¬†Donate or recycle things you aren’t using or are broken.

Nurture your house plants. Clear away any dried leaves, replenish the soil, compost any plants that may have died.

You know what they say, “A clean house, a clean mind!” Happy Spring Cleaning!

Apple Test Results

The results of the apple test are in. If a picture is worth a thousand words I wonder what the smell of an apple is worth? The pictures do the apples justice but the smells of each apple were most striking to me.

Apple Test Before and After
Apple and Water before and after:
Apple and Trader Joe’s Vitamin before and after:
***This one didn’t turn black which I found interesting according to Tyanna, she has never not seen the other apples go black(GNC, Walgreen generic, centrum). What was striking about this apple is that it smelled the worst, rancid.
Apple and Shaklee Vitamin before and after:

Pretty shocking eh? I didn’t even want to touch this one to throw it in the garbage. yuck.
Apple and Usana Vitamin before and after:
You can see from the picture that the apple still looks pretty good. Again the most striking thing about this apple to me was the smell. It smelled like it has just been sliced crisp and fresh and the feel of the apple was still firm when I threw it away.

 

*** I consulted with Tyanna at the end of the apple test. She normally leaves the containers open and lets the apples oxidate. The vitamins dissolve and the apples change in 6-12 hours. I kept my containers sealed so I don’t know if that would have changed the results at all perhaps the apple in water would have been more brownish like it normally turns after sitting out for awhile.

Let me know what you think. If anyone does an apple test with their own vitamins please let me know how it goes.

Apple Test

One 1/7/2010 I started my own apple test experiment to share as a follow up to the blog Do You Know What Is In Your Vitamins? For those of you curious as to what the apple test would look like but too lazy to do it yourself. Check back tomorrow to see the results.

I’ve seen the apple test presentation before but wanted to see if for myself. (I always did love science expirements.)

I started with 2 apples and 4 tuperware containers. An apple half is floating in regular tap water in each of the containers.


The first is simply an apple and water. This is meant to represent the normal dealth and decay of the aging process of our cells.

The second is apple, water, and trader joe’s men multi vitamin formula. (it was laying around) This is probably just slightly better then pharmacy and generic brand vitamins. You know the cheap ones that you’re probably buying because a vitamin is just a vitamin right?

The third is apple, water, and Shaklee multi vitamin + iron (again it was laying around) Shaklee is known for having an above average quality.

The fourth is apple, water and Usana Mega Antioxidant. This is half of Usana Essentials that I take every morning. Usana uses a binding agent to keep their vitamins together made of olive oil called Olivol.
Supposedly Usana will help keep the apple from turning brown for longer than any of the others. We’ll see what happens next.

Do you know what are in your vitamins?

Several years ago I posted a question on Facebook to see who was taking vitamins, what people were taking, and what brands people were using. My partner at the time and I were doing research as to what brand we wanted to endorse and that had the best quality and value for our patients.

As we met with various reps of different supplement companies I learned one thing: everyone has the best vitamins on the market. As we poured over research data and stats and catalogs we went back to the simplest way to know if a product is worthy. We started using the vitamin samples left behind by all those reps.

I’m not going to lie, in the past I was not a very good supplement taker myself. At least I didn’t used to be but we’ll get to that. In many circles there is still controversy over the need to take vitamins. Some people feel they are a waste of time and all of those nutrients should be received from the foods we eat. Which in theory is good but who eats fresh fruits and vegetables everyday? Others argue that our soil is so depleted that vitamins are a necessity for health. Still others are starting to take note of vitamin deficiencies and their relation to certain ailments. (for example did you know if you have pain conditions many times a part of the culpret is a vitamin B deficincy?) Anyways I started taking Shaklee vitamins. They had a good reputation, they had research backing them, and as always, I wanted to see for myself. The result was I didn’t really feel much of anything. I went on to another brand, this one was a powder that I mixed with water called isotonix. The result, a big sticky mess. Again I didn’t feel much during the process of taking them as directed or after I stopped.

Now I was starting to get discouraged thinking that maybe vitamins weren’t really all that big of deal and I should just stick with Chinese herbs and call it a day. I might have if it weren’t for my background in nutrition. It was around this time that I met Tyanna Cannata of Usana vitamins doing a presentation on her vitamins. She had some great information to share that I will now pass onto you.

First, the label on your vitamins that tells you what percentage of your daily requirements are in your vitamins tells only half the story, actually more like 20%. Vitamin companies are only required by law to put 20% of what the label actually says is in each pill in the entire bottle. 20%! No wonder I wasn’t feeling anything with these vitamins. There might not have been anything in them to feel. Second, most companies use byproducts of petrochemicals (think about scraps after making a tire) as binders to keep the vitamins together in a pill form. I don’t know about you but that is pretty gross. What’s worse is that Tyanna had a visual of all of this. She calls it the apple test.

In three seperate jars there contained half of an apple soaking in water. The first jar had a regular old apple in water. This represented the natural aging process. The apple was starting to turn brown as apples do when they’ve been out for awhile. The second jar had an apple in water with a Centrum complete vitamin. This apple was floating in murky blackish gray water and the apple itself was blackish gray. This was a demonstation of the “additives” that the body absorbs when taking a vitamin that is not up to par and what it is doing to your body. The last jar held an apple floating in water with a usana vitamin. The apple had not turned brown, instead it looked as if it had just been cut. This represented using a vitamin with actual vitamins in it and how it can slow down the aging process and keep your cells healthy.

You might think big deal, so what, who cares about apples? Me too. I was more intrigued by the results Kara was feeling on the vitamins. She was reporting having more energy to get more things done (she has 2 kids 1 who still doesn’t sleep through the night and owns a business) and having 3 bowel movements a day and on and on. I went through my last round of trials myself, this time with Usana. I started to notice my energy levels pick up. It occured to me when it was midnight and I was laying in bed while Christian slept watching tv not because I was restless and couldn’t sleep but because I wasn’t tired. What was even more surprising is that I was waking up in the morning with the sun shine during the fall without an alarm clock because I wanted to not because I had to. Getting up in the morning has always been a struggle for me, to say the least.

When we sold that practice in 2011, I left Usana with it. I became pregnant and started taking a brand from Whole Foods thinking it was probably just as good and also because usana did not at the time have a prenatal vitamin. Kara became pregnant shortly after and had her own version of the apple test with Rainbow vitamins when she dropped one and absentmindedly threw it into the toilet. After coming home from work she noted her toilet bowl was black and flushing didn’t take it away. It took several tries of scrubbing to get the film off the bowl. She quickly switched back to Usana. At almost the same time my husband said he really missed taking his vitamins. We’ve been back to taking them ever since and have noticed this year in the midst of sickies all over that an extra boost of vitamins added to our healthcare routine has make a huge impact in not getting sick this winter.

Vitamins are rated on a star scale 0-5. 5 star having the best potentancy and purity.

Lyle MacWilliam MSc, FP has published a great book called NUTRISEARCH COMPARATIVE GUIDE TO NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS it contains over 1500 products available in the US and Canada. You can find this book just about anywhere, Barnes and Noble, Amazon etc.

Below are the ratings for the vitamins mentioned above taken for this book.

Shaklee = 1 star

Isotonix = 2 stars

Centrum = 0 stars

Usana = 5 stars

Now I know what its like to take vitamins with vitamins inside of them. It makes a difference to me. But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself or try the apple test. Stay tuned for pictures of my apple test in the next blog.

See if you are as healthy as you feel and take the true health assessment.

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Bentonite Clay

I am a super sucker for a good spa treatment. Its been a couple years now since one of the perks of my job was having to receive a massage every week to give out grades. (I’m wondering now why I gave that gig up! :)) One of my personal favorites are wraps. I love how soothing it feels to be wrapped up and feel all the yucks get pulled from my system.

I’ve recently been reading alot about bentonite clay and discovered its simply awesome for a variety of reasons. Wellness mama has a great post showing all the benefits of bentonite clay and how to use. What especially peaked my interest about it was using it in bath water to reduce the negative impact of the chemicals in the water that my daughter loves to splash and play in. I’m finding now that adding a tablespoon or so of a mix of bentonite clay, Epsom salts and dead sea salts to my daughter’s bath water makes me feel better about her playing in the water (our water is terrible, definitely not drinkable by any means except if you are almost 2) and I’m finding that my daughter is sleeping better!

 

I’ve written on my love of epsom salt baths in the past but I’m really enjoying the addition of the bentonite clay and I don’t think I’ll ever feel the need for an expensive burrito wrap at the spa now that I can make clay masks at home.

This was part of my week-long ritual to prepare myself for a new decade.

Bentonite Clay Mask

Equal parts clay and apple cider vinegar.

A little goes a long way! I was able to add about 2 tablespoons of each for a mask and body rub. When the clay is mixed with water or apple cider vinegar it expands and asks like a porous sponge that draws toxins from your body. It feels cool to the skin and eventually hardens and then leaves your skin feeling firm and smooth. A simply luxurious treat!

I left the mask on for 10 minutes or so and then washed it off. I massaged the remaining clay all over my body and then drew a warm epsom salt bath and soaked for 20 minutes or so. It was fantastic! Its my plan to do this at least twice a month.

 

Stomach Flu Natural Medicine Cabinet Essentials

The stomach flu has been circling around us for over a month. So far we have remained unscathed even with direct contact a few times. Here is what we have been doing to stay healthy at my house besides the usual.

When I hear of another family member or friend we’ve seen recently with a stomach bug I make sure to have 3 things on hand: Di-Gize essential oil blend, Vitamin D, and Probiotics.

Di-Gize is an amazing blend of essential oils for digestion. I recently read a story from my friend Jen who used Di-Gize and Peppermint essential oil during a trip to Ecuador to get over a nasty stomach bug. Until this story I never thought to use Di Gize internally, I had always just put it on my belly. It gives me almost immediate relief from indigestion and can also be used for heartburn, gas, bloating, and candida according to the Essential Oils Desk Reference.

What’s in Di Gize? Just about every herb/oil you would think of for tummy troubles: Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Fennel, Lemongrass Anise and Patchouli. It actually doesn’t taste bad to me but if the scent makes you even more¬†queasy¬†add an extra drop of peppermint.

If you are using it for the stomach bug you can take a drop or two in your water preventively. If the stomach bug has landed in your home you can take it to get the pukes started. Sometimes it can have an immediate effect so if you’re feeling queasy drink your di gize¬†spiked water in the bathroom just in case (I like to do 3 drops). Keep taking it until you can hold liquids down. It can get all the yukes out of your system quick.

According to the Innate Choice brochure research indicates that daily supplementation with Vitamin D can significantly reduce the burden of both chronic and infectious diseases. Vitamin D supplementation can enhance immunity to bacterial and viral infections. Especially in the winter when we get less sun time and spend less time outdoors Vitamin D is good to have on hand for prevention. Get your levels checked to see if you are deficient. You want to make sure the Vitamin D3 you are using in mixed or taken with fat as it is a fat soluble vitamin and fat is needed for proper absorption. I like Innate Choice because its mixed with olive oil and lasts forever. Dr Scott at VanderWeit Chiropractic carries it in the office if you need some ASAP

Probiotics build up the healthy flora in your gut whereas antibiotics kill the bad guys and the good guys in your gut. WebMD says probiotics can help with diarrhea.  Life 5 is my favorite probiotic from Young Living. You can also get probiotics from fermented foods like kombucha, yogurt, apple cider vinegar etc too.

You can order both Di Gize and Life 5 here. If you need help setting up an account let me know. I would be happy to help!

Stay healthy and warm! ūüôā

 

 

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Moxa

Moxa might not be something you are familiar with but it is a great thing to have in your medicine cabinet in the winter time for its warming and prevention properties. Read on.

What is Moxabustion?

Moxa or Artemisia Vulgaris is a species of chrysanthemum and can be used for a variety of conditions. In Chinese Medicine there are several ways to use moxa and all involve burning this herb over or on acupuncture points. If you are afraid of needles using moxa in place of needles is one way to receive the same benefits as moxa and needles can be used interchangeably or together.
smokeless moxa over UB67 can help with turning a breech baby

smokeless moxa over UB67 can help with turning a breech baby

One major benefit of Moxa is that it benefits circulation. It can be used to regulate the energy and blood of the body, expel cold and dampness especially if pain is worse in these kind of environments, warm the uterus, stop bleeding, regulate digestion as well as menstruation, and ease the fetus or turn a breech baby. This is a great post that talks about using moxa specifically for menstrual irregularities and insomnia.

Moxa can be used preventively as well. Burning moxa over the acu-point Zu San Li St36 on a regular basis is a great way to stay healthy. In¬†Notes on Bian Que’s Moxibustion,¬†it says, “when a healthy man often has moxabustion to the points of CV4, CV6 and CV12 he would live a very long life, at least one hundred years.”

Currently in Africa moxabustion is being used as a treatment for tuberculosis through the organization Moxafrica. There is research evidence from Japan in the 1930s and 40s where moxabustion was used effectively and cheaply to treat and in many cases cure TB.

Moxa is available for purchase at Neighborhood Acupuncture Place and is also available as a treatment. It is also a great therapy to use for post partum recovery.

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential for Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

I’ve recently noticed that there have been a couple concerns of¬†Hand Foot and Mouth Disease¬†in the area. According to the Center for Disease control Hand foot and mouth disease is a common viral disease usually seen in children younger than 5 years of age. Symptoms include fever, blister sores in the mouth and a skin rash (most notably on the hands and feet).

The best way to prevent this disease is to wash your hands regularly and to avoid close contact with those that have been infected. This can be very contagious.

If your child has been exposed to hand foot and mouth disease it is important to stay hydrated.

 

There are 3 essential oil blends that may help to shorten the duration of symptoms: thieves essential oil blend, mountain savory, and purification essential oil blend. (personally if exposure has taken place I would put one of these in a diffusor preventatively too)

Mix one drop of essential oil of your choice with one tablespoon coconut or olive oil. Massage into the spine and/or bottoms of the feet. Use what you have available or alternate between all 3 oils. You can do this as much as every diaper change until symptoms are gone.

If you do not have any essential oils on hand you might try placing or massaging a clove of garlic on the bottom of the feet and put socks over it during nap time. The soles of the feet are porous and can absorb the garlic (and its antiviral properties) in fact the wearer of the garlic can actually taste the garlic usually in about 15 minutes. Here is a link to make a garlic poultice. 
Remember it always a good idea to contact your health care provider about any questions or concerns you may have before starting any treatment.