While it is not officially winter yet, cold and flu season is here. Whether you’re sick from your co-workers or your kids, it can bring you down for a few days. There is still no cure for the common cold and many people resist getting their flu shot. I’ve put together a list of things that can help ease you through cold and flu season.
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm is an herb that smells wonderful, attracts bees to your garden, and has many useful purposes. One of those being a relief from colds. It can be infused with alcohol (vodka works great) and taken a teaspoon at a time to reduce the discomfort of a cold. Or you can make lemon balm into a hot tea. Lemon balm contains antiviral properties and helps calm the mind and body.
Peppermint – Peppermint is an amazing herb. It has so many uses and it smells great too. Peppermint can be used as a natural fever reducer and nasal decongestant. Peppermint oil can be applied to the forehead to relieve a headache. It can also be used in combination with a steam tent (see below) to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
Peppermint is also great at settling an upset stomach or bowel issues. Drinking peppermint in tea is the best way to ease stomach discomfort.
Rosemary – Rosemary is helpful for boosting the immune system. It also reduces inflammation and is an antiviral. This means it can open up congested sinuses and help reduce lung discomfort. It is also known as a warming herb and can greatly reduce muscle aches and pains.
Epsom Salt Baths – Epsom salt baths aren’t only good for sore muscles, although we can all agree that sore muscles come with most colds and flu. Epsom salts help detoxify our bodies by drawing out the toxins via our skin. Mix Epsom salt with some powerful essential oils and you will help your body fight off the sickness. It’s also well known that a hot bath will help you sleep better and sleeping is so important when you aren’t feeling well.
MB Botanicals offers four different bath salt options. Soak in a hot bath while the salts extract toxins from your body and the essential oils ease the pain from your head and chest.
Scented Steam – There is a bevy of herbal options when using steam to clear a foggy head. Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemon, etc. will all help reduce inflammation in your sinuses and lungs and work to ease congestion.
You have a few options when it comes to steaming. You can boil water, add a few drops of preferred essential oil and then, with a towel over your head place your face at a safe distance over the water. The steam will penetrate your sinuses and provide the relief you need.
You can also add essential oils to the bottom of your bathtub while taking a hot shower. Or use one of MB Botanicals sugar scrubs Sugar Scrubs on your face, neck and chest to relieve pain and pressure from your sinuses. The Lavender Eucalyptus and Rosemary Mint are both amazing when you’re feeling under the weather.
Compresses – Compresses work great for relieving sinus pressure. If you are suffering from a sinus headache or your sinuses are painful, try a hot compress on your face.
To make a compress
Sleep – Never underestimate the power of rest and sleep while you are sick. Take it easy and sleep when you need to. If that means you don’t get out of bed for two days, so be it! Just make sure you are staying hydrated and taking care of any fever you may have.
Herbal Tea with Honey and Lemon – Herbal tea can provide an immense amount of comfort when you are sick. The herbs will help heal by antiviral or anti-inflammatory properties within the herb. By adding lemon to the tea, you give yourself a boost of vitamin C to reduce the length and severity of your sickness. Raw honey can help soothe a sore throat and it comes packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
For the best results, ensure you are using a non-caffeinated herbal tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar – There are entire books written about the virtues of apple cider vinegarand for good reason. ACV detoxifies your body and supports a healthy immune system. The following drink can be used to clear up a cold that just won’t go away.
A note of caution when drinking apple cider vinegar – it is acidic and can burn your esophagus if it’s not diluted. Always dilute before drinking.
Apple Cider Cold Tonic
When using herbs and essential oils, always take caution and follow usage recommendations. Pregnant or nursing women must be very cautious when using herbal remedies.
I hope that all of you stay healthy this winter and have no use for these tips, but if you use one I would love to hear how it worked for you. Or, do you have something that isn’t on the list?
While the holidays are supposed to be a time of family and good cheer, they can also mean exhaustion, stress, and panic attacks. While essential oils will not provide you with more money to purchase gifts or bake that holiday dessert for you, they can help you calm your nerves and de-stress so you are able to tackle whatever you’ve committed to.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite oils that will ease stress and help you sleep easier.
The most popular and well-known oil - lavender is excellent for calming anxiety and easing yourself into sleep. It’s been known to relieve insomnia and create a calm, peaceful sleep.
Lavender can also help you focus your mind on difficult tasks. The best way to absorb the healing benefits of lavender is directly through your skin. This can be done with lotions, oils, rubs or scrubs.
Combine lavender with chamomile in a tea to calm down before bedtime. Both of these herbs have de-stressing properties to help ease you into a sleepy state.
Overly stressed during the holidays? It’s not difficult to find yourself less in the holiday spirit and more anxious than you would like. Rosemary and lavender together can reduce harmful cortisol levels. Next time you need to relax and refocus on what the holidays should be like, diffuse rosemary and lavender together.
Rosemary is also, like most of these herbs, great at improving focus and memory function. Rosemary is a potent oil so it should always be diluted with a carrier oil. Using a rosemary lotion, scrub or in a diffuser will provide you with all the benefits rosemary has to offer.
Everything about peppermint reminds me of the holidays. From candy canes to peppermint mochas. It turns out that peppermint also works to uplift the spirits and clear the mind.
If you are feeling fuzzy-headed and tired, peppermint will wake you right up. It has also been shown to relieve tension headaches and relieve stuffy sinuses. And if you happened to eat too much over the holidays, ingesting peppermint oil or inhaling it can help reduce stomach pains.
You can drink peppermint in a tea or by adding 1 to 2 drops of essential oil to a glass of water. You can use it topically on the neck or under the nose to clear the mind and focus.
There are quite a few different citrus oils to choose from, but they all provide the same benefits. Those include boosting moods, freshening the air, immune support, easing stress, and boosting energy.
You can choose from lime, orange, grapefruit, lemon. Mix them all, one, or any combo in a diffuser or your favorite carrier oil to get the benefits of these delicious smelling oils.
Jasmine is one of the sweetest scents out there and it works really well for calming a stressed body and mind. It creates feelings of confidence and hopefulness.
Wearing jasmine while at that holiday party you don’t want to go to may just help you through the rough hours and you will smell really nice too.
Essential oils can be powerful things, so always take care when using them. Ensure that they are diluted with a carrier oil when applying them directly to the skin. Some people prone to skin allergies may have allergic reactions to oils applied to the skin.
There are some easy ways to get the benefits of essential oils:
I wish you a stress-free and relaxing holiday season. If you have a de-stress method using essential oils, I would love to hear about it!
Winter looms. The nights are getting longer, the air is getting cooler which means taking different steps to care for our skin. The following article outlines 10 tips for caring for your skin during the winter months.
During the winter months, we have to worry about windburn, frostbite and dry crackly skin. By adjusting our skin care slightly – with an emphasis on hydration and moisturizing, we can have beautiful smooth and silky skin all winter long.
1. Hydrate – Keeping yourself hydrated is just as important during the winter as it is during the winter. Drinking plenty of fresh water is great for your skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and staying hydrated keeps it in great shape.
2. Moisturize – The very best time to moisturize is right after a shower. Your pores are open and receptive to soak up everything you give it right after you bathe. Try to use a body oil or cream-based lotion after you dry off. By adding this step in the morning, you may not need to moisturize anything but your face and hands the rest of the day.
3. Protect While You Sleep –Having a solid bedtime skin routine will do wonders for your skin. Moisturizing with an oil or cream-based lotion right before bed will greatly benefit your face while you sleep. You will wake up with soft skin that will stand up to the stress the day will bring. Using a sleep mask over the top of your normal lotion will add even more benefits.
4. Prevent – Sunscreen isn’t just for summer. I’m sure we’ve all received a sunburn on a cloudy day. And if you are around a reflective surface such as snow or water, those UV rays will likely lead to some sun damage. Don’t neglect to wear some type of SPF coverage year-round.
5. Cleanse –Removing makeup, dirt, and grime that sits on your face during the day isespecially important during the winter months. You will want to use a gentle cleanser during the winter and one that is either devoid of fragrance or one that utilizes essential oils.
6. Turn Down the Heat – It doesn’t matter whether you are heating with electric or wood heat – it’s going to dry out your skin. By keeping your heat lower than normal, you will keep the dryness away. It can be hard to regulate the heat from a woodstove. By keeping a pan of water boiling on the wood stovethroughout the day adds moisture to the air and to your skin. It’s also beneficial to keep your showers shorter and use lukewarm water. Long, hot showers, although they feel heavenly, will dry out your skin quickly – and it will take a lot of work to replenish that moisture.
7. Healthy Fats – By consuming healthy omega-3 fats, you will add oil and moisture back into your skin. Add an omega-3 supplement to your daily vitamin dose, or a few servings of foods rich in omega-3’s to your weekly menu.
8. Pucker Up – The winter months are especially tough on our lips. Use a lip balm with minimal ingredients and no chemical fragrances. The simpler the ingredients, the better it will work to really heal chapped lips.
9. Avoid Harsh Soaps – Soaps and detergents that are made with chemicals can work toward removing moisture and irritating sensitive skin. Instead, opt for more naturally made soaps that are not made up of chemicals. Soaps that use minimal ingredients, and that utilize the healing properties of essential oils are your best bet for soft skin.
10. Avoid Alcohol – I’m not talking about avoiding the hot buttered rum during Christmas. I’m talking about alcohol-based toners, astringents, and antibacterial soaps. Anything that contains alcohol is guaranteed to dry out your skin. Wash your face with a gentle natural soap and follow that up with a moisturizing lotion. Save the alcohol-based toners for summer.
In a nutshell, make sure you are using more oil-based moisturizers this winter that will add all of the love your skin needs. All of MB Botanicals moisturizing products are oil-based and use quality essential oils and ingredients to help you through this winter.