Tag Archives: honey

A Friday facial? Yes… why not!

Unfortunately, it is not in a high end spa.  Today, I have done the glamorous task of defrosting the freezer.  It is one of the worst tasks of housework I think… next to oven cleaning.  And ironing.  Instead of whining about it and feeling miserable, I cracked on with the job, getting it done as quickly as I could.

domestic goddess

As an aside, can I totally recommend using a steam cleaner for the job?  Obviously it will work better if it can be detached from the mop bit… but luckily, mine can be.  45 minutes later, the glacier from the last ice age which had taken residence in my freezer is no more, and the freezer contents actually has some breathing room.

In addition, my face has been steamed, just like in a spa.  But, you know, with less glamour.  Sopping wet towels from the run off and kneeling on a concrete floor contorting yourself to get the icicle hanging at the back of the freezer is not really the scene I would like to have when opening my pores.  But I will take it!

spa steam

So, it got me thinking what sort of facials I could whip up at home, using natural ingredients and maybe herbs from the garden.  Off to my friend Google to see what I could find.  And of course it came up trumps!

mint 2

As it is summer (although the weather seems to have lost that memo entirely), I found several really good refreshing face masks.  The first one is made of fresh mint leaves (which are growing like crazy in my garden at the moment).  If you take a good handful of them, along with enough luke warm water for them to be blended to a paste, and then add a pinch of turmeric powder… you will have an antibiotic and refreshing face mask.  Leave it on the face, having avoided the eye area, for about 10 minutes and then wash it off with cool water.  Be careful only to use a pinch of turmeric as it is known for dying what it touches a nice shade of orange.  Just a warning there… though the antibiotic properties are more than worth it!

from bigoven.com

from bigoven.com

If you have a cucumber lying about in the fridge looking sorry for itself, you could peel it and mash up the flesh along with 1tbsp of sugar.  The flesh needs to be kept a bit chunky though as you don’t want a liquid.  Mix in the sugar well and then apply to the face and leave it for 10 minutes.  Wash it all off and pat dry and you will have brighter and refreshed skin.  It is really cooling for those hot, hot days, especially as you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  It is also extremely good for sensitive skins.

lemon

Another really summery recipe requires strawberries and lemons.  I would be inclined to add the lemon to a cool drink of water and the strawberries straight into my mouth, but if you can bear not to eat them, mash them together into a spreadable paste.   You need about 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tbsp of yogurt and 1 tbsp of honey.  Mix it all together, apply to the face and leave it to dry.  Then you can wash it off and pat it dry.  Strawberries have salicylic acid which is great for calming acne outbreaks and lemon juice tightens the skin to refresh it.

If you use any of these recipes, you will have to let me know how they turn out… I think I might whisk up some of the cucumber sugar scrub and add some mint, to see how that works out!  Watch this space!

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Eating right and feeling calmer…

Can you tell that managing stress is really up there for me at the moment?

stressed comic

I know it seems like I keep harping on about it, but I am really aware that January is a stressful month for many people.  In my life at the moment, I am desperately attempting to get organised so I can cope if I go back to work, plus I am preparing for a job interview and I am painting the hallway in the new house.  I need as much help as I can get in managing those stress levels right now.

Getting stressed and anxious is less about what is happening outside, but more about the reaction inside.  But managing the stress levels and anxiety is not just regulating your reaction; what you eat can have a major impact on how you feel when confronted with those ARGH moments that we all get from time to time.

no sugar

The bad news is that the things you might think would work a treat (sugar, chocolate, chips) are precisely the things you should avoid.  They actually stress your nervous system and therefore should be avoided at all costs.  The good stuff though, the stuff which supports your nervous system, is the stuff you know you should be eating.  Ideally you should be eating alkalizing foods like fresh sprouts, high quality protein, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables and cultured milk products such as yogurt, kefir or buttermilk.  Lemons are good as well as grapefruit, nuts and seeds.  If you want to have a healthy nervous system, then you need energy, and these foods will provide that.

The other things you need to do is to add calcium to your diet.  You need calcium to have healthy nerve function, and this is what we are aiming for.  If you have too little calcium in your blood, then you might be nervous, irritable, get muscle spasms, get muscle cramping, be hyperactive and probably not sleep very well.  Thankfully getting calcium in the diet is fairly simple.

green leafies

Obviously dairy products helps.  It helps more if they are cultured.  Plain milk has surprisingly little calcium in it, so choose yoghurt instead.  You can also eat lots of green leafy vegetables such as spinach. chard, broccoli, turnips greens, kale, beet greens and parsley.  Surprisingly large amounts of dietary calcium can be found in seaweed as well.  To be honest, taking in calcium rich foods is going to have very little effect unless you also have adequate levels of Vitamin D.  Either get out into the sunshine, no matter how cold or watery it is at this time of year, or take a supplement.  I take a supplement with added calcium in it.

If you are feeling like things are all getting on top of you and you are struggling to cope, then you might want to consider making a high quality calcium tea.  You take 1 part horsetail, 1 part nettle and 1 part oats.  Combine the herbs, pour boiling water over them and leave to steep for 5-15 minutes, depending on how strong you like it.  Strain the herbs and add honey to taste and then drink it all up.  If that doesn’t sound appetising (and to me, it really doesn’t!) consider taking some herbs with high quality calcium in them.  Chickweed, Amaranth and Dandelion Greens are good sources, must so are Mustard Greens, Horsetail, Nettle, Oats and watercress.  A lot of those will be easier to get hold of come the spring!

Still, there are a lot of lovely foods to choose from.

Slip sliding away…

How many of you now have that tune running around your head?  You are most welcome!!

Actually, here in the UK, the temperatures have plummeted and we are finally getting some wintry weather.  November was freakishly warm, so people have been taken by surprise that yesterday we got some snow flurries and this morning we have black ice and other icy patches.  But that is usual December weather.  Unfortunately, it appears the council and schools might have been caught on the hop as well, and there have been some incidents of children slipping over and hurting themselves.  Be careful out there.

So, if you do slip over and fall, here are some remedies you can use to help with your bump and scrape.  Obviously, be sensible.  If you have fallen over and cracked your head on the path, or if you can’t move a joint now you have greeted the pavement with some force, then go to the hospital.  You could have concussion or a broken limb, and with the best will in the world, Herbalism is not going to help you much.

rescue remedy

However, if your pride is dented more than your body, then there are some things that can help.  First of all, I am a HUGE fan of the Bach Flower Remedies, and the Rescue Remedy in particular.  It is a combination of flower essences which work together to calm you down and keep you stress free.  It seriously works.  I have seen a young boy who had taken a tumble from a trampoline go from screaming ab-dabs to total calm in under 5 seconds with 3 drops of the Rescue Remedy.  I also used A LOT of it when I was moving house.  It totally got me through the day – and those directly after!  You can usually pick this up at a health food store, and I would suggest having some in your handbag or your first aid kit.

arnica

Then I am going to recommend some Arnica.  You can get it as a cream or in sugar pill form, and either is great.  I prefer the pills, but it is purely a matter of choice.  It is a homeopathic remedy rather than a herbal remedy per se, but it works by bringing out the bruising quickly.  It means the body can heal itself quicker.  Yes, it hurts more to start with, but believe me, it is worth getting it out and dealt with.  You might curse me to begin with, but it does aid healing.

turmeric and honey

If you feel stiff and sore, then take some turmeric and honey tea.  Turmeric is a very strong anti-inflammatory spice, and honey – well that just makes it taste nice!

Actually… that is a good point… hot sweet tea has been a good remedy for shock for generations.  If you are feeling shaky after falling over… then go make yourself a nice cuppa and relax.

I am now off to walk very carefully down the road.  Take care everyone!

Drip. Drip. Drip.

No, I am not talking about an irritating tap, although to be fair, if I hear one I will hunt it down and deal with it immediately because the sound of water dripping is my number one irritating sound.  I am talking about something even worse.  Post Nasal Drip.

dripping tap

It is common at this time of year because it is the cold and flu season.  Post Nasal Drip is essentially how all the gunk from your sinuses gets down onto your chest and gives you that trademark graveyard hack that we all know and love.  If you want to totally gross out some dinner guests sometime, you can tell them that on an average day we will swallow down a quart or two of mucus.  It sounds worse than it is, because this mucus is the good kind – clear, watery and great at keeping the membranes in the nose clean, moist and free from infections.   However, if you get allergies or a stinker of a head cold, then the mucus producing glands go into overdrive and the, how can I put this nicely, overflow, goes down your throat.  Ugh.

So how do you deal with it?  Well the first thing is to make sure you are well hydrated.  Lots of lovely water and hot liquids will help keep the mucus free flowing so you don’t notice it too much.  Not too much whiskey in the hot toddy tough.  Alcohol will dehydrate you and cause more of a problem.

tea

If you really suffer with post nasal drip, then consider moving to more temperate climes – a really cold climate will exacerbate a post nasal drip issue.  The nose is kind of an air conditioner for the body, running the humidity and temperature levels that make everything else run properly.  If you are constantly going from dry indoors to humid outdoors and from hot house to freezing polar ice cap, then your nose will be working overtime.  The best advice is to keep indoors damp(ish) using a humidifier if you live in a dry climate (not necessary in the UK) and don’t set the indoor thermostat to tropical – keep it cool as you can stand.  Ours at home is at 17 degrees.  Partly so we have somewhere to go when it gets really cold (limit of 20 degrees though… if we need it to be warmer, then we will go and fetch another sweater) and partly because we do not like hot, hot, hot.

If you have chronic post nasal drip, then you might have an allergy.  Go and get it checked and see if you do.  Dust mites are a common cause, but then so is animal dander.  If you do get congested, try using an over the counter decongestant – although don’t use it for long periods of time.  Go back to the tried and tested inhalations with some nice powerful essential oils in the water.  Rosemary and Eucalyptus are great, but a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub does WONDERS.  Take Honey and Lemon for the inevitable tickly cough that will result as well.

honey and lemon

Also, ask your doctor to check if you have a deviated septum.  The septum is the wall inside your nose that divides it in two.  A sharp blow or even a birth defect can cause the septum to be twisted or deviated to one side.  A sharp turn in the septum can cause mucus to accumulate and when it all collects, then it drips down the back of the throat.  It might be an idea to check if this an issue.  There is a simple surgical procedure which can be done to correct the issue.

Allergy season is definitely upon us…

I am lucky.  I don’t suffer from hayfever.  But this last couple of weeks, the pollen from the plants have even got up my nose.  I have been sneezing and rubbing strangely itchy eyes.  I understand these are some common symptoms of the dreaded hayfever, along with sore throats and dry coughs.

hayfever

I wondered if there was anything I could find online to help.  Unfortunately I do not have a magic wand to cure hayfever.  I wish I did.  I know it makes people miserable, and uncomfortable, and I wish I could help you all.  Plus… let’s face it, if I could cure it, I would make millions!

 

However, I did find an allergy relief syrup which might help.  All the ingredients of this recipe need to be organic, and it should really help with the sore throats and the dry coughs.

honey and lemon

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

1 tablespoon of raw honey (either local to your area, or manuka)

1/2 teaspoon of bee pollen

1 tsp lemon juice

 

Combine all of the ingredients and warm slightly so the honey is runny.  Once it is all combined, put it in a clean glass jar and take a teaspoon of this twice daily.  The honey will coat the throat and will help to ease the soreness and dry cough, and the ginger and cinnamon will clear the nose and shake up and congestion.  The bee pollen may actually help you to become less sensitive to the pollen particles in your local area.

 

 

I hope it works for those of you who suffer.

What can honey do for us?

I am feeling very lucky this morning.  My husband is taking a couple of days off this week, and we get to have a lovely long weekend together.  I love spending time with my honey. (What?  It is nearly Valentine’s Day, and our Anniversary is in a week and half… I am allowed to be a bit soppy and romantic!)  Aha… thought I… What can honey do for us?

Now, years and years ago I worked as a Saturday girl in a shop well known for selling beauty products based on natural ingredients.  One of the many things I learned from that experience was that honey is something called a humectant.  Basically, humectants not only lock moisture into the skin (or hair follicle or whatever) but they also attract moisture.  This is very useful for people with very dry skins.  What other tricks can honey perform?

honey pour

Honey has been known for thousands of years for its medicinal qualities.  In 1913 during the Second Balkan War, it was used as a gourmet medicine healing the wounds of soldiers.  Yet, it is still considered to be “an alternative” treatment in mainstream medicine.  I know of a company locally to me which actually produces and sells honey laced wound dressings to hospitals.  I can’t understand this.  If a natural ingredient works, why not use it?

Honey has powerful antibacterial properties, and is useful on at least 60 forms of bacteria, including ones which are antibiotic resistant.  Honey has been successful for treating diabetic ulcers and even on MRSA infections.  If you use local honey, it can help with some allergies like hayfever, it is very useful for soothing sore throats and coughs and can help to heal damaged colons as a result of colitis.

honey

Honey is obviously naturally sweet, it provides instant energy, is a heart stimulant and a food supplement.  It contains both glucose and fructose as its sugars.  Both are naturally occurring.  What blew me away though was discovering that it has a pile of minerals in it like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chloride, sulphur, iron and phosphate.  If the nectar and pollen used by the bees is of sufficient quality it can also have the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and vitamin C.  Wow.

honey jar

With a relatively acidic pH level.  If honey is mixed with water than it no longer has antibacterial properties but if applied to a would in that dilute way, and an enzyme called glucose oxidase forms hydrogen peroxide via slow release.  Hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic antiseptic.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, honey is also really useful in beauty products.  It can reduce facial redness and acne as well as condition dry hair, but you must mix it with olive or castor oil for both of these purposes.

I hope this has sweetened your day somewhat.  Remember not to have too much honey though.  It is very calorific and very sweet, so if you have too much you will probably get cavities.

What Remedies are good for children?

As you might know from reading this blog, my husband and I are in the process of adopting.  It is a very exciting (and not a little scary) time for us, and this blog is a little later than usual because we have just had another visit from the Social Worker.  These visits are regular and varied, and inevitably get me thinking about how my life is going to change when we finally become Mummy and Daddy, and child or children.

 

One thing that will not change is my wish to use natural products rather than chemically produced ones, particularly if the little person or people are feeling off colour.  So, off I trotted over the world wide web and did some research.

from speedyremedies.com

from speedyremedies.com

For a sore throat, which are so prevalent around this time of year, honey and lemon juice is ideal.  Lemon will dry up the congestion and the honey provides a soothing coating to the throat.  If you take a tablespoon of each and put it into a microwave safe bowl, put the bowl in the microwave for 20 seconds until it is warm.  The dosage is 1 teaspoon at a time, and please be aware that honey is not safe for children under 1.  This is due to the fact that honey sometime harbours botulism and the infant immune system can’t fight it as well as older people.

chamomile

Another issue which has been plaguing my mind is what if we are lucky enough to be matched with a baby and they suffer with colic?  Apparently, Chamomile tea relaxes the intestinal muscles and so is a great remedy for a colicky child.  If you steep tea for 4 to 5 minutes and then put 1-2 ounces in a bottle, with water and it can certainly help matters.  But, you must be careful not to give more than 4 ounces in one day.

from bunnybumpkin.com

from bunnybumpkin.com

Every parent must dread the onslaught of teething.  From my reading of the subject, it would appear that grabbing something chewable and cold is a great relief.  Some options would be a frozen baby bottle (filled with water and stored in the freezer teat side down so the water fills the teat and is hard for them to gum on), a cold banana, a cold teaspoon from the fridge, wet towels, ice in blankets or even a peeled carrot.  I suspect infant paracetamol or ibuprofen is also a must when the pain gets too much for the little ones.

from the bubbleshop.com

from the bubbleshop.com

As we are likely to be dealing with a child who suffers from some form of anxiety due to their early life experiences, one really great solution is blowing bubbles from a bubble wand.  Now, I love bubbles, and so do my cats and dog, so I really hope this one works because I can see us doing it A LOT!  Just for the fun of it!!  Apparently the reason it helps anxiety is that breathing slowly and deeply while creating the bubbles allows the child to relax.  Fabulous!!

from newhealthguide.org

from newhealthguide.org

Travel sickness is common in small children, so for those aged 2 and over, making a ginger tea is great for suppressing nausea.  A teaspoon of shredded ginger in 4 ounces of boiling water, allowed to steep for 4 to 5 minutes, can then be drunk 30 minutes before getting into the car.  It might help with the nausea, but it will also guarantee a need for a potty break along the way, so be aware of that possibility!

Active children are likely to get bitten by bugs at some point, and those nasty raised bumps can be itchy and annoying and miserable to deal with.  How about using baking soda?  If you take a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and make a paste with just enough water, the alkaline mix will counteract the acidic swelling.

from bigoven.com

from bigoven.com

Another great remedy for mild swellings (eg bumps and bruises) is also used in high end spas.  Cucumber slices, put on the affected area will reduce the minor swelling.  It works on eyes, and it works on minor bruises.  Plus the smell is very refreshing.

 

This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it was really useful for me to research these possible remedies.  What remedies have you used in your family based on folklore or herbal knowledge?