Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Go-To Essential Oil Relief Combos

All who are essential oil fans have to start their journey somehow, sometime.  I'm so glad I did!  I'm definitely not that experienced, but I also feel like I'm finally getting the hang of what to use for what.  And I'm happy to say they are effective!  I'm posting my favorite relief combos here mostly so I can remember what on earth I put in each, but also so you can maybe give it a go if you're interested!

Nighttime Asthma/Cough Relief

EA's first asthma episode was when he was only 6 months old.  That was the beginning of a saga.  A simple cold turned flaming ear infection turned asthma attack landed him in the ER and then a hospital stay for 3 days (missed my first ladies' retreat at our new church and also celebrated my birthday in the hospital with a preciously adorable but struggling was memorable).  Seven years later, we are finally not visiting the ER three or more times a year.  EA is not on multiple rounds of antibiotics for his ears or steroids for his asthma.  He's down to one asthma med instead of three (fingers crossed for this fall/winter!).  I attribute this vast improvement first to the Great Physician who has been so gracious to keep Elijah with us, healing his body over time, and allowing the medical world to have medicines and procedures to help little kids with asthma.  Second, I attribute the noticeable improvement over the last year to our introduction to essential oils used in conjunction with our humidifier.  It makes a HUGE difference.  When EA is having an episode, he will have terrible coughing spells throughout the night (puts us in a newborn-like-sleep-deprived state).  But, when we use the humidifier and essential oils at night, he sleeps the entire time (and so do we!).  It's incredible.  So here is what we do!  I've listed the specific reasons we use these oils though most oils have multiple uses.

1 full humidifier
pinch of salt
10 drops lavender (relaxing, calming)
7 drops peppermint (reduces inflammation, opens passageways)
5 drops eucalyptus (reduces airway inflammation, possible expectorant)
10 drops orange oil (I don't always this, but there is some research that has shown orange oil may possibly help asthma in particular.  I've found it doesn't really make a noticeable difference like the other three oils do.)

Drop oils in water.  Assemble humidifier.  Plug in.  Enjoy the scent and lack of coughing/breathing difficulty.  *Note* I have since doubled the oil amounts and diluted them a bit with sweet almond oil to have this combo at the ready.  Takes much less time to prep the humidifier when you don't have to do each oil separately!

Bite Relief

El mosquito es un insecto offensivo.  I think I said that enough in high school Spanish that it will stick with me the rest of my life.  I'm a mosquito magnet - sweet blood, according to my grandparents and parents.  :-)  But unfortunately, I am also allergic to mosquito venom.  My bites instantly sting, itch like fire, and swell up.  Some of them have gotten so large in my lifetime that I actually remember where they were and how big they got!  Biggest one on record was ONE bite on the back of my lower leg that made my entire calf swell, getting tight, uncomfortable, and ferociously itchy.  I have tried using essential oil repellent, but the only one that was successful works for me only for 20 minutes (or less most times).  I surrendered and use commercial repellents.  It's worth it to avoid the allergic reactions to bites!  However, I have discovered an essential oil combination that, when used asap, cuts the itch within a few minutes (you have to be patient for it) and drastically reduces both the reaction intensity and its duration.  I may have to reapply one or two more times over a couple days, but that's it.  And lemme tell ya.... that's INCREDIBLE.  Just ask my mom.  :-)  In a little bottle, combine...

2 Tbs sweet almond oil
20 drops lavender
15 drops tea tree
10 drops citronella
7 drops peppermint
7 eucalyptus

Boo Boo Oil

This combination is the latest one I've tried.  Last week, I had to give it some extra care to an ear piercing as it was having  trouble with being red, inflamed, and irritated on its way to infection.  I mixed up some "boo boo oil" and saw VERY quick results!  Within a few minutes of each use, the inflammation and redness goes down and the pain is gone.  The tea tree has definitely done its work at keeping infection away and promoting healing.  The peppermint has a wonderful cooling affect that brings quick relief, and the lavender is soothing.  All I do for treatment is place one drop on the back of the pierced area and a drop on the front.  Then I use a q-tip to wipe the extra oil that runs down my ear.  A small part of me wishes someone would get another boo boo so I can try it on different types, like a scrape or something!  But just a small part of me.  For the family to be boo boo free is a good thing!  :-P  In a little bottle, combine...

2 Tbs sweet almond oil
20 drops lavender
10-15 drops tea tree
10 drops peppermint

*Note*  The "little bottles" I use are simply essential oil bottles I've used up.  The labels come off very easily.  Then I just slap on a white address label and write on it with a sharpie, as seen in the Bite Relief photo.  I'm learning now that I need to write down exactly what I put in the bottle.  Hence the blog post.  And the recipes are hopefully accurate...I'm goin' on memory here!

UPDATE:  Ha.  While I was writing this post, EA tripped on the stairs and hit his chin.  It'll be more bruise than anything, but he did get a bit of an abrasion.  I asked if we could experiment.  He's a trooper.  :-)  He said the oil stung a little, then a lot, then not at all - less than one minute.  We'll see how the healing and pain relief goes!

Homemade Chest Rub

I used this recipe to make a kid-friendly version of chest rub for cough and breathing trouble.  I halved the essential oil amounts, but I think next time I may do 3/4 the oil amounts to make it just a touch stronger.  I don't have cinnamon or clove oil, so I used 15 drops lavender instead (again, will use more next time I make it).  EA really enjoys having this as part of his episode regimen, and I myself enjoy it when I'm having respiratory trouble.

Diluted Thieves Oil

My mom introduced me to this one, and I don't have as much experience or personal testimony of effectiveness as with the other combos.  It is thought to help keep the body from getting sick.  My mom used it on her feet at bedtime throughout last winter and did not get sick!  I've used it a few times on various family members when they have already gotten sick, but I'm not sure how much it helps cut sickness duration.  I am thinking about trying what my mom did to see if we have fewer illnesses this fall/winter!  Simply dilute Thieves oil with your carrier oil of choice (mine is sweet almond oil), rub on feet, and put socks on.  There is a TON of info online about Thieves oil and its if you want more info, get to Googling!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sweet Taste of Autumn Cake

Because it's September.  And for whatever reason, my self-control completely goes away when September hits.  No more waiting for the sweet taste of fall!  Bring on the PuMpKiN!!!

I had a can of pumpkin.  I had a box of white cake mix and a can of chocolate frosting on hand (which never happens...long story).  There had to be a way, right?

Sweet Taste of Autumn Cake

1 box white cake mix
15 oz canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp clove
1 can chocolate frosting (Choose your chocolate flavor!  We did chocolate fudge!)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake mix, sugar, and spices; mix well.  Add eggs and pumpkin.  Beat on low speed 30 seconds to combine.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.  Pour batter into greased baking dish / cake pan / bundt pan / cupcake tin (because really...cake can take all forms).  Bake according to box directions based upon which pan you use.  Frost.  Eat.  Now you are ready to enjoy the best season of the year!  :-)

Ps 1 - Sweet Taste of Autumn because Autumn is my sister, and I love her.  And the chocolate/pumpkin combination always reminds me of her delish muffins she introduced us to years ago.

Ps 2 - Making this cake on a cloudy, cool, dank day will make you wanna break out sweaters and hot tea and boots and a cozy blanket.  Beware! :-)