alternative medicine · essential oils · health · Herbs

Essential Oils for Health

One nice thing that’s happened since getting a dog is I’ve rediscovered essential oils for daily use. I’m waging a one woman war against dog smell and losing on many fronts, but using essential oils every day is a clear win because not only do they smell good, they are also good for our health; mentally, emotionally, and even physically. In the mornings I light up my little essential oil diffuser with rosemary helping to wake me up and get my brain going. This is especially helpful since the dog is of the working breed variety and she apparently thinks it is her job to wake me up at 4:AM every day. I’ve told her we need to renegotiate her terms of employment, but her response of pant, pant, paw, paw seemed to say, “What are you jabbering on about? It’s Saturday morning and it’s almost dawn! Get moving lady!!!” So I put on the coffee maker and reached for the rosemary. I know when I’m beat.

Essential oil diffuser

Rosemary has a long history of being good for the brain, especially for memory. In Hamlet, Shakespeare had Ophelia say, “There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you love, remember.” It’s also stimulating, antiseptic, good for circulation and sore muscles. After that takes effect, I usually add in a bit of cedar which is a bit more grounding. Later in the day I’ll switch to a couple of drops of orange with a couple drops of lavender. This sounds like an odd combination but it’s actually fabulous. Orange and actually all the citrus essential oils are stimulating and uplifting but in a calm way. If you are in the midst of January doldrums, citrus is the SAD antidote. Most people know lavender is calming and good for anxiety, but it also is good for exhaustion which might seem backwards to some people, but calm is very different from tired. I love the fact that lavender’s name comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means to wash because Romans used it for its antiseptic properties, to bathe in, and clean out wounds. Throughout history it’s been used by multiple cultures to ward of plague, illnesses, and pests, as well as to deodorize and perfume. Aura Cacia has a great article on the history of lavender which is well worth the read. When using essential oils, be sure to use authentic oils and not fragrance oils which do not have the same effects as their natural counterparts. There are many websites detailing essential oils and their many different qualities but it’s best to just go to a store that sells them to see which scents appeal to you. Have a happy, healthy weekend!

alternative medicine · health · Herbs · homeopathy

Cold and Flu Season

School is in session, the weather is changing from warm and sunny to chilly and cloudy, and the local drug stores are advertising flu shots. It’s that time of year, and it sure hit fast and hard this time around, at least in my little corner of the Pacific Northwest. This is week two of a nasty cold that lodged itself somewhere between my sinuses and chest, and it’s thrown me because I don’t get sick often. Usually at the first sign that some stealthy little virus has invaded my body I can knock it out with extra vitamin C, preferably in the form of Emergenc-C, sucking on Zand zinc and elderberry lozenges, and if those don’t work alone, I’ll take Oscillococcinum. This time around I was lazy. It was late at night when I first realized I was getting sick so I just went to bed, and when I woke up the sickness had obviously taken root, so I needed a different game plan. You need to take oscillococcinum right when you first feel sick for it to work, so instead of that I started taking Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (2 t in a glass of water) three times per day, along with Umcka. Actually Umcka also should be taken right when first feeling sick, but it will help reduce the length and severity of symptoms whenever you start taking it, so late is better than never. The day after I started Umcka I felt markedly better which was a relief because those first couple of days really hit me hard. Also, I’ve replaced my neti pot with a squeeze bottle because my oldest can use it much easier than the neti, and any kind of sinus rinse helps the recovery process. Instead of masking the symptoms like over-the-counter remedies do, these natural remedies actually help the body to fight the virus and they have no bad effects at all, no tiredness or liver stress. They also can provide extra benefits as well, such as building your immune system to fight other bacteria and viruses that are hanging around. If you don’t already have these on hand for when your next cold or flu creeps up, you might want to stock them, or at least choose one or two as your go-to remedies, because catching illnesses at the beginning is always far more effective. Here’s the list:

Emercengen.C emergenC

Zand zinc lozenges zand

Oscillococcinum Oscillococcinum

Bragg’s apple cider vinegar applecidervin


Umcka umcka

Neti pot or squeeze bottle sinus rinse

Of course plenty of rest and tea help too, as well as adding essential oils (any!) to your environment or clothing. Stay well everyone!