Recipes to Help You Manage the Summer

Summer is here and for many that means dealing with insects, insect bites, sunburns, and minor cuts and abrasions resulting from being outside a lot, enjoying the weather. So here are a variety of recipes to help you manage the inconveniences of being drawn to nature!


1 cup aloe vera gel 1 cup yogurt (plain) 1 cup vinegar (apple cider)

Mix all of these ingredients together in a jar and keep in the refrigerator. Shake well before using. Use on sunburned skin once an hour for the first three hours after a burn to provide relief. Make sure to keep away from eyes and nostrils.
10 drops lavender essential oil 5 drops chamomile essential oil (Roman) 2 drops geranium essential oil
2 oz apricot seed oil
2 ounces sweet almond oil
Mix all of the ingredients together and gently rub over sunburned skin. This is also very good to use when you want to replace moisture taken from sun exposure. Try adding one tablespoon of this mixture to your bath, for over all soothing, cooling and healing. This mixture will help to reduce peeling, but if you do peel, keep in mind that your body is ridding itself of damaged layer of skin and healing. This mixture will also help to stop the itching, which is often a sign of healing.

1/4 cup tea- tree tincture* 1 cup witch hazel
Mix together and place in a dark, glass or plastic bottle, one with a spray pump will be quite handy. Store in a cool, dark place and it will keep from eight to twelve months. This is a great recipe to always have handy for those times when you get a scrape or abrasion. As a matter of fact, I always packed this in our camping kit.
Wash minor cuts and abrasions first, then spray or dab this on. It may burn a bit, but better to suffer a tad now than get infected!
* A tincture is alcohol and herbs/flowers combined. The alcohol is used to pull the essential oil from the herb/flower and to suspend it there for later use. While you can make your own tincture with 90 proof vodka, fresh herbs/flowers and a few months of wait time, it is quite a bit simpler to purchase tea-tree tincture in your local health food store. If, however you'd like to give it a go, all you need to do is bruise about six tea-tree leaves and push them into a bottle of 3/4 cup of 90 proof vodka or other low smell, 90 proof alcohol. Shake the bottle vigorously, then place it in a cool, dark place. Once a week shake the bottle for about a minute. After two months, strain the liquid, throwing away the plant material and retaining the liquid. This tincture should remain good for about a year.
This rash relief formula is quite easy. Just add the following ingredients to your favorite unscented, uncolored lotion.
1/2 tsp. chamomile tincture*
1/2 tsp evening primrose oil
4 drops stinging nettle tincture
Mix the tinctures and oil together, the mix with an equal amount of lotion. Rub mixture over the rash, leave on for one hour, then wash off with tepid water. Of course if the rash persists or if you run a temperature with the rash, you should see your physician.
*As noted in the previous recipe, you can purchase tinctures at your local health food store, or you can make your own, whichever you prefer.

1/2 cup eucalyptus leaves
1 1/2 cups cedar wood shavings
3 cups rubbing alcohol

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl or jar. Cover and let stand 5 days. Strain the solid ingredients out and save the remaining liquid. Store tightly sealed. To use, pour into a small spray bottle and spray lightly on skin.

Here are three remedies for AFTER you are bitten by insects.
  • When bitten by a mosquito or black fly, place one drop of lavender essential oil directly on the bite. But only use this directly on the skin if you know for certain that you do not have a sensitivity to lavender. If you do not know this, add 2 drops to one teaspoon of oil and, after mixing, rub a small amount of oil into your skin, at the inside of your elbow. If it itches or turns red, wash off with soap and water and do not use lavender again in any form. If it doesnt bother you, cover with a band aide and wait 24 hours. Then uncover and check skin. If there is not redness, swelling or irritation, then you are good to use the essential oil. *Know that some people still do not recommend the use of lavender directly on the skin, as sensitivities can build, change, and develop when you least expect them.  
  • For multiple bites, take 1 cup of vinegar (apple cider) and mix with 10 drops of essential oil of lavender and 5 drops of essential oil of thyme. Blend well and add to a tub of tepid bath water. Pour mixture into the tub and swish to mix well before putting yourself or your child into the tub. Soak a washcloth or a sponge in the water and then use it to liberally wipe down the body areas affected by bites. Make sure to keep this water away from the eyes.
  • Take 1/4 cup sweet oil and mix in 5 drops each of eucalyptus, thyme, chamomile, and oregano essential oils (you may substitute oregano extract if you'd prefer), This bug bite soother recipe will last about 6 months, so you can have a bottle on hand all summer long!

Cinnamon is for More Than Sugar Toast!

Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree, and cinnamon sticks are actually pieces of that bark. The tree grows from 20 to 30 feet high and it has a thick, scabrous bark with strong branches. As early as 2700 B.C., this spice was mentioned by ancient Chinese herbalists. It was an ingredient in the embalming mixtures of ancient Egypt, and the Bible says that Moses used it as a holy anointing oil. After the fall of the Roman empire, when trade between Europe and Asia became difficult, Cinnamon was extremely prized. It found its way west, and by the twelfth century, German herbalists recommended cinnamon as the "universal spice for sinuses." They recommended it be used to treat colds, flu, cancer, and many other internal ailments. The word cinnamon can refer to the "origional" cinnamon, Cinnarmomum zeylanicum of Ceylon, or the product of the Cassia tree, which is usually regarded as a substitute for Cinnarmomum zeylanicum of Ceylon because it VERY closely resembles the Ceylon. It possesses much the same qualities and constituents, but it is inferior. It is also much cheaper and more abundant than the Ceylon variety, hence the reason for its popularity. As a matter of fact, it is now the only official oil of cinnamon in the United States and German Pharmacopoeias. Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and now modern science has confirmed its value as an anti-infective and digestive aide. Cinnamon possesses antiseptic qualities which kill many disease causing viruses and fungi. It is no accident that cinnamon is frequently used in toothpaste. Besides tasting good, cinnamon is known to kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. According to some overseas studies, cinnamon suppresses the cause of most urinary tract infections and kills the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections. They also report that it helps to prevent stomach ulcers. Cinnamon, like many culinary spices, is known to soothes the stomach. According to the US department of agriculture (USDA), it also appears that cinnamon helps diabetics metabolize sugar by reducing the amount of insulin necessary for glucose metabolism. As little as "one eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon triples insulin efficiency," per Dr. James Duke, author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. In its powdered form, culinary amounts of cinnamon are nontoxic, although allergic reactions are possible. Cinnamon oil, however, is a completely different story. If someone were to swallow it, they would likely experience nausea and vomiting, and quite possibly kidney damage. While some herbalists taught cinnamon oil as a skin conditioner and anti-inflammatory agent, others maintain that it doesn't provide any dermal benefits. No matter your stance on this issue, everyone agrees that cinnamon oil is a known dermal (skin) toxin, irritant, and sensitizer. It is also known to irritate mucous membranes. Since it may cause redness and burning on the skin, if you make a product containing the oil, be sure to highly dilute it. If you are using someone else's product that has cinnamon oil as an ingredient, including soaps and lip balms, remember that you really don't know how concentrated they left the cinnamon. Do not take make the mistake of assuming, perform a patch test to make sure that the product will not negatively impact your skin. You can enjoy cinnamon in foods, simply seasoned to taste, or you can brew a tea and drink it. To make a tea, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of the powdered herb per cup of boiling water. Steep the powder for ten to twenty minutes. You may drink up to three cups per day. Whatever you do, NEVER use the essential oil internally.

Some More Food You Can Use

A few weeks back I did a couple of posts on foods that you could use for your beauty care. I inadvertently left the following recipe sitting on my draft board, so here you go, one more! Sage Cucumber Potato Ice Cubes 1/4 small raw potato, peeled 1/2 medium-sized cucumber, peeled 2 Tbs sage infusion, cooled* *to make a sage infusion you take 1/4 cup sage (fresh or dried) and pour 1 cup almost boiling water over it, allow to steep for about 30 min. then strain. Throw out the sage and store the "tea" aka infusion in the refrigerator in a glass jar, covered. This will remain good for about 2 months.* Slice the potato into chunks then mash into pieces in a food processor to get them as fine as possible. Use the food processor to puree the peeled cucumber very briefly. You don't want to over process it. Then strain the excess juice. The whole thing will be runny, but preserve the more pulpy part.Now mix the potato, cucumber and tea together and pour into an empty ice cube tray. Freeze.Next time your eyes are puffy, red and/or sore, pop out one of these ice cubes and place it over the eyes. Leave it on for 2-3 minutes, or you may just dab them on, if leaving it lay on bothers you. When finished, rinse your eyelids off & pat dry. You'll see the difference! The cubes will remain good, in the freezer for 2 months. Also, for another, quicker, easier remedy, you can throw a few slices of cucumber or 2 teaspoons in the freezer before you get into the shower in the morning. After you've gotten out of the shower & dressed, place the frosted spoons or the cucumber slices on your eyelids. Sit back and relax for 10 minutes.The cool of the spoons reduces puffiness, while the cucumber actually possess a natural ingredient that helps to sooth irritated skin.

Hemp is for More Than Smoking!

Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of Cannabis Sativa, or what we commonly call the marijuana plant. This plant, of course, cannot be legally grown in the U.S., but it is commercially grown in many countries, for many uses. One of its largest uses is the production of oil, both for food use (yes, you can eat it!), and for cosmetics. It is also used to make a good quality paper, sewing material (fabric, thread, string, and rope) , and is even being experimented with as an alternative fuel source. Perhaps the largest advantage to growing Hemp is the fact that the Hemp plant is quick and easy to grow and to harvest. When compared to cotton, the Hemp plant is much more easily managed. It doesn't require pesticides for a healthy crop, doesn't need a warm climate to grow/produce well, and the Hemp needs very little rainfall to grow well. When compared to tree production, the Hemp plant yields eight times more paper producing material than trees on the same amount of land, acre for acre. Then, of course, there is also the fact that the Hemp grows to maturity in 4 months, versus the years that the trees will take. Because Hemp is illegal to grow in the USA, all Hemp materials have to be imported from other countries. We are legally allowed to have the oil and other materials because, once processed, Hemp no longer contains THC, that active property that provides the "high" when marijuana is smoked. So, no, giving your teenager a Hemp tee-shirt or bracelet won't contribute to their delinquency, just like using a Hemp oil cosmetically will not get you high! [Even though my products have been known to cause mood alterations] ! lol Hemp oil contains many proteins, natural fatty acids, vitamins and enzymes, making it a good choice for cooking. As a topical, it is easily absorbed through the skin and leaves your skin feeling very soft without feeling too greasy. Hemp oil is gentle, healing, good for sensitive skin, and protects skin from moisture loss, making it a good choice for lotions, soaps and balms.

Reach for the Spice Rack Instead of the Medicine Cabinet

Long before commercial medicines, herbs, spices and their volitile oils (called essential oils) were used to treat ailments. If researched, you would find that most of todays medicines have their roots in plants, pardon the pun. Some still actually use plant materials, while others recreate plant ingredients synthetically. Still, the spice rack in your kitchen can double for the medicine cabinet if you know what you are doing! Try these spicy remedies the next time you have need, and avoid the pahrmacy.

Cayenne has an ingredient in it that iterferes with pain transmission, capsaicin. This makes cayenne the perfect spice for relieving a toothache. Take the cayenne and make a paste out if it by adding a few drops of water to a teaspoon full of cayenne. Then dip a cotton swab into the paste and dab onto the affected tooth. Make sure that you put it on the tooth and NOT the gum.

Cinnamon can help ease diarrhea, as well as dry up the sniffles. For either, just take a teaspoon of cinnamon and add one cup of boiling water, steep for fifteen minutes. After the fifteen minutes, strain it and drink.

Ginger is great for almost any upset stomach, including morning sickness and motion sickness. In fact, it has been proven to be as effective for motion sickness as any over-the-counter remedy. Make a tea from it by adding one teaspoon to one cup of boiling water. Steep for fifteen minutes, strain and drink.

Sage will help reduce the hot flashes and night sweats of menopause if you drink a cup of its tea three times a day. Add 3/4 teaspoon of sage to one cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes, strain and drink.

Thyme is an effective expectorant and antispetic, as it is rich in germ-killing compounds. For a cough remedy, add one teaspoon dried thyme to one cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes, strain, and drink. For sore throats; brew two teaspoons of thyme in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Gargle with the brew, then spit it out.

Prize Pack Sent Out!

Miss Jeanan, from Florida, won the "Name this Bath Soak Contest" for her entry, "Raphael's Healing Garden Bath Soak". Above you can see the product labeled. Raphael is the angel of healing, I am told, and although there were many good entries, I believe this one is the perfect fit. Since her prize pack is on its merry way, I thought that I'd share its contents with everyone. It contains a 16oz jar of Raphael's Healing Garden Bath Soak, a bar of Bug Be Gone soap, a bag of Cleo's Bath Soak (for normal to oily skin), and a trial size Heel and Elbow Cream, along with an Unique Treat Dig Bones pin and a pretty floral Gift Tag. I hope that Jeanan like everything and I especially hope that she feels my bath soak deserves the name she provided!
For everyone else that entered, thank you again and keep watching because I have a few more items that need named!

Contest Winner Chosen!

This was a VERY difficult choice, but the winner has been decided upon! I have not even notified her yet, but here goes.....drum roll please...............................................................

There were so many good choices! I truly thank each and every one of you for your entries! Some were funny, all were clever, and I enjoyed each of them! I have my eye on a few for some upcoming products, so don't be surprised if you get an email from me in the future!



Contest Concludes!

The contest to name my newest bath soak is over. There were several great entries so I am having a difficult time making a final decision! I have narrowed my list to three and will soon make the final choice. I will announce the winner of the Bath Soak and surprise gift in a post tomorrow, so check back then!

Contest End Quickly Approaches!

The "Name the newest Unique Garden Essences Bath Soak Contest" is just about to an end, so have you entered the perfect name? Do so, and you will not only win some of the soak, but you will also get a surprise prize! You have until after just midnight on July 2 to leave your entry under the comments section of the original post [for the contest]. Please don't leave it on this one, as it will be easier if all the entries are together. Then, the hard part begins for me. I will choose the winning name and post it, just as quickly as I can. But I have to say, as of this moment I am at a loss because there are just too many good ones entered! It will be a tough choice for sure!
Just in case you aren't the winner, don't worry, you too can soak in the luxury of this blend very soon! I will be listing it in my Etsy and Artfire shops just as soon as labels are made with the new name!