Carrot Seed Oil

If you know me, you know I am always trying new things out in the health and beauty department.  I have an entire cupboard dedicated to supplements.  My husband can attest to that, much to his chagrin.

There are some things I love, and use over and over (hello turmeric)…and other things that get relegated to the back of the cupboard never to see the light of day again (fermented cod liver, hella gross).

Beauty and health are completely linked in my mind.

When my skin is looking dull, I don’t go to Macy’s beauty counter and buy expensive creams.  I play around with my own concoctions.  I’ve seen different companies putting out products with essential oils however they also have fillers, preservatives, extra fragrances, and they are expensive.  I’m frugal, people (cheap, I’m cheap, ok…)

One product that has really impressed me lately had been carrot seed essential oil.  I bought this from plant therapy for $11.

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My wonder oil, y’all

It’ll last me a year, at least. I mixed it with purified water in a mister, roughly 4 ounces water with 20 drops oil.  I shake it up and mist it onto my clean skin.

Carrot seed oil is amazing for skin health.  It is regenerative and may have up to 30 SPF.  I won’t go into all the benefits but you can read a bit more here https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/carrot-seed-essential-oil.html

I really did see results overnight with my problematic skin.

I have oily skin prone to redness and blotchiness.  I usually don’t feel confident leaving the house without foundation and a full face of makeup.  The carrot seed oil really helps make my complexion look so much better that I’ve been skipping makeup (save for mascara and filling in my super light eyebrows so people can read my facial expressions!) which is something I wouldn’t have done a couple weeks ago.

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My Makeup-free my, you’re welcome…

Which was the goal because I don’t like having to put it on and clogging my pores.  Plus it shaves ten minutes off my routine, which is a huge plus.  Also, I’m putting zero potentially harmful chemicals on my face.  Happy dance!

I’m nearly 31 and I don’t have wrinkles yet but I could see how this oil could help with that as well.  I wouldn’t swear by it’s abilities as a natural sunblock but I’ve ventured out into the blazing sun a couple times wearing carrot seed and only carrot seed (hahahaha) and no sunburn or even tanning happened.

This is a natural product and has a natural smell.  I like it, personally.  But it’s a strong smell and you may or may not be able to tolerate it.  You could also mix it with rose or lavender oil to make it more pleasant, and with extra skin health benefits!!

Sailing through Flu Season

I have three kids.  Two bring home every germ from their elementary school and the other one is regularly exposed to many other little kids in the daycare at my gym.  Avoiding flu germs isn’t really an option for us.  A couple winters ago I was literally sick off and on like all winter.  It was awful.  Sick-boy

I’ve learned a few tricks since then and I have not been sick once this year (knock on wood) and only my youngest has gotten a touch of the flu.

The biggest ‘trick’ is Vitamin D.  It is gaining popularity and with good reason.  Our bodies manufacture it from sunlight.  But if you live in the frozen dreary north like me (Minnesota, represent) you get basically zero for months on end.  Vit. D is crucial for health in general but if you don’t have enough you will have no immune system.  My levels were abysmally low at my last physical so I take 10,000 iu a day.  I give my kids vitamin D gummies every morning.

My next trick up my sleeve is probiotics.  We take them every day.  They even have tasty, chewable ones now that kids love.  They keep your digestive system happy and give a major boost to your immune system as well.

We also avoid antibacterial anything.  Antibacterial soap leads to super germs…and decreased immunity to them.  Yikes, no thanks.  Hygiene is good but exposure to germs isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Many experts now site our overly sanitary lives as reasons behind the rise in asthma and allergies.  Our bodies aren’t being exposed to enough germs so they become hyper-active towards them.  A better bet is building up our immune system to be able to handle whatever is thrown at it.

I’m not diving into the controversy that surrounds the flu shot but suffice to say we wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. 🙂

When my kids do still catch some junk I have three other tricks that really help.

For that dry cough that keeps everyone up a night- a spoonful of raw honey is just as helpful as cough syrup.  Plus, you won’t have to force them to take it.

Running my essential oil diffusers with certain oils works almost like magic to suppress coughs so kids (and the parents!) can get a good night sleep.  Oils I have found to be the most helpful are; lavender, frankincense and cedarwood.  They also smell amazing.  If you don’t have a diffuser you can put a few drops of lavender (pretty easily obtained at even a regular grocery store) in a humidifier.  Shut their door at bedtime so they are breathing in moist air with healing properties all night.    lavender

When they wake up with the ‘sick’ look- glazed over eyes, snotty noses, etc.  I will put them in a hot bath with Epsom salts (about two cups) and the essential oils I mentioned (five drops each).  It also does wonders.

I also will rub lavender and frankincense or myrrh (diluted with oil or lotion) onto their chests and massage their lymph nodes to promote drainage and calm an irritated respiratory system.

If you’re just getting started with essential oils just be cautious and always dilute when applying topically.  They are very powerful and effective so kids don’t need much.  For a massage you only need one drop of each oil you are using, diluted in at least a tablespoon of lotion or oil.  You also don’t have to spend a fortune to get good oils.  Aura cacia is widely available, inexpensive and IMO just as good as any other brand.

Also; basic things like eating well, sleeping enough, exercising and managing stress are also biggies.

Here’s to your healthiest flu season yet!

 

 

 

 

Eczema Protocol

20150811_172331_resizedI’ve shared before about my six year old, Gabe’s battle with eczema.  It has gotten significantly better lately and I just want to share for the people who care about him or are looking for help with their eczema.

20141113_173742This picture here was from when he was recovering from a really bad staph infection when his eczema got really infected last winter.  I won’t post pics of it at it’s worst because it was pretty gruesome looking. 😦

On the right is what Gabe looks like now.  Just trust me when I say it is looking a lot better.

We have used topical steroids and mupirocin, which helped a lot at first but seemed to be losing their effectivness.

We have tried many creams and lotions, some that worked better than others.

I think the biggest thing in getting the eczema under control was doing nightly soaks in the tub with sea salt.  I’ve been using Trader Joe’s lavender salt scrub in his baths and that is helping a lot.  We let him play and soak in the tub for 20-30 minutes.  20150811_102855

We use a minimal amount of natural soap, because it dries out his skin and kids really don’t need tons of soap.

When we get him out we glob on a mix of honest company’s healing balm mixed with this natural calendula lotion.  I usually add in a few drops of myrrh or another essential oil.

We are still praying for the day that he doesn’t have to deal with this at all.  Thankfully though, it has gotten a lot better.  Thanks to everyone who prays for him.  We really appreciate it.

Queen Esther’s Beauty Elixir

Esther was a beautiful young woman chosen to be the Queen in the book of Esther.  The Bible actually records her ‘beauty secret’… “Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” Esther 2:12

myrrhMyrrh oil comes from the Commiphora myrrh tree in the horn of Africa and the Middle East.  It has literally been used for thousands of years to treat skin and oral problems.  Interestingly, myrrh is mentioned some 156 times in the Bible!

I definitely do not naturally have great skin.  I got my dad’s oily skin and large pores.  But I have gotten many compliments on my skin since I started using myrrh oil.

Myrrh is a powerful antioxidant and works with your body to repair damage, smooth fine lines, minimize age spots, and aid in cell renewal to get glowing skin.  There is even evidence that myrrh has strong anti-cancer properties.

I buy Now brands myrrh oil.  It is very reasonably prized and seems to stand up to more expensive brands I have tried.  The oil is very thick and will get ‘gunky’ if not diluted.  I recommend diluting in a larger bottle with a carrier oil.  Excellent carrier oils are carrot seed oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, or even extra virgin coconut oil.  I personally dilute it 50-50.  Myrrh is fairly gentle so you can use it at a stronger dilution.  You should only need a small, like pea sized, amount.  I apply it every night after I wash off my makeup. dreamstime_m_16597331

Your skin might break out initially as you get used to the carrier oil and possibly as toxins are ejected from your skin.  If you keep breaking out you may want to experiment with other carrier oils.  There are many good options out there.  You could even simply add you myrrh oil to your favorite natural lotion.

Myrrh has a tenacious smell, definitely an acquired taste.  I don’t mind it but you might if you have a sensitive nose.  You can also mix in more pleasing smelling oils (with their own healing properties!) such as lavender, rose, or geranium.

I love rose and have found it to be very effective as well.  Lavender is excellent as a quick remedy to soothe burns or diaper rash.  Geranium is much less expensive than rose oil but with a very similar chemical makeup and very similar properties (and aroma). 8080794_xl You also could replicate the nativity gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh with the essential oils of myrrh and frankincense along with a golden hued carrier oil.

Along with being 100% natural and time-tested (basically since recorded history!) you will save money over buying over priced creams which are also chock-full of harmful, unnatural ingredients.  Your body and skin will thank you!

Sunburn Cure

Yesterday was the first day of summer break for my kiddos.  I decided to take them to the zoo where they would fit in (haha 20150605_132844_resizedjust kidding…kind of).  My Dad gets our family a membership every year to the Minnesota Zoo, a really great place with lots of fun stuff for kids.  When we left it is was very overcast so I skipped sunscreen.  Within an hour of arriving the sun was out in full force.  Oops.  My kids just got a light tan but I got full on sunburnt on my neck, shoulders, and chest.  Sun exposure is good and really necessary for good health but it is easy to over-do it.  Like hours on end outside under the hot sun.

I tend to risk over-doing it vs. slathering myself in sunscreen or avoiding the sun because sun exposure is actually a preventative for all causes of mortality, even skin cancer.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24697969

The sunburn is gone this morning though because I treated it with my simple cure.  I took a spoonful of virgin coconut oil (yep that stuff again) and a few drops of lavender oil and massage it into the affected areas.  It smells amazing and takes away the heat, tenderness and stinging immediately.  It heals your skin overnight.  Awesomness.

Sunburn is inflammation so it is also helpful to supplement with anti-inflammatories like turmeric, fish oil, or green tea.  Also try to eat foods high in anti-oxidants (like blueberries) after a burn to speed healing.

Coconut oil actually has an SPF of 4-6 so it can be applied before moderate sun exposure to facilitate healthy sun exposure without burning.

Here are some fun pics from yesterday just because 🙂

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Shiloh went nuts for the goats!

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DIY Dry Shampoo

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I am pretty busy, with my three kiddos.  I also bleach my hair.  So I like to stretch the days between shampooing.  The natural oils are great for your hair, which is especially important if you dye and style it.  But no one wants greasy looking, musty-smelling hair, right?  😉  Here is a quick DIY recipe for a dry shampoo.  This will soak up oil and make your hair look fresh and smell amazing in 2 minutes.  I sprinkle it on a soft bristle brush and run It through my hair, focusing on my roots.  It also has a thickening affect!

You can experiment with the ratios and essential oils (use what smells good to you!  But avoid citrus sun-sensitizing oils).

Dry Shampoo-

  • 3 heaping tbs. non-GMO cornstarch (I found mine at Target)
  • 1 tbs. baking soda
  • 3 drops lavender oil
  • 1 drop peppermint (peppermint is very strong)

Add the ingredients to a small container (I used 1/2 cup gladware container) and shake it up.  Boom.  Done.  Oh and you can also add a tsp. of cocoa powder for brown hair and/or cinnamon for red hair.