When my 97-year-old grandmother was young, doctors in rural areas were few and far between. Depending on the size of the town there may have been one doctor who treated patient’s living miles apart. Therefore, people depended on home remedies passed down through generations to treat injuries and cure illnesses. Home remedies continue to be used today.
I make homemade soap and body products and love to use dried herbs and essential oils. Two of my favorites are peppermint and lavender.
Peppermint contains calcium antagonism a natural pain reliever. It not only relieves headaches and migraines, but aches and pains caused by stress or physical activity. It also helps to relieve nausea, depression, anxiety and other discomforts, and is beneficial in relieving upper respiratory problems.
My mother believed in the healing benefits of menthol, which comes from mint. It is responsible for the strong scent in Vicks. When I was sick, she would get out the Vicks vapor rub and go to town. I looked like a greased pig with tuffs of hair sticking up all around my head. Then she’d tie a warm rag around my throat and make me stay in bed.
A hot shower using peppermint soap can give immediate relief from migraines, headaches and sinus problems. After you have bathed with the peppermint soap, rinse the lather from the cloth and gently place it over your face. Breathe deeply several times. The hot moist cloth saturated with peppermint oil will open your sinuses and loosen the tightness in your chest. If you don’t have peppermint soap, place a couple drops of peppermint oil onto your wash cloth instead.
Peppermint soap or shampoo is great for dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, body or head lice. If you suffer from either of these, add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil into your existing shampoo bottle and shake well. To add peppermint oil directly to your scalp it must be diluted or it can burn and irritate your skin. 1 part of peppermint oil to 2 parts carrier oil and shake well to mix. Carrier oil is any liquid oil. Shampooing your pet with peppermint shampoo or soap will kill ticks, fleas and their eggs, and repel those waiting outside for a chance to join the party.
Peppermint tea provides relaxation and the steam will open your sinus’s relieving any pressure. Peppermint tea: infuse a handful of crushed peppermint leaves in a small pot of boiling water. Let the tea steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Then strain and drink. You could add a small amount of dried lemon or orange rind and some honey if you’d like.
Lavender has been cultivated and used for centuries to treat many ailments. Research studies are beginning to support what healers of yesterday have known for centuries; that lavender contains healing properties. These are called esters, which are aromatic molecules. Esters provide anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. They also help to kill germs that cause infection. Add a little drop of lavender oil onto a cut or bug bite before applying a band aid and the spot will heal quicker.
Lavender essential oil can help to overcome alopecia areata, psoriasis, eczema, scabies, shingles, and dermatitis. In the shower you can apply a few drops of lavender oil directly to your wet scalp or skin, massage a few minutes and rinse. Or use a shampoo or shampoo bar infused with lavender oil. Like peppermint, lavender will kill head lice and kill their nits.
Bathing with handmade soap infused with lavender oil will relax tired and strained muscles erase tension and minor aches and pains associated with stress.
Lavender bath soak: cut the foot off a stocking. Pour 3 tbl of fresh or dried lavender buds, 1 tsp of fresh or dried orange rind and 1 tsp of fresh or dried crushed peppermint leaves into the stocking and tie the open end. Fill the bath tub with the hottest water you can tolerate and put the bath soak in to seep for at least five minutes. Now climb in and enjoy your homemade aromatherapy spa.
Lavender tea helps to settle an upset stomach, reduce flatulence and stop colic. It can be used as a mouthwash to combat halitosis. Drinking a hot cup of lavender tea before bedtime or placing a drop of lavender oil on your pillow will help to relieve insomnia. To make lavender tea, infuse a handful of dried lavender blossoms in a pot of boiling water. Steep 7 to 10 minutes, then strain and enjoy.
Lavender combined with other herbs or essential oils create a variety of first aid treatments. Patchouli also contains anti-inflammatory properties, so mixed with lavender you have a first aid treatment for bug bites, small burns, cuts, scrapes and minor skin irritations, which will relieve pain, itching and swelling. Lavender combined with peppermint oil relieves headaches, while relaxing your body and mind for a peaceful night’s sleep. Lavender, patchouli and bergamot cure athlete’s foot and other types of fungus.
You can find essential oils and Homemade Soap on the Internet.
Loyce Henderson and husband live in Captain Cook, HI where I own a small business which specializes in handcrafted items. Some items I make and some from local artisans. We have two dogs, two African Gray parrots and one Rose Breasted Cockatoo. I have been making soap since a child living with my grandmother and owned a small business, Grandma and Me Soaps, for many years out of Zephyrhills, Florida.