Soothing poison ivy naturally

My husband and I both recently got poison ivy rashes.  I’m usually pretty good about immediately washing any areas that come into contact with the weed but it seems like my tendency towards overdoing it in the garden got the best of me this time.  He seems to get it without even going in the woods. The silver lining to our affliction was that we got to test out some natural remedies.

The first thing we tried was Young Living’s Joy essential oil.  It’s one of my favorite scents so I was happily surprised to hear that it was helpful for poison ivy.  Joy is a blend of Bergamot,Ylang ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander ,Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa and Rose essential oils.   It smells amazing and was very soothing and calming to our skin.

We both experimented with using Young Living Lavender oil next.  It didn’t cut the itching as well as the Joy but was very soothing on the second day of when it was more of a burning sensation.   I’m a huge fan of Young Living oils and we use them for EVERYTHING but this was one of the more profound experiences I have had using them!

A few notes on safety. We applied these oils “neat” or undiluted but if you are worried about skin irritation I would suggest using a carrier oil. Young Living’s oils are extremely pure and high quality so they can be used in ways that many other brands of essential oils cannot.  I would NOT apply any other brand of oils to my skin.  Also, Joy contains citrus oils and as with any citrus you should avoid direct sun exposure after applying.

IMG_1110

Plantain leaf is a  medicinal plant that grows wild in most yards and is considered a weed. I’ve had success using it on bug bites and also on another patch of poison ivy that popped up on my finger (I just can’t stay out of the woods!) The way I use it is to chew it up a bit to release the oils then secure it in place with a band aid over the itch.  I know people make salves with it but I haven’t tried that yet!  Here’s a photo of it growing in the yard followed by one that shows plantain leaf close up.

IMG_1115IMG_1116

Also an extreme close up of my hand.  How many times must I have creased my hand to get all of those amazing lines?

Another natural remedy that I tried out was Jewel Weed. This lovely plant is considered the natural antidote to poison ivy and is said to grow near where poison ivy is found.  We are lucky enough to have a little patch of it in the yard. It is usually found in shady and moist conditions.  This one worked really well too!  I used the same method as I did with the plantain leaf on yet another patch that popped up.  When I took the band aid off about an hour later there was NO itch or sting and the pain didn’t come back!  The first photo shows what the plant looks like in my yard in June. The second shows the flower that blooms later in the summer. I would have had NO idea what it was if I hadn’t seen it in bloom last year though!  Prairie Moon Nursery  sells Jewel Weed seeds for anyone interested in cultivating some yourself!

IMG_1117jewel weed

Overall the essential oils were easier for covering large areas but the jewel weed and plantain leaf worked well too and were great for smaller areas.  I’m so happy that we have figured these out!  I’ll continue trying to avoid it but I’m glad to know these just in case it gets me again!

If you would like purchase some Young Living Joy or Lavender for yourself send me an email at LMKOLENDA@gmail.com or read this post to learn more about getting started with essential oils.

What has worked for you when you had an encounter with poison ivy ?

 

Advertisements

DIY essential oil bug spray

It’s Spring, which means that in addition to the amazing rebirth of flowers and leaves, the bug are back too! Essential oils can be a great all natural way to help deter pesky and dangerous bugs.  The list of oils that serve as insect deterrents is long so I picked out a few of the ones I’ve seen most commonly listed to make my DIY tick spray.  I used equal parts of the following Young Living essential oils:

Geranium

Eucalyptus Globulus

Lemongrass

Cedarwood

I put about 10 drops of each in a spray bottle with some high proof alcohol to help them disperse and filled with water.  I’m sure boiled or distilled water would be best but I just used tap.

IMG_0713

I’ve been using this mixture sprayed directly onto the back of my cats necks in the morning for the past month. I’ve only found one tick, which is better than during the same time period last year using a conventional toxic treatment.  The added bonus is that this blend smells great and from an aromatherapy perspective is very uplifting and relaxing!  I’ve done a LOT of research on essential oil brands and I only trust Young Living oils to have the potency and purity necessary to be effective and safe.  You can read more about this here.

This mixture is also nice to spray on your legs or clothes when going into area where you are expecting to find ticks.  I also make it a habit to shower and do a tick check within an hour of returning from the woods.  Removing ticks quickly is the best way to prevent them from transmitting disease but there is plenty on that available elsewhere on the internet!

If you are more concerned with mosquitos using the Purification blend in a similar way would be a good place to start.  It contains Citronella, which has been historically used to keep bugs away.  Purification contains Tea Tree though, which is one to be avoided on cats so I didn’t include it in this spray.

Good luck and let me know how this works for you!

 

My favorite essential oils for sleep

One of my favorite ways to use essential oils is to diffuse them before bed.  There is something SO delicious about drifting off to sleep in a room filled with the cool clean feeling of diffused oils.  Breathing in high quality essential oils is not only great for overall health but can really help to put our minds and body at ease to support a healthy night’s sleep.

There are lots of essential oils that can help promote sleep but the blend I’ve been into the most lately is this:

  • 6 drops of Lavender
  • 4 drops of Cedarwood
  • 2 drops of Purification

I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils and you can read more about why here.  Diffusing this blend before bed and while we fall asleep has been an amazing thing for us.  If the kids are too hyper and it’s time to settle down I’ll rub some on their feet too, which they love.

Which oils are your favorites for bedtime?

IMG_0356

SUPER simple non-toxic air freshener

I used to be a big fan of scented candles and incense. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to go to a college that didn’t allow you to burn incense in your room!  Haha.   I bought conventional brands because they were cheap and smelled nice.

That all changed when I got pregnant for the first time all of a sudden I had a HUGE aversion to scented anything. It was like my body instinctively knew that they weren’t good for me.   I even ditched my perfume collection because I just didn’t have the stomach for it anymore.  I avoided that said “fragrance” after learning it was usually just a nice word for synthetic toxic chemicals that happened to have a smell.

Many air fresheners contain “phthalates which are hazardous chemicals know to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems”.  The really crazy thing is that since these products are food the manufacturers don’t even have to list that on the label! They can even call the product “unscented” or “all natural” and still be full of toxic chemicals KNOWN to cause cancer.  But if you are breathing something in, you are consuming it.  It’s getting into your blood and your cells.  That’s just how it is. See source here. 

Discovering essential oils has been a reawakening to the world of scents for me. Finally I found a healthy way to scent the air and myself! Diffusing true therapeutic grade oils smells great and you are getting the health benefits of the oils at the same tine.  I have a cool mist diffuser that we use daily and LOVE.  I like diffusing calming blends in the afternoon and sleep enhancing blends in the bedroom at night. If we feel any sickness coming on I choose blends that boost immunity.  It’s all SO lovely!

12553095_10153962735389203_590715856467812809_n

But my inspiration for THIS post is my SUPER simple non-toxic bathroom air freshener!  Young Living’s Purification blend is PERFECT oil to use if you are making this for the bathroom as it really helps to clean the air and has a fresh scent but you can have fun and experiment with different oils! I have one for the bedroom that has lavender.  It’s so nice to spritz over the bed before getting in or on the sheets when I change them.

The supplies you will need are:

  • Glass spray bottles
  • Alcohol
  • Essential oil of your choice
  • water

Glass spray bottles are best to use since essential oils  can break down petrochemicals and therefore degrade the plastic over time.  I bought my spray bottles here.  Pour in a few tablespoons of alcohol. I used vodka but any clear alcohol should work.  Then about 10-20 drops essential oils.  I’m way into my Young Living oils as you may have noticed.  If you want to hear more about why check out my post on “My Essential Oil Obsession”.

But anyway, just combine the alcohol, essential oils, water and shake before using.  That’s it!IMG_0147

Purification just smells CLEAN to me and I love how it makes my house smell like I’ve been scrubbing the floors even when it’s been a while since that actually happened! Another added bonus of Purification spray is that it doubles as a bug spray since one of the main ingredients in Purification is Citronella!

So I have my Purification foaming soap and the air freshener in the bathroom at all times and LOVE them!  I hope you do too!

 

Super simple DIY toxin free foaming soap

Like foaming soap but trying to save money, avoid toxins, trips to the store and your carbon footprint?  Problem solved!  All you need is an old foaming soap dispenser and some Castille soap.  Essential oils can customize it though and make it smell really great!

Step 1: Gather supplies

FullSizeRender (3)

Step 2: Fill empty dispensers with Castille soap. I use about a half inch but you could use more or less. I use Dr.Bronner’s unscented but I would imagine other Castille soap’s are similar?

Step 3:  Add essential oils if you are using them.  I like to add Young Living’s Joy blend to my body wash because the smell is SO lovely and it’s good for skin care.  I add the Purification blend to the bathroom hand soap as it’s great for cleaning bathroom grossness and smells really fresh. Anywhere from 5-20 drops depending on the oil would be great!

FullSizeRender (4)

You can learn more about why and how I use and love essential oils here or  here.

Step 4: Add water.

Step 5: Shake it up!

Step 6:  You’re done!  Enjoy your all natural and super cheap foaming soap!

IMG_0038

Do you have any good all natural life hacks to share?  Please add them in the comments!

How to get started with Young Living Essential Oils

semicircleSince falling in love with Young Living essential oils I have felt compelled to share their awesomeness with friends near and far.  Getting started can be a bit confusing so I figured I would make this post to explain the process of getting started with Young Living essential oils…

The way that Young Living works is you can sign up either as a “retail customer” or a “wholesale member”.  Wholesale members get to buy oils directly from Young Living at 24% off of the retail price for LIFE!  Most people get started by purchasing a Premium Starter Kit which is $160 and includes 11 of the most popular oils, an essential oil diffuser and a bunch of samples, including samples of the NingXia Red supplement, which so many YL users use daily and LOVE!

The Premium Starter Kit includes:

  • 5 mL bottles of the following essential oils:
    • Lavender (for skin irritations, soothing burns and relaxation),
    • Peppermint (for muscle soreness, digestive support, fresh breath),
    • Lemon (for uplifting, cleaning and great in water),
    • Frankincense (for youthful skin and spiritual connection),
    • PanAway (for pain and discomfort),
    • ​R.C.(for ​respiratory clearing)
    • Thieves (for immunity and well-being),
    • Purification (for stinky trash, cleaning​, bug bites & bug repellent​)
    • ​Copaiba (for supporting skin health, respiratory support & soothing pain)
    • DiGize (for aiding healthy digestion- can vary based on availability)
    • Stress Away (Relaxing yet uplifting blend; great for using in the car!)

I HIGHLY recommend the Premium Starter Kit as it allows you to really start USING your oils.  There is something in there that can help with almost any ailment or mood and having the diffuser is awesome!  I don’t say this to be “salesy” as much as I’ve seen how much more the people who start out with the kit learn to USE and LOVE their oils.

It’s hard to know which oils are going to be your favorite and it can be frustrating to buy a few at retail and not really like them much, although if you choose to go the retail route I would be happy to help you pick some out!   If you have any particular concerns you would like to address using Essential Oils I would love to help you find the right oils or products for that too!

Young Living has been around growing and distilling most of their own oils on their 9 farms around the world using BEYOND organic and sustainable practices for over 20 years. Essential oils is an industry that is largely unregulated and companies can pop up overnight and make lots of claims to purity on their labels, so it’s really important to order from a company that has stood the test of time.

Becoming a member also gives you access to our members only Young Living Facebook group which is an invaluable resource and community for learning all about using EOs.  I’ll also make myself available to you to help you on your “oily journey”.

Does that all make sense?  I’m including my link below but definitely let me know if you have any questions! I LOVE discussing oils and getting other people to fall in love with them is my favorite thing! I’m always happy to help no matter which route you choose 🙂

Leah O’Donnell- Young Living Star Distributor # 3365922

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/start?sponsorid=3365922&enrollerid=3365922&type=member

 

My Essential Oil Obsession

magnets.pngA few months ago I finally got around to attending an essential oil workshop at my friends house.  I had a feeling I would like it but I didn’t realize how life changing it would be for me.  For real.  As I sat listening to her talk about all the ways she uses oils in her life it was like the missing piece of my life was being explained to me.

I used to hear people talk about essential oils (or EOs as we call them) and I thought it was just a bunch of people who felt relaxed by nice smells.  I like smells, I thought, but I can’t imagine why they are SO into them.  Then I went and learned.  EOs are the oils of various plants that are extracted through specific distilling practices that allow them to retain various healing compounds.  Just in the same way that eating herbs and spices can be very healthy for us, consuming EOs, through inhalation, application on the skin or internally feeds our body with those same healing compounds.  They help to support our body’s systems to bring it back to balance.  They are also full of super high levels of antioxidants.

My friend’s talk was about Young Living essential oils specifically.  I was a little skeptical about why these oils would be worth so much more than the oils at health food stores but after her talk and then doing a lot of my own research it all made sense.  Young Living owns 9 of their own farms around the world where they grow, harvest, distill and bottle most of their own oils using BEYOND organic and sustainable practices.  They use essential oils instead of pesticides and weed by hand.  I’m big into organic gardening and permaculture so this is important to me.  They have also been around for over 20 years with this same mission.

All of the other companies I could find seem to source their oils from a variety of places and can’t have the same level of oversight in the production.  That’s really important since EOs are a largely unregulated industry where companies can pop up overnight and claim to be “therapeutic” or “100% pure” without any oversight. Many EOs on the market are completely synthetic, have fillers, were made with chemical solvents or were made with high heat and high pressure distilling practices which affect the healing qualities of the oils. It’s definitely a time where you get what you pay for.  It takes 27sq ft of lavender to make enough pure essential oil to fill a 15ml bottle.  If you find it somewhere for $5 then there is NO WAY it’s actually pure oil.  It just doesn’t add up.

Essential oils each have distinct fragrances as well as individual healing components.  My favorite is Frankincense, which is high in sesquiterpenes which stimulates and oxygenates the limbic system of the brain which helps to elevate our mood and helps us relax.  I LOVE it when I’m feeling stressed out in the afternoon or before a meditation.  It’s SO good!

Another favorite oil of mine is Thieves Blend.  This one contains clove oil, which is one of the highest antioxidant oils available!  I like to put a drop in my tea or on the soles of my feet when I’m feeling run down.  It tastes great and really helps me to feel better fast!

Lemon oil is probably the one I go through fastest!  I like to have a few drops in a big glass of water with a sprinkle of mineral salt (which helps it to disperse) to start my day.  I can really feel the difference when I forget to take it!  Lemon oil is great for helping to cleanse the body and support the liver and lymphatic system.  It’s also awesome as a natural version of goo gone and for helping to soothe acid reflux when rubbed on the throat!

RC is my husband’s favorite blend. It helps to support the respiratory system and he likes to put it over his sinuses when he’s feeling congested.  It has the added bonus of helping him to breath better and cuts down his snoring!

Peppermint is one of the strongest oils and Young Living’s peppermint really packs a punch!  It’s very soothing when applied to the temples if your head is aching.  It’s also nice on sore muscles and is even helpful for digestion when you rub it directly over your stomach or have it in a drop of water!

Peace and Calming II is the oil that my daughter asks for the most.  It’s a lovely blend and she says,”it helps me feel calm and control my body better”.  Many parents swear by this or the original Peace and Calming (which is often out of stock due to the seasonal availability of Blue Tansy)  for helping kids calm down from tantrums.  It’s also very soothing for adults and I like it as an everyday fragrance!

I could go ON AND ON!!! Just ask my friends!  Lol.  But really, essential oils have been such a positive addition to our lives.  They have helped me to get rid of a lot of toxic products around the house and have give me so much more energy and I feel better than ever!

After hearing my friend present I knew that I NEEDED to get some Young Living oils for myself and that because I would OBVIOUSLY be telling everyone about them I should probably just go ahead and make a hobby business out of it.  Definitely let me know if you are interested in getting started on your own oily journey!  Sharing these amazing oils brings me so much joy 🙂

The best way to get started with Young Living essential oils is to become a member by purchasing the Premium Starter Kit.  The kit includes eleven of their most popular oils, an essential oil diffuser and a bunch of samples.  Becoming a member is a no stings attached way to get your Young Living oils at 24% off of the retail price for LIFE as long as you spend $50 a year to keep your account active. I always recommend becoming a member and starting with the Premium Starter Kit as it’s the best way to really start USING your oils! The kit has a great assortment of oils and you have something on hand to help with anything that comes up.  Becoming a member also gives you access to our members only Facebook groups where you can connect with lots of other Young Living members and hear about all of the ways they are using and loving their oils.  Below is my link to get started.  I also offer ongoing classes locally in Westchester County NY and occasionally in Maine. Send me an email if you need any help or have questions!

Leah

LMKOLENDA@gmail.com

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/start?sponsorid=3365922&enrollerid=3365922&type=member

If you want to read more about how Young Living works read my post on it here:

https://sustainableandjoyful.com/2016/03/29/how-to-get-started-with-young-living-essential-oils/