Thursday, March 27, 2014

That demon Ecsema

First off I have to say I never tell someone this will cure or work for Your Eczema !
Having suffered from Eczema since early childhood the one true fact I have learned is that every ones skin is unique . So if anyone tells You try this it will work , please do not have false expectation or hope .
So I will be talking about works for myself & my experiences . My beliefs regarding oils, plants, foods etc. from a personal level .If it in someway helps another to have relief through the insanity that would be a big plus !
For me Eczema always has been an autoimmune thing .triggered by such things as allergies , food , animals , chemicals & hormonal changes .I know there is some debate on this but again this is what my body is .
I had Eczema in the very typical childhood spots behind the knees , the inside elbows , sometimes the hands .moisture & heat always have been a big instigator in triggering outbreaks . things that inflame irritate .Clothing .I always have had to wear cotton or nothing when possible . As a child in the 60's & 70's there was not much given to me for remedy .Luckily I spent most summers free of constricting clothing & lots of air & sun .I know I said heat irritates my eczema it depends in what form it comes in . As a child I did learn a trick a fast relief .To run my hands under cold water & since now in adulthood I will grab an ice pack & place on the itch for fast relief .
Eczema is not dry skin ! I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions regarding eczema . Even I was under the impression we should moisten Eczema . While I could place some oils on the rest of my skin there are some I could absolutely not .then there are oils like hemp which make my skin burn any old place .
I totally had it booked marked in The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook but of course I used the bookmark to save a different reading lol . It is in there though the good stuff on why not to place oils on Eczema . 
Okay oils are a big no no .why ? They promote the retention of heat & they block the pores . So while some oils may not give a reaction they all do that same thing just to varying degree .
The best way to treat eczema externally with herbal remedies is via poultices & tea bath .
However also internally we need to look at what is the trigger of the autoimmune in the first place . So diet plays a huge role . cleansing ourselves as much as possible of irritants is a must .
Also again on the topic of hormonal triggers. I have found my eczema to have changed yet again now with menopause . When I entered puberty & motherhood my Eczema changed areas as did my skin somewhat . I literally stopped sweating , I had eczema on the outside of my knees , elbows & on my ankles & my head ! Now with menopause it has returned in the same spots I had in early childhood .
So air , sun , bath teas & very mild oils are what I find best .
I will share what irritates & causes me , myself to have outbreaks .As well some that help .remember this is personal for each one of us .
Remember our skin is our biggest organ so everything is absorbed through it via air , water , oils , plant ,animals etc.
Some food that irritates me are those that tend to cause inflammation anyway acidic foods especially tomatoes , oranges even certain yogurts .coffee & certain nuts .
if I feel my skin is dry & may trigger eczema I might put oil on my skin but actually not on the eczema itself . oils do help our bodies retain moisture . & again this can be a good or bad thing depending on our skin type , dehydration etc. so the oils that I am okay on my body are olive , coconut , grapeseed & almond . on my eczema itself only almond or grapeseed .I absolutely cannot use hemp oil it inflamed my skin right away ! again if I feel dry skin may trigger eczema I drink water , lots 7&lots .flavour it with wild mint or lemon , cucumber if you hate the taste of city water .just drink lots .
okay because I have allergies & skin sensitivities anyway I tend to have reactions anyway which then can also trigger eczema . fun eh .if you really have this You know exactly how it is to suffer not just days but yrs never ending arrgh of yet again that horrid itch .So some herbs I cannot put on my skin at all . comfrey & poplar resin , peppermint, cinnamon oil,
juniper , cedar, sage , wormwood ,mugwort . now I do work with all these plants but rarely would I let them touch my skin .when I pick poplar, cedar & juniper my skin once again turns red & burns .I have had bad side effects from breathing in sage , mugwort & wormwood . so again I'm very careful when I work with them .
Plants that are kind to my skin & are helpers with skin issues & inflammation are spruce, rose, lavender, calendula, plantain, horsetail, sweet grass, arnica, daisy leaf
maybe just a note on items I can & cannot put in the bath baking soda irritates my skin as do those Epsom salts . Yet sea salt works wonders on my skin & eczema .
That is it for now the kid needs supper & this is a never ending topic lol
I do hope if You are as old as I am You too have by now also discovered some relief & also please share what works for You here & with others

tips making creams rubs ointment salve

This is not going to be a post on what herbs for what remedy it is just a quick short on tips for those making those homemade remedies .perhaps because if You have been making them you will have encountered problems .Also the sooner we can get a recipe down the better because the making of these items is not cheap & it is often extremely time consuming especially when we are taking time to harvest & process our own ingredients . To start the first question might be what the heck is the difference between ointments, rubs , salves etc. Honestly I think it is a regional thing & also even varies within families . As long as the product has information on proper use, ingredients etc. who the heck cares lol for my grandmother a cream or salve was just animal fat mixed with infused plants , resin & sometimes rose water . she would just whip it together to make it light & fluffy in order to be a cream .
however I found this site rather helpful & liked the explanations
So the two issues I find most often encountered in production are the issue of both moisture & heat !
there is nothing more frustrating than making a nice cream, salve etc. & the old separation of oil & moisture takes place . even more frustrating if you have paid money for the item . 
 The measurement of adding water /liquid to the recipe which also includes an emulsifying agent . Just adding more beeswax will not solve this problem !  You can read more about this in The Herbalist's Way
The biggest problem I find leading to moisture is in the infusion process of plant material .Especially when people use fresh herbs & resins . Moisture has got to be evaporated to prevent mold/ bacteria & also to prevent that separation . I personally dry almost all of my ingredients first before infusing .Of course the time takes almost the same but it is much more difficult to get moisture out of infused oil than it is the actual plant . resins can have an large amount of moisture when collected fresh . Also when moisture is added to anything it is very much prone to mold . You can decant moisture off after infusion but I find it tedious .
If You want to learn more about oils etc. please try out The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook
Okay the next thing is heat , the use of heat to infuse plant material in the making of these remedies . the best tip is , not to much ! keep the heat down .You can infuse as the folk method which is adding dried material to oils & let sit for periods of time in dark warm place .  Also some plants need cold infusion not warm/hot . when melting your beeswax do this before adding the oil & always in a double boiler. Remove it from the heat & let sit a minute then add your infused oils & essential oils if using .
Also another tip for a more fluffy creamy lip balm or rub etc. whisk your oil/wax mixture for a time before pouring .

Drying herbs out doors is best done not in direct sunlight & if so sacks & pillow cases make great drying tools if you do not have screens or shelves .
Store in paper bags rather than glass jars unless using fairly soon .

crock pots are great for warm/hot infusion but keep an eye on temp because healing properties & nutrients can be lost

cream made with rain water & gentle oils remember if there is a moisture content we need add ingredients that have mold/bacteria preventing properties

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Making Tooth Powder Recipe

A few people have asked me what is in my tooth powder & how to make it . I have written about it before 5 yrs ago but thought I'd post again as I have since added a few new ingredients & flavours .People always thought me strange for eating clay etc. so it is nice to see it catching on finally .be it the in thing or not at least it is a healthy choice
I personally collect clay then bake it to make it sterile .I then grind it & strain it 3 times .I then grind whatever herbs I am using with this clay & strain again .
I then add the sea salt , baking soda & powdered golden seal & Echinacea
At first I was adding xylitol for sweetener to the powders because I felt people are so used to sweet commercial pastes. Even the supposed healthy ones are full of sweet .Xylitol is healthy I guess but I have since decided to make it optional. If someone wants it sweetened then I just add it to an individual container . I also chose to make dry powder .This leaves no chance for spoilage but also gives people the option on what liquid to use in their personal brushing .
Some people like to dip & use coconut oil while others use just water .
I personally have some issues with the use of coconut oil use everyday .As many know of & practice oil pulling I do not practice it everyday .I personally feel pulling not only removes possible harmful items from the mouth but also healthy ones too. I would rather have my stains then the removal of healthy bacterias . Again it is choice .
I will say I have always suffered from poor teeth .As an adult I have been to emergency twice with infected teeth .My face the size of a football . As a child I had boils on my gums & constantly having infection .I was not raised on sugar either .My teeth have big grooves & therefore stain very quickly & easily . Also this leads to quicker tooth decay as well.
Personally I can say since using tooth powder I have had not any rotten teeth nor 1 single cavity !
I did have some gum issue but that was my own fault for believing a hard tooth brush was a good thing ! I also learned yrs ago that salt water & golden seal will clear up infected gums right away .
So since I put down my hard brush my loose gums have once again firmed up .
So the recipe this is a large one but basically it is 3 parts clay 2 parts baking soda .
so I make it
 3c clay powdered
2c baking soda
1 T sea salt
2 tsp Golden seal
2 tsp Echinacea
Xylitol 2tsp per 4oz container
You can add any herbs for flavour you wish .I had been doing a whitening powder with lemon peel but frankly it reminded me to much of bathroom cleanser from when I was a child lol
 So I thought well I want one for my kid & other kids a flavour that is not spicy as my kid calls any mint flavour .
So why not berry .I had read many times how strawberry is used as a whitener so I have begun making Strawberry flavour now .
So that is it !
I cannot believe I actually did a blog post .I have been stuck for months , so many ideas in my head but not coming out .
dried strawberries

wintergreen berry

clay , baking soda , sea salt , golden seal & Echinacea

clove & vanilla has real vanilla bean & ground clove , also toothache root ( sweet flag ) this is for sensitive teeth

wintergreen has ground winter green berry , leaf & essential oil .