Friday, 29 May 2015

Brown Sugar Foot Scrub

Earlier this month I posted a recipe for Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub. I've been asked for a foot scrub recipe that works just as well, but which doesn't include salt as an ingredient, so here is a very easy sugar scrub made with only three ingredients.


Brown Sugar Foot Scrub


In a small bowl mix 1 tablespoon each of brown sugar, olive oil and baking soda. You can adjust the amount of oil if you'd prefer a wetter or drier scrub. 

Rub into your feet (or knees or elbows). Rinse well and follow with moisturiser.






There's a recipe for another brown sugar scrub here.

Photo: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=976&picture=foot-prints

Monday, 25 May 2015

Olive Oil and Rosehip Night Cream - a recipe

It's very cold here today. There's a dusting of snow on the hills and the mountains have a thick, new coating of white. The wind outside feels like it's coming straight from the Antarctic. 

Weather like this sucks the moisture right out of your skin so it seems like a good time to make a batch of night cream - if your skin is really dry you can use it as a rich day cream too!

Olive Oil and Rosehip Night Cream


To make this you will need:

Place the olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax in the top of a double boiler (or similar). Warm over a low heat until melted. Remove from the heat, then add the rosehip oil, vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil (if using). Pour into a small, clean jar and leave to cool.

Makes approximately 1/3 cup of night cream

*This is about the same as the contents of one standard vitamin E capsule. Carefully pierce the end of the capsule and squeeze the oil into your mix.






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I link up here.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Simple Herbal Tea Recipes

Chamomile & Lavender Tea


To make this you will need boiling water, 1 teaspoon each of dried chamomile and dried lavender buds, a tea strainer and a tea cup.

Place the chamomile and lavender in the tea strainer ans sit it on top of the cup. Pour in enough boiling water that the herbs are covered. Allow to infuse for about 10 minutes. By this time the tea is a drinkable temperature. You can add lemon juice or honey to taste.

If you prefer to use a small tea pot place tyhe herbs in the pot, pour over the boiling water and leave to steep. Pour the tea into a cup through a strainer



Mint Tea


This one is really quick and easy to make - especially if you grow your own mint. 

Take a handful of fresh peppermint (or spearmint) leaves. Wash, then tear or cut roughly into pieces. Place in a teapot and pour in 2 cups of boiling water. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes - according  to how strong you like your tea.



Mint Tea

Lemon Balm Tea


Lemon Balm is great for soothing an upset stomach. Put a handful of fresh, washed, lemon balm leaves into a tea pot and cover with boiling water. Stand for 3-5 minutes, then pour into a cup through a tea strainer. Can be sweetened with a little honey.


Ginger Tea


Ginger tea can be used to help with nausea and cold symptoms. Here is a simple recipe to try.

You will need:
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger root
  • 2 cups of water
  • honey and/or lemon to sweeten (optional)

Peel and thinly slice the ginger root. In a small saucepan bring the water to the boil. Add the sliced ginger, cover and simmer on a very low heat for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea, then add lemon and/or honey to taste if using.


I link up here

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub

Scrubs are a great way to deal with that hard, dry skin you sometimes get on your heels.



Peppermint Rosemary Foot Scrub


Place these ingredients in a small bowl.
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (you may need to soften this a little first)
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil

Use a whisk to combine. If the scrub seems a little dry add more oil - too wet, add more salt.

Rub gently into damp feet. Rinse off.

Store in an airtight container.








Sea salt can be healing if not over-used,  but can sting if skin is sensitive, irritated or thin. Don't use a salt scrub on skin that has just been shaved or waxed or is otherwise irritated.

If you'd like to try a sugar scrub here's a recipe for a Brown Sugar Scrub.

I link up here.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/34949708@N07/9502490782">HHfussBW_3616</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

Monday, 18 May 2015

Ginger - some uses and properties

Ginger is a tropical plant which has narrow green leaves and in the right conditions can grow up to 1 metre tall, but it's the rhizome that is in cooking and natural medicine. The rhizome is the knobbly looking thing in the photo below. It can be used fresh, dried, as a powder.






Ginger can be used as an effective natural remedy. It has anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help lessen the effects of sea-sickness and morning sickness. Studies have also shown that ginger may help lower cholesterol. 

Ginger may help with some of the following:
  • morning sickness
  • pain relief
  • colds & flu
  • upset stomaches
  • heartburn and indigestion
  • coughs and sore throats
  • toothache 
  • swelling
  • nausea


Ginger Tea


Ginger tea can be used to help with nausea and cold symptoms. Here is a simple recipe to try.

You will need:
  • 2.5cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger root
  • 2 cups of water
  • honey and/or lemon to sweeten (optional)
Peel and thinly slice then ginger root,. In a small saucepan bring the water to the boil. Add the sliced ginger, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes. Strain the tea then add lemon an/or honey to taste if using.




I use ginger when making Sore Muscle Rub and Ginger Shea Soap.


Please note that this article is an overview only. It is not intended as medical advice.

Photo Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=30346&picture=ginger-root

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Favourite Cheesecake Recipes

If you've visited my Facebook page on a Sunday you'll know that I have a fondness for cheesecake. Here (in no particular order) are five of my favourite cheesecake recipe finds.

Just click on the name of  the cheesecake to see the recipe. Enjoy!


From the BBC's Good Food is a recipe for Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake. I didn't have blueberries, so used boysenberries which worked really well.





From Taste's website a simple recipe for Baked Caramel Cheesecake.





White Chocolate Lemon Cheesecake from the Minimalist Baker ~ Vegan, gluten free and looks amazing.




This is another one from Good Food. This time a wonderfully creamy Baked Raspberry and Lemon Cheesecake.





And last, but not least, Nigella Lawson's decadent Chocolate Cheesecake.




Thursday, 7 May 2015

Homemade Laundry Powder recipe

Last year I wrote about making Laundry Liquid.  This Laundry Powder works just as well as the liquid.

Laundry Powder


To make this you will need:
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup borax (see below)
  • 1 bar grated castile soap
  • food processor or blender 
Place the grated soap, washing soda and borax into a food processor or blender and blitz until you have a reasonably fine powder with no lumps. This can be a bit noisy at first until the washing soda crystals have broken down.

Store in an airtight container. You need 1 heaped tablespoon for a standard wash or two for a really dirty load.

This seems to work equally well in a cold or warm wash. I've found the laundry liquid better for washing woollens.

Note on borax:  Borax (sodium borate) is a naturally occurring alkaline salt that helps lift dirt. It is not the same as boric acid.








Sunday, 3 May 2015

How to make Vapour Rub

Winter is on the way here and with it coughs and colds. Vapour rub is great for helping to unblock stuffed up noses and congestion. It's not difficult to make. 

Commercially produced vapour rub often uses petroleum jelly as the base ingredient, but this recipe uses three non-petroleum based ingredients.

Vapour Rub Recipe


To make this you will need:
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons beeswax (if you prefer a vegan alternative use candelilla wax)
Melt these ingredients over a low heat in a double boiler. Once the oil/wax mixture is liquid remove of the heat and add the following:


For children 6 months to 2 years:
  • 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil (see note below)
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops chamomile essential oil

For children aged over 2 years:
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil (see note below)
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil

Mix well then pour into a clean glass or plastic pot. Leave the lid off until the mixture has set. Store in a cool dry place. Will last up to 12 months. 

Makes a little over 100g.


A note on using eucalyptus: If you're making this for a child please ensure that you use Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil.






I link up here.


photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/11850895@N07/4014611539">No273 13 Oct 2009 Sneeze</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Five more plants for your natural remedies garden

This is the third in a series of posts looking at some of the easy to grow plants that can be used in natural remedies and skincare. These are some more of the ones I use.


1. Nettle


You're probably not going to want to actually grow this one in your garden if you have small children or pets. They're called stinging nettles for a reason. The leaves and stems of the plant are covered in tiny, fine hairs which release a chemical when touched that produces the "sting". This same chemical can be effective in reducing the symptoms of eczema. I use nettle oil when I make Eczema Healing Cream plus dried nettle leaves can be made into a tea that may also help.

Nettle oil is often used in herbal shampoo and conditioner as it's said to promote hair growth. Olive oil infused with nettle can be used as a scalp conditioner. Infused oils are simple to make - you'll find how to here.

2. Garlic


Garlic is easy to grow. Traditionally it's planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest day. It will thrive in the garden or in containers so long as it has plenty or sun, water and is planted in soil with a goof base of organic material.

Garlic doesn't just add flavour to your cooking. It's anti-microbal, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Garlic can be effective in reducing the symptoms of colds and flu. It may help to stimulate the body's natural immunity and is said to help lower blood pressure. Culpeper even describes it as an "antidote against poisonous and dangerous herbs", but it's "stink is offensive".

3. Rosemary


Rosemary is an easy to grow herb. It can be grown from seed,  but is more successful if grown from a cutting. Rosemary can be slow-growing initially, but with good sun and drainage it should thrive. If you live in an area prone to frosts plants may need to be covered or brought inside at night.

Rosemary oil can be used in both skin and haircare products. It's anti-microbal and antiseptic properties can help with skin irritations and dryness. More about rosemary here.

4. Chillies


There are many varieties of chillies and they range from mild to very, very hot. Chillies are a small bushy plant that need frost-free conditions. They can be grown outdoors if protected,  but here in frosty Christchurch I've grown them successfully right through the winter in pots on the back porch. If conditions are suitable for growing tomatoes then you should be able to grow chillies.


Capsaicin is what makes chillies hot. It is a natural painkiller that provide relief from arthritis, headaches and joint pain. Capsaicin is an ingredients in a number of commercially-made pain medications.

Use sparingly and always wash your hands after working with chillies.


5. Yarrow


Yarrow is a flowering plant that grows easily anywhere. You often see in on the roadside, in fields or along riverbanks. It comes in pink, red and yellow varieties, but white is the most common. Yarrow self-seeds easily.

It has many names - Nose Bleed, Woundwort, Bloodwort, Thousand Weed, Staunchweed, Devil's Nettle - are just a few. Traditionally it has been used to treat toothache, urinary problems, inflammations,ulcers and piles. Yarrow tea can be useful if you have a heavy cold. For centuries it has been used on the battlefield to treat bloody wounds - as far back as Ancient Greece when Achilles is said to have been the first to use it to slow bleeding.




Part two: More plants for your natural remedies garden

Please note that this article is an overview only. It is not intended as medical advice.


References
Nicholas Culpeper, Complete Herbal, first published 1653 (I have a 1992 reprint)
Available online: https://archive.org/details/cu31924001353279



I link up here