Archive for the ‘Natural Healing’ Category

You might want to check your shampoo.

I’m a bzzagent, which means I regularly receive samples of products and promote them socially if I like them.  (Don’t worry – I’ll let you know if I’ve received compensation for a review!)

Recently I received a bottle of Aveeno Baby Shampoo and Diaper Rash Cream samples to try out.  Aveeno often touts itself as being gentle on babies, so I was excited to try it.  And we did.  We used it as shampoo on the kids in the shower, and as bubble bath in the tub.  It smells great.

At the same time, I noticed that Thing Two, my current youngest, was breaking out in ezcema again.  And this time it was all over his body – his back, his belly, and his legs.  Some of it was the usual bright red, raised rash.  On his back and belly, his skin was rough and prickly, but I couldn’t see anything on his skin.  My kids are constantly breaking out, especially the youngest, so we did what we always do – lotion, lotion, lotion.  This time, to no avail.

About a week after I noticed the problem, I ran across this article on an ingredient found in many shampoos called quaternium-15.  Imagine my surprise to learn that by chemical reaction, the preservative quaternium-15 releases formaldahyde, which according to this peer-reviewed study from the Journal of Dermatology Nurses’ Association and the article I linked above from TheSmartMama.com, is a known carcinogen and can also cause contact dermatitis, which is often mistaken for ezcema.

Needless to say, I threw out the Aveeno Baby Shampoo that day.  I’m happy to say that Thing Two’s back and belly have cleared up, though his (actual) ezcema still remains.

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I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again: check what is in your bath products!  Children are especially vulnerable to harmful chemicals – their smaller bodies mean that chemicals will have a great effect on their systems than it would for adults.  Add in the fact that many children soak in the tub far longer than their parents, and the situation can get quite toxic.

So what can you do?  Have you seen what’s on the shelves at Walmart and Target?  Hardly a natural product in sight.

First of all, know the difference between a detergent and a soap.  Soap is made of three basic things: Fats/oils, lye (sodium hydroxide) and water.    Simply put, those three things will make a basic bar of moisturizing soap (and done correctly, there is no lye left in the bar.) Ingredients will only contain oils, water and any additives like essential oils or ground oatmeal.

A detergent bar is most often filled with chemicals that mimic natural soap.   Companies that provide soaps found it was cheaper to produce cleansers that didn’t use expensive oils, and the glycerin made by combining fats, oils, lye, and water is much more lucrative if used in exclusive moisturizing creams.   The problem is, the chemicals used (for instance, sodium laureth sulfate) are often very harsh on delicate human skin and strip the natural oils away.   But no worries!  You can buy the glycerin lotions to replace that moisture!

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So what to do, what to do?

Handmade Lemongrass Soap

Handmade Lemongrass Soap

First, we’ve replaced our body washes and commercial soaps with all-natural soaps.  I make ours, but usually we patronize shops on etsy for variety (one I love is Toadstoolsoaps and since you probably aren’t sick of my scents, check out my shop for more natural soaps.)

The kids have their hair washed using soap.  Because it’s all oils, water, and lye, it doesn’t strip their hair like detergent bars would do.  I haven’t gotten brave enough to try this on my hair yet, but since I don’t seem to be having a reaction to the shampoos I have left, and I hate waste, I’m using them up before trying some all-natural shampoos.  There are some great brands out there, and the easiest way to find them is to look for pure Castile soap, because it doesn’t require the chemical preservatives I’ve mentioned  – check out  Earth Mama Angel Baby, and Dr Bronners.  California Baby is another brand that I’ve had recommended to me by the crunchiest of people!

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Flu 101 – How to keep healthy and treat sickness naturally

This has been posted all over the internet with the arrival of flu season and the dreaded H1N1, but I feel it bears repeating with a slightly different bent.  I say this as I sit in the living room watching PBS with yet another sick child (a cold this time.)  It started with my father getting the flu, who promptly passed it on to 14 month old Thing Two.

Now Thing One is dealing with a cough and a sore throat, and told me he wanted to lay on the couch with his blankie and pillow instead of eating breakfast.  Apparently he’s not that sick, since I fell asleep on the couch, too, and he went up to the kitchen, pulled up a chair to the counter, climbed up to the counter, and got his Halloween candy off the top of the cabinets!  I woke up to the smell of Milk Duds and Charms pops.

So what are natural things you can do to keep healthy?

1. Wash, wash, wash your hands with regular soap.  If you are really concerned, you can use antibacterial, but really, it’s not proven to be any more effective than regular soap.  Make sure you wash your whole hand, fingers, fingernails and up your arms for at least 30 seconds.

2. Don’t touch your face.  Wash your hands before you do.  Many viruses are carried in respiratory vapors, but you can’t avoid breathing, so at least limited the vapors that get on your hands and then into your mouth or eyes.

3. Strengthen your immune response – use immune-strengthening herbs, minerals, and vitamins to help boost your immune system. There are many great teas that put many of these herbs and vitamins together in one tea bag.   Disclaimer: This doesn’t guarantee in any way that you won’t get sick, so don’t come back to me if you were taking Vitamin C and Echinachea and you still get sick!

 

What to do if a family member gets sick:

1. Wash, wash, wash – not only your hands, but the sick person’s bedding and clothing on hot.  They shouldn’t share any toweling.  And their toothbrush either needs to be santized (soaking it in hydrogen peroxide works well) or thrown out.  If you choose to sanitize, keep in mind that not only the bristles are contaminated, but the entire toothbrush head and possibly the handle.

2. Quarantine the person to minimize exposure to others.  They may have already contaminated the household before symptoms even appear (as in the case of H1N1) but it’s good to take precautions.

3. Make sure the sick person gets lots of fluids.  Chicken soup is an excellent choice for both nutrition and hydration (and some studies have shown that chicken may have some immune strengthening properties.)

4. And lots of sleep!

 

I’m obviously not a doctor in any way, shape, or form.  I’m just a mother who has dealt with the flu often enough, but I don’t consider myself an expert on the flu.  So make sure you check out what the Centers for Disease Control has to say about the flu.

 

Doctor’s Appointment Today

I went to  the doctor (actually, an occupational therapist) today and found out that it will probably require surgery to fix my left hand – she wasn’t completely sure what was wrong, but gave me the number of a hand surgeon who could take x-rays and an MRI.

I’ve had a tendon on my left ring finger that seems to catch when I try to close my hand completely.  It catches and then pops shut when I force it – almost like trigger finger in reverse.  The pinky and ring fingers are also weaker than the same on my other hand.  It’s recently started to be slightly painful, and while bearable, I don’t want it to get worse without medical advice.  But I’ll be waiting on calling the surgeon until we have better insurance!  Until then, I’ve been given two giant gobs of what appears to be Silly Putty ™ to work with my hand to try to strengthen it.
Praise God that it’s on my left hand, and I’m right handed.  I’ve had this problem for years -maybe since birth – but always regarded it as a pecularity all my own. So it could be a lot worse! I’m also extremely double jointed and I wonder if that has anything to do with it.
I’ve googled with no luck.  Has anyone heard of anything like this before?

If You Do One Thing Today: Natural Healing Methods

Just a quick disclaimer:  I am not by any means a medical expert.  I’d advise you to check with your doctor before you begin any kind of herbal suppliment/herbal medicinal suppliment, just as I have.  Certain herbs can interfere with other medicines, and some herbs can be harmful to people with certain conditions or of a certain age.  Make sure you do your homework!
That said:
Today I apparently lifted E wrong, and I strained a muscle in my back.  I immediately took some ibuprofen, hoping it will help the pain and any inflammation, but I will be seeking out kava kava as a muscle relaxant in the next few days, after the muscle has had a chance to heal some.  I will be using ice and heat at the right times to help it heal, and I will continue to gently stretch it, since it gets worse if I try to rest for long periods.

So if you do one thing today, I urge you to check out some herbal remedies for problems you may have, even minor ones. Again, talk to your doctor about them and research any side-effects or contraindications for age and other medicines, etc.

Here’s one to get you started:

Peppermint

The tea is great for stomachaches and nausea. Smelling peppermint essential oil helps headaches, especially ones brought on by tension.  If you have peppermint essential oil in a base oil, such as jojoba oil, you can apply it directly to tense muscles to help them loosen up.

Peppermint is a lifesaver for me!

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