Abundant Health™ Blog

September 20, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oils for Calming

People are busier than ever and surrounded by more environmental toxins than generations past. Modern life is stressful. The body reacts to stress by releasing chemicals that may cause anxiety, restlessness, and sleeplessness. It can be difficult to calm our frayed nerves.

It is important to take time to relax, do mild exercise, eat healthy, and breathe to prevent adrenal fatigue and other stress-related ailments. Before the pharmaceutical industry became the purveyor of all supposed cures, plants were the main source for treating the ailments of mind and body.

Essential oils distill the healing power of plants, and some have the ability to bring calm and restore balance to the body. Try blending a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil, and massage into the skin. Essential oils can also be used in a warm compress, applied to a cloth or pillow, or diffused.

The following essential oils are known to help calm anxiety and hyperactivity as well as improve sleep.

  • Lavender
  • Ylang ylang
  • Melissa
  • Orange
  • Cedarwood
  • Bergamot
  • Frankincense
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Marjoram
  • Myrrh
  • Sandalwood
  • Lemon
  • Roman chamomile

Be sure to research which oils work best for you if you have health concerns or allergies. Pregnant women should a consult a health professional before using essential oils.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about how essential oils can help calm you.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 413–14.

September 14, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Natural Sanitary Wipes

Keeping your hands clean is a major component to preventing illness. Sometimes it’s not convenient to find a place to wash your hands while out in public, especially with children. There are plenty of sanitary wipes and hand sanitizers at the store to choose from, but why not make your own at home to save money and avoid harsh chemicals? Using essential oils makes these wipes pleasantly fragrant, but also gives them antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties. They are perfect to take along in your car or in your purse wherever you go!

Sanitary wipes are simple to make with items you may already have at home. Use napkins, paper towels, or unscented baby wipes. Pile your dry wipes into a container with a lid (this can be a used wipe container, plasticware, or even a zip-top bag), and then pour this solution over them.

Sanitary Wipes Solution

  • Servings: Yield=380 ml
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml)  Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) rubbing alcohol or witch hazel
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Pour this mixture over your paper or cloth product. Allow it to soak in, and seal the container.

These wipes will last a couple of weeks. Add water if they start to dry out.

September 12, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oil Tea

This time of year, all kinds of illnesses are circulating, and everyone gets sick from time to time. Often, all a doctor can recommend for recovery is to rest and to nourish your body.

There are natural remedies you can try at home that will aid in the healing process. Natural solutions to sickness allow the body to reboot without harmful side effects. Essential oils have some fantastic health benefits. They fight infection and support the body functions that strengthen the immune system. A great way to incorporate essential oils into your self care is to create your own comforting and healthy teas.

Here are some great essential oils to consider adding to your tea:

  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Orange
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender

Use a blend of 2 or 3 of these essential oils. The number of drops you use of each oil will depend on what flavors you like and what your body needs. If you are congested, peppermint and eucalyptus will help to clear the sinuses. Only 1–5 drops of each oil is needed. Start small, and add as you go until you’ve found the perfect amount. Not all essential oils are best taken internally, so be sure to do your research before adding them to your tea.

You can add essential oils to your favorite loose-leaf or bag teas, or let them stand on their own. Although water is the usual base liquid for tea, you may use any kind of milk as well. Milk can help coat a sore throat. Use almond or coconut milk if you’re lactose intolerant or are experiencing heavy congestion. Heat the liquid before adding the oils and other ingredients.

If you like, add a dash of cayenne pepper for an immunity boost, and sweeten with honey. Find a cozy place to relax and recover while sipping your hot and healing tea.

 

September 7, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oil Spotlight: Yarrow

Yarrow essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops of the Achillea millfolium plant. It is prized for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and styptic properties.

Historically, yarrow was used to by Germanic tribes to treat battle wounds. Folklore refers to yarrow as the treatment that the Greek hero of the Trojan War, Achilles, used to help cure the injury to his tendon. Yarrow is also regarded as sacred by the Chinese for its harmonies of Yin and Yang energies.

Other uses for yarrow essential oil include decongesting the prostate, balancing hormones, treating acne, digestion, bladder, and kidney weakness, diminishing cellulite, and treating colds, eczema, fevers, gout, headaches, kidney stones, infections, and rheumatism.

It can be used topically as well as aromatically. When diffused, yarrow has balancing properties that help aid meditation. It supports intuitive energies and helps clear confusion. It is also excellent in massage blends and used in a warm bath.

To learn more about yarrow essential oil and many other pure essential oils, see the Reference Guide for Essential Oilby Connie and Alan Higley.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 152–53.

September 5, 2017
by Abundant Health™
2 Comments

Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex. The virus often manifests itself at times when the immune system is low.  The virus causes painful outbreaks of blisters and sores that can last for weeks at a time and are highly contagious. The outbreaks can be triggered by illness, overexposure to sun, and stress.

A cold sore looks like a blister, and over time, it breaks and oozes. It then develops into a yellow scab, with new raw skin underneath. Although generally not considered dangerous, cold sores are painful and can make you feel self conscious. They have also proven to be dangerous to infants, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.

Here are some natural ways to treat a cold sore outbreak from the comfort of your home:

1. Eat Healthy and Supplement

Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals. Some foods boost the immune system. Probiotics like apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut will help your body fight off the virus. Eat fewer sweets! Sugar lowers the immune system and feeds the virus. Also avoid peanuts and chocolate during an outbreak.

Supplement with l-lysine, which has powerful antiviral properties.

Vitamin E soothes the skin and repairs damage, reduces inflammation, and has antioxidant properties.

Boost your white blood cell count with vitamin C, which helps defend your body against invaders.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral needed to maintain health, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity.

2. Sunscreen

Direct sunlight or sunburns may trigger a cold sore outbreak. Using sunscreen or avoiding heavy sun exposure may decrease your probability of an outbreak. Apply sunscreen (or a sunscreen-containing lip balm) on the lips throughout the day.

Be careful when selecting sunscreen, opting for natural, organic sunscreen. Or make your own.

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is used to treat many skin conditions like sunburns, infections, injuries, burns, and cold sores. It contains antioxidant vitamins, enzymes, minerals, fatty acids, and hormones that help with healing and preventing further infection. Apply it to cold sores often to ease the discomfort and speed the healing process.

4. Essential Oils

Many essential oils have antiviral constituents and healing properties, making them a great tool for healing cold sores.

Peppermint, tea tree, helichrysum, clove, lavender, bergamot, eucalyptus, geranium, lemon, and rose are all great essential oils to use on the blisters that form during an outbreak of herpes simplex. Apply them topically to the affected area.

* Because bergamot and lemon are photosensitizing oils, use them at night and avoid direct exposure to sunlight if using them in the daytime.

5. Echinacea Tea

Echinacea is commonly used for people trying to get rid of a cold. It is a powerful immune system stimulator. Drinking echinacea tea is an easy way to boost your immune system. It may also reduce pain and inflammation caused by the virus.

6. Hygiene

Replace your toothbrush or any lip balm or gloss you have used just prior to or during an outbreak.

Avoid touching the sores as much as possible. A cold sore is highly contagious until it crusts over and heals. Wash any cloth that you use on it as a compress and always thoroughly wash your hands after treating the infected area.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about how essential oils can be used to treat cold sores.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 489–90.

 

September 1, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Natural Bug Repellent

Bugs can ruin an otherwise lovely outdoor experience. But most store-bought repellents contain DEET and other harmful chemicals. If you want to keep your skin healthy, use the power of essential oils and their ability to deter insects. You can make your own spray-on repellent at home. It’s easy and quick!

There are many bug-repelling essential oils:

  • Citronella
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavendar
  • Lemongrass
  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Cypress
  • Rose
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon

Try the following recipe at home to repel nasty bugs and avoid insect bites.

Homemade Insect Repellent

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) witch hazel
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or olive oil (or a combination)
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) Vegetable Glycerin (as a preservative)
  • 55 drops eucalyptus essential oil (not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
  • 15 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Pour carrier oil into a small spray bottle.
  2. Add essential oils.
  3. Shake well before each use.

Reapply every few hours for maximum effectiveness.

August 29, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Green Smoothies for Optimum Health

The American Cancer Society recommends eating 5–9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to prevent cancer and other diseases. A healthy, plant-based diet may help lower your cholesterol, strengthen your immune system, and provide a rich source of minerals and bone-building nutrients. Green smoothies are a delicious way to easily pack in a day’s worth of nutrients. Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants, releasing their enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, and maximizing their delivery to your body more than chewing can. Green smoothies provide an easy way to get the benefits of dark leafy vegetables to kids or adults who do not enjoy the flavor and without having to chew through piles of salad.

 

Here are some reasons green smoothies are a great choice:

Nutrients

A good green smoothie can provide more than 100% of your daily value of vitamins A (as beta-carotene), C, and K, B vitamins, vitamin E, and folate. As for minerals, green smoothies are a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and other trace minerals.

 Weight Loss

Replacing a meal each day with a green smoothie lowers overall caloric intake, while increasing vegetable, fruit, and fiber intake. Green smoothies provide B vitamins and magnesium that support energy metabolism.

Green smoothies help reset your taste buds and make you start craving healthy foods. Junk food and refined foods begin to taste less appealing. Cravings for unhealthy sweets, salt, and fats decline.

Green smoothies do not bog down your digestive system. Optimum digestion and nutrient absorption will give you more energy to exercise and get through your daily routine.

Antioxidants

Green smoothies contain a huge dose of health-protecting antioxidants and phytonutrients. This will boost your immune system and help prevent disease.

Great antioxidant-rich additions to your smoothie include blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, acai, and cacao (raw chocolate).

Blood Pressure

Many fruits and vegetables have been studied for their ability to lower blood pressure while also reducing some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Mental Clarity and Focus

Replace your morning coffee with a nutrient-rich green smoothie for greater mental clarity and focus. You won’t get the midday energy slump or the caffeine-related side effects.

Colon and Gut Health

Green smoothies contain the whole fruit and vegetable so that you get all of the fiber and nutrition absent in ordinary breakfast foods or juice. Fiber is essential for good colon health. It feeds your beneficial gut microbes and supports optimum digestion.

Healthy Skin and Strong Hair & Nails

Green smoothies give you a healthy glow and may help clear up acne. The nutrients found in a green smoothie will also aid hair and nail regrowth.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Most fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties. If you suffer from inflammatory conditions that cause chronic pain and other issues, green smoothies may help get your health back on track.

Alkalization

Green smoothies may help neutralize blood pH and prevent the body from becoming too acidic. They provide minerals that are used by your body to naturally maintain pH balance.

Green Smoothies for Beginners

Making a green smoothie is not an exact science. You can mix and match vegetables and fruit however you like to find what tastes good to you or makes you feel great.

Here are the basic components to get optimal benefits:

  • Liquid: water, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Greens: kale or spinach
  • Fruit: frozen or fresh bananas, berries, or citrus
  • Omegas: flax seed oil or fish oil
  • Essential Oil: customize to your health needs
  • Other: organic protein powder, aloe, probiotics, nuts, grains, etc.

You will find your favorites if you experiment with your blends! Here are a few to try for beginners. Simply blend all ingredients in a high-quality blender, and serve immediately.

Strawberry-Banana Green Smoothie

  • 6–8 oz. (180–240 ml) water
  • 1 large peeled banana (these can be frozen ahead of time)
  • 4 large strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) aloe
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Berry-Cinnamon Green Smoothie

  • 6–8 oz. (180–240 ml) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1  peeled banana
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 2 cups fresh organic baby spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) flax seed oil
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Tropical Green Smoothie

  • 6–8 oz. (180–240 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 cup cubed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup cubed mango (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 drops ginger essential oil
  • 2 cups organic baby kale
  • 1/2  sliced avocado
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Green Smoothie

  • 6–8 oz. (180–240 ml) cashew milk
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp. cacao nibs or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup quality protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) flax seed oil
  • 3 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 2 cups organic baby kale
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

 

August 24, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oil Spotlight: Helichrysum

Helichrysum essential oil is steam-distilled from the Helichrysum italicum flower of the Compositae family.

It has many helpful properties such as being antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant. Some primary uses of helichrysum are treating infections, bruises, cholesterol, eczema, herpes, and scarring, sun protection, and tissue repair.

Historically, it was used to treat asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, headaches, liver ailments, and skin issues.

Helichrysum supports the cardiovascular and bone systems. It may also be used to help with anger, circulatory functions, lymph drainage, respiratory conditions, scar tissue, and varicose veins.

The aroma is sweet and fruity with tea and honey undertones. When diffused, it has an uplifting effect, barring anger and promoting forgiveness and optimism.

It is considered safe for human consumption by the FDA and can be diluted in water, tea, or other beverages. Helichrysum can also be applied directly to areas of concern.

To learn more about helichrysum essential oil and many other pure essential oils, see the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, p. 90.

August 22, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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5 Back-to-School Health Tips

Summer vacation is over, and kids are going back to school. The dreaded cold and flu season is coming with the change in weather. You want to keep your kids healthy, energized, and focused so that they can get the most out of their classes. Here are 5 tips that can help keep the kids healthy and stress free.

1. Set Bedtimes

Kids need more than 8 hours of sleep to stay focused and alert. Lack of sleep lowers the immune system and causes grumpiness and brain fog. To make it easier on the kids to switch to an earlier schedule, try changing bedtimes gradually by sending them to bed a little earlier each night before school starts. Stick to the routine to make getting up and ready in the morning a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

2. Healthy Food

Store-bought, pre-made foods are the quick and convenient way to make lunch for the kids, but these processed foods can lower the immune system and cause hyperactivity and fatigue. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Take some time in the week to pre-cut veggies and fruit and boil some eggs. Switch out that white bread for a quality whole-grain bread, and use a lean protein such as turkey or tuna for sandwiches.

3. Good Hygiene 

Classrooms are a breeding ground for germs. Teach your kids to wash their hands before eating snacks or lunch and after using the restroom. Also, urge them not to share food or drinks with other kids. Provide your children with these DIY Sanitizing Wipes to use in case they can’t always get to a sink.

4. Stress Management

Starting a new year of school with a new teacher and new curriculum can be stressful. Stress can lead to a variety of health issues, like insomnia and a compromised immune system. Talking to your children about their day and how they are feeling can help them manage their stress. Simplify. Do not overload your child’s schedule with activities. It’s important to make time to relax, play, and spend time as a family.

5. Essential Oils

Essential oils can help with all of the above. Many essential oils are antimicrobial and promote well-being and a healthy immune system.

Encourage restful sleep by diffusing these by the kids’ bedside:

  • Lavender
  • Vetiver
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Sandalwood
  • Marjoram
  • Cedarwood

Add essential oils to foods so that you can further enjoy their health benefits. Explore recipes that implement the use of essential oils. The following essential oils are commonly used in cooking:

  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Oregano
  • Clove
  • Orange
  • Thyme

Use these essential oils in cleaning and sanitizing to cut down on exposure to germs:

  • Thyme
  • Mountain Savory
  • Tea Tree
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Clove
  • Rose
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Marjoram
  • Valerian

Essential oils that help alleviate anxiety and promote concentration and alertness can be diffused at home or sprinkled on a cloth that the kids can take with them to school.

  • Lavender
  • Clary Sage
  • Bergamot
  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon
  • Jasmine
  • Vetiver
  • Cedarwood

August 17, 2017
by Abundant Health™
2 Comments

Essential Oil Gel Air Fresheners

School is starting up again, and kids everywhere are having to readjust their schedules and habits. A great way to clear the brain-cobwebs of summer is to make essential oil gel air fresheners and place them where your kids do homework.

These essential oils promote clear thinking, alertness, concentration, calm, and memory recall:

  • Lavender
  • Clary sage
  • Bergamot
  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon
  • Jasmine
  • Vetiver
  • Cedarwood

No need to spray or diffuse oils. These essential oil gel air fresheners are simple to make!

  1. Stir together 1 tsp. polymer absorbent crystals, 1 cup (240 ml) water, and 10–15 drops essential oil.
  2. Stir, and add water if needed until there are no dry crystals left.
  3. Split evenly between 2 mason jars. The crystals will expand.
  4. When not in use, keep lid on to prevent evaporation. When ready to use, place lace or tulle over the opening, and screw on the ring.

*These cute air fresheners are best in small spaces. Over time as evaporation occurs, the aroma will become more faint; simply add more essential oil and 1–2 Tbsp. (15–30 ml) warm water.

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