Abundant Health™ Blog

July 27, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oils for Allergies

Allergies can be a real pain. The sneezing, itching, watery eyes, sore throat, swelling, stomachaches, and other symptoms that go with an allergic response can be uncomfortable at best. An allergy is caused by an immune system response to all kinds of things, from food and animals to chemicals, the temperature, and even things as natural as grass and plants. For some people, allergies can be life-threatening.

People who suffer from allergies are told to avoid the things that trigger a reaction—but pollen and other natural allergens can be hard to avoid. Our immune systems can also be affected by processed food and environmental toxins. Essential oils can help boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and decrease the symptoms of an allergic response.

Allergens trick the immune system into thinking something is a threat to the body. The immune system overreacts and produces antibodies, which release histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic response.

Some theorize that the rise in allergic reactions is due to toxins in the foods and our environment that cause inflammation in the body. If there is already disease or inflammation in the body, the immune system is already overworked and more likely to overreact. If inflammation is treated and the immune system is not over-stressed, allergic reactions decline or may disappear entirely.

Essential oils have a great ability to balance the immune system and reduce inflammation. They help the body detoxify, eliminate free radicals, and fight infections, bacteria, parasites, and microorganisms.

Here are some of the many essential oils that may help reduce allergic response:

Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil clears sinuses and offers relief to scratchy throats when inhaled. Peppermint acts as an expectorant, helping to discharge the phlegm and reduce the inflammation that triggers an allergic reaction.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus essential oil opens up the airways, lungs, and sinuses and improves circulation. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It cleanses toxins and also acts as an expectorant.

Basil

Basil essential oil reduces the inflammatory response triggered by allergens and supports the adrenal glands, which helps balance hormones and distribute blood to the needed areas when the body is exposed to a threat. It also is effective at detoxing and decreases inflammation, fatigue, and pain. It kills the bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can cause an asthmatic response.

Tea Tree

When diffused, tea tree essential oil kills airborne pathogens such as the molds, bacteria, and fungi that cause allergic reactions. It works as an antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties.

Lemon

Lemon essential oil supports the lymphatic and respiratory systems. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and strengthens the immune system by stimulating white blood cell production. It also can eliminate allergens in the air when diffused.

*Enjoy the benefits of these essential oils by inhaling, diffusing, or adding to a drink such as water, a smoothie, or tea (internal use not recommended for tea tree essential oil). Essential oils can also be applied topically to the feet, chest, back of neck, and temples. For sensitive skin, dilute with a good carrier oil such as sweet almond or coconut oil. When using essential oils internally, only consume 1–2 drops per day for 1 month at a time. Then take a 2-week break before resuming treatment.

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

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 372–73.

 

July 25, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Scented Bubbles

A lot of parents are concerned about their children being inside too much. Screen time can easily dominate what used to be outdoor play time. Children need to stay active and engage with nature and their own imaginations for good mental and physical health. If you feel like you’re running out of ideas and money to keep your kids active, sometimes simple things can be the answer—with an unexpected twist. Kids love to play with bubbles. While it’s sunny, add some fun to your kids’ bubbles by mixing in essential oils! They can enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy while playing outside.

Try adding your favorite essential oils to pre-made bubbles or to unscented dish soap thinned with a little water. Reuse old bubble containers and bubble wands, or have fun experimenting and creating your own bubble-blowing devices with items like yarn and mason jar rings. If you’re feeling ambitious, follow the recipe below for some DIY bubble fun!

Scented Bubbles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Castile Soap
  • 15–20 drops essential oil of choice (lemon, peppermint, and lavender smell great!)

Instructions:

  1. In a bottle or jar, mix water and glycerin until combined.
  2. Stir in castile soap (be gentle to prevent foaming).
  3. Stir in essential oils.
  4. Let sit for 1 hour before use for the best bubbles.

Get outside with the kids, and have fun playing with bubbles and breathing in the fresh air enhanced by the aroma of essential oils!

 

July 20, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Rosemary Beef Kebabs

During the summer, grilling outside is a good way to enjoy the weather and keep the house cool. This recipe is a delicious blend of spices and essential oils that really enhance the flavor of the meat. Enjoy these kebabs with a tossed salad, watermelon, and something cold to drink!

Rosemary Beef Kebabs

  • Servings: 6–8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. (1 kg) beef tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2″  (4 cm) cubes
  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunky pieces
  • 2 green or orange bell peppers, cut into chunky pieces

Dry Rub

  • 2 tsp. (6.5 g) garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. (3.5 g) ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. (2 g) allspice
  • 1 tsp. (2 g) paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Marinade

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup (240 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (240 ml) red cooking wine
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. (4.5 g) sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. (1.5 g) fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 1 drop thyme essential oil
  • 1 drop coriander essential oil

Instructions

  1. Prepare 6–8 skewers. If using wood skewers, soak them in water for an hour before using them to prevent burning.
  2. In a bowl, mix dry rub spices, and then coat the cubed meat with it.
  3. In a large dish, combine the marinade ingredients.
  4. Add the spiced cubed meat to the marinade, massaging it well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Remove the meat from the fridge 1 hour before grilling.
  6. Heat your gas grill to high.
  7. Prepare your kebabs. Slide the meat, onions, and bell peppers onto the skewers, alternating until you run out of room (about 4 pieces of meat per skewer). Set the extra marinade to the side.
  8. Place the kebabs on the grill for about 8 minutes, turning once midway through. Baste meat with some of the marinade while the kebabs cook.
  9. Remove from the heat. Wait 5 minutes before serving.

July 18, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oils for Hair

Hair can be damaged by the weather, hard water, and your daily styling routine. If you color, blow dry, curl, or straighten your hair, there is a good chance that it is damaged. Many of the shampoos and conditioners available at the store may smell good and initially make your hair feel soft, but ultimately dry it out, depriving it of elasticity and shine. Dryness will cause hair to become brittle and dull and break off.

 

Essential oils can restore luster and strength to your hair. Also, essential oils are all-natural and don’t contain dangerous chemicals, making them better for the environment and your home than commercial hair products. In addition to essential oils, you can also use all-natural vegetable (carrier) oils to nourish your hair. Here are just a few oils that will improve the health of your hair and scalp:

Moisturize

Soften 

Shine

  • Chamomile essential oil
  • Lavender essential oil

Increase Growth

  • Cedarwood essential oil
  • Clary sage essential oil

Strengthen

  • Geranium essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil

How to use essential oils in your hair:

  • Add a few drops of an essential oil to a quality, natural shampoo or conditioner.
  • Make your own moisturizing shampoo with essential oils.
  • In a 2 oz. bottle, mix several drops of the oil combination of your choice into 2 oz. (60 ml) of a carrier oil like jojoba. After you apply the oil mixture from the scalp to the ends, cover your head in a towel or shower cap. Wash out after 30 minutes, or for very damaged hair, leave it on overnight and shampoo in the morning.

When using oils to repair your hair, always wash them out completely. If left in too long, they can make hair limp or oily.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about how essential oils can improve the health of your hair.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 483–84.

 

July 13, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oil Spotlight: Sage

 

Sage essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowers of the Salvia officinalis plant in the mint family.

It is commonly used to to decrease the effects of diabetes and gum disease and for stimulation. Sage has many beneficial properties such as antibacterial, anticancerous, antiseptic, and diuretic.

Lakota Indians used it as a purifier and master healer, and the Romans referred to it as herba sacra, or “sacred herb.” Historically, sage has been used for menstruation issues, digestive problems, respiratory infections, and inflammation of the mouth and throat. The French use sage to treat asthma, poor digestion, bronchitis, night sweats, and other ailments.

It may also be useful in balancing hormones, treating liver problems, dandruff, skin conditions, fatigue, sprains, and strengthening the vital centers of the body.

When diffused, the aromatic qualities of sage help relieve depression, mental fatigue, and strain.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about sage oil and many other pure essential oils.

Source:  Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, pp. 133–34.

July 11, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Lavender Lemonade

Lavender aromatherapy has long been known to decrease stress and to promote relaxation. Some research also suggests that lavender oil reduces anxiety and lowers pulse rates. Lemon has detoxifying and uplifting effects. Together in this recipe, lavender and lemon are a delicious way to relieve anxiety and headaches.

 

Lavender Lemonade

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) raw honey or agave nectar (to taste)
  • 5 cups (1 1/4 liters) purified water
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops lemon essential oil
  • 6–7 lemons, peeled and juiced
  • Lavender sprigs and lemon slices for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Pour half the water into a pan. Bring to boil, and remove from heat.
  2. Add honey and dried lavender to the hot water, and let steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture to removes lavender bits, and pour into a pitcher.
  4. Stir in lemon juice, lemon and lavender essential oils, and remaining water.
  5. Refrigerate before serving.

Serve with ice, and garnish with lavender sprigs and lemon slices.

 

July 7, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Essential Oil Sunscreen

Skin needs vitamin D from the sun, but it also needs protection to prevent burns. Sunscreen from the store can be expensive and often has chemicals that are not healthy for your skin. Why not make your own all-natural sunscreen at home?

 

There are several essential oils that are great to nourish your skin and protect it from the harmful effects of the sun:

  • Carrot Seed
  • Lavender
  • Helichrysum
  • Myrrh
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood

*Do not use citrus oils in a sunscreen or apply citrus oils when going out in the sun.

Good carrier oils to use in homemade sunscreen include the following:

  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
  • Avocado
  • Grape Seed
  • Olive
  • Sweet Almond

You can create your own combinations to see which work best for you. If you like a sunscreen with a thicker texture, essential oils can be added to an all-natural lotion, or you can try this recipe:

All-Natural Sunscreen

  • Servings: Yield=about 4 oz. (120 ml)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. (14 g) Shea Butter
  • 2 Tbsp. (24 g) Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Jojoba Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) Vitamin E Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) aloe vera gel
  • 5 drops carrot seed essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops helichrysum essential oil

Instructions:

Warm the shea butter and coconut oil until soft. Mix in the other ingredients, and stir thoroughly. Put this natural sunscreen in a container and take it along with you on your next outing in the sun.

 

 

July 5, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Antibacterial Essential Oils

Essential oils aren’t just for massages, spa treatments, and aromatherapy. Essential oils are useful in healing, and they also kill off bacteria, viruses, and fungi and fight infections. They can be a healthier method of fighting bacteria without the side effects that come with antibiotics while also avoiding the problem of antibiotic resistance.

Many essential oils have antibacterial properties that make them very versatile for household use and body care. The following oils, as well as several others, are said to be effective in fighting bacteria:

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

Some research suggests that essential oils are more powerful antibacterial agents than penicillin and ampicillin. They have been found to actively combat bacteria and germs without disrupting the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut that is caused by the overuse of prescription antibiotics. An imbalance of the body’s natural bacteria can lead to many side effects, including the following:

  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Fungal (yeast) infections
  • Severe allergic reaction that results in difficulty breathing or facial swelling (lips, tongue, throat, face)
  • Vaginal yeast infection with white discharge and severe itching
  • Mouth sores or white patches in your mouth or on your tongue

These issues can also lead to mood disorders, weight gain, and inflammation.

Here are some ways to make use of the antibacterial properties of essential oils:

  1. Ingestion: Take a few drops of essential oils daily. This can be done by capsule, mixed in a drink, or added to recipes. There are many ways to use essential oils in cooking. Find delicious recipes here.
  2. Inhalation: Diffusing essential oils is a great way to breathe in their benefits and cleanse the air. See ideas for diffusing here.
  3. Body Care: There are a lot of products such as lotions and soaps that we use daily that can be replaced with all-natural mixtures made with essential oils. Browse our blog for great DIY body care recipes.
  4. Household Care: Harsh chemicals for cleaning the home can be replaced by bacteria-fighting essential oils. Check out these natural homemade cleaners.

See the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to learn more about the antibacterial properties of essential oils.

Source: Reference Guide for Essential Oils, 2017 Edition, p. 381.

June 29, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Patriotic Punch

Have fun with these festive summer drinks this 4th of July!

For our international friends, these same steps could be applied to any layered drink you want to make! Simply follow the instructions below with whatever colors you want for some fun, unique drinks.

Patriotic Punch

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Red drink (such as Ocean Spray® CranApple juice)
  • White drink (such as Liz Blizz SoBe Elixir®)
  • Blue drink (such as Glacier Freeze G2 Gatorade®)
  • Ice
  • Mason Jar Mugs and Stainless Steel Straws

Instructions:

  1. Fill your mason jar mug 1/3 of the way full of CranApple juice.
  2. Fill mug to the top with ice. (Note: This step is not optional! It is necessary in order for the layering to work.)
  3. Slowly pour the SoBe® directly on top of the ice until the mug is 2/3 full of liquid. Then (again, slowly) pour the Gatorade® in to finish filling the mug.

Note: In order for the layering effect to work, you have to start with the heaviest drink and end with the lightest. The drink with the highest sugar content will be the heaviest, and vice-versa. So if you decide to use drinks other than the ones listed, make sure to check their sugar content and modify the order you add them if necessary. If you decide to try sugar-free drinks, experiment with adding agave nectar for sweetness and weight so that the layering will work.

June 27, 2017
by Abundant Health™
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Outdoor Yoga Class Idea

Yoga and essential oils go hand in hand for your health and wellness. More and more, yoga studios are replacing the use of incense in the classroom with essential oils. But not everyone is aware of how essential oils can enhance their yoga and other exercise practices.

While the weather is good this summer, why not have your next essential oil class be an outdoor yoga class? Invite a certified yoga instructor to come and kick off the class with a 15-minute yoga routine before you get things going. This will center, relax, and energize your attendees.

The goal of this class is to help your attendees learn about essential oils and how they can be a part of their healthy living routines.

Come prepared with a variety of high-quality essential oils. Add a few drops to 8 oz. glass or plastic spray bottles full of water. Start class by allowing each attendee to choose which oils to mist on his or her yoga mat. Space out your students enough that they will not be affected by each other’s oils. Have the students sit and breathe deeply on their mats before the yoga workout begins. Briefly explain how essential oils promote mental and emotional health, support physical and spiritual well-being, and soothe sore and achy muscles.

Allow the yoga instructor to guide the class through a brief yoga routine tailored for beginners with alternate moves for the more experienced students. After they are finished and are given a minute or two for quiet meditation, pass around something for them to drink such as essential oil–infused water or one of these refreshing drinks made with essential oils.

Continue the class with a  discussion on the benefits of using essential oils in yoga and other exercise practices. You may want to mention how essential oils can be diffused in a workout space, added to water, sprinkled on sweat towels, or used in a spray bottle to mist exercise equipment.

You can use the “Single Oils” section found in the Reference Guide for Essential Oils to discuss the various oils and their benefits. Become familiar with the information in this section so that you can answer questions. Suggest how different oils may benefit your exercise in different ways.

  • Calming: lavender, geranium, chamomile, vetiver
  • Uplifting: cassia, clary sage, lemon, lime, white fir
  • Grounding: ginger, patchouli, cedarwood
  • Strengthening and Centering: sandalwood, cedarwood, myrrh, frankincense
  • Promote Clear Breathing: peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, rosemary, myrrh, frankincense, cardamom
  • Energizing: lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, basil, cinnamon
  • Purifying and Cleansing: grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, orange
  • Soothing (for sore muscles): basil, lavender, rosemary, wintergreen, cypress, coriander
  • Spirituality: bergamot, orange, lemon

Leave time for discussion and the exchange of ideas. Perhaps bring a light, fresh snack such as cinnamon fruit dip or essential oil veggie dip. Allow time to mingle, and send your students home with a handout with some reminders of how essential oils can enhance their wellness efforts and which oils are the most helpful in exercise.

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