Turmeric Powder Tincture 

When I first met my now husband he introduced me to herbs to help with skin issues. He suffered a skin injury that required almost a year of medical attention but wanted to help his skin in any way he could. So he looked to herbs. The best way to get the herbs he chose to help in his opinion was to ingest them. Now we use many of the herbs he loved in our food and tisanes frequently. Turmeric is one we go through a lot of. It helps with inflammation and many skin issues are the product of other health problems such as this. Check out the link at the end of this post for more in depth information.

When a neighbor/friend asked if I wanted her bag of turmeric she didn’t like (it has a peppery taste that isn’t appetizing to some) I started brewing up ideas for usage. More than putting it in almost everything we eat. Which poses an issue with my toddler who ends up staining her clothes with any food saturated with it. I decided the first thing I wanted to make with it was a tincture. 

Most recipes I found suggested using the root. Fresh or dried in slices to help the alcohol base saturate it more easily. Well, I didn’t have a root. I had powder. So I did a 1:5 concoction to test it out. 1 part turmeric powder to 5 parts alcohol. It worked great! It was also really fun to work with and see the lovely color changes. The powder is a gorgeous yellow color and once it settled it created a red hued liquid. Later I saw it was more orange when not stacked the way it was but still lovely. 

One small pint jar creates a ton of tincture in my opinion. So unless you have a large family using it, are taking the tincture several times a day or are creating to share this should work great to start with. I filled two 2 oz dropper bottles to last me a while and barely made a dent in the tincture. I left the rest to continue brewing until I needed to strain some off again for use. 

This is what I used: 

I filled roughly 1/5 of the jar with powdered turmeric then filled it up with the alcohol.

After mixing gently and being sure to scrape any bits off the bottom I noticed the amount of product went down.

So I topped it off with a bit more alcohol. 

Then I added the lid and shook it up! Making sure to get any clumps out. 

It WILL settle and you will notice that it may look something like this:

It will definitely still brew perfectly fine so no worries! What you need to do though is shake vigorously every day at least once until the day before you decide to strain it. 

Typically, you would leave this for 14 days then let it rest on the 15th day before straining. That’s the bare minimum needed. I let mine brew for almost 3 months. Many saw the longer the better with tinctures. 

When the time came to strain I got out my sterilized bottles, a funnel, a bowl to catch any spillage, a measuring cup and a magic eraser sponge because I’m bound to spill something! 

I poured off some of the liquid from my jar into a measuring cup. Purely for the ease of pouring from it. I made sure to let the jar settle so I would get the least amount of powder in as possible. You can strain your concoction if you wish but I found that powders can be tricky business to work with. So I decided to use just the liquid from the top of the jar. 

Once I filled my bottles I put the leftover tincture back in the jar to save for a future pour. Letting it continue to brew.

I put some in my iced tea to test out immediately. A few drops definitely effects the flavor! If it’s too much to sip a drink with it then use the dropper to squirt directly into your mouth then chase with a drink or food if needed. Or add it to your food. 15-30 drops a day up to four times a day is the highest recommended dosage. Though I am not a doctor or certified herbalist so please do your own research! 

I then labeled my bottles and put the jar back in the dark cupboard. 

For an in depth look at the uses and side effects of turmeric feel free to check out this article: http://www.m.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric

Natural Bug Repellent 

In a group I help run I posted about a natural bug (and arachnid) repellent I was making for our porch and patio today. It was essentially half my essential oils and a stick of cinnamon I soaked in a half and half vinegar/water mix. There are many different oils and herbs one could procure to help ward off a variety of bugs without chemicals. 

Some of these include:

*Lavender

*Citronella

*Lemongrass

*Tea Tree

*Eucalyptus

*Mint (any kind)

*Marigold

*Geranium

*Cedarwood

*Rosemary

*Citrus – Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, etc. 

*Cinnamon

*etc. 

I usually do a mix of what I have on hand to ward off different types of bugs but if you have a specific pest you can easily find specific herb/s for them.

After I have made my repellent I either add a cup to a gallon of water and wash the porch with it or I put it in a spray bottle and spray around door and window frames, etc. I would avoid getting this near your plants. If you have children or animals I would spray where they can’t lick or touch it and/or use only safe ingredients that won’t harm them if accidentally consumed.

If I’m making something for the skin I use half witch hazel instead of vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Be careful not to spray too close to clothing as it can stain. Spraying on shoes or socks before a hike is helpful. 

Alternatively, you can add a 2% dilution of these oils to body lotion and do a rest patch to make sure you are not allergic. Please look into the properties of the oils before attempting this. I am just giving suggestions as a place to start researching. 

Here is a basic bug repellent I used to make: 
Witch Hazel soaked in fresh Geranium and Marigold (then strained!), Spring Water, Essential Oils of Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Citronella. 

I don’t have the exact amounts as I do things as I go without recipes half the time. I would still make a 2% dilution of the oils. The herbs should be soaked 1-2 weeks. Dried works as well. 

I hope this proves helpful in the warm months ahead! 

Working With Essential Oils For Rosacea 

My whole life I have had pink skin. As a child it was cute. Eternally rosy cheeks and an easily reddened face. When I got older it got more red. Red OVER pink. Then dry patches and random skin issues arose. My mom suspected rosacea. It was never “bad enough” that I wanted to seek help. Instead, I started using lavender to help the redness. It worked decently when using regularly. I used infused oils, water infusions and essential oil from the plant at different times. Using what I had when I had it. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest last Summer from Southern California my skin became more dry. Whereas it was more oily before. Rough patches and redness started to make more of an appearance. Then recently a full rash spread like a trail across my face. I took pictures and immediately sent them to my mom. A nurse with many years experience in dermatology. The next day she confirmed her diagnoses with one of the doctors she works with. It was rosacea. She immediately began researching pregnancy safe medication for me. Whereas I ran to our essential oils. 

I had been neglecting using essential oils on my face for a few months prior to the breakout. I had started infused oils that ended up in baths and simply never got around to making my usual concoction to help my skin with essential oils to make up for it. I was using rose infused jojoba oil as a spot treatment for dry patches but found it too heavy for all over wear for my face (it is perfect for the rest of me though!) but it wasn’t enough. So when my husband found his essential oils by chance shortly after I had more of a confirmation on what was going on it felt like it was all clicking into place on what I needed to do. I grabbed our family oils and his collection (this was before we started buying them together) and headed to the bathroom to get to work.

My easy remedy to ease the redness was lavender essential oil in my light sensitive skin oil free face moisturizer. I use different brands depending on where we are and what is available but I always choose the light formulas for sensitive skin and that generally means oil free as well. Depending on the size of the bottle I would use 5-20 drops and mix well. Leaving overnight to “infuse” the lotion. This time I used lavender, rosemary and my husbands all time favorite helichrysum or “Immortella” oil. I added 5 drops of each as well as 5 drops of my rose infused jojoba oil. The difference is incredible! The first day the rash on my cheek went away along with some redness. A few days later the rash under my bottom lip was gone. A week later and only some redness remained. Less than I have had in probably a year or so. I still have dry spots the size of my 17 month olds pinky nail but I gently exfoliate daily and it’s not bad at all. I also found an activated charcoal cold process soap in the cupboard I began to use after someone I recently met suggested it as shelf full aide. 

Other essential oils for rosacea include: German chamomile, rose geranium (or just geranium), rosewood, tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme and others. Please be sure to always dilute your oils. A 2-5% dilution is generally recommended. Do your research prior to use if pregnant, nursing, taking medication, et cetera. I am only giving advice based off of my own research and experiences and I am not a medical professional. If you use oils on your face I would stay out of direct sunlight and from enduring long sun exposure! 

I’m not saying essential oils cure everything or anything at all. It has just helped me PERSONALLY in taming my symptoms immensely. Rosacea sometimes worsens around age 30 and I’m pregnant and turning 28 this month. Soon I will seek the advice of a medical professional in the case that it may worsen with age. Holistic healing is an amazing thing but we don’t scorn most modern medicine in our house. We use both! A gut friendly diet is also recommended for rosacea as many say it may stem from there. So eat well and do your research! If anything with using oils…at least you’ll smell good! 

Naturally Protein Rich Smoothies – Protein Powder Alternative 

Recently, I have been working out more using weights like a steel rod for strengthening my hands and wrists, weights strapped to my ankles while walking and two different kettlebells. Even my toddler has her own 1lbs dumbbell so she can work out with me and her dad when he’s home. It’s adorable! Before this my main form of exercising was walking 5-10 miles a day, yoga (with a toddler thinking it’s fun to climb on me and fluff up my hair) and some arm movements my husband uses that he was taught in boot camp over 10 years ago and still uses today. A friend is helping me with plus size and pregnancy friendly/safe kettlebell routines and was talking to me about protein shakes. My husband offered to share his but the smell of his boat that permeated the shakes was too much for me with my recently heightened senses. To make sure I’m getting what I need until our recently ordered powders come in the mail I have upped our protein intake in our food.  

We already eat a really good amount of protein rich foods. Mostly, just because we like these foods but also because we rarely eat meat. There is more protein in many plant based foods than meat but we watch what we consume just to make sure we’re getting what we need anyway. I have been craving fruit smoothies since the weather warned up. So I decided to see what protein rich ingredients we had that I could use in a post workout naturally protein rich smoothie. What I am sharing is just some suggestions on making a protein shake alternative. There are actual charts to show you what amount of ingredients you should (or could) use as well as lists of food that one could use as well. I’m working with what I have. Protein powders tend to have much more protein than what this may have but it’s great for those with food sensitivities, those who eat more naturally, those who need to work with what they already have, etc. I also share with my toddler because it’s just plain tasty and she loves it. I have even made homemade Popsicles with the mixture. 

Fruit: I have a container of frozen fruit I used in water kefir fermentation. They are slightly more tangy and have underwent a bit of fermentation while the liquid ate through some of the sugars in the fruit. While they may not be super fermented I’m hopeful some of the benefits of fermented goodness are in them. I also had fresh bananas that I precut and froze so I don’t need to use ice in my smoothie. The fruits in my smoothie include bananas, dark cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, raspberries and blackberries. Most of which are on the leaderboard for protein rich fruits. 

Nuts and seeds: Nuts are a great source of protein in many cases. We have a ton of different nuts/seeds for baking and cooking so I have a lot to choose from. I ended up soaking raw cashews overnight (makes them easier to blend) then added freshly ground flaxseed, chia seeds and raw pine nuts. Adding nut butters is an easy way to add in certain ingredients. I am out of all our homemade butters except commercial peanut butter so I went with plain seeds and nuts instead. Be aware of salt in nut butters as they can effect the flavor of the smoothie. I sometimes put my nuts in liquid to blend before adding the fruit. Then I blend them again with the added ingredients. 

Liquid: I plan on using fruit infused water kefir in some smoothies and homemade nut milks in others. Other options include: dairy based kefir (yogurt drink), coconut water and REAL juice. Adding juice may be a bit much for sugar but working with what you have is an option I know all too well. 

Other ingredients: Some other ingredients you can use are Greek yogurt, honey, silken tofu, oats and more. Some more for texture and flavoring than anything else. Many people won’t eat or drink something that doesn’t taste at least decent so experiment with flavors! I didn’t add any of these this time around. 

Here is my smoothie: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, banana, dark cherries, the last of our chia seeds, raw cashews, pine nuts, ground flaxseed, dark cherry water kefir and homemade almond milk. 

I have nothing against protein shakes but for now this not only has protein but also fiber, vitamins, probiotic goodness and is generally healthy.