Let’s Soothe Thy Skin

As the weather gets colder, my skin gets drier. I can’t simply wash dishes barehanded anymore and must use rubber gloves to protect them. I need to apply moisturizer several times a day or cracks start to develop around my nails and fingertips. Healing moisturizing cream becomes necessary to maintain healthy skin. Over the years, I have developed a lovely cream ~ Soothe Thy Skin ~ which moisturizes, nourishes and heals my dry and cracked hands. It is so gentle that I also use it on my face and anywhere else I may need some healing and moisture.Making cream tends to be a bit more challenging than making other herbal remedies like salves or tinctures. The recipe needs to be made precisely, remember you are mixing water and oil together, which normally does not mix well. The basic recipe I use was developed by Dina Falconi, which I have put my little spin on.

Basically, you need a liquid carrier oil, solid oil, beeswax and water. For the carrier oil, I infuse Calendula and Comfrey into first cold pressed organic olive oil. For the solid oil, I use organic coconut oil. Lastly, for the water, I use distilled water because it reduces the risk of bacteria developing and the cream going bad. And after all the hard work that goes into the cream, you want it to last a long time. Some people put essential oils into their creams, sometimes I do too. But most of the time I like the cream as it is without a an added scent.

For soothing and repairing the skin, Calendula (Calendula offficnalis) and Comfrey (Symphytum officnale), are winners. Calendula is a powerful wound healer and promotes cell repair while its antiseptic properties keep infections from occurring. It helps heal wounds faster by increasing oxygen flow to the damaged area, which in turn helps the body grow new tissue. It also stimulates collagen production to help heal the body’s tissues and is high in flavonoids (plant-based anti-oxidants) that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals. Comfrey fosters the growth of new cells and is anti-inflammatory as well as mucilaginous, which soothes inflamed tissues.

Equipment Needed:

  • (2) Pyrex measuring cups
  • Saucepan
  • Food processor with dough attachment
  • Small jars with covers (preferably glass)
  • Rubber spatula
  • Chopstick
  • Candy thermometer

The Basic Face and Hand Cream Recipe:

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients

6 oz liquid oil (ie: olive, jojoba, almond, grapeseed, apricot…)

3 oz solid oil (ie: coconut, shea butter, lanolin…)

1 oz beeswax

9 oz water (ie: distilled, spring, tap…)

 

 

Soothe Thy Skin Recipe

(will make 19 ounces of luscious cream)

Remember: it is very important to be precise with this recipe. From start to cleanup, you will need 3 uninterrupted hours.

  1.  In one of the measuring cups, pour in 4oz. of Calendula infused olive oil and 2oz. of Comfrey infused olive oil. You will now have 6oz of liquid oil.

Liquid oil = 6oz.Liquid oil = 6oz.

2. Then add 3oz of coconut oil and finally 1oz of beeswax. Your ingredients will total 10oz.

Liquid and Solid oil = 9oz.

Liquid and Solid oil = 9oz.

3. Put measuring cup full of oil/wax mixture in a saucepan with about 2 inches of water, like a double boiler.

Melting Liquid oil, Solid oil and Beeswax = 10oz.

Melting Liquid oil, Solid oil and Beeswax = 10oz.

4. Stir oil/wax mixture as it is melting.

5. Once it has melted remove from heat and let cool to about 100° F

6.  In other measuring cup, heat distilled water until it reaches 100° F and remove from heat.

It is very important that both the oil and water are about 100° F in order for them to mix well. While oil/wax mixture and water are cooling down to 100° F, wipe down all parts of the food processor with rubbing alcohol before using them to help ensure it is clean. We do not want anything other than our ingredients in our cream. 

7.  Pour all the water into the food processor using the dough attachment.

8.  Turn on food processor and slowly pour oil in. Keep mixing until the cream begins to emulsify. Occasionally, scrap sides and mix some more until you have fully emulsified cream.

Luscious Cream!

Luscious Cream!

9.  Pour into clean/dry glass jars.jarred

10.  Let sit undisturbed overnight.

11.  Enjoy silky moisturized skin!

Cleanup hint: Vinegar and Dawn dish detergent are great for cutting through the greasy film on the food processor.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Making a medical crises a bit easier

Seventeen years ago, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She is one of the lucky ones. After removing the entire lung, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a whole bunch of other things, she was proclaimed cancer free within six months of her diagnosis. Cancer free is always music to the ears after a battle with cancer. Nevertheless, I am not writing about cancer today, I am writing about a simple tool that helped us navigate and get through the medical labyrinth with relative ease. We still use it today.

With every new diagnosis, there is a process, a new set of doctors to visit, and, to say the least, it is very daunting.  Unless you are experiencing the same illness, there is something new and there is always a learning curve navigating the process. When my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, we were lost. This was a new illness for our family to tackle; there were new doctors, new tests, and new procedures. It was overwhelming and very confusing. Every new doctor and lab needed the same information, as well as copies of all the previous test results.

Therefore, instead of trying to remember the details every time, we came up with a medical history sheet.

The sheet includes:

  • Mom’s name, address, phone number, birth date
  • List of all her doctors, address, phone number, fax number
  • List of her allergies
  • List of previous surgeries and hospitalizations, including dates
  • Insurance, laboratory and pharmacy information
  • Medications, herbs and vitamins
  • Her Social Security number would be very helpful to include but we did not for security purposes.

I cannot tell you how handy the sheet was and continues to be for our family along with every medical staff that has interviewed my Mom and Dad, for that matter. Of course, we made one for my Dad too. Every time I would visit my folks, I made sure all the information was updated and noted the date that the update was made on the sheet as well (it’s important to use the most current info); medications tend to be added or changed quite often as one ages. My folks would carry the medical info sheets (for themselves and each other) in their wallets and a copy was taped to their refrigerator, in case of emergency. My brother and I both have copies to help facilitate services.

The sheet has been used countless times over the years. Like when my Mom fell down and broke her hip, 911 was called and my 86 year old Dad simply handed the sheet to the EMT; it was a blessing during a very stressful time. And recently, while my Mom was visiting my brother and came down with pneumonia, the sheet was given to the admitting nurse in the ER. Medical staff are always grateful for this helpful resource, as it no doubt facilitates care and make their job a bit easier.

Even 17 years after the first sheet was created, it’s still an incredible tool to make a very stressful situation a bit more bearable.

If you have elderly parents, you don’t have to wait for a crisis to create a medical information sheet, just do it. Perhaps you will never need to use it, but if you do, you will be thankful that you did.

What do you do to help facilitate getting through medical crises? Please share and I will continue to share.

 

Happy New Year!

May Peace, Love, Good Health and Happiness fill your New Year!

Merry Christmas

Have you heard about Elderberry Syrup?

See how the virus cell is covered in spikes?

Elder (Sambucus nigra) is a fantastic antiviral and the way it works is really interesting.  First, you must visualize a virus, which is round and covered with spikes. The virus’ job is to invade the cell by using its spikes to puncture the cell wall.  Elder strengthens the cell wall while neutralizing the spikes on the virus, thus making it more difficult for the virus to invade the cell, BRILLIANT.  By taking elderberry syrup, you are strengthening your immune system so it can fight off cold and flu viruses when you are exposed to them, as well as lessen symptoms and duration of the illness. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Happy Chanukah

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. We celebrate by lighting the menorah and sending our prayers out into the world. We eat latkes with applesauce and play dreidel with chocolate coins. It is a time for us to pause as a family and think about our good fortune and freedom to celebrate the way we choose. Not everyone celebrates Chanukah his way, but this is the tradition Mike and I developed with Mathew over the years and it is very special to us. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” which is an ideal name, as it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. Check out the video below for a nice synopsis of the events that catalyzed this tradition.

May peace prevail on earth so we all get to celebrate the way we want to.

Happy Chanukah!

Connecting with your heart

I have always felt a deep release, perhaps better articulated as comfort and peacefulness, from listening to melodic sounds whether in the form of the wind moving through the leaves, Tibetan Monks chanting “Om Mani Pädme Hum” or Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing “Shosholoza.” The calmness is profound; it brings me into my heart space.  Sure, I love listening to music and enjoy singing along but there is something beyond the mere understanding of words that pulls at my inner being. The absence of literal translations creates the strength of how it resonates inside my inner core being. I like how Kalu Rinpoche explains it, “Through mantra, we no longer cling to the reality of the speech and sound encountered in life, but experience it as essentially empty. Then confusion of the speech aspect of our being is transformed into enlightened awareness.”

The chant “Om Mani Pädme Hum” is a perfect example. In fact, the International Journal of Science and Research published “Frequencies of the Buddhist Meditative Chant” in April 2016 delving deeper into its affects on individuals. “The six syllable mantra generates vibrations that somehow interacts at a cellular level; where every fibre of the body feels connected as they vibrate in synchrony; resonating at the same wavelengths. The syllables when repeatedly chanted can make one hear it more than music, as the mind aligns to its vibrations and frequencies.”

In my early twenties, searching for new experiences, I asked my brother, Michael, for a chant CD, and he gifted me “Tibetan Incantations – Om Mani Pädme.” I fell instantly in love with it and it became a high rotation CD; my “go to” when I needed focus and balance. I even played it at work, although it was a bit too much for some of my co-workers. I played it during labor as well as when Mathew was a toddler and needed to settle down. At one point, he also had had enough and would scream, “No more Om Mani Pädme Hum!”

Now, it has become the musical wallpaper for when I process herbs. Ever so often, I put on some Lady Smith Mambazo, which brings me to the same place of peace and presence ~ my heart space, which is important when processing herbs and what I want to infuse into my products.

What brings you into your heart space? Please share and I will continue to share.