Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fungal Infections and Essential Oils

It is almost summer and it is not uncommon for children to pick up an infection at various places. The swimming pools and the gym are breeding grounds for infectious fungi. The children can also get ringworm from pets, contaminated soil, or person to person contact. The better the immune system is the less chance it is to get an infection.  I always build health first to make sure the little bodies can handle various challenges.

Ringworm is not a worm, it is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. It has a special ring formation that grows outward from the center and develop a red ring appearance on the skin. It is most common on the scalp but it can also appear on the body. It is contagious and can be spread from person to person. They can be stubborn to treat, and patience and consistence are required.

Some essential oils that show anti-fungal properties are tea tree, chamomile, geranium, lavender, myrrh, patchouli, and sandalwood.
One of the most powerful anti-microbial essential oil is tea tree/melaleuca.  
 Valerie Ann Worwood recommends to apply 1 drop tea tree neat on the affected area three times a day until it is clear. It normally takes 10 days, and after that, mix 30 drops tea tree with 2 tablespoons of massage oil. Rub this blend over the area daily. 

Valerie Gennari Cooksley suggests the following blend. The blend is a 10% dilution, as Cooksley thinks a concentrated blend is needed since fungal infections can be very resistant.

Ringworm Treatment Oil
vegetable oil 2 tbls.
tea tree 25 drops
lavender 15 drops
geranium 5 drops
peppermint 5 drops
Vitamin E 400 IU

Add the essential oils and the vitamin E to an empty dark glass bottle, add the vegetable oil. Shake the bottle to mix well. Use a Q tip to apply to the area. Cover the patch.

Soaking in the ocean or taking a sea salt bath have been useful for many skin conditions.

Anti-fungal bath
1-2 cups of sea salt
lavender 4 drops
geranium 1 drop
tea tree 1 drop

Fill the bath wit water. Add the essential oils to the sea salt and mix. Add to the bath water and stir well. 

Athletes foot
It doesn't take much for small little feet to get athlete's foot. Walking barefoot in places like swimming pools where someone infected has been can be enough.

Worwood's suggestions for athlete's foot are tea tree, lavender, and tagetes.
She suggests a foot bath daily. Add 5 drops of tea tree to a cup of salt and put in a large bowl of water. Let the child soak the feet for at least five minutes daily.
Worwood also suggests to make a foot powder by adding 10 drops of tea tree to a cup of dry green clay. Mix it really well, and powder the feet everyday.
A massage oil can also be made of 30 drops of tagetes to 2 tbls. of vegetable oil. Massage the feet before bed.

When dealing with fungal infections it is important to avoid food that feed yeast, change towels frequently, use only cotton socks, and drying the skin well. Consider adding immune boosting nutrients, and repopulate the friendly flora with Probiotics. 

Don't forget to check the safety and dilution chart to make sure the oils are suitable for your child.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Antiseptic Vinegar

This is  the time of the year when I frequently bring out my essential oils. I like to make an antiseptic vinegar to keep around the house for washing minor wounds. If the immune system is good a minor wound is normally not a problem, and the chances for infection is very small.

When I use the essential oils  the wounds normally heal faster, and the scarring is minimized.  Many of the oils also have pain relieving properties, and they are  calming and soothing. So, while not always necessary, they aid in the healing process. 

Antiseptic Vinegar
1/2 cup distilled water
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
lavender 6 drops
geranium 1 drop 
1 8-ounce glass bottle

Mix the essential oils with the honey. Combine the aromatic honey with the water and the vinegar. Stir well and add to the bottle. Shake well to mix. When you need to use it, soak a cotton ball in with the blend, and clean the wound.

Other oils useful in a first aid kit are: bergamot, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary and frankincense.
Remember,  to avoid sun exposure for 12 hours if using essential oils like bergamot and lemon.

Don't forget to check the safety and dilution chart to make sure the oils are suitable for your child.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beach Time! - What You Need for the Beach and the Sun

Our family  went down to Corpus Christi yesterday to see our oldest son run in the regional final of Track and Field. We decided to leave early so that we could spend some time on the beach before the meet started. I decided to make body spray real quick to be prepared for minor things that might happen. I wanted a spray that would cover everything from a sunburn to an insect bite.

I choose Lavender, Peppermint, Geranium and Tea tree.  A blend of lavender and peppermint, or lavender and tea tree, would have done fine also. Lavender calms the skin, and it is also beneficial for healing burns and cleansing wounds and cuts. Peppermint is cooling, soothes pain, anti-infectious and supports digestion.
Tea tree was added for its antiseptic properties as well as for potential insect bites. Geranium has inflammatory properties, is hemostatic (stops bleeding) and revitalizes skin tissues. It is also an insect repellent.

Super Duper Beach Spray
Lavender  4 drops
Peppermint  3 drops
Tea tree  3 drops
Geranium 2 drops
2 oz. distilled water
1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel

I mix the essential oils with the aloe vera before I add it to the water in the spray bottle.  Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory, and will provide some soothing to a skin after sin exposure.

If the skin is very sore after a day in the sun you might want to pour a cooling bath and add some essential oils as well. Suitable carriers are honey, milk, aloe vera, honey and cream. Mix the essential oils with the carrier, and add to the bath water once its filled. The adult dose is 8-10 drops of essential oils to a full bath. I add half the amount to my 9 and 10 year old, dilute it even more for smaller children. 

Super Duper After Sun Healing Spray
Distilled water 1/2 cup
Witch hazel 1/4 cup
Aloe vera 1/4 cup
Lavender  8 drops
R. Chamomile 2 drops
Geranium  1 drop
Honey 1 tsp.
Mix water, witch hazel and aloe vera. Combine honey and essential oils and mix well. Add the essential oil mixture to the water. Make sure you use at least an 8 oz. spray bottle. Use several times during the day.

Other useful things to have at home in case the skin gets sunburned.
Extra virgin olive oil - has traditionally been used to treat and heal burns for centuries. The cold pressed oil is high in vitamins and minerals.

Calendula - is a staple in our house. I make infused oils and I always keep an bottle in the fridge. It can be used as a stand alone, or added to other blends, or essential oils can be added for extra healing. It is powerful on its own. I also use it as an ingredient when I make ointments

Wheat germ oil - Is high in antioxidants and is useful for burns and damaged skin.

Honey - Is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and can be used as a healing agent for dressings. Essential oils increase its effect, lavender and chamomile are especially useful.

Peppermint tea - Is cooling and a good choice when it is hot and someone needs to cooled down.

Spray bottles - Make a simple spray of Lavender  and use as a cooling and soothing spray.

We joke in our family and say that we eat our sunscreen. We hydrate, eat extra antioxidants, especially beta carotene, omega essential fatty acids (not cod liver), and plenty or raw fruit and vegetables to protect our skin as well.