Tag Archives: essential oils

Trouble at Both Ends: How to cope with Diarrhoea & Vomiting

The winter diarrhoea and vomiting (D&V) bug appears to have reared its ugly head once again.  I have known several people with it over the weekend and it has absolutely knocked them for six, children and adults alike.  So be sensible and remember if D&V continues unabated for more than 24 hours, consult your doctor:

  • Keep off school and work until you are better – it’s not fair on other people to go in and spread it round everyone else.  Particularly stay away from babies and the elderly
  • Cover the mattress, covers and pillows with thick layers of towels which can be removed layer by layer if D&V is uncontrolled.  Cover the floor similarly with newspapers and put the buckets or bowls on these
  • Buy some pull-ups (nappy pants) for young children – it will save a lot of sheets
  • If your young child has a temperature, keep them cool – if they’re in bed, just cover them with a sheet.  Shivering is not necessarily a sign that they are cold, it’s the body’s way of cooling down
  • Adults: if you can keep water down, keep on sipping away, if not don’t drink
  • Children: if they can’t keep water down don’t give it to them until things have eased up and they can keep down fluids and have stopped vomiting or running to the lavatory
  • Then start giving them tiny amounts of cool, boiled water, using a medicine syringe if you have one, until they can start drinking properly
  • Mint tea is also very cooling – put 1 heaped teaspoon of dried mint or a small bunch of fresh minto into a teapot and add about a mugful of boiling water.  Leave for 5 minutes, strain, leave to cool slightly and sip gently
  • As soon as diarrhoea strikes, start taking some electrolyte powders eg. Dioralyte (or shops own) which are just as good.  This will keep you hydrated. 
  • If you don’t have any, a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon and a small teaspoon of honey is the perfect re-hydrant
  • Make up a plant spray containing water and 6 drops of lemon or peppermint essential oil.  Spray this around the room as it is an effective antiseptic and air freshener.
  • Keep some antiseptic wipes close, so that you can keep hands clean even if you can’t get to the washbasin
  • If anyone has a sore bottom, mix 3 drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil into a tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream, remembering to wash your hands thoroughly after applying it
  • Ask your family or neighbours for help; they don’t need to come in, but they could do some washing for you or make you a pan of soup, or sit with your children if you’re not well yourselfOnce fluids are staying in and the D&V has stopped, try some very light foods, with not too much milk in
  • Scrambled egg
  • Mashed banana
  • Stewed apple or pear
  • Bread and thin butter
  • Poached white fish
  • Mashed potatoes, pureed parsnips or carrots
  • Porridge
  • Complan – I buy the plain Complan (much cheaper) and mix it with milk & water with a little bit of cocoa and sugar.  It tastes nice, is very easy to digest and gives you the strength to start eating something more substantial
  • Another version of this is what we used to call Fairy Milk: a glass of milk, with an egg and a teaspoon of sugar mixed in, is frothy, tasty and nourishing

Soup – I make up a pan of Leek and Potato soup which can be thinned out with water at first, then gradually served on its own.  It is nourishing and cleansing, and the mint and parsley in it are cooling and antiseptic to the digestive tract (recipe below)


1 x large saucepan
1 x chopping board
1 x vegetable peeler
1 x sharp knife
1 x stick blender

2oz / 60g butter
2 large leeks – thinly sliced
½ onion – chopped
1 ½ lbs / 720g potatoes – peeled and cubed
1 heaped teaspoon dried parsley (double if fresh)
1 flat teaspoon dried mint (double if fresh)
a twist of black pepper
1 ½ pints / 900ml chicken stock
¼ pint / 150ml double cream

Melt the butter in the pan
Add the leeks and onions and cook until soft
Add the potatoes, herbs & pepper and cook until the potatoes are softening
Add the stock and simmer until the potatoes are soft
Blend until smooth
Stir in the cream


Filed under Children, Cleaning, Food, Natural Home Medicines, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes

Natural Home Remedies: Part 1

In which The Wartime Housewife Nurse Natural rememdies 1 - 24.08.09explains the medicinal
uses of essential oils, specifically Lavender, Eucalyptus,
Tea Tree and Peppermint.

I had been planning to include articles on the use of natural remedies sometime next month, but following a trip to Hardwick Hall, which had the most exquisite herb garden, I feel moved to start straight away.

I would recommend keeping a few bottles of essential oil in the medicine box at all times.  These are the concentrated essences of plants obtained by predominantly by distillation, and these are available from all good health food shops and quite a lot of chemists these days.  Just make sure that they are 100% pure and if you are in any doubt as to their use, consult your chemist or a qualified practitioner. The Wartime Housewife is a qualified Massage Therapist but I am not teaching you to be professionals. These are home remedies so use your common sense.

Lavender:  This is the all round good egg of the natural pharmacy.  It is antiseptic, antifungal, antibiotic and antiviral.  It promotes healing particularly for burns and it also helps to reduce scarring, it’s calming, helps reduce headaches and promotes deep sleep.

Burns and scalds – put a drop or two directly onto the burn every day until it heals.  Remember, if the burn is over 2″, consult a doctor.

Cuts and grazes – clean the wound and the area round it with 5 drops in a small bowl of warm water.  Then put one drop neat onto the wound.

Sleep – 10 drops in the bath water will help to promote quiet sleep, also add one drop to the pillow or sheet.  For babies, put 1 drop in the bath water and 1 drop on the cot sheet.

Mild shock – if you’ve had an minor accident or injury, a drop or two of lavender oil either onto the skin or on to clothes near the head is very beneficial in alleviating distress and has a very calming effect in adults and children.

Tea Tree:  Another powerful  antiseptic and a very effective antifungal.  Use for any fungal infections such as athletes foot by putting 10 drops in the bath or a foot bath.  For an ointment use 5 drops mixed thoroughly with zinc and castor oil cream or put 2 drops on a cotton wool ball and smear it on the affected area.  An emergency treatment for vaginal thrush is to mix very thoroughly one drop of oil in 1 tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream and apply ½ a teaspoon of the cream to the end of a tampon, use a little to rub gently on external areas.  This cream also works for the gentleman’s area.

Peppermint: This is excellent for the digestion, is also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and very cooling.

Indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea – 2 drops in a pint of hot water.  Sip this slowly until it is all gone.  If it is not relieved in an hour or so, do it again. (the vapour will initially make your eyes water a bit – keep them closed)

Tired feet – put 4 drops in a bowl of lukewarm water and soak your feet

Bad breath – mix 4 drops in a tablespoon of brandy, gin or vodka.  Add to a small tumbler of warm water and use as a mouthwash.

Eucalyptus:  this is well known for it’s usefulness with colds, coughs and sinus problems but is also a useful cradle cap remedy, insect repellent and deodorant.

Colds, stuffy noses:  Put 5 drops in a bowl of very hot water and inhale deeply for at least 10 minutes, making sure that you keep you eyes closed.  Put a drop on your handkerchief or tissues as well.

Cradle Cap:  mix 2 drops in a tablespoon of olive oil and rub very gently into the affected area, taking care to avoid the soft fontanelle at the front of the head.


Filed under Natural Home Medicines