In which The Wartime Housewife explains 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.