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5 of my favourite oils – for first aid uses
When you’re out and about, do you, your partner or your kids get tummy upsets, travel sickness, breathing congestion, coughs, cuts and bruises, muscle aches and sprains or insect bites. Then, here are some great ways to help
1. Peppermint Oil:
- Great for tummy upsets – just smelling it can help. Or you can add 1 drop into warm water (with a touch of honey) to ingest it. Or rub it, diluted in a carrier oil on the tummy to help reduce stomach and intestinal spasms
- Helps for
- Travel sickness
- With a carrier oil, turn it into a chest rub for nasal and/or chest congestion related to respiratory illnesses
- Use it on wrists and feet (in a carrier oil) to help reduce the intensity of fevers
- With a carrier oil, turn it into a muscle rub for sore and tired muscles and feet
2. Lavender Oil:
- Perfect first aid for burns – place it directly on the wound (without a carrier oil is ok if necessary, otherwise a diluted version is great) – wash the burn with cold water, then add the oil and leave it. Re-apply as required – based on pain
- This reduces pain, inflammation and speeds healing. The number of times I have been sure I was going to have a blister and the next morning there was no trace except maybe a slight skin tenderness, I am amazed every time!
- Great for sleep issues (add a drop to the pillow)
- Great to reduce stress (and even depression) – just smell the bottle or diffuse into the air
- Use in a spray for a natural hand sanitiser and for a wound anti-septic spray (vinegar, water, lavender and tea tree; or lavender, tea tree and water with a touch of glycerine)
- Great to help soothe any skin irritation
- Mix with aloe vera for sunburn relief (or make a spray)
- Soothes insect bites
- Mix with a carrier oil and Peppermint oil and use to reduce headaches
3. Tea Tree
- Is a powerful anti-microbial, you can use it topically to f=treat fungal infections and also to treat viral cold sores
- It is great alone, or with Lavender as an anti-septic spray
- Use with peppermint in a chest rub to reduce sinus and respiratory congestion, place around the back of the neck to help soothe coughs
- Diffuse (or smell the bottle) to help sinus/respiratory congestion, great as helps kill viruses, the cause of most coughs and colds and flus. (can use in boiling water and breathe in, but need to take care with this – the boiling water can burn the nasal lining if too close, the oils can sting the eyes, so keep closed, and obviously boiling water cannot touch you/you don’t want to drop it…)
- For coughs, use lemon juice or oil and honey to help soothe the throat and reduce coughs (if you have eucalyptus, you can add a drop of that too)
- Tea Tree should not be ingested and shouldn’t be used in pregnancy
- Diffuse to help reduce respiratory and sinus congestion (lemon helps too)
- Add to muscle rub – as helps reduce inflammation and minimise bruising
- Use on strains and sprains – to minimise bruising
- Use on cuts and wounds to help as an anti-septic and anti-inflammatory
- Use with Lavender for skin irritations and insect bites to soothe and reduce redness
- Add to eucalyptus and lavender to help repel insects (especially helps repel ticks)
- Use on cuts as it may assist in blood clot formation – be aware that the cut may increase bleeding initially as the wound “cleanses” itself
- Great to add to skin irritations for soothing due to its anti0inflammatory and astringent qualities
- Can assist headaches, reduce anxiety and help balance hormones
Do you want a few simple recipes to help you use the above oils easily and effectively, without having to mix up something when you need it?
Watch out for my next Essential Oil post and recipe ebook
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Honey – A Treat or a Treatment?
Written by Dr Alexis Weidland (Osteopath)
So honey tastes great, but it’s just sugar right?
Well, yes… and no.
Honey is high in calories, containing a whopping 17grams of sugar, zero fats and minimal (0.1g) protein in just 21 grams of honey (1 Tablespoon) (1,2) .
Honey is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates, specifically sugars, it is a combination of fructose, glucose and maltose (3) . But while table sugar or sucrose (a combination of glucose and fructose) has a Glycaemic Index (GI) of 68, honey’s GI is 50 – still high, but a little lower (4) .
From the above information, you could be forgiven for thinking that honey is not all that great. Based on that, it is only a slightly better sweetener alternative to regular sugar.
Looking a little deeper
- While both honey and table sugar have a high GI, (unlike refined sugar), who’s Glycaemic Load GL is 28. Honey’s GL is around 16, depending on the source it is claimed even lower (2) .
- GL is a conversion of GI into a serving size, appropriate measure, although it is still an incomplete view of food and its effect on blood glucose levels, it may be more accurate than GI.
- According to Glycaemic Load, a measure less than 10 is low, between 10-20 is moderate and over 20 is high (5) . So while sugar remains a high GL food, honey drops to a moderate GL food, possibly making it better for diabetics (though not perfect).
- While sugar contains calories (from carbohydrates) and is void of nutritional value or health benefits.
- Honey contains:
- plant-based antioxidants (6,7)
- amino acids (22 of them)
- trace vitamins (including B vitamins [B1,2,3,5 & 6], A, C, D, E & K)
- trace minerals (about 27, including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium)
- 5000 enzymes (1,8)
- has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits (7) .
- Scientists believe that it is the antioxidants found in honey that are responsible for its
many potential health benefits (6) .
Did I say of health benefits?
Yes, you read correctly!
Honey appears to have been used since ancient times in medicine, and it is still used today, maybe you’ve heard of Manuka Honey? (3) .
So, while honey as a sweetener choice, may only be marginally better that refined sugar, as a medicinal aid, used in moderation within a healthy, varied, high plant filled diet, scientific research suggests it could be the perfect choice!.
8 surprising evidence based benefits of honey:
- Well, honey can be beneficial for the healing of wounds, especially in diabetic patients (7) .
- It is cardio protective and shows some promise in supporting those with diabetes due to its ability to reduce oxidation of LDLs
- Improves blood lipid profile – reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing HDLs
- Improves the widening and relaxing of arteries (supporting reduction in blood pressure and increase circulation even to the heart) (9,10,11) .
- Appears to reduce general inflammation (10,11) .
- Supports the immune system (15) and has shown great promise as being more effective than cough medicines in children (12,13)
- As well as in reducing medications for allergy suffers (14) .
- Because the compounds in honey positively impact the immune system, healing ability and inflammatory response of the human body internally as well as on the skin and this is further supported by the antimicrobial benefits of honey. This combination makes it perfect for treating skin conditions from acne and dandruff to psoriasis and eczema as well as skin lesions, burns and wounds.
1. WOUND HEALING
Honey assists in wound healing which is especially useful in diabetic wounds, due to complications and difficulties as a result of slowed healing rates in people with advanced diabetes. In fact, because honey has to ability to fight microorganisms, support healing itself via trace nutrients and antioxidants and reduce inflammation as well as keep the would moist, it is a perfect remedy all on its own (7) . It has the added benefit of still being effective against antibiotic resistant microbes as well as being cheap and accessible (7) . This is especially useful in diabetic wounds due to slow healing complications (7) .
2. CARDIO PROTECTIVE:
Honey contains a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C, flavonoids and others and research shows honey has potential pharmaceutical benefit in: fighting free radicals (one factor involved in heart disease); reducing the oxidation of LDLs in the blood (a major factor in plaque and clot formation); promoting vasodilation of the blood vessels (the opposite of which, vasoconstriction, is a major cause of high blood pressure and restricted circulation to the heart) (9) (Honey contains a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C, flavonoids and others and research shows honey has potential pharmaceutical benefit in reducing cardiovascular disease due to its antithrombotic (reduce clots), anti-ishaemic (increase circulation and oxygen), and vaso-relaxant actions (allows blood vessels to relax and widen). These actions assist in a reduction of clots and arterial blockages including from arterial constriction itself; reduce LDL oxidation thus further reducing plaques and potential clots; and reducing blood pressure via reducing artery resistance and plaque growths) – this is too technical yes? (9)
3. REDUCED INFLAMMATORY MARKERS
Studies show that C-reactive protein, a marker for general body inflammation as well as homocysteine, a necessary amino acid but in high levels is a potent free radical) both reduce with honey supplementation (10, 11) .
4. REDUCED LDL, CHOLESTEROL, TRIGLYCERIDES WHILE INCREASED HDL
Studies show the potential of honey supplementation to improve the blood lipid profile, beneficial for many things, most notably cardiovascular disease and diabetes (10, 11) .
5. AN EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO COUGH MEDICINE
In multiple studies, honey performed as well as cough medicine or better, especially in children (12, 13) .
6. ALLERGY SUPPORT
At least 1 study shows that pre-seasonal use of honey (made with the pollen of the plants that one is allergic to) can reduce use of allergy medications and days symptomatic days (14) .
7. SUPPORT IMMUNE SYSTEM
Honey contains polyphenols, a group of plant antioxidants that assist the body in flighting diseases. A study showed that taking honey daily, raise blood levels of polyphenols, showing that honey is a bioavailable form of such antioxidants as at least the polyphenol group of antioxidants (15) .
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- Gheldof N1, Wang XH, Engeseth NJ. 2002, ‘Identification and quantification of antioxidant components of honeys from various floral sources’, J Agric Food Chem. Oct 9;50(21):5870. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12358452
- Fahmida Alam,1 Asiful Islam, 1 Siew Hua Gan, 1 and Md. Ibrahim Khalil 2 , *, 2014 ‘Honey: A Potential Therapeutic Agent for Managing Diabetic Wounds’, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014: 169130. [Published online 2014 Oct 15]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4216698/
- M I Khaliland S A Sulaiman .2010, ‘The Potential Role of Honey and its Polyphenols in Preventing Heart Diseases: A Review’, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 7(4): 315–321. Published online 2010 Jul 3. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005390/
- Al-Waili NS1. 2004, ‘Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose’, J Med Food. Spring;7(1):100-7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15117561
- Majid M, Younis MA, Naveed AK, Shah MU, Azeem Z, Tirmizi SH. 2013, ‘Effects of natural honey on blood glucose and lipid profile in young healthy Pakistani males’, J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. Jul-Dec;25(3-4):44-7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25226738
- Paul IM1, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM Jr. 2007, ‘Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents’, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Dec;161(12):1140-6. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558
- Shadkam MN1, Mozaffari-Khosravi H, Mozayan MR. 2010, ‘A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents’, J Altern Complement Med.Jul;16(7):787-93. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0311. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20618098
- Saarinen K1, Jantunen J, Haahtela T. 2011, ‘Birch pollen honey for birch pollen allergy–a randomized controlled pilot study’, Int Arch Allergy Immunol.2011;155(2):160-6. doi: 10.1159/000319821. Epub 2010 Dec 23. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21196761