20 Amazing Uses for Tea Tree Oil

One of my favourite, multi-purpose items in my house is Tea Tree Oil.  And if you don't have a bottle in your cupboard, I highly recommend getting some ASAP.  This essential oil is not only great to diffuse in your home, but it has so many other amazing uses! It's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and the list goes on and on.

Don't think you would ever use it? After you see my top 20 list, you might think again!

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20 Amazing Uses for Tea Tree Oil

  1. Soothes and heals Sunburns - add 8-10 drops to some coconut oil and gently rub onto to your sunburn.
  2. Heals skin infections - bed sores, cysts, boils - apply a couple drops daily to the affected area.
  3. Treats Acne - rub a drop or 2 onto that nasty pimple and watch it disappear.
  4. Prevents Lice - add a few drops to your kids bath water or your shampoo to help keep those nasty bugs away.
  5. Removes Ticks - drop pure oil onto the tick, wait to minutes and remove.  Make sure to apply some oil to the puncture too.
  6. Antiseptic - use on small cuts or abrasions 
  7. Treats Ringworm
  8. Soothes Insect Bites
  9. Warts - soak a cotton ball with Tea Tree Oil and secure it with duct tape to the wart before bed. Remove in the morning and repeat nightly until the wart turns black.
  10. Toenail Fungus/ Athlete's Foot - apply daily for 1-2 months
  11. All-Purpose Cleaner - add 1-2 tsp of oil to a spray bottle and fill the rest with water.  Use to clean counters, yoga mats, desks, high chairs, car seats etc.
  12. Canker Sores - add 1-2 drops to a cotton swab and place on sore twice daily
  13. Dandruff - add 20-30 drops to any shampoo or add a few drops directly to scalp and massage after washing.
  14. Laundry Boost - add 1/2 tsp to washing machine when doing a load of towels or other mold prone fabrics.
  15. Ingrown Hairs
  16. Colds - add 10 drops of Tea Tree oil to a warm vapourizer and place in your room overnight.
  17. Skin Tags
  18. Insect Repellent - 15 drops added to a quart of water can work as an effective bug spray.
  19. Control Mold - add 2 tsp to 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on problem areas and do not rinse.
  20. Pest Control - ants and other pests don't like Tea Tree Oil, so place a few drops at the point of entry or try wiping out kitchen cupboards with a Tea Tree Oil/water solution to keeps ants away.

 And remember, all essential oils can be quite potent. Undiluted Tea Tree Oil can cause itchiness, irritation, and redness on sensitive skin. So, if you have sensitive skin, it is always safer to dilute the oil in another base oil such as coconut oil or olive oil.

What's your favourite Tea Tree Oil use?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about natural health care, I am not a medical professional.  This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only.

All-Natural Bug Repellent #DIY

In just a few days we'll be packing up the kids and dogs and heading off the to great wilderness (read: campground 1hr away from home) to enjoy a little outdoor camping adventure.

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Among many other things, we will need a good amount of bug spray.  I can't stand the thought of putting DEET on my kiddos or dogs so I've come up with my own concoction that works and is completely natural!

All-Natural Bug Repellent

What You'll Need:

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Witch Hazel
  • Citronella Essential Oil
  • Rosemary Essential Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Clove Essential Oil

Directions:

This couldn't be easier.  Pour your water and Witch Hazel into your spray bottle.  Next it's time for the essential oils.  The best part is you can tweak the recipe depending on your preference.  Here's what I used: 25 drops of Citronella, 20 drops Lavender, 7 drops of Rosemary and 7 drops of Clove essential oils.  Add to your bottle and shake well.  And PRESTO!  All-Natural Bug Repellent!

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Both my husband and I tried this spray out over the weekend with great success.  It was easy to make and goes on great; nice and light and refreshing.  I sat out on the deck last night to test it and see if it did indeed repel the bugs.  I had been cleaning up the back yard and as the sun went down the mosquitoes came out.  After applying it to my arms and legs I was surprised how well it worked.  The mosquitoes came over to for a little nibble, but when they landed or got close they didn't seem to care for my scent anymore and left.

There will be more testing this weekend at the campground so stay tuned for an update. Remember, what works for me may not work for you, so mix up the recipe to suit your needs.  And don't forget to let me know if it worked for you or if you discovered an even better bug spray recipe!

All-Natural #DIY Fruit-Fly Trap

My name is Jen and I have a Fruit fly problem.  It all started with that bunch of bananas and now with the messy kids and dogs, they seem to be all over the kitchen.

Does that sound familiar? Well, currently we have had quite the fruit fly party in our kitchen.  I find the summer is tricky with the plethora of fruits and veggies available and within a day you can become easily overrun by these tiny pests.  But don't fret, I have found quite possibly the easiest and likely most effective way to get rid of those annoying bugs.

Are you ready?!


All-Natural DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Water
A glass
Plastic Wrap

Instructions:
Place equals parts of Apple Cider Vinegar and water in your glass.  I used about a 1/3 of a cup of each...maybe...but it doesn't really matter. Cover glass with plastic wrap.  Poke a few holes in the top of the plastic wrap.  Place in known Fruit Fly hangout and wait.

Kinda gross, but lots of little flies swimming in the vinegar

Yup, that's it.  Within just a few minutes I had Fruit flies circling the glass.  The beauty is they can find a way in, but their brains are too small to find a way out.  So eventually they get too tired and fall into the vinegar.

On a side note...yes the trap is quite effective, but in order to completely rid your kitchen of fruit flies you will also need to get rid of the offending food.  So whether they came in on a bunch of fruit or you left an empty beer bottle on the counter, they will continue to reproduce.  So make the trap, clean the kitchen and then you're set!


Cheers,
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3 Natural Ways to Keep Your Yard Mosquito Free

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So our bitterly cold and long winter didn't seem to affect our mosquito population here in Ontario.  In fact, they seem to be worse than ever.  Our new yard is full of beautiful cedars and evergreens and lots of other favorite hangouts for mosquitos.  We even have drain that runs through our property that I'm sure is like the neighbourhood gathering spot for those tiny blood suckers.

Even in broad daylight they have been eating us alive.  So much so that we haven't been able to spend time in our new backyard.  So I began my mission to find some natural ways to get rid of those bloody pests.

3 Natural Ways to Keep Your Yard Mosquito Free

Dry Things Out - Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water.  So keep your yard nice and dry to they don't have a spot to get jiggy with it.  Keep an eye out for kids toys, buckets and pots that are full of water.

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Get Lemony - those little vampires don't seem to care for Citronella and Lemon Balm.  So stock your yard full of these yummy scented plants.  Keep them in planters or put them directly in your gardens.  I just planted a line in front of our cedars and have some giant ones in pots on the deck.  You can even rub the leaves to get some of the fragrant oil  to help keep those biters away.

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Just Like Vampires - our last resort is Garlic Oil. Yup, just like how Vampires don't like garlic, apparently neither do mosquitoes.  I've purchased some pure Garlic Oil (99.3%) from our local feed store to treat our yard. You spray the perimeter, trees and bushes and the mosquitoes will hit the road.  And yes, your property may smell incredibly delicious, but the garlic smell disappears in a couple hours but it's repellent properties last much longer.  You'll have to stay tuned for my review, but I can tell you there were quite a few people in the feed store picking it up.

Have you got a favourite natural way to keep from getting eaten alive? Please share!

Meadow Guard - All-Natural Odour-Fighting, Immune-Boosting Deodorant

You may remember from previous posts that I have banished all forms of deodorant and antiperspirant from our homestead unless it's something I made myself.  Not only are they expensive, but they are full of nasty chemicals and toxins that have been linked to all kinds of different ailments including cancer.

Is your Deodorant Toxic??

But recently I decided to give From the Meadow's Meadow Guard a try.  I do make my own deodorant, but I wanted to see what else was out there.  And also, my husband isn't quite satisfied with the odour-busting abilities of my homemade concoction.  It's fine for me, but he works a very physically demanding job and needs something that is going to keep him smelling fresh all day.

So bring on the Meadow Guard!

It is all natural and full of all kinds of odour-fighting and immune-boosting herbs and plants.  Trade in the toxic chemicals for things like:
  • Fennel - which has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
  • Feverfew - which helps to reduce & prevent headaches and supports digestive health
  • Anise - helps move mucus from the lungs and relieves cramps and spasms, especially when these symptoms are tied to bronchitis, when there is an incessant cough, or specifically for whooping cough.  
  • Rosemary - stimulates circulation, help with heart health and even improves energy and has anti-depressant properties
And that's only a few of the herbs & essential oils blended into this powerful stick!

Meadow Guard is light green in colour it goes on smooth and is quite moisturizing on the under arm.  It has a lovely lemongrass scent that both me and my husband enjoy.  We've been using it for close to a month now and we're still loving it.  My husband commented that it's the first deodorant he's ever had that actually kept him from getting stinky.  No overpowering fragrances, but that mix of herbs and essential oils is combating his odour-causing germs like nobody's business! I'm just excited when he gets home from work I can actually hug him without the fear of passing out.  And I haven't noticed any unsightly white marks on my clothes.  Bonus!

I have to say that I'm super impressed with Meadow Guard and I will admit it's steps above my own homemade deodorant.

And yes, it's OK to ask for some in your stocking! (pssst....it's perfect for cold & flu season.)
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Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from From the Meadow for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Bumps, Bruises & Bums - Baby Burrific Heal-All Review

You may remember my previous post discussing all the nasty ingredients in diaper cream.  To think that we willing smear that gunk on our precious babes sensitive parts. But no more!  We have banished all those petroleum-based toxic concoctions and have been converted to a more natural, holistic product - Baby Burrific Heal-All.
http://www.fromthemeadow.com/baby.htm


This cream is part of From the Meadow's Miss Abby Baby Collection This is a must have for every nursery.  And it's not just a diaper cream.  This cream does it all; bumps, bruises, scrapes, dry skin and sore spots the Burrific Heal-All takes care of just about everything.

http://www.fromthemeadow.com/baby.htmMade with all natural ingredients including oil of Rosemary, Burdock, Heal-all,Yarrow and Aloe.This cream is gentle enough for all your baby's precious parts. 

As a diaper cream the Baby Burrific worked wonders.  It has a nice natural herbal scent and easily absorbed into baby's skin.  And unlike those white petroleum creams it soaks right in and you can rub the excess into your hands to help soothe dry skin.  I used it with our cloth diapers and it didn't stain them or make them smell funky like the commercial brand we had been using.

We also used it on the kids never ending  parade of bumps,scrapes, and scratches.  There were no complaints from the kids and it definitely helped to soothe and heal those sore spots.

The Baby Burrific Heall-All cream lives up to it's name and is a great multi-purpose cream to have as part of your nursery and medicine cabinet.  And to top it off, it's all natural and safe for even the smallest of babes!

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Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from From the Meadow for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Royal Velvet All-In-One Shampoo, Body Wash & Facial Cleanser Product Review

After researching what was actually in all my lovely bottles in the shower, I was kind of grossed out and a little frightened by what I had been putting on my hair all these years. (check out my post about what's in your shampoo) I really couldn't believe the amount of chemicals and very un-natural things that were in my shampoo.  I don't know if I was blissfully unaware or I was just too naive to think about how a shampoo could make my hair look and smell so amazing, but was so toxic at the same time.  And so the search began for a safer, more environmentally friendly way to wash my locks.

And what I found was Royal Velvet - an all-in-one Shampoo, Body Wash & Facial Cleanser made by From the Meadow. Talk about a multi-tasker....I was already excited about the thought of having just one bottle instead of three on the side of the tub.

So when I picked out this new shampoo, Brenda, the owner of From the Meadow was kind enough to give me a little education on using an all natural shampoo.  She first asked me if I put junk on my hair.  Not sure exactly what she meant, but I figured she was referring to chemicals.  And yes, there were many; Shampoo, conditioner, curl enhancer, shine oil and even some hairspray. And then she said something like "it will make your hair feel like crap. It's got to get all the crap off your hair."  I had used some fairly natural soaps and shampoos in the past so I really didn't think too much about it.

On the first day in the shower I used only the Royal Velvet as my shampoo, body wash and facial cleanser.  It's pretty amazing as there are only 4 ingredients in entire bottle.  I can't think of very many things I own that only have 4 ingredients.  As soon as I opened the bottle I was immediately calmed...inhaling the lovely perfume of lavender in the tub.  The Royal Velvet has a nice texture and with no artificial colours (or anything) it had a very natural and organic oatmeal colour.  There's not a lot of foaming action as it's a natural product free of any added chemicals that give us all those bubbles.  But when rubbed between your hands it had a decent lather and wonderful lavender smell.  It was heavenly on the body and face and left my skin feeling clean and moisturized.  It wasn't drying or irritating and I found I didn't need to use as much moisturizer as I usually would.  I'm guessing this is because it's comprised of saponified Oil of Soya and Coconut.  Regardless, it was nice not feeling like my skin was parched and a size too small when I got out of the shower.

Now for the hair....

So as of right now I have been using Royal Velvet for just over 2 weeks.  And as Brenda warned, my hair did feel like crap.  The first time I used it I don't think I was fully prepared for the actual feeling.  It was like I had rubbed some kind of gunk through my hair instead of shampoo. It didn't matter if I added more, there was no lather and it just felt dirty and slimy.  After all, Brenda had told me that it was just all the crud and build up that was coming out of my hair.  So I kept that in my head and kept going with my experiment.  I usually wash my hair every 2-3 days and kept up this routine with the Royal Velvet.  It was the strangest feeling...it was like my hair was grimy, but not really greasy.  It felt thicker and wasn't frizzy and it smelled fantastic with all the lavender.  But about a week into it, I was feeling less than comfortable with my slick look.  I visited Brenda at the Farmacy and asked her if this was normal and if there was anything I could do.  She didn't seemed phased at all and handed me a sample of Calendula soap and told me to alternate it with the Royal Velvet.

My hair after 2 weeks of Royal Velvet
I then went home and did a little research on my own about using natural, chemical-free shampoos.  And it turns out that yes, all the crud and buildup will come out of your hair...which is kinda gross.  Also, the other thing is your hair and scalp need to recalibrate.  The regular shampoos strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils, which is why your hair is so nice and soft and shiny, but also why you need to wash it frequently.  Since those oils are continually stripped, your body has to work overtime to keep producing them in an effort to keep your hair and scalp moisturized.  So when you quit the stripping with the chemical shampoos, it takes some time for your body to realize it doesn't have to produce so much oil anymore.  So hence the oil slick on my head.

Now, just over 2 weeks into using the Royal Velvet, my hair is no longer greasy.  It's clean and healthy and quite manageable.  It does feel different; you can feel the natural oils in my hair, but not in a gross way, but more like a healthy, natural, shiny way.  I've used the Calendula soap twice when I feel I'm getting a little too oily but each time I wash my hair I notice it feels less and less cruddy and more and more healthy.

As far as the Royal Velvet goes, I will say as a body wash and facial cleanser it is heavenly!  It cleans without drying and smells divine.  And as a shampoo, it is a process...one that will lead you to healthier, happier hair.  My husband has been using it as well and hasn't had quite the same tricky tresses I have but that's likely because he has considerably less hair than I!  I am quite pleased with the results so far and I can't wait to see what the future holds.  And I'm beyond thrilled that I can pronounce everything on the bottle...and it's local and organic.  What a winning combination!

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Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge from From the Meadow for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Buckwheat in the Bedroom : Product Review for Harvest Pillows

Tossing and turning all night?  Snoring, fidgety, headaches, tight neck?  Sound familiar?  Most people, myself included have issues when it comes to sleeping.  Did you know that it could all be because of your pillow?

Pillows are a very personal item.  Soft, firm, foam, feathers, big, small, everyone likes something different.  I've been in love with my memory foam pillow for the past few years and recently decided to cheat on  him with a natural alternative.  My affair with Harvest Pillows started about two weeks ago and what can I say, I'm in love.

What started out as a simple product review of these all-natural Canadian-made buckwheat pillows has turned into a full on love affair. I ditched my memory foam pillow and tried out the buckwheat one just to see.  I didn't really think I'd notice a difference at all.  The first night I tossed and turned almost the whole night.  I couldn't say whether it was the pillow change or just simply a bad night.  The second night was similar to the first, lots of rolling around and trying to find a comfortable position.  But on the third night....it was BLISS!  I don't think I moved the entire night.  I can't remember the last time that happened.  I've always considered myself a light sleeper and I'm sure I am, but this was an amazingly deep and restorative sleep.  And every night has felt like that since.  I don't toss and turn, I don't constantly wake up and no weird neck or head issues when I awake.  I also noticed I don't drool all over my pillow anymore and I'm pretty sure it's all because of the buckwheat.

So let me tell you a little bit more about Buckwheat and maybe you'll understand why I broke up with memory foam.  First of all, it's a natural product. Buckwheat is a fruit related to the rhubarb family. And when properly milled, the hulls are extremely clean and manipulable. They support your head and neck by simply moulding to your contours. They don't fall away throughout the night, remaining in place while you sleep. Harvest Pillows buckwheat hulls are "crack milled". This process holds the cup shape of each hull, retaining their spring-like integrity and providing substantial support in the pillows. On average, the hulls will retain their strength for about ten years before flattening.
The support provided by the buckwheat hulls is the result of movement from many individual hulls. The hulls act like sand on the beach and mold to your contours. Unlike a preformed pillow, buckwheat hull pillows conform to your shape... rather than you conforming to it. Your head, neck and spine rest in their natural position and you relax. You'll enjoy a cool sleep as air passes through the hulls - reducing any perspiration and "hot flashes", even on a hot summer evening. And to top it off, Harvest Pillows is a locally, family owned business using all-Canadian buckwheat and cotton in their products.

Initially this process was a simple product review.  I received a pillow on loan from Harvest Pillows to try out and review.  I decided the other night to go back to my old pillow just to see the difference.  I wanted to know if I was really sleeping better or if it was just something my body had gotten used to.  Well, I was quite shocked.  After about 10 minutes of trying to get comfortable with my old friend it was clear he didn't know me at all.  The memory foam pillow was extremely squishy and unsupportive.  Within minutes my neck was hurting and feeling tight and my shoulder was collapsing over my chest.  It was just all around unpleasant and painful. So I gave up and tossed the memory foam pillow on the floor and went back to my buckwheat beauty.

Sorry memory foam, it's not me, it's YOU.  Hello Buckwheat, my new friend!

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Disclaimer: I received this product on loan from Harvest Pillows for the purposes of this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tip Tuesday: DIY Apple Crumble Face Scrub

Recently I had the pleasure of collaborating with Michell Pino from Skana Spa in upstate New York for this latest DIY installment. Think of cool, crisp days, leaves falling and the smell of grandma's baking.

In celebration of the start of Fall, treat your self to a little decadence at home with our Apple Crumble Face Scrub.

Apple Crumble Face Scrub

Ingredients:

1/2 of an apple (well mashed, with skin, no core or seeds, or unsweetened applesauce would work too)
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons olive oil (you could also use sweet almond oil or melted coconut oil)
pinch of cinnamon

Instructions:

Leave the paste for 5 minutes in the bowl until oatmeal becomes soft and then gently (many people scrub a little to aggressively which can irritate skin) exfoliate your face massaging it for 1 or 2  minutes. Rinse with warm then cold water.  And voila!  A homemade, healthy face scrub that smells divine and tastes delicious!

I love incorporating oatmeal as its soothing to the skin and acts as an inflammatory. I also like it because it works well for a variety of skin types and does not cause irritation. The honey has astringent properties and also helps increase your skins healing abilities. The apple has a large quantity of anti-oxidants so it helps to keep your skin looking younger.  It also helps to balance the oil production and is great for hydrating.

Trying this scrub, I found it to be very soothing and hydrating.  My skin felt toned and moisturized and my pores and wrinkles (shhh...don't tell anyone) seemed to be minimized.  It is a little messy, so make sure you do it over the sink.  The recipe made enough for both me and my hubby to give ourselves a mini facial.

Before and After
Looking for more Autumn inspired beauty treatments?  Visit Skana Spa and check out their always tantalizing seasonal Spa offerings.


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Tip Tuesday: Do you know what's in your toothpaste?

Nothing feels nicer than brushing your teeth in the morning and relishing that minty tingle while admiring those pearly whites in the mirror.  Right?

Well maybe not after reading this.  Who doesn't like a gleaming smile and fresh breath...but at what price?  All those long-lasting, breath freshening, teeth whitening tubes are filled with all kinds of nasty chemicals that really serve no purpose.

Firstly there's Fluoride.  Sodium Fluoride is in most toothpastes you find at the store and if you read the labels they say not suitable for children under the age of 5 or 6.  Why?  Because it's toxic.  Essentially it's industrial waste that's put in water, toothpaste and mouthwash etc.  It can be found in rat poison and pesticides.  Even worse, there is enough Fluoride in half a 100 mg tube of toothpaste to kill a small child.  And people say what's so bad about fluoride?

And then there's Triclosan.  That's the little anti-bacterial chemical found in just about everything.  Deodorant, hand soap, toothpaste, dish detergent and the list goes on.  But Triclosan  is a pesticide and also suspected of causing cancer.  Lovely.

Then there's the 3 Amigos - Sodium Laurel Sulphate, Propylene Glycol and DEA. You might remember them from 'Do you know what's in your deodorant?'

 Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a detergent and surfactant giving you all that minty foam.  It can irritate your eyes and skin and is also the main ingredient in store bought Fruit-Fly killer!

Propylene Glycol- this is the main ingredient in antifreeze and is used as a wetting agent and surfactant in your toothpaste.  Enough said.

DEA - Diethanolamine is used in toothpaste to give them a nice creamy texture and foaming action.  It is also used as a corrosion inhibitor and to remove hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide from natural gas.  And did I mention it's a hormone disruptor and forms cancer-causing nitrates.

So the long and the short of it all is we don't use regular tooth paste. I like things simple; including the list of ingredients on products we use. Definitely a case of 'less is more'.  And yes our teeth are still white and our breathe is still fresh! 

 These are in our vanity right now.  What's in yours?

Tom's of Maine
Green Beaver - Stella digs the Green Apple!


Brushing naturally,
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