Natural Allergy Relief from Stinging Nettles

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Stinging Nettle Leaf Can Help with Allergies and Also Aid In Treating Other Illnesses and Conditions - Natural Herbal Home Remedy for AllergiesAllergy season seems to be especially bad this spring with more and more people suffering from allergies even while on allergy medications that are supposed to block symptoms and offer relief. So I decided to do a little bit of research to find alternative methods that are said to offer relief from seasonal allergies. One particularly interesting home remedy that I discovered and plan to try is stinging nettles. Nettle leaves can be steamed and eaten in salads and pastas or used in teas. Folklore has long praised their healing powers. Due to the natural composition of nettle, drinking stinging nettle tea can actually relieve allergic reactions to common pollen as well as relieve hives caused by allergic reactions to plants. Stinging nettles tea is often used to treat respiratory and urinary problems as well as aid in the recovery of conditions such as eczema, asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis and can help to diminish susceptibility to the common cold.

To create a tea comprised of stinging nettle leaves, prepare as you would any other herbal or loose leaf tea and pour 6-8 oz. of boiling water over one Tablespoon of dried organic nettle leaves. Allow to steep 10-15 minutes, sweeten if desired and enjoy. To create an infusion, boil one quart of water and pour over 1oz. of dried nettle leaves allowing to steep four hours to overnight, then strain and consume. Alternately, you can also purchase a natural nettle extract made with a 2:1 ratio from fresh nettle leaves. Or you can buy nettle leaf capsules if you dislike the taste of stinging nettle.

Even more interesting than helping to reduce nasal allergies, is the assumption that nettles can also help to naturally prevent osteoporosis. It’s believed that the silicone naturally present in stinging nettle helps to increase bone density. Crafting a hand blended tea using equal parts horsetail, oat straw, alfalfa and stinging nettle and drinking a cup everyday can offer preventative care. Simply steep one Tablespoon of blended herbs in 6-8 oz. of boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes, strain, sweeten if desired – I love the natural sweetness of the stevia plant – and drink.

Overall however, nettle leaves are rich in nutrients our bodies need and contain many essential minerals including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Nettle is approved by the German Commission E for internal and external use in the support of inflammation. It is prized for it’s diuretic properties and it’s support of the lower urinary tract and can help to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. However, as with any herb, you should avoid stinging nettles if pregnant. As stinging nettle does act as a diuretic and can lower blood pressure, you should consult a doctor before using stinging nettle if you are taking diuretics or other drugs meant to lower blood pressure.

Also be sure to try my natural home remedy for nasal congestion by crafting your own natural Breathe Easier Salve.

What are some of your favorite natural home remedies for allergies and nasal congestion that you find really do work?

DIY Herb Garden Markers – Homemade Mother’s Day Gift Idea

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Herb Garden Markers DIY - Upcycled Craft Project Made From Popsicle Sticks and Washi Tape - Easy Craft for Kids and Homemade Mother's Day Gift IdeaWith spring in full force and planting underway, now is the perfect time to whip up some garden markers for your new plants! This herb garden marker is so easy to make with materials you probably already have on hand. Plus, they’re simple enough the kids can craft some for all of mom’s favorite plants as a homemade Mother’s Day gift!

Herb Garden Marker Craft Project

Materials for making your own diy herb garden markersWhat you need:

popsicle sticks, one for each marker
washi tape
packing tape
permanent marker

Homemade Thyme Garden Marker - Homemade Mother's Day Gift Idea Even the Kids Can Craft

What you do:

Start by cutting the bottom end of each popsicle stick into a point. Then wrap the top section of the popsicle sticks with washi tape. I used complimentary patterns and colors of washi tape for my thyme herb marker, using a solid color of washi tape where I wanted to write the name of the plant. I used scissors to cut around the top edge of the popsicle stick for a cleaner look. Then I simply wrote the name of the herb onto the washi tape with a permanent marker.

Once I had the garden marker the way I wanted, I covered the washi tape decorated portion of the marker if packaging tape and then cut around the popsicle stick to seal it from rain. Alternately, should have some on hand, you could also seal the garden marker with a clear, outdoor acrylic sealer.

Handmade Garden Marker DIY - How to Make Simple Herb Garden Markers with Washi TapeAll that’s left is to place your garden markers in your garden by their corresponding plants or into pots of plants you plan to gift.

The Bath, Beauty and Home Fragrance Giveaway

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Some of my favorite handmade products are those geared toward bath, beauty and home. Therefore I thought it’d be fun to offer a giveaway to my readers for a chance to win a selection of handmade products within those categories! To put this contest together, I joined up with three other great artisans – Blackberry Thyme, Still Water Candles, and Face. Body. Feet. One lucky winner will receive handmade products from all three of these shops along with a selection of handmade soaps from my own shop, Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen.
Handmade White Tea and Ginger Goat Milk Soap from Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen

Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen was founded in 2001 after my handmade soap addiction got the best of me. I specialize in creating handmade shea butter soaps and lotions. When I’m not whipping up soaps, I love to listen to local live music, visit my city’s farmer’s market, read when time allows, and come up with fun and crafty new DIY projects for my blog, Soap Deli News. I am a proud single mother of a teenage son who is both a talented soccer player and a new driver in training. (He got his learner’s permit this summer!)

For this contest, I’ll be giving away three of my newest handmade soap bars – Handmade Lemon and Basil Shea Butter Soap, Handmade White Tea and Ginger Goat Milk Soap, and Handmade Coconut and Lime Goat Milk Soap. ($18 value.) In addition, you can also save an extra 25% off all sale products from Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen when you use coupon code: BACKTOSCHOOL through September 30th, 2012. Buy as much as you want and never pay more than $6 in shipping!

Handmade Pumpkin Spice Soy Candle from Blackberry Thyme

Teresa, of Blackberry Thyme, is offering one of her luscious, Handmade Pumpkin Spice Soy Candles as a prize! ($8 value.) Heavily scented and dye free, this hand poured clean burning candle is a rich fragrance blend of cinnamon and clove with vanilla and coconut. (Be sure to read my review of Teresa’s candles that I posted a while back after making a purchase from her!)

Teresa opened her shop, Blackberry Thyme, in November 2007 as a way to create extra income for her family. She has always loved sewing and crafting and Blackberry Thyme allowed her the chance to be creative and remain a single, stay at home mom to her two children. Teresa specializes in hand crafting eco-friendly 100% soy wax candles, wax melts and handmade soaps. You can find her products both on Artfire and Bonanza.

Handmade Pamper Herbal Facial Steam from Face. Body. Feet.

Jacqueline, of Face. Body. Feet., is giving away one of her natural, herbal facial steams! The Pamper Herbal Steam consists of natural botanicals including chamomile, rose buds, lemongrass, passionflower, orange peel, and jasmine flowers blended together for a deep aromatic facial cleanse when added to boiling water. ($8 value.)

Jacqueline got her start into natural beauty after discovering Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Craftsin the library one summer.  Within it’s pages was a simple, natural bath tea recipe that Jacqueline thought would be fun to make. She purchased the herbal ingredients she needed for the recipe, and then made several lavender bath tea bags for her and her husband to try. All she remembers about that night was that she slept like a baby.

During Jacqueline’s research for natural ingredients and recipes, she discovered Etsy, an entire online marketplace for handcrafted items. After visiting Etsy’s bath and body section and seeing all of the great products people were offering, the seed was planted and Jacqueline started her own natural bath and body business, Face. Body. Feet.

Handmade Lilac Air Freshener in Jelly Jar from Still Water Candles

Janelle, of Still Water Candles, is sponsoring two of her delightfully scented Jelly Jar Air Fresheners for this giveaway – one in Lilac and one in Vanilla Sugar. These 4oz. air fresheners come in a cute jelly jar with a daisy cut lid to let the fragrance out. These air fresheners make the perfect substitute for areas where you can’t burn candles such as the dormitories, cars, or the office. They last much longer than candles and make adorable gifts. ($16 value.) Make any purchase from Still Water Candles through October 31, 2012 and use coupon code: 20FallSale to receive 20% off your purchase.

Janelle is 22 years old and recently graduated with a math degree. When she’s not making candles she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking her dog. Her shop, Still Water Candles, started out solely as a candle shop. However, since it’s conception, it has slowly evolved to also include sachets, air fresheners, and reed diffusers. She named her shop after one of her favorite verses, Psalm 23:2-3: “He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.”

The total prize value of this contest is $50. If you’d like a chance to win, simply enter via Rafflecopter below through September 28, 2012. This contest is open to USA residents only, ages 18 and up.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin and Hair

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Beauty Gone Wild eBook - Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin and Hair - Natural DIY Bath & Beauty Recipes

Since I discovered the kindle app for my macbook and realized I can read kindle books on any device whether I have a kindle or not, I have been regularly checking the list of Top 100 Kindle eBooks on Amazon. There are some really great ebooks books that end up on that list.

Today, however, there is a DIY Bath & Beauty book on that list I thought I’d share with you. The book is titled, Beauty Gone Wild! Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin & Hair (Herbs Gone Wild!) by Dianne Kidman. It contains a selection of easy to make homemade bath and beauty recipes for natural skin care, natural hair care, natural hygiene, and natural perfumes – all made with natural ingredients, herbs and essential oils. So be sure to check it out and add it to your growing collection of natural bath and body recipes and books! And don’t forget you can always find a terrific selection of natural, organic herbs, essential oils, butters, and other bath and beauty ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs.

Mountain Rose Herbs Classic Essential Oil Kit Giveaway & DIY Bath and Beauty Recipes

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One of the first places I discovered to shop for natural, organic ingredients online when I first started making handmade soap and my own bath and body products was Mountain Rose Herbs. It has since remained one of my favorite online shops for purchasing natural, organic ingredients when quality is of the up most importance. Additionally, I also turn to Mountain Rose Herbs for 100% organic loose tea blends, medicinal herbs and spices for cooking.

Natural Organic Bath & Beauty Skin Care Ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs

Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices, and a steadfast focus on the pure aesthetics and freshness of botanical products. Their wide range of certified organic product offerings includes bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures by employees who care. From fragrant and beyond-fresh organic herbs and spices, to soothing essential oils and delicious herbal teas, the quality and integrity of Mountain Rose Herbs is unparalleled – with smiles guaranteed.

Classic Certified Organic Essential Oil Kit from Mountain Rose Herbs

With that said, I’m thrilled to be able to offer you a giveaway featuring Mountain Rose Herbs’ Classic Essential Oil Kit as the prize. This classic kit is perfect for beginners and features the world’s most renowned and popularly used essential oils in one convenient sampler. It is beautifully packaged with usage guidelines on the back of the liner tray and contains an extra bottle with a glass dropper for experimentation. It contains one .25oz. bottle each of the six following certified organic essential oils:

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) Essential Oil: Cool, clear, and exceptionally refreshing. Effective vapor rub and air disinfectant for colds and flu. Dilates nasal and bronchial passages. Mild stimulant and antiseptic. Beneficial analgesic for sore muscles. Blends will with peppermint, lemon, and lavender.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) Essential Oil: Highly refreshing and relaxing oil that is clear to light green. Helps the body restore balance and harmony. Mildly sweet, fresh, and warm. Works well with the nervous system. Mild analgesic, sedative, astringent, and skin tonic. Blends well with Rose, Citrus, Rosemary, Lavender, and Basil.

Lavender (Lavendula spp.) Essential Oil: Fresh, floral aroma. Classic ingredient in soaps and perfumes. Helps alleviate stress, induce sleep, and overcome anxiety. Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, spasmodic, anti-depressant, and stimulates new cell growth. Excellent preventative against infections. Mild enough to use by the drop on cuts, scrapes, bruises, sprains, and insect bites. Blends well with many oils adding a smooth, sweet top note.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Essential Oil: Stimulating, refreshing, and bright. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Used for indigestion and nausea. Excellent for some headaches, fever, colds, and flu. Soothing in steams or massage oils. Classic breath freshener. Blends well with Lavender, Rosemary, Citrus, and Rose.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Essential Oil: Physical and mental stimulant. Blend with carrier oil for a soothing hair conditioner, invigorating massage oil, or bath oil. Effective preservative. Stimulates memory and mental faculties. Good for muscular sprains, arthritis, and rheumatism. Do not use if you have high blood pressure.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Oil: Impressive and powerful oil with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Used for infections, sunburn, acne, athlete’s foot, and many other applications. Do not use on inflamed, broken, or sensitive skin.

The possibilities of this kit are endless. You can use these essential oils to make everything from salves, soaps, scrubs, and body butters to lip balms, solid perfumes and natural, non-toxic household cleaners. Or simply use them for aromatherapy!

Here are just a few super simple recipes I use essential oils for that you may want to give a try:

DIY Basic Bath Salt Recipe

2 cups coarse sea salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil (or other carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, rice bran, or fractionated coconut oil)
1 teaspoon essential oil or essential oil blend of choice

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

DIY Basic Solid Lotion Bar Recipe

Equal parts shea butter, beeswax (or candelilla/Carnauba wax as a vegan alternative), and sweet almond oil (or other carrier oil)
2-4% of your recipe essential oil or essential oil blend of choice

Melt your shea butter and beeswax, then stir in the carrier oil and essential oil and mix well. Place in molds such as cupcake tin until hardened.

DIY Basic Body Butter Recipe

24oz. refined shea butter
2oz. cocoa butter
1oz. rice bran oil (or your choice of carrier oil)
1/4oz. – 1/2oz. essential oil or essential oil blend of choice

Melt the shea and cocoa butters then stir in the rice bran oil and essential oil. Fill desired containers and allow to cool completely.

DIY Basic Lip Balm Recipe

1/2 oz. (by weight) refined cocoa butter
1/2 oz. (by weight) refined shea butter
2 Tablespoons beeswax (or Carnauba Wax/Candelilla Wax as a vegan alternative)
1Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or other carrier oil of choice)
2-5ml essential oil or essential oil blend of choice

Melt your beeswax and butters then stir in the carrier oil and essential oils. Using a pipette, fill lip balm tubes or pour into tins.

To learn more about Mountain Rose Herbs please visit them online.

In the meantime, be sure to enter this giveaway to win a Classic Essential Oil Kit valued at $32 from Mountain Rose Herbs via Rafflecopter below. The contest is open to USA residents and will end a minute after midnight Eastern time on August 31, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway