Natural Antibiotic Alternative – Essential Oils

It’s official, I will never be without oregano essential oil in my medicine cabinet.  My body is so messed up lately.  I feel like everything is upside-down.  I was pregnant in the end of October, felt terrible for three months, had a miscarriage and now I just feel weird.  It is times like these when I am so incredibly thankful to have a medicine cabinet full of homeopathy and essential oils.  Whatever I need, I have it on hand.

Let me back the truck up a second.  This story is mainly about my finger.  My pointer finger had been hurting for two weeks and was slowly becoming more and more swollen.  At first I thought I had injured it.  Something in our toilet is broken and the water runs non-stop unless we turn the water supply off on the back of it, which hurt my fingers after doing it 17 times a day.  But I stopped using my swollen finger and it was still getting worse.  This past weekend, the pain was so bad I could not sleep.  I started to wonder if I had an infection, even though there was no discoloration or anything gross looking.

I decided to start taking a supplement blend of essential oils to reinforce my body’s natural defenses.  I had several discussions with my husband about the possibility of my finger falling off, and who wants to deal with that.  Losing a finger, or hearing your spouse talk about losing their finger.  I started taking the oil blend supplement in the morning and at night.  After the second time, my finger was throbbing less.  After the third time, the swelling was retreating from my knuckle and pretty much only the tip was hurting.

Here is what was in the supplement I took:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Clove flower bud essential oil
  • Lemon rind essential oil
  • Eucalyptus radiata essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Cinnamon bark essential oil
  • Oregano essential oil
  • Thyme essential oil
  • Lemongrass essential oil

I will save you all the gross details, but it turns out it was infected.  I don’t know how or why it was infected, which is kind of scary.  And gross.  I accidentally managed to drain it (surprise!) on my third day taking the supplement.  Also gross.  I am so glad I was already flooding my body with oils which provide immune support.  I am going to keep taking it until my finger is back to normal.  Now that I found the source of the problem, I have done things like soaking it in hydrogen peroxide and alternating topical use of this homeopathic gel with Cinnamon, Clove, Lemon, Rosemary & Eucalyptus Oils diluted in coconut oil.  The supplement was what I took when I was unsure what I was dealing with and when I couldn’t get to the source of the infection, which was under my nail and skin.

Excuse the terrible editing, I had to remove the product/ brand name to be able to publish my testimonial.

Excuse the terrible editing, I had to remove the product/ brand name to be able to publish my testimonial.

If I would have gone to a doctor, they would have put me on some extra strength antibiotic which would have further damaged my sensitive digestive system.  This would in turn create more problems for my already wonky hormonal state because important feel-good hormones like serotonin are made in gut.  The gut is very important in all aspects of health.  Protect it at all costs by avoiding chemical drugs the best you can.

Having essential oils on hand is a must.  The supplement I took is designed to boost the immune system in times of stress.  These oils mentioned above are high in thymol, carvacrol and eugenol which have been proven in studies to be “capable of inhibiting or slowing the growth of bacteria, yeasts and moulds.”  (Source)

My finger was the second reason I needed to take this supplement in the last month.  The first was after my D&E procedure following my miscarriage.  Although I was prescribed chemical antibiotics, I again chose not to take them.  In addition to the reasons I explain above, I avoid antibiotics because I understand how much damage they cause to the beneficial bacteria in the human body.  Often times antibiotic use can allow destructive pathogens, such as candida, to overgrow creating additional health problems.  A healthy population of beneficial gut bacteria is crucial for so many aspects of health, including proper immune function, healthy digestion, brain health and even healthy skin.

If I didn’t already have this supplement in my cabinet, I would have had to take the antibiotics to avoid possible infection.  A big part of living toxin-free is preparation.  You need to have a stocked cabinet to be prepared for general illnesses or conditions.

**Please note that in order to protect my freedom to share my personal testimonials, I cannot affiliate with any brand of essential oils.

Surprise Digestive Healer – Throat Coat Tea

Throat coat tea is full of herbs used for healing leaky gut!Having a child with food allergies and related conditions is a never-ending process of effort.  It’s a little frustrating because he can eat something his body doesn’t like and he will have delayed symptoms, hours or even a day later.  It is difficult to peg exactly what caused the upset each time, especially if I have been careful with what I make him to eat.  You can read more about his condition here:

Beginning the Gut Healing Journey,

Beginning an Elimination Diet for Gut Healing,

and most recently Healing the Gut Part 3.

Exciting article titles, I know.  The fact that it’s a trilogy should tell you its good.

As you may know, allergies are often tied to the health of the digestive system, mainly the gut.  My son has gut damage due to overuse of prescription drugs and antibiotics his first two years of life, which is one of the reasons he has fairly severe food and environmental allergies.

Every morning I make my son warm tea with honey to help get his digestion warmed up while I make him breakfast.  I have always thought of tea as supportive of the immune system but never bought any particular tea to help with healing his digestive tract.

The other day, we were in the local grocery store and while I was walking down the tea aisle an old lady was stopped in the middle of the isle, blocking my passage.  She was reading the label on a powdered coffee creamer:  “Lactose free?  If I wanted to be healthy I wouldn’t be buying this crap!”  Because this delightful old lady was blocking my way, I remembered my son was almost out of tea and began looking over the organic options displayed in front of me.  (Why buy organic tea?  Read this article from the Food Babe!)  We frequently buy Traditional Medicinals and so I grabbed a box of the Dandelion Tea and picked up Throat Coat, thinking of my son’s Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and wondering if it would help.

After reading the label, I was really excited!  The top three herbs included are Licorice Root, Slippery Elm Bark and Marshmallow Root.  These are all used as treatments for leaky gut!  Is anyone else excited?  No?  You see, with myself I have no problem buying the herbs and taking them orally.  For a child, however, I think it is too risky to medicate without a doctor’s guidance, or at least someone who is very familiar with the herbs and the outcomes.  Several times I have almost bought these herbs, but last second decided not to because I am not sure how his little body will handle them.

So yes, I was very excited to find these three herbs in one tea, which I am totally comfortable with giving to my son.

Throat Coat Tea herbal goodies:

Licorice Root – the flavonoids contained in licorice root help decrease inflammation in the digestive system.  It also supports the body’s natural ability to maintain the mucosal lining of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine.  Every time we eat, the mucosal lining is damaged by the passage of food and the body should be able to repair this on its own.  When it cannot, large protein molecules can escape into the bloodstream, causing an autoimmune response.  Maintaining the mucosal lining is crucial for preventing leaky gut.

Slippery Elm Bark – Slipper Elm Bark has been used as an herbal remedy for a very long time and happens to be great for the esophagus and digestive system.  Why?  Well, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. It also contains antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. Slippery elm also causes reflux stimulation of nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract leading to increased mucus secretion. The increased mucus production may protect the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity.

Marshmallow Root – This is another herb which produces mucilage, explained above.  It is great for helping line the digestive tract to prevent proteins from escaping into the bloodstream, for preventing toxins from being absorbed via the digestive system which normally would be excreted, and from preventing further damage to the walls of the digestive system due to inflammation or normal digestive processes.

Because we were already in the habit of having tea every morning, this was a really easy way to get extra TLC (tender lovin’ care) for his esophagus and digestive tract.  I am really excited!

Want an extra plus for digestive health?

I have been adding a small amount of gelatin to my son’s hot tea each morning, about 1 teaspoon.  Gelatin is known for coating the digestive tract, which will prevent damage and allow healing.  It is also a great source of protein for picky eaters!  Try it in your morning coffee or tea.  We use this brand!

This tea is full of herbs used to heal leaky gut!

Sources not linked:

http://www.naturalalternativeremedy.com/nine-health-benefits-of-licorice-root/

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/4-steps-heal-leaky-gut-and-autoimmune-disease?page=2

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-marshmallow.html

This post was shared on Natural Family Friday!

How NOT to care for your new tattoo

Don't ruin your new tattoo by making this mistake!

This post was originally about putting coconut oil on a new tattoo.  I wanted to take a natural route in caring for my new tattoo which didn’t involve petrochemicals or other nasty ingredients.  Skin absorbs everything, right?

This was only my third tattoo and so I didn’t know much about the artistry of tattooing.  I didn’t know the artist needs to adjust their pressure based on the individual’s skin, didn’t know that the artist could cause damage that wouldn’t show up immediately and didn’t know that my artist trying to cram 4 clients into one afternoon was a really, really bad idea.

Thankfully many tattoo artists have read this article and let me know that my tattoo damage was caused by my artist, and not the coconut oil which I used post tattoo.

Here was my story:

My mom and my two sisters and I all went to get the same tattoo, a symbol for mother and daughters.  We picked out a really cool Celtic symbol which is four hearts intertwined.  It was perfect for us four.

This was my third tattoo.  I don’t remember anything about what I did to care for the prior two.  I am pretty sure the artist just slapped saran wrap over them and told me to use plain soap and gave me some ointment.  This time, however, the artist said use plain soap and a water based lotion.  He also mentioned not to use a petroleum based product because it can get stuck in your skin.  That really freaked me out.  But I felt confident.  I knew I could just consult good ole’ Dr. Internet and see what people have done to naturally care for their tattoo.

My first thought was coconut oil.  Coconut oil is the best natural moisturizer, right?  (I used to think so, until I read this post from the website Edible Facial.)  I made sure to check out a few tattoo forums and see what people said.  I read everything positive from several people who said they used coconut oil with no problem.  I seemed to remember hearing something my tattoo’d sister had said about coconut oil being bad for tattoos, but after reading the internet I dismissed my memories as me being mistaken.  How could the internet give me bad advice?  I mean, these are tattoo forum posters.  These are people who know from experience.

Well, here is my before picture, right when the tattoo was finished.

tat exhb1

On the second day, I decided to apply coconut oil instead of lotion.  I did not want any weird lotion ingredients settling in my skin.  What happened next was very upsetting.  Here is my picture at day 4:

tatexhb2update

After using coconut oil on the second day, I experienced a lot of ink bleeding out in the bottom portion.  I was hoping it would fade or wash away, but here is my 2.5 week post tattoo picture:

tatexhb3

I only used coconut oil for one day (the second day post tattoo) and this is what I experienced.  Naturally, I assumed that it was the coconut oil which caused my ink to bleed.  Later on, a few tattoo artists commented below letting me know that they recommend coconut oil for all of their clients.  A lot of people have used coconut oil with success and no damage to their tattoo.  Apparently my tattoo damage was caused by the artist going too deep, which causes the ink to bleed out a few days after getting the tattoo.  This is called a blowout.

The story above is my experience.  Of the four of us who received tattoos from the same artist that day, I am the only one who did not follow his post care instructions and opted to use coconut oil instead.  I am also coincidentally the only one with a blow out.  I know he was rushing a little, but I went third out of the four of us and again, no one else experienced any damage.

The moral of this story is:  Make sure your tattoo artist is a.) not an idiot, b.) not over booked and c.) has a LOT of experience.

I personally will not feel comfortable using straight coconut oil on my next tattoo, however I will not say that this damage will happen if you use it on yourself.  I would like to try this Tattoo Balm which incorporates Calendula, Vitamin E oil, Beeswax and Shea Butter with coconut oil, which would be less greasy and more nourishing than just plain coconut oil.

Check out the comments below to read the comments left by experienced tattoo artists.

Don't ruin your new tattoo by making the mistake I did! #newtattoocare #naturaltattoocare

This post was a part of Natural Living Monday and Mamagab.net’s Pin-it Party Saturday.