December 31, 2009

Coming Back...

It happens to me every year. I get a little carried away with the Christmas cookies. If it was just making them, that would be one thing, but it's eating them. And this goes way beyond the sampling to make sure that they turned out ok from the oven.
This year I've got some help. I've started to incorporate a Balance Complete shake into my daily meal regimen. I use it for either breakfast or lunch and since I just can't stomach the idea of doing a full 5 Day Cleanse, this will help me jump start getting back to normal post Christmas. It tastes good too!

December 30, 2009

Lotions and Potions


I can't believe it's been 6 weeks (at least) since I've shared my latest discoveries. All those 5am wake ups caught up with me and of course Christmas was always looming in the near future. On top of it all throw in 2 sick kids and a sick husband right after Thanksgiving and that's been my life. The upside is that I've been playing with oil blends looking for ways to manage the winter weather. After some successful trials and some blends that just weren't meant to be, I've found a few things I thought were worth sharing.
First- Winter Skin. For the past few years I've suffered from the skin on my hands peeling and ultimately bleeding from being so dry. Whether it's the cold outside or the heat inside, they take a beating making it uncomfortable for knitting. Being that I have my priorities in order and would consider the inability to knit a major problem, I needed a solution. The result is a blend that after 3 days made a significant difference in my hands even after hand washing. I combined 5 drops of Frankincense with 5 drops of Copaiba (my new favorite oil) and added them to about 3oz. of regular Aveeno lotion. While it has done wonders for my hands, the health and immune supporting properties of Frankincense have done even more than that. The last cold that hit our family got everyone but me and my youngest. I've been using this lotion on him for his Eczema and we both remained healthy. In fact, the little guy hasn't had more than a runny nose so far this winter and considering the amount of wrestling between my two boys he really should have experienced more than he has.
Second- The Cough. You know what I'm talking about. The one your kids have lingering during the day and always seems to get worse at night. You start to wonder if the medicine in your cabinet has expired or was recalled. You envision a really cold trip to the 24 hour pharmacy in the middle of the night and then just hope and pray for the best. As the mother of a child with asthma, I've been on a mission to manage and build lung function in any way I can that doesn't involve the regular use of inhaled steroids. After some experimentation I found a combination that I use on both my son's chest and feet at the first sign of a cold or cough. I cannot say that he doesn't cough at all (there is a need to get all that junk out) but when the doctor has listened to his chest during a cold with a lingering cough, it's been clear. So- here is one of my favorite blends for both kids and adults: 10 drops of Raven, 10 drops of Balsam Fir, and 10 drops of Copaiba mixed together in either a roller bottle or a small 3oz. bottle with a pump. Add to it enough Avocado oil to fill almost to the top and roll the bottle around sideways to blend the oils. The smell of these 3 oils together is amazing and the blend helps to keep the chest clear and the cough productive. If you are making this yourself, it's important to use the avocado oil as it neutralizes the heat of the Raven oil on the skin and makes it more comfortable for the kids. Once this blend is on the chest, I'll also add a little Lavender directly to the skin to help calm the coughing an the muscles in the chest.
Third- Cabin Fever. This one I'm still experimenting with and while it's early in the season, I feel I may have more to do here, but my start is definitely worth sharing. As a child, my mom used to make these little spice balls comprised of tangerines or clementines completely covered in whole cloves, rolled in cinnamon, and topped with a little bow. They would sit on a platter in our dining room and smelled great. I've tried the cloves in the oranges and while they do smell great, the pain on the fingers to push in all those cloves is more than I can deal with right now. My solution: A blend of Citrus Fresh and Clove in the diffuser. These two oils together smell wonderful and make a great air freshener. If you don't have a diffuser, a few drops of each in a cup of hot water or added to a small spray bottle filled with water will work just as well. It's an uplifting combination that doesn't smell like winter. By the time March rolls around, I may need a different combination but for now, I feel as if I'm off to a good start on this one.

November 15, 2009

Outstanding! She Said.....

Typically, my mother reserves the word "outstanding" for things like theater and cheesecake. However- this time it was different.
My mom told me about sleeping issues she had been having for quite a while. No trouble falling asleep, but staying asleep wasn't working so well. She had said it was part hormones and part stress. For me, I'm so tired at the end of the day that I usually pass out pretty quickly. If I'm up in the middle of the night, it's probably somebody else's fault.
In my effort to help- we all deserve the opportunity to sleep and let our bodies and brains rest- I suggested a new product from Young Living. It's called Sleep Essence. It works by inducing total relaxation and helping calm us down so we can sleep peacefully. I picked up a bottle at a meeting and held it for her. During a recent visit, she tried the pills. Totally natural and filled with ingredients like lavender, vetiver, valerian, and Ruta graveolens essential oils with the hormone melatonin—a well-known sleep aid. We both waited to see what would happen.
She took one pill 1/2 hour before bed and slept soundly until she was awakened by my nephew in the middle of the night. To her absolute delight- she had no problem getting back to sleep once my nephew was asleep. And the best news- she slept soundly until 7 the next morning. In her words: Sleep Essence does the same thing a prescription would but it's all natural which is so much better.


* These statements are not approved by the FDA, nor are they meant to diagnose or treat a medical problem.

October 10, 2009

Those Damn Bugs!

The school year started off with bang- mostly. Then, within a week notices were sent home about lice already in the school. Typically this is a springtime problem, but apparently there were problems over the summer that never left the school.
There are a handful of simple truths about me. I am not one of those people who has the energy the deal with cleaning every spec of area in my house and washing sheets and pillows every day to deal with the problem of lice. Some might call it lazy, but I'm still on the fence about that one. Either way, what this means for me is that I need to avoid having lice come into my house at all possible costs or we're all in trouble.
So I did some research (inspired by a friend who called with a question about using YL oils for lice) and found what she had. There are a few oils that lice don't like. Rosemary, Lavender, Tea Tree, and Citronella. All of these essential oils are in the blend Purification. Some of those essential oils are also in the Fairy Tales products. Here is the difference I see and follow. Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade and stronger than anything available in the mass market. While I admittedly have not done any scientific research, I'm basing my opinion on two things. One- any mass market essential oils I have seen in stores have warnings like "do not apply directly to the skin and do not ingest." The YL oils are meant to be used directly on the skin or even ingested depending on the oil. Two- I have seen the strength and potency of therapeutic grade oils and have to believe that anything mass marketed, and used without training, has to be "watered down."
That said, we have all begun using Purification as a way to prevent lice. There are a couple of ways we do this (even the 2 year old):
  • I add 1-2 drops to a handful of shampoo before washing the kids hair or mine.
  • I got tired of interrupting shower time for a special shampoo treatment and decided to add about 10 drops to the second 1/2 of a bottle of shampoo. Clearly the easier option.
  • I add 10 drops of Purification and 10 drops of Peppermint to a 3oz. spray bottle and spray their heads. (The preferred method for my middle child)
While I cannot make any guarantees, I am all for prevention with a strong natural product rather than treating an outbreak with chemicals and a very expensive and time consuming visit from the lice lady. So, there's my lice recommendation for all, including myself and my family.

To order Purification go to: www.youngliving.org/tracybermeo and click on the link to the left to sign up.

Disclaimer: *this information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Settling a Tummy

I recently had the pleasure of trying a new use for Peppermint. I use the word "pleasure" with a bit of my tongue in my cheek......
As it happens to be the beginning of cold season, we've had the pleasure of already having a cold or two in our house. What I have learned with my youngest (not yet 2) is that when he gets a cold the mucous drips into his stomach and causes a serious bout of diarrhea. The first time this happened, it took me a good day and a half to remember to use Peppermint for an upset stomach. As it's a hot oil, and he's still very young, I wanted to be very careful.
I put a drop of Peppermint on the bottom of each foot after the 4th dirty diaper (yes there were 4 before Noon) and that was it for soft poop for the rest of the day. What a relief. Settled stomach and then back to climbing up on tables.
On an older child there is another way to administer Peppermint for an upset stomach. We recently had the "pleasure" of trying this with my daughter who happens to have developed a sensitivity to cheese..... We rub two drops of Peppermint directly on her stomach in a circular motion. It helps almost immediately and the heat of the oil doesn't seem to bother her.
For an adult, add one (seriously, only 1) drop to a cup of tea. This works great for settling a stomach.

A thing or two to remember about Peppermint: It is a hot oil which means it's hot on the skin. If you feel there is a sensitivity to the heat, use a pure vegetable oil to dilute NOT water. And whatever you do, don't touch anything sensitive like an eye after using Peppermint with your hands.
If you would like to order Peppermint, go here: www.youngliving.org/tracybermeo and click on the left to sign up as a customer.

*this information is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical problem.

September 15, 2009

All Natural Hand Sanitizer- in the news!

This morning my husband tells me that there's a piece on the news about an all natural hand sanitizer using a combination of rosemary, cinnamon, clove and lemon to create an all natural hand sanitizer. We just looked at each other- that's Thieves! And the thing our family practically lives on all year and especially in the winter. I actually drink it.
The article references the name- Thieves- and a pediatrician who recommends using this combination of oils. Lucky for me, I buy the YL pre-made sanitizer in a 3 pack and don't have to actually mix it myself. God knows what would happen then.
I love this essential oil blend for both the way it smells and what it does to keep my family healthy. Here's to a healthy winter!

August 24, 2009

Much Ado About Copaiba

About a month ago I listened in on a conference call all about Copaiba. Looking back, I don't think I knew all that much more about Copaiba at the end of the call than I did at the beginning. All I knew was that there was a lot of excitement and it sounded interesting.
Of course, inspired by the call, I ordered the oil. It smells lovely. Like a woodsy, balsam sweet smell. It's known to support the digestive system as well as help muscles and joints. It's often used for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I have neither of these conditions, but I do run around after three kids all day. I bend, stretch, tickle, and lift anything from a toy to a child to a stroller up the stairs. In the meantime, I'm also becoming quite frustrated with the extra 10 lbs. from my last pregnancy that just won't seem to leave so I take the opportunity to walk with the stroller whenever I can.
Needless to say- at the end of the day I'm wiped. Aside from feeling it in my very heavy eyelids, I feel it in my tired muscles. Not soreness like you experience after a "fun" day at the gym, but just fatigue. On a whim, I tried Copiaba one night and rubbed it all over my legs before going to bed. (I also happen to have Restless Leg syndrome). Then I cupped my hands over my nose and mouth as my head hit the pillow and fell into an awesome relaxing sleep. I just can't make this stuff up. My experience is that the oil both relieves physical muscle and joint tiredness as well as offering a wonderfully relaxing aromatherapy before going to sleep. Recently, I gave some to my mother in law after she fell down some stairs (ugh- mine) during a visit, and within minutes she was freely moving her knee which bore the brunt of the fall.
I'm sure that Copaiba is great for many other things as well. The Brazilians have been using it for thousands of years. For this mother of 3, it relaxes me at the end of the day and sends me off into a fabulous sleep as well as prepares my tired muscles for another day of being Super- Mom!

*disclaimer: This information is not supported by the FDA and is in no way meant to treat or diagnose a serious illness. I just have fabulous experiences with it and wanted to share!

Oh Man That Stinks!

In my constant quest to treat asthma without steroid based drugs, I have made an important realization. As excited as I was to have my middle son off his inhaler, and using only YLEO to control and help his breathing, I have found that he is now more susceptible to mold, basement dampness, and environmental allergies. For example, after playing in a friend's basement, there is definitely breathing difficulty. Also, it's ragweed season and guess what he's allergic to? Yes, ragweed. This is a never ending learning and management process. Technically, it isn't a problem, it just means that I have to be keenly aware of the environment and his breathing more so than I would if I were just giving him his inhaler every day. A fair trade off in my opinion.
So, the good news is that he has not needed to be on his inhaler daily. The bad news is that it's Ragweed season and very humid. Two weeks ago, after about a week's worth of rescue medicine and continued coughing (I really don't think the inhaler was helping as the cough was going on for two long) I had to revert to the one oil I didn't want to use. Not because it doesn't work, but because the smell is God-awful. The oil is Eucalyptus Blue. I had initially heard about it in a conference call and the people in the audience were literally cheering about it. So I bought it, and do did a friend of mine. We got our oils and my friend actually returned hers because it smelled so bad! I smelled it and kept my bottle closed and put the other one away in an enclosed area. Seriously one of the worst smells ever! Now, here I was contemplating using the oil. The cough was back (I think from an allergy drip) and I needed something strong. I reached for the Eucalyptus Blue and some socks.
So, here's the drill my son and I have fun with. I grab the oil, he grabs his socks. I very quickly put 1-2 drops of the oil in the bottoms of his feet and he follows quickly with the socks. The smell doesn't escape the socks and his breathing is 100% better. The stuff stinks, but is totally worth it!

*disclaimer: This information is not supported by the FDA nor is it intended to treat or diagnose a medical condition. It is based solely on my experience and what has worked for us!

July 20, 2009

Summer Skin Healed

After 8 full days of treating my youngest son's very dry eczema damaged summer skin, I quickly learned yesterday what the culprit is. It's the chemicals in the pool water. After 5 minutes in the water the dry patches showed. I knew the peeling and itching would not be far away. Well, it's summer and I'm not spending mine indoors.
What I have seen in a week of diligent skin healing is amazing. One has to keep in mind that this treatment process worked well for my son based on his skin and body. However, I would certainly recommend it to any parent who has a child with the horrible itchy and dry patches. I had never thought that skin could be too dry to even absorb moisturizer, but it feels as though that's where the base of our problems started.
In short- my youngest son's skin was so dry and the top layer of skin so damaged that it couldn't absorb moisturizer. I even went back to leaving his skin wet after a bath and putting the avocado oil with either Lavender or Purification on him. They weren't working as well as they had previously so I had no choice but to try something else. Exfoliation seemed like the next logical step and of course because this is baby skin, I didn't want anything too abrasive. Orange Blossom facial wash was perfect and gentle and lucky for me I only needed a little bit and he still has a small body. I have come to use this as his soap after a day at the pool.
Frankincense played a role in healing the damaged skin and I think making the new skin stronger right from the start. Using it for 5-7 days is plenty based on how damaged the skin is. I am sure that as summer continues, I will need to go back to it, but for now we're doing really well with the Orange Blossom facial wash and the moisturizer. His skin is like butter and the problem areas are maintaining themselves.

Here is the plan of action I'd recommend to anyone willing to try it:
  • Each day wash with the Orange Blossom facial wash. (An amount the size of a dime is all you need on a washcloth). I found it easier to do this in a shower as a lot of the wash came off in the tub while trying to scrub those little legs.
  • After the bath immediately use equal parts avocado oil with Frankincense on the affected area. Repeat for each affected area.
  • When skin is dry and oil absorbed, moisturize as usual. Continue to moisturize as needed during the day.
  • In the next 12 hour increments for the next 2-3 days (depending on how bad the skin is) apply just the diluted Frankincense.
Essentially you are giving the oil treatment twice a day and exfoliating only once a day. I'd even do the exfoliation every other day so as not to potentially aggravate the skin as it's healing.
Continue for a week and be patient. These things take diligence and time.

*these statement are not meant to treat or diagnose any medical problem or condition. They are based on my own experiences.

Summer Skin Days 3-6

Day 3-
I did not exfoliate today and in fact skipped the bath all together. I slathered the Frankincense with avocado oil on his legs generously. On the rest of his body I went with just lotion. Time to wait and see what the morning would bring.

Day 4-
His skin was dry this morning. I started with lotion and went right to Frankincense on his legs at breakfast. The booster seat is the perfect place to do this as his squirmy little body is trying to escape me! By the end of the day, his skin was still soft. Finally- he really seems to be holding the moisturizer. We had our exfoliation and oil session bedtime and optimistically hoped for the best in the morning.

Day 5-
Today I can see the most significant difference in his skin! The flakes are mostly gone and the tones in his skin are evening out. He's holding on to the moisture in his skin and his legs are definitely on the way to recovery. I'll stay away from the water again today and give him two "frankincense treatments" with moisturizer. In a moment of reminding myself to be patient, I remembered that even prescription antibiotics take 7-10 days to fully cure an illness.

Day 6-
His skin looks like normal-non-eczema skin! The tone is even, it's not dry or itchy. I used alittle Frankincense on his back and arms last night before bed and today he looks great. It wasn't as bad in those spots so one treatment seemed to work fine.

July 13, 2009

Summer Skin- Day 2

Day 2. I used the Orange Blossom facial wash again yesterday during the bath and I think it's the perfect non-soap remedy for my youngest son's skin. He's holding the moisture from both the lotion and the avocado oil I'm using with either Purification or Frankincense. The Frankincense really seems to be repairing his worst parts- by his ankles. I have focused my Frankincense experiment on his legs (specifically his shins) so I can watch and compare to the rest of his body.
As I have learned with other uses of the YL Essential oils- the body needs a couple of days to absorb and heal. More to come as I continue in my Eczema quest but I'm feeling very confident about this. And as far as I'm concerned it sure beats the prescription steroid option from the dermatologist.

July 11, 2009

Summer Skin

I love seeing my kids' tanned little bodies in the summer. Even with sunscreen SPF50 they still tan beautifully without burning. However, the sun, sunscreen, and chlorine in the pool water takes a toll on my youngest son's skin and makes it even drier. The result was that his skin was not absorbing the Lavender oil and just kept getting drier and drier. It was drier and flakier than it ever was even at it's worst in the winter.
I've recently been using the Orange Blossom facial wash (which I just love!) and it's so soft and soothing that I thought it would be a good exfoliator for my son without irritating his skin. So last night after washing the chlorine off his body with Ivory soap, I used the Orange Blossom facial wash all over his body. I only needed a very small amount (about the size of a dime) on a washcloth and it worked great. No irritation to his skin and 80% of the flakes were gone. I used Purification oil with his moisturizer before bed and hoped for the best.
This morning, his skin was the best it's been in a week or more. It retained the moisture from the lotion and oil the night before and he was not itchy at all. I added some Frankincense directly on his worst area (his legs) and will continue to do that for the next few days to see how it works. Frankincense is known today for skin healing properties* and I feel as though I'm beyond maintenance for the next week or so until his skin gets better. I'll be using the Orange Blossom facial wash each day too to continue removing the flakes.

*disclaimer: this statement is not approved or supported by the FDA, only be research from the people at Young Living.

July 5, 2009

Getting Off the Inhaler

In my constant quest to combat asthma without using steroid based drugs that make the pharmaceuticals more money and keep my child dependent, I believe I am onto something great that's working for my son.
During our most recent visit to the pulmonologist she told me that the body makes its own steroids at 4am and 4pm. The doctor said to give my son his inhaler at a time of day that is not 4am or 4pm because otherwise his body will become dependent on the drugs rather than making its own steroids.
So I had to ask myself- why was I doing this? I had been using Oregano to build up lung function and Thieves for overall wellness. Recently as we were going through the early weaning process of two puffs a day to one my son said his breathing "didn't feel so well." Determined to not use the inhaler (unless absolutely necessary) I tried a combination of Raven and Balsam Fir diluted with avocado oil. I applied the combination to my son's chest and upper back. Within a couple of minutes I asked him how he felt and he said "good" with a big smile. Since then I've been giving him this oil combination once a day and continuing with the Oregano at bed time. I've also stopped the inhaler all together. He's blowing higher on his peak flow meter than he did when on his inhaler.
What an awesome moment to find something that works well and will make him stronger and healthier rather than dependent on a drug.*

*Disclaimer: None of this is approved or supported by the FDA- only my own experiences and the smile on my son's face.

July 4, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again

The mosquitoes are here- at least in the northeastern part of the US where we live. In the past I have usually used the chemical/commercial bug sprays and while doing so squeezing my eyes shut and holding my breath so as not to inhale a nasty tasting mixture of God knows what. On others recommendations I also tried Avon's Skin So Soft, but alas was bitten anyway.
This year I'm trying Purification in a spray bottle with some water. You don't need more than a few drops of oil for a 4oz spray bottle filled about 80% with water. I'll be honest- as a result of my SSS experience, I was skeptical but still willing to try. Especially with kids (the youngest only 18 months) I'd rather stay away from the chemicals all together.
Excellent news! It works! After a month of rain and the summer heat finally showing up- the mosquitoes arrived too. I sprayed myself, my kids, my friends kids and their parents with the spray while watching our town Fireworks. We all did great and there were no bites. I will say though that as with anything natural sometimes we needed two sprays, but to me that was still better than the chemical alternative.
If you want, you can also combine a couple of other oils in your spray bottle as the newscaster/testers of NBC25 in Michigan did or you can go with just Purification. It's one of my favorite oils and it works!

The One Who Really Can't Get Sick

In my house, we all agree that the one who absolutely, totally, and completely cannot get sick is me. If mom gets sick- things get really dicey. After a whirlwind month of June and moving up ceremonies, field days, end of school, half days and our first family vacation in almost a year it all caught up with me in the last days of the month.
I started with a sore throat. Mild at first but then fiery. No fever or other issues to speak of except being tired and at times unable to speak- a blessing for some I suppose. :) In an effort to completely avoid any of this getting any worse, I immediately doused myself in Thieves. Under the tongue and in the form of lozenges several times a day. I also massaged Raven on my throat and the back of my neck (the pain was extending to my ears) before bed and in the morning. The combination of these essential oils helped tremendously and in a day's time (along with some good solid rest) I was (and am) back to my normal self. Which is good because I hate being sick.

June 12, 2009

The Pig Hits Home

I knew it would happen- the Swine Flu finally reached our town. It also reached my sister-in-law's town. She's 90 minutes away from us.

My opinion on the Swine Flu remains the same- it's a flu like any other and some people are more at risk than others. In the case of my sister in law- it hit hard and fast. In her kids high school 250+ kids were out sick. Hers included. As the flu progressed, she said quite simply her eyeballs hurt and she couldn't stand from the pain in her legs. Next, it developed into pneumonia and she ended up in the hospital. Thankfully, she and her kids are recovering. As an asthma sufferer, she was at high risk to begin with but had done nothing to build her immune system for an early defense. In case you're wondering, I suggested to the entire family to start using Thieves on a regular basis, but they chose otherwise. You can lead a horse to water.....

Two nights ago, we received a recorded message from the school superintendent stating that there was a case of Swine Flu in the school system but that the child was recovered and back in school. I am going to assume that there was time for the disease to spread before diagnosis. If I'm wrong that's the best news I could have. This high school student has younger siblings. One of them is in the same preschool and my friend's son. You do the math.

After hearing what my sister in law and her family experienced, I have been adamant with my children, my husband, my friends and myself to continue to build our immune systems. I've sent emails to friends encouraging them to use Thieves every day- especially if their kids are in day care.

Here is what we are doing*:
Thieves under my toungue every night.
Thieves in my youngest's milk every day- twice a day.
Eucalyptus Blue or Oregano and Thieves on my kids feet twice a day.
Thieves waterless hand sanitizer often- especially in school.
Raven and Purification in the baby's bath water. It's a beautiful smelling combination and the germ fighting power of Raven with the cleansing power of Purification makes me feel better.
Plenty of rest.
Lots of hand washing.

Be well! www.youngliving.org/tracybermeo


*Disclaimer- none of this is backed by the CDC or the FDA but we survived last flu season with no incidents and there were plenty of sick kids through out my kids schools.

May 13, 2009

Since we can't use cough medicine anymore.....

As a kid I took lots of phenegran with codeine. I loved what we called "the purple medicine." Now, taking cough medicine is shunned and I suppose for good reason. First- coughing is good for us as it prevents pneumonia. I always tell my kids they have to cough up all the yucky stuff. Second- some parents just didn't know when to say "when" and gave their kids too much over the counter cough medicine and therefore ruined it for the rest of us. The result is that now the only remedies for a cough are the natural ones. At least there's something!

As it's allergy season and my kids are all drippy and itchy and sneezy it's inevitable that that drippy stuff (mucous) will cause a post nasal drip and lots of coughing. As a mom, I'm sure I'm supposed to be numb to coughing but let me tell you I've had just about enough.

Last night, I gave my daughter a combination of Lavender and Balsam Fir on her chest before bed. The Balsam Fir decreases mucous production and acts as an expectorant and the Lavender helped calm her chest. What I like about this combination is that it's not a "hot"oil like Raven, which I happen to love for decongesting, but requires dilution for kids as it contains peppermint.

Thankfully this little combination both smells good and provided everyone with a good nights rest. After all, sleep is required for the body to heal and get well. It also makes Mommy a happier person in the morning.

May 12, 2009

Old Wounds

Twenty years ago my husband was boxing in the army. He made the mistake of sparring without wraps under his boxing gloves. The result was a very calloused scar where the skin on the knuckle was split for years. On occasion the skin would open and bleed- especially in the winter.
Just this past week I suggested he put some drops of Lavender on it to help it heal.
Within days the callous was gone as was the crack in the middle of the skin. The discoloration remains but it is mostly healed and looks better than it has in twenty years.

I always knew Lavender was great for the skin and have used it on all recent cuts and scrapes obtained by my kids, but to see it work on my husband was just great! Next I'm going to have to try it on the scars from the stitches my son has been collecting over the past 5 years.

May 2, 2009

Old Reliable!

It is often said that the best defense is a strong offense. In the case of this new flu, my feeling is that there is nothing more true. As I understand it, this flu is no different from other flues floating around out there. It makes you sick, preys on the young and elderly, and is contracted by touch. The challenge with this flu is that since it's a mutation, none of us has any antibodies for it in our systems which makes us that much more vulnerable. My prediction: the flu shot given in the fall will be made to protect against the H1N1/Swine flu. With all the media attention- $20 says I'm right.
Either way- considering the germ fest that exists in schools, daycares, and child activity centers, I will be doing all I can to build up and keep my kids immune systems strong. With the warmer months approaching and a focus on spring allergies I had slacked off on the daily use of Thieves in our health regimen*. I will now reincorporate it and I think I'll even send a bottle to my mom.
Unfortunately, it's the one oil I DIDN'T bring with me while we are on vacation this week. Good thing we're not in Mexico.

How to use Thieves:

On your kids: Apply 2-3 drops on the bottoms of their feet in the morning and at bedtime. Use the hand soap at home or waterless hand sanitizer while in school. The kids love it!
For us parents: Apply in the same manner as the kids or place a few drops under the tongue 2-3 times a day. It's a little spicy in the mouth but I love it!

Order Thieves here.

*disclaimer: None of this information is approved or supported by the FDA. It's based on the fact that my kids already survived one flu season without getting sick and I intend to keep it that way.

April 24, 2009

Something for Mom

I love food. I always have. Typically, my 4'11" frame can handle most of what I eat and usually my own will power takes care of the rest. However, after having our 3rd child at the "advanced maternal age" of 37 my metabolism isn't what it used to be.

Part of my challenge was that I envisioned the having a 3rd child to be like having just 1 child. Nap time is free time, plenty of opportunity for walking off the baby weight, and going to Target without someone presenting an emotional case for why she or he MUST HAVE A TOY RIGHT NOW! It is like that- mostly. What I hadn't anticipated (or perhaps I just forgot) is how long it takes to feed a baby, change a baby, and load a baby into the car. Throw in the requirement to be at school on time for picking up the older kids and I'm done. There is no time for exercise, at least for me. I do know some people who get up at 5:30 to exercise. Good for them! I get up at 5:30 to be with a 1 year old.

The result: No time to exercise, no "easy" way to lose the baby weight, and way too much Easter candy. My body was on sugar overload and gave no indication of stopping. So, time to do something for me and still get the laundry done, run errands, and cook dinner.

I tried the Young Living 5 Day Nutritive Cleanse. I was excited to start it and looking forward to breaking the sugar habit. I had read the instructions and felt that I could certainly handle this- I had given birth 3 times hadn't I? I had to clean out my system and kick the sugar habit. I could do this. And if I lost some weight in the process- bonus!

I did do it. All 5 days. However, as a mom who is responsible for 3 kids for 14 hours in a day, there are some things that I feel I should share for anyone else considering this.

Day 1- This was definitely the most difficult day. I had almost no energy- and I'm a pretty energetic person. I didn't feel the toxic symptoms of gas until after the 2nd "meal" and never felt bloated. I attribute this to the good eating habits I had for January through March. If you are a stay at home mom- I would start on a weekend when dad can help. I needed a nap in the afternoon- I was exhausted. The caffeine headache in the middle of the day was almost unbearable. I couldn't wait to go to bed so it would hopefully go away.

Day 2- I had slightly more energy, but not much. There was still some gas, but I never felt bloated. I didn't really experience food cravings (as the program literature warns) but I did miss food- especially dinner. The headache persisted as well- not easy on a Monday. I was committed though and kept going.

Day 3-Finally I awoke with more energy than I had the day before. The headache was subsiding and I was used to the protocol. Lots of water, some snacks of fruit (which I love) and I was actually having fun putting some of my favorite oils, lemon and Thieves, into the shake. On this day though, there was a new side effect. The Ninxja Red (a very high anti oxidant drink- think of V8 Splashers on steroids) was giving me heartburn- something to which I am not usually susceptible.

Day 4- I skipped the Ninxja Red in the morning, and was getting used to no coffee. I had almost my normal energy and there was no headache. I learned that in order to avoid the heart burn, I had to drink the Ninxja Red first then have the shake. That worked like a charm. However, by dinner time I was ready to quit. I missed food. A lot. I was still cooking dinner for a family and not being able to eat it was just plain sad. But I kept going. Had another shake for dinner and stuck to the plan. At this point I felt lighter and could see my belly (where a lot of my baby weight remained) getting smaller. My jeans fit better too. I knew I only had one more day to go. So far it was all worth it.

Day 5- I had my normal energy back. No headache. No heartburn. 5lbs. less on the scale. I cruised through my last day and high-fived my husband when I had my last shake for dinner.

In short- here are some highlights of things to consider as a parent before doing this cleanse:
  • Be prepared mentally.
  • If you are home with kids, start on a Saturday. If you work in an office, I'd start on a Monday.
  • Have the support of your spouse or partner.
  • Have the recommended snacks on hand and available.
  • Prepare your shakes a little while before you anticipate needing them. They are very filling but my most tempting time to quit was when I was hungry.

What I have learned and will take away from this experience:
  • This is only a first step. Maintaining with diet and exercise is next.
  • Eat healthier snacks that are high in protein and fiber.
  • Have more fruit on hand to have as a snack.
  • Cut back on bread even if it's whole wheat.
  • Drink more water. It flushes out the system.

My next steps:
  • Begin taking Thermaburn to raise my metabolism in my newly cleaned digestive system.
  • Have a shake instead of macaroni and cheese for lunch. The protein shake can be used as a meal replacement for continued weight management.
  • Remember how well my clothes fit now so I have fruit for dessert instead of getting back into sugar and candy
  • Have a cup of coffee.

April 22, 2009

Getting Closer

Purification. After 10 days of trying a new Essential Oil for our little Eczema problem, I believe I have found a working solution. The most important thing to keep in mind here is that this is a working solution for my child and it took a few tries of different oils to make it work. Every child is different so by all means, try this but if it doesn't work, feel free to try something else.

What I have been looking for in my search is the almost immediate response to an Essential Oil like I saw with the lemon. My experience is that when it comes to the skin, a response is almost immediate, whereas finding relief with building up respiratory function or clearing up a cold, a serious positive response may take a day or two. I found that neither the Gentle Baby or the Frankincense were working the way I had hoped, so I did in fact move on to Purification.

Here is what worked for me and for my little one: Once a day I combine equal parts of Avocado oil with Purification (which is a proprietary Young Living blend of citronella, rosemary, tea tree and other oils) and rub it all over my little one's body. The upside for me: I love the smell! After more than a week of this, I have seen a continued improvement and healthy response from the skin. I believe the Lemon provided a first step to healthy skin, and the Purification provided the second step. As is often the case, there is not one oil or one solution for a particular problem, and in mine this two part process is now successful.

How I use Purification for me:
  • Put a few drops in a small spray bottle filled with water and clean my counter tops

How I use Purification for my kids:
  • Mix equal parts Purification with vegetable oil and rub all over the body for Eczema relief
  • Use directly on skin after a bug bite
  • Put a few drips in a small spray bottle filled with water and use a bug spray
*disclaimer: these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and the recommendations are solely based on personal experience.

April 14, 2009

Continued Quest

An interesting thing happened today. After I put Lemon Essential Oil and Frankincense on my youngest son's feet, my fingers got very dry. Worse than they have been in months. I read up on my Lemon some more and found that lemon is used to balance skin and combat acne. It's all coming together.

Here is what I think happened. When I first used Lemon on my son, his skin balanced itself out. The parts that should have been soft and silky became that way and therefore the parts that were dry patches showed more clearly. This is when I introduced Frankincense. After seeing my almost immediate Lemon results I have noticed that in 3 days of Frankincense, the result is not what I had hoped. Not that anything is getting "worse" but it's just not getting better.

So, here I am in part 3 of my Eczema cure quest. I am now taking away Lemon from my daily routine (as I think it has served its purpose) and instead using a combination of Avocado oil and Gentle Baby. I use Avocado oil as a basic vegetable oil and,, as a friend told me you only want to use something that you would be willing to eat. Many people use almond oil, but as my kids have nut allergies, I went with avocado. Good news- you can cook with it too. Gentle Baby is a Young Living Blend which includes both Lemon and Lavender (Lavender was to be my next test) along with 8 other oils. For about 24 hours now I have taken a dime sized amount of Avocado oil and added 4 drops of Gentle Baby to it. I rub my hands together and then rub that combination on his body essentially everywhere. This combination can also be used on diaper rash.

There will be more to come on this, but if it doesn't work, next I'm trying the same thing iwth Purification- which I happen to love. I think the Lavender smell in Gentle Baby bothers me, but as I've said, you don't have to love the smell.

April 12, 2009

He Smells Like A Pizza

Oregano. It does make my middle son smell like a pizza, but I do find that it is working to make his breathing much better. Oregano (Origanum compactum) is one of the most powerful and versatile essential oils. It contains strong immune-enhancing and antioxidant properties and supports the respiratory system. It can be used topically or diluted in rice or soy milk.

I started by putting 1-2 drops on the bottoms of my son's feet twice a day. At night I have to do it when he's sleeping because the smell is quite strong. In the morning I do it before putting his socks on for the day. I was patient and it took about 5 days to see a difference. Now I can see improvement in his early morning breathing. It is no longer strained while speaking first thing.

However, because of the smell I tried using Frankincense instead of the Oregano. When applied topically it helps to build respiratory function. The result was that within two days my son needed two puffs from his inhaler yesterday morning rather than the one he was getting. On its own, it was not strong enough for what I needed. I am back on the Oregano twice a day.

How I use Oregano on my kids:
  • 1-2 drops on the feet twice a day.

How I use it for myself:
  • 1-2 drops in any food I am cooking that could use a little taste of Oregano.

Eczema Relief Part II

In my ongoing quest for an effective treatment for my youngest son's Eczema, I had thought I found the answer in Lemon essential oil alone. Now that I am 10 days into my experiment I have a clearer view into what's happening.
The Lemon essential oil has made my son's skin healthy overall from the inside out. This means that I can feel the difference in the elasticity and general smoothness compared to previously when it was just dry all over. The result is that I can now see all the little dry patches that still exist.
What this means: the cure all that I thought was a cure all needs some additional help.

My next steps: I am going to try both Frankincense and Lavender- both are be good for the skin. Lavender can help skin irritations as well as cuts. Frankincense is helpful for aging and dry skin.

I am trying Frankincense first on the bottoms of the feet and directly on the skin's dry patches. Hopefully I will be able to post results soon.

April 7, 2009

What a Pain in My Hands!

Raven is a very soothing oil that I have typically used on my kids when they are congested. This week I found another use for myself and I finally have use of my hands. Both of them and full range.

It's all thanks to Raven. I had tried Peppermint and Idaho Balsam Fir for the carpal tunnel syndrome in both of my hands. After 4 days, none had worked so I knew I needed to try something else. The pain had gotten so bad that I was unable to hold anything heavy or drive easily- not good when you have 3 kids. As I was looking at the oils in this blend it contained most of what I had tried already but I thought perhaps something was missing from the single oils. So I massaged a few drops of Raven on my hand and was pain free for a few hours. I will be continuing with Raven a few times a day for the next few days as well as being very careful when picking up the wild child who needs me.

Addendum- after 2 days of using Raven on my hand, the pain was tremendously improved, but I noticed swelling. I turned to Peppermint as an anti-inflammatory and put it right on my hand a little while after using Raven. Now, at the end of the day the swelling is mostly gone and I think tomorrow I will try a combination of Raven and Peppermint at the same time. I believe that for my that will be just the right combination. If not, Deep Relief will be my next experiment.

How I use Raven on my kids:
  • Place 1-2 drops undiluted on the bottoms of their feet when congested.
  • Dilute and put 1-2 drops on their backs when congested.

How I use Raven for myself:
  • Directly on my hands for muscle pain relief from carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Combine (undiluted) with equal drops of lavender and rub on my abdomen to relive pain from cramps

April 6, 2009

400 Years Ago

Thieves is right up there with R.C. and Lemon as essential oils that I truly feel I cannot live without. The story behind Thieves is this: 400 years ago a band of French thieves anointed themselves with an aromatic mixture prior to robbing plague victims. This homemade blend of natural ingredients prevented them from contracting the disease, and upon their capture they relinquished the secret recipe. The Young Living blend for Thieves is based on this same recipe and offers the same kind of defense, and has proven effective against airborne bacteria.

I use Thieves every day on my kids. They get the oil on their feet twice a day and all I can say is that my husband noticed that while this winter was particularly bad with the stomach flu and what was known as the "fever thing," our kids stayed healthy. It's important to mention another factor here as far as the flu is concerned. The flu shot.

Personally, I'm skeptical about the flu shot. I totally understand that it can help the youngest kids and older people to avoid this horrible sickness. I personally have only had a flu shot once in my life and that was at least 8 years ago. However, because one child has asthma, and the other is still just a toddler, I had all 3 kids get a flu shot. For my middle child it was required by the school so I didn't really have a choice there. Where this gets interesting is here: My son's entire school was required to get a flu shot and there were record numbers of kids out sick with the stomach flu in February and the first half of March. In my daughter's class, 6 kids went home in one day. In the other class for her grade, 11 kids were out in a single day. That's half the class. My kids stayed healthy. And if they did catch a cold, it was minor and gone in 3 days rather than 10. During this time, I had a play date with 6 of my son's friends during the short break in February. All I heard about that day was how all the kids visiting in my house had been throwing up and of course their siblings too. After everyone left, I used the Thieves spray to spray down the entire first floor, the playroom, and the toys. My kids never got sick. More importantly, I never got sick. We all agree, if MOM get sick, we're screwed.

So, I have come to love Thieves. I use the essential oil, the waterless hand sanitizer, the foaming hand soap, the throat lozenges, and soon I'll be trying the dental floss.

How my kids use Thieves:
  • I put 1-2 drops on the bottoms of their feet twice a day.
  • My daughter loves the smell so I put 2 drops on a tissue and put the tissue in her lunch box.

How I use Thieves:
  • I put 2 drops under my tongue and chase it with some Peppermint. Clears the head and helps the sore throat.
  • Thieves lozenges have cleared my sinus stuffiness
  • A friend of mine rubs it on his gums before going to the dentist because it has a natural numbing effect.

I Call it Liquid Gold

R.C. This is one of the most important Young Living Essential Oils I have used. I bought it because I have a child with Asthma. One of the "good" things that came from my experience with this condition is that I learned the importance of catching a sickness from the very first sneeze or cough. In my son's case there is usually a cold that seems pre-programed to move from his head to his chest. That's when it gets nasty. And, in our case at the very first sign of a cold the amount of drugs needed to prevent the cold from moving to his chest and causing serious breathing issues doubled. Two inhalers with increased amount of dosages.

When I started using the YLEO products in my arsenal, I incorporated R.C. specifically for my son. I would rub it on his feet and put it directly on his chest and back twice a day. I also put Thieves on his feet at the same time. The result was calm sleep and a cold that lasted only 3 days (rather than 10) and did not escalate into an asthma problem.

R.C. success stories:
  • A friend of mine started using RC on her son's feet and was able to take her son off his nebulizer 5 days early.
  • Another friend (who also happens to be a nurse) was able to use RC during her daughter's cold and avoided putting her daughter back on a daily dose of Flovent.
  • The most important thing and best thing that R.C. does is help kids sleep at night. if a child is up all night coughing, guess who else is too.
What I am ultimately striving for is to take this coming spring and summer to build up my son's respiratory function with a combination of R.C. (when he has a cold) and Oregano daily.

How I Use RC on my children:
On my older son I use it on his feet twice a day during a cold.
On my younger son (a toddler) I put 1-2 drops on the bottom of his feet twice a day at the first sign of a green booger. Inevitably, the cold does not materialize at all.

April 4, 2009

Eczema Relief- Finally!

Lemon. I have been on a mission for 13 months to find a safe and comfortable solution for my youngest child's Eczema. Dry patchy skin. Scabs from him scratching himself. Even some scarring from so much scratching. Cradle cap/dandruff as well to go with the overall condition. I have used 4 different soaps to wash him, used rigorous bathing and moisturizing plans, at least 3 different moisturizers, and a steriod based foam/lotion prescription from the dermatologist.

Until now, the only thing I did that worked well was to take 4000mg of Vitamin C myself knowing that he would get it in the breast milk. (Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory and Eczema is an inflammation of the skin.) But this only lasted for about 9 months, and within 2 months of not nursing the very dry itchy skin was back with a vengeance.

On a whim, I decided to tried an experpiment with Lemon essential oil. Lemon is said to be good for the skin and revitalizing. So I started putting it on the bottoms of my son's feet about 2 days ago. Within the first 24 hours, I saw an incredible improvement. His skin is silky smooth, and his dandruff is all but gone. I was amazed, but more importantly, happy for my child and the comfort he will be feeling. I will continue to use the one moisturizer that seemed to work best for him (CeraVe) but am so relieved that I have found a solution. A healthy natural solution without steroids.

APPLICATION: 1-2 drops on the bottoms of the feet twice a day
WARNING: Avoid direct sunlight or UV rays for 12 hours after applying Lemon essential oil. (I fully expect to be able to continue usage on the bottoms of his feet even when we are more exposed to the sun on a daily basis in the coming summer months)

Using Young Living Essential Oils

I use only Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. There are some basics around using the oils that everyone should know before starting.
Some should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing. See website for exact details.
Some oils can be sensitive to the skin and if you are considering using them on a child, try it on your self first.
If you use an oil that does result in a sensitivity, use a pure vegetable oil to dilute it- NOT water. Water will only intensify the strength.
With some oils (such as the citrus based ones- lemon, grapefruit, citrus blend) require avoiding sun on the skin for up to 12 hours after using them. For these, I'd use them only on the soles of the feet or at night.
Single essential oils (rather than blends) can be ingested either alone or by mixing in food or water. Refer to the product guide or website if you are unsure of anything.
As I create posts and details about each oil I use, I will list any sensitivities I am aware of as well as if I ingest any directly.
For a look into the products, any restrictions, or more general information please visit the site for Young Living Essential Oils. Select your country and then view the products. There is very detailed information on the products and of course if I recommend anything to you directly, I'll give you all the details I can before use. These oils have started me and my family on a path of wellness that has enhanced and improved our lives. I still use conventional medicine, but I have seen these products work and I'll try just about anything to keep my kids happy and healthy.

Whoa That's Hot!

Peppermint. When you smell Peppermint it just clears those nasal passages like nothing I've ever experienced before. It's very helpful for sore muscles, clearing the sinuses, and I'm hoping with the Carpal Tunnel in my wrists from carrying around a baby. Be careful: Peppermint is a HOT oil. It takes a minute or so, but once applied you can feel the heat working. For this reason, I would not place it on kids skin- even with dilution.

How I have used Peppermint:
Sore muscles. Place a few drops on the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. Then rub into sore muscles anywhere- neck and back, crampy abdomen, or your knee. I have been lazy about moving my legs properly when bending or shifting to pick up something like a child or a toy. The result is that for the first time in my life I have knee pain. Last week I put a couple of drops on directly on the area around my knee and within about a minute, my knee pain was gone and stayed gone for about 8 hours.
Place a drop on your thumb and then put your thumb on the roof of your mouth. I'm trying this one as I write this and I think I need another drop but I can feel the sinus pressure fading. This is awesome because I'm one of those people who does not get relief from something like Sudafed.
A word to the wise- don't rub peppermint on your body and then go to the bathroom. There could be a painful result there and I'll let you use your imagination on that one.

You Don't Have to Love the Smell

Lavender. It's all over the place. It's in kids products, adults products, laundry detergent, cleaning products, dish washing soap, body soap and shampoo. When it's too strong I don't love the smell- in fact it's one of those things I just can't stand. (I have a friend who feels the same way about Basil in the essential oil form). However, it's wonderful for the skin and will relieve the pain from a scrape or cut. It also has a calming effect when used as aromatherapy.

How I have used Lavender for the kids:
cuts and scrapes (just put a few drops of the oil directly on a cut or burn)
calming my kids. I call it the After School Oil (just put a couple of drops on their pulse points or bottoms of their feet.) I'm not sure who's giving them caffeine before they are returned to me but SOMETHING makes them very jumpy and excited and some days that's just too much at 3pm.
How I have used Lavender for myself:
I combine a couple of drops of Lavender with either Peppermint or Raven and apply directly to my abdomen when I am crampy. Sometimes you just need advil, but the oil combination works well and smells good. It's great at night as the Lavender has a calming effect which is lovely just before bed. Lucky for me the Raven or Peppermint smell overpowers the Lavender and I can just let it work without my issues.

How I Got Started

My journey into essential oils began a little over a year ago when I noticed that our youngest child had eczema. I suspected allergies to accompany the skin condition and was ultimately right. After several conversations with the pediatrician and confirmation of the allergies, I decided I needed to change my plan of attack for the health of the whole family. I was ready and willing to try anything.
Enter the mom's power breakfast! I got together with two of my mom friends and we went all out on natural remedies for babies and older kids. Actually, they talked and I listened. This whole aspect of health care was totally new for me. We talked about how to keep kids from getting sick in the first place and how to create a balance between conventional and natural medicine.
At the time of our first breakfast the baby had a cold. Not a huge deal except that at 5 weeks old, infants cannot take Tylenol for a fever. We were doing everything we could to avoid getting there. So at my friend's suggestion I started taking 4,000 mg Vitamin C for myself that the baby would get in the breast milk to help combat his cold. While Vitamin C is unable to stop a cold by itself I felt better knowing I was doing what I could. This is where my journey started.
I picked up a copy of Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child and started to incorporate the Young Living Essential Oils into my daily regimen of prevention.
Nothing will entirely prevent kids from getting sick. In fact, if they didn't get sick they wouldn't build up their immune systems. I was looking for a way to minimize the impact of the viruses they pick up and avoid that long 10 day green and yellow drippy nose. I believe I have found something close to the balance for which I strive.