My husband and I hike in the forest behind our house everyday. The forest borders a river and is surrounded by man-made lakes. There are tons of mosquitoes, horseflies, ticks and these flying bugs of dubious identity that latch on and crawl around our arms and backs. It is a true testament to how much we love nature that we venture into this madness daily.
We usually use a very strong commercial repellent that feels heavy and very chemically on my skin. The smell of this repellent makes me wonder what on earth we are spraying on our bodies. I really detest putting this stuff on my skin, yet the idea of 1,000 bites or not going into the forest at all are not good options either.
This summer I have been field testing a natural insect repellent. It has gone through a few iterations until I have a formula that I am satisfied with. I will continue to experiment with this and inform of any updates or improvements.
This repellent is good for your skin, feels amazing, smells wonderful and does a very decent job keeping the bugs off. It needs to be applied quite liberally and carefully.
Leave Me Alone! Insect Repellent
Decoct 1 oz each Catnip and Neem leaves. Simmer leaves in a covered pot for 15 minutes, take off the heat and then leave covered in the pot for 1 hour.
When the decoction is cooled, add the essential oils.
Decant into the spray bottle.
Shake very well before each use.
Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
I would love to hear your experiences with natural repellents. I am currently field testing a different formula that includes geranium and citronella. I will keep you posted.
Infused oil recipe:
Dry herbs in a dehydrator or in a cool dry place.
Grind herbs with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. You need as much surface area as possible to come into contact with the oil.
Fill a jar half full with the ground herbs. Fill to the brim with the oil of your choice. (I normally use olive oil for salves and almond oil for cosmetic creams). Allow for air pockets to bubble up. Continue to fill with oil until saturated.
Place the oil in a sunny window for 6-8 weeks to macerate or place in a bread maker on low heat overnight.
Your oil is now ready to be made into a salve, cream or placed directly on your skin.
Have you ever had an outbreak of some recurring ailment only to find that you are out of your prescription and it is Friday night with no hope of getting a refill until Monday morning?
A few years ago, I had this very thing happen and I was panicked because letting the yeast infection go for even a day meant longer on the course of meds from the doctor. I was still new to herbalism, but had a pretty big garden. After some research and a quick harvest of the Oregano and calendula in my yard, I whipped up a batch of this Anti-Fungal Salve and was amazed at the results. I have not had to refill that prescription since.
In a double boiler (or a pot nestled in a larger pot filled with a bit of water) over medium heat, add the oils and beeswax.
Stir until the beeswax melts and is fully incorporated.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment.
Add the essential oils. Stir.
Pour into clean and sterilised jars.
Apply topically to any fungal infections, yeast, rashes etc…
I have used this salve on toenail fungal outbreaks as well as on my most intimate parts. It works really well.
I don’t even remember being bitten by a tick. I just noticed what seemed to be a bug bite on my bum that kept getting bigger and bigger. Eventually, it was the size of Jupiter and bumpy and purple with concentric circles. The doctor took one look and diagnosed me with Borrelia or Lyme Disease.
Immediately, I was put on a course of Doxycycline, 400mg for 21 days. No more sunshine, no more normal stomach. A day later the joint pain came. I was fatigued, foggy, slow, in pain and unhappy.
Since then, I have had a couple of clients with Lyme Disease and this is the information that I give them during our initial consultation:
Antibiotics can be less than completely effective because:
Borrelia is evasive
Borrelia becomes part of the microbiome in the form of spirochete cysts which the antibiotics are ill-equipped to deal with
Antibiotics can harm an already frail immune system
Antibiotics can damage the already damaged mitochondria
Herbal therapy can be of great support because:
Herbs have a wide spectrum of antimicrobial properties
Multiple herbs used simultaneously provide synergy
Herbs enhance immune function
Herbs support a balanced microbiome
Herbs help body deal with spirochete cysts
Borrelia does more than just damage cells, produce cysts and cause uncomfortable symptoms. It damages the immune system leaving the body unable to fight and become strained by the course of antibiotics required.
Holistic Herbal Therapy
1: Restorative- using herbs to restore balance and immune function
2: Symptomatic- relieve acute symptoms
3: Heroic- aggressive killing of microbes
Restorative: Immunomodulation- reishi mushroom, astragalus, eleuthro
Balance microbiome- probiotics, magnesium, oregano or wormwood and activated charcoal to reduce parasites and molds in the intestinal tract
Cellular support- quercitin in the form of sage
Symptomatic: Anti-inflammatory- turmeric, green tea
Heroic: Antimicrobial- antibiotics, smilax (sarsaparilla)
Herbs are as varied an individual as humans, there is really no way to give an herbal therapy protocol that suits everyone. This protocol is a great place to start, then, after listening to what your body is telling you, you can make adjustments.
Update: After writing this post, my husband Dan came home with flu-like symptoms and a swollen red circular rash on his elbow. He feels fatigued, sick, achy and pretty miserable. I think we are headed to the doctor tomorrow as he is an avid hiker and removes ticks from himself at least weekly. I am starting him tonight on sage, turmeric, yarrow, elderflower as well as a plantain poultice.