As a mother of two young boys and a school nurse I am increasingly aware and even alarmed at the number of children with eczema, allergies and intolerances. Are we too hypersensitive and too informed or is it a 'we live in such a polluted world and use so many chemicals' thing? Either way it's a struggle to find the right solution in a world of synthetics: medication, skincare products, cleaning products etc.
But it's so hard to be completely natural and everyday I fail! When even well known baby skincare products contain nasties! Be kind to yourself and little steps and little changes will help to make a new healthy habit and way of thinking.
Every week I try to do, re-purpose, re-use or make something natural. I even made my own "Ketchup" and I prefer my one to the shop brand. And I'm a Ketchup snob!
My goal at the moment is to try and keep it simple (which also helps with the cost side), visit natural beauty sights that are free (like woodlands and commons). Like picking the dandelions from rural areas and infuse in olive oil to make your own pain relief oil (how to do this is explained at the end). Did you know that in England you can pick a carrier bag-full amount of flowers and foliage from common areas which include council run sites. I learnt this from an awesome florist, in Newbury, Lucy from Lulu Flowers (www.luluflowers.co.uk).
So, keep it simple and make Dandelion Infused Olive Oil for medicinal use... here's how:
40 dandelion flower heads (if you see the start of fluffy seeds- don't use)
A large glass jar (I have Kilner jars but you can get similar from Poundland)
Olive Oil (enough to cover the dandelion heads and cheap is fine)
A Colander, Water, paper towel and a tin or wooden tray and sieve.
1. Look through each flower head and remove bugs
2. Rinse in a colander under gentle flow of cold water
3. Leave to COMPLETELY dry (place flower down on the paper towel lined tray) in a sunny spot or put in a warm oven for 10 minutes (caution- I have been known to cook my dandelion by accident). Why can't you add wet flowers to the oil? Because the introduction of water and then warmth will cause mold and bacteria to grow AND that ain't a pleasant thing!
4. When you are sure that your flower heads are free from the added water (from rinsing),
Place the dandelion flower heads into your Kilner jar, cover with the oil and seal. Then place in a sunny spot for two weeks.
5. Strain through a sieve and pour into small bottles. (Add Lavender, Lemongrass or Basil Essential Oil for a beautiful aroma for added natural pain relief.) Always check the quantities as too much of anything can be bad for you- 'So my mama told me'.
Dandelions infusing in Olive Oil on my kitchen window sill at home.
Have fun, your options are endless as you can infuse all sorts of medicinal flowers like Calendula (healing), Echinacea for immune support and Chamomile for soothing irritated skin.