Most living rooms get pampered with an assortment of perfumed products from furniture polish to air fresheners, dusting powders for the carpets and upholstery cleaners. These products aren’t aroma coordinated and, more importantly, they all contain harmful chemicals. They are not the best option because all of their functions can be taken over by natural products which have been enhanced with essential oils.
In years gone by people put aromatic grasses under their rugs and mats so the aroma would be released to freshen the room as they walked on them. Today most of us have wall-to-wall carpeting and we need something else. A carpet freshener powder, which can be used in exactly the same way as the commercial products, can be made by using essential oils in conjunction with kaolin, baking soda, or borax powder.
For each tablespoon of one of these base powders, you will need 1 drop of your chosen essential oil –use one of the less expensive ones. Simply add the essential oil to the powder in a blender and mix well. How much you make depends entirely upon your requirements. Once made, store in a sealed jar or sealable plastic bag. Leave it overnight in a drawer or closet before using for the first time; then sprinkle it on your carpet, leave for a few minutes, and vacuum up.
To stop the odor that builds up from the dust and dirt in the vacuum cleaner, you can put a teaspoon of carpet cleaning powder in the bag, which will fragrance the air as it is sucked through the machine. A more effective method, however, is to add 6-8 drops of essential oil to a cotton ball and popping it in the bag. Replace it with a new fragrance, if you wish, each time you change the bag, or empty it out depending on your machine.
An even simpler method is to place the drops of essential oil directly on the bag by the air outlet, but this isn’t a good option for non-replaceable bags since you might want to change the fragrance later. Try the essential oils of Lemon, Orange, Lavender, or Pine to eradicate that dustiness which makes vacuuming the sort of job you need to bathe after!
It is difficult to get windows absolutely sparkling –there always seems to be at least a few streaks left behind. To get rid of these, prepare a sheet of newspaper to act as a rag, put a drop of Lime, Grapefruit or Lemon oil on it and polish the window again. The essential oil soaks into the newspaper and combines with the print to give a sparkling finish which also releases a fresh and subtle fragrance when light shines through the glass.
The fruit of the lemon has long been used to polish copper, and essential oil of lemon works equally well. Simply put 1 drop on a soft cloth and buff the copper for a clean, gleaming polish.
The living room is the place to prove to yourself that you can do without all those commercial sprays. Use a plant mister spray with water and essential oils to freshen up the furniture, curtains and carpets. As this is where your family and friends spend most of their time, you will want to choose a nice relaxing essential oil formula.
Use the spray, diffuser, light bulb, radiator, or humidifier method or add the oils to potpourri (don’t buy synthetic potpourri revivers.) Make your own blend of oils or use this tried and tested formula.
The Relaxing Living Room Blend
8 drops Geranium
3 drops Clary Sage
5 drops Lemon
3 drops Bergamot
Mix in these proportions
And if you want something to rouse your family out of their Sunday afternoon lethargy, try this:
The Stimulating Living Room Blend
8 drops Grapefruit
4 drops Lavender
4 drops Lime
2 drops Basil
Mix in these proportions
This article was adapted from:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood
All Images from Google.com
Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a slightly woody perennial plant that is native to Europe and Asia, but has naturalized to North America, Australia and Northern Africa.
Its lovely blue flowers are edible, as are the leaves. Many farmers are planting chicory as a forage plant for their livestock as the tannins it contains help control parasitic worms, and the roots are wonderful fodder in the winter months.
The leaves, stalks and flowers can be dried in a dehydrator or tied together and hung to dry in a well-ventilated and dark room.
The rootstock of root chicory (Cichorium intybus var. sativum) a variant of common chicory is dried, roasted and used as a coffee substitute commercially. It is a great source of inulin and plant tannins.
The Properties of Chicory: (See the Herbal Terminology Post for Definitions)
Bitter Tonic, Laxative, Diuretic, Choleretic, Cholagogue, Carminitive, Appetizer
Uses for Chicory include:
Medicinal: Helps with loss of appetite, dyspepsia, rheumatism, gout, jaundice, spleen, liver and gallbladder problems.
Energetic and Spiritual: Chicory is an herb belonging to the element of Air and is in tune with the planetary energies of the Sun. It is used to remove obstacles from one’s life. It is said that if one gathers chicory at either noon or midnight on the Summer Solstice in total silence with a golden knife the flowers will open locks when they are pressed against them.
It is also carried to promote frugality or obtain favors.
Culinary: Roasted chicory root is a great substitute for coffee if you are looking to switch to a non-caffeinated alternative. The taste is very similar and the medicinal properties of the root remain intact. The inulin of the root is a soluble fiber which aids digestion and acts as food for the friendly bacteria in our intestines.
The leaves can be added to salads and offer a bitter crunch. They can also be boiled, drained and sauteed in butter to reduce the bitter taste. They can then be mixed into pasta dishes or served as a side for meats.
This plant is a slightly more bitter cousin to endive and radicchio and has similar culinary uses.
Infusion: Steep 40 grams of dried herb and flowers in 1 liter of boiling water for 7-10 minutes. About half a cup or less is taken three times a day for three days. This preparation is helpful for loss of appetite, dyspepsia, rheumatism, gout, jaundice, and spleen, liver and gallbladder problems.
Poultice: Boil the leaves until wilted then drain and cool to body temperature. Apply them to areas of inflammation.
There are none known, but use with extreme caution during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Always check with a healthcare practitioner before beginning herbal treatments.
Information Pulled from:
The Herb Book by John Lust
Medicinal Plants of the World by Ben-Erik van Wyk and Michael Wink
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg
Notes taken on an herb walk in Boulder, CO with herbalist Cat Pantaleo
Images from Google.com
Living soil contains billions of living microorganisms that affect soil and plant health. These include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes. A teaspoon of fertile soil can contain up to one billion bacteria. Bacteria help the soil decompose organic matter, retain nutrients in the soil, compete with disease causing organisms, and break down soil pollutants. Some bacteria help transfer nitrogen into the soil from legumes, improving soil quality. In our age of sterility and control, bacteria have gotten a bad name, but in truth all healthy ecosystems, including our own bodies, contain much beneficial bacteria. Provide beneficial bacteria with plenty of organic matter and you will have happy worms, dirt, and plants –which means a healthy and bountiful garden. Fungi, microorganisms that are slightly larger than bacteria, serve a similar function. They help decompose carbon compounds, making the carbon available to plants and soil microbes, and help retain nutrients in the soil. They bind soil particles into aggregates, making the soil more porous to air and water. They provide food for other microorganisms, compete with plant pathogens, and decompose some types of pollution. Open a rotting log and you can see fungi at work, their long white strands eating away at the decomposing matter. Fungi in the soil, however, are too small to see with the naked eye. One type of fungus is called mycorrhizae, meaning fungus root. These fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plants roots, improving the roots’ absorption of water, air and nutrients. In turn, the fungi receive sugars from the roots. Good soil containing lots of organic matter, water, air, and microorganisms leads to healthy mycorrhizal growth. Protozoa, another microbial soil ally, primarily eat bacteria, releasing the fertilizing waste product ammonium in the soil and simultaneously stimulating bacteria populations. They also provide a food source for nematodes, an unsegmented worm. Nematodes are primarily beneficial, though some feed on roots and can kill a plant. Beneficial nematodes feed on protozoa, bacteria and fungi as well as other nematodes, including the harmful varieties. Like protozoa, they also release ammonium into the soil as a byproduct of their feeding. They distribute bacteria and fungi through the soil as they travel through their earthy domain. Remember that the health of your garden does not solely lie in the hands of our earth allies. You must work just as hard as they do to reap the benefits of a healthy and prospering patch of land.
This Article was Adapted from Sacred Land by Clea Danaan
All Images from Google.com