This is my personal herbal and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any ailment or illness.
I am not a doctor in any way, shape or form.

Please consult your Care Provider before using any herbs or natural medicinals. Anyone can be allergic to anything, if you're unsure it's better not to use it. Double check everything with you Care Provider if you're pregnant or nursing.

Nothing works for everyone and nothing works exactly the same for everyone. Do the research yourself. Don't take any one persons word for anything, no matter how knowledgeable they seem. Doctors with years of experience make mistakes that cost lives. It's your body, (your home, your car, garden, etc etc etc) take responsibility for it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Natural & Homemade Cleaners

I love homemade anything :) and my main cleaning products are white vinegar and baking soda. Tho I also often use apple cider vinegar, lavender, lemon juice and tea tree oil. Tea Tree has strong antiseptic properties and Lavender has mild antiseptic properties.

Instead of paper towels and expensive cleaning rags I use homemade or yard sale napkins, bath and dish towels. I keep them just for cleaning so I don't mind if they get a stain. Easy to wash and hang dry to be used over and over again.
If the spill or cleaning job isn't to bad I just wash
them out right away with a little dish soap and hang the to dry.

Baking Soda

I keep several empty parmesan cheese type containers, filled with baking soda for the Kitchen, bathroom, carpet and rugs, and the litter boxes. You can use as is (what I do), or keep a large sprig of herb in the container to scent your baking soda.

A little baking soda freshens litter boxes and scrubs away hard water stains, calcium buildup and rust. It's also a grand stain remover, just add a teaspoon of baking soda to your coffee or tea stained cups, fill with water and let them soak for about 10 minutes. Give a little scrub and they come shiny clean :) A little in your dish water will help keep utensils and glass shiny too. People have long used table salt for the same things but baking soda is safer to use, is less abrasive and much easier on the skin and environment.

For a tough stain like grape juice, mix a little paste of baking soda and lemon juice and watch it bubble the stain away.

To clean the oven or grill I make a good past of baking soda and water, apply and allow to dry slightly (about 10 minutes). Moisten and scrub clean. For tough spots, use the baking soda and lemon juice paste.

White Vinegar

Hot white vinegar is excellent for cleaning hard water buildup in coffee makers and tea pots. I use it about once a month to clean my peculator, about 2 cups full strength (Boiling vinegar does sting your nose tho and you can dilute it if it bothers you) I bring it to a rapid boil and then turn it off and let it set for about 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes I pour half into the toilet and let it set another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I scrub the toilet and flush it away.

I use the other half in a bowl which i add cold water to and using baking soda to scrub, scrub the hard water on the tub and shower.

I don't know for sure but it may kill the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank. Regardless, I try to replenish them monthly to be sure.

** Never use metal containers for vinegars or lemon or lime juices. They're very acidic and can corrode metals.

Glass & Window Cleaner

1/2 part white vinegar
4 parts water

Put in a spray bottle and shake before using and use as any basic window cleaner.

Carpet Deodorizer

Baking soda
Dried herbs or spices (optional)

Fill a container with shaker top, add a teaspoon or so of herb or spices. Sprinkle on floors, allow to set for 10 minutes and vacuum. **Use Borax instead once a month to kill fleas.

Disinfectant Spray

2 c lavender water (double strength)
2 t. Tea Tree oil

Put in spray bottle. Shake before using. Spray germy things and wipe dry. A little goes a long way.

General All Purpose Cleaner

2 cups lavender water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 t. Tea Tree oil

Put in spray bottle and shake before using.

Wood Cleaner

1 c Light Olive Oil1/2 c Lemon Juice

Mix in reused plastic container. Use as you would any wood oil. Apply with soft cloth and buff to a shine. It cleans, shines and protects your wood furniture. A little goes a long way.

***** If you need shaker top containers or spray bottles you might check the bins next time you take recycling.

Those are just a few of my current recipes, I experiment and change things all the time. I'm sure there are tons more recipes out there, do a search and find some that are right for you :)
One thing I haven't found a recipe for that satisfies my needs is dish soap. if you know of one that I could try I would be very grateful.

I also recently came across this site which looks like a very good place to me :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Natural Pet - Flea Control (reposted and revised for 2009)

There are many fairly simple and natural ways to eliminate and prevent parasites. Fleas, worms and mites are at the top of the list and can also lead to much worse things. Today I'll focus on fleas.

** To start any natural flea control, a good bath should come first if at all possible. A gentle child's soap is fine but follow with a diluted vinegar rinse (a couple of tablespoons vinegar to a gallon of warm water) to remove any residue. Furred creatures have natural occurring oils which they need for a healthy coat and to say cool in summer and warm in winter. A good bath never hurts but to much bathing could actually cause fleas to be worse and weaken the natural system.

** Tea Tree oil can be diluted and used in a rinse after the vinegar rinse or as a stand alone rinse instead of bathing. A Tea Tree oil rinse (1 tablespoon Tea Tree oil per one gallon warm water) can be used like a flea dip in the summer, if fleas and tick are very bad, or before a long hike in the forest. You can also make up a batch and keep it in a spray bottle to lightly mist the coat when it's warm out (always be careful to avoid the eyes! and don't over use)

** Diatomaceous Earth (DE) can be used outside with great effect and is fairly safe to use (everything should be used with respect and care). It can be sprinkled along foundations of buildings and in animal pens under a layer of straw or raked into a layer of pebbles. I would not recommend using it indoors because the dust is harmful if breathed but a small amount will likely be tracked in by the pets anyway.

** Cedar has long been used for it's ability to deter fleas. Cedar chips make an excellent bedding and leaves the coat smelling like cedar as well. Cedar can also be used as a filler for pet beds indoors and in small cedar pillows kept in closets and under furniture.

To make a soft pet bed with a refillable cedar pocket, just sew a pillow whatever size your pet needs and, stuff as usual. But, when you're ready to close the opening sew a long sock or open weave pouch inside the pillow. That way the stuffing stays in but the pouch can be filled and refilled with cedar chips.

** Garlic can be fed to cats and dogs to help eliminate fleas and keep them at bay. It also has the added benefits of deworming, helping to strengthen the immune system, good for the heart and circulatory systems. However, to much garlic can irritate the stomach lining, to much of anything, no matter how good, usually turns into a bad thing.

I recommend 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder per 10 pounds of body weight, fed at least twice a week.

******* NEVER use garlic salt, it can dangerously thin the blood.

** Brewers Yeast is a great addition for natural flea control. It can be added to wet food or given daily in tablet form. Most dogs and cats love it and gobble it right up. The general recommended dose is about 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

Brewers Yeast can also be rubbed into the coat to repel fleas instantly. This should be done outside to keep the fleas out of your home and be careful they don't jump on you. This is only a temporary fix but can be used to jump start a natural flea routine.

** Pennyroyal is a good flea deterrent. It can be grown around animal enclosures and dried to use in natural, temporary, flea collars. But, should always be used with caution!

********* Although Pennyroyal is of the mint family it is poisonous if ingested and should never be taken internally. If you're pregnant or even might be, you shouldn't handle it at all!

If growing around enclosures be sure to keep it out of the animals reach. Grow it along the outsides of fences or near the backs of houses where the animals can't get.

For a natural, temporary, flea collar ... take about a teaspoon of dried herb and roll it in a cotton bandana and tie loosely around the neck. You can also add it dried to a removable pouch that can be secured inside a dog bed or the like.

** Borax powder can be used on carpets and floors and is very effective in killing fleas. Sprinkle a good layer on, leave it for at least 1 hour, then vacuum thoroughly. When leaving anything on the carpets or floors remove pets and children to a safe area until properly cleaned.

** Vacuum carpets often and immediately empty the canister or bag and throw outside.

** Wash bedding regularly and thoroughly. Yours and theirs.

Please remember to consult your Vet or animal care provider, before trying anything new :)

Recipes .....

~ Cat Yum ~

2/3 to 1 c wet food (store or homemade)
1 beaten egg
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (never garlic salt or raw garlic)
1 Tablespoon brewers yeast (or distillers yeast)

very warm water ** but not hot

Mix all ingredients except water and store in airtight container in fridge. When ready to feed, mix 1 teaspoon warm water per Tablespoon of Yum. cats rarely like to eat cold things so the very warm water warms to Yum and most cats love it.

Feed 1 Tablespoons per 10 pounds per day

~ Flea Biscuits ~

2 c flour (whole wheat is best but all purpose is fine too)
1 c cornmeal
2/3 c brewers yeast (or distillers yeast)
2 t garlic powder (never garlic salt or fresh garlic, both are very harmful to dogs)
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c boiling chicken broth ( I make my own by boiling the leftover chicken bones) (you can also use beef broth)

Put the broth to boil. Mix all the dry ingredients together then add the egg yolks and work in with a heavy spoon. Add the broth to the mix and mix well with heavy spoon. Set aside and allow to cool. When it's cool enough to handle use a little flour/cornmeal mix to dust hands and form into a large ball. Add more flour/cornmeal if it's to sticky. Now you can either pinch off pieces and flatten or roll out and cut like biscuits. Any shape will do (bones, circles, stars ...) but they shouldn't be more then 1/4 inch thick. Bake at 375 for 15 mins then turn and bake 15 mins more. Allow to cool fully and store in an airtight container. Makes about 70 medium biscuits.

I make 2 inch circles, between 1/8 and 1/4 in. thick, and give them for fleas and ticks, 1 cookie for every 50 pounds. You can break them in half for 25 pounds or make smaller biscuits.

It may not seem like enough at first but the garlic and yeast build up and work wonderfully.

**Can be stored on the counter but last longer if stored in the fridge. To make them stay better stored on the counter, leave them out to dry very well for 24 hours or dry in a very low oven with door cracked open for 2 or so hours.