Whatever television station you watch, despite what Washington is saying, the news on main street doesn’t seem to be very good these days. Even if you still have your job, times are tough and we all need to tighten our belts a bit. Believe it or not, there are ways to cut down on expenses using herbs. I’ll touch on some of them:
First, always speak with your doctor before changing or going off any medication!
For diabetics: it’s possible to cut down or even eliminate insulin with herbs, depending on the severity of your diabetes. Be sure to follow the dietary instructions you’ve been given…eat slow metabolizing carbohydrates such as whole, unrefined grains, legumes, bananas, potatoes with the peel still on, and raw fruits and vegetables (although don’t overdo it on the fruit).
Exercise at least three times per week. Onions and garlic are particularly helpful for regulating the pancreas. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar but has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels so it’s a great sugar substitute.
If you have high cholesterol, again follow dietary instructions. Garlic is really good, as is olive oil (cold-pressed, extra virgin). Recent research has shown that up to 3 ounces of dark chocolate (65% or more cacao) per day may also help lower LDL levels.
Tension headaches aren’t uncommon. Instead of reaching for the bottle of aspirin, Tylenol or Advil, try rubbing a couple of drops of undiluted Lavender oil on your temples, or drink a cup of Peppermint or Scullcap tea.
Instead of buying an expensive bottle of lotion, go to the cooking oil aisle of the grocery store and pick up a bottle of sunflower, almond or coconut oil. At first glance you’ll think it costs the same but you will use considerably less of it after your shower or bath. You can add a few drops of essential oil (up to 10 drops per ounce of oil). Try Rose or Geranium if you have dry skin; Bergamot or Juniper for oily; and Lavender for normal.
Replace your expensive store-bought facial scrub with something out of the kitchen: mix 3 parts baking soda with one part water to make a paste. Scrub on, rinse well. If your skin is on the dry side, substitute whole oats (oatmeal) for the baking soda. Use Witch Hazel extract (found in the first aid aisle) or Thyme tea as a toner. Add some Lemon or Lime juice and voila! You have an astringent. If you store this in the refrigerator, it’s really refreshing in these hot summer months.
If you have acne, first do an elimination diet. Eliminate “known offenders” (chocolate, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and processed cheese are the most common) from your diet for two weeks. Re-introduce them one at a time to see if there are any changes to your skin. If you discover an offender, eliminate it from your diet for at least a year. Tea Tree oil or Garlic oil will help clear up a bad pustule quickly – both are antibiotic. Rubbing a fresh strawberry on the spot will also help (if you’re not allergic to strawberries, that is). To clear up blackheads, make a paste of Lemon juice, milk and oatmeal. Apply to all affected areas (avoiding the under-eye area), leave on for a half hour and rinse off with warm water. Then use that Witch Hazel astringent.
Around the House
Look around the internet for recipes for housecleaning chemical substitutes. Baking soda is wonderful for a lot of things, as are Lemon juice and white vinegar. Instead of buying those disposable floor dusters, cut up an old towel into the appropriate size and use those – they can be thrown into the washer instead of the trash. I sprinkle a couple of drops of Rosemary oil on my wipes and the house smells great after I’m done. A friend of mine found something called “soapnuts” on the internet. I haven’t tried them yet, but I understand they’re less expensive and better for the environment than traditional laundry detergent. Or, you can get froggy and make your own laundry soap. Another friend has posted a recipe here.
As stupid as it sounds during these tough times, try not to stress. It’s not good for your health! Exercise is a good stress-buster – go for a walk or simply run up & down your stairs a bunch of times to get those endorphins working.
There IS light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how far away it may seem!