Homemade Bug Spray

Homemade Bug Spray Recipe:

  • 4 oz of strong mugwort tea made from the freshly picked top third
  • 4 oz of witch hazel or vodka
  • 35 drops of lemon/eucalyptus essential oils
  • 25-30 drops of cedar essential oil

Here is a simple recipe I came up with for the kids in the Children’s Herbal Circle.

Mugwort is a plant that commonly grows on roadsides and is so abundant all over North America. I have no doubt that you can find this plant very close to your own home. Go out and harvest enough mugwort to fill up a mason jar. Only collect the top 3rd of the plant and then cut it up with scissors and gently fill your mason jar. Cover the herb with boiling water and cap it immediately. Mugwort has a lovely scent and it just so happens to repel mosquitoes! The essential oils are quick to evaporate, so it’s important to cap your jar right after you pour the water. Let that sit for several hours, shaking it every so often.

When you are ready to decant your *tea*, give it a little shake before taking off the lid. This encourages the essential oils to stay put and not evaporate out. Strain your mugwort tea and add 4 oz to another jar that can hold 8 oz. Add 4 oz of either witch hazel or vodka to your 4 oz of mugwort tea. I’m currently using Purus Organic Vodka. This will preserve your natural bug spray.

Then you add your essential oils. I chose these three essential oils because they seem to work well together. All 3 of these essential oils work to repel ticks and mosquitos. There are many other essential oils that you can include in your bug repellent, but I don’t personally like the scent of citronella, and many of the other great bug repellent eo’s can be quite pricey.

So here is an inexpensive, effective, and completely harmless way to protect you and your little one from the onslaught of bitey bugs. Don’t let bugs keep you from experiencing the beauty of nature! Just remember your bug spray and get out there and play!

With love and wonder.

Nervines- Herbs for the Nervous System

Nervines are plant remedies that have a beneficial effect on the nervous system.

3 categories of nervines:

  • Nervine Tonics: ex. oats, eleuthero (often adaptogenic herbs)
  • Nervine Relaxants: ex. Skullcap, passionflower, blue vervain
  • Nervine Stimulants: ex. Cola nut, guarana, coffee

Why Herbs? You Ask

Antidepressant pharmaceutical drugs restrict emotional range and drain vitality. SSRI’s are addictive. They change the structure of your brain by reducing the amount of receptor sites for serotonin. They also decrease serotonin production over time so you end up with less serotonin and fewer receptors. This actually causes more depression in the long run by creating a vicious cycle and unbearable withdrawal symptoms.

WOUNDS ARE THE OPENINGS TO OUR SOUL.

By leveling out the emotions, the growth process is stopped. Depression is a message from the soul that you are off track. Something needs to change. Herbalist David Winston writes, “Over the years I have seen many patients who were helped by conventional treatments only to continue to stay in bad jobs, bad relationships, and unhappy circumstances.

They could function better, but were still lacking in joy and contentment.” Of course, temporary use of pharmaceuticals has saved many lives, however, we were never meant to stay on them for long periods of time. They certainly are not a solution.

ANXIETY

As we reside in a sympathetic state, nervous anxiety and overstimulation tend to build up with no outlet for the adrenaline and hormones we’ve accumulated. Most anxiety is due to over-active lifestyles and frantic behavior like rushing around, thinking too fast, and not going at our resonant pace. That pace becomes a habit. Slow down. Breathe. Check for hyperthyroidism.
*Coffee increases stress hormones by up to 200%! This depletes our adrenal glands and energy reserves, creating a dependency on stimulants and creates a chronic state of stress. (An occasional cup of coffee can lift up the spirits.)

The solution?

Exercise! Get into your body! Anxiety calls for herbs that restore and relax both the Central and Sympathetic nervous systems, so you’ll want to work with tonics and relaxants like skullcap, oats, and eleuthero, (and shavasana, creative visualization…) Caffeine and chocolate exacerbate the problem. Stay away from stimulants completely for a while.

Herbs for calming and relaxing (Anxiety and Insomnia): include oats, chamomile, blue vervain, skullcap, passionflower, hawthorn, motherwort, hops, and kava.

Hyperactive, stressed out– type A people: try milky oats with adaptogens.

Thoughts on Ganesha

Whenever we are not in the present moment, our energy becomes diffuse and we end up giving our power away. Our attention is everywhere but Here.

The mind is a powerful vehicle; an indispensable tool, but when we are not present and on auto-pilot, we allow our minds to take over. Who then is driving the vehicle? If we wish to harness the great vehicle of our minds, then we must learn to be deeply rooted, calm, and aware- despite life’s challenges and emotional storms. This in turn allows us to live a powerful existence and is the very essence of achieving the state of “dynamic tranquility”.

I am reminded of Ganesh, the elephant headed god of Hinduism who rides a small mouse as his vehicle. Ganesh is the remover of all obstacles. His presence can be likened to our Unlimited Self, our wisdom self, our highest self. And his mouse, which he rides so gracefully, can represent the mind, or the limited self, also known as the egoic self. This legendary image portrays a healthy relationship between our soul and our mind. The mind becomes a useful and powerful tool when consciously driven by the soul.

And once we learn to plant our highest selves in the driver’s seat, the real fun can finally begin!