5 ways to use essential oils

Yesterday my mom found this link on msn about making your own bug spray using essential oils.  Since I'm trying to be as close to zero waste as possible (this is very hard by the way...I could be doing much better) I figure I will give this a try.  "Natural" DEET-free bug spray is expensive (roughly $10 for 4 oz).  If you have a family of 4, it would be gone after 1 day...especially if you're super sweet ;)

The bug spray concept jogged my memory of the other uses I've seen in the past for essential oils.  I'll read an article, think "oh, that's cool", and then do nothing about it because I either didn't have the oil on hand or once I do purchase it, I can't find the magazine where I originally saw the recipe.  So I decided to post the 5 most "popular" essential oils and their uses.  There are kits available on amazon (5-6 oils for about $20) or at your local natural foods store or apothecary or you can always by them individually.

1.  Eucalyptus:  Use 10 drops of this essential oil along with 1/2 cup witch hazel and 1/2 cup cider vinegar to make your own bug spray.  Witch hazel and cider vinegar are both about about $3 for 16oz  (if not less).  Eucalyptus oil can be found for about $1 per ounce.  You could make a lot of bug spray for $10....
Check out this video to see how easy it really is!

2.  Orange: Did you know that spiders taste with their feet?  Yuk!  There's another reason why I think they're gross.  But we can actually use this to our advantage.  It turns out spiders hate citrus flavors.  If you spray a mixture of any citrus essential oil and water (10 drops in 1/2 cup of water) in the areas where spiders are lurking, they'll take off and find another hang out.  You may have to spray often as this concoction will get rinsed away easily with rain etc.  Just keep your cat away from any wet spray as it's bad for them. 

3.  Peppermint: Just sniffing peppermint oil can help you feel refreshed and awake.  Who knew it can also help relieve headaches during pregnancy or when drugs are contraindicated (or if you're just trying to keep it natural).  Combine peppermint essential oil with lavender oil, mixed in a carrier oil and apply topically to the forehead .  Check out the inhabitots  blog for the exact recipe. 

4.  Lavender:  This essential oil works as a great stress reducer and relaxation aid.  A few drops in a pot of boiling water will create a steam that will help clear your sinuses (great for this allergy season) and even kill some of the bad bacteria lurking where they shouldn't be!

5.  Rosemary:  The uses for wonderfully fragrant herb beyond the kitchen are new to me, but I like what I've found.  It appears that rosemary essential oil increases mental clarity and reduces mental fatigue.  A bottle of rosemary essential oil would be a great addition to your purse or briefcase.  Maybe a quick sniff would help you ace your next exam or presentation.  Remarkably, it can also be used as an analgesic to treat sore or tired muscles.  Use up to 10 drops in a hot bath and enjoy the pail relief.  Bring your work in the bath with you and kill 2 birds with 1 stone ;)
NOTE: rosemary essential oil should not be used during pregnancy

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