House and Home

House and Home

House and Home Herbal Options

Over the coming months in our section on “staying in” we will provide for you various herbal and natural products and solutions for you to consider as alternatives to the over-the-counter products.

Not only are these alternatives, simple and easy to make, but they will also save you pounds on your weekly shopping bill !

Additionally, as all of our suggestions will be made around herbs and natural products, they will be better for you and the environment.

Each month will provide product recipes for your home, your well-being, and your body. As usual, with all of our suggestions, if you are in any doubt as to whether they will be suitable for you then please consult your doctor and/or try just a small sample first, should it require contact with the skin, hair or in fact, any part of the body.
Aromatic Drain Cleaner
It is quite staggering and somewhat frightening just how much detergent and bleach products we pour away down our sinks each day. All of this waste enters sooner or later, into our national river system. This home-made and drain cleaning product is exceptional at cleaning and clearing greasy sinks. In fact, we think it’s a great idea to give the sink a good clearing with a diluted version around once a week to ensure that your waste water flows away freely.

The quantity of the cleaner in this recipe should enable you to clear a blocked sink. If you are mixing the solution for ongoing, regular use, then use a quarter of the quantities provided below. Don’t forget to label it carefully so you do not confuse it with normal salt!!! It is best stored dry in an airtight container. The tea tree and time essential oils possess antibacterial agents.
You will need:

* 250g/8 oz of bicarbonate of soda
* 250g/8 oz of table salt
* Tea tree essential oil or thyme essential oil
* A mixing bowl

1. In your large mixing bowl, mix the equal quantities of the bicarbonate of soda and table salt.
2. Add six drops of tea tree essential oil or time essential oil into the salt/bicarbonate mixture. Stir around and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly.
3. Pour the mixed ingredients down the plughole in the sink and leave for several minutes.
4. After waiting a few minutes, flush the mixture down the drain hole by pouring boiling water down the sink. The bicarbonate of soda will cause the mixture to fizz up slightly so do not be alarmed!

If you require an even fresher, cleaner after-smell afterwards then add some lemon juice and lemon zest into the mixture.

Aphrodisiac Bath
Let’s be honest, we all go through those phases when we want to feel a little more sexy. Encourage a more romantic mood by adding this sweetly scented mixture to your bath water. Light the candles, get out the best fluffy towels, and open the champagne – this lovely sweet, woody scented combination will do the rest . . . .

We would usually recommend that you pick fresh herbs from the garden in summer, where ever possible. For this recipe, dark pink or preferably red rose petals add a delicate hint of colour to your bath water. Please ensure that the roses you select are un-sprayed and free from bugs and greenfly.
You will need:

* Rosemary
* Bay leaves
* Nasturtium leaves
* Rocket leaves
* Rose petals
* 15 mL/1 tablespoon of the dried ginseng root
* Neroli essential oil
* A large pan
* A large jug
* A kitchen sieve
* A spoon

1. In a large, clean pan or jam pot pour 2 L/3 pints of water and into this add a large handful of the Rosemary, bay leaves, nasturtium leaves and rocket leaves.
2. Carefully remove the petals from one or two roses until you have a large handful. Add these to the water and place in the piece of dried ginseng root. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes, with the lid on the pan.
3. After you h p the ave allowed the mixture to cool a little, strain it through a kitchen sieve into a large, clean bowl or jug. To ensure that you extract all the juices from the petals and herbs, press them down into the sieve with the back of a spoon.
4. To this liquid, add four drops of now Neroli essential oil. Stir again.

Now all you have to do is add this to the hot running water and wait for the magic to happen!

Green Citrus Hair Stimulant
This wonderfully fresh and zingy tonic will be used by all the family but we suspect you may keep a private store of this little secret for yourself! This is a wonderful hair and scalp tonic with a fruity, invigorating aroma; the combination of bay and grapefruit essential oil leaves you feeling fresh and clean. This tonic should be used after you have washed your hair in the usual way. The bay is reputed to relieve dandruff, the cider vinegar and grapefruit oil stimulate the scalp, whilst the box is reputed to encourage hair growth.

You will need

* Fresh bay leaves
* Fresh box leaves
* 150 ml/5 fluid ounces of cider vinegar
* 15 drops of grapefruit essential oil
* A large saucepan
* A measuring jug
* A spoon
* A kitchen sieve
* A mixing bowl

1. After stripping the fresh bay leaves and box leaves from their respective stems, add a handful of each to a large pan.
2. Measure 2 pints/1.2 L of boiling water in a measuring jug and pour this over the leaves in the pan.
3. Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally with a metal spoon. Remove from the heat.
4. Once the mixture has cooled, strain through the sieve into a jug then discard the leaf mixture.
5. Add the cider vinegar and 15 drops of the grapefruit essential oil, and stir gently. Ensure the mixture is totally cool before decanting into an unusual or decorative glass bottle.
If you prefer a warmer aroma and feeling rather than the citrusy one, use ginger essential oil instead of the grapefruit essential oil.

Mint and Strawberry Facemask
You may not be able to tell by looking out of the window and you may not even have been able to use the BBQ much, but believe it or not, it is summer! Despite the overhead gloom we are still able to make the most of one of most precious and delicious fruits; strawberries. The combination of the strawberries and mint combine to produce a cleansing and refreshing effect. If you do not have Mint in your garden, check your neighbours! Mint is virulent and plentiful in supply. As usual, it is always best to use fresh ingredients, particularly in this case the strawberries but if they are very ripe and juicy you can always further thicken the mixture a little more of the powdered milk. Once made, it can be covered and stored in the fridge, but should really be used fresh and within 24 hours. Always ensure that the eye area is covered when you apply the mask; leave applied for up to 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
You will need

* 100g/4 ounces of fresh strawberries
* 4 sprigs of fresh mint.
* 15 ml/1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
* Powdered milk
* A food processor
* A bowl

1. Remove the leaves and central green core from the strawberries and wash them thoroughly.
2. Wash and dry the mint leaves with a paper towel and separate them from the stems. Throw the stems a way.
3. Place the mint leaves, strawberries, and the lemon juice into your food processor and add 30 mL/2 tablespoons of the powdered milk.
4. Give everything a good whizz for approximately 15 seconds until everything is well blended together. Then spoon into a bowl; it is ready to use.

Note: as always, please try a patch test first to ascertain if there is any potential allergic reaction. Use the back of your wrist. After trying the mixture, rinse, and leave for 24 hours. Check the skin area for any reaction. If you know that you are allergic to eating strawberries, then do not use this mask.

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