Herbal Options

Herbal Body Scrub
This invigorating body scrub is imbibed with the wonderful scent of oranges and herbs. The thyme adds a mild astringent quality and adds to the general fresh fragrance of the scrub. Oatmeal has long been used as a perfect body scrub as it has the ideal amount of grittiness to exfoliate the skin when applied to damp skin, after a bath or shower. Simply rub the scrub gently onto the damp skin then shower or rinse off with cool water (avoid the facial area, particularly the eyes)

You will need:
2 oranges
4 large scented roses
35g (1.5 oz) dried thyme
450g (1lb) oatmeal

1. Using a fruit zester or vegetable peeler, carefully peel fine strips of the orange zest carefully avoiding the white pithy flesh.
2. Place the zest strips on some kitchen paper for 15-20 minutes to absorb some of the excess moisture.
3. Place the strips and kitchen paper in a microwave and heat on medium power for 2 minutes. Repeat for an extra minute (if required) until the strips are brittle.
4. Repeat the microwave process with the rose petals.
5. Put the oatmeal into a food processor and add the dried orange and dried rose petals and blitz for 5 – 10 seconds. (It is important not to over-blitz in order to retain some gritty texture).
6. Add the dried thyme to the oatmeal, orange and petal mix and blitz for a further few seconds only.
7. Store the body scrub in a clean, dry jar with a stopper top.
8. Use as required.

Herbal shampoo
This simple recipe uses a standard non-fragranced, unscented shampoo and allows you to make your own personal herbal mixture. The main recipe is for normal hair but personal choice and reference to the below table allows you to be creative whatever your hair type. I addition to the essential oils, add some fresh herbs to the container for an even more unique and special natural fragrance.

You will need:
Lavender essential oil
Orange essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
120 ml (4 fl oz) unscented shampoo (and container)
Fresh rosemary

1. Add 6 drops of lavender essential oil, 4 drops of orange and 2 drops of rosemary to the unscented shampoo.
2. Replace the top of the container securely and hold down.
3. Shake the container vigorously to integrate the oils.
4. Wash a few sprigs of rosemary and place in the container for extra scent and decoration.

For your home
Ant repellent
It may be wet and wintery outside at the moment but it is worth having this recipe to hand for when Spring and Summer bring the potential dreaded invasion of ants! This recipe gives you a useful repellent that you can deploy if ants have invaded your home and it is much safer to your family and the environment that leaving proprietary ant poisons. The ants are attracted by the sweetness of the sugar and the scent of the orange oil. They carry the poison with them back to the nest thus poisoning themselves and the entire community.

You will need:
15ml (1tbsp) sugar
15ml (1 tbsp) borax
Sweet orange essential oil
Cotton wool balls

1. Place the sugar into a medium bowl.
2. Add the borax to the sugar.
3. Add 30ml (2 tbsp) water to the bowl and mix well.
4. Add 3 drops of the essential orange oil to the mixture in the bowl and stir in.
5. Dip the cotton wool balls into the mixture, allowing it to soak in. Use as many balls as soaks up the entire mix.
6. Place close to where you see the ants (at entry point is best if possible)

It is also possible to create barriers of herbs and spices to discourage the ants from reaching their nests; they are generally known to dislike cayenne pepper, cinnamon, peppermint, dried sage and chilli powder.

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