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And relax…

The weeks before Christmas can be very hectic, and it seems like Christmas arrives a little earlier each year?

In times like this, we forget, or we are too tired, to look after ourselves. We don’t drink enough water, instead choosing tea or coffee or cola to quench our thirst, we feel too tired or have no time for exercise, and it’s all too tempting when we don’t feel like preparing a healthy meal for ourselves, to just grab some chocolate to fill us up … sound familiar?

Christmas time should be about relaxing and spending time with loved ones, but for many people, the weeks before can be very stressful.

Excessive physical or mental strain can cause the bodies stress response to kick in. If we feel stressed for a long time and/or constantly tense, this can be very damaging to many organs in our bodies. Scientists discovered that in cases like this the body gradually fixes the physique’s unhealthy reaction, creating a chain of processes that will change immunological stability to a pathological condition that can manifest in disease.

So with this in mind, it’s important to try to find a little bit of balance in our everyday lives. It’s not easy, but it is doable. Every little thing you do for yourself can help to make you feel better, or even more balanced. Things like just a few drops of essential oil in your oil burner or bath.

Depending on how you feel, or how you want to feel, you can choose from relaxing, uplifting, calming, energizing … so many different essential oils to choose from.

Here’s a recap of two of my favourites:

Sweet Orange – Citrus sinesis

When the days are dark, gloomy, wet and cold, inhaling sweet orange is like bringing sunshine to your life. The refreshing and cheerful character of this oil brings joy and warmth to your day. In situations when we take life too seriously, we forget to laugh, or we fear the unknown, this is when we should choose sweet orange.

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is a brilliant, invigorating essential oil. This oil is known for its stimulating effect on the central nervous system and is used for poor concentration. Inhaling rosemary is also recommended for respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and sinusitis.

Rosemary should not be used during pregnancy, and by people suffering from epilepsy or high blood pressure.

For me, there is nothing better than a nice hot relaxing bath, with my favourite essential oil, after a long and tiring day in the salon.

If you’ve never tried using essential oils in the bath before, there are a few things you should consider:

Using essential oils directly in a bath is very likely to cause skin irritation. Hot water makes the skin more sensitive, and because essential oils don’t dissolve in water they will contact your skin undiluted.

There are some commonly known dispersants like Epsom salts, table salt, full-fat milk, or even vodka … but they don’t work. Instead of these, you can use vegetable oil – jojoba or fractionated coconut oil are very good because they are less greasy.

If you wish to use salts, this is fine, but just be sure to dilute the essential oils in the vegetable oil first and then add the Epsom salt, Dead sea salt or table salt.

The mixture of essential oils and vegetable oils will float on water, some will stick to the side of the bath and also on your skin, so the whole experience can be a bit slippery, so do be careful!

Foaming baths are also good for diluting essential oils, just add 5-10 drops of your favourite essential oil in about 15ml (1 tablespoon) of bath base.

Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy 😊

 

Watch out for the toxic beauty.

 

Having mischievous terriers, I’m always aware of where to put new plants, decorations, and even the Christmas tree!

I love the Yucca plant and had one for a few years until my Scottie Tank, out of the blue, decided it was time to re-plant it. He dug the soil out of the pot and proceeded to chew the stem along with a few leaves. I was speechless. The soil was everywhere (thank goodness we have a stone floor), and the plant completely butchered … but he looked very satisfied with his work. It was only years later that I found out the Yucca, amongst some other household plants, contains alkaloids, saponins, glycosides, and that they can cause symptoms of poisoning.

The signs of intoxication can show after some time with salivation, vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhoea. Thankfully Mr. Tank didn’t have any of these symptoms, he killed the plant but didn’t eat any of its parts … but if he had, a trip to the vet’s would be inevitable.

As Christmas is approaching, and seasonal plants and flower arrangements begin to appear in our homes, we need to be aware that despite their beauty, some of them can be dangerous to our pets.

The poinsettia which is native to Mexico is a very popular Christmas and holiday plant grown indoors, mainly for the attractive red flower heads and green foliage. Please keep this plant away from your pets as it contains certain diterpenes, which are poisonous to animals. They can cause irritation inside the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea with blood, and liver damage.

Another typical Christmas plant, mistletoe, contains plant proteins called viscotoxins, which on the cellular level are poisonous to all animals including birds. They can be found in the stems and leaves during winter and affect the digestive and respiratory tracts of animals.

As the countdown begins we also start gathering more sweets and chocolates and other goodies in our homes … we’re like little hamsters stockpiling, lol 😋. Over indulgence with these goodies can make us feel good for a moment but then uncomfortable, we can experience a sugar rush and even belly ache can appear… and what about our dogs? Well, for them it can be much worse. I wrote a blog in the summer about common foods that are not good for your dog which you can read here.

Keep your dogs’ safe this pre-holiday and holiday season!

Jitka xx

The Power of Nature is Hidden in our Products – PART TWO

 

Shea Butter in Paw Butter and Hand Butter

I’ve never tried shea butter for cooking but I love the nutty smell of unrefined shea butter and the feel of it on my skin. When you first apply shea butter it feels a bit heavy but then it makes a nice silky film on your skin.

Shea butter is a fat that’s been extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is usually yellow in colour when raw, with more processed versions being ivory or white in colour.

Due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is anti-inflammatory. One compound, in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation. This anti-inflammatory agent has a healing effect on conditions like scars and stretch marks, rashes, scrapes, small wounds, eczema, ulcered skin etc. Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying.

Shea butter helps cell regeneration and capillary circulation, and therefore it is very good for aging skin. It is humectant (absorbs moisture from the air) so it is also excellent for dry skin. (L. Price; Carrier oils for aromatherapy and massage, 2012). With long-term use of our Hand Butter, many people report skin softening and strengthening.

German Chamomile essential oil in Skin Relief, Hand Butter & Paw Butter

I love the smell of German chamomile and the dark blue colour always fascinated me. I wouldn’t think a natural product would be blue, would you? Green, white, beige, even red… but blue?

The chemical compound chamazulene is responsible for the colour of German chamomile which is also an anti-inflammatory agent. German chamomile has excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and cicatrizant (healing properties, such as when our bodies form scar tissues) and relieves itchy skin.

I use German chamomile in my Skin Relief, Hand Butter and Paw Butter.

Peppermint Hydrosol

Peppermint hydrosol has the aroma of freshly crushed peppermint leaves but less intense compared to peppermint essential oil. When applied on the skin peppermint hydrosol combats itching and burning, and provides fast relief for allergic reactions, bites, and stings. This is why it is the main ingredient in the Skin Relief.

Jitka xx

The Power of Nature is Hidden in our Products – PART ONE

 

Despite the fact that synthetic products are used for many problems, both health and cosmetic, yet 70% of the world’s population still relies on the healing power of plants.

It helps, it works and, above all, it does not hurt.

There are over 10,000 higher plants, which are used for their beneficial effects on our and our animal’s health.

Neem oil in the Paw Butter

Every part of the neem plant, from its roots up to its smallest highest leaf, is very beneficial. Neem is an evergreen tree growing up to 20 – 40m. Products made from the Neem tree have been known and used in India for more than 2000 years for their healing and regenerative properties. Extracts (such as powder, oil etc.) from Neem are antibacterial, they support the immune system, actively fight against viruses, are deadly to 14 different types of yeast, and reduce pain and fever.

Neem oil is very effective in treating eczema, spots, acne, dry and cracked skin and yeast infections on nails and toes, and it is, therefore, a very important ingredient in our Paw Butter.

Coconut oil in the Hand Butter

Beautifully smelling coconut oil is not only delicious and fantastic to use as a cooking ingredient, but it is also very beneficial in skincare, haircare, and even dental care.

Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is antibacterial or to be more precise, bactericidal as it kills bacteria. Lauric acid is able to damage lipid cover of some viruses, so we can say it’s anti-viral as well.

Coconut oil, and therefore also our Hand Butter, is very beneficial on sensitive skin, and especially on dry skin on the elbows and heels.

I use the Hand Butter instead of the body lotion or cream. Only a small amount is needed, it absorbs quickly, and doesn’t leave the skin oily but rather soft and silky.
In the grooming salon, we use coconut oil wrap, which is very beneficial for dogs with dry, irritated and/or flaky skin.

We apply coconut oil in the dog’s hair and skin, and slowly massage it in, covering every part. Then we wrap the dogs in a warm towel and let him rest for about 10-15 minutes. They absolutely love it and most of them fell asleep straight away!

To enhance relaxation sometimes we put a few drops of Comfort Blend on the towel. After this, we bath the dog in warm water in one of our favourite shampoos. Then dry and style as usual.

After the coconut oil wrap the skin is less red, softer and the coat is silky and easy to brush … and the dog smells delicious 😊

Jitka xx

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