If you've noticed the germs becoming more prominent in your communities already, you're not alone! With flu season fast approaching you've probably heard of the antiviral properties of elderberries. You can find elderberry remedies in natural heath food stores, but if you don't like the price tag or don't have a health food store nearby you can easily make this cold and flu remedy at home!
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
- 3 Cups filtered water
- 2/3 Cup organic elderberries (sambucus nigra) (if you have a 4oz package you have enough)
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Cup raw honey (we source ours locally)
Bring the water, berries, and spices to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to about half; around 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool down a bit. Strain liquid into clean glass jar (we use mason jars) and add the cup of honey. Be sure not to add the honey until the mixture isn't boiling hot as it can destroy some of the properties of the raw honey :) Store in a covered jar in the fridge for up to a month (some have reported it lasting longer, but no guarantees!) Take 1 tablespoon per day as an adult (1/2 teaspoon for children) but check with your pediatrician regarding honey in children under 1 year.
I've been asked about gripe water in the past, and while we don't specifically offer a version that we've made, it is certainly something you could save money making yourself! The best part is, you can even use it if you are exclusively breastfeeding and don't offer bottles--just drink it yourself as a tea ;-)
2 cups water
1 small piece of ginger root (about thumb sized), cut into chunks
1 Tbsp Organic Fennel seeds
1 Tbsp Organic Chamomile flowers
Bring all ingredients to a simmer until golden in color. Remove from heat and cover; steep for 15-20 minutes.
Strain and store in a glass container for addition to breastmilk or formula during colic as directed by your pediatrician, or drink it yourself before your nightly nursing session. (Bonus: it contains fennel which is good for milk supply!)
Our next giveaway is here! We are giving away a set of organic teething rings. Our teething rings are natural maple hardwood brushed with beeswax and olive oil. These are our most popular teething rings, 2.5 inches in diameter and fully compliant with CPSC and CPSIA standards. Give your baby something personalized AND healthy!
Winner will be contacted via email at the end of the giveaway for their personalization request and shipping information (these requests may come in 2 separate emails)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We love coconut oil and use it in a lot of our natural baby product recipes. If you're reading this post, you are probably already aware of the many benefits that coconut oil provides! However, can it be used as an effective sunscreen for families trying to replace common chemical-laden sunscreens that are available on the market?
I decided not only to research this for our customers' sake but also for my own interest, as I have children of my own and I do not buy most commercial sunscreens. It's important to keep in mind that your child's skin is their largest organ, and it will absorb lotions and creams that you apply. The chemicals in these products may be considered "harmless" by the FDA is small amounts, but can you really know what that chemical concentration is in your own child? Have they really thoroughly studied the effects of this chemical buildup over the long term?
[Side note] The FDA has launched an investigation into the dangers of spray sunscreen: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/07/don-t-spray-sunscreens-on-kids-at-least-for-now/index.htm
In researching this coconut oil sunscreen idea, I found a few interesting things. First of all, it does provide a sun protection factor. The SPF it provides is 8 when used as in ingredient in sunscreen formulations. SPF 8 is not anywhere near the suggestion for children, and used alone (not as a sunscreen ingredient) the SPF may be even lower. However, it all depends on your situation, location, how long they will be in the sun, if they will be mostly shaded or covered by appropriate clothing, etc.
I personally decided that coconut oil is not a sufficient sunscreen for children when used by itself for extended exposure.
The source I obtained the SPF study information from is a Pharmacognosy Research publication: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/#!po=62.5000 (note that it does mention at the end of the study that the SPF quotes may not be accurate when taken out of the context of the experiment.)
How you decide to use coconut oil in your sunscreen regimen is ultimately your decision. You may choose to use it in addition to shade/clothing, all on its own, or in a recipe. I personally use coconut oil on our skin anyhow, it makes a great natural lotion that doesn't get greasy and oily, so when the kids will be outside for an extended period of time I choose to use sunscreens that are mostly zinc oxide based to avoid many of the chemicals in other brands.
Worried about the chemicals in your dishwasher detergent? Looking for a more eco-friendly alternative? We make our own dishwasher detergent, and although you may want to tweak your recipe a bit based on hard/soft water, here is the basic idea scaled down to a test batch (double if you like it!):
1/2 cup Baking Soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/4 cup Citric Acid
2 Tbsp Salt (optional)
2 Tbsp Vinegar added to rinse compartment
Just like the Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent, we reuse a spaghetti jar to shake it all together and store it. We previously used a dishwasher detergent recipe that also called for castile soap flakes. It isn't necessary though, and actually seemed to leave a bit of a film on the dishes...we had to mix some Seventh Generation in with it. This recipe fixed that problem! If your water happens to be too hard/soft for this one though, I would suggest adjusting the salt or adding the vinegar to the rinse compartment. The vinegar rinse will almost certainly take care of it! If you are looking for ingredients, the borax is usually very easy to find in the laundry aisle at your local grocery store. The citric acid, however, was not as easy. Maybe it's my location? Either way, we are going to list these ingredients in our products section to make it easier for you to get everything in one place.
Not only is making your own laundry detergent cheaper, it is also so much healthier. No more rashes from sensitive skin and allergies. More importantly, no more worrying about what's in the soap you used on those blankets, toys, bibs, sleeve cuffs that baby likes to chew on!
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
- 1 Cup of Grated Bar Soap
- 1/2 Cup of Borax (You can find borax in the laundry aisle, mine came from elsewhere)
- 1/2 Cup of Washing Soda (also cheap in the laundry aisle)
- Grate bar soap into a clean sealed container (you won't use the whole bar for one batch)
- Add one cup of grated soap, 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of washing soda together in whatever you'd like to store your laundry soap in (I use a recycled glass spaghetti jar, a mason jar would also work well!)
- Close the lid and shake it up
- Add 2 tablespoons to each load of laundry in place of whatever laundry detergent you would normally use!
THIS IS SERIOUSLY SO EASY.
No kidding, it really is. But even if it was hard it would be worth it. Have you read articles on triclosan, the most overused ingredient in soaps and other bath and body products? That stuff is toxic...it's even detectable in human milk! (Yes, in HUMAN MILK. That was the last straw for me, I'd rather my baby NOT drink chemicals please!)
But anyway, here is what you'll need:
*Half a bar of glycerin soap
*5-6 cups water (start with 5, it all depends on your bar)
*10 or so drops Tea Tree or Peppermint Oil
1. Grate half a bar of natural glycerin soap (this can be tweaked if you have other bar soaps you'd like to get rid of. Pretty much anything is better than the commercial antibacterial soaps...)
2. Heat 5 cups water over medium heat, as it is heating add your grated bar soap
3. Stir until soap is melted.
4. Remove from heat, stir in oil of your choice in the amount you choose. Tea tree and peppermint have natural antibacterial properties. The more there is the more effect it will have--but there is a thing as too much of an oil. Just be careful not to overdo it.
5. Allow to cool. It will thicken as it cools. If it gets too thick for your preference, gently reheat and add more water.
6. Add to your favorite soap dispenser! We reused one.
If you are using Huggies or Pampers baby wipes on your baby, and have just looked at the ingredients list in horror, I have great news for you! It’s actually simple to make an all natural (or even with all organic ingredients if you prefer!) version of baby wipes that work just as well.
Homemade Natural Baby Wipe Solution:
4 Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Oil (Coconut, Olive, or Almond)
1 Tablespoon Castile Soap
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel (soothing)
Mix all ingredients, melting coconut oil first if that was your choice oil. Store in any container you choose, but the easiest would be something that squirts or sprays. Apply to paper towels or cloths as needed.