Living a life less toxic…

by Faith Canter


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The Wonders of Coconut Oil

A little while ago I wrote a blog about my Natural First Aid kit and in said blog I mentioned a little bit about the wonders of coconut oil.  Here’s the blog in case you missed it: https://livingalifelesstoxic.com/2013/10/31/my-natural-first-aid-kit/.  Anyway, I don’t think I really did the old coconut oil justice with the little mention it had it that blog, so I thought it deserved a blog post all by itself.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this is because two weeks ago I had an operation on my neck.  Unknowingly to me I ended up with what I felt was a rather sizable wound in my neck after they had finished, 2.5inchs….(mind you it could have been 2.5mm and I think I might have felt the same, ha).

So on seeing this wound I decided to give the coconut oil a proper challenge and applied it liberally to the site twice a day (occasionally 3 times when it was starting to scab) and would you believe in just 10 days you could barely see where I’d been cut open at all and now just a few days later it’s even better still!

I knew coconut oil was meant to help with stretchmarks and scaring but I’ve never used it like this myself so was a have been very pleasantly surprised by it’s amazing healing abilities.

So I’m here to praise the coconut oil in all it’s glory and give it the log it deserves! =0)

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Here’s a little list of some of the things this amazing product can help with (It’s also pretty tasty in food – and that’s coming from a coconut meat hater!):

Speeds healing up and helps minimise scaring and stretchmarks (during and after healing)

Eliminates spots & acne and helps balance skin

Is a strong anti-fungal (can be added directly to affected area or eaten)

Can help kill yeast, candida and parasites

Helps heal burns and abrasions

Helps thyroid function

Is a natural mild sun cream & after-sun

Reduces nappy rash and eczema

Helps with colds & flu

Is an anti-inflammatory (brings down swelling and inflammation)

Alleviates bites & stings

Helps ear infections (as well as other infections)

Helps with absorption of some vitamins & minerals

Is anti-aging when used as a moisturiser or eaten regularly

Helps with mental clarity

Helps reduce allergies and intolerances.

Is an amazing daily moisturiser

Is the only oil you should really cook with as it’s one of the few that keeps most of it’s nutritional content when heated

It’s a great base for making loads of natural skin care products (like soaps and lotions)

Can be eaten and is very good for you raw (and as such is in a lot of raw food)

Can be used to de-frizz hair

Mixed with apple cider vinegar is makes a great lice wash for humans and dogs (helps with ticks and fleas in dogs)

Helps with digestion

Helps regulate insulin levels

Can help the appearance of varicose veins and reduce hemorrhoids

Can be used as a lubricant

Can be used as a shaving cream

Soothes itching with chicken pox/shingles etc

Taken with ginger is helps elevate sickness and heartburn

Speeds healing from bladder infections

Helps with healthy hair and nails

You can also make up a very effective toothpaste and mouthwash with it.

So you can now see why I’m a teeny tiny bit obsessed with this oil.  It’s great all round, for you, your family, pets and it’s one of the most environmentally produced oils there is (just make sure to buy the fair trade organic stuff and try to buy in bulk as shipping it half way across the world every time you need some will certainly take it’s toll on it’s carbon footprint).

Do you use coconut oil for anything else I haven’t mentioned?  If so, please add it to the comments section below so I can give that a go also!

Enjoy! =0)


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Natural Cold Remedies

Last night I ran another Natural Products workshop.  It was a great evening, with a lovely group of people!  I love running workshops like this, I get a real buzz from the evening and also knowing I’m doing my little bit to help lessen the toxic impact we have on ourselves and the environment makes for a happy Faith. With that in mind I had wanted to run a workshop on Natural Cold Remedies before Christmas but my time needs to be spent elsewhere for now.  Instead you lucky people get to have a freebie Natural Cold Remedies blog instead.

The first item I would highly recommend, not just when you have a cold, but before that stage, is a natural Lemsip-style drink.

Natures’ Lemsip

I make this is a cafetiere  but you can make it in a teapot or on the stove in a saucepan.

You’ll need:

* Fresh ginger (for it’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties)

* Fresh lemon (for it’s antioxidant, antibiotic properties, free radicals neutralising effects and it’s ability to strengthen the immune system). 

* Fresh garlic (for strengthening the immune system, it’s an anti-inflammatory properties, for it’s ability to help alleviate respiratory issues, as an antioxidant, an antibacterial and antiviral). 

* Cinnamon (for being an antibacterial, having antibiotic properties and being very soothing). 

* Honey (for it’s antiseptic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antibiotic  and immune system boosting properties). 

* Hot Water

Put 4 slices of fresh ginger, one whole sliced garlic glove, a heaped teaspoon of cinnamon, two slices of lemon and two teaspoons of honey into the cafetiere and fill to the top with hot water.  Leave for 10 mins and then pour into a mug and drink.

This drink is incredibly soothing as well as being really good for you and helps with coughs, colds, flu and sore throats.  I have one once a day if anyone around me has a cold.  Since discovering this remedy I haven’t actually had a cold myself, but if I did I’d be sure to have at least two of these a day at that stage.

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Vapour Rub

As most of you will know items like vapour rubs are made of petroleum, which is a nasty chemical that really shouldn’t be put on our skin, so here’s a natural alternative which is easy to make, better for your health and also keeps for quite a long time.

You’ll need:

* 1/2 cup coconut oil

* 2 level tbsp of beeswax

* 20 drops of eucalyptus oil

* 20 drops peppermint oil

* 10 drops cinnamon oil

* 10 drops of clove oil

  1. Melt beeswax with oil in a double boiler until melted.
  2. Add essential oils just as it’s starting to cool down (and not before as you’ll lose the scent to the heat of the oil)
  3. Stir until well mixed and pour into little jars or balm containers and allow to harden
  4. Rub onto chest area when congested or coughing

Mouth Wash/Rinse For Sore Throats

You’ll need:

* 30ml of water black tea (helps reduce scratchiness at the back of the throat)

* 1/2 tsp of salt (kills bacteria in the mouth)

* 30ml of apple cider vinegar (helps drain sinuses and is an anti-inflammatory and has antibiotic properties)

* 1 tsp of honey (as above)

* Juice of half a lemon (as above)

Mix all items together and gargle with it for as long as possible and then spit out.  Use this as often as you like throughout the day but try not to drink anything immediately afterwards so it has a chance to do it’s work.

Lastly you ideally want to eat as much good and nutritious food as possible (lots of fresh fruits and vegetables) and drink plenty of water to help re-hydrate, detox and strenthen the immune system.

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any natural cold remedies yourself that you would like to share then please feel free to leave a comment below.


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My Natural First Aid Kit

As most of you know, where possible I always try to avoid chemicals and this goes for my first aid kit as well.  Almost everything we use in our day-to-day lives has a natural and healthier alternative – after all most medicines etc originally came from nature (it’s only now most of them are chemically produced in labs and factories instead).  Here’s my top five natural first aid items:

1. Coconut Oil

I struggle to find something that coconut oil isn’t good for!  For starters it’s a great moisturiser, make-up remover, stretch mark cream, lubricant and is thought to help with things like dementia & Alzheimer’s.  But I have it in my first aid kit because it speeds healing up, eliminates spots & acne, is a strong anti-fungal, helps with chapped lips, damaged skin, burns and abrasions, helps thyroid function, is a mild sun cream & after-sun, reduces nappy rash, eczema, colds & flu, is an anti-inflammatory, alleviates bites & stings, helps ear infections/ absorption of some vitamins & minerals, is anti-aging, helps with mental clarity and reduces allergies and intolerances.

The above are just a few of the things coconut oil can help with.  To me it’s an all round wonder oil!  It’s also one of the few oils that keeps most of it’s nutritional content when heated, so is in my opinion is the best oil for cooking for also.

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil

I always have several bottles of tea tree oil hanging around as it’s not only a great first aid item but it’s also a great cleaner as it’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.  So it makes short work of any mold or bacteria in it’s path.

As part of my first aid kit I use it on spots & acne, infections, head lice, yeast infections (with coconut oil for athletes foot, candida etc), decongestant, as a mouth wash, dandruff reducer, for sun burn, infections, ticks and fleas.

Tea tree oil and coconut oil together can pretty much fight most things in my opinion!

Warning – Do not take internally and be careful about putting tea tree undiluted onto skin as it can cause irritation as it’s so strong. 

3. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is also an anti-bacterial so it’s good for some of the same things as the above two first aid items, but it’s also good for all the following as well: Promoting restful sleep & relaxation, calming, reduces anxiety & nervous exhaustion/tension, helps with motion sickness & general nausea, cuts, bites, scratches, insect repellent, pain relief, eczema & dermatitis, sunburn, chapped lips & dry skin, excessive bleeding, cold sores, helps balance hormones, reduces cystitis, helps with coughs & colds and other respiratory issues, head lice, promotes a healthy immune system, good for hair and skin, headaches and promotes good digestion.

On top of all this lavender is an anti-viral so is essential to use (in my opinion) if you’re suffering from a viral infection.

4. Arnica

Most people have heard of arnica for it’s ability to quickly heal bruises, but there’s so much more to this little herb! It can be used on burns (including sunburn), muscle aches and pains, swelling, helps circulation, rheumatic pain sprains and sore joints and swelling.

Warning – Do not use arnica long term, if you have kidney issues, or on open wounds.

5. Witch Hazel 

You may have heard of witch hazel for acne and spots, it has a great reputation for helping skin complaints, but it also helps with the following:  nappy rash, varicose veins, haemorrhoids & bags under the eyes, soothes rashes and skin irritations, helps chickenpox, bruises, burns, dry skin, bites, and refreshes tired eyes.

So these are my top five natural first aid items, I occasionally use others things, like other essential oils, but 90% of the time these are all I need.

What are your favorite natural first aid items and why?