There are many natural, organic personal repellents that you can use to make outdoor activities pest-free and more enjoyable.
Flies, mosquitoes, midges and sandflies are all repelled by lavender oil. It can be applied neat to exposed skin, avoiding contact with the eyes and mouth. Dab on a few drops and massage well into the skin, renew every couple of hours.
You can dilute the lavender oil with an odorless vegetable oil, to make it spread further, provided that it remains highly fragrant. Other oils that will also repel are eucalyptus, Huon pine, grey myrtle, citronella and pennyroyal.
Alternatively, keep this ready made repellent handy whenever you are outdoors or insect pests are a problem. Blend 3 ml oil of cloves, 5 ml lavender oil and 5 ml eucalyptus oil with 150 ml of perfumers alcohol or vodka until dissolved, then mix well with 200 ml of distilled water. Store in an airtight bottle and use as required, applying liberally to naked skin.
Usually, mites are too small to be seen with naked eye and when an infestation occurs can be a continual source of irritation, resulting in a rash or even dermatitis.
Most mites can be washed off with very hot soapy water. First, soak in a hot bath to which has been added one dessertspoon each of eucalyptus and lavender oil. Scrub yourself with a bristly brush, then take a long hot shower immediately after your bath.
If the mites don’t respond to the soap and water treatment, it would be wise to seek professional help to determine exactly what sort of mite infestation you have.
Other precautions to take are to air carpets, mats, cushions, and lounge covers for several days or place them in a plastic bag, to which has been added a few sprigs of lavenders, and place outside in the sun or have them dry-cleaned. Do likewise with bed linen after thoroughly vacuuming.
INSECT BITES AND STINGS
Washing stings in vinegar as soon as possible relieves pain, as will a slice of fresh onion placed on a wasp or bee sting.
Insect bite itch can be relieved by applying cornflour infusion generously to the affected area or rubbing with bruised rosemary, lemon balm, basil or plantain leaves.
The condition of your hair is a reasonably good indication of the state of your general health. Feel just a bit off-color and it is surprising how quickly the hair loses its sheen and body.
A good shampoo is a must for healthy hair, and unlike many of their counterparts homemade shampoos contain no synthetics or chemicals, are completely biodegradable, and can be formulated to suit your hair type.
To make the shampoo you must first prepare a herbal infusion, which is then added to the basic shampoo recipe. Add 4 teaspoons of dried herb, or 6 tablespoons of fresh herb, to a ceramic bowl and pour over ½ liter of boiling water. Cover, steep overnight, strain through muslin cloth and add required amount to shampoo.
Choose from the following herbs for your infusion; chamomile for fair hair and scalp irritations; rosemary or sage for dark hair; nettle, parsley, peppermint, rosemary and thyme for dandruff control (thyme, rosemary and peppermint combined will not only control dandruff, but will act as a scalp and hair tonic); sage, yarrow, rosemary and lime flowers for oily hair.
To prepare your shampoo add 1.25 cups of herbal infusion, juice of half a lemon, and 150g of grated pure soap, or pure soap flakes, to a saucepan and gently bring to the boil, stirring until the soap has dissolved and the liquid has cleared. Remove from heat and beat until fluffy. Bottle for future use.
CONDITIONING YOUR HAIR
Continual shampooing eventually strips the natural oils from your scalp and hair. Your scalp can become dry and flaky and your hair will begin to look dull and lifeless. Herbal oils help to remedy these problems.
After shampooing, take one or two drops of either rosemary or lavender oil, or a combination of both, rub between the palms of the hands and lightly apply over your wet hair. For brittle hair, mix ⅔ rosemary oil with ⅓ olive oil, and apply in the same manner.
Alternatively, pre-condition with olive oil or castor oil; rub a small quantity into the scalp and hair and wrap your head in a warm wet towel for 30 minutes, putting a shower cap over the towel to keep the warmth in. Shampoo and give a final rinse with vinegar or lemon in the water.