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Natural Footcare for Cracked Heels

A long time ago, we managed apartments that were… let’s just say they were old. Old enough to have more problems than we could count. Each person in my family has battled one health problem or another due to that apartment. Thanks to the lovely mold-ridden carpeting I developed a skin problem on one foot that had me baffled only until recently. I would get an uncomfortable, cracked heel and very dry, crackly skin around the big toe. The other foot was okay. Strange. Over-the-Counter products didn’t work or were too expensive or made it worse! I tried product after product for 2 years. (I wonder how much money the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries sucked out of me? Hmm?) Then I started reading a wonderful magazine – The Herb Companion (No longer in print. Tragic.) It was filled with natural remedies that contain healing herbs. So I tried one that seemed easy enough. And it works! I won’t use anything else but my home remedies now. Amazing! So without further ado, here is a homemade foot oil recipe I cooked up based on an article from the magazine.

Here’s how to make your own.

My Footcare Oil Recipe

This is my go-to recipe to knock out cracked heels and dry, itchy skin.

12 drops of clove essential oil. I love Aura Cacia products and until I learn how to create my own oils, this is what I suggest you use.

Sesame oil. Make sure the oil is fresh because rancid oil smells awful and no amount of fragrance will fix the smell.

I use enough sesame oil to fill the tincture bottle about 7/8 full. Mix the ingredients right in the bottle, shaking vigorously for a minute or so. Shake it each time you use it, just to be sure. You can buy the bottles online (http://www.specialtybottle.com, or Amazon.com) and some health food stores will carry them also. Put a little on the affected areas and then massage it in. That’s it.

Oh yeah, if you’re a bit clumsy like me, you may need this to help prevent a mess!

It’s ok to experiment with fragrances, like adding a drop or two of other essential oils to compliment the clove. But don’t substitute the clove… it’s the important factor in healing those cracked heels and rough, dry skin. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that is strong enough to fight athlete’s foot. You can add less oil to your liking, but don’t go below 6 drops (which is originally recommended by the magazine). But in my opinion, 12 drops is the perfect strength. (Going higher is risky if your skin is sensitive. Clove oil is too strong to put directly on the skin so the dominating ingredient should be the base oil.) What it really comes down to is knowing what it right for you. For treating a problem like athlete’s foot, you’ll need to use this at least twice a day for about 4 weeks before you begin to see results. For my problem, I started using it once a night for 2 months straight and then I cut back to weekly. Hmm, 2 months versus two years… it’s a no-brainer!

Enjoy!

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Harvesting and Preserving in Your Garden

Ah, the harvest; there’s nothing like the feeling of bringing the fruits of your labor (literally), to the kitchen. But before you get your pruners ready, there are a few things to understand about harvestings, such as time and other environmental factors.

Firstly, it’s crucial that you understand when the best time to start harvesting is. This not only depends on when your crops ripen or not but the complete period of growth and whether the upcoming frost will have an effect on your yield.

Despite the sound of the word frost, it can actually have a beneficial effect on certain crops such as parsnips, cabbage, carrots, and kale. These veggies have an improved, sweeter taste after a light frost and can remain in the ground without getting damaged.

On the other hand, certain crops can’t really stand the cold temperature and a frost would mean risking your entire yield. If the fruits and vegetables aren’t ripe enough for picking yet, you can simply cover them with burlap sacks or old sheets.

If you live in an area where the winters start early, you may want to look after your tomatoes, considering that almost every home garden has them. An early frost means that your tomatoes won’t be ripe enough for picking so you should pay close attention to their size. If they’ve almost reached the desired size but are still green, you can pick them and let them ripen on their own.

However, you should only use the aforementioned approach if a heavy frost is coming; covering your plants with row covers or sheets will be helpful in keeping them safe from a light frost through the night.

After the harvest, you’ll be worried about how you’ll preserve every fruit and vegetable. The great thing about growing your own crops is that you’ll be reluctant to lose even a single fruit to spoilage, so you take extra care that nothing goes to waste.

Three methods come to mind. You can either store your yield in the fridge, can it or dry it. To store yield in your fridge, make sure that the temperature is cool to prevent the crops from losing moisture and exposing them to attacks by fungi. Make sure to keep the fridge well-ventilated since the crops require oxygen to breathe and retain flavor.

Another way to use up your home-grown fruits and vegetables for a long time to come is to simply put them in sanitized jars for canning. Lastly, you can dry them, a way to preserve your yield without worrying about them spoiling. This method had been used before, numerous times because of the benefit that it doesn’t require extremely high or low temperatures. Plus, dried foods taste better since the flavor is concentrated as well.

You’ll also be getting the same nutrition with regard to minerals and vitamins. Remember that you can only preserve the freshest food and be careful that you aren’t using crops that are over-ripe and bruised. Happy Farming!


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