Monday, July 31, 2017


     I love being outside. It's a great way to detox from “city life” as well as just a good time. You get to see lots of natural and beautiful sights you wouldn't see if you stayed inside all the time. You also put yourself at risk of bug bites, scratches, and stings. There's an amazing little herb that can help with those, and many other issues. Plantain. Not the banana that we often find fried up in Hispanic Cuisine. This plantain is commonly found all over the world. We even have a native one here, in Florida.

Plantago major, Broad-leaved Plantain

     Plantago major, P. lanceolata, and P. virginica are all commonly found in the U.S. P. major is a broad-leaved species, commonly called Broad-leaved Plantain or Waybroad, that is not native to America, but was brought over by the European settlers. There's an old wives tale that attributes the discovery of this plant to Alexander the Great who then brought it with him to Europe in 327 BCE. However the Saxons and Norse considered it one of their 9 sacred herbs, given to them by Odin himself. This species, as well as P. lanceolata, were nicknamed by the Native Americans as “Whiteman's foot” because it seemed like everywhere the Europeans settled, one of these plants would soon emerge. P. lanceolata is also not native to America, but it's a narrow-leaved species commonly known as English Plantain. P. virginica, was first “discovered” in Virginia, but it's native habitat extends throughout most of the South East portion of America. It's much smaller than either of it's European cousins, many people have a hard time believing that it's a plantain.
Plantago lanceolata, English Plantain

     All of the plantain species are both medicinal and edible, in fact they are all pretty much interchangeable in their uses. They're commonly found near trails, roads, sidewalks, and in meadows. Young leaves can be eaten raw and taste similar to Swiss chard. When the leaves mature, they get a little tough and are much more palatable when cooked.

Plantago virginica, Virginia Plantain

Medicinal Uses:

Summary of Actions- Refrigerant, diuretic, mildly astringent, useful as an anti-inflammatory, a vulnerary, and a mild styptic. Useful as a relaxing expectorant, to tonify mucus membranes, reduce phlegm, and as an alterative. Can be used as an antispasmodic and often used topically for healing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)- Plantain seeds, or Che Qian Zi, are used in TCM. They work best on the bladder, kidney, lung, and liver meridians. The leaves are slightly bitter, slightly salty, and acrid. The roots are slightly salty and slightly sweet. The seeds are sweet and cold. The seeds are most commonly used in TCM to drain damp, promote urination, regulate water, and clear heat.

Ayurveda- Blond Psyllium, Plantago ovata, was introduced to India by the Arabs and has been seen in Persian and Arabic medical texts since at least the 10th century. In Ayurvedic medicine, plantain is used to improve bowel movements, both thickening them (in the case of diarrhea) and loosening them (for constipation). It is also used to relive problems associated with Irritable Bowels. It's also used to control blood sugar and cholesterol.

Plantago ovata, Blond Psyllium

Nourishment- Plantain is packed full of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. The seeds are also packed full of protein.

First Aid: Burns- Use a poultice of plantain, immediately after the burn, and bandage it. Change this dressing every 30 minutes. For minor burns, you only need to use the poultice once. Wash with a strong plantain tea (chilled if at all possible) in between dressing changes. After the burn has lost it's heat, remove the dressing, wash it, and apply a plantain salve to help speed the healing process, but don't apply the salve until the heat has dissipated. The oils used in the process of making a salve can seal in the heat and cause more damage to the deeper tissues.

First Aid: Poison Ivy/Sumac/Oak- Apply a poultice immediately and bandage. Change the dressing every 30 minutes until the sting is gone. Wash with strong plantain tea or diluted tincture in between dressing changes.

First Aid: Scratches, Cuts, and Scrapes- Stop bleeding by applying crushed plantain leaves. Wash with plantain tea or diluted tincture to help reduce inflammation and chances for infection.

First Aid: Insect Stings/Bites- Apply a poultice, or crushed leaves, immediately and bandage. Remove bandage after sting dissipates.

First Aid: Venomous Bites- Apply a poultice of the roots immediately, and bandage. Get to a hospital ASAP. If possible, capture or kill the animal in question so that the doctor can correctly identify the anti-venom needed. The plantain should help reduce the spread of the venom, but you still need to get an anti-venom from a hospital, just to be sure. Some people have reported amazing results when mixing plantain root with activated charcoal. However, venomous bites can be a seriously life-threatening situation so you should use the utmost caution and follow the advice of a doctor.

Throat Pain and Infections- Gargle with strong plantain tea to help reduce throat pain and speed the healing of infections in the throat. Add a good measure of salt to help boost the effects.

Respiratory Infections- Drinking warm plantain tea, sweetened with honey, helps to fight respiratory infections. You can also use the tincture for the same purpose.

Liver, Kidney, and Bladder Function- Drinking 1-2 glasses of plantain tea on a daily basis can drastically improve liver, kidney, and bladder function. A stronger tea can be used to help fight infections.

Skin Conditions- A tincture or salve made from plantain can be used to help kill the bacteria that cause boils and acne. It's also really good for the skin in general as it helps to speed the healing of any eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, etc.

Panacea- A panacea is an all-purpose solution, or a cure-all. This herb certainly has been used for a wide enough variety of problems that it can be considered a panacea.

     I only included a basic introduction to this amazing herb. I hope you have learned a new appreciation for how amazing plantain is. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


Common Plantain as Chinese Herbal Medicine: Medicine Grove:
Do Not Kill This Weed!: Natural Living Ideas:
Medicinal Properties of Plantain: Green Med Info:
Plantago Ovata: Always Ayurveda:
Plantain: East West Healing Academy:
Plantain: Herbalpedia:
Plantain: Indian Mirror:
Plantain, A Healing Herb in your Backyard: Wellness Mama:
Plantain, Common: A Modern Herbal:
Plantain, First Aid in your Backyard: Susan Weed:
Plantain Seeds: Chinese Herbs Healing:

Natural Laundry Solutions

     I started, systematically, removing harsh chemicals from my home several years ago. One of my latest stops has been in the laundry room. I thought this step was going to be quite a bit more complicated than it ended up being. But by the time I arrived here, I had already stocked my home full of most of the essentials for cleaning naturally, which also help with laundry. Here are a few of my favorites so far, feel free to experiment a little and make some of these recipes your own.


     Most DIY laundry detergent recipes call for grating bar soap and adding borax. I haven't been too thrilled with this. I typically prefer using liquid detergents, but lately I have been using soap nuts. I know it sounds crazy, but they really do work. You can use them conventionally, just add a handful of the nuts, in a linen bag, to your laundry. Or you can grind them up and use the powder. I recommend spending a little extra and getting the higher quality nuts if you want to start using them. If you want to grind them, my favorite method is to use an old coffee grinder. Just don't overload it and grind to your heart's content. You can use just this powder as a really effective detergent. 2-3 teaspoons per load is sufficient. Or you can mix it with baking soda, Epsom salts, and/or essential oils to make an all-in-one detergent and fabric softener combination.

All-In-One Detergent
3 cups Epsom Salts
1 cup Baking Soda
¼ cup Soap Nut Powder
30-40 drops Essential Oils

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight container. Use ¼ cup per load of laundry.

     However, if you prefer liquid detergents, here is one of my favorite recipes. You can pick up the washing soda at any grocery store, or you can make your own. Wellness Mama has a great tutorial here.

Liquid Laundry Detergent
½ cup Borax
½ cup Washing Soda
4 cups Hot Water
40-50 drops Essential Oils

Mix the first 3 ingredients together in a 1 gallon container. Add in the hot water to dissolve the other ingredients. Fill the container most of the way with water and add in your essential oils. Shake before using to help ensure that everything is mixed properly. It's that simple. Use ¼ cup per load.

Fabric Softeners:

     The most simple and easy fabric softener is baking soda. Simply add ¼ cup to your laundry while it's washing. Baking soda also doubles as a brightener, which is a plus. If you are using a liquid soap, add the baking soda in during the wash cycle. However, if you are using a powder, add it in during the rinse. Believe it or not, Epsom salts are another really easy way to soften your laundry. You can use them the same way you would use baking soda, or you could simply add them into your laundry detergent recipe. However, I prefer to combine these methods and add a little something special, essential oils. Adding essential oils help to make your laundry smell fresh, but essential oils don't stick around as long as the artificial scents you find with the chemical detergents and fabric softeners at the store. Some of my favorite blends for laundry include lavender, citrus, and juniper. My current favorite is 20 parts Lavender, 10 parts Pine, and 10 parts Grapefruit. Feel free to play around with your favorite essential oils, or make seasonal blends (peppermint is great for the holiday season).

Fabric Softening Wash Add-In
3 cups Epsom Salts
1 cup Baking Soda
40-50 drops Essential Oils

Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. Add ¼ cup to your laundry during the wash, or mix with your laundry detergent powder.

     Dryer balls are also a great help in the fight to soften your fabric. However, they are not my preferred method as the most natural, and best working, ones are wool, and at least one member of my family has a wool allergy. But if you don't have a wool allergy to worry about, I highly recommend them. They are easy to toss into your drying cycle, and if you want to boost the scent of your laundry, you can just add a few drops of essential oils to the balls before doing so.

Stain Removers:

  • In general, to whiten and brighten, use lemon juice. Simply soak the laundry you want to brighten in a solution of 1 cup of lemon juice to 1 gallon of water. Soak the laundry over night before washing.
  • Ink and paint stains can be treated with rubbing alcohol. Simply soak the stain in rubbing alcohol for 20-30 minutes before washing.
  • For tomato based stains, rub white vinegar into the stain and wash immediately.
  • For grass and food stains, treat with a 5/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water before soaking. Wash immediately.
  • Grease and oil stains can be a little more complicated. Start by sprinkling the stain with dry baking soda. This will absorb and remove excess oil. Brush this off and soak in undiluted white vinegar for 15 minutes. Rinse, then scrub with liquid dish soap before washing.
  • For protein stains (vomit, blood, urine, poop, egg, etc), the first rule is to NEVER wash in WARM water. This will set in the smell. First you should soak the stain in cool water. Then, wash with ½ cup hydrogen peroxide and ½ cup baking soda in addition to your normal detergent, in the washing machine.

Other Tips:

When treating stains, always work from the back to avoid rubbing the stain in more.

When you want to scent your laundry, the best time to do so is in the drying cycle. Just put a few drops of essential oils onto a cloth or dryer ball and throw it in with your laundry.

     I hope these solutions help you with your laundry endeavors. For more essential oil blend ideas, check out my previous entry, Herbal Home Fresheners for Spring. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!


Homemade Natural Laundry Solutions: The Homemade Experiment:

Natural Laundry Solutions: Care2:

Natural Ways to Remove Laundry Stains: Wellness Mama:

Monday, July 17, 2017


     Most, if not all, of you may have heard about one of the latest health crazes. Being “Gluten Free.” I know a lot of people scoff at it, and several people jump to crazy conclusions about it. However, how many of you know just what gluten is?

     Someone asked me a question the other day, about gluten. She asked “if there's already so many bad things in our food, why do they have to add in gluten?” For a minute I didn't know what to say. She apparently had a very wrong notion of what gluten really is. She's not alone in her misconceptions either. Quite a few people misunderstand what gluten really is, even people who are on a gluten free diet. This is so prevalent that Hollywood also makes a point of acknowledging it. Musician Tom Waits was interviewed by David Letterman in 2015. In this interview Mr. Waits talks about his appearance at a political rally to “Free the Glutens” and how they've “never had a country of their own.” Several comedians have been known to feature gluten misconceptions in their acts/movies as well. With all the misconceptions going around, I figured that I would try and clear things up a bit.

What is gluten?

     Simply stated, gluten is a family of proteins naturally found in wheat, rye, barley, and several other grains. The two main proteins found in this family are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is the protein most responsible for the negative health effects.

     When flour is mixed with water, gluten proteins form a sticky, glue-like, substance that acts like a web, holding the mixture together. This is what gives dough the ability to rise and to be shaped by rolling, kneading, and braiding. Without gluten, dough would just be a wet mess until it was baked. It also provides a good, chewy, texture once the bread is baked.

Is it really bad?

     Gluten is not necessarily bad for everyone. However, there are a number of people who are either allergic or sensitive to gluten. Why is this becoming so popular now when bread and grains have been a staple of the human diet for centuries?

     There are quite a few theories out there, but none of the scientific research done so far can point to a specific reason. One theory that I think has merit is all about how we grow and process our grains today. Hundreds of years ago, we grew our crops naturally and seasonally. We hybridized our grains using natural techniques, in order to ensure better harvests and sometimes better taste. We then harvested these crops and processed them minimally with all natural ingredients. There were no artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives added. There were no “frankingrains” created in a lab. It was just all natural, hand made, tasty goodness. However, in modern times, it's almost impossible to find grains that are natural, to that extent at least. Also, wheat and other gluten-filled grains are used as filler in quite a few of products that you would not expect. As we are becoming more and more inundated with the over-processed grains, allergies and sensitivities are becoming more and more prevalent.

Celiac Disease

     Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine. It's triggered by gluten consumption and has become quite common in recent years. According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), celiac diseases affects 1 in 133 people in the US. Around the world, it's 1 in 200. It's much more prevalent in cultures that consume more wheat. In celiac patients, gluten consumption triggers an autoimmune response that attacks the villi in the small intestine. The villi are finger-like projections that are responsible for nutrient absorption. Over time, in celiac patients, the villi become flattened and malnutrition can occur. Because malnutrition is the major symptom, it affects the whole body and can go undiagnosed for years.

Gluten Intolerance

     1 in 7 people are gluten sensitive, but do not test positive for celiac disease. These people are considered gluten intolerant or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensative (NCGS). This is much more likely to occur in people of Anglo-Saxon or European descent. Many of these people can avoid gluten for an amount of time and slowly reintroduce it back into their diets without any ill effects. The NIDDK suggests that for children the period of time is between 3 and 6 months while for adults it can take several years. There are some people with NCGS that have permanent intestinal damage, however, and must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives.

     You can find lists of symptoms as well as foods to avoid all over the web, so I won't post them here. However you should talk to your doctor about gluten if you believe it might be affecting your health.

     I hope I have cleared up some of the questions you might have about gluten. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.


12 Surprising Signs of Gluten Sensativity: Gluten Free School:
Gluten's Effect on Inflammation: Gluten Free School:
Gluten Intolerance Food List: Health Line:
Is Gluten Really Unhealthy for Me?: Nerd Fitness:
What is Gluten?: Celiac Disease Foundation:
What is Gluten and Why is it Bad for Some People?: Authority Nutrition:
What's the Deal with Gluten?: Dr. Axe:

Sunday, July 16, 2017

5 Amazing Fruit Salads

     Summertime in Florida is a time of beautiful skies, long days at the beach, and picnics. It's also the time of oppressive heat. One of my favorite things to do to cool off and stay hydrated is to eat fruit. Every one of my picnics typically has some kind of fruit, or fruit salad. So I figured I'd share with you a few of my favorite fruit salad recipes.

1. This salad is a sweet take on an Italian classic salad. It's amazing how well fruit goes with the rich flavor of balsamic vinegar. Other fruit suggestions to try- peaches, blackberries, mangoes, or papaya.

Fruity Caprese

4 cups Watermelon, seeded and cubed
3 red Plumbs, sliced
2 cups Strawberries, chopped
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 Mozzarella Balls, cubed
½ cup Fresh Basil, torn
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Combine watermelon, plumbs, strawberries, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Mix them together well. Coat with olive oil (about ¼ cup), sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Toss again. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar right before serving.

2. This salad really shines because of the lemon thyme syrup. Any melon will work well in this salad, as well as any berry, so have fun and try new combinations! Bonus: you can use the left over syrup to make some fun summer cocktails! Or even just to flavor your iced tea, lemonade, or water.

Berry Melon Thyme Salad

1 cup Honey
¼ cup Water
the Juice and Peel of 1 Lemon
4 large sprigs of fresh Thyme
2 cups each: cubed Cantaloupe, cubed Honeydew
1 cup each: pitted fresh Cherries, Blackberries, and Blueberries

For the syrup:
Combine honey, water, lemon peel, lemon juice, and thyme in a saucepan on the stove. Bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and thyme sprigs. This syrup will keep for several weeks, refrigerated.

For the salad:
Toss together the fruit in a bowl. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the syrup over the fruit and toss again. Refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving.

3. The syrup used with this salad is perfect for apples, and any other fruit that has a tendency to turn brown really fast. The citrus juices help keep fruit looking freshly cut for much longer. It also goes really well with tropical fruit. For a tropical twist, try pineapple, papaya, mango, kiwi, and/or starfruit.

Fruit Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Syrup

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Lime juice
¼ cup Orange juice
Splash of Grapefruit juice
¾ teaspoon Poppy Seeds
1 pound Strawberries, sliced
1 pound grapes (any color), halved
3 Tangerines, peeled and separated into sections
1 cup Raspberries
1 cup Blueberries
1 Pear, cored and chopped
2 Red or Yellow Apples, cored and chopped
1 Green Apple, cored and chopped
2 Bananas, sliced

For the syrup:
Combine honey with citrus juices. Whisk vigorously until well blended. Slowly whisk in poppy seeds.

For the salad:
Peel and cut the fruit in the order listed, saving the pears, apples, and bananas for last. Immediately coat with the poppy seed syrup and toss.

4. This salad has an amazing texture, and is a bit more hardy than other fruit salads, because of the addition of quinoa. The vinaigrette is also jam packed full of amazing flavor, and can be used on any salad, so I tend to make extra. You could also change up the fruit here, try it with pineapple, kiwi, banana, guava, papaya, strawberry, dragon fruit, prickly pear, or blackberry.

Southwest Quinoa Fruit Salad

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Lime juice
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon crushed Chipotle Pepper (or more if you want it really spicy)
1 cup uncooked Quinoa
2 cups Watercress, torn or chopped
1 ½ cup Watermelon, seeded and cubed
1 cup Blueberries
1 Avocado, diced
1 Mango, diced
½ cup Feta, crumbled

For the dressing:
Combine honey, olive oil, lime juice, salt, cilantro, and chipotle in a blender. Blend until well blended.

For the salad:
Cook the quinoa as directed on the package and let cool. Combine all other ingredients and lightly toss. Add in the quinoa and toss well. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad. Toss one last time and serve.

5. This recipe is a bit boozy, so adults only! But it's so tasty and if you want to make it safe for the younger generations, just leave out the rum and use ¼ cup water instead. Other fruit that go well in this recipe include strawberry, pineapple, cherry, watermelon, blackberry, banana, pomegranate, dragon fruit, peach, or green apple.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Mojito Glaze

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Rum of your choice (I prefer white rum for this recipe)
2 tablespoons Lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh Mint leaves, finely chopped
½ medium Honeydew melon, cubed
1 medium Cucumber, sliced
½ pound Green Grapes, halved

For the glaze:
Combine honey, rum, and lime juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the mint leaves, cover and let cool down to room temperature.

For the salad:
Combine honeydew, cucumber, and grapes in a large bowl. Drizzle glaze over fruit and toss well. Chill up to 2 hours before serving.

In any of these recipes, feel free to change the fruit around. Play with different dressings and glazes. Use ginger instead of mint in the mojito glaze, or try using a strong herbal tea anywhere you see water or juice. Have fun, play around, and let me know what you think below!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Raspberry Leaves

     Have you ever picked up a fruit or vegetable in the grocery store and wondered what the rest of the plant looks like? Or how about if the rest of the plant is edible or useful in some way? I do this quite frequently, though I'll admit that I'm strange. When I remember these questions and do a bit of research, I often wonder why we never use the rest of the plant. For instance, each and every part of a banana tree is edible, beet greens are every bit as nutritious as spinach, carrot leaves are super tasty, and raspberry leaves are one of the best things a woman can add into her diet.

     Raspberries are members of the rose family, rosacea. There are two commonly used for their leaves, Eurasian red raspberry (rubus idaeus) and North American black raspberry (rubus occidentalis). There have been a number of scientific studies done on this herb. Most American studies have used red raspberry, but a number of Chinese studies have branched out and used several different raspberry species. Most of the findings have determined that the berries are delicious and packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, but the leaves contain even more of the active phytochemicals, and so have even more benefits.

Medicinal Uses:

Summary of actions- Astringent, antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, and a slight stimulant.

Traditional Chinese Medicine- In Chinese medicine, raspberry is called Fu Pen Zi or Shan Mei. The primary meridians it works on are the Liver and Kidney meridians. In TCM, the Kidneys rule reproduction, especially in women. This makes a huge amount of sense when you think about how the Kidneys filter our blood, and how blood is such an integral part of the female reproductive cycle. However that leads to raspberry's main uses in TCM. Raspberry stabilizes and tonifies the kidneys, supports Jing, builds both Kidney and Liver Qi, and is typically used for impotence, bed wetting, frequent urination, premature ejaculation, incontinence, to improve eyesight, clear blurred vision, for lower back pain (around the area of the kidneys), infertility, nocturnal emissions, and to stop premature graying.

Highly Nutritious- The berries are known to be extremely nutritious. However the leaves are even more so. They contain huge amounts of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, and selenium.

Anti-cancer Activity- Several studies have shown that raspberry leaf has major anti-cancer potential in both breast and liver cancers. These same studies show that the leaves are much more potent than the berries.

Pregnancy and Labor- Raspberry is a great help in dealing with morning sickness. Some people attribute this to it's astringent nature, and others attribute this to the high amounts of vitamins and minerals. Either way, it works.

Some midwives and herbalists are cautious with it's use in the first trimester (however I have known several women who have used this in the first trimester with no problems), but it's considered safe after the second trimester has begun. Consult with your doctor/midwife/herbalist before adding this to your routine in early pregnancy.

Not only is raspberry great for helping with morning sickness, but it's super nutritious and helps prepare your body for labor. Women and midwives throughout the world credit raspberry leaf for helping shorten their labor, and prevent hardships during labor. It works extremely well with nettles to help reduce the chance of hemorrhage.

Fertility- Raspberry helps to regulate menses, clear the body of toxins, strengthen the uterus, balance female hormones, and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. This can help in conceiving as well as preventing early miscarriages.

Menstrual Help- Raspberry is used often as a uterine tonic. It also helps balance female hormones. These two actions combine to make Raspberry extremely effective in helping women regulate their menstrual cycles. Not only does it help regulate both the timing and the flow, it also helps reduce cramps, PMS, and other negative side effects that come with menses.

Respiratory Infections- Raspberry leaf tea has been used as a gargle, eyewash, and mouthwash when there have been infections in those areas. It's also been used to help knock out several respiratory infections such as pneumonia bronchitis. Just drink 2-3 cups a day during the infection.

Bowels and Leaky Gut- The astringent properties of raspberry leaf help to reduce diarrhea and strengthen the intestines. This helps to prevent and heal leaky gut issues.

Minor Wounds and Varicose Veins- Astringent herbs are great for dealing with wounds. Raspberry has shown to be no exception. Use it as a wound wash to help speed the healing of minor cuts and scrapes. Use it for sunburns and minor burn wounds. It's also great to help heal varicose veins. Just use a strong tea as a wash, and massage towards the heart. It's also great for eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

     I hope I have given you a little more to think about while picking out produce in your supermarket, or when deciding to grow your own. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below!


3 Raspberry Leaf Benefits for Women: Herbal Academy:
Raspberry: East West Healing Academy:
Raspberry Leaf: Richard Whelan Medical Herbalist:
Raspberry Leaf Benefits: Herb Wisdom:
Raspberry Leaf Herb Profile: Wellness Mama:
Raspberry Leaf Tea Benefits: Earths Friends:
Red Raspberry: Dr Christopher's Herbal Legacy:
Red Raspberry: Medicinal Herb Info:

Monday, July 3, 2017

Home Pest Control

     Welcome to Summer! The time of year where the sun is bright, the water is cool, and the bugs are at their worst. Whether you are outside enjoying nature's abundant beauty, or at home just trying to soak up some AC on those super hot days, you have to deal with the encroaching menace of bugs. While cleanliness is the first step to dealing with household pests, there are other things you can do for natural pest control in your home.


     Ants just love to use our homes as parade grounds this time of year. They're also super hard to get rid of once they decide they like your home. However, there is something they really don't like that most homes have plenty of. Used coffee grounds. Yes, you heard me. Used coffee grounds. Sprinkle a few of these around your windows and doors. This will deter those pesky paraders.

     If, however, you missed a spot and get invaded, try borax. Mix equal portions of borax and sugar together. Pour this mixture into containers with holes poked in the lid. Place them strategically around your home (close to the afore mentioned invasion). The ants will be attracted to the mixture by the sugar and the borax will take care of the silent invasion for you.

Fruit Flies:

     Fruit flies may seem, at first, to be harmless. However, if left to their own devices, they will quickly develop into a massive swarm. This is because their entire life cycle takes place over the course of 8 days. So in just over a week, your fruit fly population can more than triple. Cleanliness and good sanitation practices are the best prevention, but quite often it's not enough.

     These flies tend to breed and develop in drains, so the first step to getting rid of these pests is to clean the drains. A mixture of equal amounts boiling water and white vinegar, should be poured down your drains daily while you are combating this menace. You can also use natural traps to help catch the adults. The one that works best for me is very simple. Take a jar pour apple cider vinegar into it, filling it up about 2 inches. Add in a piece of fruit. Cover it with plastic wrap and poke holes in it. The flies will be drawn to the trap by the sweet smell, and won't be able to get out.


     Roaches, the epitome of horrid bug problems. If you live in Florida, you deal with them every rainy season. The best way to prevent an infestation is to keep your home super clean, but sometimes you need a little extra help.

     For a little extra help with prevention, turn to catnip. Roaches hate catnip. Just use some catnip oil in the little nooks and crannies that roaches find cozy. You can also crush fresh catnip leaves and leave them in those same corners of your home that you would put the oil. You can also use cypress wood chips (or mulch) around the outside of your home. This will help deter them from even entering into your home.

     However, if the creepy crawlies do make it inside there is something that works pretty well. Make a paste of equal parts boric acid (or use borax), sugar, and water. Place the paste in around possible roach hangout spots, the adult roaches will take it back to their nests and your roach problem should be gone in 2 weeks. If not, just make some more and reapply. However, you should be careful if you have animals or children as it could be harmful if they ingest this paste.

All-Purpose Solutions:

     There is something super simple that you can use as an all-purpose pest spray. Simply mix 1 cup grain alcohol with 20-30 drops of essential oils and spray it around your home. Different essential oils work better on certain pests. About the only one that works for spiders is peppermint, but you can mix it with lemongrass, catnip, and lavender to make a good all-purpose blend.

I wish you all the best of luck with your pests! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!


How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies: Every Day Roots:
How to Get Rid of Cockroaches: Housewife How-To:
How to Make a Homemade Roach Killer: Do It Yourself:
Keep Your Home Bug Free With These DIY Pest Control Methods: Life Hacker:


Greetings from the Bat Lady!

     Welcome to Bat Lady Herbals.  I have been fascinated by herbs and various herbal uses for quite a few years now.  Plants are amazing t...