Saturday, February 7, 2015

Scratch the Itch

Two anti-itch ointments

Years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I somehow contracted Shingles. At the time I had an 18-month-old and was babysitting for a 7-month-old. The 7-month-old arrived at 7 AM and stayed most days until 6:30-7 PM. My own son was around 24 hours a day, of course. At that time my husband was getting his electrical engineering degree and working full-time, so he left each day around 5:30 AM and didn't get home until 10 PM. Besides babysitting I worked as a freelance writer and commercial artist and had my fledgling eBay store up and running, so whenever I could fit in the time I worked. I was also trying to lose weight back then (as usual) and was at that time unwisely limiting myself to 1200 calories a day and working out hardcore. I would push the two babies in a double stroller on a three mile run/walk daily and then do an hour of Taebo or other cardio exercise during their naps. My theory of how I contracted shingles at such a young age is that the children were getting vaccinations, including chicken pox, at the time and I was so run-down and exhausted, I think one of them was shedding the virus and it activated the old virus in my blood, causing Shingles.

How ever I caught it, I caught it, and it was bad. The rash covered my back in a band that reached around my ribs. The epicenter was right in the center of my back, between my shoulder blades, right under my bra clasp. Eventually it healed and stopped being painful. I think I must have some nerve or skin damage, however, because ever since then my back itches like crazy right between my shoulder blades almost all the time. It's hard for me to reach the spot to scratch it and scratching really makes it worse anyway. I can't really see the spot well, but my husband says I have a scar made of white spots where the Shingles were the worst. I've tried all kinds of lotions and creams without success, but since I've had such good results with my Young Living oils I decided to see if I could make something that works. I messed around in the kitchen and I think I've hit on a winner: my own "Itchy Oil" roll-on. Besides Shingles scars it would be great on bug bites and other small, concentrated itchy spots. Once again, I used an almost-empty bottle of Thieves oil to make sure I utilized every drop.

Itchy Oil Roll-On

5 ml (.17 oz) grapeseed oil
1-2 drops Young Living Thieves essential oil
10 drops Young Living Lavender essential oil
10 drops Young Living Peppermint essential oil

Take a nearly empty bottle of Thieves and remove the cap and dropper insert. Add the other essential oils. If using an empty bottle, add 1-2 drops of Thieves oil. Fill the bottle with grapeseed oil. Top the bottle with the Young Living roller ball fitment by placing the roller ball and tightening down with the roller ball cap. Shake to blend. Roll on itchy spots to soothe.

Place the roller ball fitment on the bottle.

I used decorative tape to make a new label.

I asked my husband to roll some of this on my itchy spot and it worked instantly! Now, an hour later, it still feels cold and numb and doesn't itch! Besides my permanent itchy spot, lately I've been itchy all over and am suffering from really tight, dry skin. I've tried several commercial lotions and body butters, including pricey "cooling" lotion, but these either don't work or work for a short time only. My husband and I started a new exercise program; we are doing the new P90X 3 series. I'm still walking with my walking buddy and by myself. I think the combination of the cold air, the heat running in the house, and all the baths and showers I'm taking to combat post-workout sweatiness have taken their toll on my skin. I found a whipped anti-itch "lotion" recipe on Pinterest and tried it, but it didn't turn out. That's always SO disappointing! It wastes time and ingredients when you make something like this that doesn't turn out. I messed around with the recipe and came up with an ultra-moisturizing salve. I would not consider this a lotion; it's just too greasy. It's a soothing, oily salve and a little goes a long way. There's a Valentine's Day bonus too: it's edible! I doubt it tastes very good in this incarnation, though. Maybe you could add some stevia powder to make it palatable if you want to use it as an edible massage oil. When you make this, do not use aloe vera juice. The original recipe called for that and it won't incorporate into the coconut oil. Use aloe vera gel or scrape fresh aloe vera pulp from a stalk. I used my own homegrown aloe vera.

Whipped Anti-Itch Salve

1 cup solid coconut oil
1 TBSP fresh aloe vera pulp or gel
10 drops Young Living peppermint essential oil
10 drops Young Living lavender essential oil

Combine ingredients and whip with a whisk or electric mixer until the coconut oil expands and turns white and opaque. If it's pretty cold in your house the coconut oil may retain some lumps. If so, massage the oil with your fingers, breaking up the lumps, until the mixture forms a slick ball. Massage a small amount into itchy spots for relief. Store in a cool place (below 75 degrees) to prevent the salve from melting.

Whip until the coconut oil expands and turns white and opaque.

Scrape the pulp of a three-inch stalk of aloe vera  into the coconut oil.

Remove the aloe stalks, add the oils, and mix until the mixture forms a smooth paste.

I certainly hope this ends my itchy woes. We just completed our first week of P90X 3 and I've done really well. I lost 2 pounds and 3 inches from my waist! I lost an inch from everywhere else I measured except my chest, of course, which rarely responds to diet or exercise. I've decided I can live with being busty as long as I'm thin everywhere else! I have to give another shout out to the Young Living Slique Essence oil. I've been following the P90X 3 recommended diet. I was really scared to try it, because although it's all whole foods, it recommends I eat almost 1000 calories more than I was eating. I kept up drinking my Slique Essence oil in water before each meal and managed to resist cravings for junk foods. And even with all the extra calories I lost weight and inches! I'm really excited and hopeful this will continue. I'm optimistic this might finally be a new start for me. As always, contact me to learn how to get a wholesale discount on Young Living products and check my Naturally Amanda Facebook page for more recipes and information and to order your own Young Living products.

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