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Thursday, October 23 , 2014

Homemade Mouthwash

Don't you love the smell of cinnamon? Cinnamic aldehyde—the naturally occurring compound that's responsible for its wonderful smell—can also help eliminate odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Here's what to do...

Boil two cups of water, then add five or six pieces of cinnamon stick (available at supermarkets) and let it simmer for five minutes.

Once it's cool, strain out the sticks and pour the liquid into a sealable bottle. Use it as you would use any commercial mouthwash. Unlike some store-bought brands, it's alcohol-free!

More natural cures...

Wednesday, September 17 , 2014

Nourishing Makeup Remover

Does it feel like you're slathering harsh chemicals onto your face when you use commercial products to remove makeup? If you’d like to pamper your skin with a healthful, homemade makeup remover, try this nourishing combo...

Instead of using plain soap and water or harsh commercial cleansers, remove your makeup with a natural whole-milk mixture. In a small jar, warm two to three tablespoons of milk (10 seconds on high in the microwave), add one-half teaspoon of castor oil (found in most drugstores) and shake well. Dunk a cotton ball (not a tissue) into the mixture, and gently apply to your face. Leave on for 30 seconds so it has a chance to sink in, which will make makeup removal easier. Then take your cotton ball and start cleaning, using upward and outward strokes. Avoid getting the mixture into your eyes. Then give your face a rinse or two with warm water to remove any milk residue.

This combination of milk and oil is said to take off more makeup and city dirt than the most expensive professional cleansing products ever could. And it does so naturally, not chemically.

Complete the treatment by sealing in moisture with a thin layer of castor oil applied to the face, making sure to avoid the eyes.

Note: Some people's skin is sensitive to castor oil—if you notice any irritation, you can try extra-virgin olive oil in this formula instead.

More help with cosmetics...

Friday, June 20 , 2014

Homemade Acne Mask

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org), frequent washing does nothing to prevent acne outbreaks. Overwashing is actually irritating, and excess irritation can worsen acne. A washcloth can aggravate this situation further. So use your bare hands to wash gently, and wash only twice a day. And try this homemade mix to help achieve healthy, acne-free skin...

First, wash your face with a mild soap to remove dirt, oil, makeup, sunscreen and/or moisturizer.

Mix the juice of half a lemon (about two tablespoons) with one teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Then gently apply the mixture all over your face. Let it stay that way for 20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry. Do this twice a day for at least two weeks, and you should see the acne clearing up.

More help with your skin...


Tuesday, June 03 , 2014

Homemade Elixir for Sprains and Aches

So you had a spill and gave yourself a nasty ankle or wrist twist. Wisely, you went to the doctor to make sure there was no fracture or dislocation, and the doctor said it's just a sprain. Just a sprain! It hurts like the dickens! Here's what to do...

Add one tablespoon of cayenne pepper to two cups of apple cider vinegar, and bring it to a slow boil in an enamel or glass saucepan. Add one cup of this mixture to one quart of water for a foot or wrist soak. (Make sure it's not piping hot before you plunge your extremity.) Soak for a good 15 minutes (or longer if it feels good) at least twice a day until the swelling goes down.

More help with aches and pains...

Thursday, May 29 , 2014

Homemade Fat-Burning Formula

Do you need a little help in the weight-loss department? Here's a quick mix that will help melt the fat...

Put one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of honey in a glass of unsweetened grapefruit juice. Mix thoroughly, and drink it a half hour before each meal. In addition to reducing your appetite, this drink is said to help regulate your thyroid and melt fat away, too.

Caution: If you take medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions with grapefruit.

More help with weight loss...


Wednesday, May 07 , 2014

Homemade Skin-Tightening Tonic

Skin experts often advise using an astringent skin tonic to help clean skin and refine pores. We have an easy, inexpensive tonic with rave reviews! One source described it as "the cleansing acid that cuts through residue film and clears the way for a healthful complexion." And still another said, "This formula is, by far, the simplest natural healer for tired skin. It gives you the glow of fresh-faced youth." With endorsements like that, what are you waiting for?

Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one tablespoon of just-boiled water. As soon as the liquid is cool enough, apply it to the face with cotton balls. Do not get it near your eyes. No need to rinse...unless you can't stand the smell. (Lydia tried this skin tonic. Her eyes were a little teary from the strong fumes of the diluted vinegar and, for about 10 minutes, she smelled like coleslaw. But after that, the smell was completely gone and her skin felt smooth and tight.)

Use this treatment to freshen your skin at least every other day—or whenever you have a craving for that deli smell.

Do-it-yourself ways to look younger...


Friday, May 02 , 2014

Homemade Scrub for Rough Heels

Poor feet! They take a daily beating and rarely get the attention they deserve. Because they often are hidden from a healthy flow of fresh air and moisture, they can get very flaky, itchy and dry. Here's a natural way to give your feet the tender lovin' care they deserve.

Strawberries, with a little help from oil and salt, work wonders to slough off dead skin cells, so you can say good-bye to dry, flaky feet.

In a blender, combine one cup of sliced strawberries, two tablespoons of olive oil and two teaspoons of coarse (kosher) salt. Pulse the mix until it has a pulpy consistency. (Don't purée it!) Then gently massage it into your feet, especially on the heels where skin is usually the flakiest. Let it stay on for about two minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. Do this whenever your foot bottoms get that dry, flaky look.

More help for your feet...

Thursday, May 01 , 2014

Homemade Mothball Replacement

Mothballs really know how to do their job. Too bad they repel humans, too. If you want to keep your closet bug-free without the old-time toxic vapors, here's what to do...

For a spicy-scented moth repellent, cut the leg off a clean, pair of old pantyhose and fill the foot with slightly crushed peppercorns. Knot it closed, and hang it in the closet. It smells better than mothballs and does the job just as well. Replace the peppercorns with fresh ones after about three months.

To slightly crush peppercorns: Put whole peppercorns in a plastic bag, and gently crush by pressing on them with the bottom of a large frying pan. Do not grind to a fine consistency.

More help with closets and storage...

Wednesday, April 23 , 2014

Homemade Tea Relieves Gas

Gas happens to everyone! But if you despise stomach discomfort...and you enjoy the company of others...gas is a good thing to get rid of. Here's an easy remedy from your kitchen...

Crumble up one-half teaspoon of dried bay leaves, and add to a six-ounce cup of just-boiled water. Let it steep for five minutes, then strain out the leaves and drink the liquid slowly. You should feel relief before you finish your tea.

More help with embarrassing problems...

Monday, April 14 , 2014

3 Homemade Salt Substitutes

Do you need to watch your salt intake? Well, don't trade in flavor for bland! Here are three Wilen sisters–approved recipes from a company that pays its bills with seasonings, McCormick & Company.

For green salads or salt shakers:

2 teaspoons thyme

2 teaspoons ground savory

1 teaspoon sage

2 teaspoons basil

1 Tablespoon marjoram

For soups, stews, poultry or pot roast:

1 Tablespoon thyme

1 teaspoon sage

2 teaspoons rosemary

1 Tablespoon marjoram

For cooked vegetables, beef or mayonnaise-based salads:

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 Tablespoon marjoram

1 Tablespoon thyme

1 Tablespoon basil

Mix ingredients for the blend you choose, multiplying the recipes by however much you need, and grind together in a blender or use a mortar and pestle. Store in a tightly covered dark glass jar, and be sure to label.

More on healthful fixes for your diet...


Thursday, April 10 , 2014

Homemade Hair Revitalizer

Healthy hair does not have to be an expensive endeavor! This was our beautiful mother's favorite hair treatment (actually, it was her only hair treatment).

Slightly warm one-half cup of olive oil. Mom put it in a four-ounce eyedropper bottle and let it stand in very hot water for a few minutes. You may want to add a few drops of an extract like vanilla or almond to make it more fragrant. Then, using the eyedropper, she'd squirt the warm oil all over her hair and massage the oil into her scalp. Once her whole head was covered, she'd shampoo it out. No need to let it sit.

Do this once a week, or more often, for lustrous, healthy hair.

More ways to beautiful hair...

Friday, May 18 , 2012

How to Clean Costume Jewelry

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water, dip a soft cloth in the solution and gently clean the jewelry.

Caution: Do not use distilled white vinegar or any other cleanser that might undo the glue bonds.