Mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, fleas and other creepy crawlies thrive in our area.  When news came that the West Nile virus had reached our state, I was really bummed, because Lyme’s Disease is already a threat here.  As a hypothyroid mom, it’s difficult enough for me to bear the summer heat long enough to work in the garden and spend a decent amount of time outdoors with the kids.  To have to worry about contracting Lyme Disease and/or West Nile Virus on top of the hypothyroidism is bad, but it’s worse to have the daily dread that your kids might contract these diseases – even in the safety of their own backyard.

I learned the hard way that hiding indoors with the air- conditioning will NOT make the boogeymen go away, and in the end, you only end up hurting your health further.  One of the greatest harms from avoiding summer weather is that you deprive yourself of the best form of Vitamin D available to man.  If you live in a 4-season climate, your liver is depending on you to provide it with it’s year’s supply; depending on you stock up on all the free Vitamin D2 that the sun provides in the summertime.  Besides shitake mushrooms, sunlight is one of the few non-toxic forms of this essential vitamin available.  Cholecalciferol, the form of vitamin D added to milk, is used elsewhere as rat poison. Vitamin D-3 is reported to actually remove vast quantities of calcium from the bones. (For more information on Vitamin D3, please see http://www.notmilk.com/ratpoison.html )

As it turned out, I did contract Lyme Disease, probably while picking berries among our tick-infested raspberry canes.  I was treated homeopathically for this illness.  I  have seen great improvements since that time in every aspect of my health, both physical and mental – the most notable change being that my health has stopped declining and my weight has finally stopped climbing uncontrollably.  If you haven’t yet seen the documentary, Under Our Skin, I highly recommend it.  Also, the book called Lab 257 by Michael C. Carroll. Any parent living in the United States would be wise to educate themselves on the lesser-known facts of how Lyme’s Disease came about, and the means beyond tick-to-tick transmission by which it actually can be spread – especially the story of Plum Island.  Knowing what I know now, I never send my kids outdoors without some form of natural insect-repellent.

Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education. – David Polis

Repellants: Citronella is the all-purpose essential oil of choice, while other useful oils include Purification, Melrose, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree, Geranium, Idaho Tansey, Lemon, Rosemary, Lemongrass, Thyme or Spearmint.    Our dear “friends”, the Mosquitos, are repelled by the essential oils of Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalytus Radiata and Lemongrass. It is best to apply all oils in a dilution of 20% essential oil, to 80% carrier oil (like olive or coconut oil).

You can also make simple insect repellents at home.  Here are three recipes we like:
1. ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND: 6 drops Peppermint + 6 drops Tea Tree + 9 drops Citronella + 84 drops olive oil. (We usually guesstimate the olive oil.)
2. HERBAL BLEND: Juliette de Bairacli Levy recommends an insect repellent oil consisting of equal parts of the herbs Wormwood, Rosemary, and Rue. These are infused in olive oil three times and prevent bites even when mosquitoes are terrible
3. HERBAL TEA WASH: Dr. John R. Christopher’s website says that chamomile and yarrow are two of the best insect repellents available. Make a tea of either herb (1 tsp dry herb to 1 cup boiling water) and wash down the skin with the cooled tea. (See http://www.herballegacy.com)

If you’ve already been bitten, Young Living’s essential oil blend, Purification, will almost immediately cause the pain and itch of mosquito and most spider bites to disappear.  In our experience, even the swelling will disappear within an hour or two.  Our family LOVES Purification in the summertime – we use it every day. If you don’t have Purification handy, other post-bite relief options are the oils of Melrose, Citronella, Peppermint or Lavender.  For bee stings, Melrose works best, but Purification, Peppermint, Idaho Tansy, PanAway or Wintergreen will also suffice.  Ticks will usually remove themselves once Peppermint or Tea Tree oil is applied.

A general-purpose insect repellant can be made by combining 6 drops Peppermint, 6 drops Tea Tree and 9 drops Citronella essential oils

One final note: There is a weed that grows all over the place in our backyard for which we have learned to have a special affection. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” This is how we feel about the herb called Plantain, botanical name Plantago Major. When bitten, you can crush or even chew up this “weed”, applying it as immediate first aid. The pain and swelling will be somewhat reduced until you can get yourself or the child into the house for further (in our opinion, stronger) help from your essential oil cabinet.

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
– Paul Dudley White

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