Happy Fall, Y’all

Hello All!

Fall is in full swing here in Texas, although warmer than usual.
Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, the color, and especially the scents and the flavors. Pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, apple, cranberry, and more. We had a Fall Make and Take recently here in San Antonio, and featured some of these aromas in the take-home goodies.

Along with all those good things, it is also the beginning of flu and cold season. We made a Thieves Honey for to keep the immune system strong and supported through during the season. You can add a drop or two to tea, coffee, water, or your favorite drink.

The Warm Vanilla Room Spray features orange, cinnamon, and clove. It is lovely for a nice autumn scent and a natural deodorizer.

Check out the recipes below and on www.yldist.com/janpatterson

Happy Fall and Happy Oiling, Y’all!
Jan Patterson MD MS

warm-vanilla-spray-blog-nov-16

Warm Vanilla Room Spray
Add to 2 oz glass spray bottle:

2 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 drops orange essential oil
5 drops cinnamon essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil
Fill to top w distilled water and add spray top.

thieves-honey-blog-nov-16

Thieves Honey
Add to 2 oz glass spray bottle:

5 drops Thieves essential oil
5 drops Lemon essential oil
1 to 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Add ~2 oz raw honey to fill to top.
Replace dropper.
Add 1-2 drops to tea, coffee, or water for immune system support

 

Holiday Blues

 

I have loved Joni Mitchell’s hauntingly beautiful “River” since I first heard it in the ‘70’s. Even in my youth, I understood that Christmas was an unhappy time for many people, although I was fortunate to grow up in a loving family with happy and sacred memories of Christmas. I fell in love with a romantic and fun-loving man and one night we lay underneath the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree as he told me “I think Christmas is my favorite time of year.” As an adult and mother of young children, I experienced the happiest Christmases ever—filled with the joy and wonder that we can only see through children’s eyes. Our family worked on putting together an advent calendar for our church every year and sought daily devotionals written by our church members. Our son, Will, drew a picture for it entitled “Yay for Christmas!” when he was a young child. It showed family members around a Christmas tree and the sharing of smiles and gifts. We wrote a devotional that reflected Christmas as seen through his eyes. The highlights were seeing cousins and grandparents, decorating the tree, lights and decorations, sharing gifts, Christmas music, and celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Our children were fortunate to be led in Christmas music and spontaneous Christmas pageants by the exceptionally talented and loving “Ms. Phyllis” who treated every child as her own and shared God’s love with each of them.

We lost our beloved son Will to suicide in 2012 when he was 18 years old. This will be our fourth Christmas without his presence here on earth. Because we have such wonderful memories of Christmas with him, Christmas without him is bittersweet. We have joined other bereaved parents in the struggle to make it through the holiday season. I guess the first year was the toughest; some say the second year is worse because the permanence sinks in. It is hard to say. Each year we learn a little more. We are able to smile a little more when we remember him, instead of cry.

This year I am thinking about what helps me through the season. We are so fortunate to have our son Evan and his fiancée Ivy. We celebrate their lives and the joy they have and give to us. And we have other extended family. There are many Pattersons—my husband’s side of the family. And our new family member, Ivy, has a great family we are getting to know. A few of our extended family members will talk to us about Will during the holidays, however, most do not mention him. This is part of the heartache.

When one experiences the unspeakable grief of losing a child, the heart enlarges and is more capable of compassion and empathy with others. I am certainly more aware of the challenges of the bereaved in getting through the holiday season. In my next post, I will share some things that help me cope.

Mosquito strategy

After the floods in South Texas, we are well aware of the mosquitos!  Mosquitoes detect the carbon dioxide we generate when we exhale. That is how they find us to get their blood meal. Since we can’t stop exhaling, we use strategies to confuse their sensor system or overwhelm the carbon dioxide detection to repel them.

Besides the bothersome itch and swelling of mosquito bites, mosquitos in the US can transmit West Nile Virus, and less commonly, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and other viral infections. There were 379 cases of West Nile Virus in Texas last year, and the first case has already been reported this year. Most people infected with West Nile Virus will experience no symptoms. About 20% of people will have fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting. Severe symptoms occur in about 1% of people resulting in fever and neurologic symptoms including weakness, neck stiffness, and disorientation resulting from brain infection. So, there is good reason to prevent mosquito bites!

We are using a multi-pronged strategy for mosquito control at our house.  1) Bug repellent.  The most effective ‘clinically proven’ and EPA-approved repellents include DEET (diethyltoluamide–at least 20%), and three other synthetic chemicals: picaridin (at least 20%), oil of lemon eucalyptus (at least 30%), and I3535. DEET has long been considered the most effective repellent, but Consumers Reports(R) did some testing and found that the picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus products performed better than DEET.  DEET can be neurotoxic if absorbed, so you can’t use it on the hands and face. Also, using more than 35% DEET is not recommended and only increases the potential for toxicity.  All of these should be used sparingly in children, and some cannot be used on infants or children under 3 years old.  Check the label.  Also, these synthetic repellents should not be used around food and hands should be washed after application.

Plant oils are considered “minimum risk” so commercial plant oil product claims are not evaluated by the EPA.  The commercial plant oil repellents did not last more than an hour in the Consumer Reports tests, but we don’t know all of the products that were tested, and what oil combinations were used.

Permethrin, a synthetic chemical similar to the pyrethrum produced by chrysanthemums, can be sprayed on clothes, tents and gear, and is effective for several washings.  It is not for use on skin. You can find these products at sporting goods stores and some drug stores. There are various brand names so you will need to read the labels to look for ingredients.

When I was in Africa for a photo safari two years ago, I used DEET for protection from mosquito bites. The mosquitos there carry the type of malaria that can kill people, so the benefit was worth the potential toxicity. I wish I had known about essential oils then so I could have put something natural on my face and hands!

At our recent “Make and Take” essential oils class we made some outdoor spray that I am able to use on my face and hands (about the only parts exposed when I’m in our swimming pool)!  It has made our time outside much more pleasant. It may need to be reapplied periodically.

In a 2 oz brown spray bottle add:

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Eucalyptus

5 drops Lemongrass

5 drops Peppermint

5 drops Thieves

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil (sweet almond oil, frac coconut oil, other)

If you only have a limited number of oils, you can use

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Lavender (avoid if you have bees)

5 drops Peppermint

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil

OR

pinch salt

10 drops Purification

10 drops Thieves

1 oz natural witch hazel

0.5 oz distilled water or carrier oil

2) We burn a stick of good quality incense (we get from Amazon). Recently we are using lavender or sandalwood. The smoke from the incense confuses the mosquito’s CO2 detection system. You can also use a candle (especially citronella) but it generates less smoke than incense.  These are only supplementary deterrents and likely will not work alone.

3) Empty all of your standing water–plant saucers, buckets, stagnant water collections in yard because these are breeding grounds for mosquitos. Most types of mosquitos in our area don’t travel far for their daily blood meal, so clearing the standing water in your yard can make a difference.

4) When you can, wear long sleeves and long pants when outside.

Another strategy is to keep a rotating fan near, and “blow away” the mosquitos.  We just visited with our relatives who are big into fishing and they gave great reviews of  Thermacell(R). It is a small portable device fueled by a butane cartridge that heats and diffuses allethrin, a synthetic version of the repellent in chrysanthemums.  It is said to produce a 15 X 15 mosquito-free zone.  Sounds like it could be another tool in the toolbox for mosquito strategy.

We are due for some more rain in South Texas. We could use your prayers for those families suffering losses and devastation in the floods.  God bless.

References

http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html

http://www.mosquito.org/about-amca

http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/biology/mosquitoes/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/faq/repellent.html

How to win the battle of the bugs.  Consumer Reports July 2015;80:34-37.

http://www.thermacell.com/mosquito-repellent/why-thermacell

 

St. Patrick

To many, Saint Patrick’s Day is simply a day to wear green and drink beer. Traditionally, San Antonio dyes the river green.  There is much more to this Saint, however.shamrock

Saint Patrick lived in the 5th century and is known as the Apostle of Ireland.  He was born in Britain, but captured by Irish pirates at a young age.  During his enslavement in Ireland, he converted to Christianity. He acted on a voice telling him it was time to go home; he escaped and returned to Britain.  A few years later, he had a vision of a man carrying letters, one headed “The Voice of the Irish” and appealing him to come walk among them.  He acted on the vision and returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary, baptizing many people.  Legend says that he used the three-leafed Shamrock to talk about the Holy Trinity.  He is also credited with banishing snakes from Ireland, but naturalists say there were no snakes in Ireland at that time to banish!  March 17 recognizes the date of his death and is a religious and cultural holiday in Ireland.

The day is meaningful to me because it is the birthday of two of my loved ones—my mother and one of my sisters, Zee Ann.  I never knew Zee Ann because she died in a car accident at age 3, before the days of car safety awareness and seat belts.  I am sure my mother was delighted that her first daughter was born on her birthday, and then how tragic and bittersweet each birthday following Zee Ann’s death must have been for her.  Zee Ann was a beautiful and precious child by all accounts.  She was a loving playmate for my brother David, developmentally delayed from asphyxia at birth.zeeann oval feathered

What I remember about my mother is her sense of humor, her faith, her love for children, and her ability to make friends.  Her friends adored her, and she had a nature about her that even made store clerks want to help her in any way possible.  She died in 2011 at 93 years old and it was a release for her because she was in poor health and pain the last few months of her life.  I miss her and wish I could still pick up the phone and talk to her.  I felt her presence after the death of my son and when I was in pain from uterine cancer surgery.   I know I will see her again in heaven, and I look forward to meeting  Zee Ann, too.Mother young

Tools:  Faith, Family

Skiing

Skiing and me have had a hate-love relationship.  I hated it before I loved/liked it.  Because I learned to ski as an adult, it took a while for this overweight and relatively clumsy middle-aged woman to get it.  I finally did, and was glad I could participate with the guys in my family who really like to ski (and who learned when they were young!).

Anyway, just completed the annual ski trip w no injuries! Very proud of that.  An accomplishment.

Oh – the left knee got a little swollen after 3 days of skiing.  Used some frankincense on it and it worked great. No pain the next am.  Hmmm why frankincense?  Well-it turns out it is an effective anti-inflammatory.  Even some clinical studies published in a review in the British Medical Journal in 2008.  Worked for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease. Imagine that!  BMJ. 2008; 337: a2813.  And, it smells wonderful!

Tool:  Family, Fun, Finding a new interest, Essential Oils