essential oils

Oscar Wilde said: “With age comes wisdom, sometimes age comes alone.” I can certainly vouch for the “wisdom” as since childhood family and friends always had natural remedies for any ailment. I’ve had a poultice made up of squashed grapes, put inside a clean white cloth and placed on the kidney area. I’ve had a hot poultice put on what the doctor referred to as a “bloody blister” and he wasn’t swearing. For toothache, I’ve put a clove on the offending area until such time as I could get to the dentist. These remedies are just the tip of the iceberg. Talking about ice… No! I’ll save that for another blog.


I’m not an expert nor am I making any claims that these products work for everyone. They are my personal choice. Don’t assume that because something is natural it’s totally safe. Tea Tree Oil for instance can be toxic if swallowed. The rest you can google yourself. I’m not that generous, especially as this is a free blog.


Our son Ruairi is a video journalist who lives in Cape Town. This recording shows him giving tips on handwashing. A few people have commented that he missed the best part and shouldn’t have edited the end. Also, the products he recommends are South African brands and not necessarily natural.


Antibacterial sprays and wipes are some of the items sold out in many stores due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If you haven’t googled already, there are some amazing, cheap and effective remedies and recipes online, get started. Here are my favourites, which I’ve been using for years and take with me whenever I travel.


This is considered to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Good also for minor burns and insect bites. This is always next to my bed and in my luggage when travelling. I have 100ml spray bottle which I fill with water and 5 to 10 drops of lavender, sometimes

more as I love the aroma. I spray it on my pillow every night at home. I spray it on all the bedding in hotels and when I return from a trip I spray the inside of my suitcases with it, as well as cleaning the exterior of the suitcases with Tea Tree. Lavender is a beautiful plant to grow in your garden. It smells awesome and the colour is soothing. I do tend to overdo the Lavender which my husband dislikes. Nicer than saying: ‘I have a headache, darling.’ Not too much of a rejection.


This is a natural detoxifier. You’ve all seen the candles if you haven’t already bought them. No need to wait for mozzie season. Use them now. I buy Citronella Aromatherapy Oil and dab it on like perfume to keep the pesky mosquitos and midges away. Those nasty midges are remotely related to the mosquito, cousin 30 times removed. In my experience, mosquitoes tend to travel solo, but I do have a severe reaction to that one bite. We rarely get a long summer in Ireland and “summer” is a very loose definition.

At the first hint of that loosely defined season, (I’m superstitious so won’t mention summer), a swarm of midges attack you, dive bomb you, chase you, and if you think for a minute that covering yourself from head to toe will help, forget it. There’s always one or two or three little blighters who find a way in. My head is itching right now thinking about it. Citronella to the rescue again. For some reason my husband hates the smell of it, so if you’re not in the mood spritz the dude!


Tea tree

This is a natural product with antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties. There are many ways of using it. To clean your home put 10 to 15 drops in a bucket of hot water. Personally, I prefer to put mine in a spray bottle so it’s always handy. I also put 5 drops in my steam cleaning gadget.

I always wash myself with Tea Tree prior to surgery to avoid getting MRSA. I started doing that in the early 90’s after reading a research study. I did overdo it a few times as the patients complained, albeit good heartedly, when I returned to the ward. When I’m travelling I put a few drops on baby wipes to clean the areas around me, especially on planes. I’m not OCD by any means just slightly cautious. It is possible to purchase Tea Tea wipes, but I find this method more cost effective.


This is not just for making Irish Soda Bread or any other scrumptious cakes and biscuits. You can clean the kitchen surfaces with it, sinks, fridges and microwaves. Just mix it with some water to make a paste. Your stainless-steel sink and kettle and other objects of the same ilk will shine so well you won’t need to shout at your teenager that you need the mirror to put your mascara on.

Just make sure the kettle is switched off before you clean it, although the steam from the spout would be great for your face. But do not burn yourself. Also effective for removing nasty smells. A few sprinkles in your partner’s trainers will make you fall in love with him all over again.


Disinfect and cleanse the air in your home. Like perfumes, aromatherapy oils have a top note, the dominant superior one that will bring an “air” of panache to your home. The sopranos of the aromatherapy world are Eucalyptus, Lemon, Bergamot, Lavender and Lemongrass. The contraltos are Tea Tree, Clove, Pine, Cinnamon. Your nose, your choice of operatic aromas.



I have a Reed Diffuser in the bathroom. I top it up myself with fresh water and whatever Aromatherapy Oil I favour that week. If you use a glass bottle like I do, remember to sterilize it frequently. Cheapskate that I am, I purchased the first bottle and have re-used it ever since.

Reeds are easy and inexpensive to buy. If after a few weeks you can see gunk (not hunk) at the bottom of the bottle you’re not doing yourself any favours. Put it in the dishwasher or bring it to a quick boil on the stove with hot water. That was how the old-fashioned baby bottles and teats were sterilized. The bottles teats not the mothers. Please contact me as soon as possible if a Hunk Genie emerges from the bottle and tell me where you bought it. More tips next week. Stay safe and don’t forget to try that rictus thing where your lips part to show your teeth. SMILE!

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