Comfrey and Plantain Herbs and Homeopathy

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Comfrey and plantain are two more very critical participants in the natural medicine world. You will find both comfrey and plantain in salves, creams, oils and also tinctures. While these two products have their own distinct healing properties they can also be used together for maximum healing potential.

Comfrey

The history of the Comfrey plant being used as a natural remedy actually stems back comfrey-flowers-1over 2000 years thanks to the healing levels of vitamin C and calcium that are in the leaves. Allantoin in comfrey leaves is also very effective as an anti-inflammatory. The Chinese used these leaves in the bath to treat a number of conditions that we still treat with comfrey today including:

*Bone injuries
*Pain
*Wound Healing
*Feminine issues

Used topically, as in our salves or in our organic medicinal herbal oil comfrey is an excellent healer. Please refer back to my last blog on how infused medicinal oils are made. Unfortunately, ingesting comfrey in the raw has created a bit of controversy in the past century or so due to the findings that it may cause liver problems, because of toxicity related effect of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the leaves.

But used homeopathically it has many benefits. Comfrey root is macerated in alcoholimages and then potentized homeopathically which allows for no side effects. Symphytum Officinale (comfrey) remedy as it is known homeopathically, is used in 2 specific situations. The most often is when someone has a broken bone of any kind. f-306960717133Symphytum is given to assist healing. It is also used for injury to the eye. So if someone has been hit in the eye give Arnica first then follow with Symphytum. Think little league situations. These remedies are taken orally.

Plantain

The ancients as well as the Native Americans used plantain to heal wounds and was taken orally to treat health conditions associated with:

*Bites from wild dogs
*Snake bites
*Bites from other venomous creatures
*Throat conditions
*Lung conditions
*Glandular issues
*Epilepsy
*Jaundice

Today, plantain is used topically most often for things like bee stings, insect bites and b37626cd212ffad71422acee21d4fc44rashes associated with things like poison ivy. The entire plantain plant is utilized in homeopathy as the leaves, seeds, stem and tops can all be used for tinctures, oils, salves and more. In homeopathic form Plantain is a popular remedy for toothache.  Arnica is usually given during tooth extraction and for pain but Plantain has also been used successfully.

You can also take plantain orally in combination with a number of other herbs such as flax, marshmallow, peppermint and more to treat very common ailments such as:

*High cholesterol
*Digestive issues
*Diabetes
*Liver problems

Comfrey And Plantain Together

Comfrey can actually be formed into a poultice with plantain and placed on a part of the body that has a broken bone underneath the skin. This is extremely effective on a body part that perhaps has been left to heal on its own such as a toe or a finger. The product is usually placed on the area of the broken bone or wound twice each day. This not only speeds up the healing process but it also helps with inflammation and pain.

Both comfrey and plantain are beneficial ingredients as part of a holistic and homeopathic medicine arsenal. You can find more information on both of these plants as well as certified organic herbal infused oils by visiting with Just Skin Food Website. The USDA certified organic herbal infused oils that are currently featured on the site are completely made of organic herbs as well as organic olive oil. You can find other products on the site that utilize these organic herbal oils in our salves such as our Therapeutic Skin Salve (an all purpose salve) and Vein Relief Salve.

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The Differences Between Infused Medicinal Oils And Essential Oils

JSF Logo WIDE copyIn my last blog post you learned all about the differences between homeopathy and herbalism. I discussed a number of topics and product types including essential oils and infused oils. Many people believe that infused oils and essential oils are relatively the same thing. In reality, the way these products are made are very different.

Infused Medicinal Herbal Oil

An oil infusion is a mixture of medicinal herbs in a fixed oil menstruum- (A solvent, especially one used in extracting compounds from plant). Olive oil is usually the solvent of choice for most oil infusions because it has a much more stable monounsaturated chemical structure, which provides a good level of stability when at room temperature. Olive oil is far more preferred than say almond oil or flax seed oil. Jojoba oil is being used more recently but it carries a higher price point making it often undesirable.

The Process

The process of infusing herbs into an oil can be done in a couple of different manners. Dried herbs can be used, as can fresh herbs. Dried herbs are infused by way of the digestion method, the cold method or the hot infusion method. Each of these processes (which are all used in the process of making Just Skin Food products) let the herbs infuse long enough that the medicinal properties are captured. Cold infusion (or fresh herb infusion) allows the herb to wilt for about 12 hours and then they are chopped up. The heat is what is used in order to extract the medicinal properties of the item.

Double infusion can also take place, which means that after infusion is done the IMG_5996-400x300first time, it is done again in order to incorporate new herbs and make the infusion stronger. No matter what method is used for infusion, the herbs typically sit for a few weeks at a time for proper infusion. At that point the herb or plant is removed, leaving behind only the oil. There are times where the herb is left inside of the oil to continue to infuse, and the longer the infusion, the stronger and more potent the oil.

Herbal oils are beneficial because they require very little plant material to make while an essential oil consumes large amounts of plant material.  Also, the infused oils that are created for medicinal purposes can be used to make other products such as salves in order to reap the benefits that way. This is not the case for many essential oils, which can be toxic if consumed and many essential oils also cause skin irritation when used topically.

 

Essential Oils

An essential oil is quite different. This oil comes directly from the plant or herb that it is made out of and there is no carrier oil involved. This means the product is much more concentrated.

The Process

There are three basic methods by which essential oils are produced and they include steam distillation (the most common and most affordable), expression imagesand also extraction. During the process of steam distillation the plant is exposed to steam. This heat causes the essential oil in the plant to evaporate. When the hot vapors are cooled, this results in condensation of water vapor and the oil. These two products do not mix together so they can be easily separated. A few drops of the concentrated oil is then supposed to be diluted into a carrier oil. It is always best to use essential oils with the help of a homeopath, naturopath or herbalist  who can direct you on the right way to use a product. 1 drop of peppermint essential oil is like drinking 30 cups of peppermint tea. Caution must be taken.

Undiluted essential oils have an incredible healing ability when used properly and sparingly without causing any harm. We use them in some of our products as well since essential oils will reinforce therapeutic affects by adding more power to the finished product but never in any of our Infused Herbal Oils.

More information on organic infused oils and essential oils can be found on the Just Skin Food website. Currently nine different certified organic herbal oils are part of the Just Skin Food product line and they are all made with certified organic herbs as well as organic olive oil. Four organic essential oils are available as well.

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Homeopathy And Herbalism

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Homeopathy as well as herbal remedies are both natural forms of medicine. They have common factors such as their use of herbal extracts but homeopathy uses herbs as well as many other natural sources for its practice of healing such as minerals and other animal products. While many people may believe these two practices are similar they actually have many differences including how alternative remedies are prepared and what types of products are available.

Homeopathic medicine is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It regulates the manufacturing and sale of homeopathic medicines.  The Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States was written into federal law in 1938 under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, making the manufacture and sale of homeopathic medicines legal in this country, and most are available without a prescription.

 Preparation and Products

Homeopathy uses dilution methods to eliminate the toxicity of an herb and also to homeopathy_5ncy8increase its benefits. Herbalism administers herbs directly to the patient often without dilution.  Most commonly you will find homeopathic remedies to be in pellets, liquid tinctures or in ointment cream form. Some homeopathic liquid tinctures are added to herbal salves as well.  Herbal remedies come as pill form, extracts, infused herbal oils, herbal salves, essential oils and teas in general.

 Infused Oils and Essential Oils

Herbal infused oils are beneficial and can be used in the practice of homeopathy. Herbal salves are made of infused herbal oils and applied directly to the skin as skin is extremely absorbent and healing can be promoted in an affected area by way of these types of products. These infused herbal oils and salves can be used topically for a number of issues such as burns, rashes, injuries and also for pain. Infused herbal oils are very gentle whereas essential oils are a much more concentrated product that can actually be dangerous to use directly on the skin or to inhale directly without proper instruction or advisement.

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Coming up in my next blog article you can read much deeper into the differences between infused herbal oils and essential oils including how their production methods are different. I will also talk about the benefits of infused herbal oils as well as the dangers of using essential oils improperly.

For more information on any of the topics discussed in this article including the use of herbal salves and infused herbal oils you can visit www.justskinfood.com. Nine certified organic herbal infused oils are available on the website as well as herbal salves, essential oils and many other products that will help aid you in the process of living a much healthier and happier lifestyle.

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Calendula and Arnica

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Calendula and arnica are very important when it comes to natural medicine. Both of these commonly used homeopathic ingredients are included in a number of products including tinctures, creams, oils and salves for first aid use. Both of these products look very similar and may be hard to differentiate by the untrained eye but they are very distinct when it comes to their healing properties.

 Calendula

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Calendula is also known as the marigold flower, which is very easy to grow and once established it spreads quickly. The medicinal ingredient that is within the calendula flower is called saponoside and it is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. Essential fatty acids, etheric oils and carotene are also part of what makes calendula so beneficial. It works best when applied to a cut or wound rather than taking it orally and it is extremely gentle to use. As a complement to calendula you can also use arnica.

Some uses for Calendula:(external only)

  • Bed sores
  • Boils
  • Burns
  • Frostbite
  • Open wounds
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Skin abrasions
  • Skin and nail fungus

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Arnica is much more rare to find out in nature than say calendula. It grows most commonly in the Alpine regions of the world and it has muscle relaxing properties as well as anti-spasmodic qualities. In addition, arnica is a natural antibiotic and a natural anti-inflammatory herb. Arnica is not intended to be used on an open wound but rather on a bruise or healed cut to help relieve discomfort, reduce swelling and bruising.

Some uses for Arnica:(external only)

  • Bruises
  • Joint Inflammation
  • Muscle strain
  • Soreness

Calendula and Arnica Together

The two of these holistic treatments have the potential for being used together for ultimate healing qualities. Calendula is placed on a fresh, unhealed cut to help prevent infection and promote healing. After the initial healing has taken place, if there is a bruise or pain remaining, arnica can then be applied topically to further help during the healing process.

Calendula and arnica are both very beneficial and common ingredients when it comes to a holistic-based medicine cabinet. For information on these herbs or to purchase IMG_5919them in a certified organic herbal infused oil form you can visit Just Skin Food. The newly released line of USDA certified organic herbal infused oils are made entirely of certified organic herbs along with certified organic olive oil as a carrier. These oils are also used in many of our other products including our skin salves and body butters.

 

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Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus… We are Officially USDA Certified!

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Woohoo!!! We have received our official certification, Just Skin Food is USDA certified.

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Official USDA Certification

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Holiday and New Year!!!

 

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Our USDA Inspection…

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We have kept a tight lip since the end of October in our acceptance letter from our imagescertifying agent – Pennsylvania Certified Organic – we were approved for inspection.  Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.08.29 AMMight not seem as much but, it is a great relief that all of our paper work was approved for the final inspection. Their main objective is to verify all we have reported and are actually following the rules.

Our inspection was yesterday December 9th, 2014 and we had such a wonderful experience with our USDA inspector.  Our inspection lasted 4.5 hours.  As some of you already know, it was so nerve racking to us to have such an official come through and go through all our stuff and verify all that is being reported.  Even though we knew all was correct, just having an intense 4.5 hours of paper trails and linking back to lot#’s and suppliers etc., it is very intense on the mind.  We are so glad that our organizational skills have really paid off in record keeping.

Inspectors need to report back to the certifying agent as to our ability to comply with the USDA organic standard and as far as he can see and report we are in the clear.  Now it is up to the certifying agent PCO to accept his report and if they need other information from us.  And if all is satisfactory to PCO – our certifying agent – we will hear back very shortly about our seal.  It would be real nice to receive it before Christmas Day and a great present for sure.

On a lighter note…

IMG_5710Just Skin Food is now offering Gift Certificates online and if anyone is local in Cape May just ping us and you can pick up the Gift Certificates locally.

Our first small business Saturday on Nov, 29th 2014 at Green Street Market went fantastic.  We had gift baskets and products for Sale and there were so many wonderful Artisan makers there as well.

Green Street Market is also carrying our Gift Baskets during the Holidays, so stop by and check them out.

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As always, Be Well and as soon as we hear back from our USDA certifying agent we will display the seal on our website.

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Ode to Autumn…

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♦♦♦

Don’t forget it is that time again “fungus among- us” for sport fans so get your Antifungal Salve. Read my old blog post on Antifungal here.

If you did not receive my Exclusive Coupon for autumn click here to view it and enjoy 15% off, which ends September 30th 2014.

♦♦♦

Ode to autumn… Well not exactly yet here in Cape May. We are still heading down to the beach whenever possible.

It has been a long time since I wrote some news, tidbits and such, but summer was so incredibly busy and it just flew by. Here we are entering October almost, and I am not ready for the Fall season at all, especially all the drying of herbs. So glad my many rosemary plant-bushes that were planted in early spring grew incredibly great this summer to use for my infused oils later in the year.

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Fig Trees

Last years polar vortex winter destroyed all of my rosemary and many other herbs and plants for many people.  No figs at all this summer for me – last 5 years we were gathering at least 30 pounds of figs a week.  Had incredible fig trees that we needed ladders to climb up to gather the figs.

Luckily, they have returned full with new offspring shoots and next summer we will be back in business with figs.  Just to be on the safe side, we will be wrapping them in burlap probably a couple of times and cutting them back in order not to lose the tops again.

In the meantime, the USDA paperwork, which my incredible assistant helped me with  during the summer

PCO Certification USDA

PCO Certification USDA

has finally been completed, and has been presented to the certifying agent. Fortunately for her, but unfortunate for me, she has returned to her college life and is well into her semester.

Hopefully in a few weeks or so we will hear back from the certifying USDA agent. Of course there will be changes as there always is on paperwork. Even with the new labels for the NEW products will be needing adjustments for sure.

YES new products will shortly come out. But waiting till the certifying agent will give us the go ahead.

 

Happy autumn, crisp clean cool air and colorful leaves to come.

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Buon Viaggio… as we say in Italia

JSF Logo WIDE copyHere is Serena, “my helper”  actually my assistant in getting all the paperwork together for the products to be reviewed by EWG.  She loves all sustainability of life and making sure we abide by nature and not ruin it.

She is a college student at Fordham University entering her 3rd year studying Environmental Studies and International Political Economy and is going abroad to the Islands of Turks and Caicos to study “Marine Policy Management at the School for Field Studies in South Caicos” (her goal is to save the reef) or at least prevent it from getting worse and prevent over development of this untouched part of the Islands. Too many developers want a piece of it and over developing this area will cause big problems for the reef.

Pictured here she will be taking along our “Natural and Organic Sunscreen and Mosquito-Serenab-Gone. Both of which EWG gave excellent scores to.

Send her some well wishes on her journey; she can be reached by clicking here SERENA.

When Serena returns in a MONTH – “how am I ever going to get along without her” – she will be concentrating on getting the paperwork completed for the USDA. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be done by the end of the summer then onto submitting for review.

Her journey to South Caicos gives her first hand knowledge of what is not permitted or sustainable to use on such pristine places in order not to harm local wildlife or the sea. She was directed to only bring non-toxic products, for example washing clothing she can only use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap or similar items – which is what we only use in our homes and shop. Safe sunscreen without any chemicals – not those brands that spray toxic chemicals in the air or toxic to the ocean and seas. In addition, she needs to bring organic non-toxic shampoo and non-bleached personal products etc. The list went on and on.

I am so proud of her for taking on such a journey to help out our environment and basically all of us.

 This week we were making lots of products before she heads out see us pictured here:

Serena in Shop

Me

USAnd this is us last year in Italy visiting monasteries to understand how the monks made remedies, which of course they did not give us their secrets… still we learned and had fun.

Now she is doing it all on her own.

Here is a PDF article on how conventional sunscreens damage coral reefs around the world.  And  here is my last years blog post on Sunscreens as well.

 Happy summer and happy swimming to all!!!

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B. Lime, Pregnancy Journeys and Homeopathy

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So I am trying something new with guest blogging and thought why not! – it’s always nice to hear and write something from a different perspective…. Will try and have various guest bloggers throughout the year.

When I asked my guest blogger if she wanted to share some insights into the products she has used and anything else she found helpful and to provide just a short couple of paragraphs, she sent me a 3 page memoir of her pregnancy journey, which I was so delighted to be the first to read! Of course I had to take a snap shot of it to be able to get it into a blog.

But before starting, please meet Mary of B. Lime an online store that is now 303348_10150624828171917_179142210_acarrying our products as well.  B. Lime,  is an online Green Store in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois that carries eco-friendly products for baby, family, and home.

Mary, who is the owner of B. Lime, was 7 months pregnant at the time, with a full-time job at the University, and wanted to purchase the B. Lime brand because the previous owner of B. Lime announced she was closing. Mary was so sadden for herself and for her community, she thought- why couldn’t a Green Store flourish in C-U?
  So she met with the previous owner and here she is owner of B. Lime.

 Check out B.Lime online store and all of its non-toxic baby products and as well for the whole family. And you can also read more about Mary’s journey as well.

leaves-1280x800 copyMeet Arielle and David and hear about their journey …Arielle and David

Please allow me to introduce myself…I am a pleasantly plump 37-year-old woman who recently lost 90lbs last summer. My husband is a fit 41-year-old male who works out 4 to 5 times a week and follows a high protein diet.

To our amazement we had no difficulty conceiving. We have been blessed and are expecting a baby boy in May. My pregnancy has been relatively comfortable and uneventful in the sense of complications. It seems that consuming mainly organic food and a moderate vitamin intake has been very good to our bodies.

When we announced our pregnancy I sought the advice of Gabriella Calvi-Rooney on homeopathic protocols for pregnancy and delivery. After consulting with Gabriella I began the monthly cell salt protocol for optimal fetal development and plan to continue it throughout breastfeeding. I believe the cell salts have played an integral part in the healthy development of my son and the relative ease of my pregnancy.

I am starting my 37th week now and have had common symptoms of pregnancy, which have been easily remedied. One of the symptoms was sciatic nerve pain in the eighth month, which has occurred only twice, but on both occasions I took one dose of Ruta 30c and massaged Just Skin Foods Deep Pain Salve directly into the area of my right sciatic nerve. I must say that both instances my pain was intense and walking became very difficult. However, with both times it was gone within the hour.

The other, much more intense symptom happened at 35 weeks when I got a very intense painful carpal tunnel cramp in my right arm. I was literally writhing in pain. Then I remembered the deep pain salve and that Gabriella had advised me to take Hypericum 30c for nerve pain in a tooth after a dental filling a couple of years ago. So I took a dose of Hypericum 30c with a dose of Arnica 30c and massaged the Deep Pain Salve into the nerve from wrist to elbow. I was beyond ecstatic when in a couple of minutes the nerve began to tingle, it went completely numb within 20 minutes and the pain has not returned… the remedies were so effective that I repainted a butcher block to re-purpose as a changing table two days later with no pain.

In planning ahead I have gotten other products for future use like Just Skin Food’s sunblock that I will need for days outdoors here in sunny South Carolina. I love its’ completely nontoxic rating (EWG rating for sunscreen),  and will be happy to use it without any negative effect on sensitive skin.

 I can’t even begin to describe the peace of mind it brings me to know that with a healthy diet and exercise combined with cell salts, homeopathy and quality organic products like the ones from Just Skin Food I can care for my family without worrying about synthetic chemicals and their side effects.

This is her journey but there are many other modalities that will help as well, such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Yoga and Massages.  All of these are non-invasive and are a great way of keeping healthy.  Don’t forget to buy organic and better yet local organic.

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Bug Bite and Allergy Symptoms – How to take away the itch and the runny nose?

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My favorite month is April and it is almost nearly at the end. The weather is getting warmer, the days are longer and with it come the allergies and bugs. Yet it is still the most beautiful month with spring and all those beautiful flowers and trees exploding with colors and singing. Oh yeah, don’t forget poison ivy as well.

As always, the buggiest cities in the United States are the Southeast. Temperatures are warmer and the climate is always moist, which makes it a perfect scenario for mosquito’s to breed and thrive.

But for the Northeast, allergies start going rampant with all the beautiful forsythias and cherry trees blooming and the green grass again. The bugs are usually in the wooded and mountainous areas and home to swarming black flies especially during the month of May and early June.

If you hike, fish, live in, or plan to spend vacation time in these areas, it’s a good idea to be prepared in advance. And let’s not forget the bees. We need them for our food production but you do not want to get a “bee” sting, but if you do, you want to make sure to heal it naturally not with toxic substances.

Just Skin Food’s Mosquito-b-Gone is ideal for those buggy cities, wooded mountains, beach areas and all.   And our Ouchy Grouchy Salve in case you need to get those poisonous venom out.

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Homeopathic Remedies such as Ledum and Apis are incredibly needed during these buggy months. Here are some more key homeopathic remedies to consider for bites:

Apis mel - This homeopathic remedy is a specialist in inflammation, Apis mel eases redness, swelling, inflamed skin and membranes, and burning stinging pains in a wide variety of cases. Its applications include: burning swellings or welts caused by bee stings, hives, or irritants; swollen inflamed joints; swollen sore throats, eye irritations and acute stinging, burning urinary pain. Its symptoms tend to improve with applied cold.

Ledum pal – First aid remedy for puncture wounds, animal bites, cuts, insect stings as it helps injuries heal from the deepest point up, minimizing the chance of trapping matter inside. Its healing also applies to old yellow bruises, black eyes, repeat ankle sprains or inflamed joint pains that start in the soles of the feet or ankles and move up. Ledum is most applicable if area, joints or bruises are cold to the touch and feel better with applied cold.

Calendula – Derived from a member of the common marigold, Calendula has been used for centuries to accelerate healing and the growth of new skin in a variety of skin injuries and irritations. Scrapes, abrasions, superficial cuts, chaffed skin, dry skin, sunburns and other skin irritations can heal faster with less scarring when treated with this clear Calendula rich ointment.

Echinacea – In both herbal and homeopathic preparations, this coneflower plant offers the immune support when fighting off inflammatory conditions, especially swollen sore throats, skin sores and pimples, and other acute conditions which have the potential to suppurate.

Urtica urens – Relieves a range of itching, burning, stinging skin symptoms, whether related to minor burns, scalds, rashes, prickly heat, stings, hives or other rash-like eruptions. If skin or other symptoms alternate with or accompany stiff joint pain and nerve pain, Urtica can prove very healing, especially if symptoms are aggravated by cold air or cold water.

For Additional information on remedies that are helpful for allergies or our products that can help you with poison ivy, bug bites and more you can read our old Blog posts.

For Seasonal Allergies visit Blog

For Bug Bites, Poison Ivy and Sun, here are 2 blog posts: Blog 1 and Blog 2

For Poison Ivy visit this Blog

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Therapeutic Skin Salve (all purpose salve)

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Poison Ivy Salve

These two Salves help with poison ivy.  Read my blog above under poison Ivy.

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