Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Natural Foot Care

This is an article I wrote recently for the my health food store's website.  It is not exactly "kitchen", but some of the ingredients are kept in the kitchen and I wanted to share the information as it relates to natural, homemade living.  I hope some of you find it helpful, skin is our largest organ and what we place on it is absorbed into our bodies, so the skin products we choose to use really do matter.  Here is the article:

Poet Khalil Gibran said "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair".  This well describes our feet in summer, we walk around our yards with bare feet, we swim and place our bare feet on hot pavement at the pool or sand and gravel at the lake.  Our feet take a lot of abuse, they support us all day and yet we rarely give them a second thought.  They can become too warm, dry, and even itchy.  People with diabetes in particular need to take good care of their feet, but we should all show our feet a little appreciation.  Athletes foot can become a problem with summer travel, hotel rooms, and swimming pools.  Soaking feet in warm water with antiseptic essential oils, such as tea tree oil or clove, will kill bacteria and deeply cleanse the feet.  Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from the root, flower, fruit, leaf or wood of plants from around the world.  Essential oils can be used to nourish your skin, some have antifungal or antibacterial properties as noted below.  Quality is very important to getting the most benefit from the oils, be sure you use only 100% pure essential oils.

Antifungal Foot Soak
10 drops tea tree oil or clove essential oil (antifungal, antibacterial)
About 1 gallon warm water

Combine oil and enough warm water to soak your feet.  Soak.

For a refreshing foot scrub try adding your favorite essential oil to slightly abrasive and odor removing baking soda.  Peppermint is especially cooling and refreshing for your feet, with the added benefit of being antifungal.  If you want the scrub to be a little more abrasive add salt to the mixture, careful if you have any cuts on your feet, salt is antibacterial, but will sting.

Foot Scrub
1/2 cup baking soda
10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil
1/2 cup sea salt (optional)

Mix the baking soda and essential oil.  Then stir in the salt, if using.  Store in a tightly closed glass container, such as a canning jar.

Place the jar of foot scrub powder in your natural medicine cabinet.  It will keep indefinitely.

This is a refreshing rub for burning, itching feet.  Stored in the refrigerator it will keep well and be soothing. Scoop a small amount of the mixture out of the container and warm slightly in your hand to soften enough to rub into your feet.  The coconut oil helps to cover the strong odor of the tea tree oil, while it softens and soothes your feet.

Antifungal Foot Cream
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
15 to 20 drops antibacterial and antifungal essential oils such as clove or tea tree oil

Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over a low temperature, do not simmer or boil.  Once the oil has melted, pour it into a glass container and stir in drops of essential oil.  Cool and use.  The coconut oil will thicken as it cools.  Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator.  Use a butter knife to break off a small piece to rub on your feet, it will warm and melt on your skin and can then be rubbed in.