12 Jun 2015

healing basket

The camellias are in glorious, full bloom and the days are mild.  Come mid morning we are bare foot in the sandpit and peeling off extra woollen layers. There is tea, gentle sunshine and a wriggly babe on the mat; so far, King Winter is being kind in his ways.  But ails will come regardless of the temperature. Sniffles and grazes are part of every childhood and especially those steeped in outdoor adventure.

Lately, like apothecaries of old we are choosing to heal our minor ailments in a more natural way. Our collection of tools fills a small, easy access basket - simple yet powerful remedies that are reached for time and again. Together we choose the appropriate therapy and spend some time restoring and re balancing our bodies and emotions. There's something calming in the ritual of it all.

 In our basket we have:
  • gentle salves that soothe and heal. We love arnica for bruising, calendula for scrapes and grazes, eucalyptus balm rubbed onto chests and feet for coughs and colds and lavender for headaches (massaging a small amount into temples and the nape of the neck followed by a large glass of water seems to keep most niggly headaches at bay). Although medicinally potent, perhaps their strongest healing powers lie mostly in their need for touch.
  • lavender essential oil . One drop applied directly will ease the itch or sting of an insect bite and a few drops diluted in a bowl of warm water provides a wonderful antiseptic wound wash. The calming aroma is a lovely bonus when little people are hurt.
  • our Magic Water. I fill a 50ml amber glass bottle with filtered water and then add about 20 drops of rose otto essential oil.  A fine mist of its sweet vapours and listening to a whimsical tale of  a healing fairy collecting rose petals always calms my hurt and distressed little ones.
  • a Chinese soup spoon for gua sha. When my babies show the very first signs of a cold I like to use the traditional Chinese practise called gua sha to stimulate the acupressure points associated with the lungs.  Using very gentle pressure, it is a tactile way of helping little bodies to fight germs and one they accept with delight. 
  • rescue remedy – 4 drops on the tongue to help in stressful situations (this got me through those first few weeks of school runs with a new baby!). As Bach flower essences contain small amounts of alcohol we also have the child’s version which uses vegetable glycerin as it’s preservative. I’ve found a few drops in their water bottles goes a long way to ease distress.
  • a silky eye pillow filled with flax seed for rest and calm. Combined with some lavender balm or a gentle spray of our magic water these soft pillows soothe little bodies and overwrought tempers. Sometimes lying down for a few moments with your eyes covered is all that’s needed to regroup and recharge.
  • bandaids, tweezers and small bandages.
Other helpful house hold items for healing;

  • When applied topically apple cider vinegar helps to restore skin pH. A good splosh in the bath followed by a gentle massage of coconut oil is useful for dry and itchy skin. And at this time of the year it is becoming an almost nightly ritual.
  • Manuka honey - smeared over a splinter and covered with a band aid this golden elixir is all sorts of magic. Overnight the splinter is drawn to the surface of the skin and slides out effortlessly. Manuka honey also has strong antibacterial qualities so it is great to heal over the wound. A generous teaspoon also eases a raspy throat.
  • A large pot of aloe vera sits on our front door step and when skin is irritated a gel filled leaf will be snapped off and smeared over bites or minor burns.
  • When Winter sniffles show themselves I am quick to take out my germ fighting room spray. I walk through the house throughout the day spritzing each room; it’s potent aroma lifts the spirits and keeps airborne germs at bay.
Are you becoming more selective about the medicines you use? Do you have a favourite natural remedy you call on repeatedly?


  1. Great post! Thieves oil on the bottom of my boys' feet has proved a great anti-viral.

  2. I didn't know that manuka honey helped with splinters! I'm going to file that knowledge away for the next time my boy has a splinter to be removed:)

  3. I love this post! Thank you for sharing all the detail. We carry many of the same things, although not in an organized way like this. Now I am motivated to make a healing basket of our own. I can't thank you enough for sharing this. It will really add joy to our travels and adventure.

  4. Love this Steph! We have something very similar in our home we call 'the magic potion box', which is housed in a beautiful old wooden box made by my Dad. In addition to many of the remedies you use, we also include hypericum for more serious cuts and wounds - we use the Weleda one which is called Hypercal Cream, a tea tree salve for insect bites, and a very special china tea cup with some herbal tea bags (we use a calming tea called 'No Worries Tea'). Similar to your eye pillow, I made a tiny love-heart shaped cushion and covered it with sparkly beads and filled with dried lavender from our garden - the children reach for this first of all as a kind of talisman when they are hurt to begin the calming, healing process. I find that the ritual elements, such as the brewing of the tea in the special tea cup, or the holding of the love heart pillow, or the selection of their choice of bandaid from a large matchbox we covered in pretty fabric, along with plenty of love, is nearly always the only first aid required for my children. As we travel a lot, we even have a mini travel potion kit, which necessarily also includes a tiny love heart pillow too!

  5. Love this Steph. We have a very similar collection of natural remedies in our family, and we store them in something we call 'the magic potion box' - which is a beautiful old wooden box made by my father from timber from our old home. In addition to the remedies you mentioned, one of our favourites is hypericum (we use the Weleda version which is called Hypercal cream), which is magic for more serious cuts and wounds - which seem to increase as they get older. In addition, some other items we have in our box include tea tree salve for insect bites, and a special china tea cup together with some calming herbal tea bags, we use a type called 'No Worries' Tea, and, most important of all, a tiny hand-sewn love-heart pillow decorated with sparkly beads and filled with dried lavender from our garden. The love-heart acts as a kind of talisman for the children when they are hurt - it is the first thing they reach for and signals a way of calming down for them. I find the ritual elements, such as the brewing of the tea in the special tea cup, the holding of the love heart, or the selection of a bandaid from the matchbox we covered in pretty fabric, along with a lot of love, is nearly always the only first aid my children require. As we travel a lot, we also have a smaller travel potion kit, which of course also includes another tiny love heart pillow.


Your words brighten my day! Thank-you so much for joining me on my adventure. x