Better living through nature
Lisa is a writer, budding photographer and herb enthusiast. She enjoys poking around in the garden, creating in the kitchen and reading a good book (when she’s not answering the call of “Mom!” from her five children).
Lately I find myself thinking ahead to the next season of life. This new school year has brought with it an acute awareness that my kids will not always live at home with me. (Although I do have an 8-year-old who insists she is going to live with me “forever.”) While my children aren't quite ready to head off to college, several of my friends recently dropped one of their children off at a campus far from home. It got me thinking, “What will I do when that time comes? It's only a few years down the road for my eldest!” Answer: After sniffling my way through a box of tissues, I will send care packages!
The following care package list is made up of mostly aromatherapy items. If you are interested in including herbal supplements or herbs to treat illnesses, check out the article "Home Cure Care Packages" by Erika Lenz.
Show your student you care with herbs.
Photo by graur razvan ionut/Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos
Be sure to send clear instructions for use with the various oils you include in the care package. I suggest placing each bottle of oil and an index card with instructions in it's own plastic zip-close bag. Or place the collection of oils in a small box (like an inexpensive pencil box) and tuck the instruction cards inside. Warn your student to avoid using the essential oils directly on the skin unless diluted in water or oil and to NEVER ingest them. You could print instructions from your computer, but a handwritten index card would be a nice reminder of home.
Lavender Essential Oil
Use 3 to 5 drops of essential oil in a small pot or extra large mug of very hot (but not boiling) water to steam the nasal passages when you feel sinus congestion coming on. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapors for five to ten minutes.
Put a few drops of lavender on your pillow to help you drift off to sleep.
Apply straight lavender oil on burns to speed healing from flat irons, coffee pots, etc.
Tea Tree Oil
Apply the oil directly to blemishes. Tea tree oil also makes a great antiseptic treatment for minor cuts and abrasions (although it will sting).
If your child actually does laundry at school (and doesn't wait a month or two—or four—to bring it home) they can add a few drops of tea tree oil to the wash with the detergent. It does a great job of disinfecting and getting rid of that ripe sock aroma.
Help your student ace those tests with an inhaler infused with rosemary essential oil. Photo by Lisa Kuhlman
Rosemary for Remembrance
(Either to study for a test, or to remember to call your mother!)
Make a rosemary essential oil inhaler. Inhalers are small containers about the size of a tube of lip balm for carrying a scent. To use one, take it apart, add a few drops of your oil of choice to either a cotton ball or cotton rod, and screw the whole thing back together. Some containers are made of metal and come in a rainbow of color choices, or you can purchase a more simple plastic model. You could purchase several inhalers and load them up with different scents for different aromatherapy applications: rosemary for memory, lavender for relaxation or peppermint to ward off depression.
For a jump-start to their morning shower, give your student a bar of soap or a bottle of liquid soap infused with orange oil. You can also make your own by purchasing “melt and pour” soap bars and adding orange oil, or any other oils of your choosing. Simply melt the soap, add the oil, mix and pour into a soap mold. There are a wide variety of melt and pour soaps from which to choose, including glycerin, olive oil, goat's milk, honey and aloe.
Note: If you are sending your care package to a student living in a dorm and you want to include other aromatherapy items, such as an oil warmer, be sure it is flameless. Most college dorms prohibit the use of an open flame.
Include an assortment of teas in your care package, even if your child didn't drink it when they were living at home. Tea can be a great comfort, especially when it's offered by someone who loves you. Include a package of peppermint tea for an afternoon pick-me-up, or chamomile to relax. You can also include medicinal herbal teas such as Throat Coat for a sore throat or Ginger Aid for an upset stomach. Don't forget to put in a bottle of honey!
A cup of tea can be a comfort.
Photo by tabsinthe/Courtesy Flickr
Lip balm is useful year round, but your student will really appreciate a few packages of lip balm as the weather turns cool and windy. Don't forget, guys need lip balm too! You can find a great recipe for lip balm here.
Of course, all of this “good for you” stuff will be all the more welcome if it is packed alongside goodies like chocolate chip cookies or brownies. A good guideline for deciding how much of everything to pack, whether it's cookies, tea or lip balm, is to always send enough to share.