5 Herbs for Household Use
by Valerie Lull
Most people know that herbs can be used for culinary purposes and almost everyone knows that there are medicinal properties to herbs that have been used since ancient times.
But in today's world the knowledge of using herbs for household purposes seems to have become lost knowledge. I often wondered what people used to clean their homes before bleach and other cleaning chemicals were invented. In fact, I did not know that bleach had been invented. It thought people always had bleach.
I did a little digging and found that herbs were used by our ancestors to clean their homes, repel insects, and many other household uses. Some of the things they used were vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. I found so much information that I could not possibly compact it all into one article, so I narrowed it down to 5 herbs for household use to write about.
Lemon Juice, citrus limon, is good for all kinds of things. It is good for cleaning cutting boards used to cut meats and vegetables. It is good for cleaning counters and tile. It can lend a fresh scent to any surface you clean and it repels fleas. Lemon juice does not kill fleas, but the fleas don't like the scent of lemon so they go away.
Here is a flea treatment that is very safe for your pet and easy and inexpensive to make. The basic recipe can be made at home. Cut up six lemons. Boil them in a quart of water for 5 minutes. Steep the lemons for 8 hours in a covered pot. Pour the liquid in a spray bottle. This will last about a week if stored in the refrigerator. Spray your pet after it has been bathed and avoid the animal's eyes. This can be sprayed on pet bedding and pet toys.
Lavender, Lavendula officinalis, is well known for its lovely scent. It makes a wonderful air freshener and can be used to scent closets and drawers. Put a little lavender on a cotton ball and place it in your drawers and closets. Sprinkle lavender on your couch and carpet. Let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum. It will leave your furniture smelling fresh and clean. It will get rid of pet odors and cats will not sit in a spot that has been sprayed with lavender oil. Lavender, can be sprayed on linens to freshen them and can be made into liquid hand soap.
Rose Petals, have a heavenly scent. They can be spread in the aisle for weddings. a lovely bouquet can be put on your dining room table as a thing of beauty as well as the lovely scent; and rosewater can be used as an air freshener.
Here is a recipe for rose potpourri. Take the dried peel from an orange, some dried lavender, and dried rose petals. Add a few drops of lavender lavendulan, essential oil. Transfer the mixture to a glass jar. Seal and let the mixture blend for a couple of days. Unseal and pour into a decorative bowl and enjoy the scent of your potpourri.
Cedar, cedrus, is another botanical that fleas absolutely hate and will do anything to avoid. You can put cedar chips in affected areas of your home and in your pet's bed. Use cedar chips for cat litter for odor control. Be sure your pet is not allergic to cedar. Do not use cedar oil on your pet. It is not good for them.
Cedar, is good for getting rid of other insect pests like termites, roaches, ants and beetles. Cedar chests and cedar-lined closets are known to repel moths that can damage your clothing. If you can't afford an all-cedar closet, get some cedar chips and put them in little bags or sachets and put them in your closet and dresser drawers. Besides repelling moths and insects, it makes your clothes smell nice.
Tea Tree Oil, melaleuca alternifolia, comes from Australia and is another substance that repels fleas. Put a tablespoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and mix with a quart of water. Spray it around your house. I used it on my carpet and upholstered furniture and it did a marvelous job of killing fleas. It will kill ticks too. Do not spray it on your pet; it is toxic to them.
Tea tree oil, can be used for household cleaning and disinfecting. It has antibacterial properties. It also kills mold and mildew in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Add it to vinegar and water. Use 50 drops per bucket of water for cleaning tile and countertops. Put a few drops in your laundry during the wash cycle. Put a drop or two on a cotton ball and put it in with your stored clothing to repel moths. There are many uses for tea tree oil. Check out the Internet for more ideas.
The list of things you can use herbs for in your home is endless. If you have pets, you might want to check with your veterinarian about their safety for animals. Never use essential oils on cats. Their bodies cannot process it. Herbs for household use are a great substitute for harmful chemicals.
About the Author
Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion. She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon.
Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared. Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.
Valerie’s new book, Glorious Garlic! is now on Amazon. Check it out.
You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.