Most probably only know about frankincense from the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth when the wise men brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (the last two are both essential oils). Just like in that time, frankincense today is an extremely valuable essential oil, which you will see reflected in its price compared to others. The name comes from Old French franc encens (“high-quality incense”).
Frankincense is one of my top five favorite essential oils. I use it nearly every day and it is well worth the cost to have on hand. It has a neutral woodsy scent that isn’t overwhelming to smell.
I mix a drop in with my face moisturizer each night. Cosmetically, it helps to clear skin of blemishes, smooths the skin and is anti-aging. The properties that help cosmetically also help emotionally (I put it on at night to calm before sleep) and physically. While it fights surface bacteria, it is also an effective immune stimulant. I use it on my & my daughter’s spine frequently when we are sick to safely kick our immune system into higher gear and recover more quickly.
Emotionally, it is extremely calming and can be smelled or used in a diffuser to reduce feelings of anxiety. It repels feelings of stress and brings focus. It has been used in worship (think meditation) for thousands of years. I wrote a whole blog about that & essential oil use in the Bible here if you are interested.
Do you have frankincense? What’s your favorite way to use it?
It’s a Texas tradition to enjoy fresh tamales and chili during the holiday season, and I can’t wait to make this for a cozy dinner with family on Christmas Eve. Today, I’m sharing my super easy, go-to chili recipe.
- 2 pounds of grass-fed, organic ground beef
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 16 oz can organic tomato sauce
- 1 can organic diced tomatoes
- 15 oz can organic kidney beans, drained
- 15 oz can organic pinto beans, drained
- 1/3 cup organic, non-GMO cornmeal
- 1/2 cup bone broth (or beer or water)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Toppings: shredded raw cheddar cheese, chopped red or green onion, tortilla chips (my favorite are Jackson’s Honest brand – the only kind made with coconut oil AND organic, non-GMO corn!)
- Put the ground beef and garlic into a large pot and cook on medium heat until the meat is browned.
- Drain the excess fat from pot.
- Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and all spices. Stir together, then reduce to low heat.
- Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture starts to look a little dry, I usually add some bone broth (or beer or water) a 1/4 cup at a time.
- In separate bowl, mix the cornmeal and 1/2 cup bone broth together. Then dump into the chili. This will be your thickening agent and add that corn flavor. (Beer works really well here too!)
- After this, see what the consistency is and add more liquid based on your preference. Typically, I add about 3/4-1 cup of liquid in.
- Add both cans of beans and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Now it’s ready to serve with all the yummy toppings!
Wishing you a healthy and hopeful holiday!
I still can’t believe that Christmas is less than a week away! In remembering last Christmas, some very lovely memories of time spent with family are a bit overshadowed by a bad bout with food poisoning. Miles away from the comforts of home, all I could think of was getting back to my charcoal. And, yes, I am speaking about the charred wood type of charcoal. I know it sounds a bit strange, but let me tell you about this surprising little cure-all…
As charcoal is created, “the gases, resins, proteins & fats in the wood are burned out, the heat-generated and change in chemistry cause the development of a charge on the charcoal granule which attracts most poisonous substances.” Activated charcoal is created in a controlled setting and steam is introduced to enhance the adsorbtive power by creating finer pores.
Activated charcoal is a powder form that is easy to ingest and very fast-acting. I have it in both capsule form and straight up powder. The capsules are easy to take just like any pill; they’re good for kids (or husbands) who may not be willing to drink a glass full of black water. Personally, I just mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and drink it – it’s completely tasteless, odorless and mixes well so the texture is barely granule. Plus, drinking lots of water enhances its effectiveness. “Charcoal reaches its maximum rate of adsorption within one minute.”
Charcoal has some surprising health benefits you’d probably never imagine. It is actually classified in the safest Category 1 by the FDA for all ages. It is an absolute staple in my “medicine” cabinet that’s filled only with harmless remedies and I highly recommend you get some too. Here’s the short list of its uses:
- Charcoal is an extremely effective antidote to poisoning from chemicals or drug overdose. There is a long list of substances which charcoal easily absorbs and the fact that it can be administered quickly & act quickly is a major advantage. Ideally, it should be taken on an empty stomach and should be double the dosage of the poison (double further if person has eaten recently).
- It is widely used as a remedy for stomach and intestinal issues like gas, bloating (especially from food allergies), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. As I mentioned, this is my go-to whenever I have food poisoning (which I have somehow contracted 3 times this year!). As soon as I am able to keep down the charcoal for a few minutes, the vomiting stops, my stomach cramps lessen and I feel dramatically better within a matter of 10 minutes. It decreases recovery time by preventing dehydration and, best of all, it truly absorbs the toxins causing your body to react instead of you just having to get it out of your system.
- Swishing charcoal around your mouth for 30 seconds helps whiten and clean your teeth (seriously – it works wonders!) and stops bad breath. Rinse with regular water afterwards to avoid a smile full of very black teeth.
- Here’s a fun fact many of you may need over the holidays: although charcoal does not prevent alcohol intoxication, it does reduce the effects of a hangover.
- It can be used externally on venomous bites or stings. Wet a band-aid and put charcoal on there before applying to a bee/wasp/ant sting, a mosquito bite or even poison ivy (just use a larger compress). There are several case studies of how helpful charcoal has been when a snake or spider bite has occurred. It was ingested and applied externally before the patient could reach the hospital to start removing the poisons from the body; it’s even cured brown recluse spider bites.
- Topically, it can help clean & remove bacteria from skin lesions and ulcers. It can also be used as a treatment for acne. I mix a little bit with coconut oil and put on as a mask… its ability to draw substances out is great for removing blackheads.
- It can be used safely with pets! Like humans, it can help with bites or skin infections as well as intestinal problems. When my dog has had diarrhea in the past, I’ve simply filled a syringe with a water/charcoal mixture and put it down her throat.
- A few other uses for illness include foot and mouth disease, chronic pancreatitis and newborn jaundice.
I’ll give a couple of cautions: 1. The only side effect -real talk here- is that you will have black poop afterwards. 2. It doesn’t absorb nutrients that your body needs, but it will absorb any medications that you’ve taken. If you can, wait a couple of hours after taking meds before you drink it.
Interested in adding this to your medicine cabinet in case of emergency? The best news of all is that charcoal is cheap! You can buy activated charcoal at your local health foods store or online. Here’s a couple of options that I have used personally: capsule and powder version. I’d also recommend you buy this short book for $7 and keep it handy to reference for dosage information. It was the main source for this blog post & has a ton of really fascinating stories of healing to read: RX: Charcoal by Agatha Thrash, M.D. & Calvin Thrash, M.D.
Do you think charcoal is something that you’d try? I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions!