Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Ancient Recipe

Okay, I was busy all day and didn't get to blogging; I hope you found plenty to keep you occupied at Josh's or Atrios' or Kos etc... To make it up to you, I'm going to share an ancient family recipe I just invented last night:

Auntie Arachnae's HomeMade Ben-Gay

To one-two teaspoons of emu oil, add 5-10 drops of white camphor essential oil. Stir it all up and then apply to wherever (within reason) you ache.

White camphor contains menthol; if you've ever tried one of those pain-patch things you wear, you'll notice that the active ingredient (the ONLY active ingredient) is menthol. And one package of five of those puppies is almost $6.00 at my local grocery. Save your money and make your own. My version is a lot less smelly that the commercial preparations, although it is somewhat pungent. Still, white camphor is an anti-inflammatory, and emu oil is thought to have some anti-inflammatory properties itself (although I believe this hasn't been verified in labs). Emu oil also helps the camphor penetrate better than non-animal oils, although vegans can no doubt get some of the same effects using almond or jojoba oil. Emu oil absorbs into the skin better than the vegetable oils, and makes your skin feel wonderfully soft and smooth.

This has proved very effective (in my one-day trial) on computer-related aches, such as 'mouse-hand' and 'tennis-elbow' (which I think needs to be renamed 'keyboard elbow'), and even had some beneficial effects on my old-lady knees.

I'm going to try substituting peppermint oil for the white camphor next; peppermint also contains menthol and has been used as a pain-killer for centuries. If you want to try it, don't waste your money on the peppermint extracts in the grocery stores - those are 99% alcohol with a few drops of peppermint oil; get the pure essential oil for not much more and get a hundred times the active ingredients.

As always, when using essential oils, test for allergic reactions, and don't use pure essential oils straight from the bottle on your skin; except for a very few exceptions (like lavender oil), they must be diluted.


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