Humans have always depended on a close relationship with nature to survive. In order to obtain food, medicine, clothing and shelter, it was important to have an extensive knowledge of plant life and the various benefits they offer human survival.

Likewise, the instincts of animals to derive benefits from plants is one of the most fascinating aspects of nature. Sheep eat yarrow when sick, lizards eat Chamomile to relieve snakebites, dogs chew grass to treat stomach problems and bears eat garlic as a spring tonic after awakening from hibernation. 

Ever since scientists started trying to copy plants in their labs, people appear to have forgotten that for centuries humans only had plants to help them – plants that helped cure without the horrific side effects of many of our modern-day medicines. 

Living on the Gold Coast, especially near our canals, we are always at risk of midgies and sandflies. A single bite can leave you with such an irritating itch; an itch that can continue to drive you crazy for days.

I have a friend who lives in a beautiful house on one of the canals, but around 5 o’clock every evening the doors to the patio must be closed to prevent midgies getting inside the house. So, on warm summer evenings, we have to dine inside to avoid getting bitten, unable to go outside to enjoy the balmy weather and view.

For many of us that understand the nuisance that midgies and sandflies present, it pays to know a natural insect repellent that can be made at home from easily obtained plant-based ingredients.

Natural Insect Repellent Recipe – Make at Home

For this recipe, always use essential oils – the vodka is used as the carrier. Almond oil may also be used as the carrier oil.

Insect Repellent

Jojoba100 drops
Cajeput100 drops
Lavender100 drops
Patchouli100 drops
Vodka60 ml

Natural Soothing Gel for Bites

If you have already been bitten, use this next recipe to soothe the bite and any irritation, applying it to the bite every few hours.

Insect Bite Soothing Gel Recipe

Lavender essential oil 5 drops
Aloe Vera gel 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Aromatics and Making Your Own Air Freshener 

Aromatics have been found in the tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs who lived more than 3,000 years ago. Affluent Egyptian women were so enthralled with the use of perfumes that they applied a different scent to each part of their bodies.

Centuries later, however, there came a period where over-indulgence in fragrances angered the Church. Perfume became synonymous with immorality and degeneration, therefore widespread use of plant oils and their scents ended in Europe. 

During the 14th century, the Black Death ravaged Europe and Asia, claiming millions of lives. To ward off the infectious disease, the aromatic plants of clove, cypress, cedar, pine, sage, rosemary and thyme were burned in the streets, hospitals and sickrooms. And those who were in daily contact with the plants appeared to be immune to the disease. 

Plants offer us many therapeutic benefits when used for aromatherapy, including soothing headaches, improving sleep and relieving everyday stress and anxiety. Artificial air fresheners bought from the store can be expensive and full of unwanted chemicals, so making your own air freshener at home using only organic essential oils is a better solution that is both cheaper and much more beneficial to our health.

To make a homemade air freshener, simply fill a 120 ml spray bottle with purified water and add your desired essential oils. Tighten the cap, shake well and spray the mist into the air. As the mixture ages inside the bottle, you’ll find that the scent improves. 

For your first recipe, here is a nice aroma for the home that you can make from just three essential oils.

Floral Scent Recipe

Rose75 drops
Orange25 drops
Clove20 drops
Pure water120ml

Become Acquainted with Plants and Their Benefits

Do you know that you can help a child who frequently wets the bed with a simple remedy made from asparagus? That is the power of plants!

It is a completely safe and exciting thing to become acquainted with the lovely plants, flowers and herbs that are available to us and easy to use. As you learn more about them and discover the many natural benefits they have to offer your wellbeing and health, you may even decide to grow the plants from seeds to readily use in your home for cooking, natural remedies, aromatherapy and more.

When I first started learning about plants, I lived with my family of four children about 40 km from the nearest town – you couldn’t just run to the doctor, as that was a long 80 km trip. Luckily, one of my sons was a very good gardener and this prompted me to learn all the exciting things I could do with herbs and vegetables to improve my family’s health.

By simply getting to know plants and their many uses, you too can reap the amazing benefits of plants while enjoying an improved healthy lifestyle. Did you find this helpful? You can browse and read more online Masterclasses by Barbara Saker Naturopath at Naturopath Australia.