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Homespun: Natural protections from winter’s worst

Aromatherapy shower discs are greway relieve stuffy noses winter. | Phoby Kelli Wefenstette

Aromatherapy shower discs are a great way to relieve stuffy noses in the winter. | Photo by Kelli Wefenstette

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Aromatherapy Shower Discs

Supplies needed:

2 cups baking soda

2/3 cup water, plus a bit more

3 drops each of lavender, tea tree and peppermint essential oils per disc

Muffin tin

Muffin liners

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out muffin tin with liners. Mix baking soda with 2/3 cup of water until a thick, liquid paste forms. Slowly add a bit more water if needed to achieve liquid consistency. Pour into muffin liners and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Add three drops of each essential oil to each disc, and let harden. Remove from muffin pan just before they completely harden. Store in an airtight container or mason jar. Remove from liner before use.

The discs can be placed anywhere on the shower floor or around the bathtub. They may also be hung in a permeable bag from the shower head. Avoid direct contact or submersion in water as they will disintegrate immediately. Replace the disc when it has fully disintegrated.

Original recipe at

Updated: January 31, 2013 12:57PM

Steaming mugs of tea, fuzzy slippers and heavy quilts will do much to warm our spirits until spring, but our bodies take a beating from the cold in the meantime.

As the mercury dips into the single digits and holiday decorations have long been packed away, we find ourselves pulling our coats a bit tighter, our hats a bit lower to stay toasty. Frigid temperatures have finally arrived in the Chicago area and so we settle in for winter survival over the coming months. Chapped lips, frazzled tresses and withered digits bear the mark of the season and can leave us feeling susceptible to illness as well as the elements.

Tucked safe into the warm interior of home, I turn to natural ingredients to curb the harm of winter’s havoc. And so I’d like to share a recipe for do-it-yourself aromatherapy shower discs adapted from the Frugal By Choice blog as well as a handful of simple self-care remedies that are easy to implement, inexpensive to execute, and safe for even the littlest members of our households.

Although hot baths become increasingly alluring during the cold months, natural oils are stripped away by the heat and water, leaving dry, itchy skin. It may be beneficial to limit bathing time during this time to bring relief to irritated skin. However, a warm shower can bring great relief to stuffy noses when paired with a handmade aromatherapy shower disc.

Other tips and tricks:

— Take care to gently pat skin dry when leaving the bath and consider a healthy lathering of coconut oil for faces, limbs and torsos, boosting skin with a dose of Vitamin E and smoothing out rough patches acquired from exposure to cold winds and hot showers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to further enhance relaxation or peppermint oil to promote energy. Dab and softly massage coconut oil into your lips for a kissable smile.

— While heaters eliminate moisture from sleeping quarters, humidifiers return our homes to happy havens. Scratchy throats acquired through nighttime slumber can be cleared with a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil added daily to a humidifier. Both oils are natural antiseptics and can be mixed with coconut oil and massaged into skin for relief from respiratory ailments or aching muscles.

— Aromatherapy is cited for health benefits that are both physical and mental, but first check for allergies or sensitivities by testing a small patch of skin on the wrist or hand before proceeding. To learn more about the uses of essential oils or chemical-free home remedies, read The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.

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