1. Health

Healthy Holiday Gifts

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Here are some gift basket ideas that contain items that can promote good health.

For the person always on the go:

Here are an idea to boost energy and stamina:

  • Smoothie recipe cards or a recipe book of smoothies
  • A package of green tea. Green tea can be purchased in health food stores, Asian grocery stores, tea shops, and some grocery stores. Green tea contains caffeine (less than coffee), so it may boost energy and performance. More about the health benefits of green tea.
  • A travel cup large enough to hold a smoothie

For the athlete:

These are ideas to help achy, sore muscles and sweaty feet.

  • Arnica homeopathic remedy
  • Tea tree foot spray
  • Peppermint Epsom salt bath
  • Towel

1. Arnica homeopathic remedy can be purchased in any health food store and some drugstores.  It is a homeopathic remedy used for muscle strain and ache. A potency of 30C is best for muscular conditions.  One pellet can be taken after a hard workout or as prevention before working out.

2. Tea tree foot spray recipe: Add 3 to 5 drops of tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifolia) for every 1/2 cup of cold water.  Pour into a spray bottle, which is available at drugstores.  Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and antifungal that can help prevent athlete's foot, a common fungal infection of the foot.  For external use only.

3. Peppermint Epsom salt bath recipe: Put 4 cups of Epsom salts into a large bowl or plastic bag.  Add 4 drops of peppermint oil (mentha piperita).  Write the following instructions on a blank card:  Put 1 cup of Epsom salts into a hot bath.  Soak for 20 minutes and feel the muscle ache and stiffness improve.  

Epsom salts have a high magnesium content and promote the release of lactic acid from muscle. This waste product accumulates when muscles are active, and can build up and result in achiness and muscle stiffness.    Peppermint oil is also thought to help relax muscles.

Precaution:  people over 50 years old or who have a known or suspected heart condition should use moderate water temperature and avoid submerging the body above heart level. They should consult a trained health professional before beginning any new treatment. Peppermint oil can be irritating, so is not recommended for infants or small children, or facial application.  It should not be applied to the face, as it can be irritating.

For the chronically stressed:

These ideas are meant to soothe and relax.

  • Lemon balm (Melissa) tea
  • Lavender essential oil
  • A Relaxation Tape

1. Lemon balm (Melissa) tea can be purchased at tea shops or health food stores.  It is excellent for nervousness and difficulty falling asleep due to stress and over thinking.  The teapot and cup should be covered at all times during the brewing process to prevent the steam from escaping, because the steam contains valuable and therapeutic aromatic oils.

2. Lavender oil recipe: Add 4 drops of essential oil of lavender to 1/2 cup almond oil (or other light oil).  Be sure that the recipient does not have a nut allergy.  Lavender has a soothing, aromatic fragrance that helps calm nervousness, anxiety, and overwork, and helps people fall asleep quicker.  It can be very lightly massaged into tense muscles above the ears before bed, added to a bath, or massaged into the neck and upper shoulders. If lavender is not available, other useful essential oils include neroli and clary sage.

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