Doing what comes naturally

air freshener

Posted on: 5th October, 2017

Category: Health

Contributor: Hannah Dare

These days, more than ever, we place great emphasis on the word ‘natural’. I think that is because we all suspect that chemical compounds while amazing don’t belong in our food chain, on our skin or even in our home environments.

I believe we need to THINK about what we consume, why we consume it and take determined steps to live more in tune with nature and what is natural. Personally, I feel that if we really want to achieve a natural lifestyle and optimum health and well-being, we need to take a more holistic approach to life – eating local and organic foods but also cooking from scratch,  and using natural and organic products throughout our entire home, from the kitchen to the bathroom, and from the make-up bag to the medicine cabinet.

In the not-so-distant past (think back to the 70s or if you really want to go frugal think the 50s) when there was no money and to waste was considered ‘sinful’ (Ok – I’m not going to go there now!), people ate local and seasonal food, as they had few other options and wasted nothing (think tripe, drisheen, crubeens). This was not because it was a trendy way of living, it was just because local and seasonal foods were cheaper, available, and if you didn’t have supermarkets and TV ads then food was just food, there were no brands to spend money on. Waste was just stupid and, unlike today, nobody did it, it just made no sense. Everyone had to cook from scratch which really makes you focus on using everything. No one would have dreamed of roasting a chicken without making a soup or a stock, for example. Unfortunately, with the advent of round the clock shopping, cheap fast food and the faster pace of life, this approach to life is becoming less common, and I feel we have lost something important in that process.

Luckily in West Cork we have a lot of different ways of supporting a natural healthy lifestyle. We have wonderful markets, which are overflowing with well-grown local produce, for those of us without our own veggie garden! We have lots of information available to us to help us to chose the best options and, of course, we have some excellent independent shops where we can source the healthiest options. This month I have made some notes of a few ways we can all reduce the use of chemicals in our homes and I’ve reproduced a recipe for a lovely home air freshener made entirely from edible ingredients!

Learn how to ferment – it means less waste and better health: We have an amazing book for sale in Organico at the moment – I talked about it a few months ago, it’s called The Cultured Kitchen by Dearbhla Reynolds. Since Dearbhla visited Organico, I have been inspired to try and bring fermentation more into my life. If you’re someone who struggles with a glut of veggies this book is a really worthwhile investment. For example, Dearbhla’s Salsa was a revelation, so tasty and so easy, and an incredible way of using up ripe tomatoes, and gives you a belly full of probiotics into the bargain!

Natural treatment for headlice: Unfortunately, many of us take vitamin C when we have a cold but when the dreaded note comes home from school…we panic and rush for strong chemicals. In fact you have lots of options, some of which work just as well and have much more natural ingredients! In Organico (and all good health food shops) there are a few different natural options, but the ones I can stand over are called Delacet and Licener. Delacet is a herbal solution made from a tincture of Larkspur, it’s completely non-toxic, and though it smells a bit suspicious to a five-year-old, it’s mainly the vinegar smell, which really isn’t as bad as the chemical alternatives. And it seems to be 100 per cent effective, even against recurring bouts of headlice. That is based on years of asking people to come back in if it didn’t work – and so far so good. Licener is another option, an anti-lice shampoo made from Neem, which smothers the lice and the eggs in 20 minutes. It smells absolutely fine. Again, I haven’t had any negative feedback, it just seems to work, which brings huge relief to many parents!

Don’t automatically reach for painkillers: It’s very easy to reach for a bottle of pills when you get a headache but there is increasing concern that Paracetamol can cause internal bleeding and kidney and liver damage (see ‘Does Paracetamol do you more harm than good?’ in The Guardian, May 2015) it is important to know what options are out there. First and foremost what is your body trying to tell you? Are you dehydrated? Do you simply need to consume more water (or less alcohol!) There are some interesting remedies available for headaches – White willow bark is one such option, available in capsules from Veridian and traditionally used to help manage pain. You can also try Meadowsweet Tea (Aspirin was first synthesised from Meadowsweet). You can also use essential oils for headaches, such as lavender, peppermint or my own favourites, PoHo Oil from A.Vogel which is available in all good healthfood shops. Po Ho oil is a fantastic oil to use for steam inhalations also. Other options to consider are having a nap or treating yourself to a head massage!

Cleaning products and air fresheners: I think we are all becoming aware of the chemicals in home cleaning products, but we still want our houses clean, so what to do? Personally I only use natural and organic cleaning products. There is a good quality Irish brand called Lilly’s Eco Clean, which offers alternatives to washing up liquid, clothes wash, floor soap, and household cleaning sprays. I also find the microfibrE-Cloths very good for cleaning in the kitchen – they are made of a special material which lifts the dirt without needing surfactants. They go in the washing machine and last for ages – well worth the investment. You can use them for cleaning windows, the sinks, the dashboard in the car – pretty much everywhere except inside the toilet.

For cleaning floors and showers, Dr Bronner’s Liquid Soap works wonders. It’s a castile soap and has very simple ingredients. I don’t find it good for my hair but some people do; for me it’s too drying. I love it for cleaning the bath though!

When I asked the members of our Organico Healthy Living Group for their top tips on natural ways to clean the house, the most mentioned product was vinegar. People are using it for everything from windows to showers to floors. Some people add essential oils to make the house smell less like a chip shop!

For other ideas, Rebecca O’Sullivan has written a book on making your own chemical free cleaning products, called The Art of a Natural Home, the Room by Room Guide. It’s a beautiful book, full of useful tips and ideas. I have ordered some copies for Organico if you want to have a flick through. I have reproduced one of Rebecca’s recipes below which is very simple and leaves your home smelling absolutely lovely! Some ingredients you might have in your garden, others you will find in your local wholefood shop…

Rosemary, sage and lavender air freshener

This is an invigorating and floral air freshener – not sickly or fake smelling, more like your nana’s garden in spring. Rosemary and lavender go together perfectly.

Makes 500ml

• 2 sprigs rosemary

• Sprig of sage

• Half teaspoon lavender flowers

• 1 lemon, sliced

• 500ml water

• A 500ml spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, cover, and let it simmer for a further five minutes. Let it cool, then strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle. You can add a fresh sprig of rosemary to infuse in the bottle, if you wish. If the sprig is too tall for the bottle, just break it in half. This will store for up to a year and you can use it as often as needed.

Organico Shop Cafe and Bakery is open from 9am till 6.15pm every day. Call us on 027 51391. Visit us on FaceBook or online at, or email us on

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

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People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

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REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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