Herbal Workshop: Wellness

My Wellness Herbal Workshop was a great success. My fellow Herbal Warriors and I had a great time together making Fairy Tea and Calendula Salve.

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After arriving at my house, each participant was given a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and also an orange smoothie. While they enjoyed the refreshing juice, we went over the recipes for that day’s herbal remedies. Wellness Recipes 22.4

We chatted for a while about the medicinal actions of the plants we were using. The workshop that day focused on plantain, calendula and lavender and lemon balm.

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Then it was off to work. The first task was to pick petals off of dried calendula blooms for the Fairy Tea. The green sepals can make the tea bitter. Then we took turns mixing the rest of the herbs with the petals in a big bowl.

Everyone put the tea mix into tea sacks, complete with labels and ingredients lists, so they could enjoy their handmade tea at home.

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Next up was the Calendula Salve.

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The first task was to make calendula-infused olive oil, the base for the Calendula Salve. This requires the fine chopping up of the calendula blooms. We used a Sana 707 juicer to accomplish the task efficiently.

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Using a bread maker, the oil was infused quickly. This oil was used to make the salve.

Beeswax was added and melted into the oil over a very low heat and carefully stirred. Lavender essential oil is added. The warm liquid salve is poured into containers and custom labels are then affixed.

While the salve was cooling we took a garden walk to point out the fresh herbs that were used in the recipes.

The herbal goodies were popped into little bags, ready to take home.


I think everyone had a great time learning how simply and beautifully our health can be taken back into our own hands.

Fairy tea: Lavender, plantain, calendula and lemonbalm

An all-around wellness tea: healing, soothing, calming, gentle and tasty

 

Calendula Healing Salve: Calendula, olive oil, beeswax and lavender essential oil

A super skin healer: soothing, healing, anti-itch, antibacterial, scar healing

Photo credit: Zeinep Yessenbekova

Skin Care for Every Complexion

I was afraid the first time I made a face cream. It seems counter-intuitive to mix an oil and a water together expecting some other thing to appear, as if by magic. I felt like an alchemist.

When I poured the waters into the churning oils in the blender and magically cream was formed, I was super excited. And blown away by how easy it is.

Now I have a range of face creams that I love, people who use them are finding them very helpful for their skin and I never have to go out and buy skin creams. I just refill my jar form my stock of creams. It is pretty cool.

I am teaching a workshop next month on how to make face creams. I’d like to demystify it and show those interested that they too can make face cream in their own kitchen.

The recipes are linked. Please check it out and let me know if you have any questions. It is super simple and I have already made tons of mistakes and learnt tricks to make it excellently each time.

Wrinkle Wrecker Face Cream: An excellent cream for mature, dry or very damaged skin. (sea buckthorn, poppy seed oil, geranium oil)

Acne Eraser Face Cream: A soothing, healing and preventative cream for those with eczema, acne and rosacea. (hemp seed oil, skull cap, hazelnut oil)

Calendula Face Cream: This is the one I use every day, morning and night. It is healing and soothing. I love it! (calendula, almond oil)

Chamomile Face Cream: This one is great for sensitive skin that is easily irritated. It is very soothing and calming. (chamomile, almond oil)

I am eager to come up with new recipes and would love any new ideas.

See my Etsy shop.

Herbal How To: Decanting a Tincture

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I have a cold. It seems like everyone around me does. I’m not really that sick, but it is quite annoying what with my head all stuffed up and my strength waning afterr getting up to make myself tea.

So, I reached for my echinacea tincture to find both bottles empty. (Who is so irresponsible to put back empty bottles into the first aid kit.…Probably me….)

Luckily, I’ve got a laboratory in my garage chock full of good stuff. A quick pop in and a moment to decant, and I’m back in business taking my echinacea every 1/2 hour. Feeling better already!

 

Pyramid of Healing

Topical salves or ointments are some of the best herbal remedies in my herbal arsenal.

They are easy to use, non-invasive and really healing, powerful and effective. The comforting aspect of a balm or salve aids in the healing process and is a great introductory herbal remedy for the more skeptical client (or family member).

Every Herbal First Aid Kit should have at least a few salves. Pictured are some of my most highly recommended:

Healing Herbal Salve: All-around superstar healing salve for any wound. (St John’s Wort, calendula, comfrey, plantain)

Fungi Foe Salve: Great anti-fungal and antibacterial salve gentle enough for all your intimate bits. (Oregano, calendula)

Knit Together Salve: Excellent healer for internal injuries such as sprains, broken bones and muscle tears. (comfrey)

Bye Bye Bruise Salve: Perfect to heal and possibly prevent bruising. This one is amazing to watch work! The sooner you get it on the bump, the more effective it is. (arnica)

Calendula Salve: An excellent skin healer, wound healer, scar repairer and overall comforting, healing salve. (calendula)

Clear Chest Salve: A powerhouse for helping to clear up respiratory distress and infection. A must have for cold and flu season. (white horehound, thyme, sage)

Thyme Salve: Particularly useful when dealing with infection of any kind. (thyme)

 

 

Photo credit: Zeinep Yessenbekova

Beauty Tip: Under Eye Dark Circles

A friend of mine asked me to help her with an herbal remedy for her under eye dark circles.

This was a new request and I was excited to dig into some research in order to help my friend.

I read up on ways to help with dark circles and almost all of my resources had similar thoughts on the subject.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

“Fatigue is the most common cause of dark circles under your eyes. Sometimes, what appear to be dark circles under your eyes may merely be shadows cast by puffy eyelids or hollows under your eyes that develop as a normal part of aging.

Some of the most common causes of true under-eye circles are:

  1. Allergies
  2. Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  3. Contact dermatitis
  4. Fatigue
  5. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  6. Heredity
  7. Pigmentation irregularities, which can be a particular concern for people of African or Asian ancestry
  8. Rubbing or scratching your eyes
  9. Sun exposure, which prompts your body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color
  10. Thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen that comes with aging, which can make the reddish-blue blood vessels under your eyes more obvious”

She is up for some trial and error, so we began with a turmeric and almond oil paste. She applies it at night and leaves it on for 30 minutes before washing it off. In the morning, there are still traces of the unique turmeric yellow stain, but this easily vanishes during her shower.

My friend has seen marked improvement with this method after two weeks.

What was amazing, is that nothing fancy is needed:

Under Eye Eraser

  • Turmeric powder
  • Cold-pressed Almond oil

Slowly add almond oil to turmeric powder until you achieve a thick paste consistency.

Store sealed in the fridge.

Apply to a thick coat to the skin under the eyes.

Leave for at least a half an hour.

Be careful to spot test a place on your skin. Fair-skinned people may experience staining of the skin.

Safety Note: Dr. Mark Jacquot, clinical director at LensCrafters, recently explained that ‘the skin around your eyes is particularly sensitive and can be prone to allergic reactions, irritation, or other injuries’.  So please test the area first before continuing.

Medicinal Actions

Turmeric: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, skin protectant, increases circulation,

Almond oil: high in vitamin A, anti-oxidant, easily absorbed into the skin, aids in regenerating skin cells and decreasing inflammation.

 

 

 

Herbal How To: Making an Herbal Salve

 

Herbal How To: Making an Herbal Salve

Fungi Foe (anti-fungal salve)

You will need: oregano and calendula oils; beeswax; tea tree, lavender and red thyme essential oils; jars
1. Strain and measure out the oils
2. Heat oils in a double boiler
3. Add the beeswax
4. Stir until completely melted
5. Take off the heat and add the essential oils
6. Pour into containers
7. Label and allow to cool


This is a great remedy for any fungal or yeast infections, gentle enough for all your intimate bits


Lovely Liver Herbal Extract

Spring is upon us and with it comes spring cleaning (I washed my windows yesterday-goodbye little kitty paw prints!), getting the garden ready for spring planting and sorting out all of our clogged systems within the body after the winter’s cold and gray days.

With the sunny and warmer days of spring, we are opened up and stimulated to move and clear out the accumulated rubbish, in the garden, in our closets and in ourselves.

Part of a spring detox is healthy, lighter fare in our diet; more fresh fruits and veggies. We take our Detox Tea and this Lovely Liver Herbal Extract. The herbs within, especially burdock root,  stimulate the liver to function to its fullest, cleansing the body of accumulated toxins.

According to The Practical Herbalist:

“Ancient herbalists, like Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century, recognized burdock’s power in helping their patients recover from illness. Then, like today, burdock helped with the break-down of toxins and metabolic waste, making it easier for our bodies to eliminate that which we no longer need. Conditions ranging from cancers and hypertension to gout, digestive ulcers, and reproductive problems, burdock has offered support and help in recovery through the ages.”

I have prescribed this tincture for more intense ailments, from eczema to rheumatoid arthritis to severe acne. When our immune system is struggling, when we are fatigued, when we have eruptions or flareups of chronic issues, a good place to start is with liver support. When things build up (even stress), the liver needs help to do its job excellently.

Lovely Liver Herbal Extract

  • 2 parts Burdock root (dried or fresh) (80% alcohol)
  • 2 parts Dandelion root (dried or fresh) (80% alcohol)
  • 1 part Milk Thistle seed (80% alcohol)
  • 2 parts Chicory root (dried or fresh) (80% alcohol)
  • 1 part Yellow Dock root (dried or fresh) (80% alcohol)
  • Alcohol (at least 42% for leaves, flowers and stems, brandy, vodka; 80% for roots and barks, Everclear)
  • Sterilised jar and lid

Grind or chop the plant material as finely as possible. I use my juicer to grind the dried plant material and my grain mill to grind the dried roots.

Add the plant material to the jar: Dried- fill 1/2 of jar

                                                            Fresh- fill the entire jar

Add the alcohol. Fill to the brim. Keep an eye on it for the next several minutes and keep adding alcohol until all the plant material is covered.

Seal well and label with the plant name, date, percent and type of alcohol and the date 6 weeks out.

Shake the jar daily and store in a cool, dark place.

After 6 weeks, strain out plant material and decant the tincture into sterilised bottles for use.

Label bottles with the tincture name.

Adult dose: 3-5ml 2x day as part of a liver detox

Medicinal actions:

Burdock root (Arctium lappa): antibacterial, anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, anti-fungal, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antipyretic, diuretic, diaphoretic, hypoglycemic

Dandelion root (Taraxacum): diuretic, liver tonic, digestive tonic, antirheumatic, mild laxative, promotes bile flow

Milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum): cholagogic, tonic, galactogogue, alterative

Chicory root (Cichorium intybus): tonic, laxative and diuretic, promotes bile flow

Yellow dock root (Rumex crispus: laxative, alternative, mildly tonic