Arnica montana 

Common Name: Arnica, leopard’s bane, wolfsbane, mountain tobacco
Family: Asteraceae
TCM Name: N/A
Ayurvedic Name: N/A
Parts Used: Flowers
Native To: Europe


Medicinal Notes

Arnica is a hardy perennial in the aster family (Asteraceae) which grows at elevation in the subalpine meadows and open forests of mountainous regions. A. montana is native to Europe and also grows in northern Alaska and British Columbia, whereas A. cordifolia and A. latifolia predominate in the Western United States (Gladstar, 2000). Due to overharvesting, A. Montana should not be wild harvested, and harvesting of the North American species should be limited. A. chamissonis is native to the United States and is cultivated as a substitute for A. Montana at low elevations. There are several other species as well, but all seem to have similar medicinal uses.

Arnica has daisy-like yellow flowers consisting of a central disk of florets surrounded by the showy ray florets. The flowers are 1 to 4 inches in diameter and bloom starting the second year (Gladstar & Hirsch, 2000) in June through August. The erect, sturdy stem is up to two feet tall and has a rosette of basal ovate-shaped leaves near the ground and opposite pairs of downy lance-shaped leaves upon the stem. In fact, the name arnica is derived from the Greek word arnakis, meaning “lamb’s skin” (Gladstar & Hirsch, 2000), referring to these downy or wooly leaves. Arnica grows in colonies from a horizontally spreading rhizome.


The fresh flower heads are harvested and used fresh or dried to make a tincture or an infused oil or salve.


Arnica contains sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, tannins, volatile oils, resins, and bitters (Hoffmann, 2003). Foster and Tyler (1999) report that sesquiterpenoid lactones (including helenalin) are the active ingredients in arnica, accounting for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibiotic effects. Energetically, arnica is considered warming and drying. It is a plant of the sun, after all!


According to The Herbarium:

“Arnica is known as an injury remedy, and has been used for thousands of years in the European Alps and by Native Americans (Holmes, 1997). It is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, vulnerary, and rubifacient herb used to speed healing and relieve pain, inflammation, swelling, and bruising associated with traumatic injuries such as fractures, sprains, and contusions. It is renowned for treating muscular pain from overexertion and is an invaluable ally for athletes or anyone else who puts in a hard day’s work and has the aches to show for it. Gladstar & Hirsch (2000) also recommend it for back pain, rheumatic pain, dislocations, and varicose veins. For injuries, aches, and pains, it can be used topically on unbroken skin as a poultice, liniment, compress, oil, cream or salve or homeopathically. No first aid kit is complete without arnica!

Homeopathically, arnica is very safe and is used to support healing in the case of shock, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post surgical trauma, invasive dental work, and concussion in addition to its aforementioned use for injuries and muscle strain (Gladstar & Hirsch, 2000).

Arnica was also historically used as a cardiac restorative and coronary circulation stimulant (Holmes, 1997). Those internal uses will not be elaborated here because arnica can be toxic to the heart and circulatory system (Foster & Tyler, 1999) and must either be avoided or used with extreme caution and only under the close supervision of a qualified herbalist.”


Ways to Use: Poultice, Salve, Infused Oil
Actions: Analgesic, Vulnerary, Rubefacient, Anti-inflammatory
Taste: Bitter, Acrid
Energy: Warm, Drying
Adult Dose

Poultice: Use externally as needed.

Salve:  Use externally as needed.

Infused Oil: Use externally as needed.



Externally, arnica is generally safe when applied to unbroken skin, however its constituent helenalin may cause contact dermatitis in some people, causing pain, itchiness, and inflammation. Arnica should not be taken internally. Homeopathic arnica is considered safe.


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Arnica Salve



Calendula officinalis

Common Name: Calendula, marigold, pot marigold
Family: Asteraceae
TCM Name: Jin zhan ju
Ayurvedic Name: N/A
Parts Used: flowers, ray florets
Native To: South central Europe, North Africa

Medicinal Notes

Calendula is an annual in the aster family (Asteraceae) which is native to south central Europe North Africa. Today, calendula is planted throughout the world. Calendula has sunny yellow and orange flowers that open in the morning when the sun rises and close as it sets, inspiring Culpeper (1653) to call marigold “an herb of the sun.” Indeed, calendula holds the warmth and spirit of the sun in its flowers.

The flower heads of calendula are one to three inches across and have a central cluster of tubular flowers surrounded by several rows of ray florets (Foster, 1993). The stalk supports many branching stems and oblong medium green leaves from 3 to 6 inches long (Foster, 1993). The plant grows up to 24 inches tall. Calendula joyously blooms nearly continuously from spring through fall (as long as you continuously pick the blossoms), and then produces fat, crescent-shaped seeds that are easy to collect and save for planting next year’s crop. With its bright, uplifting flowers and prodigious bloom, it’s a lovely addition to any garden!


The fresh flower heads are harvested and the ray florets are removed and dried for tea, extracted in a tincture, or infused into oil. The florets are a lively addition to salads and soups. In reality, it’s very time consuming to remove the florets by hand, so often the entire flower head is used when making medicine.


Calendula contains flavonoids, triterpenes, saponins, volatile oil, salicylic acid, mucilage and resin (calendulin), among other constituents . The resin gives calendula its characteristic sticky feeling.  Energetically, calendula is warming and slightly drying, but is also a soothing demulcent.


According to The Herbarium:

“Calendula is a powerful wound and tissue healer (vulnerary) both externally and internally. It has long been used to soothe and heal cuts, burns, bites, sprains, bruises, rashes, sunburns, and abrasions due to its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic, and tissue-healing actions. Calendula also contains salicylic acid so works as an analgesic to help relieve the pain associated with these types of wounds and skin irritations. Calendula also soothes itching. Even persistent wounds and old scars are helped by the tissue healing and regenerative properties of calendula. Many of my clients rave about its affinity for scar tissue removal and for its miraculous help with diaper rash.

Calendula’s slight bitter taste hints at its use for the digestive system. Indeed, calendula is considered a cholagogue, supporting the gallbladder (Hoffmann, 2003), and also the liver and consequently the digestive system. By stimulating these organs, calendula stimulates secretion of bile and digestive enzymes, aiding the digestive process and improving absorption (McIntyre, 1996). Calendula can also be taken internally for inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract such as ulcers (Hoffmann, 2003), esophageal irritation from gastric reflux, and inflammatory bowel disease (Blankenspoor, 2012). Its mucilage content is wonderfully soothing to irritated tissues. Culpeper (1653) councils “the juice of marigold…and any hot swelling bathed with it, instantly gives ease, and assuages it.” As an astringent, calendula will gently relieve diarrhea.

Calendula acts as an immune stimulant as well as being antibacterial and antiviral, so it’s ideal when colds, flu, and other infections take hold. Used internally as an antimicrobial, calendula helps the body resist pathogens. Research has shown that calendula is effective against flu and herpes viruses (McIntyre, 1996). A hot calendula infusion acts as a diaphoretic, moving energy outward by stimulating circulation and promoting sweating. This action helps kill the infectious pathogen (and subsequently reduce fever) as well as removing toxins from the body. McIntyre (1996) suggests that in the case of chickenpox or measles, calendula helps the virus erupt on the skin and expel toxins. Calendula is a lymphagogue, meaning it cleanses the lymph system by moving clogged lymph fluid, removing toxins from the lymph, and decongesting swollen lymph nodes. Keeping the lymph system is moving and functioning as intended is vital for a strong immune system.

Calendula is an anti-fungal herb used both internally and externally for treatment of such conditions as fungal skin infections (e.g. athlete’s foot and jock itch) and yeast overgrowths (e.g. candida in the gut, thrush, and vaginal yeast infections). Calendula’s antimicrobial action is also helpful in the case eye infections such as pink eye/conjunctivitis.

Calendula is an ally for the female reproductive system due to its antispasmodic, emmenogogue, and estrogenic effects which regulate menstruation, resolve delayed menstruation, relieve tension, cramping and pain associated with menstruation, and relieve menopausal symptoms (McIntyre, 1996; Hoffmann, 2003). Herbalist David Hoffmann considers it “a normalizer of the menstrual process.””


Ways to Use: Vinegar, Tincture, Infusion, Infused Oil
Actions: Vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, immune stimulant, antifungal, antiviral, cholagogue, diaphoretic, lymphatic, antispasmodic, emmanagogue
Taste: Mildly Bitter
Energy: Warm, Drying, soothing demulcent
Adult Dose

 Tincture: 1-4 ml (1:5 in 60%) 3x per day.

Tea: 1-2 teaspoons flowers per cup boiling water, steeped for 10-15 minutes, taken three times per day.

External applications: lotion, salve, or wash as needed.



Calendula is considered a very safe herb. It should not be taken during pregnancy as it may promote contractions.


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The Great Eight: Wildcrafting in Czechia part 2

There’s treasure everywhere. It only takes eyes to see, a heart open to receiving the gifts of nature and some knowledge with which to discern the way.

In our neck of the woods, South Bohemia, treasure lies all around us. Here are the rest of the top eight medicinal herbs found on any walk around most areas where I live. I use these herbs in my daily life at home with my family, in making remedies for my friends and clients and they are the ones that are most pointed out when I do nature walks with fellow seekers.





Mullein (Verbascum) Divizna

Mullein is a lovely biennial that produces a tall spike of velvety yellow flowers in its second year. First year plants form a rosette of pale green fuzzy leaves that are close to the ground. Mullein likes sunny fields, edges of paths and roads and anywhere that is a little neglected. Mullein has an affinity for respiratory issues and its flowers have been traditionally used in a medicinal ear oil. Pick the first year leaves to combat any cough or respiratory distress. These leaves can be dried, crumbled and used in teas or tinctures. The leaves are covered in fine hairs that could be irritating to the esophagus and lungs if inhaled or ingested, so always use a tea bag or filter of some sort when brewing mullein. The flowers should be harvested the second year, dried for a day and then added to an oil menstruum (I use olive oil) and infused for several weeks (or overnight in a bread maker or oven). This makes an excellent ear oil for ear aches or infections. NEVER use this oil if you have any perforation of the ear drum.

Medicinal Actions: affinity for respiratory system, demulcent, expectorant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, sedative, astringent, emollient. 

St John’s Wort


St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) Třezalka tečkovaná

St John’s Wort when in tincture form has been called “liquid sunshine”. In recent years, it has come out as a glorious help to those suffering from depression, SAD  or anxiety. Historically, it has been used and lauded as an overall powerful vulnerary (wound healer), one that works topically and internally. It seems to me that this vulnerary action works on a broken or wounded mind as well.  It has a special affinity for neuralgia, pain caused by nerve damage or nerve-related issues. While this special herb eases pain, both mental and physical, it has a stellar track record as an antiviral and is useful in combating viruses, especially those focused on the nervous system.

“Liquid sunshine” can be found in certain areas around us. I even found a patch growing by our house. We often travel to Albrechtice nad Vltavou to gather St John’s Wort. It is typically ready around the second week of July. Identify the plant by its perforated leaves, hold one up to the light and see the tiny holes. Smash a bud between your fingers noticing the reddish-purple stain on your fingers. Harvest the flower heads and top leaves, paying special attention to the amount of unopened buds. The most powerful medicinal constituents reside in these unopened buds. Use these flower heads and buds to infuse as an oil or tincture. I use St John’s Wort in my Healing Herbal Salve.

St John’s Wort is contraindicated for those on SSRI antidepressants.

Medicinal Actions: antiviral, vulnerary, nervine, affinity for the nervous system, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory.


prunella vulgaris_plant

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) Černohláv obecný

Selfheal can be found from mid to late summer along almost any path in the forest. It is a part of the mint family of plants and is harvested when the flowers are in bloom. The flower heads and top leaves should be harvested when the flowers are a vibrant purple. This herb is used for sore throats, ulcers, wounds on the skin, stabilisation of tissues (demulcent and astringent properties) and drawing out infections.

Medicinal Actions: antiviral, anticancer, anti-oxidant, hemostatic, demulcent, astringent, vulnerary, inflammatory modulator, immunomodulator, diuretic. 

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle- adaptations- ugly flowers

Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) Kopřiva dvoudomá

Stinging Nettles are a strange and wonderful mini-miracle to me. I came to the Czech Republic with a healthy fear of them, being taught as a child to avoid them. Then, here in CZ, our Czech neighbours encouraged us to drink nettle tea and hit ourselves with nettles to combat arthritic pain. I thought this was the weirdest thing ever. After many years here and many years of studying herbalism, I see the benefit and wonder in this ubiquitous and sometimes painful plant. When my husband was diagnosed with arthritis in his shoulder, we could be seen tromping to the edge of our forest where Dan would dutifully take off his shirt and I would whip his shoulder with nettles. It really helped. Our family drinks a nourishing nettle tea each morning and nettles are a big part of my Detox Tea.

Nettles are literally everywhere, a jewel to the herbalist.

Medicinal Actions: nourishing (full of vitamins and minerals), diuretic, affinity for gout, affinity for arthritis, laxative, anti-allergy, anti-dandruff, anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, affinity for cleansing blood and liver.

Himalayan Balsam

Dan, Rebekah, Roxie and I took a nature hike this weekend to enjoy the beauty that surrounds us as well as the gorgeous early autumn weather. It was clear, sunny and about 20 degrees all weekend. After a few weeks of gray skies and cold weather, it was uplifting to spirit, mind and body.

We live along the Vltava River, which winds its way through all of Bohemia.  Along its banks some truly precious plants grow, filled with good medicine.IMG_20170930_134132862_HDR

I had planned to harvest nettles today, as they are in abundance along this path.  I was fortunate to find a patch of second growth Yarrow as well. This was good luck as we had just finished my last harvest in our Fever Doctor Tea .  We have all been drinking this to battle the cold that has been going around town.

Harvesting Yarrow Achillea millefolium


On the banks of the Vltava, an invasive non-indigenous weed known as Himalayan Balsam can be found in profusion. For many, it is a nightmare. For our family, it is a delight.

Impatiens glandulifera

My children have fond memories of this plant, even before I began gardening and studying herbalism. The seed pods are the best fun for kids and adults alike as they explode with such power as to shock even the most prepared victim. The seeds within, especially the black ones, have a delicious nutty flavour that has been lauded for years in wildcraft cooking.

I love popping the seed pods and shoving the seeds in my mouth. I do not look elegant whilst doing this, believe me.

I have not yet been this fortunate, but I still have a goal of bringing home a bag full of the seeds and using them in a baking of bread.

Impatiens are a mainstay in the Bach flower essence formulas:

According to the Bach Centre

“Impatiens is, as its name suggests, the remedy for impatience and the frustration and irritability that often go with it. Anyone can get into this state of mind, but there are also genuine Impatiens types, who live life at a rush and hate being held back by more methodical people. To avoid this irritation they prefer to work alone: the Impatiens boss is the one who sends staff home early so she can get the job finished quicker.

The remedy helps us be less hasty and more relaxed with others. It is also an ingredient in Dr Bach’s original crisis formula, where it helps calm agitated thoughts and feelings.”



Himalayan Balsam seed falafel

The Lunchbreak Forager

This quick and easy recipe is a twist on the original falafel recipe, but equally as tasty and perhaps a nice unusual one to serve up at dinner parties.


1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1 can of chickpeas- drained
1 cup of Himalayan balsam seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp wholemeal flour
1 carrot finely grated with the moisture squeezed out
1 chilli finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon zest only
Rape seed oil for frying


Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for 1 min then mash in your pestle and mortar or give a quick whizz using the seed bit of your blender/food processor. Blend the rest of the other ingredients. Roll into balls about the half the size of rats head. Heat about 1cm/half an inch of oil in a large frying pan and roll your balls about until browned. Put onto kitchen paper and then serve in a pitta bread.

Organic- Is it just business or the first step to health? by Adolf Jana

Organic food is becoming more and more popular. The sections with organic food in supermarkets grow bigger and in some countries there are even all organic supermarkets.

However, even though the popularity is rising, scientists keep arguing whether organic food actually contains more nutrients than conventional food and whether they are better for us.

Oftentimes I hear that organic is just a business and that there’s no added value to it.

So is organic food better and why? Should you buy it? What should you follow when you buy organics?

Why is there so much confusion around it?

So many studies have been conducted, yet there are big differences in their results.

Findings of several studies which are against the concept of organic food say that consumption of organic cannot be recommended, because there isn’t sufficient evidence that it contains more nutrients (1, 2, 3).

On the other hand a number of researches came to a conclusion that organic food contains for example higher amounts of vitamin C, zinc, iron and antioxidants (4567).

There are many factors which affect the results:

  • When the fruits and vegetables are harvested
  • Weather during the year
  • Quality of soil
  • Animal feed

These and other influences have a big effect on the amount of nutrients in food. In the end it is a very complex topic, which is not simply black and white.

… and we shouldn’t forget the influence of lobby on both sides of the barricade. Even the best scientists make “mistakes”.

However, the study mentioned previously analyzed 343 researches and came to the following conclusion: organic food contains significantly higher amounts of antioxidants, some minerals and vitamins.

Amount of nutrients is only one of the decision points

We don’t buy organic food only because it may contain more nutrients. The amount of pesticide residues and other compounds (e.g. antibiotics) plays a significant role as well.

Regarding this the studies are in agreement – organic food is better.

The well-known Stanford study was careful in its conclusions and stated that by consuming organic food we can decrease the risk of exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Very interesting outcomes of this study were further discussed here.

Analysis of a few hundred studies resulted in these intriguing results:

  • Organic food contains 48% less Cadmium. Cadmium is a highly toxic metal, which accumulates in the body. Besides the fact that it is carcinogenic, it also causes many other problems.
  • Pesticide residue occurrence is 4x higher in conventionally produced crops (7).

It is said that the amounts of these residues are still well below the safety limits and there is nothing to be worried about. There are different opinions regarding this.

However, nobody knows what happens when we are exposed to a mixture of different dangerous compounds every day. That’s scientifically hard to prove.

That’s why I think it’s better to be careful.

But not at the cost that you’ll be eating less vegetables or fruits.

And that’s not all

Organic also provides further gains, especially in regards to the environment.

Concept of (eco)logical agriculture is in comparison to conventional agriculture wonderful and provides many benefits to the environment such as:

  • It’s more considerate towards the land
  • Animals live in better conditions
  • It’s more respectful to the surrounding nature.

Organic: to buy or not?

Most of the time organic food is more expensive but you are also getting better quality. As the main advantage I see that in comparison to conventional food it contains only a minimal amount of residues.

That’s especially important for children, pregnant women and also for people who suffer from health problems. If you have an undeveloped or weakened body, then the more you burden it the more stress it has to deal with.

Nevertheless, even if you are healthy the role of good quality food in regards to prevention is no less important.

Another advantage is that producers don’t usually use so many pointless additives for processing the food.

However, at the same time I’m adding – all that glitters is not gold.

Organic doesn’t equal healthy food

People very often buy organic with a good feeling that if it’s organic it must be healthy or that it’s a “healthy snack“. Unfortunately it’s not so simple.

With some products it simply doesn’t matter what kind of quality you buy. Agave nectar is a great example. Whether you buy it organic or not it won’t do good to you.

Another example is processed food. Organic or not junk food is always junk food.

The way the food is processed is also important. When you buy organic milk you get a better quality. However, if it was pasteurized with the UHT (ultra high temperature) method then the gain is not so big anymore, because during the UHT pasteurization all the beneficial bacteria is killed anyway. Therefore, with milk it’s not about organic vs. conventional. It’s about pasteurized vs. non-pasteurized.

At the end of the day it depends on the particular food which you buy.

Which organic food are worth buying?

If you cannot buy everything organic because of limited availability or due to financial reasons, it’s not the end of the world (nor your health).

On the Environmental Working Group website you can find 2 well-arranged lists of fruits and vegetables according to the amount of pesticide residues they contain (Clean fifteen and Dirty dozen).

Dirty dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

Clean fifteen:

  1. Corn
  2. Avocado
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onion
  6. Frozen peas (for the fresh one some preservatives have to be used like e.g. fungicides)
  7. Papaya
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mango
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe melon
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Those which belong to dirty dozen, buy organic. Especially if they are your favorites and you eat them often.

On the other hand, those which are part of clean fifteen doesn’t have to always be organic.

On the EWG website you can also find a more detailed list containing other kinds of fruits and vegetables.

Other very important food are meat and eggs. In conventional farming animals are usually treated badly. Living space is bad, animal feed is bad and stress is high. All that strongly affects the quality of the meat and eggs. Because of this it is especially important to buy eggs and meat of high quality.

It is definitely better to buy high quality meat less often, rather than buying it often and in a low quality. Every cell in your body will be much happier as a result.

Did I forget anything?

Hopefully not.

Organic food can contribute to our health a lot. But even among organic you can find a whole lot of overpriced products, which don’t have anything in common with healthy food. When choosing it use your common sense.

Whether organic or not the best is to buy whole food (or processed only to a minimal extent) and process them at home. You don’t have to spend a long time reading labels and thinking whether this or that food is good or if it’s bad.

Whether you want to preserve your health or to heal yourself, high quality food forms the basis, which will aid you a lot.

If you already suffer from dis-ease or disease then the next step for you is mainly to choose the right type of food that will support your body and cure it.

Český jazyk

Herbal First Aid Kit: Home Edition


Our First Aid Kit at home is organised in drawers according to ailment.

Here is look at what is in our main First Aid Kit at home:



For an upset belly

Rosemary Tincture, Peppermint Tea, Fennel Seeds, Ginger Syrup, Peppermint Oil, Yarrow Tincture

For Constipation

Yellow Dock Tincture, Licorice Root Tea


Nettle Tea, Agrimony Tea, Sneeze Stopper Tincture, Bee Pollen


Agrimony Tincture, Agrimony Tea, Cinnamon Tea, Yarrow tea, Licorice Tea, Chamomile Tea


Cinnamon Tea, Ginger Tea, Peppermint Oil, Peppermint Tincture, Turmeric Tincture


Oregano, Frankincense, Sage, Rosemary, Ginger, Turmeric Tinctures

Licorice Root Tea, Turmeric Tea

Frankincense Oil, Myrrh Oil

Goldenrod Tincture, Salve


Valerian, Feverfew Tinctures

Feverfew, Lemonbalm, Peppermint, Lavender Teas

Lavender Oil

Headcase Roll-on applied topically

Headache Relief Tincture


For PMS Symptoms

Oil of Evening Primrose Capsules

Chaste Tree, Red Clover, Sage Tinctures

For Cramps

Yarrow, Cramp Bark Tinctures

Sage, Cinnamon, Ginger Teas

Yellow Dock Tinctures


Yarrow Healing Powder  or Cayenne Powder for any cut or scrape that requires a bandage to stop the bleeding


Yarrow, Peppermint Tinctures

Fever Doctor Tea

Sore Throat:

Licorice, Marshmallow Root Teas

Cough Be Gone Tea

Sage Lozenges

Thyme Syrup

Echinacea Throat spray


Lavender Oil

St John’s Wort, Lemonbalm, Chamomile, Lavender, Mint Teas

Zen Tonic

Valerian, Oregano, St John’s Wort, Rosemary, Sage Tinctures

Ashwagandha Tea

Wake Up Tincture (for Fatigue)

Wound Care:

Plantain Poultice

Arnica Salve, Knit-Together Salve

Healing Herbal Salve

St John’s Wort Oil, Tincture, Salve

Pain Relief:

Nettle Tea

Motherwort, Rosemary, Oregano, Frankincense, Valerian Tinctures

Cayenne Salve

Frankincense Oil

White Willow Bark Tincture

Cold and Flu:

Elderberry Syrup

Immune Harmony Tincture

Sage, Thyme, Cold Relief, Sneeze Stopper, Rose Hip Tinctures

Ginger, Turmeric, Cayenne, Licorice Root, Sage, Thyme Teas

Clear Chest Salve

Fever Doctor Tea

Echinacea Tea, Echinacea Tincture


St John’s Wort, Yarrow, Sage, Thyme, Chamomile and Peppermint Poultices

Anti-Fungal Salve

Lavender Oil

Wormwood Tincture


Valerian, Passionflower Tinctures

Sleepytime Tea

Lavender Oil


Just Hemp!, Healing Herbal, Anti-Fungal, Skin Solution, Stings and Bites, Calendula, Rash Relief Salves


Hawthorn Tea and Tincture

Heartease Tincture

Ginger Tincture and Tea


Printable Herbal First Aid Kit Contents:

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Clear Chest Salve

During a serious cold or flu, under the right circumstances, things can take a turn for the worse. The flu settles in your chest and you have a decidedly unpleasant cough that crackles, barks and is painful and exhausting. It is important that you see a doctor at this stage to avoid more serious infections.

Two of the more pressing concerns during a cold or flu this severe are how to get rest and be comfortable and how to avoid serious respiratory infections, such as bronchitis. This salve comes to the rescue in this scenario like a rock star!

The components of the Clear Chest Salve provide comfort, pain relief and a wide-spectrum antibacterial action that absorbs slowly and consistently into the chest administering medicinal constituents directly into the respiratory system where they are needed.

White Horehound, the big player in this salve, is a powerful antispasmodic, reducing the severity of the hacking cough, thus allowing you to rest more comfortably. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and has a special affinity for infected respiratory and pulmonary systems. There is documented research on its ability to draw out mucous, phlegm and other humours from the lungs and bronchi.

White Horehound Marrubium vulgare

Clear Chest Salve

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) White Horehound-infused olive oil Infused Oil Recipe
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Sage-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Thyme-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) beeswax
  • 20 drops: Eucalyptus essential oil

In a double boiler (or a pot nestled in a larger pot filled with a bit of water) over medium heat, add the oils and beeswax. 

Stir until the beeswax melts and is fully incorporated.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment.

Add the essential oils. Stir.

Pour into clean and sterilised jars.

Medicinal Actions:

White Horehound: tonic, aromatic, antispasmodic, anticatarrhal, draws out excess mucous from the lungs and bronchi

Sage: affinity for sore throats and cough, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, relaxant, nervine

Thyme: analgesic, antibacterial, antitussive, antispasmodic, expectorant, nervine

Eucalyptus: antibacterial, decongestant, affinity for respiratory system, anti-inflammatory

Echinacea Throat Spray

During cold and flu season it is important to take care of comfort and avoid secondary infections. This spray is a champion on both counts. We have been using this spray for many years in my family. It is adapted from a recipe in Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs.

For a dry, scratchy throat, it can be very soothing. For an angry, hot and inflamed throat it can be very cooling. For a painful sore throat, it can relieve that pain quickly. It has the added benefit of three antivirals that go to work on any throat or mouth infection reducing the risk of more serious secondary infections.

I find this throat spray a necessary part of our Herbal First Aid Kit.


Echinacea Throat Spray

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Echinacea Tincture
  • 1/8 cup (30 ml) honey
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil (more or less to taste)

Mix together the Echinacea tincture and honey.

Add the peppermint oil drop by drop until the spray has the right flavour for your taste. 

Pour the liquid into a spray bottle.

Shake well before each use.

Spray directly into the back of the mouth, toward the throat, once every half hour or as needed. 

Keep in the refrigerator.

This should last up to six weeks refrigerated.


Medicinal Actions:

Echinacea: immunostimulant, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. It has an affinity for bronchial and respiratory infections as well as throat and overall oral infections. It has a full complement of polysaccharides, which help protect cells against invasion by viruses and bacteria.

Peppermint: analgesic (pain relief), antiviral, antispasmodic, coolant, antibacterial, antifungal

Honey: vulnerary (wound healing), antiviral, antibacterial, high viscosity provides a barrier protecting against infection

Echinacea Tincture

           Echinacea has been the subject of extensive research for many decades. Lauded for many years as the go to cold and flu prevention plant, comprehensive research has confirmed that “Echinacea raises the body’s natural resistance to infection by stimulating and aiding immune function. It works, in part, by increasing macrophage and T-cell activity, the body’s first line of defense against foreign antigens.” -Rosemary Gladstar

As critical concerns of immune issues worldwide grow and irresponsible over-harvesting continues, ethical management of Echinacea and wild-crafting of its constituent parts must be taken into consideration when working with this powerful plant. I grow both medicinal varieties in my garden: Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea. I harvest the aerial parts (flower, leaf and seed) of E. purpurea and will soon harvest the root of my small E. angustifolia. When I need more root than I have, I look online for ethical sources.

Echinacea is not only a strong medicinal, but the plant provides tons of fun for our whole family. Many days during the hot summer months, you can see the entire Coyan family participating in one of our favourite pastimes: bee petting. Bees, especially big, fat, fluffy bumblebees, are positively drunk on Echinacea. They are so overtaken by the intoxicating nature of the flower that it is possible to leisurely pet the bees as they feast on the nectar. This and looking at clouds top my list of Greatest Ever Things To Do.


This tincture should be taken at the first sign of cold or flu, taken often and in small doses at the onset for it to be effective at warding off the illness, or a couple of times a day if you are in close proximity to others who are sick.

root of E. angustifolia

Echinacea Tincture

  • Leaves, flowers and seed of E. purpurea (dried or fresh) or root of E. angustifolia
  • Alcohol (at least 45%, brandy, vodka or Everclear 80% if using root)
  • Sterilised jar and lid

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

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.

Whole Plant Tincture

I prefer to make a tincture from the whole plant, thus I combine the root and aerial parts tinctures. This allows for the overall effectiveness of the tincture to be increased simply because different parts of the plant have differing strengths of similar properties.


Medicinal Actions:

Echinacea is an immunostimulant, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. It has an affinity for bronchial and respiratory infections as well as throat and overall oral infections. It has a full complement of polysaccharides, which help protect cells against invasion by viruses and bacteria. Other key constituents are: sesquiterpenes, linoleic acid, tannins, beta-carotene and Vitamin C.