Calendula Healing Salve

I grow tons of Calendula in my garden. Every day during summer, I harvest a basket of Calendula blossoms, dehydrate them and add them to my ever-growing jar of dried Calendula blooms. This jar (it’s huge) will serve all of our Calendula needs for the entire year. As I harvest the flowers, I also harvest seed so that I will have more to plant the next year.

Why go to all this effort? Because Calendula is used in so very many of my recipes, tinctures, salves, creams, soaps and teas. It is an amazing healer!


According to Mountain Rose Herbs:

Calendula is an annual flower native to the northern Mediterranean countries. It has historically been used as a food, adding flavor to cereals, rice, and soups. The petals can be added to salads for their brilliant color. As recently as 70 years ago, American physicians used calendula to treat amenorrhea, conjunctivitis, fevers, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns, as well as minor infections of the skin. Calendula creams and washes are still used to disinfect minor wounds and to treat infections of the skin. The antibacterial and immunostimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and cuts in people who have compromised immune systems. The herb stimulates the production of collagen at wound sites and minimizes scarring. Gargling calendula water may ease sore throat. Because of the vivid and brilliant color of calendula, it was thought to possess powers for the protection and benefit of humans… An often overlooked application of this herb is the treatment of post-mastectomy lymphedema. The herb will not reduce swelling, but it will reduce pain.” 


Recently, I have prescribed my Calendula Salve for skin healing, eczema, stretch marks, baby belly, diaper rash, cuts, scrapes and burns.

This salve is a vibrant orange, the more colour extracted from the flowers, the more potent the medicine.

Calendula Healing Salve

  • 1 cup Calendula-infused oil (olive oil for medicinal salve, almond oil for cosmetic salve) Infused Oil Recipe
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 20 drops Lavender 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 oil 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 oil. Stir.
Pour into clean and sterilised jars.


Medicinal Actions:

Calendula: Vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, immune stimulant, antifungal, antiviral, cholagogue, diaphoretic, lymphatic, antispasmodic, emmanagogue


Yarrow Tincture

This tincture can be used effectively to support a fever, in the instance of cold and flu and to put on a wound to prevent or treat infection. It is a great component to an Herbal First Aid Kit.

Yarrow Tincture

  • Yarrow stems, leaves and flowers (dried or fresh)
  • Alcohol (at least 45%, brandy, vodka or 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.

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.

On the Spot Infection Care

Herbal salves and poultices often bring relief and healing from infections quickly and naturally. We will talk a lot about different herbal preparations and protocols for dealing with infections.

Herbs are a daily part of our lives here in our family. Yesterday, one of my daughters had a small abscess due to picking repeatedly at a scab.  The skin had grown over the infection and it had started collecting pus in the opening underneath the fine layer of skin. Mind you, it is very small. A larger abscess should be seen by a doctor.

We applied a Yarrow poultice to the abscess several times during the day. Overnight, she applied Thyme Salve to the infected area. These are great on the spot topical resources for infections.

According to Herb Wisdom:

“Achillea millefolium, or yarrow, originates from Europe and has adapted to the regions of North America as well as other moderate regions. The word “Achillea” refers to Achilles, an ancient hero. He said that he used yarrow for himself and for his soldiers. It is where the Myth of Achilles’ Heel originates.

This herb plant was first used by ancient Greeks over 3,000 years ago for treating external wounds on the skin. The flowers and leaves of yarrow were eaten and also made into a tea-like drink. The fresh leaves were used to stop bleeding wounds, treat gastrointestinal problems, fight fevers, lessen menstrual bleeding and better circulation. The fresh leaves were also chewed on to relieve tooth aches. Scientists have credited yarrow for its benefits relating to almost every organ in the body.

Native Americans used yarrow for wounds, infections and bleeding. Chinese medicine gives it praise for the ability to affect the kidney, spleen, liver and energy channels throughout the body. Animal studies have also shown support for the use of yarrow in cleansing wounds and controlling the bleeding of wounds, cuts and abrasions. Yarrow has an antiseptic action. “

“The essential oils within thyme contain large amounts of thymol, which is a strong antibacterial agent as well as a strong antiseptic and antioxidant. The oil can be used within mouthwashes in order treat mouth inflammations as well as infections of the throat. Thyme is also used often within cough drops.”


Both Yarrow and Thyme serve us well as topical antiseptics. Internally, a tea from Yarrow and Mint or Sage and Thyme work wonderfully as a support for infection clearing.


Yarrow Poultice

watch this video for more information: Yarrow Healing Powder and Anti-Flu Tea 

Grind dried Yarrow plant to a fine powder.

Add drops of Yarrow Tincture until it forms a paste-like consistency.

Apply poultice to the affected area.

Knit-Together Salve

This salve is an excellent choice for internal injuries. It takes full advantage of the healing constituents found in Comfrey (Symphytum officinale). Comfrey has been used and documented since the Middle Ages as an extraordinary internal healer. The Latin name Symphytum is a derivative of the Greek meaning the knitting together of bones, hence the name Knit Together Salve.

Comfrey has an affinity for torn and strained muscles, ligaments, joints and broken or bruised bones. Both the musculoskeletal system and the respiratory system benefit from Comfrey.

The salve also contains Rosemary essential oil. Among the many benefits of Rosemary, it is an effective treatment for muscle pain and arthritis. It also helps circulation.

Knit Together Salve

  • 1 cup Comfrey-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 c beeswax
  • 20 drops Rosemary 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 oil. Stir.
Pour into clean and sterilised jars.

Next time you stub your toe, twist your ankle, bruise your knee or strain your back try Comfrey, whether you reach for this salve or use a poultice of the fresh Comfrey leaves, you will experience healing and relief.


Comfrey to the Rescue

I move too fast. I think it’s because I feel like I have so many things to do and my body can’t keep up with my brain. This is why I grow Comfrey in my garden. Because I am constantly bumping into stuff…and banging my toes.

According to Herbal Academy:

“Comfrey (Symphytum officianale), a member of the borage family, is a fast-growing, leafy perennial. The Latin name is from the Greek symphis, which means “growing together of bones” or “knit together.” Comfrey has appeared in the Materia Medica since the Middle Ages and some references to the plant date back as far as 50 AD. True to its Latin name, comfrey was applied externally as a poultice for bruises, sprains and fractures. It was taken internally for a variety of medical aliments ranging from broken bones and gastric ulcers to the treatment of female disorders. Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance commonly used in the cosmetic industry. Allantoin promotes granulation and cell formation which aids in healing at the cellular level. It has both anti-inflamatory and keratinolytic effects and is useful in the treatment of skin conditions following post radiation in cancer patients.”


Yesterday, I was rushing into the garage, slipped and crushed my toes into the doorway of the garage, effectively removing parts of my toenails and causing great swelling and pain in my middle three toes. After a few choice words, some hopping about and then the hobbling…I went right for my Knit Together Salve and rubbed it all over my toes. Then I shuffled out to the garden and picked a huge handful of comfrey leaves to make a poultice.

Comfrey Poultice

  • muslin or some thin cloths
  • handful of clean comfrey leaves
  • boiling water

Chop, cut or tear up the comfrey leaves.

Put the comfrey leaves bits in a heat-proof bowl.

Pour boiling water over the leaves just covering them.

Wait a minute or two.

Use a fork to pull out the leaves and place them on the muslin cloth.

Fold the cloth and place it on the affected area for at least 20 minutes (preferably overnight).


I wore my poultice overnight. After I wrapped my toes in the poultice cloth, I put a sock on to keep it all together for the night. The toes look much better this morning. It is amazing what comfrey can do overnight!

If you learn to recognise comfrey, you can use it as a great healer for bumps and bruises even on the go. Just pick a few leaves, crush them between your fingers to release their juices and apply them directly to the affected area for at least 20 minutes.


Herbal Remedy Workshop

If you live in České Budějovice or nearby, please join us for the first of many Herbal Seminars. This workshop will focus on herbal remedies for the summer season, specifically insect repellent and salves against bug bites.

I will work with each participant, teaching how to create these remedies on your own and each person will leave with the products they have made.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Herbal Workshop


Introducing: Adolf Jana

My  dear friend, Adolf Jana, is a nutritionist and practitioner of the Elementary Organ Theory. He is kind enough to be willing to share some of his insights into nutritional therapy from this Eastern perspective with us.

In his own words: “Many people walk in a vicious circle called pharmaceutical industry nowadays. They want to step out of it but they don’t know how to. They go from one checkup to another and keep taking prescription drugs. However, they don’t see any light in the end of a tunnel. Oftentimes even doctors don’t see any. When doctors start prescribing drugs after drugs everything gets only worse.

And prevention? It almost doesn’t exist.

It’s as if you beat around the bush.

But I think that there’s also a different way.

To start with we should look at a person as a whole and listen to what the body, mind and soul are saying.

Nevertheless, to achieve healing, cooperation of both sides is necessary. I will show you the path, support you and explain where the problem is and what to do about it. Afterwards you have to walk the path to recovery and balance.

Supplements are not part of the treatment. Nature already has everything necessary for our healing. If you have a feeling (or somebody tells you) that you need some supplements in order to keep your health, then something is wrong.

How is such system – where you regularly come to pick up drugs or supplements – different from the system of pharmaceutical industry which we complain about so much nowadays?”

You can find more on his blog: Adolf Jana Homepage

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Eastern medicine and 4 Advantages of Elementary organ theory

In the last article I wrote about the topic of physical balance, how to achieve it and how our senses are helping us keep this balance in order for us to stay healthy. Our balance or health is influenced to a big extent by our choices of food. This time I would like to focus on a more closer description of Elementary organ theory (EOT).

Common points of treatment practices

Different treatment methods have been developing together with humanity almost from the beginning of history. Probably the most prominent doctors in history were Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna who contributed to the development of traditional treatment methods like Ancient Greek Medicine or Avicenna’s Four Temperament Medicine. In the East, also other approaches to medicine such as Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine were developing.

These traditional treatment practices have many common points but mainly the following three:

  1. Therapy is based on the findings of the state of the organism as a whole and not its separate parts (approach of modern medicine)
  2. Focus on prevention of diseases
  3. Treatment is usually done through foods and lifestyle changes

The common goal of traditional methods is to cure the person through regaining equilibrium of body components.

In the 1950s, Dr. Saber Multani revised Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine and proposed the Elementary Organ Theory. Today a growing number of practitioners treat their patients using this method. Additional 20 books and more than 100 papers which support the Elementary Organ Theory were also written by Dr. Saber Multani.

Four elements

From the point of view of EOT, the world around us – whether it is minerals, plants, animals or us ourselves – is made up of basic elements. These elements are the smallest particles which are not divisible anymore. Altogether there are four elements – fire, air, water and earth – each of which has a specific temperament, which is given by the physical characteristics of the particular element.

  • Fire – warm/dry
  • Air – warm/moist
  • Water – moist/cold
  • Earth – dry/cold

Four different organ systems are also connected to these elements mentioned above. Fire is connected to the liver and glandular system. The heart and muscle system is connected to airWater is connected to the brain and nerve system. The spleen and lymphatic system is connected to earth.

According to EOT, the cause of health problems is always connected with one of the main organs. The treatment is then given by prescribing foods and herbs if needed. By following specific diet we are helping the weakened organ to restore its function.

The body is gradually regaining the necessary balance. The more balanced the organism is the better it is able to activate mechanisms, which are needed for its optimal function and healing.

The health state is diagnosed mainly by feeling the pulse, because any mental or physical problems are reflected in our pulse and it is possible to feel it (e.g. the change of speed during stress or the change of rhythm as the result of disease). To help determine the health state, the examination of the tongue is also used. A urine sample can also be used to diagnose in some cases.

Causes of disease

Diseases can have two different causes. Either they are caused by physical or by mental imbalance. Whether the illness is caused one way or another it will manifest itself by malfunction of some organ or organ system.

From the point of view of EOT, all the diseases are divided according to which organ system is primarily affected. All the foods and herbs are also split in relation to which organs they support (nourish).

Different lifestyle changes such as exercise or meditation which help to relax the mind and clean up the body, can be recommended apart from the specific food list.

Advantages of EOT

Like other traditional methods, EOT looks at the human being as a whole and focuses mainly on treating the root cause of the problem. However, I consider the main advantages of EOT to be especially the following aspects:

  • The possibility of treating through foods and herbs, which are generally available – therefore you don’t need to use expensive supplements.
  • You are actively involved in treatment of sickness and have the option of influencing your health by the use of foods – you eat to become healthy.
  • The food list changes throughout time according to the needs of your body as conditions improve.
  • The diet is usually temporary, lasting only until you regain full health.

So whether you have acute (e.g. common cold, flu…) or chronic problems (e.g. allergies, asthma, diabetes, hypertension…), they can be treated or helped with this method.

Stings and Bites Salve

My Stings and Bites Salve is a go to for any type of insect sting, bug bite, splinter, infection, blister, boil or infected acne. It contains Plantain and Chamomile infused in olive oil, beeswax and lavender essential oil. The most active constituent is plantain for its drawing ability. It pulls toxins from the area as well as drawing out any foreign substance, provides pain relief, prevents infection and reduces swelling.

From Mountain Rose Herbs:

“Plantain has been used as a panacea in some Native American cultures and with some very good reasons. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. The leaves, shredded or chewed, are a traditional treatment for insect and animal bites and the antibacterial action helps prevent infection and the anti-inflammatory helps to relieve pain, burning, and itching. There is some investigation ongoing to study its affects on lowering blood sugar.”


Stings and Bites Salve

  • 3/4 c plantain-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 c chamomile-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 c beeswax
  • 20 drops lavender 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 oil. Stir.

Pour into clean and sterilised jars.

Herbs On The Go

When our family travels I take along an herbal first aid kit. It has most of the things we might need: Echinacea tincture, yarrow powder, thyme salve, plasters. Nevertheless, there are sometimes when we are caught without our first aid kit, or simply don’t have what we need for a particular ailment. What do we do then? It would be so easy to just go to the pharmacy, pick up some ibuprofen and call it a day. But, even easier, healthier and cheaper is a trip to the local convenience store for two boxes of tea bags.

My daughters and I just last week took a holiday in Berlin. This was meant to be a girl’s trip, fun, a bit of luxury, museums, cafes and shopping. The first day, Bekah got a mosquito bite and, as she is allergic, her ankle and foot swelled up, painfully inhibiting her movement, her enjoyment of the trip and our mobility as a group. An oversight on my part, I hadn’t any of our Stings and Bites Salve, nor did I see any Plantain, our go to plant for bug bites, in the cracks and crevices of the city streets (it grows in abundance in our area). So we went to our hotel room mini-bar and grabbed the ubiquitous free tea bags, and to our great delight, amongst them were the teas we needed: Peppermint and Chamomile.

According to  ‘Nutritional Herbology’:

Peppermint contains aromatic compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation, reduce pains, promote sweating and are antiseptic. It also contains astringent compounds which shrink inflamed tissues. Peppermint has been used to treat indigestion, flatulence, mouth sores, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea, morning sickness and dysmenorrhea.”

According to ‘Alternative Nature’:

Chamomile flowers are used in alternative medicine as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, tonic, vasodilatory. The anti-inflammatory properties make it good for rheumatism, arthritis, and other painful swellings. Additional uses in herbal medicine include an antispasmodic for intestinal and menstrual cramps, relieving gas pains, and a very mild but efficient laxative. Milder tea in large doses is given throughout the day for fevers, sore throats, the aches and pains due to colds, flu, and allergies.”

I emptied and washed out the hotel room garbage can and made a warm foot soak for Rebekah. While she was soaking her foot, I prepared a cup each of the chamomile and peppermint teas. I covered the cups while they were steeping in order to retain all of the important volatile oils. Once the teas were done, Rebekah drank them to benefit from their internal healing qualities, as well as to aid in stress relief, while I opened the tea bags and applied the warm, moist plant material to her swollen foot and ankle as a poultice to aid in the healing of her limb topically. We did this several times over the few days in Berlin. We saw great results even the next day.

Every convenience store, grocer’s, hotel room or drug store has Chamomile or Peppermint tea bags. Together, these are powerful all-around medicine when you are on the go. It’s not a bad idea to carry a few of these bags with you in your purse or first aid kit. These teas can be used for anxiety, cold and flu, fever, insomnia, allergies and a host of other on-the-go needs.