My Herbs and Art Blog
-Infused oils are an ancient way to extract the principle elements, and scent from plants and preserve them. My favorite, and most herbalist's favorite oil base is Olive Oil. When I say olive oil, I mean extra virgin, 1st Cold Press- ONLY! The first press, with cold extraction is pressed from the oil, usually with an ancient wooden pressure press that squeezes the oil from the olive fruit. This is this the most pure and energy filled oil you can use to make infused herbal oils.
".....I like them all, but especially the olive. For what it symbolizes, first of all- peace with its leaves and joy with its golden oil."
"The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven."
There are other vegetable oils that can be used, and they are apricot kernel oil, almond oil, and grape seed oil. I just personally prefer Olive Oil and that is what I choose to use just about every time I make an infused oil, or ointment/ salve.
When you make your infused oils- you will want to use dried herbs or "fresh" wilted herbs and flowers. To wilt- pick fresh and place on a paper towel on your counter for a few hours. Some of the water will evaporate, making the herbs more stable for infusing. When they contain too much moisture content, there is risk of spoilage. I love how Rosemary Gladstar explains the proportions when making infused oils. She recommend the "simpler's method," whereby you put the desired amount of herb in a jar, and cover it completely with oil, making sure you leave 2-3 inches of oil over the top of the herb.
The herbs must be covered with the olive oil, because any portion that is not- can spoil, especially if you are using fresh wilted herbs. After covering the plant material, cover the jar tightly with a lid and place it in a warm sunny spot. (This method is called solar infusion, because you will be using the sun's heat and energy to extract the essences of the plant, rose, in this instance.) I love this method much more than heating my oil and herbs with the stove, or a crock pot.
and shake, or agitate your jar of rose petal oil at least once a day. This actually makes a big difference in the quality of the finished oil. I agitate about 4 or 5 times by gently turning my hand back and forth with the jar. The typical amount of time that you can let your oils sit, is two weeks. If you want the rose oil to be stronger you have a few options, 1. let the petals sit in the oil an extra week, or 2. strain off all the oil, compost the rose petals and then put a new batch of petals in the oil and start again.
When you strain the oil from the petals, use cheese cloth, so you can really squeeze the essence from the petals. To store your homemade rose oil, it is more preferable to use brown, glass bottles. I have used clear glass, but only when I am storing in a dark cabinet to keep the light and heat from affected the made oil. It is kind of strange that the oil needs to sit in the sun when you are making it, but when it is finished, you need to keep the new oil in a dark, dry storage space.
Do not forget to label your herbal product with the ingredients, the date, and I sometimes even write down the plant source, and the type of oil I used. Your new rose oil will not have a super strong scent of rose, but can be made more prominent by double and triple infusing the petals, or by adding a drop of pure rose essential oil to the finished product. For heart issues, and issue of sadness, grief or a feeling of apathy, gently massage the rose oil over your heart one to two times a day. Enjoy and God bless!
photo credit is to www.unsplash.com (except for first pic of the olive oil container.)
,Lately, and because it is summer and the plants are blooming, and fresh every day, I usually wake up and pick something fresh for my morning tea. Today though, it is rainy and I am not feeling like going out to pick my herbs. I do think it is important, however to spend time outside in all types of weather. We just returned home from vacation where we I had much opportunity to really connect with nature. The home where we were staying was so natural... I felt the earth permeating the whole house.
Our vacation stay was at an old farmhouse in Maine. I have always been attracted to old homes. I even grew up in a one rooms school house (which had been converted and added upon), but there was a definite feel and a wisdom to that home. When I look at all the places I have lived, when I had the express option, I chose homes with that age, and natural feel that reminded me of where I was raised.
Somehow along the way of getting married, and having children, I lost a lot of myself. I want to say that this is normal. I do believe this happens to people, especially women when they have children. Our needs kind of get displaced by the immediate needs of the little ones. It was during my years of child bearing that I found a lot of healing physically, but emotionally and spiritually, I just did not have the time to focus on myself.
I bring this up because healing- or living a life of harmony has more to do with plants that we eat. It has a lot to do with them, but also it is in the way we live. As I write this, I remember a museum I worked at in Vermont- callled Rokeby Museum. I loved working there. It permeated with history. The museum was actually a homestead of a Vermont family. It was rich with the writings, possessions, stories, and art from a few generations of the Robinson family. It is a true treasure because of the consistent amount of preserved history from this particular family over a few generations. It allowed the visitors and employees to really step back in time, and feel the past.
Where am I going with all this? I am heading to this place. I currently live in a newer home. My home has very little of the features that I know in my soul that I am attracted to. I do not have hardwood floors, it has a lot of carpeting, there are a number of natural materials in some stone flooring, and a stone fireplace, and with natural wood beams, but this home has never felt like "home" to me. I have worked on it, reworked it, changed things, moved things, painted rooms, decorated, added artwork, incorporated plants, pretty much everything one can do, besides a full remodel. Yet this home does not feel like home.
I have never understood the reason until now. I understand because I have gotten closer to who I am as a person. This investigation to who I am, as revealed to me a number of characteristics I need to feel at peace or at "one" with my environment. I've denied them to myself. I have felt irritated on a daily basis, and did not understand why I felt so out of tune or like I was missing something. These realizations are good for me. They are good because when we deny our own truth on a regular basis, it does something to our physical bodies. It often brings upon illness or "dis-ease" when we deny who we are, what we know to be true in our deep inner most self.
Where do I go from here? Well- we have been talking about moving for a while now, and I have been looking at homes. Again I have found myself having a really difficult time staying true to myself as I look for a home. I here the voices in my head telling me that "my husband would like this," or "my friends might think that," or "so and so might have this opinion." This is crazy! I can't believe that the thoughts of others are affecting how I live and what type of house I have.
All of this is turning into a bit of a ramble, but it is what I am going through right now. I am determining, or finding out what I want in a home. I am nearly 40 and I know what I want. I have known. I think back on all the homes I have visited, and places I have stayed, and I have recorded those thoughts into my mind. Yet- I have not really executed those thoughts or voiced them and made it a reality in my life. I believe this is important. I believe it is important to one's health to voice and state and make happen those hidden likes and desires. If I don't it is like living with my truth buried, and the body will manifest that discontentedness.
So today, I will take a small step towards making my home a place I can really enjoy. Today I will put forward what efforts I can, one small step at a time to creating change in my life. I will not look at the whole picture as something overwhelming, but will take little bits and try to make those little bits add up to one big piece over time. Step by step, inch by inch, I will let my truth out. I will also continue to look for a new house, and keep in mind that my truth is a home with history, natural materials, and wisdom permeating its beams.
I have been studying herbs for a long time. It will be 20 years this September. I have been fully incorporating herbs in my life almost as long. I think it was after my first son was born, 13 years ago that I really dived into integrating herbs in my life in a total and complete way. Life is dependent on plants. Do you know that at one time in history- that is how all peoples lived. Everything was obtained from the land, and made from the land. Plants have sustained us, provided for us and given life for thousands of years. Man has of course depended on animal sources for food, but it is the earth, the trees, the plants, the herbs that have made life possible. Thank you Lord!
beThis brings me to St. John's Wort- Hypericum perforatum. I of course know this plant and of this plant and have used dried St. John's Wort in preparations. However, you do not really get to know a plant until you search for it. Find it in the wild. Know it's habitat, and pick it and feel it and smell the blossoms, dry it and prepare it for medicine. I believe that an herbalist becomes an Herbalist when spending ample and concentrated time with the plants where they grow.
This year was the first year that I got to know Hypericum perforatum. This was the first year where I searched for it in the wild. I was happy to find it growing many places near my property and where we vacationed in Maine. Once you see a plant, and know it by sight, it stands out wherever you go. As we drove the 500 miles to the North coast of ME- I spotted it everywhere, as I did dozens of other plants that I have become very intimately aware of.
I think the most interesting aspect of St. John's Wort is that the oil from the petals turns red. In Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine (p. 338)... it states that St. John's Wort was named after St. John the Baptist and the herb is said to bloom on the saints birthday, June 24th and to bleed red oil from its flowers on August 29, the day that John the Baptist was beheaded. It also states that for centuries, St. John's wort was credited with the power to drive away devils. I personally think this refers to the known and tested uses of this plant as one of nature's best anti-depressants.
I am currently making St. John's wort oil from the flowers and parts of the leaves. Before I left on vacation I had dried some of the herb and began soaking it in olive oil. I did this however pretty early in the season, and I noticed my oil was not turning red as it should be. I think (according to my research)... that I picked the flowers a little too soon to really extract the red oil from the petals. It is now about 2 weeks since I first picked the flowers and I am on vacation. Every day I have been making herbal tea from the St. John's wort plant. In the morning I go outside and pick some fresh herbs for the day. I have been concentrating on taking St. John's wort by itself to really get a good feel for the plant.
When I pick this herb, I cut off about 3-4 inches total from the top of the flowers down the stem. I boil my water on the stove and when it has boiled, I put what would be about the equivalent of 2 Tablespoons of the fresh herb into the pot, remove from heat and cover with a lid. I wait 10 minutes and when I return, the tea is a beautiful red color. So, I know that the red oil is present, but I think it will keep increasing in strength as the month continues. I will need to keep experimenting with harvest time.
The tea has been quite delicious. It is hard to define a new taste. I can't really say it tastes like another flavor- for now that I have tasted it fresh from the ground, I would say it tastes like St. John's wort, but to someone who has no reference that is hard to define. It is herby and earthy- with a slight pine or citrus scent. I think that is the closest description I can come to at this time. 😊
As for the effects. I really think that this is the type of herb that needs to be consistently enjoyed to see reap the emotional or spiritual benefits. I must say though- that I have been sleeping very well since we have been on vacation and I have been drinking an infusion of St. John's wort. I do struggle with sound sleep, and I am not sure if it is a number of factors, such as the relaxing bedroom... (my home bedroom needs some more balance), the sea air, the quiet of nature, or the tea). More than likely it is all of these, and what I have learned from this trip, is that I need to create an air of vacation at home. My home should feel like I am on vacation. I want to live my life, as a healer should be one where I am filled up so I can pour out on others.
As I learn more about this intricate, beautiful plant- I will post again.
Not sure if there is a more beautiful sight than a blooming field of Queen Anne's Lace flowers. It is truly a picture to behold. There are of course many rivaling sights to be seen on God's beautiful planet, but it is one of those marvels. Fortunately you can see this pretty plant bloom almost everywhere, as it has often been considered an invasive weed. Perhaps it seems that way, before the flowers bloom. I know I am often tempted to weed them out of my garden beds, but I hold off. I wait- because I know when the blooms come it will be worth the vision.
Gorgeous! Isn't it? The best time of year to witness these blooms is the end of July into August, and they bloom rather long before turning to seed. So you can't really miss it. The story behind the name of this plant is that "Queen Anne of England (who died in 1714) pricking her finger—drawing a drop of blood—while sewing lace." (https://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/herb-to-know-queen-annes-lace)
If you look closely at some of my pictures below you will see the little red dot (dark red) in the center of some of the flowers. I love the name. I love the story. I love the unique red center of this plant. The uses of Queen Anne's Lace are also quite extraordinary. The modern day carrot is derived from this plant. If you dig up the roots, they are not as pretty and "carrot-shaped," but they definitely smell of carrot. You can wash the roots and chew them. They are a little tough, but the flavor is unique. Or you can wash and dry and boil in a decoction.
To decoct the roots. You will want to use one, 2-3 inch root per cup of water. Place the clean roots in a pot for boiling/ simmering. Cover with the appropriate amount of water. Turn the heat to a medium temperature, and bring to a low boil/ simmer. Continue to "cook" the roots for 30 minutes, while you have a lid on the pan. When the time has elapsed, remove from heat and let sit for another hour. You can then drink hot- and store the rest in the refrigerator for probably a week before it would spoil.
The decoction of wild carrot is known to help with low energy in the gall bladder, and kidneys. It reinvigorates these organs bringing about a cleansing effect to the system. I recommend drinking the decoction with just the Queen Anne's Lace first. Anytime trying a new herb. I do not recommend combining with other plants. You want to get a real feel, and taste for the herb by itself before mixing in other herbs. Companion plant you may want to blend with Queen Anne's Lace are fennel seeds, a touch of lavender, and a bit of chamomile. I like to mix more earthy tasting plants with floral flavors.
There is some interesting history about the use of wild carrot seeds as a natural contraceptive. I am not going to go into the details on how to accomplish this, but will share my own personal trial with this herb, in this way. You can read more on this here (https://herbalisl.blogspot.com/2009/11/queen-annes-lace-conscious-choice-for.html). I would recommend cross referencing a few sources before attempting this method. For me personally I do not believe in taking any "drug" or hormone related birth control substance. I also do not believe in getting "fixed" and changing the body through surgery, unless there is an absolute need or emergency. I believe in doing things naturally. I also believe in a God that provides natural solutions- if we look for them.
Our Father has given us a monthly cycle with a natural rhythm that we can follow with practice and experience. There is a window of days when we as women are most fertile, and very likely to get pregnant. Thankfully it is a window, because it does allow us some choice over our bodies. To me the choice is something you think about before coming together with your spouse. The choice to end another life is not a choice that is a definite destruction of life begun.
Besides the natural rhythm method also called Natural Family planning, there are herbs that have been used for thousands of years by herbalist to aid the body in pregnancy, child birth, nursing, post partum, pre-pregnancy and even to discourage pregnancy. I believe that wild carrot seed can be a blessing for a mother who is in need of some personal healing time for herself. Although I believe in big families, having many children in a row can be very hard on the mother.
I have collected the seeds in volume in the fall when the heads turn brown. You can just cut them off. Now the first year I did this, I dried the seeds in the umbral. I would not suggest doing this. I plan on collecting this year, and will shake the seeds loose onto trays and then dry further in paper bags. You will need to collect a lot of seeds- because they are tiny, and I believe when drinking as a tea, you will want a teaspoon at a time- so yes that is a lot of seed collection!
Thankfully Queen Anne's Lace grows so abundantly it will be no trial to collect enough flower heads for the seeds. Just remember to collect from areas that are healthy, and not in roadside drainage. If you have access to a field- that is the best place for your collection. During times of intimacy- when I know that I have been close to my fertility time, I will drink the wild carrot tea for a few days. I enjoy the taste quite immensely, and I know that I am benefitting my kidneys and gall bladder as all herbs have many functions, many purposes. That purpose could just be to provide some beauty and joy to what may be a dismal day.
I was on vacation when I took these pictures. Feeling very sad at the recent loss of my dad. The one morning I had decided that that was enough mourning (for now). I need to dwell on the positives. I woke up and watched the sun rise, and then went down to the field of Queen Anne's Lace growing outside my window. I picked a bouquet of the flowers and placed them on the table with Bee balm and Golden rod. Just the act of picking a bouquet is enough to turn around a sad mood. Would love to hear your experiences with this plant below. Thank you for reading this through. 😊
I found an interesting post the other day on Facebook, and it was a picture of an herbal medicine cabinet, and it said something like "this is what a medicine cabinet should look like" and it was filled with all types of herbs and jars, and such. I thought- oh my gosh! That is what my medicine cabinet(s) look like. I must say I do have a typical, pharmacy stocked chest as well with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, band-aids and gauze and antibacterial creams, as well as a first aid kid. Although I love love love my herbs, there have been times when CVS products have come in super handy, so I would suggest being stocked in both. My herbal chest however is much bigger, and contains many more varieties of remedies. Below are some pictures of my main herbal medicine cabinet, but I have also taken up space in many of my kitchen cabinets, and spaces on my sun porch for other herbal making supplies. It is truly time to upgrade to a second kitchen space for my plants.
I decided to write a list of what I keep on hand and have stocked to give the reader some inspiration for their own herbal supply. Some of the items are tools that are needed to make medicine, tincture, salves, and other herbal products for personal use- as well as to share with friends, family and your community.
1. Eye wash cup, and Dr. Christopher's Herbal Eyewash tincture. (I use to make this from scratch. It contains some wonderful herbs, such as eyebright and cayenne, in an alcohol base, but this is not one I am currently making, and prefer to buy this.)
2. Cheese cloth for straining tinctures.
3. Blood pressure monitor, for personal check-ups.
4. A thermometer when running a fever.
5. Many glass jars, with lids.
6. 1 and 2 oz. amber tincture bottles.
7. Cleaned and sanitized baby food jars to use for salves, herbs, or seed collection.
8. 1 and 2 oz. metal tins for salves and ointments.
9. A size 0 capsule maker.
10. A small 1 pound kitchen scale.
11. Wheat germ oil
12. Extra Virgin Olive oil and beeswax
13. Raw local honey
14. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, as well as Distilled Apple Cider vinegar. I like the distilled version when I make vinegar tinctures
15. Red wine and White wine (preferably organic to keep on hand to make a cordial type tincture).
16. A bottle of good quality Vodka to make alcohol tinctures.
17. Pure vegetable glycerin to make my glycerites.
18. I also keep food grade plastic bags to put my mixed teas in for friends and family.
19. I have labels to label everything I make.
20. A cabinet full of essential oils. (I use Young Living oils right now, but am thinking of switching to a smaller company with more sustainable plant practices. Suggestions welcome!) I use my essential oils for some aromatherapy purposes, but also in some of my salves, and other refrigerator remedies (like jewel-weed juice), to help with preservation time.
21. All natural cough drops.
22. Homemade garlic oil for earaches.
23. Size 0 and 00 capsules (vegetarian preferably).
24. Aloe juice/ gel kept in the refrigerator
NOW FOR MY HERBS
*I keep a lot of different herbs on hand. I am always changing the amounts because I use some, sell some, and give some away. I am not going to notate the exact ounces of what I have because it fluctuates but I will make a note if the particular herb is one I keep in abundance (like upwards to a pound). I am not going to list my kitchen spices, which is probably a good idea for another post. I do sometimes use my kitchen spices in my herbal mixes, such as turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
1. Lobelia tincture (homemade with Apple Cider Vinegar and Sage from my garden).
2. No More Sugar Tincture (this is a formula I created for sugar cravings, and it contains herbs like Rose, and Yarrow.)
3. My homemade Valerian, Lavender, Chamomile glycerite.
4. Red wine soaked with Rose, Clove, Cinnamon and raw honey. (I drink less than an ounce if feeling very anxious, to settle in the evening.)
5. Red wine that has been turned into a valerian/ wine tincture. (Again this is for the nerves, and just a tiny thimble full will work).
6. A white wine tincture with fresh horseradish that I keep in the refrigerator for lung and bronchial complaints.
7. Multi-vitamin glycerite made from Dr. Christopher's Vitalerbs powder.
8. Herbal Calcium formula I made from comfrey, peppermint (from my garden), lobelia and horsetail.
9. A Kidney tincture I created with cornsilk and dill seeds. I love this! And so do my kids, because it tastes like pickles. (I used a ACV base).
10. Catnip and ACV tincture.
11. Chaparral powder
12. Chickweed dried from my garden
13. Echinacea leaf and root
15. Red Clover dried from my garden (I usually have close to a pound of this herb).
17. Comfrey (dried from my garden).
18. Lavender flowers (a teeny bit dried from my garden.) I need to plant more lavender!
19. Calendula flowers (partially wild-crafted).
20. Catnip (dried from my garden).
21. Lemon balm or Melissa (dried from my garden).
22. Hops powder
23. Burdock leaf dried from my property.
24. Dandelion root and flowers (some of it wild-crafted, but I usually purchase extra root).
25. Burdock root
26. Marshmallow root (some of it dried from wild-crafting).
27. Licorice root
29. Hibiscus flower
30. Mullein (I dry some from wild-crafting but also purchase because I like to have about 1/2 a pound on hand).
31. Red Raspberry leaf (some years I take the time to collect and dry). I like to have quite a few ounces of this on hand as well.
32. Yarrow (One of my favorite herbs. I usually have a pound on hand, and also I grow and dry a lot of Yarrow).
36. Horseradish root soaked in vinegar (kept in the refrigerator).
37. Wild carrot seeds (wild-crafted)
38. Juniper berries
39. Fennel seeds
40. Mustard seed powder
41. Peppermint (dried from my garden).
42. Spearmint (dried from my garden).
43. Rose petals (I sometimes have this on hand).
44. Golden rod flowers (wild-crafted)
45. Boneset (wild-crafted from my property).
46. Pau D'arco
48. Cayenne pepper powder 90K heat units
50. Sage (partially dried from my garden).
51. St. John's Wort (wild-crafted)
52. Slippery Elm (I always have at least 4 ounces of this).
53. Cedar berries
54. White oak bark powder
55. Lobelia (I like to keep a pound on hand).
56. Mugwort (wild-crafted and dried)
57. Echinacea flowers as well as Black-Eyed Susan flowers dried (from my property).
58. Rosemary (dried from my garden).
59. Oregano (dried from my garden).
60. Dried plantain from my yard
61. Alfalfa powder
**And I am sure there is something I am forgetting.
62. I almost forgot! Black Walnut Tincture. I am almost out! I usually make a gallon in the fall. I am down to my last ounce. LOVE LOVE. I also keep and store the hulls in the freezer. Works so well for skin conditions, and this is the best method I have found to preserve the hull/ juice intact.
63. This year I made Honeysuckle and Dandelion Oxymels. The dandelion is already all gone, but I still have the honeysuckle. It is delicious!
64. Valerian root
SALVES I KEEP ON HAND
1. I love the Dr. Christopher ointments- especially his Black Ointment.
2. I make my own black drawing salve.
3. I usually make a Calendula ointment for skin issues.
4. I have a bone/ muscle/ cartilage salve I make with Comfrey
5. Chickweed ointment
6. Jewel-weed juice I keep in the refrigerator (not a salve, but for the skin).
7. A Cayenne based ointment I make for muscle aches and pains.
8. Plantain ointment
I am not going to list all my other pre-made herbal supplements I buy, but I do have quite a few other tinctures and capsules I purchase, usually Dr. Christopher brand that I keep on hand for daily use. We have a big family of 7 people. I also have a few powder supplements with mushrooms (like shitake). I plan on learning more about this wonderful healing modality and either growing and drying or collecting and drying my own.
1. Peppermint smudge stick (homemade)
2. Mugwort smudge stick (homemade)
That is pretty much what I currently have in my home right now. It does fluctuate sometimes, and I am going to be harvesting/ wild-crafting a great deal over the next few months. I will make an updated blog post perhaps this winter when all of the stocking is updated.
Thoughts to consider: "God is the Healer and the physician is the agent." (Taken from an article written by Stephen T. Newmyer called, Asaph's 'Book of Remedies': Greek Science and Jewish Apologetics).
Let us look at the definition of physician.
There are three definitions that I found online at www.dictionary.com:
1. a person who is legally qualified to practice medicine; doctor of medicine.
2. a person engaged in general medical practice, as distinguished from one specializing in surgery.
3. a person who is skilled in the art of healing.
Let us look at this definition- "A person who is skilled in the art of healing."
If I were to interpret this- God is the healer, and a person skilled in the art of healing is the agent.
I am technically not the healer. I am using God's healing herbs. I am researching, studying, learning and trying to understand what He has made. I am an agent, as are others who are have developed skill in the art of healing.
Exodus 15:26 (NIV)
26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
I have grappled with this tenet of the bible "if you do such and such, pay attention to His commands, and keep all His decrees" God promises to keep way the diseases he brought upon the Egyptians.
This verse brings me to this place where I have found myself many times. I have tried to obey all God's commands, and His decrees, but nonetheless- I am a sinner and during times of sin, I have found myself physically weak. Sometimes it takes months to figure out an area of sin, and to repent of it. I should have said years. Sometimes it takes years and years to have one's eyes opened to an area of sin. In that time, sin causes illness in the body. Sin is error. It is not the "way" God created us to be. Jesus came to save us from our sins. He does not save our physical body, but our spiritual body. When we exist in this place of having our sins forgiven, but not in a place of being delivered, I see God's herbs, and plants as a Grace and Mercy.
The closer my walk with God- the better I have found my health to be. The more I am healed, in the physical sense. It seems to me a process of revelation and healing. At least that is what I have experienced in my walk with God. I have been supernaturally healed of areas of sin, or forgiveness, or pain, or worry and at the same time, found illness passing away. This process has been a layering and unfolding and I have found my health better and stronger, but yet we age too always working towards entropy. It is such a bewildering topic to explore.
If I had not have had God's plants in the depths of my messes, I would have become so terribly ill. I am grateful that we have a merciful God, and I see His herbs as a mercy.
I always want to remember though the blood of Jesus covers my sin, and God does not see my sin. I rely of the the blood. However, the wages of sin are death, and when I am in sin, and I mean really in sin... you know the dark side before revelation makes you aware, and you translate to a higher place with the Lord. The herbs keep my physical body strong. They don't save my soul. Jesus does that. My belief in a savior saves my soul, but my physical body is strengthened while I fumble in the darkness.
Oxymel- comes from the Latin meaning of 'acid and honey.' When I refer to the term oxymel- I am referring to Apple Cider Vinegar, and raw honey. The old, or ancient recipes called for more honey than vinegar. I prefer to use more vinegar than honey, but that decision is up to you. You can gladly play around with different recipes.
The following historical information was gathered from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224834098_Oxymel_in_medieval_Persia and accessed on 6/17/2020
Oxymel- as a medicine has been used for thousands of years. There are many recorded recipes and uses. One of the first recorded uses was by Hippocrates (460-370BC) and Dioscorides (1st century AD). Oxymels were used widely in medieval Persia, and much of their knowledge was gathered from Greek and Roman civilizations.
According to the article in Pharmaceutical Historian, March 2012 Oxymel was a kind of syrup which is called traditionally Sekanjabin in Persia. Traditional Oxymel contained 1 part vinegar, 2 parts honey, and 4 parts water. The mixture was boiled, until one-fourth remained as a syrup. There are many many variations to this basic recipe, and the article describes some 1200! I like this simple recipe using pomegranates.
Pomegranate oxymel: "Administered in chronic fevers and useful effects on liver and stomach function." Sweet and sour pomegranate juices (200g of each) are mixed with vinegar (100g) and then sugar (200g) dissolved in the mixture and boiled.
You can read the full article on www.researchgate.net here:
I am kind of new to oxymels- I have been experimenting with different preparations and have found that I like this method best for using fresh herbs. It is summer right now and I am collecting flowers daily and have made a batch of dandelion, Taraxacum officinal and honeysuckle (woodbind), Lonicera periclymenum oxymel. For my recipes I did not boil any of the ingredients. I plan to do so with some dried herbs, to store for the winter, but this batches were meant to be fresh, lighter, and to be enjoyed in this summer season. (As an alternative to tea).
Honeysuckle is in bloom right now.
Botanical name Lonicera- (sometimes called woodbind). As a kid, we use to stand for hours at the honeysuckle bush, sucking out the little sweet nectar from the trunk end of the flower. I still do this today, but not for hours at a time!
Yesterday I picked half a quart jar of the flowers and pressed them down as I put them in the jar. The petals are very light and airy, and you need to gather a lot to fill a jar.
I then decided to make an Oxymel- which is a vinegar/ honey preparation. I considered a tincture with vodka (but the state stores are closed)... and I considered soaking them in wine to make a tincture, but finally settled on the oxymel because I thought the honey would be a nice accent.
What have honeysuckle flowers been used for- historically?
-Stomach disorders and more.
To make the Oxymel I filled a jar half way with the flowers, pressing them down about every inch of flowers gathered. I then added apple cider vinegar until the liquid filled about 2/3's of the jar. I do not use ACV with the Mother when I make my tinctures. I don't feel like they keep as well. I use the purified ("dead") vinegar because it makes a stronger tincture and lasts longer.
Then I added honey to top off the jar, leaving about 1 inch headspace.
* Of using a metal lid, place a piece of wax paper between jar top and lid. Vinegar corrodes metal.
Cover the jar with a lid. SHAKE well. Shake well 2-3 times a day for a week. After a week, strain and save in a brown glass bottle, in a dark cabinet. Make sure you label and date, and this will last for years.
Amounts to take- this of course varies. I like to use energetics to decide how much to take. During a cold/ flu- I would probably take 2 teaspoons a day.
Basic recipe with Tools/ Ingredients:
1 cleaned Quart jar with lid
1 piece of wax paper
2 cups fresh flowers (rose, dandelion, honeysuckle, etc.)
2-3 cups Apple cider vinegar. (I do not use the raw vinegar with the mother to make medicines. It preserves better to use vinegar that has been heated. If I did the heating process myself, as some of the ancient recipes direct, I would use vinegar with the mother. This is up to you).
1 cup raw honey
1 label and sharpie marker
I press the flowers into the bottom of a clean quart jar. Next I add enough vinegar to cover the flowers, and fill the jar about 3/4's full. I use more vinegar with honey to help with preservation. I also use the finished oxymel for my salads, so that is another reason for more vinegar. Then I add the raw honey and stir this mixture with a wooden spoon. I put the lid on the jar without the wax paper, and shake vigorously. To store, I take the lid back off and wipe it dry. Then I place the wax paper down first and tighten the lid, so not to corrode the metal. I will leave this out about 24 hours before putting in the refrigerator. I will then keep this mixture in the fridge until a week has passed and I am ready to strain. You will need to stir 2-3 times a day to mix the flowers around.
This version could be medicinal, but is more of a nutritive recipe. If I were making this for medicine, I would use dried herbs, more herbs, and concentrate the formula with heat. I wanted to make something that was light and airy and reminded me of summer. My dandelion oxymel is very reminiscent of dandelion and when I make salad dressing with it, the salad tastes like it contains dandelion greens. It is delicious!
Today- It is summer. One of my favorite times of year. Honestly I can get excited about every season. I do love the summer months when plants are a bloom. Each day is filled with the occupation of collecting herbs, and drying them, making preparations to last the winter. Today was strange. Hot, with on an off showers, followed by a strong storm with hail. The sun peaked out of the clouds for a brief moment, and then it rained and rained some more. We have a creek in the back of our property and one in the front. Both were over flowing, and running like rapids with mini waterfalls. I checked my garden plnts when the rain slowed down to make sure the hail hadn't damaged anything. It hadn't thank God.
The herb I focused on today was Red Clover, Trifolium pratense. It is blooming like crazy all over the place. I am trying to collect as much as possible, but my problem is that I do not have adequate drying and storage for as much as I want to collect. Normally I use big paper bags from the grocery store to dry my herbs. I have not been to the regular store for a while to pack my groceries in paper, so I have had to change my approach to drying. The rain has created a very humid environment, and even with the AC and a dehumidifier, I am having trouble drying the flower blossoms.
Today I tried laying them on a cookie sheet and putting them in the over when the over was warm. I did this for a few hours and my first batch dried very nicely. The color of the clovers were still intact and bright. They broke apart easily when I crumbled them in my hand, and I felt that the moisture had left. I tried drying a second batch after dinner, and I thought I had let the oven cool enough before putting another tray in, but I think it was too warm because the clovers lost their color and the leaves took an a slight brown tinge. I am still going to keep this batch for my own personal use. I will not sell those clovers in any of my homemade tea batches, but I hate to throw them away.
I also picked some Wild Calendula, Calendula arvensis, two days ago. The flowers were oh so pretty and bright. Not sure if this is worth collecting, because it takes so many petals to amount to anything. They shrivel up to small little things when dried. In fact I dried them very quickly but just setting them in a dish with a paper towel on my stove after it had been used. It took all day, but it was still rather quick. I have a very small handful of dried petals, when I started out with two big handfuls fresh. I will look to gather some more and maybe make a small batch of calendula oil for myself. I would like to have extra for other people, but may not have enough flowers from my own gathering.
Tomorrow I hope to go to a neighbor's field and gather more Red Clover. Got to come up with a storage option! I love Red Clover, and find it one of the most useful herbs to have on hand. It has blood cleansing properties and I would trust it to keep my healthy and well in the winter months. I also know it to be a anti-cancer herb, meaning it should clean up cancer cells in the body. I drink as a preventative and always want this herb on hand. There is much written about the isoflavones in red clover and the hormonal, phytoestrogen/ estrogen effects of this plant. I do not have a particular experience or story to relate to this benefit from the herb, but may want to pay closer attention. It has been known to limit symptoms of PMS, and I do feel like that has to be tied to it's cleansing abilities.
Will write more later. Good night for now.
I love to share with people, herbs that are found in your backyard, on a nature walk in just popping up all over the place. First of all- I love the amazement on their face to realize that this "weed" is actually a plant with a name, and a purpose. Second of all, it is great to see their own recognition, or the "light bulb" go off in their head in regards to seeing that same plant in their own locale.
I was recently introduced to Mugwort. Herbalists have a tendency to focus on certain herbs that they like to use best, and this has never been one that I've had personal experience using. I saw a post on Facebook about Mugwort, and new I had seen that plant on my travels. Lo and behold the next time I took a walk, I found a patch of it.
The plant has sort of a musky smell, and a hint of oregano in its odour. It is called Artemisia vulgaris (part of the Aster/ Daisy family). I took my collection of plants home and looked them up in my herbs books immediately, while the leaves were still full and fresh. I was happy to see that this plant would be a perfect herb in my apothecary, one I truly need.
The leaves are edible. I tried a little piece of one raw and found the taste rather unusual. When I try herbs like this and Purple Dead Nettle, which is edible and I think, no wonder it isn't sold in grocery stores with the other salad greens. The flavor is strong in Mugwort, and I am not sure if I like it. I have heard it is good stir fried in a Tempura dish, so that will be my next trial.
I love how I read that mugwort is excellent when burned in a smudge stick. I use incense on a daily basis, or essential oils in my diffuser. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to one's emotional well-being to breath in the fragrance of plants. To do a quick version of a smudge stick, because I really wanted to try it out, I rolled up a small handful of leaves and placed them in an oven safe container and put the herbs in my oven on less than 200 degrees, to slow dry. I dried them for about 30 minutes, and took the herbs out and set on my stove in the small dish.
The plant was partially dry and I knew would burn a little bit. I lit the most dry part of the quick roll that I had made, and the smoke filtered up into the kitchen, like incense, just a small stream. It smelled so good! I found as I went through my house the rest of the house had the fragrance of mugwort. It is said that mugwort can promote good dreams and clear negative energy. This morning I feel that both of those "predictions" occurred. I often have trouble sleeping, and I slept like a baby last night!
Here is a recipe for a Mugwort Smudge stick my friend told me about.
Take mugwort leaves attached to the stems, woodruff leaves and stems and mountain mint leaves on stems. Lay the herbs side by side, and push together into one shape, or bundle. Then wrap the bundle tightly with a natural fiber. That the bundle and hang in a cool, airy location for a few weeks, or until it has dried. When the bundle is dry, you can light one end of the smudge stick and after a few seconds blow out the flame and the smoke will continue to burn as it does for incense. Take the smudge stick and wave through the area you wish to cleanse.
**Use caution when working with flame. This is not for children.
Can I get really honest with all of you? I hope so. This is me, in my studio. I am a pretty basic kind of person. I like simple, and no fuss. My absolute favorite thing to do besides reading (I am an avid reader) is to make art. Do you want to know what my real goal or dream is? It is to make and sell my art......for a living. It sounds CRAZY when I say it or write it, because it has been conditioned into my brain that it is impossible to do so.
That is why I have put so much time into my art classes. I love teaching people art, but my passion is to make it myself. Teaching my own kids all day, leaves me feeling in need of a little recharging. I find that by creative activities.
Right now I am obsessed with making collages. I am not sure why. It seems to fit well with my lifestyle currently, and I do not have time for deep concentration to create a large painting from start to finish. I can however work a little at a time on a collage, and it is the piecing together of the artwork that I find exciting, because I do not know how it will end.
I have decided to halt on my Homeschool program for the fall. It was a very difficult decision, but a number of doors opened in my life, and it felt like God was leading me through them. One door is a joint venture with my husband, which is my heart and really exciting. It just felt like the homeschool program was more "my idea," than "God inspired," if you know what I mean.
So now- I am getting back to who I am as a person, and the SELF-CARE I often tell people to consider for themselves. I am trying to make art daily, exercise daily, watch an uplifting program daily, and I am feeling great and creative again!
What am I offering? I am offering HANDMADE, Original artwork for a donation amount of $5, $10, or $15. If you want a collage, watercolor, or other artwork, please email me and we can talk about what you'd like. I am taking orders. (Shipping will be your responsibility). If interested send me message on my contact page.
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