My Herbs Blog
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.