How About Some Winter Iced Herbal Teas?

Peppermint

Nothing is better on a hot summer’s day than Peppermint Tea, right?  What you might not think about is that it’s a tea that was made for the depths of wintertime!  Here’s why…

table-napkins-cups-lemon-peppermint-tea-iced-tea-drink-misted-glassWintertime is often painful, whether it’s small aches and pains that come with age, or chronic conditions like Fibromyalgia, Lupus, MS, or a myriad of other painful conditions, Peppermint tea can reduce the pain  caused by inflammation, as well as releasing tight muscles. The oil in Peppermint tea seems to reduce spasms in the digestive tract, and clears your respiratory tract.  Let it boost your overall health by improving digestion, relaxing your body and mind, curing bad breath, and after the holidays, aiding in in weight loss.  Best of all it boosts your immune system!

Iced Peppermint Herbal Tea

Makes 32 oz

  • 5 mint teabags (During Summertime you can replace dry leaves with 30 fresh leaves)
  • 4 cups scalding water (just before it boils, remember boiling water can make any tea bitter)
  • (Optional) Honey and lemon to taste
  • Add Ice and Enjoy

Rose Petals

Rose Tea is one of those amazing drinks that you never knew existed, but once you do, it’s a life-long love affair!  And again, it’s perfect for wintertime illness.

Rose Tea has in 1 cup of fresh leaves enough Vitamin C to equal 60 Oranges!  It has traditionally been used to relieve sore rose-ice-teathroat, runny noses and clear bronchial tubes.

It fights infections related to pneumonia, colds and flu, as well as establishing equilibrium in intestinal bacteria.  It acts as a diuretic, to eliminate excess water in the body, and speeds up the removal of waste and toxins in the kidneys.  It is a great laxative, so go easy on it, because the taste is going to make you want more than a glass!  It cleanses the liver, and helps ease the pain of heavy periods.  Finally, it’s a marvel for lifting your mood, relieving insomnia, and easing fatigue associated with stress and depression.

Iced Rose Petal Herbal Tea

Makes 24 oz

  • 1 cup Dried Rose Petals (During Summertime you can replace dry leaves with the petals from 3 large roses)
  • 3 cups scalding water (just before it boils, remember boiling water can make any tea bitter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • (Optional) Any other floral tea such as Chamomile, or any of the Mint Family
  • (Optional) Honey to taste
  • Add Ice and Enjoy!

What’s your favorite herbal iced tea?  Let me know how these worked for you!

___________________________________________________________________

Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration, healthcare professional, or even the town gossip.

They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Herbs and Wildcrafting is for educational purposes only.

Homemade Gifts for the Season? Now Is the Time to Start! Simple DIY Gifts

fb003e4b425e5071_photo-75.jpg.xxxlargeIt’s that time of the year when I start thinking about Christmas and other holidays gifts.  I always have to plan ahead, because while I do simple things, they always seem to need a lot of time to turn into what I am giving!

The first gifts I prepare are the ones that take the longest, so I thought I’d post several of my  favorites! Continue reading

The Miracle of Cayenne-Don’t Leave Home Without It!

I can still see my oldest daughter running into the kitchen with blood dripping down her arm.  Elbow to wri022st, and it was bad.  Six or seven deep lacerations from putting her arm right through the glass on the screen door.  She was 14 at the time, and never happy to let me “doctor” her.

The nearest Dr. at the time was nearly 50 minutes away, and there was no way she was going to willingly submit to stitches by me.

Luckily for her, the Cayenne Pepper, my tried and true frbldiend was once again called to the rescue. Continue reading

Jalapeno Powder, a Simple Tutorial for a Powerful Herb and Spice!

Growing up in Utah, my family being Dairy and Cattle Farmers, we ate a lot of steak!  Unbelievably, I used to pray we’d have something else for dinner…anything else…but like the rest of theUoG251394 country, you eat what’s local and what available. (Boy!  I’d like some of those wonderful steaks now!)

It wasn’t until my husband joined the military and we took off for parts unknown (that exotic land of Texas…:) that I got my first taste of Tex-Mex food.  My taste 87714824_XSbuds were pretty uneducated, and it took time, but I came to love that spicy food!

Now, every year, when the August/September harvest rolls around, and I can feel fall starting to creep into the nights, I know it’s time to begin serious work on my winter spices.  One of those is the lovely Jalapeno! Continue reading

My Favorite Soap Colorants Found In Nature

It’s that time of year again, where the summers get crazy with soap making, trimming, packaging, labeling, and the enormous amount of preparation for 6a00d83451c80d69e201901be1a48e970b-800withe Farmers Markets as they start at the close of summer, and into the Fall.

I love this time of year, as my creative Mad Scientist comes out, but after Christmas as things settle down, I’m going to love that time of year for the exact opposite reason!

I’ve spent a lot of time this year harvesting my plants, roots, and even local clay, preparing them for colorants in soap, so I thought I’d give you a list of my favorites for soap coloring and how to use them!  I’ll show you some of my projects, and I would love to see some of yours!

Red:     Madder Root creates anything from light pastel pink to a deep brick red.  a_natural-dye-plant-madder-roots-0572a_2The roots are the used parts, which are then dried and powdered and then infused in oil.

paprika-tracemadder root powderPaprika: Infused in oil creates a warm coral red,  Depending on the age of your spice, and the amount of times you choose to infuse the same oil (once, twice, or three times), you can get a variety of shades.

Clays:  Moroccan Clay is one of my favorites for not only coloring soap with a deepMadderRoot_CPGel_2014 Terracotta red, but also adds slip to the soap creating a luxurious feel of silkiness to my skin.  This can be added directly to the oil mixture before adding the lye water mixture.

il_340x270.476208452_rpjoLocal Clay:  I have right here where I live, some beautiful red oxide clay, that I prepare and use.  It always makes me happy to use what is a local resource, and although it takes time to prepare, I find a great deal of satisfaction in knowing a products origins.  Why not lear_20150523_140755n what you have locally and post your ideas and success here!

_________________________________________________________________

Brown: Cocoa: this can make the most earthy, warm colored soaps!  Depending on how much you use, you can again, achieve a light brown to a deep chocolate.  HeIMG_20150810_095734437re’s how I used several shades of cocoa in mine.  I mix the cocoa with a little of the soap batter until I like the shade.

___________________________________________________________________Calendula-7214257634_90c7a674de_z

Yellow:  Calendula:  I like to double infuse my oils with Calendula, so that I gain a nice deep yellow.  I gather my flowers in the morning (and while it’s IMG_20150727_231600961true that I dry them, you can also IMG_1926-1024x768use them fresh.)  Then I use the oil as part of my recipe.

Turmeric:  This is the perfect orange-yellow color yIMG_20150723_155302663ou might use for a tiger turmericstripe or a Halloween pumpkin soap.  I add this directly to my soap batter.

__________________________________________________________62008-2_______

         Alkanna_tinctoria2Blue: Alkanet Root:  The color of the flower, gives a very good indication of the beauty of the blues this root makes.  It can create an almost purplish-blue to a gorgeous sky blue color.  IMG_20150723_155724630(1)

________________________________________________________________

Activated-Charcoal-PowderBlack:  Activated Charcoal:  This is one of my favorite ingredients for a myriad of reasons.  Added directly to the soap batter, it tends to create speckles and flecks, so I usually dissolve it in a little bit of oil IMG_20150805_172501689from my soap recipe first and then add it at trace.  It’s a great ingredient since it binds to toxins on the skin, while at the same time, it opens your pores and allows them to absorb the nutritional oils of your superfatted soaps.

__________________________________________________________________

Green:  Dwarf Mallow:  Getting a deep dark green is more difficult, so I usually OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAinfuse my oils three times, or I go with a lighter green, by harvesting my mallow plant, placing it (after washing of course…and please make sure of your source, you don’t want mallow that has any kind of pesticide on it…) in my bullet blender, adding 1water, and then blending a green juice with it, before pouring the mixture into ice cube trays that I will later use as part of the liquid in my soap.

So there you have some of my favorites!  Enjoy your adventures! 

_________________________________________________________________

This site is for educational information only.  No article or information on herbs are intended to be a substitute for any medicine or drug, legal or otherwise.  Please do your homework before proceeding with any herb or formula.

Creating An Infused Oil For DIY Massage, Salves and Balm

One of my favorite things to have on hand, especially if you have kids, a spouse, or like me, you’re just accident prone, then hIMG_5993-300x400aving a healing salve of some kind is important to have on hand.  The question is, out of all the wonderful herbs available, what is best for what cut, injury or emergency?

My favorite includes Yarrow since it’s great for clowhite-yarrowtting a bleeding cut, it numbs the area you rub it on, decreasing the pain, and if you make it strong enough, you could (oh, worst case scenario!) stitch up a decent sized cut (although my secret weapon for stitches, is plain old duct tape, it will hold some of the worst cuts together until they can begin to heal, but of course useCalendula-salve-537x407 your best judgement.)

Another is Calendula, one of my favorite all-around herbs.  It’s anti-inflamatory properties, helps with any swelling, and it’s gentle fragrance is comforting, and especially gentle for babies and elderly skin.

comfreyA staple in any first aid kit is Comfrey.  But, as is always the case, a word of caution.  Comfrey will heal up an injury with incredible speed, and if the wound hasn’t been cleaned out properly you could trap the infection inside.  So make sure you’ve cleaned the wound well, and then place the salve and bandage over it.  I love comfrey, as an ingredient for wound salve, and wouldn’t be without it.

892493973_origNow, for Mullein! With it’s gentle and soothing ability to cleanse a wound, and on sensitive baby bottoms, help with urinary tract issues, it is a wonderful addition to a wound salve.  If you were to use it by itself, it would be excellent for respiratory infections, by rubbing it on a congested chest frequently and at night, rubbing it with some garlic (crushed) on the bottom of the feet, and then placing (if possible wool) socks over the mixture and leaving it on until morning.  This simple treatment was used on my own children as they grew up, and it saved a lot of doctor trips, although your own gut feeling should tell you when it’s time to seek out a doctor for further help.images

Finally, I love making Dandelion Tea, and putting that in my salves.  It soothes aching muscles and sore joints.

Use your imagination and personal needs to decide which ingredients will you put in your salves.

To prepare for making your salve, the first thing you need to do is decide which herbs you’ll use, then after cutting and crushing them up, cover them in a jar with extra virgin olive oil. images Olive is a very obedient oil, it tends to take on the characteristics of what ever herb is infused.  Make sure your herbs are completely covered with oil, and then shake it daily, and put it in a warm window where it will heat up and cool down for 4-6 weeks.  You can put single herbs or a combination, and when it’s done, strain the herbs out and use the oil for making your own wound salve.

Heres one of my favorite recipes for wound salve, it’s okay to tweak it so it meets your own needs!  Enjoy!

1 Cup infused oil

1/4 Cup Beeswax

30 drops of Essential Oil

Melt the Beeswax and the Infused Oil in a double boilerwhatchamacallit_doubleboiler, and once that has melted, take it off the boiler and add your essential oil.  (For a great blog on essential oils and their properties, try Vagabon Velda’s).

After mixing thoroughly, pour the contents into your containers, and don’t forget to label them (Been  there.  Done that!) and most of all, don’t forget the use them!

Let me know how it works out for you!

___________________

No article or information on herbs are intended to be a substitute for any medicine or drug, legal or otherwise.  Please do your homework before proceeding with any herb or formula.

Settle Those Nerves-The Calming Effects of Skullcap

Just By It’s Looks…

It’s always interesting to me how an herb, often just by the way it looks, gives an idea of what it’s good for.

Skullcap is the color of soft twilight, and that’s exactly what is needed when our nerves are jangled, and we face another sleeplskyllcapess night.  We need that soothing restful feeling that normally comes at the end of a wonderful, but busy day.

Skullcap is a member of the mint family, and can be gathered in late summer all through North America, using the flowers, leaves and stems for tincturing or drying. Personally, I prefer a tincture.

Skullcap has been used for trouble with sleeping, anxiety,  even stroke paralyses. 

 It can help with:

  • Lowering fever
  • Epilepsy
  • Nervous Tension
  • Menopausal Anxieties
  • Topical Infections
  • Arthritis
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
  • Lowering Blood Sugar
  • Exhaustion
  • Diahrehea

Continue reading