A Summer Herb Walk (and soothing liniment recipe)

IMG_1883

Now is a great time to take a summer herb walk.  Your first aid herbs await.  The skies have been so bright blue and warm and the evenings chilled with rain that the plants are overflowing with medicine and vigor.

IMG_1882

Our first stop is at the mullein plants.  This is one of our favorite herbs.  Every few days Doug and I head out to gather the yellow flowers from the top of the stalk which easily pop out in your fingers.  These are put in a paper lunch bag with a few holes punched in it that is clearly marked Mullein.  Herbs do tend to look alike once dried!

We use the mullein flowers for a couple of different things.  They are excellent for lungs.  They are anti-viral as well as soothing to the bronchial tract and the lining of the lungs.  They are invaluable in asthma remedies and in cold medicine.

They are also a mild pain reliever, especially excellent for animals and children.

IMG_1884

The leaves are very soft and when put in an extract or tea form it becomes gelatinous.  This effect is called demulcent and acts like a blanket, if you will.  Once consumed it helps cover nerve endings that are misfiring for pain (so a great supporting actor in pain medicines), used to settle the stomach and help with ulcers since it creates a covering over the lining of the stomach.  Similarly, it also creates a soothing lining on the lungs when a hacking cough arises.

IMG_1885

The humble Christmas pine tree holds in its boughs a myriad of medicines.  It is a strong pain reliever for strains, sprains, and breaks used topically and also speeds healing.

IMG_1886

IMG_4014

Yarrow=Blood.  Should one fall whilst running through the woods on a fine summer day and obtains a wound will find yarrow to be most helpful.  Simply crush the flowers in the hand and apply to the wound to stop bleeding.

Yarrow stops bleeding externally whereas it keeps blood from clotting internally making it a fine heart medicine and ally in varicose vein and other blood related extracts including blood cleansing remedies.

IMG_1890

Yucca abounds and is a much desired component in any pain relieving remedy for internal or external use.  Yucca root is a wonderful anti-inflammatory.

The leaves and roots can be boiled to release the saponin which is essentially soap.  Taken internally as a tea or when used in extracts the saponin cleanses the organs and acts as a tonic while decreasing inflammation and pain from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

A Summer  Herb Liniment (for strains, sprains, and other aches and pains externally)

Combine in a one quart canning jar a piece of pine 4-6 inches long, 3-4 inches wide.  Just shove it in there.

Add a 3 inch long chunk of yucca root

Add 2 Tablespoons of mullein flowers and two smaller mullein leaves.

Add one head of yarrow

And one cup of mint.

These herbs can be dried or fresh.

Fill jar leaving one inch head space with vodka.  Replace lid and mark jar with ingredients and date.  Place in sunny window.  Liniment will be ready in 2 weeks.  Should you come across comfrey you can add that too and the liniment will help heal breaks in record time!  I do not strain the liniment.  The stronger the better.  The shelf life is forever thanks for the vodka!  Apply with a cotton ball or flat strips of an old cotton t-shirt.  This remedy can be used for animals as well as children and adults.

 

Making Your Own Herbal Medicines (and why they work better than anything pharmaceutical or in the health food store)

SAM_0012

Would you like to improve your health and not have to go to the doctor every time you get sick or injured?  Would you like to take the fear out of becoming ill?  Would you like to not worry about side effects ever again?  This sounds like an infomercial.  But, these are not empty promises.  Once you start working with herbs, it is hard to go back to medicines with warnings that are scarier than a horror movie.  Even the over the counter drugs are deadly.

SAM_0004

Many folks have tried herbal supplements from the store with varying degrees of success.  “I have tried black cohosh, it didn’t work.” or “I tried Gingko but it gave me paralysis in my right leg.”  The biggest part of my job is not making medicines, but educating.  The herbs in the store are half dead, folks.  If you shove three leaves of something with a bunch of additives into a pill, it isn’t going to work, or at least to its full potential.  How old are those herbs?  How long have they been sitting on the shelf?  And herbs cannot hurt you.  The herbs that are used to make medicines cannot hurt you.

bottles

Tinctures in the health food store are made of 20% extract and 80% glycerin and water.  Why?  Because one can get a lot more product from one vat of extract and it improves the taste.  It also lessens the benefit.  Why waste your time and money?  When people try my medicines for the first time, they are amazed.  Just last week a gentleman bought the Diabetes medicine from me, a bit skeptical, but what the heck he says, and it lowered his numbers in twenty minutes.  The reason is because I don’t cut mine with anything.  I brew these things up to their full potential.  Put them in the full moon for maximum frequency change (just like female cycles, ocean waves, biodynamic farming, the moon changes the frequency of the medicines to match our bodies) and I baby the herbs before they started their job.  Each batch is hand made.  And there is no “herbs take two weeks to start working in the body” here.  Same day.  Now, I’d be so happy if you purchased medicines from me (http://gardenfairyherbal.com), however, I would also like to see you all empowered and whipping up remedies for your friends and family and helping to change the idea that herbs are not as strong as pharmaceutical medicines.  Not true.

SAM_0010

The other thing we have to fight against is myths surrounding herbs.  Herbs are very safe, folks.  I am not going to encourage you to wild craft hemlock or poisonous mushrooms.  You will start out by purchasing herbs from a reputable herb grower like Mountain Rose Herbs and they will not sell you something poisonous.  Neither will a reputable herbalist.  We have no reason to poison people!  So, now that we have established that Gingko does not cause paralysis, (I swear, if a person even stubs their toe while taking an herb, they blame the plant.  Herbs do not harm.  They are God’s medicine made specifically for your body.  The pharmaceuticals were not.  They are only in existence for profit.) let’s learn how to make some medicines.

tea cup

Infusion

An infusion is tea.  A nice cup of tea.  The recipe for this is 1 teaspoon of dried herbs to 1 cup of boiling water and let brew for 4 minutes.

Infusions are typically made from herbs that are easy to brew.  A thick bark or root would need to be boiled longer, about forty minutes should you need to do so.  Mint leaves, chamomile, and a thin slice of ginger would get rid of heartburn in minutes.  Catnip, chamomile, and skullcap would help someone relax enough to sleep.  St. John’s Wort, borage, and rose petals will help stop a panic attack but also stop the blues.  You could blend herbs and use 1 or 2 (I like mine a little stronger) teaspoons in a tea strainer to make the tea or just use single herbs like lemon verbena or thin shavings of willow bark.

extracts

Extract

An extract is herbs that have had their medicinal benefits extracted in alcohol.  Have you ever made a plum cordial or chokecherry liqueur?  Same concept.  The alcohol takes on the flavors (unfortunately in the case of some herbs!) and medicinal benefits of the plants that are sitting in the booze.  Place 1 part plants (dried or fresh) and 4 parts alcohol (not Everclear!  Use Vodka, Gin, Rum, Brandy or the like) in a canning jar.  Sit this in the window sill for 3 days.  Shake, admire, take pictures, these things are gorgeous!  Sit out of the sun (but not necessarily in the dark).  Then on the full moon put it back in the window sill.  Letting it brew for 4 weeks is great.  It is ready after 2.  A dosage is 1/2 teaspoon for tonics (brain stimulants, energy, heart tonics, daily herbals…) and 1 teaspoon for sleep medicines, mild pain, etc., and upwards of a tablespoon for severe pain.  You don’t have to worry about overdosing and even small children can take this, just halve their dosage.

IMG_0207

Syrup

One could make syrup out of lots of things but let’s do a syrup from honey.  Put 1 part dried herbs to 2 parts honey in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat for twenty minutes shaking pan regularly to mix and keep from burning.  When this is done you will see that the herbs are drenched in honey and softened, the color of the honey may have changed, and you can smell the herbs.  Strain.  Now, to make it a syrup, just cut it with a little apple cider vinegar or brandy.  Or leave it the way it is and put in tea.

herbs

You have the ability to heal up your own self and family with the help of medicines that have been around before we were even!  Have faith in what nature has provided.  We have even helped heal broken bones in two weeks, helped get rid of staph infections in one day, helped keep cancer at bay.  Are you interested in becoming an herbalist?  I have a school for those of you that want to take this further.  Correspondence courses are available as well.  But, in the meantime, for all of us, we can simply make a nice cup of tea, an extract, or a syrup with great ease and effectiveness.