So many amazing and healing plants grow on this beautiful planet. In my own backyard I grow yarrow, calendula, arnica, and rue in weed-like proportions.
•Find my favorite remedies for sale in my etsy shop. Don’t see anything? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an item.
What do you do with it? There are 5 main ways to use up your organic medicinal herbs.
- Poultice- A poultice is like a tea for your outsides, or for external use only. Use dry or fresh plant. Boil some water and wrap your dry or fresh herb in a cloth. Place your toweled bundle in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let cool until tolerable on skin. Place the wrapped herbs on rashes, abrasions, and any other skin irritaions for 15-30 minutes. •For instance, if you have a very itchy patch of skin on your arm, place about a half cup of dried calendula (calendula officinalis) flowers in a cotton towel. Soak in a small bowl full of boiled water for about 8 minutes, or until cool enough to place on skin, just like a tea bag. Draw the poultice out of the water and let excess water drain out. Place towel with flowers inside on skin for 10-15 minutes. Replace the towel and flowers in the water again, let excess water drain out, and set on skin another 10 minutes if necessary.
- Tea- Use dried herbs and flowers and combine. Put this combination in a coffee filter or tea ball and steep in boiling water for 4-8 minutes. •For instance, if you have a cold, you could combine echinacea, cinnamon, chamomile, peppermint, lemon zest, and licorice to help with a multitude of cold/flu symptoms. It is always best to research your ingested ingredients to make sure you do not poison or overdose your body. Even though licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an amazing healer of the bronchials, lungs, and sore throat coupled with coughing, if overdosed, it can cause violent diarrhea, weakness, paralysis, and brain damage.
- Tincture-Use dry or fresh material with either alcohol or oil. Place a measured ratio into a glass jar with liquid and let sit in a dark cabinet, shaking daily, for 2-8 weeks. You may use either alcohol or oil tinctures internally and externally alike. You must research heavily the proper dosage of anything you might take internally. •For instance, to make a rue tincture (ruta graveolens), clip and gather your fresh rue. Chop stalks and leaves minimally to make sure all oils are released into the alcohol. I like to add a 1:3 ratio of plant to liquid, needing more dry materials than fresh. Pour alcohol over herbs to fill a half inch or more below the rim of the jar. Make sure to use 40% alcohol volume (80 proof), or higher, to make sure your plant matter does not mold during the process. Your herbs should float freely in the alcohol (or oil). Remember to shake daily. At the end of the tincturing time, place a cheese/muslin cloth over a clean jar. Pour liquid and plant into cloth-lined jar. Let it sit for 5 or so minutes. Use your hands, tongs, or a lemon squeezer to extract the remaining liquid from your plant matter. Stir and use a funnel to pour the strained liquid into smaller bottles as desired. Rue tincture heals extensively from eyesight to infection but taking too much for too long can cause toxic hepatitis (severe liver and kidney damage). Again. I stress. Do your research on dosage.
- Salve-With dried plant, cook on a low stovetop setting for 3-4 hours with beeswax and oil in a double boiler. There are so many variations with salves. You can add so many different herbs and oils at the same time. Salves are a great way to apply an herb, that you might otherwise overdose internally, externally. •For instance, if I were to make a salve with arnica (arnica montana), I would place one ounce of wax, a half cup of dried arnica, and 3/4 cup of olive or coconut oil in a double boiler. I would cook the ingredients for 3-4 hours on a low to medium setting (usualluy the 3 or 4 setting). The longer you cook, the stronger the salve will be. You must maintain a constant watch on the water level, so as not to burn the ingredients. Strain the flowers through a metal sieve into glass jars and label. Though arnica can be applied over the entire body at once without any medical issue, ingesting arnica irritates internal mucous membranes causing severe upset stomach and possible labored breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Eat Raw/Cooked-Enjoy raw or dried plant as spice for meal or entree. Sometimes a remedy for an upset stomach can be eating an entire bowl of delicious leafy salad or merely chewing on one single leaf, while other times a handful can be more than enough for your body to handle. As usual, do you your research on herbal dosage and eat your plants safely. Calendula and onion blooms make a beautiful and healing salad or soup, but ingesting more than a few leaves of rue can cause serious upset stomach and potential ejecting matter from stomach through the mouth. Bleh.
My favorite remedies:
•Arnica Salve- heals from bone to skin with bone breaks, sprains, straining, muscle pain, bruising, arthritis, tendinitis, bug bites, and headaches. Apply liberally (externally) on affected area.
•Calendula Salve: heals skin irritations, abrasions, cuts, rashes, bug bites, eczema, psoriasis, poison ivy and any inflammation thereof. Apply liberally (externally) on affected area.
•Cramp Bark Tincture: stops involuntary contracting of organs, which may have symptoms causing diarrhea, nausea, menstrual cramps, acid reflux, a “solid gut” feeling, and vomiting. Add 1-2 droppers to tea or water.
*****if you have a heart, liver, or kidney condition, it is imperative that you consult a licensed professional before taking on a new medication, herbal or otherwise.