Category Archives: Herbal remedy

How to Make Herbal Preparations……

Merry Meet everyone.  I hope that you all had a wonderful Beltaine celebration!  I know I did!  Today, again the Sunday Stew comes out and this article will be continued from there to here. (Here is the link for the Stew.  http://networkedblogs.com/WzCt4     Be sure to read the Stew in it’s entirety! It’s a plethora of Witchy info, articles, recipes etc. Here is what I wrote about this week 🙂

Today here on the Stew…I thought I’d post some basic information on how to make herbal preparations. I’m going to tell you how to make a tea infusion, a tincture, an oil and a salve/balm. They are all so easy to make and all wonderful ways to use herbs for medicinal or magickal purposes and some of them for culinary use.

 

We will start off with a bit about herbs in general. You want to be sure that your herbs..whether grown yourself or bought or wildcrafted….are organic. You don’t want to be putting chemicals in your body in any way! When using fresh herbs..be sure to use the parts of the herb that are useful….for instance the flowers and leaves of yarrow…but not the stalk or roots. That is where the good stuff is! Fresh herbs should be washed carefully. You can just rinse them well…or even give them a swish in half strength white vinegar water. Then allow them to dry well. You don’t want any moisture in your preparations…except for teas of course.

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Ok..we will start with TEA:   You can make a tea several ways.  In general, you want 1 tsp of dried herb or 2 tsps fresh herb to one cup of hot water. Most herbals will want to steep for about 10-20 mins. That’s all you need to know to make one cup of tea. Now of course, you can add more herb (as long as it’s a safe dosage) to your taste. Rosemary Gladstar, in her Herbal course “The Science and Art of Herbology” recommends that you make a quart at a time. Especially if you’re taking the tea for medicinal purposes. Two or Three cups a day of tea is recommended for most medicinal herbal teas. She says 2-3 TBS in one quart of water is good.

-You can infuse tea a couple of ways. One is to place the herbs in a jar with a lid, pour the boiling water over it. Quickly seal the lid to the jar. Allow to steep for 10-20 mins or so. Strain and drink.

-A stronger medicinal infusion can be made by placing the herbs in a pan of cold water. Place a tight fitting lid on the pan and slowly, over a very low heat, bring the water to boiling point. DON’T BOIL. This makes a stronger infusion medicinally.

-There are other ways to make teas too. You can skip the hot water part..fill the jar and make a solar infusion by sitting it out in the Sun for a few hours..I’m sure you’ve heard of Sun Tea! There are also Lunar infusions….so magickal for us Witches who use the Energy of the Moon!

Keep in mind that many herbs don’t necessarily taste good. Herbs are often bitter and can smell like dirt LOL.   Use honey to help sweeten them. You can also add teas to other drinks like juices to help. Also a tea infusion is wonderful to add to your bath or to soak your feet!

 

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The next preparation we’ll talk about is TINCTURES: A tincture is a concentrated liquid form of an herb this is easy to make and easy to take. Tinctures preserve and concentrate the medicinal properties of herbs making them more effective. By the way…save your glass jars! They are the best way to make herbal preparations. Ball or Mason jars are great to have around..so are pickle, mushroom, fruit, honey jars..etc etc. Re-use and re-cycle!

 

 

To make a tincture…get a clean jar (some people sterilize them) with a tight fitting lid. You will need to fill the jar with clean, dry, fresh herb (chopped).  Or you can fill it about halfway with dried herb. Pour 80 proof vodka, rum, gin or brandy over the herbs til they are covered well…leave a little breathing room in the top of the jar..and inch or two. Poke the herbs with a stick or end of a spoon to get all the bubbles out etc. Seal the lid. Now place the jar in a warm, dark place. Shake daily for about 3 weeks. I brew my tinctures for about 6 weeks. You can brew from 3 weeks to 6 months. When the tincture is ready…just strain out the herbs using a sieve or cheesecloth. Store it in colored bottles with droppers for ease of use. Keep it in a cool, dark place. Some people refrigerate them but in general, you don’t have to.

*You can do a tincture with apple cider vinegar following the same directions except warm the cider first.

To administer a tincture…well, do your research. A lot of tinctures will say to take 1/4 tsp in water, tea or juice 2-3 times a day for a chronic illness. For acute illness, you can take 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp until the symptoms (such as headache) pass. I know many people do the under- the- tongue administration too. I prefer mixing it with something, so it’s not harsh on my mucous membranes.

*You can also use tincture as a rub or liniment.

 

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Now on to HERB-INFUSED OILS: This is basically infusing a carrier oil such as Olive, Sunflower, Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed etc etc….with herbs, to use for multiple reasons. Pick the carrier oil depending on the usage. If it’s for culinary purposes…pick olive, sunflower or grapeseed. It it’s for making lip balms or bath products..almond and Jojoba are wonderful. Use what you like..they are all wonderful.

 

There is a couple of ways (and more) to do this. One way is just like making a tincture, except to use Oil. Just fill your jar full with fresh herbs, and halfway with dried herbs, cover with the oil, stir, seal the lid, label and store in a warm, dark place. Shake daily.   Again, several weeks makes for a good strong concentration. Strain when ready and place in bottles or jars appropriate for what you are using it for. For example, a pretty tall dark bottle with a cork will work great for culinary purposes and a small blue or amber bottle will be great for massage oils.

Another way to infuse the oil faster (I use this method all the time for my Verbena Lane Botanicals products) is to let it infuse on the stove or in a slow cooker…keeping it warm but not too hot. You can infuse the herbs for an hour this way or more. I usually warm it for at a couple hours..very low. Then turn it off, cover it, and let it stand til completely cool. Strain, jar, label and store the same as above.

 

*Again, you can also make a solar infusion..there is nothing prettier then jars of herbs in oil, slowly infusing in a sunny windowsill in your kitchen. Just be sure that fresh herbs are really dry…water and oil don’t mix!

*There really aren’t any measurements for the amount of herb to oil. If using a jar method, just again, fill it well with fresh, chopped herbs and halfway with dried. Leave an inch or two of space at the top when you pour in the oil. For the stovetop method..I generally use a cup or two depending on the herb, then cover to two inches above the herb with oil.

 

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Lastly, we will talk about SALVES or BALMS.   Now some will say what is the difference between a salve and a balm? Some will say the words are used interchangeably and I can agree with that. For me, I think a balm is a bit firmer textured where a salve is a little softer and creamier..but that’s just me J

 

To make a Balm or Salve….you need about a cup of that herb-infused oil you make above. Let’s say we are making a Yarrow salve since I just posted about Yarrow last week here on the Stew. This is a good basic recipe for a healing balm.

You’ll need:

1 cup of herb –infused oil

1 oz of good beeswax (slightly less if you want the balm/salve softer and creamier)

1 tsp vitamin e oil (helps to preserve the oil and good for your skin!)

40-60 drops of essential oils if you like. (I use more!)

 

When using the stove to make balm or salve…you want to use a double boiler. A double boiler helps to keep you from burning or over-cooking your oils as you warm them. My method is to bring water to a simmer in a metal or glass pan….then I place a large glass measuring cup right in the water..that works well too. Don’t burn yourself removing the glass cup from the pan!

Place the cup of yarrow-infused oil in the pan or glass measuring cup. Start warming it. Grate or chop the beeswax and add it to the warmed oil. Stir occasionally until it melts all the way. Remove from the heat and add the vitamin e oil and essential oils if you wish. For healing, lavender, rosemary, and tea tree essential oils would be a wonderful combination. Pour into containers of your choice. A cup of this oil will make several 2 oz tins, a couple of 4 oz jars or one big 8 oz jar. Let cool. Label and use.

 

If you would like to copy this info into pages for your Book of Shadows or Grimoire…you can do that here.   How to Make Herbal Preparations 2

 

When I talked about Yarrow last week…I told you all the medicinal uses for Yarrow. Now you know some of the ways you can make a preparation to use it. These recipes work with just about every herb you can think of! I hope as Summer comes and we are planting our herbs…that you try them in some way medicinally. You’ll be happy you did!! Here’s to your health!

 

Blessings and Love, Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday….Making Elderberry syrup 1/11/2012

 

 

 

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Filed under Herbal remedy, Herbs, Photography, Recipe from my Kitchen, Winter, Wordless Wednesday

Playing with Herbs…….

Merry Meet again my friends.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend planned.  After the amazing weekend I had last week, I’m pretty much planning on  reading, crocheting, puttering and just taking it easy.  I had so much energy this past weekend and then as the week has gone on, I’ve felt a bit drained and tired.   I bet many of you have felt that way as well.  I’m planning on making some bread and my delicious veggie soup on Sun day. I also have some new herbs I need to get put into jars and labeled. Speaking of herbs, I spent a couple of days this week making some tinctures, oils and a healing salve.  Thought I’d show you some pics and talk about it a bit here for you.

I have decided to bring out my “green” witch a bit more by really diving into learning more about herbs for medicinal purposes…not just for magickal purposes.  My daughter Kate and I have dabbled in it in the past and we are both interested in doing more then dabbling.  My friend Mossie and I (Hi Mossie!) also have decided to make potions and lotions together..though she is in Canada and I am here in Ohio..LOL! We have discussions and decide what we are going to make together.   I have been purchasing books like crazy and weeding thru what I would realistically not only make, but use on a daily basis.  I have some new favorite herbal books and I’ll talk about those in time….in my library and/or here in the blog text.  

So this week I made three tinctures, two oils and a lavender/tea tree oil antiseptic salve. I gathered my supplies and got busy. Now tinctures are very simple as I’m sure many of you know.  You can use just about any herb, I use dried, about 1-2 ozs depending on the weight of the herb.   Place the herbs in a jar that has a twist lid (I love canning jars for this), and add 100 proof vodka to fill the jar.  You can also use 80 proof and you can use Rum instead of vodka.  Rum will actually help to “sweeten” herb tinctures that will have a bitter taste like stinging nettles.  Shake the jar well to mix.  Always label your tincture with the name of it and the date.  Now just put it on a shelf for 6 weeks.  The first week I shake it every day.  After that I give it a shake every couple of days.  After 6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the tincture.  Bottle it and you are good to go. 

I made three tinctures..Valerian which will aid sleep, Yarrow which has antiseptic properties and will bring down blood pressure, and stinging nettles for my seasonal allergies.  In 6 weeks I’ll be able to start taking a dropperful every day.

I also made calendula oil and St. John’s oil….both which will be made into salves in a few weeks.  The instructions are the same as for tinctures.  You can use any kind of oil you like.  Grapeseed, virgin olive, almond, sunflower, jojoba.  For my purposes I used organic grapeseed but any of these oils will do.  The other thing I did a bit differently was that I gently warmed the oil with the herb in it to give it a good start in releasing the good stuff from the herb. 

This is the calendula…isn’t that pretty?  and it smelled wonderful!  When the oils are ready, I’ll show how to make the salves from that oil here on my blog. Here is my finished jars.  So now I’ll just be shaking them and opening them to smell them etc.  You may need to add more vodka or more oil if necessary. I’m pleased with my work! 🙂

Today my daughter Kate and I made our lavender/tea tree antiseptic salve.  This salve is good for anything going on with your skin..from dry red skin to minor cuts and scratches.  Good stuff..we use it alot and it smells great!

For this recipe I used about 1 1/2 cups of jojoba oil, 2-3 ozs of beeswax beads, 20 drops of tea tree oil, 50 drops of lavender oil, and a 1/2 tsp of vitamin E oil. Now you can use another oil like peppermint or wintergreen instead of lavender if you’d like, but the tea tree oil must stay.  You can adjust also how much of each you put in the mix…make it smell the way YOU like it!  Gently warm the oil and the beeswax until the beeswax melts.

Drop in the essential oils and vitamin E oil and stir well.  Pour quickly into clean dry jars before it sets up again.  This is my beautiful daughter Kate doing just that.  (and yes, she is carrying my grandson Charlie Matthew who will be here in about 9 weeks!)  Can’t wait! 🙂

It only took about 20 minutes for it to set up then.  Be sure and label and date the jars.  With the tea tree oil being an antiseptic, this salve lasts a long time.  But it won’t because you will find lots of uses for it! It’s great on diaper rash too! 🙂  I keep the ingredients to make this in my home at all times. 

If you haven’t worked with herbs before…these are some of the easiest ways to start.  Be sure to learn what the herbs will DO for your body and be sure always that they don’t interfere with any prescription medicines you’re taking and that your doctor knows you’re taking them.  I hope to use these remedies to REPLACE prescription meds eventually.  There are so many great videos on youtube, online herbal classes etc to help you get started.  Your local herb shop or health food store will also be a great place to find what you’re looking for and to get valuable information.  And Books…there are so many books about just this thing.  Here is some of my favorites…..

-The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey

-The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

-Judes Herbal Home Remedies by Jude C. Todd

-The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green

-The Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce Wardwell

-The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy

-Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar

and anything by Susun Weed

I’ll be talking alot more about herbs and remedies as my dabbling turns into serious learning.  I have even signed up for an online course..though basic..it’ll be a great place to start.  To give me a good foundation to move on to possibly becoming a Master Herbalist.  For now, I’m a green witch..still learning and enjoying the process!  Anybody care to join me? 

“We have finally started to notice that there is real curative value in local herbs and remedies. In fact, we are also becoming aware that there are little or no side effects to most natural remedies, and that they are often more effective than Western medicine.”
Anne Wilson Schaef

Blessings and Light, Autumn

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The Full Moon and the Smoky Mountains……

Merry Meet my witchy friends!  Hope this finds all of you well and happy.  My hubby and I celebrated 31 years of marriage this week and decided to take a quick trip to our cabin in the Smoky Mountains for a few days.  It has been a whirlwind trip but fun and we’ve enjoyed our “alone” time together very much..especially in the mountains which sing to me, calm me and make me feel very small in this big world.  The weather has been hot but not too humid and the evenings cool down nicely. 

It is also the Full Moon and seeing the Full, bright Moon hanging over the dark mystical mountains at night is something I treasure..I can feel Her pull, Her energy, Her connection with the mountains and with me.  My body feels tingly and light just looking at Her.  I am blessed to get to see this….By the way, this moon picture was taken by me last night..thru the trees over the cabin!  Breathtaking!

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FULL MOON

by Darkwing

In the darkening sky, if you cast your eyes,

You will see the silver lady rise,

Bathing the world in a steely blue

Edged with a haunting, silver hue.

Higher and higher she rises with grace,

Shrouding the trees in a cloak of lace,

Sending her rays to the waters below,

Casting reflections in ripple and flow.

Oh, such a majesty gracing the sky,

Passing a twinkle to stars riding high,

Oh, what a magickal sight we purvey

From dusk, till the night gives in to day.

And so, she sinks in horizons west,

Content in the knowledge that we saw her best,

She’ll return once again when the sky turns black,

And if you should whisper, she might whisper back.

Love this poem and had to share it.  We are leaving to go home tomorrow and I look forward to seeing my daughters, cats, home and yes, I’ve missed my facebook friends! LOL…I knew I was addicted..and yes, I most definitely am. 🙂

Before I left home I made up a batch of Lavender Toner….thought I ‘d share the very easy recipe here for you all to enjoy..

1 cup witch hazel

1 TB dried lavender buds

6 drops lavender essential oil

Mix together in a lidded glass jar and shake well.  Store in a dark place and shake everyday for 2 weeks.  Then, pour thru a cheesecloth to strain buds…pour into a mister bottle or lidded bottle that you can use with a cotton ball…Enjoy!

*I doubled this recipe by the way.

It smells divine and feels so refreshing.

I hope that you all will spend some time with the Full Moon..and bless the Goddess for her gifts she has given to you.  May you all have a beautiful Esbat..

Blessed Be..

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