Herbs

Herb of the Day for Sept. 30th is Chickory

Herb of the Day

Chicory

 

Medicinal Uses: The herb was cultivated in Egypt over 5000 years ago, and was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as a salad ingredient and a vegetable. Its use as a coffee substitute is thought to date from 1806 when Napoleon’s Continental blockade prevented imports of coffee. It was widely used for the same purpose during the World Wars.  

Chicory tea taken internally is believed to be effective in treating jaundice and liver problems. A tea made from roots or leaves appears to be useful for those with digestive problems.  Save a little tea and try dipping a cotton ball into it for a refreshing and soothing eye wash. You can also add a spoonful or two of  honey to thicken and use as syrup for a mild laxative for kids. For external use, bruise fresh Chicory leaves and apply to areas affected by gout, skin eruptions, swellings, skin inflammations, and rheumatism. The dried, crushed root is made into infusions and decoctions for digestive upsets and to improve appetite. A tea made from the flowers promotes the production of bile, the release of gallstones, and the elimination of excessive internal mucus. Homeopathically it is used for the help in relieving liver and gall bladder ailments.

Magickal uses: Gather in perfect silence at noon or midnight on Midsummer using a gold knife. Take the herb
gathered this way and place it against locked boxes or doors to open them. Carry to remove obstacles in your life. Carry specially cut chicory to become invisible. Spread chicory juice over your body to gain favors from a great person. Carry to promote frugalness. Place fresh flowers on altar or burn as incense. Chicory is masculine, ruled by the Sun and is associated with the element of Air.

Properties: Tonic, stimulant, laxative, appetizer, astringent, carminitive, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, hepatic.

Growth: Chicory is a perennial herb.Chicory, or succory, known botanically as Cichorium intybus L., is a perennial member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), native to Europe but now found growing wild along roadsides and in neglected fields throughout North America. Attaining a height of three to five feet or more, it is conspicuous for its attractive azure blue flowers.

Laxative: 2 Tbsp Root to 2 cups Water. Let come just to a boil, take off burner and let cool. Take 1 to 1 1/2 cups a day, a mouthful at a time.
Source:
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for September 23rd – Aloe Vera

Herb of the Day

 Aloe Vera                                                                                                                            

                                                                                         

In ancient Egypt aloe was used during embalming processes, and also for soothing and  beautifying the skin. Cleopatra attributed her irresistible charm and beauty to the use of aloe vera gel.                                                    

Medicinal Uses: The gel of the inner part of an aloe leaf is used to treat burns, skin rashes, acne,  abrasions, eczema, sunburns and insect bites, as well as chafed nipples from  breastfeeding, when applied to the affected area externally.   Aloe has shown outstanding results in treating facial edema (swelling). Internally it can be used to keep the bowels functioning smoothly, or when there is an impaction, although it can cause intestinal cramping when taken internally. It aids in cleaning out the colon. It aids in healing wounds by drawing out infection, and preventing infection from starting. Rubbing the scalp with aloe keeps the hair from falling out. The fresh gel of Aloe was used by Cleopatra to keep her skin soft and young.

Magickal uses: Growing an Aloe Vera plant in the kitchen will help prevent burns and mishaps while cooking. It will also prevent household accidents, and guard against negative energy.

Properties: Emollient, purgative, vulnerary, tonic, demulcent, vermifuge, antifungal, alterative, emmenagogue.  Aloe vera has six antiseptic agents (sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol) which acts in unison to provide antimicrobial activity.                                                                                                     

Growth: Does best when grown indoors in pots. Remember that Aloe is a succulent, not a cactus, so it needs water to keep the leaves fleshy and juicy. The aloe is a perennial plant that produces a rosette of fleshy basal leaves. The narrow-lancelet leaves are 1- 2 feet long and whitish-green on both sides, and they bear spiny teeth on the margins.

Diabetics may develop intolerance to aloe juice.
Source:
Author: Crick

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Herb of the Day for September 22nd – White Sage

Herb of the Day

 White Sage

 

Ethnobotanic: White sage seeds were one component in pinole, which was a staple food of the Indians of the Pacific coast (Barrows 1977). Seeds were collected with a seed beater basket and flat basket, and were parched and ground into meal. The Cahuillas of southern California used this meal to create a mix with one part meal, three parts wheat flour, and a little sugar. This mixture was eaten dry, mixed with water to form gruel, or baked into little cakes or biscuits. The seeds were harvested in quantity and stored in baskets in the home. The tribes, north of Santa Barbara, kept small baskets of seeds and other foodstuffs on hand, with some stored for the winter. The Chumash and other California tribes also ate leaves and stems of white sage.

The Cahuilla, Costanoan, Diegeño, Kawaiisu, and Maidu tribes of California used white sage or chia seeds to clean and heal their eyes (Strike 1994). One method was to place a few Salvia seeds in their eyes at bedtime. During the night, the seeds would swell and become gelatinous. Moving around under the eyelids during sleep, the seeds collected any foreign substances on the eyeballs. In the morning the seeds were removed, leaving the eyes clear and free of contaminants. Cahuilla women drank an infusion of white sage roots after giving birth to remove the afterbirth and promote internal healing. White sage seeds were eaten by the Cahuilla to cure colds. The Diegueño used white sage tea for this purpose. Leaves of white sage were smoked, made into a tea, and used in sweathouses to cure colds. White sage leaves were also used by the Diegueño as a shampoo to clean their hair and to keep it from turning gray. Crushed leaves were rubbed on the body to eliminate body odor; this was often done by Cahuilla men before they went hunting. The smoke from burning white sage is used widely by many Native groups as part of their purification ceremonies. White sage is widely valued and cherished among many Indians and other cultures today, prized for its soft feminine qualities (Stevens, unpublished field notes, 1998).

Today the leaves and stems of Salvia apiana are gathered, dried, and used for smudging by many tribes around the country. The Chumash and other California Indian people are concerned about over-harvesting and disrespect of this plant for commercial purposes.

Sage tea will decrease sweating, salivation, milk secretions, and mucous secretions of the sinuses, throat, and lungs (Moore 1979). It is the best herbal treatment for decreasing lactation during weaning in either animals or humans. A cold cup of the tea is a good stomach tonic. The lukewarm tea is sufficiently bacteriostatic and astringent to make it useful for treating nearly all sore throats, first gargled and then drunk. The crushed leaves are made into a reliable uterine hemostatic tea, good for heavy menstruation but inadvisable for the new mother who plans to nurse.

Wildlife: White sage is an important browse plant for deer, antelope, elk, mountain sheep, and rabbits. The flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other insects. Small mammals, sparrows, grouse, and quail eat the seeds. Salvia apiana is a beautiful low maintenance ornamental plant.

Read more: White Sage Plant Guide | Apiana Plant Information | Garden Guides

 

 

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Herb of the Day for September 21 – Hops

Herb of the Day

 Hops        

  
The word hops is taken from the Anglo-Saxon hoppen meaning “to climb” because the
twining perennial plant attached itself to neighboring objects and grows to a great height.                                                     
Pillows stuffed with hops are traditional cure for insomnia: King George III and
Abraham Lincoln used such pillows in the search for much-needed rest.     
                                     
Medicinal Uses: Hops steeped in Sherry wine makes an excellent stomachic cordial. Hops is a sedative. Therefore, it is useful in treating insomnia and nervous tension. It has been used to decrease the desire for alcohol. Relieves delirium tremens. Hops has a calming effect on the nervous system. Hop tea is recommended for nervous diarrhea, neuralgia, and restlessness. Helps stimulate appetite, dispel flatulence, boils, headache, toothache, earaches, pain, nervous tension and stress, jaundice, kills worms, mucus colitis, gonorrhea, ulcers, poor circulation, blood purifier, inflamed rheumatic joints, muscles cramps, neuritis, neuralgia, shock, and relieve intestinal cramps.  
                       
Combined with valerian (for antispasmodic properties) for coughs. A cold tea, taken 1 hour before meals, is particularly good for digestion. Hops also have diuretic properties and can be taken for various problems with water retention and excess uric acid.                                                                                                                                 
Externally, a poultice can be used for inflammations, boils, ringworms, tumors, painful swellings, and old ulcers.  It is mild and safe. It is used in brewing beer and ales. Hops is also used for treating coughs, bladder ailments, and liver ailments. Externally it is used to treat itching skin rashes and hives. It also removes poisons from the body.

Magickal uses: Hops is used in healing incenses. Sleep pillows often include hops to induce sleep and pleasant dreams.

Properties: Anodyne (relieves pain), anthelmintic, diuretic, febrifuge, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, soporific, tonic, anaphrodisiac, stomachic. Contains Asparagine, choline, humulene, inositol, lupulin, lupulinic acid, lupulon, manganese, essential oil, valerianic acid, tannins, estrogenic substances, bitter principle, flavonoids, PABA, picric acids, resin, and vitamin B6.

Growth: Hops prefers full sun, and will adapt to many soils.  The portion of the plant used in healing are the dried flowers. The hop vine is a perennial fast-growing, twining, climbing plant. Many angular, rough, prickly, stems grow up to 20 feet long from a branched rootstock. The leaves are rough, opposite, chordate, serrate, and 3 to 5 lobed. The flowers are yellowish-green, the male arranged in hanging panicles, the female yellow flowers in catkins. The name hops usually refers to the scaly, cone-like fruit that develops from the female flowers; they enlarge to become pale yellow-green “hops” with papery bracts. Found wild in many places in the world but mostly cultivated in the United States. Found wild in woods from Nova Scotia to Manitoba and Montana, south to North Carolina and Arizona.
Source:
Author: Crick
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Herb of the Day for September 19th is Valerian

Herb of the Day

Valerian

 

Medicinal Uses: One of natures most effective herbal tranquilizers. The roots are used for nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. A powerful root for the nerves, valerian should not be taken for longer than a few weeks, as it can become addictive. It helps cure depression when taken once or twice. It is a good sedative for such conditions as neuralgia, hypochondria, insomnia, and nervous tension. It also appears to have real benefits in cases of sciatica, multiple sclerosis, shingles, and peripheral neuropathy, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the extremities.                        
The tea is strengthening to the eyesight, especially when problems are due to weakness in the optic nerve. Valerian has been used as an anticonvulsant in epilepsy. It slightly slows the heart and thus is a good remedy for palpitations. Simmer two teaspoons of the root in a pint of water for twenty minutes, and take one-fourth cup, cold, four times a day. The tincture may be taken twenty drops in water, three times a day.      
                                                                   
The root is simmered with licorice, raisins, and anise seeds to make a cough sedative. The scent is very attractive to rats and is used to bait traps. Valerian is a warm and spicy herb that has a stimulating effect on the brain as well as being a sedative. If a person has a hot constitution it will be especially stimulating and may negate the calming and sedative quality. A hot constitution is one that is prone to constipation, dryness, redness in the eyes and skin and a warm body temperature (a cold constitution has the opposite qualities).                                                                             
Valerian is useful as a digestive aid, is helpful in cases of gas, diarrhea, and cramps, and alleviates the pain of ulcers. In the respiratory tract, it is believed to be of benefit in reducing the discomfort of asthma attacks. Valerian is used for irritability, mild spasmodic affections, epilepsy, migraine headaches, croup, hysteria, vertigo, nervous cough, delirium, neuralgia, muscle cramps, colic, panic attacks, emotional stress, PMS, menstrual cramps, despondency, insomnia. A marvelous remedy for fevers. Will often clear a cold overnight. Good for expelling phlegm from throat and chest. Will expel worms when everything else fails. Excellent for shortness of breath and wheezing. Tea can be used as an enema for pinworms and tape worms and externally as a wash for sores, wounds, chronic skin diseases, and pimples. Combines with with lemon balm, hops, passion flower and scullcap.

Valerian produces depression when taken over a longer period. Valerian is best suited to individuals with cold, nervous conditions. Those with heated conditions can experience opposite (stimulant) effects. Valerian may increase the effects of anti-anxiety medications or painkillers. It may also react with antiepileptic drugs. Valerian is contraindicated in pregnant and breast feeding women.

Magickal uses: Powdered valerian may be used as a substitute for graveyard dust to repel unwanted presences. Valerian is added to the chalice as an herb of peace. Valerian is a frequent ingredient in love and harmony spells and potions, including spells for sexual love. It is used to aspurge the ritual space and in incense for purification. Even though this is a rather foul smelling herb it is hung in the home as protection from lightning and the Greeks used sprigs of it at windows to keep evil out. For protection from evil and magick, use Valerian in sachets, amulets, or talismans and carry it with you. To prevent unwanted visitors, sprinkle powdered herb on your front stoop and say their name. For eliminating troubles, write the trouble on parchment paper, then burn and mix the ashes with powdered herb, then bury. Sachets placed around the home help protect the home from lightening strikes.    
              
Being an herb of peace, place some in the vicinity of a quarreling couple. Add it to love sachets and it is said if a woman wears a sprig of it, it will cause men to “follow her like children.” It will also help insomnia by placing it in the pillow. A few leaves placed in the shoes protect against colds and flu.                                                                              
To find out if your love is reciprocated, bend a plant in the direction of their home.  If the plant continues to grow in that direction, you are loved in return.  Growing the plant on your property ensures harmony with your spouse.          
Valerian stalks can be dried and soaked in tallow or oil, then used as a torch for spells and rituals.  The torch can then be used to light sacred fires.  Meditation in the light of a torch improves clarity for a given situation. Valerian is ruled by Venus and its Element is Water.

Properties: Calmative, antispasmodic, nerve tonic, nervine, sedative, anodyne, and carminative, aromatic, emmenagogue. Contains active components are called valepotriates. Valerianic, formic and acetic acids, essential oils, resin, starch, a glucoside, and 2 alkaloids (chatrine and valerianine).

Growth: Valerian is a tall perennial herb found in damp, elevated areas and grasslands. It consists of a long stem (3-5 feet in length) with pointed dark green leaves. It blooms in the summertime, with small, fragrant flowers (white, light purple or pink) that can reach four inches in diameter. A native of damp woods, roadsides, and riversides.

Harvest in the fall. Do not boil the root.

To obtain the maximum benefit take 1 tbsp. of fresh juice daily. The latter is often prescribed as a cure for insomnia, where its great value is that it calms the mind without having a narcotic effect. Non-addictive.

Drying roots is different from drying leaves. Roots should be dried at a high temperature, such as 120 degrees F. until the roots are brittle. If they are rubber-like, they should be dried longer. Store roots after drying to keep free from moisture.

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. root in 1 pt. boiling water. Take cold, 1 cup per day, or when going to bed.

Cold extract: use 2 tsp. roots with 1 cup water; let stand for 24 hours and strain. Take 1/2 to 1 cup when going to bed.

Tincture: take 20 drops on sugar or in water, 3 times a day.
Source:
Author: Crick

 

 

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Making Your Own Infused Oils

MAKING YOUR OWN INFUSED OILS

HOT INFUSED OILS

Active plant ingredients can be extracted in oil for external use in massage oils, creams, and ointments. Infused oils will last for up to a year if kept in a cool, dark place, but they are more potent when fresh, so it’s best to make small amounts frequently. The hot method is suitable for leafy herbs such as comfrey, chickweed, stinging nettle, cleavers, bladderwrack, and rosemary.

 

  1. Put the oil (500 ml sunflower or cold pressed olive oil) and the herb (250g dried herb) into a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water or in a double boiler and heat gently for about 3 hours.
  2. Strain the mixture through a muslin bag or a jelly bag.
  3. Pour the oil into storage bottles, using a funnel if necessary.

 

COLD INFUSED OILS

This method of making an infused oil is suitable for flowers such as calendula, st. john’s wort and chamomile. It is a slow process, the flowers and oil are packed into a jar and left for several weeks, after which the once-infused oil is used again with fresh herb to extract as much active plant ingredient as possible. Cold infused oils are used in massage oils or as the basis for creams, salves, or ointments.

 

 

  1. Pack a large jar tightly with the herb and cover completely with oil (safflower or wheat germ oil work good for this). Put the lid on and leave on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse for 3 weeks.
  2. Pour the mixture into a jelly bag fitted with string or rubber band to the rim of a jug.
  3. Squeeze the oil through the bag. Repeat steps 1 an 2 with new herb and the once-infused oil. After 3 more weeks strain once more and pour into storage bottles, using a funnel if necessary. Store for up to a year in a cool place away from direct light.

 

 

Source:
Joelle’s Sacred Grove

 

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That, Oils & Ointments | Leave a comment

Making Your Own Ointments & Salves

MAKING YOUR OWN OINTMENTS

 

Ointments contain oils or fats, but no water. Unlike creams, they do not blend with the skin, but form a separate layer over it. They are suitable where the skin is already weak or soft, or where some protection is needed from additional moisture, as in diaper rash. Ointments were once made from animal fats, but petroleum jelly or paraffin wax is suitable. Infused oils may be used instead of the herb itself.

Parts Used: All parts of the plant (dried or fresh)
Standard Quantity: Use 500 g petroleum jelly or soft paraffin wax and 60 g dried or 150 g fresh herb.
Standard Application: Rub a little into the affected part 2-3 times a day. Storage: Store in sterilized, airtight, dark jars, for 3-4 months in a cool place.

  1. Melt the jelly or wax in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a double boiler. Add the herbs and heat for 2 hours or until the herbs are crisp. Do not allow the pan to boil dry.
  2. Pour the mixture into a jelly bag fitted with string or an elastic band to the rim of a jug, or else use a muslin bag and a winepress.
  3. If using a jelly bag wear rubber gloves, since the mixture is hot. Squeeze the mixture through the jelly bag into the jug.
  4. Quickly pour the strained mixture, while still warm and melted, into jars

 

 

MAKING YOUR OWN SALVES

 

Herbs that are useful for skin conditions (such as comfrey, lavender, calendula, pine needles, aloes, elecampane root, burdock, and elderflowers) can be made into salves. The ideal time to make a salve is summer, when the herbs are fresh and abundant, but dried herbs may be used as well. Green walnut hulls and whole, smashed horse chestnuts may be added to the basic mix for their skin-healing and painkilling virtues.

Simmer herbs in good quality olive oil in a large pot. In a separate pot, melt and simmer three to four tablespoons of fresh beeswax (the beeswax should be of a golden color with a strong honey scent) per cup of oil. Put enough oil in the pot to cover the herbs. Simmer the herbs in the oil for about twenty minutes. When wax and oil reach the same temperature, pour in the wax. Strain and pour into clean jars. Tincture of benzoin may be added as a preservative (about one ounce per quart) while the salve is still liquid although it is not strictly necessary. The most important factor in controlling mold is to have immaculately clean and dry jars and utensils. Boiling followed by a thorough drying is all that is usually needed. Persons living in very hot and damp climates may wish to take the extra precautions of adding the tincture of benzoin.

Source:
Joelle’s Sacred Grove

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Making Your Own Creams

MAKING YOUR OWN CREAMS

 

A cream is a mixture of water with fats or oils, which softens and blends with the skin. It can easily be made using emulsifying ointment (available from most pharmacies), which is a mixture of oils and waxes that blends with water or tinctures. Homemade creams will last for several months, but the shelf life is prolonged by storing the mixture in a cool pantry or refrigerator, or adding a few drops of benzoin tincture as a preservative. Creams made from organic oils and fats deteriorate more quickly. The method shown here is suitable for most herbs.

Parts Used: All parts of the plant (fresh or dried)
Standard Quantity: Use 150g emulsifying ointment, 70 ml glycerol, 80 ml water and 30g dried or 75 g fresh herb.
Standard Application: Rub a little into the affected part 2-3 times a day.
Storage: Store in sterilized, airtight, dark jars for up to 3 months in a cool place.

  1. Melt the emulsifying ointment in a double boiler or a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Pour in the glycerol and water and stir well. The mixture will solidify slightly when the liquid is added, so keep the bowl over the boiling water and stir to remelt it.
  2. Add the herb and stir well. Simmer for 3 hours, regularly adding more boiling water to the lower saucepan to prevent the pan from burning.
  3. Use a winepress or a jelly bag fitted to a jug, and strain the hot mixture as quickly as possible into a bowl. Stir the melted, strained cream constantly as it cools, to avoid separation. If it does start to separate, return it to the double boiler and reheat with an additional 10-20 g of emulsifying ointment.
  4. When the cream has set, use a small palette knife to fill storage jars. Put some cream around the edge of the jar first, and then fill the middle to avoid any air bubbles.

 

Source:
Joelle’s Sacred Grove

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That, Oils & Ointments | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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