Herbal This & That

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

 

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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

Making Your Own Poultices

MAKING POULTICES

A poultice of bread or mashed potato soaked in herbal extract was once a favorite household remedy for minor injuries and ailments. Today, poultices are generally made with chopped fresh herbs. They are usually applied hot.

Parts Used: Whole plant (dried or fresh) chopped

Standard Quantity: Use sufficient herb to cover the area.

Standard Application: Apply the poultice every2-4 hours or more frequently if necessary.

  1. Boil the fresh herb, squeeze out any surplus liquid, and spread it on the affected area. Smooth oil on the skin first to prevent the herb from sticking.
  2. Apply gauze or cotton strips to hold the poultice in place. To protect against stains, clear plastic wrap may be wrapped around the gauze after the poultice has been applied.

 

Source:

Joelle’s Sacred Grove

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

Making Your Own Tinctures

MAKING YOUR OWN TINCTURES 

Tinctures are made by steeping the herb in a mixture of alcohol and water. They should be make individually, and then prepared tinctures may be combined as required. As well as extracting the plant’s active ingredients, the alcohol acts as a preservative, and tinctures will keep for up to two years. The liquid is usually composed of 25% alcohol and 75% water, but for some resinous herbs the amount of alcohol is increased to 45%. Commercially prepared tinctures use ethanol, but diluted spirits are suitable for home use: vodka is ideal since it does not contain additives, but rum helps disguise the flavor of less palatable herbs.

Parts Used: All parts of the plant (dried or fresh)
Standard Quantity: Use 200g dried or 600g fresh herb to 1 liter of alcohol/water mixture (25% alcohol and 75% water – e.g. dilute a 1 liter bottle of 75 proof vodka with 500 ml water).
Standard Dosage: Take 5 ml 3 times a day diluted in a little warm water. A small amount of honey or fruit juice can often improve the flavor.

Storage: Store in dark glass bottles for up to 2 years

  1. Put the herb into a large jar and cover with the alcohol/water mixture. Seal the jar and store in a cool place for 2 weeks, shake the jar occasionally.
  2. Fit a muslin bag inside a winepress. Pour the mixture through.
  3. Press the mixture through the winepress into a jug. The residue can be added tot he garden compost heap.

Alcohol-reduced Tinctures
There are times when giving tinctures made from alcohol in a normal way is unsuitable, for example in pregnancy, in gastric or liver inflammation, or when treating children or recovered alcoholics. Adding a small amount (25-50 ml) of almost boiling water to the tincture dose (usually 5ml) in a cup and allowing it to cool effectively evaporates most of the alcohol, making it safe.

ALTERNATE METHOD TO MAKING YOUR OWN TINCTURES

Tinctures can be made by grinding the leaves, roots, or other plant parts with a mortar and pestle (or a blender) and just barely covering them with high-quality vodka, whiskey, or grain alcohol (Everclear). After 21 days, add a small quantity of glycerin (about two tablespoons per pint) and about 10 percent per volume of spring water. Strain and store in amber glass airtight containers. Keep the herbal tinctures in a cool, dry place for up to five years.

The dose is generally twenty drops in a cup of herb tea or warm water four times a day. In acute or emergency situations the dose is given more frequently; in the case of labor pains, for example, it might be a dropperful every five minutes.

Joelle’s Sacred Grove

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That, Tonics/Tinctures | Leave a comment

Making Decoctions

MAKING DECOCTIONS

The decoction method is used for tough plant materials, such as barks, berries, or roots, which need a more vigorous extraction than is possible using the infusion method. Decoction involves heating the plant material in cold water, bringing it to a boil and simmering for 20-40 minutes. Combinations of herbs can be mixed together, or herbs can be used singly. The standard quantity, which can be drunk hot or cold, is enough for three doses and should be make fresh each day. As with infusions, decoctions are frequently used as the basis of other remedies, such as syrups.

Parts Used: Barks, berries, roots (dried or fresh)

Standard Quantity: Add 30g dried or 60g fresh herb to 750 ml (approx 3 cups) of cold water. This reduces to approx 500 ml after simmering. If using a combination of herbs, be sure that the total weight of the mixture does not exceed this standard amount.

Standard Dosage: Take a teacup or wineglass dose 3 times daily. Repeat doses may be reheated. Honey or unrefined sugar may be used to sweeten each dose, or they may be flavored with a little lemon juice. Reduce the dose for children.

  1. Place the herb in a saucepan (do not use aluminum!) and pour in the cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 to 40 minutes, until the volume has been reduced by a third.
  3. Take the decoction off the heat and strain through a nylon or plastic sieve into a jug.
  4. Pour the decoction into a covered jar or pitcher and store in the refrigerator.

 

Joelle’s Sacred Grove

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

Making Infusions

MAKING INFUSIONS

Infusions are a very simple and popular way of using herbs, infusions may be taken as remedies for specific ailments or just be enjoyed as relaxing or revitalizing teas. An infusion is made in a very similar way to tea, using fresh or dried herbs. The water should just have begun to boil, since vigorously boiling water disperses valuable volatile oils in the steam. Infusions can be made from a single herb or from a combination of herbs, and may be drunk hot or cold. It is best to make them fresh each day.

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, and most aerial parts (dried or fresh)

Standard Quantity: For most medicinal teas with a therapeutic action, add 25g dried or 75g (for best results use a kitchen scale to weigh the herbs) fresh herb to 500 ml (approx. 2 cups) water to make 3 doses. If using a combination of herbs, be sure that the total weight does not exceed the standard quantity.

Standard Dosage: Take a teacup or wineglass (approx. 2/3 cup) dose 3 times daily. Repeat doses may be reheated if desired. Add a little honey or unrefined sugar per dose to taste. Reduce the dose for children or the elderly.

  1. Warm a teapot with hot water. Add the fresh or dried herb.
  2. Pour on hot water that has just boiled. Cover the teapot with the lid and infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the infusion through a tea strainer.
  4. Take a dose, adding honey or a little unrefined sugar to taste. Strain the rest into a jug, cover and store in the refrigerator.

 

Joelle’s Sacred Grove

Categories: Articles, Brews and Teas, Daily Posts, Herbal This & That | Leave a comment

Herbs That Are Dangerous to Pregnant Women

“SOME” HERB’S KNOWN TO BE DANGEROUS TO PREGNANT WOMEN

 


ANGELICA
Contains sterols and saponins in doses too high for safety during pregnancy.

BLACKBERRY and RASPBERRY
Avoid during early pregnancy; as is a uterine stimulant.. Is used in labor and to expel the afterbirth.

BLACK COHOSHand BLUE COHOSH
Both of these contain hormones.

Burdock
Listed by some sources as a uterine stimulant. Lowers blood sugar levels.

CHAMOMILE
Dyers Chamomile promotes menstruation – the oils of both Roman & German Chamomile are uterine stimulants.

CINNAMON OIK
Therapeutic doses may cause miscarriage.. (Uterine stimulant).

COW PARSNIP (YERBA DEL OSO)
Contains sterols and saponins in doses too high for safety during pregnancy.

HTSSOP
Used to treat herpes, in high doses it can cause convulsions. May cause miscarriage.

MISTLETOE
Will cause miscarriage.

MUGWORT
A uterine stimulant that may cause FETAL ABNORMALITIES!! Thujone can harm babies through BREAST FEEDING!! Is used to expel afterbirth.

PENNYROYAL
Traditionally has been used to induce miscarriage.

Peony
Traditionally has been used to induce miscarriage.

RUE
Used to treat congestion in uterus; traditionally has been used to induce miscarriage.

SHEPERD’S PURSE
Avoid during early pregnancy; as is a uterine stimulant. Rapidly & temporarily lowers blood pressure.

THYME OIL
Avoid during early pregnancy; as is a uterine stimulant.

UNICORN ROOT
may cause miscarriage.

VERVAIN
Avoid during early pregnancy; a uterine stimulant.

WORMWOOD
May cause FETAL ABNORMALITIES!! Can also harm babies through BREAST FEEDING!! Is used to expel afterbirth.

YARROW
A uterine stimulant.

 

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

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