Diary - 05/12
Diary - Dec 2005
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December 2005 : Looking back over a Herbal Year

 

Amidst the chaos of preparation for winter celebrations and social gatherings, it can be helpful to pause for a moment and take stock of what has been useful amongst the past year’s herbal preparations. These are just a few of the old and new recipes I have used personally or made for other people.

Stress Tincture – motherwort, nettles, skullcap, borage & milky oats

Proportions:

Borage             2 parts

Motherwort      1 part

Oatstraw          2 parts

Scullcap           1 part

Nettles             2 parts

Dose: 1 cup tea or 20 drops tincture 3x day

This recipe comes from Gina McGarry’s book on Irish Herbal traditions (see references)

Blues/SAD Tincture – Equal parts St John’s wort & lemon balm

St John’s wort tincture made by picking flowers from plant incrementally and covering with vodka until jar became full, then leaving for three weeks, straining, bottling and labelling. Lemon balm tincture made with leaves before the plant flowered. A glass jar was packed with leaves, covered with vodka and left for three weeks before bottling and labelling.

Dose is 1tsp 3x day.

This could be made with fresh plant material into a tea or from frozen plant material. Dried lemon balm and St Johns wort only has a shelf life of six months.

This is David Winston’s suggested for combating Seasonal Affected Disorder disseminated when he spoke to Medical Herbalists in Birmingham in 2003.

Adrenal support tincture – Equal parts of tinctures of vervain, borage, skullcap and fluid extract of milky oats. Dose: 1tsp 3x day in water or fruit juice.

Old Wound Massage Oil – comfrey, yarrow, St John’s wort and plantain

As an experiment, a double infused oil of comfrey, yarrow and plantain was made where fresh comfrey leaves were added to oil in a cook pot, then the leaves were removed after 2-3 hours and fresh plantain and yarrow leaves were added for a similar length of time as the second infusion. Great care must be taken when removing the lid of the cookpot as any water vapour on the inside of the lid which drops into the hot oil with explode and can cause serious burns to the person cooking! The resulting oil was then mixed with equal quantities of St John’s wort sun infused oil and massaged into the old wound site.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSA) oil – as Old wound oil plus rosemary EO (4 drops of EO in 1 oz of herb oil) This took the pain away from the hand immediately upon application.

Sciatica Massage oil  - 4 drops of Rosemary EO in 1 ounce of St John’s wort oil

Tendon repair/scar tissue massage oil  - comfrey, yarrow, plantain & Vitamin E

Rub into damaged area and massage well in at least 4 times a day. Use as part of regular exercise regime.

Lady’s Lubrication salve

1 part St John’s wort sun infused oil,

2 parts calendula oil made from dried petals infused in sunflower oil,

1 part marshmallow oil made from fresh leaves and seeds in sunflower oil,

1 part lovage oil made from fresh aerial parts infused in sunflower oil,

Heat about 8ozs combined oils with 1/2oz grated beeswax until the wax melts and the oil coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add more wax if necessary. Pour into sterile jars and add 4 drops of rose geranium EO per oz of oil. Seal, label and use internally as necessary. (Do not add EO if very sensitive) This recipe has been developed from Lavender and Franklin’s recipe for Great Rite Salve (see references)

Sanded wood finishing salve – dried calendula petals infused in 2/3 sunflower & 1/3 cocoa butter with 4 drops EO as preservative. This is my basic lip balm recipe.

Another thing I've started doing this year is making wooden wands/meditation sticks and worry sticks (a shorter version) in various different woods. I discovered that when you have finished sanding the wood down to the required smoothness, if you then rub in some calendula salve, it gives the wood the most wonderful finish -silky smooth and shining! It feels fantastic when you stroke it! Gorse is one of my favourite woods and the salve turns the surface from nondesecript to golden - an almost miraculous transformation which is a sheer delight to behold! It doesn't have to be calendula salve, that is used, it just happened to be what I had to hand, I've also used comfrey oil with a yew worry stick and it had the same effect. My father, who is a very skilled wood turner, said he had heard of people using sunflower oil instead of wax to polish their finished wooden items.

Shingles scar tissue treatment – bathe the effected area in lemon balm tea (and also drink the tea -1cup), also rub in St John’s wort salve

Echinacea & Elderberry syrup

Fill a large saucepan with elderberries and aerial parts of Echinacea plants coarsely chopped together with a couple of cinnamon sticks and either 2 ozs of root ginger grated or 2 tsps of powdered ginger. For every 1 oz of "herb" add one pint of water. Simmer over a low heat for 10-20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and measure how much liquid you have remaining. Put the liquid back into a saucepan and reduce until you have 1/8th of the liquid remaining. Measure the liquid again and add 2lbs of sugar or honey to every pint of liquid. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat gently until the sugar or honey has dissolved. Store the syrup in sterilised bottles. It should keep for several months. Take at the first sign of a viral infection. Dose: 1 dessertspoon 3-6 times daily. This is Shaw and Hedley’s basic syrup method.

General cough syrup 

Made from Echinacea, white horehound, thyme, sage, hyssop, lemon balm, ginger using the above method. Add brandy and freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice for extra flavour and to help preserve once the syrup has cooled.

Cold/cough tea

Infuse 1 tsp dried thyme and 1tsp dried sage (1tblsp of each if fresh) in a mugful of boiling water for 3-10 minutes in a covered container. Strain and add to the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon and add honey to taste.

Flu symptoms – elderberry syrup & boneset tincture (Paul Bergner’s recommendation for treating influenza)

Bruising – yarrow compress

Yarrow flower remedy

Yarrow is useful for defining and strengthening emotional boundaries on an energetic level. The flower remedy was made using the sun method. Two glass tumblers were filled with spring water and petals from several yarrow flowers growing nearby were sprinkled onto the surface of each tumbler. The tumblers were then left to infuse in bright sunshine outside for 3-4 hours. The flowers were removed with a wooden stick and the infused water was carefully poured into a measuring jug and an equal amount of brandy was added to the water. The mixture was then decanted into a dark glass bottle and from then into small 5ml phials to use as and when.

Dose: 4 drops taken in a glass of water throughout the day immediately reduced the physical pain seated in the solar plexus caused by emotional trauma and dealing with extremely stressful situations and stressed clients.

Impatiens flower remedy

Made using a similar method, but with the blossoms from the flowers added to a glass bowl. Used to help improve patience and for finding cheerfulness when coming through hard times.

 

REFERENCES

McGarry, G     Brighid’s Healing:Ireland’s Celtic Medicine Traditions Green Magic 2005 ISBN 0954723023

 

Lavender, S & Franklin, A  Herbcraft:A Guide to the Shamanic and Ritual Uses of Herbs  Capall Bann Publishing 1996 ISBN 1 898307 57 9

 

Sanders, K “The Spiritual Properties of Herbs” on Herbal Highways June 17 2004 http://www.kpfa.org/archives/archives.php?id=15&limit=N

 

Shaw, N Bach Flower Remedies : A Step-by-Step Guide 1998 Element Books ISBN 1 86204 106 7

 

Shaw, N Herbal Medicine : A Step-by-Step-Guide 1998 Element Books ISBN 1 86204 196 2

 

Shaw, N & Hedley, C Herbal Remedies 1996 Parragon Books Services Ltd ISBN 1-84164-054-9

 

Wood, M The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines

 

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