Herbal Healing

This blog is dedicated to herbal healing and other natural health remedies. In an attempt to deepen my own knowledge, I will share information on a variety of herbs, focusing largely on easy to find Western plants, as well as methods for preparing herbal medicines and natural beauty treatments. I am not a certified herbalist, licensed cosmetologist, or physician, so please use the information on this blog at your own risk! I've been an aspiring herbalist for several years, and I hope to finally get my certification sometime this year.

Hey I was wondering how many drops of a herbal tincture extract is needed for the herb to work, and how much time it takes for results because my experience with a herbal tincture extract was ineffective. Hope you're ok & keep it up with the great blog!! :)
Anonymous

It depends on the strength of the tincture, what kind of herb used in the tincture, and the desired effect.  Usually a dropper-full (about 30 drops) 3 times a day does the trick for me.  However, say you’re using a sleep-inducing tincture (like valerian root), you’d want to take a dropper-full 30 minutes before bedtime, but not too much more because it could be harmful.

what herbs will help get rid of a cold? Also, do any herbs help get rid of mold possibly?

If you look on the right hand side bar, there is a link to all of my tags for “colds.”  :)  What kind of mold are we talking about here, btw?

Y’all, I have been so busy lately and forget I had this blog!  Ouch!  I logged in and found many, many messages from you sweet and curious people.  I will try to get on that tonight, and I am hoping to get back into blogging more regularly on here.  Any questions, feel free to ask!  xo.

herbalhealing:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Volumes could be written on the many uses of dandelion - indeed they have been! This common weed is often hated and poisoned by those preferring a “weed free” lawn, while those of us in love with dandelion and its many uses happily support it taking over our lawns.  Every part of the dandelion can be used as food or medicine, making back door herbalism simple and easy, as it should be. 
When the first spring leaves pop up out of the ground they can be harvested heavily and eaten fresh with salads, made into a delicious pesto, or dried for tea.  The leaves are highly nutritious, containing large amounts of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and many more vitamins and minerals. The French call this plant pissenlit, which alludes to its strong diuretic properties. A tea of dandelion leaves is a great way to flush excess  water from the system.  When eaten with meals, the bitter taste of the leaves helps to promote digestion by stimulating bile to relieve indigestion and other digestive disturbances.
The root is a great ally for the liver. It can be tinctured or eaten fresh in a variety of recipes. Dandelion root can help clear up acne and other skin disruptions with the root cause being a stagnant liver. Most herbalists agree that long-term use of dandelion is needed for best results.

herbalhealing:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Volumes could be written on the many uses of dandelion - indeed they have been! This common weed is often hated and poisoned by those preferring a “weed free” lawn, while those of us in love with dandelion and its many uses happily support it taking over our lawns.  Every part of the dandelion can be used as food or medicine, making back door
herbalism simple and easy, as it should be. 

When the first spring leaves pop up out of the ground they can be harvested heavily and eaten fresh with salads, made into a delicious pesto, or dried for tea.  The leaves are highly nutritious, containing large amounts of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and many more vitamins and minerals. The French call this plant pissenlit, which alludes to its strong diuretic properties. A tea of dandelion leaves is a great way to flush excess  water from the system.  When eaten with meals, the bitter taste of the leaves helps to promote digestion by stimulating bile to relieve indigestion and other digestive disturbances.

The root is a great ally for the liver. It can be tinctured or eaten fresh in a variety of recipes. Dandelion root can help clear up acne and other skin disruptions with the root cause being a stagnant liver. Most herbalists agree that long-term use of dandelion is needed for best results.

herbalhealing:

Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Parts used: Ariel parts of the plant
Benefits: This weedy plant can be found growing around the world, especially anywhere moist, cultivated soil can be found.  Seriously, walk outside right now and you’ll probably find some in your backyard along with other weed wonders like dandelion, plantain and clover.  Chickweed is highly esteemed for it emollient and demulcent properties and is used to treat skin irritations (especially sunburn and insect bites), eye inflammation, and kidney disorders.  It is a mild diuretic and is indicated in water retention.  It is an excellent poultice herb and is often found in salve formulas because of its soothing effects on the skin.  Additionally, it is a chock-full of nutrients like calcium, potassium and iron!
Suggested uses: The fresh tender greens are delicious in salads.  They can be juiced or blended with pineapple juice and are often made into salves.  A light infusion of chickweed is quite soothing.  The plant doesn’t dry or store well, so to preserve it for future use, it is best to tincture it fresh.

herbalhealing:

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Parts used: Ariel parts of the plant

Benefits: This weedy plant can be found growing around the world, especially anywhere moist, cultivated soil can be found.  Seriously, walk outside right now and you’ll probably find some in your backyard along with other weed wonders like dandelion, plantain and clover.  Chickweed is highly esteemed for it emollient and demulcent properties and is used to treat skin irritations (especially sunburn and insect bites), eye inflammation, and kidney disorders.  It is a mild diuretic and is indicated in water retention.  It is an excellent poultice herb and is often found in salve formulas because of its soothing effects on the skin.  Additionally, it is a chock-full of nutrients like calcium, potassium and iron!

Suggested uses: The fresh tender greens are delicious in salads.  They can be juiced or blended with pineapple juice and are often made into salves.  A light infusion of chickweed is quite soothing.  The plant doesn’t dry or store well, so to preserve it for future use, it is best to tincture it fresh.

I'm trying to grow my hair out, any ideas of good herbs to use, treatments, teas to drink? Also good teas for digestive soothing would be nice! And for acne prone skin! Thanks, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Thanks, doll!  Please take a look at the tags for hair and skin on the side of my blog!  :)

W have some Feverfew pills that I want to take but have a hard time swallowing because they are in those plastic capsules. I opened it to turn into a tea but I didn't like the taste. I was wondering, is it okay to open the capsule, mix it with water, and soak my feet in it to absorb it?

What are you using the feverfew for?  Regardless, the desired effect is likely not going to happen by aborbing it through the feet… Your best bet is to buy dried organic feverfew and make it into a strong infusion! 

Edit: Capsules are typically the least effective form of taking an herb.  You can definitely make your own, but I believe infusions and tinctures to be the best way to get the full effects of any herb.

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)
Parts used: Leaves
Benefits: Pipsissewa comes from a Cree word meaning “to break into small pieces”; the herb breaks kidney stones into small pieces so they can be passed.  Also known as prince’s pine, pipsissewa is generally helpful for the urinary system and acts as both a diuretic and a urinary antiseptic with a gentle, mild action.  It also helps prevent and treats various degrees of prostatic irritation and the frequently accompanying cystis (bladder inflamation).  It acts by cleaning, toning, and soothing the irritation, restoring the organs to normalcy.  As a poultice, pipsissewa was used by native people to heal blisters, sores, and swellings and to relieve painful joints.
Suggested uses: Pipsissewa is generally made into a tea for urinary problems, though capsules and tinctures can also be used. 
At-risk warning: Pipsissewa is a small woodland plant with limited range in North America.  Habitat destruction and overharvesting by the herbal industry have taken a toll on this beautiful plant, and at this time, there is no large-scale cultivation of pipsissewa.  Do not collect the plant from the wild, and purchase only supplies that are clearly labeled organically cultivated.

Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)

Parts used: Leaves

Benefits: Pipsissewa comes from a Cree word meaning “to break into small pieces”; the herb breaks kidney stones into small pieces so they can be passed.  Also known as prince’s pine, pipsissewa is generally helpful for the urinary system and acts as both a diuretic and a urinary antiseptic with a gentle, mild action.  It also helps prevent and treats various degrees of prostatic irritation and the frequently accompanying cystis (bladder inflamation).  It acts by cleaning, toning, and soothing the irritation, restoring the organs to normalcy.  As a poultice, pipsissewa was used by native people to heal blisters, sores, and swellings and to relieve painful joints.

Suggested uses: Pipsissewa is generally made into a tea for urinary problems, though capsules and tinctures can also be used. 

At-risk warning: Pipsissewa is a small woodland plant with limited range in North America.  Habitat destruction and overharvesting by the herbal industry have taken a toll on this beautiful plant, and at this time, there is no large-scale cultivation of pipsissewa.  Do not collect the plant from the wild, and purchase only supplies that are clearly labeled organically cultivated.

ABC of carrier oils

Vegetable and carrier oils have a plethora of fine uses which include acting as a carrier for therapeutic applications, as an excellent addition to your culinary creations, as a lathering agent for soap, and a binding medium for cosmetics. It is hard to imagine where we would be with our creations, if it were not for the goodness and substance that pure oil provides.  There are so many varieties, however, that it is easy to get overwhelmed.  Here is a list of the most commonly used carrier oils!

Almond oil - This is one of the most useful, practical, and comonly used oils. It is great for all skin types as an acting emollient and is best known for its ability to soften, soothe, and re-condition the skin. It is truly marvelous as a carrier oil and is equally superb for addition to body care products.

Apricot kernel oil - A wonderful oil similar to Sweet Almond, but more suitable for sensitive and prematurely aged skin.It can be used liberally in most body care recipes.

Argan oil - This rare and exquisite oil is meticulously pressed from the fruit kernels of the Moroccan Argan tree. Argan oil is rich in natural tocopherols (vitamin E) and phenols, carotenes, squalene and fatty acids, making it a truly luxurious oil. Argan oil absorbs quickly and is often used in skin, nail and hair treatments to deliver deep hydration, strengthen brittle hair and nails, and prevent/reduce stretch marks.

Avocado oil - This ultra rich organic oil is a delightful treasure containing high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E. Also contains amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin, and other essential fatty acids. Highly prized to those with skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and other skin ailments, it also makes a lovely salad oil for dressings and condiments. Highly recommended to those with sensitive skin, problem skin, and other irritations that require vitamin rich oil.

Baobab oil - This exquisite oil is cold pressed from the seeds of Baobab fruit trees growing in Africa. The normal lifespan of a Baobab tree is 500 years, with the oldest trees reaching the age of 5,000 years and a height of 20 meters. Known to the locals in its natural habitat as “The Tree Of Life”, Baobab’s bark, leaves and fruit pulp are also used. Its lovely white flowers emit a smell of rotting meat, which attracts pollinating moths, flies and ants; however, the seed oil itself possesses a light, nutty, almost floral scent. Rich in vitamins A, E and F and sterols, baobab oil absorbs quickly and is a wonderful oil to use in dry skin treatments and products designed to moisturize dry hair.

Borage seed oil -Because of its extremely high levels of gamma linolenic acid, Borage Seed Oil has many potential uses.  It has been widely studied for its ability to calm and reduce inflammation, and has been used successfully to alleviate the pain, swelling, and joint stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.  Borage Seed Oil has also been used with positive results for many different skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea, and prematurely matured skin.  Furthermore, studies have begun to show that it may be able to be beneficial for treating and preventing a malady of conditions.

Castor oil - A natural source oil from castor beans. A hard and shiny oil found in most cosmetics that acts as a barrier agent and protective medium against harsh conditions and extremes. Very soothing to the skin when included into cosmetic applications.

Coconut oil - This is a great oil for general moisturizing and serves as a protective layer, helping to retain the moisture in your skin. It also acts as a mild oil suitable for those with inflamed and irritated skin, and those with skin sensitivities. Coconut oil is without a doubt the number one lather-producing agent used in soaps.

Grapeseed oil - Grapeseed oil has a mild green color with a pleasant odor, silken texture, and great absorbtion rate. Generally employed as a base oil for many creams, lotions and as a general carrier oil. Grapeseed is especially useful for skin types that do not absorb oils too well, and it does not leave a greasy feeling. Wonderful for those with skin sensitivities because of its natural non-allergenic properties.

Hazelnut oil - Hazelnut oil is known for its astringent qualities and because of this, it is best used for those who have oily skin but do not want to abstain from using oils.

Hemp seed oil - Exceptionally rich oil high in essential omega fatty acids and proteins. This oil has a pleasant nutty smell, deep green color, and absorbs well into the skin. It makes a marvelous cosmetic grade oil and because of its high nutritional value, it makes a superior quality dietary oil and one that can be used as a base ingredient for skin care recipes which require healing and regenerative ingredients.

Jojoba oil - Jojoba oil comes from the beans of the shrub like plant, simmondsia chinensis. It is bright and golden in color and is regarded as the most favored in the carrier oil family because of its advanced molecular stability. Also makes a great scalp cleanser for the hair, and is equally wonderful for the skin because it has absorption properties that are similar to our skin’s own sebum.

Kukui nut oil - The Kukui nut tree is the official tree of Hawaii and has been used by natives of this island for hundreds of years. They recognized the oil’s high penetrability and soothing properties and currently they put it to use in helping sooth sunburns and chapped skin. A fabulous ingredient for your cosmetics, or as a stand-alone application, Kukui nut oil contains very high levels of the essential fatty acids linoleic and alpha-linolenic. This oil is readily absorbed into the skin, providing tissues the essential elements that it needs and is particularly good for dry skin, psoriasis, acne and eczema.

Macadamia nut oil - This fine oil comes from the pressed nuts of the Macadamia tree. It is a priceless delight for the skin and has proven itself to be one of the best regenerative oils available.  It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and closely resembles sebum (the oil naturally produced by one’s skin to help protect it). Macadamia oil is a fabulous, protective oil with a high absorption rate and has been successfully used as a healing oil for scars, sunburns, minor wounds and other irritations.

Neem oil - A magnificent oil with numerous benefits for both therapeutic and medicinal use. Among other properties, this certified organic oil is anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. Used widely in creams, dental products, hair care products, and in gardens for natural pest control. Can be applied directly to the skin or included within skin care preparations that are designed specifically to treat problematic skin conditions. This oil is exceptionally rich, contains a heavy odor, and may be diluted accordingly.

Olive oil - Olive oil is by far the most universal oils used for a multitude of purposes including cosmetics, as a carrier oil, for hair care solutions, and in cooking.  It has a rich, full bodied flavor with a strong aroma and is golden brown in color. It has a great conditioning effect in body care recipes and can be used in almost all applications because of its stable nature.

Palm kernel oil - Palm Kernel Oil is pressed from the fruit kernels of the palm tree Elaeis guineensis. It is most commonly found in handmade soap to increase its lather and hardness. It may also be used in a multitude of other cosmetic and bodycare products for its moisturizing properties.

Plum kernel oil - An incredibly rich and intoxicating oil which gracefully shares it benefits in numerous food and cosmetic applications throughout the world. Plum oil is a recent addition to the exotic oil scene and it has been incorporated into some of the finest food dishes in France and it can be found in some of the most exquisite cosmetics in Italy. Having a flavor and aroma similar to Apricot kernel oil with a fruity top note, this oil is sure to embellish itself well upon any creation you may choose. High in fatty acids and leaving virtually no residue on the skin, the potential of Plum kernel oil in body care applications is endless.

Pomegranate seed oil - A luxurious and deeply penetrating oil from the cold pressed organic seeds of pomegranate fruit. This highly prized oil which is naturally high in flavonoids and punicic acid is remarkable for the skin and has numerous dietary benefits as well. Deeply nourishing to the outer epidermal layer, Pomegranate seed oil provides powerful anti-oxidant benefits for numerous skin ailments including eczema, and psoriasis and gently challenges free radicals that damage and age the skin. A great ally to have in your cosmetic creations or as a stand alone product to help nourish and develop healthy skin cell regeneration.

Rosehip seed oil - A rich, amber colored organic oil from the ripened fruit of the famed Rosehip. This unique oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and has carried much respect amongst professional journals and organizations as being a great agent in the fight against dry, weathered, and dehydrated skin. It works wonders on scars and is the predominant oil used for treating wrinkles and premature aging. Can be used in all fine skin care recipes.

Safflower oil - A highly moisturizing oil with an exceptionally high amount of Oleic acids. Deeply soothing and one of the first choices for skin care recipes requiring moisturizing benefits.

Shea nut oil - Shea oil is a byproduct of Shea butter production where the pressing of the seeds produces a fractionated oil. This oil leaves a smooth and healthy feel to the skin and offers benefits for numerous skin problems including dermatitis, eczema, burns, cutaneous dryness and other irritations. Highly recommended as a protective agent against harsh weather conditions where a mild barrier against the elements is desired.

Soybean oil -High in natural source lecitihin, sterolins, and vitamin E, this oil makes a great base for your products which are being created for outer epidermal healing.  Soybean oil is easily absorbed and leaves a smooth sensation to the skin.

Sunflower oil - An oil wealthy in Oleic acids with high amounts of Vitamins A, D, and E, also has beneficial amounts of lecithin, and unsaturated fatty acids. Deeply nourishing and conditioning for the skin and it is highly recommended for recipes designed to treat dry, weathered, aged, and damaged skin.

Tamanu oil - The Oil of Tamanu offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is extracted by a cold pressed method from the whole organic nuts of the Polynesian Tamanu tree. Tamanu oil has been thoroughly researched, and the conclusive evidence on its ability to heal damaged skin is overwhelming. Its benefits are notable for the treatment for scarring, stretch marks, minor cuts and abrasions, rashes, sores and much more. Can be used directly on the skin or mixed within formulations.

Wheat germ oil - This ultra rich, unrefined Wheat Germ oil is a great ingredient high in natural source Vitamin E, A, D, proteins, Lecithin, and Squalene. Wheat germ has been applied externally for numerous irritations including roughness of the skin, cracking, chaffing and many crafters of cosmetics use it successfully to help reverse the effects of wrinkling. The first ingredient in quality skin care products.

DIY Herbal Shampoo

This is an all-natural, chemical-free alternative that cleans your hair, but doesn’t strip it of its natural oils like most shampoos.  All of the ingredients can be founds in natural foods stores.  If your hair is exceptionally oily, you might want to replace the jojoba oil with rosemary essential oil.

  • 8 ounces distilled water
  • 1 ounce herbs (choose from combinations below)
  • 3 ounces liquid castile soap
  • 1/4 teaspoon jojoba oil
  • 25 drops pure essential oil (choose from this list)

1.) Bring the water to a boil.  Add the herbs, cover, and let simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes.  Strain and cool.

2.) Slowly add the castile soap to the tea, then mix in the jojoba oil and essential oil.  Store in a plastic container with a flip-top lid and shake well before using!

Goldie Locks Infusion: For golden highlights, combine 2 parts chamomile, 1 part calendula, 1 part comfrey leaf.

Dark of the Nigh Infusion: To effect dark highlights, try using 2 parts sage leaf, 1 part black walnut hull (chopped), and 1 part comfrey leaf.

Desert Bloom Infusion: This is an excellent formula for dry hair. 1 part calendula flower, 1 part marshmallow root, 1 part nettle leaf.

Rapunzel’s Locks Infusion: Bothered by oily hair?  Use this astringent recipe. 1  part rosemary leaf, 1 part witch hazel bark (not extract), 1 part yarrow leaf and flower.

lotus