Rose Hip “Jam”

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This morning I was browsing herbmentor.com reading though the forum when a quick and easy recipe for Rose Hip “Jam”.  I thought to myself well I do love rose hips and I do love jam so what can go wrong with this?  Absolutely nothing, it’s amazing, yummy and a new favorite in our house!  So what’s the recipe?

Dried Rose hips
Fruit Juice (I used what was left from my Archer Farms blueberry pomagranite smoothie).

Place your rose hips in a sealable jar such as a canning jar.  Cover them with your juice and place in the refrigerator.  I checked in after a half an hour, stirred it and added a bit more juice.  After an hour I couldn’t wait anymore to try it out.  It’s amazing and good for you too!

Here’s a link regarding rosehips click to download this little booklet by Rosalee de la Foret Rose Hips Booklet it has some great info on it’s benefits and some great recipes as well!

-Namaste

Beeswax

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I use a lot of beeswax in my balms, lotions, candles, and soaps.  And, I always try to use my local beekeepers as a source.  I was happy when I stumbled upon a new seller at my local farmers market who had 1 jar of fresh beeswax for sale.  You can’t get any better than that.  Now for those of you who have only used pre-strained and molded beeswax the original product looks a bit different.  Example A: So what do I do to make it usable?  Start by melting it down like this:

I place the beeswax in a pan and heat it over low heat.  You could also do this in a crock pot if you have to melt a lot of it.  As you can see there is particulates (pollen, bee parts), honey, and wax that come out of this.  Once it is completely melted I pour it through a strainer into a bowl and let it set like this:
The particulates and the honey sink to the bottom and the wax hardens on the top.  I peel off the wax melt it down and strain one more time but this time use a Pyrex dish.  While it’s still warm I pour it into molds through the strainer and allow to harden 1 more time like this:

Each little nugget is .3 oz and is particulate free, honey free, and beautiful usable beeswax.  ❤ it!  It’s a bit of work but you can’t get any fresher than that.  The honey that was left over was delicious too!

– Namaste

Deodorant

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I have been interested in trying more of a natural form of deodorant for a while now.  One of the reasons I have not yet done so is that it is really hard for me to pay $8 for 1 thing of it.  It’s just so expensive.  As I was looking around at different recipes for deodorant I got inspired and came up with my own recipe.  Before I give it all to you (my mom taught me it’s good to share) let’s discuss what’s in commercial deodorant.  In front of me is my husband’s Degree for men.  The ingredient list is as follows:

Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex
Cyclopentasiloxane
Stearyl alcohol
PPG-14 butyl ether
Hydrogenated castor oil
Talc
Fragrance
PEG-8 distearate
Zea mays (corn) starch
BHT

Now let’s look up this deodorant in the cosmetic database…. here’s what it says:

Health concerns of ingredients
About the ratings
Overall Hazard yes
Cancer yes
Developmental & reproductive toxicity yes
Allergies & immunotoxicity yes
Use restrictions yes
Other HIGH concerns: Persistence and bioaccumulation, Miscellaneous, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Contamination concerns
Other MODERATE concerns: Neurotoxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)
Other LOW concerns: Endocrine disruption, Ecotoxicology, Data gaps

I highly recommend this website btw.  I encourage you to look up each ingredient listed here.  You will be amazed at what you are putting on your body!  Well I don’t want that on my body and since skin is the largest organ, in my body either!  I have found when starting a new regime you have to do it for a while to let your body detox first.  This can be uncomfortable, slightly icky, and could be stinky too depending on what part of you is going through detox.

I came up with a recipe based on a few I read on the internet that I am sure will need some tweaking.  But here it is:
1/4 c Baking Soda
1/4 c Corn Starch
1/4 c Coconut Oil (I decided to try Shea Butter instead)
10 drops Lavender EO
10 drops Clary Sage EO
10 drops Tea Tree EO
5 drops Eucalyptus EO

Place Baking Soda and Corn Starch in a bowl, mix until blended.  Place Shae Butter in a microwave safe dish and heat for 30 seconds.  Stir to melt completely.  Add the essential oil blend to the Shea Butter and stir until completely incorporated.  Pour into the bowl with the soda and starch.  Mix together (this will form a very thick batter consistency).  Pour into a jar with a lid (I used a small 4 oz canning jar).

To use scoop up a small amount on your fingers and rub onto your arm pits.  Now remember this isn’t an antiperspirant.  You are supposed to perspire to release toxins.  This will however deodorized.  I plan to use this whole jar and I will update you how much I like it periodically.  So far the smell is wonderful as is the feel.  It is very nourishing.  I am thinking if I make it again I will do 50/50 Shea Butter and Coconut Oil or Butter.  It is still a bit white when I look where I put it, but we’ll see how it goes.

-Nameste

UPDATE (8/13/2011 11:33pm):  I used the deodorant tonight after I was done getting ready for an end of the summer party a few of our friends were having tonight.  While the deodorant can still leave white traces if it is not completely rubbed in.  Anyways, I put this on a headed out to this outdoor party.  I experienced no wetness at all (though it was not that hot today) and even now at home 5 hours later I still smell fresh.  I don’t have the lovely herbal smell like when you first put it on but there is no odor at all.  I am in love with this stuff right now and so is the hubby.  We’ll see if that positivity continues.

UPDATE (8/25/2011 9:07pm):  My husband and I are still using the deodorant and I have to say I love it.  There is absolutely no body odor.  It’s been a bit toasty lately here in good ole Wisconsin so this stuff has really gone through the testing process.  While I have had some sweating (remember that is normal) it has only been a little.  I feel I actually sweat more when using traditional deodorant/antiperspirant.  The herbal blend is amazing and love how it smells.  Also, my armpits are very smooth and moisturized due to all that shea butter.  Once this one is done I am still going to try out 1/2 Shea and 1/2 Coconut oil and I am going to put it in a tube instead of a jar. 

Thinking of Fall

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As it starts to get cooler here in good ole Wisconsin and as the days get shorter my mind is drifting to all the preparations I would like to make before winter sets in.  I currently have quite a wish list going at Mountain Rose Herbs and while I am waiting to get paid I find my list expanding each day.  My goal is to get what I will need for the fall and winter and while I am a planner it’s hard to plan for what I think I might need.  I do have quite a few tinctures planned (St. John’s Wort and Valerian to name a few) but also ingredients to make things such as cough medicine, throat lozenges, essential oils for various applications and such.

This cooler weather is also bringing my mind to canning.  I planned to start canning earlier this year and it didn’t happen at all.  But I am still hoping to can some Jelly, Pickles, and freeze items like corn, green beans, and other veggies.  My husband and I joke that we are trying to “Laura Ingalls Wilder-it” this winter by better preparing now.  Do you have any plans to prepare for winter?

Nettle Infusion

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So I have read about infusions.  Most of my herbalist gurus drink them on a daily basis.  They boast how nutritious they are, so how could I not give them a try.  Last night I decided to make a Nettle Infusion.  Here’s how I did it:
1 oz dried Nettle
Enough hot water to fill a quart jar

Add your Nettle to your quart jar.  Then boil enough water to fill it to the threads.  I place a butter knife in the jar before I add the water.  This is said to help keep the jar from cracking.  I filled my jar with water and added the top and left it overnight.  It seeped for about 8 hours.  This is what it looked like when I woke up this morning

I strained the infusion (making sure to squeeze out all the nutrients) into a bowl.  I rinsed out my quart jar, added the infusion and 2 tbsp of honey and put it in the fridge.

I filled my water bottle full and headed to work.  It wasn’t too bad.  Now I happen to be a tea drinker, if you aren’t I think you may have a hard time drinking this.  It has a pretty strong hay-like flavor.  I am not sure if I could do this everyday (one, because 1 oz of dried herbs is a lot of herb, but two, I like variety).  I am going to do some research on other good herbs for infusion.  So why drink water when you can drink herbs?

Cough Cough

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I have a cold.  I hate it when you can taste the sickness in the back of your throat.  It started off as a sore throat.  I managed that with either hot water, lemon, and honey or at times ginger tea.  Both work great.  Now I wake up today and it’s settled in my chest.  Great.  Now I have a hoarse voice and a cough.  Now it’s time for the cough medicine.  What’s the favorite in our house?  Honey, lemon, ginger and garlic.  I got the recipe from Learning Herbs and it’s one of our favorites here.  So why each ingredient?

Honey: Antibacterial, antiviral, humicant.  The humicant properties in honey help hold moisture in which can help suppress a cough.  The antibacterial and antiviral properties help treat what is causing the cough.  Honey does so much more but let’s keep the focus on just coughs.  Many studies have been done finding that a tsp of honey at bedtime helps supress coughs and help people sleep when sick.  They have also found that it is as effective if not more than over the counter medication. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/honey/AN01799)

Lemon: Just 1/4 of a cup of the juice is almost half of our daily recommended amount for vitamin C! Vitamin C is a great antioxidant which helps boost our cells rejuvenating abilities to fight free radicals. Free radicals can hurt and damage cell membranes leading to inflammation in the body.

Ginger: possesses strong antibacterial activity against several food bourse pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, it is the choice herb for treating colds and flus, it reduces and eliminates diarrhea, relieves pain, stimulates immune activity, reduces inflammation, has clinical uses for burns, and has been found effective in the treatment of cataracts, heart disease, migraines, stroke, bursitis, fatigue, coughs, fever, kidney stones, sciatica, tendonitis, viral infections, indigestion, and dizziness

Garlic: Known for it’s medicinal action and uses as an diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, antibacterial, antifungal, alterative, antispasmodic, cholagogue, vulnerary, and vermifuge.  The expectorant helps clear the lungs of mucus and stimulate what I call purposful coughing.  The antifungal and antibacterial properties help get rid of any bacteria.  Antispasmatic properties help call the cough when it is not needed.  Remember you are coughing for a reason but you want it to be purposeful and not just coughing for coughing sake.

So how do you make this remedy?  Watch the video and get healing.

-Nameste

Sources:

http://www.hillcountryherbalist.com/2011/03/meyer-lemon-beautiful-inside-and-out.html

http://www.learningherbs.com/ginger_tea_recipe.html

http://www.herballegacy.com/Motteshard_Medicinal.html

Dandelion Oil

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Oh the dandelion.  We were taught when we were very young that this beautifully bright and sunny flower was a weed and should be destroyed.  Little did we know how beneficial this little weed really is.  Let’s just look at the dandelion’s stats:

Common Dandelion

Dandelion (Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient)
Botanical Name: Taraxacum officinale (WEBER)
Family: N.O. Compositae

The name of the genus, Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder), and akos (remedy), on account of the curative action of the plant. A possible alternative derivation of Taraxacum is suggested in The Treasury of Botany: ‘The generic name is possibly derived from the Greek taraxo (“I have excited” or “caused”) and achos (pain), in allusion to the medicinal effects of the plant.’

Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.  Native Americans also used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset. Chinese medicinal practitioners traditionally used dandelion to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems (such as inflammation or lack of milk flow). In Europe, herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Who knew that this little weed was so amazing!?!  What do I do with them?  Well I make an infused oil with the flowers.  The infused oil is good for tight muscles, sinuses, and headaches.  I let them sit in extra virgin olive oil for about 6 weeks.  I then strain out the flower material and store the oil in a cool dark place.  I am planning on using this oil to make a salve that will also be accompanied with comfrey, lavender, and chamomile oils to make a healing salve.  These other oils have healing properties, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.  I am planning on also using tea tree essential oil and myrrh since these have healing properties as well.  I promise to post all about it when I am done with it.

-Namaste

Source:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/dandel08.html
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm