Thursday, May 20, 2010

plantain & comfrey

i got a ton of fresh plantain (Plantago major) and comfrey (Symphytum officinale) today from a friend of mine. i am going to make some infused oil from both of them. i have the leaves layed out on paper towels on the counter - they will sit there overnight. i want to let them wilt a little and let some of the moisture dry out before starting the infusion because both plants have a high water content in them - and oil and water don't mix. just trying to lessen the chance of mold growing in my infusion. i did not rinse the leaves to clean them - instead i took a very damp cloth and gently got any dirt or misc bug droppings off the leaves. so tomorrow morning i'll do a rough chop on them - put each one in a glass jar and cover with organic olive oil. i push the plant material down with the end of a wooden spoon to make sure they are all submerged and to get rid of any air bubbles. when infusing oils - i don't cover it with a metal lid -  instead i use cheesecloth or a paper towel over the top and hold in place with a rubber band. this will let any additional moisture evaporate. over the next few weeks, i'll open the jar and make sure that all the leaves are still submerged. after three weeks - i'll strain out the herb - and have infused oil that i will use to make skin cream or salve.

here is plantain leaves and the flower stalks. after the stalk completely dries out - i can spread the seed in my garden and hope that a few of them take so i can have fresh plantain here at home.
and here is the comfrey leaves:

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is primarily considered a tonic for enhancing metabolism and digestion and is taken as a tea or soup made from the (usually dried) roots of the plant - or a tincture.

astragalus has antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. it is an adaptoge, meaning it helps protect the body against various stresses, including physical, mental, or emotional stress. it protects and supports the immune system and helps the body fight against disease. astragalus contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, byproducts of cellular energy. astragalus has antiviral properties and is helpful with preventing colds.

i currently have k.c. on astragalus - and thought i would make my own tincture this time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

red clover tincture

i have talked about red clover (Trifolium pratense) before - i have purchased the tincture and made infusions - but this is my first time making a tincture.

red clover is an anti-cancer herb and has four anti-tumor compounds. it is a very strong alterative. alteratives promote overall health and support our elimination organs. it purifies the blood by acting as a diuretic (helping the body get rid of excess fluid) and expectorant (helping clear lungs of mucous), improving circulation, and helps cleanse the liver.


• contributes to bone health
• high in phytoestrogens and phytosterols it nourishes hormones - it is excellent for women going through menopause
• helps prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis and strokes
• eases anxiety and confusion
• helps muscle and joint pain
• keeps skin healthy

caution: red clover has the ability to thin blood which makes it a poor choice for pregnancy and for those on blood thinners.

Friday, May 7, 2010


i've got valerian (Valeriana officinalis) growing in the yard so i am starting a valerian tincture today. it is best to use the roots - they have stronger medicine in them - but since i only have one plant - i didn't want to take the chance of killing it by pulling it up, separating the roots and then replanting the rest. so i read that leaves and flowers will also work - just not as strong.

valerian is a central nervous system relaxer. it can induce restful sleep without grogginess the next morning. it is an effective stress reducer, helps with nervous tension, depression, irritability, hysteria, panic and anxiety. it also has real benefits for sciatica, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and peripheral neuropathy, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the extremities.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

healing salve

i made a healing salve today. i started with fresh plantain (Plantago spp.), comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and lavender (Lavendula dentata).
 i did a rough chop on the herbs...
and then put them in a pot with 1 cup high grade organic olive oil - you can see i decided to add calendula (Calendula officinalis) in the mix at the last minute.
let them simmer on the lowest flame possible for 45 minutes to an hour - then strain the herbs out. put the infused oil back in the pot and add 1/4 cup beeswax and melt the wax. shouldn't take more than a few minutes. after the beeswax is melted i added ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) essential oil - about 10 drops of each. you can add whatever essential oils you like. pour the liquid into tins.
the salve will completely harden in about an hour. this salve is very healing and comforting for the skin. it can be used for chapped dry skin, surface burns and bug bites.

calendula is soothing, moisturizing and cooling, it can help decrease inflammation and is healing for sunburn and skin irritations.

is incredibly healing for wounds and skin problems. The leaf and root of comfrey contain allantoin, a constituent known to aid wound healing. Comfrey oil or salve will help stop bleeding and soothe wounds. it is also known for its ability to knit things back together, and can heal a cut or wound very quickly. (It is important to be sure your wound is thoroughly cleaned so that you do not heal an infection inside of the wound.)

oil helps relieve skin and scalp irritation, reduce inflammation. Plantain is traditionally used to nourish and treat sensitive, irritated skin and scalp, to help restore injured or tired skin, and as restorative and anti-aging skin treatment. a poultice of hot leaves placed on cuts and wounds helps draw out thorns, splinters and inflammation.

lavender helps to prevent tissue degeneration and stop bleeding in wounds. it balances the skin, making it ideal for any skin type. it can stimulate the growth of new skin cells. it helps the formation of healing scar tissue, while preventing scar keloids (scarring) on the healed skin, making it perfect for any wounds.

Monday, May 3, 2010

calendula oil

calendula (Calendula officinalis) oil is done after two months. i ended up doing a double infusion of this because i had so much calendula. i put dried flower petals in sweet almond oil and let it sit for 4 weeks. i strained the petals out - then added more petals into that and let that sit for another 4 weeks. now i have a batch of heavenly, gorgeous, bright orange calendula oil !

the warm, bright orange oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. it has the ability to help heal wounds and refreshes and regenerates the skin. it prevents skin from over-drying and inhibits the formation of sun-caused wrinkles. due to the high content of carotenes, phytosterols and polyphenols, it also delays premature aging of the skin tissue.

also useful to treat skin inflammations, rashes, dermatitis, ringworm, and diaper irritations.

feverfew tincture

i am going to make a feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) tincture. i have it growing in my yard. i planted one plant quite a few years ago - and it has popped up everywhere. i'll put some leaves in a jar, cover with alcohol, shake it up every few days and in 6 weeks, strain out the plant material.

with the name feverfew you'd think it was a fever-reducing plant, but it isn't. what it does do is help dramatically in cases of migraine, arthritis pain, rheumatism, and muscle spasms. it also appears to help with painful menstruation.

feverfew is edible and medicinal. because of its bitter taste, making a tea isn't an option. to ward off migraines and muscle pain you can eat 3-4 smaller leaves per day, take regularly to receive maximum benefit.