Herbal recipes

I have had several tweets, email, comments, and facebook comments from people requesting recipes for the things I make at home. So several bits of info and then I will share.

  • Disclaimer: The information I have I have gleaned from the Internet, books,  experience, as well as specifically this ebook which I heartily recommend though I have taken the information she has provided and adapted it to our needs.  I also recommend The Rodale Herb Book (which I found for 50 cents at the library sale and LOVE).  I am by no means qualified to recommend anything from a medical standpoint.
  • I don’t follow recipes.  Well, maybe the very first time if I am nervous of how it will turn out, but after that no.  I adjust recipes according to taste, what I have available, and my mood.  This means that my recipes are NEVER the same twice and it makes them hard to pass on.  I prefer to come at food and herbs from a chemical standpoint–I know how various starches respond, how various fats respond, how various catalysts work and I cook and mess about accordingly.  It has taken a great deal of mistakes (thank you to my mom who put up with my messes in the kitchen, the constantly being out of certain things because I would use them up, and for not scoffing at my mistakes.)  I still make mistakes, a lot, and my husband and kids are rather forgiving when things don’t go so well.
  • All recipes provided are adaptions and should be treated as such.  Also, they are not perfect measures, I go by look and feel.  If it looks too thick melt it back down and add more coconut oil or some other oil, a little at a time till it is soft enough to suit you.
  • top to bottom, left to right: Cough syrup, chapstick, headache salve, Itchy cream
    top to bottom, left to right: Cough syrup, chapstick, headache salve, Itchy cream

And so, now that I have scared you out of actually trying any of my recipes or home remedies here they are (at least a few.)  Gather your supplies before starting–nothing like making something and realizing you have no container to suit when it is ready to pour. 🙂 And so, you will need a container.  I purchased a bucket of the little tins used for weddings but if you have them you can use old tins from candy (like Altoids–though as a friend who tested  another recipe mentioned–don’t fill it past the hinges) or small jars (like those that you get from Burt’s Bees).  I don’t recommend plastic but then I NEVER recommend plastic, but especially not since you will be pouring hot liquid into it.  All but the cough syrup use bees wax.  I bought mine on sale at Michael’s before I realzed that a friend of my brother HAS BEES and therefore HAS BEE’S WAX.  Dur.  It goes a long way though so is well worth it.  You will also want coconut oil (I buy mine for cheap at Walmart but there are plenty of places to get it online.)  Essential oils can be gotten at health food stores or online.  Bottles of juice concentrate can be gotten at health food stores or you can make them yourself.

Flavored Chapstick

Essie modeling the chapstick.
Essie modeling the chapstick.

This is the simplest chapstick though it does require a *blender or, even better, a hand blender.

Take 1 part melted bees wax, 1 part melted coconut oil (or if you want a creamier texture use a bit of olive oil, we added a bit of vitamin e oil to ours).  Blend well with the juice concentrate of your choice–add it a drop at a time until desired consistency—any that does not blend will bleed out.  We also added a drop of honey (for its antibacterial benefits, and flavor.)  This chapstick adds just a hint of color which the girls appreciated. 🙂

As you can see in the picture we added a bit too much cherry and blueberry juice but it tastes good and really makes your lips feel nice.  In the future I plan to try using cocoa and shea butter in it with a bit of peppermint oil.

* Word of warning–when melting bee’s wax–use an OLD pan that you don’t plan on using for anything else–it is REALLY hard to clean.  It is also hard to clean out of the blender–we have had to let it soak with boiling water to get it out–this is one reason I ecommend using a stick blender–easier to clean.

Salves (Headache and Itchy cream)

Both of these are adapted from Tnfarmgirl’s ebook. In the case of the Headache salves I used essential oils, in the other case I made my own oils first, THEN made the salve.  The itchy cream is an antitch salve with the primary herbs being calendula and plantain though, since I didn’t write it down when I made it, I know there are more things in it but can’t remember what.  On the other hand, I know EXACTLY what I put in the headache salve.

Melt together 1 part bee’s wax and 1 part coconut oil.  Add equal amounts mint, spearmint, and lavender essential oils.  (I used about 5 drops each to about 2 Tbs of wax which was actually a bit weak but good since the kids can use it as well.)  Pour into a tin when melted.  Allow to cool before using.  If it is too thick you can remelt and add some more coconut oil or some olive oil or vitamin e oil.

Note: do NOT get this in your eyes, trust me, don’t. On the other hand, it is excellent rubbed into temples or into cheek bones or neck for headaches.

Cold/flu Syrup (a more exact one that is suitable for smaller children can be found here.  )

Once again, for the syrup I used a recipe from Tnfarmgirl’s ebook–she lists potential uses for each herb which is important to know.  Essentially this is a tea cooked down to a syrup with plenty of honey.  Cook it down more and you get a cough drop.

This is not the first we have made and each time we use different stuff depending on what she (Rachel–since she is allergic to most over the counter meds, even the ones at the health food store) needs, and the herbs included are for various things but all ones we know work for her–so think of this as more a stuffy nose, upset stomach, coughing, sneezing, everything syrup.    For herbs I don’t have on hand (unlike thyme and garlic) I use tea bags and 1 tea bag is a serving so I use 1 tea bag for each as a way of keeping some feel for quantities.

tea bags: Calendula (general healing, in this case for her stomach), peppermint (stomach, general health), muellien (ear ache),  feverfew (fever and headache), rose hips (vitamin c)

about a Tbs of slippery elm (sore throat), a tsp of  fennel seeds (stomach ache), tsp garlic (promotes healing), thyme

About 1Boil all of the above in 1 cup of honey and 2 cups of water.  Allow to boil for about 1/2 hour.  While it boiled I poured about a 2 Tbs each  of elderberry and cherry concentrate plus 3 capsules of zinc powder (the only form of zinc she can take) plus a tsp of magnesium powder into a glass jar.  Allow the tincture to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring.  With a funnel and strainer pour  the tincture into the jar with the concentrate.  Stir.

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Essie reluctantly holds a spoonful of Rachel's cough/cold/icky feeling syrup. She tasted it afterwards and said it wasn't nearly as bad as Buried Treasure ACF.

All of these don’t seem frugal to start but once you have the stuff essential oils etc go a very long way.  And if you get the ebook (no kickback for me–I just love it and my kids love it.)  It has really helped me find herbal remedies that grow naturally and which most people call WEEDS and spurred a love of herbal identification and making our own remedies in the kids.