Fresh Plant Hydrosols

Fresh Plant Hydrosols

Herbs are replete with enchanting scents, be it the beautiful scent of a rose or the lemony green smell of just crushed lemon balm.  Like essential oils, hydrosols are a way for us to capture these lovely smells and other amazing properties of many herbs to use and enjoy.  The fragrant flowers and plants of high summer are wonderful for making your very own hydrosols at home.  

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Calming Aromatic Snow Day Projects

Calming Aromatic Snow Day Projects

Snow days are so much fun!  What could be better than staying home from school and playing in the snow?  Sometimes though, kids (and their parents) get stir crazy and need another outlet for all that great kid energy.  

The projects below are kid tested for plenty of indoor fun!  The addition of fragrant botanicals and essential oils helps to relax everyone while cleansing and freshening the air.  

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10 Healthy Herbal Teas & Infusions

10 Healthy Herbal Teas & Infusions

Inside a simple cup of tea is the power to transform! Indeed, here we can find the power to comfort, nourish and even heal. Inside a simple cup of tea is a little world of tasty, soothing magic.

Many herbs give themselves easily to water, imparting their healing virtues, vitamins, minerals and even oils.  Once extracted in water all that goodness is made readily available and is easily absorbed into the body.

 

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Our Daily Water

Our Daily Water

Long ago I learned the magic of simply placing a sprig of mint or lemon balm in my water bottle.  After a half hour or so the water takes on a lovely light taste of the herb.  My kids love herbal waters and I often put a sprig of mint into their water bottles if they are headed out and about for the day.  Yet when we spend the day at home, I have found that filling a pitcher with water and herbs doesn't seem to attract their attention.

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Herbal Infusions ~ Healthful Simplicity

Nourishing Mama Mission Four ~

Ever heard of herbal infusions?  Like a tea but much better with a stronger nutritive and medicinal action herbal infusions are true nourishment in a cup.  Plus they are easy to make and easy to drink.  What could be better for a busy mama?

This is the fourth pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission and if done regularly over time it is very powerful indeed.

Herbal infusions are incredibly useful for providing the body with easy to assimilate nutrition.  Infusions differ from tea because the plant material is steeped for a much longer period of time than a regular cup of tea.  This allows for all the medicinal constituents including vitamins and minerals to be liberated from the herb.  Regular drinking of infusions over time provides a strong base and deep nutrition for the body.  You can drink 2 to 4 cups infusion every day or even just a couple of days a week as a way to support yourself.

 

~ Herbs To Use ~

When making and drinking infusions it is best to use gentle, nutritive and tonifying herbs which act mostly as food for the body.  A great way to start working with herbal infusions to start by infusing and drinking one herb at a time.  This gives you a chance to really get to know each herb.  How does it feel in your body?  What does it really taste like?

Good Herbs To Start With Are ~

Stinging Nettle ~ Urtica dioica

This is a highly nutritive plant that stimulates blood flow and is a body wide tonic with an affinity for the kidneys and adrenals.  Nettle’s high vitamin, mineral and chlorophyll content feeds the endocrine glands, builds the blood, provides essential nutrients for a stressed out nervous system and nourishes the liver.  It will strengthen and revitalizes weak kidneys thereby increasing energy.   It’s high amounts of iron and calcium increase hemoglobin in the blood encouraging increased oxygen transport to tissues.  It is high in vitamin K which facilities proper blood clotting.  Nettle activates the metabolism, therefore assisting in the absorption of the very nutrients it provides!  It is an astringent plant that tightens and firms tissues.  This action arrests bleeding and discharge from tissues, increasing their health and strength.

Oatstraw ~ Avena sativa

Oat is a nutritive herb that soothes and protects the nervous system by providing essential vitamins and minerals.  Oat creates a sense of well being, supporting the emotions and integrity of the individual.  Indicated for nervous debility or exhaustion with depression; fatigue, even with a good sleep; dark circles under the eyes; heart palpitations when pushing too hard; and/or stimulant abuse.  It is beneficial for those who have suffered sexual abuse and trauma, resulting in sexual debility.  One quart of infusion drunk daily will provide powerful benefits.

Red Raspberry Leaves Rubus spp. (idaeus, strigosus, parviflous)

The leaves of this plant make a delicious infusion, which is high in vitamins and minerals: especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins C, B and E.   Raspberry leaf is an energetic tonic for the reproductive organs..

Red Clover Blossoms ~ Trifolium pratense

This beautiful and commonly occurring ‘weed’ is a phytosterol, alterative and nutritive.  Red clover is a phytosterol with estrogenic activity.  Because of this, it acts as a defense against xenoestrogens (detrimental estrogens that occur in the environment as a result of pollution) by competing for estrogen binding sites.  In fact my teacher Feather Jones explained to us that red clover also aids in creating a more powerful estrogen cycle.  Red clover is highly nutritive with good quality, easily absorbable vitamins and minerals, proteins, fatty acids and flavinoids.  All of which nourish the whole body: particularly providing vitamins for the uterus; minerals for the glands, which act to equalize hormonal activity and relax the nervous system.  It also contains coumarins that decrease blood viscosity, hence increasing blood flow throughout the body.  Do not take red clover for the first trimester of pregnancy or exceed two quarts of infusion per week during the later part of pregnancy due to its phytoestrogenic properties.  Also, when buying red clover look for purple flower tops with a minimal amount of leaves.

Alfalfa ~ Medicago satvia

This amazing plant has a tap root that reaches a full 100 feet down deep into the rich depths of Mother Earth bringing up mineral rich goodness right into it's leaves and stems.  Infusion made with alfalfa gives all the wonderful nutrition brought up from way down deep into the cup.  Known as "The Father Of All Foods," alfalfa is a highly nutritive herb bringing health the body by feeding it well.

Chamomile ~ Matricaria spp.

Chamomile is a soothing and relaxing herb that contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, and flavinoids.  It helps relieve anxiety and stress as well as pain and irritation in the gut, being particularly useful for flatulence and indigestion.  Chamomile is also helpful for restlessness and insomnia.   It steadies those suffering from nervous debility.  Drinking chamomile infusion before nursing will impart these wonderful qualities to the breast milk and can help sooth an irritated child and alleviate some of the stress of colic.  If you are making an infusion of chamomile, only steep for 3 to 8 minutes as it will become very bitter.   Don't worry, this one is still very effective with the short brewing time.  People who are sensitive to ragweed maybe be allergic to chamomile.

 

Red Raspberry Leaf

~ Making Your Infusion Brew ~

Place 1 large handful of dried herb in a canning jar (using up to 1 ounce of herb per quart of liquid, experiment with your tastes).  Cover with hot or cold water, place a cap on top and let steep for at least  4 hours and then strain.  You can dilute your infusion with water or juice, or add honey to taste.  I usually make my infusions before going to bed and then strain the infusion the next morning into a bottle I can carry around with me during the day.  Please be sure to use appropriate containers such as canning jars as they will not break when exposed to the high heat of boiling water.  You can make extra quantities ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.  If your infusion takes on an unusual smell or begins to bubble it has gone bad.  Unused leftovers can be given to plants as a superb growth tonic, and the spent herbal matter makes excellent compost.

~ Infusion Blends ~

Once you get the hang of making and drinking infusions you may decide to try blending your favorites together to create fun tasty combinations.

Here are some of my favorite blends:

  • Oatstraw & Lemon Balm ~ Simply add a small handful each of oatstraw and lemon balm in a jar.  Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain.  This is my favorite infusion right now!
  • Raspberry, Nettle & Spearmint~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and nettle leaf in a jar and a few pinches of spearmint leaf.  Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain.  Play with the quantities of herbs to adjust to your taste.
  • Raspberry, Oatstraw & Chamomile ~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and oatstraw in a jar, fill halfway with water and let steep for at least four hours.  About 15 minutes before you are ready to strain the infusion add a small handful of chamomile flowers and fill the jar to the top with hot water.  Let steep for up to 15 minutes and strain.  Add honey if this brew is to bitter.

Look for more tasty infusion recipes in the coming days and weeks.

Blessings and Love!

More Nourishing Mama Mission...

Mama On A Mission ~ Introduction

Nourishing Mama Mission One ~ Cultivating Sacred Space 

Nourishing Mama Mission Two ~ Attitude of Gratitude ~ The Start of the Day

Nourishing Mama Mission Three ~ The Art of Bathing

 

For more information on using herbs safely check out my guest post on

Natural Living Mama "Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations

 

Mindful Crafts & Activities For Happy Kids

Finding meaningful ways to engage children in becoming aware of and exploring their emotions is an important step towards raising confident, happy kids.  And the last few weeks the kids and I filled our time together breathing deep, talking about our emotions and playing!  I would like to share some of the wonderful projects we did that helped us engage our whole-selves, become aware of our emotions and find ways to center ourselves. These projects are perfect to do with young children and even have complete lesson plans for those of you working with a group of kids.  Most of the projects have a bit of science thrown in while all of them offer kid-approved fun and creativity!

An Aromatic State Of Mind

Conduct a science experiment with essential oils to see what oils insight certain feelings.  Then create a unique piece of art work inspired by an aroma of your choice!

Happiness

Flower 'n' Spice Play Dough Mandalas

Create a beautiful fragrant meditative mandala from lovely botanicals.

Flowers, spices and berries pressed into a base of lavender scented playdough for a calming, centering activity.

Meditation Friends

Create a special mind jar with a friendly face.  This project helps kids learn to breathe and slow down with they feel out of sorts.

Silly friends for helping kids center themselves.

Meditation Friends II

A special twist on Meditation Friends that allows for even more personalization of your child's special new friend!

New colorful friends with lots of kid chosen personalitiy.

Yoga Play With Babar's Yoga For Elephants

Simple yoga play with a favorite elephant!  We used this super fun book to guide us through a morning of giggly yoga.

Do you have any special ways to help kids learn about emotions or mindful ways of how to engage themselves?  I would love to hear about them and give them a try!

Wishing you lots of peaceful fun!

Sleepy Time Foot Balm For Kids

tooties

tooties

Who doesn't like a good foot massage?  A nice rub is especially relaxing before bed.  Massage oils and balms made with essential oils massaged into the bottom of feet at bedtime helps to induce sleep as well as fight infection.

Did You Know ~ Our bodies are able to absorb a phenomenal amount through the skin on the bottom of our feet.  In fact an old remedy for coughs is to rub the bottom of the feet with olive oil, put minced garlic on top of the oil and then put socks over the whole thing.  Within a very short amount of time the person's breath will smell of garlic!  The garlic then helps to fight infection from the inside of the lungs out as the person breathes.

Creating Foot Balms With Kids ~ 

What is better than squishing and squeezing a bag of gooey goodness?  This is just what we did recently at preschool.  The kids each created their own sleepy time foot balm in a little baggie for mixing.  Originally we were going to use tins to put the balms in but what fun is that?

squishing foot balm

Materials ~

Important Note: These essential oils are generally considered safe for kids from age 2 and up. If your child is very small and may get into the foot balm or otherwise misuse it, please store it up out of their reach when you are not in the room with them.  Essential oils are not safe to use internally. 

Instructions ~

  • Place a big spoonful (about a tablespoon) or two of the shea butter and coconut oil in a baggie.  
  • Let the children smell the essential oils and pick out a couple of their favorites that make them feel relaxed and sleepy.  
  • Add these essential oils to the shea butter/coconut oil blend.  Because this is a really loose project with no exact measurement for the shea butter/coconut oil blend, I errored on the side of too little essential oil, to be safe, rather than risk using to much.  So I used up to 6 drops of essential per baggie.  This means that if the child choose lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang for the essential oils, I put 2 drops of each oil in their baggie for a total of 6 drops.  See Essential Oils for more information on using them herbal preparation safely.
  • Seal the bag shut tight!
  • Now for the fun part... Mixing it all up!  It is the child's job to mix up all that goodness by squishing it around to their heart's content!
squeezing foot balm

To Use ~

At bedtime rub a little bit of the balm on the bottoms of your child's feet.  This is  a great time to connect with a little massage and conversation or lullaby.  Then cover your child's feet with socks.  Off to slumber land they go!

More~ 

Nightmares And Night Terrors, What's A Mama To Do?

Simplest Air Cleansing Humdifier

Simplest Air Cleansing Humdifier

Here is one of my favorite ways to add moisture to the air in my home while also cleansing the air.  It is crazy, silly simple and I set this up any time the air just feels to dry (like it does right this second here in Colorado) or when some one in my family seems on the edge of getting sick.

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