Are you curious about herbal medicine and all it has to offer yet perhaps you don’t know where to start? Here are a couple of easy, fun ways to add herbs to your life.Read More
This syrup is deliciously lip-smacking! It will help keep you and your family healthy and strong during cold and flu season. Take it as a prophylactic or for healing during illness. This syrup (and others like it) is often on our breakfast table where I serve it by the spoonful to my family.Read More
Happy Halloween! The big day is here and if your children are like mine, you will probably find yourself out and about trick-or-treating tonight. Sometimes things can get out of hand after the fun of trick-or-treating and you may find yourself with a little one whose body is putting up a fuss from eating too much sugar and chemical filled candy.Read More
Let's get squeaky clean
with herbs and aromatherapy!
Our fourth week of summer camp is all about using herbs, essential oils and other natural materials to care for our bodies all while having a blast! First is a fully description about how to host a spa day for kids. Then there are some great bath recipes that kids can make. Finally, please find a little section for parents!
This afternoon found us quietly rambling in the yard harvesting a bit of our freshly growing chocolate mint. It is so yummy and vivacious with dark green leaves and chocolate colored square stems. I love having this plant growing in our yard. We took our mint inside to create our first ice cream of the season. I love making frozen desserts with my kids using healthy ingredients!Read More
Heart opening roses in the bath restores the nervous system while cleansing and toning the skin.
Oatmeal in the bath creates a rich mucilage that is extremely soothing to dry skin.
Rose Geranium eases nervous tension and rejuvenates skin.
Pure simple delight!
~ Make your very own Rosy Oatmeal bath ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried rose petals or rose buds (organic please!)
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of oatmeal
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet. Let your bundle steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water.
- 6 to 10 drops of rose geranium essential oil
- a handful of epsom salt, optional
Climb in and enjoy this super soothing, comforting bath! Be sure to squeeze and squish your bundle of roses and oatmeal to liberate the slippery, milky goodness from the oats. Use your bundle as a nice gentle scrub all over your body. I even put some on my face and let it remain there for a while to nourish my skin. Oh so simple and lovely...
After my bath ~
My skin was soft, so soft! I felt truly relaxed, nourished and ready for the rest of my day.
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 ~
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.
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.
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 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.
~ 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...
For more information on using herbs safely check out my guest post on
Natural Living Mama "Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations"
Soup for breakfast you say? I thought it kinda strange too when my husband told me about the soup he used to eat while living with Japanese roommate during college. For years he would reminisce about the breakfasts they would have together ~ delicious, healthy and convenient Japanese soups complete with dried little fishes floating around in the bowl.Read More
Frustrated, angry muscles and nerves plagued me over the past few days leaving me all sore and aching. When I am sore I always try to fit in a nice hot soak in the tub. Even with just epsom salts and hot water, I usually feel so much better after soaking. This time I made my bath even more soothing with the following blend of salts and herbs ~ oatstraw to ease my nerves and rosemary for muscle soreness. It worked wonders!
Make Your Own ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried rosemary leaf
- 1/2 cup oatstraw
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your faucet. Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the heat of your water. The water will turn a buttery light yellow.
- 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 5 drops ginger essential oil
- 5 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops vetivert essential oil
My vetivert essential oil has turned into a thick syrup oil so I had to patiently wait for each drop to slowing make it's way out of the bottle but it was so worth it!
After this bath I felt relaxed, centered and less soreness. I took my bath quite hot and only stayed in for about 15 minutes, it was like soaking in an herbal hot springs. Then I got out and laid on the floor with my feet on the sill of an open window. I laid there breathing deep and relaxing. As my body cooled down the tension drained out of my muscles. I felt so calm and peaceful. My muscles and nerves are finally nourished, letting go of tension...
Mint in the tub enlivens the senses and restores the spirit so this is a wonderful bath for when you need a little happy boost!
Here is how to make your very own mint bath ~
In a cloth or muslin bag wrap:
- 1 to 2 large handfuls of dried peppermint leaves
- a good sprinkle of lavender blossoms
Toss the bundle in the tub and fill with the hottest water from your facuet. Let the herbs steep in the tub until the water is cool enough for bathing about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the heat of your water. The water will turn a deep greenish yellow brown, like a giant cup of peppermint tea.
- a handful of epsom salt
- 6 drops of spearmint(not peppermint*) essential oil
Climb in and enjoy this happy, refreshing bath!
After my bath ~
I felt calm as I always do after bathing yet I also had a sense of wanting to inhale the moment. The rest of the afternoon found me happily going about my business with peaceful energy. Plus my skin smelled sweet and nice, a bit minty, yum!
* A Note On Peppermint Essential Oil: Every time I try putting peppermint in my bath I get burned, even with just one drop! I start to feel an itchy uncomfortable sensation on my skin and must get out to rub down with olive oil, which dilutes the peppermint. People react differently to things and it is possible that I am sensitive to peppermint. Try peppermint essential oil in your bath, if you wish, but please start with one drop and go from there.