Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Herbal Aftershave

Photo by David Wright on Flickr
I just had to share this fun project that I did tonight (yes, I was gathering herbs in the dark again!)  I love the magazine called The Herb Quarterly and I found a recipe by Janice Cox and Maggie Howe for herbal aftershave in the Summer 2010 edition on page 16.

Essentially, this recipe makes a herbal tincture with the addition of some citrus peeling and some spices - too simple!

Here is the combination of herbs that decided to I use based on input from my DH:
1 cup of chopped herb (roughly 3/4 chocolate mint, 1/8 plantain, 1/8 thyme)
6 dried cloves
1 star anise

I placed it all in a 1 cup mason jar and covered it with 40% (80 proof) vodka.
I'll put it in a cool dark place to steep for 3 to 4 weeks (more or less depending on scent strength) and I'll shake it now and then.  Then I'll strain it into a clean bottle that's a convenient shape for aftershave.  Voila!  Since this is tinctured, it will last indefinitely.

The authors also suggest these herbs and spices in a combination of your choice:

  • zest of one citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange)
  • basil
  • lemongrass
  • lavender
  • mint
  • anise hyssop
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • lemon balm
  • lemon verbena
  • bay leaves
  • fennel
  • 2-3 peppercorns
  • 2-3 dried cloves
  • 2-3 dried allspice berries
  • 3-5 juniper berries
  • gin (for a fresh, bracing herbal scent)
  • rum (for a sweeter note)
  • vodka (for no additional scent)
I have three books authored by Janice Cox and they all contain quick, fun recipes to try.  Here are links to each of them on amazon.ca:
Val :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview With A Goddess

Art by nixjim13 at Deviant Art
"What's the one thing that surprises you most about mankind?"

She answered: "That they get bored of being children, are in a rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.  That they lose their health to make money and then  lose their money to restore their health. That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future. That they live as if they will never die, and they die as if they never had
never lived..."

Her hands took mine and we were silent. After a long period, I said, "May I ask you another question?"

She replied with a smile.

"As a Mother, what would you ask your children to do for the new year?"

"To learn that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives.

To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.

To learn that they should control their attitudes, otherwise their attitudes will control them.

To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in persons we love, and that it takes many years to heal them.

To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.

To learn that there are persons that love them dearly, but simply do not know how to show their feelings.

To learn that money can buy everything but happiness.

To learn that while at times they may be entitled to be upset, that does not give them the right to upset those around them.

To learn that great dreams do not require great wings, but a landing gear to achieve.

To learn that true friends are scarce, he/she who has found one has found a true treasure.

To learn that it is not always enough that they be forgiven by others, but that they forgive themselves.

To learn that they are masters of what they keep to themselves and slaves of what they say.

To learn that they shall reap what they plant; if they plant gossip they will harvest intrigues, if they plant love they will harvest happiness.

To learn that true happiness is not to achieve their goals but to learn to be satisfied with what they already achieved.

To learn that happiness is a decision.  They decide to be happy with what they are and have, or die from envy and jealousy of what they lack.

To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.

To learn that those who are honest with themselves without considering the consequences go far in life.

To learn that even though they may think they have nothing to give, when a friend cries with them, they find the strength to appease the pain.

To learn that by trying to hold on to love ones, they very quickly push them away; and by letting go of those they love, they will be side by side forever.

To learn that even though the word "love" has many different meanings, it loses value when it is overstated.

To learn that they can never do something extraordinary for Me to love them;  I simply do.

To learn that the shortest distance they could be from Me is the distance of a prayer."


~Author Unknown~

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Yellow Harvest Festival

Yellow Sweet Clover by dowcet on Flickr
This time of summer is so exciting!  Everything is blooming and it's hard to keep up with posting about it all.  I noticed today that nearly everything I harvested today is yellow or creamy white!!

New to my herb basket this year is sweet clover.  Both yellow and white varieties are blooming here right now.  For this herb, you harvest the ariel parts of the plant (flowers, stems and leaves).  This plant grows nearly 7 feet tall right into my driveway!  Needless to say, those plants are getting harvested first so they are out of the way! (no, of course I wouldn't let DH chop em down before they bloomed! LOL!)  Not only does this plant have medicinal value for increasing circulation, reducing varicose veins and healing hemorrhoids but it is also a suitable cover crop for increasing nitrogen in the soil.

St. John's Wort by gmayfield10 on Flickr
Just coming into bloom is the ever delicate and fabulously yellow Saint John's Wort.  Take the time to hold one of the leaves up to the light and discover why its latin name is Hypericum Perforatum - a fun discover for the whole family!  Included in this great article, is a blurb about making Saint John's Wort oil (great for sunburns, shingles flareups and other skin disorders).  Saint John's Wort has been heavily studied and there is a lot of information available about its benefits as a naturally uplifting herbal supplement.  It is important to read a few resources about this herb and make sure that you have current information - and be aware of drug interactions if you are already on medications.

Linden Blossom
by American College of Healthcare Sciences on Flickr
Another naturally uplifting herb comes to us from another blossom - the Linden Tree blossom.  It was a treat just to stand under these majestic trees today and inhale deeply.  Their sweet scent is intoxicating - uplifting all on its own!  Use a tea that includes these incredible blossoms to bring a lift to any dull day.  These blossoms reduce inflammation and are astringent and  have been used to help break fevers and treat colds, coughs and stuffy noses.  Truly one of my favorite to harvest and add to any tea for a hint of sweetness and a beautiful aroma.

Linden Tree
by American College of Healthcare Sciences on Flickr
Be sure to keep an eye out for other beautiful yellow blossoms!  In my yard there is also Hop Clover and Evening Primrose... what else do you have in your area?

Yellow blessings,
Val :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Awesome Book!!

Photo from amazon.ca
Today, I would like to share one of my favorite herbal references with you.

The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook is written by James Green who I had the sincere pleasure of meeting last summer when I attended one of his seminars on quantum physics and plants (enthralling stuff!)

James Green has a wonderful and somewhat humorous way of delivering detailed instructions for making various herbal concoctions (often giving a choice of methods).  I love having a bit of background about what I'm making as well as the 1-2-3 how to make it; this book provides both perfectly.

I'm a big fan of ordering on-line as it is typically 25% - 40% cheaper than in the store, it's free shipping on orders of $39 or more and new items often arrive within a week!  Here are links to this book on amazon.ca and chapters.ca.  Check it out! :)