Category Archives: herbal medicine

DIY Olive Leaf Tincture

My olive tree is about 10 years old. It’s an amazing tree to have in the UK with its evergreen leaves and occasionally a small olive harvest.
Olive leaf extract is made from the leaves of the olive plant. It contains an active ingredient called oleuropein, a natural antibiotic and antioxidant that can help or prevent many diseases. The bitter leaves of the olives have been traditionally used as a herbal medicine for thousands of years. You can read find more about the science here.

Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extract
• antiatherogenic(prevents formation of plaque in the arteries)
• Anti-diabetic
• antihypertensive (lowers blood pressure)
• anti-inflammatory
• anti-microbial
• antioxidant,
• anti-viral
• bitter
• hepatic
• hypocholesterolemic(lowers cholesterol and protects the circulatory system)
• hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar)
• protective against radiation damage
• support healthy thyroid function

I have been making an alcohol free version of olive leaf extract for a few years now, below is the recipe I use. I have made 2 jars of tincture here, one with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and one with vegetable glycerine. Glycerine has a sweet taste which many prefer. Alternatively ACV also has extra health benefits too. I make these separately (don’t mix the ACV and the glycerine together).

Ingredients:
1 sterilised wide mouth jar with a non-corrosive lid.
Enough olive leaves to fill the jar.
Organic apple cider vinegar OR vegetable glycerine, depending on which you prefer.
Sieve or cheesecloth to strain the tincture.

Method:
Use unblemished clean leaves which have not been sprayed with any chemicals. Alternatively you can purchase organic olive leaves.
Fill almost all of the jar with the olive leaves.

Once the jar is almost full, pour the apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine over the leaves to cover.
If you’re using a metal lid, line it with wax paper so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode it, and then put the lid on. Place in a dark room, at room temperature.

Shake occasionally and let the tincture steep for about 6 week or more.
After a minimum of 6 weeks shake well and then strain the tincture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. Transfer in to a sterilised jar and keep in a dark place. For dosages, you can transfer a small amount in an amber glass dropper bottle.

Dosage: I would take 2ml of tincture 3 times a day.

Disclaimer: herbal medicine is powerful – always do your research or ask for medical advice before hand!

New! Loose Incense

loose incense

I’m excited to share something I have been working on all summer, a range of 6 new loose incense recipes. I’ve been busy growing, harvesting and drying many herbs to add to my loose incense collection.

Incense has always been a part my life. Growing up, my mother used Indian incense sticks and cones as well as Arabian bukoor and resins. Scenting the home is something I do everyday, whether through incense, or essential oils, candles, or sage sticks, the natural aroma of botanicals and resins always helps me feel in a good place.

Many cultures around the world use incense as a modality for a wide range of reasons. The ancient practice of burning plants and resins, has been used for thousands of years for its spiritual, therapeutic and healing properties.
Studies have shown that burning certain botanicals, can release negative ions from the atmosphere, improves focus and increases the sense of wellbeing in the same way as aromatherapy does. Indeed it was the first ‘aromatherapy.’

Incense Uses:
– Promote calmness and relaxation.
– Clears negative energy.
– Focus and clears the mind.
– As a medicinal modality.
– For meditation.
– Fragrance
– Cleans impurities from the air.

My blend of sacred resins, woods, herbs and flowers have been intuitively chosen for their different properties. Many of the herbs have been organically grown in my garden, other ingredients are wild harvested and ethically and organically sourced.

How to burn loose incense:
Place a charcoal disc in a heat proof dish.
Hold a flame to the charcoal disc until it is lit and an ash grey colour.
Add a very small amount of incense on top and enjoy.

Homemade Smudge Incense Sticks

The burning of herbs for its smoke has been practiced since ancient times in many different indigenous cultures for thousands of years as a ceremonial ritual for healing and cleansing. The benefits of burning herbs have been studied and have shown that it does in fact release antimicrobial as well as other beneficial properties, which keeps bacteria and viruses at bay. See study here and here.
Smudge sticks that are derived from Native America are usually made up of sage or a combination of herbs. Different herbs such as rosemary, bay, thyme, cedar, and flowers such as lavender or rose can be used. You can research the herbs you want to combine. For example lavender for calm and restfulness, rosemary for mental clarity and purification, sage for cleansing the bacteria in the air etc. Be sure to use plants that have not been sprayed with pesticides. You can ethically wild craft the plants to be used or use your own from your garden.

You will need:

Fresh or dried herbs
Cotton twine/hemp
Scissors

Collect all the plant material. You can use dry or fresh, or a mixture of both.
Here I have used herbs that are in season in my garden right now. They include sage, rosemary, lavender, olive leave, bay leaf, calendula and geranium flowers.

Cut the plants to similar lengths and bundle together.

Cut a long piece string or hemp, enough to wrap 2 – 3 times around the plants, and to make two knots.

Start tying the bottom of the plants together, making a knot and wrap around the bottom a few times.

Wind the string around firmly at an angle all the way to the top of the bunched plants and then wind it back down diagonally, in a zig zag fashion, and tie a not at the bottom again.

Let the plants dry out for a few weeks.

To smudge:

Light the top of the smudge stick. Once it has a flame, blow it out quickly and let it smoke. Fan the smoke around the room or around your body and hold a fireproof bowl underneath to catch the ash, or to place the smudge stick in.

Fire Cider

Fire cider was first introduced to me a few years ago by my sister. It’s an old folk remedy made from a blend of steeped vegetables, herbs and roots in vinegar. Known to be a powerful immune booster, that is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and great as a decongestant too. I can personally vouch for fire cider, I started drinking a tablespoon of this every day from October last, and found it hugely beneficial in keeping colds at bay.

There are plenty of recipes online for fire cider, below is my version:
Try to find as much organic ingredients as possible. It doesn’t have to be the exact measurements as listed below:

1 litre sterilised preserving jar (or a couple of smaller ones will do)
½ cup peeled and shredded/diced ginger root
½ cup peeled and shredded/diced fresh turmeric root (alternatively a tablespoon of dried turmeric if fresh is not available)
¼ cup Horseradish – if you can find it
½ cup white onion, chopped
¼ cup minced or crushed garlic cloves
2 scotch bonnet chilli peppers, chopped
2 lemons chopped including the peel
1 orange chopped, including the peel
Organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother (has to be raw and with the mother).
A few sprigs of Rosemary and thyme
A teaspoon of black seeds (nigella sativa seeds/kalonji)
A teaspoon of peppercorns
A couple of cloves
Maple syrup or agave nectar to taste. For non vegans, raw organic honey.

Add all the chopped/grated vegetables, roots, herbs and spices in to the jar until it’s about 3/4 full. Pour the apple cider vinegar over this mixture.
If you’re using a metal lid, line it with wax paper so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode it, and then put the lid on. Place in a dark, room temperature cabinet for about 4 weeks. Shake every few days.

When the fire cider is ready, shake well and then strain the root and veg using a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. You can also put the sieved vegetable mixture through a juice extractor to extract even more liquid.

Add maple syrup or agave nectar taste and store in the fridge in the sterilised jar.

For dosage, you can take a tablespoon of the fire cider liquid every day or even add to your food or a salad.

Please note, herbal medicine is powerful – always do your research or ask for medical advice before hand!

 

A Cooling Summer Tea

I adore the summer season; well I love the thought of summer, especially on a particular icy winters day. I look forward to the sunshine, the seasonal garden fruits and herbs and flowers in full bloom, and the altogether feeling of happiness. However if you are anything like me, when the heat is particularly scorching, you tend to feel lethargic and uncomfortable and try to stay out of the sun.
I have started making ice cold summer teas, which are especially cooling and refreshing on the harshest of days, albeit in the UK there are not many days like these. Nevertheless this is a tea recipe made from Elderflower, Lime, Mint and Lemon Balm. Elderflower is an amazing cooling plant for the summer heat, as well as during a cold, fevers and for the hot flushes of menopause. Lemon Balm, Mint and Lime are also cooling on the body.

The recipe below is not an exact science and does not have to be approximate. You can also use dried ingredients, you just need to halve the quantity of the herbs.

Ingredients:
A handful of elderflower heads
1 or 2 sprigs of lemon balm
1 sprig of mint
A slice of lime
Agave nectar to taste
2 cups of water.

Directions:
Place the Elderflower, Mint, slice of Lime and Lemon Balm in a glass jug and pour over with 2 cups of boiling water. Let this infuse for 20 minutes and then add Agave nectar to taste. Strain and chill to serve.

DIY Hay fever Balm Recipe

hay fever balm

Hello, I’m sharing this hay fever recipe as I have found it very helpful. I created this recipe to help me cope with hay fever symptoms of itchy eyes and runny nose. Applying the balm around the nostrils will reduce the amount of pollen, dander and dust that enters the nose. This in turn reduces the hay fever symptoms. Applying around the eyes (not in the eyes) will sooth itchy skin. It really does help, see the science bit here.

Recipe:
1 and a half tablespoon of Jojoba or Candilla wax
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of calendula infused olive oil
4 drops of Lavender essential oil – for its anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.
4 drops of Chamomile essential oil – soothes itchy and inflamed skin.
2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil – can help relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing.

Directions:
1. Place a small amount of water in a saucepan and turn the heat on low.
2. Place a glass container (preferably with a spout for easy pouring) inside the saucepan.
3. Add the wax and oils until it’s melted. Remove the glass container from the saucepan.
4. Add essential oils and pour into small containers.

Amsterdam Botanical Gardens

Taking a very brief trip to visit my sister in Amsterdam, I was keen to visit the Botanical Gardens (Hortus Botanicus) situated between two canals in the Plantage district, with various types of green houses from tropical rain forest to a dry desert cactus house, and a butterfly house. Its not as big as Kew gardens London, therefore a couple of hours is all you need to get through, but certainly a gem.

It was established in 1638 by the city municipality as Hortus Medicus, a herb garden with medical plants for Amsterdam doctors and pharmacists. The reasons for establishing a specialised medical garden was at that time, the cities of Leiden and Utrecht experienced the plague epidemic 1634-1637.

Today the Hortus Botanicus has more than 4000 different plant species including a 154-year-old water lily which opens its flower every night around dusk and a centuries old agave cactus that dates back to the Roman era! Also a 300 year old beautiful Eastern Kape giant Cycad. The atmosphere is relaxed, and not very much tourists around, so can be lovely and tranquil. Lots of places to sit and think. Great little garden themed shop too.