Category Archives: herbal medicine

New Essential Oil Blends

essential oil roller blends

New essential oil roller blends that I have been working on! A range of beautiful therapeutic aromatics, diluted in golden jojoba oil. Essential oils not only work on a physiological level but they also have a subtle element that works on the human consciousness. Indeed throughout history aromatic botanicals have been used across many cultures and civilisations for healing the mind, the body and the soul, each of which are intrinsically linked. These six new blends have been carefully and mindfully chosen for their therapeutic, as well as subtle vibrational properties.

Aromatherapy Smelling Salts

breathe aromatherapy smelling salts

New in the shop! These aromatherapy smelling salts are made with pink Himalayan rock salt and a synergistic blend of essential oils to enhance health and wellbeing, and aid common ailments.

Aromatic essential oils have been used for thousands of years as a remedy to enrich health, and has the ability of affect mood and atmosphere. Smelling salts have been used since Roman times as mentioned by Pliny the Elder, and were also popular in the 13th Century, frequently used to trigger consciousness and prevent fainting spells. Similarly, smelling salts are used today by athletes, to enhance their performance.

We have combined these two medicinal tools to create essential oil smelling salts in a handy amber glass apothecary bottle for convenient use. Ideal for the home, your desk at work, or when travelling. These contain NO ammonia and are a simple way to utilise the benefits of aromatherapy.

Borage flower essence making.

borage flower essence

Star Flower/Borage Flower Remedy

This is the first time I have grown Borage and the flowers are now in season, and are flourishing and embellishing my garden with small star shaped blue/indigo blooms with a contrasting bright green thick stem and leaves. Flower essence making is an annual ritual and an opportunity to harness the medicine the plants have gifted to us. This was made this morning whilst the morning dew was still visible. Flower essence are a type of subtle vibrational medicine made by placing the flower in spring water under the sunlight to capture and potenise their energetic imprint. A preservative is added to the spring water (I use organic agave syrup) and the medicine is used for many emotional issues. Borage flower essence is ideal for the disheartened, and promotes a cheerful outlook and brings emotional strength.

borage flower essence

Directions for making flower essences:

Ingredients: a sterilised glass bowl, sterilised amber bottle, spring water, unpicked plant for essence.

In the morning, when there is dew, fill a bowl of spring water, and place it near the plant and in the sun. Spend time with the plant with an intention that you are making a healing essence and be open to messages you receive from the plant. Say a prayer if you wish. Using tweezers or a leaf from the plant cut a few small flowers and lay in the water. Allow the essence to sit in the sunlight for about 3 hours, using your intuition to judge whether they are ready to be taken out. When the essence is finished infusing, give thanks, and bottle the imprinted flower water and preserve with vegetable glycerine, organic agave syrup or organic white vinegar. Add a minimum of 60 -70 percent of the preservative. Name and date the mother essence bottle. To store the bottles, keep out of light in a cool dark place and avoid strong odours. Keep check of any solid substance in the water, and do not use if this occurs as the essence is contaminated.

Dosage bottle: Once you have made the mother essence you can make the dosage bottle. The dosage bottle contains again a minimum of 60-70 percent preservative, spring water and a few drops of the mother essence.

borage flower essence

Turmeric Milk Recipe

golden milk

Golden Milk (or haldi doodhd) is based on an ancient Ayurvedic recipe used to nourish and balance the mind and body. The key ingredient is turmeric, a yellow earthy spice traditionally used in Asian cuisine. Its active component is Curcumin, which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries for its strong antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties and comes with a whole host of health benefits. Each household has their own version of golden milk, many drink it as a soothing milk before going to sleep or a calming milk for coughs. My Mum makes it with milk, ground almonds, cardamom, saffron and pistachios, and my dad likes to add ginger.
The recipe below is one I like to make on occasion. I usually find milk heavy to digest, so I also add a little spring water to the mix. You can omit some ingredients according to your taste, or make other variations, with the addition of nutmeg, star anise, ginger and/or ashwagandha.

Golden Milk Ingredients
1 cup of unsweetened plant based milk. I use Almond milk.
½ cup of spring water
A few crushed cardamom pods
½ inch of turmeric root or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
A few crushed peppercorns
A few strands of saffron (optional)
½ a stick of vanilla
1 inch cinnamon stick (optional)
Brown cane sugar or agave syrup to taste (optional)

Instructions
Put all the ingredients in a pan and turn on the heat. Let all the ingredients gently simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Add suger or agave syrup to taste if you want a sweetener. Strain in to a cup and enjoy.

Adventures In Hydrosol

lemon balm hydrosol

As summer sets in and the ritual of gathering plants begins, I am making hydrosol from garden gathered plants. The lemon balm has gone wild in the beds and this makes a lovely light lemony floral water that can be used externally and internally.

What is a hydrosol?

A true hydrosol or hydrolat is the water composed when the plant material is gently steam distilled to release their unique medicinal therapeutic properties that capture the essence of the live plant.

These aromatic plant water extracts also contain tiny amounts of essential oil, therefore resembles the volatile plant oil but in a far more gentle, ethereal form. This makes them suitable to apply directly on to the skin without dilution.  I don’t add any preservatives as it would lose its therapeutic value. As long as the container is sterile and it is kept in the fridge, the hydrosol can last for over a year, depending on which plant is used.

“For therapeutic use, hydrosols need to be totally natural, with no added components, stabilisers or preservatives”

– International Federation Of Aromatherapists.

The lemon balm is organically grown in my garden and is one of my favourite plants, as its so versatile. The hydrosol has a light lemony scent and is healing and hydrating on the skin. It can be used for rashes, cuts and sores, for eczema and as a face toner. Internally, it is taken for staying calm, and for morning sickness, also known to support ADHA (Hydrosol, the next aromatherapy – Suzanne Catty)

I use a small 2 litres copper rotating alembic which I purchased from copper masters here and did a steam distillation. I chose a copper still because it is the same set up used in medieval times, and there is something beautiful in using the same apparatus and ancient methods. Copper is also a wonderful conducter of heat and has antimicrobial properties, making it ideal for water.

The process is simple but quite enchanting. As the water in the copper pot boils, the steam rises and goes through the plant material, and in to the gooseneck tube. The aromatic plant molecules get swept away with the steam into a coil inside the condenser unit, which is filled with cold water. Once the steam comes in contact with the cold surface of the condensing unit, its converts back into liquid. This creates the hydrosol and a very minuscule amount of essential oil. This is the active therapeutic part of the plant captured in water – pure alchemy!

The lemon balm hydrosol took about an hour to produce, and I managed to fill 2 x 700ml glass jars.

Next, I’m planning to use the rose geranium in my garden to make more hydrosol!

The books I read proir to making hydrosol and would highly recommend are: ‘Hydrosols: The New Aromatherapy – Suzanne Catty and ‘Hydrosol Therapy’ – Lydia Bosson.

UPDATE!

I’ve finally had time to make the Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) hydrosol. I have had a profusion of flowers and leaves this year, these were only small cuttings a few months ago. I have to say, that Rose geraniums have become one of my favourite plant friends and the scent when distilled, envelopes the whole house with a floral sweet, rose like perfume. I really should use it more as a perfume ingredient.

Rose geranium hydrosol is so beautifully cooling to use, and also to taste. A multi tasking floral water, it can be used as a spritzer for the face, for hot flashes, a toner, in creams, and as an air freshener. Suzanne Catty recommends it for rough and dry skin, she mentions it is also anti-inflammatory and calms sunburns, rash and insect bites. I use it throughout the day as a spritzer, especially in hotter weather.

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.