Herbal infusions are a gentle and refreshing way to nourish the body. Rarely does a client of mine leave consultation without being instructed on how to make herbal infusions and how important they are in restoring depleted nutrients. This article, an excerpt from a clients-only handout, focuses on the benefits of herbal infusions, how to make them, and where to obtain the necessary herbs.
How to Make an Herb Infused Oil
Herb infused oils are a kind of herbal infusion where an herb or combination of herbs are soaked in oil long enough for some of the flavor and medicinal properties to extract into the oil. These oils can then be used for food, medicine, or both, depending on why you made it. A lot of the articles that I write (like this one on herbal remedies for earaches) and protocols that I give to clients require making an infused herbal oil. I'm often asked HOW one goes about making an herbal oil. There are several methods. All of them seem to be effective. All of them are easy. Let's review.
Natural Remedies for Cold Sores
Cold sores. Fever blisters. Whichever name you call them by, these little sores are painful, unsightly and for some of us, embarrassingly chronic. The good news is that Nature offers us numerous ways to manage cold sores. Let's take a look at this annoying infection, and see what we can do about it.
What Causes Cold Sores?
Cold sores are viral infections caused by a virus in the herpes family, usually HSV1 (herpes simplex virus 1). They can develop anywhere on the body, but usually appear on or around the lips, extending to the chin and up to the nostrils. Cold sores can also develop on the inside of your lips.
Many first feel a tingling sensation in the area where a cold sore will form. Small blisters develop, which can be quite painful. The blisters will break open and ooze. Cold sores are at their most contagious at this time. Over the course of about 7-10 days, the cold sore will scab over and heal.
The herpes virus behind cold sores IS contagious, and can spread from close person to person contact like kissing, or even indirect contact like sharing a drink with someone who has a cold sore.
Ready to learn more, including how to handle cold sores with natural remedies? Read on.
Defining and Using CBD Oil as a Natural Remedy
CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil (say can-uh-bih-dye-all), is a blazing hot topic these days. Many natural health practitioners are extolling the amazing healing and restorative potential of cannabidiol, and anecdotal stories on CBD oil’s success are legion. Studies do exist that seem to back up what people are saying. The positive benefits of CBD oil could be phenomenal. But there is some confusion on what CBD oil actually is, and what it’s good for.
Most of us know enough about cannabidiol to know that it comes from the marijuana plant, also called cannabis, also called hemp (the industrial variety). Our knowledge generally ends there, especially in the states that do not yet have medical marijuana laws in place. For this reason many are justly concerned about the legality of obtaining and using cannabidiol. We wonder:
Terms like hemp oil, marijuana oil, and hemp seed oil only add to the confusion. We need to demystify. Let’s do that now, and talk about what cannabidiol really is, what it can do, and how CBD differs from some of the other related products that you hear about.
Make Your Own Herbal Honey
Sweet, rich, healing honey. It’s delicious medicine all by itself, known for being:
Herbal honey is so easy to make that this how-to is going to be very short. You’re basically going to combine fresh or dried herbs in honey for an arbitrary amount of time. The result is an herbal honey that can be used in a variety of ways.
In the Herb Garden: German Chamomile
For so many of us German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) was our first introduction to herbs as a remedy. We were given cups of hot, honey sweetened chamomile tea when we were sick, had a tummy ache, or had trouble turning ourselves off at night. Chamomile soothed and calmed with its gentle, yet steady action, helping us to digest our food better and slip off to sleep.
It’s that gentle reputation that has made this member of the Asteraceae family so popular as a safe herb for children. Don’t let chamomile fool you though. She’s neither weak, nor just for the very young. She’s there for us when we aren’t feeling quite ourselves, whether that’s from:
So grab a cup of this aromatic, golden tea. Let's get into German chamomile, and talk about how we can grow, store, and best use her wonderful benefits!
Earaches, Ear Infections: Herbal Remedies
When your child is suffering with an ear infection or earache, it’s hard not to feel helpless. We want to take away their pain, and often turn to medications and antibiotics to do this. However, unless the situation is severe, we could be doing our childrens' immune systems a disservice by turning too frequently to medications. Studies have shown that many childhood ear infections will often clear up on their own in a few days. This means that worried parents can focus more on offering comfort and immune boosting measures than directly combating the pathogen behind the infection. Herbalists have long turned to mullein herb and garlic to soothe the discomfort of earaches and ear infections. Let's take a closer look at these two powerful plants.
Read on to take a closer look at the big hitters in this, and many other herbal earache oil remedies: Mullein and Garlic.
Herbal Remedies and Their Actions on the Body
Herbal remedies are a wonderful way to use plants, the people's medicine, as healing assistants. They do work, though usually gently and over time. Have patience with them, and give them time to work. Remember that herbal remedies cannot substitute for clean eating, healthy body movement and stress management. They are assistants that can nourish us and help us to mitigate unpleasant symptoms while we work to repair our diet and lifestyle, but they will refuse to mask a poor lifestyle. There is no miracle cure in either pill or natural remedy. You must work to make positive changes to your way of living. I know that's hard. I live it too, but it can be done!
"They are assistants that can nourish us and help us to mitigate unpleasant symptoms while we work to repair our diet and lifestyle, but they will refuse to mask a poor lifestyle."
The other thing to know about plant medicine is that it isn't one size fits all. Specific remedies and plants are not guaranteed to work on everyone. While there are some well studied, very reliable plants that seem to work well for the vast majority of people (ginger comes to mind), sometimes a particular herb or remedy just won't do it for you. Don't fret. That's okay. This is normal and natural. Evaluate your condition to ensure that a visit to the doctor and/or a prescription isn't warranted. If your condition isn't severe enough to require Western medication, then consult your herbalist and work to find alternatives that may work better for you. Mother Nature has blessed us with many, many medicinal plants, and there is a LOT of overlap. Sometimes, a switch in herb or a switch in method is all that's needed. If your herbalist is me, then don't hesitate to contact me. We'll put our heads together, and see what we can come up with. If a custom formula is needed, I will happily make it for you if I can.
I'm finally getting the teas added to my Etsy shop. First up is Relax & Digest, an herbal blend that I handcrafted to help with relaxing the body and encouraging digestion, especially when you're feeling over full! Featuring kid friendly chamomile and other soothing herbs, Relax & Digest is gentle and delicious. Teabag and loose tea options are available. Click here for more details.
I'm Jennifer Capestany, a clinical herbalist and freelance writer with a practice in North Texas. Helping people deal as naturally as possible with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic illness and other chronic conditions is my calling.