Herbs to Health Blog Topics
Herb of the Month Archive
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WHAT TO MAKE NOW?
This recipe continues on from the Horsechesnut infused oil.
The next stage is to simply add some Beeswax to the infused oil. Add 50g of beeswax to 500ml of the measured oil. If it’s a block of beeswax it is better to first grate it, otherwise use the beeswax peas. Once it’s melted, cool slightly then pour into small jars and label. To each 30g jar add a couple of drops of lavender essential oil for added antibacterial protection.
Apply to the skin twice daily for varicose veins, piles, swellings, sprains and fluid retention.
WHAT TO MAKE NOW?
HORSE CHESNUT INFUSED OIL
Approx 1kg conkers
500ml unrefined organic olive oil
Break up the conkers using a rolling pin and tea towel and place in a glass pyrex bowl. Cover with the olive oil. Place the bowl in a pan of boiling water (or Bain marie if you have one) so that the water level comes up to the same level as the oil & conkers. Heat very slowly, on the lowest setting for 2 hours. (You should just be able to see the odd wisp of steam.)
Pour the liquid through a sieve and bottle up.
This oil is perfect for varicose veins as it easily covers large areas of the skin. The oil can also be used to make into a Horse chesnut seed cream where you would combine this with a decoction of the seeds using an emulsifier to mix the water and oil parts together, also well suited to varicose veins where the areas are more localised. Thirdly, the oil can be combined with beeswax to make an ointment. This preparation can also be used on varicose veins but is also well suited to haemorrhoids / piles.
WHAT’S OUT NOW?
Horsechesnut seed (Aesculus hippocastinum)
There’s more to these beautiful seeds than conker fights!
They contain Saponins collectively called ‘Aescin’ and Flavonoids.
Therapeutically they have an unusual ability to tone and strengthen the capillaries (small blood vessels) by reducing the size and number of pores. This has a knock on effect of reducing inflammation and water retention (oedema) in the tissues. They are used specifically to treat weakened veins including varicose veins, haemorhoids, acne rosacea and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). They also work well on wrinkles as they tighten the skin.
A cream, infused oil or ointment is made from an extract of the seeds to apply externally, or a combination of an infused oil and tincture are blended to create a liniment. A tincture can also be taken internally to compound the treatment, although this is taken in small doses as the saponins can cause gastric irritation.
WHAT’S OUT NOW?
These beautiful red berries set the countryside ablaze with colour at this abundant time of the year. They are also known as pixie pears, cuckoo’s beads and chucky cheese!
They contain Oligomeric procyanidins and Flavonoids (hyperoside, rutin) . It is a herb with alot of modern clinical research supporting it’s traditional use.
Therapeutically they are a tonic for the heart; increasing the strength of the contractions, opening up the blood vessels and economising oxygen consumption. It is traditionally known as, ’the nurse of the ageing heart’.
It is used medicinally to treat high blood pressure, angina, arrythmias and congestive heart failure. The leaves and flowers are also used to this end.
Other good uses of the tree are berries in Brandy which makes an excellent liquer. The wood was also prized as a fuel, known as the hottest fuel. Due to it’s fine grain, it was also used to make small things such as boxes and combs, which would take an excellent polish.
Pharmacy: The berries can be taken as a decoction dried or fresh (see Recipes on website for method & dosage). These parts can also be dried, ground into powder and encapsulated to take or the fresh or dried berries can be made into an alcoholic tincture to take internally. You can also make Hawthorn berry Vinegar, oxymel, elixir, fruit leathers, brandy, honey, ketchup, chutney and so on!
WHAT TO MAKE NOW?
1kg Hawthorn berries
Juice of 1 lemon
150g runny honey
Pick the ripe hawthorn berries, corseley chop or put in a food processor. They smell glorious! (just like sweet apples). Then place in a saucepan with just under half their volume of water. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes until mushy and allow to cool. Give it an extra mash with a potato masher if needs be, then rub the pulp through a sieve to remove the pips etc. Stir in the lemon juice and runny honey.
Pour this strained pulp into baking trays so that it is less than half a centimeter thick. Put the trays in an oven at the lowest setting to dry for 3-5 hours.
Leave until the pulp is dry and leathery and can be peeled off the trays without being sticky. Slice up into strips and make little rolls by rolling two strips together with a piece of grease proof paper. Store in airtight jars.
Eat about a 2cm square everyday to keep your heart and circulation healthy.
(QUICK METHOD OR WARM INFUSION)
This delicious vinegar keeps for years and besides being used as a medicine for coughs, colds & flu, it can be used to brighten up a salad dressing, to add sourness to your cocktails or to add something a little different to strawberries and other soft fruit.
- De-stalk the berries into a pan.
- Pour on enough cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to cover them.
- Gently heat on a low heat with the lid on for 30 minutes.
- Mash the berries with a potato masher as this gets the juice out.
- Leave for 2 hours or overnight.
- Strain and pour into sterilized bottles and seal.
- If you prefer to sweeten it a little you can….
- Strain through a sieve or jelly bag into a clean pan.
- Gently heat and dissolve a little brown or muscovado sugar to taste.
- Bottle, seal & label.
(you can use rose hips or hawthorns or even rowan berries although these can be bitter so best to combine with other things.)
- Half fill a kilner jar with elderberries
- Cover with organic apple cider vinegar until the berries are submerged. Leave on a worktop (not to warm or not too cold) for approx. 4 weeks, shaking often. Remember to label and date!!
- Strain off the liquid and ad the same amount of local runny honey. It’s easier to stand the jar of honey in a pan of hot water for 5-10 minutes first as this makes it even runnier and easier to pour. Mix together ensuring there are no air pockets. Bottle up.
Dose: 1tsp 1-2 times daily as a preventative measure for colds, coughs & flu or 1tsp every 2 hours in acute infections.
(you can also use Hawthorn berries or Rose hips)
It is worth making lots of this excellent immune system booster and having plenty to give away to family and friends.
- Half fill a kilner jar with Elderberries, add star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark and cover with honey.
- Prod with a chopstick and mix well to remove air bubbles and then top up with brandy. Stir well.
- Shake every few days for a month, then strain, bottle and label.
Dose: Take neat or add to water, hot or cold.
1tsp 1-2 times daily for prevention of colds, coughs & flu or 1 tsp every 2 hours in acute infections.
This is a truly delicious way to take your medicine!