Exploring Herbs and Essential Oils

By Thorbera OR

A few years ago I wrote an article on the health aspects of onions and since then I have expanded my interests into the ‘natural’ healing of herbs and essential oils. I’d say I started with teas and found some success and moved on from there. I am no expert, and I am sure there are others reading this who have more experience and knowledge but it’s something I have come to enjoy and so far I haven’t harmed or killed anyone or anything!

Like I said it started with mixing different store bought teas hoping to breathe better or to stop feeling nauseous. From there I moved onto buying my own herbs and mixing them to make teas. I now have some herb and spice mixes that are useful for decongestants to energy to anti-anxiety. I would say my favorite is Stinging Nettle tea for its vitamin B content and just overall great pick-me-up feeling and cold and flu prevention.

Stinging Nettle Tea
Mix 1 Tablespoon Stinging Nettle with ½ teaspoon peppermint in a tea ball or place in teacup. Add water that has just boiled and let it steep 10-15 minutes. Remove tea ball or strain. Add a bit of local, raw honey to taste. It will taste like a weed from your garden without the peppermint and honey but you can drink it plain. Whenever I am feeling run down or everyone around me is catching a cold I make this tea and drink 1-4 cups per day.

From my experience with teas I decided to buy an herb kit. With it I learned how to make Elderberry Syrup, Echinacea tincture, and a healing salve. The kit taught me that the recipes for the basic tinctures, salves, etc. are the same, you just change up the ingredients to make whatever it is you need for healing. A tincture is a mix of an herb or herbs soaked in 80-100 proof alcohol for 2-6 weeks. This creates a potent compound that you then use a smaller dosage of mixed in a liquid or even food. Two popular ones that I use are of course Echinacea for the cold and flu prevention or to help deter the symptoms if I am too late to prevent and White Willow Bark. White Willow Bark is your natural aspirin. I made this for my dog who after a very short amount of exercise will then limp for the next day or so. After taking her to the dog park she gets a teaspoon of the liquid mixed with peanut butter. Eight hours later she gets another dose and her pain is gone and she is back to her normal, crazy, high energy self!

White Willow Bark Tincture
Fill a pint Mason jar with White Willow Bark to the top curve of the jar opening. Completely fill jar with 80-100 proof Vodka, screw the lid on tight and shake well. Sit the jar in a sunny window for 6 weeks, shaking it daily. Strain the liquid through a sieve or cheesecloth and throw away the herb. Human dose is 30-40 drops mixed in an ounce or two of liquid every 4 hours as needed for pain. White Willow Bark is safer on the stomach lining than aspirin but you should still not over use.

Salves are usually a combination of herbs and/or oils that are used for healing specific ailments or just a thicker product than say a lotion but used in place of a lotion. If you are making one with herbs the first step is usually infusing the herb or herbs into a base oil like olive oil or coconut oil. You do this by heating them for a period of time on the stove top and then straining the herb from the oil. This oil is then mixed with beeswax to thicken. If herbs are not used and the recipe requires only oils the process is similar with heating a base oil with beeswax and then adding essential oil or a combination of these oils. Salves can last several months depending on the base oil used and storage.

Natural ‘Vicks Vapor Rub’
½ Cup olive oil (coconut, almond or grapeseed oils work also)
2 Tablespoons beeswax
In a small double boiler or a glass measuring cup set in a small sauce pan of simmering water. Melt together on a very low heat. Have a couple of small glass jars cleaned and ready and when oil and wax are blended pour into jars. Let cool about 10 minutes and add
20 drops Eucalyptus oil
20 drops Peppermint oil
10 drops Rosemary oil
Mix with a toothpick and let cool completely. Rub salve onto the bottoms of the feet.

Essential oils can be used from everything from household goods like Spider Spray and carpet deodorizer to ailment symptom relievers in inhalers. I have just made some decongestant inhalers recently to try and stay away from store bought if I do get a cold this year. Using a combination of essential oils I have created my own blend that is to boost thought and memory and named it Raven’s Blend! I also made a friend a combination to help with anxiety attacks. Recipes can be as easy as adding one oil to water, to mixing a blend of 7-8 oils to make a beard oil that helps smooth, tame and reduce split ends.

Spider Spray
In a pint spray bottle filled with water add 20-30 drops peppermint oil. Spray not only on the spider to kill it but spray around doors and windows to prevent them from wanting to come in!

In my explorations of herbs and essential oils I have learned to replace all of my chemical cleaning supplies and our hygiene items almost 100%. I have also learned to prevent and/or reduce our illnesses and those of my dogs without going to doctors and veterinarians. In every phase of my ‘old crone conjuring’ (as I call my creating times), I ask that the Goddess Eira be with me and guide my hands and that Odin share his knowledge with me also. I lost my Grandma while pregnant with my son and she was what one would refer to as a mountain woman healer. I never had the chance to ask her to pass down her recipes or knowledge so I’d like to think she is with me also and proud that I have chosen to try and do this because she is really what inspired me.

Hail Eira and Hail Mother Jorth
Hail The Ancestors

Thorbera OR

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