Healthy Herbal Treats

Herbs have a charm all of their own their smells, names, and flavours all remind us of the good old days. They are the source of our earliest medicines as well as being our earliest food enhances

In these days of synthetic additives more and more people are once again rediscovering the power of the herb

There are many books on how to cultivate, dry, and store herbs as well as books on what they look like I am not going to go into that here. What I am trying to do is to introduce you to some simple home made treats which you probably had as a child and forgot about or if you are to young to remember you may have heard your granny extol their virtues. Old or young I hope you enjoy your herbal experience. Go on and treat your self.

Angelica Mouth rinse
For best effect use twice daily, and after meals

Pour 2-½ cups (625ml) boiling water over 3 table spoons Angelica seeds. Leave to infuse until cold strain into screw top bottle. For extra strength try adding peppermint, or lemon verbena. A little orris root will scent the breath of violates

Barley Water
A cooling drink for fever

1 cup of pearl barley

2lt of water

Lemon juice

Simmer barley and water for 20min, strain and add lemon juice to taste

Or if preferred use blackcurrant or orange juice. Use pure juice rather than juice which has had added sugar

Caraway Comfits
Sweeten and freshen the breath also aids digestion

Make a paste of icing sugar with lemon juice. Dip caraway seeds into an egg white then roll them in the paste. Spread them on greaseproof paper. Leave in a cool place to harden

Digestive tonic
20 green cardamom seeds crushed

1-teaspoon fennel seeds crushed

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Zest of ½ lemon

Zest of ½ orange

5cm (2in) piece cinnamon

250ml (8foz) vodka or other spirit

Steep all in the alcohol for two weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and rebottle

To use—take 1-2 teaspoons in a little water before meals or when needed to settle stomach

This keeps for over a year

Eyebright and Marigold Eyebath
15g dried eyebright

10g dried pot marigold

500ml / 18foz water

Put water and herbs into saucepan and simmer for 10min. Strain and allow to cool store in a sterilised bottle

To use pour a little into an eyebath and bath the eye. Sterilise glass and repeat with other eye. Helps in cases of Conjunctivitis

Fennel and lemon balm tea
10g dried fennel seed

15g dried lemon balm

3g cinnamon bark

500ml water

To calm the stomach from nervous stress

Put herbs into teapot add boiling water, and leave to infuse for 10min. Strain into covered jar store in a cool place. Take wineglass dose as required

Ginger in all its forms is good for nausea but some people cannot take it unless disguised. Capsules are the easiest way of doing this

50g powdered ginger

Size 00 gelatin capsules

Put powdered ginger into saucer; pull one half of the capsule through ginger to fill seal with other half. Take two capsules every 3-4 hours while symptoms last

Horsetail infusion
To strengthen brittle finger nails

Pour 2 ½ cups of water over 6 tablespoons dried horsetail stems leave for 5-6 hours. Put on heat and bring to boil, simmer for 30 min remove from heat and let cool for another 30 min. Strain into air tight container i.e. screw topped bottle. Every other day soak nails in warm sunflower oil for 10-15 min, and then in a little horsetail infusion for 15min

Ideal Ginger beer

28g - 1oz chopped gingerroot or 1tablespoon ground ginger

450g - 1lb sugar

1 sliced lemon

14g - ½ oz fresh yeast

1 slice toast

4-½ lt. - 8pt boiling water

To stimulate digestion

Put ginger, lemon and sugar into adequate container pour water over stirring until sugar has melted. When liquid is tepid spread yeast onto toast and add. Leave for 12 hours in a warm place strain and bottle leave for one week

Juniper and raspberry ice
1 teaspoon juniper tincture

8 fluid oz 250ml raspberry puree

1 egg white

Ideal for cooling the body when hot and restless

Mix juniper and raspberry and place in freezer until partially frozen. Take out and mix into slush. Beat egg white until stiff then fold into juniper mixture put into 2-3 serving bowls. Then freeze for 1 ½ - 2 hours serve with a sprig of mint

Keel junket

Junket will separate if disturbed before serving. They are a traditional British food for convalescents

8 large crushed cardamom pods

16 fluid oz 475ml milk

1 teaspoon honey

2 teaspoons essence of rennet

Cinnamon powder

Simmer the cardamoms in the milk over low heat for 6-7minutes. Strain into bowl, and stir in the honey. Allow too cool to blood heat then stir in the rennet. Leave in a warm place 10-12 hours until set. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Lovage foot bath
Soothing for tired feet

Put 20 fluid oz 595ml of boiling water over 2 tablespoons fresh lovage. Leave to infuse for 15 min. Strain into a footbath, and top up with water to the desired temperature. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt, and stir. Soak feet for 10-15min.

Marshmallow lotion
To moisturize and sooth. If kept in the fridge lotion will keep for 5 days

Put 3 tablespoons of dried marshmallow leaves or root into a bowl, pour over 8 fluid oz 240ml distilled water. Leave to infuse over night, Strain into a screw top jar. Apply a little lotion to skin after normal cleaning. By adding the lotion to plain cold cream will make a rich moisturizer

Nutmeg Wine tonic
1 bottle of wine of your choice

½ grated nutmeg

Sprig of fresh thyme

1 piece1 ½ cm ½ in. cinnamon stick

8 sultanas or large raisins

Drink a small glass of wine from bottle; add the herbs and re-cork. Leave for 2 weeks then strain and replace back into wine bottle, and label. Take ½ small wine glass when in need of a lift

Oat Tonic

This is a calming, strengthening tonic particularly for the young and old

12 fluid oz 350ml cold boiled water

3oz 84g flaked or rolled oats

½ teaspoon ginger

Juice ½ lemon

5ml 1 teaspoon honey

Pour the water over oats and leave over night. Strain through a cloth and wring out juice. Add the honey and lemon mix well and bottle. Will keep in the fridge for a week

Take 1 teaspoon 2-3 times a day until finished

Peppermint facial
Use to cleanse the skin and reduce large pores

After washing face pour 2 lt. 70 fluid oz boiling water into bowl, add 2 tablespoons fresh peppermint, 2 tablespoons fresh sage, and a ½ teaspoon of basil. Cover head with large towel. Hold face 10in 30cm from water. Steam neck and face for 8-10 mi. then cover face with a washcloth that has been dipped in ice cold water. Pat dry with towel

Quiet Cough Syrup

Use for chesty cough, tightness and sore throat

14g - ½ oz dried thyme

7g – ¼ oz dried chamomile

7g – ¼ oz dried sage

2 teaspoons fennel seed

2 garlic cloves

15-20 cloves

1 teaspoon aniseed

Pinch of powdered ginger

850ml – 1 ½ pint water

450g 1lb honey

Put all the ingredients into pan except honey. Bring to the boil turn heat down, and cover simmering for 20 min. Let cool slightly then strain making sure you extract all the liquid. Discard the used herbs return liquid to heat gently simmer until liquid is reduced to 200ml 7fluid oz. Add the honey to the pan and simmer for a few minutes stirring all the time. Do not over cook or it will turn into toffee. Bottle keeps for months

Take 2-3 teaspoons 4-6 times a day = Children 1 teaspoon 3 –5 times daily

Rosemary or Chamomile hair rinse
Stimulates the scalp and helps hair growth

For dark hair—put 2 heaped tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary and 1 tablespoon dried chamomile flowers into bowl add 2 heaped tablespoons of dried lime flowers and cover with 650ml 24 fluid oz boiling water. Leave until Luke warm strain and apply to freshly washed and rinsed hair

Soothing Salt Bath
112g- 4oz sea salt

1 tablespoon bicarbonate of Soda

1 teaspoon sweet almond oil

5 drops essential oil

Juice 1 lemon

To remove dead skin, clear pores, and tone blood circulation

Blend all ingredients together dissolve in the bath water. Soak for twenty minutes. Rub all over body then rinse off with fresh water

Tarragon vinegar
This makes wonderful vinaigrette

For every 350ml 12 fluid oz of white vinegar add 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves. Put into screw topped bottle and leave for 10 days in a warm place shake from time to time. Strain and return to bottle add a sprig of tarragon for decoration

Utopia syrup
This strengthens the brain and memory, helps blood pressure, keeps blood thin and aids the appetite, strengthens nerves, and circulation

56g 2oz rosemary

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon basil

2 tablespoons sage

4 teaspoons crushed fennel seed

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

20 cloves

6 cardamom pods

1.75lt 3 pints water

450g 1lb honey

Put all ingredients except honey into pan and reduce down to300ml ½ pint. Allow liquid to cool and strain. Discard used herbs. Put liquid back on to heat and add honey. Simmer on very low heat stirring all the time until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Let cool and bottle will keep for at least a year

Vinegar (balsamic)

This can be used either as a salad dressing or in cooking or as a tonic or even a hair rinse

Dilute 1-teaspoon vinegar in 240ml 8fluid-oz water for rinse

6 green cardamom pods

12 sultanas

12 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon sage

4 cloves of garlic

300ml ½ pint cider vinegar

Steep all the ingredients together in screw topped jar for 2 months. Strain and bottle

Woodruff punch
Put 6 tablespoons of fresh chopped woodruff and the grated peel of a lemon into a muslin bag. Place into punch bowl. Pour over 120ml – 4 fluid oz cognac and a half bottle of wine. Cover and leave over night. Remove the bag and add ice cubes add another 1 ½ bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne put in the juice of 1 lemon and a little sugar to taste serve

Xin Yi Hua tincture

Steeping the desired herb in a water /alcohol mixture makes tinctures. Vodka is an ideal home spirit, as it does not contain any additives. The tinctures should be individually made, and then prepared tinctures can then be combined when required. The liquid is usually 25% alcohol and 75% water

Put the herb into large jar and cover with the alcohol / water mixture. Seal jar and store in a cool place for 2 weeks shake occasionally. Put a muslin bag into a winepress pour in mixture. If winepress is unavailable then wring out by hand into bowl. Squeeze out through press into bowl. Pour the strained liquid into clean sterilized dark glass bottles label and seal

This is good for the sinuses

25ml Xin Yi Hua (magnolia flower) tincture

25ml elderflower tincture

15 ml ground ivy tincture

15 ml Echinacea tincture

10 ml bayberry tincture

5 ml ginger tincture

5 ml peppermint tincture

Combine all into a sterilized dark glass bottle and shake well. Take 5 ml in a half tumbler of warm water 3 times a day before meals while symptoms persist

Yarrow and celery tea
This is good for gout sufferers

50g dried celery seed

15g dried yarrow

15 g dried heather flowers

300 ml ½ pint water

Mix herbs and put into airtight container. When ready to use put 1 teaspoons into teapot add teacup-boiling water and let infuse for 10-min strain and drink. Take 2 fresh cups ever day

Zealous Syrup of figs
8 dried figs

224g / 8oz dark brown sugar

Juice ½ lemon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

240ml / 8 fluid oz water

Slice the figs thinly and simmer in water for 20 min. Strain keeping both liquid and figs. Set figs aside and make the liquid back up to 240 ml / 8 fluid oz with cold water. Add sugar and heat gently stirring all the time until sugar is melted. Put back in the figs and add lemon juice and ginger. Pour into blender or food processor and blend for a minute. Put into sterilized jar seal and label. It keeps very well

Dose for adult 3 – 4 desert spoons daily Children 1 – 2 desert spoons

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