Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pox Tea and an Herb Infused Massage Oil

I've been taking a Home Herbalist Course and learning more about herbs, how to find them in the wild, and what parts are good to use for different things.  It's been a LOT of fun!

I got the opportunity to put some of my new found knowledge to use this week, as all 4 of my kids have chicken pox!  I was really glad for my slowly growing stock of dried herbs.  Most of them are organic and purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs.  (I have a little banner for Mountain Rose on the right side that you can click on and order from too. ;) )

First, I made up a special tea for them.  My recipe is as follows, then I'll explain why I chose the ingredients that I did.

Pox Tea - by me  :)

1 part elderberries
1 part nettles
1 part catnip
1 part lemon balm

After I steeped it (about 15 minutes), I sprinkled in some Cinnamon Powder and Ginger Root Powder, then served sweetened with a small bit of raw local honey.

I actually made up a glass canning jar of the first 4 ingredients and shared some with a friend, but then added in the cinnamon and ginger as an after thought when I made it up for my 4 year old that was complaining that her tummy hurt.  You certainly could add in the cinnamon and ginger with the other ingredients and then simply scoop out what you need each time for a fresh cup!

I made a lot at a time and they would drink it right away hot, and then throughout the day cold, as I'd make a quart at a time and put the leftovers in the fridge for them for later.

Ok, so why those ingredients?

Elderberries - an immune booster for coughs, colds, flus, and viral infections.  Studies have shown that people who have taken elderberry while ill feel better faster than those who don't.

Nettles - Anti inflammatory effect as well as to enhance immune response.

Catnip - Calming with a mild sedative effect, muscle relaxant that relieves headache, anti pyretic (fever reducer)

Lemon Balm - this one was specifically for the chicken pox virus.  It's known to fight the herpes virus by causing the sores to have a speedier healing, as well as reduced itching and redness.  Lemon Balm does much more, but that was the key reason I chose it for both the tea and the massage oil.

Cinnamon - Soothes upset stomachs

Ginger - Relieves Nausea

Now, for the massage oil.  Recipe, also by me.  :)

I thought it might feel good to have a safe, gentle rub over all those red, itchy blisters.  So I infused some Safflower Oil (because it's high in vitamin E and a lighter/thinner oil than Olive Oil) with some herbs that I thought might feel good and encourage healing.

I didn't measure the oil, I just used what little bit I had left in the bottle.  Maybe somewhere between 1/4 - 1/2 cup, I'm guessing.

1 heaping Tablespoon each of:

Lemon Balm and Catnip (for the same purposes as above)

Minced Garlic - because garlic is an immune booster, smooth muscle relaxer, anti-inflammatory, and helps improve circulation.

A handful of frozen, crushed Mullein Leaf that I'd been given.  Mullein has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.  It also soothes skin irritations when applied to rashes, boils, bruises, and much more.

To infuse the oil, simply add your herbs to the oil and gently warm in a double broiler or on low in a saucepan.  Do NOT boil. Just let it be warm.  For as long as possible.  A couple hours to a half day is good.

Then strain the herbs out.  I just cut a square out of an old t shirt and threw it away when I was done.

Once it's cooled a bit, be sure to squeeze all the excess oil out of the herbs.  That's where the strongest oils will be.

And that's it!  All done!

Put it in something for storage, preferably glass.  :)  Oils infused with garlic should be stored in the refrigerator to prevent going rancid.

Thanks to my Home Herbalist teacher for teaching us how to infuse oils.  :)  It was handy info in perfect timing.


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