Herbal Profile: Greater Plantain

Greater plantain (Plantago major) is a perennial herbaceous plant that is very common in the United States and Europe. It grows very well in compacted and disturbed soil such as along roadways and paths. The peculiar characteristic of growing in areas upset by humans led to the name of “White Man’s Footprint” in America.

This lovely plant is not only medicinal, but highly nutritious and has been used as food and medicine for millennia. It is a great source of vitamin A, C and K as well as calcium.

Mature leaves can be dried for later use in a dehydrator or by simply tying them in small bunches and hanging in a well ventilated area.

Whole PlantainThe Properties of Plantain: (See the Herbal Terminology Post for Definitions)
Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent, Demulcent, Diuretic, Expectorant, Hemostatic

Uses for Plantain include:

Medicinal: Helps with wound healing, sores, rashes, stings, diarrhea, dysentery, bladder problems, gastrointestinal ulcers, ringworm, and hemorrhoids.

Cosmetic: Used as an astringent to tighten pores and help balance oily skin.

Energetic and Spiritual: Plantain is an herb belonging to the element of Earth and is in tune with the planetary energies of Venus. It is used to promote healing when kept around the home and helps keep negative energies at bay when carried or hung around the house.

Rubbing the feet with plantain leaves is said to invigorate the body and spirit.

Culinary: The young tender leaves can be used raw in salads, but the mature leaves become very tough and should be prepared in a similar way to spinach.

Plantain DetailsApplications of Plantain:

Infusion: steep 1 teaspoon fresh or dried leaves in ½ cup of water. Take 1 to 1 ½ cups a day a mouthful at a time, unsweetened. This method is useful for diarrhea, dysentery, bladder problems and gastrointestinal ulcers. This method is also great for use as a toner on the face.

Poultice: mix 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried leaves with 1 teaspoon of bentonite or kaolin and enough water to form a paste. This paste can be applied topically to help heal wounds, stings, sores, rashes and even ringworm. This method is also great as a tightening mask for the face.

If you do not have clay available, simply chew the leaves until a paste is form and spread onto the afflicted area.

Contraindications:

There are none known, but use with extreme caution during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Always check with a healthcare practitioner before beginning herbal treatments.

Information Pulled from:

The Herb Book by John Lust

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg

Notes taken on an herb walk in Boulder, CO with herbalist Cat Pantaleo

Images from Google.com

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Herbal Profile: Calendula

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a beautiful and vibrant plant. It is a friend to many gardeners under the name of “pot marigold,” and has been cultivated for centuries. The flowering tops are the part that is most commonly used in medicine and cosmetics, and this herb is very easy to grow and maintain in a  garden.

To dry the flowers string them on a thread using a needle and hang them in a dim place for several weeks until thoroughly dried. Store in an airtight container once dried in a dark place.

Calendula BlossomThe Properties of Calendula:  ( See the Herbal Terminology Post for Definitions)
Antispasmodic, Aperient, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, Vulnery.

Uses for Calendula Include:

Medicinal: Helps with ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, boils, abscesses, wounds, bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, sores, warts, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.

Cosmetic: Used to help the skin regain elasticity, and a more youthful appearance, soothe chapped skin, and soften the skin.

Energetic and Spiritual: Calendula is an herb belonging to the element of Fire and is in tune with the planetary energies of the Sun. It is used for protection when hung, scattered, or planted around the home; or strewn under beds to guard against nightmares.

When burned in an incense this plant helps to consecrate items, people, or an area. The flowers can also be added to a bath to give a person’s aura a glow of attractiveness and vitality.

Calendula FlowersApplications of Calendula:

Infusion: use 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh or dried flowers with 1/2 cup boiling water; steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain. Take one teaspoon every hour. This method is useful for ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.

Tincture: soak a handful of flowers in 1/2 quart of rectified alcohol or whiskey for 5 to 6 weeks shaking daily. A dose is 5 to 10 drops dissolved in a cup of warm water. This method is useful for ulcers, stomach cramps, colitis, diarrhea, fever, menstrual difficulties, and to prevent recurrent vomiting.

Ointment: simmer 1 ounce fresh or dried flowers in 1 cup of olive oil for 30 minutes. Do not let it boil. Strain, then add one ounce of beeswax. Allow this to melt; and when it is mixed into the oil mixture, pour it into an appropriate container to cool and set up. This method is useful for boils, abscesses, wounds, bruises, sprains, pulled muscles, sores, and warts; as well as cosmetic uses.

Contraindications: None known, but use with extreme caution during pregnancy.

Always check with a healthcare practitioner before beginning herbal treatments.

Information Pulled from:

The Herb Book by John Lust

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg

Images from Google.com

Cucumber Eye Pads

Hello everyone! Once again, sorry for the inactivity lately. I’m hoping to get back to my normal posting schedule very soon, and I want to thank all of you who have stood by me; and those of you who have just started following. It means so much to me to be able to share with you all!

This video is from one of my favorite people on YouTube. I say that a lot don’t I? I honestly can’t help myself, there are so many wonderful people who make videos.

Michelle Phan was one of the original make-up gurus, and is probably the most well known. She has enjoyed great success, and never disappoints.

Her tutorial for cucumber eye pads is one I enjoy pretty often. I don’t sleep as much as I need too, and I often have dark circles under my eyes. As such I need a little help to get rid of them.

Some other eye pads I would highly recommend can be made just as easily, and can help out with a multitude of problems.

  • Chamomile Tea: Helps soothe tired eyes
  • Green Tea: Helps tighten the skin around the eyes and reduces puffiness
  • Ginger Tea: Reduces swelling and helps regulate blood flow to help alleviate blood shot eyes
  • Carrot Juice: Wonderful treatment for skin anywhere, but especially helps the eyes look fresh and rested
  • Lettuce Juice: Reduces puffiness and darkness, and are especially soothing at the end of a long day

One vital tip when using these eye pads is to keep your eyes shut tightly. These teas and juices can easily irritate the eyes, so use caution when applying them.

It is also good to have a towel nearby to dry your eyes before opening them.

Enjoy this lovely tip, and good luck.

Check out more of Michelle’s videos here. She has wonderful make up tutorials and lots of natural skin care tips.

Beauty from Your Bathtub

A Relaxing BathThe bathtub can be one of your best friends when it comes to relaxation, healing, and even beauty. Essential oils can be added to the water to calm and revitalize you, various moisturizers can be added to help repair tired skin, and salts help to relax muscles and pull toxins from our overworked bodies.

The recipes that follow are special treats for the skin and can also help to calm a frazzled mind and relax a tense body. Simply add these wonderful treatments to your bath, sit back, breathe deeply, and enjoy.

Herbal Bath Sachet

This simple recipe does wonders for skin of all types, but it especially helps troubled skin to recover. Use it when your skin isn’t feeling its best.

Ingredients:
2 bags of unflavored green tea
½ cup Lavender flowers (dried preferred)
½ cup Chamomile flowers (dried preferred)

Directions: Simply add the herbs  to a sachet or wash cloth and tie it closed. The tea bags can be opened and poured into the fabric or they can be left as is. Once it is completed, add it to your bath water and relax.

Milk BathMilk Baths

It is important to note here that only whole milk will do. The reasoning behind this is dairy fats help hydrate your skin. If there is little to no dairy fat in your milk, your skin won’t be able to absorb any.

Now there are three kinds of milk I recommend and all can be used in the recipes below:

Whole Milk– Whole milk provides many nourishing vitamins and minerals as well as a large supply of hydrating dairy fats. It also contains lactic acid which can help to gently exfoliate the skin.

Butter Milk– Butter milk has the same properties as whole milk, but it also has a higher acid content. It is best if the skin needs to be thoroughly exfoliated.

Goat’s Milk– By far the best option. It has a higher nutritional value than cow’s milk, and a beneficial blend of complex acids makes it the most suitable to moisturize and exfoliate. The only drawback is it’s slight pungent odor. This can easily be covered up however with essential oils.

Relaxing Bath 2In addition to using fresh milk, you can find all of these in a powdered form which is best if you want to make up large batches. Simply halve the amount of powder that you would use compared to fresh milk. Likewise if the recipe calls for powder simply double the amount of fresh.

Milk and Honey Bath

Ingredients:
2 cups Milk
½ cup Honey (powdered if you are making large batches to use for later)
¼ cup Rolled Oats (in a sachet or wash cloth)

Directions: Simply add the ingredients to the bath, or if you are making some for later and using powdered ingredients use about a half cup of the mixture per bath.

Hot Coco Bath

Ingredients:
3 cups Milk Powder
1 ½ cups Cocoa Powder
2 cups Corn Starch

Directions: Whisk all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Use ½ cup per bath for a luxurious treat.

All images were found on Google.com

The Harem Special

One of the most luxurious and sensual body preparations comes to us from the East where, reputedly, it was used when women in the harem were prepared for the sultan’s pleasure. It removes dead skin cells and leaves the skin glowing, fragrant, and soft as silk.

harem beauty2Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ground, dried citrus peel
  • 3 teaspoons ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons oatmeal
  • 1 pinch clove powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed, dried rose petals
  • 1 pinch nutmeg powder
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 2 drops Neroli oil
  • 2 drops Patchouli oil

Blend all the ingredients together until you have a paste. Add more almond oil if you feel it needs it. Have a bath, dry yourself off, and standing in the bath, roll the mixture all over your body. Massage into very dry areas of skin.

harem beautyThe idea is to cover the skin with a very fine layer, which is why you roll the paste over the body. (This is a technique we don’t know or use very much in the West but which is employed, for example, in Morocco when making very thin pasty. The ball of dough is slapped on to a hot place so that just the thinnest layer of dough is left on its surface. )

By the time you have finished rolling the paste all over your body you’ll be ready to go back to the part of the body you started with and brush the fine dust off. Gently wipe any remaining areas of paste with a dry washcloth.

This wonderful recipes is from The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All images were pulled from Google.com