Thursday, July 26, 2012


Plantago lanceolata in late summer

It doen't take plastic surgery to treat those scourges of aging skin, scars and wrinkles. Herbal salves work just fine, if more slowly, and the ingredients are available for free right there in your neighborhood.

Plantago majus in late summer

Both lance- and broad-leafed plantain have the ability to soften, moisten, and tighten skin lesions. The leaves can be picked from the lawn before mowing and dried for oil extraction when needed.


Rare pink yarrow in late summer
The white flower clusters of yarrow (Achillea millefolium) plucked from nearby fields complement plaintain by improving circulation to and from scars and wrinkles. Their bitter astringency also helps to tighten up the skin. Add in a little nourishing rose essential oil and voila tout - a return to young and passionate skin!


- plantain leaves (dried) – 1 small handful
- yarrow flowers (dried) - 1 small handful
- almond, safflower, or olive oil – 1 cup
- bee’s wax – 1 ounce
- vitamin E oil – 10 drops
- rose essential oil – 5 drops

1. Crumble plantain and yarrow into a small pot;
2. Completely cover the leaves with the oil;
3. Place the uncovered pot on a hotplate or in the oven and heat on the lowest possible setting for 3-4 hours (no hotter than 150°);
4. Pour through a strainer into another small pot, pressing the plants into the strainer to recover as much oil as possible;

Beeswax beads melting in oil extract

5. Add beeswax (finely chopped, shredded, shaved, or beaded) into the oil and heat on low until dissolved;
6. Add 10 drops of vitamin E oil;
7. Add 5 drops of rose essential oil;
8. Pour into small wide-mouthed jars and allow to cool and harden before sealing the lid;
9. Label with the product name, date, and ingredients;
10. Apply liberally to scars or wrinkles 3-4 times a day.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Holy basil

It's mid-summer and the basils are about to sprout - the perfect time to make and save a bunch as pesto. Ocimum basilicum is a revered medicinal plant in southeast Asia and a ubiquitous ingredient in the healthful Mediterranean diet.

Globe basil
Basil acts as a carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, immune tonic, and gastrointestinal and respiratory alterative. Throw in some garlic with it's antibiotic and circulatory alterative effects and there you have it - a gastronomic adaptogen for whatever ails you.


Mince until fine consistency

- basil leaves - 2 large bunches
- garlic - 8-10 cloves
- pine nuts raw - one large handful
- Parmesan cheese - 1.5 cups freshly grated
- olive oil - 4-6 tablespoons (extra virgin, cold pressed, organic if available)

1) On a large cutting board loosely chop the garlic with 1/4 of the basil, adding more basil and finer chopping as the two ingredients mix;
2) Add half the pine nuts and continue to chop until minced;
3) Add the rest of the pine nuts and continue to mince until mixed;
4) Add half the Parmesan and continue mincing until mixed;
5) Add the rest of the Parmesan and mince until able to be formed into a loose cake;
6) Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the olive oil;
7) Use half for your favorite pesto recipe (we like pesto pasta with ricotta) and dollop the rest in tablespoons onto individual sheets of wax paper folded around the pesto for freezing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Spearmint, bee balm, and yarrow sun tea

What better way to lift the spirits and heal what ails you than the warmth of the summer sun? Whether it's an herbal sun tea steeped for a day before poured over ice or an infused oil soaking up flower essences for a week, solar infusions will bring joy and healing to your mid-summer household.

Mullein in mid-summer

Mullein flowers (Verbascum thapsus) contain anti-inflammatory and demulcent (moistening) oils best extracted in another oil. Their gentle healing effects are perfect for soothing swimmer's ear and otitis media in children of all ages. Other options for infused oils include violets from the yard and/or calendula from the garden for skin inflammation or lesions.


- mullein flowers
- olive oil
- vitamin E oil

Releasing air bubbles

1) Gather the opened flowers from several mullein stalks;
2) Place the flowers into a clear glass jar 3/4 full of olive oil;
3) Repeatedly poke a chopstick or skewer into the flowers to submerse and allow air bubbles inside the flowers to escape;
4) Top off the jar with olive oil and tightly seal the lid;
5) Place in full sun for 4-7 days;
6) Strain the oil into a measuring cup;
7) Stir in 10-20 drops of vitamin E oil;
8) Dispense into small dropper bottles and label with date and ingredients;
9) Place 1-3 drops three times a day into the inflamed ear while the child is laying on the other side for several minutes.

Mullein ear oil