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"Simples"

On this page you'll find simples for humans and pets and some recipes for herbal remedies. As with anything used for medicinal purposes please check with your doctor before using.

SIMPLES

Simples are old home remedies. Remember that "cures" such as these may not be enough for serious problems. If in doubt check with your doctor.

After Shave: Mix 2 tablespoons warm apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of witch hazel. Add 1 oz. of sage, peppermint, and/or winter green. Mix this solution with about 3 oz. of rubbing alcohol. Let herbs steep in a sunny window for 2 weeks, strain and use as desired.

Scented Bath Salts: Take 3 cups of sea salt or Epsom salt. Add 3 tablespoons each of French lavender, dried rose petals, lemon rind and orange peel. Mix thoroughly and store in an air tight container. Age it one month. Hot water will release the smell. Essential oils can be used to strengthen the smell.

Lip Care: Boil 1 cup of red clover in 3 cups of water over a low heat for about 45 minutes. Strain and repeat twice more. Cook juice down until it's of syrup consistency. Keep this in a container and apply to lips as needed.

Honey: Apply this over the face and soak it off with warm water as a facial mask.

Bee Stings: Apply a paste made of baking soda to the sting. A clove of garlic or a slice of onion can also be placed on the sting.

Boils: Make a poultice of flour and bruised ginger and apply to the boil to help draw it out. A slice of potato also works for this.

Cramps: Make a tea using equal portions of winter green, chamomile, clover, valerian, and mint. This mix can also be made into a warm compress.

Dandruff: Make a rinse using equal parts of camphor, lavender, bay, sage, and rosemary. Add 1 cup of alcohol and steep for 2 hours. Bottle and use after shampooing.

Nausea: Drink chamomile, basil, and clove tea. Soda crackers also help relieve nausea.

Sleeplessness: Drink tea made for any of the following: chamomile, parsley, valerian, clover, lavender, woodruff, dill, and verbena.

Warts: Apply a slice of onion or garlic at night with dandelion sap. Do this nightly, securing it over the wart with cotton and tape, for a month.

 

 Making Infusions, Decoctions, Tinctures, Lozenges, Ointments, Syrup, and Oils

Infusions:

Infusions may be drunk hot or cold. They may be sweetened with licorice root, honey or brown/white sugar. Herbal tea bags may be made by filling little muslin bags with herbal mixtures. Use one teaspoon of dried herb for each cup of tea that you brew. Pour boiling water, (1 cup/teaspoon of herb), into the teapot. Leave it to steep for ten or fifteen minutes.

Decoction:

Put one teaspoon of dried herb or 3 teaspoons of fresh herb for each cup of water into a sauce pan or pot. The container should be glass, ceramic, or earthenware. Add the appropriate amount of water to the herbs in the pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. If the herb contains volatile oils, put a lid on the pan. Strain the tea while it is still hot.

Herb Teas

Flowers

Chamomile, Elder Flower, Lime Blossom, Red Clover

Leaves

Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Hyssop, Vervain

Berries

Hawthorn, Rosehips

Seeds

Aniseed, Caraway, Celery, Dill, Fennel

Roots

Licorice

Tinctures:

Alcohol Tincture:

Put 4 ounces of finely chopped or ground dried herbs into a container that can be tightly closed. If fresh herbs are used then use twice as much. Pour one pint of 60 proof vodka and the herbs and then close the container tightly. Keep the container in a warm place for two weeks and shake well twice a day. Note: Some people recommend keeping the mixture in a sealed container for up to six weeks. After pouring off the liquid put the residue into a muslin cloth suspended in a bowl. Wring out all the liquid. Pour tincture into a dark bottle and keep it well sealed.

Vinegar Based Tincture:

Whenever you make a vinegar tincture it is best to use apple cider vinegar. The procedure is the same as alcohol tinctures and when finished is also good for culinary use.

Glycerine-Based Tincture:

These are milder on the digestive system. To make one pint of a mixture use one part water to one part glycerin, add four ounces of the dried, ground herb and leave it in a well sealed container for two weeks, shaking it daily. After two weeks, strain and wring out the residue. For fresh herbs use 8 ounces of the herb mixed with 75% glycerin and 25% water.

Syrup:

Syrup base: Pour one pint of boiling water onto 2 1/2 pounds of sugar, place over heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid begins to boil. For use with decoctions, infusions, and tinctures. For tinctures mix one part of the tincture with three parts of the syrup. When using for infusions and decoctions add the sugar directly to the liquid: for every one pint of liquid add twelve ounce of sugar and heat gently until sugar is dissolved.

Lozenges:

Soak one ounce of Tragacanth, (an edible gum), or Acacia in water for 24 hours stirring as often as possible. Boil 1 pint of water and mix it with the Tragacanth/Acacia. Using a wooden spoon, beat the mixture to a uniform consistency. Force it through a muslin strainer to make a mucilage. Mix enough of your dry or powdered herb into the mucilage to make a paste. Dust a pastry board and rolling pin with icing sugar or cornflower to prevent sticking and roll out the paste to a a layer about 1/2 inch thick. When paste has cooled slightly, cut the paste into lozenges. Leave out to dry and then store in an air tight container. Mucilage may also be obtained from Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, or Comfrey Root. For respiratory tract complaints one might use Red Sage for tonsillitis. For sore throats one might use Coltsfoot, Licorice, or Lungwort. For coughs one might use Angelica, Aniseed, Horehound, and Thyme to clear mucus.

Ointments:

Best herbs used for external ointments are Arnica, Chickweed, Comfrey Root, Cucumber, Elder flower, Golden Seal, Greater Plantain, Lady's Mantle, Marigold Flower, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Woundwort, and Yarrow. (note: Arnica is not recommended for open wounds!!!)To make an ointment, make 1 pint of a water infusion/decoction and strain off the liquid. Save the liquid for later use. Pour 3 ounces of olive oil or almond oil into a pan with 3 ounces of petroleum jelly and mix together. (note: this is the base) Add the strained herbal extract and stir into the base. Simmer until the water has evaporated. Do not overheat. (Additional thickeners like beeswax can be added) Blend well. Pour mixture into a container and seal when not being used.

Oils:

The easiest way to extract oils from herbs is to put the herbs into an oil. The best oils to use are olive oil, sunflower oil or almond oil. To make an herbal oil, cut the herb finely, cover it with oil and put it in a clear glass container. Place this in the sun or leave in a warm place for two to three weeks, shaking the container every day. After two or three weeks, filter the liquid into a dark glass container and store.

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