Monthly Archives: April 2013

Insomnia Natural Cures

Insomnia is a problem many face and herbs might be the answer to your sleeplessness.

Night after night we lie awake and try and count sheep. We hit a 1000 and we realized we are still wide awake and the alarm clock is telling up to get up and face the world.

Over half Americans suffer from insomnia, which means we simply cannot get to sleep.

Some triggers for insomnia include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Too much activity right before bed time
  • Mentally challenging work just before bed
  • Stress
  • Low production of female hormone estrogen, premenstrual or during menopause
  • Emotional problems
  • Medication
  • Smoking within two hours before bedtime

The National Sleep Foundations estimates 40% more women have trouble sleeping compared to 30% men.

Drugs to help you sleep can do more harm in the long run than they do well; while the help you sleep sometimes we experience a hangover like system the next morning. We have trouble getting out of bed, even more so than if we had no sleep.

Some of these aids can also cause dependency of these drugs and we can’t get to sleep naturally.


Natural methods of getting to sleep include the use of herbs and meditation. Herbs have been used for thousands of years to help induce sleep gently.

Lemon balm helps to aid in sleep and the treatment for sleep disturbances. Chamomile has been used successfully for the treatment of insomnia.

Drink a tea make out of chamomile or lemon balm about 30 minutes before bed time.

Valerian root is the most widely used sleep aid in the world. Valerian is safe and effective substitute for sleeping pills and sedatives. Valerian can be found in pill form, teas, tablets and tinctures. The tea can taste bad and smell of feet. No kidding.

Lavender has a mild sedative effect, spray the oil mixed with water in the air just before bedtime. A little lavender oil can be rub on the temple area, just keep it away from the eyes. Lavender is one of the essential oils gentle enough for the skin. Smelling lavender may help to you to get the rest you need.

Lavender, rose petals, and catnip will help to ease insomnia.

Combinations of herbs such as chamomile, skullcap, oatstraw and catnip have been used in folk medicine for treating insomnia. Use equal parts, either fresh or dried. Drink a tea with about 1 Tbsp. of the mixture 30 minutes before bedtime.

A good bedtime tincture includes equal portions of the tinctures of passion flower, hops, skullcap, wood betony and catnip. Take about 20 drops of the mixture before bedtime and again right before you retire.

Passionflower and hops have been used in folk medicine for years for sleep. In fact try it in pillow to help induce sleep.

Wood betony is known as a relaxant and tonic for the nervous system.

A future blog will on making and the ingredients of dream and sleep pillows.

Change your lifestyle:

  • Exercise a few times a week, early in the day
  • Set a routine before bed such as making a cup of tea and relaxing
  • Try meditation to manage stress or positive reinforcement
  • Drink relaxing aids and stress aids during the day to help relaxation
  • Stop and smell the roses, take time for yourself
  • Go to bed at the same time, and get up at the same time
  • Don’t nap during the day
  • Keep your bedtime dark and quiet
  • Avoid watching TV
  • Read boring books
  • Reduce salt in your diet
  • Get massages or biofeedback before bedtime

Some other aids in getting to help with insomnia:

  • Image a calm setting as you lie in bed, mentally feel yourself relaxing and calming down.
  • Slowly count to 100 and if you lose your place just start over.
  • Take a calcium/magnesium tablet about one hour before bedtime.
  • Drink a cup of warm milk mixed with honey and nutmeg.
  • Drink some warmed grapefruit juice mixed with raw honey
  • Drink some orange juice or pineapple juice mix with lemon juice
  • Yellow onions are suppose to help, so smell one before going to bed
  • Elderberry juice at room temperature, may help you get to sleep
  • Keep the temperature of the room cool, but keep the feet warm
  • Avoid eating two or three hours before bedtime
  • Take a warm bath with baking soda an hour or two before bed
  • Take a multi vitamin daily with cooper, iron, manganese, calcium and B-complex
  • Eat cucumbers, lettuce, and yogurt in your diet

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a relaxant and found in milk, yogurt, bananas, milk, figs, dates, tuna, turkey, and nut butters. Tryptophan is directly involved in the production of serotonin which is a sleep inducer.

As a child we are told we need eight hours of sleep a night, and maybe as children we did. But as an adult, we may not need the same amount as children, or we may need more. Get the sleep your body needs and you will feel rested in the morning. We can dwell on the need for eight hours, relax some simply do not, in fact I met a women who in her life she had never slept more than five hours a night. I never knew a women who was as talented in such a large variety of crafts.

So relax and get the sleep you need, maybe with the help of herbs or routines established.




Homemade Window Cleaner with Peppermint oil

Window cleaner

Ingredients for window cleaner 4/26/13

Homemade window cleaner is great for the environment, inexpensive and easy to make with just a few ingredients. Use this homemade window cleaner for outside or inside, mirrors and car windows.

Ingredients for homemade window cleaner:

  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1/2 c rubbing alcohol
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tsp. borax
  • plastic spray bottle
  • funnel

Measure out one cup of warm water and dissolve the borax. Stir to dissolve, once the borax has dissolve pour through the funnel into the spray bottle. Add the other cup of water, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, lemon juice and peppermint essential oil. Shake to mix thoroughly.

Now find a dirty mirror and clean with cotton diapers, or paper towels and polish with black and white newsprint if desired.

The cleaner will last some time, but the essential oil will lose it properties unless stored in a dark spray bottle or store in a dark place. Light is hard on essential oils. If using plastic spray bottle, try and find one that is thick and dark in color for best results. The essential oils can react negatively with thin plastics. If available, store the cleaner in a glass spray bottle, remember the old glass spray cleaners.

Breakdown of ingredients for homemade window cleaner:

Peppermint oil is known for keeping away those pesky critters. Use peppermint oil especially if planning on washing outside windows. Inside homemade window cleaners, try other essential oils if desired. Peppermint oil is great to help keep away mice.

Citrus juice has degreasing properties and it smells nice especially if you find the vinegar to strong. Lemon essential oil may be used, but more essential oils can react with plastic. Lemon juice has natural antibacterial properties and a natural bleaching agent as it deodorizes.

Vinegar is great for cleaning and is biodegradable. Vinegar is safe for stainless steel, relatively non-toxic, stable, and safe for handling. Vinegar is also a grease cutter and will help to get rid of mold.

Alcohol cleans as it sanitizes, also good for cutting the grime and mold found around the outside edge of windows.

Borax is known to aid cleaning agents and help cut grease and grime.

The spray bottle shown in the picture is thin, but it is spring cleaning time and I have several windows. Any leftover homemade window cleaner will be stored in a glass bottle.

Happy Cleaning as you save money!



Zucchini Pasta Salad with Thyme

This easy zucchini pasta salad recipe seems to pop with the addition of thyme. This is a great recipe to try if you are new to herbs and are not sure what flavor to used in what dishes. You can substitute almost any herb for thyme, such as rosemary or oregano. This dish seems to call for strong tasting herbs to complement the feta cheese.

By using different herbs in the zucchini pasta salad is a great way to learn the flavor of the herb. Try using fresh as much as possible, but if dry is all you have, then add less because dry can be stronger. Some herbs such as basil don’t seem to have any taste when dry.

How about parsley with garlic and red onions. This dish was kept simple to allow your imagination to run free.

This dish can be change in a variety of ways. Try adding halved cherry tomatoes and basil, or how about adding some herb flavored vinegar to the olive oil.

Zucchini Pasta salad

Zucchini Pasta salad with thyme

Ingredients for the above Zucchini Pasta Salad

Ingredients for salad

Zucchini Pasta Salad with Thyme

  • 1 c. whole wheat orzo
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 c. feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh thyme about 2 tsp.or 1 tsp. dry
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Cut the zucchini lengthwise into fourths and cut again into pieces. Place the zucchini in the colander before draining the pasta. Cook the orzo about 7 to 8 minutes in 2 quarts of salted boiling water. Drain by pouring the boiling water with orzo over the zucchini, this will slightly cook the zucchini. Pour both zucchini and pasta in a bowl and add olive oil to coat. Mix in the thyme and feta cheese. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. If you are using table salt use less than kosher salt. Toss gently. This dish can be served warm or cold.

This is a great dish to take for potlucks, the ingredients are safe to leave out for a short while, and it is good served at room temperature.

Tip: To strip the thyme, slide fingers down the stem opposite of way it grows. Hold the cut end up and pull downwards toward the growing tip. If the thyme is not strong enough add more until you have the taste you like. Just remember you can add more but removing the herb is tough.





Growing Thyme and other Thymely tips

Growing thyme is one of the herbs every herb lover want to grow. Thyme give many rewards and has a lots of uses, but it also looks good in the garden. Its low growing habit look great in walkways, rock gardens, trailing over walls, and as a ground cover to help repel weeds.

The common thyme’s Latin name T. vulgaris is an ever green shrub. Depending on the variety Thyme grows about 3-10 inches. The creeping varieties grow low to the ground.


Thyme growing over a wall

Just a few of the over 350 varieties

  • Broad leaf thyme
  • Lemon thyme
  • Wooly thyme
  • Golden creeping thyme
  • English thyme
  • Lemon thyme
  • Lavender thyme
  • German thyme
  • Camphor thyme
  • Silver thyme
  • Nutmeg thyme
  • Caraway thyme
  • Mother-of-Thyme

It is fun to grow as many varieties as possible. Try growing several in a thyme bed with a sundial set int the center of the bed.

Sundial with thyme

Sundial with thyme planted around.

Common thyme is upright with woody stems and about one foot in height. The leaves are dark green to grayish green and very aromatic.

All parts of this sweet aromatic thyme can be used in cooking, cosmetics, medicinal, cleaning and just because it look nice. When thyme flowers it looks wonderful in arrangements trailing over the side of the vase and the smell is tremendous.

Site: Full sun to partial shade. At least four hours of sun. The soil should be well drained, slightly alkaline with a soil pH of 6 to 6.7 and dislike wet feet.

Propagating: Can be grown from seeds if growing common variety. The method used for other varieties is either division, layers or cuttings.

Growing: This evergreen scrub like to grow in zones 5-9. Other areas should protect in the winter. Thyme’s flowers are loved by the bees and produce a wonderful honey with a unique flavor. The flowers come in shades of pink to purple depending on the variety.

Grow thyme for borders, to drape over walls, for low edgings.  The creeping varieties such as wooly, snowdrift, English wild thyme, and golden creeping thyme are wonderful between stepping stones and used for weed control. This wonderful plant will spread some and will fill in the gaps.

Companions: Plant thyme with eggplants, cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes. Help to repel cabbage worms. It is a perennial and you may not want to plant in the garden. Better to plant in pots near these garden vegetables.

Harvest: Cut stems anytime during the summer, but twice cut back hard leaving about 3 inches of the stems during growing season. The leaves will dry, freeze or are wonderful in herbal vinegars.

Drying: Thyme is easy to dry. The leaves should be left on stems for drying and one method is to tie a group of stems with a rubber band and place inside of a paper bag filled with holes and tie shut and hung up to dry. The holes are for circulation, use a hole punch and punch several holes.
Dehydrator makes short work of drying thyme. If you have a mesh liner use it for thyme. Once the leaves dry they sometimes come off the stems. You can store the thyme on the stems or strip.

Refrigerator drying: Place the thyme on paper towels and either place inside of paper bags or lay on trays. It takes a little longer to dry but works quite well.

Cooking: Along with parsley thyme is added to a bouquet garni. Culinary thyme add lots of flavor to all kinds of dishes, such as stocks, marinades, lamb, chicken, pork, sauces, dressing, soups, and vegetables, especially root vegetables. Begin by using a small amount, the flavor of thyme is quite strong. As an added bonus, thyme helps to digest fatty foods, it aids in digestion.

Tip: To use just the leaves, hold the cut end of the stem in your hands and slide your fingers up the stem to the top or tip of thyme, removing the leaves as you go. Some thyme taste better than others, culinary thyme included common thyme or lemon thyme.

Cleaning: Thyme makes a great cleaner especially if added to vinegars for products such as dish soaps, laundry detergent, and all purpose cleaners. It has powerful antibacterial properties. It is also used as an insect repellent.

Cosmetics: Use in bath sachets, deodorants, facial steams, hair rinses, and as an antiseptic in mouthwashes and toothpaste. Thyme is very fragrant and can be used in potpourri.

Medicinal: Aid in digestion, mix with honey for coughs, sore throats, and chest infections. Common thyme can be used in infusions, tinctures, syrups, and massage oils. It is an antiseptic, expectorant, antispasmodic, astringent, antimicrobial, diuretic, and might help to heal wounds. Avoid if pregnant.

Just a little history. Thyme is found on the sunny hills of the Mediterranean. The Greeks and Scots revered the plant and use it for bravery. In 17th century England’s Culpeper recommended thyme for handovers, coughs and melancholy. A cookbook from the 1600’s had a recipe using thyme and beer to overcome shyness.

Growing thyme is easy and finding new varieties can be quite an adventure.

Happy Gardening!








Bladder Infections- Herbal Remedies from A to Z

Bladder infections do not know or care if you are a man or women, (even though women are more likely to suffer bladder infections), or if you are rich or poor. Millions of people suffer from this ailment every day and in some cases it can lead to serious problems.

The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladders, and urethra. The urinary tracts main function is to excrete urine and control the other parts of the body’s organs. Without this excretion we would be poisoned by the toxins in our body.

Blood enters the kidneys and is then filtered out and sent to the bladder for elimination. On average our bodies loose about five pints a day, three pints through our urine and the other two pints through other means such as breathing, sweat ect.

Around 98% of the water we drink is absorbed by the body along with nutrients we consume. Proteins breakdown is called urea and is passed into the urine, which then leaves the body. Urine collects in the pelvis of the kidneys and passes into the bladder, where it stored until we go to the bathroom.

Those suffering from kidney problems should seek medical help before using any alternative methods. If you are prone to kidney stones, check with your doctor or health care professional.

Too much eliminating at too fast a pace can cause damage to the kidneys. When using herbs as a diuretic, pick an herb that is gentle and include mallow root or marshmallow which helps to protect the kidneys.

What this blog is going to address is bladder infections.

Some foods that may help prevent bladder infections include:

  • Yogurt
  • cucumbers
  • dandelion greens
  • cranberry juice
  • lemon-aid
  • parsley
  • onions
  • carrot tops
  • celery tops
  • pumpkin seeds
  • asparagus
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • purslane

The culture in yogurt may help prevent and cure bladder infections. Another way to include yogurt is to add it to a bath of warm water, yes add to your bath water.

Eating cucumbers and drinking basil tea may reduce the symptoms of bladder infections, and liberally add fresh parsley to your food. Parsley is a diuretic along with onions which may help to cleanse the body.

Dandelion and other diuretic foods increase the body’s urine output and may stimulate the blood flow through the kidneys. Some medicines which contain diuretics may reduce the potassium levels in our bodies. Herbs such as dandelion increase the flow of urine but also contain the necessary vitamins and potassium our kidneys need. Lemon-aid or adding lemon to water has been known to help the kidneys.

Coffee and other caffeine drinks may irritate and cause problems with the kidneys. Cut back on coffee, green tea, black tea, alcohol and soda. Drink cranberry or blueberry juice instead. Drink at least two cups a day. These drinks may even help the bladder infection go away. Include a tea from mallow root or marshmallow, dandelion and plantain to combat current infections.

The mallow root is a demulcent herb which will help soothe the tissue surrounding the bladder and kidneys. By including a soothing herb along with a diuretic may decrease the pain of urination.

Vitamins such as C, and B6 have been known to increase the health of the kidneys.

Other teas or tinctures which has been shown to help include:

  • rose hip tea
  • parsley tea
  • marshmallow tea or tincture
  • saw palmetto tincture

Studies have shown that some over the counter pain killers may cause more problems with the kidneys and too much of the vitaminchromium picolinate (which is used for other ailments) may cause problems with the bladder.

Wear cotton underwear to avoid the bacteria and moisture which can be trapped by synthetic fabrics. Drink lots of water to dilute any bacterial concentrations in the body and the water helps to eliminate bacteria.

Food allergies may cause irritation which increases the risk of bladder infections. The body wants to quickly eliminate any thing harmful to the body.

Apple cider vinegar can help to flush the kidneys and provide natural acid if needed. Some problems may be cause by too much acid in the urine, if this is the case avoid the vinegar and include food high in alkaline. Baking soda is high in alkaline but if you have any heart issues do not use baking soda.

Uva Ursi is the herb most people use for bladder infections, it strengthens the urinary tract, but should be taken in small doses and take a break from taking the herb once a week. Do not take for long periods of time.

Some herbs that treat infections may help with urinary tract infections such as garlic, Echinacea, Usnea, and Golden-seal. Note Golden-seal should not be taken for longer than a week or 10 days.

Saw Palmetto is believed to reduce the pressure on the bladder, and has a general tonic effect for both men and women and may help to prevent future outbreaks.

Just a final note, always check with your health care professional especially for serious problems with bladder infections.




Pasta Salad with Parsley

Parsley pasta salad

Ingredients for Pasta Salad with Parsley 4/18/13

  • 1-1/2 c. elbow whole wheat pasta
  • 4 quarts boiling salted water
  • 1/2 red sweet bell pepper
  • 1/2 green sweet bell pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes
  • 1 c. curly leaf parsely

Dressing for Pasta Salad with Parsley

  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. raw sugar or honey
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions in boiling water with salt, drain and rinse in cool water.

Make the dressing while the pasta cooks.

Place the vinegar in a small sauce pan and add the sugar or honey and heat until the sugar or honey is dissolved. Allow to cool, mix in the garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and surround the bowl with a towel to hold in place. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

  • In a salad bowl mix in the following vegetables
  • Seed and chopped the peppers
  • Chopped the red onion
  • Peel the cucumber if desired and slice lengthwise. Using a spoon to remove the seeds and chopped the cucumber
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
  • Fold in chopped parsley
  • Fold in pasta
  • Cover with dressing and mix
  • Refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to mix
Parsley pasta salad

Pasta Salad with Parsley

Garnish with fresh parsley, Enjoy!

A few facts about the ingredients of the Pasta Salad with Parsley: This information is from the book “Nutrition Almanac” Gayla J. Kirschmann and John D. Kirschmann

Sweet bell peppers contain vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, phosphorus, and Potassium. Red has more vitamin C than the green.

Onions have vitamin B-6, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, lycine, and isoleycine.

Cucumbers have fiber, vitamin A, and potassium.

Tomatoes have vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Whole grain pasta contains the germ of the grain which still have most of its nutrients.

Parsley is loaded with vitamins, including vitamin A, & C. It helps with high blood pressure, heart problems, inhibits allergies, diuretic and may even help with PMS.

Check out my blogs on growing parsley and high blood pressure.

Happy Cooking!






Growing and Using Echinacea (Purple Cone-flower)

Purple Cone flower

Echinacea or Purple Cone Flower

Purple cone-flower also known as Echinacea was once at risk as an endangered plant. It was over harvested in the wild and some states took action to protect the remaining Echinacea also know as purple cone-flower.Today we are growing these purple daisy like flowers in our gardens and perennial herbaceous border.

Purple cone-flower or echinacea has widespread medicinal applications. The Native Americans used Echinacea to treat all kinds of ailments such as snakebites, fevers, colds, and influenza. They used the roots for their painkilling and blood purifier properties. Native Americans were the first to discover the root had the most medicinal properties.

In the 1920’s it became popular by practitioners and was widely prescribed, but when antibiotics was introduced Echinacea was all but forgotten. With the over use of antibodies, today’s herbalists have popularized the herb again. Echinacea is now found in most herbal first aid kits and can be purchase in most health food stores, including the big box stores.

Millions of Americans and Europeans use purple cone-flower as their main go to for colds and flues. It is known for its antibiotic qualities and general immune boosting effects.

Purple cone-flowers well known species include: Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida, and E. angustifolia. All three can be grown in our garden and in some states pallida is a native.

Parts used: The whole plant which includes the root, flowers, leaves, and seed.

Site: Its native habitat of prairies is found from Texas to southern Canada. E purpurea likes a richer soil with rock phosphate and compost in the soil. E. angustifolia and pallida like a leaner soil with less water. Pallida is not as showy or tall as E. purpurea. The growing zones for purple cone flower or echinacea is 3-9 and likes full sun to part shade.

Blooms: E. purpurea has a bright pink flower with a hairy stem and will bloom from mid to late summer. The more water it receives, the longer the blooms. E. pallida has paler pink flowers, fewer leaves and is not as tall. Purple cone-flower’s stunning flowers make a wonderful border plant for any size garden. Purpurea has a slight honey like scent.

Growing: Perennial. Purple cone-flower will grow from seed with about 50% germination. It needs a cold period for about 3 months. Sew the seeds in the fall or indoors in very early spring with stratified (exposed to cold)  seeds. Echinacea is slow to grow and may take several months to reach a size to transplant in the garden. The seeds take about 2 to 6 weeks to germinate. Purple cone-flower likes to grow in clumps, so plant about a foot apart. It can be divided or grown from root cuttings.

Harvest: Roots should be about three years old before harvesting. Any sooner and the roots are too small to harvest. Pallida and angustifolia have fibrous roots and are easier to harvest, but unless you are growing these in your own garden, please be aware of the laws of harvesting in the wild. Your neighbors may allow you to harvest, but ask first.

Properties: Bitter and slightly aromatic, antibacterial and antiviral. Cool, dry and pungent.

Primary medicinal uses: Immune system function, colds, flues, minor infections, wounds, psoriasis, eczema, Echinacea is being study in aids therapy, digestion, fungal infections, blood poisoning, boils, abscesses, respiratory tract, and venereal diseases.

Cautions: Few if any, mostly extreme use can cause throat irritation. Autoimmune suffers should check with their health care professional. Echinacea, if strong enough, will numb the tongue.

Applications: Root (decoction) tinctures, wash, gargle, powdered, capsules, syrups, compress, poultice, lozenges, infused oil, and liniments. The leaf and flower can be used in the same applications as the root except the leaf and flower should be brewed as an infusion.

Decoction is used for bark and roots. Place roots in simmering water for 10 minutes and strain.

An infusion is for the soft parts of the plant. Take boiling water off heat and allow to cool one minute and pour over leaves and steep for 2-5 minutes. Delicate leaves and flowers should be steeped for about one minute.

All medicinal information is for your information and not intended as medical advice.

Happy gardening!

Homemade Bath Oil

These little bottles of homemade bath oil are wonderful for relaxation are easy and fun to make. With just a few ingredients you can have wonderful gifts for your family and friends.


  • Almond oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Rose essential oil (optional)
  • Dried rose petals
Oils and herb flowers

Ingredients for bath oil

Use a new glass or plastic bottle or a recycle glass bottle. Glass jars should be sterilized in boiling water for 10 minutes and allow to thoroughly dry.

Plastic and glass bottles, perfect for the project can be found at your local hobby store in the cosmetic/soap section. They usually run about $1.00. Just remember what ever size you choose, you have to fill it with oil.

A 16oz. bottle of almond oil runs about $9.00. Safflower oil runs about $4.00 for 24 oz. and a 4 oz. of rose buds runs about $4.00. You will have enough to make several bath oil gifts.

Some other blends for bath oils can be made out of lavender flowers or a mixture of rose and lavender. If you are not allergic to ragweed try chamomile. Other herbs include geranium, jasmine, lemon grass, sage, or rosemary.

 Other oils used in homemade bath oil might include: 

  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil, it has a fairly strong scent
  • Avocado oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Jojoba oil, which never goes rancid

Another gift idea:

A massage oil can be made with a combination of any of these oils and essential oils of your choice. A massage can improve circulation, is good for relaxation, helps relieve stress, tension and in the elimination of waste from the body.

Breakdown of ingredients used in homemade bath oil:

Almond oil is almost orderless oil, very nourishing and slow to become rancid. Vitamin E, is not only good for the skin but will help to preserve the bath oil.

Essential oils are antibacterial as well as adding a wonderful addition to the scent.

The rose buds add scent but also looks great in the bottle. The scent of roses have a calming action to the brain and may help develop a positive mood. Homemade bath oils leaves the skin soft and smooth.

Bottle ready for oil

Pour in the oil

Rose bottle

Bottle with rose buds

How to make homemade bath oil:

  • Pick your bottle, herb’s buds and oils
  • Once your bottle is picked, add rose buds to the bottle filling about 1/4 to 1/2 full
  • Add vitamin E oil and any essential oils, about 5 drops each depending on size of bottle
  • Fill the bottle half way with almond oil or oil of your choice
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with safflower oil
  • Allow the mixture to set a minute or two to allow the bubbles to come to the top
  • Cap

To seal homemade bath oil:

melt wax in double boiler

Melting wax in double boiler

  • Place wax with color of your choice in a glass jar in a pan of water, the opening of the jar should have a wide enough mouth to accommodate cap of homemade bath oil
  • Do not heat wax directly on the stove, it can catch fire, Always melt wax in a double boiler
  • Watch carefully and don’t leave the room, or answer the phone.
  • When the wax is melted, dip the capped bottle in the wax and allow the excess to drip back in the glass jar. Dip again several times until the wax has sealed the bottle.
Sealing bottle with wax

Dip the bottle in the wax to seal

  • Allow to cool
  • Add a label or tie a card with information on the bottle using ribbon or raffia
  • Programs like Publisher will make nice labels, I use the business card size, or hand write a label
  • Shake gently before each use.

On the label I add the date, the ingredients list and how to use the oil.

Bath oil gifts

Bath oil gifts

To use the homemade bath oil:

Add about 1 to 2 Tbsp. oil to the bath water while it is running. Be careful when entering or leaving the bath, the oils can cause the tub to be slippery.

Another recipe for homemade bath oil:

Add 1 Tbsp. vegetable glycerin to the bottle, add essential oil of your choice and fill with oil of your choice. For every 1/2 c. oil use about 10 drops of essential oils.

Other things you might include is pure vanilla, small amount of castile soap, dry milk and or honey.

Enjoy your own version of homemade bath oils.


Growing Parsley an herb lover’s plant

Growing Parsley (petroselinum crispum) is one of those herb everyone should grow in there garden. It can be used as a culinary herb as well as a beautiful border plant.

Cut parsley

Curly Parsley ready to eat

Growing Parsley is a great way to have one of the most popular and oldest well known herbs. Remember when you were a kid and told to clean your plate? I wonder if they meant the garnish, properly not.  Which is a shame because parsley is loaded with vitamin and minerals. Parsley is high in vitamin A, C, iron and minerals.

There are two kinds of parsley, curly and flat leaf Italian. Curly parsley has a milder taste, where Italian has a stronger flavor and most used by cooks.

Growing Parsley: Sow from spring to late summer, in zones 5-8. It grows to a height about 12-20″ tall depending on the variety. Italian is taller of the two plants. Can be grown indoors. Bi-annual which means the second year it goes to seed, so for best results plant parsley every year. By planting every year it will be available whenever it is needed. Parsley can be grown in containers near the kitchen, or in your garden. Likes full sun to part shade.

Parsley will bloom the second year with white tiny flowers umbels. Flowering usually occurs from early to midsummer.

Soil: should be rich and moist. Parsley likes to be grown in slightly alkaline and well drained soil.

Growing Parsley Seeds: The parsley seed is slow to germinate, in fact it may take as many as four weeks to germinate. The length of time for germination can be increase by soaking the seeds in a wet paper towel overnight or for several hours. Germination is about 70% and should start coming up in about 2 weeks if seeds have been soak.

Seeds need a cold spell, so if you collect the seeds they need to be in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Purchase seeds usually have been stratified (cold).

Seeds can be grown directly outside in spring or early early spring indoors. The plants can take cold better than some herb plants. They don’t like their roots disturbed so be careful when transplanting outside.

Harvest: Pick leaves and stems as needed the first year. Parsley can be cut severely several times a year if you give it about six weeks to recover. Parsley can be dried and or frozen. Parsley does well in both situations. Some herbs lose all flavor when dried, but parsley still retains some flavor. Store parsley in a cool dark place, light and heat will destroy flavor.

Culinary: Add raw flat leaf parsley to almost any savory dishes. Parsley makes a wonderful garnish for soups, salads, eggs dishes, potatoes, fish, sandwiches, and sauces. Curly parsley is one of the ingredient in bouquet garni. Check out my blog on “fine herbs and bouquet garni”. Parsley should be added at the last minute to retain it flavor. Check out my blog on “Fresh herbs in the Kitchen”.

The basic rule for using parsley is 1 TBSP. fresh or 1 to 2 tsp. dried.

Pests: Prone to suffer from leaf spot and viral diseases that may damage the leaves.

Companion Planting: Growing parsley can be used as a companion plants for roses, chives, tomatoes, and asparagus. Avoid fennel and dill when growing parsley.

Cosmetic: Can be infused as a hair tonic and conditioner. Add to facial steams and lotions for dry skin to minimize freckles.

Medicinal: Parsley is used in infusion, tinctures, cider vinegar tinctures and teas. Parsley is a antioxidant and is beneficial to the digestive tract and is often recommended for urinary tract problems.

Curly parsley is eaten for bad breath, which is one of the reason you find it as a garnish. It is also used to promote healthy skin. Use in a poultice as an antiseptic dressing for sprains, wounds, and insect bites.

Root: Use for kidney troubles and as a mild laxative.

History: Growing Parsley was held in high esteem by the Greeks and was used to crown the winning athletes.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean and introduced in Britain and north and central Europe. Parsley was used in funeral ceremonies long before it was used as a garnish.

Growing parsley can be a wonderful addition to any garden, I hope these tips help you the next time you plant parsley.

High Blood Pressure- Herbal Remedies from A to Z

High Blood Pressure (HBP) also known as Hypertension is today’s A to Z

Over 65 million Americans have been diagnosed with HBP, not to mention those who have it and are not aware or have not been diagnose. It is the most common heart disease in the USA and HBP an lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, pancreatic damage and eye diseases.

Hypertension occurs when cholesterol, toxins, and plaque deposits are found on the walls of the blood vessels. Which in turn causes the blood flow to be constricted and less blood flows through the veins causing HBP.

HBP is known as the silent killer because many do not know they have HPB until the symptoms become severe enough.

High blood pressure is a serious condition and should be monitored by a health care professional. Your blood pressure should be taken on a regular basics. If you do not have a monitor at home, try your local pharmacy they usually have a blood pressure station.

Try taking your blood pressure at the same time, every time and in the same situation. Research has shown the arm should be bent and near the heart. Normal reading is 120/80.

Blood pressure is represented by a pair of numbers.The first is the systolic pressure which is the pressure exerted by the blood when the heart beats, forcing blood into the blood vessels. This reading indicates blood pressure at its highest.

The second reading is the diastolic pressure, which is recorded when the heart is at rest in between beats, when the blood pressure is at its lowest. Both represent a ratio of systolic blood pressure to diastolic blood pressure.

Research suggests HBP is higher in women after menopause, men and African Americans.

While researching this subject, I found most of the books and doctors same the same thing. Diet and Exercise!. UGG! for some of us. In this case it is absolutely true, both diet and exercise can help to lower your HBP.

Diet plays an important part and some of the food recommended for reducing HBP include:

  • Potatoes, and the water they were cooked
  • Watermelon seed tea
  • Avocadoes
  • Lima beans
  • White and pinto beans
  • Dried peas
  • Almonds
  • Parsley, benefits the blood and is a natural diuretic
  • Yams
  • Bananas
  • Carrots, benefits the blood
  • Celery and celery seed, benefits the blood
  • Green leafy vegetabels
  • Garlic, raw, benefits the blood, contains chemicals that help in lowering HBP
  • Reishi oriental mushrooms
  • Onions, lipid lowering activity
  • Cucumbers, high in potassium, phosphorus and calcium diuretic and calming
  • Apples and apple cider vinegar

You’ve heard of an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but with HBP it should be two. Apple Cider vinegar taken on a regular basis mixed in with grape juice may help.

Research have shown herbs that may help include:

  • Hawthorn berries, nourishing the heart and will dilate and strengthen the blood vessels
  • Yarrow relaxes the blood minor blood vessels and improves blood flow
  • Rosemary is a general tonic for the circulatory system
  • Cayenne pepper may help to stabilize the blood pressure
  • Raspberry leaf tea
  • Hyssop tea with honey and lemon
  • Marjoram ease effects of blood pressure for dilating blood vessels

Vitamins: B-Complex may help to detoxify the liver and prevent fatty deposits in the arteries. Vitamin C nourishes the veins and improves arterial function. Vitamin E supplies oxygen to the blood. CoQ-10 along with omega 3’s are nutrients that provide oxygen to the vessels and help with HBP.

Calcium and magnesium may be missing in those suffering from HBP, along with potassium.

Research has shown deep breathing may help to lower blood pressure. Take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, and exhale slowly for ten seconds. Repeat these deep breathing exercises two or three times a day, for a minute or so.

The less oxygen we take in, the harder the heart has to work, the harder the heart works the higher the blood pressure.

Stress can cause problems with HBP so take time to relax and meditate with no distractions or noise. I know not an easy task in today’s world. But your health is important so take time to smell the roses.

Some have found help using foot reflexology for lowering blood pressure:

  • Use both thumbs and rub the center of the arch at the point between ball and heal of the foot
  • Rub your foot for about a minute or two.
  • Or Rub the arch of the foot with a tennis ball if the using your thumbs is a problem.
  • The tennis ball will help to stretch the arch of the foot as well

Most health care professionals recommended taking in less salt. Salt retains water which puts extra pressure on the veins.

Sugar can have an effect by retaining salt in the body which can increase HBP. OH OH! Here is the bad news, milk chocolate, coffee, sodas, and tea can increase the blood pressure. There are some herbs to avoid as well, licorice and ephedra.

Always check with your health care professional before trying any home remedies, high or low blood pressure is a serious condition.

Good Health!