3 parts calendula
3 parts spearmint (or other mint species)
3 parts chamomile
2 parts ginger
Adults - 2 droppers with meals
Child - 1 dropper with meals
Here is an herbal blend that you can use to strengthen and heal the gut. My little guy had a dose of antiobiotics when he was a year old and it damaged his intestinal tract so we have been working on healing them since March when we found out about it. In addition to the Happy Gut digestive enzymes from Bulk Herb Store, two glasses of kefir a day and a digestive support essential oil blend applied in the morning, afternoon and evening, we are using this gut support blend as a glycerite with each meal. You can make this into an herbal tea to drink after meals, tincture/glycerite or grind into a powder to make herbal capsules. The term "gut" is in reference to the digestive system, the intestinal tract in particular.
3 parts plantain
3 parts calendula
3 parts spearmint (or other mint species)
3 parts chamomile
2 parts ginger
If using as an after meal herbal tea, simply mix the herbs together and store in a glass, airtight container until ready to use. For every cup of boiling water use 1-2 tsp. of the herbal blend and steep for 10-15 minutes. Follow the instructions here, if making into a tincture or glycerite.
These are the recommended dosages for the tincture/glycerite:
Adults - 2 droppers with meals
Child - 1 dropper with meals
After all the prevention measures we take to not get bit or stung by bugs, it inevitably will happen. This salve is formulated to stop the itch, heal the sore and prevent infection from those nasty bites and stings. Not only is this salve great for bug bites I have also used it successfully on my eczema and a case of ringworm, it will work great for any type of cut or wound as well. If you have an itch or irritated skin, give it a try and see how it works for you.
Make an herbal infused oil with the following:
3 parts plantain
2 parts echinacea root
1 part comfrey
1 part lavender
Coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
During the summer I love to just toss the coconut oil over the top of the herbs, place a lid on the jar and stick out in the sun for the coconut oil to melt. I just keep it outside in the sun for about two weeks, shaking each day.
For every cup of herbal oil infusion add:
1 oz. beeswax
20 drops Melaleuca
15 drops blue spruce essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
(or use any of the essential oils listed below)
Melt the beeswax into the herbal oil over very low heat. Remove from heat and add essential oils. Stir to combine well and pour into containers. I filled lip balm containers so each of the children could put one in their personal first aid kits, making it easier to apply. I also put one in my purse, one in the car first aid kit and have already given three of them away - which is why I always make plenty to go around.
Other Essential Oils for Insect Bites
Other Natural Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings
This salve combines many powerful healing herbs that will aid in soothing sore muscles and healing bones. It is especially effective on sports injuries and I have used it with great results on my 86 year old grandmother who has a lot of back and hip pain. I go to her home every night and rub this on her back and hips to help her get to sleep and ease her pain, she says it helps a alot.
Make an herbal oil infusion using olive oil with the following herbs:
3 parts arnica
2 parts calendula
1 part peppermint
1 part St. Johns wort
1 part plantain
1 part comfrey
Follow the instructions here for making an herbal infused oil
Pour the herbal oil into a small pan and melt 1 oz. of beeswax per cup of herbal oil. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of an pain relieving essential oil blend (I use Butterfly Express Paine for this salve) or combination of singles below. Stir to combine and pour into container (s). Cap and label once the salve is solid.
Make your own Pain Essential Oil Blend:
30 drops wintergreen
20 drops helichrysum
10 drops clove
40 drops peppermint
This amount is around a teaspoon in measurement.
Why These Herbs
You can read about the healing benefits of each herb by clicking on the links in the recipe. Arnica is well known for its wound healing properties with an affinity for the muscles, this herb however should only be applied topically and not if there is a cut or burn where it could be admitted into the bloodstream. You can purchase high quality, organic herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.
balsam fir (any of the fir or pine oils)
*I am not affiliated with any companies mentioned in this post.
Plantago major - broad leaf (top right corner)
Plantago lanceolata - narrow leaf (left)
Plantain has over 200 different species in its family but the most common species found in North America are the two listed above. This is one of my favorite herbs because it can be used safely with babies, children, adults, pregnant and nursing mothers as well as animals, everyone can benefit from this herb! Known as a common yard weed you can probably find it in your yard or neighborhood. We couldn't find any in our yard but after a nice walk around the block we had three plants in tow which we transplanted out in the backyard. Yes, we are as weird as hubby and any neighbors watching us could attest.
*for best results when treating with plantain take internally as well as applying externally
Methods Of Use
You can use all parts of the plant when preparing any of these remedies.
In the Kitchen
This herb is considered a super food so you can add it to smoothies, salads and food for added nutrients. This herb also makes a good juicing green, the leaves are more tender and palatable in the spring and early summer.
Grows wild on pathways, lawns, gravel and disturbed areas. It blossoms from April through September. To harvest, cut above the root before seeds form being careful not to bruise, if leaves are discolored or darkened they have lost medicinal worth so discard. Must be dried or processed immediately for best results. When harvesting from your neighborhood just make sure it hasn't been sprayed with weed killer.
You can order dried and cut plantain from Dr. Christopher's Herb Shop, Bulk Herb Store or Mountain Rose Herbs if you do not want to cultivate and harvest your own.
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Always Study an Essential Oil Before Using It
We are at the end of the essential oil series and I just wanted to end with a few safety guidelines I like to follow. It is important to remember essential oils are very concentrated and potent and care should be taken with the way we store and use them. Here is a simple list of guidelines to follow in order to use your essential oils safely and effectively - according to Annie.
If you are new to essential oils I would suggest starting with one essential oil and study it, learn about the healing properties of that oil; all that it can be used for, if it can be used neat or needs a carrier, if it can be taken internally and if it has any cautions with it such as staying out of the sun after use or not using while pregnant or nursing. Once you study the oil then get familiar with the aroma, use it and become familiar with it, only then move onto another essential oil continuing to use both. This is the baby step method and takes a lot of frustration and feeling of being overwhelmed out of using these amazing, God sent gifts. May I suggest starting with lavender - this is one of the most gentle and versatile essential oils available. Using several books and resources I am currently compiling a list of each single essential oil with all of the above information contained on the page. This is a work in progress and I will try to finish it as quickly as possible so you can have all this information at the click of a button. You can find the single oil pages by clicking below.
Always Use a Carrier with Infants and Children
After applying the first guideline you should know if the essential oil you are using is safe to use on infants and children. When using essential oils on infants and young children ALWAYS use a carrier even if the oil states it can be used neat (without a carrier). Also start with 1 drop of essential oil per palm full of carrier oil (about 30 drops carrier) for topical application and only 2-3 drops in bath water - I loved giving my babies lavender baths! Lavender is an exception to this rule, it is gentle enough to be used neat and as a bonus it can be used to treat most anything your baby may need to be treated for.
Keep Out of the Reach of Children
I learned this lesson the hard way as I thought my essential oils were out of the way in the dark towel closet towards the back of one of the shelves. My then 3 year old always saw mommy applying oils to his owies and decided he could do it himself, he climbed up the shelf and pulled a random bottle out and dumped the entire bottle onto his leg. Besides the fact that the entire house had to be fumigated, his leg was bright red and was very irritated. I doused his leg with carrier oil and we all spent the rest of the day outdoors while the house aired out. After that I moved my oils to the highest shelf completely out of sight and reach. Again these oils are very potent and should be treated as such.
Patch Test an Oil Before Use
I will be honest in stating that I never patch test my oils before using, however neither myself or my children have allergies. I would highly suggest this if you or your family are prone to allergies or have sensitive skin. To do this, apply a small amount of carrier and 1 drop of essential oil to the inside part of your arm, wait for an hour or two to see if it turns reds or you have any type of reaction. If not, go ahead and use the oil as planned.
Less Is Best
Remember how potent and concentrated essential oils are? 1 drop is the equivalent to about an ounce of plant material so you do not need that much at all, in fact using too much will cause a detox and those are no fun at all. Start with 1-3 drops of oil and if you feel you need more than that you can use a couple more but never more than 6 drops. If you use too much and trigger a detox you will feel nauseous, faint, have a headache, stuffy nose or cold and flu like symptoms. If this happens discontinue the use of the oil and apply a lot of carrier oil to the area. You can never overdose on oils when applying them to skin, only if taken internally, so you may feel yucky for a bit but you will get over it. Next time use a smaller amount of essential oil and maybe more carrier oil. Along the same lines if you accidentally spill oil or get it into your eyes dilute with carrier oil as I did my 3 year old until you feel better.
Be Cautious If You Choose To Use Oils Internally
Only use 100% genuine essential oils, I only trust the distributor I use for this purpose and even then I only use essential oils to flavor food, not to take medicinally. Study the oil to make sure it is okay to take internally and only use the recommended dosages on the bottle, I would also be prayerful about this method of use.
Where Do I Get Essential Oils?
There are so many essential oil distributors around these days that there are many places to choose from when purchasing essential oils. I have seen many blog posts about people testing out different oils and coming to a conclusion as to which company is the "best". I am not going to do that here. Yes, I have tested out several different companies and have been doing so for many years, but my conclusion as to what I think are the "best" essential oils is different from what this blogger decided and different from what that blogger decided. So what I am suggesting you do is study, test and experiment until you find what works "best" for you. I have found a brand of essential oils that are a step above everything else I have used (which has been a lot). I use these for medicinal purposes but for my household cleaners and salves using a lot of essential oil I use another brand that I can order in bulk and am happy with them as well. Don't feel you must tie yourself down to just one brand, but do be cautious because there are some out there that will dilute their oils or add synthetics to them, again be prayerful when choosing what oils to use.
May God be with you in your essential oil journey and may he bless you with good health and healing as you use these gifts he has blessed us with!
Other Topics in This Series
Now that we have talked about how long essential oils have been around, what they are and why we would want to use them, lets talk how! There are no limits to what you can do with essential oils these are the most common ways to use them in your everyday life:
The fastest, easiest and most effective way of getting essential oils through your body systems is through inhalation. Odor molecules enter the nostrils and drift upwards to the olfactory receptors which are the only sensory pathways that open directly to the brain. Aroma has amazing effects on the body, it can trigger memories, influence behavior, trigger hormones that affect appetite, desires, motivation, moods, intuition, creativity, insulin production, body temperature, metabolism, stress levels, sex drive and conscious thought. Aroma can also access emotions and work on a subconscious level which can balance the body, change behavior, and alter attitude. As you inhale essential oils they not only enter the brain but also the respiratory system where they attach to oxygen molecules and then are carried and circulated into the bloodstream and throughout the entire body.
Here are a few ways to inhale essential oils:
The second fastest way to get essential oils circulating throughout your body is through the skin. Because of the molecular structure of the essential oils they are easily absorbed into the skin, penetrate the cells and enter right into the blood stream which travels to the lymph system and all of the organs in our body. There is no better way to get an essential oil to an organ or area of concern in the body than applying the oil right over that area. The oils are absorbed within seconds and at their highest concentration about 20 minutes after application, within 2 hours the oils have been completely absorbed and utilized.
Opinions vary from aromatherapist to aromatherapist on the view of taking essential oils internally. The English books I've read will say absolutely not to ever take an oil internally, while the French will take just about anything internally. Unless you are very certain you have a 100% genuine oil, I would not even consider using this method. The FDA has approved some essential oils as generally regarded as safe for human consumption (GRAS), food additive (FA) or flavoring agent (FL), this should be specified as you research each oil before using. The controversy over this topic include the following arguments: essential oils absorb so readily into the body through the skin and inhalation that it is just not needed, digestive juices could change the molecular structure of the oil, and because of the high concentration of plant material it could be lethal if an overdose occurs. Your body will let you know if you have had too much though, you will feel nauseous or throw up, have a headache or flu like symptoms. I personally do not recommend medicinal internal use of essential oils but will use them for food flavorings.
Bath and Foot Soaks:
These are the best! Water magnifies the properties of the oils and allows them to penetrate every part of your body. You can also place a few drops on the bottom of the shower letting them absorb into the pores of the feet and diffusing the air. 2-5 drops is enough for both and be mindful of what oils you are placing in your bath water, oils containing menthol may not feel too great on those "sensitive" areas. For a foot soak fill a basin, tub or large bowl with hot water and add 2-5 drops of essential oil. The oils will be absorbed into your body through the feet and as with the bath and shower will be diffused throughout the room.
Essential oils make a great first aid kit due to their antiseptic, antibacterial, and regenerative properties. You can use them need and/or add them to salves, balms, and washes. The best essential oils for first aid in my opinion are: lavender, tea tree (melaleuca),frankincense, helichrysum (italicum), and yarrow.
Add essential oils to your dishwater when washing dishes, to the laundry, in your DIY household cleaners, disinfectant sprays, furniture polish, and any other cleaning uses.
Hygiene, Beauty and Personal Care:
Make your own mouthwash and/or gargle, brush your teeth with them, add them to your hand and face creams, shampoo and conditioner.
Other Topics in This Series
Long before modern medicine was around people depended upon plants to heal and care for their bodies. Once the Industrial Age came around those plants were taken apart by scientists and the chemical make up of the plant was separated into key components that were isolated for that one particular property. Synthetic chemicals were then added to give us our modern day pharmaceuticals. The problem is these come with a high price - side effects, cost and dangerous contraindications. Have you ever watched a commercial for a prescription drug medication? The entire commercial is filled with a list of horrible side effects from taking the drug, many include heart problems and even death!
Plants were created by our Father in Heaven to be used in their full form, each chemical component playing a key part in it's ability to heal without side effects. They are very complex and have anywhere from 100-500 different molecules that each play a part in healing and rejuvenation. These molecules are so small they can actually penetrate our cells, acting on free radicals and penetrating to the parts of our brain where no other substances can. They are also easily absorbed through our skin right into the blood stream, organs and body systems. Within 21 minutes of applying, they will penetrate every cell in our body!
Essential oils restore balance to the body, they are powerful antioxidants which fight free radicals that cause disease and cancer. They contain oxygen molecules that are carried throughout the body to feed cells and stimulate the immune system. All essential oils are antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, anti-tumoral, antiviral, and antiseptic. A few specific essential oils contain sesquiterpenes that have the ability to cross the blood/brain barrier which help in treating neurological diseases such as ADHD, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's and Parkinson's just to name a few. Essential oils are the only substances that can aid the body in healing on all levels; spiritual, emotional, behavioral and physical.
What Can I Use Them For?
Other Topics in This Series
Essential oils are plant essences that are extracted from plant material such as; bark, twigs, leaves, petals, fruits, resins, rinds, rhizomes, roots, seed, stalks and stems. They are what give the plant it's aroma and are known as the "life force" of the plant due to their function of oxygenating the plant, carrying nutrients, elements and chemical constituents to every cell in the plant. They act as a defense system, give the plant the ability to destroy and prevent infection, resist pests, and maintain growth and regeneration. Essential oils circulate throughout a plant, sending messages to help it function efficiently, they can be compared to the blood running through a human body. When essential oils are inhaled or applied to the skin they are carrying the same healing properties as they do in the plant. When this "life force" is extracted from the plant, it is highly concentrated and volatile, which means it will evaporate pretty quickly when exposed to air, for this reason they are always stored in dark, airtight glass containers. Essential oils are also highly potent, one drop of essential oil is about the equivalent to an ounce of plant material (or in herbal terms about 50 cups of herbal tea). Because of their molecular structure they are easily assimilated by humans, it is like the human body and essential oils were just made for each other. Well think of this, our Father in Heaven created all life on earth including plants and humans, he knew we would need plants for food and medicine so he created our systems to work together.
As we have been studying botany this year, we were amazed to see that the majority of plants are created just like us. They start as embryos that have to be fertilized by sperm, once fertilized they become a seed and then grow into adults, they have veins running through their system that deliver life sustaining nutrients, antibodies and oxygen to the entire plant. None of this is coincidental, the Lord wanted to provide us with what we would need for medicine, hygiene, nutrients to strengthen the body and aid in regeneration and upkeep.
Blends v.s. Singles
Each essential oil has over 200 different chemical components that have been documented, some have up to 800 that are not documented. Each plant has specific attributes and properties that can be used to heal, repel pests, uplift, regenerate, etc. When two or more essential oils are mixed together for a specific purpose it is referred to as a blend. Blends are more effective than a single oil as they utilize all the chemical components and healing properties of each single contained in it. They are also less likely to cause a reaction than if the oils in the blend where used individually. Some essential oils even enhance the properties of others making them perfect for blending, like cinnamon or myrrh for example. Blended oils are able to reach the various layers of the physical, mental and emotional part of our bodies.
There are many essential oil distributors that have pre-blended formulas to purchase or you can try your hand at blending yourself. You can also layer the oils one on top of another to reach your desired results.
Extracting Essential Oils From the Plant
There are several ways to extract essential oils from plant material and it depends on the type of material, the structure of the plant and the amount of essential oil contained in the plant. Not all plants have essential oils in them, in fact very few plants when compared to the entire plant kingdom even produce essential oil. So here is a quick break down of a few of the most used methods for extraction:
This is the most common form of extracting essential oils and you can see the diagram below on how it happens. It is a matter of pushing steam through plant material that collects the essential oil from the plant, as it cools and condenses the essential oil floats to the top of the water and is strained off while leaving behind a hydrosol or flower water which are medicinal also, though no where near as potent. When using this method it is very important that the plant is harvested at the right time, right season and right conditions for the most potent and medicinal essential oil. It is also important that the water is heated at just the right temperature for a good quality oil, too little and the essential oil will not be released, too much and it can destroy or burn the essential oil. For this reason essential oils will vary from batch to batch and not all "pure" oils are created the same. The same plant material can also be steam distilled for a second, third and even fourth distillation, these will not be as potent as the first distillation and are never included on the bottle of essential oil you purchase. You generally get what you pay for though. Most essential oils you purchase are coming from a second distillation.
This method is mainly used to extract oil from citrus plants. Peels are punctured to release the essential oil and then pressed to squeeze everything out. The juice and essential oil are then separated by centrifugation.
This is a newer form of extraction using carbon dioxide to extract the essential oil. When carbon dioxide is under very high pressure it will turn to a liquid and then acts as a solvent to extract the essence from the plant. Once the pressure is decreased the carbon dioxide turns back into a gas, leaving behind the essential oil with no residue, as solvents leave behind.
This method uses a chemical solvent to saturate plant material to pull out the essential oil. It is then dissolved in alcohol to remove the solvent and once the alcohol evaporates the essential oil is left. The solvent cannot be completely dissolved so there is always a bit of residue left behind when using this method.
Maceration (also known as enfleurage):
This method is used for delicate blossoms that have little essential oils in them and could easily be destroyed by heat. Blossoms are placed on a thin layer of oil or lard until all the essential oils are released, fresh blossoms replace the spent ones until there is enough essential oil extracted. Alcohol is then added to separate the oil from the essential oil. You will be able to tell in the price of the oil if this method has been used because it takes a huge amount of blossoms and time.
Storage and Shelf Life
Hi, I’m Annie, a child of God, Mother of Influence and Master Herbalist. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating and living, gardening, homeschooling, herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.