Uplifting tea!

Ok, we thought summer was here and then it disappeared again! I spent the week in London last week with my mother-in-law and we had a heatwave, came back to Cornwall on the Friday night to drizzle and murky skies that only just cleared this afternoon.  So much for gaining a great suntan whilst being pregnant this year! So with all this gloomy weather I decided I needed a pick me up to brighten my day and remembered this herbal tea that I used to drink lots of when I was at uni :)  It’s easy to make and tastes really lovely, and of course you can tailor it to your own requirements to make it more tasty for you!

You need (all are dried herbs but you can use fresh if you prefer):

Red rose petals

Lemon Balm

Chamomile (Roman tends to be a sweeter flavour than German)

Peppermint or Spearmint

Use about a teaspoon of each herb and add it to your teapot (for some reason this always tastes much nicer when made in a teapot, it’s like it’s more of a treat for you than just a cup of tea!)

Pour boiling water on top of the herbs and let it brew for at least 5-10 minutes, the longer you leave it the stronger it will be, and I find that if you leave it for around 10 minutes then you can easily get more than one cupful out of it to drink throughout the day (just top up with more water and leave it a bit longer to get the most out of the blend).

Then drink freely :)  The rose petals add a fragrant flavour that is both calming and uplifting, the lemon balm is known as one of the happiest herbs around :) and it is also a muscle relaxant (very mild though and great for use in pregnancy – also helps with nausea and indigestion!), chamomile is soothing and calming and is a natural anti-inflammatory so it will help to relax and revive you at the same time, and peppermint or spearmint is a refreshing herb that will help you to think more positively and help you to focus easily on what you want to do next :)

I also make up this blend when I teach angel workshops as it helps you to open your channels more easily as you are calm, relaxed (without feeling sleepy) and it also helps you to just go with the flow, making it an excellent tea for connecting with your angels and spirit guides, in fact, many of my past participants have asked for the recipe as they all agreed that they found it helped them enormously with any channelling work they do :)

And of course, it is safe to take in pregnancy :) I like to make up a big teapotful and then let it cool down to drink cold the next day – I know, that sounds weird, but it is a really refreshing tea to drink as an iced tea too, especially in this damp sticky weather where you can’t work out if you need an umbrella or a coat and all you really want to wear are your summer clothes as it’s still warm.

Experiment with the amounts of herbs you add – sometimes I prefer to have less rose petals and more lemon balm, or more peppermint to wake me up, it’s all personal preference on the taste, go and have fun playing with the different combinations!

Love and light and blessings,

Kate

Make your own healing oils

Now that summer has finally arrived here in the UK and we are actually getting some sun, this is the perfect time to make your own healing oils.

My favourite method is using the ‘sun method’ which involves infusing fresh or dried herbs in vegetable oil and leaving the jars outside in the sunshine for at least two weeks.

Here are the instructions for two of the oils I make the most; St John’s Wort oil and Calendula oil.

They are made in exactly the same way and it is up to you what vegetable oil you want to use, but please make sure it is of good quality.

While a lot of herbalists like to use Olive oil in these preparations, I find that the smell of the Olive oil overpowers the smell of the herb and also it is more difficult to see if the oil is ready due to the colour of the Olive oil (extra virgin Olive oil tends to be green, so it is easier if you begin with a golden coloured oil instead) therefore I prefer to use Sunflower Seed Oil or Sweet Almond Oil instead -  these will make the oils rich in essential fatty acids which are great for the skin. If you want a lighter oil then Grapeseed is great.
Ingredients required for each herbal oil:

1. Fresh or dried herbs -for the Calendula oil, just use the flower heads (Calendula officialis) and if you are using fresh flowers please make sure they are completely dry first, as any water/moisture in the oil will cause bacteria to grow resulting in mould. For the St John’s Wort oil, make sure you have the correct species of plant, you need to use Hypericum perforatum (if you hold the fresh leaves up to the light you will see that they look like they have pinholes all over them) use the leaves and the yellow flowers, careful as you pick off the flowerheads as your hands will become temporarily stained with a natural red dye, but this will come off after a few washes, again make sure the herb is completely dry before adding the oil.

2. Vegetable oil (your choice) – enough to fill the jar completely.

3. A clean – preferably sterilised glass jar with lid (must be completely dry inside too).  Any size you want to use is fine and will determine how much oil you make in total.  I tend to use a jam jar which is around 200ml.

4. Clean amber coloured glass bottles and self-adhesive labels (for bottling finished oil).
Instructions

1. Add the fresh/dried herb to the clean jar (fresh herb works best with the St John’s Wort but you can use either dried or fresh herb for the Calendula).  You need to pack it in almost to the top of the jar.

2. Slowly pour the oil into the jar, making sure you give the jar a gentle tap to remove air bubbles as you fill it.  Use a spoon or knife to push the herb down into the jar to make sure it is fully submerged in the oil.  Top up with more herb as necessary and more oil, until the oil/herb level reaches the top of the jar.

3. Put on the lid and label the jar with the contents and date made.

4. Put the jar outside in a sunny position and leave it for at least two weeks, feel free to give it a gentle shake during this time to ensure that all the herb is getting some sunshine.

5. At the end of two weeks, check the oil to see if it is ready.  You will know this because the St John’s Wort oil will be deep red in colour (because of the natural red dye). Calendula oil will tend to be a darker gold than it was to begin with, or may even appear slightly orange – depending on the colour of the flowers used. If you feel that the oils could be darker in colour then feel free to leave them a bit longer (especially if you haven’t had much sun in the last fortnight).  You can leave them for up to six weeks effectively, so use your own intuition as to when you feel it is ready or not.

6. Once the oil is ready, strain the herb from the oil (best way is lining a sieve with some muslin cloth then you can squeeze out the last drops of the oil) and place the used herb on your compost heap. Retain the oil and pour it into a dark glass bottle (you can buy amber medicine bottles for this purpose from your local pharmacy).  Label the bottle with the date you bottled it, the contents i.e. ‘St John’s Wort Oil – bottled 3rd June 2009 Expiry date: 3rd June 2010 – For External Use Only’ and add an expiry date and warning (you don’t want to drink this! Won’t hurt you but definately won’t taste nice!). Oils will last up to a year if kept in a cool place (not necessarily the fridge but it won’t hurt them if you do – and actually could be extra soothing for the skin).  And there you have it, you have made your first oil :D

The healing properties of St John’s Wort oil are especially beneficial for nerve related disorders like sciatica, shingles, neuralgia etc and also very good for sunburn, which I can verify from personal experience :D It is the first remedy I choose when I have sciatic pain, just rub it into the affected area (it will smell a bit herbally, but not unpleasant) and apply to the affected sunburn as often as you would like – it healed my sunburn within a day, even I was amazed! But word of warning, do not apply to exposed areas prior to going out in the sun as it can make you burn quicker! I know that sounds like a contradiction, but for some reason it just works that way!

Calendula oil is fantastic for any dry skin, including eczema and psoriasis. It is a very healing oil and will help to regenerate new skin if there are scars present, so great for stretchmarks and scratchmarks :) It is also wonderful to use on babies bottoms to prevent nappy rash (use a small amount – around the size of a 10p coin, or you’ll have a greasy nappy!).  You can also add essential oils to it for further healing benefits at a dilution of up to three drops per 5ml of Calendula oil (one drop per 5ml oil for babies ages three months – five years old then two drops per 5ml from 5-10 years old, over 10 years old can be treated as per adults).

Experiment with your own different herbs to make healing oils from, as different herbs have different properties, comfrey is good for bruising, arnica is good for aches and pains, mullein is good for earaches (a few drops on a cotton ball and placed into the ear can sometimes help with ear infections and especially excess wax).  Only use the St John’s Wort and Calendula oil on children unless you have consulted a qualified herbalist first. The oils listed above may be easier to make via the ‘Heat method’ which is where you prepare the herb in the same way, but instead of putting it in a jar to go out in the sun, you add the herb/oil mix to a glass bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water and leave for a few hours on a low heat  – as though you are melting chocolate :D (making sure that the water doesn’t evaporate away – top up as necessary).  I don’t use this method myself as I am not sure how much of the herbs properties are damaged by the heat – but it is a method that has been used successfully by many herbalists over the years.  There are many books to give you more information about this – ‘Amazon.co.uk’ being one of the best places to look.
So, enjoy yourself, experiment and embrace the sunshine to enhance your medicine cabinet with some natural healing products :D

Blessings,

Kate x

Hello world!

Hi! I am currently studying Herbal Medicine and very interested in Wicca especially being a HedgeWitch – which is basically a wisewoman or healer that connects with the energy and properties of herbs to heal the mind, body and spirit of every living thing on this beautiful planet.

After moving back to Cornwall where I grew up I have discovered an abundance of herbs growing in the hedges and garden of where I live, and I also intend to grow my own supply of various herbs to use for healing and magic (yes, there will be spells involved!) as organically as I am able to.

So please join me on my journey as I discover what being a HedgeWitch in Cornwall is all about.

Magical blessings!

Herbs found growing wild and planted in the Cornish countryside for healing and magic