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Herbal Sunburn Relief – Skin Cooler

6 Jul

So it’s the 5th of July, and everyone in the house has managed to get at least a spot of sunburn.

I forgot the correct order of operations and put on sunscreen after I had my swimsuit already on, so there’s a funny burn band along my décolletage where it must have shifted. L has a red back. D has red shoulders. Summer has officially begun.

Between us, there are 3 aloe plants in the house, but it’s hard for me to commit an entire plant to this project, so I decided to make something a little broader spectrum.

Herbal Skin Cooler
6 Plantain Leaves
2 Bags of Green Tea (organic preferred)
6 Healthy Sized Branches of Peppermint (not spearmint!) or 5-6 Bags of Peppermint Tea
4-6 Meaty Aloe Leaves

Do this:
* Put the kettle on!

*Gently wash the plantain leaves (more of a rinse, really) and crumple/mush them into the bottom of a quart sized mason jar.

*Gut the green tea bags (and peppermint if you’re using tea bags) and empty the tea into the jar.

*Smush the peppermint branches (stems and all) into the jar (if using branches).

*Fill the jar about halfway (should cover at least most of your plant material) with hot but not boiling water.

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*Set the jar on the counter to cool for 2 hours, shaking occasionally once it becomes cool enough to handle.

*Get the goo out of your aloe leaves. After some trial and error, I decided on slitting the leaf up the middle, cutting off about a 2-3 inch section at a time, flattening the section out, and then using the side of the jar to scrape the goo into the cooled tea. For good measure, I threw the aloe leaf husk parts into the tea as well.

*Cool/steep that in the fridge for at least an hour, shaking occasionally.

*Strain the cooler into a separate jar (or spray bottle) and then store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

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You can dab or spritz this refreshing cooler on any part of your body, but definitely hit up the sunburn spots first.

Plantain has amazing healing properties, peppermint has a cooling kick, green tea is soothing and antioxidant, and aloe does what aloe does…

I was just out watering the garden and when I came back, I spritzed it on my face, neck, and pulse points and felt instantly cooler.

Enjoy!

Herbal Nyquil – or – the effects of Catnip on Humans

27 Jun

Once upon a time, I was a poor college student.  When Christmas time came, I didn’t know what I would do.  So I decided to make herbal neck wraps for my family that they could put into the microwave, heat up, and wear while relaxing after a hard day of whatever they were doing.

I got little bits of fabric and then did research on herbs with relaxing qualities.  Then I went to the co-op and got lavender, chamomile, and catnip – which I’d read all had said relaxing qualities.

I mixed them up in a little bowl, added wheat berries (thermal mass), and stitched up little pouches.  I even made myself one.

A few weeks after Christmas, my dad called me to ask what I had put into the wraps because whenever he or his partner used them, they felt pleasantly woozy and then fell asleep.

I wasn’t sure what could have had that effect.

Then I tried my own out – pleasant wooziness, sleep.  I’d had one with just lavender in it previously and had NOT had that issue.  Chamomile is pretty mild too, so I figured it must be the catnip…further research seemed to indicate that catnip was in fact the culprit.

Now years later, I’m delving more into Things Herbal and remembered my adventures with catnip and decided to see what else it could do.

So one night, many days ago, when I was having trouble sleeping, I tossed some fresh catnip into hot (but not boiling) water:

20130619-201840.jpgLike so.

Steeped it for 20 minutes….mixed it into what I had left of a honey mint julep (effectively creating a catnip hot toddy)…and fell asleep before I had finished drinking it.

Herbal Nyquil.

***Your Mileage May Vary***

The end.

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