How to Make Infused Cottonwood Oil for Balms, Salves, & Ointments

I’ve been on a bit of a cottonwood kick lately, but I just can’t get over how amazing this herb is! It’s just so good for so many things and has been one of my must-haves for pretty much every type of physical pain or bout of inflammation I’ve experienced. If you haven’t tried your hand at making an infused cottonwood oil, then you’re really missing out on one of the best pain remedies nature has to offer. Cottonwood buds are filled with a soft volatile resin that’s infused with powerful anti-inflammatory constituents like humulene, Bisabolol, chrysin, arachidonic acid, gallic acid, malic acid, salicin, populin, tectochrysin, and mannitol. Its usage is specific to the muscular-skeletal system, so the infused oil works well for soreness and tension in the muscles, muscular aches and pains, joint issues, sprains, strains, and hyperextensions, pain caused by inflammation, and soft tissue damage. It also works well for healing bruises. I recently used it on my pinky toe after I accidentally rammed it into a couch leg and the pain was greatly reduced. I’ve managed to do this on a number of occasions without any cottonwood oil on hand, so I can vouch for its efficacy on smushed and swollen toes. I also use the oil in a salve recipe I like to keep in a lip balm tube for quick and easy use. I’m a bit clumsy, so bumping into things and getting minor injuries on a weekly basis is just something I’ve learned to deal with. Adding cottonwood oil to my salves has made it more bearable. I can bump into something and then quickly apply a swipe of cottonwood salve made from the infused oil and 8 times out of 10 I won’t develop a bruise. Use it in conjunction with my cottonwood tincture, and it’s like nothing ever happened! Another amazing use I’ve found for cottonwood oil is its ability to heal the skin. I’ve seen several accounts of the oil working its magic on scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. Some women say that it’s a must-have addition to their body butter during pregnancy to help keep their skin firm. One account even described using the infused oil on hemorrhoids after childbirth with amazing overnight results. Convinced? Let’s get into the recipe! Infused Cottonwood Oil Recipe This is super simple to make, but it does require some patience. I choose to use the cold infusion method for my cottonwood oil which can take anywhere from 1-3 months for the oil to infuse. This, of course, works best in the summer months because you can just put the oil in a sunny place and let the sun do all the work. However, if you’re going to be making this in the colder months, you will want to make this oil in a double boiler or a crockpot. I’ll list the instructions below for both methods. Cold-Infused Method For this method, all you will need is: • A mason jar• Fresh or dried cottonwood buds (I allow fresh buds to “dry out” a bit by placing them on a tray and letting any moisture evaporate from the buds the night before)• Carrier oil of choice (I recommend going with jojoba oil or coconut oil since their shelf life is much longer than other carrier oils) I had about 2oz of cottonwood buds, so I used an 8oz jar for my infused oil. All you have to do is place the buds in the jar and add the carrier oil. Make sure to get it pretty close to the top, but not overflowing when you put the lid on. Cap the jar closed and swirl to mix. The key is to keep all the plant matter submerged in the oil in order to prevent any mold from growing. I tend to use refined coconut oil because it doesn’t have any scent to it and allows me to make whatever I like without the coconut scent AND it’s one of the most antimicrobial carrier oils. Cottonwood buds themselves are also excellent at killing off bacteria and microbes which is another reason why I love adding a little bit of cottonwood oil to other oil blends – it extends the shelf life! As the oil infuses, swirl it around on occasion. You can either put it out in the sun to help it infuse or simply keep it in a cool dark place. Allow the oil to infuse for at least one month. However, the longer you can allow the oil to infuse the better! Once it’s ready, strain the oil and bottle. Heat-Infused Method You can do this method two ways – in a double boiler or in a crockpot. For the double boiler method, I recommend having a heat-resistant Pyrex measuring cup on hand that you use primarily for remedy making. Cottonwood can be messy to work with, so don’t use anything fancy. Add the cottonwood buds and the oil to the Pyrex measuring cup. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a saucepan and place the Pyrex in the center. Allow the cottonwood oil to infuse over gentle heat for at least a good hour. The longer, the better. Just make sure to keep a close eye on the water level. You DO NOT want this over direct heat, or you can cause an oil fire so keep that water level topped up. Strain the cooled oil and bottle when it’s finished. For the crockpot method, choose an out of the way place in your kitchen for the crockpot to live for the next few days. You don’t want to have to move it while the oil is infusing. Place the cottonwood buds and carrier oil in a heat-resistant Pyrex measuring cup and gently place it in the bottom of the crockpot. If you spill any, clean it up completely before turning on the crockpot. Turn the crockpot on the lowest setting and infuse the oil for 5 days. This method creates a very strong oil, so it’s worth the wait. Strain and bottle the cooled oil once finished. You now have amazing infused cottonwood oil! Have you ever made cottonwood oil before? Please share how you use it in the comments below! You may also enjoy reading: The Balm of GileadHow to Make Cottonwood TinctureThe Best Essential Oils for Pain Relief This post contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read my full disclosure and disclaimer.

Neem Oil Body Butter Recipe with Arnica Infused Coconut Oil

This plant based natural neem oil body butter recipe is handmade with arnica infused coconut oil and neem oil to help ease the pain of minor wounds, minimize the appearance of scarring and promote healing. Made with only the finest natural ingredients, this neem oil body butter is sure to become a staple in your bathroom medicine cabinet. As both arnica and neem oil have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, I thought they were the perfect fit for this natural body butter recipe. In addition to having pain relieving properties, arnica and neem oil are often used in natural skin care products for a variety of reasons. Neem oil has been used historically in both medicinal and cosmetic applications for hundreds of years. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it also has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Neem oil is most commonly used topically to fight rheumatism, eczema, ringworm, athlete’s foot, cold sores, psoriasis, warts, chronic syphilitic sores, infected burn wounds, and slow-healing skin ulcers. It has also been shown to help control various skin infections including scabies and candida. While the smell of natural neem oil is off putting straight out of the bottle, neem oil does also offer remarkable moisturizing and regenerative properties and is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Luckily, the nutty garlic like aroma of this prized oil is easily masked with a blend of natural essential oils. Arnica is a wild flowering plant in the same family as the sunflower. Native to both the western United States and Central Europe, this plant blooms from midsummer into fall. It’s medicinal yellow flowers are typically collected at the end of summer and dried for use in tinctures and infusions. It’s been shown that arnica can help to relieve pain caused by sprains, bruises and other injuries. However, it is important to note that arnica should not be used on open wounds or broken skin. Additionally, those with allergies to members of the Asteraceae family should exercise caution when using arnica as they experience an allergic reaction. Natural Neem Oil Body Butter Recipe © Rebecca Dawn Dillon Ingredients: .05 oz. cocoa butter1.6 oz. shea butter.6 oz. arnica infused fractionated coconut oil.4 oz. neem oil18 drops lavender essential oil10 drops tea tree oil1 mL vitamin E oil, optional Instructions: Before you get started you’ll need to first make your arnica infused fractionated coconut oil. I infused mine in fractionated coconut oil in order to keep the final product from feeling greasy when applied. In order to create an herbal oil infusion, simply fill the bottom half of a mason jar with arnica flowers and cover with fractionated coconut oil. Seal and place in a sunny window, turning occasionally for several weeks. (Alternately, you can speed up the process by gently heating the fractionated coconut oil and arnica flowers in a double boiler for several hours on the stove over low to medium-low heat.) Strain with cheesecloth before use. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making an herbal oil infusion, you can simply substitute the arnica infused fractionated coconut oil with arnica herbal oil. Once you’ve made your arnica infused fractionated coconut oil, you’ll ready to make my neem oil body butter recipe. Begin by using a digital scale weigh out the cocoa and shea butter. Combine in a glass Pyrex measuring cup or scientific glass beaker. Heat either in a double boiler or at 40% power in the microwave until melted. Next, weigh out the arnica infused fractionated coconut oil and the neem oil. Pour the oils into the melted butters mixing well to combine. Now use a graduated transfer pipette to measure out and add the vitamin E oil as well as to add the drops of both essential oils. Stir well, then pour into your desired container and allow to solidify. It’s important to note that this is a soft body butter. As such it may take 24-48 hours to reach its final consistency. You can put this in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight to speed up the process. The final product should be stored in a temperature controlled environment. Otherwise, if you live in a particularly warm climate, you may find it helpful to add a small amount of emulsifying wax or beeswax to your neem oil body butter in order for it stay solid. To use your neem oil body butter, simply apply to affected area as needed to soothe and calm pain and irritation due to a minor wound, injury, bruise, sprain or skin condition. If you like my neem oil body butter recipe, then you may also like my honeybush tea & pumpkin seed salve recipe. This homemade salve recipe for eczema is made using all natural ingredients including honeybush tea infused pumpkin seed oil. Prized in skin care for it’s ability to soothe skin irritation, honeybush tea is a wonderful pantry staple for whole body health both inside and out! You can discover my honeybush tea & pumpkin seed salve recipe here. For more great skin care recipes and natural home remedies, be sure to follow my boards on Pinterest. You can also follow me on all of your favorite social media platforms including G+, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Blog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or sign up to receive new posts to your email via FeedBurner so you never miss a post.

DIY Healing Gum Serum with Essential Oils

On my journey to healing my gums after avoiding the dentist for 7 years, I have come up with a few handy tricks to help speed up the process. While my gums weren’t all THAT bad, the top being all twos and the bottom mainly threes and fours and the errant five, I didn’t want them to get any worse and have to face getting cadaver tissue sewn into them. No. Thanks. Hence the reason or this post! If you’re adamant about healing your gums and keeping your teeth in tip-top shape, then today’s article on how to make your own healing gum serum is just what you need. DIY Healing Gum Serum Recipes with Essential Oils It is estimated that 70-90 percent of adults in the United States have some form of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque along the gumline. When the bacteria aren’t properly removed on a daily basis, the plaque starts to irritate and inflame the gums which can lead to pockets, gum recession, and in some cases, advanced gum disease. Some of the symptoms of gingivitis and the progression of periodontal disease include: Mild swelling that worsens over time Puffy gums Dark red or reddish-purple gums Receding gums Bad breath that doesn’t go away Mouth pain Redness Bleeding gums Periodontal pockets – where plaque begins to form below the gum line causing the gums to recede and pockets to form Periodontitis – chronically present plaque, tartar, and bacterial infections that destroy gum tissue and the bone structure of teeth. Tooth loss Having less than healthy gums isn’t always caused by poor oral hygiene. In fact, poor gum health can be caused by a number of different factors you may not be aware of. Some of the main causes of gingivitis and gum disease include: Being 65 or older Braces, dentures, and other oral appliances that make cleaning difficult Certain medications like birth control and heart medications Crooked teeth that are hard to clean Currently has heart disease, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis Grinding or clenching your teeth at night High levels of stress Low immunity Obesity Poor diet that lacks nutrients Poor oral hygiene Predetermined genetic risk Pregnancy Smoking or chewing tobacco If your root cause includes any of the above, it may be possible to improve your gum health just by focusing on things like upping your nutrient intake or taking steps to stop smoking. In a lot of cases, however, gum health is solely dependent on good oral hygiene, and that means flossing, brushing, and using a good rinse twice daily. What’s been frustrating for me is I DO these things yet still struggle with keeping my gums in the threes and below range for pockets. It’s been incredibly frustrating because looking at my teeth, they are straight, white, and LOOK healthy. My gums aren’t red or inflamed. My dental hygienist is always wondering what the heck is up because I don’t have plaque buildup or tartar or any other typical indication that my gums are having issues. So, my only guess is I’m not absorbing nutrients very well, or I’m not eating enough nutrient-dense foods to help support good gum health. That brings us to today’s recipe which can help support the gums while getting to the root of the problem. How to Make a Healing Gum Serum Aside from focusing on getting in more veggies and dark leafy greens into my diet on a daily basis, I will also be using the following recipe as my daily gum serum. I used to use one by Living Libations that I LOVED, but the bottle never lasted long enough, and it was a bit pricey to keep re-ordering it. Instead, I’ve decided to make my own version. Here’s what you’ll need to make my healing gum serum (fancy version): This recipe will make a 2% dilution. Feel free to lower the dilution if desired. You can read more about essential oil dilutions and conversions here. Recipe for healing gum serum (simple version): This recipe will make a 2% dilution. This version contains only the most potent essential oils for healing the gums. If you want to get really really simple, I would recommend going with 2 drops of clove essential oil in 1 oz of fractionated coconut oil. Loving Preparation – Healing Gum Serum Recipe Add the essential oils to the 1 oz dropper bottle Next, fill the bottle to the shoulder with fractionated coconut oil Cap closed and roll between your palms to mix To Use I like to apply 1 drop to the length of floss I’m using after brushing my teeth 2x daily. You can also apply 1 drop directly on the gums or problem areas to help speed up healing. Overall, I’m very happy with the strength and flavor of this serum and will continue using it for the next 6 months! I’ll come back and update this post to let you all know if it has helped make a difference. Have you ever made a healing gum serum before? How did you like it? Please share in the comments below! You may also enjoy reading: 10 Ways to Heal Your Teeth NaturallyWhy You Should Never Use Toothpaste for AcneHomemade Tartar Control Toothpaste Sources: Effects of two essential oil mouthrinses on 4-day supragingival plaque regrowth: a randomized cross-over studyEffect of rinsing with an essential oil-containing mouthrinse on subgingival periodontopathogensEssential oils-containing mouthwashes for gingivitis and plaque: Meta-analyses and meta-regressionThe effects of essential oil mouthrinses with or without alcohol on plaque and gingivitis: a randomized controlled clinical study This post contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read my full disclosure and disclaimer.

How to Make The Perfect Fool-Proof Arnica Salve for Bruising, Post-Surgery, and Aches & Pains

Learning how to make the perfect arnica salve is one of the first things you learn as a budding herbalist. Whether you spend your free-time gardening, are an avid hiker, an outdoor enthusiast, build things with your hands, suffer from joint disorders, have children, or are just clumsy like I am, a well-made arnica salve has a multitude of uses for healing all sorts of bumps and bruises. How to Make The Perfect Fool-Proof Arnica Salve Arnica is one of the most popular herbs to add to healing creams, salves, ointments, and balms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed it for bruises! As soon as I wack into something, I simply apply a small amount where I need it and I can usually prevent a bruise from forming or help it heal much faster. It’s quite magical, really. Arnica has an affinity for increasing healthy blood flow to injuries by dilating the capillaries, removing stagnation, and encouraging healing. The end result is decreased swelling and pain and faster healing. Here are some of the uses and benefits of arnica: • Can be massaged into muscles before and after exercise to stave off soreness• Can be massaged into the skin pre-surgery to minimize swelling and healing time post-surgery (many people do this before getting their wisdom teeth extracted or before cosmetic surgery – though NEVER put arnica in your mouth, only externally)• Heals and soothes bruises• Helps speed the healing of overworked muscles and connective tissue injuries• Is highly anti-inflammatory• Reduces pain• Relieves pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, and even tension headaches The Perfect Arnica Salve Recipe This recipe is really easy! You only need 3 ingredients – beeswax, carrier oil, and of course, dried arnica flowers. Today, I’ll be making 4oz of arnica salve, but you can divide or multiply to the recipe as needed. I just find that this amount lasts me pretty much all year with a bit left to spare. It stays fresh which is an added bonus! Here’s what you’ll need to make 4oz of fool-proof arnica salve: • A double boiler• One 4oz container or smaller tins like this and this – you can give them away as gifts!• ½ cup of carrier oil – I recommend going with an oil that does not go rancid easily like jojoba or fractionated coconut oil – this one doesn’t smell like coconuts.• 1 TB of beeswax pellets – I used white, but the yellow version gives this salve a wonderful golden color!• ¼ cup of dried arnica flowers – I pack them in since the flowers are so light Loving Preparation – Arnica Salve Recipe • Begin by adding the carrier oil and arnica flowers to your double boiler. • Simmer the oil and flowers for one hour – make sure that the water in your double boiler doe does not evaporate completely. Top up as needed. • After an hour, strain the arnica flowers from the oil into a heat-safe glass container (I simply used the 4oz jar I wanted to store the salve in, but you can use a small pyrex measuring cup or similar). • Add the beeswax pellets to the strained arnica oil and return it to the double boiler until completely melted. Stir to mix. • Once melted through, Pour the final mixture into your container of choice. • Allow to cool completely before use. This salve has a very petroleum-like texture that is super easy to rub into the skin. However, if you would like a firmer salve, simply add one more TB of beeswax pellets. How to Use Arnica Salve Arnica salve is best used on closed wounds since it can be irritating for some people when used on open wounds. This salve works well for tense or sore muscle, stiff and aching joints, bumps, bruises, strains, and sprains. It’s the perfect companion for avid outdoor enthusiasts, adventurous children, and for anyone who feels like their muscles are over-worked or their joints are aching. To use arnica salve, simply apply a small amount over the areas that need it and gently rub it in. For arthritis, you can apply this salve as needed for pain relief and to decrease inflammation in the joints. To help decrease pain and swelling after surgery, massage a small amount of arnica salve over the area where the surgery will take place 1-2x daily. Alternatively, you can also take an arnica homeopathic to achieve the same results pre and post-surgery. *** Do not use arnica salve orally since arnica itself can be toxic if ingested. Have you made arnica salve before? How did it turn out and what do you use it for? Please share in the comments below! You may also enjoy reading: Homemade Arnica Salve for Sprains and BruisesHow to Make a SalveHow to Make Infused Cottonwood Oil for Balms, Salves, & OintmentsEssential Oil Quick Usage Guide – Aches and Pains Sources: Lyss, Guido, et al. “Helenalin, an anti-inflammatory sesquiterpene lactone from Arnica, selectively inhibits transcription factor NF-κB.” Biological chemistry 378.9 (1997): 951-962.Ramelet, A-A., et al. “Homoeopathic arnica in postoperative haematomas: a double-blind study.” Dermatology 201.4 (2000): 347-348.Stevinson, C., et al. “Homeopathic arnica for prevention of pain and bruising: randomized placebo-controlled trial in hand surgery.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 96.2 (2003): 60-65. This post contains affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read my full disclosure and disclaimer.

Healing Lip Salve Recipe

To continue the theme of DIY natural lip care recipes, I’m sharing this recipe for homemade healing lip salve. I really like homemade lipstick and homemade tinted lip balm, but sometimes I just want something to help with dry lips after gardening or being outside in wind/snow but don’t want color, shine, or scent. This recipe is also great for guys and for kids as it isn’t brightly colored or strongly scented. This recipe incorporates optional healing herbs that help heal and protect the lips, but you can leave these ingredients out to have an unscented and simply moisturizing version. Homemade healing lip balm/salve also lasts forever, since a little goes a really long way. Lip Salve Recipe The herbal ingredients are naturally moisturizing, antibacterial, and anti-fungal, and some people have success with using it to speed healing of cold sores. It doesn’t contain petroleum or chemicals like most commercial lip products so you can feel safe using it on yourself of your kids. All ingredients and tins and lip chap containers to store it in can be found online. (Storing in a lip-chap container makes it portable and easy to apply.) Lip Balm Ingredients Lip Balm Instructions Infuse the herbs into the olive oil. There are two ways to do this. You can either combine the herbs and the olive oil in a jar with an airtight lid and leave 3-4 weeks, shaking daily OR heat the herbs and olive oil over low/low heat in a double boiler for 3 hours (low heat!) until the oil is very green. You can also omit this step completely, or just a drop of each of the essential oils instead. Strain the herbs out of the oil by pouring through a cheesecloth. Let all the oil drip out and then squeeze the herbs to get the remaining oil out. Discard the herbs. Heat 1/4 cup of the infused oil in a double boiler with the beeswax until melted and mixed. (save the extra oil for use on wounds/cuts or for another batch of lip salve). Pour into small tins, glass jars or lip chap tubes and use on dry or chapped lips. Do your lips ever get chapped? Have you ever infused an oil? Let me know below!

How To Make And Use A Simple Licorice Tincture

Licorice is a wonderful herb to have on hand, particularly in the winter when colds and coughs seem to be going around. This sweet plant that inspired the famous candy is a go-to herb for coughs and so much more. It is also one of the herbs I use in my healing chai tea. A Brief Overview of Licorice Licorice root is commonly made into a tincture to be used for a variety of ailments.  Tinctures are a quick and effective way to get licorice root in your system. (If you are pregnant or nursing it is not advised to use this plant.) Supply List How to Make and Use a Simple Licorice Root Tincture Fill a jar 1/2 full with dried licorice root. Pour vodka over the licorice up to the neck of the jar, leaving about 1/2 inch of air space. If needed, use a knife or the end of a spoon to remove the air bubbles from the jar. Screw on the lid. It is important to store your tincture out of the sunlight so that it does not expose your tincture to the sun, depleting the potency. A cupboard that you open once a day is a good place to store your tincture. This will ensure that you remember to shake the jar at least once a day. (Let me be honest, though, sometimes I forget for longer than that.) Leave for four to six weeks. Cheese cloth, a thin, tightly woven towel, or shirt is important when straining a tincture. Place your cloth over a large bowl. Pour a small portion of the tincture through the cloth. Bring the cloth together and squeeze all the liquid out that you can. (Optionally you can use a very fine mesh strainer and press the liquid out or a french press.) Toss the herbs or compost them. Repeat the process until all the tincture has been strained. I tend to store most of my tinctures in quart sized mason jars. I use a small funnel to pour into small amber glass bottles for use. I prefer bottles that have droppers for ease of use. You can use bottles with a screw-on lid and pour the tincture onto a spoon. Ways To Use Licorice Tincture: On its own Add it a blend of other tinctures What is your favorite tincture to make?

Magnesium Body Butter

I’ve posted before about how to make your own magnesium oil, and I’ve seen posts on other blogs on how to make magnesium lotion. For summer, I wanted to figure out a recipe for a magnesium infused body butter that would also double as a mild sunscreen/tanning cream and I’m finally happy with the result. (Not sure why you’d add magnesium to lotion? This article talks about the benefits of magnesium) Magnesium Body Butter Tutorial This recipe uses all natural moisturizing ingredients and makes skin soft and silky. It is great for kids too and doesn’t have the tingling that regular magnesium oil has when you first start using it. Magnesium body butter doesn’t have any preservatives, so I make in smaller batches and keep for up to two months without a problem. It can also be stored in the fridge for a thicker and cooling lotion that is great to use after sun exposure to help the body absorb Vitamin D. Coconut oil and shea butter are both naturally SPF of 4-5 and magnesium is needed for absorption of Vitamin D, so this lotion is great for mild sun exposure. I use this or regular magnesium oil on my kids feet each night to help them sleep and boost magnesium levels. It is also great on sore muscles. You can add essential oils for scent, but be careful about essential oil use during pregnancy, and don’t use citrus oils if you’ll be using this in the sun as they increase sun sensitivity. Magnesium Body Butter Ingredients: Magnesium Body Butter Instructions Pour 3 tablespoons of boiling water in to the magnesium flakes in a small container and stir until it dissolves. This will create a thick liquid. Set aside to cool. In a quart size mason jar inside a small pan with 1 inch of water, combine the coconut oil, emulsifying wax and shea butter and turn on medium heat. When melted, remove the jar from the pan and let the mixture cool until room temp and slightly opaque. At this point, put in to a medium bowl or into a blender. If in a bowl, use a hand blender or immersion blender on medium speed and start blending the oil mixture. Slowly (starting with a drop at a time) add the dissolved magnesium mixture to the oil mixture while continuing blending until all of the magnesium mix is added and it is well-mixed. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes and re-blend to get body butter consistency. Store in fridge for a cooling lotion (best consistency) or at room temp for up to two months. If you are short on time and are searching for a Magnesium lotion to purchase online, we found this Magnesium Lotion Shop that sells hand-crafted jars that everyone seems to love! Ever made body butter? How did it turn out? Got a variation to share? Do so below!

Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade

A pretty, color-changing layered iced matcha green tea lemonade made with butterfly pea flowers that turns the drink from blue to purple.  This post contains affiliate links. Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Butterfly pea flowers comes from a plant in Southeast Asia and it’s been used there for centuries to add a bright blue color to food like rice and it’s steeped in water for drinking as an herbal tea. Butterfly pea tea isn’t technically a tea, but an infusion. For something to be a true tea, the leaves must come from a different plant, the camellia sinensis. Only leaves from the camellia sinensis is real tea. To make butterfly pea flower tea, the flowers with its bright blue petals are steeped in hot water to create a vibrant blue color. Honey or sweeteners can be added to the drink and it can be prepared hot or cold. The fun color-changing part of the drink is from the butterfly pea flowers. The flowers are a vibrant deep blue when steeped in hot water but when lemon is added, it changes color to a jewel-tone purple. The more lemon juice is added, the more purple the tea will become. RELATED: Arnold Palmer (Iced Tea and Lemonade) Recipe Where to Buy Butterfly Pea Flower Tea You can buy butterfly pea flowers from Harney & Sons and from Amazon. When buying from Amazon, make sure to check the ingredients that the flowers aren’t mixed with lemongrass. If you want easy to use butterfly pea flowers in tea bags, they sell those too on Amazon. I’ve used them and they’re easier to use than the loose flowers. RELATED: Iced Tea with Lemon Verbena Honey What Does Butterfly Pea Tea Taste Like? It tastes earthy, almost woody. It’s not a really pleasant taste that makes me want to drink it on its own. This also explains why they sell butterfly pea tea with lemongrass to add a bit of a different flavor. For this recipe, the matcha and the lemonade are the dominant flavors and masks the butterfly pea tea flavor. What I Used to Make Butterfly Pea Flower Matcha Lemonade How to Make Butterfly Pea Flower Tea To make the blue tea, steep the butterfly pea flowers in hot water for about 3-5 minutes. The longer you steep, the darker the blue the tea will get. I wanted a really deep blue color so I added 2 teaspoons of the butterfly pea flower to a cup of water. The tea will be hot, so give it time to cool so it can be added to an iced drink. The butterfly pea tea can also be made ahead of time and stored and chilled in the refrigerator with the lemonade. How to Make Matcha for Iced Drinks When I first used to make iced matcha drinks, I used to use the traditional method of preparing matcha using a matcha bowl and bamboo whisk. I WAS DOING IT WRONG. I have a much easier and better method of making matcha for cold drinks that has been a game-changer. Take a wide-mouth water bottle and pour in cold water, then matcha. Tighten the lid and give it a good 10 second shake. Done. Really? Yes, really. No clumps and you don’t need to wait for the matcha to cool. RELATED: Matcha Lemonade How to Make Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade After the lemonade, butterfly pea tea and the matcha have been made, it’s time to build the drink! I’m going for the layered effect with the butterfly pea tea at the bottom and the matcha sitting on top. First, I pour in the butterfly pea flower tea in a cup with ice. It’s such a pretty blue. Fill the tea about a third of the cup. RELATED: Barley Tea Next, the lemonade goes in. You can see the color start to shift from blue to purple. Add enough lemonade to fill 2/3 of the cup. RELATED: Iced Matcha Watermelon Once the lemonade goes in, there’s hardly any blue left. RELATED: How to Make the Best Iced Tea (Cold Brew It!) And finally, the matcha layer. The jewel tones are gorgeous together. Who knew purple and green would be such a pretty combo? Matcha Butterfly Pea Flower Lemonade Tips Sugar is the key in keeping the bottom layer and the top layer separate. When ready to drink, make sure you mix the layers together so you can get the sweet and sourness from the lemonade with the matcha. Don’t use boiling hot water for the flowers or the matcha. The water should be hot, but not full boil hot. The lemonade and the butterfly pea tea can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator but don’t make the matcha ahead of time. Ingredients LEMONADE INGREDIENTS 1 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 lemon) BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER TEA INGREDIENTS MATCHA INGREDIENTS 2 teaspoons matcha 1 cup cold water Instructions Make Lemonade Make simple syrup by adding sugar and water into a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Lower heat to simmer until sugar has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Take off heat and let cool. Stir in lemon juice. Make Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Steeping butterfly pea flowers in hot water for 3-5 minutes. The longer you steep the flowers, the darker the blue the tea will be. Discard flowers. Let cool. Make Matcha Into a wide-mouth water bottle, pour in cold water then matcha. Close lid and shake for 10 seconds. Assemble Drink In two glass cups filled with ice, pour in the butterfly pea flower tea about a third of the way for each cup. Pour in the lemonade until it reached 2/3 of the cup, then finally top each cup with matcha. Stir before drinking. Notes There will be more lemonade than needed for the recipe so you can store the rest in the refrigerator. The lemonade and butterfly pea flower tea can both be made in advance and kept cool in the refrigerator.

How to Treat Migraines with an Herbal Tincture at Home

Last Updated on January 9, 2019 by Andrea Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) abounds in my garden! It is one of the most easy to grow medicinal herbs and has some pretty amazing healing properties…making it a great addition to the home pharmacy. Historically, lemon balm has been used to treat all kinds of nervous system ailments and is known for it’s ability to: calm an irritable child. act as an antiviral in treating cold sores due to the herpes virus. heal wounds and protect the skin. treat the symptoms of the common cold and flu when combined with other medicinal herbs. relieve the symptoms of migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Likewise, feverfew is unbeatable when it comes to treating the common headache, migraines, stress/tension headaches, and those headaches associated with PMS symptoms. It truly is a wonder herb and a must in the garden of those who suffer these ailments. Note: Please see my How to Make a Tincture at Home video for more helpful information regarding making a tincture. Migraine Tincture ~ A Recipe Supplies needed -Solvent (i.e. 100 proof alcohol or vegetable glycerin)-quart sized glass mason jar-4 oz. fresh or 2 oz. of dried herbs Ingredients -3 parts lemon balm-2 parts feverfew-100 proof vodka to fill Method 1. Measure your herbs depending on whether you are using fresh or dried herbs.2. If using fresh herbs, chop until fine.3. Add herbs to glass jar.4. Pour solvent over herbs to fill the jar. The solvent should rise 1-2 inches above the herbs.5. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the herbs are well combined.6. Label jar with contents and date.7. Set in a warm, sunny window and steep for 2-6 weeks, shaking daily.8. Strain with a cheesecloth, compost the plant material, and place tincture in dark colored bottles for storage in a cool, dark place. The tincture should keep for up to 5 years. Adult Dosage At the sudden onset of migraine symptoms, begin taking 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of the tincture every 30 minutes to an hour until symptoms subside. Feel free to print this recipe and add it to your herbal journal: Migraine Tincture Recipe (131kb PDF) Looking for the raw materials mentioned in this post? Check out the good people over at Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store…they are the go-to for all my dried herb and medicinal herb seed needs! Be sure not to miss a single post in the series…click this link and subscribe to the blog. Disclaimer: Please understand that this information is for educational purposes only. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and they are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Don’t take my word for it…you should always engage conventional wisdom and consult with your medical professional to determine potential drug interactions and safety of use.

Herbal Popsicles with Lavender and Lemon Balm

94.1Kshares Sipping a cup of herbal tea is something I like to do throughout the year, but when it’s hot outside I want something cool and refreshing. Of course, I can always make an iced herbal tea like my wildflower infusion or white clover tea, but sometimes a frozen treat is the only thing that sounds good. That’s where I got the great idea to make popsicles out of herbal tea! These lavender and lemon balm herbal popsicles are not only delicious and refreshing, but they also have benefits to our health. Benefits of Herbal Popsicles The best part about any homemade popsicle is that you get to choose what goes in them and the amount of sugar they contain. This is perfect for children so that you can give them a natural version of the extra sugary and colored with who-knows-what kind of store-bought popsicles. Herbal popsicles are also super simple to make. Just make up a batch of herbal tea, sweeten it a bit if desired, pour into your popsicle mold (I use this stainless steel one), and freeze. The most important part is that you can get all the same benefits of herbal tea but in popsicle form! I chose lavender and lemon balm (and a sprig of lemon verbena) for this popsicle recipe because they are relaxing, stress reducing, and good for the digestive system. Lavender and lemon is also a wonderful taste combination, see my recipe on lemon + lavender shortbread cookies! Love lemon balm as much as I do? Try these 30+ recipes for using lemon balm. Lavender, lemon balm, and a sprig of lemon verbena Really any herbs would work, just choose what sounds good to you and what you might benefit from. Here are a few that come to mind: If you don’t have access to fresh herbs and flowers, my favorite place to purchase high quality, organic dried herbs is Mountain Rose Herbs. Lavender + Lemon Balm Herbal Popsicle Recipe I used fresh lavender and lemon balm from my garden for this recipe, and I also added in a sprig of lemon verbena to boost the lemon flavor even more. Dried lavender flowers will also work, and you could also use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the lemon balm if you like. Lavender can get bitter if steeped in tea for longer than 15 minutes, so keep that in mind. If you use different herbs this won’t be as much of an issue. These popsicles turned out so good! Actually, I should be honest and say that the first round of these that I made I steeped the tea for way too long and the lavender made it quite bitter. I learned my lesson the hard way! The second time around I cut back on the steeping time and they were perfect! Homemade herbal popsicles are a fun and refreshing way to get the benefit of herbs in the heat of the summer. Besides that, they taste delicious and aren’t full of weird ingredients. Gotta love that! Lavender + Lemon Balm Popsicles These herbal popsicles are easy to make and especially delicious on a hot day! Course Snack Cuisine American Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 20 minutes Servings 6 Calories 21kcal Author Colleen @ Grow Forage Cook Ferment Ingredients 4 cups water 5-6 whole fresh lavender blossoms 1 small handful fresh lemon balm 2-4 tbsp honey Instructions Bring the water to a boil, then pour over the lavender and lemon balm in a quart sized jar. Steep the tea for 10-15 minutes, then strain out the herbs with a fine mesh sieve and stir in the honey to your desired sweetness. Let the tea cool down a bit (you can add a few ice cubes if you're impatient like me), then pour it into a popsicle mold. Freeze for several hours or overnight. Nutrition Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.8g | Sugar: 5.8g