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Basic Lotion

1 oz. lanolin or beeswax or coconut oil, or combination
3 fl. oz. natural oil, including 10 ml. wheat germ oil, if desired
2 fl. oz. of any herbal infusion, decoction, or flower water
3-6 drops of essential oil from any herb or flower

Melt the solid factor and add the oil, beating steadily, and then the water, added drop by drop.  Take off the stove and stir until the mixture is at blood heat.  Stir in the essential oil.  Stir thoroughly and put into a pint bottle.  Cap and shake until lotion is cool.  Shake when using.  The emulsion should hold.

Breath Fresheners

You can chew peppermint or spearmint leaves, fennel seeds, cloves, mace, anise, and cinnamon for natural breath fresheners.


Purchase #0 or #00 capsules.  Open and place inside the powdered herbs of your choice, tamping to fill completely.  Close capsule.


You can use any of the herbal ointments for face cream.  Or try this recipe:

     1     tablespoon beeswax
     1     tablespoon olive oil
     1     tablespoon lanolin
     1     tablespoon liquid lecithin
     3     tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
     2     tablespoons fresh unsalted butter

     Melt this over hot water.  Keep hot; watch carefully.

     2     teaspoons glycerine
     1/4  teaspoon borax (get at pharmacy)
     1/3  cup water

Heat until it is at a simmer.  Some people use a large electric skillet and set both pots in the hot water.

Now add the water mixture to the oil mixture slowly and carefully, beating with one beater on an electric beater.  Keep beating until both mixtures combine completely.  Stir until cool, off heat, and put in a clean, wide-mouthed jar.  This is a very rich cream for dry skin, feels quite elegant.


Cover roots, barks, and other hard herbal material with water, an ounce of the herb to a pint and a half of water.  Bring to a boil, and gently simmer for about twenty minutes to a half hour.  Drain off the liquid while hot and press the herbs to make sure that the decoction is fully extracted.  Decoctions are strong; take as directed.


Add powdered herbs to syrup, honey, etc., to make a pleasant taste or easier administration.


Soak a piece of gauze or a turkish towel or similar porous material in the infusion or decoction needed.  Sometimes hot apple cider vinegar is used.  Cool until the material is just bearable for the patient.  Cover with plastic or oilcloth to prevent the liquid from soaking bedclothes, etc. Keep damp and change periodically.

Fluid Extract

This herbal preparation is made commercially, but it is usually beyond the amateur herbal practitioner. You can use extracts as you do tinctures.

Herbal Steam

Clean your face. Put two tablespoons of dried herbs or three handfuls of fresh herbs in a non-metal pot and pour over 3-1/2 pints boiling water.  Stir.  Tie your hair back.  Hold your face about 8 inches from the pot and put a towel over your head to trap the steam.

Infusion or Tea

Pour boiling water over the herb, one teaspoonful of herb, cut, to the cup of water.  Allow to steep fifteen to thirty minutes, strain, and give warm, sweetened with honey if desired.


Homemade hand lotion is possible but not always easy to produce. Basically you are contriving a way to add water to oil and keep it there, for the oil can nourish the skin, but water moisturizes.  Try this recipe:

Melt together 4 tablespoons lanolin, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 3 tablespoons olive, safflower, or peanut oil.  Pour these in a jar.  Set aside.  Now mix in another container 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.  Add the second mixture to the first slowly, stirring constantly.  Cap the jar and shake it until it cools and a lotion has formed.  When the mixture is at room temperature (not before, or it will all curdle), whip in 3 tablespoons of water, using an electric mixer, one tablespoon at a time.  Work patiently and slowly to incorporate all the water.  Instead of lemon, you can use other fruits or herbs.  Just blenderize the herbs, fresh if possible, or make a decoction, and strain.  Use for the lemon part of the mixture.  The lemon extract is just a scent, so you can add other herbal oils to scent the lotion as you desire.  Refrigerate if you plan to keep it a long time.

Massage Oils

Just add a few drops of essential oil, any of your favorites, to a natural oil, preferably olive.Oil  

Crush the desired herb, bark, etc., and simmer in olive oil at 125-150° F. until the medicine comes out of the herb.  This is often done in the oven.  You can also make an oil by allowing the herb to sit in the oil in the direct sunlight for a week or more.  Strain while hot.  The proportions are about 1 to 4.


Make an herbal oil as above.  Use about 4 tablespoons beeswax to the cup of oil.  Melt both together, put into wide-mouthed container, and allow to cool without disturbing.  Any of the soothing herbs make an excellent ointment, such as golden seal, slippery elm, marigolds, comfrey, cucumber, yarrow, meadowsweet, chickweed, wintergreen, eucalyptus, marshmallow root, mullein, etc.  A variation that I use for plantain ointment: I blend the plantain directly into the olive oil until it's completely pulverized.  Then I warm the pulpy oil until it can melt the beeswax and mix it all together.  Let it harden as is.  You'll get a green smear on your skin, but it's very healing.  You can use lard as a base if your scruples allow it.  And wheat germ oil can be added as part of the oil for its vitamin E content.

You can make a nice lip balm using these techniques which is better than lip ointments sold in stores.  Make an oil using rose petals or marigold petals.  Strain and warm, adding to the cup of rose oil, 1 tablespoon beeswax, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon wheat germ oil, and 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel.  Warm and mix until thoroughly melted and pour into widemouthed, small containers.  (From Bachman's Herbal Medicine--an excellent book on herbal preparations and herb use generally.)


You might enjoy making herbal scents.  You make an herbal oil as described above, using fresh blossoms, and straining out one batch and adding another until the scent becomes quite strong.  An elegant way to make perfume is to put blossoms into a jar with just a bit of water in the bottom.  The essential oil from the blossoms will collect on the water, and you can scrape off this scented oil and put it in tiny vials.  Let the vial stand open for a couple of days to evaporate off any water.  This essential scented oil is concentrated and very valuable.  Use it to perfume other mixtures.


Combine powdered or crushed herbs with enough slippery elm and hot water to make a thick paste.  Put this over the affected area.  A mustard poultice or plaster can help break up a heavy cough.  Roasted onions can be crushed for the same purpose; they have been used in pneumonia.  Raw grated onions will also work but you must coat the skin with olive oil beforehand and check for blistering consistently.


Most herbal syrups have a heavy sugary base, and I cannot recommend them.  You can add a tincture to a spoonful of honey and take that for a syrup.  Syrups are generally given to help children take herbs that might not in themselves be pleasant, or to soothe the throat.


Take four ounces of crushed or chopped dry herbs or eight ounces of crushed fresh herbs.  Cover with a quart of apple cider vinegar or 90-proof alcohol.  Allow to steep for two weeks, shaking a few times each day.  Strain out and label.  Tinctures are given only by the drop; usually three or four drops can equal the dose of a cup of infusion of the same herb.  Lobelia tincture is made in the vinegar, while other tinctures are often made in the alcohol.

For a glycerine tincture, which is good for non-oily or nonresinous herbs, soak the herbs in a pint of water and glycerine mixture--1 part glycerine to 4 parts water.  Proceed as above.  Glycerine is available from vegetable sources, and it helps take toxins from the body.

Glycerine can also be added to a decoction or syrup to make it keep.

Tooth Powder

While I prefer Magnesium Oil and Magnesium Snow for brushing the teeth, you can grind sage and sea salt together into a fine powder, drying in the oven, breaking it up or grinding it again if needed.  This cleans off stains and tastes pleasant.


You can use wine to make tincture, which is often more palatable to some.  Diane Buchman suggests this tonic wine:

     1 pint Madeira
     1 sprig wormwood
     1 sprig rosemary
     1 small bruised nutmeg
     1 inch bruised ginger root
     1 inch bruised cinnamon bark
     12 large organic raisins

Pour off about an ounce of the wine.  Put the herbs in the wine.  Cork the bottle and let macerate for a couple of weeks.  Strain off, and combine this wine with a fresh bottle of Madeira, mixing thoroughly.  Sip as needed during illness (Herbal Medicine, p. 218).

Vaginal bolus

Melt coconut butter and add VB formula powder.  Cool enough to roll into shape and size of the person's middle finger.  Allow to cool, store in refrigerator, and use as directed.

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