Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I promised a while ago that I would put up the recipes for the honey medicines… I have a few others to share, as well.

My mother came to me a few weeks ago, and said “I’ve got an earache, do you have any medicine for it?”
“Mmmm, I’m making some, but it isn’t ready yet,” and I told her to look for a medicine that contained Mullein and garlic.
She came to me again about a week later (the first part of my medicine was done– the garlic had steeped in olive oil for six weeks), and said that she had now been having serious vertigo problems, and thought her infection had gotten more serious, and had moved into her inner ear. “Do you have anything?” she asked again.
I gave her a little 1/2 ounce bottle of the garlic oil, and told her to warm it up (but not to cook it) before she placed a couple of drops in her ear.
The next time I saw her, she made a point of telling me (I had forgotten) that after two days of using the oil her ear infection was completely gone. :) I was pretty pleased, I must admit.

* * *

When you’re going to infuse something in olive oil (or any oil) you need to know that bochelism can occur very easily.
With the exception of garlic (garlic is very intensely anti-biotic), it is a good idea to use herbs that are completely dried, or mold can grow inside the plant from the water in the plant, spoiling the oil.

  • Ear Medicine

I used about four ounces of olive oil in this recipe… that much really isn’t necessary, even for me (who has had lots of ear problems in the winter), but I thought I might share my finished oils with my family or friends, if they wanted.
I used probably ten or a dozen cloves of garlic (sliced), and fifty or seventy-five flowers worth of petals of calendula, and as many mullein flowers as could find– a quarter cup will do it.

I put the mullein and calendula petals in a bowl to dry, and covered it with a single layer of cheese cloth to keep the dust off. I shook the bowl every few days to make sure the flowers were getting dried properly.
I put the sliced garlic cloves in two or so ounces of oil, and let it sit for six weeks. Shaking it when I remembered (daily is good).
When the garlic had sat, I strained it with layers of cheese cloth and stored it in the refrigerator.
I made sure the flowers were dried, and placed them in another two ounces of olive oil, to let them sit for six weeks.
When the six weeks is up, I’ll strain them and add the oil to the garlic oil, and will continue to store it in the refrigerator.
I’ll place some of it in a small bottle (1/2 ounce or 1 ounce), for easy warming in a bowl of hot water.
Dosage is a few drops into the ear, covering it with a cottonball (sterile is good), twice a day- morning and night.
Hopefully I’ll have a couple of days to stay home… the garlic oil has a very powerful smell. :)

The garlic will get rid of any infection, olive oil helps to soften hardened earwax, mullein is a wonder plant for so many things– including a very fine ear medicine and promotes ear health (almost all ear medicines contain mullein), and calendula is another wonder plant– used here for reducing the pain of ear infections.

* * *

  • Brandy Cold Medicine

Brandy is a fine sore throat medicine, and so therefore makes a nice tincture base for colds.

A tincture is a highly concentrated liquid extraction of herbs, and can be applied topically or taken internally.
In Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies (my favorite herbal) she advises using four ounces of herbs for one pint of alcohol or glycerin, and letting them sit for two weeks.
I was using fresh herbs, and could not get that many in my jars, so I packed my quart jars as best I could, added two cups of alcohol per jar (add more in a few days if you can’t get that much in there), and let them sit, shaking daily, for six weeks.

I made my own combination of herbs for this medicine… according to what was growing in my gardens, and to what my children have problems with most often during colds or flus.

two cups of Brandy
Peppermint – peppermint reduces mucus, is excellent for relieving congestion, and relieves discomfort
Lemonbalm – lemonbalm is a sedative, and reduces fevers
Sage – removes toxins from the system
Yarrow – for feverish aches and pains
Hollyhock – emollient, and hollyhock makes a good tea for colds and chest complaints

I washed my herbs, drip-dried them, stripped the leaves and flowers off the stems, cut them up, and filled my jars, and put in the brandy.
Because I wasn’t getting four ounces in, as I said, I let them sit for longer– a total of six weeks.
I strained them with cheese cloth, and am storing it in a smaller jar, on the shelf. Dark bottles are best for storage.
Dosage is five to fifteen drops for children, and ten to twenty-five drops for adults, five times the first day, and then two or three times a day thereafter.
My babes run from the smell :), so I add the drops into a few ounces of orange juice. Tea would be great, too.

* * *

After I made my brandy medicine, I came across some info for Honey Infusions. I was totally intrigued with the idea, so of course I did more and more research. :) I couldn’t resist, so I’m adding them to my shelves this year, as well.

Honey itself has almost magical qualities, it is so powerfully curative. It is antibacterial, and kills infections in the respiratory system, intestinal tract, and on the skin. It strengthens the immune system, provides energy, and provides B, C, D, and E.
It also loves water, so no need to dry your herbs– honey will pull the water soluble compounds from herbs to increase the medicinal properties.

In my research, I found reccomendations varied from one tablespoon of fresh herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of dried for every two cups of honey, to filling the jar full of herbs, and adding the honey. I chose to meet somewhere in the middle, for this first time.

  • Honey Cold Medicine

Two and a half pounds of Honey (enough to fill a quart jar)
Peppermint – (leaves and flowering tops are used) anxiety, bronchitis, colds, congestion, cough, headache, respiratory, sinus
– colds, sore throats and laryngitis

Same as before– the herbs were washed in cold water, dried (not truly dried, but air-dried so they weren’t dripping or wet from being washed), and then I stripped them from the stems, and cut them up.
You can place your herbs in a cheese cloth bag, if you like, though I didn’t, my herbs are loose in the jar.
They can’t truly be shaken, as honey is too thick to shake, so every few days I tip the jar over to stir the honey up a bit.
Every recipe I found for honey herbal medicines said two to six weeks… of course I’m opting for the six weeks, in hopes of a stronger, more potent infusion.
When my medicines are done brewing, I’ll strain them a couple of times with a few layes of cheese cloth… this will be done more easily by warming the honey just a little– warm the honey to a temperature well below 115 degrees, or the enzymes will be destroyed.
I’ll store it in labeled quart jars.
Dosage is a spoonful of honey to a cup of hot water, five times the first day, two or three times a day thereafter.

  • Honey Cough Medicine

When Trevelyn gets a cold, he coughs for what seems like weeks afterward, often he coughs so hard that he ends up vomiting. Very sensitive lungs, that boy has.
I thought it prudent to have a special medicine for his coughs.

Thyme is a strong expectorant and antiseptic, and is great for congestion, cough, and respiratory ailments.

I washed the thyme – a good thick handful of stalks – and let it dry on the outside line for an hour or so.
I stripped them off the stems (a good way to strip the leaves off is just to run over the stems backwards -against the stalk- with your fingers, it easily pops off the leaves), and chopped them up, and put them in the jar, and poured in the honey.
Same as before – I’ll let it sit for six weeks.
The herbs float to the top of the jar and kind of condense, so I turn it every few days, though it probably isn’t necessary.
I’ll warm the honey a bit, and then strain it a couple of times through a few layers of cheese cloth.

Dosage is a spoonful to a cup of hot water- several times the first day then two or three times a day thereafter.

I’d like to report here that for the last two days I’ve been giving my babes the Brandy Cold Medicine… Maddie never really came down with the cold all the way, and Trevelyn feels fit as a fiddle today (no sore throat), and only has a trace of a stuffy nose. I’ll give them both a few drops today (probably like seven) in a bit of orange juice, and will give Trev two doses again tomorrow.
Pretty impressive!

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