Saturday, November 21, 2009

My arsenal and defense herbs against this cold!


whoops, almost forgot to give elderberry some credit here also


on thursday i woke up with a scratchy throat, stuffy/runny nose, some deep cough, and loose stool. not surprising as i have been in intimate contact with at least 4 people with colds/flu/fevers/strep, for the last 2 weeks. i wasn’t too upset though, as i felt comfortable with knowing what helps me during times like this. i am very, sensitive to any doctor/pharmacy meds is another reason i drifted towards herbal medicine a few years back. in the first picture you will see all i have been using and here is why

chamomile is lovely for colds and stuffy nose. i feel bad already, i don’t need something harsh and chamomile is so very gentle yet firm in her actions for me. she also helps with stomachache and sore muscles that accompany colds/flu things. figured with that loose stool,  and mucuous drainage, i would already have her on the job for that aspect also. she calms my restless feeling,

lemon balm she is another lovely helper that smells wonderful, is great for cold and flu and is calming. i don’t know about you, but i get vaguely anxious when my body is invaded. i can be fairly private and these uninvited germs  disturb me mentally also. she is wonderful in case i get a small fever also. she helps with viruses.

peppermint just tastes good! but also will help if i get headachy or get tummy pains.

these three lovelies i use by taking a tablespoon of each in my large teaball, and pour 3 cups of boiling water over them (i had to use a bowl as no cups this big), put a plate over and let steep for 20 minutes. this gave me enough infusion to divide between 2  1/2 qt mason jars. one of which i immediately put in frig. and the other i put in my basket as i had to go tend my sick grandson dylan this day.

i then made another medicine using : 1 tablespoons each of licorice root and slippery elm bark and echinacea. 3 cups boiling water, lidded, but i let this steep 25 minutes before straining.

licorice root is good for mucous congestion,coughs, sore throats, bronchitis. also great for calming spasms if my cough got that bad.

slippery elm bark. also wonderful for coughs and bronchitis but also just a wonderful stomach/intestine helper. calming inflammation and swollen glands too. my glands are a bit tender. slippery elm bark is very nutritous food and is one of the reasons george washington and his men survived at valley forge. i also saved the life of a very, very close to death kitten with slippery elm gruel. but that is a story for another day. i can’t say enough about how i love slippery elm. so soothing, so nourishing.

capped this one off and put in my basket also.

horehound and honey taffy with slippery elm bark powder infused throughout are just so wonderful to help control coughing and to soothe the throat. into the basket they go too.

i made one more hot infusion of elecampane and mullein. this combo is a bit stronger acting on me than the licorice root and slippery elm bark. and i was only going to use this one if i had manange to get things flowing too much and i need to bring in a tiny bit of astringent action.  i love elecampane honey and hops honey so had them both read in case things worsened.

so off i went to watch dylan, really feeling a bit nasty, you know, that kind of all over dirty feeling you get when you start a cold. so i sipped on the chamomile, lemon balm and peppermint infusion at least hourly, but also as thirsty. sipped small sips of the slippery elm bark, licorice root, echinacea infusion hourly , sucked on the taffy as the throat needed or i felt that feeling in my throat you get when you want to cough. massaged comfrey/mullein oil in my glands of my neck.  actually felt pretty good by afternoon. gotta tell you the very first sips of the echinacea,slippery elm, licorice root infusion almost immediately started bringing the phlegm up out of my lungs to be spat out. i mean quick action for me. i soon was also having to blow my nose and started breathing clearer right afterwards.

well, this is saturday and i am still here. i haven’t got any worse, and for the most part feel pretty good. i feel better than when i woke up thursday for sure. have had the occassional deep cough that wants to get a bit spasmatic and save the elecampane and mullein for those times. pretty rare though so i think i will make it. i think for the most part, my milder gentler defense herbs are going to keep the worst of it at bay. i feel calm and assured. i will just keep these treatments up and update if i need to break out the big guns. resting and eating right also:)

btw, these are just what work for me and my system. we are all different and these might not work for you. just thought it would be fun to actually keep a diary of a cold and what works for me:)

now for on to what i have got accomplished while fighting this cold. i managed to make a lovely beeswax and organic coconut oil salve and a salve with comfrey oil, beeswax, calendula and a bit of  lavender buds. also some cool ornaments:)


also started a little closet shelf with a grow light for my aloe and want to put in a parsley, chives, and  whatever else will fit for winter use


and last but not least. my little buddy dylan. brought up this old bouncy horse from the basement for him. he is still a bit small to get on it so put it close to the sofa with his step stool on the other side. was hoping at least this might help him get a bit of exercise rocking back and forth since we can’t play outside. he has had a bug for a week. poor buddy:(




big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)



Another great article to check out written by one of my fav herbalist,lisl:)

i love the color, smell, and flavor of turmeric and use it often in cooking. thinking i might have to find a fresh root sometime from somewhere. :)

Help Keep Bees In the News

Big thanks to Gerry at The Global Swarming Bees blog for this heads up!


Help the Honeybees Go Postal
This just in from our comrades over at "Down to Earth":

December 25, 2010 is the 200th birthday of L.L. Langstroth, the "Father of American Beekeeping." The US Postal Service Stamp Advisory Committee will be considering a Langstroth commemorative stamp at its January meeting.

Find out here how to help get a stamp to honor L.L. Langstroth and keep bees in the public awareness:)

it will only take a moment folks. just send an email to with your name and zip and your comment how you would like to see this stamp next year:)

big herbal and honey hugs and blessings to you all:)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I adore mullein! Do you? I love her shape, her flowers and her very lovely flowers. I sure got funny looks with many cars slowing down to see what I was doing the year I went to the old railroad tracks here in town and started digging up several mullein plants to transplant to my yard:) I have since had her happily seed in several spots and have had the chance to work with her for respiratory complaints and found her so very helpful. Kiva Rose has wrote just a beautiful article about mullein and has explained just how wonderful she is for many other complaints from arthritis, to incontinence. Please enjoy this beautiful article!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Plant Journeys: Hooked on Hickory

Plant Journeys: Hooked on Hickory
i am so grateful to ananda and her plant journeys! i am learning, and spreading on to the children, all she so graciously shares on her blog. i encourage all of you to become followers of plant journeys also.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

American Gothic: Leslie and Gerald Style

american gothic

Yesterday my husband Gerald and I both had a day off at the same time. He needed to go to Iowa to his buddy’s house he buys pigeon feed from. We headed out early under bright beautiful skies. After we got the feed we decided to just nose around a bit and kept driving down the highway, stopping here and there to browse antique malls and get something to eat. While cruising we happened to see one of those brown highway markers that indicate historic sites (we stop at a lot of those we see when we journey around), and this one said The American Gothic House. We take the off ramp and end up in this little, lovely town called Eldon. Wonderful town with lots of things to do there btw. Anyway, we found The American Gothic House visitor center and went in. Really super fun folks! I suppose most American’s are familiar with the painting called the American Gothic, but I never knew the story behind it or anything about the artist really. I am just going to include this link if you are curious about all the background yourself. After touring the place I was reminded just how many times this particular painting has been used as magazine covers, used to advertise products like Neuman’s organic food line and other things. This painting has really became part of our American culture!

The visitor center had costumes you could slip on and for $2 (what? that is right only 2 bucks), they would take your picture in front of the house! Now who could resist that? Not me!!! Well, enjoy my pics of my journey to this American landmark and take time to visit the link if you like, it is great!









A couple of friends said that our pic should be our Holiday Card this year, I wonder….

Herbal and Honey Blessings to all of You

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I am going to be posting pokeweed, and other herb/plant, nice links on this blog for linda and i's own plant journeys. feel free to follow this link to the herbwife's kitchen post on pokeweed if you care to! chronic joint paint and lymphatic sluggishness are two things rebecca mentions poke might be useful for in that article. her whole site rocks if you are ready to get lost a few hours:)

Free Online Tool to Help with Identification of Lots of Plants, Insects etc.

Wow, this site has alot of great information on it! It is called Discover Life
It provides free on-line tools to identify species, share ways to teach and study nature's wonders, report findings, build maps, process images, and contribute to and learn from a growing, interactive encyclopedia of life that now has 1,291,237 species pages.
I love the bee section of course:)
Their plant profile section rocks also

Allergies to Animals? Seasonal Affect Disorder?

And oh so many things may be helped with this lovely wildflower! Goldenrod! Please enjoy this wonderful article by herbalist Kiva Rose.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Washing beeswax

You are probably asking yourself, what in the world is she talking about! Well, let me tell you:) I posted about how I harvest honey in this post. In one of the last pictures I show you that there is a nice big bunch of wax left over from draining the honey. This wax is still quite tacky and sticky to the touch even after being allowed to sit for along time. I am always sooo busy with family that I actually let mine sit in the bucket for two months before I got back to it, and it still was! When the weather is good and the bees are flying, you can set this wax out for your bees and they will certainly go over it and do a good job of getting any residual honey off it they can! But if you still find it sticky or the weather is not such that the bees can help you clean it, you will need to wash it before using it for other things, like making salves. Trust me, I tried a small bit melted down, without washing it, and mixed in a bit of olive oil, as an experiment, and it just doesn’t work right! So… off to washing!


Get a big bowl or pan out and put the wax in it then add warm, not hot, water to it and swish it all around. I next use one of my honey strainers, but you could use cheesecloth or other small weave strainer, and put that strainer over another container to drain.


Now make sure and do not put either the first pans water nor this water down your drain! There will be enough of the wax in the water to slow your drains or even plug them!

You might have to do this wash/swish/drain procedure a couple of times to get your wax nice and clean but it is worth it because then you will have nice clean wax to start any of your future projects with!

My next step was to melt the wax. You will need to do this in a double boiler type of arrangement.


That picture shows freshly washed wax in the upper pot and in the bottom pot I just put a canning ring in the bottom to raise the upper pot off the heat, and then put some water in the bottom pot. Simmer gently, making sure there is enough water in the bottom pot not to got dry (you might have to add some periodically) and watching that it doesn’t go dry, nor bubble high enough to get water into your melting wax.


(Please overlook the dirty stove! Even when I clean it, I soon do some other thing that messes it right back up! You get to see the good, the bad and the ugly here!lol)

Even after washing the wax you might be surprised at the amount of debris that is still in it! The wax I did looked just gorgeous, but after it was melted, I strained it through cheesecloth and still got quite alot of debris from it! This is the set up I have. I just tie a string around a cheesecloth topped bowl to strain the melted wax.


And this is a picture of the debris!


Since I am just doing this for home use folks, I am sure there are other ways to do big batches. Since I like to leave my honey in the frame until I run out, I was just working with wax from 8 honey frames I had extracted. After it had been melted and strained I poured it into containers to set into blocks I could then use for making healing salves.




I know the top of the cooling wax looks dark in the mold pans, but that changes as it cools!

So that is washing and melting wax!

Big herbal and honey blessings to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages:)


Monday, November 2, 2009

The Essence of Herbs: Frankincense: Humanity's Ally for Millennia

The Essence of Herbs: Frankincense: Humanity's Ally for Millennia
have ibs? how about a brain tumor or other cancer? this article is very informative, interesting and well written! i am not suggesting that frankincense is any sort of cure all, i just wanted to share with you all! you rock lisl thank you for sharing

The Apron Goddesses: Special Giveaway from Aprons By Julie: Pick Your Favorite!!

The Apron Goddesses: Special Giveaway from Aprons By Julie: Pick Your Favorite!!
now i don't know about you, but i just have to wear an apron in the kitchen, and also in the garden:)

Vegan Epicurean: Folate and Colon Cancer

Vegan Epicurean: Folate and Colon Cancer
really great article!