Category Archives: Herbal Infusions

Herbal Infusions made from dried or fresh herbs and boiling water

Easiest Way to Prepare Kava Kava Root

Kava Kava preparation can be a little scary for some people.   Traditionally in the Pacific Islands, Kava Kava was chewed then spat into a water mixture and left to set for awhile.  Obviously, not too many of us really want to go with the traditional method.

Kava Kava Dried Root

I have tried many different ways with both powder form and dried root.  This is what I have found from my own experiences in preparing Kava Kava root:

Kava Kava dried root powder is the form most easily prepared in a blender and only needs to be strained once or twice, depending on if you like the frothy foam that is produced.  Some say there are more Kavalactones in the froth.

Dried root powder is excellent for large batches of Kava Kava brews and smoothies requiring a four or five more ingredients.  However, if you are in a hurry and do not let your brew “soak” in all the ingredients, you mixture will not be very potent.  I personally feel the root powder form of Kava Kava is not has potent, has the Kava Kava dried root form.

Kava Kava root dried and cut is the form I prefer.  I feel the potency is stronger and the taste is more earthy.

When I first tried Kava Kava, I steeped the dried root in a tea infuser just like this one                                         25-oz-glass-tea-pot-infuser-with-stainless-steel-basket

with boiling hot water from my tea kettle.  I then mixed in milk and chocolate syrup.  I was quite happy with the results, however, most Kava Kava sites say that water too hot, will kill the Kavalactones quality in the herb.  There are mixed opinions out there.  You will have to experiment and decide for yourself.

After doing that research, I feared I may be destroying some of the medicinal qualities in the traditional “tea” preparation.

My next try involved letting the dried and cut Kava Kava root sit in a mason jar full of milk.  I had wrapped the Kava Kava in cheesecloth, let it sit in the milk, for a few hours.

I then strained and kneaded the root bag several times, as instructed on the web.  Many sites stress the kneading of the Kava Kava is the most important step because repeated kneading of the root powder is what produces a greater potency effect.

I found this method to be time consuming, messing and did not really produce a brew,  more potent than the other mentioned methods.

Note:  I first used milk, even though many Kava Kava sites stress you must purchase soy lecithin, which is said to heighten the Kava Kava qualities.

Soy lecithin is not easily accessible in my area here in Missouri.  Since soy lecithin was not very accessible for me, I decided to try a brew, using soy milk,  in the vanilla flavor.

It is cheap and contains soy lecithin.

So here is the EASIEST and most EFFECTIVE way of preparing Kava Kava Dried Root:

In a large mason jar with a tight fitting lid,  I put two heaping spoonfuls of dried and cut Kava Kava Root and filled the jar with the soy milk.

I let the jar sit in the refrigerator till the next evening.  I strained the mixture once, through a tight meshed strainer, added some cocoa and chocolate syrup.

The results were amazing!  The mixture had a nice smooth texture, the cocoa and chocolate mixed well, and helped tone down the strong flavor of Kava Kava.  kavachocolatemilk

The easiest, cheapest and simplest way, in my opinion, to prepare Kava Kava root and receive all the qualities and benefits intended, is to simply:

let it sit at least 24 hours in a soy based product.

If you want to add natural flavors to the mixture, such as lemon balm leaves,  peppermint leaves or my personal favorites, chocolate, cinnamon and ginger, just add these to your over night mixture. All of the wonderful herbs will mesh together.

Strain the mixture through a tight meshed strainer, cheese cloth, whatever your have into a blender.  Blend with ice for a wonderful cold, frothy shake or heat up slightly (I recommend on the stove, but if you are not concerned with a microwaves possibly of hindering the mixtures qualities, heat for no more than 30 seconds in the microwave) for a warm, cozy evening beverage.

Use one (1) ounce = 2 tablespoons of root powder or dried root per person.

Kava Kava is a wonderful herb from Mother Nature.  Calming and cozy, awesome for sleeplessness and anxiety, Kava Kava is also a great alternative to alcohol and those suffering from alcohol withdrawal. Although there are mixed opinions on the web concerning this topic, I personally feel it is a wonderful aid for those in detox of alcohol and opiates, based on my research.

I hope you give Kava Kava a try.  Decide for yourself. You can find more easy recipes that I have tried here.   If it is not for you, there are hundreds of wonderful herbs out there for energy, relaxation, anxiety, depression.  Natural remedies are designed by nature, so they have a natural balance and no harsh effects as pharmaceutical remedies tend to have.

LIVE – LOVE – LAUGH – MEDITATE!

Dogs, Skin Irritations and Herbal Remedies

Can Herbal Remedies Help a Dog’s Itchy Skin Irritations?

My dog has had a skin irritation for some time. After many vet visits, mange tests and rounds of antibiotics, the condition always returns. When discussing this with my vet of many years, he stated it was a sort of yeast infection.

I had become so frustrated with the constant scaly skin and itching, I was willing to try almost anything. When the vet had mentioned “yeast” I thought of women with yeast infections. I went out and bought a tube of Walmart’s brand of Monistat. Low and behold it worked! It cleared up quite a bit of my German Shepherds itchy, scaly patches.

However, I have found that unless a ritual of yeast infection medications, antibiotics and two baths a week are not adhered to, the itchy, scaly patches return.

Lavender and Rosemary essentials oils infusions help to keep the itching and scaly skin down to a minimum. I dab just a little on a fine tooth comb. Brush it through my dogs hair and remove any scales. If there is a particularly rough patch, I will gently rub it in.  For easy recipes go to Herbal Recipes and Remedies.

After reading a few documents from reputable doctors and universities, they tend to mention a holistic approach of Echinacea herb. This herb has a wonderful reputation for combating respiratory infections and skin conditions.  This is one of the medicinal herbs that is a must have in your pantry.

I am curious if anyone else has had the skin irritation problems with their canines and what holistic approaches they used and if they worked.

Please send your story and natural recipes that have worked for you and your dog.

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Alzheimer’s Disease and Medicinal Herbs

Can Certain Herbs Stave Off Alzheimer’s Disease?

All the evidence points to YES!

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – A study in an animal model at Saint Louis University found, enhanced extracts made from special antioxidants in Spearmint and Rosemary improve learning and memory.older-woman-drinking-tea-alzheimers

“We found that these proprietary compounds reduce deficits caused by mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Farr presented the early findings at Neuroscience 2013, a meeting of 32,000 on Monday, Nov. 11. She tested a novel antioxidant-based ingredient made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline. She found that the higher dose compound was the most powerful in improving memory and learning in three tested behaviors. The lower dose rosemary extract improved memory in two of the behavioral tests, as did the compound made from spearmint extract.  

Further, there were signs of reduced oxidative stress, which is considered a hallmark of age-related decline, in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.

“Our research suggests these extracts made from herbs might have beneficial effects in altering the course of age-associated cognitive decline,” Farr said. ”

Five Powerful Natural Herbs for Memory:

Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Gotu Kola, Rhodiola, Rosemary

 

Honeysuckle Jelly – Homemade, Easy, Good for You.

Most of us here in Missouri have honeysuckle growing around us.  Why not use this great natural plant for some easy, yummy jelly?

Honeysuckle has medicinal benefits also.  Great for coughs and sore throats.  A natural inhibitor of germs.  You can use the leaves as a relief ointment for poison ivy.  Here is a recipe for easy Honeysuckle Jelly.  Taste like honey, so good.

Missouri Honeysuckle Jelly Recipe

Yields 4-5
Infusion Time 24 hours
Cook time 4 minutes
Total time 24 hours, 4 minutes
Medicinal Qualities Vegetarian
Therapeutic Uses Appetizer, Bread, Breakfast, Condiment, Dessert, Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
This homemade honeysuckle jelly is awesome for toast, bagels, crackers, fruit and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Honeysuckle Blossoms (Pull of end green part if attached when picking blossoms - bitter)
  • 4 cups Boiling Water
  • 1 box Pectin (I used the box type)
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice (You can substitue Lemonade if you don't have lemons)
  • 4-5 cups Sugar (Depending on taste 5 cups makes jelly very sweet)

Directions

Step 1
Pick four (4) cups of Honeysuckle Blossoms, pulling off end green if attached and rinse gently
Step 2
In a large bowl, pour four (4) cups of boiling water over the blossoms
Step 3
Set covered blossoms in refrigerator overnight. You can keep blossoms refrigerated up to three (3) days.
Step 4
Strain juice from blossoms into saucepan with tight mesh strainer or cheesecloth - Do not worry about color of juice if brown or green.
Step 5
Add box/package of pectin and lemon juice and bring to hard boil for two (2) minutes
Pectin
Step 6
Now add five (5) cups of sugar and stir gently while bring to boil again for two (2) more minutes
Herbs Simmering
Step 7
Siphon off foam from mixture with spoon or small mesh strainer. Do not worry about the color, this will change.
Step 8
Pour mixture into clean glass jars with tight fitting lids
Step 9
Soak jars in a warm bath - Saucepan with warm water will do.
Step 10 Refrigerate jars and allow a few hours for mixture to gel.
Step 11 Enjoy on toast, bagels, crackers, fruit. Give away has gifts.

Natural Remedy for Ticks, Fleas and Chiggers

Here in the rural Midwest Missouri, we have an abundance of wildlife, rivers, streams and grassy meadows. Along with all of this beauty and wildlife, comes a major nemesis; ticks. This year they seem to be out in full force. I have two dogs and a cat. I live on an acre of land surrounded by forest, deers and rivers. Ticks and chiggers are apart of life here.lime-disease-tick-400x400

As the warm weather finally set in here in Missouri, the dogs were bringing in these unwanted guest into my home. I need to find a remedy to keep these little parasites off of my animals, out of my home and of course, and most importantly, off of me! Although there are many products on the market for repelling these little vampires, I do not have the income to buy these products on a constant basis and prefer not to have DEET soak in my skin or my animals. We are subject to way to many chemicals in everyday products as it is. To soak myself and my animals in these chemicals all summer is not appealing.

After doing extensive research, I put together an infusion. I tested it for a couple days on myself and my animals. We went walking throughout my property. I was happy to find no ticks crawling on myself or my dogs, upon our return to the house or later on that evening. The next day, my grandchildren came for a visit. It was a beautiful day and we wanted to go foraging for flowers to make a pretty craft. I spray the formula on their clothes and shoes and I also sprayed the dogs. One of my dogs was not happy with the sound of the spraying and took off. After a couple of hours of hiking through the woods and tall grass meadows, my grandchild, the dogs and I returned home. Of course, the very first thing I did was check the children, head to toe for any sign of ticks and other yucky insects. Then I checked the dogs. Much to my delight, we were all parasite free! The only one who had one tick in his ear, was the one dog that ran off before I could spray him thoroughly. The formula consists of:

lemoneuclypptusstrees

    Eucalyptus Citronella:

This plant has been used for centuries to repel insects. First recorded in ancient Greek, Roman and Indian scholar writings, the plant was burned as a crude method to deter biting insects, later on an oil from the plant was derived. The Eucalyptus plant is very much utilized today, in developing countries, where in the poorest communities, this is their only means of protection. Bruised hanging plants are hung around and outside of the home.

lavender Lavender Essential Oil:
Lavender plants have also been used for centuries as an anti plaque remedy to repel disease carrying fleas. Such a wonderful diversified plant used in cosmetics, cooking, teas, bath salts. The aromatic smell that we humans find so very attractive, has the opposite effect on insects. In particular mosquitoes, fleas and flies. I make sure to always have lavender plants on my porch during the summer to repel those flying pests that can invade and otherwise peaceful sit contemplating nature and life.

valerianValerian Extract: The Valerian extract I had made myself prior, to this flea and tick repellent adventure, to add to my night time teas, for times when I was either in pain for some reason or just really needed to fall asleep quickly. Also, because of research I have found regarding soothing properties it may contain for skin irritations. Valerian is an excellent. According to a Missouri Conservation report, citronella oils, eucalyptus oils and catnip oils are very effective against repelling chiggers. So in light of that, I added this extract to my formula, because we all know, once you get infected with chiggers, there really is no cure other than to soothe the itching and wait it out.

grapeseed Grape Seed Oil: I choose grape seed oil for it medicinal healing properties with regards to skin and hair. I have an old dog, that has outbreaks of dry, itchy skin. Since I would be putting this infusion on him everyday and myself,  throughout the summer; why not add benefits to his skin and coat,  as well as my own.

 

One ounce of the natural remedy infusion mixed in about 25 oz of water is all you need.  You do not want to apply infusion undiluted!  This is very important.  This infusion is not to be taken internally. It is for external use only.

If you pet gets too upset using a spray bottle, you can pour some of the diluted infusion in your hands and massage all around their shoulder blades, neck, ears, feet and armpits.  You want to especially get the infusion in crevices, such as armpits, back and shoulder blades, where ticks like to hide and bite. Remember to wash your hands after applying in this way. This infusion is also safe to spray on clothes and shoes for human protection against ticks, chiggers and fleas. May also aid in keeping mosquitoes from biting.  I do not recommend applying directly to your own skin.  It may cause irritation in some people.

This herbal remedy is available in 1 ounce size. Instructions for mixing and application will come with your purchase.  A 20-32 oz spray bottle and water is all that is needed, which is not included in purchase.

Larger quantities can be made to order upon request.

I believe in this infusion and it has proven to work on my large German shepherd and my son’s medium size mixed dog. I have also sprayed my dogs bedding area with the formula. So far, we are tick, flea and chigger free!  If you would like to order go to click on this picture

Natural Flea and Tick Remedy
Natural Flea and Tick Remedy