Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ahhhh herbs! part II

If there's one thing I try to do, it's learn from my mistakes.

So let me share what I've learned about herbs.

My neighbor gave me a whole list of fun ways to use herbs:

1. Herbal teas (both hot and cold): use homemade as a key search word.

2. Herbal butter logs (use herbs and chop it up, mix it with butter and freeze it in a log shape, then cut it up as needed and use it to cook fish, veggies, etc.)

3. Herbal Ice--take some of the herbs and put them in ice trays then freeze to create a nice flavored drink.

4. Herbal vinegars for dressings--search word, homemade herbal vinegars on the internet for recipes.

5. Potpourri--dry the herbs and use it as potpourri. (Mmmmm, I like this yummy idea.)

6. Herbal soaps--make liquid hand soaps and use herbs for the fragrance.

REMEMBER: When cooking with herbs the ratio is 3 fresh to 1 dry. Most herbs are easy to grow and you can buy them at several shops, including Wal-Mart and Shopko. They are fairly inexpensive .90 - 1.80.

And I saved the BEST idea for last.

7. Herbal baths--there are a lot of great recipes for herbal baths and therapy. Just search the key words "homemade herbal baths"

Here are some recipes I lifted from:

Facial Sauna: There's nothing simpler or more effective for cleansing and purifying one's complexion. boil three cups water and add these herbs: 1 heaping tablespoon each of chamomile, lavender, fennel, lemon balm, sage, and rosemary. Simmer for 15 minutes; turn off the heat. Pour into a metal bowl.

Soothing Cleansing Herbal Soak: Hop into your bathtub for a long, soothing cleansing herbal soak, in the well-established European manner. You can prepare an herbal infusion on the stove or make up bath sachets to have ready in a pretty basket sitting beside your bathtub.

To make an infusion: pour boiling water over a handful each of rosemary leaves, mint leaves along with some thyme, lemon balm, and lavender flowers. Let steep for about 20 minutes. Add to your bath water and soak for 5 to 15 minutes.

An herbal bath helps you in two ways: first, your skin absorbs the essential oils from the herbs through the hot water, and then the steam makes the volatile herb oils vaporize in the air and release their marvelous fragrances. Some herbs stimulate your circulation, some soothe and calm you down, while others provide deep cleaning. It's the combination that provides the harmonizing effect that makes herbal baths so pleasurable.

Bath bags are easily made out of unbleached muslin, tied with twine. Using pinking shears, cut the muslin into 8-inch squares. Mix together 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers and chopped lemon balm, mint, chamomile, lavender flowers, and rosemary leaves. Place about 2 tablespoons in the center of each cloth square. Gather the muslin tightly around the herbs and tie with twine, first making a double knot and then a bow. Several minutes before getting into your bath, swish one of the herbal bath bags round in the hot bath water. It'll scent the water and the room, soothing your skin as you soak. Keep the bags in a pretty basket near your tub to have ready for the next time. They'll scent the bathroom at the same time.

Herbal Foot Bath: Soak away sore spots on your feet with a herbal foot bath. This steamy herb combination will stimulate your foot circulation, soothe your foot muscles, and soften the skin.

Combine 1/2 cup of each of the following herbs: chamomile, comfy, lavender, and rosemary. Infuse the herbs in a quart of warm water and pour into a foot basin partially filled with warm water. Wrap some of the herbs in cheesecloth to form a compress. Gently apply or massage this compress into any sore spot while soaking.

No comments: