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The Wilen sisters' second volume of natural food and household item folk remedies. Illustrated.
á HERBAL BATH
Besides offering a good relaxing time, the herbal bath can be extremely healing. The volatile oils of the herbs are activated by the heat of the water which also opens your pores, allowing for absorption of the herbs.
As you enjoy the bath, you're inhaling the herbs (aromatherapy), which pass through the nervous system to the brain, benefiting both mind and body.
HERBAL BATH DIRECTIONS: Simply take a handful of one or a combination of dried or fresh herbs and place them in the center of a white handkerchief.
Secure the herbs in the handkerchief by turning it into a little knapsack.
Toss the herb-filled knapsack into the tub and let the hot water fill the tub until it reaches the level you want. When the water cools enough for you to sit comfortably, do so.
After your bath, open the handkerchief and spread the herbs out to dry.
You can use them a couple times more.
Instead of using dried or fresh herbs, you can use herbal essential oils.
Oils cause the tub to be slippery. Be extra careful getting out of the tub, and be sure to clean the tub thoroughly after you've taken the bath.
á HERBAL TEA
Place a teaspoon of the herb, or the herbal tea bag, in a glass or ceramic cup and pour just-boiled water over it. (The average water-to-herb ratio is 6 to 8 ounces of water to 1 round teaspoon of herb. There are exceptions, so be sure to read the directions on the herbal tea package.)
According to the herbal tea company Lion Cross, never use water that has been boiled before. The first boiling releases oxygen and the second boiling results in "flat," lifeless tea.
Cover the cup and let the tea steep for the amount of time suggested on the package. The general rule-of-thumb is: steep about three minutes for flowers and soft leaves; about five minutes for seeds and leaves; about ten minutes for hard seeds, roots, and barks. Of course, the longer the tea steeps, the stronger it gets.
Strain the tea, or remove the tea bag. If you need to sweeten it, use raw honey (never use sugar because it is said to negate the value of most herbs), and when it's cool enough, drink it slowly.
The onion is in the same plant family as garlic and is almost as versatile. The ancient Egyptians looked at the onion as the symbol of the universe. It has been regarded as a universal healing food, used to treat earaches, colds, fever, wounds, diarrhea, insomnia, warts, and the list goes on. It is believed that a cut onion in a sickroom disinfects the air,
as it absorbs the germs in that room. Half an onion will help absorb the smell of a just-painted room. With that in mind, you may not want to use a cut piece of onion that has been in the kitchen for more than a day,
unless you wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it.
ONION JUICE: When a remedy calls for onion juice, grate an onion, put the gratings in a piece of cheesecloth, and squeeze out the juice.
Raw, peeled, boiled, grated, and mashed potatoes; potato water; and potato poultices all help heal, according to American, English, and Irish folk medicine. In fact, a popular nineteenth-century Irish saying was, "Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on: potatoes and matrimony."
The skin or peel of the potato is richer in fiber, iron, potassium,
calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and C and B vitamins than the inside of the potato. Always leave the skin on when preparing potato water, but scrub it well.
Do not use potatoes that have a green tinge. The greenish coloring is a warning that there may be a high concentration of solanine, a toxic alkaloid that can affect nerve impulses and cause vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. The same goes for potatoes that have started to sprout. They're a no-no.
POTATO WATER: Scrub 2 medium-size potatoes (use organic whenever possible)
and cut them in half. Put the
4 halves in a pot with 4 cups of water (filtered, spring, or distilled, if possible) and bring to a boil. Lower the flame a little and let it cook for thirty minutes. Take out the potatoes (eating them is optional) and save the water. Most remedies say to drink 2 cups of potato water.
Refrigerate the leftover water for next time.