I started my herbal studies course thinking of ways to use these precious gifts from the earth and in my mind, everything was separate from the things I do with essential oils. However, I'm discovering how fun it is to combine the two for maximum benefit. I've already created a healing salve with both oils and herbs that I'm using on my back surgery scar and everyone has commented how quickly it appears to be healing. I've also combined them in the tinctures and liniment I'm currently allowing to sit in a cool, dark corner and "brew" and now I'm working on a dream pillow. I like the idea of a small one that can be tucked neatly under my own at night. I'd put it above my head but that spot on the pillow is one of my cat's favorite sleeping spots and she wins. I'll be combining lavender, chamomile, roses and mugwort (the text says Mugwort is known as "the dreamer's herb") and putting in a few drops of High Altitude Lavender and just because I love it - a drop of Jasmine and maybe 1 drop of Vetiver to add that deep earthy grounding to the mix.
Today, I worked on creating a personal herbal tea and decided to play with the proportions of Spearmint, Chamomile, Wood Betony, Valerian, Roses, Calendula and a hint of Allspice. Although my lesson planner for the herbal studies course said I'd probably need to adjust the proportions at least once, I'm extremely satisfied with the way this turned out and will stick with it. In fact, I'm going to be offering an auction basket in February for our local classical radio station semi-annual fund raiser that includes all kinds of essential oil and herbal products and will undoubtedly include this blend. It's really yummy.
Part of the fun of embarking on a comprehensive herbal studies course is being able to add essential oils to the homework assignments. Since I knew I was having back surgery and one of my assignments was to create a salve, I made a healing salve. Even though I might tweak the recipe a little next time around, I still like the initial attempt. It looks about the color of the one in the photo. I would make it slightly softer next time so it's easier to use. This batch included Grapeseed Oil and Neem Oil for the bases. For the herbals, I chose Lavender flowers because they're soothing to the skin, Chamomile flowers for their anti-inflammatory properties, Alfalfa for metabolic stress, Marshmallow Root for pain and inflammation, Borage as an emollient and an anti-inflammatory, Comfrey for healing bones and muscles and Chaparral Leaf to guard against bacterial infection. Once simmered and melted in with the beeswax, I added essential oils of German Chamomile (anti-inflammatory), Helichrysum (wound healer) and High Altitude Lavender (skin soother and great aroma). I was forbidden to use any herbal products on the back surgery incision until the staples came out but now I've been released to use whatever I like so I started working with the salve last night. I swear the incision site looks less red today!
I made my first batch of both solid perfumes and oil-based perfumes last weekend. I used the same recipe of essential oils in order to compare the staying power of each one and the intensity of the scent. It's a fun process and doesn't take hours to do. My first blend turned out fantastic. It's called White Ginger Lily and it smells sweet and slightly spicy so it's warm and, to me, kind of addictive! My combination includes Lavender, White Ginger Lily, Rosewood, Nutmeg, Sandalwood and Black Pepper. Now the trick is labeling such a small product container ... Still working on that one. The solid perfume doesn't linger long so it needs to be reapplied often. The oil-based one is brighter and more intense upon application and lasts a little longer.
One advantage of working in hospice is that I get to play with all the therapy dogs. This is Asher, a Corgi.