1. Crush jewelweed in the jar and cover with vinegar.
2. Let steep for several days.
3. Strain out the jewelweed and mix essential oils into the vinegar.
4. Before applying all over, spray a small amount on the inside of your arm and monitor for 15 minutes for any allergic reaction.
5. To use, spray thoroughly on clothing and lightly on any exposed skin except your lace. Reapply every Vi hour or so. (To keep
CHASE Aw AM Peers
You can grow your own pest repellent and save a bundle on commercial sprays with a small patch of pennyroyal (either Mentha pulegium or Hedeoma pulegioides). Plant this pest-repelling herb near your garden or back door. When you head out to do gardening or yard work, grab a handful of leaves, crush them, and rub them on your skin. The oil from the foliage will leave a pleasant minty fragrance on your skin while keeping away flies, mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, and chiggers. It really does work at keeping pests at bay; in fact, many commercial repellents contain pennyroyal oil. if insects away from your face, spray your hat or bandanna.)
Yield: About I quart of invincible spray
Note: This formula will keep indefinitely.
Caution: If you are pregnant, don't use pennyroyal, even topically, as it may increase the risk of miscarriage.
Here's a potpourri of quick herbal fixes for minor health woes ranging from allergies to toothaches. Keep in mind that if you have any injury that's potentially serious, you should seek professional medical assistance.
Allergy attack. Sneezing while you're out walking? "No problem," says Minnesota herbalist Matthew Wood, author of The Book of Herbal Wisdom. "Look for some ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and nibble on the leaf. This can clear up your symptoms, but if it doesn't work instantly, it's not going to help. Ragweed causes allergies because its pollen grains lodge in the nasal passages and irritate the tissues. The leaves are safe. This shows that the plant can cure what it causes!"
Bee sting. Crab a plantain leaf (Plantago major), chew it up, and smack it on the skin. It offers quick relief that even little kids can use. In fact, herbalist Margi Flint of Earthsong Herbals in Marblehead, Massachusetts, reports that when a visiting friend who is extremely allergic to bee stings was stung, "I gave her a plantain leaf to chew on while I dialed 9-1 -1. Before the emergency crew arrived, her symptoms had disappeared. Now she carries plantain with her wherever she goes!" (Note: If you're allergic to bee stings, don't rely on plantain alone to relieve your reaction. Get medical help to be sure you recover safely.)
Bleeding. Apply fresh yarrow flowers or leaves to the wound. Periwinkle leaves (Vinca major) are also great styptics—just crush the leaf and press it into the wound (or in your nose for a nosebleed.) To help fend off infection, try chewing on some echinacea root (Echinacea angustifolia) or take a dose of echinacea tincture. Herbalist Laurieann Quiry of New Lebanon, New York, says, "Echinacea has powerful antiseptic and antibacterial qualities."
Boils. Use a rolling pin to bruise a cabbage leaf. Tie the cabbage leaf around the boil with a bandage. Change every 30 minutes.
Coughs and colds. "Here's an old-fashioned remedy," says herbalist Tina James of Reisterstown, Maryland. Grate an onion and place it in a heat-proof container with 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves. Add 2 cups of boiling water, cover, and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain into a teacup, add lemon and honey, and drink.
Earache. "Chop plantain leaves finely and squeeze out the juice through gauze, or bruise some plantain leaves in your hands until you extract a few drops of juice," advises medical herbalist Claudia Wingo. "Then put a couple of drops in your ear." If you suspect that your eardrum has been perforated, do not use herbal ear drops.
Gas pains. Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle and brew them into a tea. Fennel seed tea also gives quick yet gentle relief to colicky babies. Caution: Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to fennel.
Headache. Simply chew on a leaf of feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium); some migraine sufferers eat a single feverfew leaf each day to ward off these severe headaches. Feverfew-flower or lavender-flower tea is also effective. (Caution: If you are pregnant, consult with a physician before using any formula that contains feverfew.) Also try rubbing lavender essential oil into the painful areas. (Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be used directly on the skin.)
Sticker in your finger. Plantain comes to the rescue again. Chew on the leaf and place it on the problem. Tie it in place with a piece of grass or vine, if needed. Replace the leaf every 30 minutes. Within a few hours, you should be able to squeeze the splinter out.
Stomachache. Chew on some mint leaves or make a cup of mint tea. Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) tea is also excellent for relieving nausea and motion sickness.
Sunburn. Ouch! Aloe vera soothes the burn. If your aloe vera plant is too small to provide enough to swab all of the affected skin, use purchased aloe vera gel or take the plantain poison ivy bath described on page 257. Or simply add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to
the tub. St.-John's-wort oil applied directly to the skin also gives quick relief for sunburn pain. Avoid additional sun exposure after applying St.-John's-wort oil, as it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
Sun-weary. If too much time in the garden leaves you feeling hot and dry, "Look around for some purslane (Portulaca oleracea)," advises Richo Cech of Horizon Herbs in Williams, Oregon. "Munch on the vitamin-rich leaves to rehydrate and re-mineralize your body. You can also chew some of the leaves and lay them over your eyes for quick cooling relief."
Toothache. Essential oil of cloves is an age-old remedy for numbing tooth pain. Put a dab of the oil on a cotton swab and dot the painful area, avoiding the lips and tongue.
Plantain leaf is also great for a toothache. Chew up the leaf and wad it around the painful tooth, yv x g m it«?!
* k tight Allergies with -Herbs
Are pollen allergies keeping you out of the garden? "When allergy season arrives, we have people standing in line at the shop for this remedy," says Claudia Wingo, a registered nurse and medical herbalist who practices at the Smile Herb Shop in College Park, Maryland. "Start taking this herbal tincture about two weeks before the pollen gets thick," Claudia advises. A "The results are truly miraculous."
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