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Definitive Instructions, for herbal remedies


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This is posted in the Mrs Survival,s Survival Manual, but I felt it should be here also.


Making herbal remedies is easy and the tools you need are found in your kitchen. Use stainless steel, glass, pottery, or cast-iron utensils - do NOT use aluminum. Wash, rinse, and dry all utensils before creating your herbal remedies. Once created, your herbal remedy should be stored in jars or bottles. Dark glass jars are used for long term storage such as tinctures and oils because it helps them retain their effectiveness. Clear glass jars are preferable for short-term storage unless the herb specifies otherwise. Label your herbal remedies immediately with a permanent marker.

This information is for general use. You should always check for precautions and warnings before using any herbal remedies internally or externally. Do your research before using them to assure safety.


Herbal Tea: Teas are basically infusions, but for internal use and often made in smaller amounts. Please check for the specific amount that should be used daily. Basic instructions for a cup of tea: Heat water on stove to just below boiling. Pour the hot water directly over 1 teaspoon of herb and steep for 8 to10 minutes, then strain. If using a bag or filter, it helps to swish the bag around while it steeps.

The dosage varies with the remedy, about a cup 3 or 4 times a day is reasonable.

Small children need milder teas.


Herbal Infusions: An infusion is a tea made from fresh or dried leaves, flowers, or soft stems of herbs. Infusions are used internally or externally. To make an infusion, prepare 1 ounce dried or 3 ounces of fresh herb in a pan or bowl or teapot. On the stove, heat a pan of water just to the boiling point. Measure 2 and 1/4 cups of water and pour over herbs. Cover and let steep for 10 to 12 minutes. Strain liquid to remove herb. You may take up to three 6-ounce doses daily, hot or cold. Add honey or sugar if desired. Store unused infusion in the refrigerator for up to two days. Label and date your infusion.


Herbal Decoctions: A decoction is a tea made from fresh or dried bark, berries, seeds, or roots of herbs. Decoctions are used internally or externally for varying purposes. Carefully clean your herb products. Bark or berries should be crushed. Roots should be cleaned, scraped, then chopped or grated. To make a decoction, combine 1 oz. dried herb or 2 oz. fresh herb with 3 cups cold water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 20 to 40 minutes, or until volume is reduced by about 1/3. Strain through a jelly bag, squeezing tightly. Take up to three 6-ounce doses daily, hot or cold. Add honey or sugar if desired. Store unused decoction in the refrigerator for up to two days. Make sure you label and date your decoction.


Herbal Syrups: A syrup is a double-strength infusion or decoction of fresh or dried herbs, sweetened with honey or sugar, then cooked to a syrupy consistency. A syrup is to be taken internally, usually for coughs. To make a syrup, follow the directions for an infusion or decoction, using 1/2 the water. Then, place in a clean saucepan, combine 1 cup of the strained liquid with 1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens. Cool, then pour into sterilized, jars dark glass is preferred.. Seal tightly, label, and date. Store in refrigerator up to three months. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons no more than three times a day.


Herbal Tinctures: A tincture is a solution made by steeping any part of an herb in a mixture of alcohol and water. Tinctures are used internally or externally for varying purposes. Quantities vary for each herb, but a general guideline is to use 4 oz. dried or 12 oz. fresh herbs with 2 cups of 75-proof vodka (min). To make a tincture, place herbs, vodka, and water in a glass jar, cap tightly, and store for three weeks, shaking vigorously every other day. Strain and pour into sterilized, glass jar. (amber if you have it). Cap tightly, label, and date, store. Take up to 3 1/2-teaspoon doses daily. You can dilute the tincture with a little warm water if desired.


Herbal Oils: An oil is an extraction of herbs in a olive oil. Oils are used externally as massage oils, creams, and ointments. Herbal oils made from flowers are usually cold infused, while those from leaves are best prepared by hot infusion. To make a cold-infused oil, pack a quart glass jar with the fresh or dried herb and cover with the oil. Cap tightly and place in a warm, sunny place for two weeks, shaking each day. Strain through a jelly bag or other clean cloth, squeezing hard, then repeat with more herbs. After two weeks, strain again and pour into sterilized, dark glass bottles or jars. Cap tightly, label, and date. Store for up to a year. To make a hot-infused oil, combine 8 ounces dried herbs with 2 cups oil in the top of a double boiler. Set over simmering water and heat gently for three hours, taking care not to let the lower pan boil dry. Cool. Strain through a jelly bag, squeezing hard. Pour into sterilized, dark glass bottles or jars. Cap tightly, label, and date. Store in a dark, cool place for up to one year.

Other oils that may be used but do not last as long are, vegetable oil, such as safflower …..or sunflower.




Herbal Ointments: An ointment is an extraction of fresh or dried herbs in white petroleum jelly. Ointments are used externally for bruises or skin conditions. To make an ointment, slowly heat 1 cup of petroleum jelly in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. When melted, stir in 1 oz. of dried or 3 ounces of fresh herbs. Heat gently for two hours, taking care not to let the water boil dry. Working quickly, strain through a jelly bag, pressing against the bag with a wooden spoon. Pour the strained mixture into sterilized, dark glass jars. Cap tightly, label and date. Refrigerate or store in dark, cool place for up to four months.


Herbal Poultices: A poultice uses fresh or dried herbs that are applied directly to the affected external part of the body. To make a poultice, pour boiling water over crushed or chopped herbs. When just cool enough to handle, remove herbs from liquid, squeezing out excess water. Spread herbs on the affected area and wrap with gauze to hold the poultice in place.


Herbal Compresses: A compress is a cloth soaked in an herbal infusion or decoction, then applied to the affected body part. Soak a clean piece of soft cotton fabric, such as muslin, in the herbal liquid. Squeeze out the excess, fold into a pad, and place on the effected area, repeating until relief is felt. The liquid can also be made by mixing 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of tincture in 2 cups hot or cold water. Warm compresses are often used, but cold compresses are best for headaches, black eyes or bruising. Injuries with initial swelling should use cold compresses the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury, then warm compresses produce the most effectiveness.



1 ½ oz. Sweet Almond Oil

½ oz. Cocoa Butter

½ oz. Vegetable Glycerin

3 Tbsp. Emulsifying Wax

8 oz. Distilled Water (room temperature)

30 - 50 drops Essential Oils

In a heat-safe measuring cup combine the sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, vegetable glycerin, and emulsifying wax. Melt everything together in the microwave (about 1 - 2 minutes) or by the "double-boiler" method (nest the measuring cup into a saucepan containing 1 to 2 inches of water. Heat over medium heat until melted, stirring occasionally).

Measure out water into a blender. Turn the blender on low and very slowly and steadily pour in the melted oil mixture. You should now have a thick, beautiful cream.

Add the essential oils last, turning on the blender just enough to incorporate the oils and being careful not to over-blend the mixture. Pour into the jars while still warm, as it will thicken as it cools. Cap jars when completely cooled.

Store any extra cream in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

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  • 7 months later...

Hi Lois,

Have you made this cream recipe? I don't mean to butt in, but I really wouldn't recommend most of those ingredients.


SAO (sweet almond oil) has a very short shelf life. Cocoa butter is good (protective and water repellent), but is does clog the pores, so you wouldn't want to use it on your face. Glyercin is quite sticky and gives cream that "drag" most folks don't like. Emulsifying wax is okay, but it's not organic, so you might consider using lecithin, but that's not crucial if organic isn't an issue for you. Another emulisfying combo is beeswax and borax. The first beeswax/borax emulsion is attributed to a Roman physician name Galen (130 - 200 AD). Without preservatives, adding water to any cream is asking for "cooties" and "bugs" to grow, even if you can't see anything growing (like mold). Water is susceptible to bacterial, fungal and yeast growth and must have an anti-microbial agent added to it. You could use grapefruit seed extract, alcohol (more than 15% ethyl alcohol is self preserving ) -- also Vit E and Rosemary oil extract help to extend the life of the oils/butters.


Here is a super, super easy formula without water, using cocoa butter and SAO, so no preservatives are required. You could add a bit of Vit E, if desired, to extend its shelf life.


Easy Hand Cream

If you're looking for a fabulous gift or just a treat for yourself, try making your own hand cream! It smells wonderful, it's all natural (all the ingredients you'll need are available at your local grocery or drug store), and it's easy to make -- it only takes a few minutes.


Here's how:

1. Over medium-low heat, melt 4 tbsp. cocoa butter (coconut oil could be subbed) with 4 tbsp. beeswax.

2. Stir in 4 tbsp. warmed almond oil (jojoba or grapeseed could be subbed). This mixture will thicken quickly.

3. Stir until lump free, then pour into a pretty dish. Cream will solidify as it cools. (You may add Vit E and essential oils at this point -- never when hot, only as it's cooling.)


Here are some suggested oils to try: apricot kernel oil (great for sensitive and older skin); avocado oil (one of the most moisturizing oils and good for older skin); cocoa butter (protective and water repellent); grapeseed oil (a dry oil, good so the cream isn't too greasy); jojoba (actually a liquid wax and good to use so the cream isn't too greasy); peanut oil (good for all skin types); sesame oil (natural sunscreen); Shea butter (natural sunscreen); and wheat germ oil (high in vitamins and minerals).


Also, it's actually better to work in percentages, as it's easier to increase/decrease quantities. It's also more accurate when formulating. Here's an easy calculator to convert to percentages:



Hope this helps. smile


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