28
Oct

Making Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

making herbal infusions

There are a variety of ways that we can tap into the ancient practices of using natural remedies to heal and stay healthy. Some of the techniques involved in leveraging herbal remedies include compresses, decoction, ointments, infusions, poultices, syrups, tinctures, and tonics. This article will discuss two in particular and perhaps the easiest ways to use herbal remedies…infusions and decoctions.

Quite simply and infusion is a hot or cold drink made from the leaves and flowers of herbs. A decoction is a hot or cold drink made by boiling the roots, bark, or seeds of herbs. Both methods have a variety of medicinal uses such as the alleviation of common cold symptoms, relief from headaches, and much more. Even if you think you are far from calling yourself any kind of herbalist you can get started with infusions and decoction pretty easily, with a little knowledge of what the different herbs can do for you.

Making Herbal Infusions

Infusions can be made by steeping fresh herbs, the leaves and/or flowers, in hot water. They are so beneficial because they bring out the vitamins, enzymes, and aromatic oils in the herbs. Two popular choices for infusions are peppermint leaves and chamomile flowers. After steeping you strain the herbs out and add some honey to sweeten and make your infusion more palatable. You can store any unused portion in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Herbal Nightcap Infusion

1T dried chamomile
1T dried lemon balm
1T dried linden flowers

Infuse in a cup of hot water for 5-10 minutes, strain, and enjoy the sedative effects of these calming herbs.

Making Herbal Decoctions

Decoctions make use of herbs that are a bit tougher to utilize. You boil the roots, twigs, dried berries, bark, or seeds of the herbs and soften the woody parts so that the minerals and alkaloids from within can be accessed. In a decoction you might boil ginger or ginseng root, cinnamon bark, or fennel seeds. You can store any unused portion in a glass mason jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Respiratory Rescue Decoction

2-3 sticks of cinnamon (broken into pieces)
1 inch of ginger root (peeled and sliced)
1 T honey

Simmer the cinnamon and ginger in a pint of water for 15 minutes. Strain, add honey, and drink every day when experiencing a cold or other respiratory issues.

Beneficial Herbs for Infusions and Decoctions

  • Nettle
  • Clove
  • Ginseng
  • Feverfew
  • Burdock
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Elderflower
  • Comfrey Leaf
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Skullcap

Enjoy!

Making Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

27
Oct

Christmas Ornaments for Crossfitters

by Tiffany in Fitness

It’s getting to be that time of year… the holidays are around the corner and it is time to decorate our Christmas trees or at least think about decorating them. Many people choose a theme or color scheme and others just like to use a variety of ornaments that have personal significance to them. Either way CrossFitters and athletes in general (runners, yoginis) would probably get a kick out of Christmas ornaments that highlight their passion for their sport. I know I LOVE the idea of CrossFit ornaments. In searching I didn’t find that many good options though, so I am thinking I may get crafty and make some. Here are some of the ones I found via Google search though. Enjoy!

Weighlifter Female Brunette Ornament Gift (They have a blonds and men too!)

Bacon Ornament

Heart, Sweat and Dumbbells Gym Workout Christmas Ornaments

Bodybuilding Humor Work Sucks Im Going To The Gym Christmas Ornament
Bodybuilding Humor Work Sucks Im Going To The Gym Christmas Ornament
Bodybuilding Lady Lifter Ladies Bodybuilder Sport Ornaments
Bodybuilding Lady Lifter Ladies Bodybuilder Sport Ornaments

Just Lift Weight Plate Ornament Round Health Round Ornament by CafePress

Weight Plate Ornament

26
Oct

5 Reasons to Love Fennel Essential Oil

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

top benefits of Fennel Essential OilI adore the smell of fennel. The taste is pretty good too but the aroma cannot be beat, especially for aromatic and aromatherapeutic reasons. I love fennel because it goes with a healthy digestive system like peas go with carrots. It is a key ingredient in one of my favorite essential oil blends…Digize, also known as my go-to for Wheat Belly. Fennel oil is all around helpful. Here are five reasons why I have come to love this oil.

Pleasant Periods – Okay I almost labeled this “perfect periods” but then thought better of it…periods and perfect do not belong together in one sentence. In general a woman does not enjoy menstruation, but fennel oil can make it more pleasant at least. If you are irregular, fennel oil might be able to help.

Pleasant Periods Compress

2 drops basil
2 drops fennel
2 drops melissa

Pleasant Periods Massage Oil

4 drops cypress
4 drops clary sage
2 drops fennel
2 T sweet almond oil or avocado oil


 

Goes with the Flow – If you are a nursing mom, fennel can help increase milk supply. You can cook it in meals, eat the seeds, and use fennel oil.

Nursing Mama Breast Massage Oil

5 drops fennel
2 T sweet almond oil or avocado oil


 

Digestive Ease – This wonderful oil soothes and regulates digestion.

Soothing Gut Compress

3 drops fennel
1 drop peppermint
6 drops rosemary
2 T sweet almond oil or avocado oil


 

Healthy Feet – If you want to improve circulation and blood flow to the feet or ease discomfort after a long hard day…fennel might just be what you need.

Happy Feet

5 drops cypress
5 drops fennel
1 T avocado oil


 

Cleanses and Releases – Fennel is great for lymphatic support. I myself need this support because I am missing most of my lower lymph nodes  (cancer). It is so easy for my feet, ankles, and legs to swell and retain water. But fennel gives my remaining lymph nodes the support they need to do their uphill battle.

Lymphatic Massage

6 drops fennel
3 clary sage
2 geranium
2 drops rosemary
2 T avocado oil or sweet almond

Try any of the above and you may come to love fennel oil too!

Start Your Oily Journey

23
Oct

Frugal Friday – Thrift Stores

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Happy frugal friday all!

My frugal wins for the week include:

  • Finding compost buckets at the thrift store. I paid $1.91 each and now we can stop using our mixing bowls. Yay!

compost buckets

  • I found the clothing for my daughter’s Halloween costume at the thrift store for $4.00, then I just had to buy a small bit of makeup and some masking tape. Fairly easy and very cheap costume. She is going as a creepy marionette, if you wanted to know.
  • Picked up like-new winter boots for my youngest son at the same thrift store for $3.00
  • Bought an Aldi meal plan and made/froze 20 meals for about $160. This is a huge time saver too.

Frugal Fails:

  • Poor planning resulted an evening of eating out with the kiddos one night this week. This in itself is not so bad except that the eating out budget was being reserved for the weekend, when hubby would be around to enjoy with us. Funny thing though…the very next day a gift card to a restaurant showed up in my mailbox. It was a generous gift from a company I recently blogged about.

Have a great weekend all!

21
Oct

Raising Eco Friendly Kids

by Tiffany in Children

Raising Eco Friendly Kids

Society today is becoming apathetic to the world around us. Many children in particular are more concerned with playing the latest video game and don’t really pay much attention to the environment around them. They have nature deficit disorder and it can be hard to get them to show an interest in the natural world, but you can get them to care if you start early and take small steps. You may not make a difference overnight, but you may just make a difference in the future of the planet. Don’t let your  kids become adults who care more about making money, acquiring “things”, entertaining themselves, and in general keeping up with the Jones’s. Raise kids who care about this planet we share.

The first step in raising your children to be eco friendly is to be eco friendly yourself. You need to walk the walk. You can tell your children to respect the environment all you want, but you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t practice what you preach. Follow the practices of refusing, reducing, reusing, and recycling. Use natural and environmentally friendly products, especially reusables. Get involved with local organizations that help protect the environment and preserve patches of nature in your neck of the woods.

Once you’re involved in eco friendly practices, start getting your kids to help as soon as you can. You can start out with easy steps like having them put their own recyclables into the bin, or even have them ride along with you when you take your bin to the recycling center. You can have them help you fill your glass mason jars at the bulk bin station of the grocery store. You can have them help you build a compost pile and be responsible for taking out kitchen scraps every day. Encourage them to watch movies with environmental themes:

Ferngully
Ice Age – The Meltdown
The Lorax
Epic

Read them books that have these themes as well.

earthways bookThe people who do the most to help the environment are the ones who know the most about it. That’s why it’s important to start your child learning about the world around them early. While you should do your best to teach them on your own, you can also get some help from the experts. Many zoos, science museums,  and nature centers offer educational classes for children as young as three years old. These can be a valuable resource in helping small children start to learn about the environment and to expand their knowledge as they get older. Take them to a class about local herbs, beekeeping, gardening, and organic cooking.

Get your child involved in volunteering. If you work or volunteer for an environmental activist group, get your children involved as soon as they are old enough. Many areas offer volunteer organizations for teens and young adults. The first place to look is with the places where you found classes for young children. The most important part is that your child gets involved on a larger scale than just within your family. This also helps them meet other people their age and make friends with those who also care about environmental issues. It helps them to see you aren’t some crazy person…others care about these issues too!

While children will inevitably be resistant to volunteering and doing extra work or chores at some point or another, they will still gain an appreciation for their environment that will last their whole lives. Who knows….they may be the solution and the change we are all looking for.

One of the easiest ways to teach kids about being good stewards of the earth is to teach them not to be consumers!!! Don’t buy new whenever you can avoid it, buy what is already out there in use. Buying used clothing and toys is one of the best ways to buy recycled materials as second hand items have just been recycled by their previous owners so that someone else can use them and give them a new life. Instead of buying new clothes and toys why not save money and planetary resources by shopping for previously loved items. If your kids ask why you don’t buy new just tell them that you are all doing your part to help reduce stress on Mother Earth.

Teach kids from an early age that conserving resources such as energy and water is important. Have them help you build a cistern or a rain water collection system so that you can capture rainfall and to use during droughts or for watering the garden and indoor plants. It can be game for them to monitor how fast the water accumulates.

Stress the importance of turning off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use. Plug TVs, DVD units, CD players, video game systems, etc into one power strip and have them turn it off after each use. Small reminder signs can be made and placed near exit ways or on remote controls to help them remember to do this.

When the weather is permitting have your children help you hang clothes outside on a clothes line to dry. You use sun power and conserve energy in the process. Think about other ways that you can use alternative energy in your home.

All of these small steps can make a big impact. Of course the biggest impact might be on our children as we teach them that living in harmony with our planet and keeping it beautiful is important.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

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