A basketful of herbs.

On alt.folklore.herbs, Oct98,

by Henriette

>I would like to make a basket full of herbal remedies for a friend of mine as a wedding gift. Can anyone offer any suggestion as to what type of things i could put in it..and some recipies?

>I don't just want it to be oils and things they could use on their honeymoon but things that can be used anytime. Between the two of them there are at least 2 kids..I'd like to include some good things for them as well. (Every kid gets cuts and scraps and that sort of thing)

Photo: Verbascum thapsus 9. Mullein ear oil: pick mullein flower stalks, dry them 1-3 days, pull off the flowers (if you have large-flowered ones you'll need gloves at this stage), crush them a bit, put into glass jar, cover with oil (I like olive oil - it doesn't go rancid), let be for 4-6 weeks, strain, pour through coffee filter (it's got itchy hairs) (this stage will take a while), pour into dropper bottles, label. It's the best thing for earaches I know of.

Photo: Calendula officinalis 27. Calendula and/or comfrey and/or plantain (Plantago) salve, for all those cuts. Easy to make: 1 part dried herb (by weight) to 7 parts oil, make as above or use the fast way (powder the herb for this and heat in oil in double boiler for a couple of hours, strain). 1 part beeswax to 5 parts of that infused oil, heat in double boiler until wax has melted, pour into jars, label.

Photo: Arnica montana 1. Arnica salve, for strains, sprains, and the like. Make it from the whole herb, no need to use flowers only, and no need to restrict yourself to any particular Arnica sp. - they all work. Use this as soon as the injury has occurred, but not on open wounds.

If she's prone to PMS: milk of magnesium vinegar. One part milk of magnesia, 4 parts vinegar, mix, take one (1) tablespoon of the mixture during the day (taken in one gulp, it's laxative and won't help with menstrual problems). Also do the B-vitamins.

Photo: Eschscholzia californica 10. Eschscholtzia (whole fresh herb, 1:2 95 %) tincture, and/or Valeriana capsules, or tincture (whole fresh plant, 1:2 95 %, or dried root, 1:5 70 %), to battle insomnia. Another good one is a hops pillow - fill a little pretty bag (silk is nice) with hops strobiles (those cone-like things), sew shut. This will only keep for about 6 months, as those resinous dots of hops get stale quite fast. Lavender essential oil is nice, too, for insomnia.

(Fragrant) rose petal and/or Hypericum and/or kava tincture, to make them more mellow and less stressed-out - two kids can be a strain on the nerves.

Photo: Achillea millefolium 13. A paperbag or jar full of dried yarrow flowers (make a tea), and/or Echinacea tincture, for all those flus. You could also make a nice garlic honey for the same purpose: crush a garlic's worth of cloves into a pound or so of honey, let liquefy (if not liquid already), label. Adjust this to taste - some like it hotter.

Peppermint jelly / candy / jam (preferably homemade), for the kids, and to settle upset stomachs.

Homemade horehound candy (be warned - it's bitter) for all those coughs. And use mullein leaves, in tea (use a coffee filter to strain out those itchy hairs), too. Dried Malva / Alcea / Althaea / Sidalcea / any Malvaceae really, leaf, flower and root, helps for those dry coughs - use that instead of Slippery elm, as that tree's kind of a finite resource. Thyme is a nice one for coughs, too, and will help with nausea.

A load of licorice root sticks or cut and sifted (= c/s) licorice root - one to chew on (yummy, but provide a receptacle for the chewed-up wood that's left over) and the other to add to teas to make them taste better (good for coughs, too). (c/s licorice root is best boiled, not infused - it's pretty hard stuff).

And a bouquet garni might be nice to top it off.