Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for External Use

Part 3 of our Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series.

by Kat Yorba

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights. ~William Lawson, 1618.

Spa of Colonial Williamsburg Herbal Experience

Image credit

Welcome Back….

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit!

Today we will be looking at the various external Herbal Preparations!

Only about 6 in all and then at the end of this post I will be sharing basic, foundational Recipes for many of the Herbal Preparations.  These recipes you can build upon and customize for your specific uses.

Here we go…

Preparations for External Use

Aromatic Waters

Scented waters are used to treat many different skin issues ranging from acne to even burns.  Because there is much dilution of the essential oils used, aromatic waters can be applied directly to the skin without an issue.  They can also be taken internally and they are wonderful to use for herbal compresses.  Having a few on hand is a good thing!

Body Oils

Body oils are made from herbs or essential oils, combined with your oil of choice for your specific condition or use.

Tummy rubs are a great way to use herb infused body oils…especially for children who just will not take that nasty tasting herb!

If you add heat-producing herbs such as cinnamon, clove or cayenne to your oil you have a fabulous liniment for rubbing sore muscles and joints.  I use this after a very long day massaging!  Body oils can also be an excellent basis for making creams and lotions!

Compress

Compresses are quick but very effective for many uses:

  • Headaches
  • Bleeding
  • Bruises
  • Muscle Cramps of all kinds
  • Sore Throats
  • To Increase blood flow for circulatory issues

Compresses are easy, remember?!  Soak a soft cloth in any of the following:

  • Strong Herbal Tea
  • Diluted Tincture or Glycerite
  • Essential Oils
  • Aromatic Water

Wring out the cloth and apply to the skin.  Then sit or lay down for a period of time.  While you’re at it, enjoy a cup of Herbal Tea!

Castor Oil Pack

Same as a Herbal Compress above but soaked in Castor Oil which has been warmed.  The cloth is placed on the skin and a warm hot water bottle or hot pack is placed on top.

Herbal Baths

In my opinion, Herbal Baths should be on the front line when it comes to combating illness or stress!!  Lets look at all the components of an Herbal Bath:

  • Herbs; single or a combination
  • Aromatherapy; herbs and/or essential oils
  • Hyrdrotherapy; Hot or Cold and sometimes both

All of these components are extremely helpful in combating illness and stressful situations in life.  Heat from the water relaxes tight and sore muscles and a cold bath will help in the reduction of inflammation and swelling.  The very act of sitting in a bath and doing nothing while allowing warm waters to relax your body and aromatherapy to fill your senses helps your body to let go of stress.  Stress as we know, is one of the most common factors in promoting disease and illness.  Baths nip that in the bud!

Variations on full baths may include foot or hand baths with the additions of essential oils!  Pure bliss if you have been on your feet working all day or working with your hands all day long.

Poultice

Poultices are similar to Compresses, however the actual Herbs or Clays are applied directly TO the skin.  Then the poultice is wrapped with a cloth or bandage.

Usually the herb is pounded or blended (and yes, even chewed) into a sticky paste then spread on the afflicted area and topped off with a bandage.

Clay Poultices use clays, dried/powdered herbs, essential oil and are usually moistened with Herbal Tinctures or a strongly brewed Herbal Tea.

Salve

A Salve is basically a thick herbal oil.  Olive oil is the most common oil base but others can be used as well such as Coconut oil.  Salves are used for many conditions such as:

  • Skin issues
  • Minor bruises
  • Cuts, scrapes
  • Rashes, eczema
  • Swelling
  • Minor Burns

Note: We will be making several of these during the Herbal Medicine Kit Course

The Basic Recipes

These are basic, generic recipes that will guide you as you formulate your own Herbal Medicine Kit.  Feel free to modify, customize and create as you learn and grow in your Herbal walk.

Tincture Formula

1 ounce dried or powdered herbs

5 ounces Vodka or Everclear

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

It is important for the Vodka to saturate them.  Cover with just enough liquid so they are completely submerged.  Put on a tight lid and store for 2 weeks.  A dark place is fine, shake contents twice daily.  If you used powdered herbs stir with spoon twice daily.

After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool, dark place.  Tinctures will keep for 6 years or longer.

Glycerite Formula

1 ounce herbs

6 ounces glycerin

4 ounces distilled water

Chop herbs, place in clean jar…do not pack too tightly.

Combine glycerin and water; pour over herbs.  Put a tight lid on and store at room temperature.  Shake contents every day to distribute the mixture.  After 2 weeks strain out the herb pulp, compost, and store in a clean bottle in a cool place out of direct sunlight.  Glycerites will keep for at least 2 years.

Herbal Vinegar Formula

1 ounce fresh or dried herbs

5 ounces vinegar, any kind

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, not tightly.  Pour just enough vinegar over to cover herbs.  Put a tight lid on it.  If you lid is metal cover with plastic wrap first so the Vinegar does not cause corrosion.  Keep at room temperature.  After 2 weeks strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a pretty glass jar.  Herbal Vinegars last for years.

Herbal Pills

Dried or powdered Herbs of Choice

Empty Capsules

Capsule machine

**I will give several recipes for Herbal Pills as this course progresses.

Simply grind or powder your herbs, put into capsules and take as directed!

Body Oil

2 ounces dried herbs

1 pint Oil

Chop herbs, place in clean glass jar, cover with your oil of choice.

Now you need to heat your oil/herb mixture:

5 hours at 180 degrees with either a double boiler on the stove top, oven, electric turkey cooker or Crock-pot-on the lowest temperature or even on warm (my personal favorite).

When done, strain out the herbal pulp, compost, and bottle in a clean glass jar.  Stored in a cool place the herbal oil will keep several months.  Stored in the refrigerator it will keep even longer.

Body oil can be thickened by adding Beeswax, Shea Butter and heating slightly.

Body Oil with Essential Oils

4 ounces Oil of choice

½ tsp (50 drops) Essential Oils

Combine ingredients and your done.

Healing Salves

1 C. Body Oil

¾ ounce Beeswax

8 Drops Essential oils

Combine Body oil and beeswax, heat mixture just enough to melt the wax.  Add essential oils, stir and then pour into clean glass jars.  Let cool.  Stored at room temperature this salve will keep for 6 months.

Herbal Compress

5 Drops Essential Oils

Small bowl of water

Soft Cloth

Add essential oil to water. Soak cloth in water and wring out.  Fold cloth and apply to afflicted area.

Skin Healing Poultice

1 handful of herbs

4 ounces of water

Blend ingredients in blender into a thick slurry.  Spread on wound, holding the poultice in place by wrapping gauze around it.  Leave poultice on wound for 20 minutes to one hour.

Looking Forward

Next week we will be learning about Herbal Preparations for Bites, Stings and Splinters.  This will include in-depth information on Echinacea Root, Lavender and Bentonite Clay.

Preparations we will cover will be an Oil, Poultice and a Tincture!

Shopping List

Lavender Essential Oil

Echinacea Root

Bentonite Clay

Have on hand distilled water

High proof Vodka or Everclear for Tincture

Small Glass Bottle with dropper for storing your oil preparation

*Check last weeks postings Resource List if needed for your supplies

Blessings to you and yours,

Kat Yorba

Kat Yorba

About Kat Yorba: I am a “red-neck country wife” to one wonderfully amazing man, mother to many outrageous children, daughter of the ONE Glorious God. Learning to be more self-reliant & self-sufficient in a semi-homemade, homesteading way! Connect with Kat on her blog, Simply Living SimplyFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

Go-to Herbal Medicine Kit series

In case you missed any posts in this series….

Part 1: Go Herbal: Putting Together Your Go-To Herbal Medicine Kit

Part 2: Herbal Medicine Kit: Preparations for Internal Use

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Categories: Herbal Remedies, Natural Health | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

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