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What are some simple ways to use common herbs?
Herbal tea to treat fevers, headaches and anxiety:
Combine one tablespoon (15 ml) each of dried chamomile, lavender and lemon. Steep one teaspoon (15 ml) of mixture in one cup (250 ml) boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Peppermint and chamomile tea for digestive issues and headaches
- Rosemary and peppermint infused in oil for massage and sore muscles
- Dried thyme, rosemary, mint and lavender in sachets to keep pests away (in drawers, closets or pet bedding)
- Rosemary and thyme to flavour vinegars and oils for cooking or salad dressings
Plants for DIY recipes:
- Lavender — an exfoliant in cold-process soap
- Rosemary — for shampoo (for people and pets), foot soak and mouthwash
- Peppermint — also for shampoo
If you could grow only one herb, what would it be?
Peppermint! It aids digestion and treats nausea and headaches. You can use it in teas, tinctures, compresses, poultices, salves, syrups and in water.
For example, combine peppermint with elder and yarrow to treat fevers. Or use as a cold tea for a compress to relive puffy or swollen eyes. (Lindsay: I've used it to treat sunburn!)
I've been making laundry soap for a decade. It's cheaper than store-bought eco-friendly options and works just as well. I make this recipe once a month:
Liquid laundry soap recipe
Preparation time: 10 minutes or less
Yield: seven litres
Shelf life: six months
7 L (28 cups) hot water
250 ml (1 cup) baking soda
250 ml (1 cup) liquid castile soap
80 ml (1/3 cup) salt
To prevent being "treeprived," you grab yourself some Vitamin "N" and end up with a mosquito bite. (Living in Canada, we're fortunate an annoying itch is likely all we'll get...)
- You need to brush up on mosquito bite prevention techniques.
- You taste better. (One study shows skeeters find blood type O more enticing than A.)
- You're an animal.
I brush up on mosquito bite remedies every spring or summer I travel to Alberta to visit family and friends. (In Vancouver many people don't even have screens on windows!)
Get quick itch relief from a few familiar ingredients you have in your pantry:Continue reading »
As an Alberta girl, I know mosquitoes.
I also spent five summers working in the boreal forest counting critters — and inadvertently feeding skeeters, no-see-ums and deer and horse flies.
Bug spray ingredients often don't break down. Some linger and can cause harm to plants and animals other than their targets. Avoid DEET and you'll never rinse it into our oceans, lakes or rivers.
Before you reach for a DEET bug repellent, try these non-toxic tips to make you and your home less attractive to mosquitoes:
- Remove standing water (mosquito breeding grounds). Refresh bird and bee baths daily.
- Fill, cover or remove backyard items that collect water — empty planters, kids' toys, wheelbarrows, etc.
- Keep gutters clean to help rainwater flow freely.
- Repair screens on doors and windows.
- Keep grass to about three inches. Trim shrubs.
- Attract mosquito-eating chickadees, house wrens, bluebirds, swallows and martins with birdhouses and bird baths.