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A liniment is a topical preparation that contains alcohol or oil and stimulating, warming herbs such as cayenne. Sometimes isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol is used instead of grain alcohol.
( Do not take products made with rubbing alcohol internally.
) Historically, liniments have been the
treatment of choice for aching rheumatic joints and chronic lung congestion.
Liniments warm the skin and turn it red temporarily. It is best to test your tolerance to liniments by rubbing a tiny amount on your wrist to make sure it does not burn. To enhance the heat, cover the area with
a cloth after application.
Herbs for liniments : Cayenne, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Marloram, Peppermint, Rosemary,
( See Liniment
A cream differs from a salve or liniment in that it's liquid portion blends together with the oil. Because creams often contain water or other liquids, they are less geasy that salves and liniments. In general,
salves and liniments are used to heal acute inflammations, and creams are used more frequently to soothe and moisturize skin.
Making a cream is like making mayonnaise or gravy. Slowly add liquid to the warm wax and oil solution until the ingredients combine
When you mix a herbal tincture or tea such as slippery elm, comfrey or acacia with an oil, it forms a thin, soothing liquid. Add essential oils for therapeutic purposes or just to create a lotion with your favorite scent.
Compresses & Poultices
You can use compresses to treat headaches, sore muscles, itchy skin and swollen glands among other conditions. To make a compress, soak a cloth in a strong herbal tea, wring it out, and place it on the skin.
Soak a cloth with strong peppermint tea to treat rashes that itch and burn. Soak a cloth in cayenne powder tea to apply to an aching arthritic joint. Or soak a cloth with St John's Wort or Arnica tincture and hold against
a sprained ankle. A lavender, euphrasia or eyebright compress can relieve itchy eyes caused by allergies.
To make a poultice or plaster, mash herbs with enough water to form a paste. Place the herb mash directly on the affected body part
and cover with a clean white cloth or gauze.
Herbs for Poultices : Comfrey, Marshmallow, Mustard, Oatmeal, Plantain, Slippery Elm bark.
) ( See Mustard Plaster
Herbs for Compresses : Arnica, Garlic, Ginger, Lavender, Marjoram, Peppermint, Sage, St John's
Wort, Witch Hazel.
Add healing herbs to baths or foot soaks; the skin absorbs the properties of many herbs. Any herb you can use to make a tea can also be used to make a bath or foot soak. Just add a pint of herbal infusion or a decoction
to the water. You can also try placing herbs in a muslin bag and suspending the bag under the hot water tap.
All-purpose Herbs for Baths : Basil, Calendula, Chamomile, Fennel, Scented Geraniums, Lavender,
Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
Herbal Baths to Boost Circulation
: Ginger, Lavender, Rosemary, Yarrow.
Herbal Baths for Restful Sleep
: Chamomile, hops, Lavender, Valerian.
Capsules & Pills
We have come to rely on pharmaceutical pills to cure many of our ailments. But if you are uncomfortable with the notion of ingesting isolated pharmacological agents, you can buy herbal capsules, tablets and lozenges at a
natural food store or make your own. Capsules and tablets also provide a convenient method of ingesting herbs that have strong or harsh flavours. People who do not enjoy drinking herbal teas or using alcohol-based tinctures
may also prefer taking herbs in pill form.
You can purchase empty gelatin capsules at health food stores, mail-order herbal houses and some pharmacies. When making encapsulated herbs, fill the capsule's smaller half with the powdered herb and pack tightly.
(a chopstick works well as a packing rod). Close with the other half of the capsule. It takes only a few minutes to make a week's
supply of herbal capsules.
Blend powdered herbs with a bit of honey to bind the mixture. Pinch off bits of the resulting sticky substance and roll into balls. (if the balls seem too moist, roll them in a mixture of slippery elm and licorice powder to soak up
the excess moisture) Dry the herbal pills in a dehydrator, an oven set to pre-heat, or outdoors on a warm day covered with a cloth.
Store the dried pills in an air-tight container.
To make herbal lozenges, combine powdered herbs with crystalized honey and a mucilaginous binding agent such as
marshmallow root, licorice root or slippery elm bark.
Syrups can make even the most bitter herbs taste good. They're ideal for coating and soothing sore throats and respiratory ailments. You can make herbal syrups by mixing crystalized honey or glycerine with infusions, decoctions, tinctures,
herbal juices or medicinal liquors. To preserve syrups, refrigerate or make them with glycerine. Glycerine is often added to herbal
syrups to both sweeten and preserve the mixture. Alcohol may also be added, but syrups made with glycerine are better for
Make syrups in small quantities. To make a simple syrup, dissolve the sweetener of your choice in a hot herb infusion. You can add
herbal tinctures to increase the syrup's medicinal value.
A Reminder: It's best to store your herbs whole or crumbled in large pieces. Powder them immediately before encapsulating them. Use a mortar and pestle or, for harder roots, barks or seeds, powder them in a coffee grinder or food processor.