Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.)

Amaranth Identification: Amaranth are coarse, hairy weeds with stout stems. Numerous species; the ones shown here are Amaranthus retroflexus (Pigweed). The leaves are dull green, ovate to lance-shaped, long-stalked; the dense and bristly flower clusters appear from August – October. This annual plant grows from 6 to 24 inches.

Habitat: Roadsides, fields, waste ground, in most of the eastern United States and parts of Canada.

Parts Used: Tender leaves and seeds.

Harvest: Late spring through fall (leaves); Fall through early winter (seeds).

Uses: Cooked green, salad, flour. The tender leaves can be boiled for
10 to 15 minutes. or added to salads. The tiny black seeds make a nutritious flour.

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)

Calories – 42 Phosphorus – 74 mg Riboflavin – 0.24 mg
Protein – 3.7 grams Iron – 5.6 mg Niacin – 1.2 mg
Fat – 0.4 grams Potassium – 411 mg Vitamin A – 1,600 IU
Calcium – 313 mg Thiamin – 0.05 mg Vitamin C – 65 mg

Back To Wild Foods For Survival


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Alfalfa Identification: Alfalfa is a deep-rooted perennial plant from the Leguminosae family with a smooth, erect stem growing 2 to 3 feet tall.

Leaves: It bears grayish-green pinnately trifoliate leaves, with egg-shaped leaflets; it looks much like a large clover. Alfalfa Flowers

Flowers: Its violet-purple flowers grow in racemes, from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, producing spirally-coiled seed pods. The flowers appear from May through October.

Habitat: Fields & roadsides. Throughout the world in a variety of climates.

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 52 Niacin – 0.5 mg Thiamin – 0.13 mg
Calcium – 12 mg. Phosphorus – 51 mg. Vitamin A – 3,410 IU
Fat – .4 grams Protein – 6 grams Vitamin C – 162 mg.
Iron – 5.4 mg. Riboflavin – 0.14 mg.
(Also contains the anti-oxidant Tricin.)

Harvest: Young leaves and flowerheads, spring through summer.

Uses: Tea, nutritional supplement, salad. The dried and powdered young leaves and flowerheads of alfalfa are highly nutritious. They can be steeped in hot water for 10 minutes to make a healthful tea, or added to breakfast cereals or stews as a nutritional supplement. The taste is fairly bland, so when making tea, it is best to mix
alfalfa with other teas. The tender young leaves can be added fresh to salads.

Sprouting Alfalfa Seeds: During times of famine when we can’t get fresh produce, sprouting will be a great way to get the vitamins and minerals we need to survive.

1.With your scissors, cut a piece of panty hose or cheesecloth that you can put on the top of a quart jar. It needs to be big enough to drape over the edge at least an inch or so.
2.Measure and put a tablespoon of alfalfa seeds into your quart jar.
3.Put some water in the jar so that the seeds are completely covered up.
4.Put the cheesecloth or piece of panty hose on the top of the jar. Keep it in place by stretching a rubber band around the outer edge of the jar.
5.Put the jar somewhere where it won’t get disturbed. The ideal sprouting temperature is around 70 degrees but between 70 and 80 degrees will be O.K. Let the seeds soak overnight.
6.The next day, take the jar to a sink and turn it upside down to drain out the water. (House plants love the drained water.) Take care to turn the jar over gently. Overturning the jar rapidly will cause rapid shifting in the sprouting seeds. This can break the tender shoots and kill the broken shoot. This breaking of the shoot causes the seed to spoil.
7.The seeds need to be damp but not totally wet. Put the jar in a cupboard or closet. In very humid weather the sprouts should be kept in a dry place such as above a stove, or wrapped in a towel and by a sunny window.
8.Every day, take the jar out three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). Take it to the sink and put in some cool water. Rinse the alfalfa seeds by moving the jar around a little in a swishing and rotating manner. Each time be sure to drain the rinsing water so the seeds are just damp and moist- not soaking wet!
9.Check out the little seeds. They should be very white and you should see little sprouts growing! In 2 or 3 days, the sprouts will get to be several inches tall.
10.On the 4th day, after you rinse them and drain off the excess water, put the jar on a windowsill or table top where it will get indirect sunlight. The tiny leaves will turn green in a few hours. You should then rinse the hulls off the alfalfa sprouts to prevent premature spoilage. Fill a big bowl or pot with water. Add the sprouts. The hulls will float to the top. Skim off the hulls with a strainer or piece of screen. You may need to shake the water gently.
11.Now you can eat them! Make a garden salad and put your sprouts on top. Try adding sprouts to a cold sandwich.

NOTE: You can also use sprouting trays. Sprouting trays help keep the seeds from growing molds and bacteria. If you use the jar method, you need to rinse the seeds more often, and, if possible, keep them inverted so the water will continuously drain.

Alfalfa Tea
Pour boiling water over the alfalfa. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Strain.

Alfalfa tea is suitable for daily use. This brisk, appetite- stimulating tea is improved by adding peppermint or some other botanical flavoring. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Alfalfa Salad & Dressing
Alfalfa sprouts
Assorted salad leaves (lettuce, spinach, dandelion, evening primrose, winter cress, etc.)
Cucumbers Dressing:
1 part vinegar
3 parts oil
1 tsp mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of sugar

Arrange salad leaves on plate. Add alfalfa sprouts and sliced cucumber.
Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over salad

Alfalfa Sprouts & Cucumbers
1 lg. cucumber, diced
4 tomatoes, diced
French or ranch dressing
Salad greens
1 cup alfalfa sprouts

Mix cucumber and tomatoes and place on a bed of fresh salad greens, surrounded by fluffy alfalfa sprouts and topped with your choice of dressing. This is also great sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds.

Alfalfa also has medicinal properties.



Acorns A few white oaks have acorns sweet enough to be eaten raw or roasted. But, most oaks have extremely bitter acorns. The bitterness is due to the tannins. The acorns must be processed in boiling water to remove the tannins. Put the acorns in a pot of water and remove any that float. Boil for 15 minutes. Shell the acorns, chop them up, and boil again. (You can boil
them in cheesecloth so you don’t lose any pieces.) When the water turns brown, pour it off, add more water and boil again. Repeat until water no longer turns brown. Taste an acorn to see if the bitterness is gone. If not, boil them until the bitterness is gone, then dry them in the oven at a very low heat.
Acorn meal is made by grinding dry, raw acorn kernels, mixing the
meal with the boiling water and pressing out the liquid through a jelly
bag. This process may be repeated several times with very bitter acorns.
The meal is then spread thinly on shallow pans and dried in the sun or
a very slow oven. It usually becomes partly caked during this process so
it must be reground, using a food chopper or hand grist mill. Acorn grits
can be made by grinding up not quite as fine.
Both acorn meal and grits are very dark-colored with a sweet, nutlike
flavor. A lighter colored meal can be made with cold water leaching or
Harvest: Fall – Nuts

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 48 Niacin – 0.5 mg. Thiamin – 0.02 mg.
Calcium – 12 mg. Phosphorus – 314 mg. Vitamin A – 6 IU
Fat – 0.1 grams Protein – 0.2 grams
Iron – 0.02 mg. Riboflavin – 0.40 mg.

Roasted Acorns
3 cups water
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 to 8 Tbsp curry powder 1 heaping quart acorns
(processed to remove tannins)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp seasoned salt

Boil 2-1/2 cups water. While this boils, put another 1/2 cup water in a blender with garlic, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup curry powder. Blend until smooth. Add this to the boiling water along with acorns and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain acorns. In a baking dish, add acorns, olive oil, salt, and rest of curry powder. Roast at 300 degrees for 45 to 90 minutes, stirring often, until the acorns are dry and well-roasted, but not hard.

Acorn Glaze
2 cups sugar
1 cup water 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt

Put in a small saucepan and boil until you see the very first hint of browning. Set the small saucepan in a kettle of boiling water to keep the contents liquid and dip in whole acorn kernels, which have been pre-boiled as described above, using a pair of tweezers; then place them on wax paper to harden. This improves the appearance as well as the taste of the acorns and they can be served as a confection or with a meal, as a good hearty food.

Acorn Bread
Sift together dry ingredients:
1 cup Acorn Meal
1 cup white flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt Beat together:
1 cup milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons salad oil

Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just enough to moisten everything. Pour into a greased pan and bake in a 400′(f) oven for 30 minutes.
Or…Acorn Muffins:
You can fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full of the same batter and bake only 20 minutes.

Acorn Pancakes
2 cups acorn meal
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp shortening 1 tsp salt
1 beaten egg

Mix all ingredients. Cook like regular pancakes. They are delicious, tasting much like rich brown bread.

Salves & Ointments

Salves & Ointments

To make your own salve, you need to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs in olive oil and then add beeswax to harden the oil.

In the following recipes you will be using parts rather than a specific volume of each herb. This allows you to easily adjust the recipe. If you want to make a small amount of salve, you can choose one tablespoon as the “part”. If you want to make a large amount of salve, you can choose 1/2 to 1 cup as the “part”.

The amount of olive oil needed to infuse the herbs is: Enough to completely cover the herbs, plus an inch of olive oil above the level of the herbs.

To determine how much beeswax is needed to harden the salve, you can approximate the proportions based on the following equivalents: one pint of oil will need about 1-1/2 ounces of beeswax, or for a smaller recipe, one ounce of oil will need about 1/2 teaspoon of beeswax. There are about 5 teaspoons of beeswax in an ounce.

If you intend to make your salve using freshly collected plants, you will need to clean them. Do this by shaking them to remove dirt, then spread the herbs out to allow them to air dry for several hours (until wilted) to reduce the moisture content. Fresh chickweed, for example, contains a lot of moisture and this water content could cause your salve to spoil quickly.

To make your salve, measure the desired amount of herbs into an enamel or stainless steel pan, or into a crock pot. Cover the herbs with olive oil. Use enough oil to cover the herbs plus another inch of oil above the level of herbs. Heat the herbs and oil over a low heat for several hours (about 3 hours). If you are using roots, you should heat the oil longer (about 5 hours). The best way to infuse the herbs is to use a crock pot because it operates at a controlled low temperature. If you don’t use a crock pot, use a double boiler. After heating, cool your oil for awhile. Strain the oil using a strainer lined with cheesecloth. When most of the oil has filtered through the cheesecloth, pick up the cheesecloth, keeping the herbs inside, and squeeze out as much oil as possible from the herbs and cloth. Next, add the appropriate amount of beeswax to the oil and heat it until all the wax is melted. To test the consistency of the salve, put a few drops in a saucer and then rub an ice cube on the underside of the saucer. It will cool down the salve quickly. When the consistency is right, put the salve in little glass or plastic jars.

You can add other ingredients to your salve, like cocoa butter, essential oils, almond oil, etc.

General All Purpose Salve
(Use for insect bites, itching, wounds, burns and fungal infections.)

1 part St. John’s Wort
1 part Calendula
1 part Comfrey leaf
1 part plantain
Olive Oil
Vitamin E (capsule contents)

Arnica Salve

Heat 1 ounce of arnica flowers and 1 ounce of cold pressed arnica oil for a few hours. This is useful for bruises, chapped lips, inflamed nostrils,
joint pain, skin rash, sprains and acne.

Goldenseal Salve
(To prevent infection and aid in the healing of wounds.)

1 part Goldenseal root
1 part Comfrey root
1 part Calendula
1 part Echinacea
Olive Oil
Vitamin E (capsule contents)

Chickweed Salve
(Use this salve to soothe itching caused by insect bites and rashes,
and minor skin irritations)

2 parts Chickweed
2 parts Plantain
1 part Comfrey leaf Olive Oil
Beeswax Vitamin E (capsule contents)

Chest Rub
(Used to relieve respiratory congestion.)

30 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
40 drops Camphor essential oil
15 drops Wintergreen essential oil
1 ounce Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Beeswax

Calendula Salve
(One of the best treatments for diaper rash. This can also be used for most other types of skin inflammation or dry skin, eczema, scalds and sunburn.)

1 part St. John’s Wort
2 parts Calendula
1 part Comfrey leaf
1 part Comfrey root
1 part Plantain
Olive Oil
Vitamin E (capsule contents)

Skin Care

Skin Care


Calendula and witch hazel, traditionally known as two of the best natural healers, are astringents. This group of plants contains tannins — compounds that react with proteins to produce a contracting and tightening effect on tissues to which they are applied.


These sooth and lubricate the skin surface. Violet and Irish moss are two of the most effective. Both contain mucilages — compounds that form gels when mixed with water making them easy to use on the skin.


Both almond oil and sunflower oil have a softening, moisturizing action on the skin. Almond oil also has a reputation as a cleanser.

You should match herbal cosmetics to your skin type, as you would any other skin-care products. If you have oily skin, select preparations containing astringent herbs, which tighten the skin, encouraging the closing of pores and the healing of blemishes. For dry skin, use emollient herbs, which soften, soothe, and lubricate, supplementing the skin’s own protective oils. For a simple cleanser, try using a normal strength infusion of chamomile, elder flowers, marigold, violet, or yarrow, choosing the herb for its extra properties listed in the chart below. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter and store it in the refrigerator.

Elder flowers Cleansing, emollient, lightening, promotes sweating
Irish moss Emollient
Violet Cleansing, emollient
Marsh mallow Emollient
Comfrey Emollient
Marigold Cleansing, astringent, promotes healing of wounds, toning
Witch hazel Astringent, promotes healing of wounds
Thyme Toning, refreshing, disinfectant
Yarrow Cleansing, toning, promotes sweating
Chamomile Cleansing, cooling, lightening, anti-inflammatory
Lavender Antiseptic, stimulating
(Pot Marigold) Antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, & astringent.
Calendula (pot marigold) should not be confused with French marigold (Tagetes patula), which is used as an insecticide and weed killer.

Note: Rosewater and vitamin E capsules are available at most drugstores. Essential oil fragrance available at specialty fragrance, bath or herb shops.

Below are some recipes for cleansers, toners, and nourishers, Use cleansers night and morning on cotton balls to remove dirt and make-up. Use toners after a bath or facial steam — gently wipe the face and neck with moistened cotton balls. Massage nourishing cream into the skin at night.

Herb Soap

The alkalinity of most soaps can upset the skin’s natural acidity, making it feel tight and irritated, so use this gentle herbal soap with warm or cool water — avoid excessive heat or cold.

5 oz simple uncolored, unscented soap
3 oz whole fresh rosemary or marjoram
10 oz water
2 teaspoons oil of rosemary or sandalwood

Coarsely grate the soap into a bowl. Make a normal-strength infusion of your chosen herb and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain the infusion on to the soap and stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir as the soap melts and whisk hard until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the essential oil. Pour quickly into molds. When cool, cover with greaseproof paper and leave in a warm, dry place for about eight weeks until hard.

Variation: For wash balls, use 5 fluid ounces of rosewater instead of the herb infusion. Rosewater is slightly astringent. Form the soap into small balls and dry in a warm place. To finish, moisten your hands with rosewater and smooth each ball to make the surface shiny.

Creamy Calendula Cleanser

4 tablespoons olive or almond oil
2 tablespoons dried calendula flowers
Few drops of violet, orange blossom or rose water

Warm the oil in a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water. Stir in the dried flowers and continue to heat gently for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, strain, and stir in the flower water.

Cleansing Complexion Milk

To remove ingrained grease and dirt, deep cleansing is often necessary. Used night and morning, this milk will cool and cleanse your skin. Apply it on cotton balls or soft tissue. It contains several ingredients that are good for the skin. Oil of lemon is acidic and refreshing. Marigold is an astringent that is good for blemished skins. Almond “milk” is also very good for the complexion. It keeps for much longer than cow’s milk.

2 oz ground almonds
5 oz water
3 tablespoons strong infusion of marigold
1 teaspoon borax
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
5 drops oil of lemon

Tie the almonds in a muslin bag and soak in the 5 oz of water in a bowl for several hours, pressing occasionally with a spoon. Lift out the bag of almonds and squeeze dry. (You can set this aside for use as a bath bag,
see Hydrotherapy). Reserve the milky almond liquid. Put the marigold infusion an a cup with the borax and stand in a pan of hot water, stirring until the borax dissolves. Heat the grape seed oil and vigorously whisk in the borax solution. Add 4 tablespoons of almond milk and the oil of lemon. Cool, then pour into a bottle and shake well. Shake the complexion milk again before using.

Quick Cleansing Milk

This preparation is easy to make with common ingredients. It is good for dry skins. The lemon juice it contains is astringent and quickly restores the pH balance of the skin.

1/2 small carton natural yogurt
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Whisk together all the ingredients and use within two days.

Cleansing Facial Steam

This is a useful cleansing process for blackheads and oily skins; do not use it if you have thread veins, or your face flushes easily. Choose from the herbs listed below. This is also a good cleansing method for dry skins, provided that you follow it by massage.

2 handfuls of fresh herbs or 2 tablespoons of dried herbs, selected from:
Lavender, dried lime flowers (calming), peppermint (stimulating),
rosemary or sage (soothing, refreshing)

Cover your hair and lean over a bowl of hot water containing the herbs of your choice. Tent a thick bath towel over your head and shoulders and inhale the reviving aroma for 5 to 10 minutes. Afterwards you can squeeze out blackheads using a clean face tissue, not fingernails. Apply a dab of witch hazel to the spot.

Toning Flower Lotion

Many soaps and cosmetics upset the skin’s natural level of acidity. A healthy body restores the balance after a while, especially if you use a gentle, natural soap. This toning lotion speeds up the process, closing the pores, and tightening the skin to leave it cool and refreshed. The lemon juice provides acidity, while the witch hazel acts as an astringent.

4 tablespoons witch hazel
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons flower water (rose, elderflower, orange, or lavender)
A few drops of oil of lemon, lavender, or rose geranium

Mix all the ingredients in a jug. Pour into a bottle and shake well.

Toning Face Packs

You can use a face pack once a week to condition and tone your skin, or to brace it after a facial steam. This type of treatment is especially good for oily skins. First clean your face thoroughly, then cover your hair. Spread the mix fairly thickly over your face, avoiding the area around the eyes and mouth. Lie down for ten minutes, during which time your skin will start to feel tight and stiff. Then rinse the pack away thoroughly with warm water. Choose herbs that suit your skin. Good herbs are elder flowers, fennel leaves, marigold petals, thyme leaves, and yarrow leaves and tips.

2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs or flowers, or 2 tablespoons strong
infusion of dried herb
2 tablespoons natural yogurt
Fine oatmeal

Put the herbs and yogurt into a bowl and stir in enough oatmeal to make a soft spreadable paste. You will need a little more oatmeal with dried herbs, to absorb the infusion.

Rich, Nourishing Night Cream

This cream is soothing and fragrant. The moisturizing properties of the lanolin, sunflower oil, and almond oil make it especially good for faces dried and roughened by the weather, and for chapped hands. The lavender is soothing.

3 tablespoons lanolin
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon almond oil
1 teaspoon oil of lavender

Melt the lanolin in a small bowl over a pan of hot water. Add the first two oils, and beat well to combine. Remove from the heat and cool a little, beat as the mixture thickens, then stir in the oil of lavender. Pour into a small jar and screw on the lid when the cream is cold.

Nourishing Hand Gel

The mucilage in this seaweed makes it a rich emollient.

1/2 oz dried Irish moss
7 oz water
2 teaspoons strained lemon juice
2 tablespoons glycerine
1/2 teaspoon borax
A few drops oil of lemon or orange

Soak the Irish moss for 20 minutes. Put it into an enamel pan with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer slowly for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Strain into a bowl, pressing the gel through the strainer with a wooden spoon. Stir in the lemon juice. Warm the glycerine and add the borax, stirring until it has dissolved, then beat into the Irish moss mixture. Add a few drops of citrus oil and pour the gel into screw-top jars.

Nourishing Hand & Body Oil

Smooth this light, fragrant oil over your body after bathing. The rosewater gives it a tonic and astringent quality.

3 fluid oz rosewater
1 teaspoon borax
2 tablespoons almond oil
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 teaspoon oil of rosewood, or rose geranium

Warm the rosewater in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, add the borax and stir until dissolved, then add the oils and stir briskly until thoroughly combined. Bottle, and shake well before use.

Dry Skin Lotion

3/4 cup of almond oil
1/3 cup of coconut oil or cocoa butter
1 teaspoon lanolin
1/2 oz grated beeswax

Melt these ingredients over low heat. Cool to room temperature. While these ingredients cool, mix together:

2/3 cup rosewater
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
1 to 2 drops rose oil
Contents of 1 vitamin E capsule

Add these ingredients to the first mixture. Whip together until their consistency resembles buttercream frosting. Store in a covered jar.

Chamomile Lotion

3 tablespoons grated beeswax
1 tablespoon liquid lanolin
1/2 cup light sesame oil
2 tablespoons strong chamomile tea
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all ingredients in a glass ovenproof container. Heat in the micro-
wave until all the wax and oil are melted. Do not boil. Pour the mixture into
a jar or container and allow to cool completely.
Makes 4 ounces.

Hair Care & Hygiene

Hair Care & Hygiene

Shampoos & Rinses

Stinging Nettle: Nettles have a long-standing reputation for preventing hair loss and making the hair soft and shiny. Nettle is an excellent hair conditioner. It is an acidic plant and promotes a healthy gloss. Use it as a final rinse after washing your hair, or massage it into the scalp and comb some through the hair every other day. Keep it in small bottles in the refrigerator. NOTE: Always wear gloves when gathering the nettles and when cutting them up.

Nettle Shampoo

1 tsp dried nettle leaf
1 tsp comfrey root (cut up)
1 tsp basil
10 oz water
1/4 tsp almond oil
3 oz castile soap
20 drops basil essential oil (optional)
30 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

Make herbal infusion with the herbs and water. Let steep for 8 hours and
strain. Pour strained infusion, liquid castile soap, almond oil and essential
oils in a jar or squeeze bottle, cap and shake. It is now ready for use.
Always shake before using. Makes about 11 ounces.

Nettle Rinse

1 Tbsp dried nettle leaf
1 Tbsp comfrey root (cut up)
1 Tbsp basil
16 oz water
A few drops of basil or lavender essential oil (optional)

Make herbal infusion with herbs and water, let steep for 8 hours and strain. Gently warm infusion. Add the essential oils, if desired, and apply to scalp and hair, taking the time to catch the liquid and reapply. Repeat this several times. Rinse out if desired. Makes enough for 1 to 2 treatments.

Simple Nettle Rinse & Conditioner

A big handful of nettles

Wash the nettles thoroughly and put the bunch into an enamel saucepan
with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15
minutes. Strain the liquid into a jar and allow to cool before using.

Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis): Soapwort contains saponins, chemicals that foam when added to water. All parts of the plant produce a gentle cleansing lather that does not sting the eyes or make the hair brittle. Do not take soapwort internally.

Fresh Soapwort Shampoo

About 10 leafy soapwort stems, 6 to 8 inches long
1 pint water
Some of your favorite herbs

Cut the stems into short lengths and put them into an enamel saucepan, bruise lightly with a wooden spoon, and add the water. Bring to a boil,
cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring two or three times. Remove from the heat. Allow the liquid to cool, then strain and bottle for future use.

Before you use the shampoo, add 3 tablespoons of strong herb or flower infusion. For immediate use, and while the liquid is still hot, add a few sprigs each of several mixed fresh herbs, or two large handfuls of any one herb. Cover the shampoo, allow it to cool, and then strain. Use all the liquid for one hair wash.

Dried Soapwort Root Shampoo

Herbal suppliers sell dried soapwort root. You should prepare the root in
advance; before you add the herbs, boil, and simmer the mixture.

1 oz dried soapwort root
1-1/4 pint boiling water
1 oz dried herbs and flowers

Pour the boiling water on the broken up roots, cover, and leave to soak for
12 hours, or overnight. Put the root and liquid in into an enamel pan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add the dried herbs or flowers, stir, cover, and leave to cool. Strain into a jar, and use for one hair wash.

Toothpaste & Mouthwash

Many herbs have cleansing and antiseptic properties that make them suitable for oral hygiene. The most important herbs for oral hygiene are sage (astringent), cloves, peppermint and thyme (antiseptics), parsley, marjoram, bramble and blackcurrant leaves, and juniper berries. Chewing juniper berries, peppermint, or parsley will kill the odors of onion, garlic or alcohol; rubbing the teeth with sage will clean them and sweeten the breath. Strawberries whiten and clean the teeth, and remove plaque. You can make an effective mouthwash with a normal infusion of sage, mint, thyme, or marjoram.

Peppermint Toothpaste

This mixture cleans the teeth and freshens the mouth. Use it with a damp

1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon milled sea-salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
15 to 20 drops oil of peppermint

Mix the ingredients with a spoon, then pound to a dry paste with a pestle
and mortar. Keep in a jar with a tight lid.

Sage Toothpowder

Use fresh sage for this powder — it tastes good and its volatile oil has
antiseptic properties. Rinse your mouth well after use.

1 small handful fresh sage leaves
Sea Salt

Wash the sage. Pick off the tips and the freshest leaves and chop finely or put through a parsley mill. To each spoonful of chopped sage, add 1/2 spoonful milled sea-salt. Measure on to a flat ovenproof dish and bake in a preheated oven (300°F.) for 20 minutes, until the sage is dry. Remove from the oven and pound the mixture to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, until powdery. Cool and store
in a screw-top jar.

Antiseptic Mouthwash

1 drop Peppermint Essential Oil
1 drop Thyme Essential Oil
1 drop Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1 drop Wintergreen Essential Oil
1 Tablespoon 190 Proof Ethyl Alcohol
6 Tablespoons Distilled Water

Pour all ingredients into to glass jar with tight fitting lid. Shake before each use. Use less water and more alcohol if you use 50% alcohol. The final alcohol concentration should be 15-20%.

Cinnamon Mouthwash

Add 10 – 15 drops of cinnamon essential oil to a cup of water. Shake
before each use. Cinnamon is antiseptic and antibacterial, therefore it is quite effective. It is also the best essential oil to use for garlic breath.

WARNING! Cinnamon Essential Oil can be highly irritating. Patch test before using.

Leaf Mouthwash

Pick the leaves when they are young and fresh, taking the bramble leaves from the tops of the stems.

1 large handful blackcurrant or bramble leaves
1 pint water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Put the leaves and water into an open saucepan and boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the lemon juice, strain, and use immediately.

Thyme Mouthwash

2 Tablespoons Thyme Leaf
1/3 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Vodka

Make and infusion of the thyme and water. Keep covered while steeping. Add 1 Tablespoon Vodka. Use as a mouth rinse after brushing.


Cleavers Deodorant

When you wash after using a deodorant you will usually notice the skin has a slight resistance to soap. Cleavers has the same effect on the skin, which is entirely harmless. If you prefer to use dried herbs as a deodorant powder, try a mixture of dried powdered orange peel, lemon peel, and orris root.

1 large handful of fresh, green cleavers stems and leaves
2 pints water

Put the cleavers and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer in the open pan for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain and bottle. The deodorant keeps for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator, so make fresh batches regularly.



Hydrotherapy: The use of water for treatment of illness. Depending on the plants used and the temperature, the herbal baths can calm or stimulate the mind and body; open or close pores; relieve inflammation, itching, or pain; and exert various other beneficial effects. You can also take a shower and use the bath formulas as a body splash or use a muslin bath bag of herbs as a washcloth.

Bath Bags

To make a bath bag: Cut a piece of muslin or cheesecloth about 15 inches square. Put the herbs in the middle of the muslin or cheesecloth. Gather up and tie tightly with string or thread. Use the formulas below to infuse the herbs. Add the bag to your bath water and after you’ve finished soaping, smooth it gently over your face and body to release the fragrance.

Deodorizing Bath Bag
(A wonderful herbal formula you’ll enjoy after working outside on a
hot summer day.)

1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried lavender buds
1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 bath bag
1 quart boiling water

Add the herbs to the bath bag and close tightly. Add the bag to the water
and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the infusion from the
heat and cool to lukewarm. Add the infusion and the bath bag to
your bath water, using the bag of herbs as a washcloth.

Calming Bath Bag

1 oz. hops 1 oz. sage
1 oz. thyme 1 oz. lavender

Put the mixture into a bath bag and tie securely. Soak the
bag in the bath water for 10 minutes.

Scented Bath Bag

1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried sweet marjoram
2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds
2 tablespoons fresh or 1 tablespoon dried peppermint
1 muslin bath bag
1 quart boiling water

Add the herbs to the bath bag and close tightly. Infuse the bath
bag in the boiling water and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Let the infusion cool to lukewarm, then add it and the bath bag to
your bathwater.

Soothing Bath Bag

1 cupful of fine oatmeal or bran
3 cupfuls fresh or 2 cupfuls dried Chamomile flowers
1 muslin bath bag

Put the oatmeal and herbs into a bowl and stir to mix. Put in bath
bag and tie tightly. Soak the bag in your bath water and smooth it
gently over your face and body after soaping.

The Ultimate Bath Bag

1 part each of dried rose petals, dried chamomile flowers, dried lavender flowers and rolled oats
1/2 part each of dried grated orange peel and dried grated lemon peel
2 crushed bay leaves
2 crushed rosemary sprigs

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Store in a large, sealed jar or fill bath bag. Add to bath water.

Instead of using bath bags, you can strain the herbs and add
the infusion directly to your bath water.

Relaxing Bath

1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried lemon Balm
1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried German Chamomile blossoms
2 cups boiling water
Add the herbs to the boiling water. Cover and infuse for 20 minutes.
Strain and add to your bath water.

Thyme Bath

Steep 3 to 4 ounces of creeping thyme in 1 pint boiling-hot water for 10 minutes. Add the infusion to your bath water for rheumatic and asthmatic problems, cramps, bronchitis, bruises, swellings and sprains, and nervous exhaustion.

Nervous Tension Bath

Steep 2 ounces of lemon balm leaves in 1 quart boiling-hot water for 15 minutes. Add to bath water for nervous tension, insomnia and other nervous problems.

Stimulating Bath

Add 4 ounces chopped calamus root to 5 quarts cold water. Let stand for 2 hours, then bring quickly to a boil and steep for 5 minutes. Add the liquid to bath water to stimulate circulation, for low blood pressure and general tiredness.

Bath Vinegars

Slightly disinfectant, herb vinegars have a distinctive clean fragrance.
In hot weather, add a cupful of herb vinegar to a tepid bath. It will
leave you feeling invigorated, with your skin tingling fresh. Herbal
vinegars are simple to make and are great for all skin types. Vinegar
restores the acid mantle of the skin, relieves dryness, itching and
the pain of sunburn. Depending on the type of herbs you choose,
the herb vinegar bath can be PH balancing, relaxing or invigorating.

Invigorating Bath Vinegar

10 fl oz cider vinegar
10 fl oz water
2 handfuls chopped fresh herbs, or 3 tablespoons mixed dried herbs and flowers (lime flowers, chamomile, lavender or thyme)

Measure the vinegar and water into an enamel saucepan, bring slowly to a boil, then remove from the heat. Put the herbs into a bowl and pour over the hot liquid. Cover and leave for several hours. Strain and bottle.

Add a cupful of herb vinegar to your bath.

Floral Bath Vinegar

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups fresh rose petals

Mix the vinegar and water; then add the rose petals and place the mixture in a glass bottle with a screw top. Shake the bottle and store in a cool, dark place for one month (shaking it every week or so). After a month, shake one last time, then strain out the flowers.

Variations: Instead of rose petals, you can use 3/4 cup lavender flowers,
1 cup of cut lemon and orange peels, or 1/2 cup of dried fresh herbs. Chamomile flowers are calming, rosemary clarifies the skin, mint leaves are stimulating and lemongrass and lemon balm are good toners.

Soothing Bath Vinegar

Fill a large jar one-third full with 2 parts lavender flowers and 1 part mint leaves. Pour slightly warmed cider vinegar over the herbs to nearly fill the jar. Seal jar and let sit for three weeks, shaking jar occasionally to extract natural oils of the herbs. Remove lavender and mint from the vinegar then strain through a coffee filter.

A cup added to your bath water will relieve aching muscles, soften skin and soothe itchiness.

Stimulating Bath Vinegar

Add 1/4 cup each of dried basil and dried lemon balm leaves to 3 cups of
cider vinegar. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil and let sit overnight. Strain.
Add infusion to your bath water.

Milk Baths

Lavender Milk Bath

1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup Epsom salts
2 tablespoons Lavender flowers, powdered in the blender
3 drops Lavender essential oil, (optional)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes enough for one bath. To use: add to bath water as it is running.

Herbal Milk Bath

1/2 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup Epsom salts
1 tablespoon powdered peppermint leaves
1 tablespoon powdered basil
1 tablespoon powdered rosemary
1 drop rosemary essential oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes enough
for one bath. To use: add to bath water as it is running.

Bath & Shower Gel

This gel, produced by the mucilage in Irish moss, is very invigorating. It
also softens the skin. Rub handfuls of the gel over the body before rinsing
your skin in the bath or shower.

2-1/2 pints fresh Irish moss
3 pints water
4 tablespoons orange flower or elderflower water
A few drops green food coloring (optional)

Variation: Instead of fresh Irish moss, use 2 ounces of dried seaweed. Soak it in water to soften it before boiling.

Wash the Irish moss or seaweed in plenty of fresh water to rid it of sand and small stones. Put the prepared seaweed into a large pan with the water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Rub the mixture through a food mill or strainer, stir in the flower water and add the food
coloring, if desired. When cold, pour into jars or wide-necked bottles.

Foot Therapy

Relaxing Foot Bath

For tired feet and aching leg muscles, soak your feet for 10 minutes in an
herbal footbath before rinsing then in cold water.

10 fluid ounces strong infusion of one of the following: lavender, lime
flowers, rosemary, peppermint, thyme, or yarrow
2 tablespoons sea salt (or 1 tablespoon Epsom salts)

Fill a large bowl with very hot water to which you have added the herbal infusion and the sea salt or Epsom salts. After soaking your feet, finish with a foot rub.

Soothing Foot Rub

As a final touch for tired, aching feet, massage with this lotion after soaking in a foot bath. Alum hardens the skin, helping to prevent blisters; the oils soak into dry patches that tend to crack; and the lavender soothes aching muscles. Dip a rough piece of towel into the lotion and rub into the feet, giving special attention to the insteps, arches, and ankles.

3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon oil of lavender
1/2 teaspoon alum powder

Put all the ingredients into a jar and stand the jar in a pan of hot water. Heat gently and stir. Allow it to cool, then screw on the lid and shake thoroughly. Remove the lid until completely cold. Shake again before use.



For thousands of years, people have used aromatherapy as an aid to
physical and emotional well-being. We can trace its use back at least
as far as the ancient Egyptians, who recognized the therapeutic powers
of essential oil, and there is also a long tradition of aromatherapy in the
Far East, particularly in China. The oils, which are volatile compounds
that occur naturally in plants, are important to the plant because they
contribute to its characteristic scent (thus helping to attract pollinating
insects). Oils are extracted from the flowers of some plants and the leaves of other. Their use in aromatherapy is effective because it links two potent forces — the healing ability of the oils themselves and the receptivity of the human skin and sense of smell.

Choosing Essential Oils
Among the wide rage of essential oil on the market, there are a number
that you can use for their soothing and relaxing properties. The chart below includes a selection of the most useful.

Melissa: The essential oil from the Lemon Balm plant is generally known to aromatherapists as Melissa. They use the soothing properties to disperse depression and black thoughts. Add five or six drops of Melissa to a hot bath.
Chamomile: The oil from German Chamomile is frequently used in aromatherapy to calm nerves. You can use it in a bath (adding five or six drops), or make a massage oil by adding two drops of chamomile oil to five teaspoons of soy oil.
Bergamot: Which is known as Bee Balm. Aromatherapists have found that this oil is particularly good for depression, as well as being
effective in helping the body to fight infections.
Lavender: As well as being known for its ability to heal burns and wounds, Lavender is an excellent relaxant. Dilute a drop and add it to a baby’s bath to help it to sleep.
Rose: This oil comes from the damascena, centifolia, and gallica varieties of rose. Aromatherapists value it for tension in women, particularly for post-natal depression and the stress that follows the break-up of a relationship.
Sandalwood: (Santaslum album)
The properties of Sandalwood are: Anti-depressing, relaxing, disinfecting, calming, soothing. This luxurious oil is useful for tension and anxiety. It also has a folk reputation as a sexual stimulant. Blends well with: bergamot, clove, geranium, jasmine, lavender, and rose.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is not to be confused with the household variety of geranium, which is a completely different species. A balancing oil for the mind and body. Geranium has sedative, uplifting properties, which is why its use is often considered in times of depression, confusion, panic and anxiety. Dilute two drops in two teaspoons of soy oil. In small quantities, it makes a good massage oil.
Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) is good for any skin as it balances the natural oil production. The calming effect of this oil may be the reason it is considered an aphrodisiac. It is said to calm anger, release tension, lift depression and generally stabilize mood swings.
A sedative and antidepressant, it is also good for shock and pain. You should use it sparingly.
Frankincense is relaxing, uplifting, calming and mildly antiseptic. Outstanding and unusual aromas can be created by blending the oil with citrus oils, lemon balm and bergamot and works well with frankincense. It also mixes well with basil, black pepper, geranium, grapefruit, lavender, orange, and sandalwood. Try adding five drops of frankincense to your bath.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium): This oil comes from the bitter orange tree. In cases of nervous tension and anxiety it will induce calm; it is also used to encourage sleep. You can make a massage oil by mixing five drops with two teaspoons of soy oil.


Orris root: The root of the Florentine iris is the principle source of
orris root, make by grinding the dried root stock. Orris root has
been used in perfumery since the ancient Egyptians. It is valued for
its violet scent and its ability to act as a perfume fixative.

Preparing The Herbs
Start by drying the leaves and flowers in a single layer on a piece of
muslin stretched over a frame. Keep the frames in a warm, dry place
out of the sun. When they are dry and crisp, put the ingredients in jars
with tight fitting lids. Over each layer of plant material, sprinkle 1/2
teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon orris root powder. Screw on
the lids, label, and store in the dark for three weeks.

Making A Potpourri
Choose a covered bowl if you want to scent the room occasionally, an
open one for continuous waves of perfume. Assemble all the jars of
dried plant material, and any spices you intend to use. Select one or
two (rarely more) essential oils that will compliment your choice of
plants. Put the herbs into the bowl, add the spices, and stir all
together gently. Shake a few drops of essential oil over the material,
stir, and test the perfume.

Flower Potpourri

6 tablespoons lavender flowers
4 tablespoons scented rose petals
4 tablespoons carnation, or dianthus petals
2 tablespoons chamomile flowers
2 tablespoons heliotrope flowers
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons orris root powder
About 1 teaspoon oil of lavender

Herb Potpourri

6 tablespoons peppermint or spearmint leaves
4 tablespoons rosemary leaves
4 tablespoons lemon balm leaves
2 tablespoons marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon sage leaves
1 tablespoon broken up bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon thyme leaves and sprigs
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons orris root powder
About 1 teaspoon oil of rosemary
About 1 teaspoon oil of oregano

Woodland Potpourri

2 handfuls cedar twigs and raspings
2 tablespoons sandalwood raspings
4 tablespoons larch or alder cones
2 tablespoons myrtle leaves
2 handfuls pine needles
2 tablespoons crumbled southernwood
Some dried lichen
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons orris root powder
About a teaspoon sandalwood or cedar oil

Herb Pillows

Hop Pillow

Hops are well known for their sleep-inducing properties, which come from a substance called lupulin. You can add other relaxing herbs to the hops.

2 or 3 handfuls of dried hop flowers
Additional herbs

Make a muslin bag to fit inside a small pillowcase and fill it loosely, so
that it lies flat beside your regular pillow. With the hops you can include
dried lime flowers, dried, crumbled marjoram, and lemon balm.

Love Pillow

1 cup dried red rose petals
1 cup dried lavender
2 drops rose oil or lavender oil, or both
Orris root powder

This mixture can be placed in potpourri containers (with the addition of dried pansy petals for additional color), stuffed in small sachets, or herb pillows.

Spicy Pillow

1 T nutmeg
1 T ground cloves
Orris root powder

Blend the ingredients and use in small sachets. Place in your lingerie drawers or under your pillow.

Invigorating Pillow

1 cup dried lavender
1/2 cup dried lemon balm
1/2 cup dried peppermint
2 drops rose oilBlend and use in potpourris, sachets, or herb pillows. Add dried pansy petals if using as a potpourri.

Experiment with fragrances that you like.

Sinus Headache Pillow

Mix together in a bowl;1/2 cup of flax seeds
1 part crushed spearmint leaf
1 part crushed peppermint leaf
1 part lavender buds
1 part eucalyptus leaf
1 part rosemary leaf

Stuff the bag and sew up the end!

Dream Pillow

Combine the following in a bowl:1 cup mugwort
1/2 cup rose petals
1/2 cup german chamomile
1/2 cup hops
1/3 cup lavender buds
1/3 cup crushed catnip
1/4 cup peppermint

Mix the ingredients together….make cloth bags from a 5 x 12 inch piece of material….fill the bag with your mixture….sew the top of the bag shut.

Sleepy Time Pillow

1 cup lavender flowers
1 cup white rose petals
1 cup hops
1 cup lemon balm
2 teaspoons orris root powder
2 drops oil of lavender

Mix all ingredients together and stuff into an herb pillow.

Tick Bites

Tick Bites

American Dog Tick

Lone Star Tick

Some ticks transmit bacteria that can cause illnesses such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

If you are bitten by a tick:

* Remove the tick as quickly as possible without squeezing its body. Squeezing the tick could cause it to inject harmful bacteria into your body. Grasp the tick with tweezers near its head or mouth and pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it.

* If possible, place the tick in a plastic bag or small bottle and keep it in case you have to see your doctor.

* Wash your hands after handling the tick.

* Disinfect the bite area with tincture of Bloodroot (which is antiseptic).

* You should check the bite occasionally for at least two weeks for signs of Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease:

1.Red rash around the bite (shaped like a bull’s eye and increases in diameter each day)
4.Severe headaches
7.Sore throat
9.Muscle and joint aches

You may experience all or only one or two of these symptoms. You should seek medical attention if you are in doubt. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics in its early stages. If the disease is not treated soon after it is acquired, permanent arthritis may result.

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Onset of the disease occurs 2 to 8 days after the infected tick bite.

1.High fever, usually 103°F (39°C) – 105°F (40°C).
3.Severe headache that may center around the forehead.
4.Muscle aches, (may become tender to the touch)..
5.Eyes may become red.
6.Generalized body swelling.
7.Small red spots or blotches that begin on the wrists, ankles, palms and soles. It spreads up the arms and legs toward the trunk, but often spares the face.

As the Rocky Mountain spotted fever progresses, the red spots may change in appearance to look more like bruises or bloody patches under the skin.

May cause mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. But usually it causes a moderate to severe illness that can damage the liver, kidneys and lungs.



Sunburn usually appears within a few hours of exposure. It causes pain, redness, swelling and occasional blistering. If a large area is exposed, sunburn can cause headache, fever and fatigue.

Herbal Treatments

* Take a cool bath or shower.

* Apply fresh Aloe Vera several times a day.

* Leave blisters alone. This will speed healing and avoid infection. If the blisters burst open, apply an antibiotic to the open areas. There are a few natural antibiotics you can use, such as: Goldenseal, St. Johnswort, and Yerba Mansa. There are several antibiotic ointments that you can make yourself on the Salves & Ointments page.

CAUTION: If your sunburn begins to blister and you experience immediate
complications, such as rash, itching or fever, seek medical assistance.