Ezekiel 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees...and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
I dearly love herbs. I love the way they smell, I love the way they look in the garden. I like to add herbal things to my bath, I buy herbal shampoos and soaps, I drink herbal teas. I have a very small herb garden, and I use these to cook and make my own concoctions sometimes. My backyard is overgrown with peppermint, and I LOVE it, in fact, I'm hoping that eventually it will take over, and I'll have a whole backyard of peppermint to walk on. It smells fantastic in the spring when I can open my windows and let the scent in.
If I had an extra $500 to $1000 or so, I would take a herbal course and become a herbalist, whatever that is. But since I don't, I'll just read whatever I can get my hands on and become a self made one...
Summertime in Texas is a terrible time for bug bites. And since my two youngest boys live for the outdoors, going outside the minute they wake up in the morning and hardly coming in until bedtime except to eat, they get covered with bites. Chiggers, mosquitoes, fire ants, bees - they LOVE my boys (I love them too, but I don't bite them...)
They are so, so miserable with the itching. I worry about them scratching with their dirty fingernails. It's awful to dress them at night and see their poor little bodies covered with itchy, firey red welps. I feel like an awful mother, even though I know there's not a whole lot I can do.
But I am willing to TRY, anyway...
So I buy itch creams and big repellents. I hate putting bug repellents on their bodies. It smells chemical, and it goes against all I believe. The last time I tried to put "Off" on Luke, while we were at the lake house, he screamed when it hit his skin. I cringed and cringed, and vowed not to do that anymore if I could help it.
So I began to buy the natural stuff. It's pretty pricey, but I sure felt better about using it. Soon, I began to mix different kinds of natural stuff together - the citronella repellent I bought at Canton's Trade Days, the over the counter itch creams, a pain relief cream and Melagel, a tea tree oil organic cream I had. I kept thinking there had to be a way to mix these things together, the repellent and the anti itch stuff into one container. That way, I could soothe the itching, heal the bites and kept bugs away from them in one swipe!
Mary Susannah and I love to shop at Central Market, and I've been buying herbs there to plant in my garden. One trip, I found a citronella plant and some lavender. I brought that home, and decided I had most of the ingredients on hand to make my own recipe for my boys.
I was pretty excited as I cut the herbs, and got out the olive oil and castor oil to start.I used citronella and lemon balm leaves for repellent, and lavender leaves for pain into a pint jar along with the two oils, and let it sit for two weeks.
Then I pulled the leaves out of the jar, squeezing the oil out as I did. This made my hands pretty oily as you can imagine, but olive oil and castor oil are wonderful hand oils, so I just massaged it into my skin and fingernails afterwards...for a long time...thought I was never going to get it all worked in...
Next, I melted some beeswax beads in the microwave, because I don't have a double broiler. I finally had to add water and a bit of the olive oil / herbal mix to get them to melt. Sorry for the crummy pictures, daughter Mary Susannah wasn't as interested in this blog, so she didn't "fix" them for me...
Next, I mixed the oil and the beeswax together, along with whatever essential oils I thought would be good. Since I didn't have citronella essential oil, I used orange oil and peppermint oil as a repellent. I used tea tree essential oils and a comfrey salve I bought from homestead heritage to heal. I had a "bite" blend of oils I bought at Antique Alley from a homeschool mom a while back, so I added that, too. About twenty drops of each, although I didn't count. It could have been more.
Mixed that all together. Yes, it was messy.
I poured this into extra small jars I had. It took several, but that's okay, I'll put them in different places, the smaller ones on a level that the kids can reach themselves. I love using things that I know won't hurt them if they get a little too much on them.
And it set up! I was so excited as I watched it harden into a salve!
It smells wonderful, thanks to the peppermint. I'm anxious to see if it works! This was enough fun that I'm anxious to try a few more salves and tinctures. It wasn't hard at all!
I'll let you know in a week or so how it work!