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DIY at Home: Natural Herbal Remedies to Calm Your Body, Mind & Menstrual Cycle

Photo by  Devon Dadoly  for  Cycles Journal

 

Our herbal allies can bring us so much relief in times of discomfort when we don’t know how to help ourselves. Natural remedies are effective when given the proper time & usage - so here are a few recipes below to get you started!

We will touch on the benefits & process of salves, tinctures & deep infusions.

I always recommend supporting your local herb shops & herbalists for intensive herbal formulas, dried or fresh herbs and consultation. For simpler remedies, DIY herbal remedies at home are fun if you have the time! If you DIY, aim to use organic herbs.

Topical: Salves

Salves are a great topical solution for many skin conditions including itching, swelling, dryness, (joint) pain, bug bites and more! Salves can also be applied over the wombspace to aid in pains and cramps during bleeding - a nice personal abdominal massage combined with the herbal benefits over your area in need of care will be such a treat.

 

How to Make Herbal Salves by Charlotte Snipes-Wells of Heart of the Moon Herbs

  1. Pack dried herbal material into a jar and cover with oil. Leave for one month. Some oils to infuse into are EVOO, Sunflower, Coconut, Grapeseed, Almond, Jajoba. 

  2. Strain oil from herbal material, leaving behind a medicinal oil. 

  3. In a double boiler add 4oz of medicinal oil (or blend of oils) and 1oz beeswax or carnauba wax (vegan). Heat on low heat until everything has melted. 

  4. If scent is desired add your choice of Essential oils. Typically 8 drops/1oz oil 

  5. When everything is melted, test the consistency of the salve by spooning out a small amount and letting it cool & harden. (Place in freezer for faster cooling)

    (If salve is too soft add more wax, if too hard add more oil until desired consistency)

  6. Pour hot salve into glass jars or tins and allow to harden. Label and enjoy! 



Some herbs to infuse in oil:

Cramp bark - antispasmodic for cramps and muscle spasms 

Lavender - relaxing, calming, great for burns (sunburn)

Chamomile - relaxing and great before sleep

CBD - pain & tension relieving

Kava kava - pain relieving, relaxing to muscles and tension 

Birch bark - pain relieving for muscles, anti-inflammatory 

Arnica - bruise healing, great for sprains and overextended muscles

Calendula - wound & skin healing, 

Plantain - great for bites and stings, burns

Comfrey - wound healing, helps heal ligaments and tendons that have been injured

Yarrow - helps stop bleeding, use on scars, cuts and wounds

Mugwort - promotes dream-state / lucid dreaming



Internal: Tinctures

How to Make a Tincture by Rachael Amber

A tincture is an extraction of plant material infused in a liquid. While ‘tea’ is an infusion of herbs in water, tinctures are infusions in alcohol for 6-10 weeks, creating a stronger elixir. Non-alcoholic tinctures are use glycerin or apple cider vinegar. Ethyl alcohol or 100 proof vodka tinctures are most potent and last 4-6 years in a dark cabinet. Glycerin or ACV tinctures stored in the fridge last ~1 year.

My favorite herbs to tincture:

  • Ginkgo leaves (memory/circulation)

  • Elderberry (immunity) / Motherwort (pms/nerves)

  • Cramp bark and/or White willow bark (pain/cramps)

  • Motherwort (mood/PMS)

  • Ashwagandha (balancing adaptogen)

     

1. Choose an herb to tincture. Dried is always good, fresh is also great but requires a little extra plant material.

2. For dried flowers or leaves, fill a mason jar 1/2-3/4 with the plants. For dried roots and berries, fill jar ¼ to ⅓.

3. Pour infusing liquid into the jar until it completely covers the plant material and the rest of the space in the jar. 

4. Seal tightly with a lid and store in a dark place. Shake weekly.

5. Wait at least 6-8+ weeks to strain. Filter into a dropper-bottle.

 

You can use tinctures to make cough syrups, add to a drink or just take them daily as you would vitamins. I use a shot glass, and add juice on top for taste~

 

DOSAGE/RESEARCH/PRECAUTIONS: Each herb has different dosages to take, but most are 1 dropperful/mL 1-3 times a day. Always research the recomended dosages for herbs you’d like to use, and precautions although they are minimal unless you’re pregnant, taking medication, going into surgery, or have concerns.

 

Photo by  Devon Dadoly  for  Cycles Journal

Photo by Devon Dadoly for Cycles Journal

Nourishing: Deep Infusions

How to Make Deep Herbal Infusions by Rachael Amber

This is one of my favorite remedies! While herbs are always good prepared as tea (aka herbal infusion), certain herbs are also great for deep infusions of 8+ hours. These specific herbs are nutritive and won’t turn bitter or tanic over this timespan. It’s a replenishing drink for when you feel depleted!

 

Fill a quart mason jar with about 1 Cup of herbs, cover with hot water, seal and let it sit overnight. In the morning, strain and drink your energizing herbal exlir!

 

My favorite restorative pre-&post-menstrual concoction is:

  • 3 parts nettles (energizing; iron, protein, vitamins & minerals),

  • 1 pt. red clover (anti-stress, nourishing; calcium, protein, vitamins & minerals)

  • 1 pt. oat tops/straw (immunity, balancing; calcium, trace-minerals, B vitamins)

  • 1/2 pt. peppermint (cooling, pain-relieving, adds nice flavor)

Visit: nourishingherbalinfusions.com for Susan Weed’s wisdom on infusions.

Featured in  Cycles Journal 2020

Featured in Cycles Journal 2020

Heart of the Moon Herbs: Charlotte Heartmoon Snipes-Wells

Charlotte is a community clinical herbalist who has studied deeply & is devoted to herbal healing. She runs a medicine garden & farm with her father. After working in-field and taking herbal medicine programs, she possesses a comprehensive understanding of herbal medicine in clinical, spiritual, activist and community centered approaches.

 

Stay in touch with Charlotte through all of her amazing offerings & wisdom she shares:

www.heartofthemoonherbs.com / IG: @heart.of.the.moon.herbs / Heartofthemoonherbs@gmail.com

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