Carrier Oils Library

Carrier oils or base oils that are sometime called, are used to infuse herbs in, added to herbal products such as lotions and soaps, or used all on their own. These vegetable oils are excellent for skin and hair. But some are made from nuts and should be avoided if you are allergic.

Here are some of the more common carrier oils we use in body products we use:

Sweet Almond Oil

This oil is expressed from the seed of the sweet almond rather than the bitter almond. It has a faint aroma and is very close to the natural oils found in the skin. Use for chapped, irritated skin, eczema, cradle cap, and to soften wrinkles.

Apricot Kernel Oil

This oil is expressed from the seed of the apricot. It is a heavy oil but easily absorbed into the skin, therefore an excellent moisturizing oil for face, hands, and hair. It’s high in Vitamins A and C. Great for mature, dry, and sensitive skin.

Avocado Oil

This is one of the most penetrating oils. It is pressed out of the dehydrated thinly sliced fruit. The oil is pale yellow with a green aroma and is rich in Vitamin A and D as well and lecithin, potassium, and chlorophyll. Very moisturizing oil for rash, eczema, mature skin, parched skin, and aging skin.

Coconut Oil

This oil is semi-solid but melts easily when put on skin. It is prepared from the endosperm of the coconut fruit. It forms a barrier against infections, softens, moisturizes skin, and prevents wrinkling, sagging, and protects skin from damaging UV rays. Use on aging skin, and skin that needs protection.

Evening Primrose Oil

An expensive oil to produce, but is used for dandruff, sun-damaged skin, eczema, problem skin such as acne, aging skin, inflamed skin. It is an excellent oil for rheumatoid arthritis as a rub and for wounds. It is used in my breast salve to reduce cysts and pain.

Grapeseed Oil

This oil is mildly astringent and especially suited for acne or oily skin. Because it is primarily polyunsaturated, it is best refrigerated if it is to be kept for any length of time. It is a great oil to use if you don’t want your skin to feel oiler that it already is.


It is really a liquid wax that contains all the natural forms of antioxidants. It is extracted from an edible seed, not a nut that can be used on most sensitive skin, including baby skin. It does not clog pores and does not stain. Use for facial massage, hair/scalp conditioning, cuticles, psoriasis, revitalizing, and soothing after sun exposure.

Macadamia Nut Oil

This oil is expressed from the rich macadamia nut, has a medicinal aroma, and is oily on the skin. It softens dry mature skin. Use in shampoos, conditioners, creams, and massage oils.

Olive Oil

Fully ripe olives are crushed, not the seed, to make this rich oil. It is heavy and used in cosmetics and soaps. It is filled with skin nutrients such as Vitamin E that softens dry skin. The aroma is somewhat strong. Using essential oils can cover the smell if you don’t like it.

Safflower Oil

This oil is produced from the seeds of the safflower plant. Apply to bruises, sprains, and painful arthritis joints. It can be used in salves and rubs to be used to relieve pain such as knees, shoulder, and back.

Sesame Seed Oil

It is an extraction from raw seeds. It is a light color and is a natural skin moisturizer, a good source of vegetable protein, rich in lecithin, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Use for rheumatic conditions, eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin.

Sunflower Oil

This light oil is high in linoleic acid, Vitamins A, B complex, D, and E, as well as calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. Use for bruises, dermatitis, and ulcers. I use this deep absorbing oil in my breast salve to reduce cysts and pain.


Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is native to the dry, disturbed soils of prairies, meadows, and the edges of forest in the northern hemisphere. This perennial grows best in hardiness zones 3-9. It grows 36-inches high and produces white flowers. It is a bitter-tasting perennial of the Asteraceae family and is helpful in so many ways.

  • Diaphoretic (opens pores and helps us sweat)
  • Diuretic (increases urine flow) properties support our bodies during flus and fevers, as well as detoxifying chemicals in general
  • Styptic (stops bleeding)

Botanical Name – Achillea millefolium

Family – Asteraceae

Parts Used – Flowers, Leaves, Roots

Energetics – Harmonizing

Plant Properties – Astringent, Relaxing Diaphoretic, Antiseptic, Diuretic, Anodyne

Plant Uses – Fever, Bleeding, Wounds, Infections, UTIs, Fibroids, Varicose Veins

Plant Preparation – Tea, Tincture, Smudge, Poultice

How To Make Yarrow Herbal Tea Or Infusion

An infusion is a tea made with the lighter, more delicate parts of herbs like the leaves and flowers, which release phyto-nutrients readily and quickly.

To create a wonderful cup of medicinal tea, place a heaping teaspoon of dried yarrow herb in a traditional teacup, or about 1 tablespoon of herb in a large teacup. A ‘traditional’ teacup holds about 1 cup; a ‘large’ teacup that holds about 2 cups.

Simply pour hot water (not boiling, as it can damage the phyto-nutrients) over the herbs in the cup. Stir the herbs so all herb pieces are submerged. Place a saucer over the cup to keep the steam, which holds much of the herbal essence, from escaping.

Let seep about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enjoy. If you like very hot tea, add a dash of hot water. If you don’t like the herb pieces floating in your cup, you can strain it into a fresh cup or use an infuser.

You can also make herbal tea from fresh herbs too. These teas usually have a sparkling lively essence, whereas the dry herbal teas, even made from the same herbs, have a more woodsy, nurturing, comforting flavor.

To make tea from fresh herbs, you’ll need more herb matter – try starting with 3 to 4 sprigs, ripped up or minced, and crushed in your hands (should come out to about 1-1/2 tablespoons for a ‘traditional’ teacup or 3 tablespoons for a ‘large.’) Place the herbs in the cup, pour water over, and seep. Fresh herbs take a bit longer to brew than dried herbs.

The amount of herb you use and the amount of seep time you allow are really a matter of personal preference. Your tea will develop stronger flavor and stronger medicinal value the more herb you use and the longer you seep. If you find your tea is too strong, you can easily dilute by adding more warm water.

How To Make Yarrow Herbal Decoction

A decoction, using the tougher pieces of herb such as stems, roots, and seeds, calls for a longer period of brewing and a bit of simmering. To make a decoction, place about ½ cup of herb material in a saucepan, pour about 4 cups of cool water over, and cover. Let soak for at least an hour or overnight. Then, bring the water to a very gentle rolling boil, and let simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Depending on your time and type of herb you’re using, you can skip the soaking stage and simply simmer the herbs for 30 minutes to an hour or so. Strain out herbs and enjoy.

Yarrow has not been shown to be safe during pregnancy. Those who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae will want to use caution.

Olive Leaf and Oil

Everyone knows about the olive tree fruit that produces delicious oil used in healthy cooking. But, not everyone thinks about the olive leaf tea used in herbalism.

Traditionally, olive leaf (Olea europaea) has been used for the prevention or treatment of inflammation, infections (such as the common cold, influenza, Candidiasis, urinary tract infections, shingles), diarrhea, allergies, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.

Here are some of the health benefits that you can receive from Olive Leaf Tea :

  • anti-viral as well as anti bacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • lower cholesterol
  • anti-inflammatory
  • lowering blood pressure
  • increase blood flow by relaxing the arteries
  • maintains and enhances a powerful immunity system
  • reduce the level of blood sugar
  • premature ageing
  • increase energy levels by treating chronic fatigue
  • elevate your mood
  • aids in the treatment of allergies
  • prevent muscle spasms
  • fights yeast infections and viral infections, such as herpes
  • Some research suggests that antioxidants can help to treat tumors and cancers such as liver, breast, and prostate cancer. Olive Leaf Tea is best known for its preventive action in these circumstances, maintaining normal DNA repair
Olive leaf dried herbs

Olive Leaf Side Effects

Because of its incredible power to reduce your blood pressure, olive leaf tea should not be taken without some precaution. Because of its ability to lower blood pressure and glucose levels in the blood, this tea can become quite a threat to those who have low blood pressure and glucose levels. Be aware that interaction with medication to reduce blood pressure and glucose levels may be dangerous. Be careful, and consult your doctor, monitor your blood pressure and always pick the right tea that suits your needs and circumstances. If you have diabetes, make sure your doctor approves of this herbal tea with your daily diet.

Herbal Tea

How to brew a fresh cup of herbal tea? Learn how HERE

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is used for healthy cooking, and makes a great base for herbal infused oils for the kitchen, and medicine chest. You can infuse olive oil with rosemary, garlic, thyme, and other herbs for a variety of flavors to complement any dish. Experts recommend getting 20% to 35% of your daily calories from fat, including oil. Most should be in the form of monounsaturated fat such as olive oil. One tablespoon olive oil a day may be your limit. Keep in mind that olive oil is 14 grams fat per tablespoon.

This healthy oil is used to infuse herbs for medicinal uses, such as comfrey, lemon balm, plantain, and many more. This finished infusion may be used as is, or combined with other ingredients to make salves, lotions, serums, creams, and soaps.

Lemon Balm Oil Infusion

Learn how to make Oil Infusions HERE


Despite the rather ominous sounding name, skullcap has been used for centuries by herbalists as an effective nerve tonic and sedative. Skullcap herb is an amazing plant for stress, tension, anxiety, nervousness, panic attacks, pain, and insomnia.

Bill McLaughlin's Scullcap

Botanical Name – Scutellaria lateriflora

Common Name – American Skullcap

Family – Lamiaceae

Parts Used – Flowers, Leaves, Stems

Energetics – Bitter, Cool

Plant Properties – Anodyne, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Calm, Emmenagogue, Hypotensive, Nervine, Parturient, Sedative

Plant Uses – Stress, Anxiety, Pain, Muscle Spasms, Insomnia, Panic Attacks, Seizures, Twitching, Teething

Plant Preparation – Tea, Tincture, Smoking, Massage Oil

Skullcap Tea


1-2 teaspoons of organic skullcap herb to suit your taste
1 cup hot, but not boiling, water


  1. Bring water to a low boil. Turn off heat, and add the skullcap herb.
  2. Cover with a lid to preserve essential oils from escaping.
  3. Steep for five to 10 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. The longer you steep skullcap, the more benefits you may receive. Strain and drink warm.

Where to buy Skullcap? HERE

Skullcap Massage Oil


2 cups flowering skullcap tops
1/2 cup jojoba oil (or other oil less costly)
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or more to cover)


Combine ingredients in a quart jar and cover loosely with several layers of cheesecloth. Allow mixture to stand in a warm place for three weeks. Heat jar in a pan of warm water for 15 minutes to liquefy oil, and then strain.

Caution: As always, you may want to start using skullcap under the guidance of a holistic medicine practitioner, and use it in moderation. Skullcap side effects are rare and it is considered a safe herb that can be used by most people.  But if your are pregnant or nursing, please consult your doctor.


Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family that’s easily identified by its sweet floral scent. It’s believed to be native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India, with a history dating as far back as 2,500 years.

In ancient times, lavender was used as a holy herb. Additionally, it was often used to freshen up and give a light scent to a variety of personal items, such as clothes and hair.

Botanical Name – Lavandula spp

Family – LAMIACEAE (Mint)

Parts Used – Flowers, Leaves, Stems

Energetics – Warming

Taste – Pungent, Bitter

Plant Properties – Aromatic, Antimicrobial, Analgesic, Relaxing Nervine, Carminative, Cholagogue

Plant Uses – Bacterial and Fungal Infections, Tension, Poor Sleep, Anxiety, Pains, Wounds, Burns, Depression, Headaches, Dyspepsia, Bug Bites, Insect Repellant

Plant Preparation – Tea, Tincture, Essential Oil, Culinary

Today, lavender is more than just a fragrant plant. As it turns out, this herb is also commonly used for medicinal and therapeutic benefits. So if you’re dealing with a few medical issues of your own, and you don’t want to risk the unpleasant side effects that come with many over-the-counter and prescription medicines, here’s a look at the potential health perks of using lavender.

Benefits, Recipe & Side Effects

Lavender is one of the most beautiful plants in the world. The most beloved form of use is lavender tea known for its calming effects, which makes it an ideal bedtime tea.

The best benefits of lavender tea include relaxing the body, reducing muscle spasms, promoting healthy digestion, and aiding sleep. It also helps eliminate inflammation, balances mood, heals the skin, and soothes chronic pain.

Lavender tea comes from the lavender buds of the flowering plant, the small purple bundles. Scientifically found in the genus Lavandula, lavender is native to the land surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and Southern Europe, ranging from the Middle East to Asian countries. It comprises more than 30 species, dozens of subspecies, and plenty of hybrids and cultivars. 

It has an effective concentration of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and phenolic compounds, and potent terpenes, such as linalool. These nutrients can have several notable effects on human health.

When you drink lavender tea, it may provide relief from insomnia, high anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, skin irritation, and headaches. Regardless of what ails you, the benefits of lavender tea will likely be able to help!

Lavender Tea Recipe

Making lavender tea at home is a simple process, involving only fresh lavender buds and water, although some people enjoy blending the tea with honey, chamomile, or even other herbal teas. You can add this tea to a warm tub of water for a relaxing bath.


  • 1-2 tsp dried lavender buds, or 4 tsp of fresh lavender buds
  • 2 cups of water (filtered)
  • 1 tsp of honey (to taste, if desired)


  • To make lavender tea, add the fresh or dried lavender buds to a teacup.
  •  Bring the water up to a boil, then remove from heat for 1 minute.
  • Pour the water over the lavender buds and allow them to steep for 5 minutes. Place a plate over the top to keep the steam inside the mug, further infusing the tea.
  • Remove the plate, add honey if you want to sweeten the flavor, and enjoy! No need to strain the lavender buds out; most will have sunk to the bottom of the cup.

You can use fresh lavender buds or dried ones, depending on your availability. If you have fresh lavender and wish to dry some for the future, it is best to harvest them before they fully bloom, and cut the flowering stalks right above the leaves. Bind them into bundles and hang them upside-down in a dark, cool, and dry place. The drying process should take between 2 and 4 weeks. Then, simply brush the stalks and the lavender buds should fall off easily, to be stored and used later for tea.

Caution: The main side effects of lavender tea include skin irritation, nausea, vomiting when consumed in excess, but there are other possible interactions and situations to be wary of lavender tea. Lavender tea may cause headache, constipation, and also appetite change if not taken in moderation. Some of the side effects can be quite serious when the lavender is ingested in a toxic amount.

Rose Hips

Roses have been grown for centuries as an important source of food and medicine. They are not only beautiful to look at, the fruit bulbs that appear below the flower are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Best known for their abundance of vitamin C, rose hips provide many health benefits.

The rose hip, or rosehip, is the red-orange spherical fruit of the Rosa genus in the Rosaceae family. Seldom found on modern roses, the old-fashioned shrub-type, especially rugosas, produce a copious amount of rose hips. This rose hip bulb is typically smooth on the outside. Inside, you’ll find a mash of seeds and some stringy pulp. A fresh rose hip can taste tart, like a green apple.

Rose hips contain many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemical compounds such as ascorbic acid, phenolics and healthy fatty acids. As a result, some rose hip uses claim to be helpful in treating a variety of diseases, including skin disorders, kidney disease, diarrhea, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

You can benefit from rose hips in many forms, such as purees, jams, syrups and sauces used as flavorings in recipes. Rose hip tea is often blended with hibiscus or flavored with mint for a mild laxative effect.

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot produce, so you must get it from food. Vitamin C has long been associated with its effect on the common cold. It turns out that extra vitamin C, such as the amount in a cup of rose hips, can help alleviate your stuffy nose, congestion and other symptoms of a cold.

Botanical Name – Rosa spp


Parts Used – Fruit (hips)

Energetics – Cooling

Taste – Sour

Plant Properties – Astringent, Analgesic, Nervine, Aprodisiac, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant

Plant Uses – Pain, Cold, Flu, Inflammation, Infection, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Immune, Heart Disease, Weight Loss

Plant Preparation – Tea, Infusion, Shrub, Syrup, Culinary

Rose Hip Herbal Tea with Star Anise, Cinnamon Stick, and Lemon

Rose Hip Herbal Tea

Makes 4 cups

Rose hips produce a mild, tangy, fruity tea. Use them solo or combined with a hint of fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves. Drink warm or chilled and sweetened with stevia, the tea is a vitamin-rich, sugar-free alternative to fruit juices or Kool-Aid that is appealing to kids and adults alike.

1) Combine 4 rounded teaspoons cut-and-sifted dried rose hips or 4 tablespoons whole dried rose hips with 4 cups of water in a nonreactive saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

2) Alternatively, place fresh or crushed dried rose hips in a warmed teapot, pour boiling water over them, and steep, covered, for 10 minutes.


Eating an excessive amount of rose hips to get extra vitamin C could be harmful. Too much vitamin C can cause digestive distress, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. If you have hemochromatosis, a condition that causes your body to store too much iron, high intakes of vitamin C could make your condition worse and damage your tissues.

Red Clover

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herb that belongs to the legume family, which also includes peas and beans. Red clover’s brightly colored flowers contain many nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. They’re also a rich source of isoflavones. These are compounds that act as phytoestrogens—plant chemicals similar to the female hormone estrogen. Isoflavone extracts are touted as dietary supplements for high cholesterol and osteoporosis in addition to menopausal symptoms.

Botanical Name – Trifolium pratense

Family – Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Parts Used – Leaves, Flowers

Energetics – Cooling

Taste – Sweet, Salty

Plant Properties – Alterative, Antispasmodic, Nutritive, Lymphatic

Plant Uses – Cancer, Whooping Cough, Eczema, Acne, Infertility, Estrogen, Lymphatic, Congestion, Post-menopausal, Cover Crop

Plant Preparation – Infusion, Tea, Tincture, Vinegar, Food

Medicinal Uses

In herbal medicine, Red Clover may help with the following problems. Keep in mind that every body is different, so this herb may help one person, but not another. It is always wise to consult with your doctor.

  • Asthma
  • Whooping Cough
  • Cough
  • Bronchitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Skin Cancer
  • Skin Sore
  • Burns
  • Hair Loss
  • Inflammatory Conditions (arthritis)
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Indigestion
  • High Cholesterol
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
A Field of Red Clover

Women Uses

Red clover is an important herb for women’s health problems. Use to treat these symptoms that women may experience at some time in her life.

  • Menopausal Symptoms (hot flashes and nigh sweats)
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Menstrual Symptoms (PMS and bloating)
  • Breast Pain or Tenderness (mastalgia)
  • Hormones (estrogen)
  • Breast Cancer

Men Uses

Red Clover has some evidence that it may help with a few men’s health problems that he may experience at some time in his life.

  • Prostate (enlarged)
  • Hair Loss

How To Prepare

Red Clover is one of those herbs that actually tastes good. Here are ways to prepare and enjoy Red Clover.

  • Make a tea with a 2 tablespoons of dried blossoms and/or herb (4 T fresh may be used) to a cup of hot water, cover, strain after 15 minutes, and enjoy several times per day.
  • As a tincture, take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three times per day. That’s about 100 drops or 3 to 6 droppers full per day.


As with all medicines and herbs, there may be cautions. Red Clover may not be safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, for children, or for women who have breast cancer or other hormone-sensitive cancers.


Althaea officinalis

Marshmallow is most commonly used to ease sore throats and dry coughs. The Marshmallow plant, especially the leaves and roots, contains polysaccharides that have antitussive, mucilaginous, and antibacterial properties. Because of this, marshmallow has a soothing effect on inflamed membranes in the mouth and throat when ingested orally, specifically a sore throat. The antitussive properties help reduce dry coughing and prevent further irritation.

Herb Actions:
alleviates local irritation
decreases blood sugar (hypoglycemic)
demulcent (soothes)
heals wounds
stimulates phagocytosis (boosts the immune system)

More recently, marshmallow has been used to treat certain digestive disorders, including heartburn, indigestion, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers and Crohn’s disease. The mechanism by which it soothes sore throats applies to gastrointestinal mucosa as well and regular consumption of marshmallow can help with the pain of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, and prevent stomach ulcers from perforation. Marshmallow extract is sometimes added to creams and used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis. Additional uses are currently being investigated. Marshmallow may be a helpful aid to radiologic esophageal examination. There is tentative evidence that marshmallow may also help with respiratory disorders such as asthma. Researchers may soon test marshmallow as a natural alternative to blood sugar management in diabetes.

Sweet and energetically cooling and moistening. Leaves, Roots, & Flowers are all edible. The dried leaf or root made into a tea. The root is best as a cold infusion or a decoction. This enables the extraction of mucilage. Leaf or root as a poultice.

When mixed with water, it forms a mucilaginous (gel-like) consistency that soothes throat, digestive tract, and urinary tract irritation. So, when you need to cleanse and heal from the mouth to the “end”, a Marshmallow root infusion is in order.

For a single serving, add two tablespoons dried chopped root to a cup or glass. Pour a cup of hot or cold water over the roots. I use cold water. Allow to brew for 4 hours or overnight. Drink the whole cup all at once, 2 hours from medication.

Buy Dried Marshmallow Leaf
Buy Dried Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow is considered a very safe herb and virtually no side effects have been reported with its use. Marshmallow may, however, cause low blood sugar in some people, so those with low blood sugar should check with a physician or herbalist before using marshmallow. Because of the way marshmallow coat the stomach, it may affect absorption of other drugs. Anyone taking medications should take marshmallow either six hours before or six hours after taking other medication.


Licorice root is one of the most-used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is frequently used in small amounts in formulas and is considered to be a synergist or peacemaker in that it helps herbs work together more effectively. 

This post will look at licorice root benefits when used as licorice tea or as a licorice extract. It will also look at the licorice side effects in addition to potential problems with licorice and high blood pressure. 

Licorice root has a strong sweet taste (50 times sweeter than sugar) and shines as a demulcent herb, but the benefits of licorice root have numerous powerful uses that go beyond being a simple demulcent. 

Latin Name

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Common Names

Chinese Licorice, Gan Cao, Kan-ts’ao, Kuo-lao, Licorice, Licorice Root, Ling-t’ung, Liquorice, Mei-ts’ao, Mi-kan, Mi-ts’ao, Sweet Licorice, Sweet Wood, Yasti Madhu


Anti-allergic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, demulcent, emollient, estrogenic (mild), expectorant, laxative, pectoral (moderate), soothing

Used For

Addison’s disease, allergic rhinitis, arthritis, athlete’s foot, baldness, bronchitis, bursitis, canker sores, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, chronic fatigue, colds, colitis and intestinal infections, conjunctivitis, constipation, coughs, dandruff, depression, duodenal-ulcers, emphysema, exhaustion, fibromyalgia, flu, fungal infections, gastritis, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, hayfever, heartburn, hepatitis, inflamed gallbladder, liver disease, Lyme disease, menopause, prostate enlargement, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, spleen disorders, tendinitis, throat problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, viral infections, yeast infections. Reducing stomach acid and relieving heartburn and indigestion. Increasing bile flow and lowering cholesterol. Improving resistance to physical and emotional stress.


Licorice root, especially when taken in large amounts for long periods of time, can increase blood pressure and cause water retention. Some people seem to be more susceptible to this than others. 

To avoid this, here are some suggestions:

Take licorice root in smaller dosages and as part of a larger herbal formula. 

Avoid taking more than 10 grams of licorice root per day for an extended period of time. 

If you decide to take larger dosages of licorice, have your blood pressure checked regularly and discontinue use if you notice any unusual water retention in your body. 

Avoid use of licorice root if you currently have high blood pressure and/or edema. 

Licorice root may also interact with corticosteroid medications by increasing their effect. If you are on corticosteroid medication then it would be best to work with someone experienced in using these two substances together. 

Interestingly, many of the case studies involving unwanted side effects of licorice happened in people consuming large amounts of licorice candy. 

Buy Dried Licorice Root


Violet Leaves, Viola odorate

Violets are welcome in my garden. Not only are they lovely, but they are useful as a medicinal herb. The leaves and flowers of many violets are edible, but the yellow species are questionable by some. Most herbalist say that all violets are serviceable. The leaves and flowers can be used in teas, tinctures, syrups, and other herbals.

Violets are native to most parts of the world. The Viola genus contains around 550 species, mostly found in the temperate climates of the world. It is a common sight in lawns, gardens, sidewalk cracks and along trails. The common blue violet is typically considered a “weed” because of its relative ease in adapting to human disturbance, but it pushes the definition because it has been on this continent for a very long time.  Some woodland species of violet are rare and should not be disturbed.

Violet’s Edible Uses

Enjoy violet leaves and flowers in salad, pesto, and in sandwiches and wraps. The roots of most violet species can cause nausea and vomiting, and should not be eaten. The leaves and flowers can be harvested throughout the spring until the leaves become too fibrous. They will often make a comeback in the fall, with a flush of tender new growth. Violet leaves can be sautéed or steamed. Stir them into soups as a nutrient-dense thickener. The flowers make a lovely garnish, sprinkle them on salads and add them to cakes and pancakes. Violet flowers are also beautiful when candied or frozen into ice cubes.

Violet’s Medicinal Uses

Parts Used:  Leaves and flowers; aboveground parts in flower

Medicinal Preparations: Infusion, syrup, honey, vinegar, poultice, compress, salve, and infused oil

Herbal Actions:

  • Demulcent
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Expectorant
  • Alterative
  • Lymphagogue
  • Vulnerary (promotes wound healing)
  • Antitumor
  • Antirheumatic
  • Diuretic
  • Mild laxative

Violet is cooling and moistening and is used internally as a blood cleanser, respiratory remedy, and lymphatic stimulant. It is taken as a tea or syrup, and can also be eaten for its medicine. The exact dosage is not especially important since it can safely be consumed in large quantities. As a gentle food herb, violet is generally safe for elders, youngsters, and people who are taking pharmaceuticals.

Medicinally, violet is a gentle but potent remedy. It is classified as an alterative (or “blood purifier”), which means it helps the body restore optimal functioning by aiding metabolic processes, especially the elimination of waste products. Violet stimulates the lymphatic glands, helping the body get rid of bacteria and other toxins. It is especially useful for swollen glands. Over time, violet can help clear stubborn problems like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Taking Violet after a long winter is a wonderful way to get our bodies ready for a healthy and energetic spring.

Violet also supports the immune system, helping to clear infections of all kinds. Soothing and cooling, it helps reduce fever and inflammation. It can be useful in treating sinus infections, bronchitis, sore throats and coughs.

Violet leaves can even help to shrink tumors and cancers. They are most effective when taken both internally and used externally as a poultice. They are also helpful in clearing up other growths and lumps such as cysts, mastitis, and fibrocystic breasts. See my recipe for a breast oil and salve using violet leaves HERE

Violet leaves contain a good bit of mucilage, or soluble fiber, and thus are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels (similar to oatmeal). Soluble fiber is also helpful in restoring healthy populations of intestinal flora, as beneficial bacteria feed off of this type of fiber. The leaves are high in Vitamins A and C, and rutin, which is a glycoside of the flavonoid quercetin. Rutin has been shown in animal and in vitro studies to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and blood thinning.

Topically, violet is used as a poultice, compress, infused oil, and salve for dry or chafed skin, abrasions, insect bites, eczema, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is cooling, soothing, and anti-inflammatory.

You can buy my Breast Salve HERE. Can be used for the list above as well.

You can also use dried violet leaves and they are available in our shop HERE

Safety & Contraindications: Avoid internal use with individuals who have the rare inherited disorder G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency, because it can aggravate hemolytic anemia.


Antiviral Herb Echinacea Root

Common Names – Echinacea, Purple coneflower

Botanical Name – Echinacea spp

Family – Asteraceae

It is a simple flowering plant and a member of the daisy family. More commonly known as purple coneflower, many people grow this powerful herb without even realizing it! The name derives from the Greek word ekhinos (hedgehog) because the cone resembles a small hedgehog.

The flowers, leaves and roots of this plant can all be used differently in natural remedies. In general, the leaves and flowers are the parts traditionally used in remedies.

Herbalists do not agree on which species is best, E.purpurea,, E. pallida, or E.angustifolia, but all variants have phytochemicals that improve the immune system and fight infections.

There are dozens of dozens of biochemical compounds that act in therapeutic synergy in this complex plant that support disease resistance in several ways. However, taking echinacea when a cold or infection has already become serious may be fighting a losing battle. Echinacea is most effect when taken at the first onset of cold or sinus infection.

It is also used against many other infections including the flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Echinacea has a numbing sensation that relieves the pain of cold sores, and also offers some protection against herpes simplex viruses. Echinacea acts against Candida albicans, the microorganism that causes most yeast infection. Echinacea is a mild antiseptic on its own, but when fighting an established virus, combining echinacea with antiseptic herbs such as goldeseal or Oregon grape enhances the effectiveness of the treatment.

Echinacea growing in my garden.

Native American’s used it as a remedy hundreds of years ago and it is re-gaining popularity in modern times. Modern research is still divided on the effectiveness of echinacea, and there are some contraindications (like autoimmune disease).

Of course, it is important to check with a doctor or medical professional before using this or any herb, especially in cases of disease, medical problems, pregnancy, or in children.

Tincture Recipe

A tincture is essentially an extract. Alcohol tinctures are the most common type and the easiest to make, though vinegar or even glycerin will work.

To make an echinacea tincture with alcohol, you will need:

*A clean glass jar with lid

*Food grade alcohol like vodka or rum, at least 80 proof OR apple cider vinegar

*1/2 cup dried echinacea (Can be one or a mixture of root, leaf, and flower. Remember the root is more potent than the rest of the plant.)

Place the dried herb in the jar and cover with the alcohol or vinegar. Remove the bubbles with a spoon. Place the lid on, label, and store in dark cool place. Shake once a day if you don’t forget about it like I do. Allow to infuse for 6 weeks.

Strain out the herbs and enjoy your natural medicine. Start with a drop in a little water and see how you react to the dose. You may increase if you wish, everyone is different.

Remember, I am not a doctor, so please consult your doctor when taking herbal products, especially if you are taking a prescribed medicine.


Common Names – Elecampane, Wild Sunflower, Horseheal, Yellow Starwort, (more below)

Botanical Name – Inula helenium

Family – Asteraceae

Elecampane (Inula helenium) is a perennial herb in the aster family with a long history of medicinal uses. In appearance, it is reminiscent of a sunflower plant, with tall stalks, pale green foliage, and bright yellow flowers with large seed heads in the center. The flowers of elecampane are much smaller than sunflowers, but it has enormous leaves that can grow to 2 feet in length.

Elecampane is easy to grow but is not particularly showy or attractive. It is grown primarily for its use in herbal medicine. All parts of the plant have medicinal applications, but the octopus-like roots provide the main source of useful material. Dig the roots in the fall, and remember, only take a third of the roots from each plant.

The many uses of elecampane are suggested in its various common names, including elf dock, scabwort, wild sunflower, horseheal, horse elder. As far back as Roman times, this herb was commonly used to treat indigestion. Helen of Troy is said to have had a handful of the plant when Paris stole her away. And several of the nicknames for elecampane came from early beliefs that it cured many ailments on animals.

“Let no day pass without eating some of the roots to help digestion, and to expel melancholy”“.


Elecampane is known primarily as a respiratory tonic, and is used to ease breathing in cases of asthma and bronchitis. The root is the part used medicinally, and it’s chemical constituents helenalin, helenin, and inulin have been shown to have expectorant and antiseptic properties that support its traditional uses. Inula also contains a volatile compound, alantolactone, in the oil that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Elecampane is also a bitter tonic that tones the digestive system.

Most commonly, elecampane is used to move phlegm that causes respiratory issues and eliminate intestinal bacteria to improve stomach issues.

The root and sometimes the rhizomes from two- to three-year-old elecampane plants are used in herbal medicine formed into teas, tinctures, medicinal honey, syrup, capsules, extracts, or sweet confections. Elecampane is also used to provide flavor in foods and beverages, and to lend fragrance in beauty products.

Elecampane Cough Syrup

Slice the roots in bite-sized pieces, not too small. If using fresh roots, fill half a glass jar. But, if using dried roots, fill to 1/4 jar. Fill the entire jar with honey. Turn over the jar a few times a day for 2-4 weeks if using fresh roots. Dried roots need to infuse for 4-6 weeks.

When you have a cough, simply eat the honey. Honey also feels good on the throat as well. Also, you can eat the pieces of root, or they can be removed. If you don’t have fresh elecampane root, you can use half as much dried elecampane root to make the honey. Always, label your jars with name, date, alcohol, and herb used! Store in the fridge.

Take 1 tablespoon for adults, and less for children, as needed, up to 3 times a day. Never give honey to a child under a year (some say two years old).

Elecampane Root Tincture

Chop roots in small pieces, and place in a glass jar. If using fresh root, fill jar 1/2 full, and 1/4 full for dried roots. Fill the jar to 1 inch with choice of alcohol. I use 80 Proof Vodka. You can also use apple cider vinegar. Allow to infuse in a dark place for 6 weeks, shaking several times a week. You may have to add more alcohol.

At the end of infusion time, remove herbs. Store in a dark glass dropper bottle if possible. Always, label your jars with name, date, alcohol, and herb used!

The dosage will be different for each person. So start with a drop (like I do) in a little water. Increase as needed. Can be taken up to 3 times daily as needed.

Elecampane Tea

Boil a quart of water in a saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of dried elecampane root. Turn down to a simmer and do so for 20 minutes. Add honey to taste. Honey heals and soothes as well. Add a lemon slice if desired. Strain and drink your natural cough remedy.

Remember, I am not a doctor, so please consult your doctor when taking herbal products, especially if you are taking a prescribed medicine.


Alfalfa Herbal Teas,

Alfalfa has impressive health benefits, including its ability to lower cholesterol, improve digestion and protect heart health. It also helps improve respiratory conditions, detoxify the body, boosts immune system, speeds up healing, improves bowel movements, and reduce inflammation. Apart from this, it has anticancer properties.

It’s naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins; biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, potassium, amino acids, as well as being very high in protein, especially when dried. Alfalfa is of special interest to women because of its estrogenic activity.

It is “The king of all foods”!

Alfalfa extract is a good source of chlorophyll and carotene. It is important to insist on certified organic alfalfa, since the plant concentrates cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc when it is grown in contaminated soils.

Alfalfa is a tonic herb. The tastes are sweet, bitter, and earthy. It is energetically cooling.

Buy Organic Alfalfa Leaves

The dried leaf or powder can be used in teas, made into capsules or herbal tablets, or infused as an herbal tincture. Alfalfa tea is mild and good tasting, and blends well with many other tonic herbs like nettle, mints, and citrus.

To make a nutritional tea with Alfalfa Leaves, simply add one cup boiling water to one teaspoon dried leaves together in your favorite cup. Cover with a saucer, allow to steep for 10 minutes, remove herbs, stir in honey and add a lemon if you wish. Using an infusion cup makes this chore easier.

A cup of Alfalfa Tea

Another way to add Alfalfa to your diet is sprouts. For people who want a nutritious boost in their diet, alfalfa sprouts are a low-calorie and delicious option. These young seedlings provide a number of impressive health benefits like promoting weight loss, preventing aging, managing diabetes, improving digestion, building bone health, helping heart health, and lowering cholesterol levels. Alfalfa sprouts are also a rich source of plant-based estrogen that boosts women’s health, reduces the symptoms of menopause, and regulates menstrual cycles.

Buy Alfalfa Sprouts Seeds

Please be aware there are some issues with Alfalfa Sprouts. There are some potential side effects of alfalfa sprouts that should be taken into consideration, such as an increased risk of certain kind of cancers, worsening of autoimmune diseases, potential infections, dangerously low blood sugar levels and bleeding problems.

In your garden, Alfalfa builds organic matter in your soil, providing nutrients to plant roots. Its high nitrogen content helps other organic material to decompose. Organic matter also helps to prevent compaction, acts like a sponge and holds moisture in the soil, improves soil structure, and helps to prevent erosion.

Makes a beautiful addition to your garden


CLOVES are a pleasant, sweet spice like cinnamon, but have a stronger flavor and a sharp aroma. Whole cloves are the buds of the evergreen clove tree. Stewed fruits benefit from a handful of whole cloves while they are simmering, and fragrant pilafs are made even more so by addition of some whole cloves. You may leave the cloves in the dishes you are making, but you may not enjoy biting into one, since the flavor is somewhat bitter. Ground cloves are often used in conjunction with cinnamon in baked goods, fruit pies, and squash, sweet-potato, and pumpkin recipes. Cloves enhance the flavors of apples and bananas in desserts and are occasionally used in curries and chutneys.


Basil is available in many varieties.  Choosing which basil to grow and use is the hardest part, but using them is very easy.   There’s cinnamon, dark opal, holy, lemon, lime, spicy bush, purple ruffles, sweet thai and many others to choose from.  But sweet basil is my favorite.  It has the classic basil flavor we’ve all come to love.

How To Grow Basil

Basil is easy to grow from seed or purchased plant. It requires what most gardens already have, full sun, warm temperatures above 50 degrees, and adequate moisture.

 Harvesting, Drying, and Storing Herbs

This herbs is also very easy to dry and store for later use.  In morning when dew is dried off the plants, cut stems off and wash to remove any dirt.  Lay out to dry on a paper towel for about an hour.

You can dry your herbs on a table out of direct sun which takes several days.  Or, use a food dehydrator like I do.  With this method, it only takes 30 minutes to and hours on low.

The herb should feel crisp when ready.  Store your dried herbs in a glass jar in a dark place.  For better flavor, store your herbs whole.  You can crush them when you are ready to cook.

Of course, fresh herbs are best to cook with, but they are not always available.  Basil is no exception.

Just Look At All The Dishes You Can Use Basil In

  • Vegetables: zucchini, corn, bell pepper, tomato, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, eggplant, squash, spinach, artichoke, fennel, onion, potato
  • Seafood: lobster, shrimp, crab, red snapper, salmon (fresh and smoked), grouper, tuna
  • Meat and Poultry: chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, sausage
  • Soups and Sauces: corn chowder, tomato, minestrone, vegetable soup
  • Dairy: egg dishes, ricotta, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, bleu cheese, goat cheese
  • Legumes and Grains: polenta, cannellini beans, rice (all varieties), couscous, all pasta
  • Fruit and Dessert: watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, apple, peach, nectarine, pear, figs

Basil Has Many Benefits To Help Our Bodies

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Diabetes
  • Liver
  • Blood vessel
  • Anti-stress
  • Immune

 Just Look At All These Vitamins and Minerals It Provides

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

Milk Thistle Seeds

Milk thistle seeds has many benefits to the liver! Your liver is what does a great deal of the detoxing in your body and when your liver isn’t in top notch condition, this can affect the whole body.

Any detox plan you undertake should always have your liver in mind. Milk thistle is also great for your digestive system, so you can help your liver remove toxins from within your body, and then allow your digestive system to kick them out of your body. The active compound in milk thistle is called silymarin, a natural liver protector and supporter. Who doesn’t need some of that in their life?! The seeds of this plant have been used for at least 2,000 years to help protect health cells in the body, encourage the production of new cells, and stop inflammation in the body, especially of the liver.

Milk thistle extract is so powerful; it can actually help those with liver diseases.

How to use milk thistle seeds

There are several ways to use milk thistle seeds, they can be prepared and taken:

  • Sprinkled over food such as a salad, ground or whole seeds
  • Ground and packed into vegan capsules
  • Crushed and made into a tincture, tea, or add to coffee
  • Cook with it


Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita
Common Names: German chamomile, Roman chamomile, wild chamomile
Family: Asteraceae-Daisy Family
Part Used: flower heads
Properties:  analgesic , anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-viral, diuretic, sedative

Uses:  indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn, peptic ulcers, to calm nervousness, insomnia, spasms in stomach and muscles, diluted for children (colic, insomnia, upset stomach), hair rinse for blonds, herb pillow

Preparation Methods:  creams, salves, infused oil, essential oil, herbal tea, tincture, poultice, bath, hair treatment

Chamomile is one of the oldest herbs used all over the world.  Because of it’s extraordinarily gentle effectiveness, chamomile is the first herb of choice for many home remedies. The seemingly endless list of uses for chamomile can all be traced to its effects on the nervous system and digestive system, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Chamomile is a great herb to grow in the garden or buy in bulk, because there are so many different and amazing uses for it.*

Caution:  May cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to ragweed or other plants in the daisy family.  People on blood thinners should use caution.

Cilantro or Coriander

Cilantro is an herb that is never available in dried form, since its pungent flavor and aroma seem to dissipate almost entirely when dried. Sometimes referred to as Spanish or Chinese parsley.  Fresh cilantro is becoming more widely available in produce markets.

Cilantro has a unique flavor and aroma that some savor and others dislike. It is used widely in Mexican, Indian and Asian cuisines. Cilantro adds an unusual zest to pinto bean stews, Spanish-style tomato sauces for enchiladas, tacos and the like, curried vegetable stews, and corn dishes such as corn-stuffed peppers.

The dried seeds are called coriander and is often used as a pickling spice.

Benefits:  Rich in dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, amino acids, and fatty acids, antioxidants and anti-fungal.

Garden:  Annual, Self-Seeds, Full Sun to Part Shade, Zones 2-9.  Plant continually Spring-fall for a fresh supply of leaves.

Elder Flowers

Scientific Name:  Sambucus nigra
Common Names:  elder, mother elder, elderberries, elderflowers
Family:  Caprifoliaceae-Honeysuckle Family


  • sweat-inducing for fevers
  • encourage circulation, colds and flu
  • bronchial and upper-respiratory
  • allergy and hay fever
  • eye wash
  • tonsillitis and sore throat
  • mild laxative
  • rheumatism and gout
  • inflammation

The Elder, with its flat-topped masses of creamy-white, fragrant blossoms, followed by large dropping bunches of purplish-black, juicy berries, is a familiar object along roadsides, hedgerows, and open ditches along country roads.

Everyone has seen them, even if they can’t identify this plant.  It’s said that summer starts when the elder’s flowers appear, and ends when its berries are ripe in late August.

Elder flower can be dried for later use.  There are several ways to benefit from this healing flower.  They can be made into a tea, tincture, champagne, cordial, wine, sorbet, jam, vinegar, and fritter.

Got inflammation?  Make this simply remedy with fresh or dried elder flowers.  I used dried flowers in this recipe.

Anti-Inflammatory Infused Oil

Use this anti-inflammatory oil with elder flowers on everything that looks swollen and inflamed, including diaper rash and other rashes, bites, sprains, knees, etc.


dried elder flowers or fresh flowers

enough carrier oil to cover

Note:  I’m using dried flowers because that’s what I have on hand.

If using fresh flowers, pull all the flowers off the stems.  Any amount of flowers will work, the more you have, the more finished product.

Sterilize a glass jar that will hold your flowers, a canning jar works great.  Place your flowers in the jar and cover flowers with your choice of carrier oil.  I like sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil.  You can use any oil in any combo.

If you’re using dried flowers, you can twice the amount of oil because dried is more concentrated than fresh and it will need more oil to hydrate.

Using a sterilized spoon, lightly stir the mixture until all the air bubbles are removed. Make sure all the flowers are under the oil.  Cover with a tight lid.  Label and date, so you won’t forget (like me).

Let set for two weeks in a dark cabinet, giving it a good shake every day if possible.  At the end of two weeks, pour the oil and flowers through a coffee filter or other filter to remove all the flowers.  Store your infused oil in a sterilized glass jar in a dark cool place. Again, label and date your jar.

Your infused oil is now ready to use.  Rub the elder flower oil on anything swollen and inflamed.  It’s always a good idea to test a little before spreading on a large area.  Just because you may not be allergic to something, doesn’t mean your child is the same.  Dot a little on the inside of the arm where it’s soft, and if nothing shows up in an hour, it’s safe to use.

Homemade Herbal Salve

You may want to make a salve instead.  Warm the infused oil and add beeswax.  You can warm on the stove in a double boiler, an electric candle warmer in a glass jar, or in the micro-oven.

I like this recipe and it works using any infused oil:

3 parts oil to 1 part beeswax for a soft salve (or 2 parts beeswax for a harder salve)


3 tablespoons infused oil to 1 tablespoon beeswax

3/4 cup infused oil to 1/4 cup beeswax

When the beeswax is melted, pour in a container or balm pot.  Allow to cool, and its ready to use.  Rub away the aches!

Caution:  Do not ingest or use the leaves, bark, or roots.  Do not ingest or use the red or green berries.  Always cook the black berries, never eat raw.

Shepherd’s Purse

Common Names – Shepherd’s Purse , Pickpurse, Casewort, Lady’s Purse

Botanical Name – Capsella bursa-pastoris


What a curious name for a plant.  It was probably called this because of the resemblance of the flat seed pouches of the plant to an old fashioned leather purse.

From Europe this little plant found its way around the globe, and has become a common weed growing along roads, in ditches, along fences, and in sidewalk cracks.  It’s often overlooked, but it deserves a closer look.  Shepherd’s Purse has very useful healing qualities.

Benefits and Uses

Internal Bleeding

  • bleeding after child birth
  • when there is blood present in urine, stool, and vomit
  • heavy or prolonged bleeding, Menorrhagia
  • nose bleeds

External Bleeding

  • hemorrhoids
  • minor wounds, cuts and scrapes
  • varicose veins

Other Uses:

  • diuretic
  • Vitamin C
  • tonic for overall health
  • normalizes circulation
  • anti-inflammatory for joints

How to use Shepherd’s Purse

Make a tea by adding 1 cup of freshly boiled water to 1-2 teaspoons of Shepherd’s Purse dried herb.  Cover and steep for 10 minutes, and drink a cup 1 – 3 times daily until bleeding stops for internal use.

For external use, make the tea as above, but soak a cotton ball or swab.  Wash the wound with the cotton ball or swab, and apply more fresh tea.  You may cover the wound if you wish to keep it clean.

Shepherd’s Purse Side Effects

Not recommended during pregnancy, the herb can cause uterine contractions. Not for those with liver or kidney disease.

Despite its purported benefits, shepherd’s purse may cause significant side effects and interact with certain drugs, including thyroid medications.