Uses for summer herbs RSS

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Summer flies by in NE Ohio so I grow and harvest as much of the herbal goodness as I can while the sun is shining and weather is warm. You can substitute any number of flowers or herbs in this recipe but I used spearmint for this particular batch. Calendula petals, plantain leaves, danedlion plants, and pine resin are a few of my oil infused favorites.

I use spearmint to help relieve my back spasms, for indigestion, and as an instant pick me up which pairs especially well with citrus. The menthol content, which has a relaxing and cooling effect on the nerves and muscles so its uses are pretty wide spread and gentle enough for the whole family.

I use spearmint and a few other goodies as a chest rub to help my little one with congestion through allergy season. It works as a gentle substitute for peppermint with the little ones whose airways are extra sensitive to the high menthol content. 

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Creating an herb infused oil sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. There are a few different ways to make an infused oil, but the first thing you need is fresh herbs.

Choosing and Drying Herbs

I collect spearmint, plantain leaves, lemon balm, dead nettle, calendula, St. Johns wort, rosemary, and sage from my yard and garden regularly through the summer. There is an abundance of it this time of year so I try to preserve as much as I can to last through the cooler months! Pick your own or source from a high quality herb supplier- just make sure the plants aren't grown with pesticides and chemical based fertilizers or you'll be absorbing those same chemicals into your skin- yuck! Always do your research!

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Drawing salves have been used successfully for thousands of years on bee stings, splinters, and wounds. They're a summertime staple that everyone should have in their medicine cabinet!

Simply put, most of the ingredients are probably already in your cupboards or even your own backyard.

Native Americans used pine resin in poultices and salves to help draw out splinters and other toxins, seal and protect wounds, and increase circulation to injured areas of the body. It is still used in first aid applications for these same purposes today all around the globe.

Calendula can be used to disinfect minor wounds and to treat infections of the skin. The antibacterial and immunostimulant properties of the plant make it extremely useful in treating slow-healing cuts and bruises.

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The smell of fresh lemon balm instantly takes my mind to warm summer days. 

Not only does it smell beautiful, it has a long list of uses as well. One of my favorite ways to keep that summer vibe all year long is to make an oil infusion. There are several different methods, but I prefer to let the sun naturally infuse the oil. Slow and steady always gives me great results. As far as which oil to use, there's no wrong answer. I like using almond or avocado oil, but coconut or olive oil work just as well! 

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