Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Homemade Hair Stengthening/Growth Tonic

Ok, I have to admit, I am obsessed with making my hair grow- I have visions of my hair flowing over my shoulders and being everlastingly full and radiant!  Unfortunately, I have my father's hair- thin and stringy (when it gets too long).  My homemade hair products are wonderful, but none of them are helping with the length or fullness of my hair.  The quality of my hair has always been fine; I even had a fellow student (years ago) ask if she could touch my hair because it is so soft and shiny!  So, I am on a mission to find the perfect blend of hair-nourishing herbs that will make my locks healthy and full.

Bingo!  I found a recipe for a hair tonic with rosemary and stinging nettle that is supposed to stimulate your scalp and actually grow thicker hair.  I took that recipe and added some essential oils to aid in the scalp-stimulating properties of the tonic.

What you need to make your own herbal hair tonic:

1 T dried rosemary
1 T dried stinging nettle
1 c white vinegar
1 c filtered water
5 drops each: lemon and lavender essential oil

  • Put all ingredients (except essential oils) into a small pan.
  • Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to lowest setting and make a strong decoction. (takes about 1 hour)  Add more water if it gets too low!
  • Remove pan from heat and filter out the herbs.
  • Add essential oils when tonic has cooled to about 100 F.
  • Keep in a cool place and shake well before use.
To use:

Use sparingly on your scalp (apply either with a dropper or a small squirt bottle), using 10-15 drops and massaging it in with fingers.  Do NOT rinse.  
Since this has vinegar in it, it will have a slight odor at first, but that will dissipate once the tonic dries.  Use this tonic every-other day.

Enjoy your healthy scalp/hair!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Homemade Dandelion Wine

I love dandelions!  Not only are they bright and yellow (which happens to be my favorite color), but they are full of nutrients and can help you perform a "spring cleaning" on your liver! Dandelions have been used as a detoxifier and blood purifier for centuries. I think dandelions are beautiful herbs, not weeds, and they should be used and revered as such.

 From the Bulk Herb Store catalog:
    " (dandelion) is high in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium... This is the herb for improving      low blood pressure and helping build energy and endurance.  It is also one of the best liver                  cleansers and is therefore great for skin diseases."  

A few days ago, I was amazed at the abundance of dandelions in our yard.  So, I took my "little ones" and filled a sack with about 3 quarts of these lovely yellow flowers.  (Be sure to pluck the flowers in the morning when they first open.)

Then, we made a very strong dandelion infusion; just use equal parts flowers and boiling filtered water.  Let the infusion sit in a large stainless steel pot with a lid for 24-48 hours.  Then, strain the liquid into a fermenting vessel. (Be sure to squeeze all the goodness out of the flowers!) I used a small fermenting crock as my vessel.

To your (3 quarts) dandelion infusion, add:

  • 3/4 c unrefined cane sugar
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • peel of 1 orange (I used a vegetable peeler)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 c starter culture (I used water kefir, but you could also use whey)
Once the ingredients are mixed, cover the fermenting vessel with a cloth secured by a rubber band. Let the mixture sit for a couple of days, until you see signs of fermentation- bubbles!  Be sure to stir at least once a day in the meantime...

When you see bubbles, let the wine ferment for another 1-2 days, depending on the temperature of your home.  Stir and taste daily.

The dandelion wine is finished!  Bottle this lovely beverage and chill before enjoying a glass.  And, although it is called "wine", dandelion wine is safe for children to drink, as long as it doesn't sit around too long!  

To me, dandelion wine tastes a lot like European Orangina- So enjoy the benefits of dandelion in this tasty, citrus-y beverage!  And never take the dandelion for granted again ;)