Natural Herbal Teas

Bee Balm/Wild Bergamot– Tea used for; colds, headaches, reduce low fevers, gas, bloating, nausea, menstrual pain, and insomnia. Topical;  compress as antiseptic and antibacterial. A cooled tea is good used as a pet wash to relieve itchy skin. 

Blackberry Leaves– as a tea for sore throat, mouth sores and diarrhea. Has an antioxidant that compares to Vitamin E, and other antioxidants that improve health 

Catnip – natural herbal sedative has a natural antacid that helps with colic, diarrhea, cramps and gas. Hot Catnip tea helps bring down fevers, helps as a decongestant, as it loosens phlegm. 

Chamomile tea to calm an upset stomach or helps with sleep and restlessness. Used externally as toothache compress or skin soothing lotion. May interfere with blood thinners 

Echinacea –  can help ward off cold  and reduce duration of the common cold. Not to be used with autoimmune diseases 

Elderberry Blossom– tea with fresh or dried blossoms helps relax and calm, with a cooling effect to reduce fever. Flowers and berries help diminish mucous membrane swelling. 

Elderberries-immune system booster because of antioxidants It’s also  an inflammatory. Very good source of fiber, Vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium, and Vitamin B6. 

Hibiscus– relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to reduce the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. 

Lemon Grass – this herb is a sedative, that has a relaxing effect on the brain, which helps relieve stress and improve sleep. Useful for stomach ache, high blood pressure, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, common cold. External- used to kill germs and as a mild astringent. 

Mullein – tea used for bronchial conditions, including bronchitis, asthma, dry coughs, congestion, whooping cough, tuberculosis, pneumonia, tonsillitis, colds and the flu. Topical use for burns, hemorrhoids, wounds, and inflammation. 

Peppermint- tea is a way to boost your overall health to improve; digestion, reduce pain, eliminate inflammation, relax the body and mind, cure bad breath, aid in weight loss and boost the immune system. 

Red Clover– tea helps reduce menopausal symptoms, lower risk of high blood pressure/cholesterol, immune boosting, bone strength, and a natural diuretic. In a skin salve helps treat psoriasis and eczema. Not recommended for pregnant women 

Sassafras – Assists in inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It has been used as blood purifier, a mild stimulant known to improve general health and mood over time. Contrary to The tests done in the 1950s there is some evidence that Safrole may actually help to protect against cancer in humans since closely related compounds are known to do so.

Wild Rose– Rose flowers, contain a high concentration of vitamin C and antioxidants. Rose tea can help reduce menstrual pain, improves digestions, help calm the mind from stress and anxiety. 

Yarrow- helpful in relieving fever and shortening duration of colds/flu and as an aid with relaxing during illness or cramps. Use poultice or a salve to help with hemorrhoids, rashes & broken skin.

If interested in placing an order, please email me for paypal info: livinglifeknowledge@gmail.com

Pot-a-Honeysuckle

When its in season, it’s hard not to notice that strong, aromatic, sweet, scent of honeysuckle.  Mmm, I love it!

As a child, I remember walking home from school and stopping at a patch to pick some.

I know, it IS invasive, it spreads and grows fast, making it a pest to remove or cut back.  But it does have some redeeming qualities…

If you gently pull the fiber string from the end of the flower, it will bring a tiny drop of ‘dew’ that looks like water, but has a very mild, sweet taste.  In order to preserve this exquisite, flavorful, delicacy, I decided to make some Honeysuckle syrup.  It has a light, taste similar to honey.  Here’s how to make it:

1 cup honeysuckle (lightly packed)  +  1 cups (double the amount) water   bring to a boil, then simmer gently until it cooks down to nearly a cup.         Drain the cooked honeysuckle from the water through cheesecloth or coffee filters.  Slowly stir in 1 cup sugar, on medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.

I use it to add to my herbal teas.  It is especially pleasant in the Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot).  I made a few 4 oz. jars, which I have priced at $2.50.

Making a soothing essential oil

Image

I have been enjoying making various creams and oils, ever since I started the livinglifeknowledge.com endeavor.  Some of the oils are made from common, native, or easy to grow plants.  And… since I lOVE LOVE LOVE to make my own (just about everything)… I decided to make calendula oil. So that I would have a ready supply to make soothing cream.  After considering the total expense I have put into buying oils, I’m pretty sure this should help cut costs.

I wanted some natural herbs/flowers that are soothing and nutricius for skin. I selected yarrow, for it’s healing qualities.  The calendula also has skin benefits, especially as an anti-inflammatory and assists in healing wounds.  I have been seeing all over the social media how popular it is as a staple for making essential oil and coconut oil base creams.

dried yarrow and calendula

dried yarrow and calendula

purchased items are pure organic, yarrow is local grown

purchased items are pure organic, yarrow is local grown

 

I used a regular-sized jam or jelly jar and lightly crushed a big handful of dried herbs.

 

Then I merely covered it all in Apricot Kernel Oil, put the lid on it, and left in a semi-dark warm place.  (Which in my house was on a wooden stool in a corner by the heater vent.)

wait oil                So after a couple weeks, (don’t worry about counting days exactly).. I strained                                   the oils, then added some more to go another couple of weeks.

Straining the first part of process

Straining the first part of process

adding oil the second time to process

adding oil the second time to process

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After waiting another couple of weeks, it was time to make the final oil.  I used cheese cloth this time so all oil from the saturated herbs could get squeezed out.  (I like to use every drop.)  I noticed that the scent was pretty neutral, so I added a couple drops of benzoin, but I won’t hesitate to add some happy scents whenever I mix a batch of creams. These will be perfect for summer, and if I mix them with  Shea butter, I will have a soothing, natural sunscreen!

final step in the process

final step in the process

Fresh batch of Yarrow/Calendula alongside a recent batch of pepperming

Fresh batch of Yarrow/Calendula alongside a recent batch of peppermint

make feet soother gifts

I have had aching feet for a long time.  I tried many things, and now I know that stretching, shoe inserts and foot soaks are the best remedy.  I like to experiment with making things from natural sources; especially essential oils, but I found that some good, old fashioned ingredients are also helpful.

I work with other women who also are plagued with the aches/pains of aging-&-daily-life. So, I decided to make some feet soak powder for Christmas presents.  I searched the internet and found this was the base recipe to start:  (BUT read on- note that I modified it!)

3/4 cup epsom salts                                                                                                             1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda

Most of the recipes called forepsom essential oil, but I didn’t want the powdery stuff to glob.  Yet, of course, I wanted it to include some scents and herbs.  I found Lavender and Honey Epsom salt (faithful Calgon-take me away), and purchased a jar of “Village Naturals Therapy” (found at Walmart) concentrated bath soak. There are several scents/herb mixes available, but I picked Eucalyptus, Spearment, Menthol simply because it was green and I figured the green color would be a nice touch for gift effect.

I doubled the recipe in order to make multiple little jars.  I just spooned in what looked like a good mix of green crystals.  There is not a certain recipe, this will be strictly to taste.  Fell free to pick other variations, or just the basic recipe as above with a few drops of you favorite essential oils….and relax!!

footgift

 

9 things Mama taught us from the Bible

On Mother’s Day, I was sitting in church listening to the minister go over 9 things that Mom taught us.  Things that gave us confidence.  Things that warned us of heartache.  Things that assured us we were loved.  You were supposed to pay attention to the “moral” of the story….  here they are …tree row

Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards others, making the most of the opportunity. Colossians 4:5

Don’t judge a book by its cover= acceptance

wind flowers

Good manners never go out of style= respect

bugmouth

Choose your battles=discernment (sifting)

 

lone branches

First, walk a mile in their shoes= compassion

 

twisted vine

 

                         Two wrongs never make a right= forgiveness

 

loveydoves

People mean more than things= generosity

Prettypink

 

            Your word is your bond=                   integrity

 

Into each life some rain must fall= contentment

unnamed

pump

 

This too shall pass= patience

 

 

God is everywhere, and we find him anywhere we look.  As I create some of the pieces on our website www.livingakers.com, I think about God and all the glory of nature he placed right at our fingertips.

Mushrooms at your fingertips

inoculating small logs at our tree farm with Shitake mushrooms spores PAYS OFF A FEW MONTHS LATER.

Sound different?  Difficult?  We were clueless the first time we heard about this, but found how just how amazingly easy and inexpensive it is- really.During a tour at one of the Missouri Forest and Woodlands Association conferences for tree farmers, was a family farm where some short logs were propped up in a row on their place.  There were mushrooms popping out all over them! He told us briefly that he cut some logs, drilled holes, and the kids put spores in, covering each with wax.  Well, that still sounded a bit foreign to us.  The very same afternoon, the University Extension center, which is a partner with the Missouri Conservation Department, had some brochure handouts on … would you know?  GROWING SHITAKE MUSHROOMS!!!  

THE place referenced to get spores is Field & Forest.  They are real experts, with a large variety of mushrooms, advice, starter kits, tips, tricks and more.  So, we ordered spores and got started when the weather was right.  First, the logs we cut were approximately 6″ White Oak (because size matters.)  They need to be fresh cut for moisture, and the bark on Oak doesn’t disintegrate as much as other barks, so that the moisture is kept in the log.

For our third time inoculating, this is the method we chose:

1. Drilling
2. Thimble Spores
3. inserting the spores

This year, we filled with “thimble spores”.  First, the hole is drilled with a special bit, fitted for the spore.  The tray shown in photo 2 contains the spores, shaped like a thimble.  They are pre-measured, so just insert, press in, making sure the styrofoam is secure.  VERY SIMPLE

4. Inoculated logs

As I mentioned earlier, we have tried other methods, which also are not difficult at all.  We just like trying different ways, then comparing the process and results.
I recommend you check out Field & Forest, as they have more information than I can possibly begin to offer here in a blog.

September 2014 after a few days of cooler temperature with rain

September 2014 after a few days of cooler temperature with rain

7 months later, in September, 2014, we had these show up one day.  This was after a few days of cooler weather and some rain.  These are about the size of a quarter.  In 2-3 days, they were the size of a hamburger bun and DELICIOUS!!!

We are proud to live sustainable, utilizing all that God-given nature has provided.  Trees are our passion.  They inspire us.  So much can be created from or about trees!

Trees are everywhere

logo1 logo4 logo3 logo2


 

 How often are trees used as a logo?

Just for fun, I googled that question and got 143,000,000 results. Way more than I ever considered!!! Perhaps a more appropriate question would be WHY trees are so popular as logos.  Because they have significance in all aspects of life, success, growth, stability, history and more.  I started noticing how many companies use trees as logos when I began my business finding and producing products made from trees or about trees. Everywhere I go, I see tree logos on billboards, at companies on awnings.  Could this mean that we humans appreciate this important piece of nature? In a way, it has become a symbol of incorporated (business) forests.  Maybe we should pay attention to our nations forests…  we do…

https://www.forestfoundation.org/forest-foundation-mission-vision-values-goals

The American Forest Foundation has a mission: “to ensure the sustainability of America’s family forests for present and future generations in conjunction with out strategic partners.” If you appreciate nature and your land, perhaps you consider how important it is to manage it, and here is help:  https://www.forestfoundation.org/our-focus

http://www.forestandwoodland.org/about-us.html

In Missouri, we rely on the Forest and Woodland Association, a partner of the American Forest Foundation.  They offer a wealth of information, through members sharing their experience and knowledge.  Most states have land owner Tree Farm Systems.. check yours out!

The world is paying attention to the importance of trees..

Forest Service Recognizes United Nations’ International Day of Forests

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)

Try going one full day without using a product derived from a tree.
You won’t be able to use a pencil or paper or sit on your couch or at a desk. You won’t be able to check the mail or drink coffee while reading the newspaper.
Trees are important for everyone around the world, and now the U.N. has designated every March 21 as the International Day of Forests

In honor of trees, I create a variety of hand-crafted, specialty tree gifts- made from or about trees…  some can be seen on my pinterest page!

Tree messages

Here’s Your Sign- in Trees

Trees talk…
or do they?
History is recorded in trees, if you read the signs.

Ever carved your initials (or your undying love for another) in a tree?There are a multitude of variations, depending on the types of trees, the size of trees, and the messages presented in many different types of ‘signs’.
These are called arborglyphs.

Many years ago, I went back-backing in the Rocky Mountains outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. At this high altitude, Aspen trees are everywhere, and so are the messages carved in these specially unique trees with white bark. If only back then, we had such a thing as a ‘pocket’ camera, but alas, I have the memories. Once I started reminiscing about all those ‘signs’ and messages carved in Aspen trees, I wanted to find out more.  Luckily, nowadays– you can find anything on the internet!

There is history in the ‘signs’ of trees. This article; “Reading the Trees” provides information following an archaeological study.  “Nicole Smith, Education and Outreach Project Director for the San Juan Mountain Association, directed the identification and documentation of arborglyphs on a stretch of the Pine Piedra Trail. The 2001-2004 research project, funded by the Colorado State Historical Fund.” 

I ran across these posts in Waymarking.com.  VERY cool!  For example:

“This is a small cemetery for the Butler family in Morgan County Indiana, north of the town of Paragon.” 

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2MWJ_Butler_Cemetery
 

I find it very interesting when I consider that signs of the past left in trees could be markers of history.  It kind of makes you wonder how long the ‘sign’ in a tree can last?  Longer than a ghost town like this one:
“Steubenville, Indiana of Randolph County was officially plated on the day before Christmas in 1839. It only had three or four homes even in its heyday.”

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMC75R_Steubenville_IN

So, we know from history that towns may or not live long…
Have you ever wondered how long a tree can live?  (They do represent life, sort of as a parallel to human life.)  Well… the Guiness World Book of Records has METHUSULAH= listed as the world’s largest living tree! (Just more interesting info I found on “waymarking.com”). Would you believe “Earth’s oldest living inhabitant “Methuselah” has reached the age of 4,768 years?”

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1wKHUw/www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMQDF/

There are even more stories of tree ‘signs’.  Military veterans have reported messages in trees.
Remember the “YELLOW RIBBON”?  In the United States military, the symbol of the yellow ribbon is used in a popular marching song. The first version copyrighted was the 1917 version by George A. Norton, which he titled ‘Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon” (For Her Lover Who Is Far, Far Away). Ask.com 
There was a big hit song in the ’70’s- “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando. It was about a man returning home from prison who asked his girl to tie a yellow ribbon if she still wanted him, and when he arrived, a 100 ribbons were tied to the tree.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NCZ4l8FCFc
It caused some controversy because it glorified a criminal- not a soldier.

That’s all beside the point— I want to bring the attention to the TREE.  Why an OAK?  Because among common species, they have the most resiliency and longevity.  You can count on the Oak Tree being there after long, hard years away.  THAT is just another reason why trees are so important.  What they stand for, long lasting love… and so much more.

 

Posted in FYI

Cuckoo to get coconut oil?

So I found out that pure coconut oil is the anti-aging skin remedy. Then I saw how expensive it is and got a wild hair to extract my own. I do not recommend this for anyone lacking in the virtue of patience… After 3 days of tapping, cracking, peeling, shredding, squeezing, fermenting, separating, slow heating and extracting…I got 2 Tbs. But the coconut was $1.79!! LoLskincare 003

 

 

I started by drilling a hole to drain the milk, then placing the coconut in a big vice that we have, cracking it. I took all the pieces and separated the meat from the peel.  Then I ran the pieces through the food processor, adding warm water to make a paste.  The instructions I followed said   to squeeze the paste into a jar of the coconut milk, and wait for it to ferment and separate.   IMG_20130721_162456_375

 

A hard paste forms at the top of the jar, that is where the oil is. I took that out, melted it in a boiling bath, then ran it through the cheesecloth again to filter.  This was a long, labor filled process. IMG_20130721_171610_234

After all that, I decided to check prices and found the best price for quantity at http://www.bulkapothecary.com/. The refined comes in a gallon, or 5 gallon quantity.  The unrefined is better for cooking than the refined with smallest quantity 32 ounces. I wanted it to use it as an anti-aging product. I have been using it now, for over a year, and can tell a distinct difference.

I LOVE making things from pure nature, and went a little cuckoo for the coconut oil, but it was worth it! Check out more ideas about what can be created from or about nature.

HAPPY NATURAL SKIN HEALTH!!!

Necessary ‘Neem’ for skin care

I happened to catch an episode of Dr. Oz, and was fascinated with what I learned.  ‘Neem’ is an essential herb in Ayurvedic medicine (based on an ancient system in India).  First, the audience was introduced to the three types of dosha. Find your dosha, is a quiz you take to determine your ‘mind/body’ balance.  There are three types; Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Discussion was provided on the suggestions for harmful and helpful ingredients/spices unique to each type ‘Dosha’.  Very interesting, and the guest, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, explains easily how all this makes sense.

Then, we got into the information about an herb, used in India for centuries as skin care essential-  Neem.  It is from a tree indigenous to India: GntNeemTree

Dr. Chaudhary’s mother was in the audience because she was talking about Neem, something she used all her life by just making a poultice from leaves picked right off the tree.

Now that I viewed this episode and feel totally enlightened, I also feel ‘behind’ compared to how many people already have been aware of the special essence of this plant.  (I still have moments of delayed knowledge- but I get ‘it’ eventually.)

There are multitudes of products available, lotions, oils and combinations in products.  If you are like me, I want ‘pure’ organic ingredients. That’s why I prefer to DIY, and save money at the same time.  I did a little checking to compare prices, most average $9-19 for an oz of pure Neem Seed Oil.  It is marketed for several purposes, cosmetic (hair and even toothpaste), and a natural insect control for gardeners. It is offered in many forms; oil, dried, teas and is very common as an ingredient in lotions, facial wash, etc.  As I said before, I like to make my own, so I got my Neem Oil at Mountain Rose Herbs for $4.75 for 4 oz.  You can also get it at http://www.bulkapothecary.com/ with a comparable price, but their smallest quantity is 15 oz.

Have Happy skin everybody!!