Calendula, our herb of the month, is not just a medicinal treasure has been used in beauty preparations since the 16th century.
The yellow or orange flowers lighten the hair color of blond and red hair, as a skin tonic it is used to clear oily, blemished complexions and as a crème it is a rich moisturizer – great for dry and chapped skin.
Recipes are fairly simple to follow and can be easily made in your kitchen. For the Hair Lightener, you will need the following ingredients:
– cups water
– 2 cups dried chamomile flowers
– 2 cups dried calendula flowers
1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. lemon extract
In a saucepan, bring water, chamomile and calendula to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, stirring in lemon juice and extract. When cooled enough for application, massage into hair, making sure that concentrated amounts stay in hair, and cover with plastic. Leave on for 4 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Use every other day for lasting effects. Makes 4 cups. Cover and refrigerate; discard after 5 days.
Calendula not only enrich your flowerbeds with their bright yellow and orange color, they also contain a wealth of health properties that can be used in herbal preparations internally as well as externally.
Here are two easy recipes:
1. Calendula Petal Hair Rinse
Yellow and orange calendula flower petals produce a highlighting hair rinse that both brunettes and blondes can use. The fresh petals give your hair a soft, blonde shade that develops over time the more you use it.
Take 1/4 up fresh calendula petals or 2 tbsp. dried and place them in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over them. Let the mixture cool completely. Strain the liquid into another bowl. After shampooing, pour the rinse through your hair.
2. Calendula Foot Powder
Calendula flowers also have strong antibacterial properties, making them a popular ingredient in many bath and body products. To make his foot powder use 1/4 cup cornstarch or rice flour, 2tbsp baking soda and 1tbs. finely ground dried calendula flowers. Place all ingredients in a dry jar and shake well. To use, sprinkle the powder on clean dry feet and gently massage into the skin, especially between the toes.
If you try these or any of our other herbal recipes, I’d love to hear from you!
Q: How long does tea stay fresh and what is the best way to store it?
A question we hear frequently at the store; the good news is that tea does not really go bad. It is more like a spice in that respect,in that it looses it’s aroma and flavor over time. If tea is stored properly, however, it has a long shelf life. While there may be variations by type of tea, or how long the supply chain of your retailer is, the rule of thumb is that tea will retain it’s fullÂ flavor for about one year.
How do you best store your tea? Since tea is highly sensitive to heat, light and moisture, it is important to store it in a cool, dark and dry place – like your pantry. Do not be tempted to keep it in your fridge since the moisture will seep into the tea and wilt it very quickly.
An airtight container, made of a non-reactive metal such as a tin is an ideal way to keep tea fresh for a long time.
If you like flavored and non-flavored teas alike, make sure you store these separate from each other. Tea is like baking soda and easily absorbs any scent and odor. If you keep your precious Tung Ting Oolong next to your Strawberry– flavored tea, you will soon find that your next cup of oolong will taste much like strawberries.
If you stick to these rules: no light, no heat, no moisture – and away from other strong flavors, you can enjoy your favorite cup of tea for quite a long time!
In a 2006 study of 14000 aging adults researchers concluded that tea drinkers retain greater independence and agility than non tea drinkers.
The Japanese research paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concludes that “green tea consumption is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident functional disability”.
Researchers speculate antioxidants in green tea contribute to a lower incident of frailty and disability as adults grow older. Those who drank the most tea received the greatest benefit and those who drank at least three cups a day were much less likely to become functionally disabled.
Researchers found that 12 percent of subjects drinking less than a cup of tea a day became unable to dress and bathe without assistance duringthe three year period, compared to 7 percent of heavy tea drinkers. Those people who averaged 3-4 cups a day had a 25 percent lower risk, remained mobile and could perform household chores and go for walks. In designing the study, Tomoata noted that previous research suggestes green tea consumption is associated with a lower risk of diseases that cause functional disability such as stroke, cognitive impairement and osteoporosis.
Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
In my first blog on this topic I described how herbs should be harvested and how they can be preserved through drying.
Another way to harness the goodness of herbal properties is by preserving them in oil or in vinegar. This is especially useful for culinary herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary.
Preservation in Oil – Pack fresh, clean, whole herbs loosely into a glass jar.
Cover the herbs with a high quality vegetable oil. I typically us organic extra virgin olive oil. Put the lid on as tightly as possible and set the jar in a sunny spot for about 30 days. Shake the jar daily.
After 30 days, strain the herbs through cheese cloth into a new clean glass jar. Keep in a cool place or refrigerate and use I within six month.
I like to preserve calendula flowers in oil and then us that oil to make my calendula healing salve – works great!
Preservation in Vinegar – use 2 cups white wine vinegar and pour over 1/2 cup of firmly packed fresh herbs like basil, chives, dill weed, mint, oregano, rosemary and tarragon.
Let stand in a cool, dry place for about 10 days. Strain the vinegar and discard the herbs. You can place a sprig of the fresh herb for décor into a clean glass bottle and fill the vinegar into it. Store at room temperature.
This also makes a great gift for any hostess…..or maybe you have Christmas on your mind already!