{Natural Wellness} Units 7 & 8

I am finished with my natural wellness class, and currently I am saving up for my next mama school class from Vintage Remedies... the Family Herbalist. However, I am not sure how long it will take for me to save up for it... until then I will keep applying what I am learning.

In the Units: these two units were some of my favorites as they involved using essential oils and making natural preparations like salves, natural cleaners and various bath and beauty creations. Sadly, my camera was not in action during most of it... although I did remember to take a shot of my let your food be your medicine, which might not be as exciting to some as the use of essential oils.

Purchasing Essential Oils? Keep this in mind:
"it is important to keep many things in mind. Oils are mostly produced for perfumery purposes, not therapeutic purposes. This means that substitutions and adulterations are, unfortunately, commonly used to cut costs and make rare oils readily available. This suits the purpose of perfumery just fine, as the end result is dependant on the scent alone. Yet, for aromatherapy purposes, it is unsuitable, as the specific chemistry make up is vital for the success of aromatherapy." ~ Natural Wellness/P.g. 123/Jessie Hawkins

It is also extremely important to know which essential oils can be used safely and which ones can not... this is not an area to over look as the average essential oil contains at least a hundred components and like whole foods there is much we still do not know. (pg122)

Need to save money?

Making our own home cleaners and health products at home with high quality ingredients is often times much cheaper than buying 'natural or organic' items in the store. Its easy to learn how to make healing salves for cuts, bruises and burns. Infusions may sound intimidating but really they are not.

What about decoctions and rinses? Massage creams or your own signature essential oil perfume?

With a little time, some basic supplies and quality ingredients you can learn how to create these things in your own home and help your family be in better health for it. I hope to encourage you to try! I personally think it enjoyable and rewarding.

The Projects: my first project was to pick one of the following oils from the Scriptures; Spikenard, Frankincense, Cinnamon or Myrrh and write a paper about it, and my final project was... well I created some of the things mentioned above, and right now I am waiting for my plantain oil to be finished so that I can prepare some more 'creations' for our upcoming camping trip.

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine: finishing up the food list from the book...

with tapioca in the making, something my husband really enjoys and I don't make it for him very often... really I am not sure why, it's not that difficult to make and it is tasty. Tapioca isn't much on nutrition, however it does make a great 'base' for foods that are and according to my text it does help with digestive problems. Grandma would call 'tapioca' comfort food.

~ Blessings!

*I just finished my self paced course from Vintage Remedies called Introduction to Natural Wellness by Jessie Hawkins, please feel free to head over there if you are interested in what they have to offer. ~ Thank you!

A Little Cultured Butter :: please

It turns out that making cultured butter was not as difficult as I had originally thought, and it's even simpler once you have a routine... I truly love a routine! Honestly, I found the easiest 'how to' version in my Nourishing Traditions book but at the end of this post there are a couple of links that really helped me out too.

Making cultured butter for us looks like this: after Shabbat I skim the cream, our milk pick up is on Friday afternoons, and I leave the cream in a mason jar on the counter over night and some time the next day I use my stick immersion blender to whisk up some home made cultured butter.

The cream seems to turn to butter a lot quicker with it being at room temp...

And what I end up with is about a half pint of cultured butter and about a pint or so of cultured buttermilk... which is amazing to use in cornbread. Seriously! Raw - REAL - buttermilk is just amazing in cornbread... and buttermilk pancakes are divine.

The actual amounts of both products vary, being dependent on the amount of cream you have skimmed, but we love it... and I am very thankful to have learned more about this process, and how to make my own buttermilk culture from a clabbered cream style technique.

Which is very similar to the wild sourdough starters from your home.

~ Blessings!

Helpful Links on Cultured Butter/Cultured Buttermilk:

2013 Garden Journal: snowflakes & sunshine

Inside: I have been planning and dreaming of this years garden, even during these days of adversity, reading about doubled layer cold frames for winter crops and ordering our first round of seeds. Honey and I have also been planning the new chicken coop and laying out our garden plans... knowing that this all may be futile if we are called to move. But a back yard homesteader has to do what a back yard homesteader has to do.

Outside: There is not much that can happen right now, except thinking to myself that I should have set up a double layered cold frame and planted our current frame a little earlier than I did last year, the veggie growth may have survived a little longer.

First Seeds:
  • Lettuces & Salad Greens: Black Seeded Simpson, Arugula Roquette, Lollo Rossa, Purslane Red Gruner, Kyoto Mizuna, Jericho Lettuce, Water Cress, Upland Cress, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Red Fire Lettuce and Swiss Chard.
  • Other Veggies: Lemon Cucumbers, Rattlesnake Pole Beans, Broccoli, Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean, Purple Pole Bean, Cauliflower, Detroit Red Beets and Atomic Red Carrots. 
  • Herbs & Spices: Marshmallow, Narrow Leaf Echinacea, Fenugreek, Chamomile, and Hyssop.

Backyard Chickens:

Our new chicken coop will look some what like this one, pictured above, which Honey and I spotted in a walk around our neighborhood.... I definitely would like our little coop to be up on stilts and we both would like it be as small as possible, just big enough to work for the six chickens we are planning on.

We plan to formulate some sort of inventory of what is in our shed that we can use, back to recycling, this month and draw up the final 'idea' for construction soon.

~ there's a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted ~
Ecclesiastes 3:2


{Natural Wellness} Unit's 5 & 6

Yes - I am posting two units together... unit five is Herbal Home Use and unit six is Herbology, both of which were great to complete and gave me the motivation I needed to finish some 'going to get around to it' tasks.

In the Units: small snipets of unit coverage.
  • Pharmacology verses phytotherapy - one uses drugs, surgery and other forms of invasive means to treat a disease. The other uses herbs, foods and supplements to support body systems, right imbalances and remove triggers that effect proper bodily functions. Both may include case history, lab tests, and physical exams... however an herbalist is not licensed to practice medicine and therefore cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe... outside of their own home. {ref pg 83. Natural Wellness/Hawkins}
  • Diagnostic Skills, Family Health History, Records of Illness, and Symptomology. Symptomology refers to the process of identifying an illness by it's symptoms.
  • Triggers...Toxins, Irritation, Inflammation, Ulceration, and applications or advisement's of Digestive Flushes and Juice Fasting... 
  • Understanding terms such as: tannins, alkaloids, sugars and starches, resins, saponins, oleoresins, mucilages, glycosides and flavonoids.
  • Safety - "the complexity of each herb is often undervalued, and the potential for individual contraindications is vast." {ref pg. 103 Natural Wellness/Hawkins}
  • Study of Herbal Monographs/Herbal pofiles.

The Projects: 
  • Build a natural medicine chest and complete a case study.

My natural medicine chest is more like a three shelved apothecary in our kitchen pantry, for which I am very thankful. Above is a quick photo of my recent Frontier Co-op order... which included herbs like Hibiscus, Red Raspberry leaf, Star Anise, and Hawthorn leaf. This was a new opportunity for our family, because most of my bulk herb purchase comes from my food co-op, and the savings were amazing. Take the Star Anise for example - normally it sells for 24.90 a pound, and through our co-op I was able to purchase it for 13.07! This was much cheaper than my food buying club.

I also try to grow as many herbs as I can and dry them throughout the growing season, especially herbs like plantain and comfrey. Then, in the fall and winter, I can make infused oils and herbal extracts while I am in kitchen canning or dehydrating our crops.

We also made a mobile natural wellness kit, which I hope to finish this week, and planned our next bulk herb order... if the budget allows for it next month. 

Next Unit: Aromatherapy

*please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to be taken as a way to treat or diagnose illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently taking a self paced course from Vintage Remedies called Introduction to Natural Wellness by Jessie Hawkins, please feel free to head over there if you are interested. ~ Blessings!