Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

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Red Clover Blossom Harvest 

Want to make your own herbal medicines, but not sure where to start? Tinctures (alcohol extracts) and infusions (concentrated teas) are my favorite ways to take herbs internally– after eating them as food, of course! Both methods involve soaking plant material, whether leaves, flowers, roots or seeds, in a liquid.

Which liquid is preferable depends on what you’re trying to get out of the plant — that is, the type of constituents you’re going for. Tinctures are often used for acute or specific concerns, while water-based infusions, when made part of your regular diet, just like “an apple a day,” gently strengthen the body.

Remember that knowing how to make herbal medicines doesn’t mean you know how or when to use them. If you do have possibly serious concerns, don’t hesitate to consult a health professional.

All About Making Tinctures

Alcohol-based extracts are quick and convenient: they are appropriate for acute ailments and first-aid situations. And they have a shelf life of three to five years or more.

Plant constituents that dissolve easily into alcohol include (as their name suggests) alkaloids. Plants with important alkaloids also frequently have other constituents that dissolve more easily into water. For this reason, I tincture plants in equal parts alcohol and water. That is what is meant by “100 proof” alcohol: 50 percent alcohol and 50 percent water.

To make your own tincture, chop fresh plant material, pack into a glass jar, and cover with 100 proof alcohol. Ideally you want a 1:2 ratio of plant weight to alcohol volume. If you have 6 ounces of dandelion roots, for example, use 12 fluid ounces of alcohol. If you are using leaves, packing the container full and tightly is close enough.

Keep in mind that a tincture will only be as potent as the plant material in it. The less fresh the material, the less potent your medicine. If the plants are dried, they are further removed from the source and don’t tincture as well. So try to complete the whole process, from field to jar, the same day.

Label your jar with the contents and the date and let it sit for six weeks. Then strain out the plant material and viola, you have enough homemade tincture to fill and refill a 1- or 2-ounce dropper bottle many times over.

Tincture dosages are usually expressed in drops, and a dropper (when squeezed and released once) contains about 25 drops. When taking tinctures, it’s best to dilute in water or juice.

If you are concerned about the alcohol content, you can just use warm tea instead, as much of the alcohol will evaporate out with the steam. Keep in mind, though, that each dropperful has no more alcohol than a ripe banana.

Making Nettle Infusion 

All About Herbal Infusions

Infusions, or concentrated teas, extract nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and chlorophyll. Infusions taken daily are nourishing and tonifying.

Infusions are best made with dried herbs because they can only be left for a few hours, not for weeks, so there’s not as much time for the liquid to penetrate the tough cell walls in the plant. During the drying process the cell walls of the plants are weakened. Then the contents of those cells, when soaked in water, easily come out into solution. That’s why fresh leaves will barely color a tea while dried ones will often turn it a dark, rich hue.

This is not to say that fresh plants should not simply be eaten. Let’s say you have fresh Nettles outside your doorstep . . . rather than brewing the leaves like an infusion, cook them — and eat both greens and broth!

To make an infusion, place one ounce (about a cup) of dried plant material into a quart mason jar. Fill with boiling water, cap, and let steep for four to six hours or overnight. You can add a pinch of mint for flavor. Then strain out the plant material and enjoy one or more cups daily. With most tonic herbs, the dosage need not be precise. These are foods: help yourself!

Tinctures Brewing 

Infusions keep for several days in the refrigerator. You can drink them warm or cold, sweetened or plain. The important thing is to make them a part of your daily diet, and for that, they need to be something you enjoy.

Try some out yourself. My favorite infusion herb is Nettles, which is nourishing for the adrenals and kidneys, as well as the hormonal and immune systems. My favorite tinctures to have on hand in the family medicine chest include the renowned immune tonic, Echinacea, as well as St Johnswort and Motherwort.

It feels good to make your own herbal medicine and to make herbal food your medicine!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Hands pic 

My husband Mark has the most profound way of giving unconditional love that I have ever experienced.

To call me high spirited with lots of energy and passion for causes might be a bit of an understatement. In my book, The Invisible Parenting Handbook, our daughter Carly describes me as ".....a gale-force wind" and a person who likes to help whenever possible. She says "Sometimes when I think about my mother, I imagine her carrying these big baskets full of people, me included. Not because we need her to hold us up, but because she chooses to take us under her wings regardless". Mark's grace and ability to support me in my all of passions and pursuits has allowed me the space to do many things over my life time. I know that this gift is unusual and I am thankful for his continuous offering.

Recently someone asked Mark how he deals with me, my energy, and passion for causes. His answer went something like this "I watch her run as far and long as needed because I know she needs it, the running, and when she has finished her task and is tired she always returns home to me". I am sorry to say that I do not have the same grace when it comes to unconditional love. Mark is a master; I am in training. To watch your partner timelessly, unconditionally, and masterfully give love is truly remarkable.

I trust that I serve as an example of mastery to Mark in some other area.

After thirty four years of learning about one another’s strengthens and weaknesses we have the knowledge and ability to enjoy each other strengths and pass by each other's weaknesses. As we age with our relationship, sometimes we pass through moments of boredom, minimal patience, and the need for personal space. When these trying times settle in for moments longer than I’m comfortable harboring, I look to my elders for examples of loving couples to emulate and question. Through these examples I learn how to tend and mend Mark and my togetherness.

I ran into one such couple on my walk the other day. I have watched this couple from afar for many years. They walk one of my neighborhood walking routes. I have seen them other times working in their sweet well manicured yard. As they walked in front of me recently I was touched by their act of holding hands. I caught up with them and asked if I could take their picture, they obliged. I walked on and remembered I had yet to write this week’s blog. I had a question for them and turned around to ask: ”What makes your relationship work well?" For her the answer was "It just works" and for him it was "Keep your month shut". In a way it doesn’t matter what the answer is, it simply matters that they’re holding hands, and that they know it’s working.

If you are in a long term relationship can you say why it works? Are you thankful for spending your time in your long term relationship? Can you show others the grace of your relationship? Is your relationship worthy of your time and life's energy?

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Morton Salt

“Do I need iodized salt in my diet?”

Without knowing your location or diet, my answer is a qualified “yes.”

We obtain iodine from food grown in soils that contain it, but large areas of the world’s soils lack sufficient iodine. So, seasoning your food with iodized salt is the best way to be sure you’re getting as much of this essential nutrient as you need.

Iodine has one main function in the body: The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland nestled at the base of the throat, needs it to make thyroid hormones, which affect every cell in the body by regulating metabolism. They’re also critical to optimal growth and development, including that of the skeletal and central nervous systems in fetuses and infants. According to the National Institutes of Health, iodine may also have a positive effect on immune function and in preventing fibrocystic breast disease.

If a person becomes iodine-deficient, his or her thyroid gland will enlarge to form a “goiter.” Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid, called hypothyroidism, include fatigue, constipation, cold intolerance, depression, dry skin and hair, weight gain, and muscle weakness. In 1924, the iodization of table salt in the United States successfully addressed deficiencies caused by the consumption of foods grown in soils lacking in iodine. Before that, illnesses due to iodine deficiency were widespread throughout the Great Lakes, Appalachians and Northwestern regions — known as the “goiter belt.”

If a woman is iodine-deficient during pregnancy, her infant may have mental disabilities, stunted growth, and problems with speech and hearing. In fact, the World Health Organization calls iodine deficiency the most preventable cause of brain damage. Mild iodine deficiency has also been linked with attention deficit disorder.

While the typical U.S. diet contains a lot of salt in the form of processed foods, these foods are mainly made with non-iodized salt, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Table salt is thus the main source of iodine in most U.S. diets. (The label will specify whether the salt is iodized.) A half-teaspoon of iodized table salt contains about 140 micrograms of iodine. Adults need 150 micrograms a day. Requirements rise to 220 micrograms during pregnancy and 290 micrograms while nursing.

Reliable dietary sources of iodine include saltwater fish, shellfish and seaweed. Breads and other grains often contain iodine as well.


Scientist in Lab 

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular Roundup herbicide, and when I learned that I could affordably have my body tested for glyphosate accumulation, I immediately jumped on board. People get tested all the time to see if their vitamin levels are deficient, and some pay big bucks to test hormone levels and genetic history. Why not see if you’re playing landlord to a toxic tenant?

My Test Results

I’ve eaten an all-organic diet for years, and filter most of my drinking and cooking water. With the exception of occasional restaurant meals, I consume organically-grown, local-when-possible, whole foods. This goes a long way toward avoiding glyphosate and other non-organic pesticides and herbicides; however, I live in Kansas, where the rolling fields are overrun with “Roundup-Ready” crops. If there was ever a part of our nation where glyphosate pollutes the water and unavoidably creeps through the air, it’s my prairie homeland.

The glyphosate test that I took part in was conducted by Moms Across America, and participants could choose to have either their urine, breast milk or home’s tap water tested. I chose urine, because I wanted to see how my organic diet and agriculture-heavy location factor together. About a week after I sent off my sample, I received a short email, “Your test results are <7.5 ppb.” To which I thought, “OK … Is that good?”

 I went to the Moms Across America website to compare my results with others across the nation. It turns out that 7.5 ppb (parts per billion), is the lowest detectable limit that the test is capable of finding. Yes! I’m either at or below the lowest detection level! I congratulated myself for eating organic and patted myself on the back.  I celebrated too early, though, because as I scrolled further down the page I discovered that 7.5 ppb is still way higher than anything deemed “OK” by the standards of many other countries. For example, in 2013, 182 urine samples from 18 European countries were tested for glyphosate levels, and the highest result was 1.8 ppb in Latvia (and they weren’t thrilled). My test results of <7.5 ppb could still potentially be about 6 times higher than anything found in the European study — and I’m lucky — a test respondent from Oregon had levels at 18.8 ppb. 

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other U.S.-based regulatory bodies have created rules for how much glyphosate is allowed in drinking water, and these rules are based on the assumption that the toxin isn’t bio-accumulative. Glyphosate is water soluble, so it’s been assumed that if you eat a peach with glyphosate on or in it, then within a few days your body will expel the toxin and everything is peachy keen. However, the Moms Across America testing found “high” glyphosate levels in three out of 10 breast milk samples submitted. This discovery questions the assumption that glyphosate is not bio-accumulative, and it points to the idea that this toxic chemical is indeed building up in our bodies faster than it can be expelled. We’re passing it along to our sensitive infants via breast milk (and even umbilical cords) before our children even have a chance to be exposed first-hand via pesticide drift, drinking water and non-organic foods.

According to the test’s summary, “The levels found in breast milk testing are 760 to 1,600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are, however, less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level for glyphosate in the U.S.” It was after reading this conclusion that it hit home for me just how much glyphosate accumulation our government is willing to deem “safe,” despite the lack of long-term, peer-reviewed, unbiased studies.

What Is Glyphosate?

There’s glyphosate in our bodies; but why are people concerned? Glyphosate is an endocrine disruptor, which means that when it’s absorbed by the body it either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body’s normal functions, leading to increased rates of infertility and prostate or testicular cancer, as well as low sperm count. Studies have also linked glyphosate exposure to celiac disease and gluten intolerance, as well as an increased number of children born with autism spectrum disorder and developmental problems.

In 2014, honeybees were tested to see how field-realistic doses of glyphosate would affect their behavior – sadly, they were noticeably less sensitive to nectar rewards and they experienced impaired associative learning. It goes without saying that for a delicate and declining species, these skills are necessary to both their survival, and, from a pollination standpoint, our own.

Last, but certainly not least, the World Health Organization announced in March, 2015, that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. This announcement has huge implications, and it’s amazing that it was even publicized considering how much money and political sway Monsanto and other key players in the biotech industry have put forth to prevent such credible, unbiased studies from being conducted or promoted.

Infertility, honeybee deaths, cancer; these aren’t small concerns. To make matters worse, many of the studies mentioned above tested glyphosate in isolation. For real-world application, however, this toxic chemical is mixed with solvents and surfactants, legally considered “inert ingredients,” that work together to amplify the toxic effect of the herbicide – and as a result amplify its toxic effects on human cells.

There’s been tremendous growth in the amount of glyphosate sold and used within the past two decades. The increased use of glyphosate is due largely to the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops. These “Roundup Ready” crops, including soy, corn, canola, alfalfa, cotton and sorghum, are specifically engineered to withstand heavy sprayings of glyphosate, while nearby weeds wither and die. Because weeds continuously evolve, they’re quickly becoming resistant to the sprays, and, as a result, farmers have to douse crops with larger and larger amounts of the toxic chemical each year. Because genetically modified crops are more likely to be doused with glyphosate, choosing to eat organic foods and voting to label genetically modified ingredients are two ways you can work toward avoiding this toxic pesticide.

As you can see, glyphosate isn’t a product I want to mess around with. Even without factoring in the societal impacts of its largest promoter (Monsanto) unnecessarily suing small farmers and tampering with the world’s seed supply, I simply don’t think the benefits of using glyphosate outweigh the costs. Organic market farmers are proving left and right that it’s possible to grow bountiful crops without the use of toxic pesticides or herbicides. Plus, in response to the “we need to feed the world” argument, we first need to address what to do with all the food we’re already wasting. (Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption each year, approximately 1.3 billion tons, is wasted, and that’s a problem.)

After taking some time to analyze my test results, I feel reassured to learn that the glyphosate levels in my body are low — at least according to U.S. standards.  I like knowing that my daily choices to eat organic foods and avoid toxins when possible are worth the extra time — and sometimes money — that it takes. I do believe that if I didn’t eat organic foods and filter my water, then my glyphosate levels would be significantly higher, especially considering the fact that glyphosate is gleefully sprayed on the fields and yards surrounding my home and workplace. For me, participating in this study verified that eating organic foods is a powerful step toward protecting your health and divesting from a system that’s more focused on profit than the health of our people or our generous host, Earth.   

Learn more about Moms Across America, and read more about the glyphosate test results (or sign up to participate!), here.

Photo by Foltolia/jolopes: St. Louis-based Microbe Inotech was the laboratory used for the glyphosate testing mentioned in this article.

Hannah Kincaid is an Assistant Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. She is an enthusiastic student of herbal medicine, organic gardening and yoga.


Global Warming 

I believe we need to change our language around climate change. It seems to me that our current words don't speak the full truth. "Saving the Earth" is not what we need to set our sights on, the Earth will exist long after we humans become extinct. If we want to pay attention to humans saving something we should talk about saving our species.

I am not a scientist and I don’t need to be one to realize that we are living through a time of human-induced and unchecked climate change. When we frame our conversation around this pressing matter ‘light’ and ‘mindful living’ on the earth has the wrong connotations of sacrifice to it, when it is really about protecting and salvaging whats left. If we shifted our conversations to tie into comparison with other extinctions maybe we could unarguably begin to understand the self-defeating weight of our own errors. Some current articles do speak to one extinction leading to another.

I have always believed that when you craft words carefully you can create a more compelling picture. So instead of save the earth how about we make it personal – Save The Humans, save ourselves. If we want to save ourselves and future generations we need to prevent our home, the Earth, from becoming humanly uninhabitable. In this self-preservation attempt it seems paramount to keep the land masses above sea level and enveloped in oxygen rich air.

When nonbelievers say that their is no such thing as climate change we can just stick to the facts, if the conditions of our planet shift and make it impossible for some insects and animals to exist humans will have no immunity. The only alternative is to continue on ignorantly talking about reducing our footprint while we continue running towards the biological limits of no return. Hopefully if we humans become extinct the Earth will heal and rebalance itself.

Are there people in your circle that would benefit from a more simplistic conversation about saving the humans? Can you change the way you live by living more lightly? What does more lightly look like to you? How can you help to Save The Human?

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



Context is everything. I often forget that who my parents are, where I’ve lived, the color of my skin, my gender, my sexual orientation, my education, my family, and my job often define what I notice in the world around me and how I’m treated.

Sometimes when I’m engaged in a transaction that seems relatively simple to me, such as returning merchandise without a receipt, I remind myself that one of the reasons it may be easy is because of my color and class. I imagine the complexity of returning merchandise without a receipt might depend on the store clerk’s construct of who you are based on their perception of how you look. "White privilege" is something that needs to be discussed as much as our country’s racism. All too often, I hear one talked about without taking into account those folks discussing the other, each view based on individual contexts and truths.

I recently heard Sue Monk Kidd speak about her new book The Invention of Wings. At the end of the reading, she answered questions from the audience. A white middle-aged man from Seattle asked a question that really stuck with me: "How can we help to end discrimination?" When Mark, my husband, and I talk about ways to resolve this enormous issue, I normally say he needs to speak about it with his "tribe," other white middle-aged men. If, as whites, we started discussions about each other's context and what whiteness has afforded us, we might engage in more-full spectrum conversations. In discussions where everyone is aware of the context for their perceptions, I find that more questions are asked and perceptions adjusted as we move forward together toward understanding.

When I got home after hearing Sue Monk Kidd speak, I started to read her historical fiction novel. I couldn’t stop reading, partly because (a) I didn't grow up in the South, (b) my stepfather had no tolerance for racism, and (c) as a 1960's kid from the West Coast, including my experience living abroad, I had no understanding of Southern racism.

In Sue Monk Kidd’s book, she explored slavery in the early 1800's. I’m always taken back when I see or hear about the underbelly and cruelty of some human experiences. And I often can't understand or reconcile the how or why of it. The day after I finished The Invention of Wings was the day of the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. It’s impossible for me to understand the hatred and violence that one person can inflict on so many. At the same time, it was stunning to see the forgiveness given by many to the young man who inflicted such a violent act on their loving community.

If we change the conversation about racism to a wider, more full-spectrum conversation that includes white privilege, can we abolish racism?

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 


5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh by Herbal Academy

Midsummer announces the arrival of an abundance of plant medicine for the herb gardener and wildcrafter to harvest and preserve. While many herbs can be dried and stored for later use in teas and remedies, some plants are best preserved fresh. St. John’s Wort, lemon balm, violet leaf, mullein flowers, and milky oats make powerful remedies when they are harvested at the peak of their potency and processed into tinctures, infused oils, and/or glycerites when still fresh to extract their pharmacologically active constituents as well as their vital energy.

5 Midsummer Herbs

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh - st. john's wort by Herbal Academy

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

The bright yellow five-petaled flowers of St. John’s wort are arranged in a flat-topped cluster at the top of a branching stem. Tips for a positive ID: if you hold a leaf up to the light, you can see tiny dots that appear to be perforations but are actually a translucent layer of oil glands; and the flowers are covered with tiny black dots that release a red oil, staining your fingers as you harvest. This red pigment is hypericin, one of the bioactive constituents in St. John’s wort, which is preserved in fresh extracts or oil infusions of the plant but not in the dried plant. While hypericin isn’t the only active constituent in St. John’s wort, Tillotson (2001) suggests that the hypericin content (and associated red color) can be used to evaluate the strength of St. John’s Wort preparations.

St. John’s Wort is a relaxing nervine well-known for its ability to relieve anxiety and tension and uplift the spirit. It has been researched extensively as an antidepressant, and is prescribed throughout the world for mild to moderate depression. St. John’s wort can also help those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) due to lower sunlight exposure in the winter months. Its anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, astringent, and antimicrobial actions make it a powerful healer for wounds, bruises, burns, sprains, and muscle pain. Learn more about St. John's wort here.

How to: Harvest the upper 2-3 inches of fresh flowers and leaves from the plant. Follow instructions to make an infused oil or fill jar 2/3 full with St. John’s wort tops, cover with vodka (at least 80 proof), and let macerate for at least 4 weeks before straining.

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh - Milk Oats by Herbal Academy

Milky Oats (Avena sativa)

Oat grows to four feet tall with narrow, lance-shaped, flat, rough green leaves on a smooth stem. The flower consists of two-flowered spikelets that hang downward and develop into two husk-wrapped grains.  Milky oats are the oat grains harvested when they are in their milky stage, during which the oat grains release a white, milky sap when squeezed. This stage, which lasts approximately one week, occurs after the oat begins flowering and before the seed hardens and becomes the oat grain.  Once the seed heads appear and become plump, squeeze the tops daily to make sure you don’t miss the milky stage. Harvesting the tops is easy and fun – just pinch the stem between two fingers, slide up the stem, and the grains will pop off one at a time. Milky oats can then be dried for teas, but can also be tinctured fresh in alcohol to preserve its bioactive components.

The rich Vitamin B, calcium, and magnesium content in oats help soothe and strengthen nerves. As a tincture, milky oats are helpful for nervous system conditions such as exhaustion, depression, insomnia, anxiety, or sexual debility. This preparation can be especially supportive in more acute cases when the symptoms are more severe, or in cases of drug and alcohol withdrawal (Bennett, 2014). Read more about milky oats here.

How to: Fill jar 2/3 full with fresh milky oats, cover with vodka (at least 80 proof), and let macerate for at least 4 weeks before straining.

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh - Lemon Balm by HANE

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

This lemon-scented mint family plant grows enthusiastically in the garden, producing lush growth throughout the summer. Harvesting the upper several inches of the stem and leaves by pinching it back just above a set of leaves keeps lemon balm from flowering so it will keep producing foliage. While dried lemon balm makes lovely herbal preparations, the fresh leaves have a lighter, brighter, and even more refreshing energy. A cup of lemon balm tea prepared with freshly harvested lemon balm is a favorite in our house, and adding a handful of lemon balm to a pitcher of water chilling in the fridge makes a wonderfully refreshing and cooling summer beverage. The essence of fresh lemon balm can also be captured in a glycerite for later use to flavor and sweeten fizzy water, teas, or tinctures.

Lemon balm has a wonderfully uplifting energy. As a trophorestorative (Hoffman, 2003), it tonifies and repairs the nervous system over time. It soothes anxiety, depression, and nervousness and brings with it a sense of lightness and joy. Its gentle nature also relaxes tension.

Combining lemon balm glycerite with St. John’s wort tincture makes a delightful, uplifting blend. Lemon balm’s carminative action helps relieve digestive upset stemming from anxiety or depression (Hoffman, 2003). Learn more about lemon balm here.

How to: Harvest the upper several inches of leaves from plant prior to flowering, pinching off right above a set of leaves. Follow instructions here to prepare a glycerite.

Mullein - 5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh

Mullein Flowers (Verbascum thapsus)

Mullein grows along roadsides and embankments and prefers sunny, open spots on disturbed soil. It’s a biennial plant, producing a rosette of fuzzy leaves in its first year and the distinctive tall stalk covered in yellow flowers in its second year.

While the saponins and mucilage in mullein leaves indicate it for the respiratory system as an expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic for bronchitis and coughs, mullein flowers are also prized as an herbal remedy. An oil infusion of the wilted flowers soothes earaches and is a common folk remedy for ear infections. Mullein oil is often combined with antimicrobial garlic oil, producing a very useful remedy for earaches and ear infections.   

How to: Harvest flowers and let wilt for several hours to reduce moisture content. Follow instructions to make an infused oil.

violet - 5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh

Violet (Viola odorata)

While spring is an ideal time to harvest violet leaves, the plant puts out new leaves throughout the summer as well. Harvest the small, tender leaves of the fresh growth for eating fresh in salads, drinking as an infusion, and for making an infused oil.

Violet is cooling and moistening so is an ideal ally in the hot, dry summer weather or for hot and dry ailments. Internally, violet leaf’s expectorant, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory (Hoffman, 2003) qualities are used for respiratory conditions including dry, inflamed coughs. Externally, an oil infusion of violet leaf is used to cool and reduce swelling for inflamed skin conditions.

Massaging the breasts with violet leaf oil is also a folk remedy for inflammation of the lymphatic tissue in breasts, helping to move lymph and clear toxins. Violet is a very sweet and loving plant, and this physical act of self care conveys kindness and much needed support to not only the breasts but also our hearts. Read about additional benefits of violets.

How to: Harvest young violet leaves and a few flowers. Chop leaves into smaller pieces and let wilt a bit to reduce moisture content. Follow instructions to make an infused oil.

Want to Learn More?

Learn more about the actions, energetics, and benefits of these plants and many more in the Herbal Academy of New England’s plant monograph database, part of The Herbarium membership website.

5 Summer Herbs to Preserve Fresh - The Herbarium at HANE


The Herbarium. (2015). 

Bennett, Robin Rose. (2014). The Gift of Healing Herbs. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Hoffman, David (2003). Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Tillotson, Alan Keith. (2001). The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing Group.

Jane Metzger is the Assistant Director at the Herbal Academy of New England, home of the online Introductory Herbal Course and Intermediate Herbal Course. HANE recently released its affordable membership program, fittingly called The Herbarium, featuring one of the most complete plant monograph databases to date. Learn more about all of HANE's herbalism classes and offerings.

Images provided and copyright by Jane Metzger and the Herbal Academy of New England. 

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 

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