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Tea For You

  Making a cup of herb tea: Plant material may be fresh or dried in most cases. On the average, one teaspoon of dried material or three teaspoons of fresh should be used, although it can vary a bit with different herbs. Place in the center of a coffee filter, gather sides up to make a pouch and clip on the side of a cup with a clothespin. Add hot water. Don't let your coffee filter hang outside of the cup below the level of the water, or it will wick the water out onto your table, counter or lap. Of course you can use any type of teaball as well.

    Drying plants for tea:   Gather herbs in late morning for best flavor. Dry by hanging out of direct light where there is air circulation (not in a closet), or in the microwave or oven set on low. When dry enough to crumble, store in airtight containers out of direct light.

For a Calming, Soothing Tea

   Add 6 to 8 chamomile flowers and 3 to 5 leaves of lemon balm or catnip. Catnip is exciting for cats but soothing for humans. Brew for 15 minutes. You might want to try the individual herbs first. The combination could be too strong. This can also be used as an aid to sleep.

CAUTION: Do not drink this tea before driving.


Comfrey - the best healer for bruises and superficial wounds

    All the bad press in the last few years about comfrey not being recommended for internal use has tended to overshadow the excellent healing properties of this herb. For a person like me with very little grace of form, who frequently bumps into things, comfrey is like a miracle cure.

    A comfrey poultice (see next article) applied as soon as possible after an injury can totally prevent or at least minimize bruising or greatly hasten healing. Make it hot if you prefer, but that isn't really necessary. Twenty to thirty minutes twice a day usually does the job. I have also used comfrey to take the soreness out of a nasty tick bite. The most active healing component in comfrey is allantoin, which is found in many first aid creams. These creams do not, however, have the same fast healing effect.

    Comfrey is a perennial with fairly large fuzzy leaves and blue or white flowers. The two varieties usually found are Russian and common. Russian is a much larger, taller plant than tis the common. It does however contain more pyrroliziidine, which is the substance causing concern about liver damage with regular use. Either kind may be used safely as a poultice since pyrroliziidine is not absorbed through the skin.

    Do we have comfrey plants? Of course we do!

A Poultice for the 21st Century

    Throw away your cheesecloth for poultices if you ever owned any in the first place. Break out the coffee filters! They are easy to use, certainly cheaper than cloth, and they work great.

    Mash (mortar and pestle) the required herb(s) with a little water if needed, or pulverize with a meat tenderizing hammer. Blenders are ok, but a little messy. Fold into filter and apply. If heat is desired, warm very briefly in the microwave.

    If you don't have the time to sit down and relax during treatment, go to any feed store or saddle shop and buy a roll of "Vetrap". This is a marvelous ace bandage type material that sticks to itself and comes in many colors. Great stuff for kids.

    Welcome to the modern poultice!

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