Recipe - 01
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1. Nettle and potato soup
2. Tuna and nettle pasta
3. How to make herb tea
4. Make a flower essence
5. Sunburn cream
6. Make a salve for bruises
7. Cough syrups
8. Make a decoction
9. Make a masceration
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Recipe: Nettle and Potato Soup

 

Young nettles can be picked any time of year providing they are not carrying seed, which can irritate the bladder. Gather a basketful of nettles by wearing gloves and cutting the nettle stems.

Ingredients: Nettles, 1 lb potatoes, 1 onion, 1oz butter, water, salt, pepper, a few sprigs of parsley and thyme.

Method: Wash nettles under the tap to remove any insects, cobwebs, dust or other debris and shake to remove excess moisture. Peel and chop the onion and sautee in butter or oil in a hot saucepan for five minutes until soft. Peel and quarter the potatoes and add to the pan. Cover with water and add nettles, herbs and seasoning. Cook for about 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Liquidise. Serve with bread and butter.

Nettles can be added to any vegetable soup. They go well with tomatoes and red and yellow peppers and any other vegetables you happen to have lying around.

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Recipe: Tuna and Nettle pasta

 

Nettle dries really well and can be stored in glass jars for use over the winter. This is a quick and easy recipe for one person and can be easily expanded to feed a family.

Ingredients: 285g tin of tuna in brine, dried or fresh basil, two handfuls of dried nettles, two tomatoes, 1 onion, cooking oil or butter, 3oz of pasta. (any other vegetables e.g. one sweet potato, small tin of sweetcorn depending on how hungry you are.)

Method: Peel and chop onion finely and sautee in hot butter or sunflower/vegetable/olive oil in a saucepan until soft. Drain tuna. Wash and slice tomatoes. Add both to onion and cook gently. Add dried nettles and dried or fresh basil. Cover and simmer until pasta is ready. Check regularly and add extra liquid if necessary. Cook pasta in separate saucepan in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. If you are cooking other vegetables these can be cooked with the pasta. Drain pasta and serve with tuna/nettle sauce.

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Recipe: How to make a herb tea

 

As with anything herbal, teas are not instant, but provide their own soothing ritual as you gather the fresh plant or dried from your store and prepare the tea. The aim is to pour water that has just boiled onto the fresh or dried leaf or stem of the plant in order to infuse the aromatic oils into the water so that you can drink it. You don't want the water to be actually boiling when you pour it on, or a lot of the aromatic oils will disappear in the steam. You can avoid this by placing the herb in a glass or ceramic (not metal) teapot or cafatiere - anything with a lid. If you have one of the large tea mugs with a lid that they use in the orient, that's fine too

The amount of herb used depends on whether you are using fresh or dried. Fresh herbs contain a greater amount of water, so you usually reckon that 1 tablespoon of fresh herb = 1 teaspoon of dried herb

The usual amount for one cup of herb tea is 2 tsp herb to one cup of boiling water. Leave the herbs to steep for 10 minutes and then drink. Sugar or honey can be added to taste, but many herbs can be drunk as simples i.e. on their own. It’s fun to make up your own combination. Over the year we have experimented with many different kinds. Popular combinations were elderflower either on its own or with lemon balm or lemon verbena; elderberry with Echinacea and calendula, Echinacea with blackberries and New England Aster.

Most herbs have a dosage that says drink one cup of herb tea three times a day.  You can make a pint's worth and store it in the fridge and heat up your 1/3 pint as and when you need it. Freshly made tea will keep for 24 hours in the fridge, but should then be discarded.

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Recipe: To make a flower essence using the Sun method

 

Gather flowers in the morning when the dew has evaporated, but the flowers have not become too stressed by the sunshine. Pour 1 litre of spring or mineral water into a clean glass bowl and sprinkle the flowers on the surface of the water until it is completely covered. Leave for three hours in direct sunlight in a safe place. Remove the flowers with something other than metal or your hand e.g. a stick and pour 50ml of fluid into a clean dark bottle. Add 50 ml of brandy. Label the bottle and date.

This recipe comes originally from Shaw, N Bach Flower Remedies : A Step-by-Step Guide 1998 Element Books ISBN 1 86204 106 7

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Recipe : Sunburn Cream

 

Make cream using St John's wort oil, calendula oil, St John's wort tincture and the inside of a fresh aloe vera leaf. Blend well, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and keep in the fridge. Straight St John’s wort oil applied directly to burn several times a day can also be used and bring relief from soreness and swelling.

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Recipe: To make a salve for bruises

 

Ingredients: 4 oz fresh or dried herb (yarrow, plantain, elder leaves or bark.)

Enough sunflower oil to cover 2oz of leaves (around 8 fluid ounces)

Either a double saucepan or a stainless steel pot with a lid small enough to place inside another saucepan. Water

 

Method

Place half of the herb inside the inner pan and cover with the sunflower oil. Replace the lid firmly and place inside the other saucepan which is about half filled with water. Heat the external saucepan so that the water gently boils. Do not let the pan boil dry! Boil for about 2 hours, then remove the inner pan and strain off the oil, squeezing the herb if you can to remove as much oil as possible. Place the rest of the herb inside the inner pan and pour over the oil from the first infusion. Replace the lid firmly and heat the oil in the outer pan for a further two hours. Strain the oil into a steralised glass bottle or jar, leave for a day or so if fresh plant material has been used so any water left in the oil can be decanted off then cap with a screw top lid. Label the oil with the name and date that you made it. Infused oils can last for up to two years if kept in a cool, dark place.

To make a salve, grate up some beeswax into the hot infused oil until it melts. I use around half an ounce of beeswax to 4/5 ozs of oil. Test on the back of a wooden spoon to see whether it is of a suitable consistency and pour into small jars and seal.

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Recipe: Cough Syrups

 

Use general syrup recipe from Non Shaw and Christopher Hedley's Herbal Remedies

1 l (2 pints) water

40 g (1 1/2 oz) dried herb or 100 g  (4oz) fresh chopped herb

450 g (1 lb) sugar

 

Put herb in water, bring to a boil, let simmer 20-30 minutes, strain. Clean out pan, pour liquid back into it, let sit on minimum heat until you only have 2 dl (7 fl.oz) left Add sugar, simmer until sugar has dissolved, pour into jars, label. A children’s cough syrup can be made from onions or elderberry and Echinacea in equal parts.

For straightforward syrup use 2 parts peppermint, 1 part hyssop, 1/2 part thyme, 1/2 part horehound. For cough syprup which can also be used as a drink, use hyssop, thyme, elecampagne, white horehound, lemon balm and root ginger. (This will take the back off your throat, but will stop you coughing) N.B. Do not use peppermint with children under 2 years.

For the SAD syrup I use equal quantities of dried or fresh St John's wort and lemon balm which I grind up in a coffee grinder. I use the aerial parts of both plants. Remember that lemon balm only has a shelf life of 6months when dry, so if you buy some from a supplier, ask when it was picked. You should also pick the leaves before they flower or pick secondary shoots i.e. shoots which have grown up from stems cut earlier in the year.

Before simmering the herbs in the water, I add the grated rind of a lemon and when the syrup is finished, I add the juice of the lemon so that it isn’t too sickly. I add lemon or orange juice to a lot of my syrups and use them more as hot cordials than taking 1 tsp at a time.

The dosage for the SAD syrup would be around 1tsp three times a day. Don't use this syrup if you are already taking SSRI drugs for depression or if you've had a bad reaction to St John's wort in the past. Some people who take medication for migraine conditions find it can bring on a migraine.

The difficulty with this syrup is that it tastes so good, it could be quickly used up, so take care and don't take too much at once! As with all medicines, make sure children can't go and help themselves or you will suddenly find the bottle is empty!

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Recipe: To make a decoction

 

A decoction is just a tea that is made with stems or roots and boiled gently in a saucepan for 10-20 minutes. You use this with any material that needs to "break down" a little to release the aromatic oils. Again, don't use an aluminium saucepan. Use 1oz of herb to 1 pint of water. Remember to put the lid on the saucepan so that you don't lose too much of the liquid. Examples of herbs to be decocted would be burdock root, hawthorn berries, rosehips, dandelion root, etc. If you are making a combination of leaves and roots/stems, make the decoction first with the roots etc and then strain the liquid onto the leaves and allow the herbs to infuse for 10 minutes.

Decoctions can be kept in the fridge for a few days

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Recipe: To make a maceration

 

Some roots respond better to a cold maceration rather than a decoction. Chop up about 1 oz of root herb e.g. marshmallow or valarian root , place in a teapot or basin and pour 1 pint of cold water over the root. Leave in a cool place overnight. Next day, strain the mixture through a sieve and divide into three equal portions to drink during the day.

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