Vinegar – Medicine from the Pantry

September 20th, 2009 § 4 comments § permalink

oxymelEven herbalists can get into a rut. We don’t see little bottles of vinegar extractions lining shelves at health food/herb stores, so we generally don’t make them at home, either. Vinegar, being made from and link for you 100mg cialis still containing plant matter, naturally decomposes over time. Vinegar tinctures last about 2 years, while alcohol preparations last almost indefinitely. As James Green reiterates, when we are making herbs at home, we generally do so in small batches so there is no particular reason we should not employ vinegar tinctures on a more regular basis.

For years, vinegar was the official menstrum in mainstream pharmacy. Then in the early 1900’s it was replaced by ethyl alcohol. At that time, medicine was quite heroic, and using the strongest, biggest and baddest (because they were sometimes toxic) medicines and treatments was the norm. It was all but goodbye to food-based menstrums like vinegar, alcohol, honey and sugar, and oils as medical knowledge was becoming possessed by the “official” medical community.

Green reminds us that when herbal medicine experienced a resurgence in the 1960’s – 1970’s, the budding herbalists took on cheap viagra no prescription where the 1920’s pharmacopoeia left off; that is with using strong alcohol extractions rather than using food-based menstrums. Not to say that alcoholic tinctures are a bad thing; just that herbalists may have overlooked viable options.

More non-alcoholic medicine-making appeals to me on many levels, least of online cialis uk'>online cialis uk not for the fact that grain alcohol is not widely available (I have to drive to Wisconsin to get it, as it is viagra for cheap not sold in Minnesota) and is more costly than even the most expensive bottle of apple cider vinegar. Many households have vinegar on hand anyways, so it’s truly medicine from the pantry.

Back to vinegar. Look on the bottle of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, and you will find a paragraph of vinegars’ health benefits and history of use. It has been along for, well, as long as anyone can remember. It was used by Hippocrates, Galen, and steeped in uses by common people though the ages.  Green sums up vinegar’s benefits (179):

  • Pure vinegar is non-toxic and can be tolerated by everyone, young and old
  • It is a digestive tonic, helps regulates the acid/alkaline balance
  • High in minerals (dilute or add honey to make it go down smoother for daily use)
  • Non-alcoholic, for those who want/need a break from traditional tinctures

Medicinally, vinegar is warming but still has an refridgerant effect as it evaporates off the skin, quells thirst and promotes saliva. Green says it has a quality that “alleviates restlessness”, as well as “promotes secretions of the kidneys and respiratory mucous membranes” (181). Topically, vinegar is antiseptic and astringent so use for deodorant, to relieve inflammation, itching, allergic rashes and sunburn. Rosemary Gladstar once joked that her grandfather said her grandmother smelled like a salad dressing from slathering olive oil on her skin and using vinegar hair rinses. Indeed, it is cleansing, toning and conditioning to the skin and hair.

Vinegar combines with other herbs that augment the visit web site canadian healthcare levitra medicinal attributes it already has. Add to it expectorant herbs, or astringents for internal or external use. A bit of cayenne makes vinegar a wonderful liniment for aches and pains. Where vinegar really shines as a menstrum is for extracting alkaloids, which water and click here cost of viagra alcohol do not do as well. When alkaloid-containing herbs (lobelia, goldenseal, bloodroot, black walnut are a few) are macerated in vinegar, the acetic acid from the vinegar causes an alkaloid salt to be formed, making it readily available (179).

Although I have tried oxymels, I figured it was high time to make one for my household. Oxymels are a mixture of vinegar and honey, combining sweet and sour to create an invigorating and balanced blend. The simplest type of cheap viagra with fast delivery oxymels is by stirring a tablespoon of vinegar in a tablespoon of honey, then diluted in a cup of warm water. This simple remedy is known to balance the acid-alkaline balance in the body and is employed as a daily tonic. Here is the oxymel that I made, from I recipe I wrote down from a 2006 lecture:

oxymel-herbsTeresa Broadwine’s Onion Thyme Oxymel (with my own addition of anise)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 16 0z apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T thyme
  • 2 T fennel seeds
  • 2 T anise seeds
  • 2 T oregano
  • 2 cups honey

Bring all but the honey to a boil, then simmer covered for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, strain and press herbs, and add honey while it is still warm. When would one take this oxymel? You guessed it: cold and flu season, especially for chest colds of all kinds. I added the anise to assist the herbs in expectoration; it’s one of my favorites for thinning and bringing up congesting phlegm.

There are endless varieties of oxymels, so add in herbs that suit your individual needs. The above recipe could replace onions with garlic for extra anti-microbial action, or an addition of black peppercorns and mustard seeds for more warming actions (as vinegar is cooling, see ). James Green says that the basic ratio of sales viagra vinegar to honey is cialis medication'>cialis medication roughly 1:3, or 1 cup vinegar to 3/4 pounds honey, although I have had some with equal parts honey to vinegar and they seemed to work just fine. Perhaps the levitra price larger amount of honey serves for added preservation.

Lobelia oxymel – from Dr. William Cook  for dry, irritable coughs, lung congestion

  • dried lobelia herb
  • apple cider vinegar
  • honey

Place lobelia (preferably dried) in a jar and cover with apple cider vinegar and steep for 2 weeks. Strain, mix with honey in the proportion of ¾ pound honey to 1 cup vinegar. Place in a water bath, until the mixture is like thin molasses, bottle and refrigerate (246). As you can see, there are no set measurements for materials, so adjust quantities to your needs. Dose as needed for coughs.

Jam’s Green’s Poison Oak Lotion

  • 1 part mugwort
  • 1 part horsetail
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salt

Make a strong decoction of 1 part mugwort and 1 part horsetail. To 2 parts of this liquid, add 1 part apple cider vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon salt per cup, bottle, label, and store in the fridge. Apply externally often (184).

For more info on oxymels, visit The Medicine Woman’s Roots, this site, and the Art of Drink, which give a recipe for switchel.


Green, James.

Broadwine, Teresa.

Defunk with Herbal Vinegar Hair Rinses

June 24th, 2009 § 4 comments § permalink

Vinegar is acidic and a little drying, which makes it a great astringent. Apple cider vinegar is often the vinegar of choice for herbal body care, as its fermented goodness is full of cheapest generic cialis'>cheapest generic cialis life and enzymes. Sage-steeped apple cider vinegar (doubly astringent!) is a wonderfully toning deodorant splash or spray.

The hair cuticle is like a bunch of overlapping scales. According to a cosmetologist friend, alkaline hair products cause the cuticle of the hair to be coated, which makes cuticle stand up and feel think, coarse, or sticky. Because of this, hair products are slightly acidic to keep the hair smooth.

Some years ago I switched to natural and organic shampoos and conditioners, about the last time I cut my hair really short. As it grew, I expected my hair to be healthier than ever, with the the best place viagra generic canada positive diet changes I had made, decreased washing (daily washing can strip hair of its natural, protective oils) and of course the use of natural shampoos. As time went on, it was clear that my hair was not healthier, indeed it was in its worst state ever. It was full of split ends, dull, limp, and growing slowly.

Another cosmetologist friend looked at the ingredients of the shampoos I was using and explained that some of the ‘natural’ ingredients are wax-derived and can accumulate on the hair shaft, weakening and weighing it down and may even lead the hair shaft to break. How do you know if this is the case for your hair? Tightly and 50 mg viagra tautly grab a chunk of semi damp hair, run a sharp and clean scissor blade down the length of the hair and check the blade for any residue. Be careful and use common sense–I don’t recommend this for really curly hair.

This is where vinegar rinses come in handy! An herbal-infused vinegar rinse is buying cialis in canada'>buying cialis in canada incredibly helpful in treating residue-laden hair; they leave your hair softer, cleaner and invigorated. It is incredibly simple to make a herb-infused vinegar: cover dried or fresh herbs with apple cider vinegar and cap. Label, shake occasionally, and steep for four weeks. Strain, re-bottle, and use!

The vinegar should be diluted for use; a tablespoon to one cup water. Pour the vinegar-water solution through the visit our site viagra headaches hair, massage into scalp, then rinse with clean water. Another method is to dip your hair in a bowl of the vinegar-water solution (make sure the water is warm-unless you like cold rinses!), following with a plain water rinse.

Dina Falconi has a ‘Garden Blend Vinegar’ (60) recipe that is for all hair colors and is a great place to start.

  • 1 tablespoon nettle
  • 1 tablespoon comfrey root
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 6 ounces organic apple cider vinegar

Steep for four weeks or so, strain, and enjoy. Makes 4 1/2 ounces. For any herbal vinegar, if you wish to add essential oils, do so in a small amount (start with three drops) after it has been strained. I am not exactly sure how often one should do a rinse, but I find that once a week to once a month can make a difference.

Nettles are high in minerals that lend themselves to promoting hair and skin health, comfrey root (and to a lesser extent the leaves) is soothing and moistening with lots of mucilage, while basil is aromatic, cleansing and invigorating. Use your senses to find what herbs would be best suited for your vinegar rinse; chamomile for blond hair, black walnut husks for dark hair, rosemary for hair growth stimulation, oregano or thyme for anti-microbial action.

One of my favorite hair rinses is simply dipping my head in a bowl of a strongly steeped tea of buy levitra in england'>buy levitra in england nettle, rosemary, comfrey and birch leaves. This is less defunking and more conditioning than the vinegar rinses, and it does not need to be followed with a clear water rinse. Use the leftover tea to good choice levitra without perscription water plants. I was prompted to add the birch leaves after reading Matthew Wood’s entry of birch (139):

“While in Australia a woman brought her fourteen-year-old daughter to see me about something or other. I commented that she had some of the healthiest,thickest hair I had ever seen. The mother commented that her daughter’s hair was originally spindly and thin. For several years they rinsed it in nettles and birch”

Drying birch leaves

Drying birch leaves


Falconi, Dina. Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair.

Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal (Old World).

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