Lemongrass is a gorgeous tropical grass that boasts many healing properties, and it tastes great too. If you are looking to add ornamental grasses to your yard, think about planting some lemongrass. It is a beautiful plant with long draping blade and a rich citrus scent. Lemongrass grows quickly and gets rather tall when mature, about 3 to 4 feet high. The grass adds a delicious lemon flavoring to food. It also makes a pleasant and healing tea.
Lemongrass can be consumed orally – and it should be! You can add it to soups, sauces, and stir fry. It can also be applied topically to the skin or diffused into the air.
If you want to grow your own lemongrass for use in the kitchen, plant either the East or West Indian variation.
Here's some other great uses for Lemongrass.
Eliminates bacteria and yeast
Lemongrass contains antimicrobial properties which can help treat bacteria and yeast within the mouth. It can even help fight cavities. Drinking lemongrass tea can boost your oral health.
Lemongrass can reduce inflammation in the body. If you suffer from inflammation within your body try drinking lemongrass tea.
Lemongrass’s analgesic properties can help get rid of a headache, ease muscle cramps, and muscles spasms.
Healthy Skin and Hair
Lemongrass contains both A and C vitamins. These are both great for your skin. It can relieve skin issues from acne to eczema. Look for skin serums or skin care products that contain lemongrass essential oil. It can also help fight dandruff. Just add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to your normal shampoo.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol
Lemongrass has been shown to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart rate. If you suffer from high levels of any of these, try adding lemongrass to your diet. That being said, do not stop taking prescribed medications without speaking to your doctor first.
Drinking lemongrass tea can help keep your digestive tract healthy and happy. If you have an upset stomach or cramping, reach for the tea. It has been used for digestive issues since ancient times.
Due to lemongrass’s ability to reduce inflammation, and its pain fighting qualities, it is a great option for those who suffer from joint pain.
Cold and Flu
Lemongrass is packed with Vitamin C, and contains antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help reduce the effects of the cold, cough, and flu. Add a few drops to a bowl of steaming hot water and inhale the steam to relieve symptoms.
Lemongrass essential oil added to a diffuser when you are feeling depressed or anxious can help relax you and calm your anxieties.
While citronella is known as the go-to insect repellant, lemongrass has a milder scent but can also be a great repellant option. Lemongrass can even kill fleas when adding a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to water and spraying on your pet.
Lemongrass is great for freshening up the home. Add a few drops to baking soda and spread over carpets before vacuuming. Let it it sit for a little while then vacuum. Your house will smell wonderful.
Pour boiling water over 1 to 3 teaspoons fresh (or dried) lemongrass. Let steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the lemongrass out of the water and enjoy!
Lemongrass is one of my favorite scents! Stay tuned for more MB Botanicals products with Lemongrass.
Peppermint is incredibly easy to grow; it is probably one of the easiest herbs to grow yourself.
*A word of caution – never plant any of the mint family directly into the ground unless you want it to spread everywhere. The mint family sends out runners and it will soon take over your garden like an invasive weed. If you don’t want this to happen, try planting in containers.
Peppermint is a beautiful plant with vibrant green leaves with tall purple scented flower towers. If you plan to harvest your own peppermint, you will want to harvest from the plant prior to flowers forming.
Peppermint can be used in three different ways. The leaves can be used in cooking or to make a tea. The essential oil can be used in a carrier oil, skin care products, or creams. And the peppermint capsules can be consumed like a vitamin.
*Caution: Those who suffer from GERD – gastroesophageal reflex disease should avoid consuming peppermint.
It is also suggested that you speak with your doctor before adding peppermint supplements to your diet. Some medicines or other supplements can have a negative reaction with the addition of peppermint.
If you suffer from indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, or irritable bowels; peppermint may be able to help ease your pains. Peppermint increases the flow of bile, thus reducing indigestion. It also contains antispasmodic properties which can reduce stomach spasms and pain associated with irritable bowels and diarrhea.
Peppermint soothes and relaxes the body and mind. It can help ease a troubled mind and relax you enough for you to sleep. To use peppermint at bedtime, you can diffuse peppermint oil in a diffuser near your bed. For extra relaxation try combining peppermint, lavender, and chamomile oils in the diffuser. Or, you can drink a combo of peppermint and chamomile tea just prior to bedtime.
Peppermint contains anti-microbial properties that fight the nasty bacteria that can grow in your mouth. Try gargling with a few drops of peppermint oil mixed in a small glass of water. You can also add a drop of peppermint oil to your toothbrush to brush the bacteria off your tongue after brushing your teeth. Or, if you want a quick breath freshener, you can always chew on the mint leaf itself.
There are some schools that provide peppermint candies during test taking. They do this for good reason. Peppermint helps the brain focus on the task at hand. Peppermint can help when you find yourself having a difficult time concentrating on an important project. Try peppermint tea, peppermint candies, or diffusing peppermint oil when you need to get something done.
I like to drink peppermint tea when I start to loose focus from staring at a computer all day. Helps reign me back in and makes me stay away from mindless snacking.
To reduce the affects of tension headaches or migraines you can either use an application of peppermint oil in a carrier oil to your forehead or neck, or you can diffuse peppermint oil near you. Peppermint can help sooth muscles and reduce tension.
As stated above, peppermint is good at reducing muscle soreness. You can apply a diluted peppermint oil in lotion or cream to your sore muscles to reduce the pain and discomfort. Because peppermint contains anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-spasmodic properties it is one of the best things to slather on your muscles.
Peppermint is also great for tired feet. I have a nightly ritual of massaging Soothing Foot Balm, which contains Peppermint, into my feet before bed. Works great to relive tired feet as well as making them soft.
If you are feeling a little more sluggish than usual, try diffusing peppermint oil or drinking some peppermint tea. While peppermint does not contain any caffeine, it will energize and rejuvenate you. It even works well when applied or consumed before a workout.
Colds & Flu
Peppermint is a natural decongestant and expectorant. If you are suffering from a stuffy head, try peppermint tea or diffusing peppermint oil in your room. Its antiviral properties help clean the air of viruses. It is also a natural fever reducer. Try using a few drops of diluted peppermint oil to the back of your neck and to the bottoms of your feet.
Peppermint packs a powerful punch, no matter how you use it. It can ease colds, stomach issues, and muscle soreness. And it can help you sleep or wake you up and rejuvenate you. And it’s incredibly easy to grow yourself for use in cooking and to make your own tea.
Tea Tree oil, also know as Melaleuca oil, contains many helpful and healing properties which include antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Experiencing a skin issue? Reach for the Tea Tree oil. Here are a few ways to use it.
Tea Tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help clear up skin imperfections. You can put tea tree oil on a cotton swap and apply directly to acne, or you can use a face serum that utilizes the power or tea tree oil. Tea tree oil kills bacteria on the skin and under the skin’s surface so it’s a great option for acne and blemishes.
Apply tea tree to specific problem areas with a cotton swab, or add a few drops to your favorite toner to boost your toner’s overall effectiveness.
Tea Tree oil isn’t only great for clearing up acne from your skin, but can also be used to reduce the appearance of age spots and wrinkles. It also has a miraculous way of assisting with not only dry skin but oily skin as well.
You can cleanse with a soap like Stormy Dayz or use a few drops of tea tree oil in your facial moisturizer to help with skin issues such as wrinkles, dark spots, and dry or oily skin.
Cuts and Scrapes
Tea Tree oil works really well as a natural antiseptic. Apply it to cuts and scrapes to clean and heal the wound. The antibacterial agents will fight off the germs, and the anti-inflammatory properties will keep the swelling and redness down.
Add a drop of tea tree oil to your wound cream, or carrier oil, and apply directly to the wound.
Not only can you use tea tree oil as a hand sanitizer, but you can also use it to sanitize surfaces around your home. Again, with its antiseptic and antibacterial components it makes the best cleanser.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a spray bottle of water and spritz any areas that attract mold – such as in bathrooms and poorly insulated areas of your house.
You can also mix two cups of hot water with a half cup white vinegar, and then add 10 drops of tea tree oil. This works as an effective and mild-smelling cleaner that works just as good at fighting germs as a store-bought cleanser.
Tea Tree oil’s anti-fungal properties can help fight fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. And its anti-inflammatory properties can keep swelling and redness at a minimum.
Add tea tree oil to the carrier oil of your choice. You should apply this to the affected area twice a day to ease the discomfort from the fungus. It can take a while to see results, so keep with it for at least a month.
Scalp Care & Hair Loss
As we’ve seen through the past few articles, there are many essential oil solutions to a problematic scalp or hair loss, and tea tree oil is another great option. Tea tree oil removes harmful bacteria from the scalp, leaving a healthy base for strong vibrant hair and no flakes. Tea tree oil will also encourage new hair growth.
You can purchase shampoo and conditioner that contains tea tree oil, or you can add the oil to your shampoo yourself.
*Melaleuca is a potent oil and should be used with caution and care. If you use it properly it can cure or prevent some irritating skin conditions.
Never ingest it and keep it away from children and pets. You should only use tea tree oil topically – and always dilute it with a carrier oil.
It is also helpful to do a spot test to see if your skin has a negative reaction to this powerful oil. Add a little oil to a cotton swab and apply it to a small area of your skin. If your skin becomes irritated, don’t use it.
Chamomile is one of the most subtle and useful herbs. It is easy to grow and looks beautiful in any garden. It has delicate, daisy-like flowers. The most common use of chamomile is as a tea, but the essential oil can be used in a diffuser or in skin care products. It can help calm a restless mind, fight insomnia, and is great for the skin.
Chamomile contains many wonderful properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-aging, and anti-oxidants, to name a few. It also has a subtle floral and fruity taste that will please just about anyone.
The flowers are easy to grow, harvest, and preserve to make your own tea. Just prune the flowers as soon as the petals flatten out, and dry them to make your own tea.
If gardening isn’t your forte, look for an organic tea at your local grocery store. Drinking chamomile tea can aid in digestion issues, boost your immune system, and is a perfect evening drink for combatting sleep troubles.
Chamomile is one of the best herbs to use when you need to chill out. It contains a gentle and natural sedative that helps when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
If you suffer from sleeplessness at bedtime, try consuming chamomile tea in the afternoon and evening. The same natural sedatives mentioned above for stress-relief work wonders to calm your nerves prior to bedtime.
From gas to diarrhea, from nausea and vomiting to motion sickness, chamomile can relax your digestive system and help your tummy feel better. When your stomach pains you, make yourself some chamomile tea.
Immune System Booster
Chamomile contains anti-oxidents that can boost your immune system. At the first sign of sickness, start drinking a cup or two of chamomile tea per day.
Have you ever put lemon juice in your hair during the summer to lighten your hair? It works well, but it also leaves your hair dry and easily damaged. Chamomile can lighten your hair without leaving your hair crispy and brittle.
There are two ways to lighten your hair:
Brew a strong tea and apply it to either all of your hair or selected strands. Sit in the sun for about 30 minutes, or until your hair is dry, and then rinse the tea from your hair.
Or, apply a tea rinse to your hair every day after you shampoo and condition. This also helps with dry scalp and dandruff mentioned below.
Make sure the tea has cooled before pouring it on your hair – there is no need to burn yourself!
Dandruff and Scalp Issues
Chamomile can treat dry scalp and dandruff. Use chamomile tea rinse after shampoo and conditioner and leave on the hair. Chamomile brightens, lightens, and moisturizes your hair and scalp.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties contained in chamomile can fight many different skin issues: sunburn, acne, minor cuts, rashes, and eczema. You can apply strong brewed tea to your skin (once it has cooled), or look for skin care products that contain chamomile oil.
Chamomile also contains anti-oxidants and anti-aging properties which can fight skin aging. Again, you can apply cool tea to the face (you can try mixing it with other items such as honey, aloe vera, etc), or look for skin care products that contain the oil. Try adding it to your favorite clay mask instead of just plain water.
The anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile can help relax cramping experienced during the menstrual cycle. Start drinking chamomile tea a week prior to your menstruation beginning, as well as during, to get the most benefit.
Steep 1 teaspoon of dried flowers per 1 cup of boiling water for minimum of 5 minutes and enjoy!
Chamomile is definitely a tasty and easy way to improve your health and your skin. Add some skin care products that contain chamomile to your beauty routine, and start sipping chamomile tea to help you get all of the wonderful benefits chamomile offers.
Most people may have seen calendula, but they may not know it's actually Calendula. Calendula is pronounced [kuh-len-juh-luh] and is part of the marigold family. They are easy to grow in your garden, and pretty too. They attract insects, are great cover crops, wonderful companion plants in your vegetable garden, and the calendula species of the marigold offers some absolutely amazing health benefits.
Why You Should Grow & Use Calendula:
Calendula’s anti-bacterial properties work really well for oral health. You can make your own mouthwash with calendula tea to kill nasty bacteria in your mouth. This helps reduce the chances of developing cavities and even gingivitis.
Calendula contains anti-septic properties which help with acne and skin irritations. You can use a calendula oil, tea, or skin products that contain calendula to ease skin irritations.
If you suffer from an itchy scalp and/or dandruff, try using a calendula tea rinse after using your normal hair cleansing routine. The calendula should ease and reduce the irritation on your scalp.
Calendula’s anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory nature can help relieve the itching and scaling that comes with athlete’s foot. Use calendula tea to soak your feet in, dry and apply a moisturizer like the Soothing Foot Balm and you should see improvements after a few soaks.
Use calendula tea for tummy troubles and more. This can help with urinary tract infections, sore throats, and gastric ulcers.
Calendula oil can help reduce the pain and peeling associated with sunburns, and has been shown to make stretch marks and scars less visible.
The anti-inflammatory assets in calendula make for a great relief for joint pain sufferers. You can add calendula to your diet by adding to soups or salads. You can drink calendula tea, or you can use a calendula oil rub topically on your inflamed areas.
You can use calendula oil, rubbed on the belly, or drink calendula tea to ease the symptoms of menstrual cramping. It has also been used to treat irregular periods. *Do not take calendula tea while pregnant.
Adding a few drops of calendula oil to your dog’s ears will kill the mites. Add the drops into the ear and use a gentle massaging motion to spread the oil within the ear.
Skin Hot Spots
Our dogs can suffer from skin irritations just like we do. You can use calendula tea or oil to treat irritated skin areas. With all of the anti-everything properties within calendula, your dog’s skin will look and feel much better after a few treatments.
To Make Calendula Tea:
Pour boiling water (one cup water to 1 tablespoon flowers) on top of dried calendula flower heads, or individual petals, cover and let the flowers steep into the hot water for 15 minutes. You can drink one to four cups of tea per day.
*You should consult with your doctor before adding any herbs to your diet, and always avoid large doses.
Spring is near – I know I’m starting to feel the tug toward the garden. One of the easiest herbs to grow (other than the mint family), and the most beneficial herbs to have at your disposal is lavender. Lavender is one of the best herbs for healing and relaxation. And, it looks gorgeous in your garden too.
Lavender is a versatile herb that can easily be incorporated into your life through teas, balms, oils, diffusions, and even in your baking. It has a mild inoffensive flavor that works wonders on mind and body.
Lavender’s Healing Properties
Lavender has been shown to relax an anxious mind. You can diffuse the oil, use a lavender body oil on your skin, or use a roller ball oil applicator to your wrist when you are feeling anxious.
Due to lavender’s calming properties, it can help ease a person to sleep. If you have troubles falling, or staying, asleep try using an essential oil diffuser by your bed at night or have a cup of hot lavender and chamomile tea before laying down. Both of these herbs contain a mild, natural, sedative.
Restlessness goes along with anxiety to some extent. If you are feeling restless and unfocused, try diffusing lavender or use a roll-on to help you get your work done.
Lavender works well to heal minor abrasions, burns (sunburns), sores, and bug bites. It contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Lavender also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which can heal some fungal infections. It’s great for using on your feet.
Drinking a tea made from lavender and lemon balm can help ease an irritated belly. Again, lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties can have a soothing effect for mild nausea, gas or irritable bowel.
Lavender Application Methods
Oils are a great application method. You can use lavender oil for inflammations, burns, or to ease anxiety or restlessness.
Lavender is the perfect ingredient to soaps. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce acne, and soothe eczema related skin irritations.
Tea is an amazing method of administering lavender. Lavender tea is soothing and fragrant. It can also be combined with other herbs to gain even more benefits and taste sensations. You can make your own lavender tea by adding 4 teaspoons lavender buds to 8 ounces of hot water.
From helping you ease to sleep at night, to curbing anxiety, drinking lavender tea is the way to go.
Many people use diffusers in their houses and offices. It’s a great way to get the benefits of the relaxing effects of lavender. One caution when using a diffuser is that house pets can be poisoned by breathing certain essential oils. Lavender is one that is safe to have around pets.
Alternative to a diffuser is a Lavender smudge stick. I use them to clean the air in my house regularly and they are easy to make. Dry a small bunch your favorite lavender, wrap in twine and hang dry. When dry, place in a heat proof dish, light the end with a lighter or match and carry through your home.
Adding lavender to food can be fun and beneficial. Make lavender and lemon cookies, add lavender to your favorite meat rub, add it to soups and sauces, or make a lavender syrup to add to lemonade or sun tea.
Lotions and creams are another great way to get the benefits of lavender. Use a lavender lip balm or lotion to soothe your nerves. Do the same before bed to help you fall asleep. It’s like a two-for-one – soft skin and a calm mind.
Not only can lavender do all of the wonderful things mentioned above, it can also attract bees. As you may know, our honey bee population is in danger. Anything you can plant in your yard to keep honey bees happy is beneficial to their population.
Can you imagine a world without honey? Or without flowers for that matter?
That being said, if you have bee hives – planting lavender nearby can provide you with delicious lavender flavored honey. I can’t think of anything better than that!
You can find a wide array of lavender products at the MB Botanicals Online Shop! From balms to oils, we’ve got you covered.
While it is not officially winter yet, cold and flu season is here. Whether you’re sick from your co-workers or your kids, it can bring you down for a few days. There is still no cure for the common cold and many people resist getting their flu shot. I’ve put together a list of things that can help ease you through cold and flu season.
Lemon Balm – Lemon Balm is an herb that smells wonderful, attracts bees to your garden, and has many useful purposes. One of those being a relief from colds. It can be infused with alcohol (vodka works great) and taken a teaspoon at a time to reduce the discomfort of a cold. Or you can make lemon balm into a hot tea. Lemon balm contains antiviral properties and helps calm the mind and body.
Peppermint – Peppermint is an amazing herb. It has so many uses and it smells great too. Peppermint can be used as a natural fever reducer and nasal decongestant. Peppermint oil can be applied to the forehead to relieve a headache. It can also be used in combination with a steam tent (see below) to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
Peppermint is also great at settling an upset stomach or bowel issues. Drinking peppermint in tea is the best way to ease stomach discomfort.
Rosemary – Rosemary is helpful for boosting the immune system. It also reduces inflammation and is an antiviral. This means it can open up congested sinuses and help reduce lung discomfort. It is also known as a warming herb and can greatly reduce muscle aches and pains.
Epsom Salt Baths – Epsom salt baths aren’t only good for sore muscles, although we can all agree that sore muscles come with most colds and flu. Epsom salts help detoxify our bodies by drawing out the toxins via our skin. Mix Epsom salt with some powerful essential oils and you will help your body fight off the sickness. It’s also well known that a hot bath will help you sleep better and sleeping is so important when you aren’t feeling well.
MB Botanicals offers four different bath salt options. Soak in a hot bath while the salts extract toxins from your body and the essential oils ease the pain from your head and chest.
Scented Steam – There is a bevy of herbal options when using steam to clear a foggy head. Peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemon, etc. will all help reduce inflammation in your sinuses and lungs and work to ease congestion.
You have a few options when it comes to steaming. You can boil water, add a few drops of preferred essential oil and then, with a towel over your head place your face at a safe distance over the water. The steam will penetrate your sinuses and provide the relief you need.
You can also add essential oils to the bottom of your bathtub while taking a hot shower. Or use one of MB Botanicals sugar scrubs Sugar Scrubs on your face, neck and chest to relieve pain and pressure from your sinuses. The Lavender Eucalyptus and Rosemary Mint are both amazing when you’re feeling under the weather.
Compresses – Compresses work great for relieving sinus pressure. If you are suffering from a sinus headache or your sinuses are painful, try a hot compress on your face.
To make a compress
Sleep – Never underestimate the power of rest and sleep while you are sick. Take it easy and sleep when you need to. If that means you don’t get out of bed for two days, so be it! Just make sure you are staying hydrated and taking care of any fever you may have.
Herbal Tea with Honey and Lemon – Herbal tea can provide an immense amount of comfort when you are sick. The herbs will help heal by antiviral or anti-inflammatory properties within the herb. By adding lemon to the tea, you give yourself a boost of vitamin C to reduce the length and severity of your sickness. Raw honey can help soothe a sore throat and it comes packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
For the best results, ensure you are using a non-caffeinated herbal tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar – There are entire books written about the virtues of apple cider vinegarand for good reason. ACV detoxifies your body and supports a healthy immune system. The following drink can be used to clear up a cold that just won’t go away.
A note of caution when drinking apple cider vinegar – it is acidic and can burn your esophagus if it’s not diluted. Always dilute before drinking.
Apple Cider Cold Tonic
When using herbs and essential oils, always take caution and follow usage recommendations. Pregnant or nursing women must be very cautious when using herbal remedies.
I hope that all of you stay healthy this winter and have no use for these tips, but if you use one I would love to hear how it worked for you. Or, do you have something that isn’t on the list?
As I was making my latest batch of Rose oil, I decided it would be nice to share it with you.
Since I discovered the art of botanical infusions I have been obsessed. I love how simple it is and how wonderfully light the aromas turn out. You would expect to smell the oils but the botanicals come through quite nicely.
I started making botanical infusions to incorporate them into my soap. I wanted a Rose scented soap but Rose Essential Oil is extremely expensive and rose fragrances are full of random chemicals. I like to stick to a more natural approach so I decided to try an infusion.
After some research I found that there are a couple of methods of infusion. There is the Solar Infused method and the Quick method which requires a little heat.
First the Solar Infused - start with your dried botanicals. This can be flowers or herbs. Some of my favorites are dried roses, chamomile and calendula. You want to make sure the botanicals are dry. If there is moisture in the botanicals this can cause rancidity in the oil.
Use a clean, dry mason jar and add enough botanicals to fill about half to three quarters of the jar. Add your favorite oil and make sure to cover the botanicals by at least 1”. Stir and cap the jar tightly.
Place the jar in a warm, sunny window and shake at least once a day. You will need to do this for at least 3 weeks.
After 3 weeks, strain the oil from the botanicals with a strainer or cheesecloth and place in a glass jar of your choice. Make sure to squeeze the very last bit of oil from the botanicals, you waited 3 weeks for it and you don’t want to waste a drop!
Now on to the Quick Method - this is what I like to use since patience is not one of my virtues.
This method requires a little bit of heat so I like to use the trusty crockpot (thanks to my good friend Athena).
Place the botanicals in the clean, dry crockpot. Add enough oil to immerse the botanicals completely and turn on low heat. Leave in the crockpot for about an hour and a half.
You don't want to use too warm of heat or heat for too long as you can scorch the oil.
Once the time is done. Turn off the crockpot and let cool completely. I usually like to leave this overnight.
Strain as I mentioned in the Solar Infused method and place in glass jars.
Be sure to store your oil in a cool, dark place.
Here are a few botanicals I like to infuse.
And some oils that make great carriers.
Leave me a comment if you have made your own infusions:)