My five-year-old daughter has terrible eczema all over her body; people ask me all the time what the painful-looking rashes are on her arms and legs. I tried products with cortisone without any luck. Then, earlier this summer at the farmer’s market, a super kind honey vendor offered a salve she had made with goat’s milk and beeswax. I tried it, and within two weeks, most of Ella’s eczema had cleared up. I’m a believer in the all-natural ways of healing!

Medicine is all around us. On a recent tour of a medicinal garden, I learned that so much of what ails us can be cured with natural, plant-based products. From the simple things like bug bites and scratches to the more serious and painful conditions like strep throat, sinus infections, and even burns; nature often has the remedy.

If you’re not an herbalist, it’s highly recommended you find one before experimenting with plant-based medicine. You need to be 100% sure about what you’re putting into or onto your bodies before playing “Harry Potter” and making potions. And before harvesting any plant, be sure you’re picking it from an area that has not been sprayed with any chemicals. Our friend and herbalist, Caroline Rivard, provided us with some simple recipes that might be able to help you. Happy brewing!

Plantain, Calendula, and Lavender Salve

Use this heavenly-scented ointment on any skin issues you might have, such as insect bites and stings, burns, eczema, poison ivy, and so much more. Its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will help wounds heal faster.

  • 100 ml of olive oil infused with plantain leaves
  • 100 ml of olive oil infused with calendula flowers
  • 20 g  of beeswax
  • 40 drops of lavender essential oils
  • 4 opened Vitamin E gel caps
  • 4 x 50 ml glass jars for storage, cleaned and sterilized  

In a bain-marie over low heat, combine the infused oils and add the beeswax, allowing the latter to melt completely. Once the beeswax has melted, remove from heat and let cool, stirring from time to time. Meanwhile, add the drops of lavender essential oil to your jars. If you have four 50 ml jars, for example, add 10 drops to each container. Add the contents of the vitamin E caps to the jars (one per container). Once the oil and beeswax mixture has cooled to the point of hardening, mix it to the jars with the essential oils and vitamin E. Tightly close the jars, label them, and enjoy!

Thyme-Infused Honey

This is an all-natural potion for curing a common cold, sore throats (even strep!), coughs, laryngitis and bronchitis. Mixing honey and thyme together creates an amazingly powerful antioxidant and antibacterial brew. The best part is, it’s super easy to make!

  • Raw honey
  • Thyme, dried or at least wilted, stems removed
  • A glass jar with a lid
  • Wooden stick

If using fresh, wilted herbs, fill half of your jar with them. If you’ve chosen to go with dried thyme, fill your jar about a quarter of the way with it. Cover the thyme completely with the non-pasteurized honey, filling the jar completely. Take your wooden stir stick and push the herbs and honey down to the bottom of the jar to eliminate any air pockets that may have formed. Be sure all of the herbs are covered with honey. Let the mixture sit for at least two to three weeks before using. When you need it, take the mixture by the spoonful and add it to hot water (not boiling, as it kills the enzymes in the raw honey) and start to feel better!

Herbal Kaolin Clay Face Mask

In the fast-paced world we live in, sometimes we forget about getting back to the basics and taking care of ourselves. This face mask is gentle, exfoliating, rejuvenating, and totally nourishing. It can even help with acne breakouts.

  • 6 tbsp of organic old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp of dried lavender buds
  • 4 tbsp of dried calendula
  • 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup of Kaolin clay

In a grinder or food processor, grind oatmeal, lavender buds, calendula, and flaxseed until a powder forms. Pour it into a glass container, and mix well with the Kaolin clay. Never use a metal spoon with this mixture; the Kaolin will pull the toxins from it, something you don’t want in your face mask! To use, mix 1 tsp of the mask with ¾ tsp of apple cider vinegar and ¾ tsp of water to form a paste. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, then apply. Allow it to dry for 5-20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.

Peppermint, Mugwort, and Salt Foot Soak

For days where you haven’t stopped once to sit down, reward your tootsies with this amazing foot soak. Mugwort and Epsom salts are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps prevent muscles twitches, leg cramps, and fatigue. Peppermint leaves refresh, cool and soothe tired feet. The perfect combination! Here’s how to do it:

  • Fill a 500 ml glass jar a quarter of the way full with Epsom and grey sea salts.
  • Add a layer of mugwort and peppermint leaves, mixing with the salts.
  • Add more Epsom and grey sea salts, followed by another layer of mugwort and peppermint leaves.
  • Continue this process until the jar is full.
  • If you have diluted mint essential oils, add 10 drops to the jar.
  • Before closing the lid, add a piece of parchment paper so the metal doesn’t come into contact with the salts.
  • When ready to use, add ¼ of the prepared jar to a bucket with hot water and soak your feet for 15-20 minutes.

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Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine has a degree in journalism and political science from Concordia University in Montreal. She worked in radio and television as a reporter and news anchor for ten years before starting a family. Now, she's living a quiet country life raising her two young kids with her husband and is loving every second of it. Her interests include healthy eating, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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