Kloss's Herbal Liniment

Sunday, January 19, 2020
Today, my spouse handed me this empty bottle of Kloss’s Liniment and asked … “Can you make some more of this stuff, it really works?!”  Now, I don't know about you but when I receive that kind of feedback I know I've got something that's earned a permanent place in my home apothecary.

I first ran across this liniment recipe in Jethro Kloss’s book Back to Eden which was published in 1939. Tried and true all these years later, it continues to be a favorite among many of today’s herbalists. It’s very useful when applied as a disinfectant and for inflammation of muscles. It’s also great for insect bites, swellings, bruises, boils and eruptions.

My next encounter with this liniment was in Rosemary Gladstar’s book Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide. She bumps the recipe up with the addition of Echinacea powder and I agree that it rounds the formula out just right. It’s the version I have chosen to keep on hand.

To make your own bottle of Kloss’s Liniment couldn’t be easier! Just combine the listed herbs in a clean glass pint jar and cover by 2-3 inches with rubbing alcohol. Shake it up and sit it in a warm spot to soak for about 6 weeks. Shake it briefly every day.

When it’s time to strain it let it sit unshaken for about 24 hrs first. The reason for that in this particular formula is that the powders are fine and will settle quite nicely on the bottom which will make it easier to just pour off the liniment and leave the saturated herbs behind. You get much less sediment in your final product that way. You can filter out the rest using a tightly woven cotton cloth if you like. Pour the liniment into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store in a dark cool location.

Always, always remember to label your jar!! I labeled mine with the name, the herbs used, the solvent used, the month and year it was bottled and how to use it. 

Ingredients

2 Tbs echinacea powder (antibacterial)
2 Tbs organically grown goldenseal powder (anti-viral, antiseptic)
2 Tbs myrrh powder (disinfectant)
½ Tbs cayenne powder (circulatory, disinfectant)
1 pint rubbing alcohol

In our household this recipe ran empty in about a year and a half.

Important note: Because the solvent is rubbing alcohol you must label it “external use only”.

To use: Apply it directly on wounds or use it applied to a cotton ball first to dab the area. If using on a deep wound mix the application with a little oil first – cayenne might sting!

Tip: If you need to powder the myrrh first you can easily do so in a coffee grinder. Use one you’ve dedicated for herbal use. This is the one I use. The main tip though is that it’s much easier on your grinder if you pop the myrrh into the freezer for a couple hours first so it doesn’t get hot and gum up your grinder. You’re welcome!

Caution: Don’t use if allergic to any of the ingredients.


References:

The Authentic Kloss Family Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss. p. 107

Medicinal Herbs – A beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar. p. 133

The Science and Art of Herbalism – An Outstanding Herbal Homestudy Course – Dr. Kloss’s Famous Disinfecting Liniment – A "Rosemary’s Remedies" video lesson.


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The Fabulous Fig

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Common names: Fig.
Botanical name: Ficus carica
Family name: Moraceae

Overview - Fig trees are perennial and were first discovered wild in Western Asia and then brought to the Eastern Mediterranean area where they continue to grow wild. Evidently, they are also one of the oldest known cultivated fruit trees. The common fig tree thrives in zones 8 and warmer where the summers are long and hot. However, there are some hardy species that can be grown in cooler temperatures. Some folks grow their trees in containers and bring them indoors for the winter.

Figs can be preserved, used in cooking or eaten fresh from the tree. These “fruits” are technically a flower that’s turned in on itself and are referred to as syconium. They are dependent on a unique form of pollination in that female agaonid wasps or “fig wasps” crawl into the developing fig, spreads pollen and lays her eggs. When those eggs hatch they mate and then move out and onto other figs continuing the cycle.

Parts used – fruit, stems, leaves, roots.

Primary Therapeutic Constituents - Soluble and insoluble fiber, calcium, iron, proteins containing high levels of the amino acids, aspartic acid and glutamine. Enzymes, magnesium, iron, vitamin A and C, calcium, and potassium. Phenolic compounds, phytosterols, anthocyanins, and organic acids that contribute to antioxidant activity. Coumarins, flavonol quercetin, anthocyanin, alkaloids, tannins, and fatty acids.

Other parts of the plant contain a high number of volatile compounds such as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and norisoprenoids; mostly in the leaves.

Medicinal Actions - Anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, blood purifier, diuretic, nutritive, anti-anxiety, aperitive, emollient, purgative, anti-diabetic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, expectorant, sedative.

Common Uses - The anthocyanin content of figs can help to maintain healthy blood lipid levels and play an important role in the prevention of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers (colon and lung). Historically used for all manner of digestive issues – poor appetite, colic, indigestion, constipation (contains a natural laxative effect), dysentery, inflamed or ulcerated intestines, and intestinal parasites.

Additional uses of the fruit include the improvement of vision, alleviation of asthma, amnesia, abscesses, acne, anemia, anxiety, arthritis, catarrh, colds and coughs, bronchial infection and headache.

An interesting biblical account from Isaiah 38:1-5, 21 states the following:  In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.”

Technique – food, decoction of the figs, chewing the leaves (bad breath), poultice (leaves crushed and applied), poultice (fruit mashed and applied). Decoction of leaves is stomachic. The latex applied to corns, warts, piles, bug bites and stings. Roasted fruit poultice applied to gumboils and dental abscesses. Syrup of figs for gentle laxative. The leaves have been known to also provide a covering. 

Cautions and Contraindications - The unripe fruit contains a sticky latex that contains alkaloids, tannins and phytosterols. This substance can cause skin irritation and serious eye irritation. Avoid use during pregnancy, breast feeding and surgery. Overeating may cause stomach pains. Excessive consumption may cause calcium deficiency in the body. Consuming along with diabetes medications may cause hypoglycemia. Those suffering from kidney and gallbladder disorder should avoid consumption of figs.

Toxicity - The sap and half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous.
  
Taste – sweet

Energy – neutral, cooling

Nutritional profile - Good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese and pantothenic acid.



References

American Botanical Council ~ Hannah Bauman and Jayme Bisbano. Food as Medicine: Fig (Ficus carica, Moraceae). HerbalEGram: Volumne 14, Issue 8, August 2017

The Old Farmer’s Almanac – The Editors. Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Figs.

Herbpathy – Fig Herb Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Nutrients.

Natural Medicinal Herbs – available at: http://naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/f/ficus-carica=fig.php

The World’s Healthiest Foods – The George Mateljan Foundation. Figs. Available at: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=24#nutritionalprofile

NASB - The beautiful fig leaf has an early appearance in the biblical scriptures; immediately after the fall of man, it is mentioned in Genesis 3:7 where it says... "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" 


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Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Even as a child I was a picky eater and textures were always an issue. No way was I going to eat something rubbery, slimy, sticky or too chewy! Poor mom...

To a certain extent I've grown out of a most of those aversions. Well, a few of them anyway. 

Chia seeds had always been on the iffy scale for me. I mean, they looked harmless enough when they were just sitting there, on there own, not doing anything. But once some insane person added those seeds to a perfectly good bottle of Kombucha they were transformed into strange gelatinous globs. Or so I thought.

I suppose I better get on to the enlightened portion of this story before you feel affirmed to keep chia seeds off your grocery list!

When I was going through my herbal courses, I watched a fun video of Rosemary Gladstar making Chia Seed Pudding. She made it look so simple, quick and tasty that I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did!

I've learned not to judge a seed by appearances only! I've even taken to putting them in a bit of pomegranate juice for a little overnight cold infusion now and then. Aversion tackled.

Turns out, chia seeds have a lot to offer. Just 1 ounce of chia seeds contain 4915 mgs of total omega-3 fatty acids. They are also very low in cholesterol and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, dietary fiber and manganese.

Combined with the healthy benefits of coconut milk and blueberries, this recipe is a win-win in my world. And yes, to my delighted surprise, it tastes scrummy too!! The fun thing about this recipe is that it can be tweaked from its base into many different combos and flavors. I'm using blueberries because I picked a lot over the summer and want to keep things moving in my freezer. I chose the pecans because they were handy and the spices go well as two of my favorites. Anyway, on to the recipe...

Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding

1 cup chia seeds
3 cups liquid (1 13.5 oz can coconut milk and the rest water)
1 to 1 1/2 cup blueberries
1 tsp vanilla (more or less to taste)
1 tbs maple syrup (more or less to taste)
Pecans
Cinnamon
Cardamom

Mix up the base which is the chia seeds, coconut milk and water. I typically put the coconut milk into a medium sized bowl and smooth it out with a stick blender first. Then I blend in the water, add the chia seeds, vanilla, maple syrup and blueberries. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight until set. When ready, remove the cover, top with more berries, the pecans, cinnamon and cardamom. Dish out and dig in! What could be easier? And oh my goodness - so tasty.

Tip: I use frozen blueberries so they stay in tact and don't color the entire dish blue.

I hope you'll give it try and please do let me know about the flavor combos you've tried 😋



References

SELFNutritionData - Seeds, chia seeds, dried nutrition facts and calories. Found here: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

Dr. Axe - Nutrition. Coconut Milk Nutrition: Beneficial Vegan Milk or High-Fat Trap? Found here: https://draxe.com/nutrition/coconut-milk-nutrition/

Organic Facts - by Meenakshi Nagdeve. December 20, 2019. 20 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Blueberries. Found here: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-blueberries.html



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