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Things To Learn To Do For Yourself

Here is some information from the radio show that I didn’t get to talk about. Hope its helpful to you!

Years ago when I started to get interested in making herbal remedies for myself, I was a little hesitant. I didn’t want to poison anyone, sure didn’t want to make anyone sick or choose the wrong plant.   Pretty soon I calmed down and recalled that I was raised on herbal remedies. So I called my grandmother and then called my Mother and pretty soon I had a whole first aid kit of herbal remedies.   snowflake 21st  2

It’s really easy to make herbal teas. You just need:

some  boiling water
a tea pot, cup, or jar
your  herbs

Most teas are infusions. To create an infusion you’ll pour boiling water over plant material, either leaves, flowers, roots, stems or a combination.  You want it to steep a while, 10-45 minutes. Then you can strain it and sweeten it. Sometimes its best to add good tasting teas or herbs like peppermint to cover the flavor of the medicinal herbs if they aren’t to your liking.  I sweeten with raw honey.

Decoctions refer to the method used to extract the medicinal properties of the roots, barks, or seeds.
To make a decoction you would actually simmer the plant parts in water over low heat for 15-45 minutes.

How much herb material to use?
A good rule of thumb for making infusions or decoctions is to use 1 tablespoon of dried herbs (or 2 tablespoon of fresh herbs) to every cup of water.   A good idea when you are making teas for someone who is ill is to make a quart or more of the infusion or decoction. For that you would use 1/4 cup herbs and 1 quart water.

When you are giving decoctions or infusions to someone who is ill, you should give it in small, frequent doses. A good rule of thumb is to give 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the tea every 30 minutes until the symptoms are relieved.

Here is my herbal first aid kit contents:
Elderberries. Used in syrups and drinks. A great anti-viral. Used in syrup form, 1 tablespoon every few hours over the course of an illness.

Rose Hips.  These little fruits have the greatest concentration of vitamin C there is.  As you may know, Vitamin C can cut the duration of a cold or even prevent a cold from coming on. Made into teas mostly.

Nettle Leaf.  Nettles have a very high chlorophyll content and are also a great source for vitamins C and A, calcium, silicon, potassium chloride and protein.

Lemon Balm.  Used as an antiviral in treating cold sores caused by the herpes virus,  heals wounds. When combined with some other herbs it can be used to treat migraines, anxiety and is a good treatment for the common cold and flu.

Chamomile.  This herb is safe for everyone from young to old. Induces restful sleep, can stop spasms in smooth muscles to the digestive tract, calms bowels. Has an antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiviral and anti parasitic qualities.

Dandelion Root.  Used in a decoction to remove toxins from the liver and draw off fluid.

Echinacea Root. Stimulates the immune system, and has antibacterial properties. Take a decoction internally at the first sign of illness to boost the immune system. Apply decoction externally for wounds and bruises. Don’t take for more than 2 weeks at a time.

Peppermint. Stress relief and digestive aid.

Plantain. Great in compresses for wounds and bruises, good digestive aid.

Oatstraw – a nervous system restorative and to strengthen a weakened constitution also treats shingles

Eleuthro root -helps with stress. Scientists believe it helps prevent “adrenal burnout” caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges

Here is where I buy the herbs that I don’t wild craft or grow myself:


Here’s how I make a tea for someone who has a bad cold:
Warming Ginger Tea
…this will warm up the frostiest person in your family, and its great for those who are ailing.

4 cups water
2 oz fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
5 whole cloves
Juice of one lemon

Bring all to a boil, simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain into cups and sweeten as desired with honey, sugar or agave nectar.

Its simple to make an herbal tea. Remember these two things:
1. most herbs are slow acting so you won’t make yourself sick by using herbs that you have read up on and know are not potentially poisonous. Most herbs used medicinally are not poisonous but you should research the herb before using.
2. Use very hot but not boiling water and allow herbs to steep for about 10 minutes before using them


Child’s Dosage

How do you know how much of an herbal remedy to give a child? I like to use  “Young’s Rule.”

Add 12 to the child’s age then divide his age by that number.

For example, my son is 8 therefore the calculation that I will use is 8+12=20


I will give him 40% of an adult dose

Dana also had a question about what kind of stitch to use for hemming napkins.  If you’re talking about everyday napkins, I think a simple straight stitch is best. You will press the fabric up 1/4″ then again 3/8″. Pin the hem and then if you have a sewing machine, use a simple straight stitch very close to the edge of the pressed edge. If you are sewing by hand you will want to use a hem stitch. You can find tutorials for hem stitches on the internet and in the library.

Obviously I can’t show you how to sew here on the radio but I am working on some videos and one of them is for a set of basic stitches, so I’ll work on that and you can look forward to it.
And that’s what you need to learn, basic stitches and what they are used for.
Lets get more basic: you need a sewing kit. Just find a small sturdy box like a cigar box.

Buttons in assorted colors and sizes
Hooks and eyes
Iron-on patches
Mercerized thread in colors that match your clothes – From WIKIPEDIA – “Mercerization is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread that gives fabric or yarns a lustrous appearance and strengthens them. The process is applied to cellulosic materials like cotton. The process was devised in 1844 by John Mercer of Great Harwood, Lancashire, UK, who treated cotton fibres with sodium hydroxide. The treatment caused the fibres to swell, which in Mercer’s version of the process shrank the overall fabric size and made it stronger and easier to dye. The process did not become popular, however, until H. A. Lowe improved it into its modern form in 1890. By holding the cotton during treatment to prevent it from shrinking, Lowe found that the fibre gained a lustrous appearance.”
Needle threader
Needles in assorted sizes
Safety pins
Scissors – large for cutting fabric, small for cutting seams or making repairs while sewing, there are other types of scissors for specific jobs but if you’re a beginning sew-er you probably won’t need any other kind.
Seam ripper
Replacement Snaps
Straight pins
Tape measure

Some of the basic things you should learn to sew:
Cutting knits properly


  1. Heather

    Man, I wished I live closer to you to gleam more of your wisdom!

    • Sylvia

      Heather, I know I could learn a lot from you too!

  2. Davalyn black

    This was a really good one today. Really enjoyed it. I will be printing it off to put in my book of goodie info… :).

    • Sylvia

      Glad to help, Davalyn!