Thursday, September 29, 2016

Herbal Tips - Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Chives are associated with the element fire and the planet Mars. They are an ancient type of a bulb-forming perennial culinary herb directly related to garlic, onion, scallions, and leeks; although among all of those spices, chives are the only species of Allium native to both the New and Old World. Chives are members of the lily family, they’re grown for their leaves and flowers which are equally popular in the garden, and the kitchen.

Mystically chives are known for their protection against evil and diseases. This herb quickly gained the reputation of chasing away evil spirits and disease: so it is commonly planted outside a home’s windows and brought indoors to the kitchen.

The medicinal benefits of chives are similar to those of garlic, but not as strong. Chives are a mild antiseptic; and are anti-hypertensive, in large quantities can lower blood pressure. A historical (never medically tested) use of Allium schoenoprasum was to expel intestinal parasites. Chinese medicine suggests chives can be used for colds, flu, and lung congestion.

Because their flavor is so mild and their color so vivid, chives are an ideal addition to spreads, herb butters, and dips, tossed in salads; and even used as a flavoring for vinegars. Using the blossoms in the vinegar colors soft pink, and makes a nice gift when bottled in decorative glass. Add to dishes just before serving, because their mild flavor is destroyed by heat. The purple flowers of onion chives float beautifully in soup.

One of the most popular uses of chives today is as one of the components in the traditional herb mixture fines herbs. Combined in equal portions with tarragon, chervil, and parsley this blend adds aromatic flavors to chicken and fish dishes, and is especially tasty with eggs. Omelets made with fines herbs, asparagus, goat cheese, and garnished with chive blossoms makes a delicious spring entree.

Chives are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value; the violet flowers are often used in fine herb blends, and ornamental dry bouquets. 

Chives thrive in well-drained soil rich in organic matter, and it’s best to plant them in full sun. In late summer, dig up a couple of plants; pot them, and move them to your windowsill for a nice winter source of fresh flavorful snips.

Harvest & Storing
You can begin harvesting chive leaves as soon as they are tall enough to clip. Cut them from the outside of the clump about 1/2 inch above soil level, always leaving plenty to restore energy to
the plant. 

You can store extra’s for winter use by chopping and freezing the leaves, or you can preserve them in herb butters, oils, and vinegars; they blend well with parsley and tarragon.

#aromatic #chives #chiveflowers #culinary #enchantments #flavoredvinegar #gardening #healthyeating #herbs #herbharvest #herbstoring #livinggreen #naturalfoods #noordinarychick #ornamentaldrybouquets

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Witch Hazel - Wonder Plant - Household Uses

Witch hazel is truly one of the worlds wonder plants, its skin healing properties have been known for centuries, and it is still used today in many lotions, ointments, and other skin treatments. A natural astringent its tannins are in it’s leaves and bark, and have medicinal properties that aid skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, as well as minor cuts and scrapes.

You can make your own witch hazel extract using leaves, twigs and stems; cook with water for
8 hours, then strain and store your extract in the fridge… or it is easily available as a clear liquid distillate in drug and health food stores.

Here are some household remedies that will help you discover why witch hazel will become your favorite go-to remedy for first aid and minor skin ailments.

Witch Hazel Skin Treatments:
The sensitive skin around our eyes is prone to inflammation, discoloration, and swelling from lack of restful sleep, smoking, stress, and many other factors. For treating puffy eyes and dark circles just moisten cotton balls and lay them on your eyes, relax 10 to 15 minutes and repeat as needed.

Witch hazels astringent properties make it a perfect natural remedy for acne; just apply to blemishes with a soaked cotton pad, and dirt and oil will also be removed without drying skin.

In some European countries witch hazel is a common topical treatment for psoriasis, and research has proved its effects. Witch hazel creams can be applied to relieve this bothersome skin condition, as well as eczema and dermatitis.

Witch hazel contains natural tannins that help it tone the skin and tighten pores; leaving your skin feeling cooled and refreshed, as well as killing break out forming bacteria. To make a toner combine equal parts distilled water and unscented witch hazel distillate along with a few drops of naturally antibacterial and antiviral eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil.

Witch Hazel First Aid:
Witch hazel is known as natures Neosporin as it is a natural antibacterial that will help treat minor wounds. To disinfect and help with healing abrasions cuts, and scrapes apply witch hazel extract directly to the affected area with a cotton pad or cloth.

To relieve the pain from a burn apply a gauze pad soaked in witch hazel extract, and then cover the area with an adhesive bandage.

Which hazel relieves the itching and swelling from insect bites by applying to the affective area with a soaked cotton pad.

#astringentproperties #firstaid #healingproperties #householdremedies #livinggreen
#naturalantibacterial #naturalremedy #noordinarychick #skintreatment #witchhazel