Archive for the Herbals Oils Category

IGOR! HAND ME…THE PUMPKIN SEED OIL

Posted in Cooking, Herbals Oils, Salves with tags , on June 25, 2012 by theredlass

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!

Part of the fun of getting into herbal concoctions and such is the joy of experimentation. Fiddling around with different oils and scents, decoctions and remedies. Have wicked bad rosacea problems today? Try cool lavender tea with a little drop or two of olive oil. Mix it all up and dampen a soft washcloth with it. Lay that across your face (be sure you can breath!) and let the soothing solution relax your blood vessels.

Want to know how I came up with that? My wifey has rosacea and it was really irritated one day. I started fiddling around with some compresses and stuff and after some trials we discovered this worked.

Want to kill a sore throat and chest congestion? Take dark, natural honey (look for dark or local, grocery stores often cut honey with corn syrup), and cook it on a double boiler with a generous helping of chopped ginger root. Does wonders for clearing your sinuses and phlegm. Figured that out last allergy season when I was drinking tea like crazy and tried some raw ginger root and honey together. Did wonders and actually made it so my chest didn’t crackle.

The point is, when you are getting into herbalism and home health care, you start to take a stronger notice of what happens to you and family when you use certain things. You notice that you aren’t having such bad allergy problems after eating spicy foods (it’s the capsaicin). How a plate of handmade cinnamon rolls makes everything seem just a little bit easier to cope with.

All these things are important to observe and remember, and good basis for experimentation. Most of the time you start out from a simple recipe you found on-line, in my case from a lip balm recipe I got from Mountain Rose Herbs. Then after you get down the basics you expand on it, trying it with peppermint, pumpkin seed oil…all sorts of stuff.

You have to be careful of course. ALWAYS careful, especially if you are selling the stuff like me. Making sure you don’t use herbs that could provoke a bad allergic reaction or ones that shouldn’t come into contact with skin (like cinnamon). My rule of thumb is TRY IT YOURSELF FIRST! if you made something that you aren’t secure enough in to use on yourself on a frequent basis, then it probably isn’t a product you want to make a lot off. Also, always start small. Small batches, small amounts, small orders. Don’t drop $50 on something you’ve never made before.

EX: I was bound and determined to make a nice, thick body butter to sell in my shop. I had done lotion but body butter is a different animal all together. I used shea and coco butter and the essential oils I wanted…well…when I had melted everything together and mixed in the scents how I wanted I was (after an hour of stirring) left with a gloopy, melted mess of sloppy lilac smelling STUFF. I fiddled and worked and worked and fiddled and after 3 hours it still wasn’t a viable product. I was so sick of it at this point I didn’t even want to look at it any more! Not even to throw it away. i tossed it in the kitchen and went to bed. Well I must have kitchen faeries or something because when i got up in the morning it was smooth, creamy and whipped just the way i wanted. Yes it turned out well, but it could have been a gigantic fuck up that would have wasted around $30 of product right there.

So experiment, but in small steps.

Misummer Madness Contest!!

Posted in Contest, Herbals Oils, Salves with tags , , on June 21, 2012 by theredlass

Maybe the heat is getting to us, because we are giving away some of our fine products absolutely FREE!
Our PRIZE includes (1) 8 oz Citrus Mistress, (1) 2 oz Citrus Mistress (2) 4 oz Honey Kisses & (2) .15 oz Peppermint Plush Lip Balms!
To ENTER:
“Like” The Red Lass Emporium on FB!
“Share” This post on your page!
“Comment” below to let us know you have entered our contest!
This contest begins June 21st and ends August 1st!

Words for the New Year

Posted in Dreams, Herbals Oils with tags , , on January 1, 2012 by theredlass

I’ve never been much for New years resolutions. They have a tendency to be far to idealistic for my tastes. Promises easily made tend to be easily broken. But then this isn’t really a New Years resolution, more like a goal I’ve been planning and working towards for nearly six months now.

The coming year holds a lot of expectancy for me. I have an associates degree to finish, a GSA to help support, an online shop to open and vending consideration to make. There is going to be a lot of activity and a lot of it stands upon the edge of a knife. I’m nervous and in the Mirror of Candor my own face sneers back, reminding me of past failures and wrong decisions, making me doubt, making me worry that this is yet another poor decision.

And yet there is, as always, the Bitch that always has my back. The one that reminds me I picked this course and it’s success or failures is dependent strictly upon my dedication to it and the level of time and effort I put into it. She is the one who reminds me not to wuss out but to press forward and find a way, even if it’s a difficult way, to make things happen. And it is her advise I follow and I take the chance and open my own business.

Don’t Waste That Pumpkin! (pictures forthcoming)

Posted in Cooking, Fun and interesting, Herbals Oils, Salves, Samhain with tags , , on October 26, 2011 by theredlass

As Samhain passes us by and the dark half of the year closes in, many people begin storing up what they need for the long winter. For the every day person, this means everything from stocking cabinets with canned foods to making sure you have salt for the sidewalk and snow boots. For the witch, this can mean a little bit more.

When Irish immigrants turned up on the shores of America, they brought with them many of the old legends and traditions that comprised the Celtic culture after the Christianization of much of Europe. One of these was carving a lantern out of a turnip in order to provide a light to frighten off wicked and mischievous spirits from ones hearth. The turnip was quickly dropped, however, in favor of the easier to carve pumpkin. This traditions has lasted through the centuries till you can hardly see a house during the fall that does not have pumpkins and Jack O’Lanterns decorating the porch and yard.

But has the ability of the pumpkin been overlooked? Where does your pumpkin usually end up once it’s been carved and the 31st of October passes into November? In the trash or in the road, smashed to bits. Oh what a waste of such a virile and generous gourd. In truth, the modern pumpkin has many uses, from oils to salves, decoctions to poultices, the ripe orange rind offers a litany of useful products to the patient witch at work.

First off, you need a large, orange pumpkin with as little spot on it as possible. As you begin to carve the top off and scoop it out, make sure to save the seeds, innards and meat of the pumpkin separately, as each is a valuable resource. You can choose to scrape the meat out bit by bit, which is necessary if you want to keep the pumpkin for decoration. But if you have plenty for you and your family to carve up, it won’t hurt to use one just for these recipes. Let’s start with the most basic:

Pumpkin Seed Oil
-2 cup pumpkin seeds
-cookie sheet
-olive oil
-1 pint mason jar
-strainer
-pot
-ceramic/ glass bowl
-stove/ oven
-paper towel
-mallet

INSTRUCTIONS
-Clean and pat dry the pumpkin seeds and lay them flat on the cookie sheet.
-Cook for 10 minutes or until thoroughly dry. DO NOT LET THEM BURN!
-Take out and allow to cook, then crack open using a mallet and paper towel.

-Gather the seeds and add them together until you have at least 1 cup of shelled pumpkin seeds.
-Fill pot with 4-6 cups of water (depending upon size of pot) and heat it to boiling on the stove.
-Reduce heat to a low simmer and place the bowl on top of the pot. The water should be close but not touching the bowl.
-Add in seeds and oil and stir liberally until all seeds are coated.
-Continue to stir once every 2 hours for the next 12-24 hours.
-Have jars ready and dry.
-Place strainer over bowl and make sure it is stead.
-Using mitts to handle, slowly pour contents of bowl into strainer, letting the oil drip through into bowl.
-Allow too cool for a few minutes, then use cheesecloth to press down and squeeze any remaining oil from the seeds. This takes pressure and time but it’s worth it as you don’t want to waste oil.
-It may take several straining to filter out the seeds entirely, so just go back and forth between the two bowls until it’s fairly clear.

USES
-Pumpkin seeds are said to have a unique effect on prostate cancer and contain fatty acids that help with blood vessels, nerves and tissue. Feel free to enjoy with bread, salads, and (my person favorite) mix the leftover seeds and a little oil with hummus and goat cheese for crackers!

And of course the joy doesn’t stop there. You can also melt down beeswax in a double boiler (1 oz of beeswax per cup of oil) and add in the oil to make a splendid pumpkin salve that works for as an anti-inflammatory aid and helps with dry skin during the winter months.

Pumpkin Infusion
-6 cups water
-2 cups pumpkin meat cubed
-1/4th cup honey
-bowl
-pot
-stove
-strainer

INSTRUCTIONS
-Heat water to a boil and add in pumpkin chunks.
-Let simmer for 4 hours
-Strain pumpkin chunks and set aside for blending (See Pumpkin Poultice recipe).
-Add honey to mixture while mixture is still hot and stir till dissolved.
-Pour into storage container and refrigerate for later.

USES
-Pumpkins, as you can tell by the orange color, are high in beta carotene, which helps with eye sight. It also contains potassium and is very good for your heart.
-Pumpkins also produce Vitamin A, which helps with heart disease and cancers. It can also help regulate in insulin in your body.
-If you want to make an Infusion into a Decoction, reduce the amount of water to 4 cups and boil for 4 hours instead of simmer. You can also add some of the blended pumpkin meat back into the Decoction while it’s still hot for an extra kick.

Pumpkin Poultice
-1 cups pumpkin innards
-1 cup pumpkin meat boiled until soft

INSTRUCTIONS
-Scoop innards from pumpkin and remove seeds. SAVE THOSE SEEDS! (Seed Pumpkin Seed Oil)
-Put the pumpkin innards in a food processor.
-Take the meat of the pumpkin and chop it up into small cubes.
-Cook the cubes in water like potatoes until they soften enough to process.
-Strain the pumpkin into a bowl. SAVE THAT WATER! (See Pumpkin Infusion)
-Blend the innards and meat together until it forms a smooth, thick paste.
-Save in mason jars and refrigerate until needed.
-When needed, heat till warm and place between cheesecloth and apply to affected area.

USES
-This poultice can be used warm to help relieve swelling or an abscess after it has burst.
-Pumpkin can also be combined to help ease a sunburn when used as a cold infusion or mixed with other herbal oils to help relieve dry skin or achiness.

So before you throw out those gorgeous gourds, take a moment and try out some of these simple recipes. Your body and family will thank you for it!

Lugh and Tailtiu

Posted in Herbals Oils, Lughnasadh, Media, Ritual, Spellcraft with tags , , on August 2, 2011 by theredlass

The first of the harvest festivals and the celebration of Lugh, bonfires and tests of strength and skill. The first fruits are offered up and given to the fires as a sacrifice. This was also the time when marriages would begin. I say begin because Celtic marriages didn’t work the same way ours do now. Marriages were often made for political alliances, financial gain, tribal status and clan benefits. However women had more rights in ancient Celtic society and had the right to divorce, maintain their own property and such. (1) So even arranged marriages were only required to last about a year, during which the couple would get to know one another and discover if they were compatible.

Initially this celebration is meant not really for Lugh (whom it is named after) but for his mother Tailtiu, who cleared the forests of Ireland for farms and died in the process. Because of this I will be spending the season getting started on my oils and such. I feel it’s an appropriate time to begin as we are heading out of the light half of the year and into the fall season (even if it’s too hot out to actually feel that way) and this is when most people began collecting their herbs and getting supplies together to be dried, preserved and stored for winter.

I have to wonder for a moment what that must have been like. Unlike today where you can simply buy bulk herbs on-line, back then it was a much longer process. You had to plant the seeds, nurture them all through the long spring and summer months, pick them, wait weeks for them to dry, preserve what would could… the entire thing could take up months of time and if there was a mistake during that time you were out of luck! A good harvest meant survival and was so important that the entire community was involved and invested in it’s success. You have to give some consideration to that whole concept and understanding how much more convenient life is for us now.

Although next year I intend to start growing my own herb garden so that my product will be more labor intensive (thus driving my own energies into it on a more intrinsic level) for right now I will be order my herbs on line. Hey we all gotta start somewhere!

I hope to spend the fall and winter not only learning more about this path I’ve set myself on, but really perfecting it by coming up with my own recipes, spells and mixtures. The prospect both thrills and frightens me on a lot of levels. Seriously, I mean if you had any idea how many herbs are poisonous…well…lets just say I research the hell out of everything before I use it.

But anyhow, photos bellow of my celebration to Lugh and Tailtiu.

The cornfield where I did my ritual. It’s Ohio soooooooo yeah there are a lot of these.

 

I love these tiny tassels!

 

 

 

I believe sunflowers are sacred to any solar deity, so I feel it’s important to offer them, their seeds and such during a solar ritual.

 

This is some of the wine our friend bought for us at North Market mixed with some elderflower syrup. I poured this as an additional offering and imbued it with the virtues we associate to Lugh, courage, cunning, wisdom, artistry…

 

I poured the libation onto the ground (after imbibing a small amount to take Lugh into myself) as an offering to his mother Tailtiu, who sacrificed her life to sew the fields.

 

(1)   If you want a GREAT read about marriage and concepts of sex in pagan Ireland, read Sex & Marriage in Ancient Ireland by Patrick C. Power.

Herbal Oils

Posted in Herbals Oils, Salves, Spellcraft with tags , , on July 26, 2011 by theredlass

Part of what annoys me about witchcraft is that once you’ve read all the ‘beginner’ books out there, not a whole lot is provided for you to take the next step. Sure some places give ‘lessons’ or make it available for you to move up ‘degrees’, but from what I hear half the lessons are reiterating exactly what you already know from the books. North is Earth, Artemis rocks, millions of women were burned to death during the witch-craze…

So when you finally do hit that point, it takes a certain amount of umph to decide where you go to next. And frankly, that umph can take some time to decide upon.

Something I have always wanted to learn about was homeopathy and working with herbs and oils. So I decided to work along that path and get in touch with the more practical elements of witchcraft. I’m starting out with attempting to make some basic oils which I will later turn into salves. These are NOT for sale or commission. I’d rather not risk selling anything till I know I can actually manage to do it correctly.

Someone was ready to help the instant I opened those catnip herbs.

 

 

I HATE the smell of burning sage. It gives me a horrid headache, aggravates my asthma and my allergies. But everyone just insists on using it to purify themselves before enter a circle. So I decided to use something a little different. This is a sage and lavender mixture I’ll be using for ritual purification.

 

 

Even though I personally don’t need to attract any more familiars (PLEASE DEAR GODS NO MORE) I thought this would make for a nice experiment. This is catnip as well as three whiskers I’ve collected from my cats over time. (NOT pulled off, just collected).

 

I stored them in a cool dry place. I read that any water or high heat can cause them to go rancid. They will need to sit for 3 weeks before their ready. After that I’ll start work on turning them into salves.