Today we welcomed back the Nature Club for the first time in 2013. Today we had a sweet-smelling time together. The herbs we picked back in September were now very dry and we used them to make some home remedies, all of which are described in Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots.
We talked about how earlier in history people needed to rely on nature to feed them, clothe them, and make them well when they were sick. Then we reviewed the herbs we had picked in the fall...peppermint, lemon balm, and sage. We talked about how the chemicals inside the herbs seem intensified when they are dried because they are now not "watered down".
We used the peppermint to make some tummy tea. The peppermint contains menthol, which has anesthetic properties. We simply picked the dried peppermint leaves off the stems and crumbled them into Teeli Flip bags (unbleached empty tea bags used with loose leaf teas). The tea can be used to soothe upset tummies or relieve indigestion. The tea could also be used as a morning eye-opener. The peppermint smelled so yummy - one clubber astutely exclaimed that it smelled like her mama's gum, and wondered if peppermint gum would also work to cure a sore tummy. We wondered whether gum contains real menthol - sounds like a good experiment to me!
Next, we made a sage gargle by picking the sage leaves off their stems and placing them in an empty glass jar. Then, we poured apple cider vinegar over the leaves. This gargle is an infusion, and it needs to be shaken for two weeks to get all the good antiseptic tannins out of it - I hope all the clubbers remember! The gargle can be used to relieve a sore throat. It was interesting to learn that the sage leaves would still be quite soft, despite the long drying period.
Lastly, we made a herbal bath bag. We raided my scrap basket for fabric for making the bags. Then we poured lavender (the only herb that didn't grow too well last summer and I had to buy) and crumbled the lemon balm leaves off their stems into the middle of our fabric squares. Lastly, we bunched the sides of the fabric together and tied them with ribbon. Our bath bags can be used to relax muscles (and minds). We talked about how it could be perfect for bath night, or perhaps saving for one of the flus that leave muscles feeling sore and achy. We wondered if the bath bags could be reused, or if they were a one-time use thing - another great experiment! If we thought the peppermint smelled good, the lemon balm was divine!
While I hope the clubbers don't get sick, I also hope that if they do, that these little remedies provide some relief.