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Home Remedies

This image shows a Large Cayenne.

This image shows a Large Cayenne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who wouldn’t want to spend LESS money to feel BETTER? I can’t think of a single person.  I’m certainly not a scrooge, but I really do love to consider myself rather thrifty. In fact, when we lived in Georgia, my favorite circular was called the Thrifty Nickel! Not because I read it, but because the name was way cool.

Well, in keeping with that streak in my personality, I’ve also always been a person who delved into more traditional ways of healing. (If you’re curious, I’ll go ahead and admit that I was also among the cult of homeschoolers for a few years and I was a very vocal advocate of breast-feeding when I had my babies.

My deep, dark secret is that I’ve always wanted to be something like a Natural Hygienist or Naturopathic practicioner. I don’t mean just mixing up stuff in my basement! I mean I’d like some type of certification or diploma; something that proves I’m a real, live quack with a title who is recognized and paid as such by the community. I’ve got books on herbs, like Culpepper’s Colour Herbal (doesn’t that title just make you giddy with excitement about all the pictures and descriptions you’re sure to see inside the book?!) And my old standby is a huge encyclopedic volume called Back to Eden, which boasts itself as having been THE classic guide to herbal medicine, natural foods and home remedies since 1939. I LOVE this book! There is the challenge of overcoming some of the antiquated language…but that makes it more fun. The other issue is that some of the herbs listed seem ever harder to come by. Surely, there’s not a conspiracy to keep us sick and visiting doctors and drug stores…IS there?

I’ve “practiced” on myself and on my kids for years, and hey I certainly haven’t killed anyone and that’s more than a lot of official “doctors” can say. But I want to do MORE.  A couple of days ago I had an idea and today I acted on it. I’ve been knowing for years about the wonderful health benefits of capsicum, or cayenne pepper. But today is the first time I have created my own tincture–yet another word you’ve simply got to admit makes you tingle just to say it!

A Lao-style mortar and pestle.

A Lao-style mortar and pestle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the recipes in Back to Eden calls for 2 oz of macerated red pepper to a quart of alcohol. You let that sit for 14 days and voila, you’ve got yourself a tincture that forms the basis of a very powerful liniment. My husband will be my very first patient. He works construction and and is always coming home with aches, pains, bruises and sprains. Can’t wait to try this out on him. The really cool thing is that I didn’t have to buy anything except the quart of rubbing alcohol. We had so much cayenne pepper that grew this year I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.  That’s how I decided to make this body rub.  And THEN I got downright intuitive. I’m thinking to myself of what a wonderful massage oil could be made with a base of mineral oil infused with cayenne, rosemary, and peppermint! You guessed it: the peppermint grows right outside my front door. and dried rosemary is in the cabinet. I’ve made my first 12 ounces by using an ancient pestle and mortar (just for the heck of it) to mash up the leaves and get everything juicy. There was some leftover ground-up cayenne from what I used to make the tincture. So I mixed everything together and put it in an airtight container. I will leave it there in the kitchen windowsill for 14 days and see what happens. If all goes like what I imagine, I will have a very aromatic massage oil to use on my unsuspecting husband. Hope this works…

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