Oregon Grape Root ‘could save the world’

Genus: Mahonia Species: aquifolium Family: Berberidaceae

I found mention of this herb in a gorgeous looking remedy for diaper rash and just had to look it up. I’ve got to say, while I am not prepared to test or recommend testing it internally, I am VERY excited to try the root in topical preparations to compliment and enhance calendula or yarrow (my 2 favourite flowery things).

Oregon grape shares many of the medicinal properties of goldenseal, but because goldenseal is close to extinction, many herbalists have begun to use Oregon grape in their treatments instead. And like goldenseal, it should be used on an as needed basis, not daily, as constant use will ultimately damage your intestinal probiotics.

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Rosewater Cleanser

Rosewater is one of my favourite ingredients. Packed with skin healing, firming, ph balancing, cleansing and antibacterial properties – Rosewater is extremely versatile. Plus, it smells absolutely divine.

Since I like to forego sketchy preservatives (which was something our Medieval sisters didn’t have the luxury of — not that were safe, at least), this recipe will be stable for about 4 days. To minimize waste, I don’t recommend making more than 4 ounces at a time. It’s also extremely easy to mix up so you can prepare it virtually anywhere if you find yourself running low.  (more…)

Linen Stain Remover Ball

Hugh Plat’s ‘Delight For Ladies’ just keeps me suckered into mess making!

wB+IdLEQAabGQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==I thought this particular recipe would be highly valuable for it’s simplicity and ease of use while away from home. I also felt it would be a small but exciting way to go about medieval life authentically. Designed to remove stains from Linen it requires minimal effort and only 3 ingredients (plus a day or two to set).

I’ve done the experimenting for you so that you can just throw yours together without a headache. What I learned, among other things (see: commentary on Alum), was that lemons during the middle ages MUST have been much smaller than they are by today’s standard, so you definitely do NOT want to use 2 for this recipe unless you’re looking to make a stain removal pudding. I prefer the ball form, personally. (more…)

The Trotula: Hair Fragrance Powder

Let’s dissect a 12th Century toiletry recipe! Shall we?

I’ve been pondering the type of situation in which this hair ‘perfume’ would be necessary or even remotely useful in modern times. I can only conclude that it might serve as an alternative to ‘dry shampoo’ when you have no access to soap and water, you’ve been sweating a lot and/or need to mask the stale fragrance your noggin is throwing off. So, pretty much any overnight event or during travels. (more…)

Mastic Gum, Arabic Gum (plant resin)

An exclusively Greek product, Mastic is a resin obtained from the Mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus).

Pharmacists and Herbalists know this substance as ‘Arabic Gum’, ‘Mastic Gum’, ‘Mastic Resin’ or ‘Yemen Gum’ which is not to be confused with Gum Arabic.

Originally a liquid, mastic is sun-dried into drops of hard brittle translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing, slightly pine or cedar-like flavor. (more…)