Book Review: The Essential Guide to Home Herbal Remedies

Herbal Remedies Book Review
Clay Mask Ingredients

The Essential Guide to Home Herbal Remedies by Melanie Wenzel is a great resource for anyone interested in homeopathic, at-home solutions. My personal health philosophy is prevent first, heal and cure as needed. A balanced combination of natural, homeopathic remedies and recipes, with modern technological advances in medicine, is how I approach health. As such, having a resource of preventions and remedies is essential.

Herbal Remedies

I love this book because:

  • It begins with a brief history, then delves into remedies and recipes complete with tips such as shelf life and how and when to use it, as well as step-by-step photographs (all in color)

  • It ends with a straightforward guide to the plants / ingredients discussed

  • You can search by ingredient or ailment

  • Recipes are clear and simple, yet contain lots of information

The herbal medicine information and recipes in this book are centuries-old, but just as effective today as ever. Even science has come around to acknowledging the positive properties of herbs. The book’s final section, “Plant Portraits From A-Z,” is an extremely useful and straightforward guide. It includes a “What do scientists think of it?” paragraph for each item, which can be particularly interesting for skeptics.

The recipe I have ended up using again and again is for a Bentonite Clay Face Mask. I now try to use this mask once a week, and every time, my skin feel amazingly smooth and fresh afterwards.

Clay Mask

You can find Bentonite clay in most health-food stores, or on Amazon. I got a big container that I can use for awhile.

You can use all sorts of ingredients, such as olive oil, salt, tea, etc., so I’ve tried a few variations on the original recipe from the book. I usually go super simple: clay, apple cider vinegar, and a drop of essential oil (I like to rotate between lavender, rosemary, frankincense, tea tree).

Beware: the mask gets super tight as it dries, to the point where you can’t move your face, and if you do, it hurts. Once it dries, you can wash it off (it’s a little difficult, so I try to apply the mask before I take a shower). It can initially cause irritation; my face gets really red and splotchy for about half an hour after I wash off the mask. However, after that, it looks great!

Facemask
Herbal Facemask

Here’s a different recipe I tried, that I liked (verbatim from the book):

Rosemary Wine

Rosemary calms the nerves, stimulates circulation and jolts the brain into action. This is why older people who suffer from low blood pressure can particularly benefit from this aromatic medicinal herb. Rosemary also brings quick relief for headaches and stomach cramps. Little wonder, then, that it was voted the medicinal plant of the year in 2011.

When to Use It

For improving memory, and to treat fatigue and headaches.

How to Use It

After your evening meal, drink one liqueur glass of rosemary wine. Take a 1-month break after 4 weeks so this evening drink doesn’t become a habit.

Shelf Life

The wine will keep for 2 months in the fridge.

You Will Need

  • Sharp knife

  • Cutting board

  • Funnel

  • 2 dark bottles (each 32 oz/1 L)

  • Fine-mesh sieve

  • 5 springs fresh rosemary

  • 1 piece (about 3/4 inch/2 cm long)

  • 1 bottle (750 mL) organic dry red wine

  • 1 cinnamon stick

How to Make It

  1. Pull rosemary leaves off stems. Using a sharp knife and a cutting board, chop rosemary leaves as finely as possible.

  2. Using a sharp knife, peel and thinly slice ginger.

  3. Using a funnel, pour wine into a dark bottle. Add rosemary, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Seal the bottle, place it in a sunny spot and let steep for two weeks. Once a day, shake the bottle. Using a funnel and a fine-mesh sieve, strain the wine into a clean dark bottle. Seal and refrigerate until chilled.