Manipulation Run Amok

A Supreme Court Justice dies and now the Republicans are insisting that President Obama doesn’t have the right to nominate a replacement. Sigh. The Oregon Senate is debating an environmental bill that has the Republicans’ panties in a wad. I hate that expression, but it perfectly describes what’s happening. One would think that the conservative approach would be to protect the environment, but not so much. Oregon’s Republican State Senators apparently didn’t bother to show up for the session today, effectively bringing business to a halt. I read that it was within the Senate’s purview to have the Oregon State Police go out and round them up and bring their passive-aggressive asses back to work, but Senate President Peter Courtney decided against that. I wonder, would a paddy wagon have been involved? Lights and sirens? SWAT? That would have been spectacular, to say the least.

I’ve grown weary of passive-aggressive manipulation by people who prefer advancing their own agenda over fulfilling their responsibilities. At this juncture, we have a Democrat-led Senate in Oregon. It is what it is. You don’t take your ball and go home when you don’t like the odds. They’re acting like babies, not the elected legislators they are. This isn’t statesmen-like. This shows no dignity.

Instead, we have guilt trips and no-shows in lieu of scholarly debate. Awesome. It’s bad enough that this nonsense has been going on daily in Congress for years now. That affects everyone at one point or another. But to see it happen here in Oregon, along with all the other oddities we’ve been witness to lately, is unsettling. Besides, it seems juvenile and mean. These bozos deserve to lose their jobs for this childish, manipulative game they’re playing.

Oregon is a really cool place to live, no matter where you live in the state. People are nice, the food is great, Portland is weird and has a really nice airport, the High Desert is fabulous, and unless you’ve been there you have no idea how totally awesome the Oregon Coast is. The best time, other than any time, is during a huge winter storm, which typically coincides with our yearly vacation. There’s nothing like it. We stayed in Seaside last December and we experienced a magnificent storm, hands down the best part of the trip.

I was born in California, moved to Alaska at four, and then Oregon where I’ve spent most of my life. When I was in college, I attended several schools, finally settling on and graduating from Portland State University in 1978. It was at one end of downtown, and for part of that time, I lived only a short walk away from campus and I loved living in the city. It had wonderful little shops and restaurants tucked away here and there, and the bus system was great. I was attracted to the college’s diversity. It seemed like everyone went to PSU. I shared office space with the Chicano Student Union before they got an office of their own next to the Black Student Union, the Gay Student Union, the Christian Scientists (not a student union), and the Socialist Worker’s Party (student union implied). It was a long hallway-like room and we all had separate desks. I liked everyone, but anarchist witch that I was, I was drawn primarily to the Socialists. Fun times. Seriously. I spent most of my last term there at a pub near campus and had my highest single term GPA ever. They served wine in adorable little individual wine bottles. Of course, I was only twenty at the time, but one learns to blend in when beginning college at sixteen.

I remember hearing about a couple of young guys named Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer. It was clear back then that they would have an impact on Oregon politics. Our people work hard for Oregon in Congress. Our state legislators typically do the same. Let’s hope today was just an anomaly and not a trend because that’s not who we are here in Oregon. We stick around. We work hard. We listen to each other. What we don’t do is manipulate and stop the process.

And if you can’t do that, resign.

Check out the article from the Oregonian on our wayward legislators..

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I love herbal oils. They’re simple to make. I use the Simpler’s method, by adding about 2/3 herb to a jar and cover up to the top with my oil of choice. If I’m using fresh herb, then I wilt them a little to get some of the water content out of them before pouring oil over them. Water content of fresh plants can dilute the strength of the infused oil. It can do the same with alcohol tinctures so I use Clear Springs when tincturing fresh herbs to offset any water content they might still have. I can always dilute with water or glycerin later to reduce the alcohol to a more manageable level. If I’m using dried herb, I tincture with 100 proof vodka. I should probably put that on the tincture page when I make one.

Neuralgia Oil

I made this oil by researching neuralgia. I sort of have it in my feet because of constant swelling over the course of thirteen years from RA. St. John’s Wort and Vervain as nervines, act on the nervous system to control pain. Mullein flower deals with pain and inflammation. So, I put equal parts in a jar and covered them with grapeseed oil. Grapeseed is delicate and light and it absorbs into the skin well. I put the jar out in my sand bucket that I use in the summer for my infusions.

Some folks say to put it in a dark cupboard, but I like the solar infusion method instead. I try to remember to shake the jar every day. I typically have several infusions going at once so with them all in the same sand bucket, there’s a better than average chance that I’ll remember to shake them.

Anyway, the oil should sit there for a month or so, then strain it. Now, for the salve:

Neuralgia Oil Salve

Salves are ridiculously simple to make. Heat a cup of herbal oil. Add 1/4 cup beeswax. I use beeswax pearls instead of the slabs. I don’t like grating the slabs or even trying to cut the smaller ones. Eventually, my bees will let me have some of their beeswax, but we’re not there yet. Until then, I buy and use the pearls. They melt easily and it’s simple to measure them out.

When the beeswax is melted, do a spoon test. Dip a spoon into the mixture, taking out a small amount on the spoon. Put it in the refrigerator and if in 1–2 minutes it’s the consistency you like, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, either add a little oil, or add more beeswax. While you’re waiting, add a few drops of essential oil if you like.

When you’re happy with the consistency of the spoon test, then pour your oil mixture into containers. I like small round tins, but small jars work too. I get some of my jars in the canning section of the grocery store, and my tins and amber dropper bottles from Specialty Bottle. They have really cool stuff and it’s reasonably priced. And, where I live, it’s only a day away with ground shipping.

St. John’s Wort/Arnica Oil

Another oil for my RA..it’s great for pain and inflammation. St. John’s Wort and Arnica are wonderful infused into grapeseed oil. Almond oil is another oil that can be used. Apricot is another light feeling oil which absorbs into the skin well. I don’t like greasy oils that don’t absorb in. It’s one reason I don’t care for olive oil as well as grapeseed, although medicinally, it’s probably the best oil to use.

I blended equal amounts of St. John’s Wort and Arnica and filled 2/3 of the jar, covering it with grapeseed oil up to the top. Again, I shook it daily (okay, not daily) and set it out in the sand bucket for a month. It’s lovely, and the oil seems to help the pain I have in my elbow, but I haven’t made any salve yet, which I should definitely do.

General Herbal Oil for Salve

So this is what happens when I walk around my property. I begin gathering herbs. I can’t help myself. And then I bring them back and I infuse or tincture them into something. One afternoon, this is what I gathered:

  • calendula flower — good for rashes, promotes cell repair/growth, and heals wounds
  • comfrey leaf — heals tissue
  • mullein leaf/flower — bruising and pain
  • dandelion leaf/root — joint pain
  • plantain — draws toxicity, sooths inflamed tissue

I used almond oil for the menstruum, again fresh wilting the herbs to reduce their water content, then put them in a jar two-thirds full, and then covered the herbs with almond oil up to the top. I put it in the sand bucket with the other oils so that they can all wait together for me to remember to shake them. A month or so later I strained and bottled it. I haven’t made the salve yet.

So that’s enough for now..I’ll post some more later..

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The thing about teas..

Some herbs are infused, some are decocted. Roots are decocted. There are several ways to do this, but I put them in a quart of cold water and then bring to boil on low heat. Yes, it takes a while, but you should watch it anyway so it doesn’t get carried away on its way to boiling. When it starts to boil, drop the temp down so that it simmers for typically 20 minutes or so, but don’t worry if it goes longer. Longer is stronger, so there’s that.

Infusions are for more fragile herbs and some roots with high volatile oil content such as valerian and goldenseal. I pour boiling water over the herbs in a mason jar and then put the lid on tight, letting it steep for 15 minutes or so. Again, if it’s longer that’s fine.

Now, some of my teas are a combination of herbs as with the first tea listed. I decoct first, then remove the mixture from heat to infuse the remainder.

Teas can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but mine never last that long.

~Blessings to all!

Menopause Support Tea

Might as well put this one first..I made it into a tincture as well.

  • 2 T black cohosh root emmenagogue, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, alterative, nervine
  • 2 T licorice root expectorant, demulcent, emollient
  • 2 T dong quai root uterine tonic, antispasmodic, alterative
  • 2 T St. John’s Wort aromatic, nervine, astringent, resolvent, sedative, diuretic, vulnerary

Roots are decocted, not infused (except for valerian and goldenseal). So, add the root herbs to a quart of cold water in a covered pan on low. Bring to a boil slowly, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and infuse the St. John’s Wort by adding it to the hot decocted mixture. Re-cover the pan, leaving it off the element, and let infuse for 15 minutes or more. Strain and drink.

This helped my hot flashes somewhat. And it tastes wonderful!

Lemon Balm Tea

  • 2 T lemon balm diaphoretic, calmative, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenaogue, stomachic
  • 1 T chamomile tonic, stomachic. anodyne, antispasmodic, stimulant, bitter, aromatic
  • 1 T spearmint stimulant, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, nervine, anti-emetic
  • stevia sweetener

Infuse into 1 quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink

Crone Tonic Tea

  • 1 T oatstraw
  • 1 T horsetail
  • 1 T nettle leaf
  • 1 T red clover
  • 1.5 T motherwort

I made this on my 58th birthday..

Infuse into a quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink.

Feminine Divine

  • 1 T spearmint healing
  • 1 T lemon balm healing, Feminine Divine
  • 1 T holy basil Spirit, Fire, purification, Feminine Divine
  • 1 T chamomile purification, healing, Water, Feminine Divine
  • 1/2 T dandelion leaf divination
  • 1/2 T mugwort strength, protection, psychic powers, astral travel, hedgeriding

I love this tea. I make it in bulk, so feel free to adjust the amounts any way you want.

Infuse herbs together into a quart of boiling water, letting steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink. If making it ahead, add about a tablespoon of herb to a cup of boiling water. It’s wonderful!

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I wanted to create a page for some herbal teas and salves I’ve created. Then I decided to nest some pages beneath this one. That way, it will be easier to organize everything. I’ll have a pages for teas, oils, salves, tinctures, and some cannabis preparations. I’ll add recipes and formulas from time to time. I tend to free-wheel things a bit when I’m creating a tea or an oil. I keep track of what I use, and then if I like it, I write it down for posterity. I’ll include magickal properties if I know or can find them, as well as medicinal properties of the herbs.

I think the best teas are created by walking around my property, gathering various herbs that I see, and bringing them back to brew a cup to sip and enjoy. I might gather a little spearmint, followed by some chamomile, a little holy basil added in, along with a pinch of lemon balm. I might add a stevia leaf for natural sweetness, gathering everything to take back to my kitchen where my favorite cup awaits. I steep the herbs, and when done, I sit back and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. It’s the interaction with the herbs that brings the magick. It’s gathering with love and respect these wonderful life-affirming herbs and drinking in their essence that heals and nourishes our body and our spirit.

So check back from time to time. I’m going to figure out a way to list the pages on the widget side of the blog. I’ll be adding more recipes and formulas as I create them. If I find something I like from another herbalist, I’ll include that too, with a link back to their blog or website, or wherever I find it.

~Herbal Blessings!

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Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on February 24, 2016.