In my family, we have always used these recipes based on herbs, but despite this, I have also done several searches and found that they do not vary and are always the same, intact, and this because, probably, they are part of an ancient knowledge, ancient as the world. These recipes are very simple, even those without extensive experience in the use of herbs may groped without any danger as long as you follow the instructions and do not ever change the quantity, and dosage recommendations. The herbs used are to be collected according to their balsamic time, so that they have the highest degree of force, all the characteristics and their unique properties. These herbs should also be harvested in safe and clean places, away from harmful influences such as busy roads or industrial sites, certainly the best thing is to have a small vegetable garden or to have the luck to find in the wild in the unspoiled woods. In the absence of these two options, you can order the herbs dried by specialized herbalists. They must be stored by the rules and used as recommended.
Finally, we must keep in mind that these herbs are rare and precious gifts and as such should be treated with respect and love, so the preparations will grow in goodness and curative strength.
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The jams, also called marmalades, are saccharic derivatives of soft consistency, rarely solid, resulting from the union of fruits with the sugar; the sugar has the aim of preventing their alteration and make them more palatable. To get a jam from fresh produce, the sugar is added to the fruits, previously reduced to a pulp. Then you must heat the mixture to double boiler, over moderate heat, to facilitate the melting of the sugar and the jam to obtain the necessary consistency.
Herbs/ fruits can be used for preparing the jams, or fresh or dried, you can use the fresh plant or its first derivatives (infusions, decoctions, extracts, etc..), following the prescribed information in different pharmacotherapeutic documents on syrups and with the same daily dosing.
Here are a couple of recipes for the preparation of medicative jams.
150g of fresh leaves of peppermint; 1kg apples, peeled and chopped, 700g of sugar, 2 lemons
This jam has the digestive and refreshing properties of the mint.
This recipe is prepared peeling the apples and cutting them into pieces, then you must put the chopped apples in cold water mixed with lemon juice and leave to soak for a while. Then the apples, having drained the water, are to be placed in a pot of tinned copper. To these you must add the grated rind of one lemon and fresh mint leaves, finely chopped. You must boil all this mixture, stirring constantly, until the apples are cooked. Then, you must remove the pan from the heat and you must pass the whole through a sieve: it produces a bright green puree. You must then add the purea and the remaining sugar and lemon juice. This should be boiled again, stirring carefully, until the jam reaches the right consistency.Only then will you remove the jam from heat and pour, still hot, into glass jars, the jars must be sealed and kept in a cool place.
1kg of ripe raspberries, 600g of sugar, 1 lemon
The raspberries are to be harvested early in the morning and never during the hottest hours of the day, and must be chosen the more mature and the perfectly well.
You have to wash them in abundant cold water. After they are well dried, are to be placed in a glass container with sugar and lemon juice. They are left to macerate in the bowl for at least two hours. Then, the juice formed must be dried and this juice must be put to stagnation in a pan of copper tinned. When this sauce has reduced by half, add the raspberries and put the mixture on the stove, stirring carefully.When it reaches the desired consistency, it is removed from the heat and it is poured, still hot, in glass jars, hermetically sealed, so that the scent of fresh raspberries is preserved intact.
1kg of wild blueberries, 500 grams of sugar, 1 lemon
The wild blueberries are, without doubt, the most fragrant and flavorful, and therefore the most suitable for the preparation of jams. The blueberries should be washed with great delicacy, under cold running water.
After drying them, they must be placed into an earthenware bowl, and you need to pour over the sugar andgrated rind of the lemon and you need to mix thoroughly. You must cover the bowl and soak the blueberries for half a day. Then, you have to put it in a pot (not aluminum) and it must be boiled over a fire, stirring constantly, because it can often happens that the jam will stick to the bottom of the pot. When the jam has thickened and has the right density, you must remove it from heat and pour, still hot, in glass jars, closing them tightly and kept them in a cool, dark place.
7 / 8 oranges, rich in juice, 200g of peeled and sliced apples, 600g of sugar
You must remove the rind of two oranges (only the superficial part and not the bitter white rind), and then you must cut the rind very finely. Then all you have to do is to peel the remaining oranges, removing even the white rind. You must cut the pulp of the oranges into small pieces, discarding the seeds and stringy parts. You must collect all the pulp and juice in a saucepan (not aluminum).
You must add the apples and the sugar, putting the pot on a medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for about ten minutes. When the apples are cooked, the pot must be removed from the heat and you must pass the mixture to get a thick puree. You must make this puree and put it in the pot again, adding the rind of the two oranges and cook again, bringing the mixture to a boil again. When the jam will become thick like honey, then you must remove from heat and pour it, still hot, in glass jars, closing them tightly.
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The medicative honeys
Premise the abundance of honey plants, including medicinal ones, one must say that there are at least thirty varieties of honey from herbs (gentian honey, thyme honey, lavender honey, etc...). Medicative honeys or mellitus, are obtained by mixing an aqueous solution of one or more drugs with the honey. Medicative honeys an be prepared with either fluid extracts or infusions or decoctions concentrated, adjusting for doses as for the syrup. In some cases, simply add to the honey the medicinal herbs, finely chopped, fresh, or half the amount for the dry ones.
Here are a couple of recipes for the preparation of medicated honeys. (The same operation can be made with many other plants as well).
-Mellitus of roses (or violets)
You must prepare an infusion with 60g of rose petals, collected in May (the petals must first be crushed gently) with 150 grams of water. You must then pass the infusion through a cloth and then add it to 450gr of honey. You will get a very thick syrup with the medicinal properties of the flowers used. If you used the violets, the syrup will have pectoral property, if you used the rose it will have soothing, emollient and slightly astringent properties.
-Mellitus of linden
You must prepare a concentrate infusion with 60gr of linden flowers and 150g of water. After boiling it, you must filter the infusion through a cloth and then add it to 900 grams of honey, making sure to mix very well.You get a syrup to be taken, by spoons, as perspiratory and antispasmodic.
The medicative wines
The medicinal wines are now almost forgotten and abandoned, but these medicinal wines were once much used for a large number of species, both aromatic or medicinal plants.
It is simply the transfer to the wine of the characteristics of medicinal substances in order to use the solvent properties of the wine (well above that of the water, for alcohol it contains and for its slight acidity).These wines can be prepared or by the maceration of herbs or through dilution of the corresponding fluid extracts. In this way you can get wine digestives, tonics, laxatives etc.
Here are some simple examples:
-wine of wormwood
You have to soak 30gr of flowering tops of wormwood in 60g of alcohol (50 °). Then you must add 1l of excellent white wine and allow to rest for a day. You must then filter all the liquid through a cloth and pour it in a glass bottle. You get a wine to take by small glasses, as a digestive.
-wine of cinnamon
You have to soak 30g of cinnamon bark powder in 500gr of wine from Pantelleria and this compound should remain at rest for six days. Then you have to filter all the liquid through a cloth. This is the famous wine of Hippocrates, well known to the ancients. This wine has great tonic and digestive properties.
Similarly prepare the wines of juniper, ginger and cardamom.
-rhubarb wine, composed
You have to soak 30g of rhubarb root powder, 30g marsh mallow root powder, 8gr dried peel of bitter orange, 4g cardamom in 480 g of wine of Pantelleria or in Marsala , and this compound should remain in soak for a fortnight. Every two days, you must shake the bottle. Finally you have to filter all the liquid through a paper. This medicinal wine is also known as "Elixir of health," because of its property on liver and its digestive and tonic properties.
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These compounds are obtained by first soaking the herb in alcohol, and then mixing the aqueous solution obtained in the aqueous solution of sugar.
Instead of soaking, you can also use the infusion of herbs bruised or powdered extracts and finally the essences of aromatic species.
Here are some simple recipes to prepare at home for some liquors based on herbs.
You have to soak, for 15 days in the dark in a closed vessel, the peels of twelve lemons, (the peels must not have the white peel) and 36 fresh leaves of lemon, all in one liter of alcohol. Then add a quart of water, in which were dissolved 800gr of sugar. Let stand briefly, then stir and filter through a sheet of paper. It can be drunk as a digestive after meals.
You have to macerate, for fifteen days, 50g of peppermint leaves, fresh, in 500 grams of alcohol (50 °). Then add 150g of water in which were dissolved 150 grams of sugar. Finally filter through a sheet of paper. You can drink it as refreshing and digestive.
In the same way, are to be prepared the liqueurs of Melissa and Cedar.
-Elixir of Coffee
Make infusion with 100gr of coffee powder and 500 grams of water, dissolve in it 500 grams of sugar. When it has cooled, add 200g of alcohol, in which were previously left to soak two vanilla bean. Mix and filter everything through a sheet of paper. You can drink as appetizer and invigorating.
-Elixir of anise
You have to macerate, for fifteen days, 50g of bruised anise seeds in 800dl alcohol, then add a quart of water in which were dissolved 800gr of sugar. Filter the whole through a sheet of paper. It can be drunk as a digestive and tonic.
-Liquor of Alpine juniper
You have to macerate for fifteen days, 30gr of Achillea moschata (or dry Artemisia glacialis) and ten bruised juniper berries in 300g of alcohol. Then add 350g of water in which were dissolved 300g of sugar. Finally filter everything through a sheet of paper. The result is a great mountain liquor to be taken as a digestive.
These syrups are solutions of two parts of sugar with one of water (or of the medicative solution). They are an important form of practical use of medicinal herbs.
Medicinal syrups can be prepared or starting from extracts or from tinctures of the select species or even from tea concentrates. It is very important to remain always within the limits of the doses recommended or prescribed.
Here are some simple examples.
-Blackberry syrup (or currants, or raspberries)
You must heat the mixture to double boiler, of 335gr of juice obtained by their fruits and 670gr of sugar. A refreshing and tasty syrup.
Make an infusion with 10gr of chamomile flowers in 50g of boiling water, then add to the infusion obtained, 65gr of sugar. Calming and soothing syrup, very good for young children.
-Mint syrup (or melissa)
Prepared with 10gr of mint leaves, 5g of alcohol, 50g of water in which have already been dissolved 60g of sugar. Finally, filter everything through a sheet of paper. Refreshing and digestive syrup .
Tinctures of medicinal plants
The tinctures are obtained by employing as a solvent the alcohol at different dilutions with water. The best known are those obtained, for example, from aloe, hive, belladonna, cardamom, eucalyptus, gentian, thrush, rhubarb, scylla, and from saffron.
There are also composite tinctures, here there are some examples.
-"Elixir of Life"
50g of aloe, and 5g for each of the following herbs: gentian, rhubarb, zedoaria, saffron and white agaric. Soak the herbs in 2l of alcohol (60 °). Filter through. Take 10/20 drops dissolved in half cup of water. It has properties invigorating the stomach and it is also a powerful tonic.
-Tincture of wormwood in Venice
50g of wormwood, 20g of bitter orange bark, 10gr calamus root, 10gr of gentian root, 5g of cinnamon. Soak it in 1/2l alcohol for a week. Take 10 drops in half glass of water, in case of dyspepsia and as a digestive.
-Toothpaste tincture of Muller
250gr tincture of lemon balm, 20gr tincture of vanilla, 10gr of tincture of myrrh, 50g of essence of peppermint. Mix all the different, simple tinctures. A few drops in a glass of water serve as a mouthwash for cleaning the teeth.
-Composite tincture against injuries
25gr of arnica flowers, and 25gr of lavender, rosemary and sage. Macerate all herbs in alcohol (80 °) for a week, then press and filter thoroughly. Apply on gauze pads, after having cleaned the wounds, to promote a rapid healing and to prevent the infections.
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The Herbal Home Remedy Book: Simple Recipes for Tinctures, Teas, Salves, Tonics, and Syrups (Herbal Body)
Herbal Tinctures in Clinical Practice: A brief manual for the physician and health care professional
Spagyrics: The Alchemical Preparation of Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs
The Creative Herbal Home (Living with Herbs)
The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs