Hair Rinse or Facial Toner
This is a very old recipe touted as a cure-all for internal and external use. It is certainly a good toner for the face or a hair rinse (if made with vinegar), and it makes a fragrant eau de cologne (if made with vodka).
6 parts fresh lemon balm leaves
4 parts dried German chamomile flowers
3 parts calendula flowers, fresh or dried
4 parts rosebuds or petals, fresh or dried
1 part lemon peel 1 part sage leaves
1 part fresh lovage root apple or wine vinegar, or vodka, to cover
3 drops lavender or rose essential oil 1
Crush all the fresh leaves and flower, slice the lemon peel and lovage root, and place together in a Kilner jar. Add enough vinegar or vodka to cover the plant matter, then seal the jar. Shake every day for two weeks. 2 Strain through a sieve lined with two layers of muslin. Add a couple of drops of lavender or rose essential oil, then filter into bottles.
MORE IDEAS Use as a facial toner, as a final hair rinse or dab on as an eau de cologne (with the vodka version). Keeps up to a year in a cool dark place – heat and light will destroy the fragrance.
Lavender Bath Bomb
This is a great flexible recipe, in which you can substitute other dried flowerheads and essential oils, such as rose or calendula.
5-6 fresh lavender sprigs
1 tbsp citric acid powder
3 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
10 drops lavender essential oil
1 tsp almond oil
1 Heat the oven to 180ºC. Once it has reached that temperature, turn it off and place the lavender hanging upside down in the oven to dry to for 2 hours. When dry remove the flowers from the stalks and set aside.
2 For the next stage you need to make sure that the bowl you are using, and your hands are completely dry – otherwise the bomb will start fizzing. In a glass bowl mix the citric acid and bicarb together. Add a few drops of lavender oil and 1 tsp dried lavender flowers, along with the almond oil. Mix everything together with a metal spoon.
3 Place a large biscuit cutter (34cm wide, 3cm deep) on top of a sheet of baking paper. Put the mixture into the biscuit cutter and press down with the back of the spoon. The oil now needs to evaporate so the bomb can set as a dry, hard block – leave for a minimum of 30 minutes and preferably overnight. Store in an airtight container to keep out moisture.
Neem Nit Treatment
This natural recipe, free of organophosphates uses plant extracts with known insecticidal properties to eradicate both lice and the nits – the tiny eggs that are notoriously hard to get rid of.
20tbsp (approx 100g) fresh rosemary leaves
20tbsp (approx 25g) fresh lavender flowers
200ml neem oil
200ml almond oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tea tree oil
1 Strip the rosemary leaves and lavender flowers from their stems.
2 Combine the neem and almond oil together in a measuring jug.
3 Crush half the rosemary and lavender in a mortar and pestle with a little of the oil, to help ease the crushing process. Place the mashed up herbs in a saucepan. Repeat with the second half of the rosemary and lavender, again adding a little oil for crushing.
4 Place the crushed herbs, neem and almond oil in the pan, and add the chopped garlic. Heat gently for about 20 minutes.
5 Strain through a sieve lined with muslin. Add the tea tree oil to the reserved oil, stir, then filter into a sterilised 500ml bottle. If using immediately apply to dry hair, making sure the hair is completely covered and that the oil penetrates to the scalp. Cover with a towel and leave on for at least 1 hour, or overnight if possible. Then wash off with shampoo. Apply conditioner and comb through with a nit comb. Use the next application seven days later to deal with any nits that may hatch during that time. Comb through with the nit comb every three days.Keeps for six months. >
More great recipes can be found in Grow Your Own drugs by James Wong, £16.99 Collins