Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Reinventing the "Herbal" for the Modern Day Homemaker


“In Tudor times, in the sixteenth century, the pantry could be described as the control center of the domestic economy. It was here that the countrywoman would store her precious herbs and spices, and make lotions, potions* and distillations. In doing so, she could be described as the family doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, perfumer, candlemaker and pest controller all rolled into one, and the health and well being of everyone in the household was her responsibility.”
~ Stephanie Donaldson, The Country Store

*Note: Although "potion" is often referred to in the occult world, it's definition can also mean a liquid with healing properties.


I love reading about women in history, how they lived and what they were responsible for. Something that has always interested me was that our female ancestors survived without modern stores and conveniences. They were well acquainted with herbal remedies to treat their ailing loved ones. Countess Juliana van Stolberg had her own private apothecary (pharmacy) inside her castle.  Puritan women such as Anne Bradstreet were also skilled in the art of natural healing which was necessary in the primitive "New World".


Not only were they educated in herbs and plants, but they created their own simple soaps, body care products, household cleaners and more. They were experts in food preservation methods such as fermenting and drying. They knew how to create distilled floral waters such as lavender and rose. They handcrafted beautiful items for their home such as herbal wreaths (to ward off certain insects and odors), they hand-poured their own candles and prepared colorful potpourri of various sorts.


"In Elizabethan England it became customary for gentlewomen to write down the secrets of their household management in a book to pass on their skills from one generation to the next. As well as recipes, this book would include simple remedies, lotions and potions*, potpourris and polishes, many of which we would recognize and even keep in our pantry today."
~ Stephanie Donaldson, The Country Store


The educated women of that day would write down their recipes to pass down to their daughters. Their knowledge of running a household was recorded in an "herbal". Though some remedies were undoubtedly based off superstition of the time, many were viable sources of medical information.

source

Would you like to reinvent this concept for modern use?

Here are some ideas... Collect methods on how to make medicine out of basic pantry staples, how to prepare a poultice, how to treat a burn or how to soothe colic. We could record recipes for the bath and body such as lotions, balms and scrubs. We can incorporate instructions on how to ferment foods or prepare cultured dairy products. We can include practical recipes like homemade extracts, condiments (mayonnaise, ketchup) and other items that wouldn't be found in an ordinary cookbook. Another section might include how to dry herbs and how to utilize them. We can include tutorials on room sprays, candle-making and sweet smelling sachets...

The object is to acquire a broad spectrum of knowledge for your household and document it into one place. Like our ancestors, we can pass down our favorites to our daughters and daughter-in-laws. This is what your herbal will be... An encyclopedia of household wisdom! Doesn't this sound fun? You will find our printable herbal here.


Note: Many of you love Pinterest and rely upon their record keeping of your favorite ideas... However, living on the farm, our internet is not trustworthy and hard copies are always appreciated. Also, you never know when an unforeseen circumstance will occur and you will need valuable information when there is no electricity. It is also convenient to have a mobile book to take with you into the kitchen or anywhere else in your home where you would prepare your recipes.
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Here is what we have shared thus far in this Series:

I hope you will enjoy this new series as much as I have in creating it!



"She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness." 
~ Proverbs 31:27

34 comments:

  1. Love this idea thank you for sharing with us. Blessings from France

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    1. Thank you Sandra! We could all use blessings!!!

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  2. I absolutely LOVE this idea and look forward to the upcoming posts.

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    1. Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm Patrice!! :)

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  3. I am overjoyed to have found your inspirational blog!! This post is both informative and gorgeous! My husband is studying to be an herbalist, and I am too :)

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    1. Thank you! This is something that has been an interest for me lately and I have just recently delved in… I guess you can say I am sharing my journey with you... Thanks for sharing here and nice to meet your acquaintance! :)

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  4. Oh and you sell DoTERRA? ME TOO!!! :)

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    1. I am probably buying it more than I am selling it :) I love those oils!!!

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  5. Oh thank you this sounds wonderful! My daughers and I will be very interested.

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    1. Wonderful to hear! Thank you! My daughter is also interested in these kinds of subjects :)

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  6. I so look forward to further posts! Oh, what I wouldn't give for a copy of Elizabeth Blackwell's volumes!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement towards this project! It is greatly appreciated ;)

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  7. I am REALLY excited about this. I am with you, I want a hard copy. This is an idea that is needed greatly. We live in a world that is full of servants (not all are bad-I really like indoor plumbing!) and not much is passed on. We are always looking for the new and improved when the staples are good now and then.

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    1. Yes, a lot of this kind of information is like a "back up plan"… You never know when you will need the information but are very blessed when you have it! Thanks for sharing here today!

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  8. This is a REALLY needed skill in our society. We have to many servants and tend not to think for ourselves anymore. I suspect this is going to be a profitable upcoming month!

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    1. I hope so! There are some really knowledgable women out there and I hope to glean for our "herbal"… Thanks for your encouragement!

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  9. Can we start today?! Very excited about this! Thanks so much for sharing useful and meaningful posts.
    Rebecca

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Sometimes you wonder if other people are interested in the same things… You wonder if you are the only "weird" one :) Have a wonderful weekend!

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  10. This really does sound wonderful. I wish that more of these herbal books had survived modern history.

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    1. Thanks for sharing here today Brooke! I would love to have something like that from my great, great, great grandmother… What a treasure that would be!

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  11. I love this idea! I have been keeping separate notebooks for home remedies, food preserving, favorite recipes, personal care recipes, etc. I'm excited for the printables and for this series. I love the pictures you used in this post and the name Herbal, love it! My heart is in times past (although I love my modern day conveniences).

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    1. I couldn't agree more :) Also, the printables are already up on the latest post… I hope you join us for the duration of the series and share some of your favorite recipes :)

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  12. I just found your blog today, and I am so excited for this series! I was keeping everything in my home management binder, and it's getting so messy! I don't know why I've never heard or thought of this before. lol

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    1. Great to have your here! We have the printable up and running (linked above) and can't wait for you to join us for the rest of the series! Please join in on the link ups if you can :)

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    1. Please join in~ Go ahead and print yours out and join in the link ups and see what you find to fill your herbal up :)

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  14. I absolutely love your site! May I add your link to my site? It's theplantlady.net wherein I explore plant usage as food, fiber, dye, tool, medicine and more, in different times and cultures.
    Robin

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    1. Sure! Your website sounds interesting too! I will have to pay a visit :)

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  15. Lovely! I'm a first time visitor and if you don't mind I'd like to keep reading your posts as it has every topic that I seem to love. I really am fond of anything organic, which led me to another interest which is holistic healing for cancer. I guess I was deeply influenced by my vegetarian parents. Anyway, I look forward in reading your future posts. Have a nice day.

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  16. What a great idea...I think I will make a journal to pass on to my girls of all the things that work for me! I just love reading your posts!

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    1. Yes you should! My daughter is making one with me and it is a fun project to do together!

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  17. Thank you. I am very interested in following this and learning. Thank you for posting this series!

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    1. Excellent! Thank you for taking the time to share! :)

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  18. Love this idea. I do something similar and call it my homestead notebook.

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