Thursday, December 31, 2015

DIY Vitamin C-Rich Herbal Tea Blends Featuring Rose Hips

"Rose hips have a tart flavor and can be used to make jelly, jam, soup or oil, or can be alternatively used to flavor tea. During World War II, the British government used collected rose hips to make rose hip syrup as a source of vitamin C to replace citrus fruits that were impossible to get. Rose hips have a long history of use in traditional medicine. Rose hip tea is a rich source of vitamin C, carrying all the benefits of that vitamin. In addition, the various flavonoids in rose hips have potent antioxidant action."

Rose hip tea is one of the loveliest ways to utilize this vintage herb and it is such a blessing to be able to drink your vitamins! Your body recognizes these herbs as they were both made by the same Creator. This is better than any man-made vitamin. The best part is that the tea blends we are sharing today are safe for daily drinking and enjoyment. They help to sooth stress and build up the immune system. We also use these vitamin C-rich teas for aiding allergy relief. And remember, these recipes can be doubled and tripled for larger batches to keep on hand in your pantry.

Before you begin perusing these rose hip tea blends, you may be interested in reading this little warning so that you process these herbs properly :)

Classic Rose Hips (Vitamin C-Rich) Tea

~ rose hips

Use 1 tbsp. of rose hips per cup of boiling water when you need of boost of vitamin-C. Directions for medicinal tea making will be found here.

Tension Taming Tisane Blend

~ 4 tbsp. chamomile
~ 3 tbsp. rose hips
~ 2 tbsp. lemon balm
~ 1 tbsp. borage

Mix herbs together in jar (and label contents). Use 1 tbsp. of tea blend per cup of boiling water. Directions for medicinal tea making will be found here.

Children's Vitamin-C Tonic Tea Blend

~ 4 tbsp. rose hips
~ 3 tbsp. hibiscus
~ 2 tbsp. lemon grass
~ 1 tbsp. cinnamon chips

Mix herbs together in jar (and label contents). Use 1 tbsp. of tea blend per cup of boiling water. Directions for medicinal tea making will be found here.


Sometimes we don't have every herb in a recipe but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make it (just make do). You could either omit it altogether or replace it with something else.  For instance, in the Vitamin-C Tonic blend above, we didn't have hibiscus. We did however, have an abundance of dried lemon peel (which is full of vitamin-C) and so we used it instead. Just make sure the herb you are replacing is safe for the person who is going to be drinking it.

Make Up Your Own Herbal Tea Mix ~ DIY Rose Hip Blends

I also love to get ideas from pre-bought tea blends. Here are some herb mixtures that looked delicious from various companies which included rose hips. You can tinker with the ingredient amounts to make a blend to suit your palette. 

Bulk Herb Store Tea Blends:

Hibiscus Orange Delight Tea ~ hibiscus flowers, orange peelrose hips, green tea, red raspberry leaf

Herban C Tea ~ red raspberry leaf, orange peel, hibiscus flowers, rose hips, red rooibos, ginger root

Lemon Drop Tea ~ orange peel, stevia, lemon peel, lemon grass, rose hips

Double-E Immune Booster ~ nettle leaf,  peppermint leaf, echinacea root, echinacea tops, elderberries, eleuthero root, rose hips

Hibiscus High Tea ~ hibiscus flowers, rose hips, lemongrass,  orange peel, spearmint, rose petals, stevia

Tazo Tea Blends:

Passion ~ hibiscus flowers, licorice root, orange peel, cinnamon, rose hips, lemongrass

Citrus Bliss ~ rooibos, rose hips, lemongrass

Japanese Sakura ~ green tea, rose petals, rose hips, blackberry leaves

Egyptian Ruby ~ hibiscus, dried pineapple, peppermint, lemongrass, rose hips  blackberry leaves

Lemon Ginger ~ lemongrass, orange peel, ginger, licorice, rose hips

Wild Sweet Orange ~ lemongrass, blackberry leaves, rose hips, spearmint leaves, orange peel, hibiscus flowers, rose petals,  ginger root, licorice root, licorice extract

Homemaking Hints:

It is interesting to note how many of these recipes contain orange peels! Visit this post to make your own for an extra thrifty tea blend! The same tutorial would apply for lemon peels which is also a common tea ingredient. For "How to Make a Medicinal Tea", visit here. We also share some "tea blend" labels here to help you organize your pantry full of vitamin rich tea blends. Here's to a healthy new year! 

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.” 
~ William Ewart Gladstone

Disclaimer #1: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, Grow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists (such as the Bulk Herb Store Blog).

Disclaimer #2: I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.

Source of Inspiration for Tea Blend Recipes: Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A "Little" Warning about Rose Hips ~ Home Pharmacy Series

'"We better keep on round, then," said Homily hoarsely, a hairy seed of a rose hip being stuck in her throat. She began to cough. "I thought you said you cleaned them?" she complained to Arriety, when she could get back her breath.

"I must have missed one," said Arriety. "Sorry," and she passed her mother a new half hip, freshly scoured; she had rather enjoyed opening the pale scarlet globes and scooping out the golden nest of close-packed seeds, and she liked the flavor of the hips themselves - they tasted, she thought, of apple skins honeyed over with a dash of rose petal."
~ Mary Norton, The Borrowers Collection

Though rose hips are full of vitamin-C and wonderful in teas, syrups and such, some caution is advised when it comes to the broken or "cut" rose hips. The inside of the seed contain tiny hairs that can be quite irritating if ingested or come in contact with skin. Pranksters would use this as "itching powder". The simple remedy would be to either strain your teas, syrups and tinctures very well, or you can purchase the "seedless" cut rose hips which have the hairs removed already.

We also use the dried whole rose hips in our teas and tinctures without any problems as the fruit stays intact. We have also broken up the whole seeds which contain the hairs and use those inside our herbal remedies. As long as we strain them through a fine tea strainer or light cloth, there is never any problem. But, I did want to warn you before I share more rose hip recipes. The last thing you want to do is accidentally grab a pile of "cut" rose hips and then scratch that itch on the back of your neck...  you'd be a bit of a wreck.

Illustration of Rose Hips by Beatrix Potter

For more information on foraging and harvesting rose hips for your medicinal pantry, visit here. This post is a part of our "Home Apothecary Series". We hope to have you share your recipes when we host our "rose hips link up" within the next month or so. In the meantime, happy herbal-homemaking!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Welcome Winter" Room Spray or DIY Essential Oil Diffuser Blend

"No one can look at a pine tree in winter without knowing
that spring will come again in due time."
~ Frank Bolles

A wonderful way to greet your family and friends this snow-filled season is with this "welcome winter" blend of essential oils. To make this into a room spray, place the following ingredients in a small spritzer bottle (in order). Alternatively, you could also mix these oils in a recycled essential oil bottle (without the alcohols or extract) and use them in your diffuser.

There are a variety of oils that will make a lovely blend so we are sharing some different options:

~ 1/2 tsp. vodka, rubbing alcohol or vanilla extract for a "creamy" scent (this will help to preserve the spray and disperse the oils throughout the mixture)

~ 2 drops of either; cedar wood essential oil (if you want a woodsy aroma), wintergreen (if you want a warm minty aroma), or pine (for that "tree lot" scent)

~ 1 - 2 drops of fennel essential oil (for a sweet scent) or 1 - 2 drops of cinnamon (for a spicy scent)

~ 2  drops of citrus oil such as lemonorange or bergamot

~  1/4 cup water (or until your 2 oz. spray bottle is full) (we purchase our glass spray bottles inexpensively here)

Being a firm believer of using what you have, I encourage you to mix and match some combinations using this recipe as a "shell". Simply insert your wintery scents when you don't have a particular oil on hand (for instance, frankincense and myrrh would work well too!).

We like to let our blend "infuse" for 24 hours before using and then we spritz away (it also feels good to know that we are cleansing the stale air at the same time because of all the beneficial properties of the essential oils!). After you have tested your blend, feel free to add more of certain oils to create the aroma of your choice.  For our mulling spice room spray recipe, visit here. Happy homemaking! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

How to Dry Citrus Slices & What to Do With Them ~ Citrus Series

"The modern day pantry projects are, in many ways, highly romanticized versions of their medieval equivalents. We make these things for pleasure rather than for practical purposes, nevertheless they are fragrant, decorative and sometimes functional. By passing on these methods, we help to continue a tradition that has been an essential part of country life for centuries."
~ Stephanie Donaldson, The Country Store

When they say the "little joys" in life, I think of these quaint homemaking projects. It is very enjoyable and relaxing to turn on some inspirational music and begin creating in the kitchen on a cozy winter day. Dehydrating citrus slices is simple and satisfying and you can make many lovely things for the home with them. And the nice part is that you can prepare them in the oven if you don't have a dehydrator.

Simply wash and thinly slice your citrus fruit (some people remove the seeds but we don't bother as I really don't have the time like the rustic look).

Spread them out in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. Depending on your climate the time will vary. I let ours go for 8 hours at 135 degrees (fahrenheit) since we live in a humid environment but yours may take less time. In the end, you want dry, brittle fruit that will crack easily.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can dry them in your oven by laying them in a single layer on a nonstick baking mat on the lowest degree (not hotter than 200 degrees fahrenheit) until brittle (approx. 2 - 4 hours depending on the heat level). I don't recommend placing them directly on a cookie sheet as they will probably stick.

When dried, store your citrus slices in an airtight container in a cool, dark area of your pantry or cupboard.

Make Your Own Tisanes {Herbal Tea Blends}

~ Add citrus slices to a pot of tea for an extra punch of vitamin C ~

Although there are lots of ways you can use them, tea blends are our favorite! Not only do they taste wonderful, but they add medicinal value, especially helpful for the cold and flu season! Just toss one or two into your normal tea blend or make up a different assortment until you find a favorite. Brew a large batch in a tea pot or half gallon jar and enjoy all day. My husband likes to dip around my pantry and drop herbs by the handful into a pot and let it simmer at night. This tea relaxes him and also replaces many nutrients that are lost during a stressful day.

Herbal tea blends gifted in a tin, jar or cellophane would be very appreciated!

The slices would look lovely in your favorite vases and even mason jars.

Decorative potpourri can also be made frugally with you have (see ideas below).

For a frugal autumn/winter potpourri blend, follow these three easy steps:
  • Place your dried orange peels in a large bowl and add what you can find in your pantry and your backyard such as broken cinnamon sticks, dried pods or cones from trees, whole (or coarsely crushed) nutmeg, cloves (whole), allspice (whole), star anise, dried leaves, bark, wood chips, sticks and/or an assortment of dried, pretty petals.
  • Add in a few drops of your favorite seasonal essential oils such as clove, orange and/or cinnamon.
  • Toss well and store this mixture in an airtight container for 3 days to allow the aroma to infuse (shake a few times a day). When the time is up, place your potpourri in pretty bowls or vases. 
These potpourri blends can also be packaged up in cellophane with a bow for a nice gift!

Make Your Own Simmering Potpourri

A simmering potpourri can be made on your wood stove or stove top using your dried citrus slices, cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and/or any other fragrant spices on hand. Your house will smell amazing!

This simmering  potpourri can also be packaged up in cellophane and ribbon for a nice hostess gift!

Citrus slices make a pretty replacement for a bow on a winter package.

(We like to use recycled paper and/or brown bags for frugal gift giving.)

Orange Peel Jar Decoration by Beautiful Girlhood

Orange Garland Using Ribbon by Flower Patch Farmgirl

Herb Embellished Citrus Slice Garland by Golden Isles Magazine


Citrus Strings by and Citrus Mobile by Melashacat

The nice part is that you are not limited to winter and autumn for using these citrus slices. They will keep until summer and can be used in many ways come that sultry season when the prices are not as agreeable as they are now.

~ Some Spring and Summer Uses ~

Lemon Garnish in a Glass by Pottery Barn

~ Make Some Festive Drinks ~

Drop a few citrus slices in a pitcher of water for flavor and pretty embellishment.

Add some lemon slices to each cup to "dress up" your lemonade.

Infuse your iced tea with slices of citrus peel.

Although there are many things you can do with them, I also love looking at them in our pantry. They are just so pretty to the eye... like little bits of sunshine captured in a jar. It seems the perfect picture for a cold, winter day. Happy homemaking!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Make a Medicinal Tea {Plus Printable} ~ Home Pharmacy Series

"Drinking a daily cup of tea, will surely starve the apothec'ry."
~ Chinese Proverb

There is an art to making herbal tea more effective. Like all good things, knowing the proper way creates better results! Today we are sharing the basics of medicinal-tea-making. And if you have any additional tips, I would love to hear them!

“I am so fond of tea that I could write a whole dissertation on its virtues. It comforts and enlivens without the risks attendant on spirituous liquors. Gentle herb! Let the florid grape yield to thee. Thy soft influence is a more safe inspirer of social joy.”
~ James Boswell

Medicinal Tea Basics

Approximate ratio: 1 - 3 tbsp. dried herb per cup of boiling water.

The longer it steeps or simmers, the stronger the tea. 

Once brewed, store the excess tea in the refrigerator for no longer than 3 to 4 days.

For convenience, infuse loose herbal tea directly inside a mug, mason jar or tea pot using a tea strainer. Or, simply strain through a fine strainer when finished brewing to remove the herbs.

"For a medicinal tea to be effective, it must be administered in small amounts several times daily. For chronic problems, serve the tea three or four times daily. For acute ailments such as colds, fevers, and headaches, take several small sips every thirty minutes until the symptoms subside."
~ Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health


Prepare an infusion when working with delicate parts of the plant such as leaves and flowers.

Pour the boiled water over the herbs and let them steep for 30 to 60 minutes.

Tip: Infuse straight into a large mason jar or tea pot and sip throughout the day. 


Prepare a decoction when working with more durable parts of the plant such as roots, bark and seeds.

Place herbs in a sauce pan and cover with cold water. Gently bring to a boil and simmer slowly (and covered) for 20 to 45 minutes. Strain and enjoy.

Sun and Moon Teas

Solar Tea: Place your herbs in a mason jar with cold water and let it sit in the sun for several hours during the hottest part of the day. Strain when completed.

Lunar Tea: Place your herbs in a mason jar with cold water and let it sit out overnight under the light of the moon. For a stronger tea, start off with boiling water. Strain when completed.

Make sure to cover your jar with a lid as you don't want your infusion being invaded by pests. 

DIY Tea {Tisane} Blends

Here are some thrifty ideas for making your own tisane (herbal tea blend) using dried orange and lemon peels. They make a wonderful addition to your cup this winter as they are full of cold and flu fighting preventatives! And if you are looking for a daily tea blend that will strengthen the homemaker, visit this recipe here. We will also be sharing some rose-hip tea ideas within the next month or so.

Lastly, we are sharing these printable "how to make a medicinal tea" instructions HERE should you like to add them to your homemaker's herbal. We are also including a set of "tea blend" labels. It is nice to have your favorite blends prepared in advance, stored in airtight jars and labeled on your shelf for convenience. Think "sleepy-time" blend, "cold/flu" blend, and so forth! This post was a part of our "Home Apothecary Series".

"So of all the particulars of health and exercise, and fit nutriment, and tonics.
Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry
and fine sentiment in a chest of tea."
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Disclaimer: I am not a certified herbalist but a homemaker interested in the arts of natural healing. The information I have learned has been gleaned through study of some of the following favorite books; Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's GuideHerbal Recipes for Vibrant HealthGrow Your Own Drugs by James Wong, and The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs by Reader's Digest and websites of herbalists.

I am not a doctor. While I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use, remember that using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is approved by the FDA or intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease. All things on this blog are my opinion or the opinion of others. Also, if you have a medical condition, are taking pharmaceutical drugs, or are pregnant, please consult your physician prior to taking herbs.