Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tinctures & Soaps

Good evening all my friends. Today, I wanted to show you a few things I made recently. We haven't had internet for a while since we moved into our new placed and just recently got it back. That is why I have been MIA.

This was just a plain ol' Castile soap bar that I grated down with a knife (a cheese grater works great as well.) This is the base for my laundry soap.

Gentle Lavender Laundry Soap

1 part soap bar
1 part baking soda (aluminum-free)
to 1 1/2 parts borax
a few drops essential oil lavander
a few drops essential oil tea tree oil (optional, I use it for the antibacterial properties) 

You can also add 1 part washing soda, but I don't because I have a hard time finding it where I live.

Combine all ingredients. Use 2-3 Tbsp for a large load of laundry. I suggest washing with warm or hot water when using this laundry soap so that everything dissolves well and works to its full potential. 

My elderberry tincture cooking away.

Elderberries, for those who do not know, are tasty little flu fighters. They have been used for everything from allergies, constipation and common cold to emphysema, rheumatism and fever. 

Elderberry Tincture

1/2 cup dry elderberries
1 cup or maybe a little more water (enough to cover elderberries)
1-2 Tbsp vegetable glycerin (make sure it is food grade and add more if you want it sweeter)

Bring elderberries and water to boil and then turn it to low and let it simmer for a couple hours. Then add glycerin once cool. Keep refrigerated and this tincture lasts about 3 months. This recipe is good for children. Below is the recipe for adults. The adult recipe is more potent and lasts for years. 

1/4 lb. dried elderberries
16 oz. Everclear

Blend this mixture together and let it sit for 2 weeks in a dark closed jar. After two weeks, strain. You can add either one part honey or maple syrup to one part mixture to sweeten. This recipe will last for years if kept in a dark place (like a closet just like any other alcohol.) 

I also made a headache tincture the same way, but with equal parts peppermint and lavender herbs. Peppermint is suppose to be good for tension headaches. I get tension headaches all the time, so I am trying this tincture out to see if it helps with these type of headaches. Lavender is also good for headaches because of its soothing properties. Aside from making a lavender/peppermint tincture for your headache, there are other ways you can use these herbs to help ease your headache. You can rub either peppermint or lavender oil on your head and temples or you can make a steam treatment. If you would like to read about how to do steam inhalation, you can check out THIS website.

 Simple Soap Recipe

2 quarts water
2 cups Castile soap (grated)
2 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
2-3 Tbsp dried chamomile 
5-10 drops lavender essential oil
5-8 drops tea tree essential oil

Mix all ingredients except oils in large pot over low heat, stirring occasionally until all grated soap is melted. You can pour this into soap molds and it will hold up as a bar soap. If you want a more liquid soap, then add more water and strain the chamomile before mixture cools. Add essential oils last. 

I like to put chamomile in my soaps because it is soothing and gentle on my skin. I have very sensitive skin, so I have to be careful. Lavender is also a gentle and calming oil. Tea tree oil is antibacterial.

Happy late Halloween! 

These were my brother, husband and my pumpkins we carved :)


  1. So cool! I never thought about making laundry detergent! Have you ever used soap nuts, though? They're completely natural, they come off of trees!

  2. Cute pumpkins!

    I love the recipes! You have been a busy woman! I have to get my act together and try some of these. Where do you find the Everclear?

  3. Dianne- Oh it's so easy! I have actually bought soap nuts for my sis in law one year for Christmas, but didn't buy any for myself. Have you tried them and if so, did you like them?

    Rose- Thanks! Everclear, well, here I have only found it at Bag n Save so far. I heard you can just pick it up from any liquor store though. It's 150 proof alcohol, so place like Walmart can't sell it.

  4. I love homemade soaps. Great tinctures too!

  5. I've been threatening to make my own laundry detergent since I heard the Duggars of 18 Kids and Counting fame make their own. I never thought of the tinctures, but I'm really tempted to try those now, too. Thanks for the recipes!

  6. Saw 'No Impact Man' using 20 Mule Team Borax. I hope to do it one day.

  7. I've been interested in doing this kind of thing, but I never have (yet). So cool that you are - and thanks for sharing the how-to!

  8. Wow, you've been so busy. I'm consumed with making breads and everything else from scratch. Making these other things seems wonderful but a bit far off for me yet. Time, help! Great idea, though. :-)

  9. Looks like you have been very busy. I've thought about making my own detergent, but just haven't take then time to research it anymore. Let me know if your headache tincture helps. I get those tension headaches a lot myself.

  10. We can't find washing soda here either. Glad to know I don't have to add it.
    I definitely want to try your elderberry tincture. I love elderberry jam..mmm.
    Sending God's love your way! Thanks for all the work you did and shared in this post. Wow!

  11. Making your own soap - how interesting! Love the jack-o-lanterns.

  12. Wow, you are always so handy and useful! I get tension headaches, too; might have to try it!

  13. I love this soapy post! I'm planning to so a soapy post soon, but it will look pathetic compared to yours! Thank you for the recipes! :)

    PS: Your hair is beautiful!

  14. Hi there!
    Your site is really lovely. Keep up the great work!

    Lyn Rose

  15. Wonderful to hear from you.

    I like the idea of the tinctures and would have made some, but the elderberries here are all gone. I will have to try and keep it in mind for next year. It would be a good alternative to echinacea, which is quite expensive.

    Your hair is so long and beautiful, the last time I had hair that long I was like 13.

  16. Hey everyone! So nice to hear from you all! I love making things from scratch. Whenever I go to stores I always think..hmm, I could probably make that myself! And then I do :) Michelle, I will let you know if the headache tinctures work for me!

  17. This post is great! We talk about thinks like this at the Herb Society, but I never seem to get around to trying any of it. You've inspired me :)

    Have you tried making your own dishwasher soap? I've been very curious about this. I think a friend of mine tried it, but I don't remember how successful it was.

    I second River and mangocheeks, you do have beautiful hair :)


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