Herbal Remedies and Essential Oils~Herbal health from a Christian Worldview

12 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner


When I retired, one of my goals was to learn more about herbal remedies, so I was delighted when in the process of searching for book bloggers, I stumbled upon Lydia’s Herbals. I contacted Lydia and she graciously agreed to be interviewed. Enjoy~Onisha



Why were you drawn to herbal remedies and how did you educate yourself in the art?

Originally, I wanted to start a pretty garden, but I wanted it to be useful. So I decided to make an herb garden. Then I had to learn about how to use them, so I read library books on the subject. The books didn’t provide enough hands on information, so I searched for an herb course from a Christian worldview. After nearly giving up on ever finding one, I found Vintage Remedies, Inc. and took the Family Herbalist Course as part of my high school coursework. When I finished, I decided to take the Master Herbalist Course so that I would know even more and be more equipped to use the herbs. I really like Vintage Remedies, as they are evidence based, so they try to take a safer approach than many others.

Essential oils are all the rage now. Do you have any advice about them?

 Don’t use them neat (undiluted)! There are several companies advocating the use of neat essential oils, or using them internally. Doing so can cause SERIOUS problems. Neat essential oils can burn your skin, and many oils can be toxic in small quantities, causing liver and/or kidney damage. Essential oils are very powerful, so less is more. They also work better when applied externally, as well as being safer.

Most essential oils need to be diluted by putting 3 drops of essential oil into 1 Tsp. of carrier oil. I usually use olive oil for the carrier oil, but almond oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil are other choices.

Diffusion is also a good method to use, you can add a drop or 2 of essential oil to some boiling water and let it diffuse into the air. There are also many diffusers available to purchase. I use a terra-cotta diffuser from Mountain Rose herbs for a small room, or a pan of water on the stove or wood stove for a larger room.

As with anything, you have to know what you are doing. Do some research from reputable sources. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals is my favorite book about essential oils. It has safety information as well as many case studies. Many essential oils should not be used if you are pregnant, and there are several that should not be used on small children. There are other safety concerns as well, such as seizures. My favorite resource is one of my textbooks, because it has all the information on how to use essential oils safely. You also need to make sure the oils are good quality. The sources I trust are Mountain Rose Herbs and Native American Botanicals.

Do you have advice for someone like me who is just beginning to explore herbal remedies?

Don’t believe everything you read. Some people will recommend dangerous herbs, and say they are safe. If you can, find someone who is willing to help you learn, but make sure that they know what they are talking about.  I highly recommend Vintage Remedies, and the Family Herbalist course gives you a working knowledge of herbs and essential oils and how to use them safely, including dosing and preparing herbs.

Do you suggest a person grow their own medicinal herbs or is there a retail source for obtaining them?

If you can, grow your own. I sometimes grow my own, but I go through large quantities with my goats, so I have to order them. Mountain Rose Herbs and Best Botanicals have good quality herbs, as does Bulk Herb Store.

If one wants to start a beginner level medicinal herb garden which would be your top five suggestions and why?

  •  Calendula, because it is easy to grow and very good for your skin.
  • Peppermint, also easy to grow. It is good for nausea and headaches, as well as other things.
  • Lavender, because it smells nice and is easy to preserve.
  • Borage, because it is pretty, easy to grow, and has edible flowers. It also attracts bees.
  • Chamomile. It is calming, relieves headaches, and is actually helpful in fighting bacteria. It is also pretty and easy to grow.

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Tell our readers about the products you make, their uses and how you create them.

 I make Lydia’s Herbal Healing Salve, Lydia’s Herbal Muscle and Joint Salve, Lydia’s Herbal Sun Block, Lydia’s Herbal Lip Balm, Lydia’s Herbal Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth, and Lydia’s Herbal Tick Repellent, as well as herbal wormer, herbal minerals, and a few tinctures for animals.

My family and I have used Lydia’s Herbal Healing Salve on dry skin, bug bites, bruises, and rashes. My friends have found it to help with eczema and psoriasis. We use Lydia’s Herbal Muscle and Joint Salve on sore muscles and joints. The others are pretty self-explanatory. I made the toothpaste for my Mom, because she has super sensitive teeth and the store-bought toothpaste wasn’t working for her.

To make any of my products, I first research. Sometimes it takes hours, sometimes it takes days. I look for any safety precautions on the herbs and Essential oils, and look for the best herbs to use for a particular application. After I have thoroughly researched, I come up with a recipe using the herbs and essential oils I researched. Then I order the herbs I need.

For the salves, sun block and lip balm, once the herbs get here, I make an oil infusion. An oil infusion is made by weighing the herbs according to the recipe, then covering them with the right amount of oil.Not sure

I put it in a warm oven for 3-6 hours. I usually let it sit for several days after having it in the oven, to make sure all the herbal properties get transferred. Then I strain the oil, and add beeswax and heat it up until the beeswax is melted. After the beeswax is melted, I add the essential oil and package it.

The tick repellent and tinctures for animals are HErbal tickcreated by making a tincture out of the herbs and alcohol or apple cider vinegar. The tick repellent then gets essential oils added.


The sun block basically is a salve, but it has some minerals added to it to increase the effectiveness. The lip balm is also about the same as a salve, just more beeswax.

The toothpaste has some oil infusions in it, and then I add the other ingredients.

The herbal wormer and minerals are just powdered herbs that are mixed together. Not everyone has 15+ goats, so I sell it by the pound. I make it because with the amount of animals we have, we go through a lot of it.


I hope our readers have enjoyed this interview as much as I have!


 Lydia’s Herbals 

Herbal health from a Christian Worldview

Click HERE 

herb for blog copy


23 Responses to “Herbal Remedies and Essential Oils~Herbal health from a Christian Worldview”

  1. James Prescott June 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    Lots of interesting stuff here, fascinating stuff!


  2. ScottTheWriter June 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

    Good advice. I’ll have to see what will grow here in cold Ottawa.


  3. LisaJeyDavis June 16, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    I’ve also heard that Chamomile can be used for upset stomach. They use to say to add it to a baby’s bottle if they were colicky — not sure if that’s true though. Interesting post Onisha!


  4. Bob Nailor June 16, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I like growing calendula but always just considered it a flower. Hey, I’m a guy, give me credit for knowing what it was. Plus, I have an aloe plant for emergencies. Nice interview!


    • Old Things R New June 16, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Bob, you already have two of the five recommended. Not too bad for a guy.


  5. elysesalpeter June 16, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    I LOVE herbs and have a whole garden – I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to do with half of it though. I have a ton of chocolate mint – anything to do with that? LOL! Probably cookies, right? Tea?


    • Old Things R New June 16, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Elyse go to this link and look for the chocolate mint torte recipe! http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/herbs/msg0821283423014.html


    • Lydia June 16, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      It would make a nice tea, or you could make your own peppermint extract. I have made some in the past, it isn’t as strong as store bought but it still works. Just pick your mint, wash it, pack it into a jar and add 120 proof alcohol to it (it needs to be that strength for fresh herbs). Then let it sit in a dark cupboard for 2 weeks before straining.


      • Old Things R New June 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

        Can you buy 120 proof alcohol in a local store or does it need to be ordered?


      • Lydia June 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

        I am not sure. I usually use 80 proof, but I believe our local store has higher proof alcohol. The highest I have seen is 180 proof.


  6. itsrebekahlyn June 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Lydia, do you know anything about oil of myrh?


    • Lydia June 16, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Do you mean the essential oil? If so, yes. What do you want to know about it?


      • itsrebekahlyn June 16, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

        I have a friend with a chronic rash on his scalp. He was recently told that an application of oil of myrh each day would help clear it up. Have you heard of this?


      • Lydia June 20, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        Not exactly, but looking at the different actions it has makes me think it would work. Myrrh is a good anti-bacterial and antifungal oil. Some more information on it can be found here: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/myrrh-essential-oil/profile. I would just make sure he know to dilute it or it could make the rash worse by giving him an essential oil burn.


  7. itsrebekahlyn June 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Thanks for the information! I have been growing herbs for a couple of years now, but still have no idea how to maximize their use. I will have to check out the books you recommended.


  8. Art Mowle June 12, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    Very informational, I’d like to read more 🙂


    • Old Things R New June 12, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

      Me too, Art! I considered purchasing one of the books she mentioned, then I remembered my brain is already stuffed with things I need to learn. Back burner for now, but hope to jump into it in the future. I’m glad I will have Lydia’s interview as a starting point.


      • Art Mowle June 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

        Yes me too. I will look into this for sure. Thanks for posting this. 🙂


    • Old Things R New June 12, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.


  9. Old Things R New June 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Having the opportunity to ask questions about something I am really interested in is like giving me a bag of chocolate!


  10. Louise Gib son June 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Excellent writing, Alta…very informative and interesting. I have to confess I am reluctant to try absorbing them into my system, ignorant of the side effects due to lack of knowledge on my part.


    • Lydia June 16, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      It is good that you are cautious. Many people think that since they are herbs, they must be harmless. While that is usually the case, some herbs can be very dangerous, so knowing what you are doing is key. You can always start small with the more gentle herbs, and gradually work up your knowledge and experience. I have found Mountain Rose Herbs to be a good source of information on herbs. Just go to the bulk herbs page and click “more information” to learn about a particular herb.


  11. divoran09 June 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Well written, interesting, and information. Thanks.


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