Here Comes the Sun…
June 20, 2012, 4:00 PM
Filed under: Herbs, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

… and the mosquitoes and other biting insects. I’ve been mixing up what I fondly call “BUG POTION NUMBER NINE” for years now and keeping a little bottle by the back door, in the car, in my backpack, and the bathroom. It’s not an insect repellent per se, but a natural (no chemicals) soothing, antibacterial, healing, and frugal anti-sting remedy. Of course, it’s just occurred to me that it would likely act as a good repellent too so I plan to make Michael try it, since he’s the one that always gets bit, and I never do. He says that’s because he’s sweeter than me. Whatever. Anyway, here’s the recipe that I prefer to store in old spice bottles that have tight stoppers, but any repurposed container would do!

1 cup witch hazel

1 cup rubbing alcohol

8-10 drops peppermint oil

Mix and shake well, then store in a tightly capped container so the alcohol doesn’t evaporate. Applying this with a cotton ball as soon as possible after being bitten results in better effectiveness.

And while I’m talking about natural remedies, I want to share with you something I’ve learned from my heroes, the Native American Indians. When they would move their teepees to a new hunting ground, they would ‘smudge’ the ground before the teepee was erected, as well as the space within their new home. This practice was used for cleansing and to give prayers to the Creator. In modern-day practice smudge sticks are often lit to cleanse and purify a new home before moving in, after a conflict within the home has been resolved, or even after a smoker has broken their habit in the house.  Since we’re moving into our new home next week, and since my sage is growing like crazy, I thought I’d made three smudge sticks with my bounty. One for OUR new home, one for the buyers of this, their first home, and one for the woman that we are buying from as she journeys to her new home. This was an easy project that you might want to try while your sage is  reportedly at its most potent on this summer solstice. 

Native Americans always thanked animals and plants before harvesting either one, so I did the same. They would often leave a gift of tobacco in appreciation for them but I didn’t have any tobacco just lying around… Once gathered, trim the ends uniformly and since traditionally red thread was used because of it’s spiritual power, I used red embroidery thread I had from an old project. Wrap the ends using a slip knot and then twirl the bundle in one direction to wrap the thread up the stick. When you reach the top, turn the bundle over and reverse the direction. Tie off the ends in a knot. Let it dry for a bit, then light the stick and wave it’s fragrant smoke through any area or structure you’d like to ‘cleanse’. I LOVE the idea behind this, don’t you? I once bought a much smaller sage and cedar smudge stick at the National Native American Museum in Washington, DC for ten dollars. (That was back when I had more dollars than sense 😉 These gifts were free! Happy Summer!


3 Comments so far
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We buy white sage (it’s grown out West…we don’t need a lot). Anyway, do you use regular sage (like what we grow for cooking)? Would other varieties work, such as pineapple sage? I enjoy your blog…you always have great stuff!

Comment by Cassa

I suppose you could actually use any dried herb you like. Sage is simply what was traditionally used for this cleansing ritual. I read about using white sage for it too, but the ‘regular’ sage made up nicely I think, and it’s what I had on hand. Pineapple sage would likely work equally well.

“Maybe a person’s time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food.”


Comment by simpleintn

[…] Smudging my Self and my space with sage and sweet grass. A friend shows how to create your own smudge sticks. […]

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