@Naturalmedicine has put out a special mini-challenge (the main Build-it Challenge is still running until the 21 of Dec. Details here) since there is just over a week until Christmas. Details about the mini-challenge here-
12 DAYS OF NATURAL MEDICINE CHRISTMAS
Write on any of these seasonal plant medicines:
I've chosen the orange plant for my Christmas cheer post and a bit on cinnamon, cardamon and lavender
I have so many fond memories of Christmas oranges and I attribute them to holding colds away for I ate copious amounts and couldn't wait until the boxes of mandarin oranges appeared on the grocery shelves! When I was a child that was just before Christmas and they disappeared shortly after. Now a days it seems you can find them for a good part of the year coming from different parts of the world not just Japan, as it was when I was younger!
It was a tradition in our house to have a mandarin orange stuffed in the toe of your stocking. We also had a rule that we couldn't start opening presents until we had eaten something and it would be those mandarin oranges!
The main reason I feel they kept me from getting a cold is they are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants, great for the immune system! They are also a good source of fiber (no problem with constipation during the holiday season) thiamine and folate. Plus they have multiple health benefits. The Health Line gave a lot of their health benefits and nutritional information here
These oranges smell marvelous!
I would take the orange peelings and leave them on the heater as a potpourri. Also I made orange pompadours with oranges and cloves.
Here's a lovely demo video from the Nation Trust on how to make them also beautiful scented ornament with the slices of oranges that have whole cloves poked along the edges.
Another place I like the scent of oranges is in my bath oil! Amazingly the sweet orange essential oil in aromatherapy has a cheerful and uplifting effect but also is used for relaxing and calming. If you want to learn more about essential oil of sweet orange New Directions Aromatics has a whole rundown here
Scented bath oils make a lovely gift. Here is a recipe from my friend who had gifted me a bottle of homemade bath oil - it was divine!
Sweet Dreams Bath Oil
10 drops Sweet Orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
10 drops Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)
4 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
1/4 cup Carrier Oil (I use fractionated coconut oil but you could use almond oil or jojopa oil)
This recipe will make a 2 oz jar full. It is best to have a dropper bottle or something to easily allow you to measure the amount of bath oil you put into your water. With this recipe you would use about 1 Tbsp of the bath oil in a full bath.
Fill your bottle with the carrier oil. Add essential oils with a total of 24 drops. Put on cap and shake well until blended
Caution: the oil may make your bath tub slippery.
Cleaning tip: I have hard water that leaves a stain on my bath tub. I find when I use the fractured coconut oil in the bath I can just wipe it away instead of having to scrub it off! It saved a lot of elbow grease!
Want to try different recipes for different effects from your aromatherapy bath oils?
Loving Essential Oils has a Bath Oil Guide and Recipes you can download here which include recipes for:
1 Relaxing Bath Oil
2 Herbal Bath Oil
3 Cleansing Bath Oil
4 Kindle the Spirit Bath Oil
5 Dream Time Bath Oil
6 Skin Nourishing Bath Oil
Another place I use oranges and also cinnamon for some Christmas cheer is in mead (the vitality drink of gods), one of the world’s oldest probiotic drinks. When you infuse different herbs into a sweet mead it gives it extra medicinal qualities. Herbal meads are called metheglin, which is derived from the Welsh word for medicine.
Organic Facts gave these Benefits of Mead
- Boosts Immunity: Mead boosts the immune system against antibiotic-resistant pathogens
- Fights Infections: Mead made with fresh honey, in particular, contains high levels of lactic acid bacteria, which comes from the stomach of the bees. This imbues the honey with powerful infection-fighting properties
- Detoxifies the body: It is an alcoholic brew full of antioxidants, especially mead made with dark honey. This makes it an ideal way to lower chronic inflammation and free radical activity when consumed in moderation.
@finnian gave us a recipe for Ancient Orange Mead here using these ingredients:
10.5 lbs honey
3 large organic oranges
75 organic raisins
3 sticks of organic cinnamon
3 whole organic cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
3 teaspoons of Fleishmann’s bread yeast
Tip Because mead is a fermented honey drink it is a good way to use up any honey you may have collected from your hives that has too much water in it.
Another hot Christmas drink is hot chocolate and here I've given you a few variations.
I make my hot chocolates with nutrition packed ground cacao nibs which are rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, copper and are a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats plus it's full of antioxidants. The Health Line can tell you more about the nutrients and benefits here
Orange Hot Chocolate
1 cup boiling water
2 or 3 Tbsp clotted cream or about 1/3 cup whipping cream
1/8 tsp powdered stevia (or to taste - to sweeten the ground cacao nibs)
2-3 strips of orange peel with out much white part attached
Handful of cacao nibs or 1 ounce dark chocolate
Substitutions: Use 1 1/2 cups whole milk or nut milks instead of boiling water and whipping cream or clotted cream. Honey can be used to sweeten the drink instead of stevia. I put the powdered stevia right into the cacao nibs when I'm grinding them (I use a coffee grinder to grind the cacao nibs with stevia powder)
Combine water and cream (or milk), honey if using instead of stevia ground into the cacao nibs, orange peel in a small pan and warm at medium heat. Have it hot but not boiling. Stir frequently.
If using cacao nibs grind together with powdered stevia in coffee grinder until almost a paste. If using dark chocolate break the chocolate up into small pieces. Place this in a bowl. Pour hot milk (or water and cream) over chocolate or cacao paste and stir until chocolate is melted or paste is all mixed in.
I like to blend the hot chocolate mix especially if I am using the cacao nibs, to make it frothy.
Serve topped with shaved chocolate and orange zest. Whipping cream can also make a nice topping if you are not using it in the recipe.
Vanilla Cardamon Hot Chocolate
Instead of orange peel substitute a whole cardamom pods, smashed and 1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
When this is added to the milk or cream and water it can be heated to boiling over the medium heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes. This will need to be strained through a fine-mesh strainer.
Chili Hot Chocolate
Here, instead of the orange flavoring, it will be flavored with ground cinnamon, a dash of chipotle chile pepper and a touch of salt. You can garnish them with Chocolate-Dipped Cinnamon Sticks made by melting some semisweet chocolate and butter or shortening of choice and dipping the ends of the cinnamon sticks in it.
Some people like the flavoring of fresh ginger, cloves and cinnamon for flavoring instead of the orange.
Or try a peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint extract and use candy canes as stirrers.
Make a hot cuppa and have a Merry Christmas!
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