Spring Cleaning


| February/March 1997


Recipes:

The pleasure of working in my garden is matched by the fulfillment I get using my herbs every day—for seasonings, teas, tonics, and beautifully textured craft materials. I use many of the same herbs, along with essential oils and other common supplies, in my everyday chores around the house, from scouring the floors to tucking moth-repellent sachets into drawers and freshening the air.

Making simple herbal cleaning products gives me a sense of harmony with my environment. I also feel a connection with all the women who first gathered plants in the wild and nurtured seedlings in their gardens, then harvested the plants and prepared them for a multitude of uses. I can imagine them hovering over their concoctions in stillrooms, experimenting with new combinations of herbs to improve their efficacy, and eventually using their products all around the cottage or castle. Many of these women, and not a few men, wrote down their “receipts” in books so that subsequent generations might benefit from their knowledge.

I believe that safe, gentle cleaning products are better for people, animals, and the environment than harsh commercial ones. The National Research Council has estimated that hypersensitivity to chemicals found in common household products results in acute or chronic health problems for about 15 percent of the population. For the sake of my family’s health, I don’t mind the little extra time it takes me to make my own cleaning products.



Fortunately, none of the formulations I’ve developed requires much time to make. I’m not a glutton for housework, and I’m always looking for shortcuts, but I confess that I look forward to making up one or two different formulas a week to help me in the sweeping, wiping, vacuuming, dusting, and endless other chores that our little yellow brick bungalow demands.

Taking my cue from herbalists of the past, I’ve incorporated herbs into scouring compounds, floor and wall soaps, sanitizing room sprays, and fragrant ­sachets. The ability of some of these herbs to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms and deter insects certainly contributes to the effectiveness of the products.

Jonh
7/29/2016 4:04:56 AM

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