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Herbs Around The House

Potpourri is, beyond all doubts, the most common domestic use of herbs. It is prepared using dried up or partially dried leaves, flower buds and petals of aromatic plants. Currently, you may also purchase off the rack potpourris in a variety of herbal combinations; in fact they are being extensively marketed by the florists and gift shops. While an easier alternative is to purchase a potpourri blend, preparing one personally at home definitely has its advantages. In this case you are able to select the precise ingredients that go well with your individual liking. In addition, it is also very pleasant to aromatize your room using natural fragrances compared to the synthetic scent of a contemporary air freshener available in a spray can.

Decorative uses

If you so desire, when fresh flowers are in short supply, you may also use dried up herbs as well as flowers to beautify your home. Small clusters of aromatic flowers and herbs are packed into baskets, collectively to make tussie-mussies (cone-shaped bouquet holders) to decorate the tables. Alternately, these dried aromatic flowers and herbs may also be arranged in the form of seasonal garlands to adorn the walls. These dried up collections also have a longer life compared to the fresh flowers and herbs.

Practical purposes

While these days we generally consider herbs for decorating homes simply in the form of a sensual delight, either gratifying the eye or the nose, there was a time when herbs were used in homes for more sensible and realistic reasons. Like in the case of medicines as well as cosmetics, herbs were used to produce domestic items to clean as well as refresh the home, in addition to keep germs and pests away, which has become a large commercial industry.

Nevertheless, this was never the case always. In fact, there was a time (prior to the advent of the contemporary sanitation) when hedgerow, herb garden or field supplied the raw elements for the therapeutic as well as cosmetic preparations that people relied on also made available means to keep their homes hygienic and sweet-smelling. A very widespread practice among the people was to scatter specific herbs, such as, catmint, lavender or tansy, in certain places that might have undesired infestation of pests. Conditional on which herb was used, this practice helped them to put off undesirable intruders like fleas and rats.

One more practice prevalent in those times was keeping sachets filled with herbs in drawers or wardrobes with a view to aromatize the things kept in the wardrobe or drawers, and also to ward off pests. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, people placed lavender bags along with domestic linens and blankets to keep off moths. There are several herbs which were effective in repelling insects and these included a mint species and pennyroyal for warding off fleas; southernwood for a variety of insects, counting moths; rue for keeping fleas and other insects at bay; and tansy to put off flies. In addition, herbs were also used to treat various health conditions. While the stems of lavender were burnt in the same way as fumigant in sickrooms, rue was also burnt in the form of an air cleanser. The tussie-mussies were initially employed during medieval period to protect against infection as well as objectionable smells caused by plague as well as different ailments.

Rest and relaxation

One delightful means to coalesce the sensual as well as practical utilities of herbs for domestic purposes is to prepare a cushion or pillow using aromatic herbs - fill the cushion or pillow covers with dried up herbs and use them to support sound sleep. When you place your head on them, its weight as well as warmth will help to release the aroma of the herbs helping you to get rid of all feelings related to pressure as well as anxiety. If you include a few drops of essential oil of aromatic herbs in any oil burner, it will also produce a comparable result. To do this, you need to place the essential oil in some amount of water in the burner's upper container; apply heat from a burning night lamp in the compartment below to warm the water and release the aroma of the oil zephyrs on the vapour formed by the water. Nevertheless, you should never leave the oil burners untended for a prolonged period - and definitely not when you go to sleep at night, as the water may evaporate amazingly fast, while the candle continues to burn.

The natural way

The inclination for doing things in the more conventional as well as natural manner is definitely healthy and it never harms the ecology or any other living organism present in the foods we consume, medications taken by us as well as the cosmetics we employ. Without an iota of doubt, this increasingly encourages us to utilize herbal products in our homes. As the consciousness regarding the health as well as ecological issues increases, more and more people will be worried regarding the detrimental consequences of some of the products we generally use at home, such as domestic fly or flea sprays. At the same time, they will increasingly try to find out alternatives that are additionally safe. This is precisely where the use of herbs can be useful, like they were useful for our predecessors for several centuries as well as in many dissimilar spheres of their lives.

Gift ideas

The ideas mentioned below ought to make eye-catching as well as unique gifts. They would be even more gratifying for the receiver, as he/ she would be aware of the fact that you have taken pains to make these gifts yourself.

Catmint mouse
The catmint mouse is an excellent toy that you can present to your feline friend. In fact, a bunch of catmint is no less important than the heaven for a cat. You may ask any gardener who has tried growing catmint in an open field, only find that it has been trodden by a cat that has rolled over it in delight, and he will corroborate the fact. In order to prepare a catmint mouse, disentangle any toy mouse prepared with cloth, discard the stuffing and substitute it with dried out leaves of catmint. Subsequently, stitch the gap again. Then again, you may make a pouch using muslin and stuff it with dried catmint leaves.
Decorative scented candle
Burning aromatic candles offers a pleasant ambience in any room; every different aroma provides a specific disposition. In addition, cinnamon as well as cloves provide a festive fragrance during Christmas, while patchouli and frankincense produce an Eastern mood. Then again jasmine creates a fresh aroma akin to that of spring. To use herbs more practically, you may use lemongrass to get rid of the stench of old tobacco.
To prepare a delightful candle using cinnamon, you will require an ordinary orange hued or deep red colored candle. You can obtain the scented candle off the rack, or prefer to make one personally using the fragrance that you like. To do this, you need to light the candle and allow it some time for the wax to thaw. Subsequently, just include some drops of the aromatic oil in the liquefied wax, put out the flame, and let the candle cool down. When you light this candle next time, it will exude a delightful fragrance.
If you wish to decorate the candle, fasten sticks of cinnamon all around the candle using a string or scrim and fasten them with pins. To give the aromatic candle an added effect, you may also attach a few cloves between the cinnamon sticks.
Scented notepaper
You may also employ aromatic herbs to make scented notepaper, for instance, convert a common notepaper into an unusual gift by means of perfuming it using little sweet bags.
To make scented notepaper, you will require similar notepaper, envelopes, and two to three packets packed with potpourri mixture. In addition, you require a box to accommodate the notepaper as well as the envelopes. Preferably, the box should be to some extent deeper compared to the stationery cellophane and should be without any lid. You also require some length of colored satin ribbon. Now, place the notepaper and the envelopes in the box and slide the sweet bags between them. If the box has a lid or cover, remove it and substitute it using cellophane. Finally, fasten the box with the satin ribbon and end it by making a bow. After a while, the notepads and envelopes will soak up the aroma of the potpourri and become scented. Later, the receiver may use the sweet bags for scenting their linen or lingerie.

As the unique fragrance exuded by the herbs will delight the nostrils of the humans, it also possesses properties that ward off undesirable visitors at your home, for instance, fleas, mosquitoes, moths as well as rodents. Compared to using the usual moth balls, use of herbs is definitely a nicer way to keep away moths from the garments as well as linens stored in your wardrobe. When you use the conventional moth balls for this purpose, the pungent odour left behind by these synthetic substances linger for a prolonged period of time.

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