Hibiscus and Lemon “Play Dough”

its not ice cream or sorbet

My eldest is obsessed with slime. She has been making her own for over a year. In March I ordered her a quart each of clear glue and slime activator. It has become both chemistry and therapy for her. She can experiment with all kinds of ratios and ingredients to get various consistencies, colors and textures. Making and playing with it is a good distraction. Some find it very relaxing.

I honestly prefer “play dough”, especially if it is homemade. This is a great activity to do with young children. Just make sure that what they are handling is not too hot. Working the warm dough is very satisfying. It feels great on my hands which are often sore from an old injury that happened last summer. Adding in herbs or essential oils takes the experience to a whole new level. No need to add in food coloring if you choose the right plants.

Herbal “play dough

1 cup of tea ( I used dried hibiscus flowers)

2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 TBSP of cream of tartar

4 TBSSP of olive oil

10 drops of lemon essential oil

2 TBSp of grated lemon peel

1/2 cup of salt

2-4 TBSPP of coarsely powdered hibiscus or other dried flowers (calendula, dandelion, rose, lavender etc.)

After the tea has cooled a bit and steeped, remove the flowers and add the liquid to a large bowl.

Add in the flour and cream of tartar, mix.

Add in everything else BUT the salt and dried herbs, mix.

Fold in the salt and dried flowers.

Remove the dough from the bowl and begin to work it. You can oil your hands or add more flour if it is too sticky. The dough gets dry over time so having it start a bit sticky is not undesirable. You can let it set out on plate for an hour to firm up too.

Store in a sealed container. It may last longer if you refrigerate. Discard if moldy or too dry and crumbly to play with.

There are other combinations you might consider. While not toxic this play dough should not be eaten.

Lavender flowers, essential oil and Blueberry juice for a purple color

Dried rose petals with rose water for a pink color

Tangerine essential oil , dried Calendula flowers and Turmeric powder for a yellow color.

H. sabdariffa

There are many plants in the “mallow” family. Rose of Sharon, marshmallow, hollyhock, and malva just to name a few. Not to mention lots of cultivars that go by the common name hibiscus. While most of the flowers in the family are edible and several of its member have similar healing properties they are not equal. The species you want for your infusions goes by common name of Roselle or flor de Jamaica. This is a case where you really should learn the Latin binomial name ( Hibiscus sabdariffa) to avoid confusion and getting the wrong thing. I have the cultivated hibiscus in my front yard. It has the large red flowers that look like what we think as “hibiscus” but if I used it to make tea or pigment it would be inferior. Fresh roselle flowers look rather small and strange (almost plastic). I get mine dried because I can’t grow it where I live. Once you have tea made from Roselle it is hard to consider other options for “hibiscus”.

Roselle is very cooling and soothing for the body with its sour, refreshing taste. It is thought to remove excess fluid from the body and support the urinary tract system. It has been used to treat fever, cystitis , as well as problems bladder and kidneys. It is very high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid making it very helpful in treating infections, supporting the heart and strengthening blood vessels. I drink it as tea everyday to stay healthy in these times.

If you have had “hibiscus” tea do you know which species the flowers came from? Do you a preference for the source?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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