[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” style=”margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column bg_color=”hsl(0, 4%, 91%)” fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/2″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Most utensils you will need to make your hedgerow medicines you will find in your kitchen; a mortar and pestle are useful as is a blender, but not necessary.
Re-using the bottles and jars from other ingredients and creams is a good way to re-cycle and easy on the purse. They can also be stored in brown paper bags. It is best to keep the herbs away from direct sunlight.
Dry herbs by hanging in an air place in bunches or spread them out on paper. Newspaper contains chemicals and ink so it is best to use plain paper, or an old sheet cut into squares. I like to place some old curtain netting over my herbs while they dry to save insects getting to them during the process. When the herbs are dry you can discard the stalks.
Although the whole leaf or whole flower with preserve best it may be more convenient for you to crumble them up so they take up less space and better fit in jars.
Dry herb is the simplest way to preserve a plant. You can then make teas, infusions or decoctions from them.
Teas are easy to make. Just steep the herb in hot water and leave for a few minutes.
Decoction means to simmer or boil in water. This is particularly helpful with root and bar. Some uses for decoctions are fresh gargles and mouthwashes. They are most helpful as an eyebath, douches and fomentations (the application of hot moist substances to the body to ease pain).
Tinctures in general are 20 % alcohol and water bases. The alcohol is a preservative, which means it will last for up to several years, and the herbs dissolves easily in the mixture. Vodka is most used as there is no added flavour to the tincture. Other varieties of rum, brandy and whisky work very well. Wine is another alternative but the shelf life will be reduced.
To make a tincture simply put all the ingredients together and mix or use a blender and store in a sealed jar or bottle. Darker coloured jars are better but as long as the tincture it is out of light it will be fine. Store the mixture for about a month and then strain the herbs off and store the tincture in a clean jar or bottle, that is it.
Herbal Butters (Ghee) are to be kept refrigerated. They can be used in cooking such a garlic, pesto, lemon and rosemary butters to enhance the flavour of a dish. I find lemon butter is fantastic with fish, rosemary with lamb and pesto with chicken. They can also be used on the body such as cocoa butter and lavender butter.
Skin Creams are made by using a water based mixed with oil to make an emulsion. It is best to make a batch at a time as they do not keep well and are best kept refrigerated. These mixtures are straightforwardly absorbed in the skin. I like to add essential oils to my creams as it provides the cream longevity.
Beer and Wines will hold the medicinal qualities of herbs. Elderberry wine and nettle beer are most tradition but feel free to experiment with flavours.
Glycerines is used in children’s medicines, the digestive tract or throat to help the taste of the herb go down better as it sweet and syrupy.
Glycerine is extracted from palm oil. Provided you have 50% or 60% of glycerine in your product it will keep well.
Many herbalists use this product for flowers. It uses the same principles of tinctures when making the product, apart from after mixing and placing in a tight jar you place it in the sun or somewhere ward to allow the herbs to infuse.
Vinegars are acid in content, which some plants prefer, these are usually pleasant tasting herbs in food dressing or cooking. As cider vinegar is a great remedy for stings, viruses and cold conditions due to its antiseptic qualities I generally use it in all my preparations.
Honey The healing qualities of honey are well known for burns and wounds in general. Honey also has antiseptic and antibiotic properties so they are very good for sore throat and respiratory condition as it helps shift congestion.
These medicines are made the same way and for tinctures and glycerines, although with honey you can warm the mixture by placing the bowl over a pan of hot water to heat slowly and help infusion.
Electuaries’ are simply a medicinal preparation consisting of a powdered drug herb made into a paste with honey or syrup. It is a softer way hide flavours and to prepare medicinal treatments for children’s remedies. It is also easy on the digestive tract.
Syrups can be made by boiling water and sugar with herbs, it also acts as a preservative and best kept in clean bottles away from light.
Infused oils with herbs are a good way to administer herbs on to the body such a massage or facial creams or masks.
Many people use Olive Oil as polyunsaturated oils tend to go rancid after a while. This does not mean you avoid other oils, it really depends on your mixture.
Coconut oil and sesame seed oil have softening characteristics and are great in foot creams or cracked skin.
Ointments or Salves are used in and lip balms are extremely easy to make from cold or heat infused herbal oils with a small quantity of beeswax.
You can adjust the mixture to your taste, solidifying the oil the extent you need. The more beeswax you add, the more solid the result such as lip balms. Salves are softer.
I find using Vaseline for a salve equally acceptable and has a more waterproof barrier.
Poultices are simple and easy to make and apply. You can use a poultice to draw out infection, treat boils and abscesses. They are effective in relieving inflammation or a rash or simply drawing out poison from a bee sting!
Simply mash your herbs and add a little flour or slipper elm powder and water or vinegar to make a paste and moisten with hot water and apply.
Make sure to change the poultice every couple of hours.
Onions have an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. They are extremely effective for congestion and in upper respiratory infections.
To make an onion poultice simply mash or use a blender on the raw onion and mix it with warm water.
Some people like to add oils at this stage. Place a thin layer of cloth on your skin and apply the onion mix.
You may find it bit eye watering so best to lay a clean damp cloth of just water on the eyes to avoid discomfort, but be comforted in the fact science has found that onions contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that has been used to treat and protect against cataracts, heart disease, and cancer.
Fomentations or compresses
Fomentation is the application of hot moist substances to the body to ease pain. Compresses are a pad of lint or other porous material pressed on to part of the body for expulsion of inflammation or to stop bleeding.
Cold applications can be used for headaches, hot applications help a sprain or similar injury and backache but they need to be changed regularly when they have cooled down. Adding one of your remedies to hot or cold water simply soak some lint or similar material into the liquid and apply.
Liniments or embrocation’s Liniment is a liquid that is rubbed on your skin to relieve pain or stiffness in your muscles, embrocation means the same thing.
You can make an herbal remedy in alcohol or oil which, when massaged into the area, will be absorbed quickly into the body.
They can be made to warm or cool an area such as ginger, being a warm herb that stimulates blood circulation or peppermint for cooling.
Baths Using an old sock or cut a stocking and fill with herbs, tie it to the tap so the hot water releases the energy of the plants.
You can also use a cloth and tie it to the tap. Other oils and essential oil can also be added to baths to ease pain or relax the body.
Seaweed and arnica make for a really healing and grounding bath.
Geranium and orange leave the body feeling refreshed and nourished.
Douches is a wash, soak or dip. This method is used for virginal. Add 20-30ml of vinegar in diluted form to half a litre of boiled water. This is used in cleaning or “douching” vaginal discharge with water and a mixture of other fluids.
You can make a douche with a plastic bag, some tap and a pipe but it is as easy to use something like a plastic kethup bottle you can squeeze or buy a commercial douching item.
Suppository Calendula (marigold) has antibiotic properties. A gauze soaked in a prepared liquid or a spoonful of dried herb in a cup of water and placed in the virginal area will ease and relieve the area.
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