Last weekend I went to this wonderful class (from the same woman that did Herbs 101 and is organizing the Holistic Living Conference) about how to make your own herbal remedies. It was so empowering to learn about doing something that I've previously relied on other people to do for me. I'll use single herbs here and there, and certainly essential oils. But I've never gone full out and made my own salves or tinctures. It just seemed a bit too involved and overwhelming. But watching the teacher demonstrate as she talked about the process, it just seemed so doable!
She first demonstrated making a salve. She used a Dr. Christopher (a Utah herbalist that practiced in the 50s) formula called Bone, Flesh and Cartilage that's for all sorts of problems with any of those things; sprains, burns, breaks, rashes, bruises etc. She'd had the combination of herbs soaking in olive oil for two weeks. Then she just strained it, squeezing out the extra oil, and mixed it with some beeswax in a crock pot and poured it into cute little tubs. She added a few drops of lavender essential oil at the end too. So easy though, right? She sent us each home with a little jar of the BF&C salve, which I've been using on a scar on Sam's hand (he got a chemical burn from a faulty IV at the hospital and still has quite the scar). But as soon as it's gone I think I'll try my hand at mixing some up myself!
She also showed us how to make tinctures and encapsulate dried herbs. Encapsulation was also amazingly simple, so much so that you wonder why you would ever buy herbal supplements when it's so easy and cheap to make them yourself and you can know exactly what goes into them. You basically just have this little box with the capsules in it, pack in the powdered herbs, snap on the top and then pop out your perfect little herb pills- genius! And making tinctures was about the same as making a salve, except that you soak the herbs in glycerin, alcohol or vinegar for two weeks instead of olive oil, then strain it and put it in little dropper jars. She sent us home with a blend of herbs designed to balance your hormones, perfect for the pregnant mama! I'd totally recommend taking her classes (they're free!) if you're local, or finding someone to teach you if you're not. You could also just get some books at the library if you learn well that way. I just love seeing someone demonstrate, it's so easy for me to absorb the information that way. Keep your eyes out for some homemade remedies showing up here in the next few months as I try my hand at my own lotions and potions!