I’m hesitant to use the word “therapeutic” online, much less on Tumblr.
ϟ When making infusions, a therapeutic dose typically centers at a ratio of 1 ounce of plant material to 32 ounces of water, and steeps for 4-6 hours, best overnight. Dose up or down as needed, and ALWAYS experiment on yourself first, by a drop on the wrist if extra sensitive, or a sip or two in the mouth. ϟ
I have measured one ounce of mugwort here (Artemisia vulgaris)
Check out that beautiful color
Now you see how tea bags at the store are kind of a rip, and more or less for “taste”
Mmm NOM NOM! I shall be using this infusion to assist in vision work for the new moon in Pisces tonight. In the past I have tinctured mugwort to potentiate dreams, and received very high praise from it. Everyone enjoy the evening.
Hello! Tinctures are fun, welcome to that world. As far as tinctures go, you said it yourself, you only get better as you relentlessly research, or in this case, practice.
I don’t think I have come across a book yet that explicitly lists a plant’s constituents AND the best combination of solvent to use for respective constituents, as it largely depends on what you want the plant to do, and what you want to extract. Not every herbalist will want to harness the same properties. I can recommend, however, Lisa Ganora’s Herbal Constituents which may be a bit biochemically dense.
Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, has the main constituents we use for each plant, and I imagine you can couple that with some knowledge from James Green’s The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook about which constituents come out in what solvent. For example, mucilage comes out best in water, you want mucilage for sliming up the body. Resins come out best in alcohol. First you want to figure out what you want from the plant, then play with it. Make a shepherd’s purse tincture, for example, with 40% alcohol, then another one with 60%, then compare them by taste, and in action. You’ll have to find the percentage of solvent for what you want to extract, which in turn will give you unique and personal tinctures, AND an invaluable experience with that plant.
Your best best best best sources come from places that actually do the research firsthand, such as universities. So when you’re scouring the web, look for sites that end in .edu. The premise here is that you want to look at the source of the research yourself, not what has been passed around the ‘net many stages later after people have added their own spins and opinions on it. Think of the game Telephone, where one person whispers a word into the next person’s ear. The next person whispers it to the person next to them and so on. If you have never played, many times when it comes to the end, the word isn’t the same anymore and has been twisted and manipulated unintentionally.
Alternatively, check out peer-edited science journals. Scholarly articles are conducted in such a way that anyone can be able to replicate their experiment and get the same results. It’s transparent.
I’m back bb
I find that, and am learning, that if you can find analogous species in your area, use them; and in my case, white clover is EVERYWHERE, so I’m not going to go out looking for or buying red clover.
I personally use it for relaxation, and detoxing. I haven’t sat down to prove it yet, but that’s what I used it for years ago when I didn’t know so much about it.
Red clover may be more potent, I have no information on that, but that doesn’t mean white clover isn’t potent at all. You can make it potent. Let it sit in infusion longer, like overnight to two days even, if you want. If you’re tincturing it (which I have never done so I don’t recommend it, release me of that responsibility lol) you could make it more potent by adding less alcohol to plant material.
Also, a note to keep in mind: some plants will act similarly but won’t be as noticeable. Sometimes all you need is just the right amount of vital shift in the body, so don’t count white clovers out completely. :)
1) I get my plants from my yard, my teachers, local herb shops, and online (see below for the only site I’ll recommend for now). Some of them my grandmother has started years ago from seed. Others, are wild growth weeds that kind of popped up at just the right times.
Something I don’t want anyone to do, is to go wildcraft.
* It isn’t ethical if it isn’t done the right way. The right way is to observe the stand (that patch of plant growth) for at least a year. Things you’re looking for are, how many are there, are they increasing or decreasing, are they proliferating well, do they look sick, do animals depend on them, what’s around, etc. I remember when I was first starting out, if I saw a plant I recognized, I immediately wanted to go pick it and use it. I look back now, and slap myself on the wrist for wanting to do that because I could have messed up many tiny ecosystems that way (including the elementals). Not to mention if a plant is considered endangered, and every herbalist is out there wildcrafting it, well, there it goes. When you do get out there harvesting, when you’re done it should look like you weren’t even there.
So, a good recommendation is you should look for plants around 50 feet of your house. Start there. If there is green around, you’ll start to notice them, slowly at first, then you’ll see, it’ll be like a mutual relationship- the more you respect, observe and learn, the more they will want to come out and play.
Your yard is one thing, but the forests and greenbelts are another, and need to be taken care of wisely.
A fantastic way to start is to order herbs online. I order from Mountain Rose Herbs when I’m in need or am not in town to find something at an herb shop. Mountain Rose is very careful when it comes to where they source their herbs from. Rosemary Gladstar (an extremely regarded herbalist) founded it, so you can rest easy and trust them. Check out herb shops in your area too, BUT if the plants don’t look and smell vibrant, leave. They should still preserve their color, and smell, and life force. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Who grew them? Where do they come from? Grown organically or with pesticides?
2) My recipes are part intuitive, part knowledge from written sources. I recommend starting out with singles first. That is, one plant at a time so you can fully understand what it does before adding it in formulas. Also, a person’s constitution matters in what plants are best for what they need. Not everyone will react the same or like the same plants.
3) My teacher, Nicole, always says, “The difference between poison and medicine is dosage.” Try a drop on your wrist first if you are super scared or suspicious. Wait a little and if no toxic reactions occur, proceed with a drop in the mouth. Same process, if nothing, make it a few drops, then a sip. If still nothing you might be safe, but give yourself at least 20 minutes to thoroughly judge each step. If a toxic reaction occurs, drink water and judge where you should go from there. If intense, seek help, if not, maybe have a friend calm you down.
An obvious way to make sure you don’t poison yourself is to make sure you’re collecting the right plants. So start easy. Pick up a few field guides and plant keys for your area. Don’t go overboard. Herbalism will reveal itself to you in time, it won’t happen overnight.
4) Yes, I have many wonderful books to recommend! I personally like Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra as a quick reference.
I have not picked this one up yet but I hear it is fantastic. It is Making Plant Medicine by Richo Chech.
One I probably can’t live without is the classic Culpeper’s Herbal & English Physician.
For a more fun read stimulating to imagination and vision, check out Susun Weed’s Healing Wise.
Anything from Rosemary Gladstar, James Green, Matthew Wood, and Michael Moore.
Lastly, if you want to make stuff at home, you should pick up The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green. It’s beyond fantastic.
Please please please, if you’re making stuff for other people, get trained somehow. I’m not asking you to go to herb school necessarily, but if you’re extending out from making things for just yourself or your family, you don’t want to kill anyone or make anyone lose their belief in the power of plants because you gave them something that didn’t sit well with them or made them sick, or even more sick.
A lot of words, but you asked some very important questions.
Let’s tackle this concept of fresh.
It’s everywhere. It’s manipulative.
I don’t want people being duped into this semantic trap. “Fresh” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better for you, and many people believe if they see fresh that they are making wonderful choices for their body, many also thinking it’s organic.
Organic vs. Fresh vs. Natural? So many terms!
Terms, yes. Be careful as in the regulation world, they mean tightly different things as it pertains to the foods we ingest (even the skin ingests).
Let’s start with organic vs. natural. Organic means that it was grown under very stringent guidelines that are regulated by the government, such as no pesticides and no toxins. Not just anyone can get that USDA stamp on their product, so if it has the stamp, I suggest choosing that over something that doesn’t. If you’d like to see the details or get into the list of what is considered organic on the shelves, check out the official regulations here. Also something to keep in the back of your mind is that there are many ingredients that are considered not to be organic, but are allowed to be in a USDA Organic product. Natural is way less tight and not even regulated like organic is, so anyone can slap “Natural” on their product and get away with it through the small, or large, misconceptions that come with it. Fresh is even worse, and denotes nothing natural or organic. You see it EVERYWHERE; fresh this, fresh that, but really, means absolutely nothing. In reality fresh could mean you’re ingesting a genetically modified food that has been highly processed and only made to look like it is vibrant and “good for you.”
So what do we do? What do we eat?
It may be daunting and hard at first to transition to the organics. Don’t fret, your body will appreciate it little by little if you commit to it. It can also be expensive, but not necessarily. You can eat healthy without spending a lot. Eating organic greens is a wonderful way to stay in tip top internal shape, although make sure to get a good balance of the types of greens. Vegetables and fruits provide nutrition, as well as some herbs! Chickweed (Stellaria media) for example is a wonderful nutritive herb that most people consider a bothersome weed. Juice it daily or make an herbal vinegar out if it. At the store, opt for the USDA Organic choices. Places like Sprouts and Whole Foods do sell fruits and other goods that are not organic, so just be aware, and vigilant in your search for nutritional gold.
An easy way to start is to cut everything highly processed out of your diet. A food is no longer considered whole after it has been processed. Processing food destroys many of its valuable components, which then have to be added back in afterwards, which doesn’t really make it the same as before. Another thing you can start with is staying away from genetically modified food. Nothing good comes from it metabolically, and I believe it’s causing a whopping amount of issues, especially in synergy with synthetics and artificial ingredients. Artificial colorings and flavors are another red flag/warning sign to walk away. For example, Life cereal, while seemingly healthy, contains artificial ingredients. READ INGREDIENTS LISTS. To me, that is more important when shopping than the nutritional table. Many, if they even look at that panel of the box or bag, focus on how many calories, carbs, fats, sodium, etc. the product has. Calories equals energy, we need energy, people. Low-calorie is another marketing dupe. Everyone needs fats, proteins, and carbs. However, make sure you’re ingesting the right kinds of fats and carbs.
Respect your body, and it will treat you well. I promise.
I had come to forget about this blog! It clearly wasn’t the right time to be leading others on the ‘net into herbalism. I say that because I’m in herb school now. I rediscovered this blog again as I had to log into this account, which I don’t use anymore, for something and came to see how many followers I had slowly accrued over time and am still accruing despite the absence. YES. People want herbs.
I’ll give you herbs.
Stinging nettle infusion (Urtica sp.)
Drink two times a week to increase your systemic iron!
I imagine more iron means more oxygen (because of hemoglobin, too lazy to look up the exact mechanism though), and an increase in oxygen delivery does wonders for the brain. However, moderation is key, because an excess of iron encourages bacterial virulence.