When I first started using herbs, I had a lot of questions. I learned a lot from reference books and web sites. A lot of it came from trial and error. I’ve created this page to help you navigate the world of herbal medicine, and to give you some quick recipes and references for using herbs. Enjoy!
Included are resources for:
- Where to buy quality herbs
- How to create your own herbal recipes
- Where to find pre-made herbal remedies
- How to make infusions, decoctions and ointments
Buying Your Herbs
There are two resources that I purchase herbs from. One is a wholesale company that my dad has been running for the last two decades and the other is an Oregon company that dad’s company sells herbs to.
I’ve watched many of the herbs go from seedlings to packaging, with them being harvested by many of my family members.
Therefore, I trust the quality of the herbs. Since one is a wholesale account, I’ll give you the name of the retail store I’ve also purchased from. (If you’d like to open a wholesale account, contact me and I can get you their information).
Mountain Rose Herbs is a Eugene, Oregon-based company that sells organic herbs, essential oils, tinctures, teas and extracts. I first heard of them a few years ago in my doula class and the instructor sang the praises of the quality of their products.
I may be a little biased because they’re Oregon-based and because Dad supplies them some of their herbs, but I’ve been very pleased with all of my transactions with them.
Organic herbs are the specialty at Mountain Rose Herbs and they offer them at very good prices, with discounts for buying in bulk. You can also find information about every herb when you click on the product and their home page frequently offers useful information on herbal preparations.
How to Create Your Own Herbal Recipes
One of my favorite things to do is create new herbal recipes using the herbs that I learn about. Whether it’s a rash ointment, postpartum tea or anti-fungal balm, I love turning my ideas into reality.
You can create your own herbal recipes, too. It just takes some research and creativity.
Begin with an idea of what you want to create
Do you want to create a balm to soothe sensitive skin? Maybe an herbal tea that’s safe to give to your baby to help them sleep through teething? Research herb books or the internet for herbs that possess these qualities.
Use small quantities
I wish I could say that I didn’t know how frustrating it was to create a huge batch of tea I was sure would taste great only to find that it was terribly bitter. Don’t make the same mistake. Use small spoonfuls of herbs at first to make your blend and try a sample. This will allow you to tweak easily.
Keep accurate records
Now that you’ve got something that tastes great or heals skin quickly, you’re going to want to replicate it and maybe even sell it. I’m in the process of packaging a few remedies that I’ve put together to sell. Keeping track of what and how much I used while I was experimenting have made it easy for me to replicate my results.
It was pretty easy for me to get ideas – but I wasn’t quite sure how to start. The best thing I did was purchase an herbal book, like Herbal Nurturing with recipes in it so I had an idea of where to start with measurements and ratios. For instance, I knew I wanted to make a balm, but I had no idea what the customary ratio of herbs to oil is. You might know what herbs will make an awesome combination but getting an idea of what ratios are good will keep certain herbs from overpowering others.
The Convenience of Pre-Made Herbal Remedies
Sometimes it’s more feasible to just buy the remedy that you need. I recently found a company called Native Remedies that has an A to Z list of herbal remedies to treat a myriad of ailments. When you need a tincture in a hurry and can’t wait weeks to prepare it, I highly suggest trying one of their well-reviewed treatments.
Here’s an idea of what they have to offer:
- Acid Free-Flux
- AfterBirth Drops
- Brain Tonic
- Nature’s Milk Drops
- Tummy Trumbles
- Worm Dr.
And that’s just a few of them.
I’m always skeptical of people selling herbal remedies – are they really using herbs that will treat the problem? I looked at several products along with their lists of ingredients and was pleasantly surprised with the herbs they’ve used – herbs that I’ve researched and have found recommended for those problems they claim to treat.
Native Remedies also has several positive testimonials for each of their products.
Preparing Your Herbs – What You Need to Know
Herbal infusions are simply herbs prepared in water. They differ from teas in that they use larger quantities of herbs, making a more concentrated preparation. They are steeped in water for several hours in a tightly sealed jar. Using a quart-size canning jar is best because they can hold up well to boiling water.
Once prepared you can drink them iced or heated, add them to baths for soaking wounds or sore muscles or used to make compresses or poultices.
Put an ounce of dried leaves in your canning jar. Fill the jar to the fill line with boiling water. Secure the lid tightly and let it steep until the water has completely cooled. Strain out the herbs and enjoy.
Put an ounce of dried roots or bark in your canning jar. Fill the jar to the fill line with boiling water. Secure the lid tightly and let it steep until the water has completely cooled. Strain out the herbs and enjoy.
Create your own healing ointment
Creating your own herbal healing ointment/balm/salve is easy! You can do it with just a few minutes of prep time (the rest is done in the oven).
- A sauce pan
- An oven-proof dish
- Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- 1 cup olive or coconut oil, or your favorite carrier oil
- 1 cup herbs (one herb or a combination)
- 1 tbsp to 1 oz. beeswax (weird measurements, I know, but if it’s not the consistency you want, you’ll need to add more wax.
- Clean, dry jar(s) to store your balm in.
Turn your oven on to 200 degrees. Heat the oil and herbs in the saucepan on medium heat for a couple minutes, do not let them boil and do not let them get much darker than the color you started with. Trust me.
Turn off your oven, because it should be 200 degrees by now. Put the herbs and oil into the oven-proof dish, clean up your mess and go have fun for a few hours.
After 3 hours take out the herbs and strain them back into your saucepan, on medium heat. Add your wax and let it melt. After I add my initial wax, I like to dip a spoon in and let it cool to see if I like the consistency. I don’t like my balms very firm so I go with a little less wax. Add more if you don’t like how it feels.
Pour the oil into your jar(s) and let it cool. If you check it then and don’t like the consistency, warm the jar in a pan of warm water so that it’s liquid again and add either a little more oil or wax.
It’s that simple
Getting started with herbs is fun and easy once you have all of the right resources. The products I’ve recommended are very helpful for starting (or continuing) your journey toward using herbs to improve your health and the health of your family.
Thanks for reading.