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Join My Instagram Community!

Instagram is turning into the this amazing community of people who share beautiful and mindful images. Getting sneak peeks into our lives, promoting products that mean something to us, and educating each other is what I see.

If you enjoy photography, herbalism, and scrolling through Instagram, then this is a great opportunity for you!

I am looking for 5-10 people each month to join my team. As a member, you would make several posts a week (mainly on Instagram, but you can do Facebook as well) to market my products. You must be able to make mindful captions to encourage engagement.

If you are interested, please fill out the form below! I will be selecting the first group of people for January 2018

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Would you like to be on The Herbal Path?

The Herbal Path

 

When I was taking applications for my apprenticeship program, I noticed a few things: 1- People WANT to learn about herbalism and a more natural holistic way of life. 2-Time and distance prohibited a lot of folks who were interested from applying. 3-I got a lot of great applicants and I am going to have a really hard time choosing only 2 people!

All of these things led me to realize that if I could somehow create an online interactive program, I could reach and serve all those people who really want and need herbalism in their lives. 

Out of that came The Herbal Path. A comprehensive beginner’s herbalism course set in an a private Facebook group. Sort of like a classroom. I wanted it to be in a group format so students could help and learn from each other-and maybe make some friends! Other online learning programs seem so isolating with limited human interaction.  

This is a 5 month program that will give you an introduction to the basics of working with herbs: methods of medicine preparation, history of herbalism, folklore, wildcrafting, beauty and skin care products, replacing chemicals in your home with natural homemade methods, how to eat a whole foods diet (both traditional foods and veganism), and more. 

The group is hosted by myself and my good friend Carolyn Schreiner of The Natural Choice Apothecary. Each week a new file will be uploaded to the group. That week we will work on that particular topic. Assignments will be uploaded to the group for group discussion.  Each student will receive a small sampling of herbs to work with-with the option to purchase more if desired. 

Now, for the part that I am sure you are all wondering about: cost. That is always the big inhibitor, isn’t it? There are TONS of things that I have found that I would love to join and take part in, but they always cost way too much for me to be able to afford. So-with that in mind, I want to make this program available for EVERYONE who wants to participate. It is only $30 a month.  That’s right! Can you believe it?  This is such an amazing deal. $30 is about the cost of 1 class, typically. AND, you don’t have to leave your house. You don’t even have to put clothes on! So, you get 4 classes for the price of one, don’t have to get dressed, don’t have to spend gas money, and get a great learning experience. How can you NOT sign up?  Our next series starts April 1st, so be sure to sign up soon!

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All About Herbal Tinctures

all about tinctures

Herbal tinctures are one of my favorite ways to take herbal medicine. They are fast-acting, potent, and portable! While teas are great, and I LOVE my teas, tinctures are usually my go-to for the ease and quickness. A dropper full of tincture is easy to just squirt into your mouth-whereas you have to go through the process of boiling water, steeping herbs, straining, sweetening, etc. Which, don’t get me wrong-I love the ritual of brewing teas! But, when you have a sinus headache, you want something to hit it fast and hard.

Oh, you don’t know what a tincture is? Let me explain! A tincture is simply an extract of constituents of the plant material into a menstruum (solvent-alcohol, vinegar, or vegetable glycerin, typically). My preferred menstruum is alcohol. I personally use 190 proof organic alcohol that I then dilute down to appx. 100 proof. But, you can just buy a cheap bottle of vodka, rum, brandy, etc. as long as it is around 100 proof (50%). Anything less and you run the risk of not getting the full extraction.

I use tinctures for all kinds of things. Headaches, stress, allergies, sleeplessness, anxiety, liver support, digestion, respiratory support, immune boosting. All the things! As I said, alcohol is the preferred solvent, as it and the water content are sure to extract the alkaloids and water soluble components of the plant. Now, the exception is if I want to extract the nourishing components of a plant (vitamins and minerals). In that case, I like to use apple cider vinegar.

If you are concerned about using alcohol preparations, fear not! I give them to my children. If you think about it-the amount of alcohol in a dosage is about 15-20 drops. That comes to MAYBE a mL of alcohol. One serving of alcohol is 30 mL (one ounce). You would have to drink an entire 1 ounce bottle of tincture to get a mixed drink’s serving of alcohol. And, a child’s dosage is even less-depending on weight it is between 3-10 drops. There is more alcohol in the vanilla extract you are cooking with! The only concern, in my opinion, with using alcohol based tinctures with children is convincing them to use it. Because, the taste leaves much to be desired.  You can hide it in tea, smoothies, apple sauce, etc.  There is the option of glycerin based tinctures, but they aren’t as effective.

Interested in making your own tinctures? Keep reading for a simple tutorial!

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Step 1: Get some herbs. Ideally, you want to work with freshly harvested herbs. Unfortunately, we don’t all have access to a bountiful herb garden or know how to properly wild craft. So, the option is to use dried. You can purchase them in bulk from various stores online, Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herb Store, Monterrey Bay Herb Co., Starwest Botanicals are a few that I love. OR, you can contact me for smaller 1 ounce amounts. Sometimes it is intimidating receiving a pound of herbs when you are just starting out! For this tincture, I am using dried skullcap. Skullcap is fabulous for stress, anxiety, and pain relief. I LOVE it. It’s one of my most popular tinctures. There are two methods to use here. 1-the folk method. Put some herbs in a jar. Just an eyeballed amount. Perfect for folks who are just making it for themselves and don’t worry if one batch is more potent than the next. and 2-the weight to volume method (w:v). Each herb has a specific w:v ratio, but the most common is 1:5. Which means, that for 1 part of plant material, you use 5 parts solvent. So, for example, you have 2 ounces of skullcap by weight. You will need 10 ounces of alcohol. If you are making them for yourself, friends, and family, this method is unnecessary.

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Step 2: Combine with menstruum in jar. Put your herbs in a clean mason jar. Cover with your solvent. Make sure all the plant material is covered. You can even have a few inches extra in the jar. Cap it. Give it a shake.

Step 3: LABEL!! You do not want a jar of mystery tincture in your house. Trust me. The label should have the name of the herb (common and botanical), the menstruum used, and the date you prepared it.

Step 4: Wait. Patiently. It takes at least 6 weeks for a tincture to fully macerate.  Keep it on your counter. Give it a shake everyday/every other day.

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Step 5. Strain. Use a fine wire mesh strainer, or some cheesecloth/muslin. I invert the jar over the strainer and let it sit for a few hours. Then, I press all the herbs to make sure I get all the liquid out. Compost the remnants (marc).

Step 6. Bottle. You can just rinse out your jar and pour your tincture right back in it. I would suggest getting a few dropper bottles (always glass!!!) for easy of dosage and convenience. Store the majority away in the jar, and keep your little bottle in your purse, bathroom, etc, wherever you keep your medicine. Again, make sure that you label your bottles!!

Do you make your own tinctures? I’d love to see pictures! Share them on my Facebook page at Wild Earth Herbals or tag me on instagram @wildearthherbals. 

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The Herbalist’s Kitchen…Part One: The Equipment!

herbalist's kitchen part one

Ever wonder what exactly goes on inside the home of an herbalist? Chances are, her kitchen doesn’t look that much different than yours. There might be a few subtle differences-some hanging herbs, fermented foods, unknown concoctions in fridge, herbs simmering on the stove, and mason jars-oh, the mason jars! Any herbalist worth her salt will have a cabinet full of them.

Here are my ‘must haves’ in my kitchen:

  • Double Boiler-This is really important if you are interested in making salves and fast infusing oils. You don’t ever want your heat source to directly heat your oils and waxes. Mine is a vintage enamel pot from the 30’s. 90% of my kitchen equipment comes from a thrift store. It is a great resource!
  • Slow Cooker-This is another device used to quickly infuse oils. I like to just let my oils infuse over time, but sometimes I need something sooner, so a mason jar in a water bath in a slow cooker does the trick.
  • Mortar and Pestle-I really enjoy the meditative process of manually masticating my herbs rather than using an electric grinder. The thought of adding mechanical energy to my herbs doesn’t appeal to me, but a lot of people like the efficiency of a coffee grinder.
  • Tea Kettle-This is a must for obvious reasons.
  • Strainer-I just use a plain ol’ wire mesh kitchen strainer to strain my tinctures, infused oils, and teas. Nothing fancy here.
  • Cheese cloth-A lot of times, small particulates of herbs get through the strainer. So, I line it with cheese cloth and then squeeze the remnants out. You can also use thin muslin that can be reused after washing.
  • Measuring cups-I always use either Pyrex or Anchor Hocking brand glass measuring cups. They are heavy duty, and you don’t need to worry about plastic degrading or metal interacting. I also buy these at the thrift store.
  • Various sizes of bottles and jars-You’ll need all the mason jars for steeping your teas, percolating your tinctures and vinegars (NEVER use plastic or metal-only glass), storing herbs, drinking glasses, etc. I also think investing in some good amber bottles, glass droppers, jars for salves, etc is a good idea.

What do you have in your kitchen? Do you like to play with herbs? Next time, we’ll talk about basic herbs to keep on hand in your kitchen without spending a fortune.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services that are in line with my personal and professional ethics and standards.