herbal preparations: tinctures

when folks begin to stick their little toe into the big river of herbalism, tinctures are usually one of the places they start.  if you’ve ever been into a health food store, then you’ve probably seen tinctures before—they’re the little amber dropper bottles with bold plant names on their labels and little black squeeze droppers at the top.  they’re often in eye-shot of the registers because they are alcohol-based medicine (although i pitty the fool who downs an ounce of wormwood tincture thinking they’ll get a buzz…..blerrrg!).  they also come in glycerine as well, but these are harder to find and are usually less effective. Read the rest of this entry »

herbal preparations: lozenges

lozenges are one of my favorite herbal preparations because they give nearly instant gratification.  oils and tinctures are wonderful, but there’s all that waiting for the finished product.  with lozenges, you skip the 5 weeks of infusion in favor of a mix and a quick dry.  they’re less like a scary science experiment and more like instant proof that you’re your own herbalist!

there are other, more fundamental preparations that i was going to teach about first, like vinegars and tinctures, but today was my day with kindergartners and first graders, and you can only be coughed on so many times before you take the hint and write about something that folks obviously need this time of year.   the lozenges that i’m going to show you how to make are specifically for coughs and throat irritation, but with a few adjustments (that i’ll mention later) the recipe can be tweaked for stomach remedies as well. Read the rest of this entry »

elderberry syrup–for colds, flu, and ice cream!

at the moment, i have sitting before me roughly 50 student papers that need grading, so i’ll blog instead.   seriously, my house is never cleaner than it is when i have papers to grade.  i find myself doing anything but the task at hand, and i often joke with coworkers that i should just give them all c’s…that way i will be mostly right, and when the A students come crying to me about their grades, I can say “oops!” and change them.   just a fantasy, but, you know…. ok so i was thinking of another really good foundational recipe that i could start everyone out on, and elderberry syrup seems to be it.  if you read the post on iron syrup from last night, this will be old hat.  if not, it will still be very, very easy! so a little about elderberries—elderberry is a fruit that we don’t seem to be too familiar with in the united states, and boy is that a shame!  it grows wild on the roadsides, but most people don’t know what it is and don’t know that you can (and should) eat it. Read the rest of this entry »