Plant medicines are made from differing combinations of plant parts — leaves, flowers or roots. Each part can have different medicinal uses, energetics, and constituents. I source my herbs from clean re-wilded land, or from reputable, sustainable herb suppliers, who check each shipment for quality and strength.
Brews, Elixirs and Other Wonders
Use Herbs Directly.
Put them in foods, eat them alone, or make poultices to give the body what it needs. Examples: If I want to support my kidneys, I might make a salad of dandelion greens and cooked nettles, with a tasty herb vinegar and oil dressing. For superficial cuts and scrapes, crushed plantain leaves take the sting out of insect bites, and shorten my healing time.
Extract Them In water.
Infusions, decoctions, compresses, baths, skin washes, steam inhalations, and syrups made of infusions and sugar are all good. Heat and water draw out the properties of herbs for internal or external use. They must be used within a short time, from hours to a few days.
Extract in Alcohol or Glycerin.
The former are called tinctures. The alcohol extracts some constituents that water does not, and adds a preservative factor, so these last far longer on the shelf than infusions and decoctions.
A glycerite is similar to alcohol, but glycerin is used, for those people who abstain from any alcohol.
Extracted in vinegars.
Vinegars extract the mineral content of the herb, as well as varying other constituents. They are a wonderful way to add the healing qualities of herbs to vegetables and salads, or to a glass of water first thing in the morning.
In Oils and Salves.
Use infused oils and salves externally to pamper, heal or soothe skin, and to deliver medicine to deeper tissues.
Where herbs come from, how they are applied, and in what forms are all part of plant medicine. As this list suggests, the uses are varied and practical. It’s important to remember that what is put on the skin can be as medicinal as what is ingested!