Preparing Herbal Medicine for the Winter Season Now

Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

I have been harvesting my herbs and plants as they have reached their peaks and now I am getting ready to prepare them for my medicine cabinet (more like a book shelf with doors) I have tried to keep good records of what I made last year, how much I used (or gave away for others to use) and what I want to have on hand this year.

But I am curious, what's in your medicine cabinet? What kind of medicines have you given priority to make sure you have it on hand?



  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for such a detailed list. I am working with my ten-year oil daughter on our (new) apothecary. We are collecting herbs, drying them, and now starting to make them into the oils and tinctures. Your list gives us a few things to focus on.

    Desire, could you share what you have made in the past and what you would make again?

  • Raye
    Raye Posts: 15 ✭✭✭

    @desireet02 Thank you for creating this post..I always want to go overboard with my herbal preparations (if there is such a thing.) I'm beginning to look ahead to the fall season as well and find it helpful to learn from more seasoned herbalist's as to what they keep in their medicine bags..@torey your list is me some items to think about.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @Acequiamadre The main consumables were Fire Cider, cold/allergy tonic, valerian tincture, ashwagandha tincture, stevia extract, elecampane honey, elderberry tincture and syrup, ginseng pills, a variety of herbal oils and salves, lemon balm bug spray, lavender and rose extractions, a heart tonic of hawthorn, rosehips and hibiscus, a pain away tonic of willow, wild lettuce, lemon balm and skullcap. I created these blends after trial and error of what works for me personally. I tincture each separately and would keep a record of an acute incident, what combination I used and what the result was. Once I found a blend that worked well I started making larger batches of the tonic. I am planning on making the same again, but was thinking I might be able to get more ideas of what I might need from what others prioritize for their use.

    My wants are to make bitters, motherwort, cramp bark, a mouth wash, and a few others, but these are things I need to purchase. I have tried to utilize what nature has provided outside my door (yes, I planted some of it) just because it's more sustainable for me. I plant a patch and wait, or I plant a tree and wait. Most of what I am harvesting from now I started twenty years ago planting.

  • John
    John Posts: 163 ✭✭✭

    I'm extremely impressed with all the knowledge and planning shared here. I'm working on an herb and medicinal garden on the side of the house that I think will work well. Looking forward to learning more about this. :)

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    Great info here! I am just getting started in herbal and natural medicines. It is a bit hard to decide what to tackle...there are so many options but I think I should just focus on a few for now.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,482 admin

    @Desiree I'm relatively new to making my own herbal remedies. I do have on hand, fire cider & elderberry syrup for winter ailments. Calendula and comfrey lotion for all things skin and scratch related. Hemp tincture and oil for overall health tonic. Same for golden paste. I did the Making Herbal Medicine, early on when I first joined TGN. So glad I did. It feels so good to be in charge of your health.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    Just an FYI for everyone making Elderberry Syrup ahead of time. This recently came out.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @MelissaLynne Start with what you know you need. My first medicine was nettles tincture for allergies. I suffer from hay fever and mold allergies. I used to take 2 over the counter meds and an emergency inhaler. A dropper full of nettle tincture made all that go away. It made me a believer and showed me how to care for myself deeply. Then I I took a deep dive and have to reign in my excitement because no one I know has psoriasis so I don’t NEED to make that medicine!!!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 995 ✭✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy thanks for posting about how the nettle tincture is working for you. My allergies have gotten so much better than what they used to be but mold is still a problem for me. I'm going to try it and see if it helps. Do you take daily as a preventive or just when needed?

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    Interesting. I never even thought of elderberries as something you would can, but it makes sense!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I have never canned elderberries or any other berry for that matter. I think they just go too soft and mushy. Would sooner freeze berries to get fruit that retains its texture and flavour. I would dry my harvest before canning.

  • shaley1357
    shaley1357 Posts: 33 ✭✭✭

    We have fermented garlic/honey and elderberry extract for general immune boost. Other than that, we are very healthy people so haven't gone deeper into herbal remedies. Having said that, this is exactly why I am here, to learn more about it and find answers. Thank you for your knowledge above.

  • Ethereal Earth
    Ethereal Earth Posts: 142 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020

    I have only made fermented garlic honey, fire cider (a hot version and a mid version), and elderberry syrup so far.

    Items I want to add to this list are a lip balm, something for cold sores, lotion, elderberry gummies, cough drops, a warming tea (most likely cinnamon/clove based), eucalyptus shower fizzers, and a menthol/eucalyptus salve

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    @Ethereal Earth Rosalee de la Foret's new book, "Wild Remedies", has a great recipe for elderberry gummies. A lemon balm infused oil could be the start of a salve or lip balm for cold sores. Have you checked out TGN's course, "Making Herbal Medicines"? Good luck with your endeavours!

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @annbeck62 I use a half dropper daily during high allergy season times (for me it’s January mold and late May/early June scotch broom and grasses). Then I take it a full dropper for immediate relief needs. My husband only uses on occasion for immediate relief.

  • SandraKay
    SandraKay Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the information.  This does say that there are not any studies on pressure canning.  I guess just going to the alcohol tinctures would be the best choice (or elderberry wine?)

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    I'm a newbie too so don't have much going yet. I did make a yarrow tincture last summer and the items in a Learning Herbs kit and elderberry syrup kit from TGN over the winter. Last week I make a salve for a duck with a gash on it's back using calendula, rudbekia, and plantain.

    Nettle tincture for allergies is new to me but I am going to look into that @herbantherapy. Is there a specific season the nettles are best harvested? A co-worker has offered me all the nettle I want.

  • Jaylene
    Jaylene Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    St John’s Wort oil is one of my favorites. It is a beautiful oil and can be used as is or made into salves and as it needs to be fresh for optimal effectiveness it is great to grow and make yourself. Elderberry syrup and tincture I like to make for the upcoming season and the dried flowers for a cold and flu tea. I always make echinacea tincture for immunity and bites but I don’t grow that one. Yerba mansa tincture gets a lot of use in my household for gum issues and mucous membranes (and it grows well here) California poppy as tincture and most of my herbs I dry and have on hand for teas and cooking (mints, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, rosemary, lavender, roses, etc)

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    I’m thinking about trying a nettle tincture. I have lots of nettles around. I know that for teas and cooking you want to use the young leaves. Is this true for tinctures or do the flowering parts and more mature plants work as well?

  • KimWilson
    KimWilson Posts: 197 ✭✭✭

    I also have quite a list of herbals in my garden, but I had a difficult time getting plantain to sprout and grow. This year we have success and hope to have this wonderful medicinal in my gardens forever now.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @MelissaLynne the nice thing about the tincture is you can use all parts of the plant. I always dry my nettles first. I have found using fresh leaves I get a mold on top. Idk if that could be scraped, but I’d rather not deal with it. When I dry the leaves/stems it removes the moisture and the sting.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    @MelissaLynne The younger leaves are better for food medicine, so for use fresh or cooked into something like spanakopita or cream of nettle soup. Once they get older, about a foot or so tall, but before they bud, their medicinal properties become stronger. I dry older leaves to add to broths and soups. The root can be tinctured for prostate conditions. Nettle seeds can be harvested separately. They are high in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Nettle seeds support the adrenals and the endocrines system as a whole. May be helpful in cases of low thyroid function. They can be used fresh in salads or dry and grind with salt to make nettle salt. If you are tincturing fresh seeds, use a higher percentage alcohol, 60-70%. Dried nettle seeds can be used on their own or in blends of seeds for baking. You could make a decoction of the dried seeds to extract all the minerals or make a nettle seed vinegar.

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @torey and @herbantherapy for the great info!

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭

    I just discovered that Rudbeckia is more potent than echinacea for immune health so I'm excited to go dig up some brown eyed susans and make a tincture!

  • Jannajo
    Jannajo Posts: 173 ✭✭✭

    Keep it up, doc! I am just perusing all the items at this point, loving it! But seriously behind in preparation-readiness. Thanks for the info here!

  • karen
    karen Posts: 80 ✭✭

    I am collecting leaves for drying to make two important oils for my use: plantain for a soothing skin cream and oregano for its immune boosting, anti fungal and antibiotic qualities. Both will be infused in coconut oil. In the past I have made a beautiful calendula based face cream, also infused in coconut oil. I will do that again but it takes forever to get enough flowers in my climate - too hot.

    BTW I will bow to the admins on this but I have just signed up for an online course on how to make herbal oils. It is really extensive. i would be happy to give anyone the url if interested.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @nicksamanda11 I just found out the same thing! I have way more black eyed susans growing wild around me than echinacea. I do have some echinacea, but I just look at it and let it do it's thing because I can't bring myself to dig it up. I have marked the spots where I will be harvesting black eyed susans in the fall.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    hmmmm i've pressure canned elderberry juice after steaming the berries; in Germany you can buy elderberry juice off most grocery store shelves.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    @torey I make spanikopita all the time - never thought to put nettles in there. Thanks!