How are you growing your medicine cabinet this year?

Owl Posts: 346 ✭✭✭

It’s a good year for medicinals of all sorts on our little farm in Alabama. We have huge patches of elderberries and I started a tincture of the flowers last week, though I don’t really know what it is used for yet. I’m on the third leg of my wild lettuce tincture preparation (as recommended by our fearless leader, thanks so much!) and looking forward to the triple strength in my favorite pain reducer. I repotted the horsetail and it has gone crazy! I’m very grateful to whoever it was that warned me about its invasive tendencies. I’m excited about learning about these things and I have to be careful about over sharing when talking with friends who aren’t interested. I hate it when their eyes glaze over!

I had a blemish on my face that has plagued me for years. It had gotten scratched and just wouldn’t heal. A friend recommended using comfrey leaf steeped in boiling vinegar and within a week, the place is gone and only a small pink dot remains. She recommended it for the many cuts and tears my family gets because of our collagen defect so I made up a bunch of jars to have ready. Of course, being ready for them has drastically reduced the numbers so no one has needed it since.

I started meadowsweet, goat’s rue and heal all today and my husband built a box to grow a burdock start a friend gave me. She also brought me a pot of bee balm yesterday before I discovered this morning that I lost my last bee hive. I guess there’s just too much commercial agriculture going on around us along with neighbors who insist on using roundup to maintain their fences.

So, what are you enjoying most this year and what would you most like to add?


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    It is a year of abundance here, if we could only have a few dry days to get out and harvest.

    I have made Arnica oil and Cottonwood bud oil. Fir tips are already done and I didn't get any harvested but Spruce is just starting. Its dry today so I have plans on picking later.

    I haven't picked horsetail yet but it is very prolific in my area at all elevations so I still have time to get young ones.

    There is so much burdock in my area that I don't ever have to plant it. The trick is finding a place with decent enough soil to dig the roots without breaking them. So often it is growing in gravel or rocky areas.

    Heal-all is another that is fairly common and easy to wild harvest in my area.

    Cattails are just coming. I have harvested some hearts to snack on but I am more interested in harvesting the pollen which is still to come.

    We picked wild rose petals and violet leaves a few days ago. The wild roses are just starting so I will have a couple of weeks to get more.

    I had not heard about using a comfrey vinegar before. I have a small mark on my face as well and will be trying that. My comfrey patch is big enough to get a good harvest this year. I had been relying on a neighbours patch for a long time cause she had so much of it but I finally brought some home to replace a huge plant that I had lost (yes, you can lose comfrey). I usually dry some for winter use plus make a salve.

    My Beebalm was a casualty of the re-fencing project this spring. I will have to get more plants. It grows wild here but its not common.

    My Hyssop plant did some layering on its own this year, so I have some new starts to transplant. I'm going to do more with that this year. A salve for bruising and dried for lung tea.

    I added a Wintergreen plant (Gaultheria) to the garden this year. I tried it once before but I don't think it had enough acid in the soil. I'm adding a mulch of evergreen needles this year.

    I've also added Lady's Mantle which was a plant salvaged from my neighbour.