Playing with Herbs…….

Merry Meet again my friends.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend planned.  After the amazing weekend I had last week, I’m pretty much planning on  reading, crocheting, puttering and just taking it easy.  I had so much energy this past weekend and then as the week has gone on, I’ve felt a bit drained and tired.   I bet many of you have felt that way as well.  I’m planning on making some bread and my delicious veggie soup on Sun day. I also have some new herbs I need to get put into jars and labeled. Speaking of herbs, I spent a couple of days this week making some tinctures, oils and a healing salve.  Thought I’d show you some pics and talk about it a bit here for you.

I have decided to bring out my “green” witch a bit more by really diving into learning more about herbs for medicinal purposes…not just for magickal purposes.  My daughter Kate and I have dabbled in it in the past and we are both interested in doing more then dabbling.  My friend Mossie and I (Hi Mossie!) also have decided to make potions and lotions together..though she is in Canada and I am here in Ohio..LOL! We have discussions and decide what we are going to make together.   I have been purchasing books like crazy and weeding thru what I would realistically not only make, but use on a daily basis.  I have some new favorite herbal books and I’ll talk about those in time….in my library and/or here in the blog text.  

So this week I made three tinctures, two oils and a lavender/tea tree oil antiseptic salve. I gathered my supplies and got busy. Now tinctures are very simple as I’m sure many of you know.  You can use just about any herb, I use dried, about 1-2 ozs depending on the weight of the herb.   Place the herbs in a jar that has a twist lid (I love canning jars for this), and add 100 proof vodka to fill the jar.  You can also use 80 proof and you can use Rum instead of vodka.  Rum will actually help to “sweeten” herb tinctures that will have a bitter taste like stinging nettles.  Shake the jar well to mix.  Always label your tincture with the name of it and the date.  Now just put it on a shelf for 6 weeks.  The first week I shake it every day.  After that I give it a shake every couple of days.  After 6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the tincture.  Bottle it and you are good to go. 

I made three tinctures..Valerian which will aid sleep, Yarrow which has antiseptic properties and will bring down blood pressure, and stinging nettles for my seasonal allergies.  In 6 weeks I’ll be able to start taking a dropperful every day.

I also made calendula oil and St. John’s oil….both which will be made into salves in a few weeks.  The instructions are the same as for tinctures.  You can use any kind of oil you like.  Grapeseed, virgin olive, almond, sunflower, jojoba.  For my purposes I used organic grapeseed but any of these oils will do.  The other thing I did a bit differently was that I gently warmed the oil with the herb in it to give it a good start in releasing the good stuff from the herb. 

This is the calendula…isn’t that pretty?  and it smelled wonderful!  When the oils are ready, I’ll show how to make the salves from that oil here on my blog. Here is my finished jars.  So now I’ll just be shaking them and opening them to smell them etc.  You may need to add more vodka or more oil if necessary. I’m pleased with my work! 🙂

Today my daughter Kate and I made our lavender/tea tree antiseptic salve.  This salve is good for anything going on with your skin..from dry red skin to minor cuts and scratches.  Good stuff..we use it alot and it smells great!

For this recipe I used about 1 1/2 cups of jojoba oil, 2-3 ozs of beeswax beads, 20 drops of tea tree oil, 50 drops of lavender oil, and a 1/2 tsp of vitamin E oil. Now you can use another oil like peppermint or wintergreen instead of lavender if you’d like, but the tea tree oil must stay.  You can adjust also how much of each you put in the mix…make it smell the way YOU like it!  Gently warm the oil and the beeswax until the beeswax melts.

Drop in the essential oils and vitamin E oil and stir well.  Pour quickly into clean dry jars before it sets up again.  This is my beautiful daughter Kate doing just that.  (and yes, she is carrying my grandson Charlie Matthew who will be here in about 9 weeks!)  Can’t wait! 🙂

It only took about 20 minutes for it to set up then.  Be sure and label and date the jars.  With the tea tree oil being an antiseptic, this salve lasts a long time.  But it won’t because you will find lots of uses for it! It’s great on diaper rash too! 🙂  I keep the ingredients to make this in my home at all times. 

If you haven’t worked with herbs before…these are some of the easiest ways to start.  Be sure to learn what the herbs will DO for your body and be sure always that they don’t interfere with any prescription medicines you’re taking and that your doctor knows you’re taking them.  I hope to use these remedies to REPLACE prescription meds eventually.  There are so many great videos on youtube, online herbal classes etc to help you get started.  Your local herb shop or health food store will also be a great place to find what you’re looking for and to get valuable information.  And Books…there are so many books about just this thing.  Here is some of my favorites…..

-The New Age Herbalist by Richard Mabey

-The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

-Judes Herbal Home Remedies by Jude C. Todd

-The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green

-The Herbal Home Remedy Book by Joyce Wardwell

-The Wild & Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy

-Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar

and anything by Susun Weed

I’ll be talking alot more about herbs and remedies as my dabbling turns into serious learning.  I have even signed up for an online course..though basic..it’ll be a great place to start.  To give me a good foundation to move on to possibly becoming a Master Herbalist.  For now, I’m a green witch..still learning and enjoying the process!  Anybody care to join me? 

“We have finally started to notice that there is real curative value in local herbs and remedies. In fact, we are also becoming aware that there are little or no side effects to most natural remedies, and that they are often more effective than Western medicine.”
Anne Wilson Schaef

Blessings and Light, Autumn

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27 Comments

Filed under Books I'm reading, Daughters, Discussion, Family, Herbal remedy, Herbs, Photography, Quote

27 responses to “Playing with Herbs…….

  1. I’m putting the ingredients for that salve on my shopping list!

  2. rosemary

    i love this, autumn!! thanks for posting in such vivid, beautiful detail. 🙂

  3. Dragonfly

    As always, a wealth of wonderful information! I look forward to making the salve as well. Now, I have two questions – one is that we can’t work with alcohol; any suggestions for making tinctures with something else? Also, I have some essential oils that I’ve had for years. How long are they good for? Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your grandson!
    Bright Blessings, Dragonfly

    • Hello Dragonfly,
      Thank you so much! Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar instead of alcohol. Should turn out just as well. As far as the essential oils. They have a very long shelf life depending on what oil it is. In general for me, if its kept in a constant temp..doesnt’ have the sun shining on it…and still have a good strong smell..they are probably fine.
      Let me know if you make it and like it!
      Love and Hugs, Autumn

  4. Zoe T

    Hi Autumn!

    What a wonderful post! I am in love with herbs, and trying ‘again’ this year to grow some (normally I fail every year, lol – my lavender seems to grow as grass!). I would soooooo love to be able to grow my herbs, harvest and then use them in both medicinal and also magickal. So I am going to copy down your antiseptic salve and have a go! Maybe this is my year of ‘growth’!

    Have a beautiful day!
    Hugs!
    Zoe
    xXx

    • Hi Zoe my friend!
      I LOVE growing my herbs! I have had great luck growing them in pots on my patio…better luck that way then in the ground. I think it IS a year of growth 🙂 Half of growth is just he desire to do so 🙂 Let me know if you like the salve and how it turns out!
      Hugs! Autumn

      • Zoe T

        Hi Autumn!
        I have one fresh batch of the salve and it was not only fun to make, but smells devine! I do have one question though…is it meant to be hard? I was expecting it to be like a jelly, waxy sort of cream type wax. Mine looks just like yours, but it’s hard. If I scrape my nail into it, it comes up easy so no problems there but just rubbing my finger across the top I just get a waxy wet looking finger :o)

        Saying that though…it has been made into a page in my BOS…LOVE it. Thank you for sharing this!

        Have a beautiful day!
        Hugs!
        xXx

      • Hi Zoe! Good for you making up a batch. The salve should not be that hard but it happens. You can actually just remelt it and add more oil…you just have a little too much beeswax in it. I was just checking mine..it is a bit harder on the surface but when I push my finger in it is is soft…I actually think we could have used a little bit less beeswax too 🙂 But again, easy to fix!
        It smells delicious doesnt it 🙂
        Hugs and Love, Autumn

  5. Deb

    First congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your grandson!
    I would love t join you in this journey. I have just started an online course with Ellen Duncan. An I am really enjoying it. Looking forward the snow being gone and working outside again. Panting my herb garden this year with many of my favorites. I came across a recipe that I would like to try but like many others is calls for beeswax. I have friends that are allergic to bees and can’ t use anything with beeswax in it. Is there a substitute you can use in place of the beeswax?
    Thank you for sharing
    Many Blessings
    Deb

    • Hi Deb..thats so weird..I left an answer here for you a couple of days ago but its not here….so I’ll try again! LOL…You can use Soy wax instead of beeswax. you may have to adjust how much of it you use..I don’t know if soy sets up the same as beeswax..so start out with a smaller amount..you can always add more. To test it..just drop a bit on a plate and let it cool for a few seconds…see if you like the texture. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!
      Blessings, Autumn

      • Deb

        I thought I might be able to use the soy wax as a substitute but wasn’t quite sure. Thank-you for getting back to me… I will be sure to let you know how it comes out.

      • Hi Deb….Oh I’m glad you saw my response. and Yes! Let me know when you make it how it works out!
        Hugs, Autumn

  6. marti johnson

    MM Autumn,
    I would be interested in an online course (if it wasn’t too expensive). Could you tell me what course you’re taking. I, too, am “up for the journey”. I’ve been using herbs for years, but would enjoy brewing the magick myself for even better healing. Congrats on becoming a Grandma. Currently, I only have “grandkitties”. I really enjoyed your post.

  7. Hi Marti

    Sorry I havent’ answered this…I had a bit of a mix up on my responses! The class I’m taking right now is from Sacred Mists….a basic beginner course and not that cheap..but not as expensive as I’ve seen. I’ll let you know what I think along the way here on my blog. I also signed up a while back for a Susun Weed course..she is supposed to be the best! But I’ll be honest and say that you can get all the info in the class from her books and online videos…There is also HerbMentor.com or LearningHerbs.com…classes from Mountain Rose Herbs which also has alot of videos on youtube which I most definitely recommend.
    Hope that helps! Good luck and let me know what you do!
    Blessed Be, Autumn

  8. irish claddagh

    Oh what a teacher you are Autumn….you inspire so richly for anyone with a green thumb to go and try this….your awesome, please keep up the fabulous work, I find it so much fun and relaxing to read your blogs, and following you on your amazing journey of discovery…..thank you most of all for your generosity in wanting to share your knowledge with others. Have a great day, dabbing, puttering and having fun along the way. 😉

    • Thanks so much Irish for all the kind words…I always wish I had had some help on my path and so I love thinking that I’m helping others. Its a beautiful path we are all on my friend!
      Hugs and Love, Autumn

  9. Kathryn

    I love this Autumn…..and I am having so much fun learning about and making herbal lotions and potions with you!! It is so gratifying and you have the benefit of knowing exactly what is going into your body or on your skin! I have still have to pick up a few more herb books, they are a wealth of knowledge and expertise for sure. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us!! Love Mossie )0(

    • Hi Mossie! I’m having fun learning with you too my friend! It is so rewarding and it feels great to be using what Mother Earth has given us to use! 🙂
      I look forward to all of our learning!!
      Love you my friend!

  10. Springbreeze

    Your blog is so wonderful! I’m a new witch, and starting to dabble in herbology now that spring is here! I’ve learned so much on here, thank you. 🙂

    Blessed be!
    Spring

    • Merry Meet Spring! Thank you for the compliment and welcome to a wonderful path! If I can do anything to help, please let me know. Herbology is a wonderful place to start! By the way, you are my 80th subscriber! thanks so much!
      Blessed Be, Autumn

  11. Hello Autumn and everyone here!
    I love this post!
    You are doing what I am doing but one step ahead of me. I’m just learning and I received your post yesterday, right after I came home from my local natural food/ingredient store and had bought about 30 herbs to make my ritual herb kits. I love the idea of making tinctures, potions and lotions!

    I have psoriasis and came up with a healing oil which is how I got started on this path. It is much like your salve but I’ve also added Roman Chamomile and lavender with a base of avocado oil instead of the beeswax, so it is more like an oil than a creamy base. But I adore using it. It’s both soothing and smells yummy. We’re so on the same page!

    Can you tell us what the online course is? I’d also like to know more. In the meantime, I love how you include how to do it, how to store it and use it. Now I will make you some custom labels. Tell me what you want on them, go to my website and choose your design. Get there by going to BlackCatTreasures.com, choose any of the short cuts, go to Halloween and the Broom Closet, then go to Pan Pipe Printed Labels and choose your design and what you want printed on them.

    This is a gift because what you offer is a gift to me and to everyone here and I so appreciate what you do and love reading your blog. My way to pay it forward a little! :0)

    Ilene

    • Hello sweet Ilene… I love your comment for more then one reason my friend! I love that you are using a homemade salve to help you with your psoriasis…that is so great! and I would love to try it! Don’t you just love that feeling of pulling out a jar or bottle of something all natural ..that you made yourself..and it works even better then the the stuff you buy at the store? I do! 🙂
      I am so touched by your offer…I looked at your page but missed that you do labels…I have been looking for special labels and haven’t had much luck! I’m going to go look right now and I’ll email you my friend…you are so generous to offer that….
      Would it be ok if I link Black Cat Treasures to my blog here…as favorite pages? I’d love to do that.
      Thank you so much for your positivity and your kindness. We are indeed kindred spirits!
      Much love, Autumn

  12. Lady M

    Thank you so much for the info, Autumn. (It’s Marti, but from now on I will post as Lady M…my Blackhatter name). I looked at Sacred Mists…I may go with that. It looks very interesting. I have some knowledge of herbs from working for awhile in a health food store, but I’m really interested in creating my own potions and brews. I’m also going to check out your book list. I have all of Susun Weed’s books. (I’ve had ’em for years). I do agree with your advice to do a container garden with herbs. Some just grow like crazy and others need coaxing (German chamomile for one). I will let you know where I finally end up as far as the online studies go. Maybe we’ll be classmates. :-D. I truly love your blog and have been reading all the posts…I’ve been crocheting for years and knitting for a few…and enjoyed reading about blankets for hospice. Wonderful idea. Blessed Be.

  13. Emily

    Hello Autumn!

    Another great book on the subject is The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. It is full of wonderful information on the medicinal uses for herbs and is loaded with pictures and instructions. Also, I noticed you were from Ohio, so I was wondering where you go for supplies? I live in the Columbus area and have a few spots I go, but I do love options. :} If you know any good online sites, that would be helpful too!
    Thanks for posting your thoughts too….your blog has become a favorite of mine!

    Much light and laughter, Emily

    • Hi Emily…I have a local herb shoppe called No Common Scents ..located in Yellow Springs. My local health food store is also a good place to pick up some supplies. I have ordered herbs from Bayou Witch Incense online, Mountain Rose Herbs online, and I get bottles and jars etc from Bottles and More or Specialty bottle or again Mountain Rose Herbs. Don’t forget that dollar stores and thrift shops are great places for the jars and bottles as well.
      Hope that helps…there is a plethora of great herb shops online…Green eyed Owl in another good one online.
      We are very close in miles…that is nice to know 🙂
      Blessings, Autumn

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