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 Making Remedies

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Silver Wind
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Posts : 1525
Join date : 2007-07-18
Age : 35
Location : The Mists of Avalon

PostSubject: Making Remedies   Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:02 am

Gathering and Storing

Gather herbs on sunny days and when completely dry. Pick flowers when fully open and aerial parts (parts of plants that are above ground) when flowers begin to show. Harvest roots and bulbs in autumn when the pot is emptied. Dry as much as you can. Fresh herbs can also be kept for a short time in palstic bags in the freezer.

Drying

To store dried herbs for later use, keep in airtight containers away from direct sunlight. Most herbs will keep this way for up to six months. When using dried herbs , remeber to use half the quantity recomended for fresh herbs.

Flowers

1. Pinch off flower heads or use scissors to cut off. Dry unblemsished flower heads at noon when the flowers are fully open.

2. Place the flowers in a clean paper bag. Close the top loosely to protect from dust and tie the end with a length of string or twine.

3. Hang the bag in a warm airy enclosed place untille the flowers have become crisp.

Leaves and Aerial Parts

1. Pick several stalks with fresh leaves. Tie the stalks together. Hand the bunch upside down in a dry airy place out of direct sunlight.

2. When the leaves have dried out and are crisp, strip them off the stalks on to a flat peice of carboard. Crumble up the leaves.

3. Place the leaves in a dark airtight jar and store. Very moist leaves such as comfrey, borage, and plantain are best dried slowly in a warm oven for two hours and then crumbled and stored.

Roots

1. After removed the root from the plant, soak in cold water for about one hour to remove soil and dirt. Scrub clean. Cut through the large roots and trim off excess.

2. Cut into small pieces on a chopping board. Place in a paper bag. Keep in a warm airy place untill throughly dried. Store in an airtight container.

Seed

In autumn seed can be collected for use in herbal remedies and to propogate annuals. Cut off the flower stalk when the seed has formed and is desiccated. To collect the seed, hang the stalks upside down over a tray. Alternatively a paper bag can be tied around the bunch of stalks to catch the seed.

Tea

1. Put fresh sprigs or leaves, or some dried plant mattieral into a teapot and power over boiling water. Let steep for at least 10 mins.

2. Place a tea strainer over a cup to catch the steeped herbs and pour. Strain the rest of the tea.

One cup of infussion

A single cup of tea can be made using a cup and tea strainer.

1. Place the strainer over the cup. Put a teaspoon of dried herbs in the strainer and pour on freshly boiled water to fill the cup. Place a lid over the cup and strainer.

2. Leave the fresh or dried herbs to steep in the cup for about 10 mins then carefully remove the lid and the strainer and the tea is now ready to drink.

Syrup

1. Make a tea with 5oz (150g) herbs and 1 pint (600ml) water. Steep for 20 mins. Strain into a pan, add 1 cup sugar or honey and stir slowly over heat untill srurpy.

Do not use honey in a syrup for babies under one year old.

2. Pour into glass bottles. Use a cork to seal since screw in top bottles can explode if syrup ferments.

Decoction

Extratcting the active constitutes of tough plant mattieral such as roots and bark requires a more vigorus acttion then the gentle infussion that is used for teas. Decoctions should be made fresh on the day of use but can keep for 24 hours.

1. Place chooped roots or back in a saucepan and add cold water. Use two teaspoons of freah or one teaspoon of dried herbs per cup of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 mins. The liquid should reduce by 1/3

2. Strain the decoction through a sieve into a jug. Cover and allow the liquid to cool before drinking. Store any surplus in a cool place to use later that day.

Tincture

Sometimes it is quicker and more conveient to take a spoonful of medience than to make and drink a tear or decoction. Tinctures are made by steeping herbs in alcohol. The alchohol extracts the active constituents of the hers and preserves them for up to 2years. Vodka is the best choice for making tinctures becasue it is tasteless.

1. Put 4oz (125g) dry or 10oz(300g) fresh herbs into a large screw-top jar. Pour over 1 pint 30% proof vodka. Seal the jar.

2. Let steep in a warm place for one month. Shake the jar well every day.

3. After a month strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a jug. Discard or compost the reamains of the herbs.

4. Pour tincture through a funnel into a clean, dark bottle and store untill remedy is needed.

Oils

Cold infused

Flowers and soft parts of herbs can be made into cold infussed oils. These may be used as the bases for ointements or in massage and bath oils.

1. Fill a large screw-top jar with tightly packed flowers or leaves. Pour oveer enought vegitable or olive oil to cover. Screw on the lid and stand on a sunny windowsill for one month. Sake the jar daily.

2. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into a jug. Gather up the residue in the cloth and squeez out remaining oil. Pour the liquid through a funnel into a dark bottle. Storein a cool dark place.

Hot infused

This method of infusing oils is quicker than cold infused oils and more suitable for moist juicy herbs. When making hot infused oil use 1 pint vegitable oil for 8oz of dried herbs. Infused oils cane be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year.

1. Place the herbs and oil in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.

2. Heat very gently for three hours. Strain through a muslin bag.

3. Collect the liquid in a jug and pour into a dark, sterile bottle.

Ointment

Ointements are made with hot or cold infused oils and beeswax, they are good for nourishing the skin and for diaper rash or for strains and sprains.

1. Pour 3 1/2 fl oz. infused oil into a glass bowl. Place over a saucepan of boiling water.

2. Add a 1/2 in square of beeswax and stir the liquid unitll the wax has completely metled.

3. While still warm pour into a dark jar. Leave to set and cool in a dark place. Keep up to a year.

Creams

Creams are an emulsion of water and oil, and easily absorb in the skin. A conveinet way of making a cream is to buy an emulsifying cream from the drugstore and heat the plant mattieral into it.

1. Melt two tablespoons of cream over low heat. Add two tablespoons dried or fresh herbs. Stir unitll cream takes on the color of the herb.

2. Remove from the heat. Straing through muslin or cheesecloth. Squeez to extract all the liquid before the cream sets.

3. Let cool then use a small palette knife to fill a small dark storage jar. Keep for a year.

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