Many of you know that I love the herbalist, Dr. Richard Schulze. You can go to his website by clicking on the left hand sidebar link "Dr. Schulze". I truly believe his products are THE best, because for one he is not in the business for money. He genuinely wants to helps us get healthier. Two, he personally chooses the herbs he puts into his stuff, it's all organic and wild harvested, and he stuffs as much herbs as he can into his vats when make tinctures. Great guy!
However, that being said, his products are rather expensive when buying for a bigger than normal family. (yes, I will have 4 kids soon which is bigger than normal) So I've been looking into making my own stuff. I've wanted to do this forever, but for some reason never found time to do it. But now that I've been researching it for a few years I am ready to take the plunge. Great timing huh? Not like I don't have a million things going on right now or anything. But, honestly, it doesn't appear to be that time consuming.
What I want to make are herbal tinctures, which are generally alcohol based, and some ointments/salves. I want to make an immune boosting tincture, a calming/stress busting one, a salve for bug bites/stings, a healing ointment for after surgery and ointment for diaper rash. Plus, I want to have several blends of herbs on hand for making teas.
What I have learned: the best herbs for immune boosting are echinacea tops and roots, elderberries, cayenne peppers and garlic. Ginger, thyme and a few others certainly fit in there too. A high quality echinacea tincture will cost about $30, whereas I could make a gallon of it for that price by making my own! We also like to use a product called Sambucol, or immune boosting syrup made from elderberries. For one 4 oz bottle you pay at least $10. With 4 kids, that doesn't last long. So I can buy a pound of dried berries and make my own, at least a quart of it for about $10.
So what all is involved here? Well, with a tincture, you basically fill a jar half full of dried herbs, cover with 80 proof alcohol and allow to sit for several weeks. You can put it in the sun, or even do it in a crockpot in just a few days. When the time is up you strain out the herbs, cap it and store it in a dark cool place. Hard huh? When you need to take it, you start out with 1/2 t per hour for adults, a few drops for kids.
With the berry syrup, you just boil the berries in water for an hour, add honey and a tablespoon of brandy for perservation and there ya go. Not hard at all. I am still learning about making salves and ointments, but for the most part you just heat the oil, add herbs and allow to steep, then strain the herbs out and pour the oil into a jar where it will harden up. (you can use beeswax, coconut oil or even vaseline!)
I am still learning, and haven't figured it all out yet. For more information visit www.bulkherbstore.com, www.thefamilyhomestead.com or www.fromfieldsandgardens.com