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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tutorial - How to make Herbal Remedies

How to Make Herbal Oil
To make a herbal oil, harvest the fresh plant material. Chop coarsly and lightly stuff in a jar until full.
Dried herbs can also be used if fresh is not available.

Cover with extra virgin olive oil ( organic if possible). Using a chopstick, poke the herb/oil mixture to get rid of any air bubbles and to push all the herb down so it is completely covered by the oil. It is important that none of the herb is exposed to the air as it can rot and grow mold.

Cover the jar top with a piece of paper towel and using a sealing ring or an elastic band to hold the paper towel on. Every day for a week or so, uncover the jar and stir and poke down the herb.

Leave to soak in the oil for another five weeks, keeping it out of direct sunlight.

After the six weeks of soaking , strain the herb through cheesecloth to decant the oil and store in a sealed jar. If the smell of the olive oil is too strong for you, you can store the oil with paper towel as a lid until the smell disapates, then cover it with a lid.

How to Make a Herbal Salve
It is very easy to make your own salves. Start with 8 ounces of an herbal oil and place in a non-metal pan. I use a glass double boiler. Add about 1/4 cup of beeswax. Heat over a very low heat until the beeswax is melted. ( do not boil!! Use a very low heat) To check the firmness of your salve, place a few drops on a plate and place in the freezer. After a minute or two, check the consistency. If it is too soft, add more beeswax; if too hard, add more oil. When you have achieved the desired consistency, pour into clean, glass jars and cool completely. Stored in a cool, dark place, your salves should keep for a couple of years but is best replaced the following year with a fresh batch from your new crop.
How to make a Poultice
Harvest the fresh herb you will be using and chop coarsly. Fill a blender 3/4's full and cover the plant material with water. Blend until it's completely mushy. Put the mixture into a bowl and add flour a handful at a time until the mixture has thickened enough to stay in place when put on the material.

Using an old sheet or cloth, put about one cup of the mixture into the middle of a piece of sheet. Fold over the sides, then fold over the ends to completely contain the poltice. Pat down until the poultice starts to seep through the material, then place on the body part needing attention.

You can make more poultices with the leftovers and place them in a sealed baggy with wax paper between each one and place them in the freezer for future use. You can use them cold for burns ect. or add a bit of water to one on a plate and reheat in the microwave.

How to Make Herbal Tinctures
You should plan to start your tinctures on the day of the new moon and let them sit at least 2 weeks until the full moon - this adds a natural drawing power.

Dried or fresh herbs in powdered or finely chopped form.
80 -100 proof vodka or rum (NEVER use rubbing, isopropyl or wood alcohol).
Wide-mouthed glass jars with lids (mason jar or equivalent).
Unbleached cheesecloth or muslin.
Labels and markers.

Pour the amount of herb you desire into the glass jar and slowly pour the alcohol until the herbs are entirely covered. Then add an inch or two of additional liquid.

Seal the jar tightly so that the liquid cannot leak or evaporate. Put the jar in a dark area or inside a paper bag.

Shake the jar every day.

When ready to bottle, pour the tincture through a cheesecloth into another jar or dark colored tincture bottle. Squeeze the saturated herbs, extracting the remaining liquid until no more drips appear.

Close the storage container with a stopper or cap and label.

200 grams dried or 300 grams of fresh herbs (chopped) to one liter of liquid is needed.

Rum helps hide the taste of bitter herbs.

Vinegar or Kosher glycerol can be used to make nonalcoholic tinctures.

Standard dosage is 1 teaspoon, 1-3 times daily, diluted in tea, juice or water. Typically tinctures are taken by the drop (10-20 drops) with an eyedropper and placed under the tongue. Hold the liquid under your tongue for as long as is comfortable, a minute or two is good, then swallow. The medicinal properties of the herb are easily absorbed into the bloodstream sublingually.
Tinctures can last up to two years when stored in a tightly closed container.

A wine press or juicer may be used to extract liquid from the herbs.

Several herbs can be combined into a tincture formula.

Experiment and have fun!

Book Resources:

The Herbal Home Remedy Book: Simple Recipes for Tinctures, Teas, Salves, Tonics, and Syrups (Herbal Body)
The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs

May good health bless you and your family,


  1. Thanks for posting this, I'm going to try some of these.

  2. I'm new to herbal medicine I'm not sure what you do with the oil after it's strained through the cheese cloth? Is this the oil that'll make the salve? Anyway this was an interesting read. Thank you. I'm a new follower. Hope you'll follow me as well. Thanks

  3. Thanks for stopping by to visit. Haupi, the oil is made in advance and then used to make the salves,ointments etc. You could also be making a massage oil with healing properties using herbs such as Arnica for bruising and swelling, or rosemary, eucalyptus etc for increased circulation. Depending on your intended result there are many herbs that would be suitable in a massage oil.


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