Sunday, 4 October 2015

Tinctures list updated and talking about power.

Up at the top bar, go have a look-see.

As I make note of on that page, the list doesn't include everything I have macerating in jars on shelves, in cupboards, on windowsills and, well, all over the house. Some aren't quite ready for prime time, I like to try things out before sharing them. Others I have quite small amounts of, perhaps enough to share with one or two, but only by special request.

Of course my goal is to put myself out of business. I want everyone making their own tinctures, oils, ointments, infusions, decoctions and all the rest from plants they grow or gather themselves.

That's why I write from the first person as much as possible. I want readers to feel that they're looking over my shoulder, and think - hey, that looks pretty simple, I can do that! It is simple BUT it is also an education, and that part takes a while. This is why I stress, over and over, that I am not the only voice you should listen to.

Read, read read! Read the modern research and read the old texts too. Compare the two. Talk to people. Join forums. Write to herbalists you find online out of the blue - most of them are very approachable. If you learn something cool, bring it back here and share it in comments. One of my motivations for this blog is that I want to learn as much as I want to teach. Maybe more - yes, definitely more.

People come to do-it-yourself herbal health care by lots of different paths. For some, it is a particular problem that allopathic medicine just can't help them with. For others (like me) it's the black sheep thing - I don't hand my power over to anyone, for anything, unless absolutely necessary.

Whatever the reason, one thing I've found that most of the herbalists, weed-workers, root-doctors and black sheep have in common, be they novice or old hand, is a great deal of generosity. This is a friendly world. We share what we learn and we allow for the individuality of others. Never one size fits all. Rarely rule bound. If you had to lump us all together, I suppose "rugged individualists" might be a fitting description.

It takes courage to take charge of our own lives and this path offers plenty of opportunity to find out just how much of that any one of us has. Can you withstand the frown of your MD as you tell him that the dandelion root tincture you made from your own garden did more for your bad stomach than his Rx did? If not, this path is not for you. Or maybe it is, after all you don't have to tell him.

I've heard the venerable Susun Weed say that even those among us with the biggest health challenges can still be considered healthy. It's an interesting take; if we still have life in us, we still have some degree of health. Our bodies (and minds) strive for it, we're designed for it. The medical paradigm believes otherwise, that we're delicate things in need of constant monitoring lest something go horribly wrong. Threats lurk everywhere. Yet as we learn more about things like the microbiome, the eco-system within, we begin to see that it's a matter of harmony. Almost any microbe can become pathogenic but in its niche we probably need it.

I like plants because they restore harmony within the body. Whether we're using them as food or medicine our body's systems recognize what plants offer and know how to use it without our brains having to figure it out. The human body, like everything else in nature, knows far more about itself and its needs than our research has or ever will uncover. I don't discount modern research but I don't entirely trust it either, as more of what we thought to be useful medicines or protocols turn out to be harmful. I'm good with several hundred years of anecdotal evidence. If you're not, that's okay. That's the beauty of this - we each find our own sweet spot.

Nor is it about faith. Modern medical practice (and much of what passes for herbalism, ie naturopaths fall into this category) is pretty much faith based - we have faith in the doctors, the studies, the tests. We're asked to keep taking meds (or doing cleanses) even as they make us feel like crap and often against our own better judgement. When it's me and a plant, it's about the down & dirty. Does it work for me? Do I feel better? It's not faith, it's judgement. My judgement.

That gives me the power of decision making. I can tell with my senses whether this or that is working for me. I often make my choices based on hunches, a 6th sense of sorts; you don't have to. But you can, it's your decision.

Am I in perfect health? ha! Yes, no and I don't know. I've overcome some real hurdles and I expect more because, well, that's life and I ain't getting any younger. Yet I'm in better health than I would have expected to be if I'd stayed in the medical paradigm.

Herbal medicines are a support to health, not a crutch. I use them to avert situations that could eventually require pharmaceuticals. When we take back our power, become responsible for ourselves, we just pay attention to our bodies more. We know when an infection is coming on and act before it becomes critical. We can sense when we need movement or stillness, when we need more food or less.

That's probably the most important part of it, you know, the way this path gives us back to ourselves.

It's not for the timid. But if you were the timid type, I doubt you'd be reading this blog.


  1. I became interested in tinctures and oils with the guidance and wisdom of Wildcucumber. I had been making my own fermented foods and now a whole new world opened up.

    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and am not using any medication. I had when first diagnosed. I still suffer from aches in my joints and most likely my wrist have been somewhat compromised. Lately it has been the bottom of my feet.

    This past summer I started searching for some nettle plants. I was successful but it took some doing. Yes, I do sting myself! Sometimes a few welts will appear and sometimes nothing. Upon stinging oneself, it's a bit of a shock to the system but that passes quickly. Then there is a sensation of movement under your skin where you have stung yourself. It's an interesting feeling. I have tried it on the bottom of my feet but the nettles don't seem to penetrate the toughness.

    Recently I made my own nettle oil. It does not have the same effect as stinging oneself. It is more of a warmth. I have only been using it for roughly 10 days. It seems to help somewhat. Right now what I have used, is a 6 week oil. I have left the other portion of oil in the jar to keep procuring to see if it has a different effect.

    My next tincture is hot pepper. I am hoping it will help with circulation as I am cold nature and also with Vitamin C for colds. I take it about 4x a day. Love the warmth and hotness at the back of throat.

    Next week or so I will come back to report on the violet tincture I am waiting on.

    1. Navillus, thank you for this! I've made nettle oil but never had occasion to use it, (that happens a lot around here ) so this is really interesting. So is the hot pepper.

      This is exactly what I want from this blog, to turn people on and see what they come up with on their own.