As I head into my herbal remedies series, I think it’s important to explain some of the basic recipes you can make in herbology. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to do your research and make sure you are using the right ingredients in the correct way.
Herbal tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of the medicinal properties of herbs.
A tincture, using alcohol, will extract volatile oils, acids, and most alkaloids from your herbs, but draws out very little vitamins and minerals, unless water is added.
Glycerin tinctures are very sweet and will dissolve mucilage, vitamins, and minerals of the plant, but will not dissolve the resinous or oily properties of herbs very well.
Vinegar tinctures primarily dissolves alkaloids, and does not draw all the medicinal properties from your herbs, but can be very good for digestion.
A poultice is made of fresh or dried plant material.
A simple example would be a plantain leaf poultice. (I will cover plantain with the herbology and foraging series next Thursday) Simply crush up a bit of a leaf and stick the pulpy mass on the affected area.
Be sure to remove the old and add a new one every once in a while. The toxins will pull into your poultice and you don’t want them to continue to irritate your skin.
A very elementary way to create a poultice is to chew up the herbs and apply it directly to the would, then cover with fabric or solid leaf as a bandage.
Next week I’ll cover the differences between balms and salves.