Friday, August 7, 2009

Herbal medicine

Interested in herbal medicine-making? Here are some excellent books as well as local resources to help you.

The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook: a home manual by James Green is an excellent book for the layperson. It has detailed instructions on making a variety of things: from infusions to decoctions, hydrosols to flower essences, ointments to salves and lotions to creams, this book has it all. There are step-by-step instructions, including a list of needed equipment. With definitions of botanical terms and historical highlights, this is a must-have for anyone interested in making their own herbal and skin care products.

Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Sharol Tilgner is another good book on medicine-making. While it assumes the reader has some knowledge of herbs, this is more a matter of vocabulary than anything else. Botanical terms occur in abundance; readers without prior herbal education may wish to read with dictionary in hand. Readers with prior herbal education may be frustrated that common names of herbs are the default terms, though the genus species names are included. Whatever the reader's background, the book is helpful and informative.

For those embarking on medicine-making for the first time, hands-on instruction is invaluable. Julie Mitchell, herbalist, is hosting a class at 9:00 AM on August 30th at Eos Botanicals in Monkton. The program will focus on the timely topic of herbal medicines for influenza. There is a small fee for supplies, click the link above for contact information. Purple Shutter Herbs in Winooski also offers classes on medicine-making throughout the year.

If there are things you don't understand, ask clarification from your local herbalist or herb shop. Follow directions, be safe, and enjoy your herbal medicine-making adventures!

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