So I've always had an interest in wild plants and natural medicines. Lately I've been doing some research into making tinctures, infusions and salves for personal use and wondering if anyone else has experience with this?
My personal experience with using plants medicinally is with jewelweed for poison ivy (works on a minor rash, not so well on extreme cases) and comfrey (used as a poultice on my leg which was itchy and swollen after potting plants one day. The comfrey did decrease the swelling enough to see that I had hundreds of tiny bites (ants perhaps). I am a poison ivy and mosquito magnet! I don't want to slather my body or my child's in chemical bug repellent especially after seeing how a spilled bottle literally ate into a hard plastic cargo liner in my last vehicle.
Post by SpringRain on May 15, 2021 12:37:05 GMT -5
emmsmommy , your questions and insights are intriguing. I can't recall any plants or herbs I've used other than for food or decoration, other than inhalation of sage vapors for bad sinus infections. But I do recall that my father used home remedies his grandmother taught him. Unfortunately, I don't remember for sure what they were. That's a good excuse to buy a book on that topic the next time I'm wandering around a bookstore, or when Dover Publications has another sale.
I do buy salves from a woman who's created a thriving business making natural remedies. I've bought her muscle salve and lip balms as well as various other salves for 2 decades now. She's created a phenomenal body butter with exotic oriental fragrance, but d'c'ed it when it was no longer possible to obtain only organic ingredients. Another herbalist makes a face cream of frankincense & myrrh, and a very soothing lotion with mint. The fragrance alone is enough to cure whatever ails me.
Did you experiment on your own or did you rely on any specific books as guidance?
SpringRain, it's a bit experimentation, a bit of what I remember my grandparents talking about and a bit of research on my own. I guess it started with my introduction to the Foxfire books and expanded from there. I do recall my a story my grandma and great grandma used to tell about skunk grease. It was a decongestant of sorts and after rubbing on her youngest daughter's chest, she had difficulty breathing and granny never again used it, much to the other children's delight. My personal experience other than what I mentioned in the prior post is just with teas and greens from herbs and wild plants. I do however want to expand my knowledge and experience.
Post by SpringRain on May 16, 2021 11:03:20 GMT -5
emmsmommy, interesting that you mention the Foxfire books. I bought them years ago and still have them, but it's been years since I've read them. That kind of valuable literature and information is such a welcome treat to the "buy this, buy that!" pressure that pervades media.
Have you read We Like it Wild, by Bradford Angier? It's another book I bought decades ago, and hopefully still have someplace in my book collections.
Post by desertwoman on May 16, 2021 11:34:51 GMT -5
I have the Foxfire books, as well! It's been a while since I've opened them but the info seems imbedded in my brain- at least the parts that made sense to me back when. This could be for good reading next winter - to see what strikes me now as important info.
Another interesting and impactful book I read circa 1990 was Secrets of the Soil by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. It stressed the benefits of traditional agriculture that understands the soil is an organism with terrestrial, cosmic and spiritual energies.
Northern New Mexico Zone 6b (formerly Zone 5) Posting since 2005
desertwoman, SpringRain, In my opinion the first three Foxfire books will always have a place on my bookshelf. That's not to say the subsequent volumes aren't invaluable too, but the first ones are my favorites. I've always dreamed of being a bit of a pioneer from an early age, building a cabin and living off the land. Those books not only detailed how Appalachian people lived but also fueled many conversations between my grandma and me. I especially liked the way the dialog was written to reflect the way people actually talked as I grew up hearing that vernacular as well.
I know I've read Angier's How to Stay Alive in the Woods and Wilderness Wife but none of his other work except maybe a field guide. I'll have to check out Secrets of the Soil too.
Post by Wheelgarden on May 16, 2021 21:24:39 GMT -5
I make an alcohol-based tincture of lemongrass or lemon balm to repel mosquitos and ticks. Used to decoct rosemary for focus when I was in college and later when I was racing for the same reason. Still do occasionally.
"Adopt the pace of Nature: Her secret is patience." --- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wheelgarden, How do you use your tincture? I was considering a balm or salve using lemon scented plants for mosquitoes and ticks, but never really thought about a tincture for the purpose. Are you using grain alcohol or something around 80-100 proof?
I use cedar essential oil for flea and tick repellent...smells nice too a couple drops in alcohol..and spray it on my clothes. I crush a plantain leaf and rub the itchy spots from gnats and mosquitoes.
Oh jeewizzz...today I removed poison ivy vines from underneath my 28 y old Japanese maple tree. I was covered from head to toe w double rubber gloves and handle plastic shopping bags that I use over my needle nose pliers that I use to pull the vines out. I had a 40# empty bag of dog food that I filled and then tossed along w the disposable bags and gloves and washed down w dawn...here’s hoping no itching and blisters follow.
No itching! Thank you. I hate the stuff. I have it down to a science...when I was in 7th grade a neighbor burned leaves with the vines In it....I had it in places where the sun Doesn’t shine...it was terrible...I missed 3 weeks. Of school...and I’m also very careful with that Virginia creeper vine...I haven’t had a problem w it so far but I’m finding more and more of it every year.