Making your own Remedies is Easy

You may think that making your own remedies is an awful lot of work. After all, you could just pop down to the health food store or pharmacy and pick up an already made product. However, here are a few reasons why you might prefer to make your own.

Fresh is best. You bought the ingredients (maybe you even grew them yourself) and you made the preparation, so you know it is quality and it is fresh.
Home remedies are usually cheaper.
There is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained from making remedies which contribute to the wellbeing of your family and friends.
Home remedies are no more complicated than making tea or cooking a basic meal.
Most kitchens already have all the basic equipment you will need.
Making remedies is fun.

There are a few different methods for making remedies, the major ones are:

Infusions and decoctions which are water-based extractions that can be used as teas, gargles, washes, and syrups.
Tinctures are spirit based extractions using wine, alcohol or vinegar.
Oil Infusions are oil extractions used in making ointments and creams, bath and body oils, liniments and salves.

All these methods require standard equipment which is readily available in most homes. Never use aluminium utensils, as this potentially toxic element is easily absorbed by herbs.

Pots and Pans (Stainless Steel, Enamel or Glass)
Wooden or steel utensils (knives and spatulas)
Non-metallic Sieves
Muslin or loose weave cotton cloths
Kitchen scales
Mortar and pestle
A selection of jars and bottles, both clear and coloured

A few things to consider before you start making remedies:

Make sure the herb you have is the herb you want – This site deals mainly with Western Herbal Medicine and since we are based in Australia it is highly unlikely you will pop out into the woods to wildcraft your own herbs. Wildcrafting is a term you may have already come across, it means collecting plants in the wild. But just in case you are one of our readers who has the opportunity to collect their herbs in the wild it is essential that you are able to identify the plants correctly. If there is any doubt at all leave it where it is. Many times poisoning has occurred due to the misidentification of plants. Better safe than sorry. Also, when collecting in the wild you should be aware of chemicals that have been used in the area which may have settled on your plants. Lastly, please leave endangered species alone. We are trying to preserve the old ways not extinguish the natural resources necessary to do so.

Make sure everything is clean – Sterilize all utensils. You can boil some for 15 minutes or you can sterilize in the oven. Also handy is the Milton method, like for baby’s bottles. All you do is keep the equipment in the sterilizing liquid for 30 mins, then rinse with boiled water. It is important to maintain hygiene to prevent the remedies, especially creams and syrups, from turning mouldy.

Store preparations correctly – Different preparations have different life expectancies before they lose their medicinal properties. Infusions should be made fresh every day. Decoctions can be kept up to 48 hours in the fridge. Tinctures, syrups and essential oils can last for months and even years if stored in dark glass bottles and kept in a cool place away from the sunlight. Ointments, creams and capsules are best kept in dark glass jars, but you can use plastic containers. Sometimes fresh creams need to be stored in the fridge if you wish them to last a longer.

You can see that making your own remedies really is no trouble at all. Now you are on your way to sharing the Herbology passion……..