Weaving Together the Patterns of Herbs: Using Materia Medica to its Fullest Potential

Home herbalism is who we are and how our families work, healing practiced around the kitchen table around the world and across the centuries. Thank the Good Green Earth that home herbalism happens as a reflex, intuition built on a foundation of herbal fluency that allows us to live as herbalists in every moment. Let … Continue reading Weaving Together the Patterns of Herbs: Using Materia Medica to its Fullest Potential

The Art of Formulation

Learning to create simple, effective formulas that do what they’re supposed to do, don’t do anything undesirable, and don’t taste like rotting death can sometimes be a challenge to the budding herbalist. As we tinker and putter and blend our way down the winding path to gaining experience, this can be one of the major … Continue reading The Art of Formulation

Critical Thinking for Contraindications

Contraindications are situations where an herb is not indicated, either because of a potential interaction or a potential bad outcome. Contraindications can seem scary or overwhelming for the home herbalist, since the stakes are high and the rules unclear, especially with complex medical conditions, children, and pregnant people. This article presents tools for thinking critically … Continue reading Critical Thinking for Contraindications

Oxymels: Love in the Medicine

Oxymels: Love in the Medicine Oxymels are one of my absolute favorite remedy forms.  There's something about the sweet tang of an oxymel that seems to embody the love and heartfelt good wishes of the medicine maker, as well as the complexities of caring for each other.  They are delicious, versatile, high in a wide … Continue reading Oxymels: Love in the Medicine

Allyship in Herbalism: Ruminations

The Bottom Line is Self-Empowerment We are each the utmost authority on our own health. We are not the utmost authority on someone else’s health. Even when someone is making an unarguably bad choice (quit smoking already) we are not the expert on what’s inside them. We are experts at our practice, and we can … Continue reading Allyship in Herbalism: Ruminations

Thoughts on Family Herbalism

Home herbalism is a way of life as well as being a healing practice. It permeates our lives in myriad ways, far beyond transforming the garden yield into next year’s medicines: turning a chicken carcass into bone broth, tucking a light sleeper in with a lavender pillow, convincing three teenagers to spend Saturday afternoon harvesting … Continue reading Thoughts on Family Herbalism

Principles of Home Herbalism

Instinct and intuition make the art of home herbalism, but they should be rooted in a strong foundation to be successful. Before we dive into formulas and recipes and parenting hacks to get remedies into toddlers, let’s establish a common foundation of principles. Herbal Lineages Home herbalism, and folk medicine in general, is a nonhierarchical … Continue reading Principles of Home Herbalism

Solubility in Medicine Making

Solubility: The Basics Something is soluble if it dissolves in a particular liquid: picture stirring sugar into hot tea (soluble) versus cold water (not). Many plant compounds that we use for medicine have to dissolve in the water/alcohol/honey/oil/etc. for medicine to be a thing. Many plant constituents are polar, meaning they have a positive side … Continue reading Solubility in Medicine Making

Bioregional Herbalism, or “Go Outside”

North America is a big place.  Every region has its own potent medicines that fulfill humans’ biological needs.  Coevolution is a beautiful thing, as is biodiversity.  There is no reason to believe that the newest trendy superherb from South America, India, or anywhere else is going to do something for us that we can’t accomplish … Continue reading Bioregional Herbalism, or “Go Outside”

Making Weight-to-Volume Tinctures

Let's break down the art of tincture making!  Tincture ratios, percents, solubility, and all the rest of it. First, Some Basics Weight-to-volume tinctures are made by carefully considering two aspects of balance: the balance between the weight of the marc and the volume of menstruum, and the balance of alcohol and water in the menstruum. … Continue reading Making Weight-to-Volume Tinctures