Notes from Windward: #68


Herbal Medicine

Monica's first compound

      I am very drawn to herbal medicine, as well as using plants that are already growing in the wild. The ability to heal without going to a doctor and buying medicines is very important to me. Herbal medicine is a key aspect of sustainability. So many plants growing rampant in the wild, requiring no energy or input from us have uses-- edible, medicinal, for dyes-- so why aren't we using them? To be able to harvest without planting, caring for, watering is incredible. Let's partake in nature's abundance!


      Earlier this week, I had the fantastic opportunity to go to the annual Village Building Convergence in Portland, where I attended many free workshops, including one on Herbal Medicine Making. We learned the medicinal properties of many plants, as well as how to make a tincture, oil, salve, infusion, decoction, the list goes on.


      I began the process of making an all purpose salve- its easy! Here is the recipe:

  • Fill jar with fresh Calendula flower, Lemon balm leaves, Comfrey leaves, Lavender flowers, Plantain Leaf, and Arnica flowers.
  • Cover with Olive oil and cap.
  • Place this jar in a sunny windowsill for one day.
  • Move to warm, dark place for two weeks.
  • Strain herbs out with cheesecloth or strainer
  • Pour infused oil in a double boiler.
  • Melt in pieces of beeswax, doing the spoon test periodically (dipping in a spoon, allowing to harden, and see if it is the consistency you are looking for)
  • You may add essential oils for extra scent if you like.
  • Pour into containers
  • Put lids on after an hour and don't forget to label and date!

      This salve is good for cuts, scrapes, stings, dry or chapped skin, burns, and rashes.       Yesterday, through an unfortunate turn of events, I was able to use my newfound knowledge. Orly's foot got twisted on a rock, and possibly sprained. It was painful, and a bit swollen.

      Gina told me that we had wild Arnica growing all over the place. At my workshop I learned that Arnica is an anti-inflammatory for sprains, sore muscles, joints, and bruises. What luck! I went and gathered a basketful of flower heads, mashed them up in our mortar and pestle with a little oil, and applied the mixture to Orly's foot. I covered it with a papertowel and we wrapped it up in an ace bandage. I gathered too many flowerheads, so I have set the rest out to dry for later use. It felt so warm and whole to be able to help a friend heal with something growing right in our backyard.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68