Herbal Medicine Making: I’ve Got the Rhythm in Me!

Posted on October 10, 2012. Filed under: Urban Herbalism | Tags: , , |

I awoke the other night enveloped in the grip of the season’s cold.  Cold enough to break out the blankets and contemplate the heater, as I did I decided it was now time to harvest the Skullcap and Basil plants I have growing on my window seat in my bedroom (but first I went back to sleep because I’m a crazy Herbalist but not a get up at 3 AM to make herbal medicine crazy herbalist!)  From that I decided to give a quirky little run through of a typical medicine making for me.

After I thank the plants for their gift and have removed what I need, I usually lay them out to wilt a bit on some paper bags in my room safely away from the cats:

Basil and Skullcap Freshly Harvest (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

While that happens I try to decide what I want to make.

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is my favorite Nervine and one of my favorite herbs.  Somehow the Turtles song Happy Together” (Youtube video) goes through my head when I think of it.  (Someday I’ll do a blog post about it to the tune of that song perhaps with some photos of Skullcap and I frolicking, but back to THIS post…)  Skullcap is one of the more polite mint families members was very “Oh, I’d like to be tincture.  Please and Thank you.”  Which is just right.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a tougher member of the Mint family and had a bit of tone of “Screw that! I want to be a Glycerite.” For some reason when I grow Basil it always swears like a sailor.  But as usual with our plant friends, it was so right.

I have a little altar I use for meditation which I re-arrange a bit for medicine making experiments.

Altar for Medicine Making (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

And I leave some of my favorite statues there in support (Thanks Ganesha, Healing Buddha and Tara!)

Next I like to do something to enliven my spirits while I work.   In my case, I love putting on some music and often dancing a bit while I work.   And I’m not remotely ashamed to say I made the Basil Glycerite (using about 3 parts glycerin and 1 part filtered water) I was cranking some Electric Light Orchestra, while for the Skullcap Tincture (using about 5 parts organic cane alcohol, 4 parts filtered water and 1 part glycerin – which is the menstruum blend I’ve been playing with lately) it was the Four Tops!

Medicine Magic Begins (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

I put the wax paper between the lids and menstruum both because of evaporation potentially rusting the lid parts and BPA protection.

Mind you, I also made a bunch of bark tinctures since I was on a roll including White Oak, White Willow, Jamaican Dogwood and Wild Cherry.   So I have a nice kitchen cabinet of them along side some infused honeys in process.

And then I speak with and check them daily (which I talked about before.)  And even though I check them regularly, I like to enter in a special google calendar when I made them and set up some reminders about the appropriate time.   I’m a six to eight week medicine maker myself – but some call out for early pressing out while others need to work more.

Does this mean you should be making a music mix tape for medicine making? It’s totally up to you.  For me, the point isn’t the music but working in a joyful and lively way.   Or anything that syncs your intention with what you are making.   I just particularly like music to set mood and up my energy and spirits – and it is more fun to dance to while working.  I do the same thing when I’m cooking, despite the cats shaking their heads as I bop to some Bollywood tune while making dinner…

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2 Responses to “Herbal Medicine Making: I’ve Got the Rhythm in Me!”

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Great to hear how you make your medicines! I agree that dancing and cooking is definitely the biz. We have a radio channel here called Smooth 70’s which get’s turned on with the cooker!

So true isn’t it? I just don’t get people who cook so inattentively and don’t have fun doing it.


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