Medicine comes in many forms- the hug of a loved one, a clove of garlic, some poigniant critique, an experience that moves you… I am invested in the project of offering medicine, of creating tools. And the most important part is that they are tools that you can use for your own healing, they are not the only ones, and I am not healing you. Weather we are working closely or not any healing that happens is of your own doing. My role is in facilitating, maybe plant matchmaking, sometimes offering empowering information about your body/ translating the language of our inacessible medical system, and hopefully in supporting you to find more balance and feel more well.
Tea, Washes, Baths
A tincture is an alcohol extract. This is a way I can preserve a plant. One advantage of alcohol extracts is that they are small and portable, making them easy for many to incorporate into their lives.
Extracts that do not include alcohol are typically vinegars, and glycerites as well as oxymels, melitas and syrups. These are appropriate for people who do not do alcohol.
There are three types of oils in the herbal world- fixed oils, infused oils and essential oils.
Fixed oils are oils like olive ad sunflower oil. They are typically plant based, and often cold pressed. These oils are fats, and they are medicine unto themselves. They also are the based for infused oils and a carrier for essential oils.
Infused oils are the product of a plant extraction in a fixed oil. The plant material is submerged in a fixed oil, say rosemary in olive oil, and through time, friction and/ or heat some of the properties of the plant are incorporated into the oil, which is then strained. Infused oils can be used straight or can become other products like salve, cream, and suppository.
Essential oils are actually not true oils, but the ‘volatile oils’ extracted from a plant through distillation, They are actually the small quantity byproduct of hydrosol distillation. Hydrosols are powerful medicine in their own right. This distillation process happens by running steam through plant matter, which picks up some of its properties, especially small compounds that create scent. The steam is condensed into hydrosol. The essential oil is an oily film that sits on top of the hydrosol. It can be left as a part of the hydrosol or separated. It is important to know that this is very concentrated strong medicine. there are major sustainability concerns with many essential oils because the amount of plant matter to produce a drop of oil is very high compared to other kinds of plant medicine- even with hight yielding essential oils.
In most cases they are not safe for internal use. In may cases it is also not safe to use topically. In fact in most cases infused oils are better options. When using essential oils it is important to dilute them. This can be done by adding drops of essential oil to a carrier oil.
DO NOT dilute them with water. Like fixed oils, essential oils do not dissolve in water (think the oil and vinegar in your salad dressing). There is a lot of misinformation by multilevel marketing companies about essential oils right now. it is more important than ever to do your homework and use caution.
Syrups, Oxymels, Melitas, Shrubs and Cordials. The sweeter side of medicine…
Syrups are great kid/picky human/(or frankly) pet medicine because sometimes a spoon full of sugar (or raw honey) really does make the medicine go down. Sometimes they contain alcohol to preserve, but often they do not. Without alcohol they have a shorter shelf life than tinctures and are often refrigerated.
Oxymels- see Vinegars