When I started writing about food it was natural to include my love of herbs into my blog posts, but I didn’t know that much about any of them, really. I knew I needed some education. One day in The Christian Herbal Facebook group someone mentioned LearningHerbs.com, so I immediately went to check it out. And I bought the Herbal Remedy Kit to experiment with making my own home remedies. I’d already been making my own body care products with coconut oil, shea butter, and coriander for a few months because I was tired of putting all those different chemicals in store-bought lotions and deodorants on my skin. I wanted a natural alternative for myself and my family, and it turns out that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s already saved us hundreds of dollars.
My oldest daughter is a very crafty sort of person. She likes to make things like her mommy, so I thought this would be a neat mommy-daughter project. The first thing we made was the Echinacea tincture, because it looked like the easiest project to start out with. The instructions were to take the provided packet of Echinacea, pour it in the little jar that’s provided in the kit, add vodka (or if you’re unable to drink vodka like I am, apple cider vinegar), screw the lid back on, shake it all up, and let it sit for 6-8 weeks shaking daily to prevent the herbs from settling. Our tincture will be ready on June 10th and I can’t wait to try it because I feel like I sure could use a boost to my immune system. It seems like I get a sinus infection every other month – or maybe I just never get rid of them at all and they keep coming back. I hate going to the doctor for recurring sinus infections, because I really don’t want to overuse antibiotics. I thought maybe this would help me heal myself.
Next, we made the herbal salve. This one was a little more complicated. You’re technically supposed to use a double boiler for this, but I don’t have one so I just used a Pyrex bowl inside a non-stick 2-quart saucepan filled about a third of the way with water. I put a half cup of olive oil in the bowl with one cup of coconut oil and added the included package of salve herbs (calendula, comfrey, St. John’s wort, and plantain). Then I heated this over medium heat on the stove top for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
After this came the tricky (and really messy) part. You turn off the heat, and then strain the herbs out of the oil, being sure to press them down to get out all the oil they absorbed. I didn’t have a big kitchen strainer, so I used the cheesecloth bag that was included in the kit – this is actually for the nourishing herbal infusion that I’m going to make next, but I found it worked pretty well for this project too. I just had to wash and dry it really well. You might have to re-strain the oil. I know I did, but two times turned out to be the charm.
Clean out the double boiler and put it back over medium heat. Add the block of beeswax and let it melt (this takes a while – at least 15 minutes). When the wax is melted, pour the oil in and stir until everything liquefies again. At this point, you’re ready to pour the salve into the provided containers and add the lavender essential oil (which is also provided and smells amazing).
Overall, this took me way longer than I thought it would, but it was totally worth it. I put some on the cut my daughter got the next day, and it really seemed to help it heal fast.
Verdict? I’m really enjoying the Herbal Remedy Kit and my daughter’s having fun learning about the different herbs and how to make these things with me. At just over $70 for the kit plus shipping and handling, I think this is a great value for everything it comes with. The salve, for example, made about 10 ounces of product and you don’t use very much at a time, so I know this will last us a long time.
Oh, and as an added bonus, if you order the kit you get $10 off the HerbMentor membership (if you buy the whole year at once), which provides access to a wealth of information about herbs and access to the helpful HerbMentor community. I’m very glad I purchased this kit for myself, and I highly recommend it as a starting point for others interested in learning more about herbs and their many uses.