Here I am writing from my dream shop and I have a dream-wall of herbs to the right of me exactly as I imagined them, plus more on the way! I have a few regulars who come and buy herbs for healing at home. These well-researched visitors don't think beyond tea, so store visitors without herb-knowledge are completely clueless. I didn't realize building my "wall" would result in constantly hearing, "So what is all that, is that tea? What do you do with those? What is this place?! Are you a witch?!"
Tea?! No, my children! Use your...IMAGINATION!
There's an astounding array of ways to use your powdered and loose-leaf herbs! More than I learned after 2 years getting certified on clinical herbalism and from a lifetime of tinkering with them! I'll be experimenting with ways to use them for a lifetime, but here are my favorite ways to use your herbs as plant medicine (and fun!) as of now: (Listen to this as you read!)
1. Powdered: grind, stir 1/2 tsp (to start) into water & drink
2. Syrup: Cook into syrup, cold/cough fighter + supplement
3. Tea Blend: Get creative and mix and match for flavor profile & medicinal benefit
4. Spice Blend: Powdered or not, again, mix & match for a blend that heals and flavors beautifully
5. Fermented: Ferment an herbal tea blend for a probiotic & healing herb boost
6. Edible Herb Oil: Infuse herb into oil for flavor and internal healing
7. Electuary: Stuff your local honey with herbs, the constituents go into the honey, take as needed
8. Herbal Vinegar: Stuff your vinegar with herbs and use for a daily health boost
9. Bitters: Herb infused alcohol. Flavor drinks/coffees + as medicine. Mine are a best-seller.
10. Soup Mix: use herbs as your base for a soup mix, yummy and healing.
11. Root Beer: Root beer was originally made from sarsaparilla to heal tummy troubles. Play and make different fun blends that heal with herb roots and parts!
Just some of my herbs are on Etsy, I'm adding more to Etsy and my local shop all the time.
12. Poultice: A maceration of herb applied directly to a wound to heal or pull out poison
13. Face Scrub: Make a blend that's skin-healing, rub it on yo face!
14. Face Mask: Mix a blend with a mud mask
15. Herb Oil: Infuse your herb in oil, the oil absorbs the constituents, put the oil on the skin for healing
16. Lotion: Use the herb oil in your lotion recipe for extra skin-healing lotion
17. Hydrosol: Collecting the herb vapor, higher level stuff, but the result is very healing herb water
Wound Healing & Medicine
18. Salves / Balms: Infuse your herb into your oil, blend with wax to make your salve or balm
19. Tincture: Infuse your herbs in a base of alcohol, glycerine or vinegar, take by dropper as needed
20. Pills: Grind your herbs and put inside capsules
21. Bath Salts: Add herbs to epsom salts (calming) you absorb the constituents through your skin!
22. Decoction: When you boil rather than gently infused your "tea" blend, reserved for the tougher plant parks like barks and roots
My joke with customers is that they can take red pill with me and see how deep the rabbit hole goes by signing up for my classes. You can add essential oils to these mixes to compound them, combine the methods to make new substances, there's so much you can do with herbs! As evidenced by my serial career and hobby hopping I'm a creative busy-brain that thrives needs new stimuli and creativity to thrive and in this career I have boundless ways to play with plants to make beautiful healing goodies. Add that left-brain research to the right-brain label and packaging design aspect and my mind is happily and well-fed.
Playing with herbs can be a hobby, a way to keep your family healthy, a way to restore your health and energy, whatever you want it to be. And it's a hell of a lot more than just tea! I hope you'll take the red pill with me as I share tips and tricks on how to use the over the coming months.