Herbal Activities at Home

Being an introvert by nature who also loves to garden, staying home is natural for me this time of year.  Still, I know this is a challenging time for many.  As such, I’d like to offer the following fun herbal activities at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start an Herb Garden

At the onset of summer, might I suggest (herb) gardening as a therapeutic option for passing time at home? It’s not too late to start this season, whether it’s in-ground, in pots, or on your windowsill.

I recommend several books by well-respected herbalists to get you started:

herbal activity: home herb garden
Donna’s herb garden 2020
  • Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, Rosemary Gladstar – a beginner’s book that describes basic information for 35 common herbs, including growing habits, harvesting tips, and recipes
  • Grow It Heal It, Christopher Hobbs/Leslie Gardner.  An A-Z tour of herbs – including some less-common medicinals.  I like this book because it’s slightly more advanced in its descriptions of the medicinal properties – providing more depth than Rosemary’s introductory book.
  • Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies, Maria Noel Groves. A fairly new edition, I obtained this directly from Maria at the most recent American Herbalists’ Guild conference. I like it because in addition to herb profiles, it offers several herb plans for ‘themed’ gardens, e.g., Immune & Respiratory, Digestion & Detoxification, etc.
  • Speaking of garden plans, in a previous post I created a ‘Grow Your Own Herbal Pharmacy’ plan that you can review here.

Cook with herbs

Not into gardening but love to cook?

I was excited to hear that my dear friend, herb mentor, and current president of the American Herbalists’ Guild, Bevin Clare, JUST published a new book, Spice Apothecary.

In this practical guide Bevin describes medicinal uses of 19 common and flavorful kitchen spices along with impactful ways of incorporating them into your everyday life and cooking.  Recipes for custom blends are included along with ways of incorporating them into dips, soups, sauces, and more!

Spice Apothecary book cover

Make your own herbal medicine

herbal activity - pressed violet tincture
Home-pressed violet tincture

For the more adventurous folks who want to try their hands at making their own ‘medicine’, The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook by James Green is a must-have.  James clearly and humorously provides detailed instructions for how to make just about any herbal preparation you can dream of: tinctures, salves, oils, vinegars, oxymels (look it up!), and more.

A wonderful recipe book for the more experienced that provides recipes for how to make tinctures from a multitude of herbs is Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech.  This is my ‘go-to’ for the best herb/liquid ratios to ensure a potent extraction that pulls out the maximum health benefits.  As you can see by the photo above, you don’t need fancy equipment to press a tincture.  In a pinch, ratcheting vise grips can do the trick!

It’s great fun to make medicine from herbs you grow yourself, but if you don’t have that green thumb I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for a broad selection of high quality dried herbs.

Home Herbal Self-Care

I hope I’ve inspired you to try some of these herbal activities at home.  With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased interest in self-care with herbs.  Herb companies are being overwhelmed with orders, particularly for immune-supportive and stress-relieving products.

Unfortunately, there are also numerous, questionable herbal ‘cures’ being marketed to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty of this disease.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to do business only with reputable companies and professionals to ensure personal safety at all times.

As your Registered Herbalist, I would like to direct you to my consultation services designed to help you through these unprecedented times.  Please review my Services for a range of virtual appointment options to meet your specific needs or Contact me directly.

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