In the often very confusing world of herbalism there are many ways to extract or process herbs to be able to be used by the human body. It is my job as an herbalist to provide you with the knowledge to use the herbs safely but to find the best method as to which your body will use the plant. Below is a brief description of a method of how I would process or formulate a product, common uses, & general safety concerns (if any at all).
Infused Oils & Roll Ons
The method of infusing is that of merely soaking fresh or dried plant matter into a liquid. Some of our products that are infused are our Massage Oils & Rollers. These are blends made with sunflower oil, glycerin, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, & vinegar. These types of products are rubbed or rolled onto the skin and never used as food or taken internally. The plants that have been infused into the product are absorbed into the body and they go to work.
Our teas are blended with herbs, berries, barks & roots from our properties & trusted suppliers. Teas are often a great start for people who are a little cautious about herbs. Teas can be a great way to introduce herbs into your body. Teas are weak infusions with water. Depending on the tea you may be asked to place a lid on it while brewing & length of brew time can range from 5 mins to 20 mins. This allows for the properties of the plants to move from the plant into the water so that you can enjoy them. Teas can also be used externally as baths & rinses. Teas that are made for this purpose are often very strong and should not be consumed. Teas that are made to be diluted or used in an external manner can be called Decoctions or Concentrates.
Powders & Poultices
Powders and poultices are blends that can be used in many forms. They can be a single plant or a combination. What is the difference between a powder and a poultice? A poultice is a ground but not always a powdered blend. A powder is almost like flour or really fine grain dirt. Poultices are applied between layers of cloth and skin till dried. Powders are made into pills, capsules, masks, and additives for foods. It is these two forms that people are used to in modern medicine & spa like settings. This form of herbal delivery can be very dangerous if you are not working with a professional. This method is often used to deliver bitter, un-pleasant tasting herbs, or plants that process better in our stomach acid into the body.
Fresh & Dried Herbs
The fresher the better! Yes it still is the truth. This is the least processed part of herbalism. There is nothing I love more than the smell of dirt as I am working the herb beds. I watch as the baby seedlings grow into beautiful plants. Our fresh herbs are all hand harvested at peak times. Some of our plants are harvested from our wild fields & wooded properties. This method is referred to as wild-crafting. These fresh harvested herbs are sold in bundles at our local farmers market. When they are sold they are dried in the manner the best preserves the plants useful properties. This is either done in our dehydrator or strung from our drying racks. When they plants are dried they are broken down into the largest but storable pieces and placed into glass jars out of direct sunlight. It is a wide know belief that dried herbs have a less of a shelf life if they are not stored or preserved in some other manner.
These products are herbs extracted with the liquid Glycerin, made from a processed coconut oil. The glycerin that I purchase is kosher and organic. Herbs are cold infused using the two week infusion method, then strained off. Dosages can vary from a couple of drops under the tongue to teaspoons. These products are sweet to the taste and preferred by kids. Glycerites can also be a alcohol free blend for someone whom is concerned about the alcohol content. Glycerites have also been reported to diabetic safe. Although I have not personally have explored this statement. Some of the external products have glycerin in them to thicken the product for use. These products tend to be warming to the touch. Glycerin also absorbs water from the air to bring moisture back to an area. Keeping your bottles of glycerite in a sealed container out of a moist environment is a must to keep the potency of the product.
Salves & Balms
Salves and balms are made with local beeswax. Salves and balms are made with our infused oils and sometimes a couple of drops of essential oils & cocoa butter. These are only to be used externally and never on an open wound
Foods in our case are considered to be plants that are eaten fresh, foods that are coated in a herbal blend, edible items that have herbs in them. Herbalism is not only about all the items listed above but including herbs into our daily diet to help support us through everyday life. Ravenwood Gardens example of these might be herb roasted nuts, homemade croutons, or maybe a syrup to add to some carbonated water.
This site is not intended to take the place of any medical advice. No methods at anytime have ever been evaluated by the FDA. Using herbals is a use at your own risk program. As always consult your primary care if you are considering using herbals in your life. Thank you - Ravenwood Gardens