Medicine Making – Summer Recap

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Happy Summer!

Wild Ginger - Asarum canadense


I’ve been working on a few things with my products, and wanted to share with you what my summer harvest has been.

I live in Brooklyn, which means that harvesting requires trips outside of the city.

Here’s a shortlist of what was gathered and made on Tug Hill (Lewis County, NY) this summer:

St. John’s Wort – oil, and honey/oil blend
Goldenrod – oil, and vinegar
Prunella – oil, and dried
Plantain – oil
Chickweed – oil
Red Clover – oil
Ragweed – tincture (folk)
Blue Vervain – tincture (two kinds: brandy at 1:3, vodka at 1:3 – 40%, 50%)
Purple Aster – tincture (vodka at 1:3, 75%)
Tug Hill Sunshine Tincture: St. John’s Wort, Goldenrod, Prunella
Ghost Pipe – tincture (50% 1:2, 1:4)
Agrimony – tincture (50%, folk)
Potentilla – tincture (50%, 1:3)
Lobelia – tincture (48% with ACV at 1:3)
Peppermint – dry
Yarrow – dry
Motherwort – dry
Boneset – dry
Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) – oil
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) – leaves drying, roots tinctured (NOTE: tincturing the roots draws out asarone is a known carcinogen!)

From prior harvesting trips, I have catnip (dried) and mullein (dried), and a jar of Albizzia tincture.  I’m also playing with a honey-brandy-rose-orange-cardamom elixir that is just divine mixed into sparkling water.

I *think* that’s everything!!!

After letting the oils heat for a couple of days in my handy Excalibur dehydrator, I placed them into the fridge until I’m ready to strain them.  Straining can be messy business, and I need several hours to strain this many oils.  The tinctures will be ready to strain in 3 weeks, at which time I will bottle them and label all of the bottles with how long the herbs macerated for, the alcohol percentage and ratio of alcohol to herbs.  The dried herbs get put into jars and labeled with harvest date/location.

When all is said and done, I’ll have a lovely new addition to my ever-growing apothecary!  Now, let’s see if I remember to share my experiences with all of these wonderful herbs!