Making your own herbal remedies part 1

This is a guest post by TG and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

Many of us look into herbal remedies for one reason or another. There is some great info on what herbs to use for what issues, but little or no information on how to use those herbs. Part of the problem is there is a fine line between telling a person how to use herbs and prescribing them.

Now that you have found your herb lets talk about the different ways to use that herb. In part 2, I will go over topical applications. Right now I am going to focus on the most common (but not all inclusive) ways of ingesting those herbs. Of course the easiest way is to eat it, but you rarely get theraputic amounts that way.

Teas/decoctions- most people know how to make a cup of tea, but rarely do they make it strong enough.

For teas (leaves, flowers and light material) add 1-2 tsp of plant material to your cup and cover with 8 oz of boiling water. You then want to cover your cup with a small plate or lid. This helps keep the volatile oils in the cup where you want them, rather then letting them evaporate off. Let is steep for 5 minutes to get a light tea. For a stronger medicinal effect, allow to steep up to 30 minutes.

You can make larger amounts and store it in the fridge for up to about 24 hours, either drinking cold or reheating as needed.

For a decoctions (roots, barks, seeds, and heavy material) add 1-3 tablespoons of cut plant material to about 24 ounces of water in a pan. Bring slowly to a boil (so in other words sit and watch it, lol), and then allow to simmer for 15-30 minutes. The longer it simmers the stronger the infusion.

This will last for about 72 hours in the fridge.

Generally for teas, as a preventative measure, drink 3 to 4 cups daily. For chronic issues, drink about 1/2 cup every half hour.
Teas are great for many ailments, and admittedly, there is something soothing about sipping a hot cup of tea when you feel cruddy.

Tinctures- a great way to pack a strong amount of the active components of the herbs into a small dose, as there are some herbs that are tough to swallow.

Fresh herb tinctures- wash your plant material thoroughly, making sure to remove any critters and debris. Pack jar with herbs and cover with solvent. This will give you about a 1:1 ratio of herbs to solvent

For dried herb tinctures- fill your jar about half full of dried herbs then fill it 3/4 full of solvent. You want to allow room for the dried herbs to expand and absorb some of the solvent. Keep an eye on it the first week topping off when needed. This will make around a 1:2 ratio tincture.

Keep tinctures in a cool dark place, shaking every day for a couple of weeks. Generally, after about 2 weeks they are ready to be strained. You can leave the herbs in longer, but after a while the solvent cant adsorb any more of the plants constituents. Strain your tincture into a clean glass jar or tincture bottle. Make sure you label what it is, when it was made and your ratio. Store in a cool dark place.

Solvents that can be used for making tinctures include alcohol, vegetable glycerine, and vinegar. Alcohol is the most common solvent, as it adsorbs more of the plants constituents, and has a longer shelf life. There is some debate over how long an alcohol based tincture will last, some saying not to use it past 5 years, others thinking it will last as long as the alcohol is good.

Brandy and vodka are the 2 most common types of alcohol used for making tinctures. The only note on that is your barks, roots, and nuts generally need a higher alcohol content.

Using tinctures is a little tricky. It is really going to depend on what herbs you are using and what you are using them for.

Syrups- a great way to get kids to take their medice. Also great to add to teas and coating a sore throat.

To make a herbal syrup simmer about 2 ounces of herbs in a quart of water, reducing it down to about a pint. Strain the herbs returning the infusion to the pan, add about a cup of sweetener (sugar, honey, or maple syrup). Bring it back to a slow simmer, stirring constantly, until the sweetener is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool before putting into a jar or bottle. Store in the fridge. Syrups will last a couple of weeks to about a month depending on herbs and the amount of sugar added.

You can add other things to your syrup such as concentrated fruit juices, extracts, and brandy.

Infused honey- the health benefits of honey have been talked about for centuries. An all around amazing substance. But there is a way to make it a bit better. Infusing it with herbs. And unbelievably easy to do.

Fill a glass jar about halfway with fresh or dried herbs, fill the jar the rest of the way with honey and store in a warm sunny location out of direct sunlight. Every day flip the jar upside down. After about 2 weeks you can strain the herbs. Store your infused honey in a glass jar in a cool dark place.
Make sure when you are using fresh herbs that they are clean and slightly wilted. The easiest way to do this is by putting them in the sun for a couple of hours.

So there you have it. A couple of easy ways to use those herbs. Again this is not an all inclusive list. I will be going over topical applications in part 2.

This is an entry in our nonfiction writing contest – This contest will end on June 29 2013  – prizes include:

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Survivor says:

    Good article, TG!!

    I have one question…you indicated, “To make a herbal syrup simmer about 2 ounces of herbs in a quart of water…”

    Is that dried or fresh herbs? I’m assuming dried, but want to be sure. Thanks!

    • Survivor, for the syrup you can use fresh or dried. You are in essence making a tea to turn into syrup.

  2. Great job TG!
    This is a great starter to herbs and their uses. So many folks don’t know where to begin.
    One of the reasons alcohol tinctures may go bad is moisture. Any water at all and “could” start to go over. I have very powerful tinctures stored in the back of the cabinet that are 6 years old. I always use dry herbs for this.
    Honey too. If water gets in the honey you will have mead. YUM, but may not be what you were shooting for. Don’t wanna get the toddlers intoxicated. Well, maybe if they are crying a lot. Just kidding!
    My Grandma stills rubs babies gums with whiskey when they are teething.

    TROLLS KEEP YOUR NEGATIVE COMMENTS TO YOURSELF! This is an article for folks that are interested in herbal healing. If you don’t agree, then move on.
    Every time we have an herbal article and discussion, they come out of the woodwork.
    Anyone have a good recipe for TROLL BE GONE SPRAY?

    • Mama J, I adore you. Troll be gone spray, hmmm, I will have to work on that.

      You are right about not wanting any moisture on the herbs. I wrote out both part 1 and 2 to gather my thoughts, then as I was typing it I decided last moment to add in the honey. So I go over wilting the herbs a little more in part 2.

      I went thru the archives and while we have a few articles about herbal remedies, I realized we dont have a lot on how to use them and that is a question that gets brought up a lot so I figured I would put something together on it.

      • I love it that you wrote this. Ecstatic!
        I have been milling around about it for a long time. Once I start writing, it never stops. I couldn’t sort out my thoughts and get it to make sense. I didn’t want to copy out of my text books either. I didn’t want to do dosages because I am licensed. Even though people should not take advise off the internet, I would not want to see contradictory meds taken with herbs if there could be an issue.
        You did/and will do a great job at presenting this subject. I might add my two cents (post 1983 cents) in here and there as will the other herbalists. A lot of great questions will be asked. It will be fun to grow and learn together.
        Maybe one day when the whole series is completed and Bam Bam finishes her flu and antibiotic work, we can compile something into a book.
        Like the Wolf Pack cookbook only about medicine.
        “The Wolf Pack Woman kick the bird flu in the beak.” Or “Wolf Pack Bitches go Viral” What is the name for a female wolf? My mind went blank. Again.
        Not to forget the creams, lotions, salves, disinfectants, cleaning supplies, soaps, toothpastes and deodorants.
        You got this girl!

        • Mama J, oh my, I have a stitch in my side. Lol. We would make an awesome book.

          I keep trying to put something together on herbs but have the same issues of what to include, how to make it inclusive without actually telling someone to take x amount of herb for y problem. Then which herbs should I cover? I will come up with a list, scrap it come up with something different, add to it, think maybe I should do something different, wait what about this one, oooh that is an important one, oh wait. Lol. Yup my brain really cycles thru that run on sentence like that.

          • TG,
            I have done the same thing. UG! Stop. Have a cup of tea…….
            You could start with A-Z.
            Or treat specific illness. Cold, flu, strep, sinus infections. headaches. ear infections, wound care.
            Trouble with illness is sometimes people don’t know what is really wrong with them. Sometimes a bad tooth presents itself as an ear ache. Some people think everything is the flu.
            Bam Bam had asked for the 10 or 20 most important herbs to have in your toolbox. Be specific. So many books and articles tell you which ones but don’t tell you HOW……. I though about this but still had to give instructions on dosages.
            Just some food for thought…….

          • MamaJ, maybe we could sit down and write an article together. Sounds like between the 2 of us we would get it done in about 10 years or so.

          • That ain’t no joke. 10+ years. More like it. It’s so much!!!!!!
            You will do a great job. Start writing already! Jeez!

        • Bam Bam says:

          LOL–“Wolf Pack Bitches go Viral”. We could have a lot of fun putting all this together.

        • worrisome says:

          Mama J, isnt a female wolf the same as a dog? Which is bitch…but here is the deal, we only get to call ourselves that…anybody else out there thinking they can will probably have a whole can of whoop a.. s to deal with………….:) wink, chuckle

    • Bam Bam says:

      Mama J.,

      Let’s just hit the “Report Comment” and make them go away. I think three people need to hit the button for their comment to disappear.

      • Bam Bam,
        Gads, you are brilliant!

      • MorePooperThanPrepper says:

        Come on now, the definition of troll hasn’t become “anyone who who does not agree with me/us” has it? A well intentioned prepper who worries about questionable information should always be welcomed whether it be about welding with car batteries, loading your own ammo “hot”, spraying intruders with wasp spray, using milk jugs for water storage, or providing legal or medical advice without certified legal or medical training. Caution, concern, and even civil criticism should be listened to – but yeah, insults should be reported and deleted.

        And well, if its not proper to question and criticize I have a recipe here for nightshade tea which will provide spiritual insight and possibly counteract the effects of VX nerve gas.
        Take 5 nightshade berries, dry then grind to powder in pestle. Add to 3 quarts boiling water and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Filter out all solids, and sip until the effects of the nerve agent are eliminated. (note:please do not actually do this)

        • Mptp, oh man, nightshade, hmmm. I am so glad you said not to do it. Everyone s/he is being very sarcastic here do not take nightshade! Spiritual insight indeed!

          You’re right people should question it. Herbs are not always safe. There are many poisonous plants, people who have diseases and disorders need to be very careful, and plants can cause side efffects as well. But if you are not adding constructive criticism or asking good questions and causing arguments then a troll you are.

        • There is nothing wrong with questioning. It stimulates the conversation.
          Personally, I question everything that goes into my body.
          Trolls are not simply disagreeable folks with a toxic attitude.
          Trolls are ugly misunderstood creatures who live under bridges and eat goats and small childrens’ toes. They drink nightshade tea with grilled unicorn and pull each others fingers all night for fun. Whew…that nightshade tea….makes em gassy.
          One secret though.. They love vanilla wafers. A five gallon bucket of wafers is why my daughter has been safely crossing the bridge over our creek all these years and still has all 9 of her toes. Just ask her.
          We didn’t tell her about the “troll be gone spray” idea yet.

        • Bam Bam says:


          It’s absolutely fine to disagree and have different viewpoints. This helps all of us learn and grow. We label someone a “troll” when that individual is disrespectful and just looking to start a fight or put down someone here. Trolls have nothing positive to add to a conversation.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Mamma J,

      I’m confused.
      I just fell off the turnip truck on the herbs and tinctures thing, and get befuddled if I have to remember 3 new words in a week, so…

      You said, “One of the reasons alcohol tinctures may go bad is moisture”.
      Making an elderberry tincture calls for 100 proof vodka. 100 proof vodka is 50% water.
      Help! How do we keep moisture out of our 50% water recipe?

      • Excellent question HD,
        You are not befuddled, actually you are pretty awesome.
        I often wondered this myself. I am not a scientist but I can tell you from experience when I use fresh herb leaf, root, bark, flower, or woody parts of a plant that is not completely dried, my tinctures don’t cure well. All the receipts I have (new and very old) call for dried herb.
        They smell ‘off” and sometimes if created in a canning jar, the lids will bulge.
        My mentor told me it was from the moisture in the plant. I have not been asked this question directly before and will look into it further, I will let you know in a day or two.
        P.S. I use 190 proof grain alcohol for my tinctures as I often make them in large 1/2 and 1 gallon jars. Just the way I was taught.

      • Bam Bam says:


        I can help you with this one. The water in the booze is fine. What’s problematic is when your herbs contain too much water. You should either use dried herbs or make sure the fresh herbs are wilted and dry. If you put fresh herbs in alcohol and the fresh herbs have a high water content, you can get mold and other nasties.

        • HD,
          Absolutely! Bam Bam answered correctly.
          You can indeed make fresh plant tinctures if they are to be consumed immediately.
          I did make some when I was taking classes. Some have not given me any trouble.
          I had a jar of freshly shaved Astragalus root tincture explode (not in flames, but pressure) in my pantry.
          I called a friend who also sells and has a storefront shop in a neighboring town.
          She does not use fresh plant material when making tinctures that will go to someone else.
          Another answer I received from one of my teachers was (you’ll love this)

          “Some believe that when they use the fresh plant they are capturing and absorbing the live essence or spirit of the plant itself. The vibration is at it’s highest. Assimilation and facilitation are complete.”
          HD, stay away from the fresh mexican jumping beans and chili peppers.

      • Hunker-Down, what Mama J and Bam Bam said. If you want to do an experiment to see what we are talking about, take a clove of fresh garlic, mash Iit up then cover with alcohol. At the same time take a low moisture item like a peppermint leaf, cover it with the same proof of alcohol, and let them sit for 2 weeks. After that 2 weeks is up the peppermint leaf will be completely dehydrated and the garlic mixture will smell yeasty.
        I dont know the exact reasoning behind this. I would bet part of it is because the water in the vodka is distilled. But mind you that is only a guess at this point.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Thanks for all your explanations.

        This is my takeaway from your teaching:
        If the herb is not completely moisture free it may still contain live contaminants such as mold. If the water in the vodka had any contaminants in it, they were probably killed by the vodka. Also, the water added to the vodka may be dehydrated (no, no, silly you mean distilled), and therefore contaminant free.

        Mamma J, your comment about moisture now makes sense, THANKS!

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Give some, about three drops, of 100% oregano oil in one teaspoon of cwarm coffee…it will take their breath and they can’t say anything!

      • I love oregano oil. I gargle with it in warm water all the time. I bet it taste horrid in coffee! LOL

        • Sw't Tater says:

          That’s the best way to get it to disperse in a liquid, is to warm it…what I use I dilute with olive oil, but don’t tell the trolls.

    • Mama J, got it! Troll be gone spray: pixie dust and glitter! Maybe mixed with a little night shade and lily of the valley for bait.

      • Haha! No self respecting troll would be caught DEAD covered in glitter! I was told that they are highly allergic to pixie dust. Causes them to smile uncontrollably.
        I was working on a brew of coyote urine (makes the coyotes real mad when you squeeze them), rotten eggs, skunk juice and essence of dirty boy socks, but discover they actually LIKE that.

        • Aw, geeze girls!! Now I have to take my iPad out of its case and clean the coffee off of it!!
          That reminds me of my intent to make some anti-monster spray for my DGD when she went thru a phase of seeing monsters under tables. She was pretty matter of fact about it, but she finally believed me that Gramma does NOT allow monsters and zombies in my house, and her Mom would get a nerf gun and chase them out of her room. A way, I was going to make some spray out of vodka and load it up with some lavender oil to spritz about when she finally gave that up.

          • Shai, I did something similar with a squirt gun for my kids when they go thru the monster thing.

        • Mama J, messing with those dirty boy socks spells desperation. Whew!

  3. Nancy V. says:

    Great Article, TG!

    I have been around herbal medicine since I was small when my mother had her herbs growing in pots in our bay window in the city. She grew up in the country and was used to a herb garden. My parents moved to the city only because dad found work there. We could barely see outside the bay window for all the pots – very happy memories.

    I had completely forgotten about the Infused Honey. Mom made Rosemary Infused Honey and added it to hot tea when we were sick.

    Thanks for talking about it. 🙂

    • Nancy, I am glad I could bring back some happy memories for you.
      I love infusing honey and herbs, and rosemary is a great one. Beside the medicinal qualities, infusing honey with rosemary, thyme, and oregano makes an awesome pork glaze. Yum. You can also use rose or lavender infused honey as an icecream topping.

  4. I made a tincture of violets but left them in too long and the mess turned yellow instead of purple, is it still any good or should I try again next year?

    • Penny Pincher, one thing about herbs is that you might expect it to turn one color but it will turn to something completely different. Lavender is an easy example of this, the flowers are purple so would think that your infusion would be also, but many times lavender turns green.

      Did you make your tincture with alcohol? Were the violets completely covered? If so I wouldnt worry about them being left in too long.

  5. Mystery Guest says:

    Good article.
    Herbs are good.
    My daughters one doctor (specialist) will help out with herbs if he feels they or a particular one would be beneficial.
    I am just starting the herbal studies. It is sometimes confusing so you really do have to read up on them.
    I am building up my supplies and seed so I have them.
    Be prepared for everything and anything.
    I just watched a Utube of Sigma3 survival school on Greenbriar and Yarrow and its clotting ability for wounds. He may have others I did not check as I had to do something else.
    I am with Mama J, trolls stay away.

    • Mystery Guest, your daughter is lucky that her doctor is willing to do that. Hopefully more and more doctors are willing to look into herbs as a compliment rather then competition to their practice.

      My suggestion is to find a couple of books. At least 3 or 4 so you can cross reference. But go to a book store and flip thru them so you can actually see what they have to offer. There are a lot out there that are 100+ pages of gibberish, or ones that talk about all the benefits of the herbs but dont tell you how to use

      • TG my doctor has been doing the herbal thing to the point of being annoying. I almost had to beat him up to get a referral to a rheumatologist, when he started arguing with me about an alternative “treatment” he had me try was NOT working and he couldn’t say for sure what was causing the issues I was having. The rheumatologist thought i wanted “ground up deer antler” and I was Oh, heck no. We both got a good laugh about it, when I voiced my opinion that he was going thru a midlife crisis.
        Believe me, I get tired of him getting on me about paleo this, and fish oil that… I rarely use processed foods and am willing to do herbals, but if I am in his office for a specific reason, I Am NOT going to use his paleo-pharmacy with the inflated prices’ sign up for the automatic delivery of supplements or wait two days for a compounded Rx.
        Oh, dear, I am ranting again!! But he used to listen to me when I would call and tell him DD is throwing up again, and he would call in some phenegren, it was the only thing that would work on a child who would get a 24 hour bug and it was still there 36 hours later.
        And when I have pus dripping out my nose from a sinus infection, yeah, I want a z-pack. Allergic to most other antibiotics…
        Stop it, Shai, bad girl, these people don’t wanna here you complain…..

        • Shai, I understand. I would be annoyed with that doctor too. There can be a balance between alternative and conventional treatment but being pushed to try things, especially when its not working for you doesnt help anyone.

    • tommy2rs says:

      Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – A Beginners Guide is a decent starter book. Uses, dosages, recipes and how to grow them. Covers basics on tinctures, decoctions, infusions, salves and even pills. Not an encyclopedic compendium but a stepping stone. Not expensive either.

    • Prepping Wife. says:

      Mystery Guest –

      I would love it if my daughters doctor was more receptive to herbs and other meds. My daughters condition is rather serious so I understand her concern however I would like to know what herbs would be great in a grid down. If you dont mind what does your daughter see a specialist for?

      • Mystery Guest says:

        Prepping Wife
        The doctor my daughter goes to does a myriad of things, allergies, infectious diseases, and Babies plus more.
        If I were you I would write down the medications and what they are for and how they actually work on the problem.
        Then I would look up on the internet say “Herbs for diabetes” or what ever and list the herbs and what they do.
        Then I would put in a lot of study time.
        Nothing is going to be grand and wonderful if the SHTF but we can do what we can and now is a good time to start.

  6. worrisome says:

    Good Article! Priorities. #1. Go buy the highest proof vodka I can find. #2. Copy all this to Word and Print it. Yes, that is the right order…….that means I can sample the vodka while waiting for the printer. Thanks much for the how to’s……… to find a compendium on herbs so I know which to use on what……………….THANKS!

    • Worrisome, lol, the brandy may taste better for the sampling.
      I am also working on the herbs, but I keep changing my mind on how I want to write it and what herbs to cover.

      • Have you tried the cake flavored vodka?? Mmmmm, add some white chocolate liqueur and cream, make any medicine go down better. Or at least waiting on the printer!!

  7. DesertDiva says:

    Thanks for the information on herbs and would LOVE to hear more. Thanks to all of you here I am getting back to using and growing herbs.

    I have made the elderberry tincture and the syrup. (thank you for the recipes) Elderberries grow wild here and we have a ton of plants. I can’t wait to harvest my own in a few months. My hubby and I had the flu over Christmas that was so severe I actually was heard moaning. 🙂 Neither one of us had EVER had the flu before nor do we take the vaccines. I will be prepared this year.

    One question please. Due to the high volume of plants here, I would like to harvest some blooms. Have not had much luck with recipes on the net. Is tea the only use other than cocktails? And what is it good for other than lowering a fever? Should I dehydrate them?

    Thanks for all your kindness in sharing. This is only my second post but have been around for a few months.

    • DesertDiva, are you looking for uses for elder flowers? Off the top of my head a tea would be good for an expectorant (helping bring the crud up and out of the lungs) and fevers by producing sweat.

      There are some other things but I would have to look it up. Elder is mostly used for its power house effects on the cold and flu, especially when mixed with other herbs.

      • DesertDiva says:

        Yes, the flowers. Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Found recipes for use in cocktails but I need medicine! I wanted to dehydrate the flowers and jar to save for use in tea for the cold/flu season. Is it safe to do this?

        I will go berry picking in the Fall. Locals take the choke cherries for jelly but not the elder berries. Yes, all mine!

        Thank you!!

        • Desert Diva, I have never dried my own elder flowers, but I have bought them before, so I dont see why you couldnt do it yourself.

          • DesertDiva says:

            Thanks! I think I will stick with you and buy some flowers. Went out to harvest a couple hours ago and I am too late. The flowers are now turning into little green berries. I have read these are toxic and will wait until I see purple berries in the fall. No sense in killing us before we have a chance to survive! 🙂

          • Haha! No self respecting troll would be caught DEAD covered in glitter! I was told that they are highly allergic to pixie dust. Causes them to smile uncontrollably.
            I was working on a brew of coyote urine (makes the coyotes real mad when you squeeze them), rotten eggs, skunk juice and essence of dirty boy socks, but discover they actually LIKE that.

          • Sorry DD,
            I don’t know what happened!
            That comment was for TG and her Troll be gone recipe! I will repost it when it is supposed to go!Anyhoo,
            You can collect those flowers next year. Just remember to only take a few on each bush or you won’t get berries.
            I have to wear a mask when collecting the blossoms because they are Packed full of pollen. My face blows up.
            Enjoy all those wonderful berries this fall!

  8. Thanks for the article – I have saved it and printed a copy for my files at home.

  9. Bam Bam says:


    This is a great article. I look forward to Part II. I think a great little post would elicit readers to post what kinds of herbal remedies they use and for what purposes.

    • +1

    • Bam Bam, that is a great idea. A few favorite recipes then turn it over to every one else. I will try to put that together in the next week or two.

      • DesertDiva says:

        TG, Mama J and Bam Bam,

        Thanks to all you fantastic herbal specialist out there!! You have got me going again on the right path. Today I gave up a three year addiction to Energy Drinks because of you woman. I may be forgetting someone, sorry. Need some energy tea. 🙂

        Now all my cupboards smell like herbs again. Looking forward to that book!!! By the way, you all have kicked me in the butt to start prepping again. Natural medicine is a huge part of that! (I can shoot too!!!)

        • Bam Bam says:


          You like herbs and you can shoot. We like you. 🙂

          • DesertDiva says:

            Bam Bam
            Thanks so much for the welcome. I have never put a comment on a blog in my life. Been reading daily for three months and have gained so much inspiration. I finally felt today was the day to jump in. You guys are awesome and I already feel I know you.

            Got an “ugly stick” for Christmas and a 9 mm for Mother’s Day. No spa days anymore!! As my neighbor tells me all the time “You’re in the Country now Darlin”.

  10. Sw't Tater says:

    Good article. I am just gettting started with this..good basic info.
    but you still need to research herbs before you make a tea with them…if they are new to you be sure to take them in small amounts…Rabbit tobacco tea made like you said in article will give intestinal cramps…
    I have just made rabbit tobacco and sweet gum tinctures, and am working on a plaintain one for insect bites/stings and poison ivy/oak.

    • Sw’t Tater, with herbs there is ALWAYS an exception to the rules. Always. That is why people do need to do their own research, and then double check it. Never trust just one resource, always cross reference with preferably 2 more resources.

  11. Bam Bam says:

    Sw’t Tater,

    I make a plantain infused oil that I use to make insect bite/rash salve.

    • Sw't Tater says:

      what oil do you use? olive? for the plantain, i have gobs this year… Do you know of a use for red palm oil? Can’t abide the flavor,in anything! might try it in a soap or infusion tho???any experience?

  12. midnight1st says:

    A good website for beginners is You have to click on the side subjects and then something comes up and, if you click on the side subjects there, you can find lots of info. They have many videos that show you exactly what to do to make the different kinds of medicines. There are recipes for both medicines and herbs.

    Thanks for the article. Looking forward to the next one. And I love the idea of a Wolfpack book.

    • Midnight, learning herbs is a good one. Compliling a list of good sites for herb info would be a great idea for another article.

    • Mother Earth says:

      I really like learningherbs and another one I like is frugally sustainable. I have used a couple of herbal recipes from both sites. It’s actually quite fun to make salves and tinctures. They actual work too!

  13. Southern Girl says:

    TG, great article! Waiting to print it. Can’t get new wireless to work. Have to depend on kids for technology when they make it by to visit.

    You guys crack me up with your comments! I needed that after all the screaming kids in the office today!

    Can’t wait for 2nd. Part of article. Thanks. You guys are the greatest!


  14. Has anybody got a reference book on herbals for critters? Think that is going to be needed too….

  15. TG,
    Thanks for a great article, lots of useful info. Looking forward to Part II.

    And thanks for the laughs TG, Mama J and BamBam! 🙂

  16. Ok, pack herbalists, gotta question for you… Got passion flower vines volunteering in a bunch of places and pulling it up. Which parts of it do I save, and how much do you recommend keeping around?
    Searching on Internet giving me conflicting info, drying without heat, drying in dehydrator, roots, stems leaves, flowers? Arrrrrggghhh!!!!

    • Also! Are the pill bottles from the pharmacy ok to keep herbs in? Planning on getting some of the 4 oz jam jars and painting the outside with acrylic paint mixed with glue (Elmers makes the paint stick to glass) but waiting on sale, but got tons of prescription bottles…

    • Shai, the only thing I know about passion flower is that the leaves and stems are used in teas/tinctures as a sedative for anxiety, nervousness and insomnia.

      I do know that some people use the fruit and flowers, but I dont know what for.

      I personally wouldnt use the pill bottles. They will often times hold on to residue, and if you ever notice that some pill bottles will contain a smell even after they havebeen washed. With that said, if that is all you have, wash them really well, several times and then maybe even rinse them with a strong alcohol to try and get rid of as much residue as possible before using them.
      Any type of glass jar will work. I will use anything from babyfood jars to old pickle jars. Just keep them out of direct sunlight. Some people will even cover their jars with old socks to help keep the light out.

  17. Thanks, TG, and I never get fruit out of em, the caterpillars get them before they get ripe. They are used for jam and such, some of the posts I was reading told of people getting buzzed from eating them while gathering them. Go fig. I’m just harvesting the volunteers and hanging up on the porch, don’t want to waste something that might have some use in the future when there is no access to sleepy stuff. I was warned when I planted the darn thing that it would take over… But the flowers are awesome looking and I was looking for things to attract bees from my neighbors hives! The volunteers are coming up as far as 20 feet from where I planted the original. Keeping some growing on the fence to bloom, and pulling the volunteers, now I know why it’s called maypop, because it pops out everywhere!

    • I also keep all smaller jars myself, especially if they are compatible with mason jars lids! I have been know to look for stuff at the store based on the jars! When the Grandkids were younger, I was snagging the jars, but dd was buying a lot of the stuff that came in those plastic mini tubs, and those were useful too,

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