Every time I treat myself to an herbal course at Herbal Academy I find myself rubbing my hands in glee. My latest experience, Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, was no exception. I signed up during the free enrollment period in July. This course is scheduled to be re-released next year, so don’t despair if the link above takes you to another page.
I have to admit that herbalism in Mexico is challenging. I can’t just order herbs willy nilly from organic herb stores and have it delivered to my doorstop to brew, decoct or tincture in endless delight. Oh, no. That would be too easy. Instead, I have to painstakingly gather information and positively identify plants, flowers, and trees that I didn’t learn about growing up in the Eastern United States.
So, this drawn-out process in my adopted land has undermined some of my herbal concoction confidence. This is where I appreciated the Herbal Academy’s most recent course.
The course was divided into seven lessons. Each lesson had informative readings, printouts and easy to follow videos making this an excellent course for beginners.
LESSON 1: EVERYDAY HERBAL PREPARATIONS
This lesson differentiated the different types of herbal preparations. There are water-based, sweet-based, oil-based and alcohol-based preparations. The type of solvent you use depends on the application and plant property needed to treat whatever it is you are going to treat with herbs.
LESSON 2: EVERYDAY HERBS
Lesson two stressed the importance of treating herbs as medicine. This means knowing how to prepare the herbs, potential side effects, and the duration an herb can be safely administered. You should also know the health issues and life stage of the person taking the herb and any possible herb-drug interactions. Of course, you should also be cognizant of plants that could become toxic with extended use or those that resemble beneficial herbs.
I was delighted to learn that Western herbalism has a similar categorization process to the Mexican culture which sometimes confounds me. Energetics in herbs is based on temperature (cool or hot), moisture (wet or dry) and tension (relaxed or constricted) which in many ways is identical to the indigenous belief system found where I live. So a person with a dry cough would be given a moistening herb to aid the body in achieving balance.
LESSON 3: WATER-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS
Water-based herbal preparation is one that combines herbs and water. It could be tea, a wash, an enema, an infusion or a decoction. A cup of chamomile tea prescribed as a sleep aid is an example of a water-based herbal preparation.
LESSON 4: SWEET-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS
Using honey as a base for creating an herbal preparation was the topic of lesson four. After all, a spoonful of sugar (in this case organic honey) helps the medicine go down.
LESSON 5: ALCOHOL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS
Lesson 5 demonstrated the use of alcohol such as vodka, brandy, and gin to create herbal rubs, washes, and tinctures.
LESSON 6: OIL-BASED HERBAL PREPARATIONS
Oils can be used to create herbal infusions meant to be used externally or in cooking. Doesn’t rosemary-infused virgin olive oil sound simply delicious?
LESSON 7: EVERYDAY RECIPES
Lesson 7 provided basic preparation instructions for each of the methods presented in the course plus some delightful recipes including how to make a chickweed poultice, violet honey lemonade, fire cider and more. What a fabulous way to end the class.
Having gone through Herbal Academy’s Making Herbal Preparations 101 Mini-Course, I’ve gathered enough confidence to start decocting my own herbal medicine cabinet from locally harvested herbs.