The term “herbalist” refers to someone who uses herbs for healing; however, there are many ways to practice as a herbalist. A herbalist might: grow and produce medicines; work directly with clients in a clinical setting; or practice a combination of both. Other herbalists spend their days teaching others and some herbalists use herbs only for themselves or their family.
A further distinction is the type of herbalism we practice. Some follow traditional Western Herbal Medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) while others focus on the Ayurvedic model, Western energetics, modern science or a combination all of them. These models may seem confusing but at the core, they are simply disciplines that help herbalist work with plants and people to encourage healing.
One further distinction is that though herbalists are not regulated in the Canada or the US, they may work toward becoming a Registered Herbalist with one of the herbalist organizations in North America.
I am an herbalist who works directly with clients and I make my own medicines, or extracts. My extracts are used to create both “off the shelf” products and custom remedies. Custom remedies are fine tuned for an individual client based on one-on-one health assessments. For more information on how I practice, see My Approach.
Herbal medicine can be as simple as the use of common kitchen herbs and teas or as complex as an alcohol extract of plant resin.
Herbal medicines are ingested, used topically or breathed in (e.g. aromatherapy).
The term herbal medicine is not limited to herbs or plants but includes trees, plants, bushes, fungi, algae, moss and lichen.
Depending on the plant and the medicine needed we may use leaf; stalk; seed; flower; root; bark; resin and buds. Each of plant materials is extracted in different ways, depending on which plant constituents (chemicals) we are trying to extract. In my apothecary, I typically use alcohol, water and vinegar and sometimes even honey as the menstruum (liquid used to extract medicine) and for topical use I use a range of carrier oils and alcohols.
Using simple herbs to make medicinal teas is one of my favourite ways to deliver medicine and I also encourage the use of herbs as daily food. For instance, when I get sick, I mostly use the powerful herbs that happen to be in my kitchen cupboard such as ginger, garlic, hot peppers, lemons and thyme.
If you are interested in delving more deeply into medicine making, see “learning with me“section for educational options.
- Infusions or Extracts
- Simply put, infusions, sometimes referred to as extracts, are a way to pull medicinal qualities and nutrients from a plant material. I use a number of different methods, depending on what I want to extract and how I want to use it. Infusions commonly refer to extracting herbs in water (tea/decoction) and extracts refer to herbs that have been extracted in alcohol, oil, or glycerine.
Teas are herbs extracted in water, either as an infusion or a decoction. An infusion refers to an extended steep (e.g. 20 minutes) of leaf/flower/powder and a decoction is made by simmering tougher materials such as roots and barks. Teas are often preferred when we are aiming to improve gut or bladder health or provide a deeper tonic for the whole body.
A tincture is basically and infusion of plant material extracted using alcohol, glycerine or vinegar as the solvent. This method extracts plant properties that cannot be extracted via water alone. Tinctures are a convenient, concentrated medicine that is easy to carry and take throughout the day. Tinctures have a a long shelf-life and are taking internally, either directly on the tongue or mixed with a little water or tea.
- Medicinal Oils
Herbs are extracted in oil in order to deliver medicine or provide protection topically. The finished are used in salves and lotion and applied to the skin.
Salves: Apply to affected area (where it hurts) and affecting, surrounding area (where you believe the issue is originating from) at least twice per day. Cover and massage the area thoroughly. The salve may take 10 to 15 minutes to fully absorb. Most salves do not cause staining of clothes however you may wish to cover the area until the salve is fully absorbed.
Liniments: Shake well before use. Spray the liniment onto your hand first or directly to the affected and affecting areas. Rub the area vigorously until the liniment has absorbed (approx. 20 seconds) and you feel blood moving into the area.
Tinctures: Shake well before use and add suggested dosage to an ounce (shot glass) of water. directions on label.
- Adult: Dosage depends much on age, weight and your sensitivity. If you are very sensitive to supplements, you may find that you need less than suggested on the label. For acute conditions, the general recommendations is more frequent dosing until the worst symptoms have subsided. For general maintenance or more chronic issues, the dosage will be less frequent, using smaller amounts with a longer duration.
- As a general guideline for children, you may choose to use Clark’s Rule: Divide the child’s weight (in pounds) by 150. This gives you the fraction of the adult dose appropriate to give a child. Please consult with your herbalist or practitioner before giving extracts to a child, as some are too strong for children.
Please feel free to email me to ask me about any dosage questions you may have.If taking an herb or formula long term, an herbalist may recommend taking a week long break every 6 weeks to 6 months. For long term strategies you are encouraged to check in regularly with your herbalist or other practitioner.
Salve: Salves are a combination of medicinal oils (see above)and beeswax and are often fortified with essential oils. The beeswax solidifies the oil, creates a protective barrier and helps with absorption. Salves are especially useful for skin issues such as rashes; injuries such as bruising, tears and sprains; and where we want to direct medicine into a specific area. Salves are simply applied or massaged into the area and can take 10-15 minutes to be absorbed into the skin. For wounds, salve should be applied liberally and covered with a bandage. Salves encourage deep, and longer lasting effects. For quick relief of discomfort, liniments are often more suitable.
Liniment: A liniment is a medicinal extract in a base of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) and/or Witch Hazel. Liniments are used externally, like salves however, this extract medium is firmly rubbed into the skin, which increases blood flow and encourages deeper delivery to the affected tissue. Liniments typically provide quicker though more temporary relief (e.g. as analgesic or anti-inflammatory) than a salve.
Tincture or Tonic: Tinctures are taking internally, typically before eating or as part of a meal. Some tinctures have a strong taste and can be combined with tea or juice to help get it down.
Repair and Protect Serum
If you have never used a serums before you may not know how they work. Serums are formulated to penetrate deeply into your skin to deliver key anti-aging and protective ingredients to the deepest epidermal layer. The molecules in a serum are smaller than those in a moisturizer. This means it can deposit ingredients deeper into the skin and create balance and wellness in both the epidermis (the skin you see) and dermis, which is made up of pure living cells supplied by the blood for the nutrients it needs. Elasticity and firmness are owed to this layer as well as one’s skin tone.
After cleansing, your serum should be applied over the entire face, neck and décolletage. Measure out a few drops onto your hand, distribute across palm area and then gently pat onto your skin. Allow it to absorb into the skin for a few minutes before applying a moisturizer.
Purifying Cleansing oil
Treat yourself with this powerful and age-old method of cleansing your skin. The “Oil Cleansing Method” has been used for centuries – it was even Cleopatra’s favourite way to clean her skin!
If you find the idea of using oil to cleanse your face kind of crazy you might wish to check out this link on acne.org. The logic behind this method is that oil binds to oil and when the oil is wiped away your pores are flushed clean. Most commercial cleansers contain toxic chemicals and strip you skin of crucial oils and nutrients and therefore disrupt the delicate dance of the PH balance needed to maintain a clean and healing environment. Stripping your skin of it’s natural oils can also have a drying effect and may cause your sebum to overproduce. Yes, sometimes oily skin is dry skin in disguise!
The Bee Wild Herbs formula is designed to purify your skin, reach inside your pores and extract and dissolve old oil, dirt and makeup. But that is not all. The process of massaging your face with this oil also stimulates blood flow and infuses your skin with a plethora of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients. Ingredients which are known to:
- soften the skin and restore the skin’s water lipid layer without clogging your pores;
- tone and firm your skin by stimulating collagen production and;
- balance your skin’s natural oil production, whether there is too much or too little.