Wildcrafting - April, May, June (part 1)
Getting Serious and Getting Started
Have you ever visited an old fashion spice or tea shop (shoppe) in some historic city? There is a tea shop close by in Old St. Charles, on the banks of the Missouri River. If you’ve been in one, and if you are anything like me, the first thing you notice is the smell. Earthy, floral, spicy with an undefinable essence that’s difficult to put into words. That’s the ‘smell’ that goes with my vision of a personal apothecary.
What I see is a wall of built in shelves with uniform jars of dried plant material, tinctures and oil infusions. Just underneath is a work table containing mixing bowls, a scale, measuring vessels, and empty bottles...and in my dream vision... it’s all actually labeled.
Now that I’ve gotten serious about it, I realize that the possibilities are actually endless, and it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed. I’ve delved into it off and on through the years, and my apothecary consists of jars and bottles in what ever shape or size I can find, and most of them are half-filled, unlabeled jars and half used dropper bottles of who knows what. There are also plenty of partially completed pages with unindexed notes scattered all over the house!
Now however, this time around; I realize that I can simply start slowly... one herb at a time... whatever is in season. And that it can be a joyfully slow process. Wildcrafted herbal medicine is amazingly simple and also amazingly complex. Starting your own herbal collection at home doesn't have to be done in one fell swoop - it's a process. A process that dependson what you and your family's needs are and what is available. The interesting thing is, usually in God’s sovereign wisdom of time and place – time in history; and place in the universe – your needs coincide with availability! How awesome is that? Here are some of the most basic needs for getting serious about creating your herbal apothecary:
· Books (I’m working on a list of my favorite resource and reference books)
· A place for storage (Nice if it’s aesthetically pleasing, but it can even be a bin under the bed)
· Labels (see note above... pretty is pleasing, but plain is just fine)
· Storage containers (keep them fairly small because of storage space, and for freshness)
Scale **Very important!
Measuring spoons and cups – stainless and glass if possible
Funnels, pipettes, stirring rods, dedicated bowls and spoons,
Dehydrator is NOT needed, but super nice. A low oven works just fine.
· Base materials
Most basic: Alcohol (drinking grade), oils, witch hazel, vinegar, sea or mineral salt
Mixing bases: Bee’s wax, cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil, glycerin, castile soap, aloe juice/gel
If you are just getting started, these basic supplies will keep you from getting frustrated with your efforts. You’ll have what you need, but not have invested a lot of money in something you may or may not stay with. Most likely, though, you will stick with it! Wildcrafting can become a serious and satisfying hobby, that is also useful. You and your family will be happier and healthier because of it, and you will have the gratification of knowing you are a good steward to the abundance God has given you – right now, right here!