r
healing herbs healing herbs
Photos: Andreana Bitsis | Styling: Jennifer Iserloh

How to Tap the Healing Essences of Herbs in 3 Ways

Using herbs to maintain wellness and bolster immunity is a soulful way to get your chill on and snatch some “me time.” If you’re drawn to traditional herbalism or want to flirt with alchemy, the ancient art of transformation, DIY herbal preparations are the ideal place to start. Alchemists unleash the power of healing herbs and roots by applying the elemental forces of nature (such as heat, light, and air, paired with meditation and you can do the same. Become your own alchemist and enjoy these simply delicious teas and DIY tinctures, or be alchemy-minded with some top-shelf, store-bought wares like spagyrics.

Brew It: Healing Teas

Elemental force: Water and Fire

Teas are the most basic ways of extracting healing compounds from plants, and the simplest way to experiment with medicinal herbs and roots. Herbalism newbies who want to get started at home and utilize everyday fresh herbs from their garden or windowsill herb box can just clip and brew.

Recipes

Citrusy Thyme Lemon Balm Tea

View Recipe

Citrusy Thyme Lemon Balm Tea

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 Tbsp chopped lime peel

1 Tbsp chopped lemons

1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup fresh lemon balm leaves or 2 lemon balm tea bags

2 tsp agave, optional

Preparation
1.

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan along with 4 cups cold water.

2.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat then cover.

3.

Turn the heat off and steep 4 to 5 minutes, drain and serve immediately.

Hawthorn Berry Hibiscus Green Tea

View Recipe

Hawthorn Berry Hibiscus Green Tea

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 Tbsp dried hawthorn berries or 2 hawthorn berry tea bags

1 Tbsp chopped dried hibiscus leaves or 2 hibiscus tea bags

1 Tbsp green tea leaves

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Preparation
1.

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan along with 4 cups cold water.

2.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat then cover.

3.

Turn the heat off and steep 4 to 5 minutes, drain and serve immediately.

Concoct It: Tinctures

Elemental force: Light, Heat, Water

Tinctures may sound complex, but they are nothing more than herbs or roots soaked in high proof alcohol for a week or longer. They capture healing plant compounds that are only extracted with the addition of alcohol and are more concentrated compared to teas. Much more powerful than teas, tinctures capture both water soluble and alcohol soluble compounds since even high proof booze contains some water. Like teas, you can easily make tinctures or purchase them in a pinch.

Recipes

Turmeric Black Pepper Tincture

View Recipe

Turmeric Black Pepper Tincture

Ingredients

Makes 1 cup of tincture

1 small 2-cup mason jar

3 small turmeric roots or 3 Tbsp dried ground turmeric

1 Tbsp cracked black pepper

1 cup 90 proof grain alcohol or vodka

Preparation
1.

Peel the turmeric root with a potato peeler.

2.

Finely grate turmeric and place it into the mason jar along with the black pepper and alcohol. Screw on the lid and shake well.

3.

Place on a sunlit windowsill for 7 days or up to 3 weeks, shaking once a day until the liquid turns a dark reddish brown.

4.

Strain and transfer the infused alcohol into dropper bottles.

5.

Enjoy 2-3 drops daily as an herbal supplement.

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Tincture

View Recipe

Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Tincture

Ingredients

Makes 1 cup of tincture

1 small 2-cup mason jar

1/2 cup ground cinnamon

1 vanilla bean cut in half lengthwise, then in thirds

1 cup 90 proof grain alcohol or vodka

Preparation
1.

Place the cinnamon and vanilla bean in the mason jar.

2.

Add the alcohol.

3.

Screw on the lid and shake well.

4.

Place on a sunlit windowsill for 7 days or up to 3 weeks, shaking once a day until the liquid turns a dark red.

5.

Strain and transfer the infused alcohol into dropper bottles.

6.

Enjoy 2-3 drops daily as an herbal supplement.

 

Shop It: Spagyric Tinctures

Elemental force: Water, Fire, and Light

Spagyric, coming from Greek (spao = to tear open and ageiro = to collect), are made through a more complex process of first tincturing the plants then straining the solids, burning them, and adding them back into the tincture liquid. Alchemists consider these a more complete medicine since you take in every aspect of the pant including the solids. Shop for them based on plant, healing moment, or spiritual goal.

Jennifer Iserloh is a certified holistic health coach, professionally trained chef, and Reiki practitioner. She is the founder of Superfood Alchemy. More information on her services, workshops, and class offerings can be found here

 

Related Articles