Category Archives: Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Medicine

Herbalism & Essential Oils


I am not a doctor, nor a medical professional of any kind. My views and practices should not be taken as medical advice, nor is it intended to be. You are responsible for your own health and your own actions, not me. Consult your medical professional before starting any treatment. If your medical professional is adverse to natural healing then that is easily resolved. Find another one.


The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
Apocrypha, Ecclesiasticus 34:4

Why should a man die, who has sage in his garden?
Anon, Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, Medieval herbal

The Great Spirit is our father, but the earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us, and healing plants she gives us likewise.
Big Thunder, North American Indian, 1900

In the last decade interest in traditional medicine has been renewed, and much is now being done worldwide to give it the respect it deserves – green medicine is being born again.
Anthony Huxley, Green Inheritance, 1984

Sources Used in Herbalism 101

The majority of this document is directly quoted from the sources below. There are spots where I paraphrase or insert my own opinions based on my own experiences with herbalism but much of my knowledge in this field comes from the sources listed below. I make no exclusive claim to the contents herein, only the way they are arranged and the method in which this class is taught.

Dean Coleman Herbal Luxuries

Young Living Essential Oils

Moon Raven’s Nest

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
Expanded and Revised Edition
By Scott Cunningham
ISBN # 0-87542-122-9

A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Year
By Ellen Everet Hopman
ISBN # 0-89281-501-9

The New Age Herbalist
By Multiple Authors
ISBN # 0-684-81577

Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation
By Stephen Harrod Buhner
ISBN13: 9780937381663

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guide)
By Steven Foster, James A. Duke
ISBN13: 9780395988145

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places
By Steve Brill, Evelyn Dean
ISBN13: 9780688114251


What is Herbalism?

Herbalism is a traditional medicinal or folk medicine practice based on the use of plants and plant extracts. Herbalism is also known as botanical medicine, medical herbalism, herbal medicine, herbology, and phytotherapy. The scope of herbal medicine is sometimes extended to include fungal and bee products, as well as minerals, shells and certain animal parts. *

*Acharya, Deepak and Shrivastava Anshu (2008): Indigenous Herbal Medicines: Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices, Aavishkar Publishers Distributor, Jaipur- India. ISBN 978-81-7910-252-7. pp 440.

To Find Them Any Fresher You Would Have To Grow

Good Herbalism Books

Book: The New Age Herbalist – This is simply be best reference book on modern herbalism I have ever seen. Literally. Full color photos of herbs in both live and processed states, uses, active chemical ingredients. It’s simply a must-have. This is the one book in my library I will never loan out because I know it will never come back home. It’s that good. Find a copy!

Book: A Druid’s Herbal – Great book from a great author. Great information and good history. Has both medicinal and metaphysical uses. Not a complete reference but darn good info.

Book: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers – This is in my opinion a ground breaking and revolutionary book. It spans the gap between medicinal herbalism and brewing. Learn to make beers and meads with healing properties. BEER THAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

Book: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Great metaphysical reference for all things herbal. Fairly complete. I’ve gone back to it many times since I first read it. Well worth the money.

Book: Herbalism 101 (My free book) My personal handout used for Herbalism 101 classes. All the basic information needed from some of the greatest authors out on the topic. All sources are cited. Educational purposes only.

What are essential oils?

Here’s a good primer on Wikipedia – Essential oils.

Here’s the short and sweet of it. Herbs are mother nature’s cure. I believe there is a natural and/or herbal cure for just about everything that’s ever wrong with us if it’s a natural disorder to begin with. Chemically speaking, it’s not really the plant itself that does all that much (though you can make metaphysical arguments all day). It’s the active chemical compounds in the plants themselves that work the magic. Essential oils are the extracts from the these herbs. They are the active chemicals concentrated down.

Think of it this way. If you take cranberry tea for a UI infection or make a lavender poultice for a burn using an essential oil is like doing that 100 times over. You get quicker and more profound effects using essential oils than you do using raw herbs.

A word on quality and purity:

This is of the utmost importance. Really it is. We’re talking life and death here. Do NOT trust your health to any over-the-counter oils you buy in a health food store. That goes doubly for any oils found in any magic or metaphysical shop. These oils are often cut with thinners to increase profit. These thinners are not always meant for medicinal use and can often cause serious harm when ingested or even used topically.

Other considerations are how the oil was harvested. Were the plants organically grown? Are they certified organic? Were pesticides used? Were the oils tested for purity? What distillation process was used to extract the oil from the plants. These factors make HUGE differences in the quality and effectiveness of the oils and herbs in question. Pesticides cause disease and cancer (and worse) and improperly extracting oils from the plants can destroy the delicate active chemicals in the oil.

Shopping for herbs and oils:

There are a few things to look for and questions to ask when shopping for herbs and oils for medicinal.

  • Look for a brand label. Shops very often buy inferior bulk oils and bend them in the shop. These are usually easily recognized by a lack of uniform and legal labeling.
  • Do they say certified organic or organic?
  • Are the oils stored in clear bottles? No essential oil should ever be stored in a bottle that allows in light. Light can break down the active chemicals in an oil.
  • Are the oils steam distilled using the minimum amount of heat necessary? Heat destroys the chemicals in oil. Citrus oils are especially sensitive. Any citrus oil should be extracted using a cold-pressed method.
  • Were they distilled in non-reactive containers like glass, ceramic, enamel or stainless steel?
  • Are they labeled therapeutic grade? Therapeutic grade oils are generally safe for internal use (been using them for years). I wouldn’t trust ANY oils that are not labeled therapeutic grade.
  • Do they taste like the plant? This is the real ringer. Any lab can engineer a chemical to smell like something else, but taste is the real winner here. Orange oil should taste and smell like oranges, etc. If it tastes like a chemical it probably is a chemical. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend going around taste testing tea tree or lavender oil.

Make your own:

The best way to do this stuff is to grow your own herbs and make your own tinctures and or decoctions. (instructions in the free primer link at the top of this page). It’s simple and easy to do and is the time-honored way to preserve the healing properties of herbs.

You should note though that tinctures and decoctions are much less concentrated that essential oils. They work but they’re not nearly as potent. I highly recommend using essential oils over decoctions on things like burns, breaking fevers or any chronic conditions or anything that is time sensitive. Essential oils simply work faster and are more effective.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t grow your own, just keep the good stuff handy when needed.

Where to buy Quality?

Producing essential oils on your own is not really an option. It takes somewhere on the order of ½ a ton of rose pedals to make ONE pound of high quality rose oil. I don’t know about you but I don’t have ½ a ton of rose pedals laying around. Essential oils require volume and they also require special distilling equipment, and you have to know how to use that equipment.

Therefore, I have to admit that having an emergency supply of store-bought essential oils on hand is… well it’s essential. So where do you buy?

OK, I don’t do this often but I’m about to blatantly endorse a product. I don’t do this lightly, but I’ve been using these folks for years and they are just top notch as far as quality.

Check out Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com
  • Organically grown
  • Sustainably harvested
  • Therapeutic grade
  • Lab Tested
  • Reasonably priced

I personally use them both for oils and for raw herbs (medicinal and cooking).

The only close competition I know of is Young Living essential oils, but good luck with their prices. They’re also not sustainably harvested to my knowledge. They do have good quality oils though. Personally, I’d go with Mountain Rose Herbs all the way.

Herbal First Aid Kit:

Here is a great article on putting together a top notch herbal first aid kit. Every home should have one of these. I recommend having the essential oils on hand, obviously.

Here are a few of the herbs recommended in the kit and a few I suggest adding as well.Note: dosages below are for Tinctures / decoctions not for essential oils. Essential oils are MUCH more potent that Tinctures and decoctions. Always consult a doctor before using any course of treatment.

Lavender. Absolutely outstanding for burns. Stops pain almost instantly and seriously promotes healing of burns. This should be in EVERY kitchen on the planet.

Arnica. This external remedy makes a great massage liniment for sore and cramped muscles. It will decrease pain and prevent swelling and bruising associated with torn ligaments, sprains, crushed fingers and toes, and broken bones — provided the skin is not broken. Arnica works best if applied immediately after an injury and continued every couple hours for the first day.

Cayenne. Five to ten drops diluted in two ounces of water can be used internally for frostbite and hypothermia. It moves the blood from the center of the body to the peripheral areas, warming hands and feet. A couple drops under the tongue will help to revive someone in shock or trauma. Used externally for heavily bleeding lacerations, it will coagulate the blood to stanch the flow (though it stings a mite). Warning: Do NOT GET IN THE EYES! Think pepper spray extra strength.

Valerian. As an antispasmodic and painkiller, this herb relieves intestinal and menstrual cramps, headaches and general aches or pains. As a nervine, it will bring sleep to an exhausted person. The dosage range is 30 to 60 drops.

Echinacea. Besides possessing the ability to increase the supply of white blood cells to an infected area, thus boosting the immune system, echinacea is also antibiotic and antibacterial to gram positive bacteria such as strep or staph. It’s helpful with fevers, poisoning, or any type of internal infection and has reportedly been used for poisonous insect and snake bites by many native Plains tribes. Echinacea is a good preventative and supportive herb for the onset of the flu or common cold. The dosage ranges from 30 to 60 drops, the higher ranges used for fevers and acute situations. For toothaches, it can be massaged into the surrounding gums and teeth. For poisonous bites, 60 drops every 15 minutes is appropriate.

Milk thistle combination. This can include milk thistle, burdock and kelp in equal parts. An alternative to chaparral that acts to leach heavy metals and radiation toxicity from the thyroid, blood, and liver as well as protects the liver against further damage. Good to take before and after dental x-rays and after taking Tylenol or Advil.

Note: link actually goes to a dandylion blend, but it does the same thing.

Quassia. As an antimicrobial, this herb is traditionally used for bacterial diarrhea, dysentery, and giardia — a lower gastrointestinal complaint contracted by drinking contaminated water. The standard dose is three to five droppersful every six hours. To treat suspected bad water, add 30 drops to each quart of water.

Note: link goes to a blend that does the same thing.

Slippery elm capsules. Used for food poisoning, this powder combines and buffers poisons in the stomach and bowels to decrease toxic absorption. It can soothe mucous membranes and settle an upset stomach.

Ginger root capsules. Use two caps for motion and morning sickness. It’s also effective for nausea caused by flu or bad food.

Marshmallow-peppermint oil capsules. This is an easy-to-make combination of four parts marshmallow powder to one part peppermint oil. The powder in this formula is basically a vehicle for the peppermint oil to reach the small intestines without dissolving in the stomach. The capsules reduce intestinal cramping that can accompany any gastrointestinal tract infection. For children not able to swallow capsules, you can dissolve the contents in four cups of juice or sweetened water.

Peppermint. A little on the temples can help you stay awake and a few drops in water will settle an upset stomach.

Tea tree oil. Called a “first aid kit in a bottle,” tea tree (Melaleuca leucadendron) oil has strong antifungal and antibiotic properties with antiseptic abilities. It can be used for fungal infections, pus-filled wounds or burns, cold sores, and herpes lesions. For use with earaches and on sensitive skin, dilute with equal parts olive oil. Use sparingly — tea tree oil goes a long way.

*Note: the information presented on this page is in no way intended as medical advice. Always consult a qualified physician before beginning treatment of any condition.



*from an email i sent to my co-worker today. Thought I’d share the information since it may be useful to some folks. Note that Stevia is a powerful calorie free 100% natural sweetner that is starting to make an appearance on the american market as an alternative sweetner. It’s been used as a sweetner in europe for some time, but the FDA has held up it’s use/approval in the food supply for the US for 50+ years for a myriad of reasons I don’t understand*

Herbal medicine is part of my zombie apocalypse survival plan as is home brewing. When the world’s days are numbered and we’re all living in small conclaves to avoid the roaming hordes of zombies you keep the guy who knows how to make the beer and the medicine (or the medicinal beer) safe at all costs.

I have my bigger plants in 2 gallon black buckets from the dollar store with holes punched in the bottom for drainage. That’s plenty of room for most office plants. My Ivy is currently attempting to take over my office.

I have a bit of a green thumb, but I have to confess Stevia is a new plant for me so I’m still on the learning curve. In fact, I’ve recently discovered a few things relevant to those cuttings. It seems the plant has an annual life cycle such that once it blooms/flowers it seems that it will never again (at least not without serious coaxing) go into vegetative growth mode again. That means that while the cuttings will probably survive indefinitely if watered they’ll likely never fully take root like they should or go back to a vigorous growth mode. The plant is programmed for 1 annual cycle.

The good news is those blossoms give off tons of little puffy floaters with seeds. If you put the seeds on a shelf to mature for 2-3 months you should be able to grow fresh stevia plants. (you have to wait a few months for the seeds to mature / be viable. )

Here’s a great link on the basis of preserving herbs:

Instead of drying you might also make a decoction so that you could basically liquefy the sweet elements in the plant so that it’s convenient to use in the kitchen or for drinks.

The dried form of stevia isn’t as sweet as the fresh leaf so another alternate preparation you can use is a decoction. That involves stripping the leaves (where the sweet substance is produced in stevia) and submersing the leaves in gently simmering water. You want just enough water to cover the plant, as little as possible. The temperature should be as low as possible while still maintaining a simmer. The heat and simmering action will dissolve the oils/chemicals in the plant into the water. Simmer the leaves for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 15-20 minutes remove the leaves via a strainer and test the liquid for sweetness. If it does not seem almost overpoweringly sweet then continue to simmer the liquid gently to reduce/concentrate the liquid. When you reach the desired concentration allow it to cool and put the liquid in some kind of easily portable dispenser so that you can use it as a convenient liquid sweetner for drinks, etc.

I would keep the decoction in the fridge door when not in use just to inhibit any bacterial or fungal growth since to my knowledge stevia isn’t anti-bacterial or anti-fungal. The fridge door should be cool enough to retard growth but cool enough to keep from damaging/turning off any chemical elements in the decoction.

If you want pick up a living plant you might check out Maas Nursery ( It’s a HUGE nursery down in seabrook (I mean huge). They’re the only people I’ve ever seen around town with the live plants.

Something else I’ve learned about stevia is that it’s a water hog. I have a hard time keeping it watered, especially over a weekend. To help out with that I picked up some clay hydrospikes on They slowly leech water into the soil when it gets too dry. I prefer these over the kind of spikes with bulbs because you can put the hose for the spike in any size reservoir. You should still water the plants as you normally would but if you have to be away for a day or two the spike will give the plant enough water to make it until you can resume normal watering cycles. It just won’t give enough water for vigorous growth. I’ve read reviews on those spikes where folks have left their plants for months at a time hooked to large water tanks and come home to a perfectly healthy plant.



Salves, Syrups, Decoctions and Tinctures

Source: A Druid’s Herbal, by Ellen Evert Hopman


Herbs that are useful for skin conditions (such as comfrey, lavendar, calendula, pine needles aloes, etc.) can be made into salves. The ideal time to make a salve is in midsummer when the herbs are fresh and abundant, but dried herbs can be used as well. Consider adding green walnut hulls and whole, smashed horse chestnuts to the basic mix for their skin- healing and painkiller properties.

Simmer herbs in good quality olive oil in a large pot. In a separate pot, melt and simmer three to four tablespoons of fresh beeswax (the beeswax should be golden and have a strong honey scent) per cup of oil. Put enough oil in the pot to just cover the herbs. Simmer the herbs in the oil for about twenty minutes. When wax and oil reach the same approximate temperature, pour in the wax. Strain and pour into clean sanitary airtight jars. Tincture of benzoin (about one oz per quart) may be added as a preservative while the salve is still liquid although this is not strictly necessary. The most important factor in controlling mold is to have immaculately clean and dry jars and utensils. Boiling followed by thorough drying is all that is usually needed. Persons living in very hot and damp climates may want to take extra precaution of adding the tincture of benzoin.



Syrups are made by boiling three pounds of Sucanat (dessicated sugar cane juice that can be bought at most organic food stores) in one pint of water until a syrupy consistency is obtained and then steeping the herbs in the hot mixture for twenty minutes to transfer the essential oils from the plant matter into the syrup. The herbs can also be simmered directly in honey or maple syrup for about ten minutes. Use two teaspoons of herb for every cup of liquid. Strain the syrup and store it, well sealed, in the refrigerator.


Similar to an infusion, or tea, a decoction is necessary when you are making remedies from tough plant materials, such as roots, bark, seeds or stems. To begin, place thinly chopped plant material into a saucepan and add cold water. Use 1-2 teaspoons of fresh or dried herbs to one cup of water. Bring the decoction to a very low boil, simmer for 15 minutes, and strain after the liquid has been reduced by one half. The lower the temperature of the boil the more intact the essential oil in the herb will be.


From Merddyn2002

I generally don’t bother with Syrups, but if for some reason you need or want to make one (some herbal syrups are delicious) remember that you can always add a tincture to a syrup mixture relatively quickly. Tinctures are highly concentrated and keep for a long time so they are my preferred method of herbal storage/concentration.

I generally don’t bother with decoctions either. If I need to tincture an especially tough herb (usually a root or a bark) like rose hips I’ll use a food processor or coffee grinder and grind the herb to a cornmeal texture and then use the tincture process on the meal. This is generally easier than a decoction and you don’t run the risk of getting the mixture too hot and thereby spoiling the medicinal compounds.



Tinctures are made by grinding the leaves, roots, or other plant material with a mortar and pestle (or a blender) and just barely covering them with high-quality vodka, whiskey, or grain alcohol. High quality alcohol must be used in order to extract the essential oil from the plant material. Water will not work for a tincture. Shake well once daily. After 21 days strain and store in amber (or dark) airtight containers. Keep the herbal tinctures in a cool, dry place for up to five years. As a general rule resins like dragon’s blood, frankincense and myrrh do not tincture well. The dose is generally twenty drops in a cup of herb tea or warm water four times a day. In acute or emergency situations the dose is given more frequently; in the case of labor pains, for example, it might be a dropperful every five minutes.


From Merddyn2002:

Experience has taught me that vodka generally makes a more balanced tincture because it has roughly equal parts water and alcohol and is relatively tasteless. by using both water and alcohol for every tincture you generally get both water and alcohol soluable compounds out of the herbs.

As a general rule it’s best to tincture individual herbs, rather than blends simply because it’s easier to mix and match herbal treatments if each one is concentrated separately.

I generally only keep a tincture for 2 years from the time it’s completed.


Poultices & Formentations

Source: A Druid’s Herbal, by Ellen Evert Hopman

To make a poultice take fresh herbs or dried ones that have been soaked in freshly boiled water until soft. Mix them with just enough slippery elm powder to make the poultice stick together if necessary. Place it on the affected part and wrap in a clean cloth. To protect sheets and clothes from stains and help keep the warmth of a poultice in you might consider wrapping the applied poultice and limb/body part in plastic wrap. The practice of poulticing topically administers the essential oil so that it can be absorbed through the skin. The heat of a poultice can also help reduce swelling.


A formentation is a strong herbal tea in which a clean cloth is dipped (the cloth can also be filled with herbs, but this would generally be considered a poultice). The cloth is then applied to the affected part.


From Merddyn2002

Slippery Elm will work as the author above suggests, but flour or cornmeal will work just as well. The idea is to use a substance that will help the poultice stay in one place. Herbs should be simmered until soft, not boiled. Allowing the water to reach the boiling point may destroy vital chemical compounds in the herbs that would be beneficial to healing. If the poultice is intended for a wound that is NOT open I will generally add a dash of alcohol to the herb/cornmeal mix to help coax alcohol soluble compounds out of the herbs.

Heat in a poultice is critical to keep the pores of the skin open to allow for greater penetration of the medicinal compounds. Even though I always start with a hot poultice I typically apply a heating pad over top of it to maintain the heat level constantly. If the poultice is going on an open wound I typically put a healthy amount of minced garlic into the mix. Garlic is both antiseptic and anti-fungal. It does sting a bit though,


Medicinal Uses

Source: A Druid’s Herbal, by Ellen Evert Hopman

The primary method of treating patients with natural substances generally revolves around the homeopathic school of thought. The homeopathic principle states that a patient exhibiting symptoms will be treated with a substance that would cause the same symptom if it were administered in a large dose. For instance, mistletoe leaves and twigs are used in the treatment of epilepsy because in very large dose mistletoe can cause seizures, especially in children. Another example of this methodology would be the Native American tradition of treating fever with a session in a sweat lodge. The herbs or other remedies are, however, generally administered in very small doses but at frequent intervals. The homeopathic method of herbal use is usually summed up in the phrase “fight fire with fire” or “treat like with like.”


Harvesting Herbs

Source: A Druid’s Herbal, by Ellen Evert Hopman

If you choose to harvest your own herbs please keep the following information in mind.

  • Tree leaves should be gathered before Midsummer. After that, the percentage of natural insecticide in the leaf is too high
  • Leaves and Flowers should be gathered on a dry day when the flowers first begin to open. They are always dried in the shade.
  • Roots are generally gathered in very early spring or in late fall after the plant has begun to die back.
  • Tree barks generally contain the desired medicinal properties in the soft inner layer (cambium) between the sapwood and the dead outer bark, or the bark of the root.

General Rules

Majority Source: A Druid’s Herbal, by Ellen Evert Hopman

When using Leaves or Flowers

Steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes. Strain and store in a refrigerated, airtight container. The dose is generally one-fourth of a cup four times a day, not with meals. Children take one-eighth cup, and infants can receive the herbs through the mother’s milk or in very trace amounts. (taken from A Druid’s Herbal)

When using Roots, Barks, Seeds and Twigs

Simmer two teaspoons of plant matter for twenty minutes, strain, and store as above. The does is one fourth cup, four times a day, not with meals. (taken from A Druid’s Herbal)

Herbal teas will stay fresh in your refrigerator for about one week when stored in an airtight container. (taken from A Druid’s Herbal)

If using a mortar and pestle to combine ingredients or crush material always remember to thoroughly wash both mortar and pestle with soap and water after each use. Rinse profusely to remove all remnants of soap. Always sanitize your mortar and pestle by boiling or lightly dowsing them in alcohol and allowing them to air dry before use. You may consider purchasing a separate mortar and pestle for resins like myrrh, frankincense, copal and dragon’s blood since these elements are difficult to clean out.

Cleanliness and sterility is of the utmost importance when dealing with open wounds, internal medicine and organic compounds that will be stored for long periods of time. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to use high quality alcohol in tinctures and sterilize all equipment to be used before hand.

Use the lowest temperature possible when using heat to prepare herbal remedies.

Simmering or boiling plant matter doesn’t mean to turn it to charcoal. Extreme temperatures can very easily destroy the active chemicals in an essential oil and therefore render them medicinally useless. A boil need not be a rolling boil and a simmer need not vaporize water on contact with the pan.

One tincture does not an herbalist make. Botany and homeopathic remedies cannot be mastered overnight. There are often hundreds and thousands of sub-species of plants that all have their own unique chemical properties. Never assume that you are correct when it comes to medicine and someone’s health. Doctors study intensely for many years to be licensed to begin to practice medicine. It can often take just as many years to gain mastery over herbalism.

Always be 100% sure when possible. Never take a risk with anyone’s health. If the situation is an emergency and it’s possible to get emergency medical attention from a qualified professional, then do so immediately.


Essential Oils

The active ingredient for herbal remedies on a mundane level is essential oil. Essential oil is the liquid extract of the chemical essence of the plant. This extract exists in very small amounts but is highly potent. It may take a hundred pounds of plant matter to extract a single milliliter of essential oil. All herbal remedies generally revolve around releasing the essential oil in a plant and then either ingesting the oil in one form or another or applying the substance topically. The plant is a carrier and manufacturer or the oil but it’s the oil itself that contains the healing properties. It should also be noted that some herbs that are generally toxic in any amount can be used for herbal remedies even internally by diluting the essential oil enough so that it’s not chemically present but a molecular signature of the oil is still present in the remedy. On a practical level, the oil is not actually present in the remedy in a chemically measurable amount and thus can do no damage but the vibration or electrical signature of the oil is still present. Often, this is more than enough to be effective.

If you decide to purchase your own essential oil for medicinal use make sure that the plant was organically grown (as pesticides can change the molecular structure of plants) and that the oil was not cut (or thinned) with another substance. This is a very common practice from most essential oil manufacturers because essential oil can be so expensive to procure. Insuring that your oil is “food grade” quality is an absolute must if you’re planning on using the oil for internal medicinal uses. I personally only know of one manufacturer in the United States that produces this quality of oil. Young Living ( essential oils are superb quality and they guarantee a food grade oil. However, be prepared to pay for the quality.

The following is a listing of the generally accepted methods of preparing herbal remedies. Please keep in mind that not all herbs are fit for human consumption and not all herbs lend themselves to the same method of preparation for treatment. Refer to a good herbal remedy guide for additional information on specific herb preparation. I recommend the website for an excellent free resource complete with description and homeopathic uses. Another outstanding resource complete with detailed descriptions, photographs, illustrations, chemical analysis and homeopathic remedies is the book The New Age Herbalist as listed in the Resources section of this document. Yet another outstanding resource with a blend of medicinal and metaphysical information is A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year as well as the web site as listed in the Resources section of this document.