Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Herbal Work!

They say that you should write about what you know. Lately, all I have been knowing is Boline and its projects! (And it makes me really happy.)

Three of my tinctures.
I have been creating new products and testing them on myself and others. In my medicine cabinet are protoypes of a deodorant balm, a body/baby powder, and some allergy tincture for seasonal woes. I have given the neighbor, who does not have dental insurance, a powerful antibiotic oil for a tooth infection as well as some clove oil for topical pain relief. I have given some my my myrrh slave to a friend with painful shaving rash. I get reports every couple days about the status of their conditions and so far so good.

I have also been making my tried-and-true recipes and offering them for sale on Poppy Swap and Etsy. I have several more in the works. Some are mid-process (making herbal remedies is often a multi-step, time consuming process) and some are waiting and on the "to make" list.

For folks unfamiliar with medicine making, here's an example of what I mean by "multi-step, time consuming process":

To make my herbal antibiotic salve, I first had to make three types of herb infused oils. I chose oregon grape root, goldenseal, and thyme.

4 types of my salves.
Step One: Create herbal oils. You must let the oil steep for many weeks, sometimes in direct sunlight, before they are ready and potent. You must choose the carrier oil that best suits the herb and the ultimate recipe you are making. I always choose carrier oils that are suitable for external as well as internal uses. You never know what you might want to make!

Step Two: Strain oils. I usually strain a couple of times- especially if the herb you used was a powdered preparation.

Step Three: Melt beeswax with herbal oils in a double boiler til liquified. Add vitamin E oil for stability.

Step Four: Package the product. I put this salve in 2 and 4 oz tins.

Steps Five and Six: Label (create cute label with ingredients, company information, and how to use the product and possible warnings.) Then, list in stores.

It has been taking a little over a month to create salves, balms, and oils. It takes double that to make tinctures, as the same plant matter needs to be soaked in alcohol and then water. Each liquid extracts different effects from the plant, so herbalists first soak in one, then the other, then combine the liquids for a whole plant medicine. I just strained the alcohol from my valerian and vitex, and now the plants are soaking in water for a few weeks.

Preliminary sketch of my new logo. It has a boline,
the full moon, and two medicinal herbs.
Many tinctures are not simples, they are complex blends with specific purposes or custom-made for clients. For example, my preferred digestive bitters blend is 4 different herb tinctures, blended together. My sleepy tincture is 2-3 different herbs and my allergy formula is based on the region and type of allergy.

I haven't gotten enough variety of herbs yet to create any old concoction that I desire at the drop of a hat. I have been acquiring ones as I can- and creating wither an oil or tincture from it as I get them. I have not been making medicines in Ohio long enough for that. I envy the stock that my old herb school had- jars upon jars of anything that you could ever imagine! I could easy create my own custom blends with everything they had. One day, I will have that! I dream of an apothecary room full of glass jars of roots, flowers, leaves, liquids and butters. When that happens, I will be able to make anything I need for anyone within a day.

In business news, I have been working with an artist on a logo (it should be finished this weekend- yay!) and I am designing a website and labels myself. Right now, the labels I am using are temporary until I get a real logo (and I love the look of this logo!)

Stay tuned for more Boline news, as it happens!


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