Making your own herbal remedies will save you a lot of money and also give you the satisfaction of knowing what is in it. We are all very aware of the concealed ingredients in a lot of our daily foods and medicines.
Herbs not only look nice, smell nice but also are good for you and they can lift a meal into something that is very tasty. Herbs can be grown in the smallest of spaces. Most herb seeds are better planted directly into the garden or a deep pot, as herbs don’t like being moved. It causes them to go to flower very quickly, missing out the leafy stage; coriander and salad lettuce are examples of this phenomenon.
A good herb garden is the result of good planning. Consider the shape and direction of the site: is it south or north facing, do you have heavy and clay soil that gets soggy in winter or light sand that dries out too much in summer? Dry-loving Mediterranean herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, prefer a parched, light situation and will thrive well in a window container. Other herbs, such as parsley and chervil, grow best in a nice rich, damp soil and some shade.
Once your herbs have grown, use this method for making your own herbal preparations in your own kitchen. Begin with a clean glass container that has a very tight fitting lid and the herbs of your choice. It is better to use fresh herbs, although those have been kept dry in a container are fine. This is the advantage of growing your own in the garden or on your patio. Fresh herbs are always preferred, but this depends upon where you live and the climate.
Chop up the herbs finely with a knife or blender. Then put in a glass container. Next, pour a quality alcohol over the herbs (the author prefers a malt whiskey), completely covering the herbs in the container. Add more alcohol over the next day or two, as the herbs absorb and expand. A very rough ratio is about 1 part herb to 4 parts alcohol.
Cover the container with a tight fitting lid and place a plastic bag between the lid and the container. This prevents rust particles from spoiling your herbal solution. Shake up well and put the jar in a dark cupboard and allow the herbs to soak for around 4 to 6 weeks. Shake up every 4-6 days. The alcohol will act like a solvent and absorb and extract the active principle from the herbs. Then after 6 weeks, filter the herbs through muslin into another large container. Following this stage, squeeze out the remaining herbal material in the muslin. Now decant the material from your larger container into smaller bottles, preferably dark coloured bottles and store your herbal extracts in a cool dark place. It will remain active for 3-5 years. You have now made herbal extracts very cheaply and basically the recipes for various herbs extracts are all very similar. Also, you can mix herbs in your diet or to get a combined medicinal effect. Try growing your own medicinal herbs, you will be glad you did.