Today at the Hollies I attended a workshop which taught me more about how to make some medicinal herbal teas, tinctures, syrups, creams, and ointments for regular use, for small ailments. We learnt to identify the plants first on a walk through the land, as I have an interest in herbs for a long time, I had no difficulty recognising them all. What I was hoping to get out of the workshop was a bit more knowledge on how to make a cream or an ointment from infused oils, compresses, poultices, and I found it not only interesting, I also found it inspiring. We went through so much information, took notes, took photos, chatted, and listened, and of course we tasted and tried stuff we made, and we smelled every plant we used, and what a variety; Mullein, echinacea, hypericum, fennel, plantain, hawthorn, periwinkle, rosehip, sage, marsh mallow, calendula, rosemary, comfrey, yarrow, and elderberry. After a few hours of identifying and picking plants, we went inside and enjoyed a nice lunch of nettle soup, homemade bread and hummus, after that we got stuck into brewing up our stuff, first we chopped up some rosemary and also some comfrey root, we made a tea of the rosemary leaves, and cooked up the comfrey root in hot oil (au bain marie), we strained it, and added it to the beeswax which we had cut up and melted (au bain marie) also. Finally we mixed all the ingredients together and poured into little jars. This ointment is said to be good for sprains.

For the cream we made we used calendula flowers, and rosemary leaves, the method was straight forward enough, as was the method to make a tincture, or a syrup.

I think that I finally have found the motivation to use more of the herbs I am growing, and some of the oils that have been waiting to be turned into creams and ointments.

So much to look forward to.

A great group of interested people gathered around so many herbs.

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Making the cream was of even more interest to me, we made it of calendula flowers and rosemary, the result was great.

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Stirring the cream before pouring it into the little jars, labelling is also very important.  Creams would usually last for about a year.  And of course we got good recommendation of books, some of which I might look out for.

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Digging up the comfrey root, and washing it before taking the peel off and cutting it up for use.

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Cutting the comfrey root, and pouring the finished product into little jars.

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Comfrey used in a poultice, and students listening and taking notes in the gardens.

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Picking off the elderberries to make a syrup, and getting the hawthorn berries ready to make a tincture.


  1. I have attended workshops like that too, Agnes. We were lucky here to have a year long course in herbalism that was created by a native American herbalist that was also an MD. It was a great learning experience. What kind of oils did you use for the creams’ base?

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    1. Hi Cynthia, we used sesame oil to diffuse the herb in and then we added that oil to the melted beeswax together with some borax. Though at home I have used olive oil to diffuse my calendula, and chamomile in, I think that I will change that next time as we were told that the olive oil does not soak into the skin so easily.

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      1. Interesting. I haven’t worked with sesame oil very much . The borax inhibits spoilage? I like that idea. We used boric acid and later I took to using grapefruit seed extract, vitamin e and Benzoin resin. Spoilage greatly decreased using dry herbs rather than fresh. Thanks, Agnes. This is so interesting to me. I made a whole line of creams and stuff when I had my store. For a while, I was so burnt out from making it for 9 years that I didn’t do much but now I am feeling drawn to it again .

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      2. I’m so glad for you Cynthia. For me the workshop was important in that it inspired me too. Last year I put calendula on oil, and this summer I did calendula, and camomile, but I did nothing further with it, I also made nettle tincture and did nothing further with it, so now I have the beeswax and the borax ready and over the next few days will make my creams. Last year I made hawthorn berries in honey and that was nice, I ate it over last winter. It is all very exciting, and I think if I can get my act together I could make some Christmas presents for my sisters or friends.


  2. Nature gives us so much, and it inspires me that you and the others at the workshop are delving into Her gifts and keeping the Wisdom of healing plants alive. Thank you for doing this. I love my nettle tea in the mornings with elderberry added as we go into winter, but I don’t grown any of the plants myself.

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