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Herbal Medicine-Making Capstone Assignment

Updated: May 24

One thing I'm trying to change this year is putting things off because I don't feel they are perfect. This Herbal Medicine-Making Capstone Assignment is a perfect example, it has been sitting for a year or two waiting for pictures. Why? Because they said to be sure to include pictures. I know and knew then if I didn't have pictures it would be ok but I couldn't handle handing it in not perfect.


I'm kinda proud of myself for sharing this here or sending it in since there are a few formulas I would change, am changing them on my next batch, and the pictures aren't the best but that shows growth. So, put yourself and stuff out there.


Herbal Medicine-Making Capstone Assignment

What are your three favorite things you have made?


Was it hard to get the hang of it?

This time around it has not been hard to get the hang of it, it comes to me almost as second nature.  I first started making herbal medicine over 20 years ago, and I do remember it being a bit harder back then. I took this course (Family Herbalist) as a refresher and to fill any “holes” in my herbal education.


I hadn't tried making lotion before. I did a lot of research and watched a few free masterclasses by other lotion makers before I tried it. I found it to be much easier than I had thought it would be.


Did you need a few tries to get it just right or was it something that clicked from the beginning?

All of these came out exactly as planned on the first try but that has a lot to do with how much planning and research I put into things before I do them. Since I knew what I wanted from my product, I started by finding which herbs would work best for what I was aiming for and had on hand. From there the process was like second nature and flowed beautifully from start to end.


What inspired you to make that item, and how has it worked in your body? Have you shared it with other people? If so, what did they think of it? Can we see a picture of it?


Joint Salve & Tea



I was taking a class locally and was given Solomon’s Seal and the task of making a salve with it. While researching the herb I learned more about its joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles healing qualities. I decided I wanted an external and internal option so I made the blend as a salve and a tea (tea of course only included the herbs). My husband had been complaining about joint pain for the past month or two, making him the perfect test subject for the salve. 


Herbs in the blend and why

  • Comfrey – decrease pain, and inflammation.

  • Solomon’s Seal – restores the appropriate tension, be it tightening or loosening issues that affect joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

  • Cat’s Claw Bark – decrease pain, and inflammation.

  • White Willow Bark – decrease pain, and inflammation.

  • Jojoba oil – closes to skin, cut the sesame seed smell.

  • Sesame seed oil – decrease pain, and inflammation.

  • Arrowroot Powder – cut the greasy feeling of the salve.

  • Mango Butter – my butter of preference along with pumpkin, good for skin.

  • Beeswax – many benefits one of which is hardening this to a salve instead of a butter.

I decided a 60/40 split of main/support would work fine for this salve; Comfrey and Solomon’s Seal are primary, while Cat’s Claw Bark and White Willow Bark are secondary.  For the oil, I choose to go with a 1:5 ratio, split equally between the two oils; Sesame and Jojoba.  For the salve, I used 70% butter/30% oil.  Since I wanted beeswax in this, I decided on an 80/20 split of mango butter/beeswax to make up my 70%, and from that, I subtracted 1% to give to the arrowroot powder. 


The Joint Salve has been an incredible blessing. You don’t notice the difference until the next day but boy do you REALLY feel the difference the next day. Everyone who has used this salve loves it.


Herbers, here are the formulas Flex Oil and Flex Salve.


Bruise & Wound Salve



I was taking a class locally and was given Hyssop and the task of making something with it. I tend to run into things and end up bruised a lot of the time. The rest of my family also tends to get cuts and bruises, mostly from outdoor activities.


While researching Hyssop, herb I learned more about its bruise healing qualities and decided it would be a great test since I bump into everything and often am covered in bruises.  Since the other herbs in this blend are the ones, I tend to reach for when dealing with cuts, bites, and bruises I decided they would be perfect to pair with Hyssop (Comfrey, Plantain, Calendula).


I originally thought I would do equal parts but then decided a 60/40 split of main/support would be better only to realize that ends up equal parts, so guess my intuition was correct.  When I do oils, I tend to do a 1:7 ratio but with this one, I decided to try a 1:5 instead (Grapeseed Oil).  For the salve, I used my cream ratios for the most part; 70% butter/30% oil.  Since I wanted beeswax in this, I decided on a 60/40 split of mango butter/beeswax to make up my 70%, and from that, I subtracted 1% to give to the arrowroot powder.  Of the 30% oil, I subtracted 1% to give to the preservative.


When making the salve, I came to find out that I needed to make an extra 50-100 ml of oil to account for the amount the herbs soaked up and what was impossible to get out of the other materials.  I only added 30 ml when making the oil, I came up short of the oil amount I needed.  To deal with this I increased the mango butter by the amount I was off, 11g (originally 68 ml oil needed but only had 57 ml, increased mango butter from 98 g to 109 g).  Since I knew that increasing the mango butter will also increase the hardness of the product, I opted to add the beeswax a little at a time until I got the consistency I liked. The beeswax amount dropped from 64g to 52g.  I also learned that my preservative can only be added at 100 F and below which is too low to add to this formula since the beeswax solidifies by then.

 

This works so well. If I don't notice until the bruise forms to put it on it cuts the healing time to a day or two instead of a week. If I run into something I think it might leave a bump or bruise and put this on asap then the bump or bruise never forms. I gave small samples of this to the class that gave me the challenge and all the other students raved about it the next week.  This is one of my most requested products.


Herbers, here are the formulas Boo Boo Oil and Boo Boo Salve.


Vit/Min Blend


close up of loose leaf vitamin and mineral tea blend

I do not eat like a person should, as in I eat dinner, and if anything food-related besides dinner makes it into me in a day then it was a great day. I have been like this since I was in my preteens and have tried to take vitamins or other supplements to help. The downfall is I tend to forget to take them.


What I can seem to handle is drinking tea every morning which lead me to create a Vit/Min blend. I researched nourishing herbs and came up with a list of 45.  From that list, I cross-referenced the vitamins and minerals in each herb.  Then I selected the herbs that covered the most vitamins and minerals while also making sure every vitamin and mineral was covered. This tea mix covers all but two which are Nickel and Boron.


This formula was to increase my intake and does not supply the full daily dose of vit/min needed. Within a week of starting this as tea, I noticed my nails were stronger, my hair started looking healthier and my skin seemed to look better.


I have used this blend as tea, vinegar, and veggie seasoning.  Most people don’t notice it in my cooking when I use it as seasoning or vinegar to deglaze a pan.  The few who have drank the tea for a week or more have all commented on a boost of energy and appearance.


Herbers, you can find the formula here.


Mature Skin Oil/Lotion



I had made a calendula body butter that I love but wanted it in a more useable form like lotion that others in the family might use and was easier to apply throughout the day. I started by researching lotion since I’m not fond of the “normal” herbal lotion recipe I see of water, oil, and beeswax.  This recipe feels like it wouldn’t be shelf stable and would separate.  I found a few free masterclasses from natural lotion makers and took them. 


Armed with this knowledge I started researching herbs that are “good for” the skin. With this list I researched how each helps the skin and came up with a list of herbs I felt good about (Fennel, Rose Hips, Burdock Root, Marshmallow, Dandelion, Lemon Balm, Calendula, Hibiscus). Next was researching the oils and deciding which would work best (Pumpkin Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil). From there, this formula came together easily and quickly.


I have made a few batches of this lotion and love it. It takes care of my peeling heels within a day or two of normal use.  This is one of my most requested products.  Everyone loves how it works and how silky smooth it feels, not oily or like you just put on a layer of grease as many lotions do.


Herbers, you can find the formula for the Mature Skin Oil here. I will get the lotion formula up soon.

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