At this time of year, I used to envy my friends with gardens. Being an apartment dweller – with a very shady balcony – I haven’t successfully grown a lot of herbs. But I love using fresh herbs in cooking, so was always grateful for friends with an over-abundance of herbs, which I gratefully swapped for tinctures, as well as flavoured vinegars or infused oils, that I would make from their harvest.
As I learn more about these wonderful herbs, I also know that they are not just for cooking…. So many herbs and other wild plants are the basis of Nature’s pharmacy. And we are not limited to the plants we can grow ourselves. We can purchase in our local farmers’ market, organic grocery store, or forage in the wild. The latter was a revelation to me as I learned more: the alley behind our place is a cornucopia of wild herbs and plants that can be used in so many ways, including dandelion, plantain, wild lettuce, St. John’s Wort, yarrow and more.
So extend your summer by collecting and preserving herbs and other plants for using in cooking, for making personal care products (salves, oils, etc) and for your herbal pharmacy (tinctures).
Consider joining a local foraging, rewilding or gardening club to learn even more.
TIP: Tinctures are simple to make, requiring only the raw ingredients, alcohol and patience. The folks at Mountain Rose Herbs wrote an excellent article on tinctures in their blog.