Making Medicines – Balms, Salves & Liniments

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Story of the Day – January 21st

I had arrived late after having a rough morning in the kitchen of an Airbnb I was staying in.  Blowing up the microwave isn’t exactly the most relaxing way to start your day.  I opened the front door to Alexis’s home and it was quiet minus the faint sound of Alexis’s voice in the living room.  I took off my boots and coat and rushed into the room, apologizing for my lateness.  The vibe was relaxed and I was greeted with warm smiles and welcomes, my stress levels immediately dwindled and I settled into my spot on the floor in front of the wood stove.

We started our day with gratitude, I was so grateful for that space and the feelings that filled me while I was in it.  We moved to talking about the flow of the day, it was our medicine making weekend, a culmination of what we had learned throughout the course and a chance to use our plant knowledge and put it into practical use.  We would be learning to make salves, balms and infused oils this morning.

We started with a demonstration from Alexis, showing us how to make balms using infused oils, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, beeswax and essential oils.  The kitchen was bustling as we divided into groups and started creating our own balms and salves for all types of skin issues, the smell of essential oils filled the air and laughter was all around as we tried to come up with witty names for our products.  Some of the names include, Essench Balm, Auntie Septic, Flower Power, Burrrn & Frankie’s Fester Free Balm to name a few.

After lunch we all learned about Kloss’s liniment and made some as a whole group but then broke off and worked on different projects of our choice, I worked to teach some folks how to make a quick stove top infused oil using the double boiler method.  While we worked to infuse some Oregon Grape into sunflower oil, most of the rest of folks were working to hand blend a mix of organic, home grown and wild-crafted herbs into teas!  Learning together about base herbs, middle herbs and accent herbs, learning to balance a tea blend with different flavors.  Trying to come up with names for the teas became a group effort as did naming most of the herbal preparations that we created over the weekend, The Joint, The Tonic, Easy Teasy, and Hot Harmony are a few of the day’s creations.

At the end of our day together, we prepared the last potluck dinner of our course and enjoyed it together around the wood stove.  We gathered with Bobby, Alexis, Violet and River in the living room ate and chatted about this and that.  When our bellies were full and we were getting really comfy, Alexis set up a slide show that Brenda had put together, it was beautiful.  There were photos from every weekend that we had together, it was so fun to remember the fun times that we had together as well as test ourselves with the plant photos to see if we could guess them.  The day ended and as I lay in my bed, thinking about the day, I felt sad that our apprenticeship would be ending the next day.


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