Natural Medicine 101: Three Carriers To Use for Making Herbal Remedies
We’re going to cover some basic carriers that you can use to dispense your herbal formulations. This is a basic primer, just to get you started, and you’ll need to follow this up with some research depending on the type of herbs you wish to employ. We will be detailing three “carriers,” and they are honey, vinegar, and wine. Let’s get right into it!
For starters, a carrier is a substance that preserves either the full herb or any extracted portion of it as a protectant and a medium with which to dispense it to a person. It is not to be confused with a tincture. The tincture is differentiated from the carrier in that it is meant to dispense but also to preserve for a substantial length of time. The “shelf life,” if you would term it is not as long for carriers such as those described herein as a tincture, which is usually stable for 3 years or more.
In addition, functionally the carriers differ as well. Honey is a demulcent, a soothing substance that can coat a throat or mucosal membranes and help alleviate redness, swelling, or other discomforts. Vinegar and wine can be used internally and externally with herbs as the formulation calls for. Once more, the alcoholic mixture found in a tincture is in sufficient percentages to preserve, with the objective of dispensing the herbs being a quantifiable and accurate dosage (in milligrams or grams per ml…that’s milliliters) as well as preservation.
3 Carriers for Herbal Formulations
As mentioned, a demulcent. When you use honey
as a carrier for your herb, you want to have the purest, least processed that you can find…as close to right out of the comb as you can obtain. This is going to be a process of selection for you. Find an apiary (beekeepers) that is near to where you live as possible. Why? For several reasons. It assures you of quality control so that you’ll know there aren’t any pesticides or pasteurization going on with the honey you buy. Also, since the bees will make the honey from pollens that are near where you live, there will be less of a chance that the honey will conflict with any allergies you may have to pollen. Be advised: raw honey should not be given to any children under 1 year of age.
The vinegar you pick up should not be clear to the eye, and it should have sediment/precipitates that form on the bottom. The best apple cider vinegar
has the “mother” in it, which basically are bacteria that help to ferment and produce the vinegar. Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is top quality and found everywhere, although you may find an equivalent made locally or of a less-known brand. The important thing is to strive for organic and with the “mother” to assure it has not been processed.
A local wine is your best bet for many reasons, but primarily because you can have a batch before they bottle it and throw in any chemicals or seal it up with anything that may leach into the wine. You can always make up a batch for yourself that takes a couple of months. There are plenty of resources for you in this area on the Internet, and winemaking is outside of the scope of this article. Once again, strive for purity and high-quality.
How To Infuse Your Carriers
With wine and vinegar, you will place your macerated/chopped herbs into a jar and cover them over with either the wine or vinegar, sealing the jar as tightly as you can. You will then keep it in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard. You will also need to shake your jar vigorously twice a day a minimum of 100 times per session. Three weeks will be the time to leave it in. At the end of it, strain off your wine or vinegar into a bottle, and voila! Pretty simple. As you may deduce, it is easier to use wine and vinegar that is already made than to make your own and infuse it in this manner. Your shelf-lives are between 6 months to a year.
With honey, it is a simple infusion. You will prepare the herb by boiling and then steeping water, straining the water from the herb, and then adding the now-infused water to the honey after the water cools. The good thing is that honey is antimicrobial in nature and will not be a medium for germs if it is covered to protect it from insects and contaminants and kept out of the sun. Before emplacing the herb, boil some water, take it off the stove, and then let it sit for about 1-2 minutes. Then place your herb in and let it steep. This prevents boiling water from destroying the beneficial qualities of the herb.
You can flavor the honey with different types of flowers, or you can add herbs such as a ginger infusion for a tonic (ginger is excellent for cold, flu, and sore throats associated with both). Once again, you’re only limited to your imagination as what you wish to do. Research your herbs for intended use and find out their compatibility with what you wish to make. JJ out!
Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.
Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.
Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
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