I’ve just had a flurry of herbal tonic making, and it feels so GOOD! Pictured from left to right are a beginning batch of nettle infusion, beginning jar of Susun Weed’s Old Sourpuss mixture, an already set and strained nettle infusion (nothing else has that color), beginning infusion of fresh oat tops, and some motherwort tincture that I took out of the cupboard.
You may be wondering how someone as lazy as I did all that. I had harvesting help. I had been really craving nettles, but mine were still pretty small, they’re just getting good for picking now. I pick them when they’re young, but wanted to give them a chance to outrun the pellitory. I have a bed of nettles planted on the north side of the house, where it doesn’t get super sunny, and they do fine there without taking over.
I decided to order some fresh herbs from the Sonoma County Herb Exchange, a worthy organization with a great catalogue of fresh herbs. When I first talked to them, there was the possibility of delivery to SF, but that didn’t work out, so I got the herbs through the mail. Nettles, dandelion root, oat tops and raspberry leaf, which I shared with my pregnant friend. I knew I had to go through them in a hurry and try to get the most out of their freshness.
I’ve been drinking the nettle infusion as much as possible, and also decided to make Susun Weed’s old sourpuss mineral mix, which I got from her excellent menopause book. I love this recipe, because it has a lot of high mineral herbs, and you can use whichever fresh herbs you have.
So I chopped up some dandelion root, added nettle and raspberry leaves, covered with apple cider vinegar and that’ll be one batch. One thing to remember with herbal vinegars is that you don’t want to use metal with the vinegar, so I found a plastic top to a quart jar, filled it with Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar, and will let it set for some time.
I think I’ll make another batch, if I can find another plastic lid, with added herbs from the garden: comfrey, mugwort (have a ton of these) and more raspberry or yellow dock. This is such a good way for the body to get all those minerals.
Tthe nettles have been tasting so deeply satisfying, I haven’t been taking them regularly since last summer, and my body has been craving them. In a week that included a hit-and-run accident, and my cat’s ruptured anal gland (sorry), these nutritive tonics were just what I needed to stay sane and healthy.
I’ll include another post with more how-to details soon, but one thing I wanted to stress (which is not represented in my picture) is to make sure you label your herbal tinctures and vinegars (anything that’s going to last) with the date and contents. So easy to forget when you’re lazy, and I can’t tell you how many mystery tinctures I have had that I can’t share with anyone else!