Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Herbal Medicine Class

So last night I took another class with the cheese lady. This time, it was class three of a four class series on using herbs. I wasn't so interested in the first two topics so there I was in a room of 15 other people, some of whom were also taking the 3rd class as their first. Who knew it would be so popular. Why did I take it? Well, I would never go to the doctor for a simple cold, but I figured it was cheaper than a co-pay, so why not.

She started off introducing herself as someone who is trained in the tradition of the Wise Women. And then she sang a song. She said that she always starts class by singing a song. Trust me, had there been a song at the cheese class, I'm not sure I would have come back. And I already paid for the 4th class. Oh well. At least it was a short song. And she didn't try to teach it and make us sing, so that was ok.

Now before I go on, picture in your mind the person who might be this teacher. Okay, got the picture? If you saw a 50-something woman with long gray hair tied in braids, you get a gold star.

And then she passed around kelp for us to munch on. I like seaweed, so I expected it to taste like the bottom of an aquarium. Others in the class had no such expectations.

Last night we learned how to make infused oils and the dangers of essential oils. I don't really remember why they are dangerous, but I suppose as long as I know she believes that they are, that's good enough for now. And then we made a balsam fir infused oil. In four to six weeks it will be ready to strain and ready for use. Evidently I'll be able to make lotions and lip balms, use it for cooking or massage, and if I remembered what healing properties balsam fir is known for, I could use it for that too.

Then we made a comfrey poultice. Yes, a comfrey poultice. It was fairly easy. You chop up some comfrey, add water, put it in a blender and then put a few spoonfuls on a rag. It's good for sprains, strains and other such maladies. I'm not sure I could ever do this on my own, not knowing what comfrey actually looks like in the wild. (She'd brought a big basket of the roots already harvested. )

And then, we made throat lozenges out of honey and marshmallow root powder. They don't really taste like anything, but my throat was soothed, or so I imagined. I brought six or seven home and I'm fairly certain I could make them on my own.

At some point, she had mullen tea for us to taste. I have no idea what a mullen is, but I will not be making tea from it anytime soon.

Class 4 should be interesting...

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