In most places in the Northern hemisphere January is a month when wildcrafting is pretty scarce. Sure there's still lichens and conks to gather, but it's also a really great time to take stock and gather up the goods of the previous year.
Some herbs keep, while others don't, and for me this month is really good for figuring out what needs to get processed and what can wait. In the fall, I'm often up to my elbows in produce and processing that harvest, and then there's this little window for herbs, until the holidays roll around, so I usually don't really get down to business until January. The last thing I usually harvest are rosehips and by now the ones that didn't make it into syrup are ready to be added to added to tea mixes, or tinctured.
I have a bad habit of only preparing and using certain herbs when I acutely need them and I want to get more in the habit of just making tinctures and salves continually, as I refill my stock of herbs. Generally, I try to only use things I wildcraft, grow, or have handy in the pantry (honey, coconut oil, olive oil, spices, etc.) when I make medicines and beauty products, simply because, I don't know, I guess I'm cheap and I like to learn about herbs from the ground up.
I would recommend that if you have an ally herb, something that's integral to your well-being routine, you try preparing it in all sorts of forms yourself. I'm still a novice at salves and lotions, but excited to try more of those and herbal oils too. I've had great success with oils so far and I look forward to integrating those into lotions.
True to form, I've been saving tincture bottles for years from tinctures I've bought and traded and keep recycling them through. Most things I've needed for bottling I've already had in the pantry, though I will say that a tiny funnel is most helpful.
I strain my tinctures through a sprouting lid and pour them into bottles with a mixing bowl which has a handy lip, which perfect for that. For potential spillage I use a bread pan.
Usually my labels are pretty haphazard, but I'm hoping to devote a little bit more time to them and make some for my regular tinctures that I can keep copying and adding to my bottles.
This week I've been bottling the tinctures I've made in the last three months, including rosehips, ashwagandha and nettles. I've also looked at all of my dry herbs checking for salve, lotion and tea fixings. Not to mention that I've been ordering seeds and planning what I'm growing this coming summer. Can you tell I'm excited to keep growing my herbal practice?
Having been sick, I was really excited to boost my energy with Ashwagandha and to start our regular Nettle in all things routine to prepare for the allergy season.
Are you making medicines? Do you take herbal remedies on the regular? Which ones?