Homemade Herbals

Handmade Herbal Medicinals

Harvesting Herbs

Aloe vera harvesting

Walking home today I passed by a large amount of felled Aloe Vera out on the pavement for people to take - there was so much of it, that along with sleeping child and several bags, I could only take a small carrier bags worth of the juicy stalks and leaves...
I was left grateful and wondering... how am I going to process this? I have never done that before, except once actually, now I come to think of it in a salve experiment that eventually went rancid... too much water content..
Usually I break off a small leaf and use it as I need it, I have never had to deal with so much before it goes to waste!
So the discovery begins...
This is definitely an abundant widely available plant that is very useful for external use - especially for burns and sunburns, to soothe rashes and skin irritations as well as insect bites and stings, as a moisturizer and treat acne and spots, prevent wrinkles and stretch marks, soothe eczema and psoriasis, shrink warts .... And this is just for the external uses.. (for internal uses find a good organic source).

What I have learned is that you want the oldest, more potent leaves near the bottom of the plant and stand them in a container for 10 or so minutes to allow some of the juice to drain out naturally.

Then lie the leaf down on a cutting board and slice off the ends and serrated edges.
Cut into vertical halves and use a spoon to lightly but firmly scoop out the mucilage and gel.
Blend it and add Vitamin E to preserve it a bit longer and place it in a dark glass jar in the fridge.

Here goes...

Comfrey harvesting and making oil.

Comfrey is abundant.. Happy

I was walking through the community gardens in People’s Park, where folks have dug the earth and planted their own crops, and against all odds, it survives many years later...

When I first got to Berkeley, I was seeking gardens, herbs and community and found all three things up for grabs at People’ Park.. Anyone can come and tend the gardens there so I helped for a little while with a small herb plot that beheld such beauties as Mugwort, Comfrey, Vitex, Valerian, Borage, Pineapple Sage, St John’s Wort and even a small Pomegranate Tree.. In short, a lil slice of heaven.

I don’t tend that plot there anymore but I do go and harvest some of the herbs in small amounts when I need them, and in particular abundance there, is Comfrey.

It is never just a quiet moment there, harvesting herbs and then leaving.. it feels as though you always meet someone on that little corridor between the plants and today was no exception. Everyone is interested in what you’re up to, what the plants are used for and often the lessons go both ways and you get information you never knew about the plant, how best to harvest it, which is what I learned today.. I like that a lot, it makes for friendly medicineHappy
It’s has the under-stirrings of a mini plant information highway which gets it’s mileage out of people talking and exchanging information that widens consciousness of the small medicinal miracle that is embedded in that plot of land..

So, thanks to a joint effort with a new found friend, a small bundle of freshly harvested Comfrey was taken home to wilt in the sun for a few hours, chopped up and placed in a widemouth jar, and filled to the top with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
It has been stirred to release air bubbles and placed in my cupboard for a good 6-8 weeks until well and juicy and ready for useHappy

This is a really easy way to home-make an oil as a base for salves or use on it’s own for treating cuts, wounds, scrapes, insect bites, bruises and all manner of general wound healing.. Comfrey contains a cell proliferant, which means it encourages a speedy renewal of cells where there has been a wound. For this reason it is important to clean the wound area thoroughly before applying Comfrey, to avoid the dirt being trapped under a new layer of skin cells, and should not be used on deep cuts or open wounds.