Create your own Herbal Remedy for Home Apothecary
In this post, you’ll learn how to create an herbal remedy for your own Latvian herbal apothecary. As second generation Latvian, traditional herbal remedies were part of my culture growing up.
When I skinned my knee, my grandmother would reach into her home apothecary and pull out birch salve to soothe it. My grandmother’s homemade wildflower jam on rolls hot out of the oven always put a smile on my face.
It’s easy to make your first Latvian herbal remedy. First, learn to identify a birch tree, ideally a black birch. Black birches have black, shiny bark and when you break open a twig it smells like wintergreen.
Foraging for Home Apothecary:Wild Birch
Foraging is about slowing down, nurturing connection with the plants, and following your natural rhythms. You can find birch trees in moist, well-drained areas and especially in open and dense woods.
Before harvesting, connect with the spirit of the birch by asking permission to harvest some of her twigs, leaves, etc. and wait for her answer to come to you. In cooler climates, it’s ideal to gather birch leaves and small twigs in late spring. If you can find small twigs and branches that fell off the tree go with those first. Never pull sheets of birch bark off the trunk because it could injure the tree.
How to Make this Herbal Remedy
- Birch twigs, fallen bark, stems
- Mortar and Pestle
- Glass Pyrex jar or a One Quart Wide Mouth Mason Jar
- organic, fractionated coconut oil
Sanitize a mason jar by either dipping it in boiling water (use tongs to pull it out) or running it through the dish washer. Make sure the jar is dry.
Break up the small twigs by either grinding them with a mortar and pestle or cutting them up into small pieces with scissors. I prefer using scissors!
Next, put the ground or cut up twigs and leaves in the jar, filling up the jar if possible. Pour organic, fractionated coconut oil into the jar until it reaches the top.
Screw on the lid and keep in a cool dark place. Shake the jar daily for 3 weeks and then strain the birch out through cheesecloth. Refrigerate the oil. It will keep for 2 months.
How to Use Wild Birch Oil in Home Apothecary
I chose to use fractionated coconut oil for this remedy because it is light and does not stain clothes. This oil is best used as a massage oil for sore muscles or joints. Warm about 2 tablespoons of the oil in your hands and rub onto the body.
To make the oil easier to pour and not spill, you can transfer it into dropper bottles. Just put a small funnel into the dropper bottle and carefully pour the oil in. You can also turn it into a salve!
Benefits of Herbal Remedy Wild Birch
Wild birch is called the tree of rebirth. They have many medicinal benefits. Birch trees ease pain and inflammation because they contain methyl salicylates, which are like plant precursors to the main ingredient in aspirin. In Latvian Daina folk songs birch trees are sacred and considered part of the family.
Get my free Create Your Own Latvian Herbal Apothecary Book. Spend the afternoon making Baltic herbal remedies and then dream up new creations cloud gazing in a field.
Do you have an idea for an herbal recipe? Drop a comment!