This is the text I shall use in my book of shadows for the chapter called Herbalism. Feel free to use it as a guide to create your own, but, please, don’t copy it. After this text in my book of shadows, I will also add a description of each healing plant (similar like Herb of the Week articles) and herbal remedies for diseases to really complete the Herbalism chapter.
Gathering the Herbs
Flowers: at the beginning of blooming
Leaves: before and during the blooming
Roots: dig the roots out in early spring or in autumn
Fruits: when the fruit is ripe
Gather herbs during sunny days, when the morning dew is already gone.
Drying the Herbs
Before drying the herbs, don’t wash them, but chop them finely. Lay the gathered herbs over a cloth or a clean paper sheet, and let them dry in a shade or in an airy, warm room (attic). The air temperature should not be higher than 35 °C. Roots should always be washed and cut before dried. Only good-dried herbs, which become fragile during the drying process, can be stored for winter. The best way to store the herbs is to keep them is glass containers or paper bags. Protect herbs from direct sunlight.
Prepare enough herbs only for one winter. With time, herbs lose their healing power. Nature gifts us with a new herb-blessing every year.
Preparing Herbal Concoctions
Brew: Cut the fresh herbs in the ordered amount, and put them into a jug. Boil the water and pour it over the herbs. Fresh herbs are brewed only for a short time (½ minute). The tea has to be bright in colour, slightly yellow or green. Dried herbs are being brewed for a longer time (1–2 minutes). Roots are put in cold water, boiled for a short time, and then left in water for about three minutes.
Cold Extract: Some herbs should not be exposed to high temperatures, as they lose their healing power if done so. Cold extract is prepared in this case to preserve the healing properties. Leave an amount of herbs in cold water for 8–12 hours (during the night), then warm the tea up before drinking it.
Tinctures: Tinctures are herbal extracts as well, produced with 38–40 % grain or fruit spirit. Fill a bottle, or some other glass container that can be sealed tightly, with herbs up to the bottle’s neck and pour over the spirit. The bottle should be placed in a warm place (20 °C) for 14 days or more. Shake the bottle several times. When the tincture is prepared, strain it, and squeeze the remaining liquid out of the herbs.
Ointments & Oils: Cut two handfuls of herbs finely. Melt 500 g of lard. Stir the herbs in hot lard, quickly sauté them, remove the pot from the stove, put the lid on and leave to cool throughout the night. The next day, heat up the ointment, filter it through a linen cloth and fill prepared jars with the ointment. For oils, fill the bottle up to the neck of the bottle with flowers and herbs. Then, pour pure cold-pressed olive oil in the bottle, about 2 cm above the herbs. Leave the bottle to stand on the sun for 14 days.