Herbal first-aid kit: tinctures & herbal tidbits

Garlic socks, nosebleed remedies and male/female stress formulas.

adding alcohol to the herbs

These are just a few of the interesting topics we discussed in our most recent herbology class taught by Sam Coffman of The Human Path.

First, our class concocted three different herbal tinctures. One is a cold and flu remedy; the other two are male and female stress formulas.

For all three tinctures, we mixed dry herbs in 1 qt mason jars, and filled the jars with alcohol. Like with our herbal salves, our alcohol of choice was (cheap) vodka, about 80 proof (40% alcohol). Ideally, all tinctures should be made with at least 40% alcohol, up to 60% if there are tough roots. If Everclear (90 proof) was used, it would need to be diluted about 1:1 with distilled water.)

Cold and Flu Tincture:

  • Yarrow
  • Ginger
  • Elderberry
  • (All three of these are good diaphoretics, to bring down fevers; ginger is also good for upset stomachs. The three together make up the core of this formula.)
  • Boneset (diaphoretic)
  • White Willow (analgesic)
  • Oshá (anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune stimulant)
  • Red Root (lymph mover)
  • Dandelion (blood cleanser and diuretic)
  • Prickly Ash (immune stimulant)
  • Echinacea (immune stimulant; stimulates macrophages; anti-bacterial and anti-viral)
thinking positive, healthy thoughts for the male stress formula

For the male and female stress formulas, we chose to add our own energetics to the mix. Only women touched the herbs for the male formula; only men touched the herbs for the female version. In each case, we tried to bring good energy to the process, to possibly add just that much more to the final products.

Sam indicated that while either formula may be taken by the opposite sex, in his experience they haven’t had much effect.

Male Stress formula

  • Skullcap (good for focused relaxation; also evokes the strong viking warrior!)
  • Damiana (anti-spasmodic; mental clarity; boosts testosterone production)
  • American Ginseng (all ginsengs are good for focused relaxation)
  • Chinese/Panax Ginseng
  • Siberian/Eleuthero Ginseng
  • Gingko (cerebral profusion, mental clarity)
  • Bilberry (anti-oxidant; immune tonic. Also increases night vision and gives energy boost)

Female Stress formula

  • Wild Yam (regulates and balances hormones; anti-spasmodic; pre-progesterone/estrogen hormone)
  • Dong Quai (hormone balancing)
  • Chaste Tree (anti-anxiety; analgesic; anti-spasmodic)
  • St. John’s Wort (calming, relaxing, anti-anxiety)
  • Blue Cohosh (anti-anxiety) (note: contraindicated in pregnancy)
  • Damiana (anti-spasmodic; mental clarity)

After the tincturing, we learned about garlic socks, a great way to take your garlic. As an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral herbal cure, it can treat fungal infections, help relieve a cold or strep throat, even as it wards off vampires – all while you sleep. Take a pair of socks, crush a few cloves of garlic inside each one, and put on your feet. Through the night, your skin will absorb all the garlicky goodness. Disclaimer: we make no promises that your significant other will still be talking to you in the morning.

We also learned about several other herbs we may want in our herbal toolkits, including Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), two great herbs to have in your herbal pharmacy to to stop bleeding and hemmoraging (including nose bleeds). Yarrow can be used fresh from the plant, while shepherd’s purse is best utilized for this purpose as a strong tea.


One of our classmates brought in herbs from her garden. One, Epazote, is a great one to use both for cooking (it’s great in beans) as well as medicinally as an anti-parasiticand wormer for both humans and animals.









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