Brentwood Darlington Apothecary

From Garden to Medicine Cabinet

I joined a CSH and it started last week.  You don’t know what a CSH is?  Do you know what a CSA is?  Let’s start there, for those who don’t.

CSA = community supported agriculture.   In general terms this means that you buy a share in a local farm, and you get a percentage of the yield from that farm.   I’ve belonged to a few here in Portland and it’s a fantastic way to get good local in season produce.

So you might see where this leads to:

CSH = community supported herbalism.  I joined this CSH through The Medicine Garden in Portland.  From their website:

“Our goal in creating this CSH is to offer our community fresh medicinal plants gathered at their optimal harvest time and with the deepest respect, so that you and yours will be empowered to navigate most common illness. Our hope is to provide a year’s supply of medicine for each plant, and a well-rounded medicinary by the end of the season. Our small scale approach allows us to sink into the plants needs as well as our communities.”

It was so exciting to find out that this existed! When I discovered it, I saw that they also offered medicinal plant starts and a New Gardeners Special, which included 12 starts and a 90 minute consultation, which I totes took advantage of and will write about another time.

In addition to receiving the herbs from the CSH, they also have a two hour gathering once a month on the pick up dates.  During which they go over the herbs you are getting that night and  run a class on herbs and medicine making in general.

We had our first meeting and pick up last week.  Unfortunately, I was unable to stay for the whole meeting, but what I did experience was awesome. I won’t make the mistake of double booking myself again so I can experience it all.  They sent me home with a newsletter that had information about all the herbs, a page of herbal action descriptions, and general instructions for drying, storing and tincture making.  So even though I couldn’t stay for the whole meeting, I still took home a lot of information in addition to my herbs.

The Herbs!

My full share CSH yield!

Our take home was this:

Thyme: In addition to being delicious, thyme is a great respiratory herb.

Comfrey: Awesome for skin issues and wound healing.

Lemon Balm: One of my favorites.  A great tonic herb.

Mullein: Also a great respiratory herb.

Oregon Grape: Anti-bacterial and microbial and often used in place of Goldenseal, which is in danger.   This was tinctured at the pick up.

Bonus plant: Hawthorn: Good for the heart!

I got to work processing (tincturing, drying, infusing) and am pretty happy with the results.  Of course, most won’t be ready to use for a month or so.

The Medicine Making!

All the medicines!

This is what I did:

Thyme: 

  • I tinctured a pint sized jar in 40% alcohol.
  • Following a recipe from Rosemary Gladstar’s book, I used 4 ounces for making a Thyme Syrup.  I added brandy to half of the syrup and left half as it was.
  • I saved a small amount of fresh thyme for cooking.
  • The leftover amount was dehydrated.

Comfrey: 

  • I tinctured a pint sized jar in 40% alcohol.
  • The leftover amount was dehydrated.
  • I used half of the dehydrated herb to infuse in grapeseed oil (about 12 oz).

Lemon Balm:

  • I tinctured a pint sized jar in 40% alcohol.
  • I also used a pint sized jar to make a glycerite in a 3 to 1 glycerin and water solution.  I’ve been wanting to make a glycerite, and this is my first.
  • The leftover amount was dehydrated.

Mullein:

  • I tinctured a quart sized jar in 40% alcohol.
  • The leftover amount was dehydrated.

Oregon Grape: 

  • They tinctured this in a pint size jar in 65% alcohol at the pick up.

Bonus plant: Hawthorn:

  • I tinctured in an 8oz jar in 40% alcohol.

All in all, I am so glad that I joined this CSH.  I couldn’t be happier with what we received the first month and can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the months to follow.

 

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