Creating Seasonal Remedies

From the Apothecary: An Herbalists Check-List for Creating Seasonal Remedies
By Tony(a) Lemos, HF Contributing Writer

Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal:  A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and VitalityFrom an herbalist’s perspective, the Fall is full of fun times of harvesting roots and barks, and creating remedies to last through the winter months. I have been doing this for many years now. Still, I am always inspired to make new products. Last year I was pursuing the creation of the perfect herbal lollipop (for coughs) for my daughter. This year I have been inspired to make Spikenard/Orange Peel Cordial.

I was also inspired to share a page of my herbal calendar plus a couple of herbal recipes with you:

September Calendar

  • Harvest Calendula (make oil, tincture, dry)
  • Harvest Elderberries (make syrup)
  • Harvest Sage (honey, oil)
  • Harvest Thyme (honey, syrup)
  • Harvest Wild Cherry Bark
  • Harvest Boneset (tincture)
  • Buy Honey (Warm Colors Apiary)
  • Buy Beeswax (Warm Colors Apiary)
  • Buy Garlic (Natural Roots CSA)
  • Buy Ginger (Far away!! :-( )
  • Yarrow (strain tincture made earlier in the summer)
  • Astragalus (check supply) (use domestic astragalus, rather than that from China.)

October Calendar

  • Harvest Echinacea Roots (tincture some, dry some)
  • Harvest Elecampane Roots (tincture, dry, syrup)
  • Harvest Rosehips
  • Harvest Spikenard Berries
  • Harvest Poke Root (oil and tincture)

RECIPE: Simple Elecampane Syrup

(c) CCL jnthnhysElecampane syrup can be used as a preventive tonic when approaching the winter season. If someone in your family tends to have colds that go right to the chest, then elecampane is for them! Its expectorant and toning qualities are ideally suited to clearing and strengthening your lungs. This herb can also be used as a specific remedy for colds or flu that involve congested lungs; as well as a general tonic for improving overall lung functioning.

  • 1 ounce of dried/fresh Elecampane root (cut and sifted)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Elecampane syrup is made in a two-stage process: (1) decoction, (2) syrup.

  1. Decoction: Place 1 ounce of dried root in a medium pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring the root and water mixture to a boil, then simmer until you reduce the water in the pot by half (leaving you with 1 cup of liquid). Check the liquid level after 10 minutes of simmering by pouring the liquid into a measuring cup through a strainer (to allow measuring without the root material). Return liquid to pot and continue simmering and checking until your liquid level reaches 1 cup. Strain off the root. Dilute your decocted liquid by adding an additional 1/2 cup of water, leaving you with a final amount of 1 1/2 cups of decocted liquid.
  2. Syrup: Reheat your 2 cups of decocted liquid in a medium pot and add honey to taste (2 teaspoons). Let the syrup cool and then store it in a jar in the refrigerator. You can take Elecampane syrup a spoonful at a time or add it to a beverage, such as hot tea. You can also add additional herbs to your recipe depending on your symptoms!

RECIPE: Terrific Elecampane, lemon and honey tea

Squeeze half a lemon into a quart pot, add a big pinch of kelp (or other seaweed of choice) and a pinch of dried Elecampane root, and sweeten with honey to taste. Fill pot with boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes.

Do not strain.  Let steep between the cups.  The extra steeping time intensifies the extraction of minerals and healing qualities, and the cooled tea tastes great. Seaweed is high in mineral content and lemon’s cooling properties have the ability to clear congestion.

UPCOMING WORKSHOP: Family Health at Blazing Star Herbal School

Have you ever wanted to learn:

  • the difference between a syrup and a glycerite,
  • why some tinctures come in glycerine form and why others are in alcohol,
  • what is an acetate,
  • when is a vinegar preferable to a tincture,
  • or the difference between a decoction and an infusion?

Here is your chance!!! I’m leading an Herbal Medicine Workshop, For Family Health at Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA. It will be offered on Sunday, October 14th from 11-4pm.

During this hands-on workshop we will learn to make herbal remedies to keep our family and community healthy. We will split the day between harvesting and processing, medicine making, and applications; as well as indepth information on using herbs safely.

This is a great introductory class to learn about the use of herbal remedies, how to make your own simple remedies, and an opportunity to reconnect with our herbal community while learning and sharing ideas on keeping our families healthy.

Extensive handouts will be provided. Please email tlemos(@) (take out parenthesis) to register and get directions.


And while I have your attention, if I may announce that I am re-opening my practice, Holistic Lifestyle and Herbal Medicine Consultations and Massage in Ashfield (leaving Northampton after over 10 years). I will be seeing clients on Thursday and Fridays.  If you would like to make an appointment please call 413.625.6875.

About the Author: Tony(a) Lemos

Tony(a) Lemos

Tony(a) is the director of Blazing Star Herbal School in Ashfield, MA and maintains an herbal practice in Northampton, MA. She is a graduate of Natural Therapy at Raworth College in England and has apprenticed with many influential herbalist, including Susun Weed. She is the vice president of the North East Herbal Association, and has taught at conferences and festivals all over New England, including Green Nations Gathering and the Women’s Herbal Conference.

2 Comments on “Creating Seasonal Remedies

  1. Can I use dried Elcampane to make tincture? If I can, How much would be used in a quart jar with vodka?

    Thanks ! Meg

  2. Excellent site. Are you still updating this somewhere?

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