Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies is one of the best herbal remedies book available. It has a rating of 4.5 start on Amazon and it has been sold in #308,829 copies till now. The book contains nearly 300 color photographs and over 120 herbal remedies that you can make yourself.
It gives a fascinating insight into the literary, historic, and world-wide application of the fifty common plants that it covers. It is the sort of book you can enjoy as an armchair reader or use to harvest and make your own herbal remedies from wild plants. Anyone who wants to improve his or her health in the same way that human-kind has done for centuries around the world, by using local wild plants and herbs, will find this book fascinating and useful.
The following herbal remedies tips and recipes are taken from the original Ebook:
Harvesting wild plants for food or medicine is a great pleasure, and healing in its own right. We all need the company of plants and wild places in our lives, whether this is in an old wood, a mountainside or the seashore, just down the street, or in our own backyard. Gathering herbs for free is the beginning of a valuable and therapeutic relationship with the wild. Here are a few basic guidelines to help you get started.
Why pay others to frolic in the luscious gardens of Earth, picking flowers and enjoying themselves making herbal products? You can do all that frolicking, immersing yourself in wondrous herbal beauty, and uplifting your mind and spirit. Making your own herbal medicine both enhances your happiness and boosts your immune system.
– Green (2000)
When collecting, try to choose a place where the plant you are harvesting is abundant and vibrant. Woods, fields, and minor roads are best, though many of our fifty plants are also found in the city. Avoiding heavy traffic is safer for you and your lungs, and plants growing in quiet places are less polluted. Plants growing next to fields may receive crop sprays.
We usually want to harvest herbs when they are at their lushest. It’s best to pick on a dry day, after the morning dew has burned off. For St John’s wort and aromatic plants the energy of the sun is really important, so wait for a hot day and pick while the sun is high in the sky, ideally just before noon.
Harvest only what you need and will use; leave some of the plant so it will grow back. When picking “above-ground parts” of a plant, only take the top half to twothirds. Never harvest a plant if it is the only one in a particular area.
Using your herb
Herbs can be used in many different ways. Simplest of all is nibbling on the fresh plant, crushing the leaves to apply them as a poultice, or perhaps boiling up some leaves as a tea. Many of the plants discussed in this book are foods as well as medicines, and incorporating them seasonally in your diet is a tasty and enjoyable way to improve your health.
But because fresh herbs aren’t available year round or may not grow right on your doorstep, you may want to preserve them for later use. Follow these guidelines.
You don’t need any special equipment for making your own herbal medicines. You probably already have most of what you need. Kitchen basics like a teapot, measuring cups, saucepans, and a blender are all useful, as are jam-making supplies such as a jelly bag and jam jars. A mortar and pestle are useful but not essential.
You’ll need jars and bottles, and labels for these. It is a good idea to have a notebook to write down your experiences, so you’ll have a record for yourself and can repeat successes. Who knows, it could become a future family heirloom like the stillroom books of old!
There is a list of suppliers at the end of the book to help you source any supplies or ingredients you may need.
Wines and beers
Many herbs can be brewed into wines and beers, which will retain the medicinal virtues of the plants. Elderberry wine and nettle beer are traditional examples, but don’t forget that ordinary beer is brewed with hops, a medicinal plant.
Vegetable glycerine is extracted from palm or other oil, and is a sweet, syrupy substance. It is particularly good in making medicines for children, and for soothing preparations intended for the throat and digestive tract, or coughs. A glycerite will keep well as long as the concentration of glycerine is at least 50% to 60% in the finished product.
Glycerine does not extract most plant constituents as well as alcohol does, but is effective for flowers such as red poppies, roses, and St John’s wort. Glycerites are made the same way as tinctures, except the jar is kept in the sun or in a warm place to infuse.
Glycerine is a good preservative for fresh plant juices, in which half fresh plant juice and half glycerine are mixed, as it keeps the juice green and in suspension better than alcohol. This sort of preparation is called a succus.
There are tons of more information available in the book/ebook and here is a picture we took from the ebook with the content: