Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you have a printed catalog?A: Yes, a printable catalog is available for download (PDF 2.3 MB). For someone that has internet access, the website is their best option. If you'd like to mail in your order, print out the order form and mail it in with your payment. Please e-mail us your mailing address to be added to our mailing list (if you have not yet placed an order).
Q: What is the shelf life of bulk herbs? What is the best way to store them?
A: Shelf life varies from one herb to another. A powdered herb will lose its properties much faster than a whole or cut herb. Those with volatile oils like peppermint will lose their freshness much sooner than those without the oils. Roots have the longest shelf life as they are much denser than flowers and leaves.
So, it's kind of difficult to give you a quick and simple answer. Most herb books have something to say on the subject, but they are not very specific. Just as we did, you will gain insight in this area as you get more familiar with each herb.
In general, keep the herbs in air-tight containers, as cool as possible, and don't expose them to light unless in use.
Q: How do I determine appropriate herb dosage for adults and children?
A: We like to determine the doses of herbs (esp. tinctures) by starting each person with a small amount, and increasing only as necessary. Then, we jot down the amount so as to know how much to use next time. Everybody is different so it is important to look at each person individually with herbs. We each have a different constitution and deficiencies vary.
Home herbal remedies are just that. There are some herbs that should be treated with caution when used internally, such as Wormwood. But, for the most part, there is room for trial and error. The biggest dosage difference is between tinctures and teas. Tinctures are much more potent than teas and the doses of tinctures are more critical. Teas can normally be taken as often as desired.
Herbal Antibiotics, Practical Herbalism, and Nutritional Herbology all contain recommended dosages with their remedies. These were helpful in leading us to come up with dosages for our own creations. Herbal Antibiotics and The ABC Herbal have some very helpful information on determining dosages for children.
Q: When a book suggests more than one herb for the same condition, do I choose just one herb or do I use all the suggestions?
A: Just as there are many right ways to prepare the same remedy, there are many herbs that can be used for the same ailment or condition. Why? Because although each herb is somehow unique, many have very similar properties or similar effects on the body. This is a good thing since sometimes an herb is not readily available, it may be too costly or a certain herb may not be effective for a certain person.
For instance, Blessed Thistle is used to increase breast milk, but it should not be used if the nursing mama is pregnant. So, that mama needs to use another herb like Milk Thistle or Red Raspberry to increase her milk production while pregnant. Also, sometimes you want to use an herb that can be made into a tea rather than a tincture, and that is a deciding factor for you.
Combining herbs that have similar properties into one remedy is a norm. For instance, our Rise and Shine Tea is a combination of herbs that stimulate the blood flow and wake up the mind. Just make sure you read up on each herb before you make your combinations.
Q: How do I figure out the proportions for the herb combinations in The How To Herb Book?
A: The herb combinations in The How to Herb Book are not there as actual recipes, but rather to educate the reader. Knowing which herbs can be used together to treat a condition is vital information. That is one of the main reasons we like this book.
We live in an age where pharmaceuticals and exact dosages are the usual form of medicine. Many folks depend on others to diagnose and prescribe (or at least suggest) which form of medicine to use, dosage included. The How to Herb Book does not support this mindset, nor do we. Instead, we encourage you to educate yourself, so you can properly use the available herbs as you see fit. To give exact amounts with a remedy may sometimes be helpful. But mostly, it will lead the reader to continue depending on others for their expertise, rather than further education and understanding.
Proportions of ingredients and dosages are affected by body weight, individual sensitivity to herbs, the stage of the illness, etc. Only you know these variables, and thus only you should determine the proper amounts and dosages. If you feel like you are lacking knowledge, which is quite understandable if you are new to herbs, then may I make a few suggestions: Do further reading (if you think we know anything about herbs, it's mostly because of extensive reading); Tackle simple remedies to get your knowledge and confidence going; Take note of the proportions we use in our premixed recipes; Ask others that have gone before you to clarify particular questions about a remedy.
Q: Which is more effective - tea or tincture?
A: Teas and tinctures both have their individual advantages. The potency of most herbs is much greater in a tincture. However, a tea can be immediately prepared and taken. Also, a tea often has an immediate soothing or invigorating aspect to it (depending on the herbs used).
Q: Do you offer any pre-made and ready to use tinctures?
A: We do not offer any pre-made tinctures. We prefer for you, the customer, to have the most personalized and effective tinctures available, by equipping you to make your own tinctures. We strive to provide you with the the knowledge, supplies, and support to make the exact herbal remedies that you want!
Q: I'd like to grow my own herb garden. Where can I get seeds or plants to get started?
A: We now carry high-quality, Heirloom Seeds for vegetable and herb gardeners alike!
From our Mailbox
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Did You Know?
Cayenne powder has been used by researchers in Antarctica to help them bear the extremely cold temperatures. The cayenne powder is sprinkled into their boots before putting them on. As the powder slowly comes in contact with the skin through the socks, it will draw blood to the feet, thus bringing much needed warms to the extremities. The one draw back is the red powder stains light colored socks. From our readings, it seems the stained socks were a small price to pay for the great benefit of being able to feel your toes after a little while out in the blistering cold! After trying this on a number of occasions during the winter near Lake Superior, I'm also convinced the stained socks are worth it.
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