Herbal Info

Recipes frequently referred to…

Chaga/Reishi tincture (double extraction)


Decoction of Chaga and Reishi:

>2 Tbsp Chaga, c. 2 slices Reishi in 16 oz water.

>Simmer 1.5 hrs., adding water to maintain 16 oz.

>Strain and add marc to CR2.

CR1: Alcohol extraction Chaga:

>3 Tbsp Chaga.

>4 oz. alcohol (40%).

>Soak for 4 weeks min.

>Strain, simmer marc in water about 1 hour, reducing to about 2 oz. water (this can be repeated if desired).

>Strain water, then mix the two liquids.

CR2: Second extraction, alcohol:

>Put marc from decoction in 2 oz. alcohol (40%) initially.

>Keep adding marc and alcohol to this jar with each future decoction, plus enough alcohol to keep it covered, recording date when added.

>When CR1 is ready, be sure it’s been at least 2 weeks past last addition to CR2, then strain and mix with CR1.

>OPTIONAL: If decoction is available, add an amount equal or less than the quantity of alcohol in the CR2 extraction.

Lemon Balm/Blue Vervain tincture:

>2 cups dry Lemon Balm

>c. 2/3 cup dry Blue Vervain

>add alcohol to fill jar to about 18 oz. (3 mos. supply?)


>Tbsp each: Astragalus, Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, Nettle.

>teaspoon each: Red Clover, Echinacea, Elderberry

>Overnight infusion in Qt. water

Decongestion Tea (kids):

>Mullein, Catnip, Chamomile, Tulsi, Marshmallow

—use about 1 tea bag each.

Four Thieves spray:

>dissolve Tbsp salt, simmer cinnamon stick in 12 oz. water.

>Clove Oil – 45 drops (or simmer cloves in water).

>Calendula Oil – 30 drops.

>Eucalyptus Oil – 30 drops.

>Lemongrass Oil – 15 drops.

>OPTIONAL: Peppermint Oil – 5 drops (or simmer herb).

Comfrey/Plantain Healing Oil:

>1/4 cup Comfrey root (chopped).

>1/2 cup Plantain leaf (dry).

>Infuse in 8 oz. Olive oil 6 weeks.

For Healing/Pain:

>Add Clove/Peppermint/Lavender/St. John’s oils for pain

Ensalvation of Healing Oil:

>4 oz. oil

>3 or 4 Tbsp Shea Butter

>About 3 tsp beeswax beads (=2Tbsp bulk)

Fire Cider::

>Onion, ginger, horseradish (1/4 cup powder)

>Chopped habanero (1 or 2)

>Chopped fresh Rosemary 1/2 cup

>Zest and juice of a lemon

>Turmeric 1 Tbsp.

>1 Qt. apple cider vinegar for 6 weeks

>Strain, simmer marc and add that water and honey.

Double Extractions

February 19, 2023

I’ve lately discovered that there is truly a lot of variety in how people do tinctures— especially with difficult herbals that are better when double extracted. So this is a report on the beginnings of an experimental process to see what works best for me.

I’ve been making teas and, recently, decoctions of Chaga, and I learned that it is one of those substances that, on account of the fact that some of it’s beneficial compounds are soluble only in alcohol, I should do a double extraction. That means normally that you simmer the mast (the herb that’s left over after straining out the tinctured alcohol) a bit and then combine the two liquids, being sure your quantities end up with a minimum 25% alcohol for preservation.

But then I started reading various approaches to get a better idea of how to do this, and found four distinct approaches. The details are a bit tedious, but essentially, it comes down to which you do first, the alcohol or the water extraction. Then there are variations in how long for each and how many times you do the water extraction. All of which is sort of a testimony to the really deep levels of beneficial compounds this Chaga has!

A Hybrid Method

I am in the process of double extraction of Chaga chunks by a hybrid method that combines several of the elements from the methods I found. Since I need to have the decoction to drink daily, I am continuing to do my water extraction every few days, and placing the mast from each in a jar with alcohol, adding a little alcohol each time to keep the proportions about the same.

I’ve also started an alcohol tincture with unused Chaga chunks, which I will let soak for 4 weeks or so — various sources suggest from 2 weeks to 6 weeks. At that point, I’ll be sure the second extraction jar has been sitting at least 2 weeks since the last time I added mast. Then I’ll strain the alcohol tincture and simmer the mast for a few hours, adding water as needed to maintain the volume.

Then the challenge will be to do the math to figure out how to combine the two so that it’s 25% alcohol, allowing for the fact that my alcohol is already 60% water (80 proof). May try to combine with a decoction as well, or just add the double extraction tincture to the future decoctions as I use them.

It’s all seeming a bit complex as I try to plan it, but I’m hoping each step will become clear to me as I go through the process — and modify as needed!

Basically what I’m doing is one batch alcohol first and one batch water first, and then combining the two. Hope it works!

No more mamas…

August 4, 2021

So mommy’s been gone two days, our first overnight without her, and things went great! Amazing ! (Taylor took Marvin to Atlanta for his big heart checkup prior to the surgery to fix his leaky ventricle… June hasn’t ever before gone to sleep without nursing, so I was not sure how she would do without her “mamas.”)

I’m so proud of her! She cried a bit last night a few times, but she got over it quickly, never was distraught, and she went to sleep by 10:30 or so. She slept all night, though she was a little upset and looking for Mommy a couple of times this morning. But we had a fun day, walked to the store for milk, and she was so good! Very sweet and cooperative, enjoyed the walk.

Mommy should be home soon, so it’s been good, very bonding! Of course, she needed 100% engagement! I did get some things done for work—a few phone calls and texts—but mostly locked in on her. We swept and washed dishes and scootered and had lots of fun!

After some comment I made about her not really needing “mamas” because she could eat stuff, I got silly and said maybe she could go out in the yard and eat flowers and bugs. She stood right up in front of me, shaking her head and wagging her finger, and said very sternly, “I don’t eat bugs!!” It was too cute!

Her vocabulary and sentences are so amazing now that it’s beyond remembering all the cool stuff she says. And she understands so much about personal interaction that I truly don’t know where it all comes from! (And she knows right/left hand!) She’s very print aware and is always asking about letters—and she can count to 10 perfectly.

August 19, 2021

In the good news, Marvin’s checkup went well and his procedure will be soon. In our life, it has been a hard month. Bob is about to die of COVID, Gene has prostate cancer, I may have it, and things seem to be going to hell on all fronts. Walking on eggshells.

June has been alternatively charming and maddening of late! She is developing so fast I can’t keep up. She talks about doing things “carefully” now, and she said “someone is in there” about a picture of an apple helicopter. She’s doing lots of watercolors the last few days, most of them butts, she says. Also turtles and snakes. She likes to be bad just so we’ll chase her, probably she likes it when Marvin chases her — which she knows exactly how to provoke him to do! But she is very entertaining and very loving — and challenging!

Herbal medicine Pt. 4

February 5, 2023

A few simple recipes.


I use some version of this every day! Both Comfrey root and Plantain leaf are traditionally revered for healing.

Make infusions in olive oil:

—about 1/4 cup of Comfrey in 4 oz. oil —about 1/4 cup of Plantain in 2 oz. oil

—keep warm for an hour or so and leave in a sunny window for about 6 weeks. Decoct using a potato ricer or other strainer to squeeze all the oil out.

Mix the two together and store in brown glass. It will keep for several months, maybe longer, if kept in a cool dark place.

Variations: use almond or coconut oil, or a mix of oils if you prefer. For a quick oil infusion, heat the oil and herbs in a double boiler at about 125* for several hours. I sometimes infuse both herbs together in a single container, but I don’t think it works as well.

This basically is a healing oil for bruises, strains, sprains and other joint or bone issues. (Comfrey is one of two herbs that are known as boneset.) It’s not recommended for open wounds but may be used on cuts that have partially healed. Another option is to add Clove, Peppermint and/or Lavender for pain relief. You can use essential oils (tho they’re maybe not as ethical) or add the raw herbs to the infusions. (Or make separate oil infusions with them.) You may also make a salve with these oils.


My recipe for salve is always evolving, and always a bit experimental, but this is a suggested mix: melt about 3 Tbsp of shea butter and 3 tsp of beeswax beads slowly. Add about 4 oz of the oil infusion (and about 45 drops of essential oil if using that) and stir together, put a little on a popsicle stick and stick it in the refrigerator… after 5 min. it should be slightly hardened. If not, add more beeswax or shea.

Please take these instructions as a starting point for your own research into herbal preparations. There are many variations and possibilities in the wide range of resources out there. (The Herbal Academy has a 5-video series on tincture making.)

The Children, 2021

Posting this on February 5, 2023, based on journal entries from 2021.

January 29, 2021

New sayings from June: “O-Tay!” like Spanky. And “Oh my!” Lots of complete sentences, like: “I used the blue scissors to cut it in half.” And lots of bring a stinker! She has such definite ideas about what she wants and what she likes!

Marvin and June did very well at the doctor’s office this week. No crying, very cooperative!

For June now, everything is “super!” Super hard, super cold, etc. Marvin has been very sweet with his babies lately— the stuffed Fox and kitten. He’s feeding them and keeping them covered up in a little bed at night.

January 31, 2021

Playing on the porch, Duney presses the button on the strap of the old high chair, then points at the porch screen and says to me, dramatically, “Watch the show!” She narrates as we watch a show of clouds, rain and trees … then it’s Blippy, Baby Shark and Paw Patrol. Very imaginative this child.

Also — “I have to use my powers!” Said about stopping the rain.

February 11, 2021

Playing with my screwgun bits, Duney holds up one with several others dangling from its magnet and says, “It fits perfectly!” At 2-1/2 she’s got that ly adjective form articulated perfectly and so clearly!

February 18, 2021

Playing with some old Tarot cards of Taylor’s, Duney looks quizzically at me and says, “I don’t understand what this is all about!”

May 1, 2021 (Beltane)

My brothers Bob and Stewart came to our house for a visit not long ago, after Daniel’s wedding event, and it was great! Juney loved them both! So wish she could get to know all my family, and them her! She’s such a joy!

May 16, 2021

She continues to amaze us with her cuteness and smartness! She’s been at Granny’s for two weeks now, ( all of them have) and though I see them often, it’s so hard being apart! I miss them so much I can’t stop crying. June has been so sweet to me, tells me she misses me and gives me hugs and kisses. I don’t know if she understands—I don’t. “Don’t worry, I got this!” is her favorite thing to say these days.

June 20, 2021

After six weeks at Granny’s they’ve come home. June can’t stop hugging me and smiling. I think she’s happy to be home! A happy day for me for sure! And she’s three now!

June 2021

Rapprochement is. June seems to be doing well, tho she is constantly testing the boundaries, trying to see how much power she can wield. Following instructions is a problem. Stubborn. But overall good. Progress on all fronts. Love is growing, each day sweeter. The June-Marvin conflict seems to be escalating.

July 31,2021

June’s language development is pretty much over the top now. She also still says all these funny, unexpected things often. She continues to be a great joy for me — but still a stinker a lot too! She loves to torment Marvin because he reacts so predictably—can’t seem to see that by making it fun for her, he ensures it will continue.