Medicine Making

In the spirit of open source herbalism, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

We invite you to read, share, print, and adapt the materials you find here in the interest of community health. We add new documents and update existing ones on a continual database. Our dream with this page is to support the craft of the practicing herbalist and help us continue our traditions in healthcare! These guidelines are intended for community herbalists… not manufacturers.

On this page you will find links to:

GOOD HERBALISTA PRACTICES

As a practicing herbalist, I have made a pledge to my patients, to my community, and to my planet to heal and serve. This means that I hold to certain standards of practice, such as cleanliness, transparency, sustainability, environmental protection, quality, and affordability, all of which guide my daily practices in the clinic and dispensary… aka Good Herbalista Practices.

It is a big responsibility to create medicines that people ingest.

  • We want to be confident that what we say is in the bottle is really what it in the bottle (proper ID– botanical/ organoleptic/ etc.)
  • We want to be able to recreate our masterpieces and avoid replicating our disasters (documentation of process)
  • And we want to be able to track our remedies to a reasonable extent, so if a problem occurs, we can contain the situation.

This is an absolutely intended riff on the Good Manufacturing Practices which were passed by the FDA in 2008.  And here is a little piece I wrote on the subject a few years back …

medicine

MEDICINE MAKING INSTRUCTIONS

Distillation Basics

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Oil Based Medicine

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Water Medicine Handout

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Tincture Instruction Handout

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Useful Measurement Conversions

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Aromatic Inhalers aka “Sniffers”

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MEDICINE MAKING WORKSHEETS

EXTRACTS

Maceration Worksheet DRY

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Maceration Worksheet FRESH

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Percolation Worksheet

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Hot Glycerine Extract Worksheet

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Oil Infusion Worksheet DRY

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Echinacea MPS Worksheet

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Reishi Worksheet

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OTHER PREPARATIONS

Capsule Worksheet

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Encapsulate herbs and herbal blends.

Basic Lotion Worksheet

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 Create a luscious lotion.

Syrup Worksheet

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Create sweet and soothing syrups.

Tea Blend Worksheet

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Create loose or bagged tea blends.

A4-sized WORKSHEETS

Thanks to our work on the Dublin Herb Bike, we now are able to also share worksheets in the A4 sizing.

CAPSULE WORKSHEET

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Encapsulate herbs and herbal blends.

Syrup Worksheet

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Create sweet and soothing syrups.

Tea Blending Worksheet

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Create loose or bagged tea blends.

PROPER ID

First and foremost, learn your herbs! Making good medicine begins with good herb. Your ability to properly identify herbs will improve as you spend more time working with them. Watch them grow, learn to harvest and to process them, touch them, taste them, and smell them!

BOTANICAL IDENTIFICATION

By harvesting your own plants or receiving them in whole plant form, you can often use a plant key or flora to positively identify your plant. Learn which guides are best for your region.

Kew Gardens Herbarium   The Herbarium at Kew Garden’s is one of the largest in the world, with over 7 million plant specimens. These plants have been either pressed and dried or preserved in spirit. Kew works to make these specimen available to botanists around the world and are building an electronic Herbarium catalogue. Hundreds of thousands of specimen have been catalogued so far, with many more each day.

ORGANOLEPTIC AND BOTANICAL ID

Botanical Identity References Compendium   Free online resource compiled by The American Herbal Products Association. This database covers just around 100 herbs and shares photos of botanical vouchers, organoleptic characteristics/ descriptions, macroscopic and microscopic characteristics, and chromatographic information.

“The AHPA Compendium is a cooperative and centralized source of information on physical characteristics and test methods that can be used by qualified and experienced analysts to determine the identity of plant species and articles of trade obtained from these plants.”  — AHPA Website

World Health Organization Monographs on Selected Plants – Volume 1

World Health Organization Monographs on Selected Plants – Volume 2

World Health Organization Monographs on Selected Plants – Volume 3

World Health Organization Monographs on Selected Plants – Volume 4

The WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants (4 volumes available online) – These monographs are useful references when trying to Positively Identify your plant material you are working with. They list Botanical Descriptions, Organoleptics (taste, smell, etc), and Microscopic Characteristics.

King’s Dispensatory, 1898 Materia Medica originally published in 1854 that covers herbs commonly used in American botanical medical practice.  The entries include botanical descriptions, and raw material specifications as seen in commerce.  This index is on Henriette Kress’ website (“Welcome to the Bark Side”)

Raw Material Specifications Files shared in the open source project by Guido Mase.

SANITATION

Reusing Bottles and Bits

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Clinic Safety and Sanitation

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Pressure cookers for Sterilization

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WHO Guidelines

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DISPENSARY FORMS

Herbalista Apotheke Dispense Form

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Herb Bus Apotheke Dispensary Form Example

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Script Pad

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cGMP’s (Good Manufacturing Practices)

AHG Submits a Response to the FDA on GMP Rulings

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GMP’s in a Clinical Setting

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American Herbal Products Association’s Member Access Only: cGMP SOP Templates

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FDA cGMP open source project by Guido Mase   XXXXXX fix

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In Defense of Good Herbalista Practices

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GMP Pushback Dossier

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Supplies

Alchemical Solutions   Micro-distillery. Great source for organic, ethically sourced and produced pure spirits (grape, grain, and cane)

Aromatics International   This is where we order our blank aromatic inhalers from.  They come in many counts (from 5 to 5000) and in many groovy colors.  [This link is an affiliate link, meaning at no additional cost to you, Herbalista will earn credit we can use to purchase our herbalistic and aromatic goodies.]

Black Locust Gardens  [Michigan] Black Locust Gardens is a farm and plant nursery, dedicated to sustainable agriculture and positive regeneration of agricultural ecospheres. We are currently growing a variety of medicinal /culinary herbs, and fruit, on 20 acres.  They ship both fresh and dried herbs.

Gentle Harmony Farm [North Carolina]  Organic herbal farm in North Carolina. They grow the most beautiful, vibrant herbs imaginable! Fresh and dry herbs available.

Hearthfire Farm & Nursery [Georgia] With a mission to help people grow their own herbal medicine, there is incredible heart in the herbs grown by farmer Timothy Hayes.  Fresh & dry herbs available as well as plant babies!

Mountain Rose Herbs  [Oregon] Online ordering for bulk herbs, essential oils, carrier oils, etc…

SKS Bottle   Herbalista’s preferred source for bulk bottles, packaging, etc… When you make an order of $250 or more, the shipping is free! This is a great opportunity to gather your friends and do your orders together!

Pharmco-Aaper   [National] Source for organic pure spirits (corn and cane) Bulk ordering, affordable prices.

Pacific Botanicals [Oregon] Online ordering for bulk herbs (high quality, certified organic.) Not only do they carry dry herbs, but will do fresh overnight shipments as well.

Licensing

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material or any purpose, even commercially.

(The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.)

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.