Category Archives: Herbal Recipes

Hydrosols Prepared using an Alembic

written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

In previous posts I have provided some guidance for creating floral waters at home in your kitchen using common kitchen utensils, cooking pots and ice. Here are some photos of my own alembic, created by a potter who specialises in creating  replicas of ancient pottery pieces used back in the middle ages.

So far I have explored creating floral waters from pine, chamomile, rose, orange, lavender and cucumber; all of which have been unique and wonderful in their own way.

       

Reach for cucumber hydrosol as a facial spray for those puffy eyes first thing in the morning. Lavender is my favorite spritzer for everything – I love the scent!  It provides soothing properties for a sun burn, is an excellent toner to use after washing the face before bed. Orange floral water can brighten the scent of any home cleaning solution or use organic orange floral water added into a fruit salad or desert.

   

 

The Alchemy of Hydrosols

How to Prepare Floral Waters, or in ancient terms: Preparing Hydrosols using Alembics
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)
Copyright 2017
www.katolenyardley.com

The art of distillation dates back past 5000 BC. Herbal waters or hydrosols even predate
the preparation of essential oils by hundreds of years. If you are interested in creating
floral waters, aka, hydrosols, then learn the basics of plant distillation. Becoming familiar with the words used in the process and the rituals associated with historical use immediately aligns us with historic practices and the magic of transformation itself. When creating hydrosols, know that you are tapping into ancient wisdom and transformative alchemical processes.

Deciphering Terms:

  • Floral water creates a useful visual but is not the most accurate representation, as hydrosols can be steam distilled from other plant parts, barks, seeds, fruits, roots as well as flowers, vegetables, even beeswax.
  • Aromatic water or plant water are descriptive terms – painting the picture of an ‘aroma filled’ water; however water from plants do not always bringing forth the familiar characteristic scent of the plant, but take on there is a fingerprint of the plants’ essence.
  • Hydrosol The term hydrosol was first recorded around 1860, the term comes from the Latin hydro, meaning ‘water’ and sol, which means ‘solution.’ ‘Hydrosol’ indicates any water-based solution or distillate waters.
  • Hydrolate or hydrolat may be the most accurate words to use. Sourced from the Greek word ‘hydor’, and Latin word ‘hydro’, means ‘water,’ and lait, meaning ‘milk’ referring to how the liquid appears when it comes off the still.

Distillation The process of purifying a liquid by volatilization or evaporation and subsequent condensation of a liquid, as when water is boiled in a retort and the steam is condensed in a cool receiver. (Dictionary.com) The process of heating a liquid until it gives off a gas and then cooling the gas until it again becomes liquid (Mirriam Webster Dictionary Online). The word ‘distillation’ comes from the Latin word ‘destillare’ meaning ‘to trickle down drop by drop.’

An alembic is an apparatus or piece of equipment used in distillation, an agent something that refines or transmutes as if by distillation.  There are many types of Alembics, also known as distillation units or stills which can vary in design, purpose and materials used. There are clay pottery alembics, stills made from  brass, iron, copper and stainless steel. If you are using equipment for medicine making ensure you choose food grade equipment.

How Hydrosols are Created
Hydrosols are created from the steam distillation of plant matter which produces both essential oils and a water component (hydrosol). Steam distillation can occur in a large, tall pot (alembic), containing plant matter and water. As the pot is heated the water will break through the plant material and loosen the volatile constituents. Steam, intermingled with the aromatic essence of the plant material, will rise to the top of the alembic. A tightly fitting lid, with a secure seal ensures that no steam will leak out of the vessel and instead allows for the steam to rise to the top of the alembic. As the steam cools it transforms into liquid which is collected at the top of the lid and as the steam cools it transforms back into aromatic water, seeping down the sides, into the spout and  and into the collecting bowl container.

For kitchen preparations- the steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes (the ice cools down the steam), turning the steam back into water (hydrolat), with small amounts of oil (essential oil). Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid, the liquid drips down into the smaller collecting bowl. Small amount of essential oil also transfer into the hydrosol. Aromatic waters and essential oil do not mix, so any the essential oil, may be seen on the top of the water where it can be siphoned off or mixed into the final product. As hydrosols are a water-based product; pay close attention in both the distillation and preservation processes to preventing bacterial contamination. First and foremost is the cleanliness of the still, tubing, high quality water, collecting vessels, and work surfaces used in the distilling process. For more information on kitchen preparations of hydrosols, continue reading.

Herbal Medicine Making for Athletes & Arthritis First Aid


Join Medical Herbalist, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH for a morning of herbal medicine making. Create your own first aid products for sprains, strains and bruises, athletic recovery and arthritis.
We will make:

  • A Topical Anti inflammatory Cooling Liniment
  • A Turmeric, Cayenne Pain Relief Salve and an
  • Arnica Comfrey Healing Lotion.
  • Learn how to prepare a poultice and fomentation while you
  • Sample an anti inflammatory herbal tea in class.

Date: Saturday, March 11, 2017
Time: 9am – 12pm
Cost: $ 70 plus GST
Pre registration and prepayment required to reserve your space
Location: South Granville, Vancouver BC
More information provided upon registration.
To register email: info@alchemyelixir.com  or ph: 604 683 2298

 

2nd Annual Gambier Island Medicine Making Retreat

If you are curious about herbal medicine, passionate about learning ways of incorporating herbal medicine into your daily lifestyle and thirst for some tranquil time in peace filled nature; consider joining myself, Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ Medical Herbalist and Sharon Brown Horton for a fun, inspirational, information packed weekend – at our second annual Gambier Island Herbal Medicine Making retreat.

  • Partake in a 2 day Medicine Making weekend while camping on an off the grid property.
  • Learn what it means to be on an off-grid-property and understand the details of island life.
  •  Meet local medicinal plants through a herb walk in
    majestic rainforest and meadow land.
  • Take a water taxi to a stunning quiet Island to learn about herbal medicine making.
  • Enjoy the local animals on property and the gorgeous view overlooking Howe Sound. Perhaps we will encounter some ocean life and sea lions on route!
  • Collect medicinal and garden edibles for salad and enjoy a delicious lemon balm desert, sip on herbal tea throughout the day.
  • Prepare herbal medicine recipes and learn how to incorporate various local plants herbs as foods and medicine.

Join Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist & host Sharon Brown Horton for this informative workshop!

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Details for this 2 Day Intensive Herbal Medicine Making Workshop
Price Includes: 2 days of teaching from 10 am until after 5 pm.
Vegan friendly dinner on Sat, Breakfast Sunday, Herb Salads on both days.
Overnight Saturday camping (limited tents provided).
Additional information shared at time of registration.

sharon gambier

Herb Walk and Ocean Time
Day 1 Dive into Medicine Making and learn how to prepare lavender whipped body butter, lemonbalm ginger syrup, herbal infused oil, herbal snacks (fruit leather or power balls) and wild flower herbal infusions
Day 2: hydrosols and aromatic floral waters, a medicinal lip balm, mint and rosemary cordial, luscious wild flower coconut massage oil, immune vinegar, black forest chai, therapeutic herbal honey
An introduction to Herb identification, Plant family recognition and Wildcrafting considerations will also be covered.
Cost includes instruction booklet containing all recipes
There will be an option to purchase Katolen’s recent book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies for $ 25.

Reserve the Date: Saturday June 24 & Sunday June 25, 2017 Rain or shine!

salal small workshop room small deer small

Prepayment required. Space is very limited –reserve now.
2 Day Medicine Making, Supplies and Handouts: $ 270 + GST
Food & Accommodation: $ 85
Plus $ 45 Water Taxi to island
Total: $ 413.50
Contact: 604-683-2298
Email: info@ alchemyelixir.com for more information

Natural Cosmetic Making Class

Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – Medical Herbalist  for a fun and informative morning creating natural cosmetics and body care products using Herbal Medicine.
Learn how to make natural and clean body care products for you and your family

We will discuss herbs for skin care and create chemical free recipes the whole family will enjoy. During this workshop you will create and take home:

    • An herbal facial steamCosmetic Making
    • A rich natural calendula cream 50 gr
    • A facial scrub 50 gr
    • A luscious massage oil 50 ml

For more information call Alchemy & Elixir Health Group
Office: 604-683-2298
Email: info@alchemyelixir.com

Date: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Time: 9am – 12 pm
Cost: $65 plus GST
RSVP and prepayment to reserve your spot, as space is limited!

Location: South Granville  Vancouver
Additional details  and location will be provided upon registration

To stay informed about upcoming Herbal Medicine Making Classes, join our Facebook page: Katolen Yardley, Medical HerbalistCosmetic Making

The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies

I am very excited to announce the release of my new book “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies.” Inspired by the urgent need to recognize the value of mother earth and the gifts which she provides, especially plants – both serving as our foods and also our medicines and the importance of taking steps to maintain and preserve the health of the earth for our own wellbeing, the continued accessibility of our healing plants and the health of generations in the future.front cover small

This back-to-nature home remedy and herbal medicine making guide provides details on effective herbal medicines (kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues. Inside the 310 pages of this hardcover book you will find recipes for various common health concerns: from an upset stomach, indigestion to arthritis and sore muscles, wound healing to acne, eczema, hives as well as body care recipes (body washes, insect repellents, cleansers and hair masks).

Regardless of if you are a beginner or advanced in your herbal training – this book is for you!  Providing guidance for preparing infusions, decoctions, medicinal honeys, general tincture preparation, herbal vinegars and topical applications as well as general first aid guidance using herbal medicine. There are also tasty food recipes which incorporate edible plants into ones diet.

Color photographs offer assistance with plant identification, this is a reference manual; offering tips for both beginners as well as recipes and traditional and modern applications for advanced herbal practitioners.

Kat book 2Featuring a long list of medicinal plants including detailed descriptions on the use of Turmeric, Lavender, Nettles, Heartsease, Sweet Violet, Self Heal, Juniper and Sage; common kitchen herbs and even vegetables and also some lesser known medicinal plants such as Watercress, Daisy and Sunflowers!

We all know that what we put on our skin is absorbed into out body. There is more and more research conducted on groups of commercial synthetic chemicals (largely found in cosmetic use and cleaning supplies) known as Xenoestrogens – also known as Endocrine disruptors (known to increase our bodies estrogen levels, and contribute to health conditions including infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, lowered sperm counts and have the ability to disrupt thyroid function, and linked to obesity, and a large list of health issues).

The cosmetic and body care recipes inside this book are environmentally friendly and Xenoestrogen free – they can play a small role in reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals typically found in common packaged cosmetics and also reduce the impact of environmentally toxic chemicals in the environment, our water and food chain and on marine life.

Packed full of herbal wisdom, traditional use and just the right amount of science, readers will gain confidence in plant identification as they dive into the art of creating ones own elixirs at home. In short, “The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” is a simple, straightforward, and beautiful guide to herbal remedies that will help you take charge of your health using nature’s own medicine.

kat book 3There is some urgency in remembering and recognizing the value of mother nature and the plants which she grows.  We reach for what is familiar! That which we use daily -those very habits which we see our family repeating daily, is what we will likely repeat as adults. Our habits today create the habits of the next generation- we need our future generations to remember the importance of clean soil, clean air and accessible plants, both as our foods and as our medicines. This book is a small tool for the remembering of the value of our plants and how to apply them as medicines for common first aid.

Some reviews of the book can be viewed here.

More about me:  You can view a more in depth bio here on my website www.katolenyardley.com: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – I have been in private practice for almost 2 decades (not to date myself) specializing in women’s health, digestive and skin issues. I have taught herbal medicine making classes for over 25 years, and offer my wisdom and experience to a variety of students in workshops and classrooms.

Autographed copies can be purchased online from my website: www.alchemyelixir.com or books are also available for purchase online: at Amazon, Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Nobel, Banyen Books, and hopefully at a bookstore near you.

Herbal Medicine in Pregnancy

Mothers to be often reach out for consultations during pregnancy for guidance on optimal health or health issues experienced during pregnancy.  While optimal nutrition is always the best option, there are many herbal remedies which can be considered during pregnancy for various ailments. As education is something which I am an enthusiastic promotor of, I often refer clients to my favorite herbal medicine reference book for pregnancy: The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices by Aviva Romm.  This book is full of nutrition and herbal medicine recipes, exercises and posture modifications, lifestyle suggestions and herbal medicine guidance for common health issues experienced during pregnancy (from stretch marks to hemorrhoids and vaginal infections to ankle swelling and nausea) there is something here for every expectant mother.

 

Traditional Herb Shops of Paris

One of the things I love most about travelling is the opportunity to check out herbal medicine shops and products in other countries – especially the old herbal apothecaries of europe. During a trip to Paris, I  had the pleasure of visiting two traditional herb shops: Herboristerie de la Place Clichy and Herboristerie d’Hippocrate.

My search for Herboristerie d’Hippocrate at 42, rue Saint Andre des Arts -75006 ParisP1030077

– occurred during an unexpected torrential spring down pour – as I wandered through the narrow winding cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter in search of the correct address. As luck would have it, I arrived during their lunch time and the shop was closed – but found a small cafe and warmed up/ dried out while I waited for their 2 pm opening.
P1030089The wait was worth it and the shop was delightful. Numerous species of dry herbs, dozens of liquid extracts of herbal medicines and traditional recipes for various ailments. Antique hand painted herb containers, dried flowers and a high ceiling decorated in a traditional french style.

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P1030086  Herboristerie de la Place Clichy was another delight – the oldest and largest herb shop in Paris- established in 1880 (that makes it older than the Eiffel Tower). The boutique is located at 87 Rue D’Amsterdam 75008 in North Paris.

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I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, Nicole, a pharmacist P1030065who had  purchased the shop  in 1993 and we shared stories of herbs and compared experiences from our differing countries. She kindly gifted me a french herbal medicine reference book “La Phytotherapie” by Dr Jean Valnet – a valuable reference text full of traditional french herbal recipes, actions and indications. I am grateful that the Latin names of herbal medicines are consistent regardless of what language and what country one is visiting- thus the book has been a fantastic reference and comparative tool.P1030074

P1030087Exploring the shop I felt right at home looking at the various remedies and herbal blends for numerous ailments such as: Combat les troubles de la Prostate, Combat la Colite, Digestion Difficile, Combat l’Acne. The shop stocks over 900 species of plant medicine in various forms, dried, extracts, aromatherapy, massage oils and hydrosols.

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Lavender Lemonade Recipe

LAVENDER LEMONADE

A refreshing summer drink – serve with garnished of fresh lavender.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or experiment with adding xylitol or + /- 10 grams of dried stevia leaves for a natural sweet taste)
  • 6 lemons ​- juiced
  • half a lime​ – juiced
  • 6 long sprigs of fresh lavender​ or 1/4 cup of dried lavender flowers

Boil water in a pot on the stove – reduce heat to a low temperature. Add the sugar/ stevia and simmer for 5 minutes. (Taste to adjust flavor as needed). Stirring often to prevent burning and to ensure all sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice, lime juice, and lavender flowers. Place the lemonade in the fridge to cool down all the way. Serve with lemon wedges and ice cubes. Enjoy!

Makes about 1 quart or 1 liter

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants

The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North is an indispensable guide to identifying and using northern plants for food and medicine. Award winning author Beverley Gray is a boreal herbalist, aromatherapist, natural-health practitioner and journalist.

Whether you’re hiking in remote areas or gardening in your backyard, this easy-to-use handbook will help you recognize and use fifty-five common wild plants that have extraordinary healing properties. With The Boreal Herbal you will learn how to soothe pain with White willow, staunch bleeding with Yarrow, treat a urinary-tract infection with Uva Ursi, and create a delicate and uplifting skin cream from sweetgrass – also included guidance for using Nettle, Goldenrod, Red Clover, Dandelion, Horsetail and Plantain.

The Boreal Herbal: by Bev Gray

The Boreal Herbal: by Beverly Gray

Also included are dozens of healthy and delicious recipes, including Wild- Weed Spanakopita, Dandelion Wine, and Cranberry-Mint Muffins.

The Boreal Herbal features:

  • Profiles of dozens of herbs, berries, and trees found in the northern boreal forest in Canada, Alaska, the Yukon and NWT: including information on their habitat, harvest times, medicinal applications, as well as food uses, cosmetic uses, and spiritual uses
  • Full-colour photographs and botanical illustrations of each medicinal plant profiled in the book for easy identification
  • Instruction on how to gather, prepare and preserve medicinal plants
  • More than 200 recipes: teas, tinctures, powders, flower essences, topical treatments, beverages, jams and jellies, baked goods, soups, entrées, and much more
  • Safety tips for harvesting and using edible and medicinal wild plants, including information on calculating dosage and plant-specific cautions
  • A resource section for people interested in starting up a non-timber forest-products business
  • Botanical and medicinal glossaries, an index, and handy reference charts
  • Over 400 pages of valuable herbal medicine information
  • International Awards: Silver Benjamin Franklin Award, Living Now Book Award, 2012 CBC Cross Country Cookbook  Shelf “The North’s Favourite Cookbook”, Gold Nautilus Award, Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Regular Price $ 44.95 Currently on sale for $ 42.99 – Limited supplies only. To order click here: