Category Archives: Herbs

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.

   

 

Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters

Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

Stove Top Distillation Method for Floral Waters

Hydrosols aka, aromatic waters and floral waters are an enchanting way of making rose water, orange water and other aromatic waters prepared from fresh or dried plant material, vegetables, barks or roots.
For the easy kitchen preparation all you need is some simple kitchen ingredients.

~ Materials ~
• Large pot with a lid, a pot for canning works great
• Large lid for pot – clear and curved is ideal (so you can see the accumulation of aromatic water in your inside container)
• Small bowl or pyrex glass container to sit inside your pot to collect the hydrosol.
• Something heat-proof to stand the smaller container on inside the large pot, a jar rack works     perfectly for this. A heat-proof ramekin, flat rock or steamer, with legs, with the center removed will also work.
• Water: high quality distilled or filtered
• Zip lock bag to store the melting ice
• Lots of ice cubes (consider even freezing ice in a 250 ml or 500 ml yoghurt container or another large vessel)
• Plant material (fresh or dried) chopped finely
• A heat source: fire, hot plate, electric stove, gas or butane camping stove
• Bottles or a mister spray bottle for storing your hydrosol
• Labels
• Have a dedicated notebook close by for recording your experience and findings

~ Method ~
Place the rack or ramekin in the bottom of the large pot and put the small collecting bowl or container on top of the ramekin. Next fill the bottom of the large pot with plant material. You want the plants to reach up to the smaller bowl. If you would like to record your amount- take the herbs out and weigh them – before returning them to the pot. Then fill with water until the plant material is submersed. Finally put your lid upside down on top of the large pot. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. After it starts to simmer, put the bag of ice on the inverted lid. Replace ice as needed. A clear lid will allow for you to watch the hydrosol condense! Heat up enough for the water surrounding the plant material to steam but not boil, or bring up to a boiling point and reduce to a low simmer. Let the distillation work its magic for about 30 minutes or so.
~ How It Works ~
The water will steam the plant material carrying the aromatic essence from the plant into the air. The steam collects on the lid of the pan and condenses due to the ice cubes. Because the pot lid is upside down, as the steam turns back into a liquid the liquid is directed to drip down into the smaller bowl. This liquid is your hydrosol (aka floral water)! Note that the plant material inside the alembic will be dry, brittle and noticeably void of any color or life force remaining. It has been said that the life force of the plant or vital chi energy, is carried over into the new creation. Store you hydrosol in a dark glass bottle in the refrigerator. Hydrosols are intended for immediate use and have a shelf life of a  one to couple months to a little longer depending upon storage. Use your hydrosols often and enjoy!
Creative Hydrosol Application
Some of my favorite hydrosol preparations are ones prepared from common flowers and fruits. Fresh or dried chamomile, rose petals, lavender, fireweed, cucumber, orange and lemon and some of my fond favorites.

Applications are as varied as your creativity. Aromatic waters have a relatively short shelf life so they are best used daily. Consider using hydrosols for:

  • Skin Care: for skin conditions from acne to diaper rash to oily or dry, mature
    skin. Place  into a spritzer container and use on the skin.
  • Add into creams, use as a skin toner or for wound care, sunburn, rashes or
    poison ivy.
  • Prepare a compress for sore muscles, rashes, bites even hot flushes.
    Add into a bath, foot soak, hair rinse, mouthwash or a neti pot.
  • Use as a humidifier or room atomizer to elevate the energy in a room and uplift emotions.
  • Consider adding into culinary recipes or medicine making; replace the water in your recipe with hydrosol!
  • Home cleaning: car cleaning, yoga mats, massage tables cleaning, ironing, laundry in the dryer.
  • Pet care: hot spots, for washing infected ears, for rinsing fur or dirty faces
  • Digestion support or finger bowls.

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!

turkey tail kat view small view small

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

Book Signing Event for The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies

Good Living Options with Herbal Medicine

Join us for an experiential and informative talk on incorporating herbal medicine into your lifestyle. This talk offers gems for new and seasoned herbalists alike! We will discuss some back-to-nature home remedies and effective herbal medicines (including kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues from the newly released book, The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies. For more information on the book click here!front cover small

The book was 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, and the continued accessibility of our healing plants for the health of generations in the future. There will be an opportunity to ‘sample the flavors’ of some gentle herbs  during this talk (so bring a spoon and a drinking mug!). Book signing will occur after the talk!

Authors Bio: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ is a medical herbalist and nature knower with over 20 years of experience with herbal medicine. She specialises in womens health, digestive and skin conditions and has a private practice in Vancouver and Port Moody BC.  She believes in providing usable tools for healing through inspiration and education. Katolen teaches herbal medicine courses at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, Langara College,  and offers seminars and lectures to the general public. Katolen is a clinic supervisor of a Dominion Herbal College approved student training clinic. She is the Vice President of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations (CCHA) and a second term President of the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC (CHA of BC). Katolen is the author of the book – The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies (release date July, 2016). For 18 years appeared regularly on Global Televisions Ask An Expert News Segment – a nationally syndicated news program speaking about herbal medicine. Additional information can be viewed here.

Quotes of Praise for the Book:
“…. how refreshing to find a book on herbal medicine that readily acknowledges the sacredness of herbal medicine and its connection to the Divine. As much as the ‘science’ behind the art of herbal medicine is both valid and necessary, too many authors focus on the former, and ignore the latter. Thankfully, Katolen also illustrates how many herbs have food-like qualities and their specific ability to provide foundational phyto-nutrients to help address the many ailments that our bodies are subject to today. A wonderful book – both for the lay person to whom it is addressed, as well as the practicing herbalist.” – Richard DeSylva, RH, DNM (Registered Herbalist, Doctor of Natural Medicine), founder of THE HERB WORKS

“What a great book! It is full of little jewels and ‘sound bites’ of wisdom – both ancient and modern. Written from the experience of a Herbalist that has worked for many years in the trenches of clinical practice, while teaching enthusiastic students her skills and art. A must read for novices, with great formulas and programs for even experienced Herbalists. Well done Katolen.” – Terry Willard ClH, PhD. Clinical Herbalist and author of 12 books including the Wild Rose Herbal Textbook series and Flower Essences: Emotional Alchemy and Spiritual Evolution.

“This book, written by a practicing herbalist, is a treasure trove of useful information. From the actions of herbs to how to dose them safely and from household uses to clinical applications, there is something for everyone in these pages. With lots of recipes, clear instructions and a wealth of interesting tidbits, this is the herbal medicine book you have been waiting for. Beginner herbalists and experienced practitioners alike will find much of value here. ” – Chanchal Cabrera MSc, FNIMH, RH(AHG) -Medical Herbalist, Horticulture Therapist, Chair of Botanical Medicine, Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, Director, Gardens without Borders Biophilia Center and Botanic Gardens

Talk & Book Signing: Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH ~ for an informative and experiential talk on herbal medicine and the launch of her new book: The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Medicine

Date: Wednesday April 5, 2017Good Liv Guide Box
Time: 6:30- 8 pm
Cost: Free – Seating is limited
Bring a spoon and tea cup to participate!

Location: Free Talk & Book Signing at Banyen Books & Sound
Address: 3608 West 4 Ave Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6R 1P1
Map of Banyen Books: Book Signing Location

 

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.

A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and associated mental health issues including Depression and Anxiety)

Join Katolen Yardley, MNIMH in this one-day workshop exploring the impact that long term stress has on the body. We will cover the HPA Axis, and some theories behind PTSD and related mental health issues (including anxiety and depression). Participants will investigate the connection between systemic inflammation and optimal digestive function and dis-ease, including the role a healthy microbiome plays in mental health. Additionally, participants will learn about holistic treatment protocols including nutrition and plant medicine in the route back to optimal health.

Therapeutic options covered include the following:

  • Herbal Medicine options
  • Tips for Nutrition and supplements
  • Lifestyle considerations
  • The role which ‘Connection’ has on our state of mind
  • This course is ideal for a health care professional or any person wanting holistic guidance for supporting their body through extended stress.

Course Instructor: Katolen Yardley is a Medical Herbalist and owner of Alchemy & Elixir Health Group – currently in private practice in Vancouver and Port Moody, BC. Katolen teaches herbal medicine courses at Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine, Langara College, Dominion Herbal College and local and international conferences. She is vice president of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations (CCHA) and second term president of the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of BC (CHA of BC).

Since 1998, she has appeared on Global Television Morning News, where she offers herbal information to the public. Katolen has been a guest on the Discovery Channel’s Healthy Home Show and has been published in numerous magazines and health journals. Her personal interest in health lies with the emotional connection to wellness and dis-ease.

Her book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies is available July 2016 and book signings will occur at the end of the course.

For more information visit: www.katolenyardley.com or                                                       Facebook: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm                                                                             Location: Pacific Rim College, Victoria, BC
To register visit: Pacific Rim College Event
https://www.pacificrimcollege.com/workshops/workshop-registration-form/

Course Tuition
Regular – $150 (Early Bird – $142.50, until August 1)
Students* – $137.50 (Early Bird – $125, until August 1)
PRC Alumni – $142.50 (Early Bird – $132.50, until August 1)
*PRC diploma students will receive 0.5 NU/WHS academic credit for this workshop.

Herb Walk and Medicine Making Workshop

With Katolen Yardley, MNIMH – Medical Herbalist and host Sharon Brown Horton.

Join us for a day long adventure…. on Gambier Island.

gambier2   howe sound

• Learn about local medicinal plants and herb walk in the stunning rainforest and meadow land.
• Meander to a stunning off the grid property to learn about herbal medicine making.
Enjoy the local animals on property and the gorgeous view overlooking Howe Sound.
• Collect medicinal and garden edibles for salad and enjoy a delicious herbal desert, sip on herbal tea throughout the day.
• Dive into medicine making and learn how to prepare herbal teas, herbal vinegars, a medicinal salve and infused oil – an instruction booklet provided.
• Learn the various medicinal uses of local plants.

gambier  IMG_8356  gambier rooster  salad

gambier walk

The days experience are made more magical by the fact that we are travelling to an off the grid property. This part of the island has no public ferry access, no stores, no paved roads, no hydro, no phone lines… and of course no ATM machines or restaurants. (So bring your own snacks for the day, in case you get hungry).

Access to the island is by water taxi and once you arrive it is as if you are miles away from the city, in a stunning rustic environment surrounded by wildlife (if luck is with us a deer may stop by for a hand fed snack!) and on the property your might meet some friendly hens and roosters, kittens. Stunning views of the ocean and mountains are visible.

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH is a medical herbalist and nature knower with over 20 years of clinical and medicine making experience. Author of the Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies (August 2016). Visit  www.katolenyardley.com for more information

And our lovely host and Thai Massage Instructor, Sharon Brown Horton at www.hummingbirdhillfarm.net

Kat Gambier  sharon chicken gambier

Date: Saturday July 9, 2016Gambier lavender
Time: From 8 am until after 6 pm

Prepayment required. Space is limited –to reserve now.
Medicine Making: $ 115 (Plus $ 45 Water Taxi to island) =
Total: $ 160
Meet in Vancouver for car pool or Lions Bay Marina
More information provided upon registration.

Contact: info@alchemyelixir.com to preregister and pay by visa, mastercard, cheque or e transfer.

Or call 604 683 2298