Raleigh Briggs teaches us how to craft a sustainable domestic life without relying on smelly, toxic, expensive consumer products. And it's not as hard as we may think! This hand written and drawn book of charming tutorials is both fun and accessible. It's full of simple skills that anyone can and should learn. From creating tinctures and salves to concocting all-natural cleaners and body products to gardening basics, this book is great for anyone looking to live more simply, create a comfortable nest, and truly do it yourself.
About the Author
Raleigh Briggs is an herbalist, potion maker, DIY homemaker, and the author of Herbal First Aid, How to Make Soap, and Nontoxic Housecleaning. She lives in Seattle.
Read an Excerpt
Health & First Aid
Whenever I get into conversations about DIY I find that certain ideas get echoed by many different people. Chief among these tenets is the idea that DIY is about making event he tiny bits of out lives intentional; we focus our energy on what we know is right for us, rather than what is dictated by a market or culture. I think herbal medicine and DIY healthcare are such a strong manifestation of this idea. There is definitely a place for conventional medicine - it saves lives, after all. It's quick and effective and familiar. But it has the unfortunate effect of distancing us from our bodies. Instead of questioning why we have constant digestive issues. for example, we end up just tossing pills down our gullets like we're balancing the pH of a swimming pool. It's cold and isolating not to mention expensive.
Compare this to the practice of using herbs, which work in a broader, less symptom-focused way. In the DIY healthcare mindset, you would tone a weak GI tract and strengthen it, rather than dulling it with antispasmodics. Natural medicine often takes time, but within that time there is an invitation to actually witness your body changing. It forces you to pay attention to the systems of your body, and how they interact and signal each other. Over time, we become less afraid of our mysterious guts and tunnels, and thus, more confident in our ability to heal ourselves. And that's what this chapter is all about!
A Quick Guide to Essential Oils
Always use pure essential oil when you're making cleaners or remedies. Don't use anything labeled "perfume oil" or "aromatherapy oil." Essential oils can retain some of the anti microbial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties of the whole plant. These oils are highly concentrated and volatile, so keep them in dark glass bottles away from direct sunlight and heat. And DO NOT EAT THEM.!
Here are some oils that come in handy:
Antibacterial: bay, camphor, Cardamom, chamomile, citronella, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, hyssop, juniper, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lime, marjoram, orange, pine, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, spearmint, tea tree, thyme
Antimicrobial: bergamot, chamomile, clove, eucalyptus, hyssop, lavender, lemon, lime, myrtle nutmeg, oregano, patchouli, tea tree
Antiviral: cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, oregano, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme
* NOTE: Please please please read the section on Safety before you use oils. It's important to me.
How-to-basic recipes for salves, tinctures, and sundry curiosities
The following recipes are a good starting point for any budding (hard) herbalists. One small note: if you have the funds and the space available, I would recommend keeping a set of cooking tools exclusively for the purpose of making herbal remedies. Ideally this will include:
-an enamel or stainless steel pan, double boiler, or slow cooker
-cheese cloth or coffee filters
-a mortar + pestle (... or a plastic bag and a trusty cudgel)
-dark glass jars and bottles - use the kind with droppers if you are making tinctures, and fatter, wider jars with twisty lids for salves
-larger glass jars (jam + pickle jars are excellent) with tight-fitting lids for steeping and soaking herbs
-a stirring utensil
A tincture is basically a combination of an herb and an appropriate solvent that is allowed to steep for several weeks. The result is a highly concentrated solution that captures the healing properties of the plant.
Tinctures are awesome because they're easy to make, portable, and if you make and store them properly, they'll stay potent for quite a while. They can be used to soak gauze for compresses, combine with creams or oils, or taken internally at a ratio of 30 or so drops in one glass of water, juice or tea.
To make a tincture, chop up a cup of whatever herb or herbs you are using (roots or woody stems should be dried and ground in a mortar and pestle). It is very important that you use dried herbs when you make salves & tinctures - the water in fresh herbs can harbor bacteria that will ruin your work. (Either lay herbs flat to dry or tie into small bundles and hand somewhere dry and sunny. To rig up a quick herb drying rack, secure herbs to a metal coathanger with some clothespins, and hand near a window or radiator)
Take your chopped herbs or roots and place them in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid-a pickle or mayonnaise jar works great, just make sure it's a big'un. Cover the herbs with 5 cups of cheap 60 proof vodka, for a non-alcoholic version with some added health benefits, use apple cider vinegar. Seal up your jar and hide it from your friends in a cool, dark place. Let it sit there for two weeks, and give it a good shake every once in a while. When the two weeks are up, line a funnel with several layers of cheese-cloth and strain the tincture into dark glass bottles. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth into a nice package and squeeze out any liquid before tossing the solids. Cap your tinctures tightly, make some cute labels for them and keep them away from heat and light.
Excerpted from "Make Your Place"
Copyright © 2018 Raleigh Briggs.
Excerpted by permission of Microcosm Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Safety Protocols, 4,
Health & First Aid, 6,
Essential Oils, 8,
Salves & Tinctures, 9,
Making Tinctures, 10,
Infusions, Decoctions & Pooltices, 12,
Making Salves, 14,
Basic First Aid Kit, 16,
Health Tonics, 17,
Cuts & Scrapes, 18,
Aches & Pains, 19,
Burns & Rashes, 20,
Bites & Stings, 25,
Bruises & Bleeding, 26,
Gut Problems, 30,
Colds & Flue, 32,
Teeth & Mouth, 34,
Depression & Anxiety, 41,
Non-Toxic Cleaning & Body Care, 44,
Basic Ingredients for Cleaning, 47,
Castile Soap, 49,
All-Purpose Cleaners, 50,
Dishes, Drains & Sinks, 54,
Toilets & Tubs, 55,
Stain Removal, 59,
Pest Control, 60,
Random Messes, 62,
Choosing Herbs for Skin & Hair, 64,
Basic Shampoo & Body Soap, 65,
Facial Cleansers, 70,
Herbal Toners, 72,
Face Oil, 75,
Tooth Care, 76,
Cat & Dog Care, 77,
Plant Anatomy, 80,
Gardening Glossary, 81,
Assessing Space, 82,
When to Plant, 85,
Making Beds, 87,
Garden Laout, 90,
The Buddy System, 92,
Testing & Improving Soil, 93,
About Seeds, 99,
Direct Planting, 100,
Growing Seedlings, 102,
Sprouting Seeds, 106,
Planting Starts, 108,
Staking & Trellising, 114,
Maintaining Your Garden, 116,
Pest Control, 118,
Container Gardening, 121,
Resources & Further Reading, 123,