Mountain Art Works
This is MAW!  Lilly Walcie Coleman
Nestled in the Hills of Home - Heart of Appalachia
Mountain Art Works' store front.
A log cabin in the Breaks Interstate Park.
Looking downstream on the Russell Fork River.
People live off the land and utilize plants for food and medicinal purposes. Some plants are safe to
eat but others are dangerous or can be fatal.  

Herbs were used for food and medicine long before records were kept documenting their use.  
The first documented account of herb use was in about 2000 B.C. in Babylon. From these remote
times myths and legends grew and were passed down, generation by generation, about the
powerful affects of herbs and other native plants. Over the years much of this information has been
lost and it's a matter of  discovering which plants were useful was much a matter of trial and error.

It seems that with the development of modern medicine much of the knowledge relating to herbal
treatments has been lost.  Although formulations of many herbs and plants are used in modern day
medicines, often times there are no documented studies confirming or denying the medicinal
properties of others.  Many health conscious people these days are turning away from prescription
drugs and growing their own herb gardens and turning to making their own remedies.  Healing
with herbs and other natural remedies is becoming popular again but making your own medicines
is quite an art.  

Remember! Herbal remedies are not one-shot wonder cures. Their effectiveness is based largely
on a gradual cure.  If you have medical issues always consult your physician.  How to Make and
Use Herb Preparations Making your own herbal concoctions is really not that difficult. And since
the best herbal preparations are those made when the plants are fresh, the better off you are to
grow your own herbs and make your own preparations.  They made a beautiful addition to any
garden.  

Even your best plants can be ruined if you use the wrong process in preparing your remedies. Your
choice depends on the parts of the plant to be used, the form in which the remedy will be taken,
and the desired result.

The following ways of preparing your fresh herbs are those most commonly used in herbal
medicine. Always use an enamel or non-metallic pot.

* Herbal Teas
: To make a cup of herbal tea, for drinking or as a face wash, boil 10 ounces of water.
 Pre-warm your teapot, put in 1 tbsp or less of dried herbs or a large pinch of fresh herbs, and pour
the boiling water over them. Add honey if you like. Cover and steep to taste, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain
and drink.

* Infusion: This is a beverage made like tea, combining boiled water with the plants and steeping it
to extract the active ingredients. The normal amounts are about 1/2 to 1 ounce of the plant per pint
of boiled water. You should let the mixture steep for 5 to 10 minutes, covered, then strain the
infusion into a cup.  Add honey, if desired.

* Cold Extract: Preparing herbs with cold water preserves the most volatile ingredients, while
extracting only minor amounts of mineral salts and bitter principles. Add about double the plant
matter used for an infusion to cold water and let sit for about 8 to 12 hours, strain and drink.

* Decoction: This method of preparation allows you to extract primarily the mineral salts and bitter
principles, rather than vitamins and volatile ingredients. Boil about half an ounce of plant
parts usually made from the tougher parts of the plant: the roots, seeds or bark per cup of water for
up to 4 minutes. Steep the mixture with the cover on the pot for a few minutes.

* Juice: Chop and press fresh plant parts to make juice, then add water and press again. This is
excellent for getting vitamins and minerals from the plant. Drink the juice right away for the best      
results.

* Syrup: Make a basic syrup to which you will add medicinal ingredients by boiling 3 pounds of raw
brown sugar in a pint of water until it reaches the right consistency.

* Powder: Grind your dried plant parts until you have a powder. The powder can be taken with
water, milk, soup, or swallowed in gelatin capsules.

* Ointment: Quick method - combine well one part of your powdered remedy with four parts of hot
petroleum jelly or lard. For purists - add the decoction of the desired herb to olive oil and simmer
until the water has completely evaporated. Add beeswax as needed to get a firm consistency.  
Some gum benzoin or a drop of tincture of benzoin per ounce of fat will help preserve the ointment.

* Essence: Dissolve one ounce of the herb's essential oil in a pint of alcohol. This method
preserves the volatile oils of many plants  which are not water soluble.

* Poultice: To make a poultice, you just crush the medicinal parts of the plant to a sticky mass and
heat. Mix with a hot, sticky substance such as moist flour or corn meal. Apply the pasty       mixture
directly to the skin. Wrap a hot towel around and moisten the towel periodically. A poultice will draw
impurities from the body.

* Herb Bath: Herbal baths include the use of various herbal additives to enhance the natural
healing power of the water. They are baths to which plant decoctions or infusions have been added.
There are full and partial herbal baths. For a full bath some of the medicinal plant parts should be
sewn into a cloth bag and boiled in a quart of water. The strained mixture is then added to the bath.
Sometimes you can put the bag right into the tub for a more thorough extraction of the herbal
properties.
MAW's Old Time Remedies

MAW always said, "If the doctor's coming
you'll want to ask him too!"
Back by Request

63 Uses for Vinegar

60 Uses for Baking Soda

60 Uses for Salt

Waterproofing for Canvas, Leather and
Concrete

Fireproofing for your Home

Preparing One-Way Mirror Glass

Silvering & Re-silvering Mirrors

Please Note:  These are old remedies
and have been around for some time.  
All compounds referenced
may not be readily available.