How to Make Your Own Herbal Remedies

Making your own Herbal remedies can be a very enjoyable and empowering experience. I think over the years we have become very disconnected with simple home healing remedies which our parents and grandparents used in their everyday lives. 

Plants have been an important part of our health care since earliest time and now is a perfect time to re-learn and re-connect with some traditional herbal techniques and remedies.

By learning some basic traditional techniques of Herbal Medicine, you can take control of your health and the health of your family with confidence.  You can be assured of what is actually in your remedies and you are reawakening forgotten wisdom and learning about the power of natural plant remedies.

Herbal Manufacturing is a subject studied by all Naturopathic students as part of their degree, and generally speaking it is one of the favorites!
Many of the recipes and techniques we use have come from the following text, Herbal Manufacturing: How to make Medicines from Plants by Jenny Adams and Eleanor Tan (2006)

 If you are interested in learning more about herbal manufacturing, I highly recommend it. It can be ordered on-line from the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine bookstore at

Here are some of our favorites to start with. Have fun!

Simple Baths and Washes

Herbal teas (infusions) can be used in Baths and Washes. Baths are an effective way to treat skin conditions that cover a large affected area. There is also the relaxing benefit of being immersed in water as well as the therapeutic effect of inhaling the volatile oils as they vaporize. Baths are fantastic for babies and children as well as adults.
Washes are generally used when the area of affected skin is limited (eg hands or eyes).

Oatmeal Bath
(reference: “Herbal Manufacturing” by Jenny Adams and Eleanor Tan pg 40 & 41)
Oatmeal is very soothing and emollient for  dry, itchy skin conditions.

Step 1 Place a handful of raw oatmeal into the end of an old stocking and tie off with a rubber band
Step 2 Immerse the stocking in a bath full of lukewarm water and as the oatmeal swells, squeeze the stocking to “express the oatmilk”
Step 3 Soak in bath for 15-20 minutes, and continue to squeeze the oatmilk onto the skin.

Calendula & Chamomile Eyewash
(reference: “Herbal Manufacturing” by Jenny Adams and Eleanor Tan)

Eyebaths can be a very effective method of treating eye infections like conjunctivitis and eye allergies. It is essential however that the eyewash is prepared with cooled boiled water and that the eyebath is cleaned with warm soapy water and then rinsed well with boiling water after use.

Eyebaths can be readily picked up from the chemist and it is recommended that a separate eyebath be used for each eye (to avoid cross infection). If the eyewash stings try adding a pinch of salt of the water.

1-2 teaspoons dried calendula herb
1-2 teaspoons dried chamomile herb


Step 1
Place herbs in a glass (sterilise under boiling water first)
Step 2 Pour over just boiled water and allow to steep (infuse) for 10 minutes
Step 3 Allow to cool and bathe eyes for 30 seconds
Step 4 Pat gently to dry with fresh tissue or pad
Step 5 Repeat twice daily


Herbal syrups are made by combining herbs with sugar and honey. They are great because they preserve herbs without using alcohol and they are sweet so very palatable for children. Because of their viscous nature they stay in contact with the throat and mouth for longer and so can prolong the action of the herbs. They also have demulcent and anti-microbial properties (especially if made with honey) so are great for a dry cough or an inflamed throat.

Licorice Cough Syrup

This licorice cough syrup was a recipe I devised for an assignment I had to submit when I was a student studying Naturopathy. It is pretty easy to make and very effective. And it tastes delicious.

This recipe makes 1 litre.

40g dried licorice root
900g sugar (you could use coconut sugar)
60ml distilled water


Step 1
Soak (or macerate) the licorice root in distilled water for 12 hours then strain, press and filter.
Step 2 The liquid should measure approx. 450ml. (Some of the water remains in the root). If it measures less than 450ml, adjust by running more water through the pressed licorice root.
Step 3 Add the sugar to this liquid and heat to boiling point. The sugar should dissolve.
Step 4 Cool and strain through a double layer of muslin or cotton.  The infusion will be thick and slow to filter so allow a couple of hours.
Step 5 Store in a glass jar in the fridge

For a persistent dry cough add some raw or manuka honey after filtering

Lozenges and pastilles

Lozenges and pastilles are great to suck when the throat feels inflamed or sore. They are also great for mouth infections, ulcers and voice strain.

Licorice & Propolis Throat Pastilles
(reference: “Herbal Manufacturing” by Jenny Adams and Eleanor Tan)
These pastilles can be sucked when the throat feels inflamed or sore.

4 grams powdered gelatine or agar agar*
4mls glycerine
4 mls distilled water
10ml licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) tincture (see our staff in-store for this)
2ml propolis tincture

Step 1
Heat these ingredients over a double saucepan (water bath) until melted.
Step 2 Add the licorice and propolis tinctures and stir well until well blended
Step 3 Pour into an ice-cube tray (shallow pour) and set in the fridge
Step 4 When set cut into 3cm lengths and individually wrap. Store in fridge or freezer

For a more solid pastille, allow to dehydrate in a dry atmosphere for 24 hours.
*agar agar is a great vegetarian alternative to gelatine but must soaked in cold water for 15 minutes prior to using in recipe.

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