Written by contributor Amy Thompson of Progressive Pioneer.

With flu season staring me down, I decided that this year I would be prepared.  I’d been wanting to try my hand at making my own herbal remedies.  The cost is considerably less, you know exactly what goes into them, and you can tailor them to your specific needs.  And, as it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought.

Photo by Amy Thompson

I started with one recipe, a simple anti-viral and anti-bacterial blend that can be used for all sorts of winter ailments. I combined equal parts dried and powdered echinacea, licorice root, ginger and goldenseal in a bowl and, well, that was it!

Of course, once I had the mixture, I needed to either pack it into pills or make it into a tincture.  I ended up doing both.  The tincture is still sitting on my counter and will be ready to use in a few weeks.  The pills have been put to good use already, lessening the effects of a cold my son and I caught, and keeping my husband from catching it!

Photo by Amy Thompson

This little $13 contraption was worth every penny.  Line up your capsules, pack in whatever you like and then snap on the top.  Out pop 24 perfect little capsules!  And they’re a fraction of the price of what you find at the store.  The whole process really was as easy as tossing the powdered herbs together, filling the capsule maker and popping them out.

To make the tincture, I used two cups of food-grade glycerin, 2 cups of water, and one cup of the powdered herb blend.  When it’s done brewing, I’ll simply strain out the herbs and it will be ready to go!

The benefit of the tincture is that it acts more quickly, in about one hour, while the capsules take about four hours to start working.  It’s also easier to make up a big batch of tincture than to make hundreds of pills, though both have their benefits.

Photo by Amy Thompson

If you’re interested in learning more about herbs there are places to learn all over and plenty of wonderful books

.  Some of my favorites are Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

and A Kid’s Herb Book

.  Learning Herbs is a great website; my 2 1/2 year old son loves their board game, Wildcraft

, and can identify many of the plants already!

There are lots of ways to learn, but perhaps the best way is to simply jump right in and get started.  Grab some friends and split the cost of buying herbs in bulk, then have a little party where you make up a bunch of remedies. Once you give it a try, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is!

Have you tried making your own herbal remedies?  What are some of your favorite recipes?