Practical Pharmacy in Western Herbal Medicine

Practical Pharmacy in Western Herbal Medicine

with Karen Aguiar

Three Separate Classes: Dec. 9 & 10, Jan. 13 & 14, and Mar. 11

Each class can be taken separately, or take each class in the series to advance your medicine making skills!

December 9th & 10th from 10-4pm

Do you ever wonder if alcohol or vinegar is the right solvent? Or if a simple tea is the best way to make an herbal extract? How do you figure out your alcohol percentage when you start off with a percentage less than 100?? In this two day class, we will consider the many available solvents to use and the best techniques to make the most potent medicine we can.

To make potent medicines we need to look at what plant constituents and properties we are after and why, so that we can use the proper solvents and techniques to bring us the results we want.

Day 1) Solvents and Constituents – We will look at a variety of constituents in plants and mushrooms and why certain solvents are important in their extraction. Alkaloids, Resins, Saponins, Terpenes, Polysaccharides are just a few of our favorite plant phytochemicals. We have a few tricks up our sleeve to test for these constituents as well.

Day 2) Techniques - Keeping in mind traditional methods of making medicine, and wanting to honor a plant or mushroom offering of medicine, we will use simple to more advanced techniques and equipment to process herbs that may be challenging to extract. What are the best methods of preparation for Usnea, Medicinal Mushrooms, Wild Cherry bark, Milk Thistle…? What is a Double extraction? What is a Fluid Extract? What’s best: Fresh Plant vs. Dry Plant extractions? We will cover all this and make an Usnea extract using dry ice and a Sohxlet extractor (glass lab apparatus).

COST: $225. Pre-registration required. Series price is $575 (save $25!). Tuition includes all materials used in class, handouts and take-home products

January 13th & 14th from 10-4pm

Learn the Art of Percolation, a process in which herbs can be extracted within 24 – 48 hours. This elegant method of making medicine was considered a true test of the skill of the pharmacist’s apprentice. In this class, each student will percolate an herb, and end up with a potent tincture. Activities will include cutting ‘perc’ cones, grinding and sifting herbs, packing our cones, percolating the herbs, and making a beautiful tincture each will take home.

We will also discuss how to draw out particular plant constituents to create the strongest medicines, which solvents are the most appropriate for particular plants, and how to test our results.

This class is geared toward those who have basic herbal medicine making skills and knowledge.

What to Bring:

  • 1 small bowl for sifted herb, 6” minimum
  • 1 flat rock or crystal that will fit inside the cut bottle (about 2.5 inches in diameter)

What We'll Supply:

  • 1 regular-mouth and 1 wide-mouth canning jar
  • dried herb for powdering
  • organic 95% alcohol
  • a San Pellegrino bottle for making into a "perc" cone
  • a dowel for a packing rod

Students will take home a completed tincture and a perc cone with screw cap and a packing rod.

COST: $250. Pre-registration required. Series price is $575 (save $25!). Tuition includes all materials used in class, handouts and take-home products

March 11th from 10-4pm

Traditionally animal fats were used in pharmacy to provide healing to injured skin. In this hands-on class we shall render lard, clarify butter to make Ghee and use pork fat and beef tallow for use in making salves and creams. We will answer some questions as in what is an emulsion, what’s the best way to make an emulsion? Hand whip or blender? What are some good preservatives and more.

Students will take home products we've made in class:

  • medicated ghee
  • rendered beef tallow and pork lard for use in salves or creams

What to Bring: 3 plastic salsa-sized containers or something similar for take home products listed above.

COST: $125. Pre-registration required. Series price is $575 (save $25!). Tuition includes all materials used in class, handouts and take-home products

CONTACT: For more information, contact Gathering Thyme at 415-524-8693.

WHERE: Gathering Thyme • 1447 Fourth Street • San Rafael, CA 94901
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