Making practical and reliable medicinal preparations with local wild plants is an excellent way to learn about Herbalism. Make sure your harvesting is done ethically and sustainably.
You can make ice cubes with Jewelweed’s plant medicine so that you will have an effective remedy on hand whenever needed. This tutorial will show you how to make a gentle decoction of Jewelweed leaves, stems and flowers.
Jewelweed is a valuable local medicine which was used extensively by the First Nations peoples, most notably for the poison ivy, oak and sumac rash. (MacKinnon) The gooey mucilage found in Jewelweed’s stems, leaves and flowers is a very effective antidote and an excellent medicine to have in your home. To learn more about Jewelweed’s history of use, botanical information and more, please read my Jewelweed Monograph.
Making a Herbal Decoction is fun and easy. It’s a great way to practice making medicine with our local herbs.
You will need:
-stainless steel pot with a lid
-fresh cold water
-dry or fresh plant material
-knife for chopping
-glass jar with a lid for storing your decoction
-ice cube tray or muffin tin to freeze your decoction
-freezer bags to store your herbal ice cubes
-paper and tape or sticker to label your medicine
- Gather the aerial parts (above ground parts) of 2- 3 Jewelweed plants. You will need about 1 cup of plant material. Chop your plant material on a nice clean surface.
- Bring about 3 cups of cold water to a boil. When it reaches the boil, turn the heat down to medium low and add the chopped plant material. Partially cover your pot.
- Allow the herb to simmer, on low heat. I don’t like to boil this succulent plant. I find a gentle, slow simmer is sufficient. Simmer for 30 minutes up to an hour and then remove from the heat.
- Allow your decoction to cool and then strain. The longer you let it cool, the longer it will steep and the stronger it will become. You can leave your decoction to cool up to 12 hours. Jewelweed turns the water a nice orangey brown colour.
- Pour your strained decoction into a an ice cube tray and freeze.
- You can then place your Herbal Ice Cubes into a freezer bag, label clearly with the date and the name of herb. You can keep these herbal ice cubes in the freezer for up to a year.
I make Jewelweed ice cubes each year to have on hand. If you ever need this medicine, you can simply thaw a few ice cubes. Use a sterile cloth or paper towel to dip into your Jewelweed decoction and rub onto to any area that may have been in contact with poison ivy.
If you have a dog or cat who wanders through poison ivy, you can wipe their fur down with your Jewelweed decoction. You may also want to put your decoction into a spray bottle for another easy way to apply this medicine.
You can keep your thawed decoction in the refrigerator for about a week.
For more information, please see my:
Sources, References and Inspiration:
- Susan Weed – Healing Wise
- Rosemary Gladstar – Herbal Healing For Women
- Penelope Ody – The Complete Medicinal Herbal
- Beverley Gray – The Boreal Herbal
- MacKinnon, Andrew, Kershaw, Linda, Arnason, John, Owen, Patrick, Karst, Amanda, Hamersly Chambers, Fiona. Edible and Medicinal Plants of Canada. Partners Publishing and Lone Pine Media Productions (B.C.) Ltd. 2014. ISBN: 978-1-77213-002-7
- Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal A Completer Guide to New World Medicinal Plants. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California. 2009. ISBN: 978-1-55643-779-3
- Weiner, Michael A. Earth Medicine- Earth Foods, Plant Remedies, Drugs and Natural Foods of the North American Indians. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc, New York, New York. 1972. Library of Congress Number: 73-167802
- Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. Merco, Windsor, Ontario.1973. Library Catalog Number: 615.321.RS 164
- Harris, Marjorie. Botanica North America – The Illustrated Guide To Our Native Plants, Their Botany, History, and The Way They Have Shaped Our World. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York, NY. 2003 ISBN: 0-06-270231-9