I often get asked “how do I begin to build a relationship with herbs, build an apothecary, or know what works for me?”
My simple answer :: BE CURIOUS. As they say “Get into the weeds”
It’s as simple as beginning to recognize household goodies you already have or looking at things you do already!
Start exploring the kitchen. Kitchen herbs you use daily already, often are your allys. Begin to get curious about what fennel can do besides enhance your spaghetti sauce or how cayenne can help with a sprained ankle.
Ask “what things do I need daily”? Vitamins! How can I introduce Herbs that can organically be integrated into my daily routines that can help me meet some of my daily dietary intake.
Look at ingredient labels of Herbal products. Recognize what IS in a product and become familiar with what you may not want in products.
If you battle stress find a few herbal teas, tinctures, supplements that can be your go tos.
Want to know more about Herbal Allies, but Dr Google advises against EVERY herb??
Seeking websites that offer Herbal Monographs. Monographs offer a well rounded lens of every plant and create an opportunity to learn an herbal foundational so you can make educated decisions. Here are some reliable sources you can turn to to deepen your knowledge.
Online Herbal Resources
Of course make sure you're subscribed to the Venture Well Library page + newsletters
Paid Subscriptions for Monographs, Recipes, and Herbal Guides (this is the one I personally use):https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com
Limited but FREE Herbal Monographs :https://www.herbrally.com/monographs
Want Local (to Ventura County) Guides: https://herbwalks.com/resources#natplantid
Herb Resources + Reputable Herbal Products: https://mountainroseherbs.com
Below are some quick suggestions to spark your curiosity and invite you to play as you learn.
We’d love to hear what you discover and which herbs you turn to.
Urtica dioica :: Nettles or Stinging Nettles**
Nettles is a nutrient dense "SuperFood" (You Heard it Here First). Thought to have one of the most “nutritious leaves on the planet” Lanny Kaufman
Daily Nutrient Rich Nettles:
Vitamins: A, C, K + Several B Vitamins
Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Sodium
Amino Acids: ALL of the essential amino acids
Pigments: beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxnith, etc (1)
Simple Nettles Overnight Infusion ::
One of the easiest ways to take advantage of nutrient dense benefits of Nettles is through tea. My favorite option is to make an overnight infusion.
Simply boil some water
Place nettles in a tea bag + pour hot water in a sealable jar
Let it cool down for about 15 mins. Screw on the lid and place the steeping tea in your fridge overnight.
In the morning you’ll have an easy grab and go chilled tea that is nutrient and energy rich to boost you through the day
Nettles Notes + Contraindications- Nettles aren’t recommend for those with Kidney complications.
Calendula officinalis :: Calendula**
Calendula is easily one of the most wildly integrated folk and clinical herbs out there. The beautiful flowers of calendula can be adopted into your herbal regimen through their topical uses. Look for calendula in the ingredient list of holistic skin care products, ranging from lotions, salves, and even wound care.Finding a high quality calendula oil or calendula product is always important. Here’s a simple recipe to infuse calendula into your herbal ally cabinet.
Anti-Itch Calendula Potion::
In a dark jar (amber or blue) pour your high quality calendula oil. Add several drops of Neem Oil (also many healing properties). Peppermint essential oil to your scent liking.
Use on dry skin patches, bug bites, and rashes.
Calendula Notes + Contraindications- generally calendula is a mild herb and safe for most, however it is advised against taking calendula internally during pregnancy.
Avena Sativa :: Oat Seed**
Oat Seed, most simply put, has become my herbal ally for stress + anxiety. Oat Seed tincture can become a “counter top tincture” as I call it. Meaning no matter how many times I put Oat Seed back into my herbal cabinet, it always ends up back on the counter.
I enjoy a dropper full once a day, but on more stressful days I turn to my “purse tincture” and add an extra dose or two as needed.
Oat Seed Notes + Contraindications - Like many herbs we try for the first time, Oat Seed can be “punchy”. Meaning the first time I took it, my anxiety was already flared up. Upon taking the tincture it felt like my symptoms exaggerated for about 10mins, but then suddenly I felt this gentle wave of calm. I almost couldn’t believe the shift I felt. I’ve been an advocate for Oat Seed every since.
It’s important to consider Celiacs here. Always make sure that you source a product that is certified Gluten Free. Oat seed is a particular herb that can come up with cross contamination and depending on sensitivity levels you’ll need to be mindful of the brand you choose.
Mentha piperita :: Peppermint**
The magic effects of peppermint. It soothes + warms both moods as well as our anatomy. Peppermint rituals date back to ancient times of Egyptians, Japanese, Greek and Romans.
The most predominant feature of Peppermint are its volatile oils. We consider the volatile oils to be the medicinal action but it’s also what gives it the soothing scent. Turn to peppermint to relax, to ease digestive challenges, an immunity boost aid, and so much more.
One of the quickest + easiest teas to brew. Due to the volatile oils, it can only handle a short steep time. Suggestion to leave your peppermint tea leaves steeping no more than 10mins. After that it begins to loose some of its medicinal values.
Suggestions for brewing: boil water, add peppermint to tea ball, combine water and herb into your favorite mug. Cover the mug for your steep time so you don’t evaporate the volatile oils. Find a cozy spot, close your eyes and inhale the aroma, sip and REPEAT.
Peppermint Notes + Contraindications- Contrary to recent marketing, it's never safe to ingest pepperiment Essential Oils (or truly any EO). Please always use peppermint leaves when making tea. Peppermint is not suggested for those with gastrointestinal intestinal reflux as it may irritate this condition. Large quantities are not suggested for infants or lactating mothers.
I'm Jessy Raspiller, Venture Well Founder + Clinical Herbalist. I've had a passion for optimizing my own health + wellness for the past two decades. I'm excited to rouse others curiosities through the practices, rituals and allies that I've turned to time and time again.
**Please use caution when introducing new herbs. Never blindly take herbal remedies without learning more about their constitutions and contraindications. It’s important to consult with your medical professionals to ensure that herbal allys you’re curious about will best support your overall well-being.
(1) Rayman, R. (November 21, 2018), Healthline.com, 6 Evidence Based Benefits of Stinging Nettles - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2