I don’t have much time for the herb garden these days—too busy writing this article.

The weeds are high, but then most herbs are weeds. I will be harvesting and drying the rest of my herbs this week. The passion flower is ready. Its vine spreads all over the garden. If there are not enough in the garden, I have noticed quite a few growing in the fence-row beside the driveway. It is the primary ingredient in a most important Nervine Herbal tincture, used right here in our community. Passion Flower is non-narcotic, a great sleep-aid, and it is sold in Germany to control seizures. Mixed in a tincture with other herbs, we also use it to control seizures, relieve sleeplessness, relieve stomach cramps, to relax the muscles of a mother threatening to miscarry; and it is given to relax people going through great physical or mental stress.

Tinctures are really easy to make, store, and use.

We use Alfalfa as the base, because it offers a rich reservoir of nutrients. Chamomile, Peppermint and Catnip relax the digestive system and the smooth muscles found in the abdomen. Oat straw is high in calcium and is known to aid the nervous system. Hops and Valerian have tranquilizing properties. Together, these herbs have a calming, restful, relaxing effect.

I am not a medical doctor or a chemist; I cannot prescribe herbs or vitamins to you. I do seek scientific confirmation of the value and safety of the herbs I use, but using herbs is a personal decision. You must become informed and do what you feel is best for your health. However, I will give you my recipe for this popular nervine tincture.

Using all dry herbs: In a clean quart jar put 1/2 cup Alfalfa, 1/4 cup each of Chamomile, Peppermint, Passion Flower, Catnip, and Oat Straw, and one Tablespoon each of Hops and Valerian. Mix all the dried herbs, then pour 2/3 cup of boiling water over them. Allow to soak for a few minutes. Fill the jar to within 1/2 inch of the top with glycerin (ask your druggists for glycerin). Then put a cap on the jar. Place the jar in a crock-pot full of water and turn it on low. I keep it “cooking” (not boiling) for 3 days, stirring once everyday. The glycerin will turn golden brown and have a strong plant smell. On the third day, strain the warm liquid through a cheese cloth or clean stocking and squeeze all the liquid out of the cooked herbs. The liquid is the tincture; the pulp can be discarded. Keep the tincture in a glass jar in a cool, dark place, and it will keep for months or even years. I fill small brown glass dropper bottles with my herbal tinctures and label them, including dates.

For a small baby I use only 5 drops; for an older child, 1 dropper or 1/2 teaspoon; for an adult, about 4 droppers, and more will not hurt. Just thought you would be interested in what we do here in the community.

For more information and a price list on herbs, visit www.bulkherbstore.com or write to The Bulk Herb Store, 1010 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN 37033.

The Bulk Herb Store is not affiliated with No Greater Joy. DO NOT send herbal questions or orders to No Greater Joy.