Flower Empowered: Herbal medicine making

Illustration by Annie Internicola

Illustration by Annie Internicola

Making your own herbal medicine is easy, earthy, and exuberantly healing.

On a family retreat to Costa Rica last month, Maia Toll didn’t have her full collection of herbal remedies on hand, so she had to be creative. When a mysterious rash bloomed over her niece’s face, she soothed it with mashed cucumber. A bashed toe got slathered with arnica homeopathic and “an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink salve” that her husband, Andrew, had picked up in Peru. A grease burn found relief with lavender essential oil. The oddest vacation complaint? A tickling in the ear that her brother-in-law developed after spearfishing in the ocean. Toll flushed his ear and watched in amazement as a tiny, cellophane-clear crustacean crawled out. It’s fitting that, as an herbalist and educator who teaches others how to make DIY medicines, Toll would also become her family’s de facto healer—a role she’s come to embrace. At holidays and gatherings, she says, “The words after ‘hello’ are often ‘Aunt Maia’s here now. She’ll have something for that.'” Read full article