Making Wild Medicines
Instructor: Heather Nack-Culbreth
August 24 at 7 a.m.
The healing powers of wild medicinal plants are endless, from bug bites and upset stomachs to treating arthritis and heart disease. Learn how to identify and harvest a diverse array of medicinal plants found in the northern Rockies. We will make medicinal oils, salves, lip balms, tinctures, and herbal teas as well as discuss techniques for drying and storing herbs. You are encouraged to bring a camera and/or sketch pad to help you with later identification. Plants will be harvested outside of Glacier National Park.
* For a two-day immersion in the wonders of medicinal plants, be sure to sign up for “Nature’s Healers: Wild Medicinal Herbs,” August 23, to get a broad foundation in the identification and ecology of medicinal herbs.
Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.
Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather) Class will begin at Field Camp at 7 a.m., with an introduction to the class and to each other. We will then briefly discuss medicine making, wild crafting and plant identification before taking the Glacier Institute van outside of the park to identify wild craft plants. You will need to bring some of your harvesting equipment with you, so have it accessible in a backpack or bucket with a handle. After lunch in the field we will return to Field Camp and prepare our medicines. The herbal preparations we create will depend on which healthy plants are available for harvest. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be cancelled due to weather.
Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water and snacks for the day.
Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entry passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280.
Equipment: You will receive a Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2 liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and warm layers. If you have favorite field guides or herbals, please bring them to share during the course. In addition, you need to bring the following:
- Notepad and pencil for notes
- Camera for photographing plants if you wish
- Favorite field guides or herbals if you have them
- ~Six small (4-6 oz.) glass jars (baby food or ½ pint canning jars work well) for making and storing the various oils, salves and tinctures
- Everclear (or 100 proof Vodka): fifth size for tinctures
- Olive Oil: pint bottle for medicinal oils
- Sharp knife for cutting stems
- Another kitchen blade for chopping vegetable matter
- Cutting board
- Masking tape for labeling jars
- Plastic and paper grocery sacks (3-4 each) for collecting herbs
- Garden Shovel and Shears
Physical Requirements: Easy to moderate difficulty. Hikes up to 3 miles and/or 500 ft. elevation change, with frequent discussion and learning breaks.
Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.