Making a herbal profi le of your own can be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. It will ultimately give you a deep understanding of a dozen or so herbs that grow near your home. With them, you will be able to treat many commonly experienced diseases or, preferably, learn how to help resist their manifestation in the fi rst place. Some ideal choices in Britain would be oak, apple, yarrow, plantain, nettle, hawthorn, red clover, dandelion, and burdock. Only choose the very common ones, or you will defeat the main purpose of the herbal profile.
A ring binder, with clear plastic sheaths to protect pictures and writing alike, will be useful. Photograph, paint, draw (using color), or freshly press the herb. You can buy a fl ower press or make your own from particle board, rigid poles, and wing nuts with cardstock and blotting paper. A press is ideal for keeping at home, but too bulky to take out into the fi eld, except by car. If you want to make your own large but more portable fl ower press, construct it to the herbarium size of approximately 17 by 11 inches, and make it with 11 ⁄4-inch squares using 3 ⁄4-inch slatted wood.
To create layers, you will require quantities of blotting paper with paper towel and cardstock. To tighten your press, you will need to use fi xed Velcro luggage straps (or something like a horse girth with clasps, capable of expanding to any width, is ideal). Small or large numbers of plant specimens may have to be accommodated at times in the press, so this ability to open, close, tighten, and loosen is vital. When you fi rst harvest your plant, thank it, then shake off any excess water or dew.
When it is dry, place it carefully and with consideration as to its arrangement on white paper towels, underneath which you have placed several layers of blotting paper, thick cardstock, and the base of the press. If leaves are overlapping each other, carefully spread them out, and if there are really too many, carefully pluck some out. Spread any fl ower petals out carefully so that they don’t get crushed and distorted. Afterward, put a paper towel on top, then blotting paper, more cardstock, and fi nally the lid of the press.
Until you become more dexterous, get another pair of hands to help you with all of this; the result will be better. Finally, tighten the press, but only gently — only as the water starts to leave the plants can you gradually tighten it more. Every day you should change the paper towels until the very wet stage is over. Also, tighten your straps or wing nuts a little more each day