Herbs, Herbs, Herbs!

It’s WEEK 7 of Summer semester, 2016, and Herbology class is well under way! It’s the time of the semester when it all comes together and I’m doing the herbal practical skills. What a better way to learn how to recommend them than to try them ourselves! So, there are about 12 herbal preparations, total. I’m not showing all of them, but here are some of my favorites…

Of course, during this course, we have to plant a “midwifery garden.” All the herbs I needed were at Home Depot, and it wasn’t too expensive. I was able to use this trip for one of the herbal walks we are required to take. So, I did two things with one trip!
Herbs before transplantingWe were required to plant ten herbs. If we have some already in our garden then we can plant enough to reach the ten required herbs. Well, I have a rosemary plant on my front porch, so that counted for one plant. The other nine herbs I planted are:
2. Peppermint
3. Parsley
4. Thyme
5. Lemon balm (I accidentally ended up with two 6-inch pots of this!)
6. Sage
7. Spearmint
8. Basil
9. Catnip
10. Lavender

I also accidentally, didn’t buy enough pots. So, I ended up using two old, plastic coffee cans! I did punch holes on the bottom of them.

Final Midwife Herbal Garden:
Potted herbs
I do have a HUGE back yard where I “could” plant all my herbs, and plant way more than I have in the pots above. However, I also have backyard, free-range chickens. They love to scratch in the vegetable beds, and bathe in them. Since I haven’t had a free moment to enclose the beds, I had to transplant all the herbs in pots. I plan on enclosing these beds, but it might not happen for a few more months. See my chickens sun-bathing here:
Hens in boxes

We were also required to dry fresh herbs. On the left is red raspberry; on the right is nettles leaves.

 

Pregnancy TeaAnother requirement was to prepare an herbal pregnancy recipe, and make an infusion. Since I already had my own recipe from when I was pregnant years ago, I used that recipe. So, that meant I had to purchase some herbs:Herbs purchased
My favorite place to purchase is Mountain Rose Herbs.

Below is the herbal oil I had to prepare. I used the double boiler method to prepare a double infusion of plantain leaf and calendula flowers into olive oil. The first batch was drained, then I did it again with a fresh batch of flowers to make a stronger oil. This oil will be used to make a salve, another required preparation. For now, the oil can be used for itchy skin, scrapes, skin irritations, acne, and for ear aches:

 

Below are the liniment (for sore muscles and bruises), the red raspberry tincture (alcohol free), the red raspberry & nettle tincture (alcohol-based), completed plantain & calendula oil, and vanilla extract (alcohol based) that I made. We are able to choose the kind of herbs to use, as long as it falls under the required herbal skill (liniment, tincture, oil, etc). These will take 14 or more days to infuse (vanilla will take 5-6 months, herbal oil is finished). So they are in my dark pantry infusing, and I have to remember to shake them at least 1-3 times/day.
Jars

My final herbal preparation was an herbal salve made from the herbal oil I prepared. To this salve, I added some lavender essential oil. I also added vitamin E oil as a preservative. This salve will be great for all types of topical skin issues: but bites, burns, sunburn, itchy skin, small cuts, acne, dry skin, and promote healing of the previous mentioned uses.
Calendula, Plantain salve

 

All these projects were fun, and I found that making them was therapeutic. There are people that cook, bake, sew, clean, etc., to relieve stress. Well, I think making herbal preparations is my way to relieve stress!

Let the semester continue…

 

BIO 306: Genetics

Genetics! What a loaded word that is for me, now. I don’t know if I studied this in high school or not. All I remember from high school was that an X chromosome is for a female, and a Y chromosome is for a male, and something about recessive and dominant genes. Well, that’s all changing this semester!

Who knew that becoming a midwife meant studying about genetics? I’ve learned about IVF and pre-implantation testing. I’m learning about alleles, heterozygous and homozygous genes, meiosis, mitosis, and gamete maturation, Mendilian laws and his experiments. I’ve learned about the genetics of blood types and the seriousness of ABO incompatibility. I’ve learned what genotype, phenotype and progeny mean, and I can apply those terms correctly.

I’ve also learned how to create a Punnet square and how to add and multiply in genetics to find out the probability of the phenotype. I had to create a chart for pedigree symbols and create a few pedigrees for different family genetics. I plan to incorporate pedigree education into my midwifery practice and offer pedigree analysis to clients.

It usually takes me three 6-8 hour days to complete two assignments for the week. It’s intense reading, learning, and information storing. It’s late nights, sore eyes, lots of hours of research, and trying to put it all down on paper for the assignments.

Reading about it in a blog does no justice to what I have learned in the first 5 weeks of school in Genetic’s class. It has expanded my knowledge and I believe will make me a midwife who can show people the probability of a genetic disease or disorder for their progeny (see how I used that term correctly?).

All this work keeps me off social media except for the milk sharing group I co-admin, the MCU student support group, and pm’ing with fellow students with encouraging words or letting them know how far behind we are!. So, if you are a friend on social media, it may look like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but I’ve simply fallen hard into the studying.

As challenging as learning about Genetics has been, I’m just as fascinated by all the information. My hope is that I learn all I can from the class, and that I don’t have to extend the class. It’s week 5, and I’m still on track with the assignments. I shall update at the end of the semester whether I was able to complete this class on time or if I had to extend it.

An example of the diagrams I’ve created for this class: