Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mixin up the Medicine

    Did you ever want to be a sorcerer when you were a little kid? What about a healer, or an alchemist, or a mad scientist? I definitely did. During our trip to Las Alturas Professor Casey made me one.
    At 8:00 am we walked into the kitchen and were bathed by the aroma of ginger and a sickly smell of brown sugar. Professor Casey stood behind the picnic table laden with pots, burners, brown sugar, vodka, and heaps of smelly herbs. The sunlight from the window behind Professor Casey veiled her face in a shadow. She spoke. "Have you guys ever made herbal remedies?"
But I want to!
    So it began. We went through a quick slideshow to learn the history of herbal remedies, and then 5 recipes were placed in front of us. A tincture, a scrub, a syrup, a lotion, and an ointment. We boiled, and we brewed, and we cackled at our creations.
    We tried everyone of then. I used the orange scrub on my face, which was made with 5 cups of brown sugar. Surprisingly, I couldn't put my face close to anything for the rest of the day for fear of being permanently stuck to it. The orange lotion made my skin feel like it had been lathered in holy water by Pope Francis himself, so naturally I rubbed it on every exposed part of my body. The ginger syrup took the longest to make, almost 2 hours, but oh was it worth it. Sweet and tart syrup that heals stomach pain and goes well with any food. The tincture takes 5-6 weeks to make. We're still twiddling our thumbs for that.
    The most amazing was the tea tree ointment. We used a slew of tea tree extract, almond oil, and bee's wax. A little know fact is that if you put these together in the right amounts, you get magic. The almond extract and bee's wax disinfects wounds, while the tea tree extract speeds the healing process. We literally made a healing ointment out of these three simple ingredients.
    ​It was amazing how we could make medicinal, cosmetic, and tasty concoctions out of herbs and natural substances. Not only did our activity give me respect for Mother Nature, but also it inspired me to keep making these brews at home. Thanks Professor Casey for bringing me one-step closer to becoming a medicine man!

-Will Johnson

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