Book to Help Get Started in Herbal Soaps, Lotions Etc.
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Rodney Boyette
Posted on: April 8, 2003

I need your help. I cannot come to Canada for your Seminars and Workshops. Would it be possible for me to buy the workshop packages for these workshops: Herbal Home Spa, Propagating Herbs, Making Fresh and Dried Herb Wreaths, Herb Love Potions and Lotions. I want to know which herbs are best for stress relief.

Unfortunately, we do not have our lectures or workshops available in a printed or taped format.

We have two excellent books on herbal relief of stress: David Hoffmann’s "Natural Relief from Headaches, Insomnia & Stress" and Rosemary Gladstar’s "Herbs for Reducing Stress & Anxiety". These books may be ordered online; go to the Online Catalog section of our website.

I want to begin making my own soaps, lotions, etc., to sell at craft shows and I want to learn all I can about crafting with herbs. I live in Dillon, SC, zone 8. I am a Master Gardener but have little experience with herbs, however I grow Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Borage, Lemon Balm, Echinacea in my back yard. I would like to learn how to dry herbs and how to get the oil from the herbs the proper way. Maybe you can suggest a book that will cover all of these interests.

No one book covers these topics in sufficient detail to allow you to get started with all these activities. Many books give an overview of the major herb topics but you will need to consult other specialized books for the essential detailed instructions and recipes. For soaps and lotions, Sandy Maine’s "The Soap Book" and Margaret Dinsdale’s "Skin Deep" are excellent. Both are written by owners of herbal product businesses.

For commercial growing, harvesting, drying and processing of herbs, I recommend Greg Whitten’s "Herbal Harvest". This book is an incredible wealth of information on commercial herb production, with an organic emphasis.

Extracting oils from herbs requires special equipment. While it is possible to extract small quantities of oils using homemade or commercially available equipment, until you get to a large scale, the economics of producing your own herb oils is poor. The essential oils industry is highly specialized and is not for the beginner to attempt. I suggest that after you have had some success growing herbs and making and selling herbal products, you can look at producing herbal oils. Get started where you are more likely to encounter success: growing and making products you can make at home without a huge investment in specialized equipment and training.

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