Start Here ~ Turning Passion into Action

Where in the world does one start?This is books scramble. Many books on white background.

One reader recently asked me if I had any practical tips or ideas on how she might take her interest in natural health, and gain a better understanding of what, why and how… in order to create her own products for family and friends.

And this is a very good question. One that I asked myself 2 years ago when I envisioned starting The Country Muffin. One that I still ask myself from time to time when I take hold of a big new idea that seems overwhelming or impossible.

Where do you start? Where did I start?

My product-making adventures started out with a little-girl-dream, which became reality shortly after a $15.00 purchase. Yes, that’s right. This is what I bought. It is the very first product I made from start to finish in our kitchen. That was June 9th, 2012. And this country muffin girl made up a batch of that amazing stuff, and never looked back. Thus began the incredible adventure of what I do today, and what I know today about natural and herbal remedies.

If I could offer just a few small tips to anyone interested in herbal medicine, it would be these…

1. Start Small… But Take That First Step!herbal-teas-ingredients

You have to start somewhere, and often in life it’s that first little step out into the unknown that is the hardest to take. For me, it meant learning how to make a few tins of salve from beginning to end {with detailed instructions of course}. From there, a whole new world was opened up before me of endless concoctions. It’s incredible what you can accomplish when you step out to take on a new and exciting challenge.

Find a recipe, purchase a kit, choose a project… and from there you’ll want to gather the necessary ingredients, lay out your process from beginning to end… and let everyone test out your new product! 🙂

2. Don’t Be Discouraged

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Hey, guess what!? I messed up several times making different products. I’ve had skin lotions grow mold from lack of enough preservatives… I’ve had products that smelled so bad, I threw them out and started over fresh with new recipes. I’ve had salves that just weren’t very effective or weren’t potent enough, or weren’t the right consistency {too much wax or too little wax makes a sad jar of salve…}.

Don’t get discouraged! Try, try again. 🙂

3. Choose a Reliable Source for Ingredients

When it comes to natural remedies, don’t cut corners. Avoid compromise. Quality is important. Organic is ideal. Watch out for chemicals, additives, anything less than 100% pure.

Did you know that one company might sell 9 different kinds of Lavender essential oil? The country it comes from matters. The variety of that plant that is used matters. The process with which it was prepared matters. The components and percentages of main constituents matters. And guess what?! It’s your job to figure these things out – not your customers, or friends or family members. You are responsible for knowing what you put in, and why. And there’s research involved in understanding these things. It’s a process of learning all along the way. So don’t just look at the price tag! 😉

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Some of my favorite companies include:

New Directions Aromatics – {I use their Organic essential oils in my products}

Beeyoutiful {I have tried one of their essential oils and found it excellent}

The Bulk Apothecary {Great prices on carrier oils}

Monterey Bay Spice Company {They have a wonderful bulk herb selection, including Organic herbs}

Specialty Bottle {Great prices on tins, jars, and other bottles/containers – the best prices I have found unless purchasing in bulk}

SKS Bottle & Packaging {Great prices on tins, jars, and other bottles/containers. Very similar to Specialty bottle, although slightly cheaper if purchasing in bulk}

The Bulk Herb Store {Wonderful and quality dried herbs, herb mixes, and tea blends!}

Mountain Rose Herbs {I have not personally tried their products, with the exception of some seeds for my herbal garden, but have heard wonderful reviews from sooooo many people!}

There are other amazing companies out there. Take a look around and do some research of your own! You will find conflicting reviews everywhere you look {especially with the DoTERRA and YoungLiving companies}, but I would encourage you to try some different brands on your own and see what works best for you. You will notice a difference in fragrance, color, strength… so experiment with several, and compare your finished products. 🙂

4. Live Life, and Don’t Waste The “Learning Moments”IMG_0488

It happened 10 days before I was supposed to leave for a 3-day, 19 mile backpacking trip. It happened 2 months ago, one beautiful day without warning. It will happen again in the days, months, and years to come.

I’m learning a lot as I study to become a certified herbalist.  But while I learn a *ton* through my education course and research, I actually learn the *most* in those day-to-day moments of everyday life. It’s the colds and viruses and skin rashes and fatigue… and endless “accidents” and “mysterious health problems” that send me searching through books and hopping around on websites and blogs.

When someone I love is facing something that causes pain, I want to understand what, and why, and how. And when I can’t find answers I look harder. And it’s the learning that takes place in those moments that becomes lodged in the deepest places of my mind. It’s the trial-and-error, the testing and experimenting, the searching and applying that helps me form my own opinions and beliefs about natural healthcare. And then I take what I’ve seen and applied and witnessed, and go on to share with others, in hopes that they might find healing as well.

So take advantage of those moments today. Tomorrow. Next week. They come all the time – sometimes small and sometimes very significant. But use them to expand your knowledge and grow your understanding. Use them to store away “files” in your mind, that will enable you to later share knowledge with others who are searching for answers.

I think, like me, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier. Pretty soon you’ll have a favorite herb for skin, a favorite oil for pain, and “what to do” at a given moment almost comes naturally, based on what you’ve seen and heard and done in the past. At least for the smaller things in life. 🙂

 5. Ask Questions

Guess what!? Someone’s “right” is someone else’s “wrong”, and vice versa. There are varying and conflicting opinions everywhere. Ask questions! Ask the people you know who are knowledgable about natural health. Ask your midwife, naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, or friend…

Sometimes I’ll contact people through their blogs to ask questions about their posts or products or information. I’ll email companies about their essential oils, or live chat a company that I’m interested in purchasing ingredients from. Ask questions. You will find valuable information everywhere that you can write down, compare, and use to base your opinions and beliefs off of. This is invaluable to anyone wanting to make the best choices for self and loved ones. Never stop learning!

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The more you step out and try new things, the more you’ll learn. It’s the difference between dreaming and doing. Take your desires to learn about, and understand more about natural health, and start creating different products of your own! Read, study, ask questions, and experiment. Try, try, again. Test and re-test… get feedback from others. This is how you become great at what you do. And as you grow in your understanding of these different areas, you’ll find that there are people *everywhere* that want answers. And little you, and little me – we just might be able to share a story from our own lives that will help someone on their path to healing. It’s soooo exciting! I love it, and I’m sure you will too 🙂

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