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Our Process

We pride ourselves in making holistic products where the whole herbs themselves are used, not just extracts of their active ingredients. The aim is to make a natural herbal ointment, not a pharmaceutical. We believe this results in a better healing experience and a better understanding of what each plant medicine is capable of.

the making of nightshade ointments

Making Poplar Bud Infused Oil

It all starts with a good oil base. A medicinal ointment is only as good as its menstruum. We use cold-pressed, high-oliec sunflower oil as our ointment base because of its healthy content of oliec and linoliec acids and high level of vitamin E. It is very nourishing to the skin, stable at differing temperatures, has a long shelf-life, and is very efficient at extracting medicinal constituents from herbs and delivering them through the skin.

We take the sunflower oil and infuse it strongly with sustainably wild harvested balsam poplar buds sourced from local professional foragers every spring. They are located an hour south of us in the Madawaska Valley. The poplar buds are used due to their complimentary anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and as a natural preservative. When the oil is potent with the fragrance and medicine of poplar bud resin, the buds are strained out and composted on site.

Making Medicinal Nightshade Infused Oils

Before the herbs are added to the poplar bud infused oil, the medicinal nightshade herbs are broken down and ground to help release all of their medicinal constituents. We do not purchase pre-ground herbs because they lose their potency too fast and are not of the same high quality as whole herbs. For safety, we wear gloves, masks, and aprons when measuring and processing, and have an exhaust hood running while the herbal oils infuse as these herbs are toxic if ingested or inhaled.

Using gentle and low steam heat we slowly infuse the herbs in the oil for a three-day period. We use heat to infuse our oils because the poplar buds and medicinal nightshades require heat to extract properly into an oil base. After three days has passed, the nightshade-infused oils are removed from the heat, the plant material is strained out, and the oils are left in large sterile glass jars for another 1-3 days to wait for any remaining sediment from the plants to settle.

We make four herb-infused oils: atropa belladonna, datura innoxia, black henbane, and mandragora officinarum. Our Solanaceae herbal ointment is a blend of all four oils in equal parts.

From Oil to Ointment

The clarified nightshade oils are racked off of any remaining herbal sediment and then put back on to heat with beeswax. We use cosmetic grade beeswax which is naturally filtered with charcoal to make the lightest and most hypoallergenic beeswax available for skin products. The beeswax causes the oil to solidify into a salve and further helps with preservation. While the herbal oil and beeswax mixture is still warm, it is hand-poured into sterilized metal tins and then allowed to cool for a few hours before the lids are put on, the tins are cleaned of any spills, and the labels are added.

Every step is performed by hand, in house, to the highest standards of quality and cleanliness from the making of an herbal oil to the final act of packaging and shipping orders to mail out.

Page content is © 2018, Medicinal Nightshades & Sarah Anne Lawless