By Amy Baker


Hand-made gifts are some of the most treasured, carrying the time, thought and intention of the maker.   For the person creating, it’s a gratifying experience to pause and consider the scents, tastes and textures someone might appreciate or need. And it’s heart-warming to receive a thoughtfully considered, made-from-scratch gift!  We’ve been sharing our love of making and giving natural medicinal, culinary and body care items for decades.  Below you’ll find an easy-to-follow guide to get you started on creating gifts for those you love this season.  We’ve got lots more ideas, so stop by or give a call to learn more.  All ingredients and supplies are available at Community Pharmacy and Community Wellness Shop.  


DIY Tea Blends are endlessly customizable, economical, beautiful to look at and so delish!  Make a jar for your pantry and a few for gifts.   Be sure to write steeping instructions on your label (herbal teas — 2 tsp : 8 oz boiled water; green teas: 1 t : 8 oz 185-degree water).  Here’s how to make pint-sized portions of some of the blends we love. 

Calm Heart  Tea
Tulsi is grounding and helps us adapt to stress.  Chamomile soothes tummies and nerves.  Rose is an age-old remedy to lift the heart.  Here’s what you need:
• 1 cup tulsi/holy (about 1 oz.)
½ c chamomile (about ½ oz)
½ c rose petals (about ½ oz) 

Green & Rose Tea
The rose is a symbol of love and friendship.  Astringent, calming to the nervous system and anti-inflammatory, roses pair beautifully with a high-quality green or white tea, making for a calming but energizing blend.  Here’s what you’ll need:
• 2 oz Rishi Jade Cloud tea
• 1/2 oz organic rose petals

Lovely Lemon Tea
It’s amazing how the scent of lemon permeates the herbal world.  Delicious on their own, these three lemony herbs combine to make a bright, cheerful tea. Here’s what you’ll need:
• 16 oz/pint jar with tight-fitting lid
• ¾ c lemon grass
• ¾ c lemon verbena
• ½ c lemon balm

Spa Tea
Balancing, grounding and wonderful for the tummy.  This is a riff on an old favorite.  Here’s what you’ll need:
• 1 c licorice root*, cut and sifted
• 2 T fennel seeds*
• ¾ c peppermint leaf
• 2 T holy basil
*pulse licorice and fennel in a food processor a few times for a finer blend.


Avoid the harsh chemicals and overbearing scents of store-bought air fresheners.  Once you try these easy-to-make, heavenly smelling spritzes you’ll never go back!

√  Essential Oils
√  Spray bottle
√  Witch hazel
√  Distilled water or plant hydrosol

• Fill bottle ⅛-¼ full with witch hazel.
• Add essential oils, about 10-15 drops/oz of total liquid.  Give a shake to disperse the oils.
• Fill bottle to shoulder with distilled water or hydrosol
• Cap and shake one more time.
• Label

Mix your own scents of try these combos:
Citrus Mint orange and peppermint
Sweet Lavender lavender and chamomile
Citrus Spa orange, lemon, lime & grapefruit
Deodorizing tea tree, lemon, eucalyptus
Winter Warmth Orange, cinnamon, clove & cedar
Happy Heart lavender, lemon balm & rosemary
Spicy Chai Cardamom, clove, cinnamon & ginger
Woodland cedar, scotch pine, fir, vetiver & juniper
Clean Release Ylang-ylang, rosemary, vanilla


√ Essential Oils
√ Roll-on bottle
√ Fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil

• Place 10-15 drops of essential oil in roll-on bottle
• Fill tube with carrier oil of choice
• Snap on roller and shake
• Label

Mix your own scents of try these combos:
Grapefruit & peppermint (3:1)
Lavender, Vanilla & Lemon (2:1:1)
Grapefruit & Ylang ylang (1:1)
Jasmine & Lime (3:1)
Lime & Clove (3:1)
Lavender, Orange & Chamomile (3:1:1)
Bergamot, Ginger, Grapefruit, Sandalwood (2:1:1:1)
Lavender, Vanilla & Frankincense (3:2:1)


√ Bee’s wax (beads or grated cakes)
√ Essential oils
√ Liquid carrier oil (castor or sweet almond)
√ Thick carrier oil (cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil or lanolin)
√ Lip balm tubes or tins

General Instructions:
• Place equal amounts of bee’s wax, carrier oil and thick carrier oil into a small dish or pyrex measuring cup.  (NOTE:  Adding more liquid oil will yield a softer balm.  More wax will yield a stiffer balm.)
• Set dish in pan of hot water or on top of a double boiler.  Warm ingredients until all have melted, making sure no water splashes into your waxy mixture.
Add essential oils and stir gently.
Pour mixture into lip balm tins or tubes.  Cool until solid.

NOTE:  6 T combined wax and oil + 15 drops essential oils will yield approx. 11 tubes of balm

Mix your own scents of try these combos:
Peppermint/Lavender (2:1)
Cocoa/Lemongrass (1:1)
Sweet Orange/Clove (5:1)


Herbal salts are mineral-rich and packed with flavor and important phytonutrients.  They are a snap to make and are so much fun to use when cooking. They can be used as seasonings in main dishes and sides, sprinkled on popcorn or tossed with warmed nuts and a little oil for a fancy nosh.   Beautiful and unexpected, they also make excellent gifts!   You’ll find the how-tos below.  

Step 1: Choose your salt
We carry a variety of coarse and fine pink, grey, white and even smoked salts

Step 2: Choose your flavor profile
Choose a single herb or blend (see suggestions below)

Step 3: Decide on a texture
Coarse blends are chunkier, showing off flecks of the individual herbs and blossoms.  Fine salts are powdered and have a more uniform color.  They are well-suited for shaker bottles and dissolve easily into foods. 

Step 4: Make!  You’ll need:
√ jars with tightly fitting lids
dried herbs

To make a coarse salt:
Measure 3 parts herb + 1 part salt into a mixing bowl.  Mix well.  If herbs are too chunky (ie: flower petals that need to be broken up or large pieces of kelp), add to a food processor or spice grinder and pulse just a few times.  Store in a tightly-sealed jar.  Suitable for immediate use, but flavors will meld over time.

To make a fine salt:
Using a spice grinder, individually grind each herb to a fine powder.  In a bowl, mix 2 parts powdered herb to 1 part salt.   Add everything to a spice grinder and process to a fine powder.  Taste and add more salt if desired.   Store in a tightly sealed jar.

Ideas: Experiment and have fun!  Don’t be afraid to mix different salts (think Hawaiian pink and dark alder-smoked) and different textures (a powdered blend with some roughly ground herbs).  

Herb blend ideas to get you started:
Rosemary, thyme, lavender (2:2:1)
Rosemary + orange peel (3:1)
Rosemary + Rose petal  (3:1)
Coriander + Cumin + Fennel (already mixed in CCF tea)
Lemongrass + hibiscus flower + nettle (1:1:1)
Nettle leaf + oregano + thyme  (1:1:1)
Kelp + calendula blossom (3:1)
Lemon balm + holy basil (1:1)

MULLING SPICES (makes enough to infuse 2 6-cup batches of festive drink)

Fragrant and comforting, these mulling spices will fill your home — or the home of a loved one — with warmth.  

½ c
cardamom pods
¼ c dried ginger root
¼ c dried orange peel
¼ c cloves
4 cinnamon sticks, broken if too long
2-4 star anise pods
Cheese cloth
Kitchen twin

• Make two stacks of cheesecloth, each with 4 layers of 14” x 14” sections.
• Gently bruise/crack cardamom pods by folding them in a dish towel and whacking with something heavy — a cast iron pan, rolling pin or mallet
• Mix cardamom, ginger, orange and cloves in a bowl.
• Divide mixture into two piles, one on each cheesecloth stack.
• Place 2 cinnamon sticks and 1-2 star anise pods on each pile
• Gather the bundle and secure tightly with twine.

How to use Mulling Spices:
Mulling spices are delicious steeped with apple cider, cranberry juice, wine or a wine-fruit juice combo.

• Add one bundle of mulling spices to a saucepan with 6 cups of cider, juice or wine
• Heat slowly to just short of a boil.
• Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
• Sweeten, if you like, with maple syrup or honey when serving.

GIFT IDEATwo bundles of mulling spices + a jug of local cider or bottle of wine 


Amy Baker is a gardener, teacher, wildcrafter, herb enthusiast and an award-winning writer.  She has studied herbal medicine with various teachers in Chicago and Madison, and earned her certification as a Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Amy has enjoyed creating plant medicines, natural beauty and cleaning products, and all manner of tasty, nutritious, healing recipes for decades.