In July, a couple of friends and I attended an Herbal Walk taught by Patricia Kyritsi Howell.  It was held at Sunnybank Inn in Hot Springs, NC.

Sunnybank is an old Victorian home with a lot of character and original structure.  It’s beautiful!  This is the main hall downstairs.

And the dining room where they serve fabulous vegetarian meals family style.

Elmer has been running this place for a long time!  Sunnybank Inn is right on the Appalachian Trail as it makes its way through Hot Springs.  The majority of his guests are hikers who are more than ready for a great meal and a very hot shower!

Elmer has a lot of post cards and notes from hikers who stayed at his place on their way to Maine – the end of the Appalachian Trail.  In fact, that’s how Elmer found this inn – he was hiking the AT.

Saturday we spent the day at Max Patch collecting herbs. (see blog Herb Walk in Hot Spring, NC)  When we arrived back at the inn, we laid them out on the back deck to wilt and gave the bugs an opportunity to escape.

Drying Elderberry blooms…

After our lecture time Sunday morning, we were all excited about using the plants we’d harvested the day before.  We still had a little bit of prep work left to do.

No task was too menial for our knowledgeable teacher 🙂

We removed the parts of the plants that weren’t suitable for making salves and tinctures.

While we all worked, Jeanie sang a couple of ballads – it was wonderful and very nostalgic.

Ruth trying to calculate just how much grain alcohol she needed for the tinctures…

This was our work table…

And this was our answer woman…  Patricia was so patient!

Earlier in the day, we had put the Jewelweed in olive oil and heated it in the oven to make an infusion.

We squeezed the oil and herb through a piece of cloth.

And this is what was left.

We added beeswax to the oil infusion.

Then tested the consistency of the mixture.

Poured the mixture into the jars and voila!

Jewelweed salve!  This stuff is fabulous for insect bites and stings.  We use it all the time here at home and have shared some jars with friends.

What’s fascinating to me is that we went from picking plants on the hillsides….

To medicine in a jar in a matter of hours!

There is so much to learn in this field (no pun intended) and this herb walk only whet my appetite.  I met amazing women, received instruction from a great teacher, and spent quality time with my friends… surrounded by the awe-inspiring mountains of the Blue Ridge.

For more information on future herb walks with Patricia, visit her site –