Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making Tinctures for Health

Tinctures You Can Make

If you've been reading about herbal healing, you're no doubt aware of tinctures, preparations in which the herbs have been steeped in alcohol. Taking an herb in tincture form is often convenient, especially if you're traveling. Purchased tinctures are usually fairly expensive, but you can make them at home, using herbs you've grown in the garden—and you'll have the satisfaction of using your own herbs to create something that may benefit your health. This recipe recommends alcohol; you can also choose vinegar and glycerin, but the recipe will be slightly different.  I wrote an article on vinegar tinctures for the most recent issue (Sept./Oct. 2012) of the Essential Herbal Magazine.

What you need:
  • a quart glass jar with a lid, and a wooden spoon
  • 2 cups alcohol (brandy, vodka, gin)
  • plastic strainer and unbleached coffee filter
  • bottles (dark amber with droppers preferred)
  • labels
  • herb of your choice: 4 oz. dry; 6 oz. fresh more or less
How to do it:
Fill the jar with the herb you've chosen. Pour the alcohol over the plant material, pushing it down with the wooden spoon until it is completely covered, adding more alcohol if necessary. Cover the jar and label it with the date, the herb, and the kind of alcohol you've used. Put it on a dark shelf for 3-4 weeks, shaking occasionally and checking to see whether you need to add alcohol. Make sure that the plant material remains covered at all times. Strain, using the plastic strainer first, and then the coffee filter. Discard the herbs. Rebottle and label.

Because of the alcohol tinctures have a very long shelf life and not much risk of spoiling.  They need to be made with fresh herbs to capture the herbal; essences which give the tincture’s their potency.

I wrote a similar blog on Making Herbal Tinctures back in 2010 where I included herbs to include in your tinctures. 


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