Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How to - Make a Tincture

This time of year people begin searching around for treatment for various winter ailments.  One of the age tested solution is a tincture.  I previously published a post about making a Winter Tincture in 2015. The thing about tinctures is that most people have never heard of them.  Today tinctures tend not to be commonly made at home, but have you ever taken cough syrup?  That is a tincture and the Tonic your grandma used to make or take is in that same category.

A tincture is a plant extract that is preserved with diluted alcohol or glycerin.  You can use the roots, leaves or flowers of a plant to create a tincture.  Because they accomplish the extraction of plant components they are more quickly absorbed and utilized by the body that just an infusion (tea) of dried herbs.

What plants to use to create your tincture will depend on the health benefits you are searching for.  I  recommend Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar as a useful source when choosing your herbs.

To actually make a tincture you need to decide on the herbs, then choose the melstrum (that is the extraction material.) Most popular for this is vodka, although some choose ever-clear or other spirits.  You want something with very little taste of its own and a good amount of "proof."  Vodka is easy to get in at least 80-proof which is what you need.

To Make

Then follow these steps to craft your tincture:

1 crush dried herbs in a mortar and pestle with a small amount of your chose melstrum.

2 pack the crushed herbs into a clean glass jar, fairly tightly and cover with melstrum

3 Store the jar in a dark place, shaking it twice daily.  To extract all the goodness can take as few as two days or as long as  six weeks.  Leave need less time, roots and bark will take longer for the alcohol to penetrate.  You can taste test and visually inspect your blend to determine its doneness.  You want the alcohol to taste like the plant you used, as well as take on a rich color.

4 Strain the liquid through cheese cloth or a coffee filter. You want to remove all the herb residue so you may need to strain more than once.

5 Label the jar and store in a dark cabinet.

Many of my herb friends make these and keep and infuse them in an old working refrigerator.

To Use

To use your tincture you can take it straight by the teaspoon like an old-time medicine.  Or add a teaspoon to a cup of warm water and drink like a tea.  You can add it to fruit juices or honey.  Some herbs have great medicinal benefits, but also a strong medicinal flavor as well, so use your personal judgement to determine the best way to consume your tincture.

Usual dosages vary, but about 1 teaspoon 2 to 3 times a day why you are suffering is the general standard.  More is not always better so do not over do it.

As always a tincture is no substitute for sound medical advice, so always consult your health care professional when working with a home remedy, especially if you are already taking other medications.

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