How-to Make Herbal Tinctures
What Is A Tincture?
Man has been using herbs for health for thousands of years.
Herbal tinctures are concentrated forms of herbs, usually steeped in alcohol, that hold all the plant's healing properties in a small dose. Since the are so concentrated they tend to work faster, and more effectively than herbal teas or capsules.
Tinctures can be stored in a dark bottle, in a cool, dry place for a long period of time. Because of the antibacterial action of the alcohol the tincture does not go bad, or lose potency. Teas, capsules, and other forms of the plants do lose their potency relatively quickly.
Buying tinctures at the health food store can get very expensive but it is easy to make your own. Always use organically grown herbs, and grow them yourself if at all possible. If you use dried herbs use a little more than the recipe directs to compensate for weakening of the herb during storage.
If you harvest wild herbs, be sure you have a good field guide and you know what you are doing. Many plants that look like herbs are poisonous. Wild onion and Crow's foot look alike, and even smell alike but crow's foot will make you sick. Educate yourself, or obtain herbs from a trusted source. Also if harvesting wild herbs be careful to take small amounts of the herbs and leave enough for the ecosystem to continue unchanged.
Be sure and check with your naturopathic doctor, or other health care provider, before taking any herbal medicines
How to Make Tinctures
Making the Tincture
In order to make the tincutre you will need:
- 1 c fresh herbs
- 3c Everclear
Chop the herbs finely and measure one cup into a sterilized, glass jar, dark glass is preferable. You can use a canning jar, but keep it in a dark place. Add the Everclear or use good vodka. put a tight cover on the jar, shake, and put in a cool, dark place.
You will need to allow the herbs to steep in the alcohol for six weeks, shaking the jar daily.
After six weeks, strain the herbs out of the alcohol and pour into a clean, sterile jar. Cover with a tight fighting lid and label. Keep in a cool, dry place. Dosage is one teaspoon, four times a day for most ailments. If you don't wish to ingest the alcohol then stir the tincture into a cup of boiling water. This allows the alcohol to evaporate very quickly. Drink the mixture when it cools slightly.
You can also use cider vinegar, or glycerin to make tinctures for health. However, these carriers are not as effective as the alcohol.
Knowing how to make tinctures is an inexpensive way to build your herbal first aid kit. Since they last for a long time, and are easy to store, make a large amount each time you make them.
Using herbs for health is an excellent way to maintain an active, and healthy lifestyle.