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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Make Herbal Tinctures

If you don't know what a tincture is, don't be ashamed. I just learned last year. But, now that I do know, I am taking advantage of that knowledge and using in our home.

In my own words, a tincture is an alcohol or glycerin based concoction that has been infused with all the goodness from an herb.

Why would you use a tincture?
  • Like my definition says, it has all the essence (goodness) of the herb
  • They are more powerful and last longer than dried herbs
  • You get to control the quality of what is being made
  • It is inexpensive (if you make your own)
  • It is difficult to overdose on herbs
  • With herbs you don't get the same type of side effects you get with medication
  • It is a quick easy way to get the healing power of plants
How to make a tincture

You will need:
1 cup distilled water
1 cup glycerin
1/2 cup cut herb of your choice (you can even mix herbs to make your own blend)
1 mason jar with lid and ring
Hydrogen Peroxide in a spray bottle
Stainless steal strainer
Stainless steal bowl
2 weeks worth of patience

To start, you will want to make sure everything is clean, I wash all my materials, then I spray everything down with 3% hydrogen peroxide (the same stuff you should have in your Mother of All First Aid Kits)

To mix the tincture you will use 1 cup glycerin, 1 cup distilled water, and 1/2 cup herb. I like this amount because it fits nicely into a mason jar and it is an easy amount to work with. As long as you use the same proportions you could make gallons at a time if you would like. 

Mix your ingredients in your mason jar, put the lid on and give it a good shake. Easy, huh? Give it a good shake each day for 2 weeks.  

Why distilled water? Well, it has NOTHING else in it, so it is a hungry water, anxious to soak up all that goodness from the herb.

Why glycerin instead of alcohol? My children are going to be using these as well, and glycerin has a milder/sweeter taste, giving them more appeal than alcohol. I purchased my glycerin here.

After 2 weeks
Look at the difference in color from when it was first mixed and 2 weeks later.

We are ready to strain. Spray your bowl and strainer with hydrogen peroxide. 
I like to wipe up the extra with a paper towel.

Put the strainer over the bowl and cover the strainer with cheesecloth, let is sit and drain for a bit.

With clean hands squeeze out the rest.

You should be left with something that looks kind of like this.

You could store your tincture in the mason jar, but amber jars are going to be the best.
Make sure you label the tincture and include the date it was made.

I take about 1 ml, 20 drops, or about 1/2 tsp 3 times per day under my tongue. There have been times where I have craved more of a particular tincture, every time I crave it, I increase my dosage or the frequency for a couple days. I know that it is my body's way of telling me it needs the nutrients from that herb. 

If you have a child that doesn't like the taste of it, you could try adding it to water or juice.


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