One of the most popular ways to take medicinal herbs internally is by using a tincture. If you've visited a local health food store you've probably seen the one ounce dropper bottles lining the shelves. Tinctures take time to are actually simple to make. It's knowing which herbs to use that can be the tricky part. Tinctures are good for more acute issues where a more concentrated extract is desired. Teas and infusions are often preferred for chronic issues.
Most tinctures are made using alcohol as a solvent but the actual amount you'll consume when you use the tincture is quite small maybe one or two teaspoons a day. However glycerin or apple cider vinegar can also be used as a solvent although they are not as potent as alcohol based ones but they still work very well.
To make a tincture you'll need to choose a solvent. If using alcohol you'll need 80 to 100 proof (which really means 40 to 50% alcohol content). Vodka, brandy, gin, or rum all work fine. Alternatively you can use organic, palm free glycerin or organic apple cider vinegar.
The method used in most homes is a simple one not concerned with weighing things precisely but it still yields an excellent tincture. Just be sure to keep a notebook so you remember what you used.
You can use dried herbs or fresh-wilted herbs (this allows some of the moisture to evaporate).
1. Chop herbs finely and place into a clean glass jar.
2. Cover with enough alcohol so that you have about two or three inches of alcohol covering the herbs. If they float, let them settle, check back in a few days to see if you need to add more alcohol. Substitute glycerin or cider vinegar if desired.
3. Let the mixture macerate for four to six weeks. Some people choose a warm sunny spot, I like to tuck my in my pantry. If you like shake the bottle regularly. Some people like to infuse the mixture with positivity by praying or thinking healing thoughts.
4. After sufficient time strain and use the spent herbs for compost. Store the tincture in glass in a cool, dark place. Alcohol based tinctures will last for many years, glycerin two to three, and vinegar a year or longer.
5. Tincture dose may vary depending on the therapeutic reason. Usually a teaspoon or two per day is suggested.
Here are a couple of tincture ideas
For memory and brain support:
Follow the steps above and use
1 part ginko leaf
1/2 part rosemary leaf
1/4 part peppermint leaf
(parts can be tablespoons or cups etc. It's a ratio)
For sleep support:
1 part valerian root
1/2 part hops
1/4 part lavender
1/4 part chamomile
Tinctures are a fantastic way to use therapeutic plants internally safely. Do check for contraindications by using a good herb book, consulting an herbalist, or checking herb labels. Herbs can interact with different medications making them more or less effective.
If you have questions about aromatherapy, essential oils, or are interested in taking a formulating class contact Tricia.