I made up a batch of tinctures today. Having recently acquired some new herbs, I wanted to try them out but some of them are a bit too bitter or earthy for me in tea. I still want to reap their benefits, however, so I made them into tinctures.
I made 8 tinctures in all. They won’t be ready for 6 weeks, but at least I got them started.
Here is what I made:
- Eleuthero – adaptogen, energy, exercise support
- Gotu Kola – Stress, fatigue, anxiety, mental capacity
- Ashwagandha – adaptogen, physical & mental performance, inflammation
- Valerian – stress, sleep, anxiety, pain
Passion Flower – sleep, stress, calm racing thoughts, anxiety
Willow Bark – headache, pain relief
Black Cohosh – Stabilize hormones
Echinacea – Immunity, infection, antiviral
If you have never made a tincture, it’s pretty simple. Here’s how:
- Gather your herbs and wash and dry your small mason jars. I used half pint jars since I don’t need much tincture in the end.
2. Fill the jars about 1/2 full (maybe 1/3 full if you have a “thirsty” herb that is going to swell a lot.) Most of my herbs are roots, so I don’t think they will swell much.
3. Pour in vodka to cover them. In the state where I live, I can only get 40% (80 proof), but that should work just fine.
4. Give the jars a stir to make sure all the herbs are mixed in well and there are no dry spots.
5. Label the jars and include the date they were made. Then set them somewhere for 6 weeks. Stop by and shake them once a day to make sure they get well mixed (macerated).
6. After 6 weeks, strain the herbs and save the tincture liquid. Put the tincture into a clean, sterilized dropper bottle.
7. To use the tincture, refer to the recommended usage guideline as to the dosage. Start small and work your way up until you find the right dosage for you. People differ and so do dosages.
If you don’t mind the taste of alcohol, you can just drop a few drops under your tongue and let it soak in for a little while (a minute or two), then rinse your mouth out with water. Or some people prefer to add it to a glass of water or tea and drink it.
Why make tinctures? Well, as I mentioned, some of the herbs aren’t that tasty and if you don’t prefer them in tea, this is one way to take them. The alcohol is a great extractor of the nutrients and medicine in the herbs.
If you don’t like alcohol, you can also make a glycerite but using vegetable glycerine instead of vodka. It isn’t as strong an extractor for the herbal properties, but it does extract some, so it is still beneficial. Some people also use honey instead of vodka or glycerine. You would take these like cough syrup (on a teaspoon). They would both be sweeter to the taste.
Alternately, you can also crush the herbs and put them into gel capsules and take them as a pill. (But I don’t have any refillable capsules or a capsule filler, so, I chose to make tinctures).
For part 2 of this article see: Tincture Session Part 2 – The Straining