Hard to believe it, but 6 weeks have already gone by since I started my tinctures.
I stopped by to visit them daily and shake them up. I might have talked to them a little bit too while I was at it. Why not?
Dr. Masuro Emoto did some wonderful experiments about focusing intentions into water and how it affects the water structure. If you are not familiar with this experiment, watch this video for a quick introduction. I don’t really know if there is merit to it or not, but what can it really hurt to show friendship to the herbs and offer your gratitude to them for their contribution to your health and well-being?
Anyhow, fast forward 6 weeks and the tinctures are now ready to be strained and used.
Since I had only made very small amount of tinctures (little half pint jars), I didn’t get out the big guns to do the straining. Instead I opted for a simple but effective method of using the large Bunn coffee filters and I just manually drained them.
For a larger batch, or when straining herb infused oils, I use a jelly strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth, but that seemed like overkill for these small batches of tincture.
First of all, it is important to take a couple of safety precautions.
- Make sure you sanitize all your equipment and containers. Wash them in hot soapy water then give them a rinse in bleach water. Thoroughly rinse and then dry them all.
- Make sure your hands are clean as you will be using them to squeeze the herbs and don’t want to introduce contamination.
Now on to the straining part…
I find it easier to put a double layer of coffee filters underneath the funnel. As this red thing is a canning funnel, it has a large hole in the bottom (not a reduced spigot like a regular kitchen funnel), when you put the filter inside the funnel, it just falls through. When you put the filters underneath, however, the weight of the herbs in the funnel kind of trap them in place and they don’t fall into the cup. Of course, if you have a large rubber band to secure them on with, this might work even better, but I didn’t have one.
I just wrapped a double layer of coffee filters over the edge of a 1 cup measuring cup and placed the funnel on top. Then I just slowly poured in the entire contents of the jar and let it strain.
The next step is a little trickier. You have to wrap your hand around the bottom neck of the funnel, catching the coffee filter up against the outside of the strainer. The herbs in the funnel will stay in the middle of the filter as you pull the funnel off.
You now have a firm grip on the bag of herbs, so you just close up the top as best as you can and start gently but firmly squeezing the juice out of the herbs.
Yes, your hands will get wet and dirty — that is half the fun. (On a side note, the alcohol used in the tincture can be drying so if you have dry hands or any cuts on your hands, wear some nitrile or rubber gloves).
Squeeze out as much liquid as you can, as this is where the powerful medicine comes from.
You might think you’re almost done at this point, but it is a good idea to strain at least one more time (especially if you got a little over zealous with your squeezing and popped open the coffee filter, getting herbs into the liquid).
To do the final straining, I just put the funnel over the small half-pint jar, put a coffee filter into it and slowly poured the liquid in the center of the filter. Since this jar is very shallow compared to the measuring cup used in the previous steps, the coffee filter will hit the bottom of the jar and not fall through the funnel.
After a few seconds, I drew up the ends of the filter and closed off the bag, then gently squeezed the liquid out. When I say “gently” on this step, I mean very gently – like you are picking up a lady bug and don’t want to harm it.
The ashwagandha tincture didn’t yield much in the way of residue left over on this final straining because it is mainly a hard root herb. Other herbs, however, such as the black cohosh and valerian did manage to make it into the tincture after the first straining. This is why I do a second straining. I am glad I caught this sediment before it made it into the final tincture. (left: ashwagandha tincture coffee filter, right:black cohosh tincture coffee filter).
So after all this draining and straining, I ended up with eight beautiful and sediment free tinctures. (Below: Ashwagandha tincture)
When I made the tinctures, I had put little handwritten labels on them showing the content and the date made. I cheated today and just removed those from the jars and pasted them onto the tincture bottles. I didn’t have any time left over today to make new labels, so this will have to do for now. Eventually this week I will print out some new labels with the herb name, menstruum information, dosage and date made.
I got the little 2 ounce dropper bottles from Specialty Bottle.
So here they are, all 8 of them:
Back row left to right: Ashwagandha, Echinacea, Gotu Kola, Valerian
Front row left to right: Black Cohosh, Eleuthero, White Willow Bark, and Passionflower