June 1, 2011

How To : Tincture, Part 1

tinc*ture 

noun
1 a medicine made by dissolving a non-volatile substance in alcohol : the remedies can be administered in the form of tinctures 

"A tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance" (source)

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This is a two-part tutorial on how to make a tincture, something that I have always wanted to do. Personally, I try not to take any over-the-counter (OTC) drugs or medications because we really do not know how they will affect our bodies. Many of these drugs have only been around 100 years or less.




Tinctures have been around for hundreds of years and have been used for various ailments. They can be used for muscle aches, headaches, and other issues. The most recent one I used was Jamaican Dogwood, which I use for pain management.

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Today, I've decided to make a tincture that I am calling 'Relaxation.' It is a blend of herbs that will help relax the body and calm the mind.

 It includes

Potato Vodka (80 proof, made in Idaho)



Lavender (local, from Farmer's Market)



Valerian (from local store, Living Earth Herbs)



Chamomile (also from Living Earth Herbs)


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When you start a tincture, you put the herbs into a blender



Then you add the alcohol (which can be any hard alcohol, 100 proof is the best, but 80 proof will work just as well).

Make sure the ratio looks something like this

Source

  After adding the alcohol, blend together until you get a soupy-like mixture



Let it sit in the dark for a day. After it has settled down, make sure the ratio is still 1/4 liquid to 3/4 herbs. After the twenty-four hour checkup, put back into a dark place for four weeks-eight weeks (can even be months) to let the herbs be infused into the alcohol.

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Typically, these type of tinctures were brewed up on the new moon (which happens to be today) and strained on the full moon. This link happens to have a little more information on tinctures if you are interested. Happy brewing!

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Have you ever used herbs for anything? Let me know about it! And post links and pictures of the projects you've done with herbs. Part two of this series will be shown on July 14th (Full Moon).

Credit for instructions found here.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post! As a big herbal medicine aficionado, I try to make all my own herbal tinctures as well. One reference that I just happened to come across recently, that I can't stop from recommending, is Charles Kane's Herbal Medicine-Trends and Traditions...a fantastic herbal resource book. It's the only herbal I've seen to have tincture-making worksheets, and the proper alc/water percentages and dosages for 400+ herbs...highly recommended as a medicine-makers manual.

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  2. Sounds beautiful. I'll have to check it out!

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