Wikipedia defines a tincture as: A tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance (e.g. of iodine, mercurochrome). So what does that mean? In my own words its drunk herbs. I am kidding but not really. A tincture often uses alcohol (80-100 proof), though sometime vinegar is used, to extract the benefits from the plant material. In that lovely little jar above you can see a tincture hard at work. It is in its first week of being a tincture and has 5 long more weeks to go.
I used Echinacea for this tincture. Here’s a bit of information about this plant:
Latin Names: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida
Common Names: Purple Coneflower, American Coneflower, Black Sampson, Comb Flower, Hedgehog, Indian Head, Rudbeckia, Sampson Head, Scurvy Root, Snakeroot
Properties: Antiseptic, Stimulates Immune System, mild anti-biotic, bacteriostatic, anti-viral, anti-fungal.
What are the benefits of this herb? “Echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which directly attack bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells. It increases the number and activity of immune system cells including anti-tumor cells, promotes T-cell activation, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation in arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions.” Wow right? I plan on using it when I need a boost in my immune system. Living in the Midwest, winter can be an immune system nightmare as well as working with children and my husband and I do both!
So how do I make a tincture? I went to my local health food store and got some dried and sifted Echinacea (not the powder) and filled a quart jar about 1/2 full. Then I filled to the beginning of the rings with cheap 80 proof vodka. Don’t get the good stuff go cheap and nasty on this one. Stir well and top off with more vodka then cover. I used wax paper since that is what I had on hand. For the first week every time you walk by it shake it and add more vodka if needed. After that first week put away for 5 more. Then strain (you will get about 1/2 a jar of liquid), make sure you squeeze the herbs to get everything out. Then it’s ready to use. Tinctures last for a very long time. Dosage rates depend on the herb and since I am not here to diagnose, treat or cure anything I can’t give you specifics. Generally though it’s a dropper full (~40 drops) in a glass of water three times a day. I have read in various places that it is good to take a break from your tincture every few weeks and then begin your regiment again.
My next tincture I am going to make is St. John’s Wort (very good for winter/cloudy times).
Happy Tincture making!