Long before prescription drugs were used for treating illnesses, homemade medicines were one of the only options for relief. Many plants have effective medicinal power — so why not make your own tinctures just like your great-grandmother did?
What Is a Tincture?
If you think of vanilla extract, that is s type of tincture. The vanilla bean is soaked for a few months in vodka and then it is ready to be used for baking. Tinctures use the same principle. Plants are preserved in alcohol for weeks to months before the medicinal properties are ready.
What Plants Should I Use?
You first need to decide what herbs you have available, and what symptoms you want to ease. Tinctures can be used to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and many other applications. For example, lavender can be used for a calming effect. Ginger can help reduce inflammation and peppermint can help with digestion. Use fresh herbs whenever possible to create the most powerful tinctures. You can also use plants to create elixirs or herbal teas that don’t take as long to prepare as a tincture does.
How Do I Make a Tincture?
You need to start with having the correct glass jars. Look online for bottle and labeling services that will be the size you need. You will usually make a large batch in a quart-size jar. You will fill up your large glass jar with herbs about halfway. Then add 40% vodka to cover the herbs, plus two more inches. Label the jar and seal it tightly. Shake your jar two times each day for 30 days. Filter and squeeze the liquid through a cheesecloth. Pour through a funnel into small bottles that have an eyedropper. That makes it easy to dispense the correct amount. Tinctures are powerful and you only need a few drops.
Are you ready to step back in time and use herbal tinctures as your ancestors did? You can try making your own or find some already prepared in your local health food market to get started.