Before the advent of synthetic drugs and medicines, most remedies were cured using ingredients straight out of the kitchen or the garden. Herbal tinctures were all it took to soothe whatever ailed a person.
Herbal remedies are all-natural and chemical free. Although they cannot cure all the illnesses plaguing modern man, there are still a few health issues that they can effectively address.
Strictly speaking “a tincture is an alcoholic extract of plant materials.” It is a type of solution that uses alcohol as a solvent. Ethanol is widely used but there are other solvents such as vinegar, propylene glycol, glycerol or ether. You can therefore have an alcoholic as well as a non-alcoholic tincture. Medicinal leaves of plants and herbs are allowed to marinate in the liquid before the extract is squeezed out.
To make your own tincture, you will need the following:
- Fresh herbs (300 grams) or dried herbs (200 grams)
- 1 liter pure grain alcohol, distilled water, vinegar or glycerol
- Unbleached muslin or cheesecloth
- 2 mason jars or any wide-mouthed glass jar with a lid
- Rubber band
- Dark colored bottles
Follow the procedure below in making an herbal tincture:
- Place chopped fresh or dried herbs in the glass jar.
- Slowly add the liquid. Make sure the herbs are covered and there is an excess of an inch or two of liquid.
- Close the lid tightly so the liquid will not evaporate.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark place away from heat and light sources. You can also seal it inside a paper bag.
- Make sure to shake the jar. You can do this daily or every few days depending on how long you let the herbs sit in the liquid. Allow the herbs to soak for two to six weeks.
- After soaking, get another mason jar without a lid and cover it with the cheesecloth or muslin. Secure this with a rubber band.
- Strain the tincture through the muslin. When all the contents have been poured on the muslin and no more liquid drips down, take out the rubber band and squeeze the cloth. Make sure to extract all the liquid from the soaked herbs.
- Transfer the tincture into dark colored bottles.
- Label the bottles with the medicinal purpose of the tincture, the herbs you used as well as when you made the tincture. Keep the bottles away from light and heat.
- Buy a book or research online about plants and their medicinal properties.
- You can use 1 ounce of dried herb to 5 ounces of liquid if you want to make a smaller quantity.
- For an alcoholic tincture, use rum if you want to hide the bitter taste of the herbs. You can also use brandy or vodka (80 – 100 proof).
- Never use rubbing alcohol or wood alcohol.
- Tinctures can last for up to two years.
- To easily squeeze out the liquid from your soaked herbs, use a juicer or wine press.
- You can combine several different herbs.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of the tincture with water, tea or juice. Drink this up to three times a day.
Herbal medicine is back in vogue. It is a safe and natural way to address different kinds of ailments. Making your own herbal tincture is a cheaper alternative to buying pre-made ones. You can control the quality of your tincture and come up with a solution that is tailor-made for you.