Thursday, April 30, 2009

Basic Tincture Tutorial



Tinctures are an excellent way to liberate, concentrate and preserve the healing properties of herbs. Until about 50 years ago they were listed in the United States Pharmacopoepia but are not readily available to the general public any longer. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to make yourself. Consult a good book on herbs to determine which herbs you would like to make a tincture from. One of my favorites is The Natural Pharmacy by Skye Lininger
from Prima Publishing. It has great info on herbs including dosages, prope
rties, side effects and how they might interact with prescription and over the counter drugs. I especially like the drug interaction information because while I use herbal remedies whenever possible, I still recognize the worth of Western medicine for certain ailments. The following is my recipe for Elderberry Tincture. It is one that I have on hand at all times because I find it so useful. A study in humans has determined that elderberries have an antiviral effect and I use it for anything viral, colds,flu, etc. This recipe can be adapted for any herb, just do your research on the intended herb first!


ELDERBERRY TINCTURE
  • elderberries- dried are usually the easiest to find so that's what I use
  • an inch or two of fresh ginger-quartered (the ginger in the picture is frozen. I store mine in the freezer to keep it fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried peppermint (4-5 if using fresh)
  • good vodka
Put the berries, ginger and peppermint in a glass container that can be tightly covered. Pour enough vodka in to cover the herbs. (You may have to add a bit more vodka in the first day or two if using dried berries as they will absorb it) Put the jar in a warm place and give it a good shake or stir a couple of times a day. Let it do its thing for about two weeks, then strain. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

The ginger and peppermint are optional. I like to include them because peppermint helps settle your stomach and ginger is warming.

My general guideline for myself and my family is this- use an herbal remedy for three days. If it doesn't work in that amount of time, go to the doctor. If the ailment gets significantly worse, go see a doctor.

You can purchase dried elderberries from Jeans Greens at
http://www.jeansgreens.com
Disclaimer: My recipes are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or ailment, nor are they intended to replace the advice or treatment of a medical doctor. Herbs are a complementary therapy. Please see a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any health concern.

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