What are herbal tinctures and how do they work?
Herbal tinctures are preparations made with alcohol or distilled water and dried or fresh herbs. A tincture is a preparation of these dried or fresh herbal liquids that are consumed in teas, water or juices. One teaspoon taken up to three times daily is often the dosage amounts for herbal tinctures. Before experimenting with tinctures it is important to understand the medicinal value of each herb used.
Pure grain alcohol is most often used to make herbal tinctures. Distilled water or white vinegar can be used to make non-alcoholic tinctures. Pure grain alcohol is very different than rubbing alcohol or wood alcohol. Rubbing alcohol and wood alcohol are POISON and not meant for consumption. Most often 200 grams of dried herbs or 300 grams of fresh herbs are used to make tinctures.
To make tinctures one places herbs in a Mason jar with the liquid chosen to be used for the tincture, such as alcohol, vinegar or water. The jar is filled about an inch above the herbs and sealed tightly. The tincture mixture is placed in a dark area such as an unused cabinet or closet. Keep the preparation out of the sunlight. Shake the mixture daily for two weeks. Strain the tincture into clean, sterilized jars and place back into a dark area. Be sure to date and label each jar. The preparation will stay good for approximately two years.
Recipes for a few of the tinctures
- Arnica- Used for muscle soreness and sprains-Applied topically as atincture.Arnica in herbal form is primarily restricted to topical (external) use because it can cause serious side effects when taken internally. Arnica is often used in homeopathy, and should be taken internally only in the extremely diluted form common to homeopathic remedies.Fresh or dried flower heads are used in medicinal preparations
- Echinacea- Used for skin wounds and to stimulate the immune system. Echinacea is an herb that is well-known for stimulating the immune system and helping the body to resist illness. Echinacea is most effective when taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, before becoming ill. Goldenseal is known to enhance the benefits of Echinacea when the two herbs are used in combination. Echinacea is most effective when used in the form of tea or tincture.
Chop 1/2 cup of fresh Echinacea herb in a coffee grinder, food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Place the Echinacea in a sterile Mason jar. Cover the herb with 1 cup of pure grain alcohol or apple cider vinegar.
Chop 1/4 cup dried Echinacea herb in a coffee grinder, food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Place the Echinacea in a sterile Mason jar. Cover the Echinacea with 3/4 cup of pure grain alcohol or apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of water.
Seal the Mason jar with a tight fitting sterile lid. Shake the mixture and store for 2 weeks, shaking it daily.
After two weeks has passed, strain the Echinacea out of the liquid. Discard the spent herb and pour the tincture into dark colored glass bottles. Label the bottles and the date of preparation on the bottle. Echinacea tincture will last several years if stored properly in a dark, cool area.
- Feverfew- Used to treat migraines-In order to make feverfew tea, put one tablespoon of the fresh leaves or one teaspoon of dried leaves in a ceramic cup and fill with boiling water. Cover; infuse for three minutes, and strain. Sweeten with a little honey if desired. Take half a cup of tea every hour at the first sign of migraine attack or tension, or one cup every morning as a preventive measure.
- Hawthorn-Regular use of hawthorn is said to strengthen the heart, and calm nervous conditions. Hawthorn, crataegus monogyna, is a small deciduous tree or shrub, with lovely white spring flowers, followed by oval red fruits, or berries. Too make the tincture, steep 1 teaspoon of the dried flowers in 1/2 cup hot water, sweetened with honey and drink.
How do herbal tinctures work?
Tinctures are liquid herbal extracts with medicinal properties, or active ingredients of the herbs. These properties support the body’s natural ability to heal by cleansing and strengthening tissues. Herbal tinctures also catalyze certain body functions such as urination and sweating. Many hundreds of beneficial herbs have been used for centuries in order to prevent or treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Poor health will occur when the body becomes unbalanced in some way. Herbal tinctures are used to bring that balance back to the body.