Tinctures are an herbal extract. They are used for their medicinal properties and are very simple to make. They are an easy way to administer a concentrated amount of herb into you, your family, or animals on your homestead. You do not need any fancy equipment, other than a glass jar, cheesecloth/strainer, alcohol, and the herb or herbs of choice. This is the simplified process that I use, and am sharing with you today. The Bulk Herb Store has some great instructions/tutorials, and offers instructional dvd’s on home herbal use. They also offer great herbs. They are a small family owned business, living and sharing a holistic and sustainable lifestyle. Check them out today at www.bulkherbstore.com
We have been using tinctures in our home, and on the homestead for the last, oh maybe eight plus years?!! Has it really been that long??!!! We also use essential oils, and teas to maintain our health and wellness. Let me not forget to mention nutrition. This is our first line of defense against illness. We eat whole, healthy, mostly home-grown, home preserved/processed food. We do all the growin and raisin on our homestead, except our beef and pork. That is a family operation. On Hubby’s side of the family, they raise and butcher the beef for, approx. ten families total. It varies a bit year to year, as families grow and change, but I would say that would be average. We feel so blessed to be included. The meat is awesome, and the processing is too. In the Snobl family we have “Butchering Season.” It is planned for every other weekend in Feb./Mar. All families involved gather at the farm, with armloads of food, and we process each other’s meat, one cow at a time. It works great, and is a great time to gather. We work, eat, and play side by side, elbow to elbow. I have a large organic garden for berries and vegetables, we have chickens for eggs and meat, and we are considering raising pork this year. I also have a goat for fresh milk. This is our nutrition, health and wellness plan, so far, it has not failed us.
Back to the herbs. Echinacea is a powerful antiviral, immune enhancing antibiotic herb. It is what we use for colds and flu in our home. As with many herbs there are a wide range of opinions on how effective Echinacea really is. However, in my home study we have great results using Echinacea tincture. We have been using it for over eight years. Remember that the quality of the herb you use is very important. As with any and all herbal preparations you want to use the best quality that you can obtain. Echinacea is most effective when taken at the onset of a cold/flu. Although it has antibiotic and antiviral properties, its most effective action is stimulating the body’s immune system. It stimulates white blood cell production and also phagocytes production within the body. This action allows your body to overcome the virus or bacteria and eliminate toxins accumulated by, from the body. So it is best taken when you first feel a little off. You know, you have that tickle, and you just don’t feel right? This is usually a day or two before you actually are down and out. If you can listen to your body’s signals and begin taking your Echinacea tincture at this point, you can stimulate your immune system into action before you are completely overcome by the illness. This is why some people take it as a preventative. I do this when I am the “last man standing,” so to speak, and the kids and hubby are all sick. It always keeps me well. You can also take it if you are caught off guard and become down and out sick. Just know that the herb and your immune system have to play catch up, and it will take a few extra doses before it feels as though it has been effective. How does this work for the kiddos you may wonder? It has actually helped my kids become more aware of their bodies, and it’s signals. They know that the sooner they take their tincture, the sooner they feel better. They now notice if they are feeling off, and ask for it. You can help them as Mama’s/Caregivers,to learn to listen to their bodies internal language. If you notice they are not feeling well, or seem a bit off, ask them how they are feeling. You have that gut instinct, or mama sense, trust it. Often times they will have some very accurate answers, such as my tummy feels hot, or my head feels heavy, or my throat feels tight. Other times they may not have words, but just know that they don’t feel good. By your asking, they will learn the signals, and begin to notice and ask themselves how they are feeling. They are then empowered to tell you what they need.
Echinacea’s effectiveness, combined with other herbs and oils have helped our family be antibiotic free for over eight years. Wellness is an all encompassing lifestyle, we choose to live it well, by using holistic nutrition, lots of fresh air and exercise, herbs and essential oils to maintain health in our home.
I have learned to make my own tinctures in the last year, it was something that I was always going to do, but it was an intimidating process to me. As I am sharing with you, do not be scared off. It is quite simple. Grab your herbs and some vodka and let’s get started.
You can also make tinctures from vinegar, glycerine, and honey, if you do not want to use the alcohol. Shoshona at The Bulk Herb Store has some great instructions for those if you want to check them out. You will notice that I did not shop at The Bulk Herb Store for this order. It was kind of an ’emergency’ order tacked onto other household necessities….I am preparing an order for the bulk herb store today.
*A quick update worth noting: In making my order to The Bulk Herb Store today, I checked the price per pound of Echinacea Purpurea Root. It was nearly half of what I paid from another source. I will be ordering from them from now on, I can’t believe the savings!!!
Tincture Making Simplified
What you will need:
Herb or Herbs of choice, I am using echinecea today.
Vodka or Alcohol of choice, you can also use rum.
Fill jar 1/3 to 1/2 full of dried herb of choice. I usually fill jar half full, it makes a stronger tincture. Do not pack the herbs, let them be loose. Pour in just enough hot water to get the herb wet. You may notice your herb swell as it re-hydrates that is what it is supposed to do. Do not worry if it rises up out of your hot water, this is normal. Fill the jar to the top with vodka. Place lid on jar, and shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Shake daily. I store it in a kitchen cabinet away from my stove that I use daily, this way I don’t forget to shake it! After three weeks, strain through a cheesecloth, discard the used herb, and place your tincture in a clean jar. Don’t forget to label it! It is now ready to use.
You can easily evaporate the alcohol from the tincture by placing the dosage into hot tea or water if you are pregnant, nursing, or giving to children.
Tincture extracted in alcohol will have a shelf-life of two to three years. Make a big batch! A tincture made in a quart jar yields approx. one pint of extracted herb. I thought this would get us through the winter, but it did not. I will make twice that amount for next year. We are a family of six, and were hit hard by the flu this winter. I think, in part, it is because we have been without raw milk in our diets this winter. I see a huge difference in our winter health, when we have plentiful raw milk to drink. Much fewer colds/flu, shorter durations, etc. Time to buy a cow?!!
Gather your goods. You will need a glass jar, hot water, herb, and alcohol. I am using vodka as it does not have a strong odor or flavor. You may also use rum if you prefer.
Fill jar/jars half full of herb. Do not pack.
Pour hot water into jar, enough to just wet and cover the herb.
Top off the jar with vodka, filling all the way to the top.
Shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for three weeks. Shake daily.
Be sure to record on your calendar the date you started your tinctures. That way you won’t lose track of when they are ready. You want to make sure that you have the proper potency, so timing is important.
When tinctures are ready, strain through cheesecloth and place herbal extract into a clean jar.
There you have it, tincture making simplified. Empower yourself and your family in wellness.
The Barn Hop www.theprairiehomestead.com