Alcohol dissolves most, if not all, the constituents in your herbs. It also makes the mucous membranes in the mouth more permeable, allowing the herbal properties to bypass your digestive system and enter the bloodstream efficiently. Best of all, it increases the shelf life of your herbs by years.
But for those who worry, it may comfort you to know there is the same amount of alcohol in the average dose of tincture, as there is in a ripe banana.
If you’re still concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water into the cup, and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds.
Glycerin or honey are another choice, and will preserve your tinctures safely for one to three years and offers wonderful benefits in it’s own right, but from a long term storage aspect, a wood-grain alcohol is a better preservative.
To Make A Tincture
To make a tincture, you will need a 1 quart canning jar, your chosen herb, 3 cups of either vodka, gin or brandy.
The liquid acts as the menstrum and will preserve the tincture for up to 5 + years.
Sterilize the jar.
- Fill the jar half way with your herb.
- Pour the 3 cups of alcohol over the herb until it comes up over the top of the herb.
- Shake well.
- Leave in a cool dark place for 6 weeks. Shake it every day or so.
- If after the first few days, the herb is not fully immersed, add a touch more alcohol. The herbs need to stay totally submerged under the liquid for the 6 weeks.
- After 6 weeks strain out the herb.
- Place tincture in a dark bottle, and label with herb and date.
Take 20 drops of tincture in juice, warm water, or tea 3-4 times a day. Do not take it for more than 2 weeks at a time. Give your body a rest, and take it again for 2 weeks if necessary. If the condition persists, contact your health care provider or herbalist.
If you don’t want the alcohol of a tincture, you can use vegetable glycerin or honey to make a glycerite.
The formula for making the glycerite is the same as a tincture.
- Follow the above steps, and replace the vodka with either the vegetable glycerin or honey.
- Allow the 6 weeks and then strain.
- 1/4 tsp. 3 – 4 times a day, although each tincture may have a slightly different requirement.
For a great discussion on the use of alcohol in tinctures and the LDS “Word of Wisdom”, go to http://www.hotpepper.ca/lds/wordofwisdom/prohibitions/hot-drinks/
“A wise herbalist is very educated on the effects of herbal medicines, and knows quite well what an infusion of a plant will do to the human organism.
I can hardly imagine someone being labeled “unwise” because they are withdrawing the constituents of a plant in the only way it can be extracted and used…”
- What has worked best for any of you in the past?