Making A Tincture

making your own tinctureWhile Alcohol is not something I drink…it does have an important place in the world of herbal healing.  Why?

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.

Or pour your tincture dose in a metal spoon and heat it from below with a match to burn off the alcohol.  tincture bottle

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.

Glycerite Formula

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.

Dosage

  • 1/4 tsp. 3 – 4 times a day, although each tincture may have a slightly different requirement.

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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?  
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California Poppy: Pain Relief Without the Narcotic

We live in a world where everything that should nourish us has been altered, rearranged, or nullified, by GMO’s,  companies with no moral compass, depleted soils and rising costs; our bodies are breaking down without those building blocks, and we are hurting.

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, IBS, Lupus, MS and an entire host of other painful and debilitating ailments are seeing more men and women on vast cornucopias of drugs.  So many caught between a rock and a hard place.

Sometimes it’s easiest to begin tackling the largest problems with small steps, and here’s a great beginning.California_poppy_(Eschscholzia_californica)_-_22

California Poppy grows in abundance all over the west coast, from California to Washington State and further.  These cheerful orange and yellow flowers are as uplifting to our bodies as they are to our eyes.

  • General Information

California poppy contains chemicals that may create a sedative action (Sleepiness), act as an analgesic (to relieve pain), anti-diarrheal, antitussive (helps relieve coughing). diaphoretic (helps promote sweating),  and an antispasmodic. It also repairs nerves and alleviates nerve pain.

Unlike opioids or even the stronger acting Poppy species, Rudolf Weiss states that the effect of California Poppy is towards “…establishing equilibrium,” and is not at all narcotic (1988, 289).

As exemplified by California Poppy, all poppies contain a variety of alkaloids that are likely have different activities, as well as other constituents that we know from experience can modulate the effects of the ‘active’ constituents.

Many herbalists have observed that crude herb extracts of the various poppy species are less addictive albeit less potent in their activities than the purified alkaloids,  but with far fewer side-effects.

  • Medicinal Parts

Use the parts that grow above the ground for medicine. A fresh flower as an extract is the most effective, but I still use my dried herb all year long, and love it!

The seeds are tiny and black, held in long pointed pods that split open when ripe.

  • Harvesting Instructions

Harvest in the spring, and gather the whole above ground plant and dry it.  Or tincture the whole fresh plant

(There is some evidence that the tap root is mildly toxic, I don’t use it, but others do.  Use common sense, and if you are a beginner, please err on the side of caution, and just use the above ground parts.) 

  • IMG_8077General Dosage

½ Dropperful or 20-60 drops 1-4 times daily. (Take lowest amount, until you see how it may affect you, and work your way up if needed.)

Use a rounded teaspoon of chopped plant as tea, drink 1-3 times daily.

  • Precautions

California poppy appears to be safe for most people when taken appropriately by mouth for three months or less. There isn’t enough information to know if California poppy is safe for longer term use.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of California poppy during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

There is some concern that California poppy might slow down the central nervous system too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Stop using California poppy at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

For Greater Detail on this wonderful plant, visit http://toddcaldecott.com/herbs/california-poppy/tincture bottle

Thieves Oil-Origin and Recipe

how-to-make-thieves-oil

Thieves Oil-The Ultimate Topical Remedy

“Thieves Oil” may offer immune support during illness, including colds, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, etc. The fresh Ginger in this version helps in rebuilding muscle tissue and nerve. Thieves Oil has highly anti-infectious properties that help support a strong immune system because of its antimicrobial properties.

The thieves were actually spice traders and merchants who imported spices, including cinnamon and clove from India. When the Black Plague hit, all international shipping and trade was closed down. Unable to do business, these spice traders quickly ran out of money and had to find a way to support themselves.

Since people in the communities were afraid to touch the dead bodies, they decided to loot the homes and bodies of the plaque victims. They would take clothes, jewelry, pots and pans, and then barter or trade them for food and money. They knew they wouldn’t get sick if they rubbed vinegar, oils, and certain spices all over their bodies.

Their plan worked and they were able to set up a very lucrative pawn business. Until the French King found out…

When the King heard about the story of the thieves he wanted to know their secret. He wanted to know how they were able to touch dead bodies without getting sick! How did they protect themselves from the dreaded disease?

He sent his Constables out to capture them. Four of the thieves were caught and brought before the King. He gave them a choice to either share their secret formula of “immunity” or be burned at the stake. The four thieves decided to share their secret formula with the King.

The King immediately posted the thieves secret formula all over the town.

(Sometimes I run across wonderful information, but sadly lose the origin of the article.  If anyone knows the author or website to the above story portion of this recipe, I would love to give credit where it is due!  )

THIEVES OIL RECIPE

  • Quart size mason jar or similar
  • Cinnamon sticks, crushed and splintered (Don’t use powdered)
  • Whole Cloves, crushed to smaller pieces (Again, powdered doesn’t work well)
  • Whole Ginger, chopped or grated (This is my addition since my Hubby’s back surgery, as Ginger heals and strengthens muscle tissue.)
  • Rosemary (2 or 3 Sprigs)
  • Lemon Zest (optional)

Place these in the jar, and cover to just above the ingredients, with a good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO is oil is from the first pressing and will take on the qualities and properties of the spices as it infuses.).

Shake well daily.  Place the jar either in a sunny window, or on your stove where it will not get direct heat.  The idea is to heat up and cool down the oil over a period of about 4-6 weeks.  I usually do six weeks, but I’m in the mountains of the Western United States, and sunlight can be limited in the winter.  In summertime, I can get a great infusion in about 4 weeks.

At the end of the infusion period, strain out the ingredients (my chickens usually reap the benefits of the used up herbs.  It can only do them good…) and tightly bottle your oil and store it.

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A note on storage:  Colored bottles allow different wavelengths of light to penetrate your oil, and this can change the properties you’ve worked so hard to gain.  Brown bottles work best for storage, always remembering to keep them in a cool, dark place.

A great hack for this, if you don’t have a brown bottle, is to keep a clear bottle in a brown paper sack for storage.

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Remember that your intuition with herbs can be a great addition to your knowledge.  If you feel inspired to add something to a recipe or concoction, do your homework, and keeping in mind safety, you can often enhance or “discover” better solutions to your healthy lifestyle.

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No article or information on herbs are intended to be a substitute for any medicine or drug, legal or otherwise.  Please do your homework before proceeding with any herb or formula.