An Herbal Tincture is a method of preserving the medicinal attributes of an herb in such a way will allow you to use the herbs long after their season is gone. As I have said before, the more herbs you eat, the healthier you will be. However, at certain times of the year, certain herbs are not available. So, by making tinctures you can use herbs all year round. Typically, to make a tincture you steep the herb of choice in vodka or brandy for four to six weeks. Once the herb matter is strained out and the liquid re-bottled, the tincture will keep indefinitely.
The essential oils and herbal essences are soluble in alcohol making alcohol a better solvent than vinegar for making tinctures. Once the menstruum (plant material and solvent) has steeped, all the herbal goodness and health benefits of the herbs will be suspended and concentrated in the alcohol. This concentration is why so little of the tincture is needed in an individual dose.
There are many combinations of herbs that can be used- select the herbs based on your needs. Dandelion is an all around great herb with so many medicinal qualities. I use this herb alone to make a tincture that is taken by anyone feeling “under the weather” to boost the immune system and ward off the colds and flues that tend to go around in the winter.
A small amount- 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon per day is all that is taken by adults around our house. When the children were toddlers a few drops in their sippy cups helped battle the snotty noses and colds that came with childhood.
There are many resources on the internet for recipes and several good herbal books that give instruction as to preparation of tinctures. I like to use Growing 101 Herbs That Heal, by Tammi Hartung.
A basic recipe is:
1 clean 1 pint glass jar with a fitting lid
Approx. 1 cup chopped fresh herb or 1/4 cup dried herb, coarsely chopped.
1 pint of brandy or vodka.
Place the chopped herb matter into the jar.
Herbal tincture steeping and waiting to be strained. Be certain to label with contents and date- the only way to be certain you will remember what is in the jar.
Once strained, pour liquid into a bottle and cap
There you go, it is that easy!
This is what I use for my family. Research for yourself and decide what is best for your family and yourself. This is not meant as medical advice or to diagnose illness.