Organic DIY: Make Your Own Tinctures

April 24, 2013

For centuries, tinctures have been used as home remedies for a huge array of aches and pains as well as for stress relief and energy maintenance. Just a few drops of a tincture onto the tongue or into a glass of water, and you’re well on your way to feeling better. Best of all, most blends are created with items you recognize and probably have around your home (unlike conventional medicine), such as dandelion, garlic, lavender, vinegar, rosemary, etc.

phototincture

Tinctures are a great thing to have on hand – especially if you or your loved ones are prone to headaches, heartburn, nausea or anxiety and you don’t always want to give them pills that often have undesirable side effects.

A tincture is a liquid, typically alcohol but sometimes glycerine or vinegar, that contains extracts of medicinal plants.   Tinctures deliver a big punch in a few tiny drops.  Tinctures are stored in medicine droppers, for easy use.

There’s a type of tincture for almost anything that ails you, and they can be customized to treat different symptoms. For headaches, feverfew is often the go-to tincture. For stress relief, many people find passion flower, lavender, or kava kava supportive. Feel a cold or the flu coming on?  Echinacea and astralagus root are both known for their immune system-boosting abilities. Unlike prescription medications, tinctures are all natural and rarely likely to be habit forming or dangerous.  Often they are made from plants that are used for cooking, an indication of how gentle they are on the body while packing a medicinal punch.  Of course, every tincture is different, so always read the label and stick to the recommended dosage.

Tinctures are often seen on store shelves for a pretty hefty price. But, luckily, you can make your own using fresh or dried plants, herbs, berries or whatever delights you! Just make sure you do your research, so that you don’t choose anything that might conflict with a health condition or medication you already take.

All you need to make a tincture is to choose your materials, combine with your solvent liquid and wait. Soon you’ll have a tincture!

To figure out which plant you want to work with, define what you want your tincture to do. A quick search on the internet will let you know which herbs or flowers treat which symptoms.

Combine your plant(s) with alcohol (100 proof vodka works well and has a neutral flavor) or vinegar in a clean mason jar. Some people like to break up the plants a little, though with the amount of time the mixture will steep, it makes little difference.  The standard ratio is 1 part fresh herbs to 2 parts liquid or 1 part dried herbs to 5 parts liquid.

You can put your jars in a sunny spot, because they often look beautiful and the sun’s energy can help the process. Once your tincture has steeped for two to six weeks, strain the mixture through cheesecloth and funnel it into medicine droppers! You’ve created your own remedy!

Now if you want to take a different route, and improve your overall health without making a tincture you can easily work superfoods into your daily diet. Great nutrition will probably cut back on many of the symptoms that tinctures are used to treat!

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