Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Welcome to Marmee's Pantry

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Making Homemade Tinctures

With the changes in our health care that have already started, and the drastic changes that are coming, so many of us are taking charge of our own health care more than ever before; at least in this era of "modern" medicine. I see this everyday in the health food market that I work at

All of a sudden, Grandma's home remedies start making more sense. More and more of us are not only growing our own veggies, but every year finds us adding a few more herbs and spices to window sill pots, patio pots and our kitchen gardens

Something else I find growing in use ~ both for convenience and for fast effectiveness ~ are tinctures. Tinctures are basically a liquid supplement, and being a liquid, they get into your system quickly. Plus tinctures are great if you have trouble swallowing pills or if you just don't want to take yet another pill. You can buy them at health food markets from fine, quality companies such as Herb Pharm or you can save money and have the satisfaction of making your own. 

In past posts I have shown you how to make a rosemary tincture (great for all women's health) and a sage and nettle tincture (for scalp health and for those occasions when you can't wash your hair; for topical use ONLY); today, I'd like to give you a basic tincture recipe ~ and a few herbs and herb blends to use for certain remedies and supplements.

For the basic recipe ~ 

You will need ~ 

~1 qt-sized canning jar w/tight-fitting lid (metal or gasket)
~1 pt OR 1/2 pt-sized canning jar (for a possible container)
~1 eye-dropper OR dropper-bottles (for a possible container ~~ dropper bottles work better than jars for convenience)

~1/4 or 1/2 c (each) - up to 1 or 1-1/2 c (total) of herb/herb blend
~vodka (w/no added sweeteners or flavors)

~vegetable glycerin
~plastic wrap

Directions ~

1) stuff the herbs in the qt-sized canning jar (approximately 3/4 full) & pour in enough vodka to cover the top, preferably about 1" over the top of the herbs **NOTE** most tinctures that are taken orally use 80% glycerin/20% vodka; don't let the vodka "scare" you, it is used the draw the "medicine" from the herbs and self-dilutes, much the same way that beer is merely used as yeast in beer bread. There will be less alcohol in your tincture than in cough syrup. IF you truly have a concern, use 90% glycerin/10% vinegar  
2) cover top of canning jar with plastic wrap and then screw on the metal lid or close the gasket lid tightly
3) Shake 30-45 times
4) store the jar in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks
5) **REMEMBER** shake jar for about 30 seconds EACH DAY for 4 weeks 
6) at the end of the 4 weeks, strain the herbs through a fine strainer; press or squeeze the herbs on the strainer to get as much of the liquid as possible for your tincture
7) pour tincture into another canning jar OR into dropper-bottles (which ever you choose for your container); store in a cabinet out of the light, tincture should last about 2 years

To Use
~drop 2 full droppers of the tincture into a cup of cold water & drink once per day as a supplement OR 2-4 times per day during an illness or a season (ex: if you work with the public during cold and flu season or if you are going on a plane/bus/train trip with germy people, you may want to take an echinacea or elderberry tincture 2-4 times per day, starting a few days before your trip to get it into your system and keep your immune system built up during your trip)

Herbs to consider for your tinctures ~ 

~Ashwagandha ~ contains alkaloids and amino acids; clears the mind, calms the nervous system and promotes deep, restful sleep

~ California Poppy ~ relieves pain and helps with sleep; a great night-time pain/sleep aid. 

~ Dandelion ~ restores energy, balances emotions, helps recover from illness, settles nerves and supports the nervous system, can help with constipation, relieves vascular headaches (from cold foods, too many sweets, alcohol), eases digestion, diuretic, is used by some with colon cancer, urinary tract infections; a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A and C.

~ Milk Thistle ~ very well-known as a liver aid, high in B vitamins, contains antioxidants that specifically aid women's cycles, good for the immune system, combats the damaging effects of free radicals and age related diseases, aids gallbladder and kidneys.

~ Wormwood ~ cleanses of parasites, detox.

~ Black Walnut ~ detox, warts (for warts: make a tincture with equal parts black walnut, echinacea and pau-d'arco)

~ Echinacea ~ build immunities, treats fevers, infections, may reduce allergies; an herbal antibiotic, antiviral, restores inflamed connective tissue.

~ Black Cohosh ~ balances hormones by normalizing the endocrine glands, helps with the disfunctions of menopause and hormones.

~ Chaste Tree ~ relieves symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, helps regulate periods, can even be used as an expectorant for chest colds.

~ Cramp Bark ~ just as the name suggests, it helps with menstrual cramping.

~ Licorice Root ~ helps with digestion, reflux, gastritis, peptic ulcers, asthma, allergies, sore throat, rheumatoid arthritis, can be taken while on antibiotics to help detoxify the liver, stimulates the adrenal gland, can be used as a diuretic and laxative.

~ Chamomile ~ relaxation without sluggishness, aids digestion, soothes ulcerated bowels, can help eczema, reduces hay fever symptoms.

~ Ginger ~ eases indigestion and flatulence, reduces fever, excellent for morning sickness and nausea; be sure to have this with you on long car trips if someone in your family is prone to car-sickness.

~ Holy Basil (Tulsi) ~ soothes nerves, parasite cleanse (worms and ringworm), stimulates adrenals, combats acne from the inside-out and insect bite relief.

~ Elderberry ~ excellent for colds and sore throats, hay fever, muscle spasms, mild laxative, arthritis.

~ Hawthorn ~ helps control blood pressure, dilates heart's blood vessels and improves pumping, can be taken at bedtime for a restful sleep or as a seditive, relieves spasms/restless leg, diuretic, can be taken as a daily over-all health tonic.

~ Peppermint ~ for bad breath, sinusitis, digestion.

~ Clove ~ for bad breath, oral rinse, teeth health, sore throat aid, taken before bedtime it can aid in sound sleep.

~ Nettle ~ immunity builder, colds, allergy and hay fever relief, soothes headaches, diuretic, daily health tonic, stimulates digestion, cleanses blood, helps reduce blood sugar, kidney stone relief, rheumatism.

~ Cornsilk ~ urinary tract infectons, diuretic, kidney stones, bed-wetting and incontinence, weight loss, PMS, breast tenderness, carpel tunnel symptoms, bloating, relieves edema and fluid retention, calms and relaxes, contains vitamin K so that it reduces bleeding.

~ Sage ~ coughs, hoarseness, ulcers, excess menstrual bleeding, improves memory, sharpens the mind and memory, helps dry-up mother's milk when you want to stop nursing, helps digestion, helps with stress headaches, reduces body odor and excessive perspiration (by as much as 50%), helps with gum abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers, asthma.

I hope this is helpful to you and your family. Let me know if you try any of these. It's always nice to know that I can benefit others.

Blessings from Ohio . . . Kim<><
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  1. What an awesome idea and what a fabulous blog! I am glad I stumbled in here.

  2. As always I enjoy your posts....I really need to get with you the next time I am up and get these things written down, so I can make me a book of sorts to reference on. I would like to start something for my granddaughter to passed on....just a thought. Many blessings to you and yours my friend ;)

  3. Kim, thank you, as always, for sharing your tremendous knowledge with us when it comes to all things including these tinctures. I plan to give some of them a try.

  4. Kim, this is so informative, thank you. As to health care, it's far easier and less expensive to stay healthy than it is to get well. I strive to maintain good health.


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