I am not a doctor, the information in this post is not intended to heal, cure ore diagnose any illness. It is intended to give you information on plants and their properties. Please rely on the Lord and those you trust such as your doctor or naturopath to diagnose and treat illness.
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HERBAL TINCTURES GENERAL INFORMATION
Excerpts from Butterfly Miracles with Herbal Remedies, by Laree Westover This book can be purchased here
The liquid medium into which the herb is placed to make a tincture is called the menstruum; the herb is known as the marc. For internal use, the menstruum can be alcohol, apple cider vinegar, or vegetable glycerin. A good rule of thumb for beginners is, “When in doubt, use alcohol.” The medicinal properties of most herbs are pulled out best in an alcohol tincture. If the alcohol content concerns you, place the drops of tincture you need into very hot water to administer them. The heat will dissipate the alcohol entirely. (There is more alcohol in over-the-counter cold medicine, even ones meant for children, than you will typically ingest when taking herbal tinctures.)
One hundred fifty one proof Vodka, such as EverClear is ideal for herbal tinctures that are the root of the plant. The less expensive eighty proof vodka is acceptable for most herbs. When you need to add water to any tincture, distilled or filtered water is absolutely essential. Vinegar is used, undiluted, in the strength commonly sold. Some herbs, especially kidney/bladder herbs, do not tincture well in vinegar. The finished tincture looks,and tastes, bad. Some people have reported that these vinegar tinctures make them nauseous. A tincture that is part vinegar and part alcohol is often more palatable. When using vinegar, always use an all natural apple cider vinegar.It must not say “apple cider flavored distilled” on the label. I use Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. You can Purchase it here.
The proportion of the herb to liquid is known as the weight/volume (w/v) ratio. Standard ratios are:
Tinctures of dried, intense botanicals such as cayenne and the resins such as myrrh and propolis are 1:10. This means 1 part herb, to 10 parts liquid, for example 1 ounce of herb with 10 ounces alcohol.
Tinctures of dried, fluffy, absorbent herbs such as mullein, yarrow, and hops should also be 1:10.
Tinctures of other dried botanicals are made with a 1:8 ratio.
Tinctures of fresh herbs are made on a 1:3 ratio, if you are using 80 proof vodka or a 1:4 ratio if using 150 proof Everclear. This is because the plant still contains so much water that it would become too diluted to pull the medicinal properties from the herb. Without sufficient alcohol, the tincture will mold.
Always check your tincture after 24 hours to make sure all of the herb is still covered with liquid. Any exposed parts will probably mold and ruin the entire batch.
BASIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING ALCOHOL TINCTURES
Gather your herbs. Make sure they are cut into small pieces before tincturing. If purchasing dried get the cut sifted herbs. If gathering yourself, cut the herbs into small pieces after drying. If using fresh herbs they need to be cut also. Sometimes I mix them in the blender with the alcohol to chop them up a bit. The smaller the pieces the easier it is to keep them from sticking out of the liquid. Measure your herb into a glass jar with a well-fitting lid. I use a quart mason jar and use a plastic lid like this one. Add your alcohol in the ratios previously mentioned, put on the lid and then shake well. Set in a cool place out of direct sunlight. You will need to shake the jars once per day for the next 14 to 30 days. Add more liquid at anytime if the mixture looks dry or if some of the herb is sticking up out of the liquid. When the 14 to 30 days have passed, strain your tincture and discard the herbs. I add the left over herbs to my compost pile. You can strain your tincture using an ordinary kitchen strainer, or a cheesecloth. After straining I squeeze as much liquid out of the herbs as possible before discarding.
A tincture stored in a cool dark place in a glass jar will keep indefinitely, remaining as potent as the day you made it. Evaporation and corrosion of the lids are the major enemies so use plastic lids if possible. If you don’t have plastic lids then you need to watch the lids closely for signs of corrosion and the lids should be changed regularly. Use a plastic lid, rather than a metal one, if possible. Amber glass bottles with plastic or dropper caps (used for essential oils and other commercial products) work very well and eliminate this problem altogether. When filling the bottles it is nice to have a tiny funnel like the small one in this set to make filling easier.
BASIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING VINEGAR TINCTURES
Vinegar tinctures are done the same as alcohol tinctures with the same ratios of herb to liquid. You can do tinctures with straight vinegar or mix vinegar with alcohol. I use apple cider vinegar for these tinctures Make sure it is pure organic apple cider vinegar such as braggs. you can purchase it here, or make your own.
GENERAL INFORMATION—GLYCERIN TINCTURES
For making herbal glycerin tinctures, it is recommended that you use non-synthetic vegetable glycerin like this one. Never use a glycerin made from animal by-products for your herbal remedies. Glycerin has the capacity to break down and remove certain chemicals and preservatives from the body. It is an excellent medium for herbal tinctures. The sweet flavor makes it especially appropriate for children.When diluted, glycerin is demulcent, emollient, soothing, and healing. Undiluted, it is an irritant and a stimulant and difficult to use because it is so thick. Glycerin tinctures do not have the indefinite shelf life that alcohol tinctures do.
In almost all glycerin tinctures, you will need to dilute the glycerin to a 60% glycerin/40% water solution. Distilled or filtered water is best. In other words, if you need 10 ounces of liquid for your tincture, you would mix 6 ounces of glycerin with 4 ounces of water. If some alcohol is tolerable, 10% added to 50% glycerin/40% water formula is ideal. The alcohol acts as an additional preservative. A glycerin tincture without alcohol has a shelf life of 1 to 3 years. alcohol adds an additional 2 or 3 years to the time the tincture can be stored and still be an effective remedy .
On occasion, glycerin tinctures are applied topically to help keep skin surfaces moist. Glycerin does not evaporate at either body or room temperature, and it produces a sensation of warmth to the skin or the tongue. Glycerin is very emollient and is useful for really tough dry skin problems. Glycerin is quite sticky,and since it does not evaporate, can be a little bit annoying for a few minutes until it absorbs into the skin. Skin rashes that are caused by a bacterial or fungal infection should be treated using the herbs in tea form. Glycerin and carrier type oils contain protein molecules which are “food” for the fungus. These remedies may actually make the condition worse.
BASIC INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING A GLYCERIN TINCTURE
Use 60% glycerin, 40% distilled water (as described above) and ratios are the same as listed above in the general tincture information. This means that you will use 8 to 10 ounces of glycerin/water mixture for each 1 ounce of herb. Stir the glycerin and water together thoroughly first, then place the herb and liquid in a canning jar. Place a tight lid on the bottle and cold pack can it, much like you would do for fruit. The water need only come to the neck of the jar. Leave in the canner with the water lightly boiling for 2 hours. Remove the jar from hot water and allow it to cool. You will need to take off the lid a couple of times while it is cooking so that you can stir the mixture. Try to get all of the herb under the liquid as soon as possible. Glycerin is a heavy medium, even diluted, and with a tightly fitting lid, the medicinal properties cannot dissipate into the air. Tinctures made this way are very potent and effective. Glycerin tinctures have the added advantage of being ready to use in a few hours instead of in two weeks. This can be a very great advantage.
***Note: Wild Cherry Bark cannot be heated under any conditions. In the Wild Cherry Cough Syrup Recipe (Butterfly Miracles with Herbal Remedies, by Laree Westover) the Wild Cherry is placed in the glycerin/water mixture 24 hours before the batch is going to be processed. It is simply allowed to sit. It is not heated with the rest of the ingredients. Strain the wild cherry bark when you strain the rest of the batch and mix them together.
When it comes to dosage there is a range usually between 5 to 30 drops. I usually ask for inspiration from the lord as to how much I should be taking or recommending to someone who has ask for my advise. An alcohol tincture should be taken in a about an ounce of hot water. Alcohol dissipates very rapidly with heat. Since you will be adding the tincture to a couple of tablespoons of water to take it anyway, just make sure the water is very hot when you put the tincture into it. The alcohol will dissipate instantly. This simple step will have completely eliminated the alcohol. It is best to take tinctures along with a meal. The nutrients are more likely to be absorbed that way. With something in your stomach, the tincture will be less likely to cause an upset tummy. Depending on the severity of the problem, tinctures should be taken 2 to 5 times a day. The alcohol consumed when taking an herbal remedy is negligible. It is far less than that contained in over the counter remedies such as cold and cough remedies, even those for children. In some cases it is okay to take the tincture straight such as when giving it to someone who is having a heart attack I would give drops under the tongue for instant absorption.