After giving birth to my son last September, our midwives suggested I take herbal tinctures several times a day to help normalize the post-partum period. The tinctures were an absolute godsend and, since it was the first time I had ever taken them, I became increasingly interested in learning how to make my own.
Purchasing tinctures through a natural foods store can be pretty pricey - they are usually between $10-15/ounce and if you take one several times a day for weeks, well... You see my concern.
What I found in my research is that making homemade tinctures is REALLY SIMPLE! In fact, so simple that I won't even call this a tutorial because most of the process is just waiting.
Basically, you just need a couple of ingredients and a small handful of supplies that you already have in your kitchen. It couldn't be easier!Ingredients:
fresh herbs - I used organically grown herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs
vodka - Yes, vodka.
80 or 100 proof.Supplies:
glass jars/bottles with lids - I used sterilized canning jars.
coffee filters/cheesecloth - something to strain the herbs from the resulting tinctureProcedure:
You ready? Add herbs to your jars, top with vodka. You can let them sit for as little as two weeks, but the longer you wait, the better. I steeped mine for six weeks in a cool, dark place. For the first week or two, shake the jar daily.
After the tinctures have steeped for at least two weeks, strain the herbs out of the tincture. I used a coffee filter suspended over a glass jar. Though the jars above are a good short-term storage, I'd recommend finding dark glass bottles to avoid the damaging effects of sunlight.Miscellaneous:
Herbal folklore suggests that you start your tinctures on the new moon and harvest on the full moon. I didn't want to risk it, so I started mine with the correct moon cycles.
I made tinctures from both yarrow (left) and calendula (right).
Calendula is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory effects. You can spray it on cuts, bruises, wounds, etc. I'm going to keep a small spray bottle ready for my yet-to-be-created "boo boo" kit (once my son starts walking around). The rest will be bottled and shared with friends and family.
Yarrow is mostly used as an immune booster and helps with fevers. I'm going to rebottle this in a dark glass bottle and store away for the next time I start feeling under the weather. Since 5 ounces of a tincture is a LOT, I think I can also safely share with friends and family, too.
I have lots of other tinctures planned to keep my family and friends healthy and happy! Lemon Balm is next on my list, followed by elderberry.
To use the tinctures, you simply place a few drops into a glass of water.
How cost effective is this? Even purchasing organic herbs, I only needed a few ounces of each which were a few dollars through Mountain Rose Herbs. A large bottle of vodka cost about $16 and I used half for these two tinctures. My total cost was probably around $15, which is about 10% of what I would have spent had I purchased the same volume of tinctures through a natural foods store.
With any herbal product, PLEASE research and/or consult a doctor or herbalist before taking. Herbs do have healing properties and you want to make sure that anything you ingest is safe for YOU!