As winter approaches (or if your a procrastinator like me, winter is upon you) it seems that everywhere we turn someone is getting sick with something. And from past experiences, I’ve learned to just go ahead and stock up on all my herbal remedies so I’ll be ready.
My favorite herbal remedies are tinctures. They are simple to make and last a couple of years if taken care of-meaning if kept in a cool, dark cabinet. Yeah, I love low maintenance. Not only that, but they work more quickly than pills and because they are liquid you can even get them in little ones!
So what is a tincture anyway? In the herbal world, a tincture is an extraction of herbal properties into a liquid. There are two basic types of tinctures-alcohol and glycerin. Other liquids can also be used, but they are prepared the same way as the alcohol or glycerin. So lets break it down.
First the alcohol tincture-just because it’s the easiest and most foolproof. Now before we go any further, I must admit, I made tinctures for several years but refused to use alcohol. We don’t drink and didn’t want our children to have access to it. So I used this same process, but used apple cider vinegar instead. It works very well and I was much more willing to give my children a spoonful of it. But each different liquid contains different qualities itself and will pull also pull out different qualities of the herbs. And alcohol is the best at extracting nutrients from herbs. Needless to say, I’ve found that some things you treat respond better to alcohol tinctures. Many times I will even mix the vinegar, alcohol, and glycerin tinctures together. It’s easier on the taste-buds this way 🙂 (Although my kids still get just the vinegar.)
Here’s what you need for the alcohol/vinegar tincture:
- Fill 1 mason jar 1/3 full with dried herbs-about 1 1/2 cups.
- Pour liquid over herbs and fill to neck of jar.
- Cap jar and shake well.
- Place in dark cabinet and shake jar daily.
- Leave in cabinet for 4-6 weeks-continue shaking daily.
- Using cheesecloth, strain herbs out of liquid.
- Store liquid in clean mason jar or other glass jar.
- Keep out of heat and direct light. Will keep for at least 2 years.
Here’s a video of me and the kiddos making a tincture, so you can see how easy it really it!
Check out part two for how to make glycerin tinctures.
How does the tincture taste with vinegar? I’ve been reluctant to use vinegar because I hate the taste.
The vinegar tinctures are very strong and do have a vinegar flavor. If you are reluctant, try vodka instead -although these are strong too but no vinegar flavor- or try the glycerin tinctures. Those aren’t bad at all. 🙂