Making Herbal Tinctures. Part 2

Health |

Fresh plants make the best tinctures when leaves and stalks are the parts used, although roots, bark, and berries are used dried. If dried plants are used (they’re easier to find retail, and keep easily) bear in mind that 1 part dried herb is equivalent to 3 parts fresh plant.

Most tinctures are a 1:1 extract which means 1 ounce of plant to 1 liter alcohol. The extract can be a different ratio, if more plant or more alcohol is added. The alcohol must be a liquor, the kind you can drink, never rubbing alcohol!

Any liquors may be used to prepare tinctures. For particularly bitter tasting plants, using a fine flavored brandy, for instance, adds appeal. Grain alcohol is sometimes used as are various whiskey’s. For home use, 100 proof vodka is what many Wise Women use because of its balance of water and alcohol. Using 100 proof liquor gives you a 1:1 extract, which is what most “dosing” is based on. Extracts with 25% or greater alcohol content will preserve indefinitely.

When making home tinctures from fresh plant, the content ratio is less important than in commercial “standardized” products. Find a big glass jar (a clean mayonnaise jar works well enough) with a tight-fitting lid. The jar and lid should be absolutely clean and absolutely dry. Moisture allows mold growth. If there’s any question of moisture, set the jar in a low oven for 4-5 minutes.

Likewise, fresh plants should not be washed before tincturing. There is no way to fully re-dry that plant and this will cause invasive molding. Plants that are organically and wild-grown are not contaminated as are fruits and veggies from the common supermarket. Brush the dirt off as much as possible, but a little will only add to the whole.

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