Making Herbal Tinctures. Part 3

Health |

Fill the jar to the brim with fresh plants, tamping it down as you go. Pour the liquor over the plant slowly, giving it time to seep through tightly packed leaves. You may want to leave it set for a few minutes before adding more liquor.

It is important to fill the jar literally to overflowing with the liquor. Allow the liquor to run down the lip of the jar, then cap it tightly. Leaving air space at the top of the jar sometimes allows molds to grow. If this happens, discard the tincture. The plant material will settle some over the first few days, and may oxidize some air of its own. This is fine as long as you’ve overflowed the jar before capping it.

Label the jar as soon as its capped (and cleaned off). Include the name of the plant along with parts that were used and whether fresh or dried. List the type and proof of the liquor used, the date the preparation was made, and assign a lot number to it if you’re preparing it for gifts or retail sale. You may want to add the date the tincture will be ready for use.

Store your jar in the cupboard, away from heat and light. Turn it upside down a few times every day to ensure the alcohol comes into full contact with all the plant material. This will boost the plant’s energetic response as well (loving care from the Earth Mother).

Tinctures should sit for a minimum of 6-8 weeks before being considered for consumption. This will give you optimally nourishing tinctures. Keep the main jar in the cupboard for storage and pour small, usable amounts into dark, glass containers with medicine dropper caps. You can find these in herbal and aroma therapy stores and catalogues. Label each individual bottle you fill.

If you wish to burn off the alcohol, do so in the small bottles as you pour them. If you burn the alcohol from the main jar, preservation may be lost.

The same basic process is used when dried plants, or roots, seeds, and berries are put up as tinctures, but less of the plant product is needed. Again, fill the jar to overflowing with the liquor before capping it to prevent air space.

Try to keep with the 1 ounce dried plant to 1 liter alcohol ratio if possible. If you use the mayonnaise jar and add 1 ounce of dried plant, you may not be able to fit the whole liter of liquor in. This will result in a stronger tincture, which is acceptable, but you may want to decrease the amount you take as a “dose.”

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