Stay healthy year-round and save money by learning the ancient skill of making your own medicinal tinctures…
One aspect of living a more sustainable lifestyle is taking charge of your own health. (For lots more on this topic, check out our other website, The Holistic Health Wire.) Until modern times, most people took care of most of their own health needs through eating lots of healthy, homegrown foods, and utilizing natural home remedies they could easily make at home from locally available herbs. This is one important homesteading skill that many of us have forgotten over the past century – but making your own medicinal tinctures for various ailments is actually surprisingly simple.
With the recent increased interest in “alternative” medicine, there are loads of herbal supplements and natural remedies available for purchase, but these can be fairly costly, and are rarely (if ever) covered by insurance. Making your own medicinal tinctures is very easy and much more cost-effective, so many people are re-learning this ancient skill.
All you need are some medicinal herbs, high-proof alcohol, a mason jar, and some dropper bottles.
You will want to do some research to identify which herbs to use for the particular tincture you want to make, but once you have decided on your ingredients (which should be easy to find online if you don’t have them in your garden or can’t find them at a local health foods store), below are basic instructions from ModernFarmer.com for making your own medicinal tinctures.
Note: Some herbs can cause adverse reactions, especially in larger doses. Never use herbs that you are unfamiliar with without first consulting a qualified herbalist or medical professional. Children, pregnant and nursing women, and individuals taking prescription medication should consult with a health professional before taking any herbal product.
Identifying a suitable source of plant material is sometimes a little tricky, but tincturing is easy. The ratio of alcohol to herbs varies depending on whether you are using fresh herbs or dried herbs. Use 100-proof vodka for best results.
- Chop the plant material into chunks that are a half-inch in size or smaller. For roots and barks, it’s best to chop up the material as fine as possible. Other than roots that are caked with soil, there is no need to clean the herbs; you will only wash off the aromatic oils.
- Weigh the herbs. Multiply the weight of the herbs (in ounces) by two if you’re using fresh herbs, or by five if you’re using dried herbs. Add this quantity of alcohol (in fluid ounces) to a Mason jar and then add the herbs. The plant material should be completely covered by the alcohol.
- Screw the lids onto the jars, shake them vigorously for a few seconds, and leave them in a cool dark place for at least two weeks. Try to shake the jars once a day.
- Open the jars and pour the tincture through cheesecloth into another container to strain out the herbs.
- Fill glass dropper bottles (use the ones with dark, amber-colored glass so UV rays don’t degrade the product over time) using a tiny funnel.
- Label the jars with the name of the herb and date.
Fifteen to 30 drops taken 3 times a day is a typical dosage rate, but it’s always best to consult with an herbal remedy reference book for advice on using specific herbs.