A tincture is an herbal extract that uses an alcohol menstruum to extract the medicinal qualities.
To make a good quality tincture, the highest alcohol by volume (80%) is most often used. This may be brandy, vodka, or everclear. The bottom shelf, cheapest alcohol is fine for this. The alcohol does the job of pulling out the herbal properties as well as acting as a preservative. Most herbal tinctures have an indefinite shelf life due to the alcohol.
Making a tincture is actually very easy. You want to measure the herbs by weight when making them for medicinal purposes. The reason for this is that some herbs, while useful, can be toxic in high concentrations. You also want to get the right amount for the “job” you need it to do. There’s nothing worse than taking an herbal tincture to help with cold symptoms, only to find you aren’t taking enough to do anything, right?
For tough colds, we use a a blend of herbs in a tincture at the start of symptoms. I like to have a good blend of herbs to assist in dealing with cold symptoms as well as supporting the immune system. For this tincture, we use Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) for it’s immune stimulating properities, Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) for it’s antiviral and antibacterial properties and Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolia) for it’s antimicrobial properties.
Leave out the Oregon Grape if you are pregnant, however.
To make this tincture:
- 10 grams dried echinacea (available here)
- 10 grams dried astragalus (available here)
- 5 grams dried oregon grape root (available here)
- 250 mL of alcohol
Place the measured herbs in a mason jar and cover with the alcohol. Allow to steep for 4 weeks, then strain. Store in a cool, dry place. To use at the start of a cold, take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day for adults, and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon 2 times a day for children ages 2 and up.
What is your favorite way to deal with cold symptoms? Have you made tinctures before? Be sure to pin this to your favorite board for later!