Herbalism 101: Tinctures

Welcome to the part one of the Herbalism series! In this series, I will be sharing with you how to incorporate herbs in your life for both magickal and mundane healing purposes.

Tinctures are a great way of incorporating herbs into your life. Typically they are alcoholic plant extracts that can be used topically or internally, depending on the plant. I use tinctures to create my own homemade, all natural antiseptic for cuts and small wounds. I also use them to create herb extracts to use in sprays, and for internal use. Tinctures are very popular homeopathic remedies for a multitude of ailments. Today I’ll teach you how tinctures are made using dried herbs, and I’ll fill you in on some basic herbs and their medicinal properties.

Basic Tincture recipe:

You’ll need at least 80 proof alcohol, or apple cider vinegar if you don’t keep alcohol around. Now, I’ve never used apple cider vinegar personally, but from my research, others have been able to use it as a good substitute for alcohol.

Fill a clear jar up 1/3 to 1/2 full of your dried herbs of choice. Pour a small amount of distilled water in order to dampen the herbs, and then fill the jar up the rest of the way with the alcohol or apple cider vinegar.

Secure the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Store your tincture in a cool, dry place and shake it every day for at least three weeks. You can do this process for a little longer, if you’d like, for up to 6 weeks.

When your satisfied with the length of time the tincture’s had to soak in the properties of the herb, you will need to strain your tincture of the herb. To do this, you can use a cheese cloth, or a small sink strainer. I use my tea kettle strainer. Then store your tincture in a clean glass jar or dropper bottle for use.

If you substituted apple cider vinegar for the alcohol, the tincture will only stay for 3-6 months. Tinctures made with alcohol will stay for much longer, usually until the alcohol itself evaporates.

The standard adult dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day, as needed.

Below are some basic herbs and their medicinal properties.

  • Chamomile is good for menstrual problems. It has also been used since Ancient Egypt for promoting good skin.
  • Lavender is known for curing headaches, and soothes nerves.
  • Mugwort is a digestive stimulant (alleviating bloating & gas) and can also help with menstrual problems. It is an appetite stimulant as well, and can help with stress relief. Pregnant people should avoid this herb.
  • Rosemary is also good for indigestion, as well as colds and headaches. It is also known for improving memory.
  • Sage (clary) can promote hair growth, relieve joint pain, and aid memory.
  • Lemon Balm is known for its anti-anxiety properties. It can help alleviate insomnia, and can also help with upset stomach. (I love lemon balm as a tea as well, and drink it at night to help me sleep!)
  • Thyme is good for coughs and congestion.

Please note that I am not a medical professional, and my knowledge is based on my own research from books and the internet. So, please consult a doctor before solely using tinctures for any ongoing medical issues. Also, please be cautious with allergies.

All these herbs can also be taken in tea form, however tinctures have a stronger potency. Have you made tinctures before? If so, what are some of your favorite herbs to use?

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