For centuries, herbal tinctures have been prescribed as remedies and strengthening tonics. A tincture -- or extract -- forms as alcohol draws out the medicinal constituents of the herb. As needed, drops of tincture are added to a beverage. Tinctures can be prepared from a wide range of herbs, from echinacea to valerian, and even ragweed.
Today, herbal medicine is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Many individuals wish to prepare their own remedies with fresh herbs from their gardens. The steps to preparing an herbal tincture are not complicated, and can be carried out at your kitchen table. To ensure effectiveness, however, it is necessary to learn the proper method for preparing an herbal tincture.
- Step 1 - Harvest the fresh herb or select a dried herb; discard any discolored pieces.
- Step 2 - Coarsely chop fresh plant material (leaves, berries, roots - whatever part of the plant is used in a tincture).
- Step 3 - Fill jar with chopped fresh herb or half fill with dried herb.
- Step 4 - Fill jar to top with 100-proof vodka; to prevent spoilage, completely cover plant material. Poke mixture with a wooden spoon handle to remove air bubbles.
- Step 5 - Cap jar and attach label; with permanent marker, note date, herb, and herb part used.
- Step 6 - Place jar in cool, dark area for 6 weeks; eventually, you may need to add more vodka as the herb absorbs the liquid.
- Step 7 - After 6 weeks, strain the tincture through cheesecloth into a bowl. Pour tincture back into glass jar. Use the funnel to pour tincture into dropper bottle. Label as noted in step 5.
- Step 8 - Store tincture in cool dark place. Use as recommended.
Valerian tincture is a calming herb and a good herbal insomnia remedy. Valerian root tincture is also a good home herbal remedy for anxiety. Making a tincture is a great way of preserving these medicinal constituents since tinctures will last on your shelf for several years. Tinctures are also a very convenient way of getting herbs into our systems.