Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Herbal Tincture Making

This post is specifically for you, Caitlyn - enjoy!

1. You begin with some 100 proof alcohol (I used Vodka) - this is called the menstruum.

2. Then you grab some fresh or dried herbs.
3. Put herbs in a glass canning jar and pour in the alcohol until the herbs are covered plus 1/4 inch headspace. I found that leafy herbs absorbed much more alcohol than did roots, berries and bark.
4. The best time to begin your tinctures is the day of the new moon, and after shaking each day for about 4 weeks, strain the herbs through cheesecloth and carefully pour the liquid that is left into dark glass bottles.
Mind you, I know there is a lot of quack stuff out there in the herbal community, but I thought this was interesting: Chinese herbal medicine teaches that "herbs gathered in the spring, in the morning, or at the waxing moon, made up of rapidly growing tissues, the leaves, green tips and other parts when green, will tend to encourage upward movement. Herbs gathered in midsommer, at noon and at the full moon, made up of the mature parts of the plant, the flowers, fruit and associated structures, would tend to encourage outward movement. One would use such remedies to disperse cold, to assist superficial defences against both cold and heat and to counteract symptoms of excessive sinking in the body or excessive penetration (i.e. disease conditions moving past primary defences to establish themselves as chronic pathologies). Rising remedies might include heating remedies, emetics and expectorants, the astringents and the peripheral vasodilators.
"Herbs gathered in the autumn, in late afternoon and during the waning moon, with drying plant tissues, stalks, fallen leaves, parts of the plant that have lost their full colour, the rhizomes and tubers that encourage downward movement while those associated with dormancy, latency, hidden potency, with the plant in winter, at night and at the new moon, with quiescent latent tissues, especially seeds, buds and rootstocks, will encourage inward movement. Both tendencies are encouraged by harvesting and storage. They would tend to be used to reduce excessive heat, encourage nourishing and eliminatory activities and counteract symptoms of excessive rising in the body, such as vomiting, coughing, headaches, convulsions, spastic conditions such as asthma and nervous dyspepsia, and neuromuscular tensions. These remedies might include the antispasmodics, sedatives, bitters, antitussives, purgatives and diuretics." - quoted from 'Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy'
Hm, I wonder what natural laws could be the reason for this thinking?

I thank God for these wonderful healing plants!

Yes! I am done with module 1 of the Naturally Healthy Community Herbalist course by Shonda Parker. What a fabulous overview of healing foods, how to avoid excessive toxic exposure, understand medical terms and lab tests, how to practice Christian hospitality and organize your pantry and kitchen.

P.S. My 'Immune Defense' and 'Winter Health' concoctions seem to be helpful along with the vitamin C, zinc, garlic and echinacea for keeping the immune system strong this winter. Since I'm around little kids from different families a lot because of my music teaching, I usually bring in the big guns (tincture of oregano and elderberry) if I feel slightly iffy. That, a positive outlook, friends, sleep, and eating well are all just as helpful for staying healthy!


King's child said...

Thank you Emily! Where did you end up getting you alcohol from? Interesting question to ask on a blog.... ;D Your pics are so nice! Good picutres really make things easier to understand.


Garden of Glory said...

My dad went to the Newberg alcohol store - he said it was sad to watch the people who frequent it :( I will probably be brave enough to go there myself as soon as I turn 21.

King's child said...

Hmmmmm, not sure I'd ever want to brave a place like that... I know! I'll just send you! J/K! :)