how to make an herbal tincture

How to Make an Herbal Tincture

How to Make Herbal Tincture

An herbal tincture is essentially herb-infused alcohol. While herbs and oil will eventually get you essential oils, herbs and alcohol will get you tinctures.

Herbal tinctures are an excellent way to benefit from medicinal herbs. They are easy to put together and are shelf-stable for years. The easiest way to make an herbal tincture is through the process of maceration. Maceration is the process of soaking herbs in liquid (water or alcohol) for several weeks; it is the go-to tincture method for at-home herbalists. 

What is Menstrum?

Menstrum is the liquid portion of a tincture. The menstrum will extract the properties from the herb. It can be water, alcohol, vinegar, or, sometimes, glycerine. Most folks use vodka or everclear. 

Calculating the amount and ratio of menstrum to herb can be as easy or as complicated as you'd like to make it. However, most herbalists use a 50% water and 50% alcohol as their menstrum and that will get you an effective tincture with no issues.

While there are plenty of resources for getting very specific with your menstrum ratios depending on the types of herbs and accounting for loss, we are going to keep it simple in this guide and use dependable ratios to get us a solid product each time. 

Menstrum to Herb Ratio

Most herbalists will use the following ratios: 

  • Fresh Plant Tinctures 1:2 ratio, with 95% ABV menstrum
  • Dry Plant Tinctures 1:5 ratio, with 50-65% ABV mentrum

When making fresh plant tinctures, each 1 gram of fresh herb is macerated (soaked) in 2 milliliters of almost pure alcohol (Everclear) for optimal extraction.

For tinctures made from dry plant materials, each 1 gram of herb is macerated in 5 milliliters of menstruum with an alcohol content of between 50 and 65% (double-proof vodka).

Herb Preparation

Dried Herbs

Chop your dried herbs into small pieces, they do not need to be powdered.

Kitchen shears are the best tool for this. When using barks, roots, berries, or mushrooms that are difficult to cut with shears, put them into the blender for a few seconds, just enough to break them up. 

Fresh Herbs

Typically, you'll only need the leaves. Be sure to wash and dry them before use. Roughly chop the herbs. Refer to ratios above. 

How to Make an Herbal Tincture - Lemon Balm

In this guide we will make a lemon balm tincture. Lemon balm is incredibly easy to grow, as it is in the mint family. It calms anxiety, promotes sleep, and aids in digestion. 

Lemon balm is an incredible tincture to have on hand postpartum. It eases the night-scaries and mild anxious feelings and belly discomfort that come with postpartum. Lord knows we need help with in the sleep department, too. 

how to make an herbal tincture

How to Make an Herbal Tincture

Ingredients

  • Half pint jar with lid
  • Measuring cups
  • Metal strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup everclear

Instructions

  1. Fill jar with herbs
  2. Pour in everclear, be sure alcohol is covering herbs completely
  3. That's it, put the lid on.
  4. Put in a cool dark place for four weeks, give a gentle shake once a week.
  5. Place cheesecloth inside metal strainer on top of a clean empty jar and strain out herb leaves.
  6. Label clearly and take one dropper as needed.

Disclaimer: This information is intended only as education and is not a replacement for professional health advice. 

 


herbs to grow

5 Medicinal Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

5 Medicinal Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Here are some incredibly medicinal flowers and herbs to grow in your garden this spring to stock your home apothecary. This is a short list of five power house herbs that I'm growing in my garden this spring. One season of planting can provide years of benefits when turned into oils or tinctures. 

Echinacea

Echinacea is a well-known medicinal herb that is an immunity powerhouse. Grab this to prevent and treat colds and flus. Echinacea helps rebuild white blood cells and protect the body from infection. It can also relieve upper-respiratory issues and assist with lung health. 

Chamomile 

Reach for the chamomile to treat any bruises or swelling. To use topically, it can be made into a balm or salve. If I'm in a pinch, I will take a chamomile tea and use the tea bag on the bruise or add the tea and bag to a foot soak to reduce swelling. This medicinal herb can help with sore throat and cold symptoms. It also soothes toothaches. Chamomile is incredibly easy to grow in your garden! 

Hyssap

Hyssap is another medicinal herb that can help with lung health. Use it for a multitude of respiratory issues and as another overall immune booster. Aids in digestion and can be used topically to help with bruise discoloration. 

Borage

Great anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for swelling or an allergic reaction. Borage protects against oxidative cell damage and can even help treat asthma. Another immune booster that is packed with nutrients. Use borage topically in a balm or salve to help insect bites, eczema, and skin irritation. 

Yarrow

Reduces scars, helps the skin prevent infection. Yarrow has antiseptic and antispasmodic properties, meaning it can help with stomach cramping and aid in digestion. Make a tea to cleanse the skin and prevent any infections. Yarrow is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant for the skin. 

Turn these herbs and flowers into a tea, tincture, oil, balm, or salve after harvesting them from your garden. You could even try a bath bomb after making any of these into an oil. 


Benefits, Uses, and Selecting Compost Manure

Benefits, Uses, and Selecting Compost Manure

It's no secret that there are many benefits to compost manure in your vegetable garden, flower beds, hay fields, your yard, even those indoor plants that are always trying to die. 

Benefits

Aged compost manure provides an incredible amount of diversity into the soil. Bacteria, fungi, insects, worms, and micronutrients. All come together to support plant growth and defend against pests and disease. It greatly enriches and conditions the soil and allows sandy soils to retain moisture - hello less watering! It also gives taxed and depleted soils plenty of nutrients. Adding it generously to compacted soil will help loosen the soil. 

Uses In the Garden

The best time to place manure in the garden is in the fall and winter, each year. After a long growing season, soil in the garden is depleted of many nutrients as they are absorbed by plants. Replenishing the soil each year is critical to maintaining good soil health. While a neutral compost manure can be used in large amounts in the garden, it's important to consider your crops in determining where you will be more heavy handed with it. 

Some plants are high nitrogen feeders, while other plants are nitrogen producers. Vegetable plants like lettuce, kale, spinach, and cabbage are high nitrogen feeders, meaning they require soil with high nitrogen. Crops like green beans and peas are nitrogen producers, meaning they make their own nitrogen and don't need as much in the soil. 

Using compost manure in a larger amount in high nitrogen feeders will really make these leafy veggies thrive. Using compost manure sparingly in beds with high nitrogen producers will promote more "fruit growth" rather than producing bushy leaves. Alternatively, you could lay down a neutral compost manure, like aged and composted horse manure and top dress with poultry litter in your nitrogen feeder beds. 

compost manure garden

Selecting Compost

Compost manure that is fresh will be too "hot" and will burn plants. The term hot refers to the nitrogen. The higher the nitrogen, the "hotter" the compost. Poultry manure is very high in nitrogen. We choose horse manure, as it tends to be a little more neutral for the garden beds and customers. We use turkey and horse manure for our hay fields. The turkey litter, high in nitrogen, promotes dense pasture growth, where horse manure provides biodiversity. 

When purchasing compost manure, you want to look for an aging period of six months or longer. The composting process also breaks down the "hotness" of the nitrogen, making it more neutral and eliminates the possibility of burning plants. 

You can find compost manure at your local garden center or Home Depot/Lowes but more often than not, farmers (like us!) and horse farms will be happy to sell for a discounted price.