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. 

 


homemade magnesium spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Magnesium is a staple for relaxation. While folks usually go for a bath or foot bath, this homemade magnesium spray is easy to absorb and apply when you're in a pinch. Magnesium has been shown to reduce stress and enhance sleep. It's also shown to support hormone function and provide energy support. These magnesium chloride bath flakes are the best.

During pregnancy, my feet (along with the rest of me) were very swollen during the third trimester, IYKYK. I was also sleeping terribly, as expected. Magnesium foot baths gave my feet incredible relief, helped set up a relaxing environment, and I slept as good as someone good when they have a pumpkin-sized gymnast attached to them. 

Once the baby came, I definitely needed all the support I could get with hormones, sleep, and reduced stress. Between the cluster-feeding and contact naps, I didn't have the time to continue with my evening foot soaks. Sure, I could steal away for a bath every now and then, but I felt like I needed support each night. That's where this homemade magnesium spray really came in handy. Now, I use it on myself and my one-year old during out bedtime routine. 

Homemade Magnesium Spray Recipe

homemade magnesium spray

Homemade Magnesium Spray

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup magnesium flakes
  • Spray bottle

Instructions

  1. Boil water
  2. Add Magnesium flakes
  3. Stir until fully dissolved
  4. Wait until cooled
  5. Pour into spray bottle

Apply 2-3 sprays on the soles of your feet before bed. 


hormone latte

Hormone Healing Chamomile Latte

Hormone Healing Chamomile Latte

Looking to heal those hormones and reduce your caffeine intake, but don't want to lose out on your five minutes of morning peace with your coffee? This hormone healing chamomile latte is the perfect alternative if you're trying to go caffeine-free with a creamy, dreamy latte. 

Maca powder will add hormone support and healing since it is an adaptogenic herb. Try making your own vanilla extract it's so easy! 

By cutting out caffeine you can dramatically reduce the stress on your body and reduce the amount of time your body spends in a parasympathetic state. 

I started to notice that in the mornings, when I was working from home, before the nanny my stress was high. Very high. I felt panicked, I was irritable, and it started my day off so poorly. It is a stressful situation to try to get yourself ready for the day, a baby ready, breakfast, coffee, fire up the laptop for work, get through a few emails. I'm already pretty high-strung. The absolute last thing I need is caffeine. 

I switched to organic swiss water process decaf coffee at first. Having that hot mug in my hands while I distract my babe with scrambled eggs and smushed blueberries is just blissI needed something. Then I decided I wanted to support my body with my morning drink, that's when I switched to these hormone healing chamomile lattes. Still creamy and delicious just like my coffee, but supports my body instead of depleting it. 

hormone latte

Hormone Healing Chamomile Latte

Ingredients

  • Chamomile tea bag
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk, or more to your liking
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare one cup of chamomile tea
  2. In a blender combine the tea and remaining ingredients.
  3. Blend for a few seconds.
  4. Pour into cup and enjoy

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. 


bone broth

Herbal Bone Broth

Nourish your body with this delicious nutrient-dense bone broth. All of that gelatinous goodness will fuel your body. Warm bone broth in a large coffee mug was my go-to during those early postpartum months to get my mineral stores back in a good place and re-hydrate. After pregnancy, birth, and nursing - your minerals really take a hit. 

Sourcing quality products is what you'll want to focus on when making bone broth. This version is a little extra. Feel free to add or subtract what you have on hand. My best bone broth hack is to add vegetable and bone scraps to a bag in my freezer for a few weeks as I use them for dinners. Once the bag is full, it's time to make broth. 

Try fire cider for another option to boost that immunity. 

bone broth

Herbal Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 2lbs bones
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 sheet of seaweed
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee or butter
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions

1. Roast bones on 375 degrees F for 30 minutes.

2. Simmer in a large pot with water overnight, or for eight hours.

3. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for six more hours.

4. Let cool.

5. Pour into jars to process or store flat in freezer bags (see note)

Notes

While using plastic freezer bags isn't ideal, this is often the easiest and best option for some. Once broth has completely cooled, measure desired amount into bag. Remove air and seal bag, lay bag flat on baking sheet. Label with marker. Stack multiple bags on top of baking sheet and place in freezer. When frozen, take bags off baking sheet for storage. I recommend storing in 2-4 cup increments.


fire cider

Homemade Fire Cider

Homemade Fire Cider

If you've never heard of fire cider before, it is a spicy tonic that is used to fight colds and flus and boost the immune system. It's a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and herbs all topped with vinegar. After steeping for a few weeks, all of these beneficial ingredients are strained out and the liquid is used to add to soups, stews, sauces, marinades - but I most often use it as a tea or as a shot. 

Use a variety of ingredients in your fire cider, whatever you have on hand or prefer. Common additions are ginger, honey, lemon, oranges, red onion, elderberry, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, and cayenne. Other beneficial ingredients that can be used are black pepper, jalapeno, echinacea, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, thyme, rosehips, pomegranate, and limes. 

A large glass 64-70 ounce jar is best. Apple cider vinegar is going to be the best tasting and beneficial vinegar to use. As always, use high quality ingredients. 

fire cider

Homemade Fire Cider

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 1 month
Total Time: 1 month 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 64 oz jar with lid, sterilized
  • 2.5 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 orange
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup horseradish
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 inch fresh turmeric root
  • 2 TBS rose hips
  • 2 TBS elderberries (boil these in water for 10 min and strain, first)
  • 1-2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1.5 cups of honey

Instructions

  1. Chop onion, jalapeno, garlic into large rough chunks
  2. Grate turmeric, horseradish, ginger
  3. Slice lemon, lime, and orange
  4. Add all ingredients to jar, except apple cider vinegar. While adding, smash ingredients with a muddler.
  5. Pour apple cider vinegar over ingredients to cover.
  6. Shake well
  7. Cover and set on counter for 4-6 weeks.
  8. Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer
  9. Store liquid in glass bottle
  10. Drink 1-2 tablespoons a day alone, add to tea, soups, stews, etc.

starbucks medicine ball

Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe

Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Drink

Let's make this popular order - the Starbucks Medicine Ball - into a drink that is actually nourishing for the body. Kick your winter cold with this homemade version.

The Starbucks version has 30g of sugar. There is honey in the Starbucks version, but it is not up to the standards you would want to provide a medicinal benefit. It contains potassium sorbate (a preservative), gums, and "natural flavors" (can be a unknown variety of lab-made flavorings). Nothing about those ingredients set your body up healing. 

Let's stick to the good stuff that will actually support our bodies. That's the whole reason we would order the Starbucks Medicine Ball over your usual double-pump, cold foam, latte-blah-blah triple espresso, right? 

Ginger, honey, lemon, and peppermint are the ultimate tried and true threat for cough, cold, flu, congestion, and overall funkiness. Take a drink if you feel something coming on or if you need a little immunity boost. 

I like to swap out the tea depending on how I'm feeling or what I have on hand. Ginger, honey, and lemon - you really can't go wrong adding it to any tea blend. I prefer loose leaf tea. You can typically find it for much cheaper than bagged tea, plus you avoid chemicals and bleach that are used in most tea bags. My favorite tea balls are durable and reusable. Plus, you can mix and match single varieties of tea to make your own custom blend, depending on your needs. 

starbucks medicine ball

Homemade Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 ginger root, chopped into small sections. Peel, if preferred.
  • 3 lemons, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey, preferably local
  • plash of water
  • High quality peppermint tea

Instructions

  1. Blend the ginger, lemons, honey, and water
  2. Pour into an ice cube tray
  3. Freeze until solid
  4. Add a cube or two to your hot peppermint tea

 

 


Fermented Garlic Honey

Fermented Garlic Honey

Cold and flu season is here. This fermented garlic honey great home remedy to have on hand to boost your immune system. Garlic is a powerhouse and widely recognized for its anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral properties. Garlic is a great addition to any garden, too. It doesn't take up a lot of space, and while it does have a longer growing season, it doesn't require much care. Choose varieties that store well for homegrown garlic all year long. 

Fermenting garlic in honey makes it easy on the belly and compounds all of those lovely benefits. Take a spoonful when sick or when you feel a funk coming on. This fermented garlic honey is a perfect for kiddos - a spoonful of sugar, right? 

While I'm totally on the slow living train, this garlic chopper saves so much time - it works great with ginger too, and has everything you need to chop, mince, and dice without sticky garlic paper fingers. 

Fermented Garlic Honey

Fermented Garlic Honey

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Raw honey
  • Sterilized jar

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the garlic
  2. Place garlic in the jar
  3. Pour in raw honey until garlic is covered
  4. Lightly put the lid on, finger tight, and place in a dark cabinet
  5. Tighten lid and flip the jar every day (fun activity for kids).
  6. When the jar is right side up, loosen the lid again

Notes

Over time, you'll see bubbles - that's the fermentation!

Disclaimer: As with anything, do your research and choose the best route for your family. Do not give honey to children under one year of age.


bath bombs

Essential Oil Bath Bombs

Essential Oil Bath Bombs

Doesn't it just add to the relief to have bath bombs that aren't filled with toxic chemicals and fragrances? While a lot of self-sufficiency is learning the basics - growing and preserving food, natural remedies, etc. it is nice to learn those things that make you feel like you're at a fancy spa. Minus the hormone disruption. 

These bath bombs can be customized using whatever essential oils that make your skirt fly up. I'll throw a few of my favorite blends at the bottom, but these make great gifts. Once you get the hang of the texture, they are easy peasy. 

Some things you may not have on hand are linked: citric acid, bath bomb molds, and jojoba oil.

Bath Bomb Essential Oil Blends

All essential oils can be found at Young Living.

Relax: 
4 drops of Lavender
4 drops of Cedarwood
2 drops of Grapefruit
2 drops of Marjoram

Deep Breath, great for stuffy sinuses or cough
4 drops of Eucalyptus
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Peppermint
2 drops of Tea Tree

Sleepy Time, great for kiddos
2 drops of Orange
4 drops of Lavender
2 drops of Gentle Baby (Young Living)

Moody
4 drops of Evergreen Essence (Young Living)
3 drops of Copaiba
2 drops of Pine
2 drops of Bergamot

bath bombs

Non-Toxic Bath Bombs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2-5 teaspoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 10-14 drops of essential oils
  • Bath Bomb mold
  • Dried flowers, optional

Instructions

  1. Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk
  2. Add the jojoba oil and essential oils in a separate bowl
  3. Very slowly, add the liquid to the dry mixture a little at a time, whisking as you go.
  4. The mixture should hold together well when squeezed and should not crumble, similar to the texture of sand you need for a sand castle.
  5. Add a few more drops of water if needed to achieve the correct texture
  6. Pack the molds tightly, add your optional dried flowers
  7. Molds will set and dry in 48 hours.

garlic salve

Homemade Garlic Salve

Homemade Garlic Salve

It's only been in recent years that modern pharmaceuticals have been the only avenue for healing. Garlic was actually the preferred method to treat bacterial and viral infections up until the wave of vaccinations and medications. This homemade garlic salve will be a staple during cold season. 

Garlic (specifically the compound allicin) is an incredible healer of the lungs and respiratory system. And, since it's from nature, this homemade garlic salve is safe to use on everyone in your family - from babies to the elderly. 

Here is our go-to recipe for this homemade garlic salve. Use lard or coconut oil depending on what you have on hand and your family's sensitivities. Make it before the sickies hit so you have it on hand. Salve lasts four weeks or until completely used. Store in pantry or fridge for a longer shelf life. 

garlic salve

Homemade Garlic Salve

Yield: 4 oz jar

Natural remedy for RSV, croup, cough, etc.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup of lard or coconut oil
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TSP beeswax
  • 8 drops of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil, optional

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic and measure out the remaining ingredients
  2. Add garlic, oils, and beeswax to glass measuring cup
  3. Use a double boiler to infuse the above over low heat for 40-60 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Strain oil, wax, and garlic through cheesecloth into a 4 oz glass jar.
  5. Add essential oils, if desired.


Apply to chest, back, and feed 4-6 times per day. Use salve within four weeks of creating. We like to make this right before the cold season hits.

Notes

Apply to chest, back, and feed 4-6 times per day. Use salve within four weeks of creating. We like to make this right before the cold season hits.