Although there are many different ways that herbs can be taken and used therapeutically, I believe that herbal tinctures are often the most effective. This is due, in part, to the fact that most tinctures are made using a base of alcohol—a component that is able to break down and extract the most active constituents and healing properties from an herb. The alcohol base also ensures that the formula is delivered quickly to the liver and, in turn, to the blood stream where it can be utilized by the body most efficiently.
*NOTE: Tinctures are strong preparations. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage for your herb and never use industrial alcohol, methylated spirits, or rubbing alcohol in tincture preparation.
The following is a basic method to prepare an herbal tincture.
Tinctures are made in different strengths, expressed as ratios. For this basic preparation, a 1:5 ratio is used.
Step 1- Place 4 ounces of dried herb (preferably cut and sifted but powdered may also be used) in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour 20 ounces of alcohol (vodka or rum)over the herb. Put the lid on the jar, securing tightly, and shake for 1-2 minutes. Store the preparation in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 14 days and up to 6 weeks. Shake the jar every day or so for a few seconds.
Step 2- Secure a piece of cheesecloth over a large jug or bowl. strain the herbal mixture from the jar into the cheesecloth and let the liquid drain into the bowl. After the liquid has stopped draining, pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze as much liquid out of the herbs as possible. Discard the leftover herbs (I put them in compost pile, they are great for the garden).
Step 3- Pour the newly made tincture into a clean dark glass bottle or jar and secure with a lid. Label with the name of the herb and the date it was finished. Store away from direct sunlight and use as needed.
*Standard dosage for most herbal tinctures is 1/2 - 1 tsp 2-3 times per day in water.
**If you are taking any over the counter or prescription medications, be sure to research the herbs being used to ensure there is no concern for interaction.