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Tinctures: What They are & the Best Herbs for Alleviating Common Ailments Previous item Sophrology: a holistic... Next item Traditional Chinese...

Tinctures: What They are & the Best Herbs for Alleviating Common Ailments

What are essentially concentrated herbal extracts, tinctures have been used all over the world for thousands of years and are a great element to consider in your holistic health plan. While there isn’t evidence to say that tinctures can cure severe physical ailments, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does consider them supplements — meaning they have been found to be useful in combatting and warding off stress, anxiety, and common colds, as well as aiding in sleep, reducing inflammation, and treating common skin issues.

A key component of herbal medicine, tinctures are made by soaking fresh herbs, whether that be bark, leaves, berries, or roots, in either vinegar or safe-for-consumption alcohol. The vinegar or alcohol extracts the active components in the plants and then concentrates them in liquid form.

Making tinctures gives the consumer an easy way to digest health-boosting plants, in a very easy and inexpensive way. Plus, you can make them at home!

Now that we know what tinctures are, how do we make them?

To make a tincture, gather your preferred herbs together, and remove any unwanted parts. In this part of the process, it is imperative that you do your research. Know exactly what kind of herb you have in your hands, and the possible benefits and side effects associated with that plant. While there are amazing benefits to using tinctures, not every plant found on the planet is safe to consume, and you need to be absolutely sure what you’re taking is good for the body. Further to this, consider your health history and any prescribed medications you’re on, and choose plants that won’t interfere with any conditions or medicines.

If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend you purchase your herbs from online or in a store so you know exactly what you’re getting, opposed to foraging for herbs in nature.

From here, wash and chop your plants, and put them into an airtight container, such as a mason jar. Then, pour vinegar (either white or apple cider work great) or alcohol into the jar, and seal it up. A general rule of thumb is if you’re using fresh herbs, use a plant to alcohol ratio of 1-1. If you’re using dried herbs, use a ratio of 1-5.

In choosing alcohol or vinegar for your tincture, it’s best to choose a clear liquid with not a lot of flavor. Especially if you plan to use alcohol, a high-proof, high-quality brand will give you a better tincture in the long run. Do not use rubbing alcohol or anything else not made for ingesting.

Then, label your jar with the plant name and all the information you know about it. This can include the Latin name for the plant, how to take the tincture, the type of alcohol used, and when the tincture was crafted.

Then, store your tincture in a dark, cool place for at least a month, adding more liquid roughly every week, or as needed (you’ll know the tincture needs more liquid when the herbs soak it all up). When your tincture is ready, strain it into another airtight container. All of this said, your tincture needs will vary depending on the type of herbs you use.

For a step-by-step guide to making tinctures, check out this YouTube video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOi4ePH9QrA

How to Take a Tincture

Depending on your preference and suggested dosage, you can either take a tincture by the spoonful, by diluting a few drops in tea or water, or by placing a few drops under your tongue. Any of these ways will be effective in getting the tincture easily into your system.

If the tincture isn’t necessarily pleasant-tasting, you can add a little water, juice, or honey to it before consuming.

Tincture Herbs for Alleviating Common Ailments

While the world of plant medicines is an extensive one, here are just a few common natural ingredients you can use to make your own tinctures. Again, research everything before you consume it!

Chamomile

According to the National Library of Medicine, Chamomile has been shown in being an effective treatment for anxiety, healing wounds, and reducing inflammation.

Dandelion

According to Healthline, Dandelions are often consumed as a digestive aid and taken before meals to help prevent gas. These tinctures can also be consumed to prevent UTI’s, and as a way to support liver and kidney function.

Ginger

While you’re probably used to popping natural ginger pills when you’re feeling nauseated or have a bout of motion sickness, if you’re looking for a DYI answer than make yourself a ginger tincture.

Elderberry

Because of its active ingredient of anthocyanin, research has suggested that Elderberry tinctures may be helpful in reducing inflammation.

Hops

Used for more than just making beer, making a hops tincture is a great way to relieve digestive upset, insomnia, and stress. Sidenote: The first tincture I ever made was with hops, and while it leaves something to be desired in the taste department, I do find it has helped with my sleep!

Turmeric

Due to the compound curcumin, Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities when taken as a tincture.

Echinacea

Whether you take it in a tea or a tincture, echinacea has been proven to have immune-boosting effects and is often taken to ward off the common cold. That said, there isn’t sufficient evidence to say that echinacea is beneficial once you already have a cold, so better to take it in advance.

Reishi Mushrooms

Studies have shown that Reishi mushroom tinctures are effective in boosting immune system response.

Peppermint

Not only is peppermint known for being an awakening, rejuvenating plant, studies have also shown that it assists in digestion by relaxing muscles of the digestive tract.

Licorice

Licorice tinctures are commonly used both as a digestive aid and an anti-microbial supplement.

That’s it for my guide on making your own tinctures! Have you ever made your own tincture or wondered about them? Let us know in the comments!

Sources:

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/10/1089 

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-tincture#side-effects    

https://practicalselfreliance.com/reishi-mushroom-tincture/ 

https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/guide-tinctures-extracts

https://www.digestivecenterforwellness.com/find-the-root-cause/peppermint-oil/#:~:text=Using%20a%20traditional%20remedy%20such,bloating%2C%20all%20common%20with%20IBS.

https://www.pacificrimcollege.com/2017/11/plant-feature-hops-humulus-lupulus/ 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dandelion-benefits 

 

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