Tincture Time: Making Tinctures

This isn’t the world’s greatest photograph, but we made a tincture the other day:


A couple weeks ago we went to a local prepper’s group meetup and one member of the group gave a good presentation on herbal remedies.    One of the things she did was show us how to make a few different tinctures, so we decided to try this one.

You don’t really hear of people making tinctures often, so if you don’t know what they are I think the most basic definition is a liquid like alcohol, vinegar or glycerine infused with the oils from herbs.   This one is made from cayenne pepper, ginger, onion, garlic and apple cider vinegar.  The lady giving the presentation described this one as kind of a cure-all tonic.

Apple cider vinegar is the liquid medium that extracts the oils.   We picked this over alcohol because, well, neither one of us drink and we don’t keep it around (except for a bottle of two buck chuck for cooking).

Ginger is an antiseptic.   It’s good for circulation, digestive problems and respitory conditions.  It’s good for things like upset stomachs, colds, flu, nausea, etc.   I think it’s one of the more useful natural medicines I know of.   I think the aroma has a stimulating effect just like basil does.   I know when I was chopping it I was glad to have the smell on my hands later on.

Cayenne pepper is one of my favorites.  Just like ginger, it has a warming effect on the body due to the capsaicin.   After consuming cayenne you can really feel your circulation improve.   I’ve started putting a little bit of dried cayenne in my pre-workout drink and I think it does help improve performance.   For medicinal use it can help with infections in the digestive system and bringing down a high fever.    I might do a more in-depth post about the wonders of cayenne shortly.

Garlic is the other wonder herb.   I think it does just about everything. It’s good for circulation, digestion, fighting infections.  It’s a good antiseptic and people even use it topically for ear infections.   I’ve heard that if you ask herbalists what their #1 choice would be, most of them will say garlic.

Onions have medicinal uses too.   I guess the more color to the onion, the better it is (i.e. red are better than yellow and yellow are better than white).   They’re anti-inflammatory, diuretic (cleansing through increased urine flow), antibiotic  and an expectorant.

She added horseradish to hers.   I couldn’t find any, but I might be able to acquire some tomorrow.    Horseradish is a diuretic and increases perspiration, so it’s great for common ailments like colds, flu and fever.

The tincture was made by chopping up everything, putting it into a mason jar, filling it with apple cider vinegar and sealing it up.   I shake it up when I think about it and in about a month I’ll strain it and put it into a smaller bottle.   It’s very easy to make.  When we feel something coming on, we’ll take a few drops of it every day until it goes away.   The tincture will store for a long time in the right conditions (out of sunlight and extreme temps).     When spring comes and the dandelions start coming up, I might make another one she showed us of dried dandelion root and leaves with milk thistle.

I think this tincture will be nice because it covers just about everything in the way of illness.    I have a blend of tea from herbs I grew (peppermint, lemon basil, chamomile, catnip and bee balm) for when I need something calming and/or sleep-inducing.

I’m not trying to push these links just for the sake of Amazon associates’ commissions, but I think it’s a good thing to have some information on hand about herbs.   Sure someday if all hell breaks lose and we go back into the stone ages you might need some self-medication but it also helps improve your diet, health and general well being right now to use herbs.   I’ll probably post more on this subject because it is something that’s interesting to me.  I find myself flipping through this one quite a bit:

and this one:

The Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine is very comprehensive and a good reference for anything to do with herbal medicine and Your Backyard Herb Garden covers general uses of 50 of the most common herbs; things like growing them, preserving them, using them in cooking, aromatherapy and medicinal use.    There’s a lot of good free info out on the internet as well.