Today is a post of herbalism. I explain the tincture definition, the difference between alcohol and glycerin tinctures, what they are, and give you a vitamin tincture recipe.
Here’s the deal. We all know that I started back working out and made it through what I call “hell week.” I have recently started back to a typical workout regime, but it is still hard on a body that is still getting back into it, all while waking up at 3am, not getting to bed until late, having a more-than-full time job, and running a business that consists of a blog and podcast.
On top of all of this, everyone is getting sick around me and I have realized just how nasty people can be some of the time. Last week, I got a little run down, but not sick. I took some time for myself and was fine. I have decided that I need to start combating any potential threats, and have always been curious about vitamin content.
Most vitamins probably have half of what they say they have because the content in them is measured prior to drying, cooking, and pulverizing. So I want to ensure that I am always getting they nutrition that I want.
This has led me to something that I have wanted to blog about for some time now, the tincture.
A tincture is an infusion of herbal extracts made with alcohol as the solvent. The alcohol pulls the properties of the herb into itself, and allows it to be stored for years, and almost indefinitely.
Tinctures can be used to deliver potent medicine, vitamins and minerals internally and externally. Tinctures may be taken straight by dropper, diluted in tea, and even used topically on skin. Like I already said, I want to use them for vitamin delivery.
Tinctures are extremely inexpensive to make. Most of them can be made in a matter of minutes, as far as your time is involved. They have a shelf-life of several years, which is better than almost any medicine or vitamin. And, to keep true to the name of the blog, they can be extremely valuable medicinally in a survival scenario, especially if typical medicine is hard to find. I may buy one to use while I wait on mine to finish the first time around.
What if I have an issue with using alcohol in tinctures? (Children, Religious Beliefs, Pregnancy, Gastric/liver inflammations, recovering alcoholics, etc.)
Well, if this is the case, you cannot have a tincture, since they are alcohol based, but you CAN make an extremely similar extract that can be made the same way. Many people use water, vinegar, glycerin, or other menstruum (solvent) to create tincture, but they are actually just extracts. The benefit of alcohol over these other solvents is that it pulls more of the goodies out of the herbs.
Children will be perfectly fine with the small amount of alcohol in the tinctures since they only get a drop or so at any time, but some people just want to keep their children away from it, which I respect and understand, just don’t fully agree.
Beware of Hazardous Essential Oils! There are many things that could be considered hazardous inhaled, ingested, or placed on the skin. Make sure to visit the oils profile page and the hazardous oils page for a list of things to know and avoid.
The List here is actually quite small. Other than the herbs that you choose for your infusion, this will be prettymuch what you need:
A little handy note about expensive versus cheap alcohol: Cheap 40 proof is distilled up to 40 proof. Distilling will remove impurities. Expensive 40 proof will double distil it which take it to almost 80 (not quite) and then add distilled water to bring it back down to 40, so there are less impurities and that is why it tastes better.
Generally everyone says to use 40% and above which is 80 proof or above (1%=2 proof). Most use Vodka since it is almost colorless and tasteless, but I have heard of using other whiskeys for their flavors.
Here is some more detailed information on the percentages for the analytical types:
40-50% (80-90 Proof Vodka)
67-70% (half 80 proof vodka and half 190 proof grain alcohol [everclear])
85-90% (190 proof grain based alcohol)
Using parts helps you to scale it up or down depending on how much you want to make. Try starting with a part being ¼ cup or a 1 oz. weight. When you are done LABEL ALL TINCTURES with a name, date made, and all ingredients in it. I recommend a tag that can be banded to it, so it is easy to reuse the bottles.
Process, Alcohol Method
Now you let it sit.
Glycerine tinctures are weaker than alcohol tinctures. Watch out for NON-FOOD GRADE glycerine or CORN glycerine. Corn is usually GMO.
Where to get your herbs? http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ (I have never ordered from here before)
These should be fairly potent multivitamins. I think I will be posting more recipes for different tinctures next post, because they are great for an herbalist to use for treatment and prevention of a myriad of illnesses and issues in a survival scenario that would otherwise end in disease or illness.
If you add the knowledge and skill of making tinctures and tonics with a survivalist’s herb-filled garden and ability to wildcraft herbs, you have a mix that will enable you to hold everyone’s health in your hands. If that doesn’t make someone valuable in a group, not much does…
As I write tips for your adventures and hear about cool gear, I will let you know all about it!