Thursday, 9 February 2012

Making tinctures: a tutorial

Around Christmas I blogged here about digging up roots and cleaning them to make them into a tincture. A tincture is an extract of a herb in alcohol. In this case, I used Meadowsweet. I chopped up the roots and put them in a clean jar. Then I added vodka, enough to completely cover them. Because everything that is not covered in alcohol, can get moldy.
The tincture has been in a cupboard for six weeks, so it's time to separate the herb form the alcohol. I use a sieve and a clean piece of cloth. Old cotton sheets work great for that. I use a glass measuring jug, so I can see what the tincture looks like and how much I have. The procedure is very simple: I just empty the jar in the sieve and see the tincture running!

You can see the tincture is beautifully clear and has a deep red colour. I try to press out as much of the good stuff as possible. You need some strenght for this! I have seen tincture presses on the internet, it would be great to have one...
I pour the tincture into a clean jar and label it. I like to put a date on the label; tinctures keep quite well (most of them at least three years) but not forever. I always keep them in a dark place, away from sunlight.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) likes to grow in wet places. The flowers are creamy white. They look fluffy, almost fragile and have a distinct sweet smell. Insects love them! The roots are of a very different nature. They form a strong mat that makes it difficult to dig them up!

Like Willow, Meadowsweet has salicylate salts. In the 19th century, this has been recognised as a painkiller and made into acetylsalicyd acid, called Asperin. Pure asperin can harm the stomach. Meadowsweet doesn't, because it has other compounds that work soothing on the stomach tissue and even relieve heartburn. It is a pain reliever and works anti-inflammatory. And has another bonus: it helps the body detoxing by getting uric acid and oxalic acid out. That is why it is used on joint pains that are associated with acidity.

I will gather the flowers in summer and make them into a tincture too and mix the two.

This was shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing with Wildcrafting Wednesday! :)

    ~ Kathy


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