This is an FAQ working file thread. Please do not ask questions in this thread. Feel free to add valid information/research and or testimonies.
Uny here - if you've landed here because you're going to be making your own tinctures, then please be sure to read the following paragraph...
Although tincturing is extremely easy, there is still a lot you need to know before you begin! You are 'making medicine' that you will be ingesting into your precious body (and perhaps giving or selling to others). I strongly suggest that you do not start tincturing (buying herbs/alcohol, measuring or even deciding what you're going to tincture) until you've first read enough of the posts in this FAQ to totally understand what you'll be doing and why. Those of us on the forum that have taken our time to create these posts and then take more of our time to answer questions, will know by the questions you ask whether or not you have taken the time to read through the information we've already posted & compiled. So if you post questions and it's clear you haven't bothered to read the posts we've created (I've just gone through every link/post in this FAQ & put an asterisk after the ones that are pertinent for making tinctures :), then you can trust the only thing we'll bother to do is to :::grin::: link you right back here. In order for any of us to learn, we HAVE to do our homework! :)
insert :::wrong answer game show buzzer sound::: here (by volume not by ..Why we always measure herbs for tincturing by volume and not be weight*
Tincture using powdered herbs (and dried pepper cayenne tincture) + Reason for shaking your tinctures [Unyquity] Using powdered herbs for tinctures; using DRIED peppers vs fresh peppers; swell factor & more*
Being an herbalist = learning & doing the math :)... Re: Everclear 151 proof 375 ml bottle - how much distilled water to make it to either 80 or 100 alcohol [Unyquity] creating 100 proof alcohol from other higher proof alcohol*
Tincturing Jars Question [Unyquity] what kind of jars?*
Last minute answers :) Re: Sorry - LAST MINUTE TINCTURE QUESTIONS [Unyquity] Lobelia 'pods', more on tincturing peppers, prostate formula questions, and good general info*
AND, if you're making tinctures, be SURE to read the last section (Dr. Schulze, from the SYL manual, on "Herbal Tinctures".
if you KNOW they're just going to be for you two, save yourself the countless hours and energy you'd spend pressing each individual tincture, and just tincture each formula 'as written' all in the same jar. Be careful on the cayenne/african bird peppers though. Those buggers are HOT - and every tincture I've made according to the formula given was about 5-10 hotter than the one I taste tested from Schulze (or his equivalent, HFR). If something calls for "one part" cayenne, and I'm using african bird peppers, I make it HALF part. I can ALWAYS add more, but NEVER take it out. [Unyquity]
Back to the Female Formula - it HAS to be tinctured in two jars, as follows:
#1 ingredients go in one jar; #2 ingredients go in a separate jar - then when they're ready, mix them per the instructions.
General thoughts/comments...Re: Habanero tincture from fresh...Questions [Unyquity]
Cayenne Tincture, Super Tonic, Herbal Blitz, chili sauce and more recipes -- READ the whole thread.
LOBELIA is an Anti-Spasmodic and a Bronchial Dilator and Expectorant. As an Anti-Spasmodic, it is 2nd to NONE, and will RELAX the ENTIRE Body and Organs. It is the GREATEST Herb for Lungs Problems! Dr. Schulze has seen it WORK with a 100 DIFFERENT Health Problems! LOBELIA IS DR. SCHULZE'S NO. 2 EMERGENCY HERB!
Echinacea is (most people don't know this) a "specific" for staph infections (likely what this is), but even if the infection is not 'staph', Echinacea bolsters the immune system (incredibly effectively). How strongly does Echinacea bolster the immune system? Native Americans used it regularly to beat rattlesnake bites and rabies.
Dr. Schulze's Super Tonic mixture (crushed garlic vs PURE GARLIC Juice) AND Echinacea tincture -- Dr. Christopher's Anti Plague formula is NOT a blend of tinctures. Each herb is a decoction. Information on use of BF &C tincture -- Super Tonic / Anti-Plague / BFC formulas [Unyquity]
(1: lower back pain with impaired range of hip motion, 2: TMJ =Jaw dysfunction)
Detoxification Formula: 1. Take EQUAL amounts of Cayenne Pepper, Lobelia Seeds, Garlic Juice, Burdock Root, Poke Root, Golden Seal Root, Yellow Dock Root and Oregon Grape Root. 2. Add 2 parts each of Chaparral Herb & Resin, plus 2 parts each of Red Clover Blossoms. 3. Mix these Ingredients together. 4. Make a Tincture with these mixed Ingredients, according to the above Tincture Method. 5. Take 4 - 12 Dropperfuls (35 drops each) of this Tincture daily. NOTE: Please be SURE that the Red Clover Blossoms are DEEP violet/purple color, since this is the EXACT Color that the Blossoms have, when they are at their PEAK! If they are Brown in color, when you buy or pick them, then the Blood-Cleansing Chemicals are basically GONE!
Sources for purchasing herbs:
Sources for dropper bottles and tinctures:
From the SYL manual (Dr. Schulze)
Herbal Trnctures are technically fluid extract of herbs. Where we use water to extract in an infusion or decoction, we add alcohol to the water or apple cider vinegar, when making a tincture.
There are many advantages of tinctures over infusions and decoctions. One is that there are many medicinal properties in herbs that are not water soluble. While many of the chemical properties of herbs do dissolve in water, there are also some important properties that do not. In fact, many essential oils, resins, alkaloids, steroids, etc., dissolve better in a water/alcohol base and some don't dissolve in water at all.
Like infusions and decoctions, the medicinal properties in tinctures can be digested and assimilated easier than consuming herbal capsules or the raw herbs, especially if a person's digestion is bad.
The medicinal properties of herbs in a tincture get into the bloodstream the fastest, almost instantly. Unlike infusions and decoctions, tinctures are quick; they are already made up and on hand. This makes them invaluable for first aid kits and emergency applications.
Tinctures are also much more concentrated than teas. As little as 2-3 drops of good tincture can equal and excel the medicinal properties of a whole cup of tea. Tinctures made with an alcohol base are also good antiseptics for open wounds.
The alcohol we use to make tinctures is grain alcohol. This means it is distilled from a fermented grain "mash." Denatured, isopropyl (rubbing alcohol), or methyl (wood alcohol) are never used because they are poisonous.
Although all herbal medicinal chemicals are best extracted in various percentages of alcohol, the standard tincture solvent solution (base) is 50% grain alcohol and 50% water. 50% alcohol is equal to 100 proof (Alcohol % x 2 equals the proof or proof divided by 2 equals the alcohol %.)
Many people have used 80 proof (40%) alcohol solutions successfully throughout the years and for most herbs this will make a great tincture. Dr. Christopher always said to use 90 proof (45%) alcohol or better. When your end cost per ounce will be so little anyway, I suggest using 100 proof vodka which is a 50/50 solution of grain alcohol and water.
For people who have an emotional aversion to consuming alcohol, I will make the following statements...
Grain alcohol dissolves and extracts certain important phytochemicals (plant chemicals) better than just water alone. For example, the diosgenin in discorea villousa is only soluble in alcohol, not in water. Alcohol also preserves tinctures and gives them an almost indefinite shelf life, at least over 5 years.
The actual amount of alcohol per dosage of 30 to 60 drops is so small that there is more in some mouthwashes. This dosage has been tested on people who are alcohol sensitive with no adverse reactions. It is also a safe amount for anyone in a 12 step program or Alcoholics Anonymous.
Vodka, by law, can be nothing more than grain alcohol and water; this is the reason why it is the choice of most herbalists. It is obviously a very safe alcohol also, because it is specifically designed for human consumption.
Other whiskeys may contain the correct amount of alcohol but also contain impurities, colorings, flavorings, preservatives, and toxic substances. Gin is grain alcohol flavored with juniper, but also may contain other additives. Dr. Christopher used to suggest brandy (distilled grape wine). Although it has been used for hundreds of years for tinctures, modern brandies usually contain many additives (colors, preservatives, flavors, etc.).
So, vodka is our best and purest grain alcohol base. Everclear, or pure grain spirits, is available in some areas of the United States. It can range from 150 to 190 proof (75-95% alcohol). It can be used straight or diluted with distilled water to make tinctures.
Some herbal properties, such as gums and resins, will release properties better at this higher alcohol content.
Pure apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) is also a good tincture base for certain herbs, especially lobelia inflata. It is not as strong a solvent as grain alcohol. Tinctures made with vinegar are less drying to the skin; they can be nice for liniments, and are slightly antiseptic.
Always use a health food store brand of pure apple cider vinegar.
Naturally aged, unfiltered and raw, organic, and not distilled, if possible.
One main problem I have with apple cider vinegar tinctures, especially my Super Tonic (garlic, cayenne, ginger root, onion and horseradish) is that they taste so delicious that I drink them all and "eat" my profits. Also, the people who buy them from me don't have colds; they just know a good salad dressing when they taste one.
In most cases, the best way to make a tincture is using fresh herbs. This can be simply done by putting fresh herbs in a blender, adding your water/alcohol solution, and then just turning the blender on. By turning your herbs and solution into this herbal appeases, more alcohol solution will reach individual cells of the plant and make a stronger tincture than if you jut dropped a whole root in a jar and covered it with alcohol.
If you have dried herbs and want to powder them, an inexpensive way to do this is with an electric coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.
If you use an electric type of grinder be careful not to "cook" your herbs in the grinding process. You could brake the blades off with hard roots.
If you are going to be making many tinctures, you are best off making them all separately. Specifically, you are better off making separate lobelia, valerian root, skullcap, wild lettuce, hops and cayenne tinctures, than putting them all together in one jar. If you make them all together, you have a nice antispasmodic, nervine formula; but, if you make them separately, you could have just a straight emetic formula (lobelia), a stimulant formula (cayenne), a pain formula (wild lettuce and valerian root), an insomnia formula (hops and valerian) or any number of different combinations.
Making the Tincture
The first thing to remember is that making a tincture is fun. You are going to put your love and "good energy" into making this preparation. If you are all "nerved up" and in a bad mood, your tincture will taste like it.
Most proportion rules in the past have been 4 ounces of dried herb to one pint (16 ounces) of alcohol or 8 ounces of herb to a quart (32 ounces). Herbs have many varying weights and densities, which makes this type of formula ridiculous. What I have found to work best over the years is simply my half to full rule. Blend your herbs with your alcohol and then pour the solution into a big glass jar.
I let it settle for a day to see where the herbs end and the liquid starts. You want the herbs to settle at least halfway up to the top of the jar. If they settle to less, add more herbs.
If you want a stronger tincture, then make sure the herbs settle to 3/4 of the way to the top; a really strong tincture could be all pulp, like applesauce. This rule has worked better for me in my pharmacy over the years than all the rules in every herb book I have read.
You need to use your common sense when putting a tincture together. Eight ounces of mullein or red raspberry leaf may not even fit into a quart jar, so you have to use your best judgment. Follow my 1/2 to full method and you will never fail.
Common, inexpensive tincture jars are one (1) quart canning jars. A clear glass jar lets you observe the tincture as it's "working" and is okay to use as long as you keep it in a dark place, out of sunlight. Do not use
plastic, metal, or any other type of container that your base (alcohol) may react with undesirably.
Pour your solvent over the herbs and seal the jar. It should be shaken vigorously for several minutes to make sure there are no clumps of herb that have stuck together.
At this point you can open the jar and usually add more alcohol or herbs. Once your jar is fully packed, it is NOT to be reopened until the tincture is done. From this point on until it is finished, it should be shaken at least three (3) times daily or, as Dr. Christopher said, "every time you walk by it."
The tincture is left in the jar for two weeks. Start the tincture on the new moon and squeeze it out on the full moon (Many tests have been done by Dr. Christopher and myself as to the strength and potency of tinctures in relationship to the time they "brewed" and the phases of the moon; in all cases, those made in accordance with the phases of the moon made the strongest tincture.)
Obviously, most manufacturers of commercial tinctures nowadays, who use a 3 or 4 day "special process" and ignore the moon phases, are making a highly inferior product.
There are many astrological books and almanacs that give the times of the New Moon and Full Moon, although you may have to calibrate these times to your local area.
Most herbalists don't get too critical on the time, but go just by the day of the Full Moon. It is nice to keep a record of your tinctures as well as your other herbal preparations. I record the amounts of herbs, where I got them, the amount of base and % of alcohol, the date, and any other pertinent information. This logging of information could lead you to making fairly consistent tinctures.
The big complaint the A.M.A. and FDA. have of herbal preparations is that they are not standardized.
Well of course! When a tincture is "standardized", that means it's taken into a laboratory, where "science determines" which 1/2/3 of the dozens or hundreds of plant chemicals are 'the active chemicals'...and no matter what level of those chemicals is naturally occurring (and natural to our bodies) - and how they interact with the myriad of actions of the other chemicals... "medical science" alters the balance. And the end result is FAR more like a pHarmaceutical drug than a natural plant interacting with our natural bodies. The largest majority of "herbal reactions" comes from taking these "standardized" preparations (grrrr).
Besides, even if you make a preparation the same exact way each time, you can't rely on the herbal medicinal properties being in the same quantity from one bunch of herbs to another. How Wonderful!!! This is nature's beautiful way of adjusting not only the chemical properties of herbs from season to season, but also the chemical properties to the local area for the local people.
We are not all living in the same climate, doing the same things, eating the same foods, etc. Personally, I would rather experiment with a dosage of a natural remedy in it's natural form than take any of the poisonous, isolated, synthesized chemicals the pharmaceutical industry has to offer.
You will first want to filter your tincture well through a natural fiber like cotton or through paper coffee filters (brown unbleached ones only.) Laboratory grade filters work well, too. Let's not forget the old cotton diaper cloth — it works great. If you use a funnel, use a glass one, not plastic or metal.
Bottle your tinctures in amber glass jars with tight lids. Laboratory polyseal are good airtight, leakproof tops. I usually put my tinctures in 16 oz. or 32 oz. amber glass jars and then pour or mix them into 1 or 2 oz. amber bottles with glass droppers as needed. A glass dropper is necessary You don't want a plastic dropper sitting in your tinctures or you will end up with a nice tincture of plastic.
Always label your tincture preparation jar, your tincture storage jars, and your 1 oz. or 2 oz. dosage jars to identify the type of tincture in them. I also include the base used, % of alcohol, and the date of bottling. An unlabeled tincture is dangerous and can be an unpleasant "surprise."
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