Herbal Tinctures

~by club member Brandi Monson.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own herbal tinctures, but think it was too hard or time-consuming? Well I’ve got good news for you! Making an herbal tincture is one of the easier things to do!

There’s a few preparatory steps that will probably take more time than actually making the tincture though, like going to your local liquor store to buy some high-proof vodka (100 proof) or everclear.  And of course procuring your herbs. If you’re using purchased herbs, simply get your herbs and cut open the bag. If you have to harvest your own herbs then this of course will take longer but may yield you a higher quality product besides yours sense of accomplishment of having made your tincture from scratch!
I have made many herbal tinctures in the past and it’s simply filling your  mason jar half full of your herb, filling with the menstruum (the vodka or sometimes vinegar), stirring, and letting it macerate for  4-6 weeks, depending on your herb type (roots take longer than leaves).

Food Matters has a great instructional video on making herbal tinctures. There’s written instructions too if you can’t access the video.  Show your tincture some love and give it a shake once in a while it’s macerating.

Another site suggest making tinctures based on moon cycles to get the best quality tincture. The new moon is the suggested starting time and makes it easy to remember when your tincture is finished, on the next new moon! Then all you have to do is strain our your herb, re-bottle and store in a cool, dark place.

Black walnut tincture is a great one to have on hand for a variety of uses, mostly when I think of black walnut I think of killing parasites. Here is a list of uses for black walnut tincture.  Since the black walnuts are already dropping from the trees here locally, this would be a good time to consider making your own black walnut tincture. Remember, tinctures keep for years if stored in a cool dark space. In theory, you can make enough tincture to last a decade in only one season.

To make black walnut tincture, you use the green hulls. So you must harvest your walnuts while the hull is still green. You’ll want to wear gloves unless you want you hands stained for the next moon cycle! Here’s a great instructional on making black walnut tincture in print.

If you’re extra hardy and want to further the process then crack those shells open after you’ve harvested your hulls, and harvest the tasty meats. Just be prepared for a fight. “Harvesting, hulling, cleaning, and cracking black walnuts requires considerable labor and patience.”  This site suggests soaking the nuts in order to soften the very hard shell.

If anyone wants to make black walnut tincture and doesn’t have any walnut trees you’re welcome to harvest some of mine. We have two large walnut trees and there’s plenty of green hulls out there right now. Although they are dropping fast. I’m not sure they will wait two more weeks to the new moon though.

I know that some of you have been wanting to make your own tinctures, so go ahead and give it a try! It’s easier than you think.


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