How to make …
Basic Herbal Tincture Recipe
When making a tincture, alcohol is used to extract the medicinal properties of the plant material. Tinctures are ideal for herbs you may wish to gather in spring time for use over the winter months.
Herbal tinctures are made with either fresh or dried plant material. If using fresh plant the water content of the fresh plant needs to be taken into account. The quantity of marc (plant material) and menstrum (liquid/alcohol) determines the tincture strengthen*. For some herbs a stronger alcohol is necessary. Important to know as a medical herbalist prescribing herbs on a regular basis.
Don’t panic! For the lay person making herbal remedies, for personal use, there are many herbs that can be extracted well with a 40% vodka. Elderflowers being one. You don’t need to worry too much about the menstrum/marc ratio.
Harvesting and Drying Elderflowers
The following tincture recipe uses Sambucus nigra (elderflowers). These are usually in bloom from mid-May to early July. June is often the best time to harvest.
To avoid difficulties with water content, which can ruin your tincture, collect on a bright and sunny morning. Once you have gathered the flowers lay them out on brown paper. This needs to be somewhere which is warm and dry, out of direct sun and with good air circulation. Once the flowers dry out they will easily rub free from the stems.
- 25 g chopped dried (Sambucus nigra flos) elderflowers (MARC)
- 200 ml 40% vodka (MENSTRUM)
- measuring scales (to measure out dry plant material),
- measuring jug or container (to measure vodka),
- clean sterilised jar with lid and label,
- and a bottle with lid and label (after decanting)
- Place 25 g of chopped dried herb into a jar and cover with the menstrum (in this case vodka). Plant material must be completely covered. If you need to add more vodka do.
- Seal the jar and label with date and contents.
- Shake daily for two weeks.
- Decant and press out marc (plant material), bottle and label with date and contents.
*For information, as a guideline, if you have used the exact quantities above this would make a 1:8 at 40% herbal tincture.
Elderflower is indicated for sinusitis, rhinitis and other respiratory tract infections. A wonderful immune booster. Ideal to make now and keep for the winter or those spring time allergies!