Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making A Glycerin Tincture

First of all, I am not a doctor, am not a certified herbalist, or anything like that. I am simply a mom on a slow, natural journey! I do research my information carefully and with many thanks to Jill from Jill's Home Remedies I successfully made my first glycerin tinctures!

I made a nettle tincture and the Bulk Herb Store's Double-E Immune Booster. I chose these two for a reason. It's getting close to cold and flu season and I like to be prepared. The Double-E sounded like a no brainer. One great thing is that we can take it as a tincture or a tea! The tincture is going to have more of a concentrated value, but the tea will provide many healing benefits as well as the warmth for when you are ill. I, however, am not a tea drinker, so for me the tincture will be the way I go! The Double-E contains pre-mixed herbs so it's a great way for a first-timer to try her hand out, too! I don't have to worry about putting too much or too little of any herb. The mixture contains nettle leaf, peppermint leaf, Echinacea root, Echinacea tops, whole elderberries, Ginseng Root, and rose hips. 

The elderberries are immune boosters. The rose hips are great sources of vitamin C. Echinacea helps with the immune system- great to take when sick, peppermint is soothing for the stomach. 

I chose the Nettle tincture because we were spending some serious money buying a pre-made tincture of Nettles/Eyebright for my son and his allergies. For 1 fluid ounce, we would spend about $10. And I would easily by 4-5 of them in a year. My oldest daughter would sometimes take it for seasonal allergies and I would also give it to my son when he would have asthmatic episodes. I'm not the greatest in math, but trust me when I say, I'm saving us SO much money by making my own! 

My tincture was solely nettle leaf. No eyebright, no peppermint leaf, nothing additional was added like in the pre-made mix. However, nothing else is really needed. Nettles have many, many uses (like many herbs), but these are the purposes that are relevant to my household:

Asthma: My son has never been diagnosed with asthma, but he has had asthma symptoms that were RELIEVED when given the nettle tincture. Nettles is an expectorant, so it's also useful for mucous in the lungs.

Hay Fever

Now, the reason I chose to make a glycerin tincture is because I honestly don't want alcohol around. Especially in medicine. I want something that I feel comfortable giving to anyone. Vegetable Glycerin helps to sweeten the tinctures, but does not cause blood sugar issues. A glycerin tincture can easily keep for 2 years, as long as it has been stored properly.

To begin with I simply filled a jar halfway with my dried herbs.

Cut Nettle leaves are on the left, Double-E is on the right
The next step is where I really started learning things for myself! Pour hot water on top of dried herbs, just enough to barely cover them. Watch Nettles swell.... and swell.... and swell. Think to self: Maybe use a little less next time- maybe only almost half, instead of half. Debate rather you should remove some of the Nettle mix. Decide against it. Take pictures for next step.

Wet Nettles and Double-E mix
Fill to about 1/2 inch from top of jar with vegetable glycerin. Put lid on and gently shake. Add some more glycerin, if needed. 

Set out your crock pot and put a towel on the bottom to prevent the jars from breaking. Set your tinctures on top of the towel and add hot water to crock pot. Fill the crock pot about half way.

... and turn on WARM! If your crock keeps things too hot you won't need to keep them in there for as long. You should faintly be able to smell the herbs, but not enough that they smell like they are cooking.
Warm. Not high, not low.
If this is your first time making a tincture, give yourself a pat on the back. Take a picture and show all your friends. You might be able to upgrade from Slowly Natural to Getting There Natural!
Ta da!
They should gently "brew" in the warm water for about 3 days. I took mine out after 2 1/2 days because the water in the crock pot started doing funky things and making that area stink. Now for the fun part!

Strain your herbs, pressing gently on them to release any liquid.

Nettles being strained.
I ended up straining my liquid about 3 times, to fully remove any herb, but you don't have to do that. Truth be told, I was having fun!

Double E on left, Nettles on right.

They didn't yield the same results.... I'm not positive they were suppose to. The only thing in the Nettle tincture was simply the leaf. The other one had many other herbs. When in doubt, have a trusty taste tester!

I had some of the pre-made Nettle tincture left so my husband (I love him!) and I smelled them both- determining that they smelled identical! Point #1! My husband then proceeded to taste both the pre-made and my mix (did I mention how much I love him?!) and said they tasted the same! Point #2! He tasted the Double-E and determined that it tasted better than just plain nettles and gave my two thumbs up!

Guess I did it right!!! Woohoo!

So........ if I can do it, you can do it! I buy most of my herbs from Bulk Herb Store. They have great products and great service.

The very last step is to make it look "official".

Buy these handy dandy amber tincture bottles and pour in strained liquid. 

The bottom in the very front is the pre-made tincture I had previously been buying. The two bottles behind are the nettle tincture I made.
 Be sure to label what is in it and when it was made!

Store in a cool, dark place and take when needed!

Double E: Adults can take 1/2-1 teaspoons every hour at the first sign of illness. I would use half the dose for children. Take hourly until symptoms go away. This tincture would not be something to take daily. I would recommend Elderberry syrup for immune support and prevention. (Future post)

Nettles: 1/4 teaspoon for young children, 1/2 teaspoon for older children. up to 1-2 teaspoons for adults. Can be taken 2-3 times a day, if needed. 

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Ashley Ditto said...

I think this is awesome! Love this post!

meandmr.com said...

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