Inspiration from Meghan

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Tincture-riffic Tincture Making


And all is revealed. I went out to Ohio to visit Josh! You've read about him before here, and here, and here, and here and here. In July, when he applied for a 6-week internship with United Plant Savers, an herbal medicine sanctuary, I'll admit, I was a bit jealous. I was in the midst of a kitchen renovation and in prep mode for my fall classes so there was no way I could up and leave for my busiest time of year. When I waved him off as he headed south for his herbal adventure I yelled after him "I'll see you sooooooooooon". Once his car was out of sight, I went straight inside to book my flight for a visit.

Wowwy! What a weekend we had. He has learned so much about herbs and herbal medicine and I plan to mooch as much out of his info loaded brain as I can, and I started the mooching  this weekend when we ventured into the world of tincture making. Stinging Nettles were to be the herb of choice.

First stop, of course was to harvest some.

They really do sting and someone forgot to remind me to wear long sleeves. My arms were all welted up by the end but it was worth it.

Nettles, as Josh explained in the video are a general body tonic. They tone and nourish all the tissues of the body. Some of their specific bragging rights include:

  • remarkably high in Vitamin A, calcium, chlorophyll and plant digestible iron.
  • action as an alterative that gradually and favorably alters the condition of the blood.
  • a diuretic and liver tonic
  • helps reduce water retention, PMS, balance menopausal extremes and toning the whole female system.
  • helps control hemorrhaging, cramping and headache associated with menstruation
  • can be a significant remedy for hay fever and allergies

Now of course, you can make a tincture with any herb you've got growing in your garden, or neighbour's garden as the case may be. Here is a great reference list.

Josh and I went for what is referred to as the Simpler's or Folk Method. I like to call it the Easy Method because you don't need math.

Tincture Making 101

  • Chop your herbs finely, using fresh herbs when possible. High quality dried herbs will work well, but one of the awesome things about tincturing  is the ability to preserve the fresh healing goodness of the plant.
  • Fill a clean, dry jar to the top with the herbs.
  • Pour the menstruum (alcohol or vinegar solution) over the herbs. The menstruum is the alcohol/water or vinegar/water combo. 100 proof vodka works well as it has the standard 50/50 water to alcohol ratio. Fill the jar to the top ensuring the herbs are completely covered.
  • Seal with a tight fitting lid. If you are using a mason jar or lid with a plastic liner, cover it first in wax paper.
  • Place the jar(s) in a warm, dark place and let macerate for about a month. The longer, the better.
  • Shake your tincture twice a day and do so mindfully- putting your energy in to it. I have read that singing to the jars is a common (though wonderfully cooky) practice.
  • At the end of the appropriate time, strain out the herbs using a large stainless steel strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can use the cloth to wring out every drop of herbal essence.
  • Reserve the liquid and compost the herbs. Rebottle and label

Now isn't that an awesomely easy way to make some good healing natural medicine. If you are wondering how much to take, well it kind of depends on your needs. It is best to check out the recommendations on each specific herb first but typically 5ml or 1 teaspoon every morning works well as a preventative and 3-4 times daily for treatment. Always best to check to check with a natural health care practitioner, as herbal tinctures can be a very powerful medicine.

And for your peeping pleasure, here are some more photos from the property where we harvested our nettles. Magic I tell you! This place is owned by an herbalist who, as Josh describes, is like the Willy Wonka of the herb world. See for yourself!


Beauty everywhereIMG_6816

That little building is the herbal apothecaryIMG_6819

The most beautiful mailbox I ever did seeIMG_6822

Josh and a Gingko treeIMG_6820

In the gardensIMG_6830By the pond.


11 Responses to “Tincture-riffic Tincture Making”

  1. Lauren said…
    So cool! I want to make tinctures!!! I drink nettle tea everynight! I love the stuff! :) I need to go harvest some of my own nettles! Love the shirt! I have one too! Beautiful pic, looks like a great trip and learning experience!
  2. Thistle said…
    I can TOTALLY attest to the fact that nettle tinctures work for ragweed allergies -- and this is from a girl who is highly allergic, who used to pop eight times the regular dose of Reactine every day and who had a nasty inflamed/rashy reaction to the Pollinex shots. Pair this with Quercetin and a Neti-Pot and a little essential oil under the nose and you will be good to go for the whole season. My one question is: I definitely see nettle tinctures that are derived from the stem only; it seems that the leafs are meant to treat one ailment and the stems treat another... but is this true? Or does the plant really just accomplish the same thing? Also: When can we open a holistic apothecary?
  3. Loren said…
    Another mind-blower. This is a fascinating post, and like the others, I want to run out and make tinctures right now! I am especially interested in stinging nettles and allergies. Mine are not bad at all right now, but the bf has been suffering. I think a little nettle is just what he needs. Thanks again!
  4. Jes said…
    What a beautiful place! And thanks for the awesome tincture tutorial. I'm stoked to make my own soon!
  5. Jackie said…
    Inspiring post, Meghan! Thank you. I've read a few times that stinging nettle is a great addition to green smoothies but I don't trust that I'd be harvesting the right plant, even seeing after seeing photos. I'm quite sure it grows wild in Wisconsin so I hope someone can show me in person someday. Welcome back!
  6. Jeanne Grunert said…
    That looks like so much fun! I love using nettle tea as a tonic. Works like a charm and great for detoxing.
  7. [...] of vodka to give it a good little warming in the belly kick.  Why do I have vodka in the house? For making medicinal tinctures of course, and for my ice-cream-maker-free coconut milk ice cream. Now obviously, the vodka in this [...]
  8. [...] Detailed directions on tincture making are provided here. [...]
  9. [...] Nettle Tincture Making [...]

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