Planted in Alcohol

Making and Using Tinctures and Other Herbal Wonders

Friday, June 23, 2006

My Tinctures

Generally my tinctures are made using the simpler's method. Essentially this means that I stuff a jar full of plant material, then fill it with high proof alcohol. I almost always use fresh plants, but there are a few things that I prefer dried. Especially sweet clover. So far I have used either 100 proof vodka or 151 proof Everclear for my tinctures. 151 is the highest proof that you can get in Michigan, though I know many herbalists that get 190 proof Everclear out of state. I think that 151 proof is good for my needs. I really like the simpler's method of creating tinctures because it feels good and works very well, but for quality control purposes I will likely start using a more scientific method soon. I am also going to begin experimenting with Paracelsian tinctures very soon. By very soon I mean as soon as my current batch of nettle tincture and I are ready to do some experimenting. If people actually start looking at this blog, I would like to begin a tincture exchange system in order to help myself and others broaden their tincture knowledge.


At 11:17 PM PDT, Blogger Charlene Amsden said...

Possible names:

Herb & I

Herbal Essences

Planted in Alcohol


Herb Spoken Here

Dying Science

At 11:20 PM PDT, Blogger Charlene Amsden said...

Ye Olde Herbal Apothecary

Not Just Granny's Cupboard

At 12:04 AM PDT, Blogger Andrea said...

Oh How Wonderful and helpful. Thank you for reading this and commenting too. I think I will go with Planted in Alcohol.

At 10:31 AM PDT, Blogger Dr.Jane said...

I have been tincuting for over 20 years. When I stopped being able to get 190 proof vodka in mine (NY)or neighboring states (PA, NJ) I was referred to Spec's Liquor Store,Houston, TX. I buy caess of quarts. They are resonable and give prompt delivery.

There is a world of difference in quality and effectiveness in the effects of low and high poof tinctures.

Dr. Jane

At 10:35 AM PDT, Blogger Dr.Jane said...

You can order 190 proof vodka from Spec's Liquor store in Houston. They are ressonable and ship promptly.

I've used them for a number of years since 190 proof became unavailable in NY.

Been making tinctures for over 20 years and find a world of difference and effectiveness between high and low proof.


At 7:17 PM PDT, Blogger doggielover said...

Hi Andrea

I don't know anything about making tinctures, but I need to make a tincture of HORSE CHESTUNT SEED for my cirulatory problems because I can't afford to buy those little very expensive bottles that some manufacturer makes.

The tincture is recommended by my doctor, so I know that it's what I need. Now what do I do?

I need to buy the herbs, jars and the little bottles. When you make a tincture, how long does it last?

I also need advice about where to buy the herbs. I've done my checking, but haven't found them yet. Any ideas? I know they will come because I need them... so I've put a universal call out to HORSE CHESTNUT SEED! I know that they heard me. LOL...

Congratulations on the site. It looks lovely. Wish I lived in the area so I could get those fresh veggies. The farm and the people look wonderful. It's really nice to see people working together. I'm doing politics all day long where people are fighting and doing dirty triks, etc. I feel a longing for community and the earth. You gave it to me today and I thank you!

At 12:32 AM PDT, Blogger Andrea said...

Hey doggielover. If you don't mind me asking, what type of circulatory problems are you experiencing? Also, what type of doctor do you see that recommends herbs? It's not a common occurance among MD's and it's pretty cool.

I think that it is fantastic that you are interested in making your own tincture and I really don't want to discourage you, but I'm not sure that horse chestnut is the best herb to start with if you are inexperienced with creating tinctures. Also, by the time you purchase herb, alcohol, and containers, you will probably not save a whole lot of money. It may very well cost you more, unless you think you are going to need A LOT of it. And you'll have to wait a good four to six weeks (after you have gathered everything you need) to allow the tincture to macerate before use.

I'm not sure what your doc may have recommended about dose and duration of use for the horse chestnut or whether he/she was thinking of internal or topical use. If thinking internal, I would recommend small doses throughout the day for a total of maybe 10 - 15 drops for the day, a lot less than the likely doctor recommended dosage or package directions. A one ounce bottle of tincture contains over 900 drops, so it will actually last you a long time at that dosage. External usage would depend on what you are using it for (so does internal for that matter) but I would probably recommend that you dilute it in witch hazel or something else for external use.

I know that your doctor recommended this but you do need to know that there are some possible drug interactions and other concerns with horse chestnut use. It is a safe effective herb when used wisely but it can be misused. Please research it on your own before taking any advice whether from myself or your doctor.

That being said, I don't usually purchase tinctures so I cannot say for certain where you could find the best horse chestnut tincture to buy, but I recently told my mother to buy some made by Herb Pharm for her hemorrhoids. She went to her doctor instead {Thanks Mom :)} so I didn't get to find out about the tincture, but several herbalists I know that use purchased tinctures use and like Herb Pharm and it is usually easy to find at any health food store. You can also order it on line through several sources including Horizon Herbs. I searched around a bit and it seems like you could get a one ounce bottle for around 12 dollars, which is cheaper than making your own in the short run. Ask me again about making it if you try it and decide you need to have a larger quantity on hand. Depending on where you are located, you may even be able to collect horse chestnut yourself.

Hope this is helpful and not discouraging. I really would like to know more about why your doctor suggested horse chestnut for you and how he/she suggested you use it.


At 12:48 AM PDT, Blogger Andrea said...

Doggielover - The thing that I forgot to say is that I never ever purchase dried herbs (though there are a few things I am thinking of making exceptions for). I just really prefer to gather/grow my own, especially for tincture making, so I wouldn't know where to send you to purchase good quality horse chestnut if you choose to go in that direction. Maybe someone else out there knows??? If you decide you want to buy some I can ask around. Good luck.


At 10:17 AM PDT, Blogger katdancing said...

Great blog! I live in Grand Rapids and am a member of the farm you work at! I would be interested in learning more about your looking into making my own tinctures for the illness i am currently dealing with.

At 4:46 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very informative site. Thank You.
I'm wanting to make a nettle tincture. It's fall and not the best time to collect nettles, but alas I still want to do this. I've collected some today, picking the youngest second growth. I've also collected a quantity of seeds as the instructor I had when I took a herbl certificate said the seeds should be used when making a tincture. This was a few years ago, and I don't know if that's the green seeds, the ripe seeds, dried seeds, etc. Any advice would be greatfully accepted.

At 8:11 AM PDT, Blogger Kazakh Stan said...

Hi - interested to read your comments on horse chestnut tinctures. I've just spent a morning collecting horse chestnuts from a couple of trees we have in our garden. Rather than compost them, can you recommend any recipes for either tinctures / hair care products that I can make at home? Thanks, Matthew

At 7:30 AM PDT, Anonymous Viagra Online said...

I have read some of your blog entries and I want to start tincuting and all this great posts of yours are helping me out, thanks!

At 11:03 AM PDT, Anonymous Toni said...

I have recently found Solomon's Seal on my property and was want to make a tincture. How do i prepare the root? Do i cut it and how much?


At 10:29 AM PST, Blogger Barry said...

I'm just beginning to learn about herbalism and I'm trying to find information on how to mix tinctures and teas and whatnot. and then what mixtures of herbs to use when creating these mixtures. Can you give me any information or point me in the correct direction?

Thanks for any help you can give me

At 2:56 PM PDT, Anonymous Ry said...

Hi Andrea,

Can you point me to some more information on Paraclesian tinctures?

I don't seem to be able to find much of anything...


At 7:17 PM PDT, Anonymous PORTLAND BEST HOTELS said...

Nice Buddy.. I hope that I'll learn and share a lot of interesting things. I really appreciate what you are doing here.


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