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Herbal medicine from herbs has a special charm: First, we know exactly what is in it; secondly, through our own collection and processing, we create a sensual reference and thus promote holistic healing; thirdly, we can use a repertoire of medicines when there is no pharmacy nearby, and fourthly we use our own garden as medicine and thus create an access to nature.
A tincture is an herbal extract, mostly in alcohol. Commercial tinctures from pharmacies consist of dried plant parts and wine spirit in a strength of 70 to 95 percent. The advantage of a tincture is its long shelf life: the liquids can be stored for five, sometimes even ten years without losing their effectiveness. They contain water as well as fat-soluble substances, because alcohol removes both, in contrast to tea, which only the water-soluble and oil, which only extracts the fat-soluble substances.
Such tinctures are also called herbal drops, generally extract or essence. We also refer to such essences with bitter herbs as bitter bitters. Officially, only alcohol-based herbal extracts available in pharmacies can be traded as tinctures.
We differentiate between normal tinctures from dried plants and so-called mother tinctures, in which fresh plants are placed in alcohol. Tinctures for children are sometimes made without alcohol.
When preparing, we use a ceramic knife, since metal can influence the effect of the medicinal herbs.
If we make tinctures ourselves, we can use any type of wine spirit or clear schnapps, for example grain or vodka, but 54 percent rum is also suitable. Brandy is not about the brand, but about the taste; Vodka and grain are ideal because they are relatively tasteless. The rule is: the higher the percentage, the more effective the tincture. Alcohol solutions with 90 percent from the pharmacy are much more expensive than the 40 percent dual grain from the supermarket, and it works.
However, the ideal alcohol content depends on which parts of the plant we use. The best way to extract roots, bark and seeds is with an alcohol content of 50 to 70 percent, whereas fruit is recommended to use 30 to 55 percent.
Alcohol with a certain content extracts particular plant substances: saponins and glycosides at 20 to 40 percent, flavonoids, bitter substances and tannins at 38 and 70 percent, essential oils, on the other hand, at 50 to 70 percent.
We always take tinctures neat or with water, i.e. not with sugar, juice or soft drinks. This could affect the effect.
Who are tinctures suitable for?
Liver sufferers and alcoholics should never use alcohol-based tinctures. Children from three years of age can use tinctures, but they should be dosed much lower than in adults and dissolved in water - in children up to five years old, 10 percent of the dose of an adult is appropriate. The alcohol content then corresponds to natural apple juice or the alcohol that forms the fermentation in the body.
We make a tincture as follows:
1) We collect a glass full of medicinal herbs and chop them up.
2) We pour high-proof clear about it.
3) We close the jar.
4) We put it in a sunny spot.
5) We wait two to four weeks.
6) Then we filter the tincture, for example through a tea filter.
7) We pour the liquid into a dark bottle.
8) We label the bottle with the date and content.
9) We take about 20-30 drops of the finished tincture on a spoon.
The cough tincture
We use thyme, sage and hyssop for a cough tincture. All three grow in our herb garden. We collect them in July.
The tincture helps against a cold cough, but also against mild bronchitis and also against Sore throat. We take 10 to 50 drops two to three times a day.
Marigold relieves wounds, eczema, skin inflammation and ulcers. The tincture also helps against stomach upset, Menstrual pain and intestinal infections. We take the flowers for the tincture.
We add Arnica flowers in a ratio of one to ten to the alcohol and leave the liquid in a sunny place for about two weeks. We can also use the tincture for wraps, gargle it or swallow it. Arnica tincture helps against sprains and bruises.
We take the dried roots of the valerian and put them in clear schnapps in a ratio of one to five, let them stand for a month and then sieve them. Valerian tincture helps against stress, Nervousness and helps with insomnia.
We use the flower heads of the daisy, the rule of thumb is one milliliter of alcohol per flower head. We let them steep for a month, occasionally shake the extract and apply it externally. The tincture helps against acne, pimples and blemished skin.
St. John's wort tincture
We process the fresh flowers of St. John's wort, pour alcohol over them in a ratio of one to five and place the container in a sunny place for two weeks. St. John's wort relieves sore muscles and digestive problems.
We pour vermouth with alcohol in a ratio of one to five and let the mixture steep only for five days. We dilute 20-30 drops with about 0.1 liters of water, drink it three times a day for several weeks. The solution helps against Loss of appetite.
We mix 10 grams of chamomile flowers with 50 milliliters of alcohol, let the solution stand for a week, sieve it and put it in the fridge for three days. The tincture can be gargled or dripped onto envelopes. Chamomile helps fight inflammation.
Horse chestnut tincture
We peel 10 chestnuts, chop them small, pour alcohol over them until the chestnuts are covered, let them stand for four weeks, then sieve them and fill the solution into a dark bottle. The tincture helps against varicose veins.
We collect the stems, leaves, buds and fruits of the mistletoe in March. Mistletoe regulates blood pressure, helps against arteriosclerosis, dizziness, Asthma, nervousness and anxiety.
There are hundreds of stomach bitterns that are often primarily used for pleasure. For example, we use angelica and dandelion roots, juniper berries and the leaves of peppermint for a house gastric bittern and put them in alcohol. A bitter stomach is offered with feeling of fullness and Bloated belly on.
For a cold tincture, we add 30 grams of fennel fruits, 10 grams of chamomile flowers and 10 grams of sage leaves in alcohol, let the mixture stand for three weeks and then pour it into dark bottles. We can gargle them or use them for envelopes. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Torsten Purle, dosage forms and preparation of medicinal herbs, kraeuter-buch.de, 30.03.2019, herb book
- Rudi Beiser, Helga Ell-Beiser: Medicinal Plant Tinctures: Effective Plant Extracts Homemade, Verlag Eugen Ulmer (March 16, 2017)
- Volger, Eberhard: Brinkhaus, Benno: Course book naturopathy: for medical training, Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH, 2013
- Christian Sollmann: Make herbal mother tinctures and homeopathic remedies yourself, AT Verlag; Edition: 1st edition (May 8, 2014)