Posts tagged ‘herbalism’

January 10, 2012

How to Make and Take Herbal Tinctures

Tinctures absorb better, last longer and are more convenient and cost-effective than pills.
Everybody should know how to make their own Herbal Tinctures for health purposes.

Herbal Tinctures are a mixture of alcohol and water.
Any type of alcohol is used such as wines, sake, brandy, or vodka (ethanol and pure grain alcohol), which most people use.
*Under no circumstance should rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) be used or consumed as it is poisonous, even small doses.

The word ‘proof’ beside the number on the alcohol bottle is representative of double the actual alcohol percentage; for instance 80 ‘proof’ is 40% alcohol.
If you have a permit license to buy ethyl alcohol you can mix the water in separately. First mix your ethyl alcohol with water to dilute it to the proof you want.
Or use vodka or your choice of alcohol.

The mainstream ratio to use is 40% alcohol to 60% water.
Some countries consider 45% the ratio to be considered a tincture. You can also increase that ratio as high as 50% alcohol and 50% water or as low as 20% alcohol and 80% water depending on the desired strength. An herbal essence has an even lower percentage of alcohol in it. The higher the alcohol content, the more stable and longer shelf life.

You will also need good quality organic or ethically wild crafted herbs (not irradiated). You can buy herbs online, in a store or it is best to grow your own.
Next, get mason jars or large brown glass bottles with seal-tight lids.
If you are using dried herbs, fill the bottle 1/3 to 1/2 full with dried herbs. With dried roots, fill to 1/3 full because they are going to expand and need extra space. The usual ratio is 1:4 for plant material vs liquid, or use 1:2 or 1:5.
Fill the remaining space in the bottle with the alcohol water mixture leaving a little room at the top for shaking purposes.

Once complete, let the mixture marinate in a dark, cool cupboard or box, for about 4-6 weeks. Be sure to gently shake the bottles every day.

After the herbs have marinated for a month, strain the mixture through
unbleached hemp, cotton or muslin natural cloth.
I prefer to press the root mixture in a press, but if you are using herbs a good hand squeeze will do.

Bottle the liquid and correctly label it and put the date on it. This is now your mother tincture. You can portion some of the liquid into smaller bottles or ideally in dropper bottles for greater convenience.

Herbal tinctures will last for years.

Taking an Herbal Tincture

Taking your Herbal Tincture is very easy to do.
Dosages vary depending on the strength of the herb. The dosage goes
down as the strength or heat of the herb increases. Dosages can
range anywhere from one drop to one teaspoon, or 1-5 ml, but as a
general rule use one drop per pound per person. In general for
adults 2-4 dropper squeezes or a teaspoon to start will do. Pour
the herbal tincture into a measuring cup or shot glass using the
dropper or a teaspoon, and then add water until it reaches one
ounce. The herbal remedy is easy to consume in one gulp or shot.
You can also put the tincture directly in your mouth but it is strong so be cautious!
Chase it with some water.
It can also be mixed with tea herbal infusions or juice.

For bitter herbs I like to marinate them straight in red wine and take a spoon a day.
Create your own flavoured wines.

Those who are trying to avoid alcohol put the tincture in hot water to boil the alcohol off, like how you would prepare a tea. Cider vinegar may be used instead of alcohol entirely, and adds flavour to culinary dishes.

Taking it hot, it has a more diaphoretic, warming effect.
Taking it cold it has a more tonic effect.

As a general rule:
Take herbs
on an empty stomach for the most absorption and effectiveness.
Take vitamins, minerals, supplements with a meal for better absorption
and to avoid stomach upset, unless otherwise recommended on the
bottle. Take breaks from herbs so that a resistance does not build

How often do I take herbs?
How often you take herbs depends on what your goal is.

Acute conditions such as fighting a cold:
take herbs 4-8 times a day at an increased dosage.

Chronic conditions:
take 2-4 times a day at a lower dosage. Night time
blends for sleeping requires a single dose before bed

Female herbal treatments:
1-2 weeks followed by 2-3 week breaks.

In general take
herbal tinctures in cycle of three weeks of taking tincture
followed by a break for a week for chronic conditions or health


October 25, 2011

Comparing Various Natural Health Therapies

Descriptions of Natural Therapies and


Herbalists are usually trained to identify and collect plants and may use plants in a variety of ways including: for first aid and medicine in the form of poultices, compresses, salves, teas, tinctures, and so forth.

Herbalists strictly use herbs and usually make their own herbal tinctures/extracts and other plant medicinal preparations like teas, salves and poultices. Tincture/extracts are herbs that have been macerated in a mixture of alcohol and water and then strained. The tincture is not diluted
further and all of the active chemical constituents of the plant are left in the liquid. Glycerin may also be used to tincture if alcohol is not desirable.

Herbalists may prescribe further nutritional diet, vitamin/mineral supplementation, but liquid forms of consumption are preferred over pills because they absorb better depending on the condition.

Herbalists do not give needle injections or use animal parts for medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine herbalists and other cultural herbal modalities may use animal products and minerals, but many herbalists tend to stick to vegetable matter only.


Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that uses essential oils. Essential oils are aromatic water-insoluble oily liquids that are derived from single botanical sources including herbs, seeds, fruit
peels, berries, roots, resins, wood and branches. They are extracted using a
variety of methods, the primary extraction method being steam distillation. In
this method steam is driven through the plant material and condensed until the
water, also known as a hydrosol, is separated from the oil soluble parts.

The origins of aromatherapy date back centuries. The use of plants and herbs is the
oldest method of healing disease, alleviating pain and beautifying the body.

The main difference between Aromatherapists and Aromatologists is that Aromatherapists are taught how to apply essential oils in massage applications, aromatologists tend to focus on making products.

TCM- Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has the oldest records of plant medicines, which is no surprise considering paper was invented in the Orient. Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic is a 2000-year old book that has the earliest Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) documentation about plant medicine. TCM has developed over thousands of years and incorporates the use of plants, minerals and animals for medicinal purposes.

All herbs are usually used dried and some are made into powders, and are prescribed as teas. Acupuncture, acupressure, tuina massage and wuxing (the five elements) are also a part of the energetic philosophy of TCM. Acupuncture and acupressure work with the meridian energy system. Acupuncture uses needles, and acupressure is performed by touching with the hands along the meridian pathways in the body. Tuina is a form of massage that encompasses pressure points and all are based on the philosophy of the five elements, which is a model that serves as a diagnostic tool.


Homeopathy is a relatively new natural therapy. It was invented in 1796 by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann. It uses minerals and plants that are highly diluted and shaken, in a
process called succession and dilution. The water that the plant or mineral is macerated in is diluted over and over again until there is only a trace amount left in the liquid water. The liquid is then dropped onto small sugar and lactose pills and consumed orally. Homeopathy follows the philosophy of the principles that “like will cure like,” meaning that if a plant can cause a
fever then if you have a fever it will cure the fever.

Although there has been a lot of controversy over homeopathy and whether there are enough active ingredients in the pills to make it work. There is still controversy about if water contains memory, but there is an imprint of the remedy even though it is in very small amounts.

his is vibrational medicine that works on an energetic level.
More research does need to be done into the placebo effect.

Flower Essences

Flower essences work on the same principle as homeopathy although liquid is used instead of sugar lactose pills.

The Bach Flower remedies are the most popular flower essences, named for Edward Bach. He placed flowers in a bowl of water with a small amount of brandy in it, and let it sit in the sun and then strained the liquid for use with emotional disturbances such as shock. The essences are not diluted as much as the homeopathy pills but are diluted more than herbal liquid tinctures/extracts.


Naturopaths can encompass a wide range of services. They incorporate a TCM approach and may use acupuncture or may do chiropractic work. Naturopaths prescribe a lot of nutritional vitamin and mineral pill supplementation and may give vitamin needle injections.

Naturopaths usually sell their own herbal pills and vitamin pill supplements, or will send you to buy
your own herbs to make tea. Some Naturopaths will send you to an herbalist to
get an herbal formula or will buy tinctures from an herbalist.

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