Thursday, July 01, 2010

Making Herbal Tinctures

I harvested quite a few herbs today in order to start various tinctures.
The herbs in the picture above are Chocolate Mint, Lemon Grass, Chamomile Blossoms, Yarrow Blossom, Lavender.  And you migh be able to guess by the crowd it's gathered that the basket is full of catnip.
To make a tincture, you put the herbal material into a jar, cover it over with high alcohol vodka, and then put it into a dark place.  Shake it once or twice a day, and it should be ready anytime between 2 and 8 weeks later.  I've read a lot of different directions, and a lot of them disagree about how long a tincture needs to steep.

I'm going to use these in a couple of different ways.  The chamomile and lavender will be combined to be a relaxing linen spray, because they both have sedative and calming properties.  The lavender, catnip, yarrow, and lemongrass will all make a bug repellent spray.

I ran out of vodka, so I didn't set up the mint to tincture yet.  I've hung it up in bunches to dry for now.  Tinctures can be made with either dried or fresh herbs.

You can take tinctures interally too, of course, not just spray them.  The mint tincture will make great flavoring, and I'm interested in trying out the lemon grass one to see if it tastes as citrus-y as it smells.  Medicinally, tinctures are useful too, of course, though I definately don't know enough about that to give any advice about it yet.

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