Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Herbal tincture for homemade multi-vitamins

 Welcome to the first of my posts on herbal creations.  I have always enjoyed searching the web for ideas and methods that others use.  I usually get the multiple ideas swirling around in my head, then I use my many books and decide what I want to create.
 I sometimes make things differently if I am in a different mood, or if for instance, I am out of an ingredient ;) I used to not measure anything, but as I made this latest tincture, I decided to measure so that I could share with you.
 I hope you will enjoy my recipe, and also do your own research to double check that the ingredients are right for you.  I am not a professional, so these are only recipes that have worked for me and for my family.  I encourage you to learn about the different types of herbs and essential oils available and which ones may best serve you. One of my favorite books is The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, I bought mine in 1994, but I'm sure you can still find it.
 Most of my tinctures have always been specific to treatment; like dandelion for liver strengthening, and chamomile for skin salves. I had dozens of different ones, and never thought to put them all together...duh.  I got the idea for making a multi-vitamin from +Katie Wellness Mama  and I adapted her vitamin recipe to make my own.  Have fun!

Start with 2 quart jars and add the following dried herbs:
1/2 cup raspberry leaf
3/4 cup alfalfa leaf
1/4 catnip
1/4 dandelion
3 TBL burdock root
3 TBL Rosehips
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1-2 cups vodka (I use Chopin or Ciroc because they are gluten free.  There are less expensive vodkas available, but without naming them, I will tell you that I had reactions to them)

Here is why I choose these particular herbs:

  • Raspberry Leaf- Since my husband takes this too, raspberry is known as a prostrate tonic.  For both of us, it is a cleansing herb ***use caution if you may be pregnant as it is a uterine stimulant

  • Alfalfa Leaf- contains vitamins A,B,D,E and K.  It is a source of iron, calcium and magnesium as well as protein.  In Arabic it means "father of all foods".  I have made tinctures before where I doubled the alfalfa, and I probably will do that every other time.

  • Catnip- contains calcium, iron and several vitamins too.  It is also calming and soothing (unless you put catnip on your cat's scratching post, then it seems to be a stimulant)!

  • Dandelion- mainly it is a great liver tonic, and diuretic.  The leaves are high in potassium too.  (When the seasons change, I take a tincture of dandelion root, flower and leaf, as I feel it helps clean my system and prepare it for the seasonal changes).

  • Burdock Root-eliminates built up toxins, and is antibiotic in nature, the leaves can be used as a stomach soother.

  • Rosehips-high in vitamin C and is a blood tonic
**you can substitute or add other herbs like *lemon balm for depression and tension, or lavender flowers for nervous exhaustion.  Always use a good quality herb, or grown and dry your own.  If I don't have it in my garden, I order from +Mountain Rose Herbs 

There are numerous methods for making an alcohol tincture, this is the one that I have had the most success with:
  1. put all the dry herbs into a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. equally divide the herbs into 2 clean glass jars ( I always boil them first, but Ive read that the dishwasher is sufficient when you will be using alcohol in the tincture)
  3. put 3/4 cup of boiling water into each jar and let the herbs steep for 2-3 minutes
  4. fill the jars the rest of the way with vodka, leave a little space at the top(at lease an inch or 2) because as you can see in my picture, after a few days they swell so much!
    this is after 3 days...the herbs swell a lot, so leave space 
  5. cap tightly and put away somewhere where you will remember to check on it and shake it every few days
  6. After 4-5 weeks, you are ready to decant the tincture.  I like to strain mine by using a cheesecloth into 1 quart jar.  (the 2 quarts will fit into one once the herbs are out)
    I usually have enough for the cheesecloth to completely cover the strainer, but was running low
  7. Compost the herbs, or I've read where some made a quick tea infusion with them, but I haven't tried that yet.
  8. I always double or triple strain through the cheesecloth because I don't like to see the sediment that is left behind.  Of course, you will have some as to be expected, and it won't hurt you to take it if you want to skip the extra straining :)
  9. I like to put some of the tincture into a glass dropper bottle for ease of administering.  Then it is easy to get your funnel and re-fill as needed, and you can travel with it.  It varies how much to take, we usually take 2 droppers full diluted into about 1/4 cup warm water twice a day.  You don't have to dilute it, but I think the alcohol can be a little strong.  I make the tincture without alcohol, and use sweet glycerin for my boys.  That will be posted later...
    It looks so rich and chock full of goodness!

Thanks again for visiting and please let me know if you try this, or if you have your own ideas I would love to hear about them!  I am just getting started pulling my recipes and experiments out of the notebooks that Ive kept through the years.  I will be posted pictures with each step the next time that I make any new tinctures.  There is an awesome video on +Mountain Rose Herbs.
Here is the link for how to make a version for children.  Have a blessed day!  Joanna

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