A naturopath might tell you that you need to take herbal tinctures to help with certain health problems. They prescribe them for anxiety, weight loss, menopause, and many other health benefits. But for some people an herbal tincture simply isn’t a viable option.
Problems with Tinctures
Why not? Since tinctures are made mostly using alcohol to extract essences from plant material. It may be something as simple as you don’t like the taste of it. (This is a problem particularly for parents with small children who have to take the tincture.) But you might also have a serious sensitivity to alcohol (I knew a woman who even a sip of beer left with a migraine for three and four days at a time). This alcohol sensitivity may also just result in caution from pregnant mothers (although doctors say tinctures are perfectly safe for pregnant mothers, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.) Or you might even be using them to help your pet and using alcohol simply isn’t an option.
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So if you fall into any of these categories, there is an alternative. They’re called herbal glycerites. Herbal glycerites are only slightly less effective than tinctures, but they’re infinitely more appealing and can be made at home with very little effort on you part.
Herbal glycerites are made using vegetable glycerine to extract the medicinal properties and flavour from an herb, making them slightly sweeter and almost as effective. (That sweet flavour isn’t digestible, so no worries on exposing whoever to even more sugar.)
First you’re going to need vegetable glycerine. Glycerine is a clear and ordorless liquid produced from vegetable oils. High quality glycerine is most likely organic, sustainably harvested and not genetically modified (non-GMO, for those in the know).
After you get your high quality glycerine, get your fresh plants. Mint, violets, lavender, or whatever you’ve been prescribed by your doctor. You can use dried ingredients if you can’t find fresh, but they might not be as effective and you’ll have to adjust the recipe accordingly.
Clean mason jar.
First, get a clean mason jar. Fill it full of fresh plant material, or half full of dried plant material (dried herbs will absorb water and expand).
Next, fill up your jar with glycerine to about an inch from the top (just enough to cover the plants). (If you’re using dried plants, use a combination of three parts glycerine to one part water and fill to within an inch of the top of the jar). Stir the mixture with a knife, spoon, or chopstick to stir the contents so as to release any air bubbles while you’re pouring.
Third, cap and label that jar. In a dark, cool place. Shake the jar every other day. If the glycerine is ever lower than the plant material feel free to top it off.
Step number four, pour the glycerite into a bowl, straining the contents through a cheesecloth. Take the four corners of the cheesecloth (now stuffed full of your plants) and squeeze any of the remaining glycerine from the plants. Bottle your newly made glycerite and store it in a cool, dark place. It’s good for about two years.
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