A second row of Tinctures done

A second row of Tinctures done

Starting from left to right:
St. John’s Wort, Bachelor’s Button, German Chamomile, and Feverfew. 🙂

-How to make a proper tincture:

Step One:

Take Mason Jars and boil the glass part of the jar, totally submerged. Boil glass jars for six minutes. Hand Wash the rings and lids with hot soapy water. Make sure the lids and rings are brand new, to avoid contamination of bacteria.

Step Two:

While the large pot of water is boiling the jars, chop up the desired fresh or dried herbs.
Using fresh herbs is best for the strongest result in comparison to dried. Place the chopped herbs into small separate bowls. Set aside.

Step Three:

After glass jars are done being boiled for six minutes take out with jar grabbers. Set upside down onto sterile-clean paper towels. Let them cool and look for remaining water droplets. Dry the inside of the Mason Jars more if needed. Make sure the jars are at least slightly warm to the touch before adding herbs into each Mason Jar.

Step Four:

Use 100 proof Vodka; The stronger the better. Some say to dilute the alcohol, but I do not. Since I want to draw out as much of the medicinal properties from the herbs as possible. Diluting the Vodka or Gin is for potential customers who wish to not have an overpowering flavor of vodka. Adding water to the Vodka or Gin is not necessary.

You should have at least 1/3 of the herbs filling each Mason Jar; OR Half. . You may notice the Feverfew in the photograph I have here, shows a bit of herb content and more Vodka in ratio. Also, how the Mason Jar is not filled to the top to avoid possible air touching the herbs and maybe growing mold. If you know what you are doing as an Herbalist, you learn that the ratio most websites and books say is not necessarily placed into stone. Shaking the jar twice a day: once in the morning and once at night, will keep the herbs nice and moist with alcohol. Eventually, by the second day the herbs will be sinking to the bottom. 🙂

Overtime, you learn the basics of Tincturing and how you can safely work within the guidelines.

Step Five:

Fill the rest of the Mason Jar to the top with Vodka. Give the jars a good shake to coat all of the herbs. You will need to daily shake the herbs until ready to strain, place into smaller jars and label.

Also: Make sure to label and date your jars right after you are done with creating them!
-No matter how good your memory is, the more Tinctures you create the higher risk of forgetting ‘who-is-who’ for Tinctures become. 🙂

Lastly once done labeling, I write on the calendar of the start dates for each tincture. I write down the names of each one on the day they were made. The Tinctures should be ready to strain in three to six weeks. 🙂

Bachelor’s Button AKA: Cornflower

Bachelor's Button AKA: Cornflower

Other common names are: Bluebonnet, Bluebottle, Blue Centaury, Cyani.

Cornflower is an annual herb; the thin, stiff, branched stem grows to a height of 12-24 inches and bears narrow, lanceolate leaves, pinnate and lobed near the base and nearly filiform near the top. The large, blue flowers (white or rose-colored in some varieties) appear from June to August.

Its flowers are used to help as a diuretic, tonic, anti-inflammatory, and a stimulant.
The cornflower is used for dyspepsia and cosmetic purposes. Flowers are made into an eyewash or eye drops and made into compresses to use on the eyes. Used for nervous conditions, both calming and curative.

It is also used in some bath bath and cosmetic preparations.

St. John’s Wort

St. John's Wort

Its flowers and leaves are used to make medicine for depression and conditions that sometimes go along with depression such as anxiety, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping. There is some strong scientific evidence that it is effective for mild to moderate depression.

Other uses include heart palpitations, moodiness and other symptoms of menopause, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

St. John’s wort has been tried for exhaustion, stop-smoking help, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), migraine and other types of headaches, muscle pain, nerve pain, and irritable bowel syndrome. It is also used for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C.

An oil can be made from St. John’s wort. Some people apply this oil to their skin to treat bruises and scrapes, inflammation and muscle pain, first degree burns, wounds, bug bites, hemorrhoids, and nerve pain. But applying St. John’s wort directly to the skin is risky. It can cause serious sensitivity to sunlight.

The active ingredients in St. John’s wort can be deactivated by light. That’s why you will find many products packaged in amber containers. The amber helps, but it doesn’t offer total protection against the adverse effects of light.

Feverfew Herb

Feverfew Herb

Feverfew is used in herbal remedies to relieve headaches and joint inflammation.

Feverfew is also used for fever, irregular menstrual periods, arthritis, a skin disorder called psoriasis, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, and nausea and vomiting.

Some people use feverfew for difficulty getting pregnant or fathering a child (infertility). It is also used for “tired blood” (anemia), cancer, common cold, earache, liver disease, prevention of miscarriage, muscular tension, bone disorders, swollen feet, diarrhea, upset stomach and intestinal gas.

Feverfew is sometimes applied directly to the gums for toothaches or to the skin to kill germs.

Harvesting Red Clover

Harvesting Red Clover

The use of red clover as an herbal remedy goes back centuries, and the plant enjoys a history of both topical and internal applications. As a topical aid, red clover is often an ingredient in liniments and balms, for relieving the pain of both eczema and psoriasis, for sores, burns, and as an aid against skin cancer. The pain-relieving properties of red clover are likely due to the presence of the anti-inflammatory compounds eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid in the flowers. Salicylic acid also demonstrates activity against eczema.

Red clover is a blood thinner. This is due to the concentration of coumarin found in the blossoms. For cases of thrombosis and other conditions in which thick blood obstructs vessels, red clover tea may be of benefit. However, for those who are taking blood-thinning medications, adding red clover to the mix can be a bad idea. Prior to surgery, drinking red clover is not recommended, as doing so may exacerbate surgical bleeding.

Yellow Dye: Celandine plant

Yellow Dye: Celandine plant

[Used to make yellow dye and is a medicinal herb].

Also called: swallowwort or ‘swallow herb’. According to another fable, swallows utilized the sap or juice of celandine to reinforce the vision of their young ones. Taking a cue from this, humans also used the juice obtained from the herb in the form of eye drops to cure cataracts. However, this particular therapeutic use of the herb was stopped several years back.

Abiding by the doctrine of signatures, herbalists have taken the vivid orange hued juice of celandine in the form of a heavenly sign which was a medication for liver diseases as well as jaundice. In effect, the juice of the celandine herb was also used to eradicate warts as well as make calluses softer. The plant’s name ‘tetterwort’ is derived from the use of its orange color juice in traditional herbal medicine to cure skin complaints, for instance, blisters and pimples as well as maladies that were earlier known as tetters.

Link for more information can be found here:
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_celandine.htm

Harvesting Chamomile

Harvesting Chamomile

This is four days worth of harvesting German Chamomile. The gathering of plants are on their first year of growth [Start of Seedlings: Jan. 2014]. In no time, the harvesting shall be something quite numerous. 😀 More than likely in the nearby future, every day my harvesting of these small flower heads may appear overwhelming. 🙂

Harvesting Chamomile is quite easy. Simply use a simple sharp pair of scissors for the job. You do not need to purchase herb scissors of any kind. 🙂 In the beginning, you can place the small collection of Chamomile in a porous small bowl. Wooden is best. Make sure to shake the bowl lightly once or twice a day to help drying and to make sure the petals and main head do not rot.

A dry, shady place in your home is best while drying. Once the gathering of flowerheads have grown to the point of an inch- you will need to lay them out on a newspapered tray with holes.
I use a drying rack for clothes to place the flat trays down on. Keep away from sunlight.

Hanging them up to dry is a second option. Once the flowers are dry, snip the flower heads and save in a sealed container, such as a mason jar, free of moisture and store in a cool location.

More information on preserving German or English Chamomile can be found here:

Preserving Herbs: Drying Fresh Chamomile/Manzanilla