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Tinctures: medicine from the homestead.

 
pollinator
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Now that we are pushing towards June I’ve got a lot of plants, trees, herbs and flowers ready for use. I’d love to use all parts and tonight I’m thinking about homemade medicine.
I’ve made some tinctures in the last few years but I think it’s time to expand. What are your favorites? Maybe a recipe or two as well. Here are a few I’ve made and I can’t wait to here from you!
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Lemon balm tincture
Lemon balm tincture
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Lemon balm, catnip and holy basil
Lemon balm, catnip and holy basil
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Hop tincture
Hop tincture
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Hop and milky oat tincture
Hop and milky oat tincture
 
Posts: 23
Location: Southwest Wisconsin: Zone 5b: Clay bottomland soil near a river
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Those look great, it's so neat to see pic.'s of what others have done.
 One of my favorites is passionflower and california poppy for a sleep aid/mind calm downer. It works fine as a strong infusion too.
  And another is straight dandelion, for those months when there aren't any fresh. :)
A friend made me a immune boosting one with (I think) elderberry and echinacea. That was pretty good too.
Oh, and plantain! In fact-with this thread inspiring me, I think I'll start a plantain tincture and dandelion tincture tomorrow. Thank you!


 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks Kat! This is the reason I started this thread! The fact that I have self sowing California poppies makes me want to try that tincture. Thanks for mentioning the elderberry one as well. I have plenty of trees and I’ve not tinctured them yet. Do you use the flowers for that?
I thought about mentioning another mix but not really sure it fits into this thread. My neighbor is Chinese. Her dad lived until he was around 100. The only medicine he ever took was golden raisins soaked in gin. His recipe called for the cheapest gin you could find. After it sits for a few months it takes on an entirely new flavor. His daughter jokingly calls it the Chinese Cure. According to him it did fix anything that was wrong.
 
gardener
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Location: France, Burgundy, parc naturel Morvan
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Waaah, that hops tincture seperates the men from the boys, that's some bitter tasting stuff. Works a charm in combination with valerian tincture though. even people who are used to taking sleep medicine fall asleep from that combination. Waking up without the hangover, but fresh.
I don't know if valerian grows in the States, but here in Europe now is the time you can find it. I just dump the car by the side of the road when i see it flowering, it's not at it's strongest when it's flowering, but it is a million time more visible then then in autumn. I take about 1 in 3 in a serious patch. I just crossed my favorite patch, it's only getting bigger, i might stop and spread it a bit further for next year. I've got enough for this year from last years gathering with an old friend.

The pot on the left is a propolis tincture from local bees, all the local medicinal herbs collected by bees. Those guys know what they're doing. If i have a wound, i dump a drop on it and it leaves a waxy layer when i blow it dry. Another drop, blow it dry, until it completely sealed the wound in a healing wax. Bad wounds from jigsaws and all sorts it fixes quickly. Last week i had a splinter that was located at a bad visible place, i sure could feel it though, my whole finger swollen up throbbing, i thought if i don't control this i might have to visit the doctor tomorrow, which i don't like in COVID time. I cut it open with a scissors squeezed and squeezed, blood came out and some wood. I cut away the infected skin and started dropping propolis tincture on it, hoping for the best. The next day i was talking to my neighbor who has something in his foot and tried to explain how good this stuff works, i was looking at the wrong hand at first, because it had completely gone the pain. It's beyond me why not more people use it. But hey, even the neighbor left without asking for it, he still has a bad foot..

Thanks for the idea Scott. Lemon balm, i've been looking at it, lately, it pops up all over, people put it in salads and make tea with it, both i don't really like. Just checking it out, hang on, it's good for tension, nervousness, stress, irritableness, insomnia,ADHD, melancholia, exagerated emotional state, feeling down, depression and moodyness, nightmares, panic attacks, less memory, intellectual tiredness, nervous hart, headache because of stress, nausea,vomiting, irritable bowel syndrom, anorexia, flatulence, problems with menstruation. Do you make it with cheap vodka or does it need something stronger or weaker?
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pollinator
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Thanks, Hugo, for explaining how you use Propolis tincture.
I filtered my first bottle some days ago and haven't used it yet. I made it from the propolis I extracted from my own bee hives, so this should be extra good (with all the headache they give me right now by constantly swarming...)!

I will look into plantain tincture or maybe syrup (easier to do). I have lots of healthy plantain plants in my wildflower patch right now.

 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks for the replies Hugo and Anita! This is really becoming a great thread! I’m not well schooled in tinctures so I was hoping to learn and I am.
I’ve only used 100 proof vodka in our tinctures because it seemed the easiest. I’ve never had the desire to go further in learning until recently. The bee propolis mix you are describing sounds like a magic elixir and I’d love to try some. Can you detail the steps here?
I know what you mean about lemon balm popping up in unusual ways. Since it smells of lemony goodness I thought it would make a good smudge stick for repelling summer bugs. Turns out it smells horrible when burnt. I have found other ways to use it. You said you didn’t like it in tea but try this. Get a pot of water boiling. Go outside and grab a big handful of lemon balm and drop it in. Cut the heat off and wait until it’s cooler (15 minutes). Strain the mixer or just pull out what you can and sweeten with your favorite sweetener. Drink it hot or cold from the fridge later. I’m betting you’ll love it!
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Anita Martin
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Scott Stiller wrote:The bee propolis mix you are describing sounds like a magic elixir and I’d love to try some. Can you detail the steps here?


I used a very basic recipe. I had been collecting propolis whenever I cleaned frames or the cover on the hives etc. in a little jar.
Some recipes said you had to freeze and then crush the propolis, others said it was not necessary. So I did not crush it. I filled it in a little glass jar (about three tablespoons). Add about ten times the amount (in weight) of alcohol apt for consumption (not sure how that is in the US, but in Germany the cheap ethanol for cleaning has a bitter agent that makes it improper for consumption; I bought mine in the pharmacy pre-Corona).
The usual ratio I find is 30 g of Propolis to 300 g of 70% ethanol alcohol.

Some instructions say to let sit for 2 weeks, but most for 4-6 weeks. I let mine sit for 6 weeks, shaking it whenever I passed it.
Then I filtered it through a coffee filter into the little bottle of the alcohol I had bought initially.

The liquid is dark and sticky, just how it should be - I guess!
 
Hugo Morvan
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I'll give your recipe forcold  lemonbalm tea a go Scott
The propolis tincture was given to me Scott, i did however made some crappy looking one, probably with 40% vodka.
100 proof is 50% this youtube speaks of 192 proof vodka for propolis,

Anita, is yours as thick as molasses?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRRfCINMR9M
 
Scott Stiller
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This propolis stuff is fascinating. My neighbor has bees and I’ll get with him about collecting.
My Polish friend Marta brought me some 192 proof stuff from her home. I’m not sure how I would describe it. It was something! There’s one available here that I’ve seen. It’s called Diesel and I guess you could actually power a car with it!
 
Scott Stiller
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I have a property full of both kinds of plantain. I’ve heard of tincturing it but not syrup. Which kind do you use for that?
 
author
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Location: Devon, UK
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A tincture which I make regularly is Cramp bark, a superb antispasmodic. Possibly best known for its effect in reducing menstrual cramps. I guess some favourite trees might be other people's bugbears, as it is a European native that may be somewhat invasive in parts of the USA. Here in UK it is also known as Guelder rose or snowball tree because an ornamental version is often planted which it has pompom like white flowers. The effective part is the bark which can be readily stripped off as the tree comes into leaf. It is worth considering as an alternative to North American native Black haw (Viburnum prunifolium) which may be at risk from habitat change and/or overharvesting.
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Harvesting cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)
Harvesting cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)
 
Scott Stiller
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Anne, this is an excellent post. I’m going to have to look up all of the trees you speak of because I’m not familiar I’m afraid. I’m curious if you have Mimosa/silk trees where you live? I have a bunch on my farm. I was a bit afraid of them when we moved here because they’re invasive. I have learned to love them though. I even trellis cucumbers, and beans up them. I’ll cut off all limbs except the ones I need and plant. It’s a fast grower so I’ll have to prune several times a season.
Sorry, got off course there. I’ve heard the flowers can be used in tinctures but I’m not sure how.
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Anne Stobart
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Hi Scott, hmm very interesting to hear about the mimosa - I reckon that it is an Albizia species, maybe A. julibrissin, which is very much a plant of the Chinese medicinal tradition. And as a species in the pea family also great for nitrogen accumulation in the soil? We don't have it in UK except as an ornamental in very sheltered spots. My expertise is mainly in Western herbal medicine so cannot speak with authority on this one though I believe it is an important Chinese remedy, called 'Collective Happiness' both as flowers and as bark (Pinyin terms: He huan hua and He huan pi respectively). It is used in many inflammatory complaints but especially for anxiety and depression. There is a section on mimosa in Peg Schafer's book
Schafer P (2012) The Chinese medicinal herb farm: a cultivator's guide to small-scale organic herb production. (Chelsea Green).
If it grew for me I would harvest the flowers and bark and dry them for year-round use in tea! Maybe there are herbal practitioners in your area who might say more about possibilities, there is an interesting post by Dana Tate Bailey on mimosa use at Mimosa use
 
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I love this thread! Thanks all for sharing...I started making tinctures and love it here are a few; mint for GI/decongestant, feverfew for blood pressure/migraine, rosemary  for depression/anxiety/nervous system,  elderberry for all-supporting immune system/anti-viral, calendula salve for all skin irritations and "sleepy dust" raw brown sugar/ Himalayan pink salt/honey to place a little under your tongue at night to aide with sleep.  Just a few for me ....can't wait to make more variations this year.
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Scott Stiller
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This is the mimosa tree I mentioned as a new sprout. A lot of folks hate them because they’re very invasive, I was one of them. But knowing about their nitrogen fixing prowess and the incredible smell of the blooms changed my mind. Plus if you pay attention the saplings are easily identified and plucked out as needed.
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Mimosa sapling
Mimosa sapling
 
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