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Combination Tinctures

Posts: 13
Location: New York
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Hi Folks,

I am obviously just registered for this forum as I've been looking for a forum of experienced herbalist and reading through the forum looks like some knowledgeable people. Sorry to right out of the box just throw up three questions but I come bearing gifts too. I like contributing as much as I receive which seems rare on forums. But need to get some questions off my chest so I can start making my own potions instead of continual buying other people's stuff. I've been using medicinal herbs for many years so my knowledge of the medicinal properties of herbs far exceeds my experience in making my own.

I ran across this guy named Dr. Robert Morse. He specializes in detoxification. I've been reading and stuyding his book and video's. He has a combination detox diet, mostly fruit, vegetables and fasting and herbal combinations that he sells but also gives away the recipes so nothing proprietary here. I like that he is generous with information. So I purchased ALOT of these herbs ready to start making tinctures but also have been reading all the other books especially love STephen Buhners books. An enlightened chap.

I can find no basis for the method that Dr. Morse and his students use of making combination tinctures in the same jar. And now I've read, on this forum too, that different herbs have different content of water and thus each herb requires a different ratio of alcohol. So it seems combining all the herbs in one bottle is a less effective way of making combination tinctures. Buhner makes them separately and then combines the tinctures into one bottle after he has made each individual tincture. So now I have tons of herbs trying to figure out which path I want to go.

I don't want to make lousy tinctures. I can buy those in the healthfood store. But it means I gotta buy a boat load of booze and more mason jars and some graduated cylinders to mix the tinctures together. Making your own is getting expensive and very time consuming BUT I'm going to do it if I have to.

Anybody have any experience making combination tinctures as indicated below? All in one jar. Or would you just clear a closet, and make individual tinctures and mix them later?

Formula "recipes" for Blood, Bones, Brain & Nervous I & II, Heal All Tea, Immune, Kidney & Bladder I & II, Lower Circ., Lungs II, Lymphy Nodes I & II, Lymphatic System I, II & IV, Skin, Stomach & Bowels 1 & 3 and Upper Circulation

Using the ratios below is how I was taught to follow a list of ingredients.� I have made and taken (well, some were my husband's so I didn't take those) all of the 'recipes' below.

These are ratios.� So for example on the recipe below for BLOOD = 333 22 1� That means is you're making a "triple recipe", then multiply everything by 3.

If you want to triple the recipe below, this is how you'd do it:3x3 = 9 grams red clover, 9g burdock root, 9g white oak bark.� Then 2x3=6g plantain herb, 6g yellow dock.� 1x3=3g prickly ash bark.


4� Red Clover Herb & Flowers (Trifolium pratense) 48 gr

3 �Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) 36 gr
3 �White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) 36 gr

2� Plantain Herb (Plantago lanceolata) 24 gr
2 �Yellow Dock Root (Rumex spp.) 24 gr

1� Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) 12 gr



5 �Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) 53 gr

4� Horsetail Grass (Equisetum arvense) 42 gr

3 �Comfrey Leaf (Symphytum officinalis) 32 gr

2 �Alfalfa Lea(Medicago sativa) 21 gr
2 �White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) 21 gr

1�� Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) 11 gr


Brain & Nervous System I

4� Ginkgo Leaf (Ginkgo biloba) 36 gr

4 �Gotu Kola Herb (Centella asiatica) 36 gr
4 �Scullcap Herb (Scutellaria lateriflora)�36 gr� �����������
3 �Rosemary Leaf (Rosmarinus officinalis)�27 gr�������

2� Eleuthero Root (Eleutherococcus sent.) 18 gr
2 �Schisandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis)�18 gr�����
1 Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)�9 gr��


Heal All Tea
5 White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) 50 gr
4 Plaintain Herb (Plantago spp.) 40 gr
3 Comfrey Root & Leaf (Symphytum offinalis) 30 gr

2 Black Walnut Hulls (Juglans nigra) 20 gr
2 Chaparral Herb (Larrea tridentate) 20 gr

1 Burdock Root (Arctium Lappa) 10 gr
1 Marshmallow Root 10 gr



4 Echinacea Angustifolia Root Echinacea angustifolia) 36 gr

3 Astragalus Root (Astragalus membranaceus) 27 gr
3 Pau d'Arco Bark (Tabebuia impetiginosa) 27 gr

2 Cat's Claw Bark (Uncaria tomentosa) 18 gr
2 Maitake Mushroom (Grifolia frondosa) 18 gr
2 Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) 18 gr
2 Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes) 18 gr

1 Eleuthero Root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) 9 gr
1 Schisandra Berries (Schisandra chinensis) 9 gr


Kidney & Bladder 1

5 �Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum spp.)�40 gr

4 �Cornsilk (Zea mays)�32 gr
4� Juniper Berries (Juniperus communis)�32 gr
3 �Goldenrod Herb (Solidago canadensis)�24 gr

2 �Couch Grass Root (Agropyron repens) 16�gr
2 �Parsley Leaf Petroselinum crispum) 16 gr

1 �Horsetail Herb (Equisetum arvense)�10 gr
1 �Nettle Herb (Urtica dioica)�10 gr


Kidney & Bladder II�

4� �Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinale)�40 gr��������������
4� �Plantain Leaf (Plantago lanceolata)�40 gr
3� �Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum)�30 gr
2�� Cornsilk (Zea mays)�20 gr
2� �Parsley Root & Leaf (Petroselinum crispum)�20 gr
2� �Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)�20 gr
1�� Nettles (Urtica dioica)�10 gr


Lower Circulation

5� Butchers Broom Root (Ruscus aculeatus) 32 gr
5� Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus spp.) 32 gr
5� Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) 32 gr
4� Bilberry Leaf (Vaccinium myrtillus) 26 gr

3� Artichoke Leaf (Cynara scolymus) 20 gr
3� White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) 20 gr
2� Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) 10 gr
1� Cayenne Pepper Fruit (Capsicum annum) (40,000 HU max.) 8 gr


Lungs II

4 Mullein 40 gr

3 Fenugreek Seed 28 gr
3 Marshmallow Root Powder 28 gr
3 Slippery Elm Bark Powder 28 gr

2 Chickweed 20 gr

1 Bayberry Bark 9 gr
1 Comfrey Leaf 9 gr
1 Horehound 9 gr
1 Yerba Santa Leaf 9 gr


Lymph Nodes I

4 Echinacea Angustifolia Root Echinacea angustifolia) 42 gr
4 Red Clover Herb (Trifolium pratense) 42 gr
3� Poke Root (Phytolacca americana) 32 gr

2� Blue Violet Leaf (Viola odorata) 21 gr
2 �Plaintain Herb (Plantago ovato) 21 gr

1 Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) 11 gr
1 Periwinkle Herb (Vinca major) 11 gr



3� Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis)�38 gr
3� Plaintain Herb (Plantago ovata)�38 gr
3� Poke Root (Phytolacca americana)�38 gr
2� Chaparral Herb (Artemisia absinthium)�26 gr
2� Wormwood Herb (Artemisia absinthium) 26 gr
1� Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) 14 gr


Lymphatic System 1

4� Chaparral Leaf (Larrea tridentata) 36 gr
4 �Poke Root (Phytolacca americana) 36 gr
3 �Plaintain Herb (Plantago spp.) 27 gr
2 �Cleavers Herb (Galium aparine) 18 gr

2 �Echinacea Angustifolia Root (Echinacea angutifolia) 18 gr
2� Red Root (Ceanothus americanus) 18 gr
2 �White Oak Bark (Quercus alba) 18 gr
1 �Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) 9 gr



5� Graviola (Annona Muricata)� Sour Sop 34 gr
5� Suma Root (Pfaffia paniculata)�34 gr
4� Poke Root (Phytolacca americana)�28 gr
3� Cats Claw Bark (Unicaria tomentosa) 21 gr
3� Periwinkle Herb (Vinca major)�21 gr

3� Red Clover Herb (Trifolium pratense)�21 gr
2� Cleavers Herb (Galium aparine)�14 gr
1� Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis) 7 gr


Lymphatic System IV

4 Bayberry Bark 29 gr
4 Mullein 29 gr
4 Red Clover 29 gr

3 Marshmallow 22 gr
3 White Oak Bark 22 gr

2 Plantain 14 gr
2 White Pond Lily 14 gr

1 Burdock Root 7 gr
1 �Blue Flag 7 gr
1 �Bistort Rhizome 7 gr



5 Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aquifolium) 53 gr
4 Jamaican Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata) 42 gr
3 Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) 32 gr

2 Bayberry Root Bark (Myrica cerifera) 21 gr
2 White Oak BArk (Quercus alba) 21 gr
1 Prickly Ash Bark (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) 11 gr


Stomach & Bowel #1

Slippery Elm Bark Powder � 5mg

Marshmallow Root Powder � 4mg
Wild Yam Root � 4mg

Mullein Leaf � 3mg� (doesn�t grind well)

Chickweed Herb � 2mg
Gentian Root � 2mg
Plantain Leaf � 2mg

Fennel Seed � 1mg


Stomach and Bowels #3

5 Cascara Sagrada Bark (Rhamnus purshiana) 42 gr

4 Cape Aloe (get powder) (Aloe ferox) 33 gr
4 Slippery Elm Bark (Powder) (Ulmus fulva) 33 gr
3 Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea) 24 gr

2 Wild Yam Root (Dioscorea spp.) 16 gr
2 Plantain Leaf (Plantago spp.) 16 gr

1 Fennel Seed (Feoniculum vulgare) 8 gr
1 Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) 8 gr



5� Ginkgo Leaf (Ginkgo biloba) 32 gr
4� Butcher's Broom Root (Ruscus aculeatus) 27 gr
4� Gotu Kola Herb (Centella asiatica 27 gr
4� Rosemary Leaf (Rosmarinus officinalis 27 gr
3� Bilberry Leaf (Vaccinium myrtillus) 20 gr
3� Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus spp.) 20 gr
2� Eleuthero Root (Eleutherococcus sent.) 13 gr
1� Bayberry Root Bark (Myrica cerifera 7 gr
1� Cayenne Pepper Fruit (Capsicum annum) (40,000 HU max.) 7 gr

Use at least 100 proof grain alcohol with no additives, flavors, colorings etc. (everclear, vodka, smirnoff etc) and grind the herbs to a powder to get a 1:4 ratio. 1 gram of herb to 4 ml of alcohol. These ratios equal out to 180 grams of herb. So 180 grams of herb times 4 ml of alcohol is 720 ml. Use a 32 oz mason jar. Make sure you shake them up everyday and keep them in the dark. Keep them in a dark area away from the light. Tincture will be ready in 30 days or you can wait 45 if you can stand it!

Order all your herbs as leaf type unless otherwise noted.
You can use a coffee grinder to grind them.

Start your tinctures on the new moon and decant (strain them) 45 days later on the full moon. Use a potato ricer to get the most alcohol out of the herbs. Then use a paint strainer funnel to get any remaining herb out of the alcohol. Store you finished tincture in an amber or brown bottle. You will get about 16 oz ( 2 cups) of tincture from the original 32 oz jar.
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From a chemistry point of view, there is only one potential problem with combining all the herbs and then adding the alcohol for them to soak in -- that the extract of one will precipitate the extract of another. But this is unlikely (because most natural product oils are miscible) and in the event that it did occur, you would observe some cloudiness in the solution when it was agitated. If it does cloud up, but only slightly, you can try adding more alcohol to the container to clear it. If it stays cloudy, then you know you have some type of precipitate and you should backtrack a couple of steps and make individual tinctures.

One way to cut your costs if the tincture is not for internal consumption is to use good old rubbing alcohol instead of pricey (or even rotgut) vodka. I make a tincture of thyme, lemongrass, and coleus to use as mosquito repellant, and I extract them in a 1:3 solution of rubbing alcohol to water. It seems to work quite well, as the mosquitoes will remind me if I forget to slather it on.

The rest of your preparation guidelines seem to be good laboratory technique.
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Location: Root, New York
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i am more of a student of herbalism than an experienced herbalist, though i have been at it for quite a long time (15 + years). with that said here's my take on this-

all of my teachers, and reading suggest its best to tincture herbs separately, and even sometimes to only take them in isolation, except for the most gentle ones or ones that you know by experience combine well. not only that but it's best to study the herbs separately, just focus deeply on one herb at a time.

in this way you might only have 10-20 herbs that you really find work wonders for you, and get to know them more deeply in this way...rather than having to know everything about every herb, some which may not do you any good.

more than buying herbs and making medicines from them (though i have done that too) i am more interested in wildcrafting my own medicines and growing herbs for use, so this one on one approach is a different way than what you are speaking of, and it's about more than just the practicalities of which herbs go with other ones. it's about developing a relationship to the plant, getting to know it as a friend, understanding how and when to find it, grow it, harvest it and all of the different uses and effects it has for you personally.

this is definitely worked better for me than just diving in the deep end of all the herbs available, starting with a couple and getting to know them well, so i think that advice is wise. start slow and get to know some herbs really deeply but slowly, one by one.

and then moving on to another plant medicine when it calls me. and usually when an herb starts calling me its when its in it's prime time, i will start seeing it everywhere, or it is just the right time to focus on that herb because it helps with whatever condition i am having at the time. then i will do a lot of study and research and try it out, prepare something with it, start growing it etc...before adding it to the list of go to herbs.

but there are definitely many ways to go about things and people learn things differently, but thats the advice i have gotten from teachers and reading. it is better to know those fewer herbs that really help you and have a deep relationship with them, understand them really well, than to know a little about too many herbs, some of which you dont even know if they are helping you.

besides that on a more practical direct note, i was taught to always tincture herbs separately.
David Marks
Posts: 13
Location: New York
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Thank you John and Leila for both of your very well informed replies.

I agree with you Leila wholeheartedly about the benefit of working with one herb at a time to become familiar with it's individual properties, how it effects you, it's personality etc... I have and continue to work that way to gain an appreciation. Wildcrafting is not an option for a city boy other than foraging in the park but in the right circumstances, I indeed would have the same interest. However, I would add that this type of healing program is a very very intense sort of endeavor. Not for the meek. And I've done something like this before except the herbs were prepared for me addressing multiple issues. Clearing candida, parasites, digestion, liver etc.... It is a life altering experience and the one thing you cannot do on such a program once you get started is deviated from proven protocols because once you enter into what is known as a healing crisis, you hope that the practioner brings with them many years of experience that they've prepared something that is tried and proven. And believe me, you won't be in the garden too much so everything has to be prepared. Experimentation is great but not during detox because you do not have the resources but over time certainly experimentation is a good thing.

The other observation that Stephen Buhner makes is that he was also a advocate of using two or three herbs in his combinations until he got older and found that as the body deterioates, it became necessary to use more synergistic herbs. And this is the entire philosophy of TCM where an entire combination has one personality. 1000's of years of experimenting, they recognized that each person was different and the formula's, especially tonifying herbs, require assistance in order to maximize the effect of the major herbs. Such herbs as licorice are never used alone.

And as I prepare for flu and cold season, I know that I want sufficient number of immune supporting herbs to do the trick ASAP and keep my immune system humming.

As John mentioned, precipitating can be an issue as it is also mentioned by Buhner. He adds glycerine so which means that if I am going to add either more alcohol or glycerin I can't fill the jar to the top as many people do. I have to go back to read his comments on it because he mentions it's a little addressed issue among herbalist. I guess I am satisfied that the science works for making an herbal combination. But still not sure it is optimal. But than again I believe Chinese might have been doing it this way for thousands of years. I've seen their brews in herb stores.

I might just do it two ways and experiment even if it is more expensive because there is no way I'm going to use rubbing alcohol as a menstruum.

So it looks like some experimentation will be in order.
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Hi David! Thanks for posting info about Dr. Morse tinctures formula. I like to make several different tinctures formulas by myself however I like to know what are the herbs proportion (rations)? Where can I find them? Please let me know. Appreciate.
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Location: Northern New Mexico, Latitude:35 degrees N, Elevation:6000'
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Others have more knowledge and experience than I when it comes to making tinctures...yet here's my take on it.

If you have only the space, time, money, motivation, etc... to do the combination tincture....then make combination tinctures. They still work, and I "think" yet am uncertain, that Dr. Morse's formulas are made in combination.....but I can't fully recall. Call or email the office and they'll probably let you know.

I make combination tinctures, because of ease, space, money, time. And most formulas I make have over seven herbs, and I generally make multiple different formulas at a time. But saying all this, it would be kinda cool to have a small room/large closet to hold all the individual mason jars full of single herb tincture ready to go. 😀
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Where did you find these ratios and measurements? I notice you have only posted certain tinctures. I am looking for the preparation for all of Dr. Morses tinctures... is that something I will be able to find on the internet?

Thanks for the info so far!
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