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St. John's Wort Tincture

 
Posts: 4
Location: Michigan, USA
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Hi,

I'm new to medicinal herbs and just made my first St. John's Wort tincture. I used 80 proof vodka and shook the jar daily. 6wks later I opened the jar to find a light green film over the over top of the tincture. I then used the coffee filter to strain the mark and film from the tincture. None of the videos I watched online said anything about a film forming during the maceration process. Did I do something wrong? Is my tincture safe to consume?

Thanks,
Thomas
 
pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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hmmm...to me it doesnt sound too bad...just maybe needed some straining. i believe it is ok. though i havent ever had exactly what your describing happening, with some different herbs...at some times it looks weird throughout the process.....

another good way to use st john's wort, is in oil applied to the skin. thats what i do with it rather than tincture, infuse it in oil. its subtler that way, but also has some added pain relief benefits, its a soothing rub for skin and does also have its uplifting qualities that way - soaked through the skin.

st johns wort is pretty sticky and intense, so maybe its some of the resins or something, from the extra sticky gooiness =) of that particular herb. thats my guess. when i go pick it i end up with st johns wort goo all over my finger for a couple of days....so i would guess its maybe that which forming your "film" ?
 
Posts: 416
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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The oils in SJW aren't green though. I've made a lot of SJW tincture and green is not a colour I associate with it.

Thomas, how certain are you about the ID of the plant? Was it fresh plant or dried? Did you harvest it yourself?

What part of the plant did you use?

By 'film' do you mean an actual film, or do you mean oils sitting on top of the tincture? Was the plant material sticking above the alcohol?

What was the lid of the jar made of? Was the jar glass or plastic?
 
Thomas Myers
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Location: Michigan, USA
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Hi Rose,

I acquired the SJW from Mountain Rose Herbs so I'm 99% certain of what it was. MRH dries flowers and stems for SJW. The jar was a glass 1/2 gallon Ball Mason jar. The "film" was reminded me of pollen on a still pond. In the coffee filter it was thick but still but still liquid like.

Thanks,
Thomas
 
Thomas Myers
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Location: Michigan, USA
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Hi Leila,

To your knowledge can I become ill from using a "tainted" SJW tincture?


Thanks,
Thomas
 
leila hamaya
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well its hard for anything too funky bad to grow in alcohol, which is why its a good medium for preserving the herbs. i am reluctant to say i know that its ok, or not, as i dont get exactly what it could be.

the only other thing that comes to mind, besides the gooiness of sjw, is a possible issue with the jar? like there could have been something in the jar, not noticeable but on the jar. it would be good to disinfect the jar by sterilizing it before hand. idk, thats just a wild guess, and its seems like a long shot...the alcohol should prevent it from becoming "tainted". sorry this is not more helpful.
 
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Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
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While a tincture made from dried plant material may be somewhat effective, all tinctures should be made from fresh plant material. They are going to be more potent and more effective. As for the "film" I would still use it until I got my hands on fresh plant material to make it again or ordered it from somewhere else. If it was truly a film, I would take it. If it looked like mold, I would not. Do you have a picture?
 
Thomas Myers
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Location: Michigan, USA
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Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the advice. Attached is a picture of the tincture. It's a deep dark red in case the pic doesn't come out well.
2015-04-18-15.51.05.jpg
[Thumbnail for 2015-04-18-15.51.05.jpg]
SJW Tincture
 
Stephanie Ladd
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It looks fine to me!
 
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Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I would think that if you started with dried herbs and a clean jar, a 40% alcohol would be more than adequate to keep mold from forming. Generally speaking, you want the final tincture to be above 35% or so for preservation purposes. The green film could perhaps have been small particles of leaf powder? The final red color looks right for a SJW tincture to me.

As for fresh vs dried tincture, while I agree that in general fresh herbs make for a more potent tincture, I've made plenty of tinctures from dried herbs that worked great. If that's what you have access to, then go for it! And one very important thing to remember about making tinctures from fresh herbs: the water in the plant itself is going to effect the final alcohol content of the tincture, so you can't safely make fresh tinctures from 80 proof vodka. Most herbalists start with everclear or other high-proof alcohol, and do some math to figure out how much they need to dilute it to get the correct final proof. So for beginners, tinctures from dried herbs may be the best way to go.
 
Rose Pinder
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Thomas Myers wrote:Hi Rose,

I acquired the SJW from Mountain Rose Herbs so I'm 99% certain of what it was. MRH dries flowers and stems for SJW. The jar was a glass 1/2 gallon Ball Mason jar. The "film" was reminded me of pollen on a still pond. In the coffee filter it was thick but still but still liquid like.

Thanks,
Thomas



Sjw can have quite a bit of pollen in it, but it's yellow, and I find it sinks rather than floats. However I make fresh plant tincture, and it's possible that the pollen from the dried plant is hydrophobic and floats on the surface. I would guess though that the commercial dried plant has leaf powder in it and that is what is floating. I'd phone/email Mt Rose and ask them about it.

The only think I'd be worried about is a corroding jar lid but I don't think that would create a film.
 
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