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measuring herbs for tinctures and things  RSS feed

 
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I'm unclear about measurements for herbs for tinctures and decoctations and all.
Somehow I've become confused about whether to measure volume or measure by weight?

When a 'recipe' says a teaspoon or half a cup no problem but when it says 'ounces' I start thinking it could be ounces in a cup OR weight?

...even though I know what is usually meant in a decoctation is a weight measurement, the amount is so much more than the volume measure I become unsure.

Is there a standard?  I would be fine if some reputable source just said always use weight not volume.  The more I look online the more uncertain I feel.

If a ratio for a tincture is 1:5, one being the herb, are they both volume or weight even though the second number is liquid?

The funny thing is I've made tinctures for years and other herbal preparations and now that I'm actually trying to follow some more exact guidelines I've lost my nerve

 
garden master
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Hiya Judith!

I'm not sure on the specifics for herbs and tinctures, and being in science, I am so used to everything being in metric that I am equally confused, as you are with ounces, when it comes to cooking recipes.

The best suggestion I have is what my mother has told me about cooking instructions and reading product labels. Whenever ounces is used in the US they are referring to weight/mass, unless they specify fluid ounces. "Fluid" is the keyword indicating that volume is their intention and not mass.

Eeeh, you've got more experience, so go with gut instinct! ;)

I did some research, and from what I have found from reading some articles, it looks like tinctures go by weight-to-volume ratios (weight of the herbs to volume of liquid solvent).

References:
Making Sense of Herbal Measurements
Tinctures Preparations
Preparing Tinctures
Herbal Tinctures
Demystifying Weigh-to-Volume Tinctures

From what I gathered, it seems that ounces usually refers to weight of herbs and volume for alcohol in relation to tinctures.

And as a note about doing things, I am so with you there, Judith! As I am getting further into my studies at college, I feel like I know so much less and less and get equally unsure if I know anything at all. I don't think you need to worry about it. I think that's just the nature of knowledge and learning more.

**If I'm wrong, someone will speak up and correct me, and that's good. Initiating a productive discussion is great! :) **
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you Dave!
It's great to see you back around permies, we've missed you
Is this a short break before school starts again? graduating soon?

From what I gathered, it seems that ounces usually refers to weight of herbs and volume for alcohol in relation to tinctures.



This sounds like that... http://www.swsbm.com/ManualsMM/MatMed5.pdf

FRESH PLANT TINCTURE
One  part  by  weight  of  the  fresh,  chopped  herb  is  steeped  for  7-10  days  in  two
parts  by  volume  of  grain  alcohol  (190  proof  or  95%  ethanol),  and  pressed  or
squeezed out.



but how does one figure this in 'parts' when one is weight and the other volume as specified in these infusions and decoctions?
one part (dry weight) herb to 32 parts water (by volume)...
Would we weigh the herb and then measure its volume then multiply that by 32?

COLD  INFUSION
After pre-moistening a bit, wrap one part herb (dry weight) in cloth and suspend
it in 32 parts of water (by volume) at room temperature, overnight.  Squeeze out
the herb into the tea in the morning, and add enough water to bring it back to 32
parts.
STANDARD  INFUSION
Boil  32  parts  of  water,  remove  from  heat,  and  steep  one  part  (by  weight)  of  the
herb  in  the  water  for  20-30  minutes.    Strain,  and  pour  sufficient  water  through
the herb in the strainer to return the volume of tea to 32 parts.
STRONG  DECOCTION
Combine  32  parts  of  water  with  one  part  of  herb  (by  weight),  bring  slowly  to  a
boil, continue for ten minutes, cool until warm, and strain.  Pour additional water
through the herb to return the volume to 32.




 
Dave Burton
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Aww, thank you, Judith! :) Yeah, it's been quite a while!

This is a short little break before my senior year. I'm also trying to reconnect, because I'm kinda realizing that most of my jobs straight out of college would be lab tech jobs, which may not really be what my heart cares about. I really am a people-person and like caring for others (human and nonhuman), being outside, and doing work that helps people and the earth. So, I am planning to get involved with Garden City Harvest in Missoula to make sure this is where my heart truly lies before I make the commitment to move away from biochemistry and move over to food systems and environmental science. I don't really want to disappoint my parents who are both highly educated, but I also don't want to be stuck doing work that I only find intellectually interesting and not having my heart in it, as well. One of the people that called me back was Monsanto, which I replied to in the interview, "Yeah, haha, (great sarcasm) yes, I am well aware of who Montsanto is (definitely trying to sound polite without being outright rude)." That felt like getting a callback from the Devil. I view them as a repulsive company, and I sure as hell don't want to be working for them. And I don't honestly believe technology will solve global problems, good work like permaculture and urban gardening, and local agriculture are what I feel will help us. I am talking with some of my more mature adult friends and mentors at University of what they think as well, and they mostly agree that they see me as a big-hearted people person. I'll need to purple mooseage you soon, too, because there were some developments mentally as well.

I'm trying to find a way to get into permaculture in practice as soon as I can after I graduate.

And yep, yep, yep! I'm graduating May 2019, if everything goes according to plan!

Anyhow, I digress.

but how does one figure this in 'parts' when one is weight and the other volume as specified in these infusions and decoctions?
one part (dry weight) herb to 32 parts water (by volume)...
Would we weigh the herb and then measure its volume then multiply that by 32?  



haha! :) I got no clue! I just started laughing at some point in my junior year last year, because I'm not really embarrassed anymore to say "I have no idea! I'll give it a try!!!" ;)
Your guess is as good as mine, and maybe more people will notice this thread now that it's got some discussion going.
 
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Weight to volume means you weigh the herb (grams or pounds/ounces) and add it to a volume (ml or liquid cups/ part cups).

Since most know that I am a scientist I use a metric scale and graduated cylinders to make tinctures and decoctions.

Decoctions are different since you are literally boiling the herbs to death then reducing the liquid after the solids have been removed.
When I make the Decoction "Essiac" I weigh the herbs and put them into an enameled pot and cover with water. This is boiled until the water is reduced at which time I add more water and continue boiling (this goes on for 24 hours).
Once I know everything has been put into solution, I strain the dead herbs from the liquid and then put this "supernate" back on the fire to reduce by 1/2.
Now the Decoction can be bottled and stored in refrigeration or further reduced then added to an equal volume of pure grain spirits (or vodka).

If I am going to make a similar tincture I divide the weight measurements by 10 then weight those out and add PGA (or vodka) I do this to just cover the "solids".
I like to use mason jars for tincture making because they are easy to shake up a few times a day. I let tinctures steep for 7 to 14 days in a dark place, shaken at least 2 times a day, 4 times is even better.

Dave, congratulations on making it to your senior year. Good luck and I hope you find your direction and that it is rewarding in the extreme.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Judith,  For that example {1part herb to 32 parts water} The old healer that taught me always weighed the herbs, if it was a ratio to make the medicine (1:32 for example), she would not weigh the liquid but would use the weight x 32 (again this example).
So if we were using one ounce of dry weight herb we measured out 32 ounces of liquid and that she said is how to do it. I've always followed her teachings and they have worked well for me.

I hope that helps you out kola.
 
Judith Browning
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Judith,  For that example {1part herb to 32 parts water} The old healer that taught me always weighed the herbs, if it was a ratio to make the medicine (1:32 for example), she would not weigh the liquid but would use the weight x 32 (again this example).
So if we were using one ounce of dry weight herb we measured out 32 ounces of liquid and that she said is how to do it. I've always followed her teachings and they have worked well for me.

I hope that helps you out kola.



thanks RedHawk...yes, very helpful.
I rarely measure when I cook and had not been measuring in any 'exact' way for tinctures, etc.
There are some more important tinctures that I want to try and thought it important to measure correctly so they would have the hoped for medicinal qualities in the end.
 
What does a metric clock look like? I bet it is nothing like this tiny ad:
Alternatives to Dentists - From Marjory Wildcraft
https://permies.com/wiki/47734/personal-care/purity/Alternatives-Dentists-Marjory-Wildcraft
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