Fall is a great time to think ahead and prepare for the cold and flu season. Extracts using glycerin are the perfect option for children and individuals wishing to avoid alcohol. Glycerin alone is antimicrobial, antiseptic and a great preservative. It dilutes well with water without change, is very soothing to body tissues (when diluted), and naturally adds a sweet taste to preparations. When used for extracting it stores years longer than those done with alcohol. It is well suited as a solvent for plants with tannins. It does not dissolve or mix well with those high in oils, resins, or volatile/essential oils.
Instructions For A Basic Glycerite
1 part dried herb
2.5 parts glycerin
1.5 parts water
Mix glycerin and water, add powdered herb and stir well. Place into a clean jar and let sit 15-30 days. Strain, if possible squeeze out any remaining liquid through a coffee press. Add all liquid to small amber glass tincture bottles and store in a dark cool place until needed. Discard herb.
*NOTES: powdered dry herbs work best, a dense or fresh herb will absorb a lot of the glycerin, leading to a lot of waste and only a small amount of product.
One of the results of a day spent straining out herbs from oil, alcohol, honey or glycerin is a lot of waste for the compost pile. There is still a lot of good honey and glycerin, and healing properties left on those herbs. By pouring boiling water over the herbs in a strainer and freezing the liquid, one is left with some great sweeetened “popsicles”. These can be used to soothe a sore throat or get herbs into a child who does not like the taste/form otherwise. NOTE: Glycerin does not exactly freeze solid in most freezers. The minimum freezing point of a typical glycerite (water and pure glycerin) would be below -36 F. (your bonus science lesson). So you can store the pops (they do get have a solid state) in the trays and just add them to juice when ready to use. The honey is not a problem, freezing and releasing just fine.
I bet you wish to know what is in my winter glycerites. Super Immune (for flu) contains dried elderberries, rosehips, hibiscus/jamaica flowers, and echinacea (root, flower heads, and leaves). Super C (for mild cold support) contains dried calendula flowers and rosehips. All of the above herbs are thought to support the immune system by being high in vitamin C, stimulating the lymphatic system, and being anti microbial/bacteria/viral. I hope the coming months find your family healthy and in good cheer.