Some things are just too pretty to mess with (sigh). I usually begin my tinctures in glass amber bottles/jars. A small amount of light will affect fresh herbs with green leaves. Maybe it does not change the chemical constituents and strength much but I do notice a change of color. Emerald green instead of brown. Sometimes I do not have enough amber glass and I have to use a jar that is clear. The one advantage of this is that some products are truly magical looking in their container. Oils with lots of flowers like calendula or in this case an immune support tincture with interesting textures. Dried powders, roots, seed pods, lichen just to name a few. Materials without much chlorophyll to begin with. This was a (snowy) week of taking a dozen tinctures started in the summer and straining out all the herbs. Hard on my aging wrists, so I have a press on order. There are lots of permanent green stains on my counter. It is a good thing those will be replaced soon (I need to reconsider white marble as an option LOL).
I think tinctures are the easiest thing that I make. I just harvest one or more herbs from the garden, stuff them into a jar and pour high proof alcohol over them. I try to remember to strain and bottle them within a month or two but in December I found some St. John’s wort that had never been finished (from the late 1990’s). Since it had not been opened and still had the beautiful ruby red color I figured it might be good. So it is currently done and in the apothecary cabinet. Now I know as a professional herbalist that this is very lazy and unscientific. I should be paying attention to the alcohol proof and the water or tannin content of each individual herb. I have tables and formulas for working all that chemical stuff out which is valid and useful. But I am more focused on the energetics of how herbs works, so prefer to spend my time and efforts on other things. In the end it is the results the herbalist/healer gets that count and not what is done to the herbs.
I will not go into a lot of depth here but I know readers want useful information more than my personal musings.
The immune support tincture contains a proprietary mixture of usnea , osha root (that a friend gathered and gave to me), star anise, echinacea tops, and oregon grape root. All thought to be powerful antimicrobials that might target a virus like the flu. I easily could have added yarrow flowers, elder berries, horehound, lemon balm, catnip, and blackberry leaf. These herbs have been used to clear heat from the channels, support the lungs, reduce diarrhea, lower a fever, help with sleep, prevent stomach upset/nausea, and get rid of that achy feeling that we associate with illnesses like the flu. But those plants are better suited for teas and syrups.
Another thing that I did this week was to go through all the amber class and old herbs in my basement. Most of the herbs got tossed except some resins. I like to save any amber class that finds its way into my home. Plus I had all the jars I started with 30 years ago ( I am very partial to Ovaltine and CoffeeMate ). So after hours of scrubbing off labels, I ended up saving a lot of money on supplies. Which I promptly filled with many wonderful things, that were costly.
What radical homemaker projects have you been up to this week?