Immune Support Tincture Time

Flu Tincture

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.

Amber glass recycled and ready to go

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?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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