It takes very little time and money to make your own Echinacea tincture. It rewarding to to do things for yourself and know exactly what is in the “medicine” you are taking. Making herbal remedies is as grounding and fulfilling as growing our own food.
Echinacea stimulates the immune system and its antiviral activities help fight colds and flu, as well as promote the healing of infections.
This is an oral application. You will need:
1 one pint glass jar (make sure it is clean) Do not use anything but glass to make your tinctures.
¼ cup dried or 1/2 cup fresh finely chopped or crushed Echinacea flowers and leaves
1 cup vodka (60% alcohol with dried and 80-100% alcohol with fresh) You can use another alcohol such as rum or gin, if that is your preference.
One part plant to two parts alcohol. EXAMPLE: Three ounces (dry measure) of fresh Echinacea flower heads would be placed in a jar with six ounces (liquid measure) of alcohol.
Place dried Echinacea in the jar.
NOTE: If you have fresh Echinacea available there is no need to dry it. Fresh is better than dried. If you use fresh Echinacea, gently wash off the petals and measure about 1 cup of flowers and leaves. You can use the whole plant, flowers, leaves, and root. Many people use the flowers and leaves only since they don’t want to dig up the roots.
Pour vodka over the top. Fill as completely as possible to eliminate air, and seal tightly with lid. Label the bottles with the herb name, date made, and the expected date your tincture will be ready. Store in a cool, dark cabinet until needed.
You have now created a menstruum. A menstruum is the liquid used to extract the soluble principles from the herbs or roots. Leave menstruum at room temperature for four to six weeks. Place the jar in a cabinet that you go into daily, so you can shake it every day for thirty days. The tincture will get stronger the longer it sits. The dark brown color indicates that the essential oils from the root have been absorbed by the alcohol.
After the four to six weeks has passed, you will need to strain the herbs out of the vodka. To do this, place a layer of cheesecloth over a large glass measuring cup or small glass mixing bowl and secure with a rubber band. Pour menstruum slowly onto the cheesecloth and allow to drain for a few minutes. Then use your hands to wrap the cheesecloth around the herbs and squeeze out the excess liquid.
Strain herbs as described above. Then discard the herbs.
You now have your very own Echinacea tincture!
Pour tincture into dark, glass bottles for storage. And don’t forget to label them.
At the first sign of a cold or throughout a cold take take ½ to ¾ of a teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day, per day. Echinacea has shown to be most beneficial at the beginning and for the duration of a cold. It is not intended as a long term preventative.
Tinctures from different herbs can be combined for dispensing as a blend!
For topical applications, use olive oil; it’s much easier on the skin than alcohol, and has it’s own nutritive properties. And you can easily use your tincture made with oil into a salve by melting in some beeswax and adding drops of Essential Oils, if you want.
The key advantages to tinctures are that they are convenient to use, easy to mix into combinations, dosages are easier to control and they have excellent shelf lives.
USING THE ROOTS: You can also use the roots in lieu of flowers and leaves. Fresh roots should be ground with the alcohol in a blender into a pulpy mush.
The ratio of echinacea root to menstruum is 1 to 2. If there is 1 cup of root, add 2 cups of menstruum.
Harvest Echinacea roots by sinking a garden spading fork (a shovel works, too) deeply into the soil, and lean back on the tool handle to GENTLY lift the root ball. The roots grow deep and wide. The idea is to harvest as much root as possible. Keep the tops of the plants intact with the roots so that the echinacea will be easy to identify from the roots of neighboring plants
Shake and massage the soil and unwanted plant roots from the clump. This is a good time to kill a few weeds! Leave as much soil as possible in the garden. Scrub roots with a brush and rinse while rubbing the roots to remove any grit. Place all of the washed roots in a colander to drain. Slice big roots crosswise into rounds (as if cutting carrots) and then chop them into smaller pieces.
As Echinacea ages, clumps are formed with new plants sprouting around the original plant. The oldest plants in the clump may decline as the younger vigorous plants compete for nutritional resources. Dividing the clumps regenerates the plants and gives a perfect opportunity to harvest the roots for tincture. For tincturing, choose Echinacea plants that are at least three years old.