Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here come the tinctures!

The next step in my "herbal adventures" came in the form of tinctures.  This sprung from some semi-failed attempts in the tea department.  As I mentioned in my tea  post, I tried the "mother's milk tea" to help increase my nursing supply.  I always struggle with having enough milk so I hoped this would help.  The problem here was, I really didn't like the taste!  It wasn't a horrid taste in and of itself, but it tea form I just couldn't didn't like to drink it.

We also tried what we call "sleepy tea".  It's a calming tea that is supposed to aid in helping your body relax and we found it helpful in putting the girls to bed. 

(Confession time~ I even used to make Havilah a sippy cup full to take to church.  It made a huge difference in her wiggling, squirming, restlessness!)

The problem with this tea was, give the child a glass right before bed and the sheets would be wet the next morning.

Not wanting to be stumped by either of these problems, I remembered what my friend had shared about tincture making.  I read up on it a little and decided to give it a go!  Here's how it works.

What you need~
              Herbs of choice
              Vegetable glycerin (food grade)   (I ordered my glycerin from Azure Standard. Cheapest I've found.)
              Jar with lid and ring

Step 1~ Stuff jar 2/3 full with herbs of choice. (I'm making sleepy tincture here. I always seem to over stuff my jars, but it's not a huge deal!)

Step 2~ Fill jar with glycerin leaving 1/2-1 in. head space.  Put lid on.
Step 3~ Leave jar in a sunny window for 2 weeks (or so) OR.....

... place a wash cloth of the bottom of your crock pot.  Place jar(s) on cloth and fill just to rims with water.  Turn on low and take out after three days, refilling water as needed.  (The lid of the crock pot needs to be on. Just removed for picture!)

Here is the contrast of the two jars on day three.  They were both started on the same day.

Step 4~ Assemble your high tech tincture making equipment.  The cloth is just a t-shirt rag.  However it is only used on herbs and is not found cleaning the toilet in it's spare time!

Step 5~ Secure cloth over pitcher (or jar) with a rubber band.  Pour contents of jar carefully onto cloth and wait for the tincture to strain out.  At the end, remove rubber band (the trickiest moment of this whole process! Beware!) and squeeze the herbs for any remaining liquid.

Now you've done it!  You've made your very own tincture!

You don't need to keep it in a fancy little bottle ( we just used it in spoonfuls at the beginning), but it is fun!

We found that taken straight, the stuff is pretty potent!  We mix four dropper fulls with about 2 tablespoons of water.  The girls LOVE it!!!  They never forget to ask for it at bedtime. 

So why tinctures?  You can get a much more concentrated dose in a much smaller form and it can change to taste!  Glycerin is very sweet without affecting blood sugar.  So my mother's milk tea made into a tincture, mixed with a small amount of water, is actually very tasty!  I've been using it regularly and have noticed a great difference in my milk supply.

Tinctures can also be made with Vodka and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Personally I'm just going to say a great big no thank-you to those and stick with my glycerin, but I thought I should let you know.

Mother's Milk Tincture

2 parts red raspberry leaf
2 parts fennel seed
2 parts nettle
1 part fenugreek
1 part dandelion
1/2 part blessed thistle

Sleepy Tincture

Lemon Balm
Passion Flower sells these combinations pre-mixed, but it is much more economical to buy the individual herbs and mix them yourself.  Have fun!

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