How we make tinctures
As we grow all of our own plants on the farm we are able to harness the goodness as they are made into tinctures as soon as they are picked – nothing is lost. This preserves to whole life force so that the resulting tincture is still biologically active.
This is where the potency of a remedy comes from. Tincture can be made stronger by adding basic ingredients such as dried herbs, or by recovering some of the alcohol used, however maximum potency and efficacy comes from a whole (bioactive) biodynamic extract.
So, how do we achieve our desired tincture that is going to have the greatest beneficial effect on the person taking it?
The most important principle is to use whole fresh plants that are organically grown, preferably biodynamic. Organics ensures that the plants are free of any traces of herbicides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers, biodynamics ensures maximum plant content, minerals, vitamins, resins and volatile oils.
These must be collected when they are at their peak, for this we must use all our senses and instincts when we walk amongst the plants on flower and fruit days, according to the moon calendar, picking the flowers that are just rising to their maximum fluorescence, also some whole plants in a similar condition.
For our Echinacea we take one whole plant per litre of tincture required and make up the remaining weight with flowers.
The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia gives a formula of 1:5 in 40% alcohol for dried herbs.
Using fresh herb we double the weight of plant material to allow for the moisture in the plant and need only 33%al for most plants. This gives us 1:2.5, that is one kilo of fresh plant to 2.5 litres of solution of 33% alcohol, this works out at .4 kg plant per liter
All this plant material is to be mashed in the solution as soon as it is picked. Ideally the plant, especially the flowers, should not be cut up in air but immersed in the solution first.
This because when the flowers are cut up there will be a release of volatile essential oils, this is the spirit of the plant and it is important that it is captured in our tincture. This must then be stored in an airtight container in a dark place for at least a month or more.
When the brew is ready, the solution is coloured, from the Latin tinctura dyeing. It must then be strained from the plant material. The plant body, the kaput mortem, is pressed or squeezed out to remove all the remaining juices which is then added to the tincture and the whole is stirred this way and that while adding your good wishes to those who are about to receive it.
If there is a better way to make medicine than this, then it is something we don’t know of.
We keep the method as simple as possible as any further processing will make the healing forces poorer, not better.
Nature made this medicine, to think we can improve on her work is arrogance. Any drying or recovering of alcohol will lose the volatile spirits. Any fractionalising or separating out of so-called active ingredients from the whole will lose the whole plant synergy which where the potency comes from.
The only purpose for making tincture is to make the whole plant easier to store and ingest.
This method is accumulated wisdom the ancients passed on down to the present day and we pass it on to those who come after.