When we had Xavier, I quickly realized how pricey anything “natural” or “organic” was. There’s no arguing these treatments work but, HE-llo!! I still want to do something else than just buy remedies!
I read through a good deal of different health/herbal books at that time and they had so many great remedies in there. Maybe I’ll do a separate post on how I got my education in herbs. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested!
I am by NO MEANS a doctor, herbalist or any other kind of prescriber of medications. Use whatever I share at your own risk. Herbs are safe. Herbs are not all safe when combined with medications. Do your research and listen to your own body. Common sense goes a LONG way! I don’t pop an Advil and a whole bunch of herbal remedies at the same time. I use either/or. If you are on medications, google has tons of answers and if all else fails, by all means consult your doctor. I am a certified family home herbalist, which means I know enough about herbs to use them safely on my little family. I’ve experimented a lot and I also ask a lot of questions. Answered by people I love and trust. Doctors are handy when needed but they be pricey! So, whenever I can I choose to use my own homemade remedies.
Now that we have the legal jargon out of the way. Let’s get drunk!
Probably one of the most common worries when making your own tinctures is the fact that many use alcohol as a base. This was the reason I used vegetable glycerin instead. It’s non-alcoholic and sweet to boot.
Just a note of caution, if Candida or tooth decay run in your family it is worth considering if maybe glycerin could help exacerbate those problems.
Candida is a huge issue in our family so for me, looking back, I’d probably make a tea or a strong decoction of the herbs and keep it in the fridge to give/take whenever I’m at home. This would allow me to use the glycerin tinctures only when leaving the house or in a time crunch.
What is a decoction? It’s simply a super strong tea slowly simmered for about 20ish min. The heat should be kept as low as possible. This is usually used for roots or hard berry-type herbs. This decoction, you should be able to store in a fridge for a few days. More work than a tincture? Yes, but for me it would be worth it to avoid excess sugars.
The difference between a tea and a decoction is the strength of the herbs. The stronger the mix, the less you need to give at one time. So instead of a cup of tea you can use a TBSP of the decoction instead and get about the same amount in your system.
This is super handy for little babies. My babies always threw up if I gave them too much of anything besides milk. Instead of needing to get huge amounts of liquid into them to see some effects, I could simply use 1/4 tsp of a decoction and get the effects without the puking.
I could often give them 2-5 drops of a tincture and that’s all they’d need as a little babe.
When they got to about 3 months old they’d usually need a quarter dropper of tincture.
(A dropper full of tincture is one squeeze of the rubber thingie, not the whole dropper full. So a quarter dropper is 1/4 of what was in the dropper with one squeeze)
That has always confused me so just in case someone else shares my confusion! There’s the answer to what a dropper full is!
How did I know when they’d had enough? I gauged by results. If two drops weren’t helping I’d give a few drops more. Then once relief kicked in, I knew the new amount they’d need next time to gain relief.
Another great gauge is a diaper.
Glycerin acts as a laxative when given in amounts to large. Have a diaper full of loose, you know what? You know they’ve had enough and can back off on the amount!
I’ve learned small amounts given more frequently than say 3 large amounts a day works better in certain situations. Especially for teething!
Gauging on adults is definitely easier for me, as they use words.
Pay attention to your body!
I ain’t a doctor and neither is yer’ body. But yer’ body may just tell you a lot more than you ever thought it could!
For myself I know I usually only need a dropperful of tincture and use as necessary.
Zo? I start him out with double doses before ever even trying my normal dose.
With teas, I usually notice a difference after 3-4 cups.
Zo? Drinks 6-8. Or none at all since he’d rather suffer…
Our kiddos seem to get enough just by snitching mine away!
Have issues getting your kid to drink teas?
Get a special cup, drink in front of them and the pure pleasure of stealing mommies tea is enough to negate any bad tastes.
I never have to struggle to get them to drink a tea if prepared with the intention of being mine.
Rather nice, I must say! As soon as I caught on to this I prepared it this way on purpose!
Herbs are amazing little plants. It is extremely hard to overdose on herbs as your body will normally pass any extras through urine and you’re good to go.
This doesn’t mean you should be reckless and take a huge dose right off the bat. Start small, gauge results and adjust accordingly.
NEVER mix herbs and medicines without knowing reactions. Check with your doctor if your on any medications before adding in herbal supplements if your not sure what reactions the two will have with each other.
I don’t take commercial painkillers within two hours of taking herbal supplements. Reason being certain painkillers remove the blood-brain barrier allowing things access to your brain that normally would not have access. I can’t stress the importance of educating yourself enough. Knowledge is power.
Making a Tincture
These instructions can generally be followed for any mixture of herbs you wish to mix up. Any root or hard berry-type herbs will take longer to extract all the nutrients from it. A leaf is usually pretty quick to get what you need from it. So just keep that in mind when choosing a method!
This method was my favorite simply because I always forget to make my tinctures until I need them. It only takes 3 hours start to finish and works really well!
You will need:
Vegetable glycerin– make sure the glycerin is VEGETABLE glycerin!
Small towel or paper towel
You simply take a mason jar, fill it up 3/4 ways with your desired herb mixture.
For the water/glycerin you measure according to percentages. 40% water to 60% vegetable glycerin. (Roughly, a bit more than 1-1/4 cups water and slightly less than 2-3/4 cup vegetable glycerin for a quart jar)
Add in hot water to the jar of herbs first to start the steeping process, add in the vegetable glycerin and mix it all up.
Take a crock pot or a big pot, lay a paper towel or hand towel in the bottom and set your jar of herb mixture on top of the towel.
Get some warm water and fill up the crock pot or large pot with water until it reaches the bottom of the mason jar lip.
In a crock pot set it on low making sure it never boils. My crock pot boils on low so beware and check if yours boils on low a well! Boiling the herbs reduces the effectiveness of the herbs. On a stove I simply keep it on simmer. Let it simmer for 3ish hours.
Note: If using hard berry or root types of herbs in your mixture you may leave it in the crockpot over night or 6-8 hours. I’ll often strain some off before it’s been in there for that long if needed earlier and leave the rest to sit for longer!
Strain and use!
The Prepared Person Method
This method is best for people who like to prepare ahead of time AND are able to remember that they will need this tincture 6 weeks later. You will need:
Add your herb mixture to the mason jar. Fill the jar up 3/4 of the way. Add in 40% hot water to the herbs, stir, add in the glycerin, mix well and let sit in a dark cabinet for six weeks shaking it all up every now and again. Once the six weeks are up, strain and use!
If your vegetable glycerine tincture grows mold, it is most likely due to too much water. Also, keeping it in a cooler spot in the house helps as well. Not a fridge but definitely not in a cabinet that has a tendency to be warmer than the rest of the house either!
Get-Em Drunk Method
This method is best used for adults.
I’ve heard of people adding the vodka tincture to hot water to dissipate any alcohol and still give it to the kiddos this way.
I tried it and still felt it was a bit strong to give to littles. You decide!
You will need:
80% proof vodka-cheap is fine!
Fill up the mason jar 3/4 of the way with herbs. Add Vodka till it reaches the bottom lip of the mason jar. Stir. Let sit for 6 weeks, strain and use! Easy Peasy!
Olive Oil Tincture
This is what I use when preparing to make a salve. Olive oil is great for the skin and therefore makes a great base!
It’s super simple to make as well!
Simply fill up a mason jar 3/4 with herbs, fill it up to the bottom of the lip with olive oil, put it on the stove-top double boiler method and let it sit over simmering water for 3 hours for loose-leaf herbs and 4-6 for hard root or berry type herbs.
Strain and use!
DIY Calcium Tincture
So this tincture was the absolute most requested DIY remedy in my sisters store. Most likely because it helped with teething, cranky babies who refused to sleep.
I used this recipe so much I’d make a huge batch at a time and give it to them as needed. I’ve even used it myself for muscle cramps when my calcium-magnesium tincture ran out.
My babies are HORRIBLE teethers. Cry all day and wake up all night teethers. With the herbs I added to help calm them down, they slept all through the night even when teething. Unless, they had an ear infection. Different story, different post!
They still had a tendency to be crabby throughout the day but at least we got to sleep at night!
This recipe is actually what inspired me to do this post as I’ve been asked for this recipe many times and it’s one I keep losing. I’m not one for writing down recipes as I tend to go with my particular desires for a particular recipe and they are never completely the same at any given time!
This drives my sister insane and it’s only due to her lovely, organized ways that this recipe survived!
Now I shall have it preserved! Unless the inter-world breaks down and then we will once again rely on my sweet sister!
DIY Calcium Tincture
3/4 cup rose hips
1/2 cup lavender
1/2 cup catnip
1/2 cup lemongrass
1/2 cup horsetail
1/4 cup red raspberry leaf
1/4 cup nettle
1/8 cup cinnamon or 1-2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of stevia-optional
This recipe makes quite a bit of herb mixture. I usually mixed it all up and kept some on hand to make whenever I needed more. Use the directions on making a tincture above!
I always try to stick to the general rule of thumb that you want to switch things up every 7 days or so to keep the body guessing and working by itself.
There’s a few herbal calcium tinctures that you can buy online.
DIY Vitamin Tincture
Vitamins can be really pricey and this is a great way to save on some money! I used this recipe for all of my pregnancies and absolutely loved it. I also plan on making this for our kids vitamin tincture after their gummies run out!
If your family likes herbal teas, you can just as easily add this into your daily teas.
DIY Vitamin Tincture
3 parts alfalfa
2 parts red raspberry
1 part nettle
Peppermint or spearmint leaf may be added to help with taste if desired.
Parts are simply the number of whatever measurement you chose to use. Like 3 cups alfalfa, 2 cups R.R. Leaf. It may also be tbsp or tsps.
Endless Ways to Enjoy
Herbs are so versatile and easy to use! As a family we have been using herbal remedies for the past 7 years.
With only a few doctor visits in between! I count that as a huge win considering I really dislike those offices. I love my doctor but I’d rather not see her in an office, lol!
I chose to write this article simply because I end up sharing this recipe quite often and it’s a lot to explain every time!
I don’t mind it but I always feel like it’s overwhelming as a first timer to try to comprehend all those instructions at once.
Hopefully this simplifies it for beginners or those who simply want to refresh their memory before making another one!
I well remember the scary feeling of, “Am I doing this right?” “Will I harm my family?”
All I can do is encourage you to push through those fears by learning! Find resources who are inspiring, read lots of books and even take a course in herbalism if it’s what you think would help. It did me!
Having a partner who loves to experiment helps a ton as well! I can’t begin to describe how much fun me and my sister had pouring through new herbs that arrived at the store. We’d feel and smell every single one of them.
Finding new remedies was exciting and fun!
Having success? Indescribable!
Have a favorite herb recipe you love? Share below!
Any questions? Post in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer!