A tincture is a solution of a plant extract or chemical in alcohol. Only one of these bottles meets the definition of a tincture. It is the tall, dark one. That is a black walnut tincture, it's ingredients are black walnut, comfrey root, white oak bark, glycerin and 80 proof (40%) vodka. This is good for tooth problems and for using for it's anti-fungal properties. You put your ingredients in the bottle and then shake it well, every day for two weeks. You then strain it and put the liquid into a smaller bottle for use.
Our instructor Rosanna, also made an Echinacea tincture. She used the folk method for making her tincture:
1. Chop fresh plant into small pieces and stuff into a canning jar, filling it to the top. If using a dried herb or root fill 1/2 or 3/4 full. Dried herbs should first be ground, using a coffee grinder, food processor or blender.
2. Pour menstruum (alcohol) over herb, covering completely.
3. Stir well, so all the herb is wet. (If using fresh herbs, dump everything in the blender and macerate then pour back into the jar.) This works with some dried herbs too.
4. Add sufficient alcohol so herb is covered. (at least 1/4 inch over the herb)
5. Cap jar tightly.
6. Check the jar in 12 hours, add additional alcohol if needed.
7. Shake the tincture frequently (at least once a day) for 14 days, then let it sit one more day.
8. Pour off (decant) the clear tincture from the top, press the remaining wet pulp, using a cheese cloth and then combine the two liquids. Squeeze the herb residue thoroughly, with a regular juice press, or wring out by hand through cloth, canvas, muslin, etc. Cloth is the least effective as it absorbs much of the liquid.
9. Filter if desired. Some tinctures are more effective with some herb residue, and it is practically impossible to filter all herb particles out.
10. Bottle in dark or painted bottles, tightly cap and label. Store in a cool, dark place.
* Do not use plastic, metal or any other type of container that your base (alcohol or vinegar) may react with undesirably.
Rosanna said that it is important to use grain alcohol that has not had any flavorings etc, added and that is why vodka is good to use. By law it can only be grain alcohol and water.
I am not an expert and I make no claims about the success of treating common ailments with these tinctures. I do know that these ladies have bought and used these kinds of herbal medicines for years and were eager to learn to make their own. They believe in them.
We also made a deep tissue massage oil, with essential oils and oils made from garlic, calendula, and a few others. It is healing and gives off the warmth that nice massage oils do. It smells good as it has peppermint in it.
The small green jar has a healing salve in it - you use if for cuts, but not puncture wounds. It has beeswax and herbs in it, hence the green color. Rosanna said if we had just put the calendula in it, the color would have been golden. I have been using it on a dry skin split I have on my finger and it is healing well. I also have used lanolin on it.
If you get the chance to take classes like these, I encourage you to do so. They are full of helpful information on how you can use plants that you grow or that are growing in the 'wild' to treat common health issues.