Here is the story of making Dandelion Tincture. We make it from the whole fresh plant, roots, leaves, crown, flowers, buds and all. The large photo above shows a fairly sizeable root. We pluck them by weeding the early spring garden beds.
The photo above shows the first bath. There is a bit of soil to wash off, not to mention a few brown leaves and such. We don’t intend to take any earthworms along for the ride, either.
First we started out chopping the leaf and root by hand but this got old right away. So we broke out the Cuisinart. It made quick work out of the job and also helps to make more surface area available (especially the roots) to the tincturing medium — in this case, pure grain alcohol.
As you can see, it’s important to label and date. The 1:2 ratio is one part plant material by weight to two parts liquid by volume, in this case 100% alcohol (technically, it’s 95%, but this demonstrates that we don’t add water to the maceration) . If the plant material was dried, you would need to add water to the liquid to bring the plant back to normal hydration.
After 4 to 6 weeks, it’s time to strain the liquid from the solids. This is how we did it before we got a tincture press, which is a whole ‘nother blog post! This takes a lot of squeezing (and grunting!), but it costs a lot less than buying tincture. As you can see from the photo below, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary – the workshop, that is – is not exactly high tech, but it doesn’t need to be to make quality herbal tinctures.
We always label according to the ratio and percentage of alcohol. That way when we go to make the same tincture in the future, we don’t have to remember which book to reference for the numbers. We used to simply cover the plant material by a couple fingers’ worth of liquid, but have since learned that for therapeutic doses for chronic illness, actually weighing the plant material and knowing how much water to add compared to alcohol can make a difference. Our former way of making tinctures isn’t wrong! It’s more of a tonic tincture, which is good too.
A beautiful example of homemade Dandelion Tincture. What is it used for? Says Doreen, “I use it as a regular tonic for healthy liver and gallbladder function. I take it if I’m going to eat baby-back ribs or some other rich food that is delicious but less than stellar in the health-food department. I take it because it is full of minerals. And most importantly, I take it because the plant told me to.”
[This article was published previously and was recently edited for clarity.]