Growing herbs in your summer garden is great, but the window for enjoying them fresh is far too short. What can you do to savor their benefits for longer than the summer season? To extend their shelf life and boost your prowess for herbalism, consider making your own tinctures, salves, and oils this year.
Making homemade botanical products gives you complete autonomy over the plants you use, and controlling (or even growing) the ingredients yourself will also save you money. Best of all, creating your own herbal formulas lets you develop recipes that perfectly match your preferences in ways that mass-produced products never will.
What Are Tinctures, Oils, and Salves?
Tinctures, oils, and salves are three separate ways to preserve and enhance the healing properties of plants. Each uses a different medium for extracting the beneficial compounds from the plant material, and all three produce a product that makes the benefits accessible to your body.
Essential oils are one of the most popular types of oil used in wellness products today. They are volatile materials derived from plants that contain powerful health properties,depending on the type. Their high concentrations of active compounds mean that many essential oils can be toxic when applied directly to your skin unless they are diluted first.
Calling these compounds essential “oils” is a bit of a misnomer, as a more appropriate name might be “super concentrated plant extracts.” Essential oils also tend to evaporate at room temperature, so they are often blended with “true” oils like olive oil.
Tincturesare highly concentrated liquid plant extracts that boost both the efficacy and shelf life of your herb collection. They might look like essential oils, but tinctures are made by soaking plant material in alcohol, apple cider vinegar, or even vegetable glycerin for several weeks until the beneficial compounds (called phytochemicals)infuse into the liquid. Once you strain this plant material out, the resulting liquid is your tincture.
This slow extraction process releases significantly more of the plant’s active compounds than you can ingest from eating them fresh, powdered, or infused into tea. (Nourishing herbal infusions are another matter, though, and can pack an enormous nutritional punch. Learn more about them here.) Taking an eye-dropperful (about 30 drops) of homemade tincture under your tongue lets these phytochemicals enter the bloodstream quickly. Some people also prefer to dilute their tinctures with juice or make them into a tea. Depending on the herbs you use, the tincture might start working immediately, or it might take several weeks for the levels to build up in your bloodstream.
Because tinctures can last for five years or more, they are an ideal way to store the potent properties of herbs that would otherwise need to be replaced each year, making them a cost-effective, space-efficient option for the home herbalist.
Salves are a simple way to treat dry skin and allow potent herbal properties to be absorbed into your body. Salves, balms, and ointments are all names given to herbal extracts that are infused in a semi-solid mixture of oils and waxes. Lotions and creams are a little different than salves because they also contain water.
Depending on the herbs you use, salves can be used to heal wounds, soothe skin irritations, and temper down aches and pains.While most are solid at room temperature, salves quickly melt when in contact with your skin, making them less messy and easier to apply than standard lotions. For this reason, salves are a great way to start experimenting with home herbalism.
Simple Recipes for Homemade Tinctures, Oils, and Salves
You’ll save a lot of money by learning to make tinctures, oils, and salves, and formulating them yourself makes the wellness-promoting properties easier to personalize. Experimenting with these simple recipes will help you gain confidence as a home herbalist, and the results make great gifts.
Keep in mind that herbal concentrations can be unpredictable. Experimentation is key, as you might need to adjust your ingredient levels a few times before you are happy with the results.
Homemade Essential Oils
Essential oils are having a moment these days, and for good reason! These concentrated plant compounds have profound health properties that make them popular in high-end perfumes and cosmetic products, but it’s easy to break the bank buying them.
A more affordable option is to make homemade oils instead. However, be warned that it takes an enormous amount of plant material to make even an ounce of essential oil, so unless you grow your own, you might still be better off buying your oils premade.
If you don’t have access to a still for steam evaporation, your crockpot can work in a pinch. Use these tips to get started.
- Place at least three to four cups finely chopped plant material in the crockpot, and cover with distilled water. You shouldn’t fill more than three-quarters of the interior volume.
- Put the crockpot lid on upside down so that it is concave.
- Turn the pot on high to heat the water. Once it starts steaming vigorously, turn it down to low and let it simmer for about four hours.
- After the plant material is cooked down, turn off the pot and let it cool. Once cool, place it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
- When you pull the crockpot out, there should be a thin film of hard oil on the top. Quickly and carefully scrape it into a small glass bottle, as this oil will soon melt back into a liquid.
- Store the oil in a colored glass container, keeping it away from light and heat.
Your homemade essential oils can be used just like store-bought ones, but keep in mind that they might not be as potent, meaning you will need to use more to get the same effects.
Essential Oils vs. Infused Oils?
If homemade essential oil sounds like too much effort, you might be better off making infused oils instead. This involves soaking plant material in oil to extract its medicinal properties. The ratio of plant material to oil, and the type of oil used, will vary by recipe and personal preference. The consensus among those who make infused oils is that, whichever oils and herbs are used, the oil must cover the plant material completely.
You can use the resulting oil on its own, or use it as a base for homemade salves. (Some people even use this method to make infused oils for cooking; e.g., infusing olive oil with Italian herbs.)
There are many methods for creating homemade oil infusions, including the following:
- Solar Infusion: While most infusions require you to put your herb and oil mixture in a dark space, you can also rely on a warm, sunny window to break the plant compounds down faster. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar will speed up the process, and you can strain and use your infusion after two weeks.
- Oven Extraction: Ovens allow for quick, hands-off herbal extractions. Place the oil and plant material in a canning jar together, placed upright in a pan with enough water to cover half the jar. Turn the oven to its lowest setting and let it warm up for several hours, monitoring it carefully so that the oil doesn’t overheat and burn.
- Double Boiler: Place your herbs and oil in a double boiler, slowly bringing the mix to a simmer. Stir frequently for up to an hour, ensuring that the oil doesn’t overheat.
After the oil is infused, you can strain the mixture and bring it to room temperature. To add some extra stimulation to the mix, consider adding a few drops of lemon or rosemary essential oil.
If you have a sizeable herbal harvest you want to process, creating herbal tinctures is a smart way to make your plants last longer and get the maximum benefit from them.
The first step is selecting a solvent (called a menstruum) to extract the chemical compounds from plant material. Alcohol, glycerin, and vinegar are all options, though technically using anything but alcohol creates an extract, not a tincture.
Alcohol is the most effective because it best extracts fats, waxes, resins, and volatile oils out of the plants. Using an 80 to 100 proof alcohol like vodka or brandy is best because they provide the most beneficial alcohol-to-water ratio.
While fresh or dried herbs can work, you will get the most potency for your tincture by relying on the freshest plant material you can find. The general ratio is about one pint of menstruum to two ounces of dried herbs or two handfuls of fresh.
Making a tincture isn’t an exact science, but rather a trial-and-error process of subtle adjustments as you determine what ratio of ingredients works for you. These steps can be adjusted based on your ingredients and amounts to make a wide variety of tinctures.
- Chop herbs finely.
- Label a glass jar with the herb type and date.
- Add herbs and menstruum, taking care to completely cover the herbs while still leaving some headspace in the jar.
- Cap with a tight lid and place in a room-temperature dark space. (Kitchen cupboards work well.)
- Shake the jar at least once per day. If the menstruum level begins to go down, add more to it.
- After several weeks, strain the contents through cheesecloth until the liquid is pure.
- Allow it to settle overnight before filtering it again through filter paper.
- Store the resulting tincture in a labeled, tinted bottle away from light and heat.
How long you choose to infuse your tinctures is a personal choice. Traditional Chinese medicine often requires herbs to soak for months or years, but it’s perfectly possible to make a robust blend after just four to six weeks.
To use your tincture, take a dropperful of liquid and place it under your tongue. If you desire, you can add a dropperful to a cup of warm water to make instant tea.
Easy Homemade Salve
If your body needs some herbal help from the outside in, creating and using homemade salves is the right idea. While it can take a little practice to get your salve right, your first success will be all it takes to stop you from ever using store-bought lotions again!
Wax is the critical ingredient for making the salve, and the more you add, the firmer the final product. Waxier salves work well for protective products like lip balm, while softer salves are better for penetrating deep into the skin and treating scrapes or rashes.
For a basic salve, you can follow these instructions:
- Make an herbal infusion with olive oil by following the earlier instructions.
- Heat the infused oil with the ratio of beeswax you want until it is fully melted. Generally, body salves are a three-to-one ratio of oil to beeswax, and lip balms are a two-to-one ratio. As you make your batch, you might want to test the viscosity by pouring dabs onto a cold plate to see if more wax is needed.
- Pour the mixture into small containers, let set, and use wherever the skin needs an extra boost of healing benefits.
Want to turn your salve into a balm? Just add several drops of essential oil before it cools down, and you’ll add a pleasing scent and potential wellness properties to your skincare product.
Remember: Quality Ingredients Make all the Difference
Herbal remedies are an easy and effective way to take back control of your health and gain a more profound understanding of the health benefits of natural products.
It bears repeating: The key to a successful salve, tincture, or oil infusion rests in using quality ingredients.
Without an ample supply of herbs on hand, you might struggle to keep your creations beneficial and cost-effective. But no worries! A few experiments with herbal remedies may be all the encouragement you need to get started growing your own herbal garden right at home.
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Using tinctures. And the key here is, you know, a lot of times, if people want to make one of those icy hot style salves, they will do that by adding essential oils to their salve.
Making Herbal Teas, Tinctures, and Salves with Bevin Cohen - YouTube
Tinctures, oils, and salves are three separate ways to preserve and enhance the healing properties of plants. Each uses a different medium for extracting the beneficial compounds from the plant material, and all three produce a product that makes the benefits accessible to your body.
For this reason, tinctures are usually less potent than fluid extracts, and you'll need to use more tincture to achieve the same effect as a fluid extract. Most tinctures are made using alcohol as the solvent. Though, sometimes other solvents like glycerin can be used.
Cannabis tinctures made with oil are cannabinoids that have been extracted from cannabis and then incorporated into a carrier oil. Even though several different types of carrier oils may be used, including hemp seed oil, the most common oil is something like MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) coconut oil.
To capture the widest range of both water soluble and alcohol soluble constituents, we recommend working with an alcohol that is between 40-60% ABV (80-120 proof). Most vodka, brandy, rum and gin falls perfectly within that range.
- Tincture of arnica. Arnica tinctures are commonly used to treat inflammatory skin diseases like rosacea. ...
- Tincture of benzoin. ...
- Tincture of iodine. ...
- Tincture of propolis. ...
- Tincture of elderberry. ...
- Tincture of turmeric. ...
- Tincture of echinacea. ...
- Tincture of cannabis.
- 2/3 cup distilled water.
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel.
- 3/4 cup herb-infused oil with equal parts lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
- 1–2 drops tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Homemade salves without any preservative agents will last about 6 to 8 months at room temperature out of direct heat and sunlight. Refrigerated, they'll keep for a year or more.
Place beeswax in a double boiler and gently warm over low heat until the beeswax melts. Add herbal oils and stir over low heat until well-mixed. Remove from heat and add the essential oil(s). Quickly pour warm mixture into prepared tins, glass jars, or lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely.
A salve is essentially something you apply to your skin to heal it. Salves can be a cream, ointment or balm. Salves are made out of waxes and oils to make a material that is semi-solid. Salves stay thick and stable because they usually don't contain any liquid unless a tiny tincture is added.
Let your tincture sit for a minimum of 2-6 weeks. Tinctures can keep almost indefinitely (~10 years) as long as the alcohol preserves it. You do not have to decant right at 2-6 weeks. To decant, take out a cheesecloth or jelly strainer bag and a new, clean jar.
Most patients who want to reduce the alcohol content of their tinctures just put their dose into a cup and add a little boiling water. This will reduce around 20% of the alcohol in just a few minutes bring the alcohol content in a 5ml dose down to 00.18 of a unit of alcohol.
To make a tincture, a person must soak parts of an herb for several weeks in alcohol or vinegar. The soaking process extracts the active components of the herb or herbs. Alcohol is often the liquid of choice, as it can extract components, such as resins and alkaloids, that are not water-soluble.
Though CBD oil and CBD tincture might sound similar, a tincture is actually made from an extract suspended in an alcohol solution, which could cause some serious problems if you try to diffuse it into the air. If you've ever spilled a drop of liquor into your eyes, you'll understand.
The difference between extracts and tinctures is the amount of herb infused in the alcohol or glycerin. An extract is considered 1 part herb to 1 part alcohol or glycerin. A tincture is considered 1 part herbs to 3 parts alcohol or glycerin.
Lavender tincture possesses antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial benefits. It makes an excellent addition to facial toners, lotions, creams, and other beauty products. It can help heal minor burns, scratches, and bug bites.
Aromatherapists use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender oil. It is also used in a healing bath for joint and muscle pain.
A natural bug repellent that's as effective as DEET and defeats mosquitoes, ants, and ticks? That's the beauty of our beautyberry insect repellent recipe!
Beautyberry plants have long been used as a natural bug repellent to combat mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, and other pests.. I often take a few leaves, crush them, and rub them on myself when I go into the woods.. Read on, and I will show you how to both identify the beautyberry plant and use it to create a highly effective natural bug repellent.. I’ll be focusing here on identifying American beautyberry ( Callicarpa americana ).. If you start with Oklahoma and include all points south and east of there, you’ll have a good idea of the American beautyberry’s native growing area.. You can check out his book, Push the Zone , or read some of his zone-pushing articles here on The Grow Network.. Strongly scented mints tend to work well as a natural bug repellent.. Please note that the berries of other beautyberry species may or may not be edible.. Some of the compounds remain in the dried leaves, but fresh leaves are much more effective.. Once the alcohol and leaf mixture has set, pour it all into a blender and add the oil of your choice.. Just pour the infused oil into a jar and seal it up.. One other option for your natural bug repellent is to make a cold infusion with beautyberry leaves and water.. The species involved with these studies were American beautyberry, Callicarpa maingayi , Callicarpa nudiflora , and white-fruited Asian beautyberry ( Callicarpa longissima ).
Check out the new eCourses in our TGN Academy!
… with readily available plants you may already have growing in your backyard!. You probably already know that soil health is key to growing healthy plants and producing abundant harvests.. In this in-depth eCourse, you’ll gain an abundance of knowledge to prepare you for your own wildcrafting and foraging journey!. In the 8-session Making Herbal Medicine eCourse, Dr. Patrick Jones teaches you the skills you need to become your own Medicine Man or Medicine Woman.. In it, you’ll learn how to:. In this 8-week class, you’ll gain the skills you need to raise meat rabbits—right in your own backyard!
An annual weed across much of the globe, cleavers are edible and offer numerous medicinal benefits. Here's how to use cleavers.
Here’s how to use cleavers.. Plants are great, right?. They’re still okay for juice and cleavers coffee, though.. Herbs that do this are relatively few and far between, so it’s nice to make a mental note when you find one.. Once cleavers start to flower or form their fruit, their energy goes into reproduction, and they become less potent.. Common methods of application are tea, powder, tincture, and juice.. Fresh juice is generally considered to be the most potent, though you could also make an argument for the tincture.. Older plants have more silica than younger ones, so don’t harvest those tender young shoots.
Consider these 4 earth-friendly organic bulk herb wholesale companies when shopping for herbal ingredients.
Owned by its 40,000 active co-op member-owners, Frontier Co-op offers a full line of natural and organic products, including bulk herbs and spices in addition to culinary spices, organic aromatherapy products and more.. Ingredient Sourcing & Quality: Frontier was one of the first suppliers to actively advocate organic products and agriculture, carrying its first organic products in 1978 and becoming the first herb and spice manufacturer in the U.S. with certified organic processing.. Always be fair.” To this end, Frontier Co-op donates 4 percent of its pre-tax sales to support sustainability and community development programs, and to promote organic agriculture research, education and practices in communities across the globe–this standard ranks Frontier among the top companies in the nation for yearly social giving as a percent of sales.. Some of Frontier Co-op’s many causes include the Frontier Co-op Foundation, which supports social, educational and environmental causes; the Simply Organic 1% Fund, which supports organic agriculture through research, education and grower development; and the Aura Cacia Positive Change Project, which supports organizations that empower women to transform their lives.. Pacific Botanicals’ farm in Oregon’s Applegate Valley employs organic growing methods and beyond, saving seed from its own plants suited to the microclimate where they grow, feeding the soil with organic nutrients, and harvesting herbs at the peak of health.. Ingredient Sourcing & Quality: Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been growing and offering high-quality certified organic herbs, teas and spices.
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To promote, buy, acquire, sell, lease exchange, hire, give on relit, to let, mortgage or otherwise dispose of the lands, industrial Complexes, houses buildings, farm houses, agricultural lands, and other immovable property of the Company or other immovable property including any share or shares, interest or interests therein and to transact on commission or otherwise business of real estates agents and to apply for purchase through tender or otherwise acquire civil contracts for or in relation to water proofing, sewage, construction, execution, equipment, improvement, management, administrations or control of mechanical and civil works and conveniences and to undertake, execute, dispose or otherwise turn to account the same.