C/S=Cut & Sifted Cert. Org.=Certified Organic HU=Heat Units W.C.=Wildcrafted
A tea made by pouring boiling water over an herb and allowing it to steep, covered, with no additional heat source. Infusions generally have a short shelf life. Prepare as needed.
A thick herbal tea or soup made by boiling the herb in water for as long as desired.
Make a strong decoction of the herb. That is, boil it in water, then simmer it, covered, until you have a thick brew with very little water. Cool, and strain the boiled herb into the brew. Add an equal amount of vegetable glycerine (searchable on Kalyx as 'vegetable glycerine') to the thick decoction and mix well. Pour into a sterile dark glass bottle, stopper tightly and store in a cool place. Treated with care this fluid extract will last a year or more.
Vegetable glycerin, an edible humectant that moisturizes the skin, is an essential fatty acid generally derived from coconut or palm. It is used as a preservative and stabilizing agent. Never add glycerine to hot liquids as it is temperature sensitive and will coagulate. Always mix with cold or warm liquids.
Fluid extracts are used both to concentrate and preserve the active ingredients of an herb. Fluid extracts are considered by many herbalists to be the preferred way to preserve water soluble active ingredients. When properly made one fluid ounce of fluid extract equals one ounce of fresh herb.
Alcoholic Extract (Tincture):
Water is a good medium to extract gums, mucilage, saponins and tannins, but not so good for oils and resins. Alcohol is ideal for extracting fats, resins, waxes and most alkaloids. It is an excellent preservative and is quickly assimilated. The substance used to extract the herbs is known as the menstrum. The herbs you are tincturing are known as the mark. Tincturing will extract and preserve both the water-soluble and alcohol-soluble properties of an herb.
Prepare the herbs by chopping or grinding them. Tincture several herbs together if you are creating a formula. Put them in a sterile jar with a tight lid, and cover them with brandy or vodka. Alcohol must be at least 50 proof to have good preservative qualities. Vodka is the purest grain alcohol.
Shake daily. Strain after a month, first with a strainer and then through a clean undyed cloth, squeezing tightly. Pressing the herbs through a potato ricer while still in the cloth can be helpful. Bottle in sterile amber glass bottles. Label and date. Store away from heat and light. Take tinctures by putting 1 dropperful in a hot drink.
Tinctures may also be made using vegetable glycerin rather than alcohol. This is best when making tinctures for those that are alcohol intolerant as well as for children, pregnant and nursing mothers. Glycerin is both a solvent and preservative that has an effectiveness somewhere between water and alcohol. It is naturally sweet, pleasant tasting and helps to extract mucilage, vitamins, minerals and tannins from plant material. It is good for herbs high in tannins but doesn't extract resins well. It is slightly antiseptic, demulcent and healing when diluted. Glycerites are usually prepared using 1 part water to 2 parts glycerin. Glycerites have a shorter shelf life than tinctures prepared with alcohol, about 1 to 3 years. Tinctures made in alcohol will last for many years.
Apple cider vinegar, preferably organic, can also be used as a menstrum. Look for vinegar with 5.7% acetic acid or thereabouts for a long shelf life. It is also a digestive tonic and can be used to season food. Warm the vinegar first before pouring over the herbs. Avoid using a metal lid or it will rust. This type of tincture will have a shelf life from 6 months up to 4 years.
A salve is made with herb, an oil, beeswax, and a preservative. The best kind of oil to use is olive or sesame. Do not use the drying oils, such as soybean and linseed. A good preservative to use is Gum Benzoin, either the powder or your own tincture made with our high grade Sumatran Gum Benzoin Powder, or tincture purchased from your local drugstore. Choose stainless steel, glass, or earthenware to mix or store your herbal preparations. The containers you use to store the mixtures should be airtight and sterile.
Begin by heating the oil to boiling (in a stainless steel or glass pan). Add the herbs of your choice and simmer, covered, for about 3 hours. If part of your herbal recipe includes bark or roots, place these in the oil first and simmer them for the first 1½ hours before adding flowers or leaves. If using fresh herbs, always leave the lid off the container for the first 30 mintues in order to allow the water to evaporate from the herbs.
After the mixture is ready, strain and add beeswax. You will need about 1½ ounces of beeswax for each pint of oil used. Next, add a half teaspoon of the tincture of benzoin for each pint of oil. Mix well. To test for consistency, put a small amount of the salve in the fridge. Add more beeswax to thicken. When the desired consistency is reached, pour into labeled jars. Salves last for years.
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