A tincture is an extract of a herb in a mixture of alcohol and water, normally 25 per cent alcohol. The alcohol used commercially is ethyl alcohol, but a spirit such as brandy or mika can be used for home tinctures. As tinctures are concentrated extracts, use the mainly as recommended and for a short time; do not give tinctures to children. Standard quantities are 200 g/7 oz dried herbs or 40 g /11/2 oz fresh herb to 1 litre/11/4 pint/4 cups 25 per cent alcohol/water mixture. The standard dose is up to 5 m1/1 tsp, to be taken three times a day.
Making an infusion
An infusion, or herbal tea, is made by pouring boiling water over the herb to extract the properties. It is suitable for leaves and flowers, whose parts are easily extracted. Standard quantities are 25 g/1 oz dried herb or 50 g/2 oz fresh herb to 500 m1/16 11 oz/2 cups. The standard dose is 100-150 ml/ 4-5 fl oz/1/2 cup, three times a day.
A compress is a way of applying herbal extracts directly to the skin, to reduce the inflammation or promote healing. Usually, an infusion of a herb is prepared for use in the compress, or simply hot or cold water can he used.
Mixing essential oils for massage
When preparing essential oils for aromatherapy massage, different oils, such as sweet almond, grape seed, sunflower or safflower, are combined to increase their therapeutic effect. For home use the general dilution rate, which should be 1 per cent (i.e. a maximum of 20 drops per 100 m1/4 11 oz/1/2 cup of base oil). Use only utensils that are clean and dry. Leave the lids on the bottles of the essential oils until required. Keep the mixed oils in a cool, dark place.
1. Put the herb into a large jar and pour on the alcohol/water mixture. Seal the jar and store in a cool place for two weeks. Shake the jar occasionally.
- 4 Litre
- Place the herb in a teapot with a close fitting lid. Pour in boiling water and leave to infuse for up to 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve or strainer into a cup. Store the remainder in the refrigerator, in a tightly stoppered container, for up to three days.
USING ESSENTIAL OILS
- Put 10 m 1/2 tsp of your chosen vegetable base oil in a blending bowl. Add the essential oil, one drop at a time. Use a clean, dry toothpick to blend the oils.
USING A COMPRESS
- Soak a clean cloth or flannel in a hot infusion or hot water then lightly wring it out. Place the cloth on the affected area and hold it firmly in place.
- Pour the mixture through a jelly (cheesecloth) bag into a clean jug (pitcher). Squeeze out the tincture from the bag. Pour the strained liquid into clean, dark bottles. Seal and store. Label and keep in a cool, dry place.