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How To Prepare A Herbal Tincture

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Tinctures contain the active ingredient of a herb in alcohol – the most famous being Bach’s famous ‘rescue remedy’. Tinctures are often preferred to herbal infusions and decoctions because they are more palatable and, after the initial preparation, are quick and easy to use since they can be taken neat, or with a little hot water.
What you'll need: 
A modern herbal
1: 
Make a standard tincture with one part dried herb with five parts liquid, of which 25% should be alcohol (vodka is ideal). When using fresh ingredients double the amount unless stated.
2: 
For a simple cold cure, try using elderberries (dried or fresh), which are rich in vitamin C and a traditional remedy. A high intake of vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold.
3: 
Pour the liquid over the ingredients and store in an airtight jar. Keep the mixture in a warm place for two weeks and shake daily.
4: 
Strain the liquid through muslin or fine sieve into a dark, airtight bottle and take 1 teaspoon three times a day. Dark glass keeps the mixture for longer as light can affect the contents.
5: 
Alternatively make a non-alcoholic ‘elderberry rob’ – a syrup made by simmering down 5 lbs of fresh elderberries with 1lb of sugar to use as a cold treatment.
Conclusion: 
Tinctures have been in regular use in domestic plant medicine since medieval times and many of them still survive today in the treatment for coughs and colds. Cherry flavored cough syrup available from a chemist is the modern equivalent of a medieval remedy.
Tips: 
When under stress, take three drops of Bach’s ‘rescue remedy’ in a cup of tea or tomato soup.
Read RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and their uses by Deni Brown.
Warnings: 
The most common problems in herbal treatment are not side effects – these are rare with herbs that are recommended and approved for general sale in health shops – but misapplication.

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