Here is the story of making Dandelion Tincture. I make it from the whole fresh plant, roots, leaves, crown, flowers, buds and all. The large photo above shows a fairly sizeable root. I plucked them by weeding my 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.
I started out chopping the leaf and root by hand but this got old right away. So I 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. If the plant material was dried, you would need to add water to the liquid to bring the plant back to normal hydration.
After 2 to 4 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 your own herbal tinctures.
I like to label according to the ratio and percentage of alcohol. That way when I go to make the same tincture in the future, I don’t have to remember which book to reference for the numbers. I used to simply cover the plant material by a couple fingers’ worth of liquid, but I 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. My 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 do I use it for? 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.