Monday, July 21, 2008

How to Make Tinctures From Herbs

How to Make Tinctures From Herbs,philosophy behind tincture is to capture the spiritual and physical essence of the plant. This is done by using the power of ethyl alcohol to dissolve and preserve the herb in question.

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.

In the interest of taking a more involved stance in their health, many people are turning to homemade tinctures made from fresh or dried herbs. Tinctures have proven to be more powerful and longer lasting than dried herbs. Dried herbs can get moldy or be eaten by insects, tinctures do not. Tinctures will keep up to two years and keep their potency if stored properly. Making your own tinctures will save you quite a bit of money. If you purchase tinctures in a retail store you will get a few ounces whereas if you make it yourself it will yield about a quart.

When purchasing herbs, make sure you are buying from a reputable source. Better yet, grow your own herbs to be sure of the highest possible quality. When growing your own you can make any number of combinations to make up your tinctures. I have also found that when growing my own herbs I get the most enjoyment, knowing not only did I make the tincture but I grew the herbs. I become part of the process from beginning to end.

There are several items that you will need to make your own tinctures. First you need either powdered herbs or fresh cut herbs. Vodka, brandy or rum, 80-100 proof to cover the herbs. Mason jars with lids. Muslin or Cheesecloth that is unbleached. Lastly, labels for the jars.

You will need 7-10 ounces of chopped fresh herbs for every quart of vodka, brandy or rum. I prefer to use fresh herbs when making my tinctures. When using powdered herbs, I use 4 ounces of herbs to one pint of liquid. If you are making a tincture from bitter herbs it is best to use rum as it will mask the taste of the herbs. To make a non-alcoholic tincture use distilled water, glycerol or vinegar. Keep in mind that if you use vinegar the tincture will have to be refrigerated.

Put your herbs in the mason jars and then pour the liquid over them so that it comes up to about an inch above the herbs. Seal tightly and label the jars then put them in a very dark, warm area. Keeping them in a paper bag has worked well for me. You will have to shake the jar everyday, several times a day if you can mange it.

At first check the solution daily to make sure the vodka, brandy or rum still covers the herbs. Let the mixture steep for at least two weeks and up to three months. When you reach the allotted waiting period, line a sieve with the cheesecloth or muslin and pour the liquid thru the sieve into another bottle. Gather up the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze to extract all of the liquid. You can now fill small bottles with droppers with the tincture for ease in use. Be sure to label the jar with the name and the date.

The dose is one teaspoon tincture in a cup of tea, juice or water taken three times daily.

There are no right formulas for making tinctures. Experiment with different combinations. Be sure you write down the formula so when you come up with a winning combination you will have it on file.

Here are a few ideas for treating colds. Make tinctures from the following herbs:

* echinacea (leaves, flowers)
* elder (leaves, flowers, berries)
* eyebright (leaves, flowers)
* ginger (root)
* peppermint (leaves)
* yarrow (leaves, flowers)
* catnip (leaves )
How to Make Tinctures From Herbs
by: Mary Hanna

Thank natural to make herbals for good life!

Read More

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How To Grow Parsley And The Many Uses Of The Parsley Herbs

How To Grow Parsley And The Many Uses Of The Parsley Herbs,the humble parsley herbs have been around for centuries. The Greeks planted the parsley herb as a border for their gardens. They also used the parsley herb to crown winners at competitions and to decorate tombs. The Romans believed that the herb parsley could prevent intoxication. They used it in great quantities. It can be used as an herb parsley tea which many say is useful in curbing a stubborn cough. Parsley herbs are used to make herbal remedies.

The parsley herb is a biennial, which means it will last two years after which the parsley must be replanted. The parsley herb will produce an umbrella of small yellow flowers. The first year of the parsley herb will have a more delicate flavor.

Curly parsley, the most commonly grown, is very pretty as a border around an herb garden. Parsley produces crisp, curly, bright green leaves. Parsley is one of the most nutritious herbs around containing potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C and many other needed minerals. It is also the most widely used herb in the kitchen. It can be used in virtually every recipe, salads, meats, soups, stews, even parsley sauce or an herbal parsley tea.

The flavor of the herb parsley is mild and savory. Parsley is good at masking other harsher flavors. Parsley is said to sweeten the breath after eating garlic. The parsley herb is good for the circulation and the digestive system. The parsley plant can be used to make herbal remedies. It is a diuretic. It is thought to be an herbal remedy for the kidneys, removing excess water from the body. For this reason many think that is a slimming herb. The herb parsley is a detoxifier and helps with rheumatism, gout and arthritis. Many women believe it aides in menstrual pain and period irregularity.

To grow the herb parsley, plant the seeds gradually through the warmer months. There are two ways to speed the germination of the parsley herb. You can either soak them in warm water for 24 hours or you can pour boiling water over them just before you plan to plant the parsley herb. It will take about eight weeks before the parsley herb can be planted in the garden or in a container garden. After the seedlings have grown several leaves on it, plant them about 10 inches apart.

If you live in a tropical area it will be necessary to provide shade for the parsley herb. If you live in a colder climate, dig up the parsley and pot it for inside growth and year round harvesting. It enjoys a well drained but moist soil that has enriched with fertilizers. The parsley herb will ward off pests and disease if it is planted near roses or tomatoes. Parsley also attracts bees.

The herb parsley can be planted inside on a sunny windowsill or greenhouse. When you buy the pot for the herb parsley, be sure you have a depth of at least eight inches which will allow the roots space to grow.

The other popular variety of the herb parsley is the flat leaf or Italian parsley herb. This parsley has a slightly stronger taste. Grow both varieties for some interesting textures when using in your recipes.

You can use either fresh or dried parsley to make an herbal parsley tea. When using the parsley herb fresh, use one quarter of a cup of the herb. Pour boiling water in the cup and let steep for 5 minutes. Cover the cup to keep the steam in. Strain the tea and drink it. If using dried parsley, use two teaspoons per cup of water. Sweeten with honey. For relieving bug bites and stings, pulp the parsley and apply to afflicted are to heal and soothe.

Think about planting the herb parsley. There are so many uses for it. It will be a healthy addition to your garden and your kitchen. Here's a recipe for Parsley Sauce to help you use your parsley herb crop in a tasty way:

1 pint Milk, warmed
1½oz Flour
1½oz Butter
4 tbsp Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

Stir in the flour and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Bring to the boil, still stirring, simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once it's smooth and creamy, remove from the heat; throw in the chopped parsley and season to taste. Serve it hot with fish, poultry or vegetables.

Here's to Good Eating and Happy Gardening!

Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

by: Mary Hanna

Thank natural to make herbals for good life!

Read More