Here I am making an alcoholic tincture of Yellow Dock (Rumax Crispus) I have harvested some dock roots, washed and scrubbed them. Chopped them into 5mm long pieces and weighed them out.
Once you know how much the herb weighs you can work out how much alcohol is required to make the tincture. I have a license to purchase ethanol from accredited government suppliers. I aim to make a 45% alcohol tincture. This is easy to work out if you are dealing with dried herbs. When it comes to fresh herbs you have to factor in the water content of the herb too. I have aimed to make a 45% fresh root tincture which has a ratio of 1:3.
I accounted for 60% water in the roots as they are quite woody but do not wilt dramatically if they were left – like a carrot they end up going soft if they are left as the water leaves the plants by the method of osmosis.
I worked out how much alcohol I would need to achieve a 45% alcohol tincture. I then worked out what the remaining 55% volume would be. Subtracting the water content of the roots I could then determine how much additional water I would have to add.
It all seems complicated but I will go into more detail in next weeks blog.
Tinctures have to be left for over two weeks. This is to allow the alcohol and water to extract the active constituents of this herb.
Yellow dock is a depurative herb which helps to stimulate the liver and therefore supports the resolution of several skin complaints. It is a very bitter herb and a lot of people would say that it tastes nasty. It is a tonic to the digestive system and very nutritious too.
This was originally a pale yellow colour when I poured the alcohol and water mixture over the herb. It has turned a darker brown as the week has rolled on. On Wednesday 3rd July this will have been macerating for two weeks and I will be able to strain and bottle it up.
You can still make herbal tinctures at home – the key is to dry the herbs and purchase a strong alcohol such as vodka. Vodka is usually 40% alcohol so if you use dried herbs then you too can make an alcoholic tincture to support your health and wellbeing.
If you want to try this at home look at making one with the culinary herbs or with nice tasting herbs such as oats, lime flowers, meadowsweet or chamomile first.