Echinacea Tincture in the Making

Today I started an Echinacea tincture. Don’t know why I waited this long (and will have to wait for 6 more weeks) . This winter I’ve already spent a good $40 on store-bought tincture – gah! You can make it for about $2 a bottle at home, and control the ingredients too.

It’s a 1:5 Echinacea purpurea dried root tincture made with 80 proof vodka (that’s 40 grams of dried, powdered herb in 200 ml of vodka).

I’ve ordered more herbs, more glass dropper bottles and a stainless steel funnel from Mountain Rose Herbs. I need to find a cheap and local source of large quantities of 100 proof vodka ($20 for 750 ml at the liquor store) and 190 proof alcohol. Because this time I used dried herb I could get away with the cheaper 80 proof, but I’ll want to tincture fresh ginger root soon.

I’m using James Green’s Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook. It’s very user-friendly for the beginner and encouraging. I ordered Nancy Phillips’ book The Herbalist Way as well as Michael PhillipsThe Apple Grower. I got to peruse both books at my leisure at the NOFA conference and was very impressed.

So I’m back to the gotta-shake-my-tincture (in addition to gotta-feed-my-bug) days. Tomorrow I hope to start up the bread-baking again. Then we’ll be more or less back into our routine.

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  1. Glad you’re getting back to your routine! Returning from travel can be tough.

    Are you using purchased dried echinacea or drying our own? We’ve got E. purpurea growing in our “wild” gardens here and I’ve wondered how to harvest it for medicinal use.

  2. Hi Emily,

    you should harvest it, of course, but carefully. Believe it or not but Purple Coneflower (purpurea) is endangered (there are two more medicinal echinaceas: angustifolia and pallida.

    The root can be harvested from three year old plants and should be harvested at the end of Fall, when the plant has drawn all of its resources into the root part. You can use the whole herb, though, best harvested I believe right before the flowers are totally open (like Calendula). Then you chop it all up in a blender, add the menstruum (100 or even 190 proof alcohol is best fro fresh herbs), blend that together (cf. my dandelion tincture) and continue as usual.

    I used dried root that I bought from Mountain Rose Herbs. They’re reasonably priced and reliable. They also tell you where their herb comes from, like US or China.

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