Tinctures are concentrated liquid herbal extracts, made by steeping fresh or dried flowers, herbs and other plant parts in alcohol. Traditionally, vodka is used to make a tincture. Alcohol is used because it breaks down the cell wall of the plant, allowing the plants bio-active compounds to be release, and stored into the alcohol. After the herbs steep for 4 to 6 weeks, the liquid is strained, usually the dosage is about 20-30 drops or a few droppers full, each day. Tinctures are one of the many ways to administer herbs internally. Teas, syrups, and herbal pills are some other effective ways to ingest herbs. However, tinctures have high absorbance, are concentrated, and will last a lifetime if kept away from direct sunlight. These features of herbal tinctures make them an easy, effective way to make herbs a part of your diet, no matter where you are.
The History of Tinctures
Tinctures date back as far as distilled alcohol. Ancient Egyptians soaked herbs in alcohol to create tinctures and cordials- tinctures made with lower alcohol content. In 1025, The Al-Qanoon fi al Tibb (The Canon of Medicine), was published, explaining many medical topics including tinctures. It was the basis for the teaching of medicine in the West from the 12th-17th centuries, making these discoveries of the medicinal uses of distilled alcohol ingrained in Western medicine. Distilling wasn’t commonly known in Europe until the 1400s, and became widespread around 1500, though the Irish and Scottish peoples adopted distillery much earlier than the rest of Europe. By the “Victorian” era in Anglocentric cultures, tinctures were common. Laudanum is a tincture used over the counter in the U.S. until the 1970s, commonly with small children. Warberg’s tincture was a common medicine used in the treatment of fevers, including malarial fevers and was used to treat colds until the 1980s. Until the 1920s, cannabis Indica tinctures were sold in your average pharmacy. Any number of the elixirs and other medicines found commonly advertised were either cordials or tinctures. It wasn’t until pharmacology moved on to emphasizing pills that the usage of tinctures greatly declined. Now, tinctures are once again gaining popularity, as more people are becoming educated about herbal medicine and the traditional ways of preparing it. You will see a wide variety of tinctures and herbal extracts at local food co-ops and bigger health food stores like Whole Foods. Tinctures are a great option for those who are busy and don’t have time to prepare herbal teas daily, and for traveling and on the go. Tinctures are concentrated so dosages are small and can be diluted in water to hide any taste. They require no preparation, and as long as kept out of direct sunlight, tinctures will never expire. They are compact and fit in your purse or handbag, so you never have to leave home without a piece of your herbal apothecary.
The Birth of Angatu Botanicals
I remember, growing up in the mountains of Itatiaia National Park and playing outside a lot as a child. We had a good sized backyard on our property a little ways away from the family house. This was my favorite place to be. There I would run barefoot, climb the two huge guava trees and eat their delicious pink fruit sitting on a tree trunk. This is where they ground their fruits, herbs, food, and medicine. I would play out there for hours, making “medicine”. From a very early age, I would enjoy playing with the gifts from Mother Earth. We had chickens and eggs; Papaya, Pomegranate and Guava trees. We had a small bee hive with honey and many other herbs my mom planted. When I became a mother, I decided to get back into eating organically and as close to raw and natural as possible. At that time, there were not many herbal products intended to support women through pregnancy and birth as today. My own herbal experience, while becoming a mother, is what motivated me to continuously learning about natural and home remedies. It did not take long to see the pattern of remedies that worked well together. I am hoping to grow my apothecary, as now we sell nourishing herbal remedies for women, for sleep well and for fight colds world wide. Please also visit our Etsy store. Thank you for visiting!