Turn your kitchen into an herbal apothecary by utilizing time-honored extraction methods with your
hand-crafted botanicals. Tea, Tincture, and Syrups are all great options for home herbalism, and you'll find some tips for making all three here.
Herbal Tea (Decoction)
AS I BREATHE IN, I INVITE IN ABUNDANCE.
AS I BREATHE OUT, I OFFER GRATITUDE.
This basic herbal preparation can be made by pouring boiling water over 1-3 teaspoons of dried herbs, covering them and allowing them to steep 4-6 minutes. Strain, sweeten, and re-infuse as desired.
Note: stronger tea comes from adding more tea, not longer infusion times.
THIS PROCESS EXTRACTS BENEFICIAL CONSTITUENTS
FOR A MORE POTENT PLANT TONIC
You have a couple of options here,
1. The Folk Method: aka eyeballing it.
This is how people have extracted nutrients from herbs for a very, very, long time. It definitely works and you will receive benefit from the resulting tincture, but the results have a lot more variability than weighing your herbs and your menstruum.
Fill a glass jar about halfway full with your herbal blend. Then, fill the jar to the top with 80-90 proof alcohol such as vodka or brandy (alternatively, use apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine for alcohol-free extractions). Cap the jar and store in a cool, dark place. Use a tight-fitting plastic lid if you have one, (recycled jars come in handy here) otherwise, a sheet of parchment or thin piece of plastic will keep your metal jar lid from corroding into your medicine! Shake daily (or as often as you can remember) for 4-6 weeks. When ready, strain the herbs from your tincture (add to compost) and bottle liquid into a dark glass dropper bottle.
For more information, Mountain Rose Herbs has a great guide to the folk method, here:
2. Using the weight to volume ratio: If you're a brainy home herbalist in the modern era, we have an assortment of tools at our disposal to take more exact measurements and get better tasting and more effective tinctures.
Want to see it done, check out this video for the nerdy approach:
A SPOONFUL OF HONEY MAKES THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
For a family friendly syrup, make a strong decoction by simmering 1/2 ounce of plant material per 8 ounces of water. Allow the tonic to reduce by about half and then remove from heat. Strain herbs and add honey in a 1:1 ratio for shelf stability. If you add less honey, just store it in the fridge.
For more information check out this great blog over at Mountain Rose Herbs.
They are also a great resource for all sorts of herb-y goodness.
For a deeper dive, check out this video from the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaBhdf7ghw4