Posted on Tue, 09 Aug 2016 by tamra speakman
Herbalist Rosanna King has joined us a contributor for the first time in the summer issue. Rosanna is doing a series for the Column: Herbal Medicine Making and Formulating. This is an advanced column and Rosanna's advanced education and scientific, detailed thinking makes her the perfect writer for these articles.
The first article in the series is titled “Making Effective and Potent Herbal Extracts”. Most of the information you find on-line explains how to make a fairly simple folk method tincture or even a tincture that you weigh the ingredients but still just pour 80 proof alcohol over it. These tinctures are fine for simple home use but it is beneficial to learn advanced tincture making if you want to obtain consistent results. Rosanna goes in depth on how and why to make herbal extracts with dried herbs. Including how to do the calculations for menstruum and herb matter in order to make an “accurate consistent quality extract.” Below is an excerpt from Rosanna's article.
“Alcohol (ie. ethanol) is the solvent of choice for most when making herbal extracts. A diverse and large number of medicinal compounds, including resins, alkaloids, steroids, polypeptides, glycosides and essential oils are soluble in alcohol. Alcohol not only extracts these valuable medicinal compounds, it also preserves them and prevents bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens from growing in the extract. The convenience of an herbal extract that doesn’t need to be made fresh every day is one of the biggest advantages of tinctures as opposed to teas. Rapid delivery is another advantage, especially in emergency situations. Alcohol is a small lipid-soluble molecule which can travel into the bloodstream very quickly, delivering the herbal medicine within minutes of ingesting the tincture. Because tinctures are more concentrated than teas, they are preferred for the less than tasty medicinal herbs, as a small amount can be quickly swallowed.”