As you may have read, if you follow my blog, I have been trying to get rid of a sinus infection and also to not get a cold that is threatening… sadly, I got a bit run-down recently, which is not good, and now I am suffering for it. 😦
Anyway, a while ago I made a really fantastic investment. I FINALLY bought some Echinacea plants, which had been on the ‘wishlist’ for a long time! The first thing I did as soon as they flowered, was make Echinacea Tincture as an Immune Booster. This has literally been a life-saver, well certainly a health-saver and a quick fix for my nasty sinus infection; I feel great now!
MAKING ECHINACEA TINCTURE –
To make a basic tincture, you need plant material and alcohol. Anything 40% by volume or above is good. Vodka would be the best option, or Gin as a second choice – or if you are not gluten free, you can also use Whiskey or Rum as well.
NOTE: If you don’t want to use alcohol to extract the active plant ingredient for any reason, you can quite easily use Organic Cider Vinegar instead, (or you could even use Glycerine, but I would not recommend it if you want the most natural product.)
The strongest medicinal extract of Echinacea is the root, but unfortunately this means “killing” your plant to get at it, so I use the whole flowers instead. They still contain active ingredients, just not at the same level as the root, so the dosage will need to be adjusted accordingly. Whereas you would use 1 tsp. per dose of root extract, you will need 1 Tbsp. of flower extract.
Step 1: Pick any open Echinacea Flowers and remove petals carefully from cone.
Step 2: Wash in filtered water, and place on an organic/recycled paper towel to dry.
Step 3: Get a second organic/recycled paper towel, set aside the cones temporarily and put the petals only on one half of it, and carefully put the other half of the paper towel over the top, and pat until all the water is gone off the petals.
Step 4: Chop the petals up into small pieces and weigh both them and the flower heads with electronic scales. Then weigh the alcohol also. The smaller the pieces, the easier it is for the alcohol to extract the active (medicinal) plant ingredients.
You will want a 1:10 – Herb to alcohol ratio, which means 10g of Echinacea to 100g alcohol.
Step 5: Pour the alcohol into a largish glass jar and drop the petals and cones into it. Aside from ensuring the ratio is at 1:10 of herb to alcohol, you also need to make sure the alcohol is covering the plant material. If it is not, attempt to squash the plant material down into the alcohol before adding any more alcohol to the mix. It is best to keep the ratio correct if you can.
Step 6: Seal the jar and keep in a dark place for a minimum of 3 weeks; 6 weeks is even better. Every few days, take the jar out and shake it about, making sure the plant material is still under the alcohol before returning it to the dark place.
Step 7: When you tincture is ready to use, pour it out into a sieve over a collecting container, which will collect all the plant material. Put this plant material into your compost. Pour the left over liquid tincture into a dark glass bottle, and label clearly.
Your tincture should last in the alcohol solution for 1-2 years; but it can also be used immediately. Keep it in a dark place, away from children. If it is accidentally swallowed, follow with copious amounts of water and phone the doctor for advice.
Dosage: As soon as you feel a cold/flu/sore throat, etc., coming on, take 1 Tbsp. of tincture every 2-3 hours for 2 days. If you already have a cold/flu/sore throat, take 1 Tbsp. of tincture 3x a day until you are completely better.
For sinus infections only: Double the above dose for sinus infections as they really need to be hit hard & fast.
(Echinacea is an immune booster, so it works better before you are actually ill. It is also not advisable to use it for prolonged periods of time, as it has been shown to eventually put the body’s natural immune system to “sleep” if you do over use it.)
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