So I have been busy making tinctures with the bounty of nature all around and I must say it's lots of fun.
I use organic grain alcohol which I buy using an alcohol license. The amazing herbarium website helped me do the paperwork which was easier then I had procrastinated over and can be found here: Application for Authority to Receive Duty Free Spirits.
Another option if looking for smaller amounts without a licence is 5 litres of 95% @ £85.50 at liquid essences.
When I started making tinctures for use for home and friends I used coop gin. I'm not sure why, perhaps because I'm a fan of gin and tonics. In hindsight vodka would have been a cleaner alcohol as it is not already infused with botanicals and some people find gin brings them down. How many botanicals coop gin has ever seen is best left to the imagination. The second error I made was using the gin or vodka at the strength it came in and not cross referencing with other tincture makers websites or books as to the recommended percentage of alcohol required. This meant I was spending more on alcohol then I needed to and possibly damaging some of the plant constituents. For example gin is 40 to 45% and cleavers (Galium aparine) tincture only needs 25%.
''Tinctures contain specific ratios of water, alcohol and dissolved plant material. The ratios are different according to the plant used and what we want to extract. The alcohol acts in two ways, as a preservative and also as a solvent that extracts compounds from the plant called ‘constituents’. The alcohol used is of edible food grade. Its technical name is ethanol or ethyl alcohol - the same alcohol you’d find in beer, wine, vodka, brandy, whisky and all the spirits in your drinks cabinet.
The water in the tincture also extracts plant compounds but is mainly used to balance the amount of alcohol included. Some parts of a plant need a great deal of alcohol (70-90%) to extract their compounds, such as resins like propolis and myrrh, and some need much less, like the polysaccharides in marshmallow root. '' (Zenmaitri).
I'm making milky oats tincture with my first crop of the famous welsh black oats at a ratio of 1:2 at 95% for a nervine tincture and another at 40% for a more nutritive tincture! Thanks to Katie for those precious seeds.
The milky latex which we are looking for!
The bright green is only
evident in the 95%, as it raws out the latex. Minerals are water soluble so the lower alcohol concentration draws them out but less of the latex which supports the endocrine system and supports hormone regulation. I think I will be using this myself!
Here are the Common oat, Avena Sativa in 95% and then the Welsh black oat which may be known and Avena Strigosa in 95% and 75% on the day they were harvested and tinctured. The Black oat was noted for giving horses an 'extra furlong of energy', but almost died out as horses gave way to the combine which struggled with the tall oats! Thanks again to those that saved them!
In high insight I would have harvested the oats, and left the stalks in the off chance they may produce more oats and so the stalks could mature into oat straw. We didn't harvest the lot as we are hoping to save seed for growing next year. But I have been struggling to find out weather it is an outbreeder or otherwise so some enquiries are needed!
So I hope you learn something from my mistakes and enjoy your journey.
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