“Dark of the moon” was Sunday. I like to tinker, so I set about to “tinker with a tincture.”
Mountain folk created their own tinctures for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Preparing your tincture during the dark of the moon phase supposedly uses the natural drawing powers of the moon to help the extraction process.
I began by picking fresh leaves and flowers from our lemon balm patch out front. I crushed the leaves with a mortar and pestle and filled a one pint Mason jar. I added 100 proof vodka to cover the leaves. I sealed the jar and placed it in our pantry cabinet. Light apparently is a natural enemy for the tincture process. Each day for two weeks, until the full moon phase, shake the bottle vigorously. Six weeks is considered the least time for full extraction. The rest is simple. Stretch cheesecloth over the top of the open jar, secure the outer lid ring over the cloth, and strain into another Mason jar. Empty the remaining herbs into a larger piece of cloth and squeeze out the last beneficial drops. Taking the advice of the local sages, I intend to allow my tincture to age for two months. I want the full benefit this tincture can offer. Your tincture, as I am told , will last for about two years.
Lemon balm, as I reported in an earlier post, has many healing properties. By making a tincture, Maggie and I can benefit from the full effect of its properties during the months when we cannot run outside and pick fresh leaves. We are also guaranteed a consistent dosage and concentration each time we use it. Blending different tinctures together does not diminish the power of any one tincture. Be creative with your blends. The flavor combinations may astound you. Basically a tincture from an edible plant is just like an extract that you use when cooking. So don’t forget the spices!
Tinctures are steeped from many plants, herbs, spices, and even the bark of some trees. With the help of Google, there are many herbal websites that explain each herb and its healing properties. Our lemon balm tincture is used for cold sores, insect bites, rashes, sunburn, anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches, coughs, asthma, and allergies. We like to add a few drops to our tea. It truly is a natural calming agent. Mountain folk used lemon balm tincture when they felt someone was down and needed their spirits lifted.
For my next adventure in tinctures, I will be heading out to our rosemary bed in the back garden. To me it is an exciting process, especially knowing we grew it ourselves and it is natural, local, healing, spiritual, “green,” and […you know me too well…] honorable!