I’m a fairly grounded individual, so I don’t throw words like “magic” around too lightly. I make an exception in this case because I truly believe that there is something very wondrous about the art and science of tinctures.
What is a herbal tincture? A tincture is a highly concentrated liquid herbal extract. It is a primal method of utilizing herbs. Tincture use is rumored to date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, Greek and Chinese cultures, through to the early Native American settlers.
Anyone feel like waking up their internal warrior?
There is a lot to know about the art of making a tincture, but I’ll keep it simple.
Tinctures can be made with different solvents including glycerin, vinegar, and alcohol. Alcohol tinctures, in particular, have stood the test of time. Essentially, herbs are placed into the solvent –also known as the menstruum- which then extracts the healing properties of the herb. This isn’t a quick process, time is required for this “magic” to take place, and making a tincture requires weeks to months of anticipation and patience.
So why choose a herbal tincture over a capsule or a tea?
Most of us are familiar with buying a bottle of encapsulated herbs. We take the recommended amount of capsules and most of us find this is simple enough. And it is, we don’t have to think about taste, or much else for that matter, we just have to remember to take the recommended amount.
A herbal tincture is different. First of all, encapsulated herbs need to be broken down and assimilated through your digestive tract to be absorbed. Conversely, if you decide on an alcohol based tincture, the medicinal components of the herb are absorbed into your bloodstream almost immediately. That isn’t the only benefit; when taking this “potion” you can actually taste the properties of the herb. Is the herb bitter, pungent, sweet, earthy, cool, or warm? For example, bitters should be tasted as this helps to stimulate digestive juices, including bile, which aids in fat digestion. Imagine the taste of sour lemon juice in your mouth right now. Really picture yourself squeezing lemon juice straight onto your tongue! See how much more you begin to salivate? Different tastes stimulate different physiological responses. It’s a much more intimate way of working with the medicinal properties of the herb. When you drop a potent tincture into your mouth, you are looking to resonate with your remedy!
Having said all of that, teas are also a beautiful way of consuming and tasting your herbs. The difference is that herbal teas tend to be much gentler; therefore if you are trying to work on balancing a specific ailment, teas may take more time to see advanced results. To maintain good health, drinking herbal tea is an excellent way of incorporating nutrient dense herbs into your everyday life. Plus, who doesn’t love to relax in a comfy chair on a cold night with a warm cup of tea?
If this introduction to tinctures has stimulated your interest, please stop by our South Side location and take a look in our Apothecary (formerly called “Earth’s Aromatique”). We have an impressive arrangement of tinctures containing many beautiful healing herbs! Let us help you discover which of these mysterious liquids would be best for you!
To learn more about what we do, please visit us online at Kolya Naturals or stop by our south Edmonton location at #2, 7115 - 109 Street.
If you are not familiar with herbal remedies, or want to try something new, you may consider setting up a Holistic Nutritional Consultation with me. Contact me directly for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Maddie Laberge, BSc. CHNC
Maddie graduated in 2007 from the University of Manitoba after completing her Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in Human Nutritional Sciences. Following her university studies, Maddie went on to work under a Master Herbalist, learning to use nutrition, herbal formulas, and live blood cell analysis as tools in the healing process.
In 2010, Maddie also completed a comprehensive study in alternative healing methods through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, achieving the designation as a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant. Maddie continues to educate herself and has recently completed Rosemary Gladstar’s course, “The Science of Art and Herbalism”. All of her experience and education has led to Nutritional Consultations, Presentations, and most recently, formulating an Optimum Health Superfoods Workshop!
In addition to studying, Maddie leads an active lifestyle and tries to spend time in her love of nature as much as possible through outdoor activities, including completing a half marathon and enjoying general hiking, bonfires, and fresh country air.
Maddie offers clients nutritional guidance and holistic approaches to achieve balance throughout the body and spirit. Consultations include individualized protocols using food and/or supplement in addition to education and empowerment for the client’s specialized needs.
Specialties include: Nutrition education, digestive imbalances/diseases, detoxification, achieving healthy weight, anxiety/stress issues, pH balancing, and supplemental protocols.