Queering Herbs: 7 easy steps to make an herbal tincture with the Moon

Queering Herbs: 7 easy steps to make an herbal tincture with the Moon

Last week we talked about some ways to prepare herbs that were more or less variations on tea.

They were all basically: herbs + water

But another way you can take your herbs are with tinctures.

What’s a tincture?

A tincture is a concentrated form of the active properties of an herb. The active properties are the chemicals in the herb that work together to have a certain effect.

Tinctures are extracts of these herbal properties. They’re made by putting the herbs in a solution (usually alcohol), leaving them in there for a few weeks, and then straining it out.

So, a tincture is basically: herbs + alcohol

It’s one of the most common forms of herbal medicine, and also really easy to make.

Things to remember when taking tinctures

One thing to keep in mind when making and taking any tincture that you make at home, is that it can be easier to take too much of a medicinal herb when it’s in tincture form.

Tinctures are much stronger than infusions and decoctions.

So, when you try one, start out by taking just a little bit, and then check in with how you feel.

Which herb(s) to choose?

First of all, you want to make sure any herbs you are using are non-toxic and safe for humans to take.

Do research on any herb before deciding to take it. Especially make sure to find out how the herbs might affect you with any conditions you have, different medications you’re on, or if you’re pregnant.

Okay, aside from all of that, you can decide which herbs based on where you feel you’d like some extra support in your life.

Here’s a list of herbs to start out with from Herbal Academy:

good herbs to try are gentle ones like chamomile, calendula, dandelion (unless you have gall bladder issues), burdock, echinacea root, black elderberry flowers, fennel, hawthorn (unless you are on heart meds), lavender, meadowsweet, mullein, passionflower, California poppy (unless you are pregnant or taking MAOIs), and St. John’s wort (unless you are taking pharmaceutical meds).

You can also find information on so many common medicinal herbs on the herbal encyclopedia at Clover Leaf Farm.

Wait, what does the Moon have to do with any of this?

The instructions here are for how to make a tincture using the natural rhythm of the Moon to make it stronger.

It’s believed that the gravitational pull is stronger when the Moon is waxing, beginning at New Moon.

So the properties of herbs are drawn out more effectively during that time.

Working with these cycles also connects us with a deeper sense of natural rhythms.

How to make a tincture

What you need:

  • herbs (enough to fill your jar up about halfway)
  • strong clear alcohol (like vodka, gin, or rum)
  • a glass jar
  • another glass jar or bottle (preferably dark glass)
  • a strainer or cloth

What to do:  

On the New Moon:

  • Put your herbs in the glass jar, so that they fill about half of the jar
  • Pour the alcohol on top of the herbs so that it’s just about filling the jar and all of the herb material is totally covered

The ratio of herb material to alcohol should be about 1:4 or 1:3

  • Close the lid on the jar, and shake it!
  • Keep the jar somewhere it won’t be in direct sunlight, and shake it up every couple of days for the next 2 or 6 weeks

6 weeks is best, but 2 is also okay

… 2 or 6 weeks later…

On the Full Moon:

  • Take your jar and strain the herbs out with your strainer or piece of cloth, pouring the liquid into your other jar or bottle

This time use the darker glass one

  • Make sure to squeeze out any excess liquid from the herbs, and get that into your dark glass jar or bottle too.
  • Discard the herb material and close up your new tincture

Keep your finished tincture stored out of direct sunlight

What if you want to make a tincture, but don’t want alcohol involved?

Also, if you don’t want to be consuming alcohol but want the benefits of the herb, you can put the tincture into a cup of boiling water. That evaporates most of the alcohol.

If you don’t want to be around alcohol at all, you can also make tinctures using vegetable glycerin.

Although it’s not quite as effective as alcohol at extracting the properties from the herbs, if you feel like you want to stay away from alcohol then using vegetable glycerin works fine.

You can totally do this

That’s it!

Pretty simple, right?

Making different herbal medicines has felt really empowering for me.

I never would’ve thought before that I’d be doing this kind of crafty stuff, but it’s actually so easy.

Aside from being easy, it’s also a powerful way to influence your own healing process by connecting to plants and this really old tradition of making medicine.

It’s a really lovely New Moon activity to do either alone or with some friends, and then complete the process on the Full Moon (either 2 or 6 weeks after).

Also it’s not totally necessary to start it on the New Moon and end it on the Full Moon, but the effects have been found to be stronger when done in this cycle.

Keep in mind that this is some homemade stuff

It can be easier to have too much of an herb in tincture form, so just have a little bit when you first try it. 10-15 drops is a good place to start to get a sense of how the tincture feels for you.

Notice the effects of your tincture

Try just about 15 drops or so, not more than twice a day, and notice how that is for you.

Many herbs have effects that build up over a period of time, so try taking your tincture every day for a few weeks. Notice the effects your tincture has on you.

What was the intention you had in making this tincture?

How do you want it to support you?

You can write down notes of how you feel over time as you take it, and keep track of any changes in how you feel over time.

Thanks for reading! Try making a tincture on the next New Moon and see how that goes for you. And if you think this is interesting, why not share it with a friend who might also be into it.

Feel free to send us a note saying how it’s going for you. Or if you have any questions about your experience with it, feel free to ask, and we’ll get back to you.

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