Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WINTERTIME FORMULAS

We usually make tinctures with single herbs for ease of use and blending later.  The reasoning behind that is so that you have the single ingredients to blend into any kind of formula or to use them alone, depending on the situation.  Sometimes though, there's really no reason that you can't make a blend from the get-go.

One of my favorite experiments was over a decade ago, using an ounce of a relaxing tea blend to make a tincture for a friend who had trouble sleeping AND avoids fluids at night.  At the time, I was low on funds, and purchasing one ounce of a tea blend from a reliable herbalist friend was way less expensive than purchasing the individual ingredients.  Blends are quite common in vinegars and elixirs (where a blend of honey and alcohol is used), but for some reason, we tend to shy away from doing this with extracts.  We are always happy to encourage people to do things in ways that work for them, no matter what the conventional wisdom of the moment might be.

In the Jan/Feb '11 issue of The Essential Herbal, Mary Graber of Mountain Mary's in Eagle River, Alaska sent in an article with great ideas for some formulas to try.  In each of them, the herbs are steeped for several weeks in the solvent (aka menstruum) and strained prior to use.  This seemed like a good time to share them.

WINTERTIME FORMULAS

Super Support
Take 1/4- 1/2 tsp. per hour at symptom onset.
Solvent: 100-proof vodka/brandy
2 parts echinacea root, flower and leaf
2 1/2 parts turmeric
1 cultivated goldenseal root (Use cultivated goldenseal; this herb has been over-harvested.)

Cold & Fever Buster
Take 1/4-1/2 tsp. per hour at the onset of symptoms.
Solvent: 100-proof vodka/brandy
1 part elder flower and elder berry
1 part peppermint leaf
1 part yarrow flower and leaf

Cough & Throat Relief
Take 1/4- 1/2 tsp. per hour at the onset of symptoms.
Solvent: 100-proof vodka/brandy
2 parts mullein leaf
1 part licorice root
1 part wild cherry bark
1/2 part ginger root

Fire Tonic
Take 1/4- 1/2 tsp. per hour at the onset of a cold, or as a daily warming tonic. Makes a great salad dressing.
Solvent: apple-cider vinegar
1 part garlic
1 part onion
1/2-1 part freshly grated horseradish
1/2 part ginger small pinch cayenne
honey to taste (add to finished product)

Mood Lifter
To prevent or ease the winter blues, take 1/2 -1 tsp. three times daily.
Solvent: 100-proof vodka/brandy
2 parts hawthorn berry, plus flower and leaf if available
2 parts lemon balm
1 part St. John's wort
1 part milky green oat tops

Try your hand at a favorite blend soon!


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