What are herbal infusions and Tinctures?
Homemade healing and nourishing remedies are easy and inexpensive to create. Takes only a few minutes to prepare. You can make herbal vinegars for cooking or cleaning. You will save money on cleaners and herbal extracts.
Herbs have a long history of use around the world in many forms. The length of that is far beyond this article.
- Infusions are made much like making a cup of tea. The exception is the herbs sit in hot water for 8 to 12 hours.
- Tinctures are created with vegetable glycerin, alcohol (100 proof) and/or vinegar (not white distilled vinegar. Placing the herbs in a jar, about a half jar and pouring the liquid of choice to filling the jar. Letting sit for 6 to 8 weeks.
Note: Every recipe I have found regarding teas, infusions, concoctions, poultices, and other herbal remedies state to boil the water. Boiling water began to ensure a pest/disease free water to drink. Boiled water kills everything. The temperature of boiled water is 212 degrees (100 C). The beneficial nutrients in herbs won’t survive. So if you must boil your water, let it cool to at least 180 degrees before pouring it over your herbs. If you do not want to wait, use filtered water. Water in plastic is not a good idea, you do not know how it was stored and the chemicals in plastic do leach into your water when the plastic is heated.
For many alcohol is not a choice, thus the use of vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar as a choice for creating tinctures. I am experimenting with rice and wine vinegars just to include a variety. There are various benefits, depends on the need and the taste preference.
Choosing the Right Container
Storing your preparations is important. Choosing the right container will depend on the length of time you wish to store your preparations.
Plastic and metal are a no no. The vinegar will leach the contents of the plastic and metal container. Glass is your best choice. Plastic lined or plastic lids remain a good choice over metal.
You choice of glass include the Kerr and Mason jars used for canning. I use the quart size for smaller batches. They are inexpensive and tolerate heat well for your infusions. Although you do not want to use boiling water on herbs as it will kill the beneficial nutrients.
Another choice of glass is a recent discovery, ultraviolet glass jars. Infinity jars has a wide selection to choose from. The large wide mouth jars are best for making tinctures and infusions. It is easier to get the herbs into the jar with a wide mouth. The lid seals tightly keeping the air out, the glass blocks the ultraviolet rays.
The company has published the science with examples. Read what they discovered.
Background History of Vinegar
Vinegar was an accident, a discovery that would shift the ideas held nearly 10,000 years ago regarding healing. The story is reported at the Vinegar Institute’s Vinegar Lore page. The French word vin aigre means sour wine. The story unfolds as told by a few, held to, that a cask of wine had gone past it’s date. A new healing elixir was discovered.
Vinegar is now made through more complex processes and from many different substances. The sugars found in fruit, molasses, honey, beer, some vegetables like beets and potatoes, when let sitting for long periods of time process through alcohol content and become vinegar. Each substance used brings it’s own valuable nutrients.
Consider the Health Benefits of Vinegar
Vinegar is versatile. You can use it as a health aid (internal & external) or a cleaning tool. There are many versions of vinegar to choose from, each one offering its unique benefits.
Apple cider vinegar and white distilled vinegar are the two most common choices. However, there is red & white wine, other fruit, balsamic and malt vinegars to choose from. Choices may depend on the unique benefits, taste, and other forms of personal preference.
White vinegar is used most often as a cleaning agent around the house. Sprinkle baking soda in the sink, spritz well with white vinegar and you have your own scrubbing bubbles. Cleans even the most stubborn of stains. Use it as a disinfectant over bleach. It won’t destroy the color in clothes or sensitive surfaces. I use white vinegar in my laundry, rinse and wash cycle to destroy lingering odors and act as an anti-static agent.
Apple cider vinegar is reported to be beneficial to diabetics, for weight loss, and healing the gut. It works to disseminate sugar. It is beneficial as an anti-acid and digestive aid. Dr. Mercola’s article discusses several more benefits of using apple cider vinegar daily.
There are a few medical research studies to back up the use of apple cider vinegar as a medical aid. (Referenced below: Vinegar: Medicinal Uses) Though this article warns against using vinegar to clean wounds. I have used it on minor cuts, scrapes and insect bites, as well as itchy skin and sunburns, mostly the white vinegar for these uses.
My Herbal Infusions
I started my tinctures in mason jars. When I received my Infinity Jars, I transfered the finished product into the ultraviolet glass containers. They have now set for 5 more weeks. The result is different than when vinegar tinctures are left to sit in clear jars.
Mason jars allow light to filter into your finished product, the plastic lids for wide mouth jars do not seal as well as the metal rings and lids. A mother will grow in your vinegar if left to sit long enough. This is not necessarily a bad thing, you can use the mother to make your own vinegar. There are those who find it gross and do not want to handle it.
With the Infinity Jars there is no growth, the liquid has remained clear and fresh. The ultraviolet glass blocks the light rays, ultra violet light to be more precise. Growth cannot occur without the light. Your herbs, tinctures, food and other preparations will remain fresh longer.
I do recommend these jars. The cost is more than a mason jar, but in the long run well worth the investment. Reducing food waste is a terrific cost saving measure.
To learn about the science, read further here.
To read more:
This list of resources provides two sides to the story. Those that are for and the research against the uses of vinegar. Make up your own mind, experiment, give it time.