This year my husband and I were literally saved from allergy hell by Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) Plus, we were able to wean ourselves largely from using synthetic allergy medicines. To make sure we are fully stocked with goldenrod tincture for the next year, I am currently making an ample supply of goldenrod tincture. Just so we’re clear, tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of herbs. Most tinctures are made using alcohol; however, you can also use glycerin or apple cider as the menstruum (solvent that extracts the medicinal qualities from the herb). August and September are the perfect months to make goldenrod tincture, as it grows abundantly in our area and this is when it is in full bloom. I have decided to make a quart of tincture (I love sharing) and dry a bunch of plants just in case that it not enough. I prefer to make tinctures from fresh herbs but dry herbs work too. I have many books on medicine making but found “Making Plant Medicine” by Richo Cech to be my go-to-book.
- Harvest leaves and flowers during the early flowering stage and remove stem. It is important to remember when harvesting any plant it is essential to harness the herb’s most productive energy during the harvest process. I like to collect the aerial parts while the vital energy is rising, so as they are actively growing but before they go to seed.
- Chop up leaves and flowers.
- Place herbs in a clean, dry glass jar. Fill ¾ of the jar loosely, but do not pack herbs.
- Fill jar with 100 proof vodka; make sure all herbs are completely submersed.
- Cover with tight fitting lid.
- Label the jar with the name of the plant, menstruum, harvest location, and date.
- Put in a dry place that gets full sun. I put all my tinctures on a windowsill that gets southern exposure on the 2nd floor of my house.
- Shake every day.
- After 3-4 weeks, strain out herbs and add fresh chopped up leaves and flowers to the menstruum to make it stronger. Since goldenrod’s blooming season is rather long, it is easy to do, but not as easy with other herbs.
- Wait a total of 6 weeks. Just so you don’t forget, mark your calendar and note the date the tincture will be ready.
- Strain the tincture through stainless steel strainer lined with cheesecloth or muslin.
- Rebottle and label.
- Enjoy life without the burden of seasonal and animal allergies!
- It should last for about 7 years if stored out of sunlight and in a cool location. Amber bottles work well protecting tinctures from sunlight.
There are many ways to make tinctures. This is just one way. I have tried many methods, learned from many herbalists, and read a great deal and this method resonates with me and gives me wonderful results. Some herbalists let their tinctures sit in the dark, or control the heat, sit for 2 weeks, a lunar phase…there are so many options. This is just one way, my way; and it just simply makes sense to me. Feel free to experiment.
When you collect any herbs, please keep in mind:
- · Be sure you have made a definite identification, use a field guide. If unsure, consult a seasoned naturalist.
- · Harvest it in a respectfully way, leave some so you do not overharvest to make sure there will be a healthy crop for the future.
- · Harvest away from traffic and areas where chemicals have not been sprayed or animals relieve themselves. Even though lead in gasoline has been outlawed for years, ditches along roadways are often laden with lead from decades of motor use.
If you are unsure, it is best to move on and not harvest in that area.
All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
If you are having a difficult time finding goldenrod locally, Healing Spirits is a great company to order from.