the family medicine chest will be an ongoing series on the fourth thursday of each month.
taking control of your family’s health is an essential part of homesteading and voluntary simplicity. it makes sense that you’d want to treat your family as naturally as possible given the other lifestyle choices that have been made. but, purchasing herbal formulas can be expensive and part of this lifestyle requires cutting costs wherever possible.
surprisingly to a lot of people, herbal remedies are easy and affordable to make. as a bonus, you can insure the quality of the medicines you make. you can control what is put into them and know where they come from. tinctures are a great way to start a home herbal medicine chest.
an excellent starter book on tincture making is “making plant medicine” by richo cech. this book will give you formulas for making tinctures as well as what the herb is used for and how it’s used. he goes deeper into tincture making and focuses on the chemical constituents of each individual herb to make a stronger formula. however, for today, i am going to walk you through the steps to make a basic but highly effective tincture.
a great herb to start with is echinacea. if you grow it in your yard, it is about the right time of the year to dig it up. (please note that the herb i am using in the photos is not echinacea, it is skullcap). you can go basic and just use the roots of any variety or you can go elaborate and use this formula:
equal parts of:
first, you will need a jar (a quart canning jar works well), vodka or grain alcohol (everclear) and the herb you will be tincturing. you can use fresh or dried (richo’s book goes into more detail about when it’s better to use one over the other). you’ll also need a knife and a cutting board.
congratulations! you’ve just made a year’s supply of medicine for your family.
general dosage for echinacea and most other herbs*(for an acute situation, i would up the dosage of echinacea to hourly for the first day then decrease it to 2-4 hours the next day and the general dose after that for a few days after symptoms are gone):
infants 10 weeks to three years: 2-5 drops in milk, juice or water 4-6 times per day for general immunity boost.
children 4-10: 5 – 15 drops in milk, juice or water 4-6 times per day for general immunity boost.
12 and up: 30 – 60 drops (1-2 standard droppersful) 4-6 times per day for general immunity boost.
*some herbs such as poke are known as ‘low dosage herbs’ and used sparingly. i would not recommend beginners using them until they have a deeper understanding of hose those herbs work.
the usual disclaimer: i am not a licensed physician and cannot give medical advice. if you are sick, please consult your physician. this information is for informational purposes only.