If you don’t mind doing a little digging this time of year, making your own Echinacea Tincture is seriously easy and way cheaper than what you will pay at the store. There are nine species of Echinacea. Echinacea angustifolia (Narrow leaf coneflower), Echinachea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), and Echinachea pallida (Pale purple coneflower) are the most commonly used for making tincture, though all types can be used.
Native Americans used Echinacea for a whole host of ailments including snakebite, rabies, mouth ulcers, tooth abscess, fevers, wounds, and as a general treatment for illness. Today it is generally used to boost the immune system, especially when treating colds, flu, and infections.
All parts of the plant can be used, even the stems and leaves, though new flowers and the roots are considered to be superior for creating medicinal tinctures. If you don’t have access to fresh Echinacea then you can use dried, which is usually available at health food stores, though fresh plant material would be considered more ideal.
If you are making a tincture in winter, you will probably just be digging up the roots. If you know where the plants are, even though the tops have died back, then dig up a section of the roots. If you don’t know where the plants are, then wait until spring. Better yet, wait until they are blooming, then use the fresh flowers to make your tincture.
Either way, fill a pint mason jar with clean, diced, root pieces, or whole flowers. Don’t pack the pieces in too tight, but do fill it to the top. If you are using dried pieces, fill the jar about half full. After the plant material is in the jar, fill the jar with grain alcohol (80-100 proof). Store the jar in a dark cabinet, but in a place where you won’t forget to give it a shake every once in a while. Shake the jar up once a week for at least one month and up to several months. The longer you let it set the stronger it will be. When you are ready to use it, strain into a dark colored glass tincture (dropper) jar and use as needed.
30 drops of echinacea 3X daily in a small amount of water can really do the trick when you feel a cold or infection coming on. Safe for kids too, but decrease the dosage by 2/3! The tincture will keep indefinitely.
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