Teas and Tintures 

Gathering fresh herbs and flowers is one of the sweetest and most compelling pleasures of the morning. The cool refreshing breeze, the birds twittering noisily, bee's busily buzzing, flowers nodding sleepily, and glistening leaves shimmering in the sunlight.

I plan my day around what herbs and flowers are freshly potent and intoxicating, what is ripe, and how can I use this delicious harvest today? Sometimes just letting intuition guide me; no purpose, no task, just graciously and joyfully accepting the gifts the garden has to offer.

Capturing the essential essences, flavors and active constituents of these gifts is an art in itself, a practice of alchemy and intention. Learning to active its highest potential, and then preserving that potency to be used at a later reference takes much practice, but it is a practice of pleasure and a labor of love.

Perhaps this is what enchantment is?

Tea

Making fresh herbal tea is the simplest and most delightfully elegant celebration of  the gifts of the garden.  To make an herbal tea,  simply choose  a few leaves  and gently crush  them between your fingers and drop them into a cup.  Add boiling water and let steep for 2-3 minutes, adding a few drops of honey if you like.  Close your eyes, Bless the Earth as you sip and it becomes a simple sacred ceremony

Herbal tea,  also called herb infusions or tisane,  is a simple,  effective way to prepare herbal remedies, and benefit from their natural medicinal properties. It is also an easily absorbed form of herbal medicine, particularly when drunk warm or hot.  Infusions are teas that are brewed longer than typical tea.

            Lemon Verbena  Iced Tea                      Herbal Tincture                                 Chai  Tea

What is a Tincture?

 
A tincture is a liquid herbal extract made with alcohol as the solvent.  Glycerin can be used as the solvent in place of alcohol.  Glycerin based tinctures, however, do not last indefinitely and are not as convenient for use in personal care applications.  Glycerin based tinctures, are best suited for use in personal care applications that normally work well with glycerin as an ingredient (i.e. salt/sugar scrubs and mouth rinses). 

    I enjoy using room mists, linen sprays and body sprays. They're inexpensive and a great way to easily enjoy aromatherapy and natural plant based aromatics on a daily basis.  Properly stored herbal tinctures last indefinitely and are a wonderful way to enjoy the aromatic and therapeutic benefits of the herbs I grow year round.  Dried herbs can also be used and usually result in an even more concentrated extract.

I use herbal tinctures for topical/room fragrancing  and antibacterial applications.

Herbal Tincture Recipe for Aromatherapy/Skin Care

  • Air tight, sterilized glass containers

  • Enough chopped fresh herbs to fill each container halfway

  • Dried herbs can be used instead to make more concentrated herbal tinctures

  • High proof vodka. Everclear can also be used if it is legally available for purchase in your locale.

  • Cheesecloth or a fine grade strainer

Instructions

  • Chop your fresh herbs so that they naturally begin to release their aromatic oils.

  • Place your herbs in each container using the measuring guidelines shown above.

  • Fill with alcohol. Allow enough room at the top to ensure that there is room for the alcohol and herbs to mix well when shaken.

  • Store in a cool, dry, dark area. Shake each container at least once per day for 30 days. Strain the tincture with layered cheesecloth or a fine grade strainer.

The tincture can be used at this stage, but you will achieve a more concentrated and aromatic tincture if you repeat the process by adding more fresh or dried herbs and again shaking each container once per day for 30 days.  Once again, strain the herbs from the tincture. Your tincture is now ready to use in your room mist, body spray, linen spray and facial toner recipes.

Be sure to make your preparations with prayer and intention.

Safety - Be sure to stick to herbs that are known to be safe for use in the applications that you want to use them in.

 

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Monday, November 02, 2009