How to make a mother tincture

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Elia Tabuenca García
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The mother tincture is a hydroalcoholic liquid extract obtained from medicinal plants, let's find out how to make it

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The mother tincture is a hydroalcoholic liquid extract obtained from medicinal plants as can be arnica, echinacea, calendula, lavender, etc. These are natural remedies that arise in the field of homeopathy, these solutions are in fact often used as a basis for the preparation of other homeopathic products and it is precisely for this reason that they are called “mother” tinctures.

Yes they can make from a dry or fresh plant, generally, fresh herbs are used as the active ingredients present are higher. The plant must be harvested in its balsamic period (which varies from species to species), that is when that particular medicinal plant contains more active ingredients.

Once the drug (technical term to indicate the plant or herb used) with which you want to make the tincture has been collected, it must be chopped up well and macerated in a dark glass jar with hermetic closure in a hydroalcoholic solution, or composed of alcohol and distilled or mineral water. The solution can vary from 45 to 65 degrees of alcohol depending on the plant, this is due to the fact that the active ingredients have different water solubility and therefore are extracted at different degrees. The best known and used herbs (including arnica, calendula, lavender, echinacea) generally require an alcohol content of 55-60 °. Here is a table useful to realize the different hydroalcoholic solutions:

The maceration period also varies from 21 to 40 days during which care must be taken to keep the jar away from heat sources and to shake it daily. Once the maceration phase has been completed, the solution must be filtered with gauze, making sure to squeeze the macerated herbs well so that all their active ingredients come out. After letting it rest for another 48 hours, the tincture can be used and will keep for 2 to 5 years.

The ratio of weed to alcohol should be 1:10 (even if there are 1: 5 mother tinctures), therefore there is a proportion of 1 quantity of drug per 9 of solvent, for example 1 kg of lavender must be macerated in 9 liters of hydroalcoholic solution. The calculation of the weight of the plant, however, must be done on dry grass. That is, if I am using lavender, I have to consider its weight when dry and not when fresh. How to do? Just take 100 grams of fresh plant and put it to dry and then weigh it, at this point you can do it right proportion between drug and hydroalcoholic solution. If you have doubts or want to find ready-made tables, you can buy one of the many books dedicated to galenic preparations that will help you to make the best mother tinctures but also various oils and oleolites.

The disadvantage of mother tinctures is that they are neither titled nor standardized, that is, it is not possible to know exactly how many active ingredients are contained within, but tend to be not many. This does not mean that they do not work and that herbal tinctures can be taken lightly: like other natural remedies they are in fact not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, for those suffering from severe liver diseases or for those taking certain drugs (given that some herbs they can nullify its effect or, worse, interfere, aggravating any symptoms). They are also to be used with caution even on children.


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