Hi, my name is Thomas Easley, I'm the
director of the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine and co-author of the
Modern Herbal Dispensatory. Today, I'm with Mountain Rose Herbs, and we're going to
talk about making tinctures via the maceration process.
So, making maceration tinctures is pretty easy: you just take your plant
material, put it in a container, cover it in the appropriate percentage of
alcohol (as your solvent) to pull the stuff that's inside the plant into
solution, and let it sit. But, there's a couple of tricks that will increase
the potency of your preparation that we'll talk about. So first of all, cut and sifted herbs are wonderful because there's less exposure to oxygen than
with powders, so they last longer, but the same thing that protects this from
oxygen, making it last longer, makes it harder for your solvent (in this
case a mixture of alcohol and water) to pull all the good stuff into solution. So,
what we're going to do is decrease the, or increase the surface area, and we're
gonna do that by blending it with our menstruum.
So, barberry does well in a
fifty percent alcohol solution, and you can take your plant material put in a
jar cover with booze and let it sit without measuring or weighing, but to get
more consistent extracts, doing just a little bit of preparation (weighing and
measuring) helps a lot. So most extracts are made in a 1-to-5 weight-to-volume ratio, which means 1 gram of plant material for 5
milliliters of solvent. What we're going to do is weigh out a hundred grams of
barberry and we're going to use 500 milliliters
of our 50 percent ethanol/50 percent water mixture which we've already
measured out, and we're going to throw this into a blender so that we reduce
this cut and sifted herb into a form that's closer to a powder but maybe not quite so fine, just so that we expose more surface area of the plant to our
solvent to our menstruum. Now that we've reduced our particle size
a little bit, exposing more of our barberry root to our menstruum, this
simply goes into our jar (lots of plant material there) and our lid goes on.
Now, we label it
with the Latin name, our weight-to-volume ratio (1 to 5), 50% to ethanol, and the
date, because sometimes these get lost in cabinets and you want to make sure that
it's labeled well so that you know what it is in case that happens. And then
we're gonna put this in a dark place away from sunlight, we're gonna pull
it out, we're gonna give it a shake every day for 30 seconds, and in three to six
weeks, depending on the plant, this will be ready to go. This one doesn't
take very long, about three weeks and your barberry maceration will be done.
You then can strain and filter it out, put it in your final containers, for
use. And that's how you make a standard maceration. If you have any questions
about what percentage of alcohol, or what ratio weight-to-volume your plants
need to be extracted in, our book, The Modern Herbalist Dispensatory lists over 200 plants and their ideal weight-to-volume ratios and alcohol percentages.
Thanks so much!.