Herbal tinctures are an example of how humans have continually learned to harness and concentrate the powerful properties of different plants and their various parts, including bark, berries, blossoms, leaves and roots.
When soaked in alcohol or vinegar, the active ingredients of the plants are pulled out, creating a concentrated liquid that can then be further reduced if desired. In modern days, folks are also using oils as an alternative to alcohol or vinegar, like with recently popularized CBD tinctures.
Throughout history, there is evidence that humans have turned to nature for help with healing what ails us. And in nature, we found various plants with medicinal properties. This is a fact that is being acknowledged by the current medical community as they continue to be more open to the use of medicinal plants in strategies for disease prevention.
In this article, we’ll take a look at nine herbal tinctures that are a must-have for your natural medicine cabinet, explaining what they are and why they deserve a place on your shelf.
Should I make my own or buy them?
A quick word about making your own tinctures: Many individuals feel that it is very simple to do. However, any time you are dealing with plants for medicinal purposes, you must strictly follow a recipe or make the tincture under the guidance of someone trained to do so.
These may be “just plants” to some, but we know they can have potent effects on our bodies for those of us who understand their potential.
If you’re unsure about the process of making a tincture, it is best to leave it to the professionals and get something pre-made.
Our Top Choices:
- Gingko: Primarily made from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba, native to China, this kind of tincture is primarily taken to help improve memory and increase blood circulation. It’s thought that in this way, such a tincture may enhance cognitive function, warding off degenerative brain diseases, and also aid in heart health.
- Ginseng: The most popular herbal medicine globally, ginseng tinctures are crafted from the roots of these plants. This tincture will deliver an immunity boost to your system and improve both mental and physical performance, thanks to increased focus. It is also beneficial as an adjunct therapy in blood sugar regulation.
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- Oregano: Made from the Origanum vulgare plant, it is more commonly seen with an oil base these days. It has been regarded for its antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Current studies are now investigating its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and cancer suppressor agents.
- Cannabidiol: A non-psychoactive derivative of the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD has recently gained mass popularity thanks to the U.S.’s federal legalization of industrial hemp production. It is widely taken to deal with stress or anxiety, pain management and help regulate sleep patterns. It is now being investigated for other benefits such as weight management and anti-aging.
- Valerian: Made from the root of the plant, this tincture has long been used to help people fall asleep at night due to its ability to ease anxiety and promote an overall sense of calm. It is also theorized that valerian may have been the world’s first anti-epileptic drug.
- Garlic: As good in the medicine cabinet as in the kitchen cupboard, garlic tinctures have a reputation for fighting liver disorders, lowering hypertension while improving gut microbiota and tackling nasty invaders like intestinal worms. In the past, it has also been used in the treatment of fevers, colic and dysentery.
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- Butterbur: In a randomized, controlled trial, butterbur was found to be an effective treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis when compared to a leading commercially produced, drug-store purchased antihistamine. Best of all, it had none of the drowsy effects, either!
- Ginger: Long used as an antiemetic to curb nausea and vomiting, this powerful and aromatic root confers potential in other areas as well. Some of its main constituent parts are being investigated for cancer-fighting ability.
- Chamomile: Made famous by the tea that many people use to unwind with at the end of the day, it is even more potent in tincture form. It continues to be used for everything from inflammation to insomnia. One study reported its potential for use in helping infants overcome colic.
If not tinctures, then creams, ointments or salves!
Many of the herbal tinctures above are also available in alternative forms. Some you might find crafted into creams, ointments or salves like the popular CBD topical creams you’ll see in stores. These will have similar properties to the tinctures we have described above, but offer localized relief instead.
This difference comes about with the differing bioavailability of the herbal ingredients and how they work their way into your system.
When a tincture, for example, is ingested, the herbal extract that comprises it will be sent down into your body and through your digestive system. It then is processed into your circulatory system and sent throughout the body.
If you use a vaporizer with an oil-based tincture and inhale it, the delivery will be even more swift and potent as the lungs are an excellent transfer point.
However, when you apply a tincture directly to your body externally or use a topical cream alternative, your skin acts as a barrier that must first be passed. In many cases, this is not an issue, as the whole point of applying it onto one’s skin is for localized relief or treatment. But it is something to consider just the same.
Regardless of what products you have in your cabinet, be they tinctures or creams, use them as directed and enjoy the benefits they deliver!