My partner Peter and I just made a couple tinctures from herbs we grew in our garden! ((Disclaimer: Before you make your own tincture, you should do a lot of research on the herbs you want to use, which parts of the plant to use, and also make sure there are not toxic, dangerous, etc. Some herbs are toxic or potentially dangerous, so make sure you consult with herbalists, friends, and books! The following tinctures we made are mild and have no known dangerous effects.))
We made calendula, peppermint, and lavender tinctures. A tincture is an infusion of dried herbs in strong clear alcohol. We use everclear. When you use a tincture, you only take a couple drops of the tincture with a glass of water. A tincture is very strong, so you need very little. Also, since it is in a very strong alcohol, you should never take too much at one time.
To make a tincture, you put the medicinal parts of the plant into a small lidded glass jar and cover the plant with alcohol. You should add an additional 2 inches of alcohol over the herbs. The tincture should be kept in a warm dry space. We left them on a counter top in our kitchen. Each day, the tincture should be lightly shaken a couple of times.
Peppermint! It’s a strong herb and while you might use it in your toothpaste, it also makes a great tea which can help with digestion. Peppermint calms the stomach muscles so it can be used for relief of minor cases of indigestion (though it should not be used if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease). It can also be used to help relieve anxiety. It stimulates and awakens, so if you use a couple drops behind the ears or on the chest, it can help you feel brighter.
Calendula! It’s got a long history as a wound-healing and skin soothing plant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has also been used as an antiseptic against infection. After cleaning a minor wound like burns and scrapes, a salve made from calendula can be applied to the wound to assist with healing. Taking small doses of it in the form of a tincture can also help alleviate menstrual cramps.
Lavender! Lavender flower scent can relieve stress and calm you. If you take a couple drops of lavender tincture in a few ounces of warm water it can help you sleep. Lavender also stimulates the skin and helps it to repair, so you can use it to relieve acne and eczema.
Some great herb books:
A Modern Herbal, Volumes 1 and 2 by Margaret Grieve.
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green.
The Herb Book by Johhn Lust.
A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs (Peterson Field Guide) by Steven Foster and James Duke