Herbal Extraction: Alcohol Extracts

By admin On July 5, 2010 Under Formulas

Alcohol Extracts – The Power of Herbal Extraction

Despite its dark side, alcohol is a great blessing.  Being one of the oldest drugs, its anesthetic and antiseptic properties have long been known.  It is also can be used as a fuel.  But I believe that its greatest strength lies in its ability to extract plant chemicals.  This time honored process is steeped in tradition.

There is no other consumable substance known to man that can dissolve more biologically active plant constituents.  Using alcohol you can get the fullest range of available compounds.  It is also is a wonderful carrier and increases the absorption rate of the herbs taken.  Lastly, it is an excellent preservative, extending viability of extracts almost indefinitely.

For years I have done my own herbal extraction, making my alcoholic extracts in my kitchen.  My children grew up with dropper bottles instead of milk bottles.  This is powerful medicine, especially when taken in large enough doses.  Simple and inexpensive to produce, it is one of the most powerful readily available remedies for families.

The coolest part is that you can make it better and more powerful than anything you can buy because, making it yourself, you can afford to pack more herb in the jar and leave it in for longer.  So lets get started showing you how.

Step 1:  Assemble items needed for herbal extraction.

  • 2 Quart or Half Gallon Jars – Canning jars work well.
  • Herbs –  I get them from Pacific Botanicals, well known for their quality.   I usually use dried, cut organic herbs.
  • Alcohol – At least 80 proof vodka or grain alcohol.  I use 190 proof Everclear or Clear Spring grain alcohol and mix it 50/50 with distilled water.  That way I know exactly what is in it.
  • Distilled water – I cut the alcohol content down to around 40-50% unless I use an 80 proof vodka.
  • Cheesecloth, Linen cloth
  • Small Herb Press – When I first started out I used a linen cloth to press out the liquid with my hands.  Now I use a small stainless steel press.
  • Large Bowl – For straining liquid into.

Step 2: Start the herbal extraction on the new moon, press it out on the full moon. Experience has shown that extracts pressed out at the full moon are consistently stronger, possibly because the moon pulls more plant chemicals into solution at that time of the month.

Step 3:  Fill jar ½ to ¾ full with cut/chopped herbs Some herbs (especially dried roots) swell after you add the liquid.  You don’t want to put in too much to start with or you may be making more extract than you intend!  I have had to run to the store more than once to buy more alcohol when I was first starting out.  Here is a good rule of thumb to go by:    it will take one part herb to 5 parts alcohol for dried herbs and one part herb to 3 parts alcohol for fresh herbs.

Step 4:  If you use 190 proof alcohol, mix it 50/50 with distilled water in a container.

Step 5:  Pour 50-50% alcohol solution over herbs in the jar. When you are finished you want to have the alcohol at least an inch but not more than 2 inches over the top of the herbs.

Step 6:  Put the lid on and add a label with the name of the herbal extraction’s contents. This is important because there is nothing more frustrating than having a couple jars side by side and forgetting what is in what.  Do it even if you think you can tell.

Step 7:  Check the level of the solution over the herbs in a couple hours or the next day. The jar should be full with an inch or so of liquid over the top of the herbs.  Add liquid if necessary.

Step 8: Put the jar somewhere where you can see it often and shake it once or twice a day. I don’t think this is too critical but I think it does expose the contents more consistently to the alcohol for a net stronger batch.

Step 9: Let sit at least 2 weeks before pressing out the alcohol. Letting it sit for longer will give you an even stronger extraction.  I have let some of mine set for over a year.

Step 10: Assemble large bowl, jar with herbal mixture in it, empty jar, and straining cloth on an open workspace.

Step 11:  Start straining the herbal extraction by pouring the alcohol off the herbs through the linen cloth into the large bowl.

Step 12:  Continue straining extract by emptying some of the herb mixture (not more than you can get your hands around) into a linen cloth and cinching the cloth up.

Step 13:  Squeeze the liquid out of the herb with your hands. This can optionally be done with a herb press.  Continue this process until the liquid has been pressed out of all of the herb mixture, emptying the bowel into the jar as necessary.

Step 13:  Place the lid on the jar containing all of the pressed out liquid and label it with name of the herb/herbal formula contained. Preferably store in a dark place.

You can also use fresh herbs from your garden or the grocer.  I most often use fresh cayenne peppers in extracts.  The process is much the same except for this difference.

Step 1: Put fresh herbs in a blender or food processor and add enough alcohol solution to process.

Step 2:  Pour into a jar and let settle. Add more alcohol solution if necessary to bring the level to an inch or so above the settle line.

You can process your herbal extraction two ways, depending on your preference.  You can either mix the herbs together before extraction and process them all together or do each herb in a separate jar and mix them together after they have been extracted.

This is a simple process and any way that you may find easier for you to accomplish the same thing is cool.  What you end up with is a biologically viable and powerful solution that can make a difference in your health and the health of your family.

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  1. Cheap Japanese Green Tea Pot On Sale » Blog Archive » Convenient Therapeutic Herbal Extraction
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1 Comment Add yours

  1. Exercise Balls
    September 27, 2010
    6:58 pm

    well written blog. Im glad that I could find more info on this. thanks

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