I’ve been using various herbs for different ailments ever since I was a girl, whether it was herbal tea or a stronger tincture. I loved collecting different herbs, learning about their purpose and carefully drying them to preserve their strength and healing powers. It’s amazing how nature works and how you have the whole year to pick different plants and herbs.
I remember we usually spend the summer at my grandmother’s farmhouse learning about foraging. We had the surrounding fields, meadows and forests were full of berries, mushrooms and other plants you could eat, preserve or make things with. It was quite magical!
So, today, I wanted to share with you a simple way to make a homemade tincture from elderflowers. There are easily recognisable in the nature as they grow in the hedges by the meadows or fields. The picture above should be enough to help you to recognise them, but if you are not sure, you can always get a pocket foraging book to take with you for your walk.
You can easily make tea from elderflowers or use them to flavour milk puddings, but they are best used fresh. The flowers have a fairly short season, but you can forage elderflowers in June or early July. If you want to preserve the healing powers of the elderflowers, the next best thing is to make them more concentrated and preserved in alcohol. This is what essentially any tincture will do.
What is elderflower tincture good for?
Elderflower is great for common cold, because it can clear all the excessive mucus collecting in your head.
Using elderflower tincture is much safer and gentle than using shop-bought medication, but if you are unsure you can always consult with a medical professional.
Making the elderflower tincture is very easy
- Gather your elderflower heads (about 5 large ones) and snip off all green stalks and leaves.
- Place the flowers in a larger jam jar and pack as many as you can in.
- Cover completely with a clear alcohol (ideally minimum of 40 % proof, but the stronger alcohol the better, you can use something like vodka) and close the jar.
- Don’t forget to label the jar with name and date as you might forget later. Although herbal tinctures are very safe to use, you don’t want to take it for something different than what is intended for.
- Place the jar in a cold and dark cupboard and shake every week or so.
- After about 6 weeks your elderflower tincture will be done and all you need to do is to pour the content over a strainer to finally get to the tincture.
- Discard the flowers and pour the tincture into glass bottles (ideally dark glass ones) and label them.
- Use within 1-2 years.
When and how to use your elderflower tincture
When to use elderflower tincture
- To boost your immune system
- When you have a cold as it reduces congestion and helps to clean the sinus
- When you have a runny nose (whether it’s a cold or allergy)
- When you feel run down and tired
- When you have a mild cough, as the elderflower can help to calm down the cough and soothe your chest
- When you have a mild fever (elderflower helps the body to sweat, which helps to decrease the body temperature)
One teaspoon dissolved in water – once or twice a day
You can also add few drops to a small spoon with white sugar and eat it like this.
Don’t add to a hot drink as this will damage the healing powers of the elderflower tincture
more herbal inspiration
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Hope this post inspires you to make your own natural cosmetics and if you do, I’d love to what you think! Let me know in the comments below or find me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and add the hashtag #practicalfrugality so that I can see your post.
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