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!
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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.
more herbal inspiration
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.
The main equipment is very simple, you will need glass jars for storage, cheesecloth or a strainer for straining, and high-proof alcohol like vodka to extract the medicinal properties from the elderflowers. You also need basic kitchen tools like bowls, spoons, measuring cups, and a knife.
- Glass jar or bottle with tight-fitting lid to store the tincture (mason jars work well)
- Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to strain the elderflowers from the liquid
- Funnel to pour the strained liquid into the storage jar
- Vodka or other high-proof alcohol to use as the menstruum or extracting liquid
- Glass or plastic bowl to mix the elderflowers and alcohol in
- Glass measuring cup to measure out the alcohol
- Knife and cutting board to remove stems and leaves from elderflowers
- Spoon for mixing and pressing elderflowers
- Labels or tape to label storage jar
Making homemade 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.
how to use your 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)
Elderflower tincture dosage
My usual dosage is one teaspoon of elderflower tincture dissolved in water – once or twice a day as needed.
You can also add few drops to a small spoon with white sugar and eat it like this.
Don’t add your homemade elderflower tincture to a hot drink as this will damage the healing powers of the elderflower tincture
How to properly store homemade elderflower tincture
Homemade elderflower tincture should be stored in a cool, dry area away from light. The tincture can be stored in a glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. It’s best to keep it in a dark place like a pantry or cupboard.
Elderflower tincture can be stored for 1-2 years when properly stored. The shelf life can be extended by keeping the tincture refrigerated after opening. Some sources recommend storing elderflower tincture in the refrigerator from the start. When ready to use, be sure to allow the tincture to come to room temperature before consuming. Properly stored, homemade elderflower tincture can remain potent for long-term use.
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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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- 1 large jam jar with a lid any size
Materials & Ingredients
- 5 elderflower heads all green stalks and leaves removed
- 1 cup 40% proof clear alcohol such as vodka amount depends on how much elderflower you use
- 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.
This blog post was originally written on 8 June 2020 and last updated on 2 February 2024