Echinacea is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs, and one way to tap into this herb is to make echinacea tincture.
Echinacea, often called purple coneflower, is a popular herb that has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and treat various ailments. One of the most effective ways to use echinacea is by making a tincture. Echinacea tincture is easy to make and can be stored for a long time, but they are expensive. Learning how to make echinacea tincture not only saves you money but helps you get better when sick.
Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea, is a powerful medicinal herb that helps reduce the length of a cold during flu season. However, if you want to buy pre-made echinacea tincture, it costs at over $10 for a small bottle!
I know; I used to buy it all the time before I learned how easy it is to make an herbal tincture at home.
Having echinacea tincture in your cabinet of herbal remedies is handy. Whether you have a sore throat, strep throat, or a cold, it helps kick the ailments to the curb.
So, let’s take a look at what you need to do to make echinacea tincture at home.
Benefits of Echinacea Tincture
The Benefits of Echinacea as a Medicinal Herb
Echinacea tincture is a popular herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and prevent and treat various health conditions. Best of all, there are studies that back up many of the echinacea tincture benefits.
- Boosts Immune System: Echinacea tincture is known for its immune-boosting properties. It helps to increase the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases.
- Decreases Duration of Sickness: When taking echinacea, studies show that it reduces the duration of the sickness by at least a day and a half. When you’re feeling poorly, that day and a half is helpful!
- Reduces Inflammation: Echinacea tincture has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. It can be used to treat conditions such as arthritis, bronchitis, and sinusitis.
- Relieves Pain: Echinacea tincture has analgesic properties that can help to relieve pain. It can be used to treat headaches, toothaches, and other types of pain.
- Fights Infections: Echinacea tincture has antimicrobial properties that can help to fight off infections. It can be used to treat colds, flu, and other upper respiratory infections.
- Improves Skin Health: Echinacea tincture can be used topically to improve skin health. It can help to reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, and promote healing.
Overall, echinacea tincture is a safe and effective herbal remedy that can be used to boost the immune system, treat infections, and improve overall health.
The Medicinal Parts of the Echinacea Plant
Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a popular medicinal plant that is native to North America. It’s a perennial herb with various medicinal uses. The plant has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, including colds, flu, and infections. Today, echinacea is widely used as a natural remedy for these same conditions.
The medicinal parts of the echinacea plant are the roots, leaves, and flowers. The whole plant has different benefits and properties.
The roots of the echinacea plant are the most commonly used part of the plant in making tinctures. The roots are harvested in the fall after the plant has finished blooming. They are then cleaned, dried, and chopped into small pieces.
Echinacea root is believed to have immune-boosting properties. Herbalists use echinacea to treat colds, flu, and other respiratory infections. It is also used to treat other conditions, such as urinary tract infections, skin infections, and even cancer.
The leaves of the echinacea plant are also used in making tinctures. You will harvest in the summer, when the plant is in full bloom. You need to clean and chop the leaves before using them.
Echinacea leaves are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists use this herb to treat conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and asthma. They are also used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.
The flowers of the echinacea plant are the most visually striking part of the plant. They are also used in making tinctures. The flowers are harvested in the summer when the plant is in full bloom. They are then cleaned, dried, and chopped into small pieces.
Echinacea flowers are believed to have antiviral properties. They are often used to treat viral infections, colds, flu, and other respiratory infections. They are also used to treat other conditions, such as ear infections and urinary tract infections.
Different Echinacea Tincture Blends to Consider
When you make tinctures at home – any tincture! – you are free to create unique blends. These blends may have specific purposes; look for herbs that may have complementary effects.
Also, I suggest looking for some blends that may help improve the overall flavor of DIY echinacea tincture. If you can make the tincture taste a bit better, you’re more likely to take it when you don’t feel good.
Here are some medicinal herbs you may use with echinacea.
- Rose Hips
Materials Needed to Make Echinacea Tincture
Before we go through the step-by-step tutorial to make homemade echinacea tincture, let’s look at what you need to have available.
1. Echinacea roots
To make echinacea tincture, the first and most important material required is echinacea roots. It is recommended to use fresh roots as they contain more active compounds, but dried roots can also be used. The roots should be chopped into small pieces to increase the surface area available for extraction.
I source all of my herbs either from my garden or Mountain Rose Herbs! You also can get echinacea roots, but I suggest looking for the organic label.
2. Alcohol (Vodka or Brandy)
The second material required is alcohol.
Vodka or brandy are commonly used as they have a high alcohol content and a neutral taste. The alcohol is used to extract the active compounds from the echinacea roots. It is important to use alcohol with a high percentage of alcohol (at least 40%) to ensure a strong tincture.
3. Glass jar with lid
A glass jar with a tight-fitting lid is required to store the echinacea roots and alcohol mixture. The jar should be large enough to hold the echinacea roots and alcohol with some extra space at the top.
A wide-mouthed jar is recommended to make it easier to add and remove the ingredients. Trust me, it’s much easier!
4. Cheesecloth or coffee filter
A cheesecloth or coffee filter is required to strain the echinacea tincture after it has been steeped for several weeks. The cheesecloth or coffee filter should be fine enough to remove all small particles and debris from the tincture.
After making all sorts of tinctures over the years, I suggest using cheesecloth. It’s easier, reusable, and works for infused oil, cheesemaking, and tinctures.
I love versatility!
5. Measuring Cups
A measuring cup is required to measure the amount of alcohol needed for the echinacea tincture. It is important to measure the alcohol accurately to ensure a consistent and effective tincture.
I’m sure you already have these in your kitchen!
A funnel is recommended to transfer the echinacea roots and alcohol mixture from the glass jar to the dark glass bottle. A funnel will make it easier to pour the mixture without spilling or wasting any of the tinctures.
I also like to use a metal canning funnel when I strain out the herbs after they soak for weeks. It reduces the mess; I’ve tried it without a funnel, and I typically spill something.
7. Dark glass bottle with dropper
A dark glass bottle with a dropper is required to store the echinacea tincture after straining. Dark glass helps to protect the tincture from light and air, which can degrade the active compounds. The dropper makes it easy to measure and administer the tincture.
How to Make Echinacea Tincture at Home
Let’s get started making echinacea tincture! We are going to go step-by-step; it’s easier than you think. It just takes a bit of time to finish the product, but it requires only a few steps.
1. Gather Your Echinacea
If you purchase echinacea from an herbal store, your echinacea arrives ready to be used. If you grow it in your garden, then you will need to prepare the echinacea before using it.
Most opt not to grow echinacea at home because you cannot harvest for the first three years. It takes time to establish, and you have to remove the entire plant to harvest the roots.
That takes time
But, if you have fresh echinacea from your herb garden, you need to plan time to prepare the herbs.
Here’s what to do.
First, clean the echinacea roots thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, chop the roots into small pieces using a sharp knife, a coffee grinder, or food processor. The smaller the pieces, the easier it will be to extract the medicinal properties.
2. Fill the Jar Halfway
Next, take the prepared echinacea roots, and fill a clean mason jar halfway with the dried herbs. If you use fresh echinacea, fill the jar 2/3 of the way.
Add the chopped echinacea roots to the jar with the alcohol. Make sure the roots are completely covered with alcohol, and there is some extra room at the top of the jar. Close the lid tightly to prevent any air from getting inside.
3. Cover the Herbs with Alcohol
Now that the jar contains herbs, cover the herbs with the alcohol you chose. Vodka is an ideal choice, but anything works. Neutral is ideal; 40% (80 proof) is a great choice.
I suggest avoiding anything near 100% because that high alcohol content isn’t ideal for extracting herbal medicines.
4. Shake & Store
Place the jar in a cool, dark place and shake it regularly for four to six weeks. This will help to extract the medicinal properties from the echinacea roots.
Make sure to label the jar with the date you started the tincture. I made this mistake several times, and that’s never fun!
I keep my soaking tinctures in a cabinet away from sunlight. Six weeks is generally the minimum I soak my tinctures. It’s fine to let them infuse for several months before filtering the herbs out.
5. Strain the Herbal Materials Out
After 4-6 weeks, strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a coffee filter into an awaiting clean, glass jar. This will remove the plant material and leave you with a liquid tincture.
The liquid is now a dark amber-colored liquid with a strong smell. You can tell from the smell that echinacea tincture is strong, which is why it’s most often recommended to mix the doses with water or juice to help the flavor.
6. Store Your New Echinacea
Finally, pour the tincture into a dark glass bottle with a dropper and label it with the date and contents. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place and use it as needed.
I use a larger amber bottle to store all of my echinacea tinctures, and then fill the dropper bottles as I use it up! Consider getting a few different sizes of amber dropper bottles.
Echinacea Tincture Dosage
After you have echinacea ready, you may wonder how much echinacea tincture you should take as a correct dosage.
Before taking echinacea tincture, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an autoimmune disorder, or are taking any medications. Echinacea may interact with certain medications and can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
For adults, the recommended dosage of echinacea tincture is 1-2 droppers full (30-60 drops) up to three times a day. It is best to take the tincture with water or juice, and to avoid taking it on an empty stomach.
However, dosages really depend on your body weight!
Here is the general echinacea tincture dosage by pounds of body weight to consider:
- Up to 50 Pounds: 1 Dropper Full
- 50-100 Pounds: 2 Droppers Full
- 100-150 Pounds: 3 Droppers Full
- 150-200 Pounds: 4 Droppers Full
- 200-250 Pounds: 5 Droppers Full
It is made with brandy or vodka, after all, so the taste isn’t amazing.
Children can take echinacea tincture as well, but the dosage should be adjusted based on their age and weight. As a general guideline, children can take 1/4 to 1/2 of the adult dose, but it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before giving echinacea to a child.
It is important to note that echinacea tincture should not be taken for more than 10 days at a time, as prolonged use can lead to decreased effectiveness and potential side effects. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to seek medical attention.
Herbalists recommend tapering off your dosages after a course of two to three days. You should work towards occasional doses for a week or two after your sickness to help improve your immune system and prevent a relapse of sickness.
How to Properly Store Echinacea Tincture
Once the echinacea tincture has been made, it is important to store it properly to maintain its potency and effectiveness.
Here are some tips on how to store your echinacea tincture:
- It’s best to store echinacea tincture in a cool, dark place like a dark cupboard or pantry. Exposure to light and heat causes degradation and reduces potency.
- Consider storing the tincture in a dark glass bottle to further protect it from heat and light. Amber or cobalt blue bottles are good options, as they help to block out light. Make sure the bottle is tightly sealed to prevent air from getting in.
- Even when stored properly, echinacea tincture can still spoil or become contaminated over time. It is important to check the tincture regularly for any signs of spoilage or contamination, such as a strange odor or discoloration.
FAQs about Echinacea Tincture
What part of echinacea is used for tincture?
The roots and aerial parts (leaves, stems, and flowers) of the echinacea plant are commonly used for making tinctures.
What is the best alcohol for making echinacea tincture?
High-proof alcohol, such as vodka or brandy, is recommended for making echinacea tincture. The alcohol should be at least 80 proof (40% alcohol) to effectively extract the medicinal properties of the plant.
What is the recommended ratio for echinacea tincture?
The recommended ratio for making echinacea tincture is 1:2, which means one part dried or fresh echinacea to two parts alcohol by volume. For example, if you are using 100 grams of echinacea, you would need 200 milliliters of alcohol.
How do you make echinacea tincture from fresh plants?
To make echinacea tincture from fresh plants, chop the roots and aerial parts into small pieces and fill a jar about halfway with the plant material. Pour enough alcohol over the plant material to cover it completely and fill the jar to the top. Shake the jar daily for 4-6 weeks, then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Store the tincture in a dark glass bottle with a dropper.
How should echinacea tincture be used?
Echinacea tincture can be taken orally by diluting it in water or juice. The recommended dosage is 2-3 milliliters (about 60 drops) up to three times a day. It is best to take echinacea tincture at the first sign of illness and continue taking it for up to two weeks. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking echinacea tincture, especially if you have any medical conditions or are taking medications.
My personal experience with learning how to make echinacea tincture is that it’s incredibly easy, but it’s one of my most used herbal remedies. Whenever we feel a cold coming on, a few doses of echinacea tincture wipes it away.
I will always have some in my herbal medicine cabinet!