By Jacki May, Contributing Writer
Echinacea is a popular herb, even in mainstream medicine, commonly used for boosting your immune system to keep you from getting sick during those winter months when close quarters and cold weather aid in the passing of germs.
While it is true that Echinacea is an immune boosting herb, using it daily is not necessarily the best way. Echinacea is best used at the first signs of illness, and used often. You can use it in a tea (3-4 cups a day or drinking ½ cup every hour) or in a tincture.
Using it in an echinacea tincture is an easy way to take, allowing for frequent doses without having to drink a lot of tea. An example for taking the tincture would be 1/2 dose every hour for several hours.
It is also very easy to make, which makes it easy to keep on hand for when you need it.
How to Make (and Use) an Echinacea Tincture
First a Word About the Different Kinds of Echinacea, and What Parts to Use.
When purchasing Echinacea, you may have stumbled across E. purpurea and E. angustifolia. These are slightly different plants, although they both are Echinacea and can both be used for this tincture. According to Stephen Buhner, author of Herbal Antibiotics, E. angustifolia is the better of the two for therapeutic purposes.
On top of that, the root of Echinacea usually contains more of the helpful constituents than the above ground parts BUT all parts are beneficial. I have used Echinacea purpurea herb and root with success.
*Echinacea is contraindicated for those with autoimmune issues; however there is some debate as to whether Echinacea is, in fact, immune modulating — meaning it will regulate the immune system, calming an overactive one and boosting a weak one. Take this into consideration when choosing to use Echinacea.
You Will Need:
- 20 grams (weight) Echinacea
- 100 mL vodka (I use 100 proof)
*This makes a ratio tincture of 1:5….1 part herb to 5 parts menstruum.
To start your echinacea tincture:
Step 1: Measure out your Echinacea and your vodka.
Step 2: Add both to your jar and shake.
Step 3: Label your jar with the herb and date you made it. You can also add the date to strain it…usually 4-6 weeks after the date you made it. I mark it on my calendar.
(Funny side note…the year is not 2010!)
Step 4: Store in a dark, cool place. Shaking occasionally.
After 4-6 Weeks…..
Step 5: Using either muslin, cheesecloth or an inexpensive flat diaper (from the baby section of the big box store), strain liquid from the herb, squeezing the fabric to get all the liquid you can.
Step 6: Bottle and label with the name, date made, and dose.
For this echinacea tincture, the adult dose is 60 drops. A child dose will different but on average a 50 pound child will get about 20 drops (approx. 1/3 the adult dose which is based on a 150 pound adult). I have included a printable for you based n Rosemary Gladstar’s dosage guidelines for children to have on hand.
Have You Ever Used an Echinacea Tincture to Ward Off Illness?