I’m a big fanatic when it comes to heritage skills, which includes the art of making my own medicine from wild plants. One of my favorite ways to simply and effectively preserve the medicinal quality of a plant is to make a tincture from it using the plant and a food grade alcohol. Tinctures are more powerful and last longer than dried herbs, and you can even blend your own combination formulas. Just avoid “rubbing alcohol” or anything with methanol as an ingredient. All tinctures should be made from food grade alcohol. Here’s how to make your own in four easy steps, plus a few ideas to get you started.

Decide what tincture you are going to make, and get the dried herbs for it. Also select a glass jar with a tight fitting lid, preferably a wide mouth jar. Purchase the highest proof vodka that your area supplies, to act as the solvent and preservative of this tincture. Moonshine is acceptable, too.

Cut, crush, chop or otherwise break up the dried plant material, and pack it tightly into the jar. Pour enough vodka over the plant material to cover it slightly, and put the lid on it.

Let the jar sit for two weeks, in a cool dark place like a cabinet. Shake the jar once every day. Avoid sunlight on your jar, as the UV light can have a negative effect on tincture making.

Strain out the plant material with a cloth, and bottle your tincture in dark glass. Use it as directed for the ailments that the herb treats. You can also use any tincture as a disinfectant due to the alcohol.

Try this method with the following tinctures and doses for natural relief of numerous common ailments. Just make sure you’ve positively identified any wild plants before you start using them.

Burdock root (Arctium lappa) tincture aids liver function, purifies the blood, and is effective in treating skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dandruff. Burdock also helps arthritis and rheumatism. The dosage for this tincture is 30 drops, taken 3-4 times a day.

Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) as a tincture can stimulate the liver and eliminate toxins from the blood. Use dandelion also for gall bladder problems, hypoglycemia, recent onset diabetes, high blood pressure, and digestive upset. The dosage for dandelion tincture is 30 drops, 3-4 times daily.

Hawthorne berries (Crataegus oxyacantha) make a tincture for the circulatory system, treating both high and low blood pressure. Hawthorne is also effective in relieving insomnia, heart palpitations, and arteriosclerosis. The dosage for hawthorne tincture is 15-30 drops, 3 times per day.

Nettle leaves and roots (Urtica urens) are useful as a tincture for allergies and asthma. Nettles are also a tonic and detoxifying agent for the whole body, especially the stomach, urinary system, prostate and the lungs. The dosage of nettle tincture is 10-30 drops, up to 3 times daily.

Have you ever made your own wild plant medicines? Let’s hear about it in the comments.