DIY Herbal Lung Tonic
Herbal tinctures are a great way to introduce yourself to the power of plant medicines. Finding healing through herbs can lead to a process that’s both curious and informative. Not to mention, the sense of empowerment that comes from making your own plant medicines paves the way for being an active participant in your health. That in itself is both priceless and transformative. Plus, I’m all for anything that you can DIY!
Real quick, let’s go over what an herbal tincture is. It’s a highly concentrated herbal extract that uses alcohol as the solvent. With time, the alcohol powerfully extracts the medicinal compounds out of the plant materials. The herbs are then strained out, leaving you with a potent medicinal extract.
Fall is my favorite time of year, for many reasons. I love the cooler weather, the slower pace of nature, the introspection, the food, the warm drinks, the warm clothes, and the metal element. Each season corresponds to a different element, a different pair of organs, and different emotions. Fall is associated with metal, the lungs and large intestine, and the emotion of grief/ the practice of letting go. According to Chinese Medicine, the immune system is governed by the lungs and they are our first line of defense against the cold and flu. Keeping them strong during their glory days can help both prevent and knock out sickness.
The herbs used in this tincture are major lung tonics. This is the time of year that everyone races out to get their flu shot. This is sort of like an herbal variation of that. Below is a peak at each of the herbs I used in this tincture and their superpowers.
- Astragalus: Immune booster extraordinaire. Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb and one of the most widely used within the Chinese Medicine Pharmacoepia for boosting what we call wei qi/ protective qi. When strong, this is the body’s greatest protection against the cold and flu.
- Oregano Leaf: Its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow.
- Thyme Leaf: The oil found in thyme leaves is one of the strongest natural antibacterials there is. It’s been used for centuries to treat cough, sore throat, and bronchitis.
- Marshmallow Root: Like thyme and oregano, marshmallow root is naturally antibacterial so is great for preventing and treating infections of the respiratory tract. Because it has moistening properties, it’s great for dry, sore throat and a dry cough.
Ok. Now to make it!
What you’ll need:
- The above herbs, which can be foundhere
- (1) 16 ounce mason jar with an airtight lid
- (4) 2 oz. amber tincture bottles, which can also be found here
- 80-90 proof vodka, or alcohol of your choice
The easiest way to measure the herbs is by using equal parts of each and filling the mason jar halfway. From there, you’ll top the jar off with alcohol, secure the lid, and store it in a cool, dark place. Shake the jar a couple times a week. If you notice that the alcohol has evaporated a bit and is no longer completely covering the herbs, go ahead and add a little more alcohol.
Wait 6 weeks…
Once you’ve allowed time to extract all the healing goodness out of the herbs, it’s time to bottle your tincture. Using cheesecloth, strain the decoction. Make sure you really wring out the herbs in the cheesecloth before tossing them. Now, funnel your extract into the tincture bottles. Be sure to label them so later on down the road you aren’t stuck with a mystery tincture. Because alcohol acts as a preservative, if you store your tincture in a cool, dark place, it’ll last for years.
**Dosage: The standard recommendation for tinctures ranges, but for this one, 1 dropper full (not to be confused with 1 drop) under the tongue a couple times a day should do the trick. You can also put the tincture into water or tea if you prefer, although I do find that taking the tincture on it’s own is more effective.
Note: Avoid taking this tincture if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.