Making Fresh Root Tinctures
by Corinna Wood
As the cool, crisp nights of late autumn and early winter arrive, I eagerly await the first hard frost. That marks the point when we enter the prime time for harvesting medicinal roots.
Perennial plants send their energy down below ground to their roots to store over the winter, so a month or so following that first hard frost is the peak time for their medicinal potency. As the winter progresses, the plants will live off the reserves in the root.
Wondering which roots to harvest? Here are some of my top picks:
• Echinacea root: for immune support
• Comfrey root: for soothing and moisturizing the skin, externally
And my "three sisters:" tonics for the liver, kidneys and spleen:
• Yellow dock
Once you dig them up, make your herbal tincture following these 9 easy steps . . .
1. After harvesting the roots, sort through them and discard damaged parts
2. Wash the roots to remove all dirt
3. Chop the roots with a knife or put in a blender with a small amount of 100-proof vodka
4. Fill a jar to the top with the chopped roots, packed tight
5. Fill the jar to the top again, with 100-proof vodka, and cap
6. Label the jar—eg, Dandelion root, 100 pf vodka, date
7. Top off the liquid level the next day
8. Let your tincture brew for six weeks and then strain out the plant material
9. Store your tincture in a cabinet out of direct sunlight (or in an amber bottle)
When you make your own medicines you get double the benefit . . . the healing starts right out there in the garden!
Corinna Wood apprenticed with Susun Weed in 1993, and has been practicing, teaching, and carrying on the Wise Woman Tradition ever since. Corinna co-founded Red Moon Herbs, making herbal medicines from fresh, local plants for 20 years before passing on the baton. Corinna is also renowned as the founding director of the legendary Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. With extensive training and experience in herbal medicine and spiritual psychology for women, Corinna now offers earth-based woman-centered tools for inner growth and healing. See Wise Woman Studies with Corinna Wood at www.corinnawood.com
A note from Corinna: "After many years of making and teaching herbal medicines for women's health, it dawned on me that I needed my own medicine kit for the heart, mind and soul! I applied all I knew of the Wise Woman ways towards my own deep inner healing. I drew on my depth and breadth of knowledge––nature and her cycles, health and healing, nonviolent communication and feminist spiritual psychology. Now I support wonderful women like you, with tools for inner growth and healing to ground you in your own innate wisdom, needs and desires. I'd love to support you along your journey ~ come connect!"
My new online guide to herbal medicine making
If you want to know more of these wild wise woman ways, check out my blog article on wise woman herbal medicine making, where I've pulled together a myriad of tips and tricks from over the decades.
Highlights from Corinna's Online Guide to Wise Woman Herbal Medicines include:
• How to make herbal infusions, tinctures, oils and salves
• My favorite medicines for an herbal first aid kit
• How to cultivate a relationship with a plant ally