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tincture question please

Posted by organicmom 7 (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 9, 07 at 13:28


I got the following out of the May issue of Natural Triad in my area:
CALMING HYPERACTIVITY. We recommend a tincture to help relieve hyperactivity in children. Combine 1 teaspoon of valerian tincture with 1/2 teaspoon each of Passionflower and catnip tinctures. To this, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint tincture and mix all of this well. For a child weighing 40-60 pounds give half a dropperful of this tincture blend several times a day.

I have read all about making tinctures and I have the herbs but I do not know which ones I need to use alchol, water or vinegar on. Could someone please advise me on this?

Thank you so much!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: tincture question please

Before giving this mixture to a child you need to talk to a qualified health care provider.

For example, while some studies back valerian's use as a sleep aid or anxiety medication in adults, there's no comparable evidence that it's useful and safe when given to children. And there's the potential for harmful reactions with medications.

More on valerian here.

RE: tincture question please

Each herb is a little different in that regard. Depends on the relative concentrations of alcohol-soluble compounds and water-soluble compounds in it.

There are some good books on the subject, but in the end, most recommend using 50/50 to start, unless you know that a plant contains only one or the other, or if you're specifically trying to get only one class of compounds, and not the other. For example, Astragalus root's active compounds are polysaccharides, which are strictly water-soluble. In that case, you'd want to produce a water decoction, and add the ethanol to the finished product as a preservative (at least 24% ethanol). Catnip and peppermint's active compounds on the other hand are primarily alkaloids and terpenes, which are only soluble in alcohol, so no point in tossing water in there, unless you only have, say, 100-proof vodka as your menstruum source. In such a case, the water won't *harm* the extraction process; it just won't help it.

Therefore, because the plants you mention have a mixture of water- and alcohol-soluble compounds (passionflower provides flavanoids and glycosides, both of which are water-soluble), I would recommend the 50/50 mixture of ethanol and water. That is, use 100-proof vodka if you have it, or 80-proof if you don't.

Good luck, and let us know how you make out!


RE: tincture question please

There is one study from Germany that found that children suffering from restlessness respond well to valerian and lemon balm. I am not sure of the German Commission E (FDA equivalent for herbs there) status of valerian for children, but this study found that the combination was effective and well tolerated.

I am aware of one other study that found that valerian was effective for sleep issues in children, and that it was most effective in children identified as hyperactive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Valerian and Lemon Balm for Children

RE: tincture question please

"The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook" is a fabulous book if you plan on making medicine on a regular basis. It really breaks down the process and tells you which solvent to use for specific herbs.

Theresa Lim
Honey Thyme Herb Farm

RE: tincture question please

I like the new evidence out there that says most hyperactivity can be solved by behavioral modification and diet and children will grow out of it. Instead of instantly medicating like Americans like to do, maybe this is a situation where medication is not needed.

RE: tincture question please

ADHD, et. al. can be tied to food allergies sensitivities that don't present like your typical allergic response (rashes, anaphylactic reaction, etc.). Two of the most common are dairy and wheat, which are hard to eliminate from the diet, but it can be done. You might try removing one or both for a limited period, and see if it helps the behavior any. Who knows? You might find something that's helpful in lots of ways if it turns out to be the root of the problem. I would certainly say this is right approach, if it turns out to work.

I make plant medicines, yes, but certain conditions won't respond even to good plant medicine if there's an underlying problem like food sensitivity.

Good luck!

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