People have used herbs in medicine for thousands of years. There are many different ways that you can take herbs to reap their health benefits. Tinctures are a good way to preserve herbs and administer a quality dose using just a little.
You’ve probably bought tinctures at some stage and even have a few in your cupboard. They are readily available in health stores and come premade in dropper bottles to aid with nearly every ailment under the sun. Many people like making their own at home and while it may not be possible to do this with every herb (because some aren’t available to buy everywhere), I made one with turmeric powder, which is inexpensive and simple to make.
Tinctures are usually made by extracting the goodness of a medicinal herb with alcohol, which is what I used in this recipe. The alcohol in tinctures also helps you absorb the herb and its medicinal properties faster, and because they are highly concentrated, you only need to consume a little each day. This is especially useful if there’s a herb you don’t particularly enjoy the taste of, but want to incorporate into your diet.
So, what happened when I made this turmeric tincture? I got a lovely mahogany-colored mixture after six weeks. Now, I can add a tiny bit of my tincture to a cup of water and it has a very subtle flavor when I drink it. If you’re not a fan of turmeric or tinctures in general you might like to add your tincture to a splash of water, or to some juice and ingest it quickly. Of course, adding it to a full glass of water gives you the added bonus of making you drink more water.
Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric Powder
Curcumin is the main active component in turmeric which provides the greatest health benefits and also gives turmeric its golden yellow color.
Some of the conditions turmeric may help with are:
Rheumatoid arthritis – as an anti-inflammatory it helps reduce inflammation of the joints and can improve arthritis symptoms.
Cancer – it’s a powerful antioxidant and fights against free radicals which cause damage to body cells. It can reduce the spread of cancerous cells and even kill off those already formed.
Heart disease – it can ward off the development of clogged arteries by reducing inflammation and plaque build-up.
Type 2 diabetes – it can also play an important role for people at risk of diabetes, by managing blood sugar levels and can help people already living with type 2 diabetes.
Alzheimer’s disease – by fighting against oxidative damage and due to its anti-inflammatory properties it may help stop the breakdown of brain cells. Some research suggests that it may even stimulate new brain cell growth.
Depression – it acts as an anti-depressant by boosting dopamine and serotonin levels.
In addition to these specific benefits, thanks to its anti-inflammatory nature it can help boost the immune system in general, warding off any number of diseases and infections. It is also a prebiotic, so it helps us maintain a healthy gut, which is crucial to keeping our bodies functioning properly and to our overall well-being.
How To Make This Homemade Turmeric Tincture
First off, turmeric with its lovely golden glow has a habit of staining everything, so always be careful when using it. You’ll see I do many of the steps over the sink just as a precautionary measure, especially when you have the final product and need to put it into dropper bottles.
- 1.5 oz. of turmeric powder
- 8 oz. (1 cup) good quality vodka with 40% alcohol
- 1 heaped tsp. of cracked black pepper
Note: The black pepper is in the recipe to help you absorb the curcumin more efficiently.
- Small glass jar with an airtight lid
- Fine-mesh strainer
- Bowl or container large enough to fit your strainer
- Dropper bottles
- Measure 1.5 oz. of turmeric powder, then add it to a sterilized glass jar. You will need to leave at least 1-inch of space between the ingredients and the lid so you can shake it later.
- Take a heaped teaspoon of cracked black pepper and add this to the jar.
- Measure 8 oz. (1 cup) of your vodka and add this on top, then close the lid.
- Shake it gently up and down and side to side, until no turmeric powder is sticking to the bottom.
- Place your jar in a dark cupboard so it’s away from sunlight. You’ll store it there for six weeks. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar when it will be ready.
- In the meantime, you will want to give your jar a quick shake every day. The powder will look infused and then settle at the bottom again. If you forget a day here and there it’s not a problem, you just need to shake it a little longer the next day. Shake it by twisting your wrist so the top of the jar faces the ground, then the ceiling, and repeat this action a few times until you don’t see any clumps of turmeric at the bottom. This isn’t a hard or fast shaking action, you just want to mix the vodka with the turmeric gently.
- After six weeks, it’s ready. Don’t shake it on the final day, but take it out of the cupboard and leave it on the bench when you’re ready to strain it.
- Take your bowl or container which will catch the tincture and place your fine-mesh sieve over it and at least six layers of cheesecloth over the sieve. I recommend doing this in the sink. It’s not a messy process but if you were to pour it over the benchtop and floor by accident it would be.
- Open your jar and pour the liquid over the cheesecloth. If some of the turmeric sediment comes out that’s fine, as your cheesecloth will catch it. You can discard all of this. If you want to use your glass jar again, you can. Just scrape out the remaining turmeric from the bottom and soak the glass in hot water before washing it.
- Now you can pour your tincture into as many glass droppers as you need, depending on whether they are large or small. Use a filter to guide the liquid in, so you don’t spill any.
- Label your glass droppers, so you know it’s your turmeric tincture. Write the date on for future reference, in case you want to make another batch before this runs out, so you’ll know which to use first.
Your turmeric powder tincture is ready to use!
You can take 1 dropper (20-30 drops) between 1-3 times a day. It doesn’t matter how large or small a dropper bottle is, you will get the same portion (1ml or ⅕ of a teaspoon). That’s because the squeezy bit at the top (the bulb) is a standard size. You’ll notice in longer droppers the liquid won’t fill all the way, but in shorter droppers, it may come up ¾ of the way.
Store your tincture in a dark cupboard. You’ll notice that dropper bottles are dark and this is to protect the mixture from light. It will keep for at least one year, although some people claim that alcohol tinctures last 10 years and up. If you’re using it regularly, it will be finished much sooner though.