These 7 Key Cannabis Tinctures Are The Best Kept Secrets In Herbalism
It's no secret that tincture is my favorite way to partake.
It's simple to make, way less messy, and you don't have to fuss with bong water, smelly smoke, or ash trays. It's also arguably the easiest way to get your cannabis in throughout the day. Just toss a bottle in your purse or pocket and add a drop or two to your favorite juice, coffee, cocktail, or anything else your heart desires.
A Tincture is a liquid extract of beneficial plant compounds.
There are many different methods of making a tincture and they are all thought to have slightly different uses be they medicinal, spiritual, or energetic. These 7 key cannabis tinctures are the best kept secrets in herbalism:
1) Cordials and Elixirs
Cordial is often used to describe sweeter distilled spirits that are very dessert-like. You might see 'cordial' on labels for chocolate or cream spirits but DIY cordial is typically made by soaking a mixture of flagrant herbs into a Brandy or Vodka base. Some people even throw in a bit of honey to sweeten the deal. Cordials and elixirs are kind of a swanky sexy version of a tincture. You might sip it slowly out of a shot glass or teeny tiny Saki cup with friends. They are a really nice way to relax or unwind after a stressful day.
2) Flower Essences
Flower essences are an herbal infusion or decoction, made from the flowering part of a plant. They are thought to uniquely address the emotional and spiritual aspects of well being. Considered to be an energetic medicine they are sometimes referred to as "vibrational essences". Flower essences are made by placing flower blossoms into a bowl of water and leaving them out under the moon for a set period of time. You then skim the concentrated film from the top of the bowl and mix it by the drop with a spring water and alcohol blend. The theory is that each flower has it's own unique ability to heal specific spiritual growing pain or distress. It's believed by some that cannabis as a flower essence is a powerful tool for creativity, inner dialog, and focus.
Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters, or distillates are made by steam distilling raw plant material. Although they are similar to a flower essences in that they are water based they are very different in medicine and method. To make a hydrosol the flowering tops of a plant are steamed in a special still, the steam is caught in one chamber of the still and gravity fed into another. The resulting liquid is a very strong perfume like water that is often stored in spray or mist bottles. Hydrosols are considered energetic medicine but they may possess some essential oil like healing and soothing ability when applied topically to the skin. They are generally very refreshing.
A liniment is a liquid or semi-liquid preparation for rubbing on or applying to the skin. More often than not they are made by soaking the stems or decarboxylated flowers of cannabis in common over the counter rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is the base of choice because the alcohol tends to evaporate very quickly but it can deliver the medicine deep into the skin first. In the case of cannabis, liniments are often used to combat deep muscle ache, scrapes, and arthritis pain.
The popular Green Dragon cannabis tincture is a kind of maceration. Maceration is a process of tincturing wherein herbs (called the marc) are allowed to steep in an alcohol solution (called the menstruum) over a period of time. The secret to a good folk maceration is that there is no secret. You just throw your decarboxylated herbs in a mason jar, pour some Everclear on top, and then let it sit in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks. I've always got at least four different strains macerating at a time. It' simple, strong, easy to make, and lasts forever and a day. I personally think it's the best way to get to know all of the unique qualities of a breed.
Percolation is a slightly more math-y way to get maceration strength results in a much shorter amount of time. To make a percolation you must first grind your marc into a fine powder, you then moisten it with alcohol just so that it holds the powder together. The whole thing is then placed in a special glass cone funneling down into a collection jar. An alcohol menstruum is then allowed to slowly drip through the marc stripping it of it's beneficial constituents along the way. The entire process takes only a few days. This method is popularly used by larger herbal medicine companies because it is an easy way to make a lot of quality medicine quickly.
Spygerics are a relatively new method of tincturing that hearken back to a very old method of medicine making and alchemy. After an herb is macerated in extracting liquid (the menstuum), the marc (plant material) is removed and then burned and reduced to white ash. This white ash is believed to be a very pure source of plant minerals. It is then added back to the tincture. The idea behind spygerics is that they are a whole plant medicine, and nothing goes to waste.
Once you've got the entire collection the POSSIBILITIES are endless. What tinctures would you keep in your medicine cabinet?
Up Next: The Tincture Trick
I'm Mary J Poppins, herbalist, cannabis connoisseur and founder of the Sativa Science Club. Keep an eye on my blog Cannabis for Curious Creatures for nifty new products reviews, DIY tutorials, and scientific insights.