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Tinctures, Salves and Oils

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This is a picture of Arnica Montana.

This is a simple guide for making your own basic medicinals.


  1. What is a Tincture, and how is it made? A Tincture is a liquid extract of a plant, generally called the mother plant. Most often tinctures are made from fresh blossoms, stems and leaves of plants. To make a tincture (ф = symbol for tincture) first you need to have pure grain alcohol, proof 180. You may be able to purchase this at a liquor store. In Oregon it is kept behind the counter and must be specially requested.
    • With clean scissors, carefully cut off the blossom you wish to make into a tincture. If you want to make a pint of the tincture, say of St. John's Wort , place enough blossoms in a wide mouth jar to fill to the top.
    • Once the jar is full of clean dry blossoms which have been picked after the dew had dried and still early enough in the morning that the essential oils have not escaped into the atmosphere, cover with the straight alcohol.
    • Cover well, but gently and set in a dark place for 12-36 hours. You will begin seeing right away that the alcohol extracts the essential oil from the blossoms. The St. John's Wort will turn hemoglobin red, incredible. My lavender tincture turned a beautiful green this year, mostly because I left the stems around the lavender buds to extract.
    • That's it!!! Now you have a tincture. Some people like to "cut" it with water, but I use the pure alcohol, I may cut it with some water after I measure a bit out to use.


In the word salve is the root salvation, to save or to heal.

To make a salve you need:

  • Medicinal plant, dried, then put in a grinder, small coffee grinders work, food processors, or blenders. Just make sure they are clean. It this gets to be a big habit, exclusive use may be considered.
  • To the pulverized herb(s) add equal parts extra virgin olive oil and melted bees wax.
  • Mix everything well and put in jars, a drop of lavender oil for aroma is acceptable, or any other essential oil you may dearly love.


These are made from quality base oils, the best you can afford, not strong smelling. Almond, peanut and sunflower oils are recommended.

  • In a glass container put the herbs you wish to draw into oils.
  • Use similar method to above for tinctures, but cover with oil instead.
  • Put in gentle sun, not baking sun, for several days, wiping the inner lid of the container at least once a day to remove extra moisture.

Note:Additionally, if you want to add an oz vial of your favorite essential oil to a quart of good oil, that is nice, too. When my children were babies I put one ounce vial of rose geranium into a quart of olive oil to oil them down after a bath. They always smelled lovely.


Any time of year, but especially in hot weather, this is a nice refreshing splash and a good alternative to the nasty chemical "perfumes" available commercially. This is easy to made and doesn't require waiting time!!!! As kids we learned to dab a goodly amount in a handkerchief, and should we face something that smelled bad, the hanky to the nose was a safe bet. J

  • As much pure grain alcohol as you wish to make in cologne.
  • Add your favorite essential oils, ratio a dram of oil to a pint of alcohol.
  • Best results after playing around a bit to your own tastes.
My Favorite Cologne

I love this aroma, citrusy, fresh. In the summer when you are wearing it, it will "reconstitute" when you perspire.

  • 1 quart of grain alcohol
  • 1 vial lemon essential oil
  • 1 vial sweet orange essential oil
  • 1 vial bergamot essential oil
  • 6 drops pure sandalwood essential oil
  • 6 drops pure lavender essential oil
  • Note: adding a little pure water to this will make it milky looking. This is also nice in a spray pump. Hint: if you allow the cologne to age at least six months, it will enhance the body of the scent.

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