13 May 2016
Glycerine & Vinegar Extracts
Foundations in Medicine Making - Part 3
Herbal constituents can be released into and stored in various solutions such as water, oil, vinegar and alcohol. Some liquids (called menstruums in herbal medicine making) facilitate the release of different compounds and can be more or less effective depending on the plant and it's properties. Below are several different techniques for extracting herbs with water from Ceara Foley's class at the 2016 Herbal Conference.
Glycerites can be beneficial for those with alcohol concerns or for children’s remedies. The disadvantage is in not dissolving resinous or oily materials as well as alcohol. There is also a shorter shelf life.
The ratio of glycerin to water varies greatly from 50% to 100%. The only hard and fast rule I know is you always need more glycerin than water to preserve the herbs well. Make the extract as you would with alcohol, chopping, macerating, and straining the herb with the final results being a thick, sweet tasting product.
I have only used vinegar as a menstruum for vitamin and mineral rich herbs. That way I can use the vinegar in food preparation such as salad dressings, on greens, in bean dishes, etc. I only do the wise woman method here and end up with wonderful tasting vinegars chickweed, plantain, violet leaves, shiitake mushrooms, lambs quarters, comfrey leaf, dandelion leaf, purslane, and red clover are some of the many choices. Raw organic apple cider vinegar is best.