Making Rosemary Tincture

by Daisy

Continuing my tincture-making spree, I made rosemary tincture.

Rosemary is an herbal powerhouse.  It contains antioxidants, known to combat free radicals.

I’d heard about free radicals and antioxidants forever, but never knew quite what they were so I looked it up.  Free radicals are molecules with unstable outer layers caused by unpaired electrons.  These unstable molecules go roaming around looking for electrons to steal from other molecules, thus creating more unstable molecules–a snowball effect.  Too many of these overwhelm your body (especially the aging or weakened body) and they begin damaging your cells and genes. Antioxidants are good because they give the free radicals the extra electron they need to stabilize them and keep them from causing trouble.

Rosemary is also anti inflammatory.  In inflammation, here’s what happens: When one’s body tissue is damaged in some way, white blood cells exude chemicals in order to get rid of that damage.  This causes increased blood and fluid to the area (redness and swelling).  Sometimes, as in the case of arthritis and allergies, this continued chemical response can do more harm than good.  Anti inflammatories can help tame this overzealous response.

Rosemary has shown promise against cancers, including breast cancer, aging skin, and liver toxins.

Sign me up.

I’ve grown rosemary for many, many years.  Way back when, I grew it in big pots, thinking it needed to be brought inside in the winter.  I did this for several years, even when we lived in a tiny, three room house where it dominated the kitchen.  I fed it ground eggshells and babied it, until one year it was just too big and I planted it in the ground.  Turns out it loves our winters.  It got even bigger, and hasn’t stopped since.

I read recently rosemary was once thought to signify wifely dominance in the household, to the point where husbands took to tearing it out of their wives’ gardens. I’ll leave it to my husband to interpret the significance of our, ahem, healthy rosemary plant.  I know he won’t tear it out regardless, he loves rosemary as much as I do.

To make the tincture, I cut a lot of rosemary.

Then I stripped the leaves from the stalks.

And finely chopped the leaves.

It looked like a lot before I chopped it, but it wasn’t as much as I wanted, which was enough to almost fill a pint jar.  So I picked some more, and repeated the stripping and the chopping.  Still wasn’t enough, so I did it a third time.

My chopping arm was tired, but this is good stuff and I wanted a lot of it.

Then I covered it with vodka.  Many people will say you need pure grain alcohol, but I’m fine with this.

I capped, labelled and dated the jar and put it in a dark cupboard, to leave for 4-6 weeks.

When it is ready, I’ll strain out the herbs and bottle it in amber glass bottles.

It has a few contraindications such as pregnancy and seizure disorders, so check with your doctor before using it.


Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Hedie November 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

So everyone talks about how to make tinctures. However, they seldom explain how to “take them”. When would you suggest taking a tincture, for what reasons, and how often. Do you need to refrigerate it after the 4-6 weeks in a dark place? How long is it good for? Thanks so much!

Carrie November 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Instead of alcohol, you can make nonalcoholic versions with 50% water and 50% glycerin (available at herbal supply stores and online). For making tinctures that you can give to kids, nonalcoholic is a good way to go.

I don’t refrigerate any of my tinctures, but I keep them in a dark, amber-colored jar in a cool place. They keep for about a year. The general rule of thumb is usually 1 tsp per age, but the frequency a day varies according to whether you’re using it for preventive use or say, your kid is sick for a few days and you’re using it to make them better. Generally, however, you shouldn’t take any tincture on a regular basis, because doing so decreases it’s efficency in your body. For example, don’t take echinacea to boost your immune system every day of your life, because then you’re not “boosting” it- you’re just putting your system into constant hyperdrive. Use it instead, for when you feel a cold coming on, or you have a sick child and know that everyone else is going to get it unless you do something about it.

Tinctures are such a great way to boost health. Go herbals!

Daisy November 19, 2012 at 6:59 am

Hedie–You’re right. I’ll try to cover your questions more thoroughly in a post soon. In brief, different tinctures have different dosages, don’t need refrigeration, are good for at least two years in most cases, and are used for many different reasons. I’ll elaborate soon!

Hedie November 19, 2012 at 7:12 am

Thanks so much for your quick responses. I am truly excited to learn more about this area of home health care for me and my family. Is there a good, inexpensive, comprehensive book you would recommend? Thanks again!

KimH November 19, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I’ve been making this headache tincture (Rosemary tincture) for about 30 years. It works phenomenally well for headaches of all sorts.. stress, sinus, and anything else.
I’ve made it with rum, vodka, whiskey but most favorite of all was I made it with banana liqueur one time.
My very young daughter used to climb up on my counters when I was out gardening to sneak a sip of it, she liked it so well I finally figured out where it was going & put a stop to it.

The book or article I read back when suggested putting your rosemary tincture into a dark dropper bottle and taking 1/2 dropper for a dose & repeating 30 minutes later if it hasnt worked. Then wait 8 hours before another dose.

It works within a minute or two for some people (my mom), it takes 7 or 8 minutes for others and 20 minutes for others.. We’re all different & it affects us all differently.
I have family members who ask me to make it for them since it seems to be beyond them.. though how difficult is covering rosemary with alcohol? 😉

Enjoy your tincture!!

KimH November 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

BTW… I’ve kept jars of headache tincture in the cupboard (in the dark) for several years and its never lost its efficacy. The alcohol preserves the active ingredients in the rosemary for a good long time.

Hedie November 19, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Great ideas! Last question. I have an empty (dark green) olive oil glass container with a screw on lid. It’s not amber colored but I’m assuming it would well just as well since it’s a dark color? Thanks for your input; I’m excited to try these ideas out. I’ve been having some headaches as of late and would love to give these a try.

Daisy November 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hedie–Sure, anything that blocks out the light.

Kim November 20, 2012 at 7:19 am

Neat post. I’ve had rosemary growing in a pot for a few years. I finally transplanted it to the flower garden in front of the house. Now I’m going to make this tincture. I never knew I had such a great remedy right under my window!

Daisy November 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hedie–I’m looking for some such resource myself (preferably not the ones that cost $$$$$!) If anyone has some good recommendations, shout them out!

Robin November 25, 2012 at 8:24 am

Where do you get your dark bottles?

Daisy November 25, 2012 at 8:40 am

Robin–I’ve used

Hedie November 26, 2012 at 5:28 am

My friend makes homemade tinctures as well and she says that any dark colored bottle will work. So, I plan to re-use my empty olive oil bottles. They are very dark green and have a screw on lid. Recycle!

kate August 25, 2015 at 2:44 am

great blog! supportive, informative…and fun!

Petra October 12, 2015 at 8:58 am

hi there, just found this on pinterest today and was wondering if you wrote the follow up (where, what, how). Also for headaches do you take that half dropper in water or as is? Thanks

Daisy October 12, 2015 at 10:49 am

Petra–I think it was one of the commenters who wrote about how she uses it as a headache remedy. She said to take a half dropper, then another in 1/2 hour, then another in 8 hours. I’ve never tried it for that purpose. Headaches come for many reasons, it’s worth a try to see if your headache is the kind that responds like hers. I’d put it in water or another beverage. The alcohol can burn a bit, and the concentrated rosemary flavor is intense!

Richard March 15, 2016 at 11:50 am

Is it ok to use the flowers that bud on the rosemary or should I remove them?

Daisy March 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

Richard–I can think of no reason you need to avoid including them in your tincture.

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