Making Turmeric Tincture

by Daisy on 11/12/2012

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I’ve been on a tincture rampage lately.

I suppose it’s fear-based. Fear of wintertime illnesses, nemeses that steal weeks of otherwise productive, if chilly, pursuits, replacing them with hacking cough/mouth-breathing misery.

Also, I ain’t getting any younger (funny how that happens), and when you find yourself misplacing things the size of large Rubbermaid tubs (where are you, Tub?, here tubby tubby), you start looking for anything you can find to help keep you sharp.

I’ve been reading and hearing about turmeric for years, how it is a powerful anti-inflammatory which may help prevent or slow cancers, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and much more.  You can read more about it here.

The simplest route to getting turmeric into our diets is to cook with it often.  I haven’t been successful doing that, however much I intend to, so taking a tincture seems like a plan for me.

The basic formula for making tinctures is to grate, chop, bruise or otherwise abuse the plant matter in order to expose the maximum amount of surface area.  Then, cover the plant matter with an edible solvent to extract the medicinal compounds from that matter.  Commonly used solvents are pure grain alcohol (like Everclear) and unflavored, high-proof vodkas.  You allow it to steep for a period of time, anywhere from several days to several months.  In the case of turmeric, the consensus is for it to steep for a period of 2-4 weeks.

After the steeping period, the solution is strained and bottled in a dark glass bottle and stored in a cool, dark place where it remains useable for up to several years.

I found fresh turmeric roots at the local Whole Foods market. You may also be able to find fresh roots at Asian/Mid-East markets.  They are related to ginger, and can be peeled in the same way as ginger by scraping away the skin with a spoon.

ETA: Since I wrote about peeling it, I’ve been advised that it’s better to leave the peel especially if you can get organic turmeric. I leave the peel on now and it’s lot’s easier!

I grated it using the second to finest face on my box grater. You can also coarsely chop and finish processing in a food processor.

Be sure you do this right before your hand modeling gig and wear your grandmother’s wedding dress.

Or not.

Seriously, though, if you mind having yellow hands and clothes, wear gloves and an apron.

If you don’t care, it will mostly wear off by the next day.

It’s a beautiful color, more so in the bowl than on skin.

Put the grated root in a clean glass jar and cover with the alcohol.  Tightly cap and put in a dark, cool place for a minimum of two weeks. Shake daily or every few days or so.

Strain and bottle.

Use 15-30 drops, 3-4 times a day.  There are about 20 drops in one standard dropper full.

 

 



{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Daisy December 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

Karen–Thank you for the great information! I love the idea of making full use of all the properties of the herbs. And I won’t be shying away from the white stuff–I knew it had to be good for something!

Dieuwke January 1, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Hi !

Definitely going to try this. Its a bit like making cordials .
But how do you know the curcumin actually seeps in the alcohol ?
Its pretty insoluble in water as it is.

Still going to try it and maybe add some sugar..LOL

Thanks !!
Dieuwke

Daisy January 2, 2015 at 8:16 am

Dieuwke–Well, faith, I guess. Laboratory analysis has been performed on alcohol tinctures to determine the solubility, although I haven’t the wherewithal to do so myself. Alcohol extraction has been used for herbal preparations for hundreds of years, probably more, and acts as a preservative as well. Try it!

Karen B January 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

I have been making, and using turmeric tincture for about 2 years now and have a couple of questions/comments: I usually get 1 lb. of turmeric roots at a time, grate about 1/3 and freeze the rest. With my last purchase, my hubby got carried away and grated the whole lb., giving me about 2/3 qt jar of pulp. After starting the turmeric & letting it sit for 1 month, the top 1/8 was brownish, as usual, but the rest was still the bright yellow. I strained the turmeric quickly, instead of letting it drain for a coupe hours, and cleared out the darker pulp, then restarted the remaining bright yellow to sit for another month. Has anyone ever done this, will it be as strong? Is there a use for the pulp left over after straining the tincture? And finally, my husband and I mix a packet of Emergen-C and add the turmeric to it — no bad taste. 1/8 tsp is equal to 25 drops, so my husband uses 1/8 tsp turmeric a day since he is on heart meds. I use 1/2 tsp once or twice a day and have eliminated one of my RA meds.
Thank you very much, Daisy, for sharing this site and all the useful information.

Daisy January 7, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Karen B–It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to eliminate a Rx. That’s amazing. I’m not familiar with what you described. The only time I’ve had a color difference within a single batch of an herb is if the herb material swelled above the level of the menstruum and oxidized but that doesn’t sound like what happened to you. How often did you shake it?

Karen B January 7, 2015 at 9:31 pm

I must have missed that part — I’ve never shaken the mixture, just let it sit for a month or so, adding alcohol as needed. Oops

Daisy January 8, 2015 at 9:05 am

Karen B–You didn’t miss it in my post–I neglected to write that step. I suppose I expect people to read my mind. I’m glad you pointed this out, I’ll go back and put it in! Thanks!

Karen B January 9, 2015 at 6:32 am

OK–Now I’ll start shaking — how often? And what about the solution I have “restarted” after straining? Thank you

Daisy January 9, 2015 at 6:55 am

Karen B–Most people say daily, but realistically if you shake it every few days that is plenty. As for the restarted batch, top it off with some more alcohol if you need to in order to be able to shake it, and proceed as for a new batch. You can probably shave some time off the time-until-ready, though. Then strain and enjoy!

Karen B January 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

Any idea for using the pulp leftover after straining out the tincture? Thanks for all your tips!

Daisy January 20, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Karen B–I put it in the compost. Anybody got any better ideas?

Scott January 20, 2015 at 2:51 pm

What to do with the pulp after tincture making?
Make a water decoction and mix it into the finished tincture.
- cover the pulp with enough water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until volume reduces by half, mix into finished tincture when cool.
Some constituents in plant matter are alcohol soluble and others water soluble.
Why not take advantage of all that the plant has to offer?

Scott January 20, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Sorry,
STRAIN and mix into finished tincture when cool

Daisy January 20, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Scott–Thank you for the great suggestion!

Kendra April 4, 2015 at 12:03 pm

That’s interesting Scott, and I’m assuming the alcohol will prevent spoilage after you add the water mixture? One question I have is what are your proportions of turmeric to alcohol for the tincture?? I read somewhere 1:1 ratio.

mary wardlow April 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm

but I only have dried root.. ? can i use that? can’t find any turmeric that is fresh around here and if I ever do.. I am planting it.

Daisy April 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm

mary wardlow–You can use dried!

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