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.
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.