My favorite source for all that is herbal, Mountain Rose Herbs, is hosting an herbal recipe contest amongst bloggers. Feeling the first-hand effects of how Herbalism has profoundly shifted my health and well-being, I am eager to share a recipe I’ve created! Incorporating tonic herbs into your daily health regimen is a wonderful practice.
Tonic herbs create balance within the body. Balance is the key to harmony. Unlike other herbs, that should be taken for short spurts of time (to heal particular ailments), tonic herbs can safely be taken daily. They create a tonic effect in the body and assist in harmonizing the entire system so that the body remains in tip-top shape.
Tao Hongjing, born around the year 456 BC, was a Taoist master, alchemist and pharmacologist. He divided herbs into three categories in The Divine Farmers Materia Medica. Herbs can either be:
~ Tonic: used over long periods of time to promote strength/longevity and prevent disease/degeneration.
~ Medicinal: used for short periods of time to correct imbalance in the body and heal disease. ex: Echinacea; not to be taken for more than 10 days.
~ Inferior: used for very short and infrequent periods of time due to their highly concentrated and toxic nature.
The origination of the tonic herbal system dates back to over 4,000 years ago in China. Tonic herbs are definitely my favorite to work with. Its nice to know that your body will respond well to these botanicals each and every day. My preferred method for extracting the medicinal goodness from herbs is creating tinctures (alcohol-based extracts). They are simple to create and very effective to use. If you refrain from consuming alcohol, then you can create a tincture using vegetable glycerine. I find the alcohol base to naturally extend the shelf-life of the tinctures much more than the glycerine — but feel free to tweak this recipe to your liking! I enjoy creating tinctures using the traditional method of setting aside the herbs/alcohol in an airtight container on the New Moon, and subsequently harvesting (straining the herb particles from the alcohol) on the Full Moon. This process charges the already-potent herbs with some extra Cosmic goodness! I hope you enjoy my favorite Tonic Herb Extract recipe!
- 1 large glass mason jar with airtight lid
- Dry tonic herbs (use your intuition to select which ones/how much to use of each)
- Premium-grade organic vodka (100 proof)
menstruum=solvent in the tincture
Tonic herbs used:
- Goji Berry (chopped to expose polysaccharide-rich seeds)
- Hawthorne Berry
- Schizandra Berry
- Reishi Mushroom (chopped pieces or whole)
- Ginger Root
- Ginseng Root
- Ginkgo Leaf
- Cinnamon stick
- Valerian Root
- He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti)
- Dong Quai Root
- Vanilla bean
1. In a glass mason jar, combine 1 part dry herbs with 4 parts vodka (i.e, 1 cup of dried tonic herbs, 4 cups of organic vodka)
2. Ensure that the mason jar is filled all the way to the top; seal with airtight lid
3. Place jar in a cool and dark space
4. Let tincture sit in cool and dark space for at least 2 weeks (the longer, the better!)
5. Strain herb particles out of the vodka (vodka will now be infused with plant medicines & will be a rich color)
6. Place tincture back in glass jar
7. Throw away herb particles that were strained from mentruum
Your Tonic Herb Extract is now ready for use! You can place a few drops underneath your tongue or place drops in your hot tea (the heat will evaporate the alcohol, but leave behind the plant medicine). However you choose to use your extract is entirely up to you! You can adjust your tinctures by playing around with how much you use of each tonic herb listed above. The taste and effects will vary. Do a little research on each herb (follow links provided above) to learn about the wonderful benefits of consuming these plants. Cheers to your health!