The plant kingdom offers so many healing herbs for pretty much all of our modern woes. What's even better is most of these medicines can be made right in our own kitchen. Read on to learn more about echinacea and how to make your own echinacea tincture for immune support.
What Is Echinacea?
According to Home Herbal: "it [echinacea] is appreciated as an important immune stimulant and antibacterial, ideal for almost any sort of infection... it is the ideal choice for colds, flu and kidney infections and can be helpful in viral-based arthritis and for sore throats" (80).
Growing up, I remember my aunt growing these beautiful purple coneflowers in our garden. As a watercolorist, she also paints them into most of her work. Not only are they gorgeous, they are super medicinal and healing, too. Most tinctures use the root of the echinacea purpurea plant, but there are other types of echinacea that can be used, too.
Traditionally, echinacea has been used to treat some of the worst: scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning and diphtheria (Source). As most herbal medicine, echinacea saw it's decline within the U.S. during the production of antibiotics, although it's still quite popular in Germany, where most scientific research has been conducted (Source).
The 3 Types Of Echinacea + How To Use Echinacea
Before we go too deep into how to make an echinacea tincture, it's important to understand there are three types of Echinacea: Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea pallida and Echinacea angustifolia. When you start looking for echinacea to create your own tincture, be sure to buy the echinacea purpurea root, which has been found as the most common and useful echinacea type for preventing, or shortening the length, of colds. For the sake of simplicity, when I refer to echinacea, I am referring to echinacea purpurea.
How To Use Echinacea
Since you're reading a post about creating echinacea tinctures, you know this is one way it can be used. Echinacea can also be used as a tea or in a capsule, too, so if tinctures aren't your thing, look into those other options. I personally prefer tinctures because of their strength, especially if you're need a strong immune boost. WebMD also notes:
"echinacea tinctures can be better for preventing colds & flu due to the fact the tincture is being swallowed and has antiviral properties that it applies to the back of the throat."
Can I Take Echinacea As A Daily Supplement?
There is such thing as too much of a good thing, too. Because echinacea stimulates the immune system, you want to take it no longer than a couple weeks, although some sources suggest even less. Frugal Granola writes that it's important balance your intake of echinacea as well, suggesting supplementing with echinacea for up to 5 days, then a two day rest to maintain the effectiveness.
Another one of my favorite herbal sources, Learning Herbs says that echinacea is good for when a cold is coming on, or during the cold and not to exceed more than 10 days on the tincture. This is something to keep in mind as you start to experiment with echinacea. As always, listen to your body and watch it's response to whatever you put into it.
How To Make A Homemade Echinacea Tincture
Making echinacea tinctures is probably the most simple and easy way to start your herbal journey.
- Organic echinacea root, which you can buy here from Mountain Rose Herbs
- Vodka or Apple Cider Vinegar as your solvent
Tip: if you're sensitive to alcohol, or want to give your tincture to a kiddo, ACV is a fine way to go. I've read it makes the tincture less strong, but it still gets the job done.
- Add your echinacea root to a large mason jar, filling it up about 1/3 with the herb
- Add your solvent, either vodka or ACV, to cover the herbs completely + a few inches.
- Add the cover and give it a shake
- Label your jar with the herb, solvent, and date.
- Let the tincture sit for 4-6 weeks, then filter out the herbs using a cheesecloth
- Put the tincture in dropper bottles, or a mason jar and store somewhere cool
Be sure to keep your echinacea tincture out and about while it's sitting throughout those 4-6 weeks, so you give it some lovin' every day. Mix it and, as Rosemary Gladstar says, put a little of your own medicine into it :) Everything is energy, so put the good stuff in.
If you're a visual learner, check out Rosemary Gladstar's video on how to make an echinacea tincture, below.
Join the Tribe.
If yes, sign up here to receive these posts by email, plus a free beginner's guide to plant-powered living. Plus, you'll gain access to new plant-based product reviews, discounts, and announcements.