Hi Caitlin Lorraine:
What a wonderful letter, it’s so nice to hear from someone that actually makes their own tinctures and formulas. I do have a couple of thoughts for you.
You said you used to keep your dried herbs in big freezer bags in the coldest room in the house, and in a dark cabinet. Where do you keep them now? I used to keep my dried herbs in much the same fashion. But then I learned a few things about herbs that Dr. Schulze
doesn’t tell you. For example, I get most of my herbs from Pacific Botanicals, which I think is a great place to buy bulk herbs. But after some long conversations with them, I learned that herbs begin to loose their potency about a year after they have been harvested. Now you might think a year is a long time. But most herbs are harvested during a certain time of the year. So if you buy an herb in January, and that herb was harvested in April, it’s already nine months old. So now you only have three months before it begins to loose it’s potency. See what I mean?
So now my strategy is to tincture all of my herbs as I get them, except for what goes into the dry formulas such as IFC #1, Super Food, etc. The smallest quantity I can buy from Pacific Botanicals is one pound. And as soon as I get it in, I tincture the whole pound. I do this with all of my herbs. Then, according to Dr. Schulze
, it will last almost indefinitely. And as I need to make up the various formulas, I just mix the appropriate tinctures together and viola, I have the formulas I need. No more throwing away outdated herbs, and wasting all that money.
You wouldn’t believe all the things I used to do when I made up my IFC #1 capsules to keep from sneezing my head off. I make them up in the kitchen, and I put a big box fan in the kitchen window and seal off all the space around it. This makes a pretty good exhaust fan, pulling the air from the living room through the kitchen and out the window. But I still had a lot of sneezing. So I tied a wet towel around my head, covering my mouth and nose. But that still didn’t help very much, I was still sneezing. So I came up with another strategy. I tear a facial tissue in half and stuff each piece up each side of my nose, blocking it off completely. Then I tie a bandana around my head to make sure the tissue doesn’t fall out. This seems to work pretty well, because now I don't sneeze at all. I still choke a little from all the stuff I breath in. But I keep drinking as I encapsulate and it seems to keep my throat under control.
Another thing you said, is that you might strain a tincture through a paper towel. I would caution you against that. I had a friend that did that, and it made him really sick. I guess all the chemicals in the paper towel came out in the tincture. Anyway, I would encourage you to use a 100 percent cotton cloth to strain any herbal formula. Cheese cloth is what I use, but an old T shirt will work just as well. Just as long as it’s 100 percent cotton. I have another friend who tried to strain her Echinacea Plus formula through a clean pair of pantyhose. This of course didn’t work because the fabric of the pantyhose created a chemical reaction to the herbal formula. It ruined the whole batch of formula and she had to throw it out. Just stay with cotton and you’ll be fine.
I enjoy your posts, and everyone’s very much. Keep up the good work, and good luck to you.