Enjoy the health benefits of turmeric with homemade tincture. Just two ingredients and a few minutes of prep time!
The health benefits of turmeric
Curcuma longa, better known as turmeric, has become the goldenrod darling of the supplement world. This root plant, related to ginger, is bright yellow-orange in color, is a primary ingredient in curry and has a long resume of health benefits.
Studies have shown turmeric to be a powerful anti-oxidant 1https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/109643792https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02772248.2013.829061#.UyAZAfl_t8E 3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15650394 and anti-inflammatory4https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S13572725080025505https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/126760446https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/175692077https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jat.1517, which works to benefit human health8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031 in a variety of ways. It is used for treatment of arthritis9https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC500300110https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871206, infections11https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC546625612https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375173, diabetes13https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525408, digestive disorders14https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC476343115https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC608374616https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080703, high cholesterol17https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637251, cancer18https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC641231819https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC339204320https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883055/21https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523773, depression22https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016643281200699723https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000689930602714424 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997, respiratory infections, allergies, liver disease25https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC646341626https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC451103627https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC500041428https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465857, connective tissue ailments, for oral health29https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC431632630https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633300, topically for skin conditions, Alzheimers Disease31https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3281036 and also has brain protective capabilities32https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-013-9422-y33https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514855 during aging. The list goes on an on, this is just some highlights. It has been known for centuries and is found in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and modern scientific studies have found it to be effective and is the basis of an overwhelming amount of research and scientific evidence.
Turmeric’s bioavailability is improved by taking it with piperine34https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9619120, an enzyme found in black pepper, therefore, It is recommended that you always take turmeric with a little black pepper and many bottled supplements will include it in the formula.
I had the fortunate opportunity to learn this process as part of a Wildcrafting workshop by Earth Medicine Institute. Instructor and author, David Bruce Leonard, shared this process and formula as part of the practical instruction. This formula makes a large quantity of tincture that can last for years.
Why Make Tincture?
Turmeric root is great fresh and can be used in cooking or blended up and taken as a little short or added to a smoothy. Fresh root can be difficult to source in some areas and does not stay fresh forever. You can freeze turmeric root, but tincture is another great use that helps preserve the root and gives a quick and easy method for usage. The process for making the tincture is incredibly simple, basically just blending up the turmeric and strain out any solids. For potency it is necessary for the tincture to set for 6 weeks in the solvent in order for the beneficial components to be released. Also, the tincture will be light sensitive. You can either store the tincture in a dark place or use a dark colored glass bottle. You will want to shake up the tincture every couple of days. This process does utilize alcohol, so would not be suitable for someone in recovery.
|Pros of Tinctures||Cons of Tinctures|
Tincture Making Process
The process for making turmeric tincture is easy and the basic concept will work for a variety of herbs not just turmeric. You will need a high powered blender, some cloth to strain, a jar for storage, masking tape to label and a couple of ingredients. For the purposes of the formula the extraction solution (in our case, Everclear) is referred to as the menstrum. The herb material is called the mark. The formula below is for fresh herbs or roots that have moisture in it. If you are making tincture with dry herbs you do not need as strong of a menstrum.
- Everclear 190 (95% alcohol)
- 1lb Turmeric, fresh, cut into chunks or slices for blending
Step 1: Blend
To start with you want to break down cell walls of the plant to aid in extraction of beneficial compound. We we want to get the plant material as fine as possible, so use a high-powered blender, like a Blendtech or Vitamix, and blend the plant material until as smooth as possible. Add some of Everclear and blend some more. This should begin looking like a slurry. Blend until it does not appear to be getting any smoother.
Step 2: Strain
You will want to strain the mixture as finely as possible. You can use muslin or finer fabric if you have no herb press. You can use any sort of fabric and an old pillow case works just fine. You can also get a straining bag used for nut milk (I am using this one) or brewing, but this is not necessary. Strain the mixture by placing the fabric over a bowl, securing and pouring the mixture through the fabric. Squeeze out the excess liquid out of the collected solids.
Pour the strained mixture into a dark glass bottle or a mason jar. You will want to keep the bottle out of light, sunlight will break down the compounds. Be sure to label your jar or bottle well, add name, date, extraction details. You can use masking tape to do this, but be sure to tape around the entire jar so that the label does not fall off.
Step 2: Store and Shake
Store for 6 weeks, shaking every 2-3 days to get mix up the sediments which will settle to the bottom. After 6 weeks it will be ready to use. I transfer mine to a glass dropper bottle for easy dosing. Tinctures will maintain their potency for several years.
Let me know how this process works out for you! Feel free to comment below with any questions.
- High Power Blender - Blendtech or Vitamix
- 1.75 liter Everclear 190 Proof
- 1 lb Turmeric root cut into 2" pieces
- Add half of turmeric root to blender. Pulse to break up, then blend. Add remaining turmeric and repeat. Then blend until as smooth as is reasonable. The more the root is broken down the better the extraction rate will be.
- Add roughly 2 cups of everclear and blend until smooth. Add remaining everclear and blend until combined.
- Over a large bowl, strain the tincture through a tightly woven fabric.
- Pour the strained mixture into a 1 quart jar. Store in dark place for 6 weeks, shake every 2-3 days during the 6 weeks.