It shouldn’t have been so intimidating:
- put herbs in mason jar
- fill to the rim with vodka
Not difficult and certainly not rocket science for someone who knew her way around the kitchen.
Was it really okay to pick dandelions from my yard? What if a dog had peed on them? Where does one buy mason jars anyway? And the big one: what if I poison myself?
The resistance and fear that this simple exercise evoked was amazing to me.
I had the book and then the mason jar for months before I made my first herbal tincture.
I thought this silliness was mine alone until my second year studying with herbalist David Winston.
The course was live-streamed, so while David lectured, some of us chatted online. It turned out that nearly two years into the program, one of the other women in the class had still never made a tincture.
That was years after my first tincturing experience and I’d been teaching herbalism for a while. I knew the only way to get this fear into proportion was to make the damn tincture.
I hit the caps key and typed GO GET A MASON JAR.
* * * *
I have come to realize recently that this fear of adding alcohol to plant material is a little deeper than mere fear of kitchen chemistry gone awry.
This is a cultural fear, pounded into our heads since we were quite small:
We don’t take care of ourselves, doctors do.
We don’t make our own medicine—we buy it from trusted names like Johnson & Johnson or Merck.
Our kitchen is not a lab and therefore not hygienic enough for making medicine.
I bought into all this, and I bet a lot of you do, too.
Don’t get me wrong—there is a time and place to get yourself to a doctor and there is a time when pharmaceuticals are exactly the drugs you need.
But there is a lot of space between optimal wellness and health that has deteriorated to the point of needing medical intervention.
And that’s the space we need to reclaim.
Making your first tincture is so friggin’ scary not because it’s complicated or difficult. It’s scary because, in that moment of pouring vodka over dandelions, you are declaring self-sovereignty.
You are saying I can make my own medicine and take care of myself.
And in our culture, that is downright revolutionary.