Echinacea purpurea or Echinacea angustifolia
*This blog post is featured on my Echinacea note card in a shortened form: here is a more in depth look at tincturing and making medicine with the seeds, flowers, and roots of Echinacea
Echinacea is a gorgeous plant with various shades of pink radiating out from the center of its lovely flower. In the summertime, the flower and seed heads are gathered when they are in full bloom. Roots are harvested in autumn anytime before the ground freezes.
Medicinally, echinacea is most well known for its immune-boosting properties, and for good reason. Its tincture is my go-to remedy all throughout the cold and flu season. I take two or three droppers full (you can put it into warm water if you want to) at the first sign of sickness as a great way to ward off a cold before it sets in, though taken during the course of illness will also lessen its severity. Notice the tingling sensation that arises when nibbling on its root-- this is how you know it’s working! The following recipe is especially great because it’s safe for kids, nursing moms, and pregnant women.
What you’ll need:
Echinacea root (fresh or dry)
Menstruum (alcohol, vinegar, or vegetable glycerin)
Jar & Lid
Optional: Brown Dropper Bottle
If fresh Echinacea root is available, it’s preferred, but dried will work just as well. Some people use the flowers and seeds in their tincture too. I tried making a tincture with all of these parts and I thought the tincture wasn't as potent as the ones I have made only utilizing the roots. I encourage you to try for yourself and find what you like! Every herbalist has their own relationship to the plants and their medicines and needs to find their own way.
My experience is that alcohol makes the most potent medicine, but sometimes I prefer to use vinegar or vegetable glycerin. Some people are sensitive to alcohol. You can remove some alcohol from an alcohol tincture by placing the tincture in boiling water for 2 minutes, but this does not remove all of the alcohol, only about 50%. Vegetable glycerin tastes yummy which makes it more palatable for kiddos. It is also a great option for those in recovery.
Step by Step: