Echinacea tincture is great for boosting the immune system, fighting off infections, and preventing colds and flu. It's also helpful in treating cuts or wounds as well as reducing inflammation from arthritis.
With the cold and flu season right around the corner, it’s important to have a go-to remedy that will help you stay healthy. One of these remedies is echinacea tincture - a powerful liquid extract made from the purple coneflower plant. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine (and now modern medicine) as an immune-supporting treatment.
In this blog post, we will discuss what echinacea tincture is, how to make it at home, how to use it as medicine, and the benefits of taking echinacea plant extract.
Why would I want to make my own? Making herbal remedies at home is not only fun but also a great way to save money on expensive store-bought products! Plus you know exactly what goes into your product without any harmful additives or chemicals. This study confirms that many echinacea products that are sold in shops don't contain any echinacea.
What is Echinacea tincture?
Echinacea tincture is a concentrated herbal formula made from the echinacea plant. It uses either alcohol or glycerin as a solvent. DIY Echinacea extract is usually taken internally to boost immunity, for colds, flu and other ailments or applied topically to skin and wounds. I also like to make this potent Echinacea tea that also warms me up and kids like it too.
Echinacea plant has a long history, used as an herbal remedy for healing wounds and also to fight infections.
The Native Americans called Echinacea the "life-giving flower" because they would crush Echinacea roots and rub them on their wounds to stop the bleeding.
There are nine species of Echinacea, however, we use just three of them for making tinctures - Echinacea Purpurea, Echinacea Angustifolia, or Echinacea Pallida.
Echinacea Purpurea is more popular as it has a higher concentration of the active ingredient, which can help with fighting infection and colds as well as speeding up wound healing time. Some people prefer to avoid alcohol and decide to use Echinacea Angustifolia with glycerin as a solvent.
Since I already have echinacea Purpurea growing in my backyard, it was an easy choice. It is incredibly beautiful, tall, attracting bees, and easy to grow. Don't forget to make this immune-boosting tea with echinacea root that is potent and tasty.
If you don’t have Echinacea in your garden, you can either buy it dried online or try other immune-boosting remedies such as:
Or for children best Elderberry gummies
How to make Echinacea tincture
First step - gather and prepare echinacea material
To make a tincture you can use both the plant’s aerial parts and/or roots. The best time to harvest the echinacea roots is in the late fall when the plant finished flowering. You can pick the leaves anytime during the flowering cycle. Flowers are best to harvest when the buds just begin to open.
It is also good to know that if you decide like me to make the tincture using echinacea roots you will have to dig the whole plant. This is best to do when the plant is mature with strong roots thus not before the third year.
Second step - drying the Echinacea
To make long-lasting tincture I prefer to dry the herbs as the moisture contributes to spoilage. Either dry the whole plant by hanging it upside down or remove leaves and petals from the stems and place them outside to dry on the screen. Wait for a nice sunny day, it will take just a few days, alternatively use a dehydrator.
If you use the root, clean it using a knife and lukewarm water, in order to loosen and remove any remaining dirt, cut it into small pieces and set it to dry.
If you decide to buy dry echinacea flowers or roots just skip the first two steps.
Put the dried echinacea in a sterilized jar and pour over alcohol or glycerin if you prefer to make a non-alcoholic tincture.
Choose clear alcohol that has around 40% ABV, or 80 proof. I like to use vodka because of its neutral flavor, but really any alcohol will work as long as it’s at least this high in proof. The super high alcohol content isn’t actually the best way to extract herbal medicines, 40% is the best concentration.
Glycerin is also very effective at extracting the Echinacea root. Glycerin is about as sweet as sugar so DIY Echinacea tincture will taste less bitter and will be more suitable for children.
Seal the jar and leave it to sit for 3 weeks in a sunny spot. Shake it occasionally and check if all herbal material is covered with alcohol or glycerin. In case it evaporates, just add more to cover the herb.
Strain out all of the plant material, pour into dropper bottles, and store away from light for up to 2 years. Store in a cool, dark place, like your pantry
Echinacea tincture dosage
Echinacea is the most effective at the beginning of infection when the first symptoms appear.
So, how much Echinacea to take?
Best way to take echinacea is to drink up to 4-6 cups a day for the first few days of infection. Reduced it to 2-3 for a further 7 days.
According to Healthline Echinacea Liquid extract should be taken 2.5 ml (50 drops), three times daily. Or up to 10 ml daily during the first few days of infection. For the next 7 days, the amount should be reduced to half.
Echinacea root tincture is very effective at the beginning of infection when the first symptoms such as fatigue or runny nose appear. However, it is not advisable to take echinacea tincture long term for prevention. While it stimulates the immune system in the short term usage, in the long term it suppresses it. Thus one should not exceed the longer than 8 weeks period of taking Echinacea tincture.
Echinacea tincture benefits
Immune system support
are traditionally used to treat upper respiratory infections and inflammations
Echinacea stimulates the immune system to produce more white blood cells and antibodies, which help fight colds (1) and may ease upper respiratory infections
Echinacea has been shown to reduce anxiety, with doses of 120 mg a day proving most effective (12)
How to use echinacea tincture
- Mix 1 tablespoon of this homemade echinacea tincture into a cup of hot tea. Or you can use warm apple cider instead before bedtime for an immune system booster.
- Add 20 to 30 drops of the Echinacea tincture to a cup of water, add honey or stevia for taste
- mix echinacea extract into mashed potatoes when cooking them
- use the tincture topically for skin wounds, boils or acne by dabbing it on the affected area
It's important to note that echinacea doesn't work as well if taken on an empty stomach. Eat some protein beforehand so your body has something to fight off any illness!
Echinacea tincture precautions
Echinacea is a strong anti-inflammatory, so it might irritate the skin. if you plan to apply Echinacea to an open wound or burn be careful.
Don't take Echinacea if you are allergic to Echinacea, or if you have a clotting disorder.
If taking Echinacea with other medication, talk with your doctor before doing so. It can interfere with certain medications like warfarin and blood thinners.