This homemade Spruce tips tincture provides a burst of energy in a small portable bottle that helps remove toxins from the body and strengthens your immune system. External application helps ease the pain in joints and muscles as well as naturally heal wounds.
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Fresh light green needles that are at the tips of spruce branches are tender and packed with golden ingredients. Their power has been known for thousands of years. Spruce tips (known also as spruce boughs or spruce buds) are wonderful edibles that are easy to pick and can be eaten raw or preserved in a form of syrup, tincture, oil, frozen or dried for later use.
Medicinal benefits of spruce tips
Young spruce tips contain large amounts of vitamin C, which remove toxins from the body and strengthens the immune system.
The secret of their ability to ease a cough lies in their content of turpentine, which dissolves mucus, relaxes the bronchi and enables easier expectoration. This power is best used in the form of a syrup (recipe is coming soon) or spruce tea. With its refreshing citrus taste, spruce tea is an excellent alternative to replace caffeine.. Simply inhaling spruce tea can help ease your cough.
If you decide to preserve young spruce tips in alcohol, you can make a tincture that will gently melt away the alleviation of joint pain and aches we carry in our muscles. It also may help with rheumatism, improve blood circulation, and warming. The spruce tips tincture may also lessen the inflammation of the tendons.
Powerful antioxidants, flavonoids and caroteins, that are also present in young spruce tips play an important role in the maintenance and proper functionality of the immune system.
Knowing the medicinal benefits of young spruce tips, their short life span and availability the tincture seems to be one of the best options to be able to use their power all year long. Tinctures are highly concentrated versions of fresh herbs that are easy to apply. Due to their portability and easy administration, tinctures are suitable to carry with you everywhere you need them. Simple dosing and long shelf life are both major advantages of tinctures.
This easy to make calendula tincture is a keeper with large spectrum of uses.
How to harvest spruce tips
Evergreen conifer tree spruce is easy to identify. Its branches are sharp and pointy and each twig carries the needles singly. To further distinguish the difference between spruce and its cousin fir, you need to observe the needle, roll it between your fingers and if it rolls easily (meaning the needle has 4 sides) you have a spruce needle. If it’s flat and it doesn’t roll (meaning the needle has 2 sides only) it’s a fir.
Lots of the conifers species are edible and I am lucky to have them (spruce, fir and pine) in my neighborhood. I enjoy a nice spring walk to the forest to collect some spruce tips. The best time to collect young spruce tips is in the spring time. If you feel that you miss it try higher locations, there might still be some fresh bright green tips available. Be careful with the trees, when I go to forage I leave young trees to grow and collect the tips from older trees and never pick the tips from the top. Also I pick only a few tips from various trees so they have time to recover. Although pruning makes the trees bushy. For our tincture we need to collect vivid light green tips that are no longer than 2 inches.
If you don’t have access to spruce this rejuvenating syrup from young pine spring shoots is packed with antioxidants and ready to boost your immune system.
How to make a spruce tip tincture
Once you gather 3 hand fulls of spruce tips rinse them with cold water and remove any casings
Place washed spruce tips into an airtight jar
Pour over with alcohol. I used 100- proof alcohol which contains 50% of alcohol and 50% water. Proof tells you how much of the liquid is water and how much is pure ethyl alcohol (ethanol). If you want to use vodka or other liquor for your tincture simply divide the proof by two. Make sure you use at least 80 – proof alcohol to properly extract the plant constituents as well as to preserve the tincture.
Pour alcohol into a jar and seal it. Use a 1-1 ratio.
Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey
Seal the jar for 6 or more weeks with an occasional shake. That is the time alcohol needs to absorb the active components of spruce tips.
After opening the jar, strain the brown spruce tips from the alcohol.
Make sure to label the jars with some basic information such as name, date and % of alcohol you used for the tincture.
How to use it?
- Internally Spruce tips tincture helps you to support the immune system when the cold season hits. Fill a dropper and drip it under your tongue. Hold it in your mouth for a few seconds. Rinse your mouth to get rid of the bitter taste. Use No more than 2 small drops per day. Don’t give to children
- The tincture will warm your body up and allow better blood circulation
- Externally the spruce tips tincture may help you ease the aches and pains in your joints and muscles. Apply twice a day on the affected areas.
- Can reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis
- It’s healing power can help heal wounds
- A drop or two of the tincture is sufficient to add flavor to your cocktails.
- as a mouthwash for gingivitis – You can dilute a few drops of tincture in a glass of water and use it as a mouth rinse
- Make an instant cup of tea. Add two drops (squeezes) of tincture to a cup of warm water. Considering bitter taste and alcohol in the tincture, adding tincture into a cup of warm water might do the trick for children. With a little bit of honey you make a wonderful tea that will strengthen their immune system and sooth and restore a cold or sore throat
What do spruce tips taste like?
Depending on their stage of maturity spruce tips have various flavors from herbal to citrus or resinous.
What is the shelf life of spruce tips tincture?
the alcohol in tinctures acts as a preservative therefore they can last up to five years or more.