A Night in the Dark & Echinacea Tincture

Hello Light Footsteppers!

I think today is another hodgepodge of a post for me.  It seems that I have been busy, busy lately.  All good things — friends visiting the states from South America, a conference, event planning, trying to continue a regular habit of eating well and taking walks in nature.  It’s all left me with a lot of ideas for what I imagine to be profound posts, but time slips away quickly and then I wonder if it’s all still relevant. 

Like for example, my thoughts on hurricane Sandy, our relationship with the weather, concerns over global warming, and the unusual bliss I stumbled upon in a slowly unfolding night that I encountered without electricity.

One of the willow trees that fell in the park behind my house.

It happened on Samhain eve of all evenings — the official end of the light half of the year and our transition to the dark half.  Samhain is also known as a time for remembering our ancestors and so I found it fitting to be alone in the dark, candles ablaze, reflecting on the fact that thousands of my ancestors lived by the cycles of light and dark in a way that it is hard for us to connect with now.

It reminded me of the importance of slowing down, observing the cycles in nature, and also that we must increasingly live this simpler, slower, less power-dependent way to help prevent further changes in our weather patterns and the profound losses that can come with them (and to be more resilient when change inevitably happens).

And really, although I am not keen on the idea of living entirely without electricity for the rest of my life, I definitely could do with less.  I think I might implement a monthly no-power day.  There’s something very liberating about existing by candlelight and removing the temptation to check this electronic box I’m typing on now.  Time opens in an entirely different manner.

A candlelit night.

Given this shift in the wheel of the year and the ever-increasing reality that we’ve moved into the dark half, I think this is a good time to encourage you to get started on this season’s white blood cell boosting echinacea tincture!

Echinacea Tincture

Echinacea growing in my yard.

Now listen carefully, as it is a very complicated process to make this medicine.  Ready?

Fill a jar 1/3 full with dried Echinacea angustifolia.  Add 100 proof vodka and fill to the very top.  Put a cap on, label the jar, and let it sit.

PHEW! Complicated, right?  (Kidding!) Making tinctures (a way of getting a concentrated herbal extract) is extremely simple.  I’ll repeat the steps:

Fill a jar 1/4 – 1/3 full with Echinacea root.  Echinacea purpurea is easier to grow, but Echinacea angustifolia is more medicinal (however, both will work).

Echinacea root filling 1/3 of a jar.

After getting the herb in the jar, fill to the brim with 100 proof alcohol.

Echinacea tincture.

Put a cap on, label your jar, and let it sit for at least 6 weeks.  You might want to shake it up a bit for the first week or so (whenever you think of it).  Some  sources say that the beneficial properties of echinacea continue to be extracted for a full year after tincturing.  In general, this can sit for a very long time without any risk of going bad, but feel free to strain and bottle after a few months.

(Note: For fresh roots, dig them up after the first frost, wash, chop, and fill the entire jar with root.  Cover with 100 proof alcohol. Also be sure that you’re digging roots from a plant that has been growing for at least 3 years.)

Echinacea is best known for its ability to boost the body’s white blood cell count and is therefore a useful ally when the body encounters all sorts of bacterial infections — sinusitis, UTIs, gum infections, etc.  What about colds and flu?  People often think about taking echinacea in relation to these viral visitors, but it doesn’t actually help to ward them off — however, it can help with the bacterial complications that often invade our sinuses and throats after colds and flus.  Thus, it helps to keep you from staying sick longer.

To use echinacea as an ally, I suggest using Susun Weed’s dosage recommendations:

“1 drop for every 2 pounds of body weight. A dropperful (which looks like half a dropperful) is about 25 drops of tincture. So I use a dropperful for children 25-50 pounds. Two dropperfuls for those weighing 50-100 pounds. Three dropperfuls for up to 150 pounds. Four for up to 200, and so on.

I take the full dose as often as every 1-2 hours in a crisis, or every 3-4 hours if I catch the infection at an early stage. And I expect to see relief within the first 24 hours. As I do, I space the doses further and further apart until all symptoms are gone.” (See full article here.)

And please consider, one of the best ways to stay healthy during this dark half of the year is to stop grumbling about the gray, bundle up, and get outside! Jump, observe, connect — just live with the seasons.  I promise it will help you to stay happier and healthier a lot better than staying shut inside and complaining about the weather!

Buttermilk Falls

(This post may be shared on any of these blog hops.)

P.S. I am not medically advising you to use this tincture, and I strongly recommend consulting with trained medical professionals when needed!

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10 thoughts on “A Night in the Dark & Echinacea Tincture

  1. When I lived in Connecticut last winter, we had two week-long power outages. I remember wanting to do a monthly no-power day as well after that! The serenity that I felt was so wonderful, the quietness, the fire light, it was so real. Every wisp of moonlight was so much more vivid than when it was competing with the glow of my phone or of the lights inside. I have yet to do a no-power day; I’m pretty sure that my partner would not be into it 🙂 But maybe someday soon I’ll find a girlfriend and we can share space and do it on our own! 🙂
    I’ve also made a great echinacea tincture by tincturing the flowers/leaves, straining it, and then adding the roots to it and straining that. Fun!

  2. I love reading your posts, they remind me to slow down and try to live a simpler and more sustainable life! You don’t realize all the “noise” in your environment until the power goes out and you are left with the quiet of nature. You also don’t realize the dependance on electricity. I run my own architectural design business and often prefer to just draw on paper than use the computer. It seems to connect me more and lets “me” be more creative and in touch with my projects. I am trying to transition from my current business to something more rewarding and sustainable, like growing healthy organic food and teaching others how to easy it is to do. the thought of walking away from my current income is difficult, but doing something that is satisfying and makes me feel better, happy and healthier is more rewarding. I would much rather be outside in nature than sitting in my office looking at it through the window.
    I look forward to reading your posts!
    ~Rob

    • A lot of good points in this comment!

      I totally agree about the silence that comes from a night without power — it was truly remarkable to be in the house without the background hum of electricity. Seems like it would be healthy to do that more often!

      From looking through your blog, it seems like you’re on the right track to the transition you’re craving for more health and REAL happiness in your life! But I TOTALLY understand the very real fear that arises from jumping into following your dreams full time. I do believe, though, that when we let go and really dive into our dreams things tend to work out in ways we could not have foreseen previously. Have you found my post about “Fears, Risks, and Following Dreams”? It’s about similar concerns (which I must admit are still there from time to time!).

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      • Thanks for directing me to your earlier post “Fears, Risks and Following Dreams”, and sorry for the long reply I left :0) Every day I have to make the decision to do what I am supposed to do or do what will make me happy. Happy wins out most days!
        ~Rob

  3. Great post! I think it’s a fabulous idea to have a no-power day. If nothing else it would help us appreciate electricity more and hopefully use it more sparingly.

    I’ve recently read more about tinctures and they are really interesting. I love learning about herbs and natural remedies. Nature is amazing!

  4. Thanks for your recipe for echinacea tincture. I made my own tea (purpurea variety) for years but it would nice to have a tincture on hand. I especially appreciate the directions on how to take it during a cold/flu. Have a great week! Blessings, Nancy

  5. Pingback: Immuni-Tea: Herbal Immune Support (that’s Delicious!) | These Light Footsteps

  6. Pingback: Prevent Colds & Flu with DIY Elderberry Syrup | These Light Footsteps

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