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A small glass of nutcracker will help with indigestion. Juniper is good for colds, garlic tincture lowers cholesterol. These are just some of the beneficial properties of old Polish tinctures.

France has its cognac, Scotland has whiskey, and Poland is famous forliqueurs . In fact, it was famous once, because this most exquisite Polish drink is a bit forgotten. It was made by pouring fruit or herbs with spirits, i.e. vodka. Each house had its own closely guarded recipes, and enjoying a glass of aromatic tincture was the end of the festive dinner. Often some tinctures also saved the household suffering from various ailments.

The tincture is a combination of alcohol and fruit

Tincture (tincture in Latin) is a plant alcohol extract. It combines the effects ofalcoholwith the curative or prophylactic effects offruitand herbs. The method is often used in the herbal medicine and pharmaceutical industry. And because it is very simple, we can also use it at home. Plants contain a lot of substances with healing properties. Flooding them with an alcohol solution causes that these active compounds are separated, dissolved and almost completely extracted. This process is called extraction. They pass into alcohol and are perfectly preserved there, so they do not lose their strength over time. This time is indispensable in the first stage of making the tincture. Many days (sometimes weeks) must pass for everything valuable in the plant to penetrate into the alcohol. There is also a rule: the stronger the plant works - this applies mainly to herbs - the less it is needed. The point is that the concentration of active compounds should not be too high, because then the tincture will be harmful instead of helping. The ratio is safe: 1 part herbs to 10 parts 70% spirit.

Plants for tinctures can be frozen

Plants must come from ecologically clean regions, because not only he althy but also harmful compounds will go into the tincture. We collect the fruits when they are very ripe, then they contain the most valuable substances. And remember: many tinctures can be made from products purchased in a herbal medicine store. To facilitate the penetration of compounds into alcohol, plants can be frozen in advance. This is especially true of hard juniper berries or green walnuts. When the water in them freezes, it magnifiesits volume and "bursts" the cells of the plant. As a result, active substances are released faster to the outside. It is worth freezing rowan, sloe or hawthorn, because the tart-bitter taste of these fruits becomes milder under the influence of low temperature. Freezing is also practical: we can bring, for example, a handful of hawthorn from each trip to the forest and store it in a freezer until the right amount of raw material is collected. Before we set the tincture, the fruit must be rinsed in a sieve and then dried well. If this is not done, there will be too much water in the tincture.

Secrets of the perfect tincture

The strength of the alcohol we pour over the fruit is also important. The higher it is, the stronger the preservative properties, but the worse the extraction of the compounds contained in the plant. Unless we add sugar or honey which speeds up the extraction. Spirit with a strength of 70% is suitable for the preparation of a sweet tincture. When it is dry, we use no more than 60% alcohol. In the first stage, when the tincture is still "working" (the extraction process is in progress), it should be placed in a fairly warm place, but not in the sun. After that, you'd better keep her cool. It must be tightly closed so that no ethereal substances can escape from it. Dark glass bottles closed with a cap are perfect for this. The perfect tincture not only has an intense flavor and aroma. It is also absolutely transparent. To get this, we have to strain it several times. A cloth is used for this, but paper coffee filters are much more convenient and give better results. After each straining, the tincture should "rest" for a few hours. Then, plant particles will fall to the bottom, which will remain on the filter during the next pouring. And finally, an important note: when preparing medicinal tinctures, carefully stick to the recipe. Chemical compounds in fruits and herbs are sometimes very powerful, so let's not experiment!

Tinctures for various ailments

The effect of the tincture depends on what herbs or fruits we use:

Aloe (leaves) - helps with constipation and acidity, soothes inflammation, stimulates immune processes and strengthens overall

Angelica (root) - mobilizes the immune system, soothes stomach discomfort, calms and helps with insomnia

Aronia (fruit) - improves immunity, helps with infections of the upper respiratory tract

Birch (young leaf buds) - soothes rheumatic pains, improves metabolism, cleans the blood

Blackcurrant (first leaves are torn off with shoot tips) - soothes intestinal ailments, has anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties

Hawthorn (fruit) - improves circulation and gently lowers blood pressure, helps with insomnia (use onlyafter consulting a doctor!)

Raspberry (fruit) - helps with colds, has diaphoretic and antipyretic properties

Wormwood (leaves) - increases appetite, helps digest fat, is an effective anthelmintic (due to the content of thujone - a substance that is toxic to the central nervous system - take no more than 3-5 times)

Tinctures not for everyone

Tinctures contain a lot of active substances and are prepared with alcohol. Therefore, children, pregnant and lactating women cannot drink them. They are also not recommended in acute diseases and when you are constantly taking medications. Then you need to consult a doctor. And remember that you will achieve a healing effect by drinking one small glass a day. More can hurt!

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