SUMMER-FALL WORKSHOP 5: MAKING TINCTURES FROM DRIED HERBS

Mid-autumn brings us to the final workshop in the summer-fall series.  Since June, participants have been gathering monthly at the Hillier Hall, walking the fields and forest lands in the area and identifying the edible and medicinal plants and trees we find as they progress through each stage of their life cycles.  Then we’ve been returning to the Hall kitchen to make an herbal preparation for each participant to bring home with them.

Now, as we move into late October, our plant walk gives us the chance to view the plants as their seeds are developed, and the trees as they lose their leaves.  

millenium trail, photo courtesy of peccounty.on.ca

Learning to identify plants and trees at this stage is important when you live in this part of the world where much becomes dormant over the winter.  If we can identify plants in their winter state, we can mark their locations when we encounter them over the winter.  Then, in the early spring we can return to the newly growing plants we’d found dormant in winter, and identify them at an early stage.  This is helpful because spring plant identification can be far more difficult without clues as to the plants’ appearance at a more mature stage.  Many leaves on young plants look similar to each other.  

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So, as with every workhop in this series, we will begin with a plant identification walk, paying special attention to ID tips for plants when they’re either dormant or dead, leaving behind their bare stalks and branches that reveal their characteristics.  We’ll also look at some of the plants in their spring mode, giving us a second chance to harvest them if we missed our chance in the spring. 

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In the second part of our workshop, we’ll prepare a tincture using dried herbs.  At our  workshop in August, we prepared a tincture using fresh herbs, harvested on our walk.  Sometimes however, it is preferrrable or necessary to make tinctures from dried herbs–especially if you want to make a tincture in the winter, and fresh herbs are not available.  So, dried herb tinctures will be the focus of this workshop.

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We’ll discuss more about the pros and cons of using fresh vs dried herbs in tinctures.  One  benefit of using dried herbs is that without water content in the herbs, their weight can be more accurately determined.  This means that we can also more accurately establish the desired strength of our tincture.  At this worskhop we’ll also talk a bit about tincture potency, and the most efficient ways to extract the constituents we want to glean from the herbs we’re using.

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Of course, at the end of the workshop, all participants will bring home some of the tincture made in class.  After a month of macerating, the tincture can be strained and stored for use when needed.  Most tinctures will last for many years as long as they are properly stored.

This is the 5th in a 5-part workshop series on herbal medicine, running from June-October 2016.  

It takes place Sunday October 23rd from 1-4 pm at the Hillier Hall, 18560 Loyalist Parkway in Prince Edward County.                                         Cost: $50      Preregistration required.

To register for this workshop or to inquire further, please click HERE

To learn more about the workshop series, please click HERE

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