Lavender is for lovers true, which evermore be faine. Desiring always for to have some pleasure for their paine. And when that they obtained have the love that they require, then have they all their perfect joie, and quenched is the fire. -Clement Robinson 1584
When I was younger, I always said that if I had a daughter I would name her Lavender. I imagined her to be dreamy and romantic, her presence bringing peace to whatever space she occupied, her scent imprinted and leaving you wanting more. Just like the ground sprung lavender, she would have a way of softening you, of gently spreading the doors to your heart wide open for love to slide in. She would be sweet and subtle yet strong. But alas...I had a daughter and named her Rumi instead, giving her an even greater namesake to live up to; but that's an entirely different story meant for another day...
Lavender flourishes in the warm weather. So here in San Diego, we can often find it in bloom year round. For harvesting purposes though, it is best to pick in late Spring or early Summer, before it goes to seed. There are many things you can do with Lavender although most commonly we find it in essential oils. I felt commpelled to try something different so I decided to harvest some flowers for a tincture. Susun Weed says, "Lavender tincture has been used for hundreds of years to treat falling sickness, cold distempers of the head, womb, nerves, and stomach; palsy, convulsions, vertigo, memory loss, dimness of sight, depression, melancholy, and swooning fits." My intention was to bottle the pleasure and ease we feel during this time of year. That lighthearted flutter we have waking up on a summer morning, excited about what the day may bring. In the darkness of Winter, it is harder to tap into such emotions, and I hope that maybe the Lavender tincture can assist with that. I brought Rumi along to help cut flowers, reminding her to do so with intentions of love and reverence.
The act of making a tincture is really quite simple. All you need is your desired herb, vodka (100 proof) or brandy, and a mason jar. For those who are sensitive to alcohol, you can substitute glycerin. Completely fill the jar first with your plant material. Then pour in your alcohol, making sure to cover all the herb. Seal it with the lid and put the jar in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 weeks, periodically shaking the jar (gently of course). When ready for straining, use a cheese cloth (or thin muslin) to separate the plant from the liquid. I like to put the cloth over a large glass measuring cup because it makes for easy pouring back into the jar. You can choose to keep the tincture in the original jar or separate it into smaller containers.
I like to take my tinctures directly under the tongue, but it is fine to drop into a bit of liquid to mask the taste of the alcohol. Depending of course on the tincture and the ailment, they are usually to be taken several times a day, especially for acute symptoms. Tinctures can last for years if they are stored in a cool and dry environment, which is one of the reasons I love them so much!
I have an abundant amount of this Lavender tincture that I would love to share with anyone who wants some. So if you live nearby, let me know and I will gift some to you. It would make me so happy!