November 1, 2020

Oregano Tincture

Here's another of the fall preparations I've been working on, oregano tincture.

I first became interested in oregano as a medicinal herb when I was researching natural wormers for goats. I ran across an article that showed a study using oregano essential oil as a wormer. But I also learned that it has other useful medicinal qualities as well.

Page from my Homestead Herbal. Click to enlarge.

Oregano continued. Click to enlarge.

To make, I used my herb shears to cut up oregano leaves.

Enough to fill a jar about ¾ full. Then the jar is filled with vodka.

Vodka not only extracts the herb's medicinal qualities, but also acts as a preservative. These tinctures can keep for decades!

Freshly made

Then it's allowed to sit in a dark cool place for at least six weeks. About once a week I check my working tincture jars and give them a shake.

After steeping.

Earlier this month, my oregano tincture was ready to strain.

Like the elderberry tincture, I strain out as much as the liquid as I can through a sieve first. Then, I put the herb in the herb press, so I can squeeze out as much as possible. 

A dose is one to two droppersful, three times a day. For those who don't ingest alcohol, it can be put in a cup and boiling water added. By the time it's cool enough to drink, the alcohol will have evaporated, leaving behind the medicinal qualities and flavor. Oregano would make a good herbal vinegar too.

I find it interesting that many of our common cooking herbs carry the medicinal properties of helping relieve indigestion and gas. Coincidence? Or maybe, back in the day, cooks knew how to help folks enjoy their good cooking! Either way, this is a handy one to have around.


Michelle said...

Good to know about evaporating the alcohol; thanks!

Judy said...

I've come across some folks that are using Oregano as an anti-viral. They are making a tisane with a touch of honey and some lemon. Drinking it everyday as a preventive.

Leigh said...

Michelle, yes, that's important to know. The alcohol is the best preservative, but not at all necessary to benefit from the herb.

Judy, interesting! Certainly would be a tasty daily drink!

daisy g said...

I love this idea! I've got a patch of oregano that won't stop growing and gets larger every year. Now I know what to do with the abundance! I will have to research if it will help chickens get through the winter.
Thank you.

Yvie said...

Thanks for the tutorial on making it ourselves. Oregano oil has long been our go-to when we feel anything coming on. My husband likens it to that guy from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (you know, the "put some windex on it" guy)....since it's the first thing I always try! :)

~Yvie @ Homeschool on the Range

Cockeyed Jo said...

Leigh in your tinctures be sure the alcohol is above 90 proof.

Leigh said...

Daisy, I have no idea if chickens like oregano, but it would certainly be worth experimenting! It's nice that your patch keeps growing.

Yvie, that's good to know! Are you making your own infused oil or using essential oil?

Jo, the higher the proof, the longer they last.

Rosalea said...

Good info, as always, Leigh. I am planning on a much bigger patch next year, as plans for a permanent herb garden are in the works. I dry it now for culinary use, as I use a fair bit of it. I take it that you like those shears? I've wondered if they were any good.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, yes I do like them, although I wasn't sure at first. Have to keep the amount manageable, but they are quicker for chopping herbs than a knife or regular scissors.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, is there a general herbal/homeopathic text you are pulling the uses from?

Ed said...

Once again, you continue to teach me things on your blog. I have never seen herb shears before but I think I might have to find a pair for use in our kitchen.

Leigh said...

TB, I have a lot of books on herbs, but I have four go-tos that I always seem to grab first. I've been using these to consolidate notes in my own homestead herbal notebook:

The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody
The Herbalist by Joseph E. Meyer (OOP but still available. I have the 1970 printing.)
New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by Deni Brown
The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook by James Green

I quit using the internet because search engines are becoming cluttered with things I'm not looking for, and so many webpages simply don't get to the point. It's becoming harder and harder to find truly useful information online.

Ed, I found mine at Aldi, and I believe Bed, Bath, & Beyond carries them. Also, here's a link to them at Amazon.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Thanks Leigh! I have added them to my cart!

Leigh said...

TB, I think they make a good foundation. Some day I should do a blog post and review all my books in that category.

Snaps and Smiles Photography said...

I have a bunch of dried oregano. Can this be used in the same way to make the tincture?

Leigh said...

Absolutely you can used dried oregano! In fact, dried herbs are more concentrated, so you only need half as much to make a good, strong tincture.

Irishapples said...

I was talk to use Everclear the only one I could find was 150 proof. Will this work?

Leigh said...

Irishapples, absolutely. Some people use Everclear exclusively, but I've not found it for sale, so I use vodka. I thing the important thing is the purity; no color or flavors.

Anonymous said...

My name is Leigh also
I have a question. Would it be okay to use different kinds of alcohol as long as it's 80 proof?
I just made my own oregano tincture The alcohol I used is 80 proof, Jameson from Ireland.
I also made Rosemary tincture with the same alcohol and it's ready to use. Thanks for the information

Leigh said...

Hi Leigh! Welcome!

I was taught to use vodka because it was said to be the "pure" form of alcohol. He explained that the colors and flavors imparted by the aging process make it less "pure" for tincturing. That said, people use all kinds of alcohol for their tinctures because it is the best preservative. I think that's what's important, but confess I haven't really researched it. We don't use hard liquor for drinking, so I just get vodka for my tinctures.

Anonymous said...

Ive heard never to use more than 100 proof ( equal 50% alcohol-50% water) is best ration from several herbalist. When they call for 180 proof that is not even sold in my state. I Will stick with the 50-50 ration.

Leigh said...

Anonymous, I don't know anything about alcohol proofs, but I do know that we each need to do what we're comfortable with. I reckon most of us trust the recommendations of our teachers, and so use their recipes.

Celeste said...

I would love some guidance. I let my organo and oil sit for 8 weeks in a cool dark place and using a cheese cloth to strain, it simply tastes like oil. Do I need to purchase a tincture press? Otherwise, what might have went wrong?

Leigh said...

Celeste, pressing might help, but first, may I ask what kind of oregano you used? Dry or fresh? The oregano should have a strong oregano odor. If it's old or not a particularly strong strain, I don't think it would work as well for an oil.

Alternatively, you could heat the oil some to help release the essential oils of the oregano. That seems to make a more potent herbal oil for me.