I strained my elderberry vodka tincture today for bottling! Yippee!
It's a royal mess making elderberry tincture - be prepared for berry-colored splatters here, there and everywhere - BUT with the amount of product that you yield for very little cost makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
Why take elderberry tincture?
Elderberry has been used for thousands of years. YES, thousands! Elderberries are diaphoretic (this class of herbs open the blood vessels, therefore lowering blood pressure), it's also diuretic (helps to eliminate excess water from the body) and it's also slightly laxative. This laxative effect (I find) is SO mild that I've never noticed it. Although everyone is different.
Because of Elderberries effects on the body, they are used medicinally for colds, fevers, respiratory ailments, arthritis, blood cleansing, sore throats, hoarseness, laryngitis & it's high in Vitamin C so it may be taken regularly for immune health.
Elderberry can be made into wine, pies, tinctures and syrups. Tinctures and syrups are usually used medicinally.
The difference between a tincture and a syrup is this:
Syrups are made with honey, water & other medicinal spices/herbs such as ginger, clove & cinnamon. These additional herbs/spices are used for flavor but also have a circulatory & protective benefit to the body. Elderberry syrups are delicious for children but are perishable, only lasting in the refrigerator about 3 months at the most.
Tinctures are made without honey or water. And since they are made with vodka as the solvent, they last much longer than elderberry syrup. Elderberry Tinctures are said to last at least 3 years but I think if they are stored in glass bottles and not exposed to light or heat, they may last even longer than that!
To make elderberry tincture, simply soak either dried or fresh elderberries in vodka for approximately 4 weeks.
Strain the berries and vodka through either a muslin or cotton cloth. Make sure the cloth was never washed with bleach, fabric softeners or unnatural detergents to ensure that there are NO traces of chemicals in the end product. I'd advise you to use gloves as it can stain your hands pretty bad. Funnels come in handy to bottle tinctures also. I've been using tincture bottles like these forever. I like finding a few friends to go in on a box to split the costs. This price is about half of what you pay at a health food store.
Clean off counter tops as soon as you can after bottling also as it does stain. - Nothing that a bit of baking soda, soap and elbow grease can't fix!
Check out my photo's below for step by step instructions on making elderberry tincture. Click on each photo to learn more about that particular step in Elderberry Tincture making.