Blackcurrant Leaf Bud Tincture

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IMG_3275With the weather warming and days lengthening I decided it was time to start making some herbal remedies again from fresh plant material. There are many fruit bushes at our medicine garden including an abundant berry producing black currant (Ribes nigrum). I had read about using it as a tincture in ‘New Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way’ by Susun Weed. Here is what she has to say about it:

“Black currant nourishes the adrenals and ovaries, and helps prevent urinary tract infections, sore joints, and vascular disturbances (including hot flashes). The dose of a glycerite or alcohol tincture of the fresh leaf buds (or berries) is 10-50 drops.” IMG_3276

I can often get sore knees and hands from gardening so it sounded like a great nourishing tincture to have on hand after a hard days work. I did make some last year but gave it away before I had time to use it! To make it I collected leaf buds and newly opened leaves from the currant bush, on a dry day, and put them in a basket. When harvesting herbs I find it is best to take your time, use scissors where possible to reduce damage to the plant, and talk to the plant while picking. Say “hello”, “thank you”, ask “which buds should I pick?”. Over time it helps to build a relationship with the plant/s and increases your knowledge of the plant and the medicine from it.

Once I had enough I filled a clean jam jar with the buds and leaves and covered with alcohol. I would ideally use an organic spirit such as whiskey or brandy but I only had non-organic brandy this time. I covered the plant material with the brandy, sealed the jar and labelled.

I will leave this for 4-6 weeks before straining bottling and using. Most tinctures can be made in this way and are a really simple way to make your own herbal remedies at home.

IMG_3278For older children and people with alcohol dependancy the tincture can be added to hot water to evaporate off the alcohol, or another way of using the herbs needs to be found such as teas or glycerites.

Thomas Bartram describes black currant as a mild febrifuge (anti-fever), astringent, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, mildly anti-spasmodic and its fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C.

Mrs Grieve notes that it is a true native of Yorkshire and the Lake District, though can be found else where, including southern Scotland. The berries can be put into brandy (sounds good to me) and Russians make wines and spirits of the berries and leaves. An infusion of the leaves tastes like green tea and they can be added to black tea for taste. She describes its medicinal actions as a diuretic (increases flow of urine), diaphoretic (induces sweating) and a febrifuge.

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Last year I made a lot of black currant jam and am looking forward to doing so again to help provide me with Vitamin C during the leaner winter months.

Happy remedy making.

simonemelanie, 2016

References:

Susun Weed – New Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way

Thomas Bartram – Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

Mrs M.Grieve – A Modern Herbal

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