Here at Shawnee Moon, our tinctures are crafted in small batches, carefully and consciously by the phase of the moon.

Some folks scratch their head when I say things like, “I have a big day at work tomorrow, since it’s a full moon [or new moon]!” I learned the importance of making tinctures by the moon phase, first from my Mom. She was my first herbal inspiration as I leaned over her arm in the kitchen of our little country home as she read herb books and farmers almanacs and excitedly told me about the things she learned.

It was the farmers almanac that showed which days were best for planting specific garden vegetables for the best results, what days of the month you should cut your hair to encourage growth, and which days you should cut your hair to discourage growth. [Yeah, that’s a thing!]. Along with those there are the best days to breed your cow, pig, goat, whatever.

We see the obvious affects that the moon has on the tide, why couldn’t it effect the molecular constitution during the ‘brewing’ process of herbs and liquid to create this wonderful thing called a ‘tincture’?

Herbal blends from Shawnee Moon Lab

Herbal blends from Shawnee Moon Lab

When I began my herbal studies under Victoria Fortner at Shawnee Moon School of Herbal Medicine, I found that, unlike many large herbal companies that produce tinctures on large scale and must do so at their convenience, Victoria made her tinctures like my Mom did, by the phase of the moon. This was the way it was taught to her in the Shawnee traditional medicine practiced in the Native American Indian community.

In the lab at Shawnee Moon, you will find me creating our standard herbal formulas in the ‘dark’ phase of the moon. On a New Moon. As Victoria taught me, we have a three day window to make the tinctures in to stay on the mark with the cycle. The day before, the day of, and the day after, all qualify to complete the phase and produce the optimal results.

As the moon waxes in its cycle, it grows brighter, fuller, stronger. The gravitational pull of the phases is believed to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs into the liquid solvent, and as the moon grows in strength, so does the herbal brew.

Powdered Herb

Powdered Herb

Once the cycle is completed, two weeks later, when the moon reaches it’s ‘fullest’ stage, I’m back in the lab pouring off the tinctures. This simply means, I strain the bulk herbs out of the liquid solvent and suspension [alcohol and purified water].

Many companies that formulate tinctures only use a solvent [alcohol, vinegar, glycerin, etc.] and do not use a suspension [purified water]. Or, rather, they put enough of the solvent to count as a suspension as well. Victoria found that a 100% alcohol based tincture was not necessary and having a percentage of purified water as suspension did not compromise the integrity of the product. The formulas were still as effective and had a secondary plus that some people do not consider. That being, that the product had a lower alcohol content making it safer for individuals that suffered from alcohol dependence and better for those concerned about giving alcohol based products to children. This is a more economical option than glycerin that is used in place of alcohol in many tinctures for these same reasons. Although glycerin has no alcohol, as opposed to alcohol and water simply being a lower percentage of alcohol then the purely alcohol based tinctures that have no other suspensions.

Are you an aspiring herbalist? Do you make your own herbal formulas? How do you make your herbal brews? Did this post answer any questions you’ve had about tinctures and the moon phases? Or give you even more questions?

Thanks for reading! Be blessed!

Kerry Brock, Certified Herbalist and owner of Shawnee Moon, is a researcher of plants, an eater of herbs, a drinker of coffee and a formulator of remedies. She keeps busy trying out pinterest diy’s and often failing at cooking in her backwoods home in rural southeast Missouri with her fantastic husband, Davy, two dogs, an assortment of cats and a unbelievably supportive family near by.
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