Monday, September 28, 2015

Supplies: Make your own Herbal Capsules

If you're like me and have purchased many different types of supplements over the last several years, you might want to start thinking about more efficient ways to deliver those herbal remedies with a fraction of the cost.  Actually, it's not just about monetary reasons, but more about the quality and the absence of those hidden and unwanted ingredients, binders, etc. Think about it...  Do you really know what all is in those supplements that you commonly buy online or at your local health store?

I'm dividing this subject into two parts.  The first subject, from a previous post, is entitled "Supplies: Make your own Herbal Tinctures."  The second subject, on this post, will involve the supplies that you will need to make your own herbal capsules - which is the method I prefer.

Not only is it fun to start making your own herbal supplements, it gives you a sense of independence and a peace of mind from knowing exactly what is put into those capsules.  My last project involved milk thistle seeds.  I made a fine powder from the healthy organic seeds that I use to mix into juice and to fill my empty capsules.  I plan on making my own ginseng supplements, turmeric, powdered hot pepper capsules, etc., in the future.  There's a broad range of herbal substances you can dry out and create a powder from, so if you have a decent knowledge about herb-related health benefits, your options and combinations are seemingly endless.

Okay, well, let's get down to the small amount of supplies that you will need to do this.  First of all, to make a powder out of dried herbs, some people use different things.  Take a mortar & pestle, for example.  Some folks like to chop 'em up in a traditional blender, as well.  But to me, the instrument that works the best for creating a very fine powder that allows for easy absorption within the body and that pulverizes the herbs within the shortest amount of time, is the coffee/herb grinder.  These little gadgets can turn hard seeds into powder in hardly any time at all.  Plus, they don't take up hardly any room at all.  The one shown below, is the coffee grinder that I recently purchased online, and I am more than satisfied with it.

* To browse through a selection of coffee grinders from Amazon, click the image below:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=kitchen&keywords=coffee%20grinder&linkCode=ur2&tag=establishedca-20&linkId=4LG77UTEG2L2JRDY
Next up on the list of supplies that you will need, is the empty gelatin capsules. I like the '00' size because it allows me to put about 1000 mg. of whole crushed herb into each pill.  Since it will be completely natural and not the "extract" version of one particular chemical compound of an herb, you will generally need to consume more of it.  Personally, I think it is much more bio-available and overall better for the body to consume herbal supplements in their natural state, but that's another subject entirely.

* To browse through a selection of empty gelatin capsules from Amazon, click the image below:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=hpc&keywords=gelatin%20capsules&linkCode=ur2&tag=establishedca-20&linkId=ETKGAPNBLWTD26IS

Even though it hasn't been a problem for me, as of yet, filling the empty capsules by hand may be a bit too tedious and time-consuming for some folks.  If that's the case, you may need additional supplies, such as the capsule filling machine.  It is a simple device that allows you to place the big part of the empty capsules in a "machine" (not really a machine by my standards) and the smaller part into the cover.  From there, you dump your herbal ingredients into the holding plate or whatever, and put the cover on.  Then, you lift up on it and the capsules will all be assembled just like that.  I'm not promoting this overrated and overpriced (for what it is) product, but if you're interested just do a search for "capsule filling machine" or something similar; cheers!

---End of Post "Supplies: Make your own Herbal Capsules"

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Supplies: Make your own Herbal Tinctures

If you're like me and have bought various types of supplements online over the last several years, you might want to start thinking about more efficient ways to deliver those herbal remedies with a fraction of the cost.  Actually, it's not just about the money, but more about the quality and the absence of hidden, mysterious, unwanted ingredients, binders, etc. Think about it...  Do you really know what all is in those supplements that you commonly buy online or at your local health store?

I'm dividing this subject into two parts.  The first subject, on this post, is entitled "Supplies: Make your own Herbal Tinctures."  The second subject, which I'll write next on another post, will involve the supplies you will need to make your own herbal capsules - which is the method I prefer.

Personally, I never use tinctures since I don't mind taking numerous amounts of herbal capsules daily. However, when the tinctures are made with alcohol, the potency of the herbs will last a long time, to say the least.  Oh, that reminds me, some of the folks that are against alcohol often choose to use vinegar as the tincture base instead, although it will not be as potent nor will it last as long, but whatever floats your boat.  Alcohol is well-known for its ability to extract those beneficial compounds from the whole herbs at a more effective rate, but that is another subject entirely.  But for those worried about alcohol extracts, fear not.  You would only be consuming a few drops of the diluted stuff and it wouldn't even register on the scale of drinking.

Now that we have gotten the intro out of the way, let's move on to the supplies that you will need.  You will need mason jars (or something similar with a lid) to store the initial tincture mixture.  You will need 100 proof alcohol (vodka) or for a weaker tincture you will need vinegar or water to add to the vodka (why would you do that?).  Most people mix about 1 to 2 cups of whole crushed herb for every 1 to 2 cups of 100 proof vodka for most herbal tincture recipes.  You will mix this in a mason jar and let it set for about 6 weeks or thereabouts.  Every day or two (at least once or twice a week), make sure to shake it around a bit to help with the extraction process.

When your mixture is ready, you will now need a strainer, a tiny funnel, and some little tincture bottles with the dropper thingy.  You first pour the mixture through a strainer and into another jar, which will be your pure, filtered tincture that you will be using.  Now, you just need to funnel it into the dropper bottles.  Depending on what type of herb it actually is, you use the tincture daily or whenever needed by simply adding several drops of the extract into water or whatever beverage you like to add it to.  Yep, simple as that.  As you can see, it really doesn't call for a lot of supplies.  It just takes several weeks to extract the herb into the solution, but that's not a big deal.  Tinctures are mainly for convenience anyway, but, like I said before, I'd much rather supplement my diet by taking the whole herb in capsule form; cheers!

* If you're in need of some of those cool-looking tincture bottles with the dropper tops, Amazon has a decent selection.  If you'd like to browse through a few, click the image below:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=industrial&keywords=tincture%20bottles&linkCode=ur2&tag=establishedca-20&linkId=TRK3A6RBITAEP4B7

---End of Post "Supplies: Make your own Herbal Tinctures"